Ties Unbroken

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      The Wittacre family had long ruled in the North, capturing mountains and valleys alike in a mass construct of fortune to put forth their claim to both Lordship and Kingship. It worked, long in the past when legends seemed truth, and for many a century the famed Wittacre lineage was praised for their mastery of the harsh climates. They moved on from the tall fortresses up in the mountains down to the river valleys at their feet, and build a stone castle of the greatest mankind had seen for many a millennium. Great Kaehr of the North, the Mountain Fortress some called. Many families wanted to marry off into the line, knowing that whomever they sent would be in good hands until the day they died. Others were jealous, and sought to steal what the family had earned through their ancestors' bravery and strength. It is here the story begins, when the intimidating Great Kaehr was assaulted by a group of unnamed men. Assassins, they said, sent by a nameless master. The slaughter was endless. The Wittacre family was thought to be lost, but there was hope yet in the two daughters who outlived their father, mother, and brother. Catherine and Ellara Wittacre were the hope of the future. In time, they would reclaim the lost Great Kaehr Castle their bloodlines had built before them. They would rise from the ash of their failures and crush the force who dared to smite them.

      If only they knew who.

      If only they knew how.

      Taken in by the Roivas family, this is the true start of the story, where the sisters are nurtured by the caring family to the South. They learn here of new things, new Gods and new courts to entertain. The past trauma of their family was a distant thing, nine years passed. Some day, they believed, they would be able to go home. Until that day, the halls would remain voiceless and barren, waiting for their sworn masters to return home.

    • Major WIP - Please be patient, thank you!

      PLAYED BY S K U L L.

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      The Roivas Family
      King Edgar, Queen Amelia, and the Princes William, Allistar, and Timothy.
      The Roivas family is the ruling force in the Southern Kingdom. Their focus is on military, and have been a powerful name since the dawn of man. William is the oldest of the three, and both he and Allistar do not share a mother with the youngest sibling, Timothy, only their father relates them by blood. It is because of this the youngest child feels somewhat detached from his elder siblings.
      Sir Reginald
      Royal guard to the Roivas family. Is usually seen at Edgar's side, if not William's.
      Lady Opal
      One of the many court women of the South. Her company is preferred by that of the Queen, and is well known among the women.
      Edmure Ambrose
      The sole Prince of the Ambrose family in the West. The Western families have stayed far from the warring North and South, and have little to do with either side unless times are dire. They are not known for their loyalty, often switching sides with the more victorious opponent in historical war times.


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      The Wittacre Family
      The two women are the last of a long standing Northern family, the Wittacre lineage. Their home was invaded in a crushing surprise attack which ultimately ended the lives of their father, mother, and brother. Not much is known about the family in the ten years they have been hiding out in the South. Rumors have sprouted across the countries of course, sightings of the girls which spurred the North to take action and resume the hopeless search. However, after ten long years, the search is not so hopeless any more...
      The North is well known for their harsh Winters and barbaric tribesmen which take refuge in the mountains. After the fall of the North, the great fortress, Great Kaer, was overrun with brutal tribesman, making the once fantastic fortress uninhabitable.
      The Northern Survivors
      Maeve, Arlo Ward, and Sir Duncan Kelly were among the three who accompanied the Wittacre sisters upon their escape from the brutal massacre of ten years past. Maeve stays by Ellara's side almost constantly. Sir Duncan is in the process of training Arlo, once a simple stable hand, to become a knight in the name of the North.
      The Layne Family
      After the fall of the North, the Layne family took the reigns and made sure the country did not fall apart. They succeeded in keeping the nation stable, but failed to bring order and comfort to the mourning families who occupied Great Kaer. Peter has three sons of his own, but considers the two Wittacre daughters to be his own. He has not seen them for ten years.
      This mysterious face has a grudge to settle with King Edgar, and it won't be pleasant for anyone involved...

    Just A DreamA cry pierced the night like a sword against the throat of a mortal man. All manner of beast and human ran scrambling from the innermost heart of the royal palace, but not one made it past the entryway steps. One by one the collaborated screaming trickled to a sole voice among the masses. Soldiers waited with tall pikes in hand, backed by rows of archers ready to take aim. The sounds died out, the hollow ringing of fear left a stain deep against the black canvas of the sky, everything else stained red with the blood of the house Attacre. The cry was there, and all at once silenced by an unnamed hand.

    She was running, the handmaiden by the name Maeve cradled a redheaded child in her arms, she being not so old as to see her first days of womanhood. Tears as well as blood streamed down the front of the child's nightclothes. Maeve prayed to every God she knew, starting with those of her country. The Life Giver Daitel, the Life Taker Chale, every other name slipped through her tongue with no great amount of significance. They had nothing to do with the slaughter of innocents, and only life mattered now, so she prayed.

    "Hang on my sweet." Maeve cooed the child but only received desperate spouts of gurgled blood from the edges of her lips. Little Ellara Wittacre was dying in her arms and there was nothing she could do to stop the slaughter around them.

    "Duncan, get your ass over here, before someone finds us!" Maeve hissed back at a shadow darting just behind her hurried steps. There were four in their party total. One handmaiden, one knight, and two terrified little girls with no imagination left as to what was lurking in the halls of their home.

    The man had no reply for the angered handmaiden. He busied himself with another child, older than the first. Her blonde hair was thick with matted blood, her eyes wide in horror, never once did they leave her sister's face. Little Ellara was stunned and bleeding, Catherine could do nothing but watch.

    "Miss Maeve, where is Edward?" Catherine asked. "Where is mother, father, why aren't they with us? Who hurt Ellara?"

    "Quiet, child, we need to run. No more questions."
    Duncan, the knight of the group hushed Catherine with a jolt of his hand forward. In his opposite was a great long sword meant for two hands. The one would do, adrenaline left him with great strength. Catherine complained against his grip but didn't ask anything else. The girl was smart enough to figure when to hold her tongue and when to speak, court had taught her that.

    Only, this wasn't the court. The Lords and Ladies she was used to speaking with were dead on the steps of the grounds, the lone opposing voice was an arrow in their chest, and it was best Catherine never spoke up unless she wanted to join the popular opinion.

    Fire rained down from the sky and set whole rooms ablaze with such ferocity the stone itself began to melt off the high rising spires. This of course, was where the memory and the dream differed. Poor Ellara could barely discern from the truth of the reality and the false memories any longer. In truth, the buildings were never on fire to begin with. There was no mage summoning forth hell to burn their home, only torches to catch to the tapestries around the grounds. Those were more susceptible to the element. Stone didn't burn, wouldn't burn, not unless it was by mythical dragon fire.

    Death was at her door, and only wanted to ease the pain with memories which seemed more grand than what lay in ruin around her.

    From what Catherine said, as Ellara never remembered, they fled to the main road with nothing more than the very clothes on their backs. For Catherine, it consisted of her pale rose colored nightgown and a pair of mismatched slippers. Her hair was all tousled, but she insisted she'd looked good in her apparel. She feared more for Ellara's safety than what she was wearing, and she always made sure to say so.

    The dream only continued in fire until the woods around them were red and distorted. Soldiers screamed after them, wolves sniffed the air to catch a taste of the royal bloodline, eager for the easy kill. None of it was real, the memories weren't there to justify the feeling of pain against her skin. It was burning, hot and cold all at once, the skin at her neck was cut jagged from a would be assassins shot at taking a ten year old girl's life.

    He'd failed, to Sir Duncan Kelly's great liking.

    Ellara woke with a start. Her hand slapped hard against her neck, only to meet the pink flesh of the botched attempt on her life. Tears started to spring from the corner of her pale blue eyes but good Maeve was there to stifle the familiar cry of pain which she long associated with the nightmare. The handmaiden's soft hands wrapped around the girl's mouth, knowing that a slip of the finger meant waking the entire Northern Wing of nobles. Ellara's shaking shoulders was enough to make her sigh with pity.

    Even in disarray she was an image of beauty, no matter how many times she dissented. Her red hair was an uncommon sighting, even among the best bred nobles in the country. She was slender but not for lack of some form to her hips, now that she'd blossomed into a proper young lady. Ellara always compared herself to that of her sister. Tall, blonde, and sociable. They felt like stark opposites despite their relation by blood.

    "It has been nine years and yet you still dream." Maeve's accent was slightly reminisce of a Mountain dwelling tribe, her words felt thick, like her tongue didn't have enough room in her own mouth, but it wasn't an unpleasant sound. While cumbersome, it was warm and filled with good intent with each syllable. "Do not weep."

    Ellara did her best not to cry, as she did when the nightmare struck. The anniversary was coming closer and the dream only got worse with each passing night. It was the fourth time Maeve had to intervene that very week.

    "Your sister is alive, you are alive, that is all that matters." Maeve removed her hand from the teen's mouth and used it instead to brush her fingers against her soft red hair. Ellara leaned heavily into the touch with her hands still grasping around the wound at her throat.

    "Would you like some ribbon?" Maeve asked. Ellara's only response was a nod of her head.

    It was a silly solution to a long festering problem. Ellara hated to go out in public with anything less than a high collared vestment. She was embarrassed of the mark, even though it represented much more than a close study of death. It stood for, according to Catherine dearest, for survival and a long lasting family lineage. Others called her brave, some thought her a miracle, but Ellara couldn't allow herself to let them see the mark which had almost been the end of her. It brought about too much pain.

    Maeve tied a thick black length of silk around Ellara's throat and she felt better somehow. The handmaiden kissed the youth against her temple before standing to leave.

    "I will return when you wake, alright?" She cooed. "Do not fear, my Lady Ellara. you have nothing to fear from anyone."

    Ellara nodded once more, touching a shivering hand to the black silk around her throat. It was tight, and should've made her want to gasp for another breath of air, but it was the only thing she found comforting. Her scar was shameful. The longer she had to look, the more pain she suffered through memories of the day she'd been forced from her home.

    "Ellara." Maeve brushed her hands over the red headed girl's face once more, wiping the sweat from her brow. "You have much to be grateful for. Now sleep. There's to be a great gathering soon, and I'll not have you looking like a bruised plum, with those bags under your eyes."

    The handmaiden kissed the top of Ellara's head before disappearing into the hall, and just as always, the girl laid wide awake in the dark of her bed chambers.

    Arlo #405fbd
    Catherine #d6bd31
    Ellara #b84265
    Maeve #a46fd9
    Sir Duncan #1b4720
    Caél #5e0d0d
    Peter Layne #eba45e
    Bryant Layne #a4cfed
    #1 Lillian Gray, Feb 16, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2016
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  1. A Queens Decision
    The gossamer white sheets flew up in the air in the high, endless ceilings. A bright ray of sunlight infiltrated into the bed chambers of Queen Amelia, illuminating the white gossamer curtains. The sound of birds chirps mixed well into the sounds of shuffling feet. The gentle Queen sat upright, facing a wide elongated mirror, which reflected her youthful face. Her beauty reflected upon her mother's and her mother's mother. She brought her soft finger on her cheek, slowly caressing her cheek. However, a beauty like herself can falter and wither like a flower. The Queen sighed softly removing her hand away from her face, dropping it to her lap. She turned her body towards a long faced woman, whose eyes stared senselessly into the palm of her hands. Amelia looked down at the woman's hand, studying the pale palms. Her pale palms brought her blue and purple veins to become more prominent. Amelia sighed loudly attempting to break Opal from her daydreaming.

    The long-faced woman looked up at her Queen with no hesitation. "My Queen?" She inquired.

    "What do you think of the Wittacre girls?" Amelia inquired from her lady-in-waiting. She shifted back, facing the mirror tousling her black hair. The individual curls of her hair tangled as her fingers penetrated the clumps of hair. The prolonged pause raised a sleek black brow Amelia. The Queen's patience was a thing to never be tempered with. Her kindness can be evident to a certain amount of time.

    "Catherine is a very eloquent woman, her beauty never falters. Ellara is young, but, she will surely mature into an amazing Queen." The flattery from Opal's lips never alters. The words always hover over her lips, ready to be vocalized through her monotone voice. Amelia turned her head slightly to the right as she adjusted her black hair to the left, allowing her face to be more visible. "Who taught you to speak like that?" The Queen inquired. "My lady mother Ophelia." Opal responded. A sound of approval pierced through her shut lips.

    Amelia extended her arm upwards gesticulating her handmaidens to trek towards her. Three handmaidens answered her and they began to appear one by one behind her, ready at her word. A thin smile graced her lips when her hazel eyes noticed their reflection behind her. "My hair, do something with it my loves," The Queen ordered kindly. The three maidservants bowed slightly. Their hands began tinkering with the Queens black hair. Their fingers took individual strands of hair, separating the strands from the whole. Amelia kept her body upright not making a single movement. Twin hazel orbs lifted up watching the handmaidens construct a convoluted design. An abrupt, faulty movement, pulled a strand of the Queens hair in an aggressive way. Opal's quick observation brought the woman to stand up in a defensive way. Before Opal could point out such ignorance Amelia held her hand up. The gesticulation implied a command unspoken to Opal. Amelia watched as her lady-in-waiting gingerly returned to her seat. The long faced woman kept a watchful eye on a specific handmaiden.

    A soft hum constructed a mellifluous melody coming from the Queen. Her hums captured Opal's attention -- the monotonous woman broke into a smile. The corner of her lips tugged upwards and one indent on her cheek became notable. A rare smile from Lady Opal, a smile Amelia often appreciated from the Lady.

    "Opal? Do you believe Catherine is a kind-hearted woman? A woman who people shall look upon?" The Queen continued to pester Opal with numerous of inquiries. The smile on Opal's lips vanished slowly. Amelia was uncertain of the Wittacre girls, however, she treated them as her own; as she has for Opal. "That decision is solely up to you my Queen. My judgements may deter you from the wrong choices, and as your lady-in-waiting I cannot let my insolence lead you in a dubious path." Opal lied. With a tight smile Amelia nodded. Her actions brought a handmaiden to release a braid, letting the black hair unravel before her eyes. The action stupefied the handmaiden paralyzing her. A soft chuckle escaped Amelia's lips soothing the handmaidens fault. Eventually, all the handmaidens chuckled.

    The chuckles died out gingerly when the sound of swords clashing against each other echoed from the courtyard. A scoff escaped Amelia's lips. Loud grunts and battle cries filled the castle, their voices resonated and penetrated through thin castle walls. The handmaidens began to whisper. Amelia could hear the handmaidens speaking of her step-sons. Regardless of their bond lacking kinship, her sons loved her, or so she tells herself. Shortly after that the Queen's bedchambers grew silent, only the sounds of her sons grunts and battle cries filled the room. She took this time to think of her actions before executing them. Her fingertip tapped against her lap continuously in a beat. The beat mimicked her heartbeat, but in a slower pace.

    At the tenth measurement, the handmaidens stepped back. Amelia canted her head to the left and right admiring the convoluted braids forming into a lovely bun. She looked up at the handmaidens reflection and nodded her head. The handmaidens bowed slightly and revert back to their duties.

    "I've made my decision Opal," Amelia announced.

    Opal adjusted herself, sitting upright in a composed manner keeping eye contact with Queen. She sat readily for her Queens next words.

    "Leila, bring me Catherine Wittacre."
    #2 Rambunctious, Feb 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2015
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  2. The Conceited Beauty"Look at them, they've been at it all morning." Catherine let out a sigh in mock worry. Ellara recognized the noise, her sister hardly cared if the men of the Roivas family tired themselves from some friendly swordplay. She only wanted attention, and from one brother specifically. Her eyes had been hungrily following after the eldest brother in the trio.

    "They have to practice, the Roivas family comes from a long line of warriors and great heroes of battle." Ellara countered.

    "Yes, but do they have to do it here? In the courtyard? They have perfectly fine grounds outside the walls of the castle. It's so...so rambunctious to be practicing here, not to mention dangerous." Catherine lifted herself from the half wall just above the courtyard to cross her arms over her plump chest. From there, the Wittacre sisters had ample viewing space to watch the competition unfold below. They'd been on their way to morning lessons when the sounds of steel caught both of their attentions. Seeing as the Roivas children had grown up with the two girls, it only seemed right to watch, if only for a moment, so they could praise them for their hard work and dedication in such times of peace.

    A light peace of course. There was still the matter of nine years past, the slaughter of the families at the stronghold Great Kaehr, the living place of the Wittacre line. They hadn't the soldiers to investigate, nor any witnesses to prove it wasn't a civil strike. The Wittacre hold on the North was strong, and rife with greed from the lower classes. Until anyone came forth with solid proof, peace would remain free flowing through the country. For the time being, it was too risky for any other nation to get involved.

    "Look, it's Sir Kelly, and Sir Ward." Ellara brushed away the topic to motion to the two men.

    Down below, the brothers continued to fight. Ellara spotted her house guard, Sir Duncan Kelly, nodding and pointing into the fray in instruction to a squire at his side, the young Arlo Ward. He was only a few years older than Catherine herself, the lady being twenty three years, and the soldier being twenty six. He'd only been a child when he made it out of Great Kaehr alive. Ever since, he'd stayed fighting at the Wittacre's side, in hopes he could serve the family he failed to protect. The soldiers felt no shame or fear when they announced they served the Wittacre family once, but they never went further into detail. It was better that no one knew who they served inside the castle walls, more for the girls' sake than the guards.

    "Arlo Ward is not a knight, as such, you should not call him 'Sir', Ellara." Catherine reminded her sister politely.

    "He likes it when I call him that, though, it gives him hope." Ellara pouted. "Some day, I believe he will have the skill of even Sir Kelly. Might I hold on to that?"

    "Still, you should not call him 'Sir', it's incorrect." Catherine reminded again. Her patience wore thin with her sister's constant rambling, of topics she cared little about. Hope, chivalry, and a fairy tale ending to end all stories which began in ash and fire. Catherine didn't care much about that, only the prospect of royal seat gave her any hope. To be Queen, in either her homeland or another, was what she desired most. A bit of coin could keep a woman happy for a long time, so that certainly helped.

    "Lady Catherine, there you are!" A young handmaiden called from around the corner of the upper ramparts of the courtyard, where the sister's had been watching the fight. She scurried forward, and Catherine's brow wrinkled. Here, the only woman who called her by that name were direct family members of the Roivas family, servants knew her as the Lady Kate, and her sister Lady Elise. Fake names to keep their true identities safe.

    "Who calls for me?" Was Catherine's instant response.

    "The Queen, my Lady, she wishes to speak to you." The handmaiden eyed Ellara from across the space between them. "Alone."

    "Yes, of course. Please send someone to inform my tutor I will not be at my lessons today." Catherine turned on her charm, smiling brightly now that she knew it was the Queen who called her. "Please, good maid, lead me to her."

    "Yes, my Lady." The maid bowed her head before the pair were off in a flurry of mismatched skirts. Catherine, in pale golden fabric which trailed down over her long legs, embroidered with fine silver beads to make her appear as if she glittered as she walked. Then there was the maid, in simple serving clothes with a pale apron at her front. It was clear their class distinction was greatly uneven.

    Ellara pulled the collar of her own dress up higher on her neck. She never went out without covering the shameful mark on her skin. No one, save the royal children, knew what the girl was so eager to hide from the world. Most assumed Ellara to be sick, fragile, but that luckily wasn't the case. Ellara let them imagine what they wanted, it saved her the embarrassment and terror of reliving that fateful night nine years ago.

    She looked down onto the yard once more. There were the three familiar faces of her youth. Timothy was the youngest, Ellara could often relate to the struggle of being the youngest of many children, and they had much to talk about, but he was young yet, and a bit pompous. There was Allistar, the middle child. Just as fair looking as any of the other siblings. Finally, Ellara's rich blue eyes set upon the eldest of the three blonde haired boys. William Roivas. She leaned onto the low wall up above the courtyard and set her hands on her cheeks, smiling faintly at the man. He was a good man, strong, willful, and she knew he would make an excellent King when the time came. She couldn't help herself, after all the years they'd spent together, it was hard not to be at least a little impressed by his efforts and achievements.

    A quick whistle caught her off guard. Ellara's brow furrowed as she looked down to find the source of the noise, when she saw Arlo snickering up at her. He pointed to his eyes, then motioned into the brawl, as if saying he knew what she stared at. Ellara blushed, she'd been caught gawking. She quickly gathered up her books from the wall and ran down to the nearest door, throwing herself inside to save the awkward explanation of what she'd been doing.
    #3 Lillian Gray, Feb 17, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
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  3. The Temperate Prince
    Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank!

    The swords collided against each other with brute force, both hands were coiled around the grip of the sword, hands overlapping each other. The longswords blades were against each other; they were near to chipping the fine structure of the blade. Alas, the two Roivas men had warrior blood coursing through their veins, so retaliating was no question. William's blue eyes flickered with a fiery passion while Timothy glared at his brother, filled with everlasting pride. The two siblings fought from early morn to the day -- the continuous laughs from Sir. Reginald and Allistar were endless. In the end, each person knew who will be the victor.

    A mocking grin pierced the source of all Timothy's pride. The boys expression dropped, his strength fled from his arms letting Williams sword stride through his. William released his one hand from the grip and he clashed his longswords against Timothy's. The great impact brought his younger sibling to release the grip of his sword. He watched as his brothers eyes widened and his pupils dilated. Claps from behind boomed, creating an echo in the courtyard. Sir. Reginald's booming laughters overpowered Allistars claps. William turned his heel facing towards Sir. Reginald and Allistar bowing a playful manner, he bent forward with his arm bent and in front of his chest. The playful actions brought his younger brother to growl softly. He could feel the death glares piercing through his solid back, leaving a burning sensation. A sigh escaped his lips at the moment that William rose from his denigrated bow. He gyrated towards his exasperated brother. The younger sibling glared intently at him; between his forehead wrinkled in an unattractive way.

    "C'mon, get up and stop acting petulant," William said extending his arm outward. His hand unraveled in front his brothers letting his long slender fingers sticking out to their full length. A vexed scoff escaped his brothers lips before he slapped Williams hand from his face. "I don't need help from you. I can stand for myself." Timothy grumbled softly throwing the bronze gauntlet on the ground. A cloud of dust lifted up, and the gauntlet was tarnished.

    Two gray twin orbs watched Timothy storm out of the court grounds swearing to the Gods. Following behind him was gallant Allistar, looking back at William nodding. He nodded in return. A lanky blond squire ran up to William releasing the elder prince of the laden weight of the sword. A smile graced Williams lips once the sword was taken from his hands. He began to stretch his fingers, extending the slender fingers as much as he physically can, then clenching them quickly. The soft snickers from the right broke his attention from his hand and to the two Wittacre knights, he canted his head to the left slightly, letting locks of dirty blonde hair fall to the left side of his head. He looked up to what the knights snickered about and smiled. The sight of Ellara never failed to keep him from smiling -- Northern beauty has never appeared so radiant in the Southern sun. He watched the Northern girl scamper off into the corridors.

    A hand dropped onto his shoulder, its fingers gripping his shoulders. William turned to the source of the hand to see Sir. Reginald looking up at the castle."Be wary my Prince, Northern girls are mischievous one's." The knights gruff voice warned. A jesting chuckle removed the old knight from his shoulders. "Ellara is far from mischievous. She's a sweet girl, anyway I would be more worried about the older sister." William said shaking his head slightly, heading towards the castle entrance. Reginald sighed disdainfully proceeding behind the elder prince. The two began to walk towards the numerous case of stairs. The two men jogged up the stairs with ease already accustomed to the laborious walk. The distinctive sound of high decibels emitted off of Sir. Reginald's armor echoed. The bulky armor continued to produce noise, disturbing the tranquility in the castle walls.

    His right foot pushed his body upwards and his left foot stepped forward, he reached flat ground. He looked back at Sir. Reginald who began to sweat bullets down his forehead. The knights laden armor weighed him down for jogging up the stairs with ease. "I-I think Cath-C...Fuck..." Sir. Reginald tried to catch his breath. William laughed loudly patting the knight on his back. "I shall get prepared for tonight and as for you, start jogging." William walked off breathing heavier than usual. He walked into the corridors greeting maidservants and guards as he did.

    He looked forward to catching a glimpse of a familiar red-headed woman. Before walking past her, he stopped and bowed lowly. As he rose slowly he spoke the words that hovered over his lips. "Greetings, Lady Ellara." Regardless of their closeness he was unable to cast away the formality. His steel gray eyes studied the younger woman's appearance. Nothing deviating from the norm, her collar stood up tall covering most of her slender neck. He dared not to inquire her as to why she had her collar up so high, his mother taught him better than to pester a Lady with ignorance.
    #4 Rambunctious, Feb 18, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2015
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  4. The Kind Lady"I can't believe Arlo saw me..." Ellara mumbled under her breath as she turned away from the courtyard, leaving the sounds of the skirmish behind her. She clutched her books to her chest to calm the beating of her heart. Her head was bowed low as she passed by a handful of maids, not wanting to make any eye contact with her face so red. "How embarrassing...I hope no one else noticed."

    Dozens of times, her tutor had warned Ellara not to mumble. Every time, Ellara would nod politely and promise to stop the habit. So far, there'd been no progress on her end, as it rather helped her cope with awkward situations like the one at hand. It only added to her naive charm.

    The sound of heavy footsteps echoed down the stone halls, causing Ellara to stop and turn to see which man had the mind to wear a set of armor in the middle of the day, and inside no less. Most of the armed guards stood sentry outside the doors of the royal court, which was in another part of the castle entirely. She half expected to see Arlo, back to tease her about her fruitless affection, or perhaps Sir Kelly. At least the knight had a desire to keep the young maiden safe from harm, his presence was purely out of worry when he walked at her side. She appreciated his efforts to keep a watchful eye on the Wittacre girls when he could. Only, neither of them were in full suits. So who...?

    The sight of Prince William brought a smile to her face. He looked tired, with a heavy breath, but that didn't slow his step.

    The words had her captivated in an instant, even if it was only a simple hello. Ellara smiled and her body relaxed, shoulders rolling out of the tensed state she hadn't realized she'd been holding. She bowed her head and attempted a proper curtsy, but with the books in hand it was difficult to achieve. So, she settled for one raised corner of her pale vermilion colored skirts.

    "Prince William, good morning, to what do I owe the pleasure of our crossing paths?" Ellara dropped her dress and resumed her earlier stance, clutching the books with an almost dutiful hold.

    If the girl waited much longer, her tutor would be upset by her lateness. He was an old man, withered and more tired looking with each passing day. Ellara noted many times how his hands felt paper thin, how his eyes seemed to give out as the light dimmed from the sky, and she wouldn't have been surprised to learn of his passing. Be that as it may, he was intelligent beyond all measure and was well learned in many important subjects. Mathematics, astronomy, history, philosophy, the art of war, the list went on and on, back into the earlier part of the century to his eventual birth. His name was Felman Bardwell. He'd been an occupant of the Roivas family castle for decades, and none of the servants were able to pinpoint the exact year he'd began living inside the walls. Felman simply was, and had always been, a scholar to the family. As such, he was no Ellara's scholar, and she thought of each lesson as a grand opportunity to improve her character.

    "I saw you, and your brothers that is. Out in the courtyard?" Ellara motioned awkwardly down the corridors in the general direction of the yard before turning back to William. "I was very impressed by your skill, if I may say, you've improved since you were a boy. So has Prince Timothy. I feel so fortunate, being able to watch the both of you spar. It's not always proper for a Lady to watch a battle, not where I'm from."

    She said every world with honest praise. Her polite nature had been inbred since she was a child, even Catherine couldn't think of a time Ellara was anything less than pleasant. Just as William kept up with his courtesies, so did Ellara. The Roivas children were all of a higher ranking, and it was only proper she call them by their correct titles. That, and the generosity of the family hardly allowed her to be anything less than subservient. They had saved her from certain death. Forgetting a courtesy felt like she was giving them a small slap.

    "Please, would you care to walk with me? I have my lessons with Lord Bardwell, and I would hate to make him wait." Ellara smiled sheepishly. Telling the Prince to walk simply because she didn't want to be late was a poor excuse, but, it was a double win. She wouldn't be late, and she'd have a few more seconds to converse with William. "Unless of course, you are needed elsewhere. I would hate to keep your company waiting."
    #5 Lillian Gray, Feb 18, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
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  5. Slight Attractions
    A smile was endowed of his lips, the radiant beauty of the North never falters, the words echoed in his mind. A foolish expression caught the attention of maidservants who giggled as they walked past by. The soft giggles pulled him back into reality, wiping off the stupid expression on his face returning his attention to Ellara. He watched the girl rise gingerly. His grey eyes caught a glimpse of books she held to her side. He admired her for being dutiful -- he, himself lacks the diligence. The soft timid voice he loved to hear spoke, inquiring him. A soft grunt filled the momentary pause. "Yes, I saw you in the tower, but before I could wave towards you, you fled. Why is that?" He asked curiously. The man was not knowledgeable when it came to women, he was as clueless as any other man in the Kingdom. He has learned how to pick his words carefully in a prudent manner, he did his best to elude pronging a sensitive topic.

    He chuckled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. "Thank you, it means a lot coming from you. I'm sure your Northern men have seen much better than what I have exhibited with Timothy." He said humbly. The politeness exchanged between the two, formalities were intact, and engaging conversation have yet to die out. "It is not proper for a woman to watch two men spar? The North is a very strange place..." William's ignorance towards the North grew each waking moment. The elder prince was not educated outside the South. He was only aware of the families who ruled over the Northern borders. Many have told him the North is more reserved and timid compared to the robust south. The bright sun grew brighter and vivid, shining brightly down growing the temperature slightly. William could barely feel the sudden shift in temperature. The Southern sun was known to be ever so brutal.

    A small nod shook the hair on his head lightly, disfiguring the form before. "I will always have time for you Lady Ellara." He held his arm out for Ellara to take. He waited for another second before walking her to her class. Once she took his arm he began to continue the path she took, deterring himself from his original path.

    The small intimacy brought jovial feeling stirring inside of him. The small moments with Ellara were mostly enjoyable. He walked at a pace similar to Ellara's refraining from walking too fast for the girl to keep up or too slow for the girl to walk over him. "Are you attending the soiree tonight? My King father has said there is a big announcement tonight." There was a feigned curiosity on his part when he inquired of Ellara. The soiree's were always extravagant, well-lit by high chandeliers, music that played throughout the night, and the endless dances. William was never one to dislike a party, he has always found a way to enjoy himself. Yet his younger brother is commonly known to dislike them. The constant complaints would bring a draught to the lovely party. He shook his head lightly relieving himself of his worries of his little brother's antics. He looked over at Ellara. The wisps of red hair blew gently as she walked, her long black eyelashes fluttered each time she blinked.

    A slight infatuation towards Ellara was inevitable. He's always found himself more fond of the younger sibling than the elder one. Catherine was much more frank, she had a cold ambience he often felt freezing over him.

    Walking in tranquility the sight of a frustrated blond haired boy grumbled. His clothes perfect to the point in monotonous blue. William looked at Timothy who strides past them. A gust of air brought a gentle breeze, blowing his hair slightly. He looked back watching his younger sibling storm off in anger. A pondering inquiry out of sheer curiosity began to nudge his thoughts, ready to be vocalized. Though he kept to himself. He could only keep reminding himself to not pester a Lady with irrelevant questions.
    #6 Rambunctious, Feb 20, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2015
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  6. History LessonsEllara's face was flushed the moment William noted her hasty retreat after watching him spar with his brother. She quickly made a small excuse for why she'd gone, instead of revealing the whole truth. "As I said, I was rather worried I would be late for my lessons." It was valid. As for his surprise at Northern customs, Ellara had only learned as such from her older sister and past lessons through her tutor, many of which were unwilling on her part. Learning of the past was often hard, a subject she avoided like a contagious disease. "Although I'm too young to remember, I have been told that women do not watch spars for fear that they will distract their loved ones from the true fight ahead. As a child, I don't recall ever seeing a practice sword, only real steel. It is rather strange, looking back on it now, but we all have our customs."

    They continued their casual pace down the hall, Ellara's arm wrapped around the glistening armor William wore from his earlier brawl with his brother. Turning to catch a glimpse of the man, she could see her own pale reflection in the smooth surface of the steel. There, she could see her light red hair, a hint of her blue eyes danced across the glossy surface, warping with the bends in the metal. With both collar and head high, she looked the image of a proper Lady of court, as she should. Before the Prince could catch her again, she focused her eyes down the hall instead.

    Timothy passed them both by in a huff. Ellara could only assume he was upset about losing the fight, there was no other reason he wouldn't have at least stopped to greet the Northern girl and his eldest brother. She waited until he was out of sight before answering William's inquiry about the King's soiree. There had been rumors spreading around the castle, ranging from marriage proposals, a happy event to be celebrated, down to the worst of all news - war with another country. The King himself kept his lips tightly sealed on the matter, and no one could confirm or deny any suspicions.

    "Yes, I will be in attendance. In fact, my sister and I, as well as our guard, have received special instruction to stay towards the front of the room." Ellara's brow wrinkled with the same confusion she'd had when she first heard the news. "I can't imagine why. I'm of no great importance to your family, I'm as simple as the next Lady of the Queen's court. It's all I've heard about the event though, I'm just as curious as everyone else on the matter."

    It was all very hush hush. Between the small circle of Northern knights and noble ladies, not a one had any clue as to what the King could possibly have to say in front of so many people. Even the experienced Sir Kelly, who'd long been a Knight under Ellara and Catherine's father, couldn't guess what Edgar Roivas was thinking. He was stone faced, and cold towards the small group of escapees from the North, but as far as any of them knew, he wasn't a terrible man. He ruled fairly, albeit with a cold front in light of the Southern sun.

    Prince and Lady walked together into the small study where Ellara had lessons with the Lord Bardwell. The room was small, just enough for a gathering of no more than a dozen people. On the back side was a tall window which reflected an impressive view of the greenery outside where the gardens held the majority of their beauty. A tall oak was the centerpiece of the view from the room, with crooked branches that provided a vast amount of shade to a small table below, where many court members and high ranking nobles enjoyed tea in the heat of Summer. In the North, a man was hard pressed to find a place to hold a garden year round, due to the heavy snowfall. It was part of the reason Ellara enjoyed her lessons so much, for both the opportunity to learn, and the view which was so different from home. The South was a magnificent place.

    Felman Bardwell was already seated at the end of a long oval table, just beneath the sill of the window. There was another face there to greet her, one Sir Duncan Kelly, sitting at Lord Bardwell's left side. Between them was a small stack of a mere three tomes, all of which seemed relatively new compared to the aged texts she was used to reading. Yellowed pages and wrinkled covers usually sat beneath layers of dust before Ellara had the opportunity to learn from them, and the sight was pleasing. New Material meant a new lesson.

    "Lady Ellara..." Lord Bardwell said slowly. He was one of the few who knew her true identity, and felt it was only appropriate to call her by her birth given name, and not some false identity made to conceal her. "Today, I have a new assignment."

    "Oh? I'd been doing well, I rather enjoyed our lessons on the old Kingdoms in the West-"

    "Ellara." Came the stern voice of Sir Kelly. He rubbed the dark red stubble on his chin as if in deep contemplation. Ellara knew that look, he wasn't thinking hard on anything, he was disappointed. She could see it reflected in his hard features. "It is time you study more of the North. Lord Bardwell has asked me to be here as a secondary source of reliance, for accuracy's sake. I felt it was only appropriate, seeing as the anniversary of the Wittacre downfall is tomorrow night."

    "I-" Ellara tried to interject. She'd long avoided the topic of Kings in the North, and for good reason. The closer they got to the present day, the more she learned of her own heritage. Somewhere in those texts between tutor and knight was her name in thick black ink, noting the destruction of Great Kaehr. Her grandfather, mother, parents, cousins, and brother. All of their names were noted in both legacy and death.

    "Prince William, is that you?" Lord Bardwell spoke up from the back of the room. His old eyes were nearly blind now, and he'd finally noticed the secondary presence. His clouded green orbs stared intently up at the Prince. He smiled wide, many teeth were missing from his mouth now, and held his hands up in surprise. "My, my, it has been ages since I'd seen you last. However, Lady Ellara does need to study now. Did you need something of me my Prince?"

    Ellara stepped away from William to place her own books on the table. She looked expectantly to William, hoping he could delay the inevitable history lesson that was to follow. Alas, it would be an impossible thing to avoid, as she'd lived it many times. Through nightmare and reality, the Wittacre downfall was already engraved into her heart.
    #7 Lillian Gray, Feb 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
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  7. A Prince's Duties
    A slight reaction to his observation brought a pink hue to her cheeks. "As I said, I was rather worried I would be late for my lessons." He chuckled and nodded agreeing with her testimony. "Although I'm too young to remember, I have been told that women do not watch spars for fear that they will distract their loved ones from the true fight ahead. As a child, I don't recall ever seeing a practice sword, only real steel. It is rather strange, looking back on it now, but we all have our customs."

    He nodded agreeing. "Well, I suppose that makes sense. We are easily distracted by the one's we love, but they certainly bring out the best in us." He retorted in a benevolent manner. Her slender arm wrapped around his armor, coiling around it like a snake. The light weight on his arm created no problems, he has always enjoyed the small intimacy with Ellara. The woman brought out the young boy in him. The closeness produced an inevitable happiness. The long hallways grew shorter as they continued walking.

    "Yes, I will be in attendance. In fact, my sister and I, as well as our guard, have received special instruction to stay towards the front of the room." William raised his brow wondering why his father instructed the Wittacre girls to be in the front, they were usually seated with the Queen's court. He shook his head lightly throwing all wonderments from aside. "Th-that is awfully strange." He noted. "I can't imagine why. I'm of no great importance to your family, I'm as simple as the next Lady of the Queen's court. It's all I've heard about the event though, I'm just as curious as everyone else on the matter." He frowned at the comment. "Lady Ellara, you are a great importance to our family. My father cares greatly about the North and all it has to give. Having you and Catherine is a great deal to my family." The optimism from William never flea's. He never allowed Ellara to speak cruelly about herself nor did he allow anybody. It was a mechanism to protect Ellara after what happened nine years ago. He's done it ever since they were little. He could distinctly remember the days when he and Ellara were younger, he was only a few years older than her. She was a scared little girl who knew nothing of the South -- she even dressed in Northern clothes. Now she's grown into a woman who no longer needs his protection.

    The leisurely walks came to an end when they reached a wooden door with a convoluted flora design engraved on the door. They entered in casually. The study hall was smaller than most rooms of the castle, the walls were mounted up with shelves filled with tomes and books. The scent of old books wafted around the room, windows were opened letting in the southern breeze walk into the room, blowing the pages of opened books. The sun light pierced into the room making the small particles of dust evident to see. William looked around a bit more, studying the room. The rows of books were bounded by leather of multifarious of colors. He turned over to a small withering old man who kept his wrinkled body hidden with a large robe that was tied up by a rope. Beside the withering old man Sir. Kelly stood tall with his shining armor that reflected his and Ellara's figure.

    He felt Ellara's slender arm detach itself to William's arm. He watched Ellara greet her instructor and Sir. Kelly. His manners fled him. He shook his head returning his courtesies back to him. His body bent forward slightly forming a small bow towards both Felman Bardwell and Sir. Kelly. He slowly rose up smiling at both men. Felman's voice was timid and short out of breath. William found himself constantly worried about Felman's health, the man was growing older and older by the second. Time was surely not benevolent towards the old man.

    A gruff voice chided in a voice, which was owned by Sir. Kelly. William looked over at him then at Ellara. He frowned slightly averting his eyes from that direction. The pained tone from Ellara's voice cut his heart like a sharp sword. The North was a barren place by now, the snow has consumed everything in its path, forming a layer of ice over the Wittacre castle. The ice seeped into the structure making it defenseless to calamity. People have spoken rumors of the castle, that it was haunted. The souls of the dead Wittacre family haunts the walls awaiting for their daughters. He clenched his fist tightly -- his tanned knuckles faded as the white became apparent to see. His fist unclenched by a soft voice.

    "Prince William, is that you?" Called out Felman. He looked up and smiled approaching the older man slowly. "Yes." He responded. A smile revealed Felman's missing teeth, a few black one's, and the yellowing teeth. Clouded green orbs looked up at him. The familiar feeling of being his student returned to him. The remnants of the past teachings and learnings, he has always enjoyed Felman's teaching. The form of nostalgia broke a part when Felman spoke again. "My, my, it has been ages since I'd seen you last. However, Lady Ellara does need to study now. Did you need something of me my Prince?"

    "No, no, I was just escorting Lady Ellara to her studies." He responded earnestly. "I see well, I'm very thankful you did," Felman said kindly. "Yes, well I should be on my way. I must prepare for tonight. Till then, Lord Bardwell, Sir. Kelly and Lady Ellara." He stepped backward a bit before leaving. His hand extended toward the doorknob but reluctantly pulled back at the sight of a maidservant. "Lord William, the King wishes to see you at his study." A voice of urgency exasperated through her voice. William's brow furrowed creating wrinkles on his forehead. He shook his head lightly pulling away from agitation. "I shall be on my way."

    William bursted out of the room scurrying off to the Kings studies.
    #8 Rambunctious, Feb 21, 2015
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  8. The Conceited BeautyThe maidservant had left Catherine to stand just outside the Queen's chambers. She herself had gone inside to announce that the young woman had arrived, but their voices were low and hushed behind the closed door, and Catherine had to strain to hear any sounds from within. Without pressing her ear directly onto the wooden panels, it was the best she could do to simply lean forward and hold her breath with the expectancy she might hear even her own name.

    It was unexpected to say the least. She was getting used to her false name, Kate, in place of her real birth given one. The King knew of her identity, and so did his wife, his sons, but that ended the short list of people outside her remaining family. Ellara was all she had left, and even she had learned to call Catherine by a fake identity. This must be of some importance. She thought. Either Catherine was in deep trouble with her royal host family, or she was about to receive a bout of happy news.

    She brushed the front of her golden dress flat, and attempted to adjust the golden curls to sit nicely around her shoulders. It certainly couldn't hurt to prim herself before meeting the Queen, for whatever reason that was. Perhaps it has something to do with the soiree later this evening, she wondered vaguely.

    "The Queen will see you now, Lady Catherine." A maidservant smiled from behind a crack in the door. It was practiced and false, and Catherine recognized the expression well. The Lady herself was known for her supposedly wondrous smile, full of light and beauty. It was all a lie, a false front put up as a guard to keep the masses believing she was as sweet as a natural Southern girl.

    There she goes again, using my birth given name.

    "Thank you, sweet girl." Catherine replied. "Might I ask what this is about before I come in? I would hate to be under the wrong impression."

    "I'm not supposed to tell, Lady Catherine." The servant's smile dropped slightly, and she opened the door further in order to usher in the blonde haired beauty. It wasn't proper for a maid to tell either lies or spread rumors. That wasn't to say it didn't happen, but if she could avoid it, the girl wouldn't start the story without the Queen's permission, especially not with her so close behind.

    The elegance of the Queen's chambers were what Catherine aspired to. High gossamer curtains which waved in the heat of the Summer winds, fresh pressed laundry which smelled faintly of soap and lavender, there wasn't a speck of dirt in sight. Not even beneath the bed, mounted on high posts to support the royal woman, or near the windows where a breeze was expected to blow flakes of the outside world to the inside. Rich shades of tapestries guided the eye across the room in a pleasant manner, and not one thread was mismatched with another. There was a certain flow about the entire room, planned and entirely beautiful in it's own way. Catherine had memories of her own mother's room, and recalled nothing to be as beautiful, but the Roivas Queen was very close in comparison.

    "My Queen, it is an honor to be invited to see you." Catherine picked up the ends of her golden skirts, and bowed her head low to show her respect. There were very few people who'd ever deserved a bow so low, and Catherine was wise to pick her graces with care. "And just as ever, you are ever so radiant this morning."
    #9 Lillian Gray, Feb 21, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
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  9. The Decision
    The ivory dress was pressed down refraining for any wrinkles. The ivory dress with a long gypsy skirt that ruffled slightly at the end and a lovely off-shoulder top design. Amelia looked at herself in the tall gold framed mirror, she watched how the dress flowed each turn she made. She took the skirt of the dress crumpling the fabric on her hand, lifting it up slightly to take a look at her shoes. An approving smile graced her lips. She turned her head towards a young seamstress who wore a patched dress. Her dark doe eyes looked up at the Queen eagerly awaiting for compliments, greedily ravishing herself in the Queen's approval. Instead, the Queen smiled and gave her a small satchel of coins. "Lovely work my child." The Queen patted the girls shoulder and waltzed toward Lady Opal who sat upright with her hands resting on her lap. The long faced lady awaited for any sort of commands.

    Before Amelia could vocalize any commands the doors opened slightly, she turned her attention to a maidservant. The young maidservant walked towards her passing the seamstress who packed up her needles and cloth. "My Queen." The maidservant curtsied grabbing hold of her dress and crossing her legs before bending her knee. "Lady Catherine is here." She announced softly. Amelia raised her brow slightly, glancing at the seamstress. "I believe you mean Lady Kate, I do not know of a Lady Catherine. Who do you speak to child?" Amelia took a quick precaution, in fear that the seamstress have heard her maidservant. The maidservant shook her flustering, her cheeks brought out a rosy hue contrasting from her mulatto skin. "M-my apologies my Queen. I was just talking to my f-friend Catherine." The maidservant lied frantically looking down at the Queen's dress. "Well, yes, bring her in." She said dismissively waving her hand negligently. The maidservant scurried off behind the seamstress both rushing towards the door. The maidservant opened the door to Catherine while she entered the seamstress slipped out.

    The sight of the Northern child was a remembrance of the fallen Queen of the North. Amelia never knew the Queen of the North, yet, she felt the tinge of envy emerging out of her inner feelings. She tried to cast it off by situating a genuine smile on her face. The edge of her lips twitched slightly, decimating any chance to prove the Northern girl her genuine smile.

    "My Queen, it is an honor to be invited to see you." The kind words lifted up into the air entering her ear smoothly. Catherine's golden dress shimmered in a way the sun shines. Once her dress was kissed by the suns rays she glowed. Amelia nodded slightly glancing at Lady Opal who stood up and bowed. "Lady Kate." Opal's monotonous tone escaped her lips. "And just as ever, you are ever so radiant this morning." Catherine's words were always picked out in a meticulous manner, keeping up with her courtesies. "Not as you, my child. I'm far too old to be called radiant. As for you, you look just like your mother. I've never met her in person, but I've heard many stories of her beauty." Amelia approached the girl grabbing her gently by her arms, smiling at her. With a close eye, she meticulously studied Catherine for a split second. The envious Queen bit her cheeks before dropping her hands and turning away.

    "Opal relieve yourself from my orders and prepare for tonight. I would want my lovely lady-in-waiting to look gorgeous tonight." The Queen dismissed. Opal nodded and walked away after bowing to Catherine once again. The sound of the doors opening and closing allowed Amelia to speak with Catherine about anything. She walked towards her make-up table, where jewels rested in place, ready to be worn by the Queen. The seat Opal sat on was patted by her hand. "Come my child we have much to discuss." She adjusted her seat facing towards Catherine's seat.

    She waited for Catherine to place herself on the seat before speaking. When Catherine was seated Amelia adjusted herself, shifting her body to the chair. Amelia looked over in the mirror admiring the craftsmanship that took to create the convoluted spiral effects that conjugated into the bun she had. She then looked at Catherine a maternal countenance plastered over her face. "So as you know you have come of age and..." The sentence broke up into a soft laughter released from her lips. She has never spoken about this to any of her step-son's, it was awfully strange to say it to a child that was not her's. She shook her head lightly with her hand over her lips. "My apologies my child, I haven't gotten used to being a full maternal figure yet, to a girl no least." She spoke still keeping the laughter within her. Amelia was still young, she lacked the maternal instincts and only knew what her own mother taught her. "My eldest son, William, as you know is also of age. My husband and I discussed it and..." The momentary pause built up an exasperated

    "King Edgar and I are arranging a marriage between you and William." A big smile appeared on her lips. She grabbed onto Catherine's hands in an abrupt way pulling the younger girl closer to her. "We have decided to bring the North and South together by this marriage and reclaim the North once more to put the North at ease. Aren't you happy?" Amelia's feign ignorance brought a big smile on her lips and her eyes to widen slightly dilating her pupils. Amelia has often enjoyed being the bringer of news, often to speak about the gossip that lingered around the castle. "King Edgar and I are going to announce it during the soiree tonight, so please keep it a secret till then," Amelia said releasing her hands from Catherine to pull the girl in for a tight embrace.

    "I'm going to make your wedding unforgettable!" She said softly.
    #10 Rambunctious, Feb 22, 2015
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  10. The Conceited BeautyCatherine's false smile waned as the Queen continued to speak. It was simply too much to keep up the act, because the genuine joy displayed on her face had taken fully over her slim features. Her hazel eyes displayed a brilliant radiance as the rest of her body glowed with absolute relief and assurance. No more would she have to hide in the shadow of her fake identity, far out of sight from the glorious sun she wanted to bathe herself in. The woman could step into the fresh air and drink in the golden light she deserved.

    With it, she would be the Queen of the North and South. The two greatest forces of the continent would be in the palm of her hand, and all she had to do was consent to one marriage. Of all the men, in all the countries and cities in the world, it was the one she could settle to be in a room with for more than an hour without an entirely dull conversation. William was handsome, fair, and just, everything a good King needed to be. Catherine would be his Queen, and she would finally have her home back after all these years.

    I can go home.

    "I feel so blessed with this news!" Catherine exclaimed, with a very real presence of joy in her otherwise cold heart. "In the past years, I could only ever dream about the North, but this gives me a new hope, Majesty, that one day I might yet see the walls of my home again. William will make a great husband, I can be sure of that."

    This was more about opportunity than marriage now. She'd gained allies, resources, there'd be an army of soldiers at her near command. All of them loyal to the South, loyal to Catherine and William Roivas. The blonde woman couldn't contain herself now, but it appeared as if she were glad about being paired with William.

    Nine years she'd been away from Great Kaehr, nine long years she'd been forced to live in darkness and lies, if only to keep her safe from the forces which annihilated her family. She was almost sure that the masses which had destroyed her life were no longer in existence. All the hiding, all the running was for naught. It would be worth it in the end though, when she wore the crown and could bring herself back up to the top, back to a spot next to the sun. She truly thought she deserved no less, and why wouldn't she? Catherine had been raised in royal courts, and wanted to remain in the presence until the bitter end of her days.

    She could taste the snow on her lips even now. Her breathe froze in the air and formed small clouds before her mouth, then disappeared into the shades of white all around her. These were the memories of a child who remained locked inside, one forced to grow old to take care of her sister in times of peril. Catherine was ready to return to thick furs and the biting Winters she had survived through each year in front of roaring fires and heaps of blankets to keep her body warm.

    "I might ask that you, well...I may be too bold," Catherine allowed herself to retract to practiced smiles and words of courtesy. "Seeing that my mother is no longer with us, would you help me prepare? More specifically, from my hair, painted lips, a dress, I want to be a daughter you can be proud to say is yours. I want to be more beautiful than any other bride."

    No one will ever forget my face. They will know, they'll all know. The Wittacre family has returned.
    #11 Lillian Gray, Feb 22, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
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  11. The Graceful Queen
    Her arms loosened around Catherine's slender body, jostling away the blonde girls body gently. She watched two Northern eyes looking at her with happiness. Amelia could feel her intangible emotions becoming palpable in her hands. With Amelia's soft and gentle eyes, she watched Catherine's smile growing bigger and bigger -- the happiness was too much to be contained in such a room. It was the same countenance she had when Edgar chose her from the bunch of women at the party. She broke into laughter, a joyful one. "I feel so blessed with this news!" Catherine said. "In the past years, I could only ever dream about the North, but this gives me a new hope, Majesty, that one day I might yet see the walls of my home again. William will make a great husband, I can be sure of that." The ambience grew into a positive and airy atmosphere around the two. Amelia sat there nodding, obliging to her words, listening to the happiness. The happiness softened Catherine's facial features, she grew lovelier when she was happy. Amelia's expressions gradually dropped; she continued to keep up a jovial mien.

    "I might ask that you, well...I may be too bold," Amelia plastered the same smile Catherine has bestowed upon her. "Never, speak to me child."

    "Seeing that my mother is no longer with us, would you help me prepare? More specifically, from my hair, painted lips, a dress, I want to be a daughter you can be proud to say is yours. I want to be more beautiful than any other bride."

    The sudden inquiry caught her off-guard. A bit of her counterfeit joy was chipped off, as her mouth dropped slightly. The Queen quickly wavered the sudden change of countenance and proceeded to smile. She stood up taking Catherine's hands, holding them ever so firmly. "It would be an honor. Why don't I prepare you for tonight? I have plenty of dresses that would fancy your slender figure." Amelia released her hands and turned her heel, letting her ivory dress flow like the sea's current. She walked towards a large dresser, with a floral design on the doors. She grab hold of the handles and pulled open revealing asymmetrical alignment of multifarious dresses. At the touch of the sun's ray the dresses became more prominent -- the southern colors the dress bore was more beautiful than the scenery from the Queen's balcony.

    She took her hands and peered into the dresser, pulling the dresses apart from each other. She went through dresses of different shapes, sizes, and colors. She rummaged through her clothes when she was a younger woman of Catherine's age. Amelia tapped her pointer finger against her chin, thinking. On a whim, she pulled out two different dresses of color and structure. One crimson red with a golden embroidery of flowers, another blue with a gray embroidery of fauna -- either one are both equally beautiful. She bit her lip softly glancing at Catherine. A smile appeared on her lips. "Which one would you prefer to adorn?" She raised her right brow.

    Few hours later...

    The nightfall has drowned the southern sun in its darkness, letting the midnight sun risen from its slumber. The small bright lights in the sky became eminent from the darkness. Warm lights kept the castle from being devoured by the darkness. Gigantic chandeliers kept the ballroom bright, the sound of the orchestra playing its melodies, the sound of idle chatters, and the sight of sigils from different households. Amelia observed the entire contents in the ballroom, recognizing every single Lord, Bannerman, and loyal house to the Roivas family. She looked up at her husband, who kept a stern expression on his face as he watched the party. Far beside him was her step-sons. Each one began to stand up and leave, except for Allistar who kept himself occupied with Edgar's right-hand man. She sighed softly looking around to see the two Wittacre girls.

    An obvious smile full of mischief produced on her face. She grew eager each waking moment, hoping Edgar would announce 'it'. The tension grew when she caught a glimpse of her eldest step-son. A stern expression much like his father kept his mien divert him from his formalities. She placed a hand on Edgar. He turned to her with the same expression, but much softer. "Yes, my dearest?" He asked in a soft tone. "I'm growing anxious my love. I wish time could scurry..." An unrealistic wish, but as always Edgar would respond the same, "As you wish."
    #12 Rambunctious, Feb 25, 2015
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  12. The Soiree BeginsThe hour grew near in which Ellara felt she could wait no longer. Even though she was no more than a mere half an hour behind, she felt a pang of guilt knowing that she was late at all. There'd be nothing to say for her sister in the matter. A glance down the hall into the elder blonde's room revealed that she was nowhere to be found, presumably running late herself as was her custom. They usually arrived together, but ever since their parting before lessons, Ellara hadn't been able to locate her sibling.

    Fashionably late, or politely on time. I would much rather be fashionable. A not so proper saying of Catherine's.

    "Are you ready to go, my Lady?" The young soldier snickered as he had before in the courtyard. He was still young yet, and had an immature air about him. Perhaps it was the reason he was only a squire to the more affluent Sir Duncan Kelly, and not a knight himself. "The Prince awaits."

    Ellara crossed the room with Maeve following close behind, fiddling with the last of her stray red hairs. The fiery young Lady glowered at Arlo, bringing forth more laughter from the squire. He was still teasing her from her lovesick glances in the courtyard. From the time her lessons had finished only two mere hours ago, she had the arduous task of changing into proper evening attire as well as finding something to do about her flashy red hair. In the end, it was her handmaiden who had found an elegant styling which pleased both her and Ellara. Her red hair was piled into a mess of braids and curled hairs, rolled into a bun at the back of her head, and left to drape and tickle the back of her neck. Maeve tucked strand after strand into its last proper place before Ellara had the chance to get any closer to the door.

    "Hold still, my little robin." Maeve gripped Ellara by her shoulder, her cool hand meeting bare skin there. "Let me get a look at you."

    The Lady's dress draped off of her shoulders, keeping up with the current fashion Ellara dreaded. It left the top of her chest exposed, and more importantly, her neck. To save herself any embarrassment, she covered it in a dark black piece of ribbon, outlined with white lace to accent the rest of her dress. Flowing in waves of elegant olive colored fabric, her dress accented the subtle curve of the young woman's hips before thickening with more layers around her thighs. Running along the back of the garb was the same black ribbon on her neck, giving the garment an appearance of a corseted fit without having to go through the pain of a real one. Bits of lace adorned the line running across her chest, and stuck out from beneath the bottom just near the floor. If it weren't for the naked brush across her top, Ellara would have worn the dress on more occasions. Tonight would be the first.

    "Come now, Maeve, let the little bird fly, if you haven't clipped her wings in too tight." Arlo teased. He shifted uncomfortably in his full military attire. The Wittacre emblem was nowhere present, save for the small band around his wrist which was all but invisible to those who didn't know it was already there. Sir Duncan had one as well, as proof of the King they once served. "Ellara, can you even breathe?"

    "Yes, Arlo." Ellara resisted the urge to stick out her tongue, but her face scrunched with the inward desire to act childish towards her friend. "Would you kindly take me now? At this rate, Catherine will beat me there, and that would do nothing for my reputation."

    "Of course, my Lady." Arlo bowed his head, and only then did he finally offer up his plated arm. Maeve followed quietly behind, her casual dress the same as any other day. It wasn't her place to look any different, she was not a noble, only a humble servant to the Lady Ellara.

    When they arrived, the familiar hum of a hundred voices eased Ellara's anxiety. She could just as easily blend in with the noble crowd than she could behind a closed door. There were so many eyes, it wasn't possible for all of them to focus on her for the entire night. She liked it that way. It was just too easy to get lost in the crowd. Music floated in the air as freely as wine through the hands of men and women alike. Amiable laughter bubbled up from painted lips, kissing cheeks and praising the looks of many well dressed royals.

    Beyond all that was Catherine, and she bloomed like any Northern gem would in the Southern moonlight, with such radiance and beauty that even the good natured Ellara stopped to gawk. A crimson gown covered her from shoulder to heel, golden embroidery littered the canvas of her nimble frame like flecks of wheat on a full field in the Autumn time. Her hair shimmered in curled waves around her shoulders, outlining a string of flawless pearls around her neck. Ellara had never seen the dress before, not on anyone, and she was already the life of the party which had only just begun. She dared not go any closer, not wanting to be forever stuck in the shadow of her sister.

    Sir Duncan was at her side, guarding the Lady dutifully. He exchanged a nod with Arlo, who nodded in return, but the two men glanced away as quickly as they'd met the other's gaze originally. Neither group made any attempts to meet.

    "She's stunning." Ellara sighed. "She has father's charisma, that's for certain."

    "Yes, but she is not as lucky to have your smile." Arlo was of course only teasing her, Ellara frowned unhappily at his comment. "Ah, there it is."

    "Arlo..." Maeve hissed.

    Ellara waved both of her companions away. The point of a soiree was to mingle, and she'd have an easier time if there wasn't a knight at her arm threatening the gentle ladies of the court. Not all Sourthern women appreciated a man from the North. They were regarded as cold, cruel, and forceful. Even after having spoken to Arlo and Duncan in the past, they couldn't get past the idea that they were born of ice and snow. Still, Arlo was always within eyesight, keeping watch over his Lady as instructed by Sir Kelly. However, it wasn't the ladies she looked forward to meeting, not really.

    There was only one face she was interested in seeing.
    #13 Lillian Gray, Feb 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
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  13. The Temperate Prince"The North and the South shall reunite as one, to achieve tranquility in the North, you will espouse Catherine Wittacre." The words echoed in his thoughts, intentionally replaying the words till they broke his mental tranquility. He stared blankly at the mirror aimlessly looking at his pants. He disregarded the seamstresses presence. He stood completely still, almost like a statue. All his senses faded as the words continued to play in his mind. To marry a woman who he bears no yearning for. Catherine has always and will only be a good friend, she and he were close friends. To marry her would distort their friendship and bestow upon them an uneasy ambience. The seamstress needle pricked William's arm, poking the flesh, drawing crimson blood from his skin. The small droplet stained his shirt, causing a disdainful clicking sound from the seamstress. The prick lost its pain, his sense of feeling fled him. The shock was still intact -- attaching itself to his body sucking away his senses leaving him with only his soul.

    Steel grey orbs stared widened, the grey pupils dilated at the abrupt touch of a warm hand gripping his shoulder. He blinked, then left his eyes closed for a prolonged moment before opening them. Once they were opened he heard a voice. "Will, you okay there?" Allistar's tone was agonizing -- his worrisome brother put on a fretful expression on his face. His lips formed a frown and his eyebrows knit together in the middle, causing his forehead to scrunch up slightly. William left a soft sigh shaking his head lightly, remembering his father's words. "Never tell a soul what we discussed..."

    "It's nothing." He brushed off the topic transitioning to something less off-putting. Returning back his original self he slapped Allistar's back hard, watching the air being slapped out of his brothers lungs. The younger man coughed slightly, looking at William with a forced smile. "Let's leave before Timothy wins the hearts of fathers bannermen." He forced a smile deterring away from the mirror and towards the door. William and Allistar walked through the prolonged corridors where servants, maidservants, and guard paced or patrolled frantically. The soiree's the Roivas family executes were always disrupted by the numerous possibilities of being attacked by other Kingdoms or family members. The castle was on high patrol, there was not a single place where a guard wasn't stationed at. The elongated corridors grew shorter and the sound of music and jubilation secreted from the end of the corridor. Each step he took grew heavy and heavier, his hands began to shake and his lips quivered slightly. His father's words returned to his mind, taking control of his body.

    He grew worried and nervous -- his calm persona separated from him. The shattering hands balled up tightly bring a pallid color on his knuckles, contrasting to his tanned skin color. He walked with counterfeit confidence. His crimson red suit with black embroidery, the Southern clothes fitted William pleasantly, accentuating his masculinity through the clothing. The clothes flowed with his movements not faltering to discomfort at any means.

    The orchestra's mellifluous sounds grew louder and louder and the warm glow of the light grew brighter. The anxiety coursed through his veins letting the blood pump into his heart, making it beat faster and faster. The two siblings emerged out of the dark lit corridors. They basked themselves in the warm lighting of the ballroom. William looked around to see familiar bannermen, Lords & Ladies, friends of his fathers or mothers, and the ladies of the court. His grey eyes scanned for the sight of Catherine, in search of the blonde. The crowds of crimson and gold filled the ballroom making it excruciating to find Catherine. A light touch coming from his shoulder broke his search for Catherine. He looked over to his right to see Allistar's reassuring smile and benevolent expression. "Mother and father wants us to sit alongside them," Allistar said, placing his hand on William's back leading him to an elongated table -- the table was dressed in fruits of a variety of colors, large animals cooked to perfection, and bronze cups filled with wine.

    The sight of his father began to form a lump in his throat and his expression darkened. He walked towards the table with hesitation, his footsteps staggered. His father's eyes settled on William leaving a laden weight on his shoulders. He walked towards his seat beside Allistar and Timothy. The tension grew gradually in the table, the palpable ambience grew thicker and thicker. He took in deep breaths in and out leaving his eyes on the table, staring at the empty plate. The eyes began to leave a feeling indescribable to him. He rubbed his arm uncomfortably -- he looked up slightly turning to his father who grunted softly once his eyes set on him. William bit his inner cheeks once their eyes are set.

    "William, why don't you go find Catherine and dance with her?" The soft tone chirped in breaking the tension. Her voice brought a wave of relief crashing over him, cleansing the perturbation. He nodded and excused himself from his family. He quickly scurried off into the crowds of highly esteemed guests. The people surrounding him fabricated an invisible field around William, hiding him from his parents. His crimson clothes blended in well with the crowds of Southern colors. He bumped into a few of his father's bannermen, Lords, and his mother's court ladies; all cooing him and pestering him of his fathers and mothers possible plans in the future, anything about his family. "Prince William! Good to see you old boy!" A paunchy old man with white hair that began to recede pulled him to a hearty hug. A big smile was produced from his lips; the corners of his lips was pulled upwards creating the famous prince charming smile. "Ah, good to see you Lord Greenhill. How's the fort holding? I heard a few men from the grounds attacked last fortnight." Lord Greenhill released a roaring laughter, slapping his large gut with his hands. "Those sons of bitches can't penetrate through the Greenhill fort if they had the Gods by their side!" The optimistic arrogance coming from his lips always conducted a sense of courage in William. Lord Greenhill had a knack of creating inspirational speeches.

    Lord Greenhill sighed softly, shaking his head softly chuckling. "But anyway my boy, hows your father?" Greenhill inquired. "Busy as always." He smiled thinly nodding the topic away. Greenhill continued to talk more about his father and war strategic. The constant babbling forced William to observe around Greenhill. There was no sign of intriguing figures wavering around the crowd. The dull party began to bring the eldest prince to a somnolent state. His eyes lingered around the crowd to find a familiar head of red hair. He leaned a bit towards the left and right, like a short child trying to look over an adult. His grey orbs caught a glimpse of Ellara.

    "Yes, and the Lord Kings banner-" Before Greenhill could finish his sentence William stepped out of the conversation, going through the large crowd of people. He pushed people aside and apologized till he reached his goal.

    Through six more people he reached Ellara. A genuine beam from his lips appeared at the sight of the Northern red head. "My Lady," He tapped her shoulders getting her attention. Quickly at the sight of her Catherine soon to flee his mind, his fathers taunting orders vanished into wisps of smoke. "Sir. Arlo." He bowed slightly. He rose up turning his attention towards Ellara -- on coincidence the orchestra shifted in song. A burst of happiness was contained inside of William at the change of song. He held out his hand towards Ellara.

    "Would you do me the honor and share a song with me?"
    #14 Rambunctious, Feb 28, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2015
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  14. A DanceShe had to be the luckiest woman on earth. Not moments after searching for William, she felt a tap on her shoulder. Thinking it would be nothing more than another chatty court Lady, she turned with her hands folded neatly in front of her with a polite expression slapped on her face. An entire conversation formed in her head, starting with the weather, trailing to the music and the food, and finally to the wine she hadn't yet tasted. It was a hundred times better to see him there, with his hand extended towards her in an elegant gesture. Arlo bowed his head much lower than William had out of respect, he backed into the nearest crowd but kept a stern watch over Ellara from nearby.

    He looked the part of a young Prince. The rich red fabric did wonders against his tanned skin, giving him a rather exotic appearance without so much as changing a single feature on his Southern body. Red had long been a color of the South, reflecting the radiance and strength of the sun they adored so much. She had to compliment the tailor tasked with preparing his suit for the soiree, but such a garment must have surely been created for something truly spectacular. The excitement was palpable in the air around them as the entire royal family was taken into account, something was afoot, but only rumors could substantiate the claims and wild accusations.

    There wasn't a reason in the world Ellara could say no to him, it didn't cross her mind to deny him what he wanted. She extended her hand and executed a graceful curtsy, lifting the corner of her olive toned skirts before stepping into stride. The layers of lace and silk poked through before swaying back down to the floor of the grandiose ball room. His fingers clutched around her dainty hand, warm to the touch, and simultaneously bringing a warmth to her heart.

    "The honor is mine, Prince William." She replied sweetly. Ellara couldn't help but giggle as she smiled. "You'll have to pardon my dancing, I don't often get the chance to get away from my usual place next to the wall." She shrugged sheepishly, a natural born wall flower with an otherwise cheerful personality.

    She took the careful steps closer to William's chest to align herself in the proper stance. Their hands were intertwined, and at the other wrapped around each other's sides. Ellara could feel her heart pounding in her chest, and she did her best to ignore the rhythmic sensation. Now wasn't the time to be nervous over a dance with William, they'd certainly danced before, albeit as children. Long lessons where they'd been forced to overcome the sensations of two left feet, and try not to step on too many toes. They'd aged, grown, and blossomed far beyond their awkward adolescent selves, their skills along with it.

    The music guided the gentle flow of their dance. Where they walked, a small space parted so they could flow through the heavy crowd of red, black, and gold. Like a gentle leaf moving with the ebb and tide of the vast ocean, Ellara moved alongside her partner, pushing her forward as the current would guide her. Wherever, whenever, and to the same beautiful tune, over and over.

    "I used to remember having to practice. Every day, Lord Felman said I was an awful dancer." Ellara admitted. William wouldn't have known much about her lessons unless he'd taken part, which wasn't often at all considering his place in court compared to her own. "I'd practice with books on my head until the balance was just right. Looking back on it now, it's awfully foolish, isn't it?"

    She never wanted the music to stop. She didn't want Arlo to intervene, or Maeve to have to come in and adjust her skirts. Gods be kind if Catherine were to appear and demand to be in the spotlight. To have a moment with William was more than she could ever ask for, any wish beyond a dance was a fantasy, and always out of reach.

    But I can still dream.
    #15 Lillian Gray, Feb 28, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
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  15. The Temperate PrinceGrey steel eyes fixated on enticing blue eyes that held him as a captive by one look. He succumb to the Northern girls discernible beauty -- the vivid red hair conjugated into one bun forming a flower like structure, a dress that accentuated her slight curves, her fair Northern skin contrasted with the olive toned dress well. Her small fingertips clasped his hands. A cool touch of her fingertips brought surge of bracing feeling from his fingertips up towards his shoulders; she still had her Northern touch.

    "The honor is mine, Prince William." A gentle tone she bore was accommodated with a giggle, which caused him to smile like a fool. "You'll have to pardon my dancing, I don't often get the chance to get away from my usual place next to the wall." He shook his head lightly, chuckling. "Then I suppose we both must worry; for I am not a great dancer myself." He warned, suddenly reminiscing of his forced etiquette lessons; dance being a prerequisite before being allowed to do anything else.

    He side stepped away from the rest with Ellara. He took caution before letting his hands place themselves with her's. William found himself timid and prudent towards Ellara. He stood up tall and mighty, his large hands stretched widely at its full length, matching his hand with Ellara's slender small hand. His fingers reluctantly clasped onto her, letting their finger intertwine. Being as prudent as ever his hands timorously placed it over her waist. He treated the Northern girl like glass; she was fragile and delicate. The music flowed through the ballroom, filling up to the brim of the ceilings. He began to move to the music -- his feet stepping and correlating to Ellara's footsteps, becoming in sync.

    "I used to remember having to practice. Every day, Lord Felman said I was an awful dancer."

    "Don't worry, you're doing fine." He reassured.

    "I'd practice with books on my head until the balance was just right. Looking back on it now, it's awfully foolish, isn't it?"

    "No, I've done things much more humiliating than you think." He said dipping back into the fountain of memories. The days where his father forced him to stand in awful positions to strengthen his posture during swordsmanship practices. Each second grew laborious and strenuous.

    The dance they shared caused William immersed with Ellara he didn't notice the sound of people chattering around them. A curtain of spectators circled around Ellara and William, watching the two dance. They all watched out of interest commenting on Williams strength and Ellara's mysterious aura she emitted, due to being unknown to the Kingdom. The spectating eyes gradually disappeared leaving the dance only between him and Ellara. Time began to sedate, almost freezing such a splendid moment. "I think everybody is watching you." He pointed out keeping his focus on Ellara. He watched the small details of her face and body -- how her red hair blew at each movement he made, each time her blue eyes would glisten in the light, her smile that brought him weak in the knee's. He noticed the remnants of the small young girl he used to play in the courtyard grown. A reflection of his face shone from her eyes reminding himself that he has also grown.
    #16 Rambunctious, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2015
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  16. The Daring Announcement"Me?" Ellara glanced into the crowd around her, and sure enough, she began to hear the whispers. She felt the eyes all over her skin, crawling like parasites just under the surface, looking for any reason to call her out for dancing with the prince. She quickly turned back to William and did her best to ignore them. After all, she wasn't in the wrong by dancing with the Prince at his invitation. She was a Lady enjoying a fine night of entertainment. "I must admit, having this many eyes on me is a bit unnerving. I'm sure it's you they're looking to..."

    The song came to an end all too quickly. The gentle hum of the last string vibrated in the air until it quivered out of sound. Ellara had no reason to continue her hold on William, but her hands lingered. Seconds passed and she swore she felt a heat from the other guests around her. Reluctantly, she released herself from his embrace and bowed her head in another properly executed curtsy. This satisfied the judging stares from around her, the heat lifted from her skin, and she felt much better now that she wasn't the center of attention. Immediately after standing, her hand went to the ribbon around her throat. It was a reflex. A gentle way of reminding herself that all was well.

    "Thank you, for the dance." She blurted awkwardly. "I-, it was-. Thank you."

    Ellara blushed at her behavior. Her courtesies always seemed to abandon her when she was around William, she brought out the natural charm she tried desperately to keep hidden from her peers. Even after all the years she'd learned the behaviors and etiquette of the Southern women, William was able to lull the Northern comforts out from her very bones. He knew the girl who'd come to his family, tearful and covered in grime, that girl was a true Northerner. He'd never let her forget. However, it was socially unacceptable to appear so openly flirtatious with another man, especially not one so well bred as William Roivas.

    A trumpet blared from the front of the room, startling Ellara as she reacted to the high pitched sound as many other guests did; she jolted upright and turned her head to face the noise, she had to restrain from covering her ears. Arlo breathlessly swooped in to lead Ellara away from William without so much as a pardon. Maeve appeared out of thin air to trail behind the knight and lady. It seemed as if they both knew something the girl did not. This must be what we've gathered to hear, what the King has been waiting to announce. Ellara thought.

    "Ladies and gentleman, please quiet yourselves and divert your attention to his Majesty, King Edgar Roivas."

    There was instantaneous silence apart from the shuffling of skirts and shoes against the polished floors. No one dared to speak. Meanwhile, Arlo pushed on, until he broke through the front of the crowd and was face to face with some of the Roivas family's personal house guard. They parted for the knight in training, and allowed him to take a spot inside the inner circle, where a short set of steps led them to a higher platform along the entire back wall of the room. From there, the King was able to see every face in the crowd without having to be on equal grounds. It was ideal for moments such as this, important information and a powerful means to gather everyone's attention to a central location. On some occasions, they even placed a set of thrones on the area.

    "Arlo, what-" Ellara asked, but he silenced her with a curt hiss. He made a point of bringing himself to smile, and his eyes had a way of instructing Ellara to do the same. Practiced and perfect, she slapped a polished gleam on her pale face.

    Catherine stood beside the Queen, Sir Kelly at the blonde woman's heels, his armor shone over her shoulder with the dim light from around them. Alarm bells began to ring the closer Ellara came to being atop the platform. She had no place there, next to royals, well known ones at that. So why are we standing here? Ellara wondered. Arlo and Maeve placed her beside her sister before assuming their own places just behind her. Catherine reached over and took her sister's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze and then letting their hands trail together at their sides.

    On the other side, to Edgar's right, stood the three Roivas children. William, Allistar, and Timothy all held their heads high with a noble authority brought about by their upbringing. They knew best of all nobles how to behave before an audience. Something was happening, of which Ellara hadn't been informed. She was worried what it meant, in her gut she had a feeling of the events which were about to unfold, but she'd never imagined that nearly ten years later it would actually happen. Her eyes widened in horror, and Catherine gripped her hand hard.

    The King stepped forward and raised his hand only slightly. It was enough to stop even the ambient noise in the air. A hush weaved through the crowd as they waited intently for what the King had to say, and as to who the two women were at the Queen's side. They were only known as lowly orphans, abandoned, but still high born. Lady Kate and Lady Elise, that was how they were known, by all those who frequented the Roivas' lands. What had been a whirl of colored skirts swirling through waves of music stopped, a still painting to behold in beauty and awe. All they could see was a sea of eyes. Blue, brown, golden, gray, the colors all combined together, but the image was clear. They all looked up to the King, literally, and in a sense of authority.

    "My Lords and Ladies, I welcome you to this wondrous night of pleasure and drink." The King lowered his hand, a few people in the audience chuckled and raised their slim glasses of red wine in response, but they said nothing. They knew not to overwhelm their Lord reagent with petty replies of humor. "I'm sure you're all quiet curious as to what brought about this soiree, and I would be more than happy to bring it to all of your attention the news I have been keeping to myself for quite some time. I must confess, there are two matters which need be brought to light. One a trifle more shocking than the other, but fear not, the news is joyous indeed."

    The crowd began to murmur, but so far no one had spoken out. Ellara continued to smile as she'd been taught, even as a young girl, but the fear began to contort her features. Her smile faltered, and her eyes displayed the uncertainty she refused to voice.

    "As many of you are aware, my eldest son has been of age for quite some time. His ability to become my heir is no doubt far from worrisome, but it is far past the time for him to marry. Tonight, I wish to announce the engagement of my eldest son, William Roivas, crown Prince, to the woman many of you know as Lady Kate..."

    Catherine was led by the Queen to meet with William on a step just below the King. She took his hands in hers and made sure to offer forth all the radiance she could muster. Being in the spotlight, that wasn't so hard. The rich red fabric glimmered to the floor, twinkling golden embroidery made her appear to sparkle. All she had to do was stand, and gaze up into the eyes of her newly announced fiance. There was a bit of worry now. Lady Kate was not known to be of high birth, and there were several other daughters with more wealth than hers. A few protests were made, and the King once more raised his hand to silence any doubt.

    "This brings us to another matter. As many of you know, tomorrow marks the tenth years passing since the unfortunate passing of King Wittacre in the North, with his wife, son, and presumably both of his daughters...but that, is a lie." The tension thickened, the polite silence from before could no longer be contained with the palpable excitement which loomed in the coming words of the King. "Two lived. The woman you see before you is the eldest surviving daughter of the Wittacre line, one of the last of her name. My son will marry the lost heiress, Princess of the North, Lady Catherine Wittacre!"

    It was as if the floodgates had broken with no second wall to hold in the flow. The household guards pushed back those they could, others screamed with excitement, the general overtone being that of endless shock. Ellara felt faint. The room around her became a whirl of color again, and Arlo caught her before she could fall. Their secret had been announced, just like that, and with it her sister had been given away to the man she adored most in the world. She felt betrayed, hurt, but most of all there was a numbness she could not move her body to reject.

    "I am both honored and humbled to...and while I miss them dearly..." Catherine began to speak, Ellara couldn't hear her. Only bits and pieces of information registered in her ears. She wanted to throw up, better yet, fade into the stone surface of the platform and disappear from the room entirely. At least that way no one would look at her any more. She couldn't get the image of all those eyes out of her mind. "...we managed to escape with our lives, the Wittacre lineage is still strong!"

    "My lady, you must stand. Be brave until the end." Arlo whispered into her ear.

    "What's more, not only did the Lady Catherine survive, but her sister is with us as well. May I present the Lady Ellara, youngest of the siblings." The King waved his hand to the red headed girl, and she felt her heart stop. It was no use. Hoards of people began to push their way to the front, eager to get in a word with the supposedly deceased Wittacre children. Others retreated to the back, already gossiping about the event from ten years ago. It was all too much. "When their family was mercilessly slaughtered ten years past, God favored these two women, and sent them to us. We have kept their secret for this decade, but no longer! With this marriage, the North will be reclaimed, it's wealth given back to the Wittacre line once more."

    "Ellara. Show them." Catherine stood before Ellara with her back to the crowd. The eyes weren't entirely focused on them any more, chaos had disrupted the former order the King had established. "Tell them what happened, let them know we will not be defeated, you have proof, more than I do." Her hands reached for the ribbon around her throat, nimbly removing the shield Ellara had worn so proudly for most of her life.

    Ellara was exposed for the first time in years. Her throat stood bare to the world, ruined pink flesh disturbed the air by barring its ragged fangs. The skin felt light with the weight of her defense lifted, but with Ellara so grossly unprepared for the situation, all she could do was stand silent with her shame. Just before anyone at the base level of the ballroom could see, Maeve reached from behind and clasped her hands around Ellara's throat with an instinctive need to protect the child.

    "Have you no shame?" Maeve hissed in anger. She pulled the ribbon forcibly out of Catherine's hands and retied it around Ellara's neck. "Your sister has gone through enough to earn this scar, and it will be her own will to reveal it, not yours. You are never to breach the trust two sisters should have. Never. Now go."

    Catherine huffed haughtily. The blonde beauty turned on her heal and linked arms with William, who had only been standing a mere foot behind her the entire time.

    "Did you not tell her?" Sir Kelly pushed past Arlo and Maeve to follow after Catherine as she merged into the crowd. "Catherine, you were supposed to..." His voice faded away.

    All order had been lost. Men and women threw themselves into the disarray so willingly only to have their smallest of inquiries met with a distinct order to be calm. It was far too extraordinary, to think, the two girls had been living under their noses all along. For an entire decade they'd slipped beneath their radars and learned to act as Southern women did. No one doubted their identities now, the Northern charm and finesse was obvious about their faces when thinking back to the lost King and Queen.

    The Wittacre's were alive.
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  17. The Temperate PrinceWhispers grew louder and louder drowning the sound of the mellifluous orchestra. It grew into the soft buzzing resonating like insects on a hot summer day. Yet their exasperating buzzes withdrawal as soon as Ellara's soothing voice spoke out, breaking all buzzing noises. "Me?" A meek voice spoke out, breaking him away from all surroundings. Grey orbs looked at the sweet red-headed girl. He quickly took notice of the scrutinizing observers, peering into intimacy between two people. The attention accorded to him and Ellara brought upon a rapid apprehensive ambiance. The crowds of multifarious eyes that pierced through his thick skin -- a pair of blue-grey eyes watched him with disappointment. It grew evident to whose eyes burned a scorching feeling on his body. The inkling idea of his father's eyes on him was doubtless. William attempted to avoid his father's intense stare, keeping his focus on his dance partner."I must admit, having this many eyes on me is a bit unnerving. I'm sure it's you they're looking to..." William chuckled lightly, brushing off the feeling of eyes. "Why would they find the prince interesting? I would rather find the mysterious girl dancing with the prince, much more interesting." He jested.

    Grey-blue eyes kept a steady stare, setting its heavy laden eyes on Williams's shoulder. The familiar heavy weight, which settled upon his shoulders grew heavier once the last violin string has strung. He quickly understood the next step of the night. With that he held on longer -- he felt his hands tightened around Ellara's fragile hand. He longed for another song, he prayed for it to continue on, one more song before he could no longer see her. The small docile hand slipped from his large sturdy ones; it was the sudden realization that his with her expired. He mustered a smile, pulling the corners of his lips upward. He bowed in return to her small curtsy. The eyes plucked out of his body, except for the heavy laden weight on his shoulder. He adjusted his crimson coat, tugging the clothing downward shifting its original position.

    "Thank you, for the dance." A voice from afar. The words spilled from Ellara's soft lips at a rapid fashion. William failed to grasp the sentence and raised his brow."I-, it was-. Thank you." Syllables spilled from her lips continuously till she rallied up thank you. He smiled at the girls efforts and turned away from her. He placed his hands behind his back walking through the crowds of Southern colors, venturing towards the royal family. The grey-blue eyes of his father kept an eye on William as he walked towards his table. Each step closer more pairs of eyes set their sights on him; more and more weight was piled on his shoulders.

    Reluctantly, he walked up the steps to the table for the monarchy. The smell of cooked meats dressed with a savory fruity sauce grew stronger. He watched as his father stood up, following him -- his step-mother, Allistar, and Timothy -- all heads were held high with pride of the name Roivas. William positioned himself between his step-mother and Allistar looking out for the crowds.

    "Ladies and gentleman, please quiet yourselves and divert your attention to his Majesty, King Edgar Roivas."

    The announcers roaring voice caught everybody's attention. All eyes turned to his father who stood proudly adorned with the capital colors, crimson, and gold. William had his hands behind his back, his posture pristine, and his head tilted upwards held up haughtily like his brothers."My Lords and Ladies, I welcome you to this wondrous night of pleasure and drink."The began to flow through Edgar's lips, bringing Williams heart to beat frantically. A lump formed in his throat unable to be diminished despite how many times he gulped it down. His right hands tenacity on his left grew tighter. His thumb pressed tightly against his palm vanishing the red of his hand, uplifting the white of his hands by the pressure applied. His father's words brought upon soft chuckles and clinking noises from slender wine glasses -- yet -- the sounds were unable to register in Williams's ear. "I'm sure you're all quite curious as to what brought about this soiree, and I would be more than happy to bring it to all of your attention the news I have been keeping to myself for quite some time. I must confess, there are two matters which need be brought to light. One a trifle more shocking than the other, but fear not, the news is joyous indeed." He closed his eyes tightly, lowering his head. His gray eyes were shrouded in the darkness. The warm bright lights were devoured by the darkness. The childish side of him yearned to cover his ears, replenishing all words to flow through his ear.

    Soft mummers grew louder. People began to whisper to each other pestering one another with inquiries they cannot answer for themselves. He heard a soft grunt from his father; he feared the next testimony.

    "As many of you are aware, my eldest son has been of age for quite some time. His ability to become my heir is no doubt far from worrisome, but it is far past the time for him to marry. Tonight, I wish to announce the engagement of my eldest son, William Roivas, crown Prince, to the woman many of you know as Lady Kate..." William was led down a step lower, in front of his father who had a beam larger than usual. He mustered up an obligatory smile, fooling the crowd that he was truly happy with this pairing. His eyes broke away from the empty space and found themselves on Catherine. He could see the remnants of the small silent Northern girl. The silent Northern girl who feared everything surrounding her but managed to pull off a courageous front to fool all. He remembered the moments of idle chit-chat and hide and go seek days -- but all those days seemed to flee from his memory when his hands and Catherine's hands intertwined. The Southern colors that adorned Catherine diminished any traits of a Northern woman. Williams gray eyes looked into Catherine's gray ones. Their eyes met, unbreakable. The tension between him and Catherine thickened growing tangible; he could almost feel the tension between his fingers.

    "This brings us to another matter. As many of you know, tomorrow marks the tenth years passing since the unfortunate passing of King Wittacre in the North, with his wife, son, and presumably both of his daughters...but that, is a lie."The abrupt news released a hodgepodge of emotions. Many gasped, few let out a scream, and all began to whisper in surprise. "Two lived. The woman you see before you is the eldest surviving daughter of the Wittacre line, one of the last of her name. My son will marry the lost heiress, Princess of the North, Lady Catherine Wittacre!" The roaring voice of his father boomed, leaving an echo in the ballroom. People frantically went berserk. Many guests ran towards the steps, yearning to speak with the lost heiress. The Roivas kings guard and guards pushed back the deranged guests. The calls of many people yelled Catherine's name loudly. They howled the Wittacre name leaving his father with a proud and pleasing mien on his aging face.

    William gulped out of anxiety He looked at Catherine searching for any signs of disagreement with the idea. The sudden expelling of the secrets must've caused a great toll on Catherine -- yet -- William was unable to find any soft of discomfort or negative emotions riling up on the Northern girls countenance; just the smile of victory. He shied away from consulting with Catherine. "I am both honored and humbled to...and while I miss them dearly..." Not a fault in her words. Her testimony captivated the entire ballroom. People looked up at Catherine with starry eyes awaiting for the next word to come from their future Queens lips."...we managed to escape with our lives, the Wittacre lineage is still strong!" The crowd roared.

    "What's more, not only did the Lady Catherine survive, but her sister is with us as well. May I present the Lady Ellara, youngest of the siblings." He was unable to tolerate the release of the secrets, especially revealing Ellara's identity. His hands tenacity on Catherine's hand grew tighter -- he didn't think of the other woman's contentment. He was too wrapped up around the unanticipated events and news."When their family was mercilessly slaughtered ten years past, God favored these two women, and sent them to us. We have kept their secret for this decade, but no longer! With this marriage, the North will be reclaimed, it's wealth given back to the Wittacre line once more." The urge to speak up compelled him to act brash. Before he could say a word a hand held onto his shoulder, having a powerful influence over his body bringing him to yield all abrupt actions.

    He turned his head to see his younger brother, Allistar. Tranquil blue eyes washed over a wave of solitude over his frantic heart. William bit his inner cheeks and stepped back. He took in deep breaths in and out letting his chest puff in and out, correlating to his breathing. His head being focused on the instantaneous events, he completely became oblivious around Catherine. He looked down at his hands to find the Northern princesses hands absent. He clenched his hands into fists. His knuckles turned white as snow and his nails dug into the warm flesh. He then opened his hands letting his fingers stretched its joints, emitting off a cracking noise. When Catherine returned to him Edgar stepped down from the steps. His footsteps were heavy enough to make William flinch.

    A large hand gripped tightly around Williams shoulder, shaking his body a bit, grappling his attention towards his father. His father smiled waving at the crowd of rapturous people. "Take Catherine and dance with her." An order from his father was quickly executed when William placed his hand on top of Catherine's and lead her to the middle of the dance floor. The appearance of the two walking towards the dance floor implied an order for the orchestra to begin strumming their strings. The sound of mellifluous violin strings producing beautiful music and the soft beat from the drums amplified the song. William placed his hand on Catherine's slim waist and began to lead the dance. The crowds of people formed a circle around the two, spectating the dance. Many positive remarks were thrown into the two's intimate dance. William forced himself to appear as jovial as possible.

    In a low octave in a hushed decibels William leaned in closer to Catherine, "Do you truly want this Catherine?" He inquired in dire tone. "Do you truly wish to marry me Catherine?" He pestered her with more quintessential questions. William knew that he was unable to marry Catherine, he couldn't bring him to live a life with a woman who he will only see as a childhood friend. This was the only order he could not execute properly, not without rebelling.
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  18. The Conceited BeautyCatherine put on a smile for the crowd. She matched her fiance perfectly, their accenting colors of red and gold balanced them perfectly in the crowd. They parted in a new way for the woman, with more of a hustle in their step knowing she would be their future Queen. She took the new found power in stride, and with each step she felt her chin aching higher up.

    Catherine found her place, high above the petty crowds of nobles and lower class. She was a royal, born of Northern blood with a powerful name to back her.

    The violins started up again, the light sound of a plucked string here and there between the flowing melody which lulled the Prince into a dance with his wife to be. His hands only hovered the surface of her waist, another only grasped her extended arm. William was holding back, but it mattered little. The man was just as able to put a smile on his face even with the uncertainty in the air. He leaned in, and asked a barrage of questions. To this, Catherine smiled, as if he hadn't said a single thing at all during their intimate first dance.

    "I want to return home. I want Great Kaehr back in my family's control. I want the North, and I want to be powerful again." She leaned in, as if she were embracing William during the midst of their dance to become closer. Her painted red lips brushed against his ear with a smile, she had no qualms sharing her secrets. They were bound to each other. "You give me power. So, yes, I want to marry you."

    The blonde haired woman pulled her face away and continued brilliantly through the dance. Not a soul in the crowd was any the wiser to her antics, nor her true joy from the marriage. She didn't want a husband to love, a man to warm her bed and give her children. She could get these things with a wave of her hand, this much Catherine knew. However, armies didn't beckon to the call of a beautiful woman as easily as they did to a King.

    Sir Duncan Kelly moved silently through the crowd up until the moment he found the trio of Northern guests. "Maeve, Arlo." Maeve and Arlo each held Ellara up by an opposite arm. She looked white as snow and her eyes were soaked with the tell tale signs of tears on the verge of being shed. Each wobbly step took ten times the amount of normal effort, and had it not been for their fortunate position near the edge of the room, the red haired sister never would have made it out of the ballroom. Thankfully, there was a set of doors near the raised platform which aided their hasty retreat.

    "What the hell was that Duncan?" Maeve's thick voice snarled at him, a hint of her tribal accent slipped out. "You told me she was informed, that she would be ready."

    "The Lady Catherine told me she would inform her sister, and I-"

    "Can you see that she has obviously not been told?" Maeve lifted Ellara carefully out of her hold and pushed her weight onto Arlo, who stood as a silent third party in the background. He had always been known for a Northern man, and the news only brought recognition of his family ties. To say he was shocked would have been a lie though. Maeve jabbed her finger into the knight's chest, despite his armor. She was angry. Her face flushed red, a deadly poison in her anger. "She nearly fainted, Catherine dared to show them her childhood wounds. This child has gone through so much and Catherine dared to leave her unprotected. We all knew, why was she left in the dark? Tell me that."

    "I will speak with Lady Catherine later." Sir Kelly lowered his head in shame and bowed as the three made a dash out the back doors.

    The soiree had gone exactly as expected. Almost everyone was startled to hear that the two sisters were alive, and on the eve of the tragedy, it was the perfect time to make the announcement. It brought about the same grief, as if the wound were still fresh as the day before. Some guests lamented over the deaths of the Wittacre King, his wife, and their son, but felt graced that even two were allowed to live. Catherine had yet to explain how they escaped, but no one dared to ask as she basked in her new romantic glory. She seemed all too happy, and not a soul dared disturb her peace.

    Not yet.
    #19 Lillian Gray, Mar 10, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
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  19. The Querulous Little Brother
    The string of events unraveled into a horrendous mess, intertwining to the chaos it was. Timothy watched his eldest brother walk up in front of his father and took Catherine Wittacre's hands. He glanced over at Ellara, frowning at the sight of the little red head. He bit his inner cheek, chewing on the soft flesh between his teeth. Mixed emotions rattled with his tranquility causing a disturbance in his heart. Dark orbs glanced around each corner of the ballroom quickly getting tired of his fathers ramblings. He fiddled with his fingers behind his back, by now he was yearning to comfort Ellara. The impatient prince was caught glancing around by his older brother, Allistar, who shot a glare at him. Petulance was a common trait that Timothy uses -- he rolled his eyes doing as he pleases, causing Allistar to glare out of vexation. Timothy fidgeted in front of the crowds of guests. He constantly fiddled with his fingers, adjusted his red overcoat, and touching his long blond hair adjusting the red ribbon keeping the long hair up.

    "When their family was mercilessly slaughtered ten years past, God favored these two women and sent them to us. We have kept their secret for this decade, but no longer! With this marriage, the North will be reclaimed, its wealth given back to the Wittacre line once more." The last words his father spoke implicated immediate relief. The entire Roivas family scattered around as well as the guests. He watched the calamity unfold as William and Catherine left center stage to dance in the middle of the dance floor enthralling guests left and right.

    Timothy was quickly swarmed by many guests who bombarded him with inquiries pertaining to the Wittacre girls survival. He glared and scowled at them, hissing them away from him. He gesticulated, shooing, bringing all the pestering guests to grumble. Timothy sighed adjusting his attire reverting back to his prim-perfect appearance. Without a thought in mind, he turned his heel slowly approaching Ellara. He felt butterflies in his stomach getting worse each step. He rubbed his thumb against his middle and pointer finger out of sheer agitation. Timothy is infatuated by Ellara immensely, puppy loved the girl. He would constantly stalk the girl too nervous to speak to her. The sweet Southern boys nervousness vanished at the sight of his eldest brother swooning Ellara. The laughing and extended conversations would always evoke lip biting and fist clenching from young Timothy. Today was his chance to finally speak to her, protect her, and to snatch her heart.

    The thieving little boy continued his steps towards Ellara -- sadly, a third party stopped him with a hand on the shoulder. His body stopped and turned. A nasty glare was plastered on his face. His dark eyes looked up at a taller man. The taller man wore the color green and crimson red, he had brushed back dark hair, and sun strained green eyes. Timothy raised his brow implicating an obvious question.

    "Yes?” He asked curtly. "Now, now, no need to be so cold towards me. What happened to Southern hospitality?" The taller man grinned stupidly raising his hands up in the air slightly. Timothy rolled his eyes and placed his hands on his hips impatiently. "I have a reason why I'm approaching you." The taller man stated. Timothy dropped his hands and gesticulated him to continue his reason. "I-I didn't know they were still alive..." Timothy rolled his eyes realizing this was more of a confession rather than a question. In spite of the sudden rush, he allowed Edmure to speak. "They were under my nose this whole time, yet..." Edmure sighed softly rubbing the back of his neck looking down at the floor. "Yes, yes, yes, now please discuss it with Allistar -- I'm in a hurry." Timothy tried to escape Edmure's confused talk. Instead of obliging to Timothy's Edmure released a loud sigh and wrapped his arm around his shoulders pulling the small prince close to Edmure's larger body. The old Edmure quickly returned to reality. "A-anyway, um, let's go greet them! It's been too long since I have pestered my two favorite girls!" Edmure said. "Well, you can always bother Catherine...but she's dancing with William so..." Timothy mumbled. Edmure let out a disapproving sound through his lips.

    "Let's go say, 'hi,' to Ellara!" Deprived of a single thought Timothy shook his head, but Edmure was too busy waving at Ellara that Timothy's presence was inconspicuous to the taller man.

    The two boys walked towards Ellara and her two companions. The unsettling feeling rested in Timothy's stomach creating an uproar. His heart was beating too fast for him to feel a simple beat. His dark eyes looked up to catch a look at Ellara -- she was stunning as always. It made him more nervous, especially when she looked prepossessing. She owned a natural charm that has never withered or faltered throughout her years. He bit his lower lip when they came in close contact. Edmure's hand released Timothy creating space between both men. Timothy posthaste to adjust his attire to look more presentable to Ellara. He stood up tall and proud before her, just like any other strong Southern man. His lips opened to speak, but, Edmure beat him to it.

    "Ellara! It has been years!" Edmure walked towards Ellara pulling the dainty girl in for a tight embrace. Timothy raised his brow and tapped his toes against the ground out of impatience. "Wow, look at you!" Edmure pushed her back slightly to take a better look at Ellara. The taller man acted as if he was her parent. Edmure took the chance and pulled the girl in for another tight embrace. In response to his hug Timothy barged in, he pulled the two apart and stood in front of Ellara. He adjusted his hair for a moment before speaking to her. A soft chuckle escaped his lips realizing the commotion he caused."U-um, are you okay Ellara?" He asked, placing his hand on her arm. A concerned countenance appeared on his face. This was his moment, this was his chance, he can finally get closer to Ellara, and finally have her attention on him.

    "It's finally my turn."
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