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Blurble

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  1. Thanks
    Blurble got a reaction from Scrivener of the Gods in Prompt me!   
    @Scrivener of the Gods
    "This looks like peasant food," Alicia said, wrinkling her nose.
    "It is," Talia said, between bites. "And it's delicious."
    "I remember my mum making this..." Devin said, looking at the pieces frying in the pan Jack was overseeing, wistful.
    "Well, I guess I can try it," Alicia said, with a sniff. 
    Talia didn't roll her eyes. She would have nudged Devin, to exchange a glance of understanding about how ridiculous Alicia could sometimes be. But lately he'd been more uncomfortable with that, so she didn't.
    It was good chicken, anyway.
  2. Thanks
    Blurble got a reaction from Scrivener of the Gods in Prompt me!   
    @Scrivener of the Gods
    "This looks like peasant food," Alicia said, wrinkling her nose.
    "It is," Talia said, between bites. "And it's delicious."
    "I remember my mum making this..." Devin said, looking at the pieces frying in the pan Jack was overseeing, wistful.
    "Well, I guess I can try it," Alicia said, with a sniff. 
    Talia didn't roll her eyes. She would have nudged Devin, to exchange a glance of understanding about how ridiculous Alicia could sometimes be. But lately he'd been more uncomfortable with that, so she didn't.
    It was good chicken, anyway.
  3. Thanks
    Blurble got a reaction from Scrivener of the Gods in Prompt me!   
    @Scrivener of the Gods
    "This looks like peasant food," Alicia said, wrinkling her nose.
    "It is," Talia said, between bites. "And it's delicious."
    "I remember my mum making this..." Devin said, looking at the pieces frying in the pan Jack was overseeing, wistful.
    "Well, I guess I can try it," Alicia said, with a sniff. 
    Talia didn't roll her eyes. She would have nudged Devin, to exchange a glance of understanding about how ridiculous Alicia could sometimes be. But lately he'd been more uncomfortable with that, so she didn't.
    It was good chicken, anyway.
  4. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Ishti in Prompt me!   
    @Ishti
     
    Gyendal was in the girls' bathroom again, smoking. 
    "Ugh, seriously, go back to the boys' room," Lydia said. He hadn't even opened the window. Now she was going to smell of smoke. 
    "It's more interesting in here," Gyendal said, blowing a smoke ring at her. 
    "You're a gross pervert," Lydia said. He sniggered, but she decided to ignore him. Some people were hopeless. She looked at herself in the mirror, trying to decide if her hair needed fixing. No, she looked perfect. She should probably head back to Trig soon, before Mr. Mathers started to get suspicious. He was so boring, it was like his superpower. But as long as she played up the dumb ditz act he was always willing to give her plenty of extra credit. 
    Lydia didn't like studying-- she wasn't a nerd-- but she did need a good enough GPA to get into an Ivy so she could choose a really rich husband. It was at times like these she wished her parents were rich enough to have donated a swimming pool somewhere or something but no, life was perpetually unfair. 
    "Say, Lydia," Gyendal said, too casually. 
    "What." Lydia said, not bothering to look at him. God, she couldn't pee while he was here. She'd just go back to class.
    "If I said I had the answer key to Mrs. Green's final, what would you do?"
    "Report you to the principal, you cheater," Lydia said. 
    "What if I was willing to share?" Gyendal said. 
    "And get caught? No thanks," Lydia said. She wasn't an idiot.
    "Fine, if that's not the right incentive, let's try this-- I can help you get revenge on Edward Pendragon."
    That got her interest. Edward Pendragon, super rich, captain of the football team, and a total loser who had dumped Lydia-- publicly!-- after they'd been going out for only two weeks. 
    "...Let's hear your plan, first," she said, slowly.
    ---
    The plan was long, convoluted, and terrible, but Gyendal insisted it would work. 
    Lydia's part in the plan was giving Mel a makeover.
    Mel was... Mel hung out with the absolute bottom of the social ladder, the total pariahs. June was a ten year old in high school, which sort of spoke for itself, and Yvette was known by all as the "Bird Girl" after the incident in tenth grade from which she'd never recovered. 
    It was a bit surprising because Mel herself could probably have gotten along fine with several other cliques around the school. She had a certain weird charisma.
    She had agreed to go along with Lydia's offer of a makeover only after Lydia had half-lied that it was for a bet. She'd insisted on checking a mirror every five minutes, too, which would have been hurtfully suspicious if Lydia was inclined to feel hurt. She suspected it was actually an under-handed dig, not just an appropriate level of caution. 
    Mel's hair, which she'd cut into an unflattering short haircut there was very little to be done to salvage (and she'd refused to let Lydia try), was, at least, very thick and smooth and soft. Lydia tucked a loose strand back behind the headband and stepped back to admire her work.
    She was, clearly, a genius. 
    "Unfortunately no amount of good looks can overcome serious personality flaws," she mused out loud, thinking of Mel's horrible taste in friends.
    "Tell me about it," Mel said. 
    ---
    ...Somehow Gyendal's brilliant plan ended with Mel becoming prom queen and Edward making a public declaration of love for her, which she threw back in his face. Lydia found the loss of a title that was rightfully hers infuriating, and the satisfaction of Edward's humiliation was completely erased when he came in the next day holding Mel's hand, the two of them blushing furiously. 
    "Wait, wait! There's a stage two to the plan!" Gyendal said, raising his arms protectively when she marched over to find him. "I promise, it's brilliant--"
    Lydia considered the likelihood that it was worth hearing Gyendal out and finding out what he had planned next.
    Then she kicked him in the balls. 
  5. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Ishti in Prompt me!   
    "So..." Edward said, "is this the end?"
    "You've asked that twenty times already," Mel said, through gritted teeth. "And the answer is still no". 
    "Twenty-three", June said.
    "Twenty-three what?" Mel snapped. 
    "He's asked twenty-three times. I've been keeping count," June said. 
    "Why have you been keeping count," Mel said.
    "Because I'm boooored," June said.
    They all were. 
    There was only so many times you could cycle through this damn basement, which kept resetting into new but somehow identical formations, none of which brought them any closer to the exit, before you started to go out of your mind. Actually, that was probably what had happened to the former owner, who was apparently now threatening to unleash a magical bomb, destroying the castle and the three neighboring villages.
    Mel and Edward had been on their way to a honeymoon by the beach. Mel was going to sip pina coladas and watch Edward flail around in the water like an idiot, and Edward was going to drag her to petting zoos and talk her into bringing home an animal she didn't want while Mel complained about him being an idiot who never thought through the long term implications of thinks that shedded scales and pooped everywhere. It was a good plan, Mel had been looking forward, so of course on the way they ran into June, who'd been sent to deal with the rogue magician. 
    Why couldn't Mel ever catch a break, seriously.
    And now there were ten minutes left on the giant, ticking, glowing, spectral red clock that had been following them around cackling evilly to itself ever since they'd entered the castle, and soon they were probably all going to be dead.
    "Edward," Mel said. Her throat felt dry, suddenly, and she swallowed. But she wanted to force the words out anyway. "Edward, whatever happens, you know that I--"
    "FOUND it!" Edward crowed triumphantly, and pulled back a hanging tapestry they must have walked past twenty-- twenty three-- times already. The glowing red clock hissed in dismay and transformed into a glowing red man.
    "What were you saying, Mel?' Edward said, even as he was drawing his sword and she had both daggers out.
    "Nothing important," Mel said. He didn't need to know that near death experiences made her almost waver on the question of pets. There was no knowing what he would do with that knowledge.
  6. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Ishti in Prompt me!   
    "So..." Edward said, "is this the end?"
    "You've asked that twenty times already," Mel said, through gritted teeth. "And the answer is still no". 
    "Twenty-three", June said.
    "Twenty-three what?" Mel snapped. 
    "He's asked twenty-three times. I've been keeping count," June said. 
    "Why have you been keeping count," Mel said.
    "Because I'm boooored," June said.
    They all were. 
    There was only so many times you could cycle through this damn basement, which kept resetting into new but somehow identical formations, none of which brought them any closer to the exit, before you started to go out of your mind. Actually, that was probably what had happened to the former owner, who was apparently now threatening to unleash a magical bomb, destroying the castle and the three neighboring villages.
    Mel and Edward had been on their way to a honeymoon by the beach. Mel was going to sip pina coladas and watch Edward flail around in the water like an idiot, and Edward was going to drag her to petting zoos and talk her into bringing home an animal she didn't want while Mel complained about him being an idiot who never thought through the long term implications of thinks that shedded scales and pooped everywhere. It was a good plan, Mel had been looking forward, so of course on the way they ran into June, who'd been sent to deal with the rogue magician. 
    Why couldn't Mel ever catch a break, seriously.
    And now there were ten minutes left on the giant, ticking, glowing, spectral red clock that had been following them around cackling evilly to itself ever since they'd entered the castle, and soon they were probably all going to be dead.
    "Edward," Mel said. Her throat felt dry, suddenly, and she swallowed. But she wanted to force the words out anyway. "Edward, whatever happens, you know that I--"
    "FOUND it!" Edward crowed triumphantly, and pulled back a hanging tapestry they must have walked past twenty-- twenty three-- times already. The glowing red clock hissed in dismay and transformed into a glowing red man.
    "What were you saying, Mel?' Edward said, even as he was drawing his sword and she had both daggers out.
    "Nothing important," Mel said. He didn't need to know that near death experiences made her almost waver on the question of pets. There was no knowing what he would do with that knowledge.
  7. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Ishti in Prompt me!   
    @Ishti
     
    Gyendal was in the girls' bathroom again, smoking. 
    "Ugh, seriously, go back to the boys' room," Lydia said. He hadn't even opened the window. Now she was going to smell of smoke. 
    "It's more interesting in here," Gyendal said, blowing a smoke ring at her. 
    "You're a gross pervert," Lydia said. He sniggered, but she decided to ignore him. Some people were hopeless. She looked at herself in the mirror, trying to decide if her hair needed fixing. No, she looked perfect. She should probably head back to Trig soon, before Mr. Mathers started to get suspicious. He was so boring, it was like his superpower. But as long as she played up the dumb ditz act he was always willing to give her plenty of extra credit. 
    Lydia didn't like studying-- she wasn't a nerd-- but she did need a good enough GPA to get into an Ivy so she could choose a really rich husband. It was at times like these she wished her parents were rich enough to have donated a swimming pool somewhere or something but no, life was perpetually unfair. 
    "Say, Lydia," Gyendal said, too casually. 
    "What." Lydia said, not bothering to look at him. God, she couldn't pee while he was here. She'd just go back to class.
    "If I said I had the answer key to Mrs. Green's final, what would you do?"
    "Report you to the principal, you cheater," Lydia said. 
    "What if I was willing to share?" Gyendal said. 
    "And get caught? No thanks," Lydia said. She wasn't an idiot.
    "Fine, if that's not the right incentive, let's try this-- I can help you get revenge on Edward Pendragon."
    That got her interest. Edward Pendragon, super rich, captain of the football team, and a total loser who had dumped Lydia-- publicly!-- after they'd been going out for only two weeks. 
    "...Let's hear your plan, first," she said, slowly.
    ---
    The plan was long, convoluted, and terrible, but Gyendal insisted it would work. 
    Lydia's part in the plan was giving Mel a makeover.
    Mel was... Mel hung out with the absolute bottom of the social ladder, the total pariahs. June was a ten year old in high school, which sort of spoke for itself, and Yvette was known by all as the "Bird Girl" after the incident in tenth grade from which she'd never recovered. 
    It was a bit surprising because Mel herself could probably have gotten along fine with several other cliques around the school. She had a certain weird charisma.
    She had agreed to go along with Lydia's offer of a makeover only after Lydia had half-lied that it was for a bet. She'd insisted on checking a mirror every five minutes, too, which would have been hurtfully suspicious if Lydia was inclined to feel hurt. She suspected it was actually an under-handed dig, not just an appropriate level of caution. 
    Mel's hair, which she'd cut into an unflattering short haircut there was very little to be done to salvage (and she'd refused to let Lydia try), was, at least, very thick and smooth and soft. Lydia tucked a loose strand back behind the headband and stepped back to admire her work.
    She was, clearly, a genius. 
    "Unfortunately no amount of good looks can overcome serious personality flaws," she mused out loud, thinking of Mel's horrible taste in friends.
    "Tell me about it," Mel said. 
    ---
    ...Somehow Gyendal's brilliant plan ended with Mel becoming prom queen and Edward making a public declaration of love for her, which she threw back in his face. Lydia found the loss of a title that was rightfully hers infuriating, and the satisfaction of Edward's humiliation was completely erased when he came in the next day holding Mel's hand, the two of them blushing furiously. 
    "Wait, wait! There's a stage two to the plan!" Gyendal said, raising his arms protectively when she marched over to find him. "I promise, it's brilliant--"
    Lydia considered the likelihood that it was worth hearing Gyendal out and finding out what he had planned next.
    Then she kicked him in the balls. 
  8. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Ishti in Prompt me!   
    @Ishti
     
    Gyendal was in the girls' bathroom again, smoking. 
    "Ugh, seriously, go back to the boys' room," Lydia said. He hadn't even opened the window. Now she was going to smell of smoke. 
    "It's more interesting in here," Gyendal said, blowing a smoke ring at her. 
    "You're a gross pervert," Lydia said. He sniggered, but she decided to ignore him. Some people were hopeless. She looked at herself in the mirror, trying to decide if her hair needed fixing. No, she looked perfect. She should probably head back to Trig soon, before Mr. Mathers started to get suspicious. He was so boring, it was like his superpower. But as long as she played up the dumb ditz act he was always willing to give her plenty of extra credit. 
    Lydia didn't like studying-- she wasn't a nerd-- but she did need a good enough GPA to get into an Ivy so she could choose a really rich husband. It was at times like these she wished her parents were rich enough to have donated a swimming pool somewhere or something but no, life was perpetually unfair. 
    "Say, Lydia," Gyendal said, too casually. 
    "What." Lydia said, not bothering to look at him. God, she couldn't pee while he was here. She'd just go back to class.
    "If I said I had the answer key to Mrs. Green's final, what would you do?"
    "Report you to the principal, you cheater," Lydia said. 
    "What if I was willing to share?" Gyendal said. 
    "And get caught? No thanks," Lydia said. She wasn't an idiot.
    "Fine, if that's not the right incentive, let's try this-- I can help you get revenge on Edward Pendragon."
    That got her interest. Edward Pendragon, super rich, captain of the football team, and a total loser who had dumped Lydia-- publicly!-- after they'd been going out for only two weeks. 
    "...Let's hear your plan, first," she said, slowly.
    ---
    The plan was long, convoluted, and terrible, but Gyendal insisted it would work. 
    Lydia's part in the plan was giving Mel a makeover.
    Mel was... Mel hung out with the absolute bottom of the social ladder, the total pariahs. June was a ten year old in high school, which sort of spoke for itself, and Yvette was known by all as the "Bird Girl" after the incident in tenth grade from which she'd never recovered. 
    It was a bit surprising because Mel herself could probably have gotten along fine with several other cliques around the school. She had a certain weird charisma.
    She had agreed to go along with Lydia's offer of a makeover only after Lydia had half-lied that it was for a bet. She'd insisted on checking a mirror every five minutes, too, which would have been hurtfully suspicious if Lydia was inclined to feel hurt. She suspected it was actually an under-handed dig, not just an appropriate level of caution. 
    Mel's hair, which she'd cut into an unflattering short haircut there was very little to be done to salvage (and she'd refused to let Lydia try), was, at least, very thick and smooth and soft. Lydia tucked a loose strand back behind the headband and stepped back to admire her work.
    She was, clearly, a genius. 
    "Unfortunately no amount of good looks can overcome serious personality flaws," she mused out loud, thinking of Mel's horrible taste in friends.
    "Tell me about it," Mel said. 
    ---
    ...Somehow Gyendal's brilliant plan ended with Mel becoming prom queen and Edward making a public declaration of love for her, which she threw back in his face. Lydia found the loss of a title that was rightfully hers infuriating, and the satisfaction of Edward's humiliation was completely erased when he came in the next day holding Mel's hand, the two of them blushing furiously. 
    "Wait, wait! There's a stage two to the plan!" Gyendal said, raising his arms protectively when she marched over to find him. "I promise, it's brilliant--"
    Lydia considered the likelihood that it was worth hearing Gyendal out and finding out what he had planned next.
    Then she kicked him in the balls. 
  9. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Ishti in Prompt me!   
    "So..." Edward said, "is this the end?"
    "You've asked that twenty times already," Mel said, through gritted teeth. "And the answer is still no". 
    "Twenty-three", June said.
    "Twenty-three what?" Mel snapped. 
    "He's asked twenty-three times. I've been keeping count," June said. 
    "Why have you been keeping count," Mel said.
    "Because I'm boooored," June said.
    They all were. 
    There was only so many times you could cycle through this damn basement, which kept resetting into new but somehow identical formations, none of which brought them any closer to the exit, before you started to go out of your mind. Actually, that was probably what had happened to the former owner, who was apparently now threatening to unleash a magical bomb, destroying the castle and the three neighboring villages.
    Mel and Edward had been on their way to a honeymoon by the beach. Mel was going to sip pina coladas and watch Edward flail around in the water like an idiot, and Edward was going to drag her to petting zoos and talk her into bringing home an animal she didn't want while Mel complained about him being an idiot who never thought through the long term implications of thinks that shedded scales and pooped everywhere. It was a good plan, Mel had been looking forward, so of course on the way they ran into June, who'd been sent to deal with the rogue magician. 
    Why couldn't Mel ever catch a break, seriously.
    And now there were ten minutes left on the giant, ticking, glowing, spectral red clock that had been following them around cackling evilly to itself ever since they'd entered the castle, and soon they were probably all going to be dead.
    "Edward," Mel said. Her throat felt dry, suddenly, and she swallowed. But she wanted to force the words out anyway. "Edward, whatever happens, you know that I--"
    "FOUND it!" Edward crowed triumphantly, and pulled back a hanging tapestry they must have walked past twenty-- twenty three-- times already. The glowing red clock hissed in dismay and transformed into a glowing red man.
    "What were you saying, Mel?' Edward said, even as he was drawing his sword and she had both daggers out.
    "Nothing important," Mel said. He didn't need to know that near death experiences made her almost waver on the question of pets. There was no knowing what he would do with that knowledge.
  10. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Azura in Wedding Dress (Gates of Night) + Balcony (also GoN)   
    First there was some silky sort of…
    “Slip, m’lady” the woman offers, helpfully.
    “Don’t call me m’lady,” Mel says, a tired refrain.
     
    “You’ll have to get used to it,” Edward had said, when she complained to him one day during a rare treasure of a free moment.
    “Why? Does everyone do it?”
    “Pretty much,” He said. “Well… Except for you.” And he smiled at her in a way that made her feel dizzy and weak at the knees. Which was ridiculous because he hadn’t said anything that brilliant- More like cheesy. Stupid. Lame
    Damn the boy. It had been a temporary fit of madness that had made her accept his proposal, albeit a madness that seemed to recur every time she spoke to him. Or saw him. Or was in the same general section of the castle as him.
    Well, now she was getting married to him, wasn’t she? What a fine fix she was in.
     
    And after that came this massive monstrosity that rustled
    And was surprisingly light, actually, even if it was enormous. There was no sneaking through narrow passageways with this thing on.
    “Do I really have to wear this?” She asks.
    “Oh, absolutely.” The woman says, looking horrified in a well-mannered, dignified way. “It goes under the skirts.”
    “To… pouf them up?”
    “To give them an elegant shape, yes.”
     
    “I am absolutely not wearing a corset, no matter how lovely a shape it will grant me,” she had announced one day, fleeing for a moment to her friends.
    Her friends, that was, plus Lydia.
    Tei’jal looked at her wearily. “It could be much, much worse, pumpkin. You could be human, like me- Oh wait, you are already. Never mind. It is exactly as bad as you think.”
    “I think perhaps you need some more rest, dear. Your body is not fully adjusted to the transition to being mortal, or that you actually need to sleep now.” Galahad said, resting a solicitous hand on his wife's shoulder.
    “You are enjoying this far too much, husband of mine. I fear my sense of humor has rubbed off on you.”
    “What? Never!” Galahad said, looking possibly a little too innocent.
    Tei’jal sighed. “You are probably right…Well then, I’ll be leaving you, cupcakes. Galahad, accompany me to my room.” And she walked away with every inch of the pride and dignity she had once had as a vampire still preserved in her confident stride.
     
    Ulf by this point had disappeared like the shy little bookworm that he was, which left Lydia and Mel by themselves.
    “What was that you said about a corset?” Lydia asked.
    “They’re monstrous torture devices and I’m not wearing one to the wedding.” Mel said.
    Lydia looked shocked.
    “But you have to! And you might as well start getting used to them already… You’ll be wearing one almost all the time. The queen always has important royal functions to attend, and her style is vastly influential on all the nation’s women. And she need never wear the same gown twice. Why, there’s an army of seamstresses standing ready to create the most stunning gowns, custom fit…” Lydia’s voice trailed off dreamily.
    Mel shuddered.
     
    Here came the first layer of the dress itself, soft cream-white silk-
     
    Which she had chosen herself, actually, for being nice and simple and understated. So naturally in the time between placing the order and having it delivered it had acquire a complex layer of silver embroidery inlaid with sparkling little gems that, oh god, had better not be real diamonds.
     
    There were small towns that could be fed for a year from the sale of this dress. Scratch that, small cities. And she would wear it once and that would be it. It was… it was such a rotten shame.
     
    And her fingers itched whenever she saw it, with the repressed desire to reach out and snag one of those little sparklies for herself. It was ridiculous. It was her own dress, after all. But there was a part of her mind that refused to believe it could possible be hers, the same part that still remembered exactly how to quietly slip away with one of those bulging little purses people wore around here as a fashion accessory.
     
    She hadn’t told him, yet.
     
    She’d made the decision when she was lying there chained up in Gyendal’s mansion, petrified. She didn’t want to think she was going to die. She didn’t want to believe that this was the end, that he’d use her and throw her away and that would be it, end of the world. That first days she’d been frightened to the point of being violently ill. And then he’d dragged her into his meeting chamber and forcibly pressed her hands around the orb.
     
    Nothing happened. She expected Gyendal to curse and rave, but instead he smiled, a thin cold smile.
     
    For some reason she wasn’t thrown back into one of his vaults but rather chained up with some guards in the main hall. She couldn’t imagine why
     
    And so she’d told herself stories about the future.
     
    Mostly stories about Ed. About eloping somewhere, running away from the kingdom and the throne and living happily ever after. Which hadn’t happened.
     
    And also long conversations in her mind, all the things she wanted to tell him all along but never dared.
     
    But when they’d rescued her they’d run desperately back to the Orb of Life. And then they’d returned with Gyendal to the Kingdom and suddenly they were getting married, and wedding and funeral preparations were going on at the same time…
     
    A second layer to the dress, some sort of drapy fabric attached with pins made entirely of hand-made lace
     
    And Mel suddenly find herself blinking back tears.
     
    The fitting lady doesn’t seem to notice. Probably used to over-wrought brides.
     
    But…
     
    The funeral had been small.
    They had thought maybe of doing it bigger. “A Hero’s Burial”.
    But somehow the thought of putting her to rest amidst throngs of people, people who had never known her…
    It would turn it into a party. Just another reason for the kingdom to gather together, and the endless grief would get swallowed up by the masses of people who couldn’t possibly understand what it was they had lost, what it was she had given up solely for them.
     
    So they had a small funeral. Just themselves and a handful of Naylithians.
     
    Ulf had tears streaming from his eyes non-stop the entire ceremony. When they asked him to say something he burst out sobbing so hard that it was clear words were quite beyond him.
     
    Lydia, for once, had not a single nasty thing to say. She was… quiet, and somber. When they asked her to say something she quietly demurred, but as she passed by the casket she has paused for a moment and whispered something no one else could hear.
     
    Galahad stood stiffly at attention. When it was his turn to speak he said “A fine girl, brave and noble. She will be remembered with honor.”
     
    And Tei’jal said some incomprehensible things about existences never ending and that everything exists somewhere at some point in time if you only know the right place to look…
     
    The Naylithians had nothing to say. Truthfully, none of them had really known Stella as anything other than the Guardian. But they had come to pay respects to their kinsperson anyway, and to take her coffin back with them. They were quiet and respectful the entire ceremony.
     
    Finally Ed gave a proper speech. It could have been quite good, really. Only he kept breaking off sentences so that he could regain his composure, and his voice cracked in the middle, and as he began reading through a short list of memories of things she had done (“Always helped with everything. Always really wanted to help. And it wasn’t because she was… It was just that she, she really genuinely had such a deep love for everyone she met-) his voice started trailing off and he sort of stared into the distance and you could see that he wasn’t really reading a speech any more, he was seeing it all over again.
     
    And at that point he’d sort of become useless and Mel had to take over.
     
    She stepped forward and cleared her throat.
     
    “Um… Honestly, when I first met Stella I. I really didn’t like her. Because I was… um… well, I was jealous of her. It was all “Oooh, look, it’s a mysterious person who came floating down, let’s everyone give her lots of attention!” and it sounds pretty horrible in retrospect but I wanted to share it with you anyways so you can understand what I mean when I say that within a week that feeling was completely gone. Because it was impossible to hate Stella. She was just… one of those genuinely nice people.
     
    I think the only time I ever saw her angry was when she realized Gyendal had stolen her wings. Which is to say that the only person she ever really hated was the most evil person of our generation. For everyone else she was always…
     
    She was good and kind and giving, and in the end she gave us all she had, and I think- I think she was a really incredible person and there isn’t that much else to say. Except.
     
    Except that I-”
     
    And she looked around at the small group standing there looking at her expectantly and was unable to hold in the tears any longer.
     
    “Except that I lost my best friend and I only managed to realize that once she was gone,” She said, and the rest of the ceremony was mostly just… a lot of tears, and hugging, and a big gaping emptiness where someone else should have been.
     
    and the veil
     
    “M’lady?” The woman asks.
     
    Mel jumps.
     
    “Oh, I- Um, I’m sorry, I just-”
     
    She brushes away the wetness on her cheeks and tries to stand straight.
     
    “If you could just… lift your head? No, no, not that high, just… slightly… There we go.”
     
    The woman smiles, a canned, patented smile- Guaranteed to Reassure Anxious Brides or Your Money Back!
     
    “Alright. That’s lovely. Look at what a nice veil this is-”
     
    “Ow!”
     
    “That’s just the clips, dear, they’re a bit tight to make sure the veil doesn’t fall off, don’t worry about-”
     
    For the next eight stabs of pain Mel merely grits her teeth and bears it (There’s a hundred thousand worse pains than a little bit of pressure on your scalp, it was only that she wasn’t expecting it the first time)
     
    Wasn’t expecting to be queen, either. It was so… strange. And she wasn’t really happy about it but she had gone from “There is no way in all of eternity I will be able to live surrounded by nobles all my life” to “Maybe this might just possibly be slightly workable.”
     
    Among other things, nobles weren’t quite as bad as she expected. Thais was different from Harburg, where the nobles were fat and obnoxious. She supposed it was because Thais had more nobles to spare, so they sort of… mellowed out once there were more than ten thousand of them living in one city.
     
    They would all be attending the wedding, of course.
     
    All “the groom’s side”.
     
    She had no family to invite to the wedding, and she was surprised by how much that unexpectedly stung. She really had thought she was used to being an orphan. But it was going to be a massive affair, and she wouldn’t know… anyone.
     
    Btu she would have to know everyone, eventually. Might as well get started.
     
    and finally the crown
     
    And Mel stood up straight, held her head high, and walked down to the beginning of a life more wonderfully terrible and utterly new than she could ever have imagined, that night as she sneaked quietly through the streets of Harburg to a destiny she hadn’t known was waiting for her.
  11. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Azura in Shiptime (Mel/Ed)   
    Mel tends to bring out Ed's little kid. *sigh* He gets all enthusiastic and excited around her.
  12. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from moonpeace in Shiptime (Mel/Ed)   
    notice: the forum move broke my table of contents and my on-site list of fics. my fics have been backed up to AO3. link in signature.
     
    To be honest I wrote this ages ago.
    But I was really only writing it in order to get to a certain scene.
    And then I hit writer's block.
    And so it sat around for over a month gathering dust and refusing to budge.
    Whatever. Consider this Chapter 1 of what may at some point in the next decade become, say, a 2-parter.

    ---

    It had been a mistake to let Edward buy the tickets.

    Actually, she should have guessed based on how... eager he had been. But then he was enthusiastic about loads of other things for reasons she never really understood, so she'd figured that this was more of the same, that maybe in addition to dreaming of farming chickens and participating in a lice-hop race Edward had a lifelong dream of buying ship tickets. At least she couldn't definitively put it past him.

    Full of surprises, that boy. But this particular surprise has been...

    “You only bought us one cabin!?” She exclaimed, in horror.

    “What? It's a double-size cabin.”

    “Yes, but there's only one of it.”

    “Well, it was cheaper than buying two singles,” he said, innocently.

    “Don't even- don't give me that sickening puppy look, money is not our biggest concern right now, and I know full well you did this on purpose. I am exchanging this ticket right now.”

    “No, don't-” he began, but followed her anyway as she stalked up to the dock to talk to the ship's captain.

    “I'm sorry,” the captain said, “but we don't do exchanges or refunds.”

    “But-” Mel began.

    “Ship policy.”

    “Could we at least buy another-”

    “Nope. Ship policy.” The captain crossed his arms firmly and stared off into the distance, refusing to speak any further.

    She whirled away, furious, in time to see Edward try- and fail- to stifle a grin.

    ---

    And so when they left for the Arishta Isles they left in a single double-size cabin, and Mel was no longer speaking with Edward, at least for the next five minutes, maybe.

    “Meeeel,” he whined.

    Mel ignored him.

    “Oh cool, these hammocks rock. Ooh, look, I can rock it back and forth like this- hey, this is kinda fun, I bet I can make it go even higher if I just-”

    THUMP.

    He picked himself up and glared at the hammock.

    “Bad hammock,” he said, and turned appealingly towards Mel. “Mel, the hammock is being mean to me.”

    Mel ignored him.

    “C'mon, Mel. You know you want to talk to me. You know, deep down inside, you just want to smack me upside the head and get over it.”

    Mel ignored him.

    “Otherwise I'll have to tell you a story about the Veldtian Merchant and the Talking Dog. That story takes hours. I'll just talk and talk and talk.”

    Mel winced. And ignored him.

    “Fine. Alright. The Veldtian Merchant. Be that way.”

    He sat precariously cross-legged inside his hammock. Mel rolled over so she couldn't see him anymore.

    “The Veldtian Merchant was a woman, with eight husbands. They were all named Quentin, by the way. She had a thing for Quentins. In the beginning she had three Quentins, one with blond hair, one with red hair, one with black hair, so she called them black, white, and red Quentin, variously. But then she got two more Quentins, and one of them brought a whole set of hair dyes. So there went that.”

    Mel felt her lips twitch upwards. She quickly willed them back down again.

    “Anyway, after the Veldtian got the eighth Quentin in an incident involving a shipwreck and a herd of angry sheep- and, now that I mention it, a ruby teaspoon and a bottle of fairy ale- she decided that she could focus her attention to building a huge shipping empire across the world. The only problem was that she had lost her ship in the aforementioned eighth Quentin incident. And it so happened that the shipbuilders in Veldt had gone on something that they have in Veldt, called a “strike”, which is when the workers refuse to work unless they get paid anymore. In Thais we don't have those, we just have general grumbling which tends to break out into fistfights and which my father says relieves the tension just as nicely, but In Veldt they're much more polite and even eat their bread with little forks. And they have all sorts of strikes... Baker strikes, Janitor strikes, I heard the politicians once went on strike and people tried to pay them to stay that way.”

    He paused.

    “Seriously? You're not even going to laugh at that? Hellooo, Mel, I just made fun of nobles. Sort of. Mel? Did you go to sleep? Should I start talking to my toes now?”

    Mel ignored him.

    “Oh well. I guess I won't tell you, then,” Edward said, sounding rather offended.

    Mel ignored him.

    There was silence.

    There was more silence.

    There was silence with compound interest.

    Mel fidgeted, irritably.

    “Alright, fine!” She said, rolling to her other side so she could see him. “What were you going to say?”

    He grinned at her. “You're talking to me.”

    “No. I'm not. I want to go to sleep and not see your dumb face.”

    She rolled back to face the wall.

    “Mel?” He whispered.

    “What?”

    “I'm sorry.”

    There was a pause.

    She sighed. “Yeah, fine, I... Whatever.”

    “And I love you. A lot.”

    She threw one of her pillows at him, and curled up into the remainder, bright red.
  13. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Azura in The little joys of living, lying, and falling in love (Ed/Mel, LoT)   
    She slept in the temple that night. The beds there were soft and warm and smelled of some unfamiliar, comfortable scent which was possibly the reason she drifted off so easily, although that could also have been the strange thick mixture they made her drink beforehand.
     
    What she’d been expecting was that they would ask her questions when she came, but instead they shuffled her straight off to bed.
     
    In the morning a priestess came with water to wash her face, and told her that they were drying her clothes outside right now, if she would just come back later that afternoon they would be ready for her. Only then did she realize that she was now wearing a soft linen gown instead of her usual street clothes.
     
    The priestess seemed to notice her dismay, because she suggested that perhaps Mel would prefer to go to school in something else.
     
    “What makes you think I go to school?” Mel said, immediately suspicious.
     
    The priestess looked taken aback. “You are of schooling age, surely? I apologize if I made a mistake.”
     
    “No, no, it’s fine,” Mel said, embarrassed and not sure why. “I mean, I do go to school.” Goddess, it felt weird saying that sentence.
     
    She looked away, feeling awkward. Out the wide temple windows, the sun was already crawling the way up the sky, hanging over the city roofs-
     
    Aaaaaaah dammit she was going to be late.
     
    ---
     
    “And why are you so late today?” Professor Grey asked, resting his chin on his hand.
     
    “Because I was-”
     
    “If your answer has anything to do with the temple, I will kill you,” He said, smiling.
     
    “I was passing by the market when a crying boy asked me to-”
     
    “Obvious lie! Three rounds of toilet cleaning! And make it sparkle!”
     
    As she was shuffling off to the bathroom, cleaning supplies in hand, he added-
     
    “And while we’re discussing rules here, you are forbidden from leaving this city before you’ve successfully pulled off a mission. If you try, I will catch you.”
     
    …And what happens after that? The question hovered on the tip of her tongue, but there was no way she was going to ask it. It was enough to see Professor Grey’s look of sadistic anticipation to know that she wouldn’t be thinking of leaving the city for quite a while.
     
    ---
     
    “Mel!” Someone shouted as she walked down the Central Hall.
     
    Well, who else? Of course it was Edward.
     
    It was time to set the record straight with the boy.
     
    “How are you feeling?” He asked. “You looked a little… green, yesterday.”
     
    “Fine.” She said, shortly, and swept past him.
     
    He didn’t take the hint.
     
    “And then I didn’t see you leaving when school was dismisses, so I was kinda worried-” He ran his fingers through his hair, “I mean, not in a creepy way, just…”
     
    She tried walking faster, but he easily kept pace with her, until she was practically running- and he was still loping along in a relaxed, easy stride.
     
    Dammit.
     
    “Listen,” she said, and she dragged him with her into a side corridor.
     
    He grinned. “Ooh, this sounds exciting.”
     
    “Shut up,” she said. “And stop smiling like that. I appreciate your help two nights ago, I really do, so in return I’m going to get a certain ridiculous idea out of your head. We are not friends. We’re not going to be friends. To make this completely, utterly clear, I do not want to be friends with you. I’m busy and you’re bothering me. Please go away.”
     
    She stalked away furiously. He was still standing there, as if he was frozen in shock, and that was making her even angrier because something about the kicked-puppy look in his eyes was making her feel hollow and rotten inside and it was completely and entirely his fault.
     
    ---
     
    So maybe he’d sort of known this was coming.
     
    Still, that didn’t make her way of handling it any less…
     
    He wondered who had told her, because she pretty clearly hadn’t known who he was two nights ago or even yesterday.
     
    He slumped against the wall.
     
    It didn’t bother him. It definitely didn’t. He was used to…
     
    ---
     
    Oh, dammit all.
     
    She whirled around.
     
    What?! She practically demanded.
     
    “Um.” He said, straightening up. “No, it’s nothing, I guess I… Just- Who told you?”
     
    “Um… what?” She said, completely lost.
     
    ---
     
    You couldn’t fake the look of utter confusion in the girl’s eyes.
     
    But she had to know. She’d been all friendly and smiley to him up until she-
     
    Pause. Rewind.
     
    She had been all friendly and smiley…
     
    He had to laugh at himself just for having thought of the words “Friendly” and “Smiley” in a description of Mel.
     
    He felt himself break into a grin.
     
    “Why are you smiling like an idiot?” She asked, then groaned. “Forget it. I don’t even want to know. I can’t believe that even for a second I-” She stopped abruptly.
     
    “Wait, what? You can’t believe that even for a second you what?” He said.
     
    “N-nothing! Absolutely nothing! Why am I still talking to you right now? I’m going to be late for class.” She shot him a death glare. “This is completely your fault.”
     
    “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he said, holding up his hands defensively. “So… what time are you free for lunch?”
     
    She shot him a look of pure disgust. “Were you not even listening to me earlier? We’re not friends, okay? Stop trying to act friendly.”
     
    “No, no,” he said, “not as friends-”
     
    Well. That was a look of pure panic if he had ever seen one.
     
    “I’m sorry but I’m completely not interested in you in that way, please don’t even joke…” She shuddered. “Ugh, I’m going to be nauseous for a week.” She pantomimed throwing up, clutching her stomach and doubling over.
     
    “Not like that!” He insisted, although the earnestness was kind of ruined by the laughter in his voice (she was rocking back and forth moaning loudly for a wastebasket). “Just to get lunch together. Not as friends. I guess I didn’t tell you yesterday but there’s this restaurant that has a special sale if you come as a pair, so it really helps me if I have a second person…”
     
    “Get someone else, then.” She said, flatly. “I have to go. Bye.”
     
    ---
     
    But of course he was waiting for her as soon as she left class.
     
    “Go away,” she said, cross from an hour and a half of mind-numbing geography. “I’m not in the mood for you right now.”
     
    “B-but I’ve been waiting all this time. And I’m so hungry…” He looked at her with big, beseeching green eyes and an expression of-
     
    “Ah dammit! Alright, I’ll go, just- stop looking at me like that!”
     
    The hurt puppy-dog expression was replaced with one of joyful relief. She couldn’t help but feel relieved along with it. Damn his stupid, expressive face.
     
    ---
     
    As she was leaving the school building she felt her shoulders hunch up protectively even before she saw him heading towards her.
     
    Oh no. Not happening. He could drag her to some stupid restaurant for lunch but there was no way in the world that he was walking her home.
     
    She broke into a run. So did he.
     
    Aaaah, why did he have to have such long legs? It was completely, totally unfair.
     
    He was rapidly nearing her and she needed to escape. He was wearing that cheerful, happy, “I am so happy to have seen you” grin and she just knew that if she had to face it head-on she was going to end up giving in.
     
    Oh heck no, not a dead end. Dammit. She hadn’t been paying enough attention to where she was running and-
     
    No other way out, then. She bent her knees, braced herself, and leaped.
     
    “Woah!” He shouted up to her, open-mouthed. “That was so cool! Show me how to do that!”
     
    “Ha! In your dreams!” She said, and dashed off across the rooftops, filled with bliss at the knowledge that it would take him a good ten minutes to get to where she was by road, and by that point she would be long, long gone.
  14. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Azura in The little joys of living, lying, and falling in love (Ed/Mel, LoT)   
    Thank you <3
    I don't deserve the praise but I appreciate it anyway =D
     
     
    ---
     
    For any who hadn't realized/ everyone who forgot, The Life and Times of Hercules is an actual book in Ulaf's study. =) And, uh, the sole basis for the past two chapters *hangs head in shame*
     
    ------------------------------------------------
     
    She had to walk at a trot just to keep up with him, as he strode with brisk familiarity through the halls. But she’d be damned if she’d ask him to slow down.
     
    Around her the surrounding were so colorful and unfamiliar, some part of her mind protested each time they rounded a corner and she lost sight of- flashes of magic and clashes of steel, strange new things amidst brightly colored tapestries.
     
    A much louder part of her mind squelched the thought. There was nothing special to see here, just some fancy tricks and a bunch of stuck-up, pretentious nobles.
     
    She was still a little stung from that conversation with Ulaf, as well. Sheesh. So she couldn’t make things go sparkly-boom or wave around a sword. That didn’t give him the right to treat her like a giant headache dropped from heaven. Why had Te’ijal sent her to this awful place anyway?
     
    As they started heading up the hallway the boy suddenly slowed his pace so that they were walking next to each other.
     
    “I’m Edward, by the way,” he said.
     
    “I’m Mel,” she said. She was ever-so-slightly out of breath, so she found herself reluctantly grateful when he came to a stop by a doorway.
     
    He looked at her earnestly.
     
    “Don’t let the headmaster scare you. His bark is worse than his bite.”
     
    Yeah yeah yeah sheesh, she thought, mentally rolling her eyes, but she didn’t say anything. Like she was going to be scared.
     
    What she would have thought was- what right does he have to tell me not to be scared?- but somehow this… this whole thing with all the new people and the sizing-up and the secrets was reminding her of that time she tried to join Tif’s gang. And so she was mostly grateful that he at least seemed to be friendly. Instead of, you know, trying to chop her nose off.
     
    ---
     
    “We’re here.” He said.
     
    The thought occurred to him that he should probably impress upon her the, you know, discreet nature and secrecy of where they were (it had, after all, taken him all of three hours to find this place his first day here, and then another five months of using all his influence as prince plus a bit of luck to wheedle its true nature out of a knowledgeable senior).
     
    So he added, as an afterthought- “Don’t talk about anything you see or hear here, okay?”
     
    “Yeah, sure,” she said.
     
    He hesitated, reluctant to leave.
     
    “Good luck,” he said.
     
    “Thanks.” She said. She hadn’t smiled once this entire time, he realized suddenly, and had barely spoken beyond the occasional monosyllable. It created an atmosphere not exactly conducive to friendly banter. Or prying questions.
     
    His curiosity was killing him, but no matter how much he racked his brain he couldn’t come up with a proper excuse to says what he really wanted, which was- Who are you, really? Who is Dejal? And why are you here if you obviously don’t want to be?
     
    So instead he said, “Hey, a bunch of students are meeting at the Boar’s Head Tavern after class. You should come over and have dinner with us”
     
    “I’ll think about it.” She said, and he could tell that she already had, and that the answer was “No”.
     
    “Okay. Well, bye,” He said, and turned to leave. He saw her rounding the bend to enter Professor Grey’s office, and he walked a little faster, trying to quell the swell of disappointment…
     
    And without ever consciously making the decision, he found that when he reached the door he opened it, stepped outside, and then stepped carefully back in, closing it behind him.
     
    Down the hall was the murmur of voices, and if he crept a few feet forward and listened closely…
     
    ---
     
    His instinctive reaction, after he heard them finishing up and slipped away before he got caught red-handed eavesdropping, was to head straight to Ely Harpsbren’s and wait for her to come. He had grown increasingly fascinated by her over the past hour, and he desperately wanted to see what she was like in action.
     
    So he stood there waiting for ten, twenty minutes until he realized that this just wasn’t going to work. She obviously wasn’t coming straight away, and he couldn’t stand here waiting all day. His Defensive Swordsmanship had started five minutes ago, and after that he had classes straight until the end of the day.
     
    And then he could go and-
     
    But no.
     
    His heart sank as he remembered that he still had another six pages of that report to go. He'd been intending to do it during his break, but that had been entirely swallowed up by the new arrival. He would have to race home and finish them as quickly as possible, then.
     
    But after all that, what were the chances she wouldn’t already have fulfilled the mission?
     
    He thought back to the times he had been invited to the Harpsbren’s.
     
    They had an alarm system, didn’t they? At the very least, he would know whether or not she had already been there already.
     
    Alright. Fine.
     
    He ran pell-mell down the street, racing for class. Somewhere, someone loudly snickered something about the idiot prince but for once he didn’t care. Tonight was going to be awesome, he could feel it.
     
    ---
     
    Edward ran into Mr. Obeleni’s office just as the edge of the big red circle of the sun began to brush lightly against the horizon.
     
    “Here’sthepaperhavefunreadingitsorrygottago,” he said, and ran back out the door.
     
    “Wait! What about classes! We have an entire unit of classical Galderian history to cover before the summer festival!” Mr Obeleni shouted, but Edward was already out of earshot.
     
    And now his tutor had fifteen pages of report to look over.
     
    He’d do it some other time, he promised himself, and turned back to the book he’d been reading before the prince had barged in. There was no need to make a special effort, anyway- the boy was clearly hopeless. Lately, Mr. Obeleni’s job seemed to consist merely of preventing as many people as possible from noticing.
     
    ---
     
    When he reached the royal district he was breathing hard, and had to take a moment in front of the Harpsbren manor to catch his breath. Then he straightened and looked around- no bars over the windows, which meant he was still in time.
     
    Presumably the alarm system was intended as a means of trapping thieves within the house. But there were so many loopholes and bypasses that it had mostly become a means of locking the frustrated owners out. Edward knew this, of course, from sweet, sweet experience- separating Tria Harpsbren from her gown had been a last, desperate resort to avoid having to dance with the girl, who was one of Lydia’s cronies, enough said right there.
     
    He was beginning to feel self-conscious, strolling back and forth in front of the house. A man in a blue hat walked by and he nearly jumped into the bushes to hide.
     
    This wasn’t going to work. It was way too suspicious for him to be standing out here in front of a house that was going to be robbed later that night.
     
    Plus, chances were high that when she came it would be via High Street, unless she was going to do a circuit of the city and arrive through the Western Noble District, past the castle. Which… wouldn’t make sense for her to do.
     
    Perfect. The Boar’s Head Tavern was further North than both the lamplight district and the school. Which meant he could hang around discreetly right outside- and there were always groups of students doing that, it was a perfect alibi- and when he saw her passing by he could wait a bit and then head straight for the Harpsbren house.
  15. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Azura in The little joys of living, lying, and falling in love (Ed/Mel, LoT)   
    Thanks, Jayshe.
     
    TrueShadow, at first in the game I thought Ed was just... overreacting a bit over his "miserable fate". But then you put together that ballroom scene where all the guests say nasty things about him, AND the fact that his parents are the sort of people who would force him to marry a , and you start to realize that no, it probably is exactly as bad as he makes it sound. Possibly worse.
     
    ETA: As to your time machine idea... Te'ijal could do it. But I don't think she would- Because they would almost definitely not listen to her anyway, so she's not the kind to bother. But I can imagine her telling that to Ed, someday.
     
    -------------------------------------------------
     
    It didn’t take much effort to get permission to check the books in Master Ulaf’s office.
     
    “Master Ulaf, I-” Edward said, stepping into the headmaster’s office.
     
    “Yes, boy?” Ulaf said, without looking up from his desk.
     
    “I’m- I’m having a little problem.”
     
    “Speak, boy, don’t dally about the point.”
     
    Edward took a deep breath, to hide the beginnings of a smile more than anything.
     
    “I’m experiencing a sudden deep desire to know more about the great hero Hercules. Whatever can I do?!” He let his voice rise despairingly at the end of the sentence for greater dramatic impact.
     
    Master Ulaf leapt up from his desk with considerable speed for a man of his age and dignity. Edward willed his facial muscles to relax into a completely blank expression.
     
    “Why didn’t you say so sooner? It is never a problem to be interested in Hercules, my boy. You needn’t be ashamed. Hercules is an incredible hero who once beat off seven dragons with only his pinky! His hair is so shiny it can be used as a mirror!” He paused to gaze at Ed with a mixture of pride and joy.
     
    “Why, boy- what is your name, by the way? You look rather familiar.”
     
    “Edward,” Edward said.
     
    Ulaf’s brow wrinkled for a moment in thought. “Edward… Edward… It sounds quite familiar. Have you been giving your teachers problems, boy?”
     
    “Um, no sir.”
     
    “Well, have you been doing exceptionally well in class?”
     
    “Not really, sir.”
     
    “Hmmmm… No, you’re much too young to be the one who gave birth to septuplets. Edward… Edward… I’m sure it will come to me, in a minute.”
     
    “I’m sure it will, sir.” Edward said, smiling blandly.
     
    It was generally agreed that the main reason rank and prestige were forbidden topics in the School of War and Magic was that if they were not, the headmaster would have been quite like a sail-less, oar-less ship left adrift in the middle of the ocean. Ulaf had difficulty remembering his wife’s name- he stood not a fairy’s chance in Dragkthor of remembering the rank and title of his students.
     
    “In any case, boy,” Ulaf said, clapping him on the shoulders. “You have come to the right place. I have the entire set of every single book about Hercules ever published, right here in my office. Fancy that, eh?”
     
    “It’s my incredibly good luck to have come to just the right person,” Edward said, face carefully straight.
     
    “And you are more than welcome to read them here, although of course you may absolutely not take them out of this office.” Ulaf said, face suddenly stern. “And don’t mess up the order, or bend the pages, or remove the jackets.”
     
    “I-”
     
    “Excellent. I’m glad we’re agreed, then. Anything else?”
     
    “…No. Sir.”
     
    “Well then,” Ulaf said.
     
    He stood there, apparently waiting. Edward walked to the bookshelf, and stared at the rows of titles before selecting the fattest one- “The Life and Times of Hercules”.
     
    It was a pain that he couldn’t take the book out, but oh well. He’d skim it now and write down what he remembered later.
     
    At some point- around when he had finished reading how Hercules as an infant had miraculously cured the plague and fought off an invasion of mini-dwarfs and was moving on to a chapter recording the many praises Hercules had received for his outstanding schoolwork- he became aware that someone else had entered the office.
     
    Probably a student had come to ask permission to miss class for some reason or other. They were always doing that. He tried to ignore the conversation and focus on the book.
     
    “Another one?” Ulaf asked, sharply. Ed startled. What was the headmaster sounding so annoyed about? Had he finally gotten fed up of slacker students?
     
    He looked up from the book to find that the person standing in the office was most definitely not a student. She was dirty and bedraggled and looked exhausted.
     
    “Dejal is insufferable!” Master Ulaf was continuing. “She has demanded for me to enroll you in this school.”
     
    Dejal? Edward struggled to match a face to the name. He’d spent hours memorizing the lists of noble families from all the important countries in the world, but he just couldn’t… Then again, he might have forgotten. He could check again tonight, check more minor families also- no, that wouldn’t do. Whoever this Dejal was, she clearly was important enough to annoy Master Ulaf, who was arguably the third most powerful person in Thais, after Edward’s parents.
     
    Meanwhile Ulaf was still confronting the girl.
     
    “You are a mage?”
     
    Edward looked at the girl, rather interested as to how she would respond.
     
    “Um, no.” She said, looking a bit irritated.
     
    “Not a mage? You’re a fighter then?” Ulaf pressed.
     
    The girl seemed about to say something and then apparently changed her mind, because she remained silent, defiant.
     
    Ulaf waited for a moment. And then he pulled his sword of the table and swatted the flat of it against the girl’s side.
     
    She jumped backwards with a cry and crouched defensively, glaring.
     
    “That hurt!” She said.
     
    Ulaf brushed the sword off and place it back on the desk as if nothing had happened.
     
    “Hmm, not a fighter either. I’m sorry, I don’t think we have any place for you.”
     
    “She might fit into professor grey’s group.” Edward blurted out. He stopped, shocked. What? What had come over him?
     
    “Shush! Speak not a word more!” Ulaf said, turning to glare at him.
     
    But the more he thought about it, the more appealing the idea became. If Ulaf didn’t accept the girl she would walk out that door and he might never see her again, and he was simply dying to know who this “Dejal” was.
     
    “Who is Professor Grey?” The girl asked, looking confused.
     
    “Boy, I should throw you out this instant!” Ulaf said, looking dangerous.
     
    Edward though fast.
     
    “Come on, Master Ulaf. You have to place her somewere.” He said, bidding for time. He glanced at the girl, trying to find some excuse to use, but his eyes had bypassed his brain and connected straight to his mouth, so that he found himself realizing things were true only as he said them.
     
    “She fits the criteria. Just look at her. She’s skinny enough to hide anywhere and with those clothes of hers she can practically blend into the walls. I bet she’s clever too.”
     
    “You may be right,” Ulaf said, mollified, and Edward breathed a small sigh of relief. “Girl, are you clever?”
     
    “I’m not sure how to answer that without sounding offended.” She said. She drew herself stiffly upright. “I’ll tell you what, why don’t I just leave? I’m sure there are other, more lucrative ways to amuse myself while I’m stuck in this stuffy city.”
     
    Edward found the corners of his mouth quirking up at that. This girl was really interesting.
     
    “Oh no you don’t.” Ulaf said, his mind apparently made up.
     
    “Dejal-” and there was something a little off about the way he said the name, it made Edward suspect he had overlooked a vowel somewhere- “would be… unpleasant… if I let you leave. You have been ordered to attend school.”
     
    Oho, now wasn’t that interesting? But he didn’t get a chance to mull it over, because Ulaf turned to him and ordered-
     
    “Take the girl to see Professor Grey. I am holding you responsible for any trouble she causes,” He added.
     
    “Yes, headmaster.” Edward said, a little too eagerly, because Ulaf seemed to frown. But what did Edward care for being responsible for trouble the girl caused? He had just been placed in charge of the first interesting thing to have happened in months.
     
    “C’mon, I’ll take you to see Professor Grey,” He said, turning to the girl.
     
    “Fine,” she said, coolly.
     
    Oh. So she was going to be reticent, was she? Well. He supposed that maybe he’d offended her. But… nothing a little persistence couldn’t fix, eh?
     
    He was starting to sound like Ulaf. Definitely time to leave.
     
    He hurried out the door, the girl following.
     
    -------------------------------------------------
     
    CANON NOTE: In the game, you can let poor Mel sleep before coming to the school. I don't.
     
    As such, Mel has been up all night running for her life by the time she reaches Ulaf. "Exhausted" is probably an understatement. "Nearly dead" might be closer to the truth.
     
    But that's if you asked Mel, of course. Eddykins wouldn't know. =)
  16. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from BlackPrincess in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    Rhen swallowed, unable to believe her bad luck.
    "The R-Royal Healer?" She repeated, as if maybe she'd just misheard.
    "I know, I'm way too young for it, but, I was apprenticing the old healer, and she up and left, and the royal family liked me, so.."
    "Do you... see them often?" Rhen asked. It probabaly wasn't so bad, right, how often could they be getting sick and needing a healer anyway.
    "I live on the palace grounds," Stella said.
    Rhen had a dizzying sense of vertigo.
    "Um," she said, mind momentarily blank with panic.
    With great effort she composed herself.
    "Stella?" She said. "Can I ask you for a small favor? Could you, uh, could you not call me Rhen? It's, uh, it's a very visibly Thaian name."
    Stella's eyes widened in understanding. "Ok, what should I call you?"
    "How about..." Rhen cast about desperately for a suitable generic name. "Peta? Peta Darzon."
    ---
     
    A/n: I know, it's tiny, but I've realized I either post tiny snippets or I don't end up posting at all. Sorry. Also, the continuity error introduced in this snippet has been edited out of the previous snippet)
  17. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Queen-of-Ice101 in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    NOTE: there was a change of plan, fairly major, regarding Stella's role in the story. The original version of this post has been updated for the new plan. (FUN FACT: Dameon's role has changed six times in my head thus far and not necessarily settled down yet.)
    this post is still very much not done, but I'm busy with a lot right now and haven't had the chance to write the rest yet. It's coming, I promise, and there will probably be Lars
    ---
     
    “Rhen?”
    The sound of her name startled Rhen out of the miserable reverie into which she’d drifted.
    “Rhen Darzon?”
    She was suddenly being embraced, by a dark-skinned woman with light purple hair. She looked vaguely familiar, but it took Rhen a few befuddled moments to place her.
    “S-Stella?” She said, tentatively.
    When Rhen had been younger—much younger, before the full extent of her powers had become manifest and before her parents had given up on producing a male heir—her father had insisted that she be given an “ordinary childhood”, which had translated into being sent to a summer camp under a false name (but with six bodyguards posing as camp staff) while her parents gallivanted about the world like a honeymooning newlywed couple.
    It had been a great experience, complete with mud races and rotations at the petting zoo feeding the chickens. It was one of the things Rhen had missed, after she spoke to the sword and everything changed.
    Then winced, as Stella’s hug caused the rope on her wrists to bite into her skin painfully. Only then did Stella seem to notice Rhen’s situation. Her eyes widened, her dainty hand rising to cover her open mouth.
    “What’s happened to you, Rhen?” She said, her voice soft with sympathy.
    Rhen shrugged, uncomfortable. She was in enemy territory and she hadn’t decided yet on her cover story. She didn’t know how much she could trust Stella, who she’d only known for a few brief weeks over a decade ago.
    “Bad luck,” she mumbled.
    “We must get you out of here at once,” Stella declared, and marched over to the slave trader. The trader, clearly sensing blood in the water, gave a ludicrous asking price, and then looked like he regretted not aiming higher when Stella immediately agreed without bothering to haggle.
    But the deal was done, and Rhen felt shaky with relief and weepy with gratitude as Stella furiously removed the rope from her wrists, shooting the trader dirty glances as she saw the raw red marks rubbed into Rhen’s skin.
    “I’m here to buy salve ingredients,” Stella said, “I’ve run low on a few of the more exotic components and the ships bring better stock. But I’ve already gotten the most crucial supplies, so if you want to leave at once, we can.”
    Rhen suspected Stella was overstating her readiness to leave, but she wasn’t prepared to attempt polite insistence on staying, not when she was fighting back tears for the second time that day, swaying on her feet, desperately aware she was surrounded by enemies. The ground seemed to be rocking under her feet, nauseatingly.
    “I’d like to leave,” she said, managing to keep her voice away from actual sobs. And then she swayed, almost falling onto Stella.
    She added, a bit embarrassed “…Also, I don’t know when I last ate.”
    ---
    Stella brought her to a restaurant immediately located on the edge of the markteplace.
    But then she ordered a plain vegetable broth. Even as Rhen was staring mournfully at the bowl, in which a few small lumps of vegetable floated in an almost clear broth, Stella was frowning at the small roll of bread that accompanied it--  
    “Eat slowly,” she warned, “or you will make yourself very sick”.
    It was hard, but Rhen managed it, interspersing small bites with drinks of water.
    Only after Stella was satisfied that Rhen wasn’t going to throw up the bread/broth did she ask the waiter to bring a bowl of fruit salad, which had familiar pear and apples and also something light-blue and lumpy with a pleasantly mild flavor that Rhen had never had before.
    It was incredible to Rhen how much better she felt with even a little bit of food inside her, like her entire body was coming back to life. The initial impulse to desperately gorge herself had passed, and she found that she was able to focus on something other than food.
    “So what are you doing in Veldarah? You’re not from here originally, right?” She asked. She didn’t remember where Stella was from but she was sure she wasn’t originally from Veldarah—matters had been less dire between the empire and Thais before Rhen had killed their crown prince, but they’d always been tense enough she couldn’t imagine a Veldaran attending camp on Thaian soil.
    "I'm... Well, I'm actually the Royal Healer," Stella said, blushing. 
  18. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Honey Butter Chloe in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    Prologue:
    Rhen stumbled out of dreams about angry...squirrels…? to discover that her feet were moving on their own. She'd been sleepwalking, apparently, but when she tried to put a stop to it her feet kept going, carrying her up staircases and through dark, empty hallways, past giant arched windows through which she got a glimpse of the moon, high in the sky.
    Up and up she went, until she had arrived at the Oracle's tower, which at least made it perfectly clear who was responsible for dragging her out of her bed.
    “I have had a vision of your future, Child,” The Oracle intoned. “You have a great destiny before you, although the path ahead is yet dark. Do not be afraid, follow your destiny for the sake of the world.”
    It was the usual Oracular impenetrable and unhelpful “guidance”. Rhen yawned. “Can I go back to bed, now?” She said.
    “Tell no one of this conversation,” The Oracle said, and Rhen stiffened, feeling the bolt of lightning through her spine of a geas being laid upon her. She opened her mouth to protest, furious, but nothing came out.
    She dragged herself back down the stairs and to her room. By the time she arrived the sun had already risen and she knew it was hopeless to try to go back to sleep. Today was the start of the Midsummer Festival, and she'd be expected to take a leading part in the festivities, not stagger around half-drunk on exhaustion.
    The traditional dress for the Midsummer festival was a simple cotton shapeless shift, tied with an elaborate silk sash. Rhen had fought to be allowed to wear her sword, but her mother had insisted.
    “Just for one week,” Talia had said. “Just one week, can you please be... just... a princess.”
    And not a warrior, she left unsaid, but it echoed after her words so loudly that she really didn't have to.
    Rhen thought that when her mother looked at her, she mostly saw the blood on her hands. It hurt, but it was a dull ache, gone numb from all the times Rhen picked at it, a background steady bleeding of black ichor she was used to, these days.
    She knew her people were afraid of her, the way they averted their gazes like they hadn't when she was a child. For them she could do it, one week of smiling, pretending they weren't at war.
    So she went to the festival, groggy from lack of sleep but trying to make up for it, smiling at everyone, making jokes as she fake-haggled with the stall-owners, and everyone went along with it, playing the charade together, a collaborative effort. It had been half a decade since Rhen had killed the prince, maybe it was time to move on. Not Rhen, who still had nightmares, but her country, the kingdom.
    Something colorful caught her eye, a butterfly the size of her hand, brilliant red with black markings. She followed it, intrigued, and it flitted this way and that, over the stalls, to the edge of the fairgrounds. Near a large cave it came to a rest, trembling gently, on a huge white flower with thousands of tiny petals.
    Rhen hitched her skirt up, clambering over several large boulders. She crouched by the flower, and was barely breathing with the effort to keep herself still as she slowly, gently, extended a finger towards the insect.
    It landed delicately, and she brought it closer to her face. Up close the brilliant red was irridescent, shining with deep blues and purples.
    Then suddenly there was dark fabric being stuffed over her head, trapping her arms against her sides. Rhen cried out, and something hard hit her, a stinging pain and sudden wetness on her face.
    She couldn't… breathe…
    ---

    A strange sensation on her leg woke her up, to a dark world and a throbbing head. The itchy, clothlike sensation against her ear suggested someone had bandaged her head wound, but she was now blindfolded and gagged, so the main improvement over the sack was access to air.

     The sensation on her leg repeated, and she realized it was something crawling on her. She shook her leg violently and whatever it was fell off, but a few moments later it was back again. It didn't feel heavy or warm enough to be a rat, it felt like an enormous bug. She hoped it wasn't poisonous.

    When she tried to access her magic, she suddenly noticed the cold weight against her wrists. She tried, again, to call the magic inside her, but nothing answered.
    That was when she finally began to truly panic.

    There was a constant swaying motion and muffled watery sounds, so she guessed she was on a ship. The coast was a full day's travel from the capital, which meant she'd been unconscious for at least a day, very possibly more.

    She wished she'd spoken more than a few perfunctory words to her parents the morning of the festival, wished she'd said something nice, or hugged them. She didn't know who had taken her or what ransom they wanted.
    She didn't know how long she lay awake, in pain, but eventually, for lack of anything else to do, she fell asleep again.

    ---

    They walked her off the ship roughly, kicking her forward when she stumbled briefly at the joint between the ship and the ramp leading off it. She was led to some destination, and then a rope was wrapped around her hands and went taut.

    Only then did they remove the blindfold. The sunlight burned her eyes, even with her lids closed, and it was several minutes before she opened her eyes, blinking.

    She was at a slave fair.

    The shock washed over her in a wave. Until that point she'd assumed she'd been kidnapped deliberately. But who would bring the Thaian Princess to a slave fair? She was ransom material, not... Labor.

    The thought of what potential uses she could be put to almost made her faint. The entire ship ride she had refrained from crying and thought herself brave, but now she felt tears leaking out despite herself. She realized she'd been hoping all along, assuming her parents would save her. She was dizzy and weak - they hadn't fed her at all on the ship, however many days it had been, although she had been given to drink.

    "I don't see an anti-magic tattoo," someone was saying, a tall man in a purple robe. Then they actually lifted up her hair to examine her neck.

    "No need," the man standing by the stake she was tied to said, "this one's totally inert, we got her scanned at the port."

    "It's still hardly proper..." he said.

    "Look, you wanna pay the 50 gold for a tattoo, that's on your account," the man by the stake said impatiently. "My goods are sold as-is. This one ain't got even a spark, it's a waste of money."

    "What are these bracelets she's wearing?" This was said by a middle-aged woman in dark green, with scowling lines etched in her face.

    The man shrugged. "Dunno, she had em when we got her, guy who sold her said they was steel. Couldn't get em off though, when we tried."

    The woman looked briefly disappointed.

    Rhen, in the meantime, was slowly getting her bearings. The sun was hot on her face, and the air was dry. The tears she'd shed had dried on her cheeks, leaving slightly itchy salt residue.

    She was trying to figure out in what context she'd heard of anti-magic tattoos before. She was desperate to know where she was.

    At the edges of the square there were palm trees, their huge leaves swaying gently in the wind.

    God, it was so hot... She thought.

    And then, a second later, like a blow to the gut-

    Veldarah???

    She struggled to calm herself, breathing in and breathing out. She was being ridiculous, paranoid.

    And yet she herself had listened to the reports of raids by Veldaran slavers, the Empire's latest round of aggression against the Thaians. It wasn't so far fetched.

    Her breath caught in her throat. She'd been thinking, maybe, that she could convince the person who eventually bought her to bring her home, convince them it would be worth their while.
    But if she was in Veldarah it was imperative no one know who she was.

    Because Rhen Pendragon, the Prince-Slayer, wouldn't survive a day on Veldaran soil.
     
     
  19. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Azura in Aveyond Characters *SOME SPOILERS*   
    Wow, I disagree with practically every aspect of your analysis of the characters.
     
    Mel was a thief out of necessity- not exactly "out of control", that implies a kleptomaniac or something. And she's a thief for a tiny fraction of the series. Ten minutes in she's already practically retired- training to be a spy, remember? As for raging, I'm not sure if that was intended as a intensifier of "out of control" or if it was meant as another personality trait, in which case I have no idea what you mean, since other than in regards to nobles Mel doesn't lose her temper ever, and even with nobles she has one small outburst at Ed from which she is quickly conciliated, and an ongoing feud with Lydia for which anyone could be excused.
     
    Edward: I guess he's rich, although I'm not sure how it's relevant since it seems to all be tied up in his college funds (I didn't exactly notice him helping monetarily on the quest). Stuck up I cannot think of a single piece of evidence for. He gets tired of people sucking up to him as prince, if that's what you mean- but wouldn't stuck up be expecting people to suck up to you? He's the kind of person who actually feels relieved and happy when people (aka Mel) treat him with less respect. And certainyl he's constantly the voice of "be nice, help people" throughout the series, which doesn;t impyl stuck up ("C'mon, Mel, we have to help them!" "No, Edward, we don't." "B-but... *puppy eyes*" "Ah! Stop looking at me like that! Fine, I'll help them!" ...that's half the dynamic of their relationship right there). As for dumb-at-times... I guess it depends on what you mean by dumb. Short-sighted? Sure. He's a teenager. He makes stupid mistakes. But I actually got the impression that IQ-wise he's pretty intelligent. (Just... a trifle overconfident. See "makes stupid mistakes". And I really don't think that's a crime in a teenage character. It reflects a reality.)
     
    Lydia: Egoistic? Sure. Spoilt? Definitely. Obsessed with Edward? Uh... no.
     
     
     
    also, sorry for the super long rants. I... kinda really adore Ed/Mel. -cough- So.
  20. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Queen-of-Ice101 in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    NOTE: there was a change of plan, fairly major, regarding Stella's role in the story. The original version of this post has been updated for the new plan. (FUN FACT: Dameon's role has changed six times in my head thus far and not necessarily settled down yet.)
    this post is still very much not done, but I'm busy with a lot right now and haven't had the chance to write the rest yet. It's coming, I promise, and there will probably be Lars
    ---
     
    “Rhen?”
    The sound of her name startled Rhen out of the miserable reverie into which she’d drifted.
    “Rhen Darzon?”
    She was suddenly being embraced, by a dark-skinned woman with light purple hair. She looked vaguely familiar, but it took Rhen a few befuddled moments to place her.
    “S-Stella?” She said, tentatively.
    When Rhen had been younger—much younger, before the full extent of her powers had become manifest and before her parents had given up on producing a male heir—her father had insisted that she be given an “ordinary childhood”, which had translated into being sent to a summer camp under a false name (but with six bodyguards posing as camp staff) while her parents gallivanted about the world like a honeymooning newlywed couple.
    It had been a great experience, complete with mud races and rotations at the petting zoo feeding the chickens. It was one of the things Rhen had missed, after she spoke to the sword and everything changed.
    Then winced, as Stella’s hug caused the rope on her wrists to bite into her skin painfully. Only then did Stella seem to notice Rhen’s situation. Her eyes widened, her dainty hand rising to cover her open mouth.
    “What’s happened to you, Rhen?” She said, her voice soft with sympathy.
    Rhen shrugged, uncomfortable. She was in enemy territory and she hadn’t decided yet on her cover story. She didn’t know how much she could trust Stella, who she’d only known for a few brief weeks over a decade ago.
    “Bad luck,” she mumbled.
    “We must get you out of here at once,” Stella declared, and marched over to the slave trader. The trader, clearly sensing blood in the water, gave a ludicrous asking price, and then looked like he regretted not aiming higher when Stella immediately agreed without bothering to haggle.
    But the deal was done, and Rhen felt shaky with relief and weepy with gratitude as Stella furiously removed the rope from her wrists, shooting the trader dirty glances as she saw the raw red marks rubbed into Rhen’s skin.
    “I’m here to buy salve ingredients,” Stella said, “I’ve run low on a few of the more exotic components and the ships bring better stock. But I’ve already gotten the most crucial supplies, so if you want to leave at once, we can.”
    Rhen suspected Stella was overstating her readiness to leave, but she wasn’t prepared to attempt polite insistence on staying, not when she was fighting back tears for the second time that day, swaying on her feet, desperately aware she was surrounded by enemies. The ground seemed to be rocking under her feet, nauseatingly.
    “I’d like to leave,” she said, managing to keep her voice away from actual sobs. And then she swayed, almost falling onto Stella.
    She added, a bit embarrassed “…Also, I don’t know when I last ate.”
    ---
    Stella brought her to a restaurant immediately located on the edge of the markteplace.
    But then she ordered a plain vegetable broth. Even as Rhen was staring mournfully at the bowl, in which a few small lumps of vegetable floated in an almost clear broth, Stella was frowning at the small roll of bread that accompanied it--  
    “Eat slowly,” she warned, “or you will make yourself very sick”.
    It was hard, but Rhen managed it, interspersing small bites with drinks of water.
    Only after Stella was satisfied that Rhen wasn’t going to throw up the bread/broth did she ask the waiter to bring a bowl of fruit salad, which had familiar pear and apples and also something light-blue and lumpy with a pleasantly mild flavor that Rhen had never had before.
    It was incredible to Rhen how much better she felt with even a little bit of food inside her, like her entire body was coming back to life. The initial impulse to desperately gorge herself had passed, and she found that she was able to focus on something other than food.
    “So what are you doing in Veldarah? You’re not from here originally, right?” She asked. She didn’t remember where Stella was from but she was sure she wasn’t originally from Veldarah—matters had been less dire between the empire and Thais before Rhen had killed their crown prince, but they’d always been tense enough she couldn’t imagine a Veldaran attending camp on Thaian soil.
    "I'm... Well, I'm actually the Royal Healer," Stella said, blushing. 
  21. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Honey Butter Chloe in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    Prologue:
    Rhen stumbled out of dreams about angry...squirrels…? to discover that her feet were moving on their own. She'd been sleepwalking, apparently, but when she tried to put a stop to it her feet kept going, carrying her up staircases and through dark, empty hallways, past giant arched windows through which she got a glimpse of the moon, high in the sky.
    Up and up she went, until she had arrived at the Oracle's tower, which at least made it perfectly clear who was responsible for dragging her out of her bed.
    “I have had a vision of your future, Child,” The Oracle intoned. “You have a great destiny before you, although the path ahead is yet dark. Do not be afraid, follow your destiny for the sake of the world.”
    It was the usual Oracular impenetrable and unhelpful “guidance”. Rhen yawned. “Can I go back to bed, now?” She said.
    “Tell no one of this conversation,” The Oracle said, and Rhen stiffened, feeling the bolt of lightning through her spine of a geas being laid upon her. She opened her mouth to protest, furious, but nothing came out.
    She dragged herself back down the stairs and to her room. By the time she arrived the sun had already risen and she knew it was hopeless to try to go back to sleep. Today was the start of the Midsummer Festival, and she'd be expected to take a leading part in the festivities, not stagger around half-drunk on exhaustion.
    The traditional dress for the Midsummer festival was a simple cotton shapeless shift, tied with an elaborate silk sash. Rhen had fought to be allowed to wear her sword, but her mother had insisted.
    “Just for one week,” Talia had said. “Just one week, can you please be... just... a princess.”
    And not a warrior, she left unsaid, but it echoed after her words so loudly that she really didn't have to.
    Rhen thought that when her mother looked at her, she mostly saw the blood on her hands. It hurt, but it was a dull ache, gone numb from all the times Rhen picked at it, a background steady bleeding of black ichor she was used to, these days.
    She knew her people were afraid of her, the way they averted their gazes like they hadn't when she was a child. For them she could do it, one week of smiling, pretending they weren't at war.
    So she went to the festival, groggy from lack of sleep but trying to make up for it, smiling at everyone, making jokes as she fake-haggled with the stall-owners, and everyone went along with it, playing the charade together, a collaborative effort. It had been half a decade since Rhen had killed the prince, maybe it was time to move on. Not Rhen, who still had nightmares, but her country, the kingdom.
    Something colorful caught her eye, a butterfly the size of her hand, brilliant red with black markings. She followed it, intrigued, and it flitted this way and that, over the stalls, to the edge of the fairgrounds. Near a large cave it came to a rest, trembling gently, on a huge white flower with thousands of tiny petals.
    Rhen hitched her skirt up, clambering over several large boulders. She crouched by the flower, and was barely breathing with the effort to keep herself still as she slowly, gently, extended a finger towards the insect.
    It landed delicately, and she brought it closer to her face. Up close the brilliant red was irridescent, shining with deep blues and purples.
    Then suddenly there was dark fabric being stuffed over her head, trapping her arms against her sides. Rhen cried out, and something hard hit her, a stinging pain and sudden wetness on her face.
    She couldn't… breathe…
    ---

    A strange sensation on her leg woke her up, to a dark world and a throbbing head. The itchy, clothlike sensation against her ear suggested someone had bandaged her head wound, but she was now blindfolded and gagged, so the main improvement over the sack was access to air.

     The sensation on her leg repeated, and she realized it was something crawling on her. She shook her leg violently and whatever it was fell off, but a few moments later it was back again. It didn't feel heavy or warm enough to be a rat, it felt like an enormous bug. She hoped it wasn't poisonous.

    When she tried to access her magic, she suddenly noticed the cold weight against her wrists. She tried, again, to call the magic inside her, but nothing answered.
    That was when she finally began to truly panic.

    There was a constant swaying motion and muffled watery sounds, so she guessed she was on a ship. The coast was a full day's travel from the capital, which meant she'd been unconscious for at least a day, very possibly more.

    She wished she'd spoken more than a few perfunctory words to her parents the morning of the festival, wished she'd said something nice, or hugged them. She didn't know who had taken her or what ransom they wanted.
    She didn't know how long she lay awake, in pain, but eventually, for lack of anything else to do, she fell asleep again.

    ---

    They walked her off the ship roughly, kicking her forward when she stumbled briefly at the joint between the ship and the ramp leading off it. She was led to some destination, and then a rope was wrapped around her hands and went taut.

    Only then did they remove the blindfold. The sunlight burned her eyes, even with her lids closed, and it was several minutes before she opened her eyes, blinking.

    She was at a slave fair.

    The shock washed over her in a wave. Until that point she'd assumed she'd been kidnapped deliberately. But who would bring the Thaian Princess to a slave fair? She was ransom material, not... Labor.

    The thought of what potential uses she could be put to almost made her faint. The entire ship ride she had refrained from crying and thought herself brave, but now she felt tears leaking out despite herself. She realized she'd been hoping all along, assuming her parents would save her. She was dizzy and weak - they hadn't fed her at all on the ship, however many days it had been, although she had been given to drink.

    "I don't see an anti-magic tattoo," someone was saying, a tall man in a purple robe. Then they actually lifted up her hair to examine her neck.

    "No need," the man standing by the stake she was tied to said, "this one's totally inert, we got her scanned at the port."

    "It's still hardly proper..." he said.

    "Look, you wanna pay the 50 gold for a tattoo, that's on your account," the man by the stake said impatiently. "My goods are sold as-is. This one ain't got even a spark, it's a waste of money."

    "What are these bracelets she's wearing?" This was said by a middle-aged woman in dark green, with scowling lines etched in her face.

    The man shrugged. "Dunno, she had em when we got her, guy who sold her said they was steel. Couldn't get em off though, when we tried."

    The woman looked briefly disappointed.

    Rhen, in the meantime, was slowly getting her bearings. The sun was hot on her face, and the air was dry. The tears she'd shed had dried on her cheeks, leaving slightly itchy salt residue.

    She was trying to figure out in what context she'd heard of anti-magic tattoos before. She was desperate to know where she was.

    At the edges of the square there were palm trees, their huge leaves swaying gently in the wind.

    God, it was so hot... She thought.

    And then, a second later, like a blow to the gut-

    Veldarah???

    She struggled to calm herself, breathing in and breathing out. She was being ridiculous, paranoid.

    And yet she herself had listened to the reports of raids by Veldaran slavers, the Empire's latest round of aggression against the Thaians. It wasn't so far fetched.

    Her breath caught in her throat. She'd been thinking, maybe, that she could convince the person who eventually bought her to bring her home, convince them it would be worth their while.
    But if she was in Veldarah it was imperative no one know who she was.

    Because Rhen Pendragon, the Prince-Slayer, wouldn't survive a day on Veldaran soil.
     
     
  22. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Rodania in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    I said "I'd like to write a BBC Merlin AU with Lars as Arthur and Rhen as Merlin" and then both characters started arguing with me and it turned into something else. So. uh. This is a Merlin inspired AU. It completely ignores canon timelines in order to throw in characters from the other games. title stolen from a merlin tagline.
    As usual the first post is reserved for a table of contents. I will be cross-posting to AO3 as well, eventually.
  23. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Queen-of-Ice101 in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    NOTE: there was a change of plan, fairly major, regarding Stella's role in the story. The original version of this post has been updated for the new plan. (FUN FACT: Dameon's role has changed six times in my head thus far and not necessarily settled down yet.)
    this post is still very much not done, but I'm busy with a lot right now and haven't had the chance to write the rest yet. It's coming, I promise, and there will probably be Lars
    ---
     
    “Rhen?”
    The sound of her name startled Rhen out of the miserable reverie into which she’d drifted.
    “Rhen Darzon?”
    She was suddenly being embraced, by a dark-skinned woman with light purple hair. She looked vaguely familiar, but it took Rhen a few befuddled moments to place her.
    “S-Stella?” She said, tentatively.
    When Rhen had been younger—much younger, before the full extent of her powers had become manifest and before her parents had given up on producing a male heir—her father had insisted that she be given an “ordinary childhood”, which had translated into being sent to a summer camp under a false name (but with six bodyguards posing as camp staff) while her parents gallivanted about the world like a honeymooning newlywed couple.
    It had been a great experience, complete with mud races and rotations at the petting zoo feeding the chickens. It was one of the things Rhen had missed, after she spoke to the sword and everything changed.
    Then winced, as Stella’s hug caused the rope on her wrists to bite into her skin painfully. Only then did Stella seem to notice Rhen’s situation. Her eyes widened, her dainty hand rising to cover her open mouth.
    “What’s happened to you, Rhen?” She said, her voice soft with sympathy.
    Rhen shrugged, uncomfortable. She was in enemy territory and she hadn’t decided yet on her cover story. She didn’t know how much she could trust Stella, who she’d only known for a few brief weeks over a decade ago.
    “Bad luck,” she mumbled.
    “We must get you out of here at once,” Stella declared, and marched over to the slave trader. The trader, clearly sensing blood in the water, gave a ludicrous asking price, and then looked like he regretted not aiming higher when Stella immediately agreed without bothering to haggle.
    But the deal was done, and Rhen felt shaky with relief and weepy with gratitude as Stella furiously removed the rope from her wrists, shooting the trader dirty glances as she saw the raw red marks rubbed into Rhen’s skin.
    “I’m here to buy salve ingredients,” Stella said, “I’ve run low on a few of the more exotic components and the ships bring better stock. But I’ve already gotten the most crucial supplies, so if you want to leave at once, we can.”
    Rhen suspected Stella was overstating her readiness to leave, but she wasn’t prepared to attempt polite insistence on staying, not when she was fighting back tears for the second time that day, swaying on her feet, desperately aware she was surrounded by enemies. The ground seemed to be rocking under her feet, nauseatingly.
    “I’d like to leave,” she said, managing to keep her voice away from actual sobs. And then she swayed, almost falling onto Stella.
    She added, a bit embarrassed “…Also, I don’t know when I last ate.”
    ---
    Stella brought her to a restaurant immediately located on the edge of the markteplace.
    But then she ordered a plain vegetable broth. Even as Rhen was staring mournfully at the bowl, in which a few small lumps of vegetable floated in an almost clear broth, Stella was frowning at the small roll of bread that accompanied it--  
    “Eat slowly,” she warned, “or you will make yourself very sick”.
    It was hard, but Rhen managed it, interspersing small bites with drinks of water.
    Only after Stella was satisfied that Rhen wasn’t going to throw up the bread/broth did she ask the waiter to bring a bowl of fruit salad, which had familiar pear and apples and also something light-blue and lumpy with a pleasantly mild flavor that Rhen had never had before.
    It was incredible to Rhen how much better she felt with even a little bit of food inside her, like her entire body was coming back to life. The initial impulse to desperately gorge herself had passed, and she found that she was able to focus on something other than food.
    “So what are you doing in Veldarah? You’re not from here originally, right?” She asked. She didn’t remember where Stella was from but she was sure she wasn’t originally from Veldarah—matters had been less dire between the empire and Thais before Rhen had killed their crown prince, but they’d always been tense enough she couldn’t imagine a Veldaran attending camp on Thaian soil.
    "I'm... Well, I'm actually the Royal Healer," Stella said, blushing. 
  24. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from Honey Butter Chloe in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    Prologue:
    Rhen stumbled out of dreams about angry...squirrels…? to discover that her feet were moving on their own. She'd been sleepwalking, apparently, but when she tried to put a stop to it her feet kept going, carrying her up staircases and through dark, empty hallways, past giant arched windows through which she got a glimpse of the moon, high in the sky.
    Up and up she went, until she had arrived at the Oracle's tower, which at least made it perfectly clear who was responsible for dragging her out of her bed.
    “I have had a vision of your future, Child,” The Oracle intoned. “You have a great destiny before you, although the path ahead is yet dark. Do not be afraid, follow your destiny for the sake of the world.”
    It was the usual Oracular impenetrable and unhelpful “guidance”. Rhen yawned. “Can I go back to bed, now?” She said.
    “Tell no one of this conversation,” The Oracle said, and Rhen stiffened, feeling the bolt of lightning through her spine of a geas being laid upon her. She opened her mouth to protest, furious, but nothing came out.
    She dragged herself back down the stairs and to her room. By the time she arrived the sun had already risen and she knew it was hopeless to try to go back to sleep. Today was the start of the Midsummer Festival, and she'd be expected to take a leading part in the festivities, not stagger around half-drunk on exhaustion.
    The traditional dress for the Midsummer festival was a simple cotton shapeless shift, tied with an elaborate silk sash. Rhen had fought to be allowed to wear her sword, but her mother had insisted.
    “Just for one week,” Talia had said. “Just one week, can you please be... just... a princess.”
    And not a warrior, she left unsaid, but it echoed after her words so loudly that she really didn't have to.
    Rhen thought that when her mother looked at her, she mostly saw the blood on her hands. It hurt, but it was a dull ache, gone numb from all the times Rhen picked at it, a background steady bleeding of black ichor she was used to, these days.
    She knew her people were afraid of her, the way they averted their gazes like they hadn't when she was a child. For them she could do it, one week of smiling, pretending they weren't at war.
    So she went to the festival, groggy from lack of sleep but trying to make up for it, smiling at everyone, making jokes as she fake-haggled with the stall-owners, and everyone went along with it, playing the charade together, a collaborative effort. It had been half a decade since Rhen had killed the prince, maybe it was time to move on. Not Rhen, who still had nightmares, but her country, the kingdom.
    Something colorful caught her eye, a butterfly the size of her hand, brilliant red with black markings. She followed it, intrigued, and it flitted this way and that, over the stalls, to the edge of the fairgrounds. Near a large cave it came to a rest, trembling gently, on a huge white flower with thousands of tiny petals.
    Rhen hitched her skirt up, clambering over several large boulders. She crouched by the flower, and was barely breathing with the effort to keep herself still as she slowly, gently, extended a finger towards the insect.
    It landed delicately, and she brought it closer to her face. Up close the brilliant red was irridescent, shining with deep blues and purples.
    Then suddenly there was dark fabric being stuffed over her head, trapping her arms against her sides. Rhen cried out, and something hard hit her, a stinging pain and sudden wetness on her face.
    She couldn't… breathe…
    ---

    A strange sensation on her leg woke her up, to a dark world and a throbbing head. The itchy, clothlike sensation against her ear suggested someone had bandaged her head wound, but she was now blindfolded and gagged, so the main improvement over the sack was access to air.

     The sensation on her leg repeated, and she realized it was something crawling on her. She shook her leg violently and whatever it was fell off, but a few moments later it was back again. It didn't feel heavy or warm enough to be a rat, it felt like an enormous bug. She hoped it wasn't poisonous.

    When she tried to access her magic, she suddenly noticed the cold weight against her wrists. She tried, again, to call the magic inside her, but nothing answered.
    That was when she finally began to truly panic.

    There was a constant swaying motion and muffled watery sounds, so she guessed she was on a ship. The coast was a full day's travel from the capital, which meant she'd been unconscious for at least a day, very possibly more.

    She wished she'd spoken more than a few perfunctory words to her parents the morning of the festival, wished she'd said something nice, or hugged them. She didn't know who had taken her or what ransom they wanted.
    She didn't know how long she lay awake, in pain, but eventually, for lack of anything else to do, she fell asleep again.

    ---

    They walked her off the ship roughly, kicking her forward when she stumbled briefly at the joint between the ship and the ramp leading off it. She was led to some destination, and then a rope was wrapped around her hands and went taut.

    Only then did they remove the blindfold. The sunlight burned her eyes, even with her lids closed, and it was several minutes before she opened her eyes, blinking.

    She was at a slave fair.

    The shock washed over her in a wave. Until that point she'd assumed she'd been kidnapped deliberately. But who would bring the Thaian Princess to a slave fair? She was ransom material, not... Labor.

    The thought of what potential uses she could be put to almost made her faint. The entire ship ride she had refrained from crying and thought herself brave, but now she felt tears leaking out despite herself. She realized she'd been hoping all along, assuming her parents would save her. She was dizzy and weak - they hadn't fed her at all on the ship, however many days it had been, although she had been given to drink.

    "I don't see an anti-magic tattoo," someone was saying, a tall man in a purple robe. Then they actually lifted up her hair to examine her neck.

    "No need," the man standing by the stake she was tied to said, "this one's totally inert, we got her scanned at the port."

    "It's still hardly proper..." he said.

    "Look, you wanna pay the 50 gold for a tattoo, that's on your account," the man by the stake said impatiently. "My goods are sold as-is. This one ain't got even a spark, it's a waste of money."

    "What are these bracelets she's wearing?" This was said by a middle-aged woman in dark green, with scowling lines etched in her face.

    The man shrugged. "Dunno, she had em when we got her, guy who sold her said they was steel. Couldn't get em off though, when we tried."

    The woman looked briefly disappointed.

    Rhen, in the meantime, was slowly getting her bearings. The sun was hot on her face, and the air was dry. The tears she'd shed had dried on her cheeks, leaving slightly itchy salt residue.

    She was trying to figure out in what context she'd heard of anti-magic tattoos before. She was desperate to know where she was.

    At the edges of the square there were palm trees, their huge leaves swaying gently in the wind.

    God, it was so hot... She thought.

    And then, a second later, like a blow to the gut-

    Veldarah???

    She struggled to calm herself, breathing in and breathing out. She was being ridiculous, paranoid.

    And yet she herself had listened to the reports of raids by Veldaran slavers, the Empire's latest round of aggression against the Thaians. It wasn't so far fetched.

    Her breath caught in her throat. She'd been thinking, maybe, that she could convince the person who eventually bought her to bring her home, convince them it would be worth their while.
    But if she was in Veldarah it was imperative no one know who she was.

    Because Rhen Pendragon, the Prince-Slayer, wouldn't survive a day on Veldaran soil.
     
     
  25. Like
    Blurble got a reaction from moonpeace in Shiptime (Mel/Ed)   
    notice: the forum move broke my table of contents and my on-site list of fics. my fics have been backed up to AO3. link in signature.
     
    To be honest I wrote this ages ago.
    But I was really only writing it in order to get to a certain scene.
    And then I hit writer's block.
    And so it sat around for over a month gathering dust and refusing to budge.
    Whatever. Consider this Chapter 1 of what may at some point in the next decade become, say, a 2-parter.

    ---

    It had been a mistake to let Edward buy the tickets.

    Actually, she should have guessed based on how... eager he had been. But then he was enthusiastic about loads of other things for reasons she never really understood, so she'd figured that this was more of the same, that maybe in addition to dreaming of farming chickens and participating in a lice-hop race Edward had a lifelong dream of buying ship tickets. At least she couldn't definitively put it past him.

    Full of surprises, that boy. But this particular surprise has been...

    “You only bought us one cabin!?” She exclaimed, in horror.

    “What? It's a double-size cabin.”

    “Yes, but there's only one of it.”

    “Well, it was cheaper than buying two singles,” he said, innocently.

    “Don't even- don't give me that sickening puppy look, money is not our biggest concern right now, and I know full well you did this on purpose. I am exchanging this ticket right now.”

    “No, don't-” he began, but followed her anyway as she stalked up to the dock to talk to the ship's captain.

    “I'm sorry,” the captain said, “but we don't do exchanges or refunds.”

    “But-” Mel began.

    “Ship policy.”

    “Could we at least buy another-”

    “Nope. Ship policy.” The captain crossed his arms firmly and stared off into the distance, refusing to speak any further.

    She whirled away, furious, in time to see Edward try- and fail- to stifle a grin.

    ---

    And so when they left for the Arishta Isles they left in a single double-size cabin, and Mel was no longer speaking with Edward, at least for the next five minutes, maybe.

    “Meeeel,” he whined.

    Mel ignored him.

    “Oh cool, these hammocks rock. Ooh, look, I can rock it back and forth like this- hey, this is kinda fun, I bet I can make it go even higher if I just-”

    THUMP.

    He picked himself up and glared at the hammock.

    “Bad hammock,” he said, and turned appealingly towards Mel. “Mel, the hammock is being mean to me.”

    Mel ignored him.

    “C'mon, Mel. You know you want to talk to me. You know, deep down inside, you just want to smack me upside the head and get over it.”

    Mel ignored him.

    “Otherwise I'll have to tell you a story about the Veldtian Merchant and the Talking Dog. That story takes hours. I'll just talk and talk and talk.”

    Mel winced. And ignored him.

    “Fine. Alright. The Veldtian Merchant. Be that way.”

    He sat precariously cross-legged inside his hammock. Mel rolled over so she couldn't see him anymore.

    “The Veldtian Merchant was a woman, with eight husbands. They were all named Quentin, by the way. She had a thing for Quentins. In the beginning she had three Quentins, one with blond hair, one with red hair, one with black hair, so she called them black, white, and red Quentin, variously. But then she got two more Quentins, and one of them brought a whole set of hair dyes. So there went that.”

    Mel felt her lips twitch upwards. She quickly willed them back down again.

    “Anyway, after the Veldtian got the eighth Quentin in an incident involving a shipwreck and a herd of angry sheep- and, now that I mention it, a ruby teaspoon and a bottle of fairy ale- she decided that she could focus her attention to building a huge shipping empire across the world. The only problem was that she had lost her ship in the aforementioned eighth Quentin incident. And it so happened that the shipbuilders in Veldt had gone on something that they have in Veldt, called a “strike”, which is when the workers refuse to work unless they get paid anymore. In Thais we don't have those, we just have general grumbling which tends to break out into fistfights and which my father says relieves the tension just as nicely, but In Veldt they're much more polite and even eat their bread with little forks. And they have all sorts of strikes... Baker strikes, Janitor strikes, I heard the politicians once went on strike and people tried to pay them to stay that way.”

    He paused.

    “Seriously? You're not even going to laugh at that? Hellooo, Mel, I just made fun of nobles. Sort of. Mel? Did you go to sleep? Should I start talking to my toes now?”

    Mel ignored him.

    “Oh well. I guess I won't tell you, then,” Edward said, sounding rather offended.

    Mel ignored him.

    There was silence.

    There was more silence.

    There was silence with compound interest.

    Mel fidgeted, irritably.

    “Alright, fine!” She said, rolling to her other side so she could see him. “What were you going to say?”

    He grinned at her. “You're talking to me.”

    “No. I'm not. I want to go to sleep and not see your dumb face.”

    She rolled back to face the wall.

    “Mel?” He whispered.

    “What?”

    “I'm sorry.”

    There was a pause.

    She sighed. “Yeah, fine, I... Whatever.”

    “And I love you. A lot.”

    She threw one of her pillows at him, and curled up into the remainder, bright red.
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