"Today's the day... she'll return today, I'm sure of it!"
Inside his chambers, four months after his injuries had healed, Evan had finished dressing himself in his stately raiments, the tones of blue, white, and silver all comforting and reassuring to the young Prince of the Light.
"It feels good to be standing under my own power again!" The Prince thought to himself, fingers finishing to brush his golden locks of hair, before tying it to a single lengthy ponytail. But despite his recovery process, no one had heard or seen Prince Rowan in or on the human's dominion, hearing from his Father that she had returned to her homeland.
Even as he performed his duties as a healer to his people, he didn't feel much like himself. Especially his demanding tone when it came to the whereabouts of the Flame Prince, becoming quiet and despondent for the rest of the day whenever the news came up fruitless.
He clutched his staff closely to his body as he left his chambers, taking to the halls, breathing in the warm scent of livelihood. "She must be back today, I-I'm sure of--it??"
Glancing out the window, he could see a faint trail of black smoke in the distance, moving hurriedly through the Worksmans' Quarters of the Castle town.
"...What???" He hurried towards the main courtyard, wondering if there was an emergency in the works, and why no one was doing anything about it.
On flaming tread-steps, Rowan was on her way back. She had crested through the hills past the nexus-point to the Plane of Fire, and could look down into the valley and see the human empire, a small smile was on her face. She had relatively enjoyed her stay in Kasairona, but was pleased to see her soon-to-be second kingdom.
She hurried towards the city gates, Rowan darting through with a definite regal air like the proud Prince that she was. The crowds parted to let her through, the people stopping their shopping and working to gawk at the Prince's choice of mount; she rode atop a great black horse with a fiery mane and tail; a fire elemental stallion, with which an equally imposing mare was tethered behind.
Finally she arrived at the gates, the soldiers swinging open the great iron structure in recognition of the Royal figure.
From the great doors, Prince Evan stepped outside to see the commotion and the black smoke's origin, his eyes lighting up delightedly at the sight of his betrothed. His heart had swollen for a moment, stepping towards her to keep his composure, taking immediate notice of the fiery beasts, looking like they were the source of the smoke he saw earlier.
"Ah! Prince Rowan! It is so good to see that you are well!" He hurried down the steps to meet her.
"Hmph." She smirked a little, dismounting her steed and standing at the bottom steps. "Those should be MY words, Prince Evan."
Without saying any other words, Rowan went to the mare and untethered it. She then walked to the prince and held out the reins to the animal, immediately taking note of the Prince's eyes.
"Wh-wh--wh-what manner are you giving me th-this for--" Evan stammered, uneasily looking into the dim glimmering of the mare's eyes. "Y-you're giving this... to me???"
Prince Rowan inhaled; humility was not in her nature at all. But in a swift motion, she was on one knee, head down, arms raised with her hands palm up, the reins across them to the human. Hurriedly she began to speak. "Prince Evan, for saving my life from the forces of the Air Kingdom of Sylfaedra, I present to you this token of Our gratitude, a Flare Equine." Her eyes were open, but she looked down and off to the side. She felt embarrassed, not just because she was on her knee in front of several guards and servants to see, but also because Evan was human. Evan on his own would not change Rowan's negative racial views on his species. "A-Awarded only to those who have been deemed worthy of such a beast."
He was absolutely crimson-faced, eyes looking to the seemingly intimidating beast, before looking to Rowan's posture again, his heart beating faster. "I-I... I am humbled that you would bestow such a gift to me, Prince Rowan--Y-Your Majesty. I-I am most honored..." He gulped meagerly, reaching his free hand out to touch along the mare's slender face, immediately relieved that the beast wasn't hot to the touch or melting him with flames of defiance. He saw his betrothed looking down and away, feeling a little bad for her. "Pl-Please, I'd rather y-you not bow like that--I-I feel so embarrassed when people bow to me..."
Rowan let out a sigh of relief, standing once more and using a hand to wipe her knee. She stood close to Evan's side; her face was rather blank, but her eyes seemed to hint to a small flash of gratitude to no longer being humble. "Aside from this gift, I believe you are owed a considerable dowry as well, due to my initial mistreatment of you during our courting in Kasairona, so please, accept them both," she asked this quietly.
Evan gulped again from how close she was to him. But following a sort of procedural manner, figuring this was a private matter, he nodded firmly to her. "Of course, Rowan. After all, we have much to catch up on during your abscence." He nodded, petting the mare again carefully, before he requested a servant to take reins of the noble beast to the private stables, which had not seen much use during the last few months.
Back into the castle, Rowan began to walk with Evan. "So, has anything particularly exciting happened during my leave? How are your wounds? Did it leave a scar?"
"Ah, well, as you're curious, I will get your personal concerns out of the way before getting to political matters." He unbuttoned his robe-like coat and lifted the bottom of his undershirt to expose a thin burn scar, diagonally along his stomach, going down his waist to the right side of his hip, and going up his shoulder and over his left teat. "It is not as prominent as when it occurred, but such was an inevitability."
Rowan gave a small nod, taking note of the Healer Prince's first battle scar. "I would say that healed rather nicely, much better then one could hope."
Now they had strolled into the gardens, Rowan took a deep breath, the flowers here smelled wonderful, their perfume making the air pleasant. "I do hope you use the horses, they may seem intimidating but they are extremely loyal to their masters. Though, warn the servants not to attempt to ride them, it could result in death."
A worried expression came over his face from Rowan's casual warning. "O-o-oh! Of course! I will be sure to relay the message indeed!" He nodded before covering himself up again, realizing that he had walked with his chest exposed for a small period of time. He cleared his throat afterwards.
"As for more important matters... during my convalescence, I was informed that we had received visits from delegates of the Water and Earth Planes." His eyes studied Rowan's as he spoke, seeing her brow wrinkling. "I-I only caught sight of the both of them once, when I had finally gotten enough strength to stand under my own power without pain--"
"Why are Water and Earth coming here?" To her, it seemed strange indeed. Normally such things were for important matters, and aside from the upcoming wedding, there wasn't anything special going on. "Oh yes, I hope that my servants made it here in a timely manner?" As Rowan had been away for some time, she had sent ahead a handful of servants for Evan's service. And it would help Rowan feel more at ease as she had also sent half her personal guard; an attack like what had happened with the Airs could not happen again.
"Ah??" He looked around, indeed seeing what was one of Rowan's personal guard, making conversation with some of the palace servants about something he couldn't exactly hear. "I-I had focused intently on making myself of use once more, that I hadn't until now noticed your people among us." He nodded simply, before looking to her again, seeing the Prince's visage once more. "As for why Earthen and Aquatic delegates are here, I was only told by His Imperial Majesty that they were discussing certain matters with some of our nobility..."
This did not sit well with Rowan. "As the future rulers to the Fire and Human realms, I am disappointed that I was not informed of such matters." They continued to walk, the guard hanging back as to allow privacy. It was in Rowan's personality to normally just barge into the throne room and demand answers. But the reason she had been gone so long was to take counsel from her father, to learn patience. "This evening, I would like to speak with the Emperor about this negligence."
"Of course, Rowan." He nodded. "Truthfully, I wish to know why I wasn't properly informed of this either." Evan mused disappointedly. "Even if it was because he did not wish to worry me as I recuperated, it was still not right to withhold such information."
He knelt towards some of the more vibrant-toned and fragrant flowers, inhaling its pungent scents. "But of you, Rowan? If you do not mind my prying, what urgent matters gave way to a return home?"
"I needn't divulge myself to--" She snapped with a fiery bitterness to the Prince, before suddenly correcting herself, breathing firmly. "I will not deny that during the first weeks of our courting, I have been nothing but cross and angered with you. So, as to better temper myself as a ruler and a spousal figure, I sought counsel from my father. I only hope that I will follow through His Majesty's advice--"
"You're stubborn and proud." Her eyes met Evan's, the Fire Prince's containing a searing undertone to them. But a faint smile was all the human mustered. "I know you would not let your father's advice go unheeded."
Rowan tilted her head, a tiny smirk meeting the Healer Prince, before the air was silent between them.
"The other issue, Your Majesty, was that during my capture with the Air Elementals, they had made mention of another Fire Prince. I had consulted with your father, and immediately departed to Kasairona to bring the matter to my father." Her eyes met the Healer Prince's, seeming strong but showing a dimming flicker. "I have a brother, Evan. A brother I never knew existed until recently..."
He gasped at the news, his eyes widening a slight, seeing his betrothed's uneasiness. "That's... that is not good news for you, Rowan? Y-yes, the news must be disconcerting, but--have you been trying to make contact with--"
"He was killed in battle, brought back from the dead as a Revenant by fanatical flames, forced Earth and Water under Fire's sway, had his Core plucked from his being by the Airs..."
He breathed in and out uneasily, trying to process all of this information that the Fire Prince had fed him. As far as he was aware of, he had no secret siblings of his own. But to have a brother you would had never known, was not only dead but in the throes of undeath--which he didn't know could even HAPPEN to elementals, it was all very bothersome and trying to think about.
"With all respect, Your Majesty," Rowan beseeched him again in that quiet tone. "I would like to not talk about this any more."
Evan nodded, reaching a hand to touch the Flame's, before feeling that brash tone of pulling it away. As much as she was ready to follow on her father's advice, she was nowhere near the mood for such a menial interaction.
As they walked along the inner courtyard and gardens, the two saw what was most definitely a dressed human nobleman, walking with a wavy-dressed woman, whose skin was slightly azure-toned and bore wavy blue hair.
Rowan's face fell into a frown. She didnt care much for the Water Elementals; she had seen first hand what happens to a fire elemental when they did not know how to defend themselves with lightning or intense heat. Internally, she gave a shudder. It was not a pretty sight to see a fire elemental snuffed out. Plus they had a strange ability to cause someone to drown when not even remotely close to water.
"So that's the Water Delegate..." Rowan whispered to Evan, uneasy at the sight of the aquatic woman. "If I didn't know any better, she might be trying to get lecherous with someone's pocketbook." She looked up at the sky, shuddering primally. "I'm getting most uncomfortable with such a wet woman."
Rowan's eyes narrowed towards her now. If this woman was here to simply play around with nobles, that was fine by her. But the looks she was giving were most uncomfortable. Her eyes were heavy-lidded, and while she was pretending to give attention to the noble she flaunted herself on, her gaze was on her and the prince.
"I think it wise we get away from her quickly."
"Ah, m-most astute, Your Majesty." Evan nodded, taking her hand firmly now, fighting with Rowan's insistence with walking hand-in-hand. He would not relinquish as he suddenly got more excited now, his eyes focused on Rowan again. "Oh! I had almost forgotten! As per your prior demands, I had requisitioned some private quarters to be made in the barracks to suit your personal requests!" He seemed quite jovial, unaware of the Water Delegate's gaze continuing to follow them even after they had exited the courtyard. "When you stated that you breathe more comfortably in the barracks and medicus in place of the Royal Quarters."
"Oh good. I presume you would show me now?" Rowan decided to let it go, and interlaced his fingers with Evan's, giving a small smile. It pleased Rowan that Evan had been able to get the new room arranged in the time she had been gone. "I hope it looks as nice as what I had prior."
He was still a bright crimson, but as his princely duties surfaced again, he nodded and squeezed his hand back, feeling a definite warmth from the Flame Prince's hand now. "From what I inspected, most of the affects and belongings that were in your chambers in the Royal Quarters were moved to the room in the barracks."
The two passed by the training grounds, where male and female soldiers were training with all manner of weaponry, sparring either with each other or with training dummies. The Flame Prince couldn't help but steal a glance at some of the female soldiers in training, hearing their war cries as they faced off against their targets or even against their male counterparts; in the deepest recesses of her mind, she envied them.
"And as your quarters are close by, if the thought ever crosses your mind, you are free to partake in the training exercises as well." He glanced at his feet, a wavering undertone in his own voice now. "I-I... I cannot have a near-fatal encounter again, much like the encounter with the Airs... I-If I am to live long enough to last through an encounter with any potential foes, I will have to learn much more than just how to mend woulds..."
Rowan stopped suddenly, her hand squeezed Evan's tight, her face very serious as she looked at him. "Then we need to train you in combat first. That's it." She pulled Evan close quickly and put a hand behind his head, gently pulling his hair so she was looking into the other's eyes, ignoring a faint groan from the prince. Their faces were mere inches apart, and Rowan's eyes glowed in the afternoon light. But it suddenly didn't matter that there were many witnesses taking in this display; Rowan felt this was very important.
"If we can get you trained, then maybe you'll be more effective as a prince and a healer. That is my condition: become a warrior, and I will withdraw my ban on you in the battlefield."
He had never seen Rowan looked so passionate. Sure, he saw her furious, saw her irritated, saw her smile (albeit rarely), saw her worry, and saw her even prostate herself with that fiery gift, but... never passion.
"Th-this must be serious... e-e-even when you said that you had not been given the freedom to fight yourself." He gulped uneasily, wondering if that was not the right thing to say. But with a firm breath and a glance up to Rowan's passionate orbs, he nodded. "Very well. I will take you on your offer, Your Majesty."
She put his face close enough that the tips of their noses touched. "Good." He whispered, her breath hot on Evan's lips. As suddenly as she had grabbed him, she let go, of course making sure Evan didn't stumble or fall. "Now, I believe we were on our way to my new room?" He raised an eyebrow, a coy but cool look on her face.
"Y-yes! Of course!" He nodded and blushed even brighter, the close proximity almost had lead to somewhere he wouldn't have minded leading to. "B-but! If I succeed your expectations of me, Prince..." He stopped outside of the Fire's quarters, just before looking up at him. "Then could I make a request of you in turn?" His heart beat fast, still fearful that each word would step him out of bounds.
She stopped, the smile leaving her face, "What is it you want of me?" she asked in that neutral tone.
"I-I-I dare not speak it now!" He spoke in a flustered way, his skin practically competing to match the fiery red tones of his betrothed's eyes. "Partly because I feel I am not yet amicable enough to ask you of it, nor can I not think of how to express this." He gulped again, many visions dancing in his head. "Regardless, will you let me request it of you if I do become a capable warrior?"
Rowan placed a hand on the wall behind Evan and leaned in. "I do not like to be in debted to any one. Much less a HUMAN, even if you are my betrothed, but... I am WILLING to put that aside, for now. And IF you become a warrior, then you may ask me."
A hopeful smile crossed his features, even after the intimidating presence that had shut the meek Healer Prince a few seconds earlier. "Very well, then. I will not stall you any longer~" He turned around and opened the door to Rowan's quarters.
Within the room were a few affects that was in the previous room the Flame Prince inhabited; a stately and elegant bed, firm and smooth to the touch; an armoire that was filled with straight-laced and more Rowan-appropriate attire: noblemen attire that suited the Flame Prince's masculine tendencies, completely outnumbering the single blue/white/silver gown on the other end of the closet, and the Flame Princess's gold and red wedding dress from the castle town tailor's, the first of many orders Rowan asked for prior; a simple vanity; curtains that would shut off light from the window and give it a crimson glow at night, as according to some of the guards that passed by the empty room during nightly patrols...
Rowan was pleased and suddenly exhausted. She had been taking lessons from her father everyday for the past four months. And for the evenings, she had worked tirelessly to help with the peace treaty between the humans and Kasairona, alongside taking into the further details of the peace treaties between the planes of Water and Earth to the plane of Fire. The damage caused by Velius's campaign had truly taken a toll on these peoples, and learning how to mitigate the damage between these planes kept her up as well.
Taking off her long jacket, she threw it to the floor and went to the bed, flopping down on her stomach. Her eyes closed and she inhaled deeply before letting out a mighty sigh, deciding to finally just drop her bravado for now. "Thank the gods, I haven't felt a bed in these four months!"
"Tr--Tr-truly?" The fact that Rowan had just collapsed effortlessly onto the bed seemed to answer his question for him. He approached her, sitting on the edge. "I presume you were busy then during your absence?"
"Between lessons from my father, and smoothing wrongful tensions between Earth, Water, and Fire, I don't even know how many hours I was able to sleep inbetween." She grabbed at a pillow and smothered her face in it a moment. "Come here." She waved her arm about without lifting his head, eventually grabbing at the sleeve of Evan's raiments. "You're my... wife? Whatever, you're mine, lay with me." After getting a hold of his sleeve, she yanked Evan over, feeling a tiny faint of heat on her face. "I mean I... I wish to cuddle. I just want to sleep and I..." She turned her face a slight, giving him a glance of her ember. "I missed you... s-some."
"Rowan..." He blushed at being called a wife, and though it was true, it was still a little embarrassing while he was in his own empire. "But of course, husband~" Evan teased in a soft, sweet manner, a hand returning the gesture on Rowan's arm, letting his stately robes rub against the Flame Prince's firm body. "U-Unless I am needed, I will lay with you for the time being, Your Majesty. E-e-especially since it would not harm us to accustom ourselves to such a-an activity..." He bit his bottom lip, letting his foot touch hers.
"I missed you too, Prince Rowan."
As Evan settled in bed next to her, Rowan turned on her side and put an arm over his chest and a leg across Evan's. Realizing she had her shoes still on, she took a moment to remove them and then settled back. As she was taller, her head was higher then Evan's, but she still curled herself a slight to rest her head against her wife's.
"You're so stiff. We're married, Prince. You shouldnt be so uptight."
He glanced away briefly, breathing anxiously before his eyes noted the ceiling while feeling her firm head against his own. "Ah--w-w-well, We're not all so versed in this..."
"Who said I was any more versed?" She corrected him. "I am merely taking the initiative."
He breathed in, before shifting his body so he was on his side as well, a hand resting on her shoulder, his legs brushing against Rowan's. "The anticipation has made me anxious, I suppose. I've been counting the days when you'd return, Your Majesty." He confessed to him, his other arm snaking underneath her side to complete the action of embracing her. "Including most pleasant dreams to comfort me during my convalescence..."
She scoffed at him, her faint warm breath against him. "Well, I could assume correctly what sort of dreams you've been having, Prince Evan." She cast a sleepy glance at him, the dim flames in her eyes complimenting a yawn from the Flame Prince. "Just because I'm here, you needn't stop yourself from having them."
"W-well, you ARE the prominent actor in my dreams--"
She put a finger to his lips. "Silence, please... you needn't spoil your dreams to me..."
Evan's eyes watched her carefully, as her eyes fluttered shut. He was waiting for her to finish that thought, before realizing that her pleasant breathing and limp arms confirmed to him that she had already fallen asleep.
"Sh-she really was so exhausted..."
He shrugged his shoulders, pressed his forehead to hers, and decided to join her in that notion, his fingers emphasizing a squeeze to enforce his hold on her. And as she slept, he boldly leaned his lips in to steal a kiss off of her firm, strong lips, feeling her dull heat course through him. He pulled away, and let his eyes shut, ready to join her for a warm afternoon nap.