After the Prince's 'tantrum', all but the bed was burned to cinders, now lying in piles of hot ash. He opened the window to let out some of the smoke. And now his own clothes stunk of burnt cloth and he realized he had seared the ends of his jacket and pant legs.
"Damn it." He cursed. Ringing a special bell attached to a wire that ran down to the servant quarters, he rang for a maid, who arrived promptly and she began to clean the room, a large broom and dustpan.
Within the hour, the room was once again spotless. "I'll 'ave someone bring in new furniture, sire." she said with a bow and excused herself.
"See that you do."
Another hour afterwards and it was as if no damaged occurred within, save for the scorch marks. When all was completed, Rowan bade them to leave, as at the same moment a small bell rang, signalling the evening meal. The servants rushed out, allowing the Prince time to dress.
There was a knock on the Princess's chambers, alerting her that it was time to eat.
Eva looked at herself in the mirror. She was dressed in a slimming gown of lace black and silken red--the colors of Kasairona--with accentuated skin-hugging sleeves, black-toned hosiery and red low-heeled shoes. Her hair was done up in a simple self-made bun. Her eyes had been painted with faint opal tones and her lips were a juicy cherry red.
And though she was already finished with her stately attire a half-hour prior to the small bell, as a growing youth, the act of dressing up had admittedly 'excited' her, so she had to regain her composure immediately. She couldn't afford any 'surprises' popping up during this inopportune time...
Princess Eva of the Elsgarde Empire stepped out of her room, seeing a servant there ready to escort her.
As he stepped into the hallway, donned in a black suit with red accents, Rowan noted no servant loitering in the halls for him; it hardly bothered him, for he always knew what time the meal was. He saw the princess down the hall.
'So, they put her in the spare room. How wonderful... now I'll have to see her all the time.' He walked confidently, the long tail of his coat waving behind him in the haste of his walk. He spared her no glance, walking past as though she weren't there.
Eva watched the Prince practically zoom past her down the stairs and towards the dining room. She shuddered again from the chilling lack of compassion he had, her fingers tensing from deep-seated fear, before looking into the lavish dining room proper. She smiled a little bit, the venue seeming very similar to the palatial one back home at Elsgarde, before coming inside and being guided to a seat. She tucked her dress underneath her rear as she sat down.
The table was long and halfway filled with food, but it was just the two of them, creating a definitely empty presence. The King's seat at the head of the table was empty, as per usual. The lighting was low, but bright enough to eat by and see all that was on the table. Their plates had already been filled, servants removing metal domes to reveal the contents, along with accompanying champagne flutes filled with a pink liquid for the Prince, and water for the Princess.
At first he didn't touch his food, just sort of pushed it around, sighing from the genuinely curious awe the Princess gave off. Eva, despite the heat, had to admit she was starved, and was rightly curious about what elementals even ate, nevermind just the Fire Elementals. Her eyes glanced at the pink liquid for the Prince, before beginning to take to her own meal proper. It was very heated, but filling, warm, hearty... something she hadn't felt in a long while.
Rowan had seen her eyes on the pink liquid he had. "You can try it if you want, but it'd likely kill you." His tone was quite unpleasant. "I've never seen a human drink it, though. I've been told it would liquify your insides."
She looked at him, amazed that he had even acknowledged her presence enough to advise her not to drink it.
"Molten, corrosive drinks, yes? Perhaps I will take your word and avoid it; I wouldn't dream of having my innards molten." She chuckled meekly, before taking a little more of her meal. "But this... this is delicious! I-It's much more filling, more than what I've ever allowed myself to eat."
"Then you may wish to be careful. We wouldn't want to split your seams." He frowned at her before taking a long drink of the pink liquid. To him, it was sweet and somewhat bubbly, yet cool. His insides were different however; the Prince could swallow fire and it would not harm him.
"Splitting seams are not why I refuse to indulge, unlike other paltry nobles." Eva nodded matter of factually, letting a foot cross over the other underneath the table. "I-I am a healer, you see. A healer should not ingest more than the soldiers or laborers. It is merely instinct that I do not crave such hefty portions." It all seemed so perfectly tailored to her, so meaty and flavorful, and she had unknowingly finished her admittedly sizable plate. "Oh! That was most unexpected." She chuckled innocently again, a faint blush on her cheeks.
He rolled his eyes. "Well, you won't be doing that anymore."
"What do you mean--Who is to say that my services will not be required still?" She looked to the Prince with a firm sort of resolve. "Just because my hands would no longer tend to wounds from the battlefield, it would not mean that I would cease aiding other sorts of injuries."
"Oh? Then tell me, how would you be of service to others in times of peace?" Rowan asked with a darkened tone, slightly tinted with sarcasm.
"Plenty!" The Princess's demure tone seemed to pick up. "The laborers, the servants, our people--who's to say that they would not find ways to injure themselves, no matter how small?" Eva looked to Rowan simply. "If you were injured, Your Majesty, I would happily tend to your wounds."
He raised an eyebrow, before shaking his head again. "Lucky for the both of us that I will never see a battlefield." He ate a few more mouthfuls of food, his small fangs could be seen when he opened his mouth. "As our queen, you will not be allowed such privileges. They simply do not happen here. We are here for appearance and counseling, nothing more." He scoffed at her. "Who ever heard of a nurse Queen--"
"Healer Queen." Eva countered curtly. The glance she received from the Prince seemed to burn through her, as if he was visually chastising her for talking back to him. She cleared her throat. "Seven generations ago, back on the mainland, there was a human queen who was a powerful warrior. She birthed a priest king whose holy powers sustained his soldiers to the point of being undying. Whether we were bringers of death or sustainers of life, my people were never one to be trifled with." She smirked slightly. "I do not know how the hierarchy of the Primal Elementals exist, but it seems that humanity handles things differently. Regardless, I would continue to hone myself should something horrible happen."
"You do realize that the Fire nation of Kasairona is the strongest of all the Elemental nations, yes? It would be highly foolish to rise against us. Not only that, but we are sided with the Earth Elementals. The Earthly beings have found a way to bend metal, which can halt water. And Fire Elementals can generate lightning, which is also deadly to water. As such, we've all come to a peaceful agreement." He stopped himself. Why was he telling her all of this?
He sighed irritably; he supposed she'd know anyways after they married, but it seemed too soon. "Enough. You may continue to practice your 'Holy' training, but not on the field of battle, and only after I give consent."
He didn't say another word, turning his focus to what little remained on his plate and keeping a predatory gaze on her.
Her mood seemed to sour a little, her fingers clasping together.
She hadn't known about the alliances between the Earth and Fire planes. And the neutrality between the Water plane and the earth and fire realms; she had merely thought all the elements were chaotic and interested in only wiping humanity out from this continent. At the very least, she had learned something new from all of this.
"I... I understand, Your Majesty. I will concede to your decision."
It would be a strenuous month...
Dressed in a loose-fitting gown, Eva was slowly fanning herself with a small paper fan, the little breezes generated barely giving her any relief from the intense heat from outside the castle rooms. She knew she had to adjust to the heat of this realm, especially during the day, but it would still be a very trying task. Perhaps she could ask Rowan for a little advice, as she noticed his form from the other end of the hallway.
The Prince had papers in his hands, scrolls of legal matters that had demanded his attention. Now he was leaving the small council room and was on his way to deposit the scrolls to a safe place, only to have his face fall even further when he saw Eva wandering about.
"What," Rowan said in his usual sulky tone, "are you doing?"
"Oh!" Eva chirped, blushing a slight, fanning herself a little. "Apologies, Your Majesty... I-I didn't mean to run into you during a busy moment of your... sch-schedule..."
"Yes, well what are you doing wandering? You're going to get yourself into trouble." His eyes were narrowed upon the human Princess, seeing how she sweated.
"A-again, my apologies--" She cut herself off a slight, looking a little dismayed at his words. "I-I wasn't aware I was unable to wander the castle halls--" She shook her head; even the loose gown she wore offered no aid in alleviating the heat. "If I may ask for your counsel, Your Majesty..."
He sighed again, impatiently this time, "What?" his eyes a little wider now, "And you can, just don't go outside, it would do no good for you to drop dead in this heat."
"Ah--i-it's about the heat." She gulped dryly. "Is there... is there some way I may--u-um, hasten my adjustment to the Fire Realm...??" Eva breathed out uneasily, letting him get a visible glance of her bare shoulders slightly kissed with sweat beads. "I had thought I yet had the mental fortitude to withstand--"
"Follow me." he almost snapped at the Princess for want of quieting her, walking down the hall to the archives. After depositing the legal scrolls, he rejoined her. "There is something, but it may not be the most pleasant thing."
"Oh??" She had kept a careful pace, trying to focus more on not passing out, fearing to even ask for some water in his presence.
He grabbed her hand roughly and led her down some halls, with a left turn descending them down to a lower floor, much cooler then the one above. Blue flames danced within the mounted lanterns, emitting no heat. Rowan heard a sigh of relief coming from the human, who no longer seemed visually pressured by the heat of his realm. Once the stairs ended, there was a large door, one with an equally sizable lock on it. Whispering a word lowly enough for Eva not to hear, it opened, and he lead her through. On the other side was a collection of ancient artifacts.
"Oh???" She could breath easier now, eyes looking around the artifacts. "A different archive, Your Majesty?"
Rowan let go of her hand, like he had forgotten he was holding it. Then he rummaged through a chest and pulled out an object. It looked like a piece of silver metal, flat, long and wide. He walked back over, "This," he pointed to her, "goes around your neck, then it will go down your back and wrap around under your... breasts." Rowan saw the Princess blush about the comment of her breasts, putting an arm sheepishly over her chest. "It won't be the most comfortable thing, but then you won't be so bothersome about being hot."
Eva nodded meekly. Even with the padding of her undergarments, she still appeared very flat-chested to the Prince.
"Ah--th-thank you, Your Majesty." She took the item in question, and clutched it closer to her. "I will adorn this when we return upstairs... I will not bother you any further... t-today."
"See that you don't. I have more important matters to attend to." He shooed her towards the door, slamming it behind as they exited. "Just, no more needless wandering around. And by the Flare Matron, if you get thirsty, request the maids to bring you water every hour."
When they were out of the lower chambers, and seeing the Prince immediately depart from her side, she had sighed wearily to herself. This thin slab of steel would look like it would be most uncomfortable to wear, and with her thinner gowns, become almost completely noticeable.
"I suppose... until I can steel myself to adjust to this realm on my own, this will suffice..."
Eva, dressed in a black and red gown more appropriate with Kasairona's colors, had knocked on the Prince's chambers. A couple of days had passed, and tonight was actually relatively cool. Eva once again vowed to try to bridge more of a connection with the cold-hearted Fire Prince.
With the sound of a chair scraping, footsteps made there way to his door, then it opened slightly, "Yes?" he said before seeing who it was, "Oh you. What do you want?" He eyed her, seeing her dressed in his nations colors.
"Y-Your Majesty..." Eva smiled politely to him, giving him a proper bow. "I was wondering, i-if you weren't busy, if you would want to come out to the veranda with me?"
He gave a moment's thought to this. "Fine." he opened his door enough so he could exit his room, then quietly shut the door behind him. "Just to the veranda--?"
She nodded thankfully to him, sidling up closer to him, walking side-by-side with him as they walked towards the gardens and veranda. Granted, the sweetened nod and smile was a little forced from the Princess, but, as she reminded herself, this was for the good of the people. Plus, there was a genuine intrigue about him...
Once outside of the greenhouse-like gardens, they stopped on the midst of the balcony looking out to the night-time desert. Hands in his pockets, Rowan looked around at the stars and the low hanging moon. "So, you want something?" he asked without looking to her.
Eva's eyes perked up a little, glancing over at her future husband. "N-No, nothing urgent. I-I just..." She nuzzled her legs together beneath her flowing dress. "I wish to enjoy the sights with you, Your Majesty." She glanced around, feeling that anxious feeling in her throat. "It's so enchanting at night here." She shivered a slight. "A-And so refreshingly cool out as well."
He gave a curt nod, glancing at her from the corner of his eye, seeing how nervous she looked. Rowan sighed, "If you wish to talk about something, please do so..." He was trying to be nice, but his words came out a little harsher then he intended.
She gulped anxiously again, her mind wracking around for a topic to talk about. "S-So... u-u-um..." She glanced at Rowan, eyes studying him a little closer, noting his lustrous hair and piercing gaze. "I-I haven't seen any notice of the Queen of Kasairona... How is she faring?"
A sharp breath could be hear before he let it out slowly, his eyes closed for a moment. "My mother is dead." He opened his eyes and turned to her. "She was killed by your ancestors."
Her heart sank; she most definitely picked the wrong topic of conversation. "I-I can never know your pain... b-but my condolences, Your Majesty..." She looked to him again. "What... what was she like, if I may ask--"
"NO, you may not--Please, let us talk of other things." he gave an impatient sigh, just wanting to move the topic.
"Did your parents force you into this arrangement?"
She gulped again at the question.
"I cannot lie in that I was not originally compliant with their demands..." She breathed in slowly. "But if it means the end of the fighting and loss of lives, of both my people and yours, then I would will it so."
"Hmm." He leaned against the nearby pillar. "I was forced, I won't lie about that. But if I refused, I also would have to renounce being the heir." His glowing eyes looked over to her. Letting her see that this was really something he was doing only if it meant to be the next heir.
She loosed a faint breath, glancing towards the Prince. "Well, I-I suppose people have engaged in matrimony for much worse and even unwholesome reasons than ours..." Eva nodded simply, eyes lost at the starry night sky again.
With a simple grunt, he pushed away from the pillar and started back inside, her attitude just rubbed him the wrong way, like she had no worries at all.
Eva sighed uneasily again from the sound of the doorway opening behind her, eyes continuing to lose themselves in the depths of the night. Another attempt to bond with her future spouse, doused like a faint ember.
A few days after, dressed in her usual fare of blue and white, Eva had taken to walk the halls one fine morning. In this fine morning, she was feeling a thin sheen of sweat all on her body; even with the artifact Rowan said would lessen the atmospheric pressure the heat was putting on her, she wasn't feeling any change. She wondered if it was merely just a slab of metal and she was the victim of a royal jest.
In her hands was a little tome of holy passages and tales, part and parcel of her healer training. She wouldn't be sharing this with the Prince--that would probably tempt him to fry her on the spot for touting sacrilege.
But she would still try to garner his attention, today. If they were going to be wed for the rest of, well, her mortal days, she would want to at least be on good terms with the Prince.
When she had found her way back to the hall where she was staying at, she would see that the door to Rowan's chambers was slightly ajar.
"Hm?" She stopped simply, fingers slipping the red attached ribbon to save the spot in her tome, before closing it. "How curious... from what I've seen, his chambers are always closed..."
Cautiously, she approached the door, and before she could knock, she could actually peer inside...
Rowan has finished bathing, currently wrapped in nothing but a towel at his waist, sitting on the edge of his great bed and looking through some papers. Nothing important really, other then complaints of thievery or trespassing, things that are easily dealt with.
He was unaware he was being watched, the soft whisper of paper being moved around was all that Eva would hear, aside from an occasional sigh. His back was facing the door, so it was all of him that she would notice.
Her eyes could take notice of the visual damage in the room. Were all fire elemental rooms this seared and scorched, like the lands surrounding the Nexus-Point to the realm of fire? And why did the--
She stopped her snooping when she noted the Prince. His back was turned, and amidst the morning light through the parted curtains, he could see only smooth skin exposed to her. It looked so clean, bronzed, and pristine, and with that crimson hair draped along his back so wet and flowing...
Her heart was fluttering at the sight--something that felt so right about this perspective made her forget about the tension, letting a soft gasp leave her parted mouth at the--
It was that gasp though, where Rowan's back immediately straightened and his head turned very slowly, eyes wide and mixed with emotion. Anger, a hint of fear, and something else. But he didn't move from his spot; he couldn't, for fear of revealing his secret.
The Princess in turn also noticed His Majesty's shock, and had turned absolute pink as well.
"What, Do you think, you're DOING?!" He practically growled at her.
"Ah--ah--a-a-ahh... A-Apologies, Your Majesty! Forgive me!!!"
She slammed the door shut and hurried back to her chambers, slamming her own door shut in turn. She was breathing heavier, a hand at her increasingly beating heart, taking to her bed in anxiousness.
Why... why couldn't she take her eyes off of him?
Why did she merely just stay there...??
...And why did seeing him like that excite her so???
She clenched her legs and chastised herself for this abrupt and rude act.
But before she could do anything to relieve that tension, Eva could hear the sound of hard footsteps towards her chambers, in which Rowan, dressed in more relaxing clothes, stormed into her room, throwing all context of privacy away.
"What the hell?!" He yelled at her. "Do you always walk through open doors and snoop about?!"
"I-I-I said I was sorry!!!" She yelled back at him, her hands at her chest, keeping her legs clenched. "I didn't mean to peer in--b-but your chambers were never open before a-a-and--I couldn't control myself!"
"If I wanted you in there, I would ask!"
"But you never do!!" Eva's voice raised again. "You never wish to spend any time on getting to know me--"
Rowan's eyes blazed with anger. "Because I don't care to learn about you, you STUPID GIRL!"
Eva stood firmly, eyes glazed with their own sense of fury. "SHOW SOME MANNERS! Were you never taught how not to act like a boorish oaf!!?"
"B-boorish oaf!?" He couldn't believe her. Then he grew quieter; like the calm during the storm, his eyes bore through her. "If you approach me again before our wedding, I will HAPPILY kill you and reignite this war between our people."
She held her tongue, her face a flustered red all over her face. Her eyes were shut, daring not to say anything that would indeed force the Flame Prince's words to violent action.
"Gladly." His voice was barely a whisper. As he grabbed the door handle it could be heard sizzling in his grasp, the metal melting under his touch, the hot metal dripping onto the floor and then he slammed the door shut.
Eva's heart sank again.
She knew it was a fruitless endeavor indeed, but the way her body had reacted earlier... even now, she finally let the tears fall from her eyes.
This truly would be a loveless, unhappy marriage; the Prince of Elsgarde, now merely a feminine figurehead of peace, not a person.
She laid on her bed, letting the sobbing continue.
"Almighty One, help me... I-I'm scared to fall in love with this monster...!"