Voices rang out and the metal plating of armor clanged. The guards saw the sight of the severely
injured Prince, held in the arms of the taller and more fiery heir to Kasairona, who had also looked
none the better.
"Get the healers!"
"Alert Their Majesties!"
Rough hands quickly took the Prince from her grasp; one look at the blood on his robes, and on the
Flame Prince, and Rowan was immediately apprehended.
"Wh-what is this?! I saved him!" She tried to pull away, but she was being held back by four
guards. "Evan! Tell them!!"
He was finding it hard to breathe, to hear...
But his eyes could only faintly see Rowan being apprehended, firm harsh words firing off at Rowan,
even with Iliya acting as his crutch the moment he was dragged away.
They were trying to separate themselves from her. He struggled to stand on his own two feet, his
eyes on his guards, desperate to find the words to stop his own people from hurting his flame.
"UN... HAND... HER!!"
He ordered loudly and prominently, seemingly using his firm royal authority for once. He looked
like a mess right now, especially with some blood seeping from his mouth. As if he could collapse on
his own. "...You will NOT hurt my future Bride." He seethed deeply, even as his body quivered wearily.
"W-we were attacked, th-the BOTH of US... So please... t-tend to her... as w-well..."
The sight of Evan unable to stand under his own power made Rowan loose a small blast of heat
surrounding her, scattering the guards that attempted to detain her. "You'd be wise to not touch an
elemental, unless you intend to kill her." She threatened before running over to Evan, putting an arm
behind his back and picking him up once again in a cradling hold, a gentle heat eminating from her
"Old bag." Rowan insulted the attendant without a second thought, her eyes very serious. "Where in
this blasted place can I--"
"Take him to the barracks, in the infirmary. Time is of the essence."
Iliya led her down to the medicus, where she laid Evan atop a stone table with a thin cloth
"Is he going to be alright?" Rowan asked with wide eyes.
"Whatever you've done to cease his bleeding, it's holding well." Iliya nodded, looking back to her
charge, who had fallen unconscious before being carted away to the medicus. "Hmph--and they say flames
can never be used to heal. Cauterization may not be pretty, but I can't deny it does its job. But at
the least, our people will heal whatever minor wounds he's got left while he rests."
She gleaned towards the Fire Prince. "And as per Prince Evan's will, we shall tend to your--"
"You've already done enough with your treatment of me when I was trying to save him!" She snapped
harshly at the mature handmaid. "So you can keep your sympathy to yourself, humans!" Her eyes moved to
her intended, who was breathing slowly amidst the care of a couple of healers. A mix of uneasiness and
relief washed over her.
Iliya led Rowan out of the medicus, where they were suddenly flanked by guards. "Easy, gentlemen.
Easy now." The attendant raised her arm to them, seemingly exuding an air that didn't match a proper
handmaiden at all. She turned to the elemental and smirked innocently. "Now, dear, since you're
obviously not in need of medical treatment, why don't we clear this misunderstanding and tell us what
She was somewhat taken aback; as if this woman wanted her to be guilty. "You, are, a HANDMAIDEN.
When your station is higher then mine, then you shall hear it from my lips!" She gave her a
"You remind me so much of many other elementals, who bragged of being at higher stations than I
was, back when I was a mere soldier." Her grin turned dark. "Where do you think they are NOW?"
"YOU INSOLENT--!!" Rowan's anger flared up at the attitude exuded towards her. Her fists balled up,
she so desperately wanted to singe this old woman's face off. "Speak to me like that AGAIN, and I will
make you JOIN THEM! Now take me to their Imperial Majesties!!"
The mood outside of the Medicus took a fiery turn, the guards having their weapons poised at the
Fire Prince wasn't helping matters either.
"...Of course." Iliya said, her voice not even the slightest twinged with fear. "Let us see to the
Emperor and Empress indeed, Your Majesty." She curtsied and led her out of the barracks, weaving
through the guards that still had their weapons at the ready. "And I will confess... it was a stuffy
sort of gala."
"Don't you DARE speak to me, wench..." Rowan had completly forgotten, and rolled her eyes. She
hadn't the time to ponder needless things. With Iliya and a handful of guards, they marched to the
throne room, where a very worried looking Einz and Fiora sat. The Empress seemed to scowl as she
looked at 'Rabekah' wearing men's clothing.
"Your Highnesses." She said with a bow, returning the gesture towards Empress Fiora.
The Emperor looked at the two women, catching his beloved's disapproving gaze, knowing full well
the cause of that gaze. "Well, dear, our son had made mention of Her Majesty eschewing dresses for
masculine attire. We don't want the Flame Prince to feel uncomfortable here." He mused to her, before
standing from his throne, and coming down to meet her face-to-face. "A scout had informed us during
the gala that you had brought Evan into the castle, the both of you looking as if you were caught in
"Prince Evan is recuperating in the medicus as we speak, Your Majesty." Iliya reaffirmed her
Emperor. "And Princess Rabekah was most cooperative in the healing process."
"ROWAN." She harshly corrected the attendant. "My birth name is Rowan."
Emperor Einz cleared his throat. "Then tell us what has happened to the both of you??"
Rowan nodded, a glint of respect towards King Elsgarde. "Evan took me to the Lowlands so I could
catch my breath. The air flow in your castle is not ideal for me. While we were there, we had a
disagreement over... living arrangements. I presume he returned to the castle to prepare for the Gala.
When I had finished venting my frustration, I was ambushed by what I assume was a scouting party of
two Air Elementals. They attempted to kidnap me, and after some time, Evan had come to my resc--a-
assistance. He took up arms with a mace and sought me out, managing to kill one while the other
"M-My son... in battle?!" Empress Fiora was immediately shocked at this news, nevermind to hear
what else had happened afterwards.
"Indeed. I had to cauterize his most severe wound, before I brought him back to the castle."
"Airs... Air Elementals??" The Emperor was right distraught at the news, his firm features slightly
loosened, trying to maintain his composure. "They're the only plane who have never show any immediate
aggression to us--"
"Your Majesty, the very fact that these beings have infiltrated our nation without so much as a
notice from the citizenry," one of the generals in attendence spoke up. "it means that they are
becoming much more of a threat. Especially as they've made attempts on both the Flame Dignitary as
well as the Prince!"
"Well then, General, I do hope you are preparing the men to fight these threats." Iliya affirmed to
him. "The movements of Air Elementals have always been difficult to predict, after all."
"I am preparing them as well as you have taught me once before, Commander." He nodded to the
"Oh stop that, General. You know that that has not been my place for a long while now." Iliya
firmly corrected him.
The general turned and bowed to Their Majesties. "We will bolster defenses around the Keep and the
Princes during his convalescence."
Rowan looked at each of their faces, reaffirming that they truly believed her, though that damn
attendant looked ever accusing, especially as she was actually regarded with some semblance of
respect from a military official. "This one," She pointed to Iliya in a firm and commanding
tone, with the attendant fixing her own dirty glare at the Fire Princess; a look that basically told
her 'I've killed more than you've EVER had in your entire life'. "This wench is to stay out of my
sights, and not to keep me from my fiance! I will not hesitate to take action against a servant!"
Without awaiting a reply from their Majesties, Rowan marched out the throne room and back down to
the infirmary, where she had taken a stool and placed it at Evan's bedside where he was relocated. She
saw that the Prince was resting soundly in his bed, his body twitching on occasion. The extra healing
from the other healers prior helped to mend the smaller wounds on him, and to reduce the hideous
cauterized scar she noticed on his body as much as possible. Realistically, she knew it would be
impossible to eliminate it entirely.
"Prince Evan... I suppose you can consider this your first battle scar."
It was finally morning in the medicus of Elsgarde Keep. Sunlight filtered into the windows, and the
only two denizens of this room were currently asleep.
Resting in one of the beds was Crown Prince Evan of Elsgarde; on his back, his upper body clad in
bandages and dressings from his wounds. His eyes fluttered meagerly awake, taking in his practically
empty surroundings, including his sole visitor.
He could see that Rowan had practically fallen asleep on the stool she sat on. Her arms were
crossed under her head, having bent her upper body over onto the bed, her head resting right close to
Evan's hip. The Prince could only blush a little at where her head was very close to.
What he didn't know was that Rowan spent the entire night at his bedside ensuring that nothing
happened to him in the meanwhile. She even had to chase off Iliya once during the middle of the night.
She didn't like the woman at all, and was wondering if she had any involvement with those air
elementals that assaulted them; Iliya was likely the only person who could have known that the two had
been out walking that day.
Rowan quickly felt a twitch beneath her head, now aware that Evan had woken and slowly he turned
his head, seeing him looking at her sleepy orbs, a small smile etched onto her face. "Ah~ Good, you're
He tried to sit up, but bit back another groan of discomfort from the lingering pain of recovery.
He laid back down once more. The sight of her smile, tiny as it was, made him warm all over. "Y-you
st-stayed through the whole night...?"
She sleepily glanced at him, still in the process of waking up. "Mmm? Yes... yes, I did. What, erm,
husband--wife--husband-wife would I be if I did not look after my spouse? Especial--" Rowan let out a
great yawn and sat up stretching. "Especially if my spouse was also my savior?"
He gulped uneasily as he heard those words from her, blushing brighter. "I-I am moved to hear this,
but more oft, I am glad to see you are most unharmed from that awful business as well." His softened
gaze hardened a slight. "I must confess, Your Majesty... when I saw the smoke, I had thought you were
incinerating my lands as a means to vent your frustrations..."
"Well, it WAS a very tempting notion, Evan." She smirked sleepily. "I was so cross at you for
talking back to me, I contemplated incinerating my gowns at a later time, merely to spite you." Her
cold grin met his slightly despondent azure orbs, and she sighed weakly. "BUT, seeing as you saved my
life, I'll spare them."
She saw how he sighed softly in relief, but getting a feeling that this wasn't out of politics. Did
he really enjoy seeing her in gowns? Rowan shook her head and decided to pay more focus on the rest of
his body. "Hmph~ How are you feeling? Does your wound still hurt?" She indicated towards the
cauterized wound, which as he was shirtless, there was a white bandage from shoulder to waist, wrapped
all around him.
His fingers touched it meagerly, which did sting a little and was accompanied with a mild hiss from
him. "I suppose it still is..." He looked up at her from his laying position. "The only unfortunate
news is that my guards lashed at you instead of treating you... a-and I am to remain bedded for a
prolonged period of time." He distressed himself from saying this. "It means our wedd--AAGH..." He
tried to sit up again, but the pain was becoming more predominant.
"Stay lying down, the skin will be... shrunken so to say, and it will make movement harder for a
while." Rowan gently touched a hand to his shoulder, eminating heat that spread down the scar, trying
to ease away the pain. He breathed sharply initially, before warming up to the fire's touch, his eyes
locking with Rowan's.
Evan surrendered and laid himself back down. "I-It means our wedding in Elsgarde will b-be
Rowan still dreaded a wedding in Elsgarde, still wondering if it wasn't too late to steal Evan off
in the break of morning to Kasairona. Or whether she would come as 'himself' or as Rabekah.
"R-Regardless, y-you needn't suffer staying here if it does not suit you whilst I am recovering."
He chuckled weakly. "I will understand."
With a grumble, Rowan muttered, "The only person to leave will be that damned attendant of yours."
Her eyes narrowed and looked at Evan, "Despite how you feel for her, I find a certain distate for
Iliya. She has been nothing but rude to me since the day we met."
He chuckled weakly again. "Iliya always was a second strict mother to me. As for her distaste..."
he sighed. "I believe it was a fire elemental that k-killed her lover and ruined her military career,
from a time when women were forbidden to fight in our armies." He glanced upwards. "She will not tell
me who had done it either. If she holds contempt to all elementals, it is only because she will never
Rowan hardly felt that was a reason to hate all elementals; holding prejudice against more then
eighty percent of this continent's population was NOT a healthy and smart notion. "Yes, well, if she
wants an inkling of hope of being your servant the rest of her life, then she'll have to accept me.
I've never soiled my hands with human blood, but I SWEAR she will be my first."
He chuckled weakly, smiling meagerly to her. "Rowan, if my parents do not control her, I most
certainly can." He looked to the side, seeing that currently he was the only one occupying the
medicus beds, before looking to Rowan again. "So, what are you going to do now? As you stated before,
you cannot stay in unfavorable air, especially as I am amidst my convalescence."
"Yes, I know. And yet, somehow, the air down here seems better. Perhaps as we are in a rather
straight corridor. I noted that the halls in the barracks were straght corridors with curtained off
rooms. Plenty of windows to let in fresh air, too." She gave a small chuckle. "Mayhaps I should just
move into a room down here?"
He blushed at her mild reverie. "A-Amidst the medicus and barracks...?? Th-there is sparse any room
for a n-noble though..." He looked up at her again, seeing the strong features on that face of hers
that just seemed to spell out 'no contest'. "Ha, well, I-I will see what can be done, then."
"This will be the only way for me to remain in your kingdom until you are well again, or even
until... until our wedding." The way she said it really did make it sound like she was dreading the
occasion, mostly because on that day, she would remain as the Princess. "...Shouldn't someone have
been here by now with your food, medicine, o-or something?!"
He chuckled delightedly at how worried Rowan was acting, showing even this sort of PDA for him.
"Y-you needn't worry, Rowan. It is still early in the morning, and I would feel rather disconcerted if
I was fawned over--"
At that moment a couple of healers had come in, with a servant holding a silver platter, taking to
"Your Highness, with all due respect, it would be most prudent to let Prince Evan rest at this
moment." The servant bowed to her, before they began tending to the Prince.
Rowan gave a small scowl, falling back into 'his' mood, before getting up and leaving the
infirmary, slamming the door in the process.
Evan felt so helpless right now, wishing he could follow her, but every motion of sitting up
rewarded him with pain and a rush of hands ordering to keep him down lest the flesh rupture and spill
His back was a little stiff and he stretched as he got into the hallway, also letting out a jaw-
cracking yawn. Funny, he thought; HE was the one who had been kidnapped, and yet no one had asked HIM
how he felt. Though he felt fine, it would have been nice for someone other then the Prince to show
concern towards him.
"Oh well..." he said to himself and started up the spiral stairs. "If they hadn't threatened to
imprison me, I wouldn't have thrown their 'generosity' back at their faces."
As Rowan walked, another simple maid approached him. Slightly entranced with his beauty, she
stammered and bowed to him. "A thousand apologies, but H-His Imperial Majesty requests your
"Oh?" He raised a brow but then ushered her to lead him to where Emperor Einz might be waiting.
The maidservant had led the Flame Prince into a chamber with a lengthy table, where he had been
sitting and going over some old tomes, before he caught sight of the servant and Rowan. He had
surmised that this was the meeting room.
"I-I brought the Princess as you have requested, Your Majesty."
"Very good, then. Leave us be." He shooed the servant out before looking to Rowan. "So, Princess
Rabe--I-I mean, Rowan, you appear to be in more 'relieved' spirits."
"With all due respect, Your Majesty, please inform your servants that unless I am in my dress, I am
"Ah, I understand. Your own preferred taste." He mused about her moniker of being called 'Prince'.
"I will instill it soon enough."
He gave a small bow at the waist. "And yes, I am feeling better. Thank you, Your Highness. You
wished to see me?"
He gave Rowan a firm nod, a world-wearied look on his face that coupled well with his many years on
the throne in a hostile realm.
"Yes, I asked for your presence to discuss the matter of events the previous night. I apologize in
advance that I could not take immediate precedence of your words, but my son's condition, relative to
your injuries, was the higher priority, especially in front of the citizenry and court." He stood and
approached him, his firm and calloused hand on Rowan's shoulder.
"The Airs have always been a hindrance at worst to my Empire, to my people. Whether they are shady
fencers, or turgid highwaymen, they have always kept their actions and consequences to themselves. But
the very notion that they have become stronger, to the point of attacking their sworn enemies in our
very lands... it stands as a very dire situation." He looked into the Fire Prince's eyes. "As such, I
am quite concerned about the safety of both you and my son."
"Hmph, you flatter me, Your Majesty." Rowan was genuinely taken aback by the Emperor's concern for
his welfare. "Aside from you and Evan, the priority of your soldiers and damned hag of a handmaiden
was to detain me." He seethed to himself, slowly unclenching his fist. "But I assure you, I can take
care of myself, Your Majesty. I was simply taken by surprise."
Emperor Einz looked to Rowan in a fatherly manner. "I am more than certain you may handle yourself,
but without your notice, you've shown a definite intrigue in my son." He saw the curious look in
Rowan's eyes. "Oh yes, he had always kept to himself, barely bothered any of our servants; now to hear
Prince Evan ordering our servants constantly about when it came to your welfare at our Keep, even
demanding the priority of your well-being when you were close to being detained--" he smirked. "Evan
truly has his sights set on you, even if he is too humble to acknowledge it."
Rowan raised an eyebrow, a faint glimmer of warmth on his cheeks. "Oh... Really? He has been doing
all of this... for me?"
He leaned in a little closer to him, a new whimsical smile on his lips. "Indeed, Prince Rowan. He
may be the Prince, but he has rarely, if ever, exerted his authority over the servants in the Castle.
I believe that alone means he must be preparing himself for the future... Or wishing to impress you;
mere speculation, of course."
A faint smile of his own overtook Rowan's lips, before he then shook his head; he had to get back
to what really mattered at the moment. "Which reminds me, one of the Air assassins happened to mention
another Prince of the Flame... Your Majesty, would you happen to have information on this?"
He leaned back, taking his hand off of Rowan's shoulders, before glancing out the window, the sight
of the castle-town always an assuring sight to the King. "The closest memory I can recall... it was
during the time of my father, King Heigan. Our nation was constantly under attack from the forces of a
ruthless and violent Flame Elemental from your Father's armies. And not just any Elemental, either: a
Revenant, brought back from the dead by twisted magicks. He was the self-proclaimed 'Zenith-General'
who often boasted that he was the proud warrior-born of your Father. If I recall, he was 'Zenith-
Both Emperor and Flame Prince heard the sound of shattering ceramic out in the hall. The both of
them opened the door of the meeting room to see the attendant Iliya at the other end of the hallway,
the shattered articles broken at her feet. They could not see the dead-eyed fear in her eyes from the
back, her body shaking faintly.
"Iliya, is everything alright?" He addressed the handmaiden.
The mature woman bounced back to coherence, feeling aflushed as she began to collect the jagged
pieces. "Y-yes. F-forgive my insolence, Your Majesty." She bowed her head to His Majesty and to Rowan,
before hurriedly getting out of sight.
"She overheard us." Rowan stated in a most deadpan manner, his arms crossing underneath his chest.
"She continues insisting on being my shadow... I do NOT enjoy her company, Your Majesty."
"Had she overheard, I merely presume her old army memories had returned to betray her." Einz merely
smirked at this. "As for the matter on Velius--"
"Your information has been more than helpful enough." Rowan stepped past him. "I thank you for
speaking with me and telling me of this other... 'Prince.' I must--no, it absolutely cannot wait
His eyes took to Evan's father. "I know it will pain him, but if Evan asks for my whereabouts,
inform him that I returned to Kasairona to discuss urgent matters with my father! I will return to my
wife as soon as I possibly can!"
Rowan gave a small bow of the head and then immediately excused himself, heading back to his room
on the 3rd floor of the castle. Gathering only a small handful of his masculine wear in a satchel, he
hurried down to the livery stables.
He NEEDED to see his father. NOW.