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A carriage strolled slowly along the trail. Horses of the human domain trotted along at their casual pace, as the stately carriage departed from Elsgarde Keep proper towards the Castle Town situated at the base of the Empire. And though it was situated at the base, it was still a walled town, with strong and sturdy fortifications protecting the largest of the human settlements from the enemies of the Elsgarde Empire.



Riding atop the carriage were the Flame Prince's escort, guards cloaked and disguised as sellswords to accompany their liege on this errand. Within the carriage, the Crown Princes of Elsgarde and Kasairona sat once again in an awkward silence, the tension in the air emanating entirely from the Flame Prince, who, even though he had agreed with Evan's request, still radiated a smoldering disinterest.



The human Prince gulped uneasily, fingers tugging at his shirt-collar meekly. "A-Again, Your Majesty, if you do not wish to carry through with this undertaking, I would not be--"



"Prince Evan." Rowan's words silenced him immediately, as a searing glare seemed to pierce the Prince through the carriage. "I had already committed myself to your request; why haven't you, yourself? Now speak no further of it, before I decide to take to your 'advice'. Now, where is a good parlor, Prince?"



The human prince peered out the carriage, seeing that after traveling down a few streets they were approaching what appeared to be a tailor's, with many lovely gowns on the storefront display, and a wooden placard representing the profession.



"Here."



"Fine..." Rowan banged the carriage door for them to stop.



When they had, one guard poked his head into the carriage. "Yes, sire?"


 

"Settle the carriage here. I will only be a few minutes, whilst I buy myself some... gowns." A bored frown appeared on the Flame Prince's face.



The guard gave a small chuckle but also a look of understanding. "Aye, Your Majesty." he winked and went to inform the others.



He--Rowan had to stop thinking that about himself for this moment. She looked to the delicately dressed Prince before her. "I'll only be a few moments, Prince." Rabekah left the carriage.



--

Entering the shop, she was greeted with bright colors and dresses of the current fashion.



"Oh greetings!" A humble shopkeep and his wife came forward, bowing politely at the sight of Rabekah and her regal attire. "What an honor to be visited upon by an invested nobleman! To what do we owe this stately visit?"



"Forgive me, sir." She said in a more feminine voice and gave a small bow, "But I am in need of some gowns. Enough for... a fort night, roughly. A month, at most." She straightened up, a kind and somewhat forced smile to her face. "I'm sorry for the short notice, but seeing as I am a guest of Their Imperial Majesties, I need dresses by this evening at the very least."



"OH??" The shopkeep's wife immediately pushed her husband to the side, looking up to the taller woman, seeing the glinting embers in her eyes. "I can see it! A Fire at our humble store? Dear, shod off! Let a lady tend to a lady's need! We wouldn't want to upset her to the point of burnin' our home to kindling! Shoo! SHOO!" She harried her husband out of the room, before paying her attention back onto Rabekah. "Now, come this way so that I can take your measurements, dear!"



Rabekah followed the shopkeeper's wife to the back room. This mature woman seemed so happy to be tending to her, and the Flame Princess had to admit that the feeling was contagious, as a tiny and now genuine smile formed atop the foundation of her formerly forced grin. Once in the back room, she had to strip down to her undergarments, which were a very simple red brassier and miniscule red shorts.



Her measurements were far more masculine, with wider shoulders and a slim waist and hips, but given the dresses on display in the front, Rabekah was certain this woman would give her some delightful and worthy clothes.



"I need them to be in the royal colors of Elsgarde." Rabekah informed. "And one or two in the colors of the Fire Kingdom of Kasairona."



"Oh?? The Royal Family--oh!! You mean, you're trying to get closer to Their Highness's son?? That's so amazing--I never saw a lot of the Crown Prince myself, Your Highness." She shifted her eyes side to side as she continued sizing up the Flame Princess, getting a wrap-around on her firm stomach. "But between you and me, I always thought that a boy in robes and healer's garbs would be one who preferred the cockerel over the muff--but of course, what do I know of royal politics?! Ahahaha~ now I believe I have just the sort of deals just for you, dear."



With that, she excitedly brought out a few gowns, some indeed holding onto the Elsgarde royal colors, and some more noblewoman-like gowns that coincidentally had such fiery tones of crimson and golden. The initial measurements looked as if it would fit a more wide-set noblewoman, even when it was fitted atop of her, which led to her beginning to adjust the gown to fit the flame more appropriately.



She tried them all on, all fourteen of them, and each one looked amazing on her body. Even if she despised being dressed in that which she denied for so many years, deep down, she could not deny that she looked amazing.



"Now, I have one more dress that needs extra special attention and MUST be done within the end of the month." She leaned in to whisper to the woman, telling her about a fiery red wedding dress befitting a queen.



When all was said and done, Rabekah paid the kind woman with a hefty sack of gold and silver, far more then the dresses were worth. But when one had the money of two nations, one could dish out what they please to whom they pleased.



--

"So, have you heard? The wisps have been getting awful restless..."



"You don't need to tell me twice. I've heard those rumors. The Airs are getting restless, and they've been getting very aggressive from what I've heard."



"I heard they can make lightning as well--"



"Impossible!"



"Wisps are our kin; they cannot lie. They have learned how to conjure lightning, and how to suffocate us--"



"Impossible! We are flames! We consume the air--"



"Not the way they're doing it from what I've heard; killing fire without even touching them, cutting them off... They've gone far from being target practice."



Evan sat patiently in the caravan while he waited for the Princess to return. When he heard Rabekah bark at her escorts to begin loading all of the gowns onto the carriage, he leaned back into his seat, before casting a curious glance back on the Princess.



"So, I-I see you've ascertained what you have required, yes?" Evan noted simply.



"Yes, I have." She said curtly. "I'm rather... amused about how some of your people regard their 'cockerel-craving prince'." She said this with a slightly amused look, doubled with Evan's immediate tomato-red tint upon his cheeks. She tapped the door, letting them know they could be on their way back to the Keep.



She would dread the notion of having to get her feminine attire on as well as have her face painted as a noblewoman would one day. Something she had not done in many centuries.



"W-w-well, perhaps it was due to my lack of interest in pursuing a suitor or a c-consort prior to our arrangement. My people are my first priority."



A dark glare met his eyes immediately. "Well, if you're not into females, now would be a fantastic time to tell me." She tried being polite. The princess being a prince was a small shock to her already, but if he had no interest in furthering the royal line, then that was a problem. "Do not lead me on anymore then you already have, please."



"Oh no no no! It's not that at all!! I show no desire for lusting after men!!" Evan reassured her, blushing deeply from his choice of words, as if unintentionally insulting Rabekah's masculine choice of dress. "I-I have always wanted a-a woman--someone who I could bare myself to... but because of the constant fighting, how can I allow myself to feel happiness when there are others who suffer all around me?" He looked to the flame again, a small, boyish smirk across his dainty features. "Though, admittedly, when you proclaimed yourself as a woman, it did ease my anxieties about our arrangement."



"I was fine either way with this arrangement, to be honest. Though if you had been a true woman, I would have never shared my bed." She recrossed her arms and legs, the same blank face beginning to take the place of any sort of emotion.



"Ah... I-I see." Eva glanced to the side, always finding the 'neutral' disposition of Rabekah--Rowan--the Flame Prince to be a slight jarring, as if he had done something wrong, as always.



"Is something about me bothering you, 'Prince'?" She asked him, her eyes still on his being.



"N-no! Of course not--"



"Then stop looking away from my merely being myself, understand?! Even as I bow down to your request, I will NEVER compromise this facet of myself!!" She let out an irritable sigh afterwards, before letting her eyes glance out the carriage windows. It seems that the closer they got to the castle, the slower they moved, with the driver yelling at commoners to get out of their way.



==

A week's time had gone by after the Flame Heir's arrival at the Elsgarde Empire.



Crown Prince Evan, after a rigorous morning of mental exercises for his healing training, and followed with a grand time perusing Elsgardian literature in the library, was heading towards the Royal's Wing. It was very spacious and quite elite indeed, with one chamber currently housing Princess Rabekah--or rather, Prince Rowan; her rule was harshly enforced that when she was not in her gowns, she was always Prince Rowan. And she had not stepped out of her cold, harsh, 'male' persona or threads for the chance moments he saw her.



He knocked on his door, wondering if he would actually get to see him at all today.



--

On the other end, Rowan snapped out of a warm trance to the sounds of rapping on his door.



He got up and approached the door, opening it fast and firmly. Of course it was his human bride and fiance, Evan.



"What, is it, Evan?!" He barked lowly at the Prince before him.



"Ah..." He looked into the Flame 'Prince's' eyes. There was always that hateful sort of spark that seemed to always be directed squarely at him. And yet, Evan could feel that there was something off. "Y-you've sequestered yourself in your chambers the last few days, Your Majesty. Are you not feeling well?"



Rowan almost started to apologize, but stopped short of doing so. He felt he shouldn't have to. "I-I... I'm," he placed a long index finger between his brows and shut his eyes. "Your air quality in the castle... it is terrible for me, Prince."



He had been avoiding him on purpose. The air in the human lands was different, less oxygen due to so many people and not enough trees in the immediate area for air production. So he was feeling slightly ill and irritable.



"AH, the a-a-air's unsuitable??" He glanced down, feeling like it was his own fault in some way. "I-I'll see if I can--"



"Evan, stop. Just..." Opening his eyes, Rowan stepped out of his chambers, shut it behind him, and gave the Crown Prince a semblance of selflessness. "You were right to pursue me; I need to be less negligent towards you. So... let us spend some time together, yes?"



He looked at him blankly for a moment, before giving him his own sign of jubilation, glad to see some forwardness to finally socialize at last from Rowan. And as for his problem with the air...



"Past the Keep, it leads on down to the Lowlands. Nothing but green fields, farmlands and forests; perhaps it would suit your current needs more appropriately." He suggested. "T-t-to give you a proper breather, as it were."



"S-sure." Rowan said, a more genuine smile to his face. The thought of fresher air really seemed like a wonderful idea. "Won't you lead the way?" Rowan gave a tiny bow, his eyes burning a little brighter with happiness.



"But of course." His lips took to a relieved tone, before leading the way.



Mentally, Evan beamed happily, for his 'husband' had finally smiled to him.



--

Evan firstly informed Iliya that he was showing His Majesty around the Lowlands, in case the Emperor and Empress would ask for their whereabouts. Rowan giving a venomous glare towards the attendant behind Evan's back was another step of the plan, according to the Flame Prince.



Then from the south end of the Keep, it was a firm but smooth and straightforward walk towards the Lowlands. True to Evan's words, there awaited lush fields of green, of farmlands and animals on one side, bordering forests on the other side, all of it so green and vibrant and alive.



Heading downwards from the fields, the Lowlands ended within a valley area, small rolling hills with tall grass that swayed in the wind. One could smell hay and wheat as the breeze blew. Rowan stopped to admire the scenery. This was so unlike his desert home, all green and forested.



Taking in a deep breath, he closed his eyes, spread his arms, and fell backwards into the tall grass. His hair, which had seemed to have dulled into a darker red, lightened very quickly, becoming vibrant once again. Prince Evan even noticed that definite color was returning to Rowan's hair and pale skin regaining its naturally tanned color. Opening his eyes and looking to the sky, Rowan's eyes burned brightly with an inner fire. His orbs practically shimmered in the daylight, watching the clouds simply race by.



"You were not exaggerating when you said the air at the Keep was not to your liking." He nodded to him. "You appear to be in more definite spirits, Princess Rabe--" He caught himself before he could finish, glancing towards the dip of the valley. "I-I mean, Prince Rowan..."



He loosed a quiet sigh, his smile fading somewhat. Was it really straining the human Prince so much to identify him as he deserved? "Fix your tone, Prince. I had thought you'd have known better." A glance towards the human showed him with his head down, eyes paying more notice to the surroundings than to himself.



"Ah, my apologies, Your Highness." He supposed he had gotten his hopes up, only to have them dashed away.



Another inhale and he continued to speak. "But yes, this air is quite preferable."



He turned his head to Rowan, a faint smile on his lips. "Well, I am delighted that you are elated with your environs, Your Majesty." He looked around the valley surroundings, noting the peaceful air. "If you like, I could request His Majesty to erect a quaint manor within the Lowlands for us."



"Yes that would be... wait," he cut himself off, sitting up quickly. "What do you mean build a manor here?" He looked confused; was the prince wanting Rowan to move here? "I cannot stay here, Evan. I would not survive the winter!"



"Ah--I-I wouldn't ask you to stay the winters... but, just as 'Princess' Eva has come to accept staying in Kasairona, perhaps I can ask you to accept Elsgarde as a second home as well?" He looked around the sweeping valley. "And since you seem uncomfortable in the Keep proper, I could request the King to commission a manor here, suitable for you in mind."



"No." He looked very sternly at the prince. "I will live in nothing short of a castle, and I need to be among my people. We married in my lands first, so we will be living in the oasis."



Evan's eyes widened. "A-Are you suggesting that I-I may never see my home again??"



His face was in a scowl now. "YOU may live wherever you wish. But I will not be staying in these lands for long. Unless it's your purpose to kill me with lack of air."

 

His heart felt a slight ache as he looked out to the surrounding greenery. "I... I cannot force you to obey my words; if you wish to stay in Kasairona during your rule, I will not force the issue! But can you not set yourself down, even by a slight, to accept that Elsgarde could be another home for you, even if only for the warmer seasons--"



"NO, I WILL NOT." Rowan voiced firmly, his eyes showing off that molten energy. "How naive could you possibly be?! Just because we marry, it doesn't even mean we need to be in the same country."



"Well, how cruel of you to say such a thing!" He looked down at his feet, feeling very uncomfortable around 'Rowan' now. "Even though all of this started merely as a prevention of war, it may surprise you, Your Majesty, that I have developed a fondness towards you, both as Eva and Evan. And yet you seem most indifferent to whether our peoples see their future rulers split apart, barely seeing eye-to-eye, fostering only distance and contempt." He stood and looked down at him. "How good you must feel to ensure that your PRIDE remains intact, Prince Rowan."



The Flame Prince got up abruptly. "And here's where you're wrong; I don't care about any of this!! I DON'T love you, let alone like you very much!!" His inner flame danced angrily in his eyes, his pupils disappearing. "I said it once, and I will say this again: I would WIPE every one of you human vermin off these planes! This is OUR world!"



He could feel his hateful eyes smoldering onto him. He looked absolutely hot to the touch; as if Rowan's skin would buckle under and melt to its true form, as if laying a hand on him would melt flesh and bone off the human prince's body altogether.



"...Then show a better example for us 'vermin'. This whole ordeal is not just about your stubborn pride, about your being coupled with me, or even if you're scared of baring children in the future, Your Majesty..." He started to walk away, continuing to feel that intensely searing hatred behind him, trying to hide the fact his heart was both beating incessantly and sinking to despair at the same time. "If you wish to keep the 'facade' of our courtship up, there is a lavish gala tonight. They will expect us there, and in our finery. S-so... don't be late... Princess Rabekah."



Rowan's fists were clenched in pure, seething anger. How tempted he was to just send a gout of molten flame at him, merely to strike him down and end this 'farce' once and for all. He would be dead, their peoples would war everlasting, and...



The Flame Prince immediately stomped down towards the end of the valley in the opposite direction of the Prince. Upon reaching the bottom, he stopped and sat down heavily, letting out a huff.



"Stupid prince." he cursed in his mother tongue.  Maybe he'd just spend the day out here; it would do him no good to go to the gala in a pissed off mood. Suddenly, burning all the gowns he had bought out of direct protest of Prince Evan's requests didn't seem like a bad idea now.

Inheritors of Paracelsus (Chapter 5)
Chapter 5: 'Rabekah'

A simple errand at the human Prince's behest... And testing the Flame Prince's patience...

--

This is a story and RP co-created by myself and with my dear friend :iconsailor-alnilam: A tale of war, politics, and arranged love...

The preview image was also made by :iconsailor-alnilam:
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The carriage bumbled along that rough road, as being this far in the country meant the roads were in some disrepair, allowing the occasional shift from side to side. The Flame Prince's eyes had noted the Nexus-Point that joined the Elemental Plane of Fire to the human lands of this continent for the very first time. And the sensation of crossing through a Nexus-Point was indeed a first for Prince Rowan, which, alongside the Princess Eva and their escort, felt a slight shifting of their internal organs. Nothing more than mild discomfort that passed as they continued down the countryside.



Once they had started passing through the smaller villages and settlements, the roads were paved in tan brick, affording a smoother ride. Their carriage looked unimportant, but merely as a means to not draw attention, aside from the fact that the fire nation guards dressed as cloaked sellswords, tough looking individuals that would dissuade pitiful human thieves and highwaymen from attempting anything on them.



Rowan wore simple clothes for this trip, a white long sleeved tunic with gold embroidery and white pants. A beautifully detailed red belt was at his waist. He sat with his legs and arms crossed, his head lowered and his eyes closed. They were already married, according to his people. But Eva's Empire would not recognize this until they were wed in the human capital. It was all tedious business, but he supposed this allowed them to live in either capitol whenever they chose.


 

He let out a low sigh, wishing he could sleep, but the atmosphere was a little uncomfortable, both with the human realm's middling temperatures, and with his new wife sitting across from him. Rowan remembered how he left her last night, sweaty, drunk and whining incessantly. He almost felt embarrassed with the looks he received this morning when he was found in his own bedchambers. And of course, the maids were the first to gossip about the unconsummated marriage, already fearing ill tidings for Kasairona.



Princess Eva, dressed in her slim traveling gown and a fur stole around her shoulders, glanced over at the Prince seated across from her. So badly did she want to say something, but the fact that her head was throbbing uneasily reminded her that she had more than a lady and a healer combined should have imbibed the night before. She had awoken all sweaty and exhausted, her wedding dress and honeymoon attire underneath all in a thin sheen of sweat, to the point of almost becoming translucent fabric. Even a cool bath, a generous goblet of water, and a change of clothes didn't completely quell her hangover.



The temperate climate of her home, compared to the scorching heat of the Fire Realm, was almost chilling in the transition, but it made her feel right at home again. sighed quietly, eyes lost in the green pastures past the Nexus-Point and towards the closest village from that point. It all had elated her.



Until regards with the Prince once more plagued her thoughts, sending that uncomfortable feeling into the pit of her stomach.



"Y-Your Majesty, last night... w-was I... unbearable in any sort of way?" She spoke meekly, but a tone that did not sound like her lady-like tone.



He did not open his eyes for a moment, and when he did they seemed to glow in the carriage's dim light. "No. You were not unbearable. But you enjoyed chattering the entire time you were in your unacceptable stupor. Things about 'Princes' and thrown away clothes." He gave a small shrug.



She blushed in crimson, eyes looking down at what he talked about, about what she had 'blathered on' about last night. "Ah, I see... I-I apologize for bothering you with such yammering, Your Majesty..."



Her feet kicked innocently enough, small heeled ankle-boots and sheer black leggings beneath her gown. Before long her eyes looked to the Prince's once more, fingers gripping her own arms uneasily.



She couldn't avoid this topic any longer, especially if they were to be wed again in her own homeland and then forced to consummate their union at last.



If she would die here, at least it would be far away from any of her subjects, sparing them from the Prince's wrath.



"...If I may, Your Majesty, I-I-I must confess something to you."



The Prince's heart skipped a beat, and not in a good way. Ice seemed to run immediately through his veins.



"Oh?" He said quietly with a raised brow. "That perhaps you're not really the Princess? That they had thought to deceive me and my people by wedding me with someone else from the royal court? Or even a pitiable peasant?!"



"N-n-no! I-I'm not a noble or a peasant, oh no, Your Majesty..." She bit her bottom lip, her legs nuzzling together. "Y-you were given bare information about being in an arrangement with a child of the Imperial Throne, yes? Nothing specific?"



"Of course... Why?"



"Th-there... There never was a daughter Of the Imperial Throne, there was only... a-a-a son."



Rowan's face didn't change; he just kept staring down at the floor. Then slowly a hand raised to be placed at his temple, eyes closed and what seemed like a small sigh of relief escaped him.



He looked at her from the corner of his glowing eye, looking to the 'Princess' who had, with eyes closed, steeled herself for an instantaneous incineration for this confession. He even shook his head at this pitiful display; at the very least, he was impressed that Eva was prepared for death.



Rowan lowered his arms, sitting a little more upright. "Well, this works out better then planned, yes? I'm a prince, yes, but I am female."



Eva's stance seemed to soften a slight, eyes carefully looking up to the Flame Prince's strong form. "Pardon?"



He let out a heavy, exasperated, impatient sounding sigh, "You have seen how androgynous some of our people can appear with your own eyes, yes? Well, I am female. I chose to be a Prince though, not a Princess; I am not one to be confined in dresses and finery."



Eva glanced to Rowan again, eyes forcing themselves to meet Rowan's own. "Y-you certainly demonstrated this facet of yours, Your Majesty... B-But do your--"



"My citizens are aware of my gender, Princess." He said curtly. "But because I am a female Prince, I am not allowed on the battlefield; too rare a commodity, my father had said. Perhaps the only downfall to my choice. If I were male, it would have been a different story."



"Ah, y-y-yes, I can see this now." Eva sighed out of slight relief; one primal fear about their consummation would thankfully not happen to her vulnerable back door. "I suppose it was difficult for me to notice; you are very built indeed, and you exude such a strong, confident air about yourself, Your Majesty. If you were of my kingdom, you would be more than a welcome addition to the battlefield, regardless of gender." Eva nodded. "Not that I doubt your capabilities; I am certain you would topple me in fisticuffs, Your Majesty."



He gave a simple nod. It was true that she was capable with a sword, but her father wouldn't hear of her going into battle. Even as a Prince, she was still a woman, and thus had to produce an heir, and was indeed considered far more valuable off the field of battle.



"Seems though that when we arrive, I will have to fit myself with a more... FEMININE attitude." A sour look most definitely crossed Rowan's lips. "After which, I have decided that you will refer to me as Princess Rabekah."



"Oh?" The dressed 'Princess' glanced curiously at Rowan. "Is that your birth name?"



"Don't be ridiculous." She snapped at him. "Rowan is my true name, but--let us be honest, who had heard of a Princess with such a strong name as that? So it is with a, well, feminine name that I must ingratiate myself with for the time being."



Eva could feel the embitterment in Rowan's regards to a proper feminine identity. Just the notion of even using a different name seemed to make the Flame Prince betray his own values. "I-If it is not in your comfort zone to dress in feminine attire, you needn't force yourself to, Your Majesty." Eva blushed brightly. Although, looking at the Prince again, imagining her body dressed in very feminine attire, was a very tempting thought; Eva was still a growing young man, after all. "Y-your reputation would be more than enough, Pr-Princess Rabekah..."



"How kind of you to placate me, young 'Prince'." Rowan shook his head. "But no, they expect you to marry a woman, not a Prince. So I shall adopt my role as the Princess. This is not up for debate, wife."



"But--"



The Flame Prince raised a hand to stop her from speaking more about it.



It was there that the journey seemed to take an awkward air between them, even as the ride became much smoother, and the 'sellswords' guarding the caravan were making quiet rumors to themselves regarding their enemies, the elusive Air elementals.



"I-I cannot change into my pr-princely attire until we arrive at Elsgarde Keep proper, but if I may offer to show you around the Empire while you are here, it would elate me." Eva insisted in her meek tone.



"Hmm." Rowan said with a grunt. "You COULD show me."



--

Rowan didnt know what to think as of yet, spending a millenia inside his own kingdom, whether it be on this earthly plane or the true elemental plane that housed the Eternal Flame.  The ground was covered in grasses and wheats, tall trees dotted the landscape and up ahead along the horizon the city of Elsgarde could be seen. A giant castle protected behind a massive wall, only the upper most spires could be seen from this distance.



Eva let his feet sway sheepishly, eyes looking out the window as they began to travel through the castle town, seeing the many houses and citizens he held so dear to his heart so closely, living their lives like nothing was plaguing them.



Eyes glanced up towards Elsgarde Keep proper as the carriage continued on their way. But then his oceanic blue eyes met the Flame Prince's, the air between the two continuing to be awkward.



"So... Your Majesty..." Eva said meekly.



"Yes?" he replied dryly; they'd already confessed to one another, what else could he want to speak of? He continued to hold Eva's gaze, his eyes smoldering lightly and literally. A faint light and smokiness escaped the corners of his eyes.



He gulped uneasily, already intimidated by the fact that the Flame Prince's eyes were literally smoking a sort of hateful heat at him. "...I-It's Evan. My true name is Evan. E-Evan Resplen Elsgarde."



His eyes glanced away from him again, still feeling that encompassing hate on him.



"Evan? How... similar to Eva. So does anyone else from the human kingdom know of--" He saw how Evan looked away, his body rigid and looking out the window once again, serving only to annoy him further. "Do you fear me, Prince?" He looked from Evan's feet up to his face, seeing his obvious unease.



He gulped from the burning question. "F-Forgive me, Prince Rowan..." He looked to him again, feeling that heated glare coming off at him. "Every moment you look at me as such, I feel as if I had offended you in some way." He glanced to the ever-approaching keep in the distance, before looking to the female prince again. "It is terrible, yes. I apolo--"



He tapped his fingers restlessly against the seat, "Stop!" he scolded, "It irritates me more to see you cower as prey. You're a Prince; act as one!"  As they were both Princes, they were quite equal in every way. But that aside, it pissed Rowan off. "Perhaps you should have been a woman after all."



He had to steady himself, steady his breathing. The words the Flame chided him with practically incinerated his words deep. But he was right.



"...Then do not give me a reason to feel like prey to you, Prince Rowan." He didn't clench his eyes shut this time. If he would be fried here, it would be as a proper member of the Imperial Family.



"Regardless, only the Imperial court and servants are aware of my... persona, so to speak, Your Majesty." He went back to answer his earlier question.



A small smirk appeared on Rowan's lips as Evan didn't flinch away this time. "Oh? Then perhaps you need a thicker hide. I've only been myself, but if that is too much for you to handle..."



Rowan chuckled darkly as she noted the color on Evan's face draining a slight, not liking the undertone of his voice. There was a far deeper secret Rowan would likely never speak to Evan:



In days past, when the humans first arrived at the lands that would one day become Elsgarde, the elementals viewed them as a new food source, and each had a macabre preference.



Air would devour the breath from their lungs.
Water would drain the blood from their veins.
Earth would remove and grind down their bones.
Fire would siphon the heat from their bodies.



Truly Evan would have had more to worry about, if it wasn't such a guarded secret that they had made sure would disappear over the centuries.



Once again, the trip took a dark and awkward air between them. As if he--no, he'd stop thinking that way of Rowan. She was the Flame Prince, his 'husband'... but still a woman. Regardless, it would be a miracle if she would even consider showing an ounce of kindness towards him, or garner a peek of her in a gown.



Rowan actually gave a bit of a laugh seeing Evan like this, his small fangs showing as he did so. "Apologies, but you look like you'd pass out from fright." He leaned forward, closing the gap between them, his eyes glowing brighter. "You have made me a fangless predator, Evan. But do not think I have lost my claws."



He gulped hard again. "To see any emotion besides your neutral... distaste... it will take much time to adjust to, Princess Rabekah."



Rowan would've let off a simple chastising had not the carriage finally come to a stop, as it arrived outside the massive gates of Elsgarde Keep. Many servants approached the escorted carriage, and began to take the effects off it. And with it, the doors opened for the both of them.



"Prince Evan Resplen Elsgarde, it is good to see that you are well." Amidst the servants, a stately mature-looking woman dressed in a flowing maid's dress approached, helping the dolled Prince out of the carriage. "My word... you look pale, Your Majesty, is something the matter?"



He shook his head and smiled faintly. "Nothing to worry about." Evan said softly, feet daintily touching the familiar turf.



"Presenting: Prince Rowan of Kasairona."



Another Herald barked, and as Rowan exited, showing his full height to them, easily taller then Evan by a full head, he felt all eyes on him. An uneasiness rippled through the crowd of servants. To have one of the most hated and feared of Elementals to be welcomed at their court. He looked around them, his face neutral as he stepped down and waited to be attended to.



The human Prince noted how the servants were initially antsy around her; justified, Evan mused as he cleared his throat, as they were servants, not soldiers.



"Please, everyone... The Flame Prince is our guest." Evan said simply, curtly. "Please bring the Prince's effects to the Royal's Wing at once."



"There is a spare room in the Royal's Wing, Your Majesty." The mature attendant bowed to him.



"Very good, Iliya. Then please escort the Flame Prince to her chambers." Evan glanced down at himself. "Admittedly, although I have become accustomed to dressing as a lady fair, I do desire to dress in my preferred raiment again, before we meet with Their Majesties."



"Of course. Emperor Einz and Empress Fiora are more than eager to see you once again, Your Majesty." Iliya then looked to the Flame Prince. "If you'll follow me, we will settle you into your chambers before your meeting with the Imperial Majesties."



Rowan could tell already that he wasn't liked by the maid; she seemed to have a very motherly air about her, poised at Evan, and would likely not bite her tongue if it came to a potential argument with him.



But the Flame just gave his standard smile and made a motion for the maid to show him the way.



Evan, when he glanced back at Rowan being escorted, he couldn't help but feel a lingering twinge of jealousy within his heart.



"How cruel of her; she never once smiled at me..."



--

"So, if you wouldn't mind a question from a mere servant, Your Majesty." Iliya spoke while she glanced back to the servants taking the Prince's belongings to the prepared chambers. "How has Prince Evan fared in your Kingdom?"



He gave a slight, hmph, not in a hostile way but merely a noise. "He would have been better off from the start to say that he was indeed male and not masquerading as a woman. Given that select people in my court are aware of my sex, they found it odd that I'd agree to such a thing as to marry a woman."



"Their Majesties did not have the knowledge of your true gender when the peace agreement came to pass." Iliya said, as they continued through the stately halls. "So they had err'd on the side of caution." The attendant shrugged her shoulders. "Then I would presume that if you both were indeed men, there would perhaps be talks of nobles to fill the role of siring heirs to the throne--"



"BUT," Rowan interrupted the attendant's thoughts, not wanting to hear where that train of thought would lead. "aside from the occasional annoyance for not asking when needing things, all was well." A slight shrug of the shoulders, eyes looking around at the smooth stone walls and thick tapestries that decorated the hall.



"Hm, not wanting to trouble anyone for his own well-being... that does sound like the Prince indeed." She nodded. She stopped her tracks in front of a chamber. "These shall be your chambers, Prince Rowan."



She opened the door to the spacious room. It was in shades of purple and silver. A four poster canopy bed with sheer black curtains greeted the Prince as well, along with a boudoir and a vanity.



Red eyes gazed around the room, hating the tones. "I'd like to speak with a decorator... the colors in here..." It was obvious as he stood there in his white , red and gold attire. This room was not any reflection of himself. "Your Prince needs to learn to speak up for himself. How ever shall he be a ruler if he cannot?"



"Hmm... on the matter of his subjects, he is absolutely vocal." Iliya stated, watching the servants set Rowan's things away carefully. Another gesture from the mature attendant would indicate that the colors were not to the Prince's tastes, and to begin re-arranging it to be more complementary. "Whenever soldiers, servants, or citizens are injured, he has always been so direct and strict with treating them, not even concerning his own person when mending them. He even takes trips to the Castle Town to ensure there are no unhealthy citizens."



"But I suppose, given his experience, speaking with delegates is his weakest point... especially if he's off-put by them." She said firmly, overseeing the servants who were working as a unit to change the tone of the chamber to a more Fire-appropriate environment. "I wonder why..." She mused with an almost sarcastic twinge.



Rowan gave a slight frown and narrowed his eyes to her. "So you're saying he'd let himself become injured, rather then care about himself? Interesting. But I will not have my spouse die of such selfishness." He pursed his lips.  But he stopped speaking, no need to say to much to her, she had no say in the matter, it's something he would do later this evening if he had the time.



"...Selflessness." Iliya shrugged her shoulders, as if correcting the flame. "He's been selfless to a fault, ever since he was little and taken to the healer's role."



Within the hour the room had been transformed, sparkling gold and red cloths hung above the bed and tapestries in similar colors hung on the walls, the sheer black curtains remained around the bed as well. The silver sconces on the wall had even been changed out for blackened ones. It finally looked like one that he may have had in his own palace.



She crossed her arms and smirked at the completed transformation. "Heh, I may not be in the army any more, but I think that was a well co-ordinated rearrangement. How does it fare, Your Majesty?"



Striding to the nearest tapestry and running his long delicate fingers over it, he gave a soft hum of appreciation. Surely they were very fine to the humans, but to him, it could be better if an elemental had woven it.  "It is good." he replied, "Almost feels like home. But, the air flow seems... stuffy."  He felt a tightness to his chest, like his Core lacked proper oxygen to keep burning as brightly.  For now he opened a window, allowing a cool breeze to pass over him, taking in a deep breath of air, smelling the lack of anything remotely sulfuric.



"Oh, yes, you ARE a Fire elemental, after all." Iliya noted the Flame Prince from behind. "There are not a lot of windows in the Royal's Wing, nor is there a definite breeze passing through, even on a more blustery day. The barracks, on the other hand, is well ventilated, but it's hardly a place for royalty or nobles." A dark smirk crossed her features. "Especially those who are not qualified for battle--"



He turned firmly on his heels to her, his mask of emotionless apathy on his face. "Leave." He snipped, excusing all the servants, including her. Most of his items had already been put away neatly in the wardrobe but a couple trunks sat with their lids open, clothes partially hanging out.  Rowan kept his eyes on her, daring her to say anything else.



Iliya chuckled simply, the last one to leave, before bowing in a proper curtsy. "As your wish, Your Majesty." When she left and closed the door behind her, she loosed a smirk to herself as she left the Royal's Wing. "I'm glad I'm not in my prime any more... I would've loved to snuff out that entitled little candle."



--

Rowan wanted to incinerate that woman. She was already infuriating with that attitude of hers, and the way she mentioned 'not being qualified for battle', it made him clench his fist firmly. How did a servant-woman like her know about HIS station in Kasairona?? About HIS entitlement and detriment all in--



But not long thereafter came a soft knock to his chamber doors. He shook his head and breathed out bitterly. "Proceed."



In came a younger maid, bowing lowly and being careful to not look him in the eye.



"Their Imperial Majesties wish to see you now, Sire." She kept her head down and backed out of his way.



A nod of his head, going to his vanity and selecting a black ribbon which he used to tie his hair, a high ponytail, the short strands of hair sticking like some kind of crown. Only after did he leave his chambers, being led towards the throne room by another faceless-to-him servant.



He peered in to see his wife, Evan. He seemed to be in well spirits, as the Crown Prince of the Elsgarde Empire was now out of a fancy dress. His healer-like raiment, suit-like in appearance, with matching blue and white and silver accents that depicted royalty, seemed to fit him more appropriately, Rowan mused. He even tied his effeminate hair into a simple lengthy ponytail, draping it right between his shoulders. And he appeared to be in conversation with the Emperor and Empress, looking regal and refined.



Evan's eyes turned to the entrance hall, seeing the Flame Prince standing there. "Mother... Father..." Evan nodded simply, looking to Rowan, beckoning him forward with a simple gesture. "Her--H-His Majesty, Prince Rowan of Kasairona."



Emperor Einz nodded firmly, standing from his throne with his strong presence and bearded visage. "We of Elsgarde welcome you to our abode, oh Flame Prince."



The portly and more elegant Empress, however, held a more curious glance towards the, according to her mind, 'crossdressed princess', informed of this note from her son. "Indeed. You grace us with your... unique presence."



He gave a small bend of the waist to the king his left hand covering his right side of his chest. Then his gaze rose to the queen, the mask of disinterest back on. "A pleasure." he said lowly, his voice as androgynous as his appearance.  After the introductions he went to stand with his 'wife'.

 

"They do not like me..." he said quietly so only Evan could hear.



"I-I know my mother, for certain... sh-she's old-fashioned. My father, though--" He could feel their eyes on him, and so he cleared his throat and spoke up. "I-I understand that, b-between all of us, there may be some tension yet." He sought to mediate between them. "But is this not the reason why we have come to this? So that we may yet foster some means to end the bloodshed between us?"



"Indeed, my son." The Emperor nodded in agreement, looking towards Rowan. "Evan had told us that despite a minor upset or so with the heat, he had enjoyed himself in the Kingdom of the Fire Realm. How courteous of the good King and his son."



The Flame Prince nodded once. "Yes, " he dropped much formality here, as he was older then even the Emperor, and several emperors and kings prior. In elemental society, age mattered more then title, but he retained a respectful air for him. "I had to lend a certain artifact to help keep Eva--an--Evan, from dehydrating or dying from heat stroke, but all was well. I'm afraid I was terribly busy, not able to spend much time with him."

Evan had stilled his tongue; he knew firsthand that that wasn't true, that she had completely forbade him to get anywhere near her. But he didn't wish to correct what was potentially a still viable threat.



"Oh, I see." The Empress kept her gaze on both her son's anxious silence, and her son's future spouse, not exactly liking the shifted gaze her son did. "Well, seeing as you're in our lands, you may take this time to... unwind, and relax your weary self. It MUST be taxing to work so diligently--"



Evan noted the attitude. "Mother--"



"Now, let's not jump to conclusions, Fiora." The Emperor cut a look to his wife to be still for that moment. "This is indeed a tenuous moment between our Empire and the Kingdom of Flames. Which is why this proposal is viable--"



"It is just a lady's intuition, dear husband." She looked to Rowan. "Would you not agree, young Prince?"



Rowan stood a little straighter, looking her in the eye, 'Despite what is or is not between my thighs, I was raised as a male. Also, though I am not human, I fear I may lack this 'intuition' you speak of." His face was completely serious as he said that. "Do not forget, Eva is already my spouse. Thus, Kasiarona momentarily has more claim to him than your people."



Fiora cast another lackadaisical but judgmental look on Rowan. "Then perhaps the good 'Prince' of Flames would be more apt to treat their spouse as they are meant to--"



"STOP." Evan spoke out loud, firmly, having stood in front of Rowan, looking to his mother with a disappointed look, his cheeks a faint heated red. "Just... Stop. The both of you."



The Emperor couldn't help but smirk at the sight of his wife so stunned by being told to rein herself in. Indeed, the air was thick with discomfort on both sides.



"I will not have this sort of tension ruin what we are trying to preserve! Not here. Not ever." He looked to Rowan. "N-Now, I believe I owed you a proper tour of the Keep, yes? Especially as we've, well, already took notice of the throne room."



"HMPH..." Rowan had cast a molten gaze at Evan's mother, while extending a much kinder smile to the Emperor. "As my wife desires." He took Evan's arm and allowed him to walk her out of the throne room.



--

Immediately after, the Flame Prince relinquished his grasp on Evan, keeping his hands to himself, looking to the Prince of Elsgarde. Cold embers pierced into the human youngling's face, silently measuring his worth. "Well worded, Prince. Had you not diffused that boorish mother of yours, I would've incinerated her for even MENTIONING the notion of forcing me in gowns and the--"



Evan cleared his throat, a faint blush on his cheeks. "Well, I did not wish for any tension to befall you during your visit here in Elsgarde. Though," He glanced over to the Flame Prince. "I-It would not be an unwelcome sight to behold."



"OH?" Fiery orbs pierced him once again. "So you would join your mother's side, you coddled fool? To see me paraded about like a trophy in frills and lace for your people to--"



"N-no! That's not the case at all, Your Majesty!" Evan looked up into the taller Prince's striking crimson eyes, his cheeks still aflushed. "Even if you kept yourself entirely in your native attire and dressed as the Prince you are, I wouldn't speak out against it, seeing as y-you are more comfortable like this. But..."



His gaze continued to invade him. "Do not hold your tongue, boy. Speak your peace."



He jumped a slight when Rowan bade him to continue. "I-It would mend our personal gap if you did wear a gown, or a dress, or anything remotely feminine." He rubbed his arm anxiously. "Not for the politics, or for the approval of my parents or the Empire, but... for me. Please."



Rowan's brows furrowed immediately, his personal heat beginning to radiate from his very being, looking down at the Crown Prince of Elsgarde. He clenched his fists, as if preparing to strike him for even demanding something like this from him.



And yet, the Flame Prince mused internally, there could be some perk to having a spouse now. And not just having access to the coffers of two royal families, or the authoritative power he had. A spouse that was comfortable around him would be very easy to manipulate, instead of one who feared him.



"Very well." Sighing for the moment, the Flame Prince looked to him with that neutral feature of his. "Tomorrow, you will escort me into your settlements to acquire some gowns. If I am to be paraded about as what you deem a Princess, then I demand only perfection."



Evan's eyes lit up excitedly. "O-Of course! We shall do so then, Princess Rabekah--"



"Evan, I will say this only ONCE. When I am not in my gowns, you will refer to me as Prince Rowan, as you always had back in Kasairona. Understand?" Evan could completely see it in the eyes; Rowan was on a completely different wavelength, almost seeming like she was truly a man, from her looks to her attitude. "Now, you wished to show me around? Then show me around, Prince Evan."

 

"Yes... As Her Majesty wishes."



His vocal disappointment was kept to himself, though he could still feel that dark glare continuing to penetrate him from behind, ready to cook him alive for even associating Rowan with the word 'her'.



Elsgarde Keep was vast and stately, and amidst the sights of the dining room, the parlors, and the ballroom, there were also the barracks, the training grounds, the armory and the infirmary. Everything that kept a stately palace together, both in lavish style and fortuitous defense.



"I-I always thought of Elsgarde as 'silk hiding steel'. We have our beauty, but we are just as vigilant in our peoples' rights to live. Seeing as we've been here for so long."



Rowan took all of these sights in stride, his arms crossing together as he walked behind the Prince. The sights of grandeur practically mirrored the castle of Kasairona, with the exception of the personal fiery touch that made it a proper home for the Flames. And the military quarters were impressive as well; he could see how the humans trained themselves, and how they were able to maintain their presence in these lands for as long as they have.



It almost bothered him. But, as always, this was merely business, as usual.

Inheritors of Paracelsus (Chapter 4)
Chapter 4: Lighting the Lantern

The journey to Elsgarde, the settling of the Flame in the human lands. Cold receptions, heated arguments, silent threats...

--

This is a story and RP co-created by myself and with my dear friend :iconsailor-alnilam: A tale of war, politics, and arranged love...

The preview image was also made by :iconsailor-alnilam:
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[Chapter 9: Draw the Crowd]

[January 13th, 2016]
{Wholton Rosete Dormitories}



“What?! ARRESTED?!”


Sitting in her dorm room, Natalie had her phone by her ear, finishing typing up the last phrase for her current essay-writing assignment, before she had heard the specific ring-tone made especially whenever her little brother called. Classes today felt stressing and heavy, even if it was only the beginning of the winter semester, and since she got home, she got her wish of dressing in something loose and baggy, before appropriating her time towards her assignments.


But only a few moments after she answered the phone, she was greeted only with his shock and exasperation, dashing all hopes of positive relaxation.


“Yeah! I-It's so strange!! I mean, I had just gotten out of practice with the guys, when all of a sudden, we all see a police officer escort Mia out of the school!”


“No fucking way! For real?!” Inside, she was laughing joyously from her brother's farfetched words. But she had to rein in her enthusiasm, while clearing her throat. “Heh, lemme guess: I betcha she found some other guy to rape the crap out of--”


“Natalie, this isn't the time for that!” Geoff snapping at her seemed to cut deep to her.


“Oh of course it is!!” She groaned irritably. “I bet you that she FINALLY felt guilty for taking advantage of you at that party, so she came clean to the cops about it!”


“If that was the case, Nat, why would she come clean during the middle of a school day and make a scene about it?!”


“Hey! With a crazy little nut like her, I bet she wanted the attention!” She scoffed to the side of the phone, away from the speaker, ignoring her little brother's continued words. “Maybe she snapped after I kicked her ass--”


“You did what?!” She cursed herself for forgetting to completely move the receiver end out of her range.


“Fine, you got me--I beat the shit out of her last month for raping you--and don't you DARE say that I'm in the wrong here, Geoff! She fucking deserved it for doing that to you!!”


“It doesn't matter that you did that purely for my cause, Natalie!” Once again, his condescending tone seemed to hurt her. “You had no right to do that!! I mean--my God, Natalie! She could've had you arrested for assaulting her! Did you think you were smart like that--”


“Oh shut UP, Geoff! You think I care whether or not some fat little whore like her's gonna get me arrested on that sort of technicality?! I'd have been happy to take her down with me! She had NO RIGHT to do that to you! To my little brother!”


“Because I'd definitely want to see my sister throw her future away, purely for revenge! Nat, wh-what made you even consider that?!”


“Come ON, Geoff!!” She snapped again, her tone escalating once again. “If things were flipped around, you'd totally beat the shit out of some creeper who raped me, wouldn't you?!”


“Natalie...! Of course I would!” He had sounded so incredibly offended at the thought of the opposite.


“So why are you butt-mad about my beating the shit out of Mia then?! Do you still like her?!” Her lips twisted to a cruel sort of smirk. “Because after I beat her and sent her packing, I saw you with that other woman, Geoff. And you seemed to be enjoying yourself just fine. Like you just got over her easily. Am I wrong, Geoff? AM, I, WRONG, GEOFF?”


She could only hear an exhausted sigh of his own from his end. “Look, we'll talk about Lura at another time--”


“Oh goody, you know her enough that you know her name. How magical.” She answered sarcastically.


“Natalie, please--”


“You damn well better be ready to talk next time, alright? Goodbye.”


“Natalie--”


She hung up immediately on him, and set her phone down, before returning to her assignment, pressing the save button quickly to ensure she doesn't lose any of her work.


A timely and wise decision, as the moment her computer completely finalized her save, everything went to darkness around her.


“Are you KIDDING ME?!” Natalie finally vented out a louder cry of admonition; another power outage in the dormitory. It wasn't happening on a daily basis, but its persistence to continue interfering with her schoolwork and her personal life was beginning to grate on her nerves. “I am seriously getting sick of this shit.”


She got up and left her room, heading past her kitchen and living room, before opening the door to her dorm pad, seeing for herself, or rather, unable to see for herself, the fact that the power had been knocked out in the hallways, save for only one emergency light at the end of both hallways. All in all, with the exception of those lights at the ends of the hallway, there was only darkness.


As she was about ready to head back into her empty and darkened dorm room, she heard the sound of broken glass and a firm breaking noise in the dark. Natalie was more than ready to just slam her door shut and wait until the power came back on.


But the sound of a scream in the hallway more than made her reconsider that notion.


She stepped out into the halls with her door wide open, and began walking through the faintly illuminated darkness. Natalie approached one of the lit ends of the hallway, looking around for what was the source of the nearby scream and shatterings at her left and right.


“I know I heard someth--”


She felt a strong force pull hard at her neck, catching Natalie off guard for a brief moment.


Her cry was muffled in this assailant's arms, daring to bite down on this person's arm while thrashing her body against this fiend who was behind her. She even rooted her feet into the floor and attempted slamming the back of her head against the nose and chin of her attacker, hoping to bust her assailant enough to get away.


But the attacker's arms suddenly moved up around her neck and head, clenching her in place, and tightened against its body, feeling her muffled screams in its arms, feeling her struggle until another tightened squeeze knocked her out cold.


Her assailant let her drop to the floor, hitting the back of her head hard, before those same assaulting arms picked her up, and carried her out of the darkened dormitory.



--

{Masters Household}

“I'm home!”


Propping the door open with her back, Lacey called out inside the house. She had two grocery bags in her hands, carefully letting herself slide and push the door open, slipping inside the gap before setting the groceries casually on the floor. She stretched her arms up in the air, and got the kinks out of her neck as she glanced around, surprised at the lack of a reaction.


“Hello?” She called out again. “Andrew? Geoff?” She glanced at the time on the stairwell clock, sighing to herself. “If you boys want dinner, then you better help me out.”


She chuckled innocently to herself. She always wanted to belt out a one-liner like that, which tied into the notion that she knew that her husband and her son weren't home at the moment. Otherwise, they'd have already been home, helping their dear Lacey with the groceries. Not that she needed the help, but a little extra service would definitely not be denied.


“Andrew must be working late...” She mused as she stepped outside again to pick up the last of the grocery bags from the car. She locked the car doors and headed back into the house, repeating the same process to get the grocery bags inside. “And my little Geoffy must be out late with his friends--I swear, those basketball friends of his are gonna spoil my boy.”


She locked the house door behind her, and was ready to cart the bags already in her grasp towards the kitchen, already formulating what to make for her two men--


But the sound of the living room window being shattered inwards immediately caught Lacey off-guard. She turned and saw the horrific, blurred visage of a man in black. The dim light in the living room couldn't even shine a proper tone on this static-camouflaged fiend.


“Who are you?! Get away from--”


She had voiced before she was suddenly grabbed by her assailant, struggling and working her thinner but sturdier frame out of her attacker's grasp. But with every inch she got, her attacker worked another ounce of strength into her pressure, binding into her stomach and chest hard.


Before long, Lacey's attacker dug hard-sounding feet into the floor, and with an inaudible grunt, lifted her up and started to squeeze hard. Her eyes widened in recognition of what this was. She tried to wriggle out of this binding and strengthened bear hug, her hands pounding at her assailant's wrists, and even dug her heels into her assailant's waist, before she finally felt that gasp of air rush out of her lungs.


Her vision blurred to black, the last recollection being that she was being dragged out of her house through the broken window...



--

{Leviathan Bay: Downtown}

Geoff shivered coldly.


As he strolled through the winter-chilled park at night, bundled in a heavy and appropriate coat, his eyes looked up to the clear black sky, the sight of the moon in its waning phase. The streetlights lining the park illuminated the snowbound terrain and path, the park benches coated in snow, the entire setting quite a carefully painted canvas for urban Winter.


His mind was still lost in thought from what had happened yesterday.


The memory of Mia Elsman being taken away by an officer, and by her father--did what Natalie muse to herself actually happen? Did Mia actually become so overcome with guilt about what she did to him that she took it upon herself to get arrested?!


Another stray counter-argument crossed his mind, though: if she did, then why do it during school hours, surely causing a spectacle?


Or did she get caught up in something else that resulted with Mia getting herself arrested? Such as finding a negative outlet for being beaten up by his sister--


“Still can't believe she did that to Mia...” Geoff mused darkly about his older sister. It was a perfect familial gesture to beat the living daylights out of the girl who violated him while he was inebriated and unable to fend for himself. But it still didn't sit right with the tall blond, kicking at some of the snow on the trail.


“I mean, I know she was terrible and creepy in the end, but... she didn't deserve that...”


The drifting snow seemed to flutter by from the passing breeze. The rustling branches from the naked and leafless trees seemed to almost jitter from the cold that the lone human in the park seemed to be feeling at this moment. Geoff continued to ponder curiously about Mia, all the while his hands slipped into his pockets.


The sounds of crushing snow hurryingly underfoot behind him finally caught his attention.


But when he turned around, he had seen only the sight of a blurred, faceless individual cloaked in living static, charging him like a mindless animal, and pinning him to the cold concrete trail.


"AH!! What the hell--AGH--"


He could feel the fiend's hands grasp around his neck, trying to choke every gasp of air from his being. And as Geoff struggled and writhed underneath the smaller but stronger assailant, he was starting to feel lightheaded, a horrifying situation he did not wish to experience again.


"Get... off... OF... ME!!"


In a raspy cry, his hands that were clenched around his attacker's arms gripped hard in a strong crush, making his attacker cry out in an almost digitized groan, before throwing him off.


Geoff gasped uneasily, collecting a much needed breath of air, before seeing his assailant get up and rush towards him. He shook his head, and rolled away before forcing himself back onto his feet. He saw the look, per se, in his attacker's mosaic visage. He wouldn't stop. He would not stop.


He had to get away, to widen the gap between them, lest he get pinned and assaulted again. He had to get out of the park, to get to downtown proper, to--


"AGH!!!"


Unfortunately, in his panicked haste, Geoff had slipped on some snow-hidden ice, his entire body hitting the powdery ground hard. His head made impact with the snowy grass instead of the concrete, but the sudden drop knocked him hard, futilely fighting to remain conscious, before completely submitting to unconsciousness.



--

{Masters Household}

"WHAT THE HELL?!"


Two pairs of feet stormed into the opened residence. Andrew Masters looked around in sheer horror at the sight of the front door that was thrown wide open, and the front window that was shattered and had scattered the broken glass all over the floor. And from assessing this situation, he hadn't see Rodrigo Manchez move past him into the kitchen entryway.


"Nothing looks out of place in here--"


"Nothing looks out of place?!" Andrew snapped, standing up straight now, his sturdy construction boots stomping past and shattering the broken shards of glass under his feet. "My house just got broken into!! Do a search, make sure they didn't take anything!"


In a quick motion, the two men had rushed throughout the residence, making hurried checks to ensure that nothing of value was taken. For Andrew, though, he had called out for his wife and his son, his worries intensifying when he didn't see or hear them. And in that intense search, Andrew's hands immediately called up Leonov Merton's number, fearing the absolute worst scenario that could've happened to his family.


"Damn it..." Andrew had ceased his search back in the foyer, his eyes looking out to the empty street, blacked-out houses, and violated doorway. "DAMN IT!"


He bitterly punched the frame of the doorway hard, feeling the stinging sensation of pain coursing throughout his arm. There was absolutely no way this could be happening to him. Not like this, not right now.


"Hey, Andy..."


He turned to the sound of Rodrigo's voice, eyes looking to the sight he hadn't seen in a very long time. A sight he had thought he wouldn't see ever again.


A sight from his former days of show-stopping glory in the ring.


A black briefcase, emblazoned with the logo of his former wrestling league's logo.


"I think... I think [b]he's[/b] finally cashing in??"

It was a strenuous month.



It seemed that all attempts to get even slightly friendly with the Prince Rowan seemed to end with Eva getting the cold shoulder or at most the darkest reception. And fearing that her own powers were getting weakened, she had taken to doing the most drastic yet basic of measures: inflicting pain on herself to ensure that her magic was still up to par, so much so that it barely showed scars along her constantly covered arms and wrists.



But now, the 'princess' was finishing the last of her make-up. Shimmering flame-red eyeshadow and lips, a stately and flowing white human-style traditional wedding dress complete with billowing skirt and puffed shoulders and sleeves, white arm-length gloves, white sheer nylons clipped by garter straps and wedding lingerie beneath the tight dress.



"If the Prince will kill me on this day when he discovers me..." Eva muttered softly to herself. "At the very least, I will die as a shining beacon for humanity..."



--

The number one thing on the prince's mind was not the wedding, but the fact that beneath this strong personality and shining armor, he was a female. The sheer technicality of two princesses marrying, that would spell trouble sooner then naught. But she had a plan to not consummate this marriage this night. A wicked smile played briefly on his face as his low heeled boots clacked on the black marble floor.



As the male to this wedding, he had to arrive first, and all who gathered let out small gasps of awe as he walked down the aisle, taking his place before the Priestess of this ceremony. At the altar, he had stood a stoic, sturdy, and proud beacon of Kasaironian nobility. Flame-forged armor graced the majority of his body, his arms, legs, and body covered in ebon and gold steels, with a red and golden ceremonial cape laced into the sturdy body of the armor, letting the proud emblem of the Kasaironian royalty display for all to see.



It wasn't long though before the music played for the princess to enter the grand room. After careful stepping down the stairs towards the grand chambers--she had not completely mastered navigating stairs in pointed heels intended for fiery elemental royalty--Princess Eva finally arrived at the doorway, the doors parting to display the lovely young woman. So many brazen blazing elementals were merely in awe at the human walking down the aisle, a thin veil hiding her face.



She should be sweating bullets, but the fact that she had stayed here so long, as well as forced herself to endure the hotter areas of this kingdom, with no thanks to the quaint heirloom Rowan had bestowed onto her earlier, she had finally become adjusted to the heat, albeit slightly. Then again, it wasn't the heat that was making her sweat.



The Flame Prince took his turn to glance at the bride coming down the aisle. If Rowan had been a pure-born male, 'he' was sure he'd appreciate how lovely Eva looked. But with all that was on his mind, he kept his usual grim look. 'Just make it through this...' he thought to himself.



As she joined him, he had to take her hand, give a small touch of his forehead to the back of her hand, and then stand side by side, one arm at her waist.



'Elemental ceremonies are certainly different to human ones.' Eva mused inside the back of her mind. So much choreographed movement, as if it was all staged, done before. In appearance, it all seemed intimate and innocent in its presentation. And yet, whenever she glanced at the Prince during the ceremony, during the priestess's ritual, it seemed as if it was all cold, calculated business as usual to him. In which again, to her, it hurt deeply.



'If this is truly how all elementals act during their matrimonial proceedings, it's a miracle how they have ANY children after...'



When the Priestess's words finally ceased, her black smoldering eyes looking to the soon-to-be wed couple; the moment came to kiss the groom. The bride turned and immediately met her lips to his--



She gasped from the moment his lips met hers. It felt so heated, a sort of spicy feel against her lips. It felt so warm in a way, making her entire body feel so heated from head to toe. Rowan did not linger though. He didn't know if it qualified as a kiss as it was so quick.



Once he did this he turned them towards the crowd, took her hand and led her to the banquet hall. All along the way, there were cheers of happiness. But his look barely changed; to Rowan, this day was simply horrid, an inescapable nightmare come to fruition.



--

The banquet hall was quite full after all the guests took their seats and filled the venue to capacity. Music played, wine was poured, and the table overflowed with sumptuous food.



To Eva, it seemed the banquet was the better part of the ceremony than the actual wedding. She enjoyed the food that was served, happily partook in the wine--while hoping this wasn't a different variation of the molten viscous corona that would've 'melted her innards' as Rowan stated--and even indulged to answer some questions from youngster elementals, who were no more than kindling interpretations of children, inquiring about what her lands were like or what element she was, as if they were unaware of what a human even was.



'I very well can't say that I'm a 'Holy' Elemental.' Eva's mind joked to herself after that question was asked. 'I would be tattled and seared for that--ahahaaaaaa~'



But she couldn't get the heated feeling of the Prince out of her body the entire time.



Rowan occassionly noticed a strange look to the princess, but merely brushed it off.  He didn't care if her face was plastered red or if she seemed even more annoyingly jubilant than usual. This was merely political delegation at its absolute worst, her mind instated again and again.



It had lasted for hours, and once or twice did the corners of the prince's mouth upturned in the slightest smile towards people who came to speak with him. People who congratulated the Prince for such a 'conquest', as some of the nobles and guardsmen would joke. People who weren't the Princess or any of her fellow race.



As darkness approached he felt a dread for the consummation ceremony. Normally they would be paraded to a wonderful honeymoon room, and have to stay there all night, and produce blood-stained sheets in the morning. Sometimes, if one paid enough, nobles could watch for 'authentication' that it was blood and not wine on the sheets. It was a night the Flame 'Prince' had dreaded the entire month he had hosted the Princess.



But Rowan would be given a saving grace this night, as a human messanger approached, handing him a sealed parchment from Eva's kingdom. A thin finger broke the seal, and eyes widened, his heart lept for joy. Trying very hard not to smile, he rose to his feet and tapped a knife to his wine glass.



"My fellow kinsmen and countrymen, I do apologize for this 'unfortunate' turn of events. It appears the human empire of Elsgarde wishes us to finalize our union with a human wedding ceremony of their own. In the meantime, they... erm, wish us to preserve our chastity until that time. So I will be traveling there in the morrow with the Princess." He sat back down as the newly-ruptured quietness descended over the hall.



Eva's jubilation soured almost immediately, her mood possibly altered by the wine not doing the Princess any favors.



"OH SHUUURELY YOU JHEST!"



The quiet and demure princess belted out loudly, startling the majority of the party. Rowan already had an annoyed expression gracing his features.



"You will silence your tongue immediately--"



"NO! I WILL NOT!!" Eva stood up firmly, though her stupor favored her to teeter a slight to the side. "Would i-it really matter?! Of COURSH NOT, OH, PRINSHH!! IT's all j-jusssht... J-just..."



Eva's face was flushed red. She fell silent immediately afterwards, pardoning herself to get some fresh air on the veranda. It was one of the heated areas of the castle that wasn't protected, but she so desperately wanted some air now, to try to vent in some form.



"Ugh... why couldn't we have jussssht gotten it out of the way NOW?!" She muttered in her inebriated state, having partaken in too much wine, slumping against the balcony rail. "A-Almighty One... pleashe... just let me--hic--float awaaaaayyy..."



--

"Where could that mortal fool have gone?!"



Rowan had left the ceremony sometime afterwards, merely looking for His Princess... the Princess. He hadn't expected such a frail mortal being to drink so much, nor did he expect her to finally have some sort of a harsh tone in that tirade. Not that it mattered; if he was a much crueler person, he would've fried her straightaway for that embarrassing turn of events.



He finally found her, slumping on a balcony rail, partly atop it.  He frowned deeply. "Ok," he said walking over towards her. "Methinks you've had enough to drink this eve." Large hands, one at the back of her knees and one at her back picked her up. He hugged her body against his armored chest and walked back towards her room.



She was slightly sweat-stained from standing outside; even as it was night, it was still a humid evening for her. "UGgghhh... I-I-I was never told about this... i-if I knew th-thoshe arrang--arrangg--arrangements..." She hiccuped loudly. "I-I would've put m-my princely a-a-attire t-to the shide..." She murmured sleepily, failing horribly to struggle out of this.



"Princely?" Rowan looked down at the Princess in his arms. She thought it as nothing more than the alcohol talking, and she had meant 'Princessly' instead, which even then was a grammatical error unfitting of royalty. He had a small amount of trouble opening the door and getting Eva into her room, but made sure to be quiet. A hangover was not a fun thing.



Softly he laid her on the bed. Her dress becoming a bit translucent in places where she had begun to sweat. Despite the prince thinking this was a cool night, it would always be, at best, a tad unbearable for humans.



"Mmmmrrph... s-s-shecrets... liiiiiieessh... b-bare it aaaall for my... people..." She murmured again, the dress slightly translucent due to the sweat to show off the outline of her slim waist, the skirt clinging to her thighs and legs, the outline of her wedding lingerie showing off every sheer inch of her, save for the dress bunching up around the groin area. "Niiiii... Niiiight...~"



Rowan's eyes maintained themselves on the Princess's passed out form, looking so unladylike this night with the way she was sprawled out, her sweat-stained attire clinging so closely to her. "Drunken babble, nothing more..."



When he left her quarters, he had seen an overworked servant tending to the halls. Rowan approached this servant with a firm grip on the maid's shoulder. "Send some water into Princess Eva's quarters. No doubt she would appreciate something to slake her thirst the following morning..."



"Of course, Your Majesty. Anything for the new wife of our Esteemed Prince." She bowed before heading off towards her new duty.



Rowan sighed audibly, fingers pinching along his temple. His 'wife'...
He couldn't shake that now.
Even the miracle that he would not consummate with the Princess tonight was nothing more than a saving grace to delay the inevitable.



"Damn this Princess..."

Inheritors of Paracelsus (Chapter 3)
Chapter 3: Union in Flame

The momentous occasion arrives, but for the main parties involved, it is not a joyous occasion. Now, what was the adage about 'loose lips'?"

--

This is a story and RP co-created by myself and with my dear friend :iconsailor-alnilam: A tale of war, politics, and arranged love...

The preview image was also made by :iconsailor-alnilam:
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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."



"Ah--u-understood."



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.



"Just... leave."



"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...!"

Inheritors of Paracelsus (Chapter 2)
Chapter 2: Fruitless Month

With the initial reception hardly in the Prince(ss)'s favor, Eva would be determined to try to reach out to the Fire Prince Rowan...

--

This is a story and RP co-created by myself and with my dear friend :iconsailor-alnilam: A tale of war, politics, and arranged love...

The preview image was also made by :iconsailor-alnilam:
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TheWrightWay
Apollo Alexandre
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Canada
Current Residence: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Favourite genre of music: Video game, but I can appreciate classical, techno, and some "hit-stations" on the radio.
Operating System: Windows
MP3 player of choice: SanDisk Sansa
Wallpaper of choice: Nice-looking/humorous ones
Favourite cartoon character: See also above, but wants Spongebob Squarepants to die in a fire...
Personal Quote: Hmm/Mmm
Interests
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Music stored in laptop
  • Watching: Comedy Network, Discovery Channel, Teletoon, VGCW
  • Playing: PSO-2, Shin Megami Tensei 4, Project X Zone
  • Eating: lots
  • Drinking: lots
New puppy in the limelight, taking hours away from sleepy times so she could get us up to take her outside.

Lazy days where I don't really feel any urge to work/type  while watching over said puppy to ensure that she doesn't pee/poop in the house.

The Metal Star Prophecies, High School Slayers, (Fire Red Nuzlocke done, wondering if I'm gonna try it again if I get Pokemon X/Y), and now a new sort of idea for a story, or even more so, a script in the mental woodworks. Something superhero-y, a battle between laws and freedom, oppression and anarchy, order and chaos, seen in a different light...

Oh, and Otakon. I'm definitely going to that this year, for EFFING sure. *nods*

Perhaps staying out there for a little bit will jog up my mental drives, get me to finally break out of my MSP block for Chokehold.

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:iconchiscringle:
chiscringle Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014  Professional Writer
Thanks for enjoying Moon!
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:iconsailorv-chan:
SailorV-Chan Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
:huggle:
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:iconnicotheserperior:
NicoTheSerperior Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013
Happy Birthday c:
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:iconnicotheserperior:
NicoTheSerperior Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012
:iconkirbysleepplz:
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:icondrayle88:
Drayle88 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gina + Lucian. ^_^ Found you.
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:iconnicotheserperior:
NicoTheSerperior Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012
Oh Hey, I'm Nicodapeek on Gaia Online C:
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:iconraygreens:
Raygreens Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2012
why does the "guy" need a suite?
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:iconthewrightway:
TheWrightWay Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
...???

Dunno... why does the 'guy' need a suite?
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:iconraygreens:
Raygreens Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2012
[link] this might explain things.
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:iconthewrightway:
TheWrightWay Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Oooooooh...

... *shrugs* Appropriate skin tones, so the mask matches the body. lol
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