The Arrangement

Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
At the man's response, Uluc smirked but his brow twitched in irritation. Alaisanna was uninterested in their competition of who was the better man, in her opinion they were weak. Brains were nothing without strength. Grykail on the other hand was finding this match hilarious. To have someone, a human nonetheless, get under Uluc's skin was amazing.

"Such a....pleasant rhyme-" Uluc had started to speak but was cut off by Grykail humming the tune. Purely humming just to irritate Uluc and Alaisanna. Uluc turned his head to Grykail with a frown, Alaisanna glanced at Grykail and scoffed, he was like a child enjoying their irritation. She didn't care where they were, or who they were in front of. She glared at Grykail before leaning over and whispering something in his ear that caused the humming to stop entirely.

Uluc took a breath turning back to Aston, "That sounds like a swell trade. We will teach you our ways and in return, you...show us yours, though it won't be that hard for us." He smirked and Alaisanna nodded at Hulda's words.

"I agree with Lady Hulda. Enough of this showboating, you both are rather irritating with words." Alaisanna stood reaching on her side to grab a paper and walked over to hand it to Hallr. "I have prepared some of our tactics beforehand. If you wish to have your men train I would be willing to do so. As for weapons If you wish I will send some to your base." She spoke clearly and knew what she wanted, her voice didn't waver. She had no interest in their courts or anything besides exchanging information and then taking her leave. Once the parchment was from her grasp she walked back to the couch and sat. Grykail looked at Hulda and the others before standing.

"I suppose the most important thing to mention is this 'plague' as you barba- I mean humans call it. We refer to it as the shadow, I am sure you all must have heard plenty of it?" He glanced at them curiously bringing his arms from behind his counterparts to his lap. "It is an old poison that affects both our kinds alike. I thought we had eradicated it eons ago. But, it seems that is not the case..." He trailed off and paused for a moment before continuing, "There is a cure, two of your kind has already gone through the process, and are alive and well."


~


Zestarri nodded letting out a small breath as the King stated he would allow them to decide for themselves. It helped ease her worries to know they were at least considerate of the situation. When Calliope asked about a garden in her castle, Zestarri's expression brightened and she smiled. "Oh yes! Elora does most of the gardening when I have to attend to my duties, but it has the most lovely flowers. I believe the young prince had sent her a flower, he was so eager to have me preserve it." Zestarri let out a small chuckle. "I would be thrilled to send you flowers for your garden, Elora would be most excited if she were allowed to help." Zestarri couldn't help ut speak of Elora, all of her children were he joy and she prided them more than anything. They had all been so patient and pleasant and despite Elora's earlier qualms about the marriage, she was fairing quite well.


~

"I don't think it is useless in the least, I think it is wonderous that you are both agile and intelligent. My father and brother refused me to learn to wield a weapon other than a bow. And even still they won't allow me to join them unless it is for the festivals... Though I will best your brother in skill with a bow effortlessly." Elora teased and chucked a it at her own words. "My brother Katyr, he glares at Archie the entire time, and will more likely do so until I am wed to him...But, he left some odd years ago. We are all still close. But, I feel closest to Aiudin. Even though at times I wish to kick his rear, and he can be insufferable...He has always been there, regardless of how much he angered me." Elora smiled to herself speaking sweetly about her elder brother before scoffing, "Though don't tell him I think highly of him, it will surely go to his head."

When the girl turned her head and stated all was fine and she was glad Elora couldn't help but smile a bit. "I thought it would help. Though I won't fault him for being overprotective, had Katyr noticed I left he'd turn the lodge around to find me... I love to be outside, it is....calming, it reminds me of the garden back home." Elora didn't mention the girls illness, she would keep her word to Archie about not mentioning it. She wanted to comfort the girl in a way, but she had no way to relate to something like blindness. She was happy the girl enjoyed her company her first friend and it was turning to be a success.


Katyr walked over to Aiduin as he walked back inside, "Where are they?" Aiduin frowned and rolled his eyes, "Outside leave them be brother." Katyr glanced behind Aiuduin and thought about walking outside to watch them, but also didn't wish to be scolded by Sarya again. She had finally allowed him to get up, but to introduce himself not make an ass of.

 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Hulda choked on her drink, ‘Lady?’ She thought. How formal were they going to be getting? No one ever called her with a title before her actual name. This was unfamiliar territory for her. The Spymaster cleared her throat and nudged the giant in the foot with her own. Hallr would intentionally zone out of conversations not of importance, far as he was concerned Aston, and the Elf were having a ‘which one of us has the bigger ego to defend?’ contest going on. He came back to reality, looking up at the Elven Queen and grasped the parchment. The War Commander was rather silent throughout the entire exchange, only giving a firm nod to her words to acknowledge that he heard her, though that was entirely untrue.

Aston dismissed the irritation on Uluc’s face. He found it rather amusing that he let a mere ‘human’—a “child” in his eyes—get underneath his skin. The diplomat was admiring his nails. He recently got them done before arriving for the summit. Only looking up to admire Grykail’s tall stature before paying attention to his words after. “I mean, it’s a myth to the common human, but to us? We know of its existence. The Plague, or “Shadow” as you call it, was struck from all records and histories in our lands. The Kings before Alistair felt it best that the people live in bliss ignorance. Which is…in my humble opinion, skita.” Hallr retorts, emptying the contents of his tankard.

“Oh, we know it cured the two heirs of the Beaumont and Blackburn houses. Nothing goes unnoticed in the castle.” Hulda adds, “Least not while I’m alive.” She winks.

“Dear Hulda, quit flirting with the brooding elf.” Aston smacks her shoulder, it was mostly to tease her. Hulda was most definitely just teasing him. Apparently, humour was not only restricted to their future King.

“Tells us more about this cure.” Hallr says, he was more attentive now. The Plague had always been on his mind, he just didn’t think it’d invade his every thought since the letter from his Captain in the fields.






“Ah, is it more difficult to be a Queen of the Elves than it is being a Queen of the Humans?” Calliope questioned. She found it intriguing that Elora gardens, perhaps she could invite the young Elf to a showing of her gardens, or perhaps she would best it be Archie who showed her.

“The blue rose, I presume.” Alistair remarks, “It’s a delicate rose and more difficult to maintain. The colours of the roses all turn white before autumn rolls into the Kingdom. Which makes it easier to tell between the seasons.” He added.

“I would be happy to receive such a gift. It’s actually a part of my day I look forward to the most. Though my schedule within the past few months has been hectic because of things that took place.” Calliope says.






“Tell me more about your skill with a bow and these festivals you speak of.” Anastasia retorts, “I suspect it will be more interesting to hear of things from your homelands than it will be of writing on a parchment.” She added, having been stuck in books and becoming a copy scribe, being a student at the college wasn’t all adventurous as her brother’s life has been up to this point in time. Anastasia thought Elora must’ve had some unsaid words to get off her chest speaking of her brothers. She smiled at her, even laughing at the last of her words, “Your secret is safe with me, Elora. But I suspect Archie might’ve already told him. It’s best you never spill secrets to him, he’s rather horrendous at keeping them. As for Katyr, it is understandable he feels such a way even if through glaring alone. No older sibling is ever ready to let go of the protecting younger siblings, I will tell you that much.”

“Garden? Do you manage it? My Mother brought me to hers on the first day I arrived home. There’s a small garden at the college, though I can’t tend to it now. It helped me relax and clear my head in the days I was most upset or just needed time to be alone. So, in a way I can relate to you wanting to be outside and find nature tranquil.”

Archie broke away from Aiduin and was now with his other brothers and Lily. Mostly talking to a bitter younger brother, Levian. It seemed the years of being apart from him. Their relationship had grown estranged. Archie had to bring out the tense atmosphere surrounding the young Prince.

“What’s on your mind, Levi? I know that look even after all these years. What’s got you upset?” He asked shortly after exchanging feigned pleasantries with him.

You.” He said, his brows knitting together.

“Me? What did I do? Explain.” Archie inquired further.

“I thought you might be dead after the last letter you sent from the battlefield when you turned 19. I didn’t hear nothing. Not a lick of a word, not even from the refugees pouring in from the villages pillaged by the rebels.” Levian started pacing, “Then you turn up out of the fucking blue in the Kingdom. All is peaches and rainbows, ain’t it?”

“You’re mad because I didn’t send a letter?” Archie was ignorant, but by the goddess was he unbelievably naïve in his brother’s worry for him.

“No- not- y’know what? Once you figure it out, let me know. Otherwise, don’t speak to me until you do.” Levi pushed past his brother and went to the other side of the room to join Lily and his younger brother Lorcan to speak to one another.

“Damn. Even he wasn’t mad at me.” Leo remarks on the situation that just occurred.

“I don’t understand.” Archie scratched his head, “What’s the issue?”

“Maybe you’ll figure it out further this week. I can see it now. You figuring it out by the end and sending a major apology his way, perhaps coaxing him into his favourite food. Which I assume you don’t know since you were too busy… ya know.” Leo trailed off, biting into his apple.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Alaisanna dismissed the fact that the man was clearly paying her no mind. Not as though she cared, this was for formalities. She would possibly talk to him later when he wasn't as distracted. She had plenty of questions to ask about his armies and opinions but for now, would hold her tongue.

Grykail nodded his head to Hallr's words, "I do agree that is was not the wisest decision on their part. But, Alaisanna has brought the information from our side of the plague. She had the information in the meeting area-" Alaisanna crossed her legs and interjected before he continued, "This on the other hand is not information I am willing to give so easily, they are precious documents that have rather sensitive information. Thus, until this agreement is solidified I shall not present them." Alaisanna looked at the humans before her before leaning back on her hand. Grykail cleared his throat looking at Alaisanna before Hulda spoke. Her wink made him chuckle and smirk, "I would hope not."

Uluc grimaced at the jest against his companion and scoffed, he wanted to say something but a look from Alaisanna told him he would more than likely lose his head. When Hallr spoke Grykail turned to him, "Well, the cure.." Uluc cleared his throat, "Before you spill our secrets as such Grykail, perhaps explain other details as well." Uluc rose his brow at Gryakil a he turned to face him. Uluc was right, if they kept giving out secrets and the arrangement fell through they would be stuck. Though, they all knew it would go through they were weary.

Nodding to Uluc he turned back to the humans across from them, "The cure is a very sacred secret. One we do not share so lightly, the only one of your kind to know thus far is the Doctor. He has been asked to keep it a secret as well. You must understand that this cannot be spoken about, it could cause panic."


~

Zestarri was a bit surprised by the Queen's question but chuckled. "I cannot say. I have never been a Queen of the humans, though I will admit being Queen does come with its own share of problems. I have my own diplomatic duties to attend, while my husband delegates with the advisors over the military and politics...Well, I handle the needs of our people, not to say my husband doesn't lend a helping hand where it is necessary." Zestarri lifted her cup to take another sip after speaking.

"It was a very lovely flower, and gesture. Elora spent her entire day looking at it after her lessons." Zestarri smiled to herself lifting her gaze to the pair, "I can agree to the hectic days, though now I look forward to tea in the garden." She lifted her cup again to take a sip and looked at the Queen as she set the cup back down.

"Elora says you enjoy tea? I've always wondered what flavored tea your kingdom enjoys." Zestarri laid her hands in her lap looked at the other queen both eager and curious.


~
Elora smiled happily, "Of course, I'd be delighted to! Oh, would you like to sit in the grass with me as we chat? It can get so tiring to stand." Elora waited for the girl's response, and if the girl agreed to sit Elora would help the girl lower herself to the ground. If not then she would continue standing. "I am sure he has-" Elora laughed with the girl leaning her head up to feel the sun against her skin. "But I will be sure not to spill too many secrets that I wish to stay well kept...As for Katyr, I do not mind his methods. Though I do hope he gives Archie a proper chance." She glanced at the girl as she spoke about the garden. "Yes, my mother has given it to me as my own. I am worried I will not have the time when I am- well nevermind. But the flowers smell so sweet in the spring. I gather them and the townsfolk decorate the town with them during the festivals. We dance, and in the afternoons we hunt. There is a competition, we ride horses and whoever shoots the biggest beast wins. Last year I nearly won, but Aiduin dared to catch a bigger bear." Elora chuckled a bit before continuing, "But, this year I am sure to win. Not even Archie could best me. I have practiced since I could hold the bow, and little to Aiduin's knowledge I often snuck out to practice." Elora loved the bow, it was one of the few weapons her father allowed, the killing was somethign she enjoyed a little less but it was the goddess' will that things happened as such. "Oh and the festivals, they have the best fabrics! They feel so soft, like silk. I have used some to make your brother a shirt, it is a bit more our style than it would veer be your brothers. But, he said he enjoyed the gift so I am pleased.....Shall I make you one as well? I would love to do so, if that is alright with you."

~


Sarya took it upon herself to do the introductions, lifting herself from her seat making sure the babe was secure in her arms she walked over to Archie and Leo cautiously. "Excuse me young princes...I just wanted to give a small hello." She nodded her head giving a small curtsy holding the babe in her arms carefully before lifting her head nad smiling at the pair. While Aiduin and Katyr talked their gazes drifted over to Sarya walking across the room and then givng her introductions. Katyr began walking towards the group and Aiduin followed suit, excited to know Katyr would be scolded once again.
 
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Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
“Fair enough.” Hallr retorts, leaning back into the couch once again. Hulda was hiding behind her smirk and a cup of wine. A glint of knowing already in her eye. Doctor Emerson had no say in keeping secrets from the Spymaster of Lennox Kingdom anyhow. When the Elves were ready to reveal their cards about The Plague, she would keep hers tucked away until then. The Summit is – after all – a solution to their oppositions.

“Understandable.” Aston adds, “We already developed a way to slow down the effects of the poison.”

“Notably, it came from the Blackburn House. Though the Infected still succumb to the plague. Many have lived for years before eventually dying.” Hulda finished Aston’s sentence for him.

“Well, since the Plague or “The Shadow” is off the table for now. Either we can learn more about each other’s methods or…you can leave.” Aston speaks after Hulda, taking a drink from his own cup. “I don’t mean to be an asshole, but I think you’re not ready to talk yet.”

“It is great to talk to one another, but I agree with Aston. No offense to your other friends, Grykail, but they don’t seem ready to talk yet.” Hulda says to him. The Spymaster doesn’t doubt the other two are formidable in their talks, but it really was a better idea for them to take some time away from the ‘barbarians.’ One of the many colourful nicknames given to the Humans from their former masters.






Calliope nods to her words. She handled more of the mild cases that involved decorations, renovations of the city, or even just to hear out her subjects. Her Husband dealt with the more serious deals of handling a Kingdom and the responsibility that came with it. “Well, to give you a sneak peek of what I do as a Royal Consort, I deal with more mild cases and complaints from the people to handling renovations of broken-down parts of the city. Alistair handles the more serious side of dealing with a Kingdom.” She gives a glance to her husband before looking back to the Elf.

A smile graced her lips, “Oh, yes. We have a variety of teas native to our realms. I can’t name them all off the top of my head, but Chamomile tea and Jasmine tea are quite popular and common among the people.” She retorts. “I would be glad to provide you with a copy of, Teas Native to the Human Nations, if you’d like?” She inquired. Calliope dabbled in teas, but she wasn’t an expert on the subject. Rather, she was a fan and admirer of its existence.






“Okay.” Anastasia spoke, letting the young Elf lead towards sitting on the grass. Anastasia, however, pulled her hood up to shield her eyes from the sun. Though she was masked, her eyes hurt when direct sunlight hit them. While Elora was talking, Anastasia started feeling the blades of grass between her fingers. She couldn’t remember a time before now when she could relax like this. After losing her eyesight, she could no longer go outside alone, when she very much wanted to. It sucked having to rely on everyone nowadays, especially incompetent ones.

She smiled at her words, “I am sure when he’s over his anger, he will give him a chance. If not, Archie will probably not care either way. Not to say my brother’s arrogant, but if he cannot impress Katyr then he will accept your brother’s disapproving stance. Archie is not one to linger on another’s grudges or ire for him long, he will move on quick. He will try to soothe it before moving on though.” Anastasia gave her an insight to what her twin’s character was like.

“Sounds adventurous and exciting.” Anastasia remarked. Letting Elora continue to speak before she brought up the fact that she made Archie a shirt. “Silk? Isn’t that a rare commodity?” She inquired. The worms that made the fine fabric, she was rather worried about their being than a fabric. Anastasia lifted her hand and shook it as if to say, ‘No.’

“It’s fine, Elora. I’m confined to wearing cotton while I remain a student at the college.” She let out a wistful sigh, “I will let Archie remain the subject wearer of your silks.” She added with a slight smile, “I will not lie, after the Summit passes I will return to the college. There’s so much work to do in extraordinarily little time. But it’s nice to get away from everything once in a while. It reminds me that I’m only human.”






Archie looked over at the Elf Woman approaching the two with a child in her arms. Leo turned just as she introduced herself to them both. The younger Prince, Leo, swallowed the rest of his apple and clasp his hands behind his back, returning the curtsy right back at her. Archie copied his brother’s gestures. For the Eldest, you’d think he would remember his etiquette, but Archie would have to relearn it all again.

“Hello Ms…? Or Princess…?” Leo spoke first, “I’m Prince Leo Lennox.” Archie was nudged to introduce himself next. Which he did with another dip at his middle before relaying the same greeting as Leo. “Hello, I’m Prince Archie Lennox.” With his own tone of informal accent on it.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Grykail let out a small breath when the humans didn't argue. Closing his eyes he sighed, he was sure they could find out the information though he hoped the doctor kept his word. He had already known about the placebo cure, it had indeed slowed down the effect. But, if the shadows continued to grow as they did it wouldn't take long for their medicine to stop working. He supposed he would mention it at another time. Or without the others present.

Hearing Aston's sentence he turned to his companions who seemed less than thrilled to be sitting there. Alaisanna herself was just upset at being ignored, it was one of her few irritations. She could say the same about Hallr. Grykail sighed and turned back towards the humans. "I suppose for now at least we should halt discussions, we can speak more at another time. When the others are more willing to share." He gave a small smile and Alaisanna took this as her chance to stand.

She stood and bowed her head to the humans before her, "I agree. And on that note, we will take our leave." She turned to Uluc who rolled his eyes at her and stood to bow politely to them. "I still expect to hear more of your human courts. Though we can share the details and training later." He flashed a smile and followed Alaisanna who had already taken her leave.

Grykail frowned and rubbed his temples as they left before turning his attention back to the officials. "Please excuse us then. It was a pleasure to speak with you all, I...apologize for my companions they are insufferable sometimes." With a polite bow and smile, he turned and left as well walking out of the door. Not too long after leaving he caught up with the others.

Alaisanna made sure they were out of earshot before speaking, "Next time can you keep some of our secrets hidden Grykail. You speak like the maids that gossip in the square." She scowled at him huffing. Grykail frowned at her, "We are supposed to be coming to agreements and making peace. You two seemed to have more fun bickering than anything else. Like children, I swear it."



Zestarri rose her brow at the word Royal Consort, she had no knowledge of how the human's royal houses and terms worked. Though she might ask this at another time, feeling it was improper to bring it up. "I think that or duties are not that different after all then." Zestarri smiled at the woman. "I say a Queen's duty is never done. My children have learned that well. Raising them in the castle and delegating tasks proved the hardest. Imagine a babe latched to you while filing papers." Zestarri chuckled, Elven royalties raised their children with them. Leaving the task to someone else was frowned upon. As though you might be dismissing the children, she wasn't sure if it was the same for humans.

"I would love a copy. In return, I can send you some of our own teas. We use fruit for our teas, there is one called the winterberry. It is my sister and I's favorite." Zestarri was excited to converse with someone other than Elora and her maids about tea. To find another admirer had proved very difficult before this, she had heard human's tea was quite delicious and hoped to try some.

Just as she finished speaking a light knock on the doorway could be heard. Lifting her gaze Kolvar was standing there smiling. "I hope I'm not interrupting."


Elora smiled as the girl let her help her sit down, she was just happy to be able to help. Elora could imagine how hard it must be for her, she seemed like a very headstrong girl, it must be difficult for her to rely on everyone else.

As she talked about Archie, Elora couldn't help but let out a small laugh. "I am glad it will not bother him if my brother does not like him. Though I am almost certain, Sarya will force him to be nice. She fancies my brother a lot but, she scolds him like a child when he is wrong. I can imagine once the babe is sleep she will make her own introductions."

At the mention of silk, Elora shook her head before remembering the girl wouldn't see it. "Oh not at all, it is quite popular. During the winter the worms are bred since we use thicker fabric such as cotton. Once the supply of silk is bountiful we would stop producing it. There is also a substitute much like silk that we use as well. Some of the Elves in our kingdoms have magic that helps with the silkworms. My mother says Animals of all kinds are very important to us, they are a part of nature and thus we must treat them with care." Elora explained before the girl gave a polite shake of her head.

Elora frowned a bit, she had no knowledge when it came to the rules of the college. Elora would love to make Ana a dress or shirt that would accent her beautiful features. Hearing the girl would return after the summit Elora looked at the ground, that was right. Human. As much as Elora wished it there were still obstacles that made them different, and it seemed even though they would be getting to know each other she would be gone just as soon. Elora let out a breath and forced herself to not be disappointed, she would cherish the time she had for now and worry about such things later.

"Well, I cannot say I won't make you something. I enjoy giving others gifts, and to be able to craft something to make your already beautiful features stand out would make me delighted....though I won't force you to wear it, I promise." Elora gave and smiled and another small chuckle. "But, when you leave again, are you allowed to write? I was hoping...I mean if it is alright with you..that I might be able to write to you. So long as it will not be a bother. I know that studying must take up waves of time." Elora couldn't help the blush that spread across her cheeks.



Sarya gave a small laugh as the two gave their awkward fumbled greetings. "Sarya is fine, there is no need for formalities here. It is nice to meet you Prince Leo and you as well Prince Archie." Sarya gave a sweet smile, her green eyes were littered with a kindness that was apparently in the way she spoke. Much like Elora, Sarya was on the smaller side. Compared to everyone else her ears were hidden, though the bright color of her eyes showed she was elven, her features otherwise made her look human. Much like Grykail's subtle features.

"I was hoping to become more acquainted with everyone. I would have come over sooner...but things become a bit harder while my son is awake." She gave a small laugh stroking the babe's cheek with a smile. She was still tired, it hadn't been that long since the baby was born, and the trip from her home to Katyr and then again to the lodge had drained her a bit. "AH. Please pardon. Do you mind if I take a seat?"

As she sat in the chair Katyr walked to her side. He looked at the two princes and gave a bow. "I am Prince Katyr....Sarya's husband, as well as Elora's eldest brother." He didn't bother to meet their eyes and turned his attention immediately to Sarya who narrowed her eyes at him.

Aiduin trailed behind him and nodded his head, "Hello again Archie. And....uh....young prince? Sorry, I'm not the greatest at names." He rubbed his neck and gave a sheepish smile.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Soon as the Elves left the room, a tension lifted off their shoulders. All at once, the three Councillors collectively sighed. Aston was the first one up, already refilling his goblet of more wine before taking an immediate drink at once. He turned around to eye both of his counterparts, ready to talk first before Hallr stood and took that chance instead.

“I’ll see what I can gather from Alaisanna.” Hallr spoke. It intrigued him the moment she spoke of exchanging military tactics and such. Though he didn’t know what he could gather in her current state of irritability, he would try—at least.

“May the Goddess preserve your soul, Hallr.” Hulda retorts, watching the giant leave the room and close the door quietly behind him.

Hulda turned her attention to Aston, who was looking out the window. The room they were in was facing towards the southern border, it was sharing with the Elven Empire. You could see both sides of the lands, one occupied with humans close to the fenced off lodging and the other with nothing but forest.

“Do you suppose they’ll be more willing after that?” Aston asked.

“Well, they follow their King’s every word and wishes. I doubt they’ll want to go against the current. They just need to cool their heads and we’ll see what happens afterward.” Hulda retorts.






Calliope and Alistair both looked toward the entrance, seeing Kolvar there. For the first time, Calliope broke apart from Alistair’s side and smoothed the creases out of her dress. “Hello, King Kolvar. We’ve already met, but I’m Queen Calliope—Alistair’s Wife.” She gave a proper curtsy to the Elf King and retook her seat.

“Kolvar.” Alistair briefly greeted him, “Your Wife has been most gracefully kind.” He complimented the Queen of the Elven Empire. Despite the tensions in the others spread throughout the lodging, the Royals seemed to be fine in greeting one another like old friends.

“I hate to bring it up so soon, but were the letters written well? Too much? Or too little?” Alistair adds.

Calliope rests a palm on her husband’s shoulder, “We can discuss paperwork later, dearie. Kolvar, your wife was just telling me about how it’s like to be a Queen running an extensive empire. And the garden and teas.” She offered a small, warm smile.

“Kolvar, you have any hobbies aside from running an Empire?” Alistair inquired.






Anastasia smiled at that the imaging of Elora’s siblings. Now that she was here in neutral territory, she wondered what they looked like. They were all difficult to imagine in picture sense, but by voice? Or the sounds of their feet? She would figure out who was who in time. For now, she was content with meeting Elora.

When Elora mentioned of how the creatures of her lands were cared for, she let out a sigh of relief of her own worry leaving her altogether. “I imagine the creatures are well taken care of in your lands. I cannot say the same for the animals in my peoples’ lands. There are certain animals we hunt for sport or even for food. Though it is against the law of hunting game and fishing in certain lands, the extreme impoverished do not care for such laws.” She retorts, giving her some sight of how the Humans were.

“I can give you my measurements, Elora. If your sights are already set on what type of pattern or details you would add into a thoughtful gift, then who am I to refuse such a grand gift?” She smiled, bringing her hands to rest onto her lap. “I might wear it, perhaps, we shall see.” When Elora asked if they allowed her to write, Anastasia nodded. “Of course. But I must warn you, my letters are all read out loud to me. And I respond by mouth, rather than quill to parchment. Do not worry about intricate details being given away, I’m afforded privacy at the College.” She adds.

“But I imagine you won’t have much time to write me after the summit, no?” She asked, “The details of the betrothal are still largely overshadowed by the fact of…your father’s extended peace talks. What do you think will happen if it goes through? Are you not worried if our people can’t come to an agreement?” She suddenly asked. It was still day one of the summit. Six more days of this would determine the outcome if they would agree or turn it away altogether.

In her own opinion, Anastasia found it rather strange that the Elves will extend an olive branch so soon after the border wars. The two dominate species of the lands were always butting heads, skirmishes happened every few years—mainly on the borders. Perhaps the Elven King was growing tired of it, or perhaps there was a sinister motive yet to be unveiled. Either way, Anastasia wouldn’t fault the actions of her father’s on her.






“Well, then…” Leo piped up, “Just call us Leo and Archie.” He retorts. That way it can familiarise them with one another.

“Ah…children are a…handful, aren’t they?” Archie adds, awkwardly trying to relate to something he had no experience in. Leo nudged him in the side, earning a quick jab of his own in the shoulder.

“No, not at all.” Leo retorts to the woman’s wanting to sit down. He was rather worried if she could even walk around. By the looks of her child, he did not look older than a few days at most.

It only filled the awkwardness to the brim when Katyr suddenly came over. Likely out of natural worry for his Wife. Archie, normally casual and talkative to strangers, was rather quiet once the woman came over with her child and husband shortly in tow. He felt some relief overcome him when Aiduin came into the picture.

Leo cracked a smile to Aiduin introducing himself, “Well, this is rather awkward. I’m Prince Leo, one of Archie’s many younger brothers. I imagine he’s told you about us. If he hasn’t, then I shall be the first to introduce myself to you.”

Archie gave a look to Leo, then changed his mind about what he was going to rebuttal. Instead, he introduced himself to the newer guest; Katyr. “Prince Katyr. I hear from Elora you don’t like me, but from what I can try to understand is just a cover for an older brother wanting to protect his youngest sister and sibling.” He brought it up. For Archie, he’d rather lay it all out in the open before anything else could be said.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Alaisanna huffed at Grykail and scowled, which he all to gladly ignored. When they reached the main meeting area they separated. Uluc went off to find some good wine, and hopefully rest his eyes stating he needed some 'beauty rest.' Grykail went off to another quiet room to overlook the papers they had been given by the humans and demands that they would make.

Alaisanna sat at the table Kedori brought her some wine and then left her be seeing her clear irritation instead, heading to the kitchen to fix the younger royals some food. Alaisanna drummed her fingers on the table drinking, in her years she had never been so blatantly ignored. And by a human nonetheless, she ran and hand over her hair and closed her blank colored eyes. She knew she needed to calm herself and think with a more leveled head, but these things were so hard when faced with so many irritations at once.




Zestarri sat her cup on the table and stood as she saw her husband, he moved to her side after giving a polite bow to the other royals. He kissed her on the top of her head and placed his hand on the small of her back to lead her back to the seats. "It is a pleasure to meet you properly Queen Calliope." He nodded his head to her with a smile and sat beside his wife who held his hand, while the other grabbed her tea once more.

Hearing Alistair compliment Zesstari they both smiled, Kolvar looked at his wide lovingly. "I am pleased that she was. She is quite the smooth talker, it is one of the reasons I love her so." Kolvar leaned and kissed her cheek lovingly, Zestarri only smiled with a slight flush in her cheeks. Kolvar chuckled and turned his attention back to Alistair. Zestarri couldn't help but smile.

"Ah the garden and teas, two of her favorite things. As for myself when I do find time to myself I enjoy archery. I often do so with Aiduin or some of the young trainees. I feel it is good to keep the body fit, for one of my age." Kolvar smiled gently at the pair and took a moment to think, "As for your letters they were delightful-" Zestarri interjected after taking a sip of her tea.

"Oh come now dear, you were just as eager as Elora to receive letters. Bothering the pages every few hours, and making me read over your letters for mistakes." Zestarri teased and Kolvar tensed and small pink visible on his cheeks he cleared his throat. "My dear winter star I know not of what you speak."





Elora was not surprised when the princess mentioned how her people treated animals. Elora would never say but her people were all too aware and it was part of the reason humans were referred to as barbarians. "We do also hunt, for food as is necessary. and then during the festivals but we use the animals from the hunt for the feast, we send their souls to the goddess as a thank you for their sacrifice."

When Ana offered to give her measurements Elora all but beamed, "Oh I do not need your measurement's Ana. I can tell your size just from looking, though I would not think my gift so grand." Elora smiled gently and listened as the girl spoke, turning her burning face from her lap to face Ana. As she continued Elora couldn't help the flush that took over her feature and spread to her chest. She had never considered what would happen after the summit, she had never been familiar with courting or such normal things.

"I-I ave not thought much of what will happen once it goes through...I-If I may be honest. I am unfamiliar with such things.... until now I-I was certain that things would stay the same. But, I know that I am mistaken." Elora lowered her gaze and folded her hands in her lap twisting the fabric of her dress. "I a not at all worried. My father is determined to bring peace, he said he is tired of war. And there is no end to it.....Whatever agreements that must be made will, I only wish our people to feel safe..... I would give anything for it."

Elora paused for a moment and closed her eyes, "But, after the summit I will find time to write you. Nothing could take all of my time....There are still six days to go, but I am certain all will turn out well. I have high hopes." Elora opened her eyes and smiled wide, it was true that she was naive in many aspects but she was certain that her father would make this treaty happen.





Sarya smiled, "Then Leo and Archie it is." She smiled and adjusted herself in the seat before chuckling at Archie's comment. "Aye, they can be at times, especially while young....but I suppose you both will come to learn that in time no?" She snickered a bit teasing the boys before Katyr walked to her side.

As Katyr introduced himself she couldn't help but scowl at him, she had told him to introduce himself but had instead spoken to Aiduin. And even in a state where diplomacy is needed he was choosing to be disrespectful by all but ignoring the two boys as he spoke. Katyr could see his wife scowl and sighed turning to he two boys as Aiduin spoke.

Aiduin smiled at the younger prince, "That he hasn't. I am sure your brother might have mentioned you more to my sister rather than I...Regardless, Nice to meet you, Prince Leo, I am Prince Aiduin, another of Elora's elder siblings." Aiduin was all but prepared to tease Archie on writing his sister letters until he addressed Katyr. Katyr frowned, as though the one placed on his face could deepen any further.

Katyr crossed his arms over his chest looking down at Archie. "She is wrong, I have no feelings for you in the least. You are correct, I do wish to protect my sister. She is young and naive, she knows no more of a man than she does war. Though I would have preferred to keep things that way my father help other ideals. And while he chooses to play diplomat I will not pretend to make nice with anyone. My discontent is not for your kind, but for the mere fact that you are a man. And I do not trust you." His voice was deep such as his fathers and was Sarya not bound to the chair by both the child in her arms and weak legs she might have gotten up to hit him.

He was a bit surprised the prince chose such a direct approach but could appreciate that much, he hated beating around the bush. Aiduin looked at his brother and covered his mouth to hide his smirk, his brother was like a child losing its favorite toy. Of course, Katyr had always been overprotective of his sisters that was something that would never change. For Naexi it had been an exception because they had already known Strolvac for some time, but still, his friend turning to like his younger sister didn't run as smoothly as you'd expect.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Was it too early to question Alaisanna?’ Hallr thought while he made his way from the private lounging area, down the corridor, and towards the larger lounging area. The War Commander noted the Royals children already getting along with their counterparts from the Elven Empire. He found it intriguing, but noted how the newer generations are more open with the Elves than the older gens like himself. Hallr made his way to one servant and inquired about Queen Alaisanna’s whereabouts, then was led back into the meeting room from before.

The doors came rumbling, opening to reveal the lone Elf sitting at the table, sipping on presumably wine. He could read the expression and emotion she felt. It seemed a terrible time now to bother the Elf. Hallr treaded over, his steps loud against the floorboards until he reached the seat opposite of hers, “I was hoping we could talk more about your military tactics unless you’re still set in your ways about not sharing until the treaty is signed.” He spoke first. If speaking about the tactics that the Humans—particularly the Lennox Royal Army used—used in the Military would help the Queen open up more, then he would gladly exchange the information over.






Calliope smiled, taking a sip from her own cup of jasmine tea. Alistair finished his long ago during the talks with Zestarri. He wouldn’t mind another cup. But he did not want to miss a unique opportunity to talk with their counterparts. The Human King found himself on equal footing with both the Elven Royals. He enjoyed gardening, though he couldn’t say the same for tea—that was something he would leave to his wife. And as for archery, while he enjoyed watching his own bowmen train in the training yard, he preferred the sword.

“Ah, while I’m much too old myself to be handling weapons. I prefer the sword to the bow.” He remarked. Stifling a chuckle against Zestarri’s interruption before composing himself to answer. “Really?” The smirk was, however, clear. “While I think that’s a compliment. I was speaking of the letters from the noble houses and the Dwarves, but it is most intriguing of your thoughts on our exchanged letters.”






It was interesting to see Elora speak about the way they treated animals. “I am not familiar with which ways the Elves hunt, but I can presume they offer a prayer before taking a life, no?” She inquired. Anastasia didn’t do much reading or learning about the Elves before arriving here. She had to learn about the Delafontaine’s personal history before going into other histories on so-called great Nobles, Royals, and other dull information.

“Well, just to be sure I will have the measurements sent. You might not notice, but one of my arms is shorter than the other by a few centimetres. Result of premature birth in the womb.” She retorts, though a few minutes born after Archie—both of the twins were born too early. Her Mother was too stubborn to give them up and wanted to see them both live, so she had hired the best medical experts in the medical field.

Anastasia continued to listen to the Princess’ thoughts. She could only form grim thoughts if this deal were to fall through. What would happen? Perhaps another war in the coming months, or perhaps they would just continue to ignore one another for the time being. “I believe both of our Fathers hold the same thoughts when it comes to peace and improving the lives of each other’s people.” She reassured the worried Elora, “Though I have hopes that the deal will come through. We must keep in mind if it falls through. Its best to always see both sides of the same coin before considering things afterward.” She added, “I admire your youthful spirit, Elora. Don’t let anyone break it down. Not even I.” She smiled.

Smiling wider when bringing up the subjection of writing to one another. “Even if the deal falls through, Elora. I want you to leave this place knowing you’ve made at least one friend during your stay and interminable journey away from your home.”






Leo smacked the back of Archie’s back when Sarya teased them. “Archie will know all about that. I still have a long way to go before bringing any child into this world.” He retorts. Archie chuckled awkwardly then, coughing to cover up his embarrassed expression. Clearing his throat when Aiduin came into the picture to greet Leo. He tossed a smirk his way.

“Pleasure’s all mine, Aiduin. You can just call me Leo. I hope we can drop the titles, if not I will resort to calling you Prince all the time, if you wish.” He smiled back at Aiduin.

Archie smiled, “Aye.” He spoke with a polite tone, “I understand your distrust of me, but you make a haste judgement before you begin to know who I am. Though I am very much a man, I will not make your sister feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed. But you understand that things change, and eventually, you must learn to let go of your sister when she selects a man to call her own. I know Elora is young and naïve, but she wouldn’t have agreed to this betrothal if it didn’t mean she could see peace for her people. If in time, you still do not trust me, then I will accept your stance and learn to live with it. For now, it would be best to accept the terms of your younger sister’s will.”

After the confrontation, Solana was by the Prince’s side to provide a message, “I apologise for interrupting, but Prince Archie, King Pierre wishes to see you in his chambers.” The Halfling spoke, waiting for him.

Archie gave a knowing look towards Leo before discreetly excusing himself from the tense situation. Solana lead him away from the prime lounging area and towards the other side of the room and down corridors before opening a grand set of ornate doors. She gestured for the Prince to enter, “He will be here shortly. Please make yourself at home. I will be right out the doors if you need anything.”

Archie nodded to her, ready to say something before Solana was already closing the double-set doors behind her. They groaned with a slight thud. Solana’s words were false though, he could already hear the Elf moving away, back to another place he knew not which. He turned around to see his grandfather emerging from his bedroom, a stoic expression on his face.

“Grandson.” He greeted.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Alaisanna didn't bother turning her head when the doors open, she had presumed it was Grykail to come to scold her or Uluc to come to tease her of being ignored. She gripped her cup and took another sip as she saw a figure sit across from her. Lowering her goblet she noted the figure was neither of her counterparts but was dressed like one of the human advisors. Lifting her eyes from his chest she met his eyes as he spoke.

So he had come to talk, "Do you prefer to stay silent in the presence of your comrades?" Alaisanna grumbled taking another sip of her drink. Grykails words about diplomacy rang in the recess of her mind and she growled her brow twitching as she instead lowered her cup. "If you have come to talk tactics then we shall talk. Whether you know our secrets of military or not it will not change the outcome if there is equal trade of secrets." Alaisanna sat back in her chair and crossed her legs, exposing the flesh of her thigh. Unlike her sister, she held no concern for modesty. Her attire was made not to restrict her. Folding her arms under her chest she looked at him blankly. "You may ask what you wish."




"I leave the younger Elves to the swords, I haven't the pace to catch up with them." Kolvar laughed, of course, it was an over-exaggeration. He had plenty the stamina, but he had no interest in exhausting himself. He was sure the other king knew that himself, they may have both been up in age but Elves aged very differently than humans.

Kolvar coughed a bit embarrassed with himself and Zesstarri snickered to herself. When he caught his breath he sighed, " Ah I see, I was slightly mistaken then...As for the letters from the nobles they are reasonable. I will have the others look through the sections that pertain to them, though I can imagine Grykail may have already done so. As I've stated I have no issues with your demands or any of theres. But there is still much discussion to be done over it...Many want some of our goods, access to resources, and bits of lands. And others want things that are not mine alone to obtain."




"You could say it is a prayer of sorts, whispers to the goddess and safe passage int he afterlife. We do this for all dead...I know it is a strange thing to mention but we do the same for humans as well. All life is important regardless of the difference." Elora cleared her throat, most of the humans would not know this. Mostly because during the war it was not a matter of attention to detail so much as attention to staying alive.

Elora had noticed the girl's arm but she would take the measurements regardless. "I will take the measurements if it comforts you more." Elora thought for a moment about Ana and Archie being born small, thinking of Archie as a small baby made her chuckle. "You both must have been very precious children regardless, you both are so lovely now."

Elora let out a small breath as the princess spoke, Ana was right she had to consider both possibilities. There was no sure guarantee that the deal would go through, but her hope would hold still. Elora smiled at the girl's compliment, "I will not, I swear it. Aiduin says my head is made of rocks. Tis' why I'm so stubborn." She chuckled lightly with a contented sigh. She was happy for the girl's words, and Elora's smile widened when Ana said they would be friends whether the deal falls through or not. Elora blushed happily and smiled to herself, "I am very happy that I can still be able to call you a friend if things do not work. And-and I will be happy if you left knowing that as well."




Aiduin smirked, "I wish not Leo, call me Aiduin. I hear enough Prince from the maids amongst the palace." He watched as his brother spoke of his distaste and mistrust, all Aiduin could do was move to Sarya's side and place a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Katyr kept his arms folded but relaxed his scowled as the boy spoke, though his expression was still grim otherwise. The boy was right on many factors but before he could argue further the boy was asked to leave. Sarya narrowed her eyes fiercely at Katyr, "Katyr I understand you have your reservations but Elora is old enough to make her own decisions. You are not her father nor her dictator. I have told you that you must trust her to make her own decisions. And until you can see things as they are then you will not see me." Sarya started to rise from her chair, Aiduin quickly helped her up. Sarya gave Katyr an angered look before turning her gaze to Aiduin. "Where is Elora?"

Aiduin glanced at his brother who looked like he wanted to protest but did not, then to Sarya. "She is outside with Princess Anastasia."

"Take me to them would you please."
She huffed and smoothed her skirt fixing the baby in her arms before following Aiduin out of the door to the grassy area where Elora and Ana sat.

Elora spotted Aiduin and Sarya from a distance and smiled, "Oh it seems Aiduin and Sarya have come to join us." It wasn't long until the reached, Sarya smiled and sat across from the girls with Aiduin's help. "Elora I wish you would have gotten me, it is such a nice breeze." The baby cooed and Sarya shushed it turning her attention to the other princess. "I don't think we've met but I am Sarya, Katyr's wife though he does not deserve such honors. And Lord Grykail's daughter. I would reach my hand to shake but the baby might wake." Sarya chuckled and rocked the baby lightly.

Aiduin cleared his throat and nodded his head,
"Well princesses as much as I would love to chat about whatever it is you discuss. But, I believe Katyr needs some consoling. Come if you need me."
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Hallr nodded to her words, taking them with consideration as he poured himself some wine in an abandoned goblet sat in front of him. After he poured it, he placed the jug down and took a long sip from the goblet before inquiries are made. “I prefer to observe and watch before making a remark on anything, if that’s what you ask.” Hallr spoke truthfully, but he didn’t know that she was referring to him ignoring her back in the Council’s private lounging area.

Hallr tucked his chin underneath his index finger and thumb, stroking his beard before asking a question. Queen Alaisanna, from the top of his head, is the Queen of Cylarius. Only from the reports he received from his soldiers and Captains, he didn’t know much about the military tactics and moves they used when in battle. He remembered using one of their very ancient tactics against them in his youthful days, but he hasn’t been in a battle against the Elves since. The more recent war on the borders were of the Delafontaine Kingdom’s doing – to protect what was rightfully theirs. And to add salt to the wound, Hallr was too busy snuffing out rebels in his own homelands and quelling the recent Civil War, not even a decade old yet.

Instead of talking about military tactics, there was another inquiry he wished to ask of her; the Plague or “Shadow” as Grykail called it. Hallr took another drink of the wine and spoke again, “Grykail spoke briefly of the “Shadow,” but I would like to know if any of your soldiers have come across it in your lands? I understand if you don’t want to answer it…but-“ He licked his lips to get the remaining wine off them. “One of my own contracted the disease while in the field. As far of reports in the homelands, the “Shadow” has only been spotted in the Haunted Forest.” He omitted certain details, but he was certain she likely knew of them.






Alistair laughed along with him, knowing how bad Kolvar was at lying. He knew of how much an Elf, alone, could pack in stamina and strength. “One day, show me your skills. It would delight me to show you what I can do with a sword.” He bragged.

Calliope rested a hand over her husbands on the table, “Dearie, you’ve been complaining about your bunions lately. It’s best if you have your spine rest from hunching over too much while you wrote Kolvar.” She meant to embarrass him like that in front of the Elf Royals. The opportunity was too good to pass up.

Alistair choked on his laughing before snatching Calliope’s jasmine tea and downing the rest of its contents as revenge. “That’s good then.” He remarks to Kolvar’s comments on the letters. Before he speaks anything else, Seamus is coming into the kitchens.

“I must apologise for interrupting my Majesties, but I believe it is almost time for dinner. You also have an urgent message from one of the noble houses waiting for you in your chambers.” Seamus, the Head Butler, spoke.

Alistair looked back to both Kolvar and Zestarri with an apologetic smile, “Well, it was great for a quick chat. I hope we can talk some more soon, perhaps away from the wives – just a suggestion.” He got up with Calliope still hanging onto his arm and hand. Maids came over to push the chairs back in and clean up their cups. They each did another curtsey to the Elves and left the kitchens with Seamus directing them both back to their rooms for the evening or at least until called back for dinner.






As Aiduin led away the angered Sarya, Leo took the chance to dip out. Choosing to join up with Lily and his other brothers. While Anastasia was enjoying the natural environment around her, she turned her head toward Elora speaking of her siblings coming to join them. And it wasn’t long before the newcomers introduced themselves. She could hear the infant while Sarya calmed it down.

“It is nice to meet you, Sarya.” She smiled warmly, “I think it’s quite alright you don’t shake my hand. I cannot see anyhow.” Anastasia slightly pulled her hood back to reveal the mask covering her eyes before pulling it back over. “I am Princess Anastasia Lennox.” She introduced herself back. Turning her head slightly in the male’s direction, speaking to remove himself from their space.

“Aiduin is your brother, Elora. His voice is…unique.” She spoke, a compliment in of itself. “Sarya, Elora was just speaking of the festivals your kind hold. What are they like?”






Archie left his grandfather’s chambers feeling out of place. But his feelings dismissed the moment he returned to the principal lounging area. It didn’t take long for a servant to come his way, to take him back to his own private chambers. It seemed the others would share rooms, but since he was a prime candidate of becoming the husband to Kolvar’s youngest daughter, they treated him like literal royalty. The Elven servants going as far as bringing him hot towels and cleaning the dirt marks found on his exposed skin.

They prepared a hot bath for him in the adjoining room. The maids came out to find the Prince already half-naked. They averted their eyes, “Forgive us for laying eyes on Princess Elora’s betrothed, but if you need anything we will be outside the doors at all times. We will fetch you when dinner is ready. Do not hesitate to call for us.” They spoke in unison before heading out the doors.

Archie would tell them it was okay, but stopped before recalling his grandfather’s words. Nodding as the doors closed behind them. Within a few minutes he was slinking away into the bathtub, large enough to fit him in from head-to-toe. The tension built in his bones relaxed as he lazed around in it for a few more minutes before cleansing himself. After climbing out to dry himself off and change into the evening attire pulled out for him the first dinner held between two nations. The Prince looked himself over thrice in the body mirror before letting his platinum locks dry unkempt.

After two hours, the Human maids left his room after fixing him up properly, despite his efforts to tell him he was better unkempt. The reality is he’s the crown Prince and would marry Elora, if the deal was agreed to on either side. The days of him being a trainer; of being a regular at the Raven’s Tavern; of providing trouble to the Guards would be long gone after this day passed. The truth was, change was coming on the horizon and he would have to adapt to it—whether or not he liked it.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
"Mmm." It was the only thing Alaisanna could think when he spoke. So he was observing her, though she couldn't imagine what for. Her mannerisms and feelings she quite openly displayed. She only assumed he had no idea what she was talking about, had he been so lost in his own thoughts that he paid nothing any attention? She reached her hand out and grabbed her own goblet watching him over the rim as he stroked his beard. Alaisanna had noted that Hallr had done this many times in the common room with the others while lost in thought before speaking.

Alaisanna knew little of their tactics other than what she had relayed by her soldiers, it was rare that she participated. The Civil War may have been the last war before this agreement that she chose to attend. And it had only been from the sidelines as the soldiers fought. Everything relayed to her by her commanders was written and safely tucked away with other important documents. Over the many years, Alaisanna had noticed that humans tend to repeat themselves, new tactics are rare and uncommon. But, the times that they are they hold her interest greatly.

As he thought she had been taking sips on her wine, taking the time to refill her cup. It would do little to affect her regardless of how much she drank. Alasisanna had been taking a sip when he started to speak, as she heard Grykails name the looked at him over the rim of her goblet once more. She couldn't help the way her eyes narrowed as h mentioned the shadow. A persistent little bug. Was the thought that crossed her mind. As Hallr, continued speaking she understood his concerns. Setting her cup down with a sigh she licked the excess wine from her lips and went back to leaning on her hand. "I see, quite persistent on this mention of the Shadow. But, I will not fault your curiosity. It is something you humans have an abundance of...I will entertain you."

Alaisanna's fingers drummed on the armrest of her chair as she looked at him, "To answer your questions yes. But, the shadow affects us quite differently than you...humans." Her eyes drifted off behind him as she paused for a moment, mulling over how much and what exactly she would tell him. "I can guarantee that the Shadow stretches farther than you think...But...I'm sure you've already figured that." She reached out and grabbed her goblet, moving her wrist so the liquid spun. Alaisanna stared at it, before taking another sip a grim look on her face. The longer this treaty takes, the more will surely suffer. The more the poison spreads. She sighed at her own thoughts and shook her head.

"If you wish I will request Grykail to send some of his men with the cure...Your...medicine will only last for so long... Though I am sure we are not welcome, your men would do well to take this offer with open arms. I will not be so generous in my endeavors again until this treaty is done." Alaisanna knew what it was to continue to lose men, to war was one thing. But, illness was a pain far worse.




Zestarri couldn't help but chuckle at Calliope's tease against her husband. Kolver himself laughed a little at the jest. It seemed both of their wives were a handful and gratefully getting along better than he had expected. They were chatting more like old friends than a pair of royals having formally met for the first time. Kolvar was prepared to speak until he saw a butler walk through the doors.

Kolvar stood as the butler spoke, Zestarri followed his lead. He returned the smile to Alistair and Zesstari gave a gentle nod finishing her tea in a quick graceful sip. "I would suggest the same, else they tease us endlessly." Kolvar gave a small chuckle and Zestarri bumped him with her hip. Kolvar bowed once more and Zestarri curtsied to the other royals before making their leave. Maid's quickly came to lead them to their quarters to help the get ready for the evening. Kolvar only hoped dinner fared better than the earlier activities.



Sarya watched as the girl pulled back her hood and she gave a small smile. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Princess. You are quite lovely, Elora has anticipated meeting you all this while. I am happy she has made a friend." Sarya looked at Elora who reached out to give Sarya's hand a squeeze. She watched as Aiduin left chuckling a bit at Ana's words.

Elora chuckled as well, "Yes he is rather strange indeed." Sarya had begun to hum a lullaby, it was a soft and sweet sound, and the baby's cries died to a light breathing. Sarya smiled and turned her attention back to the two girls. "Ah yes, festivals. It is nearly time for the harvest festival! I have been so occupied I nearly forgot." Sarya gave a chuckle and sighed, Elora looked and moved to take the baby. "I will hold the babe Sarya. Please, tell Ana more. You are much better at telling these things than I." Sarya gave a small chuckle and the shift in their dresses could be heard as Elora held the babe.

"Well Ana, the harvest festival is a time when we celebrate the season of fruitful labors. Harvest season is the most abundant for us before the long winter, and we celebrate the prosperity the goddess has given us. As well as hard work, though I believe the men prefer to drink ale on these occasions more than celebrate the reasons." Sarya whispered these words as a chide and snickered, "Oh it is truly joyous, the best loaves of bread and pastries are made, and the animals. Oh, we run through the forest with them! You may call us wild animals for such acts but, it is so freeing...I wonder what your brother would think seeing young Elora running wild and free like a fawn." Elora flushed.

"W-wh-who says he will see me? I am the fastest runner, he will not be able to keep up." Elora's embarrassment could be heard in her voice as she mumbled just loud enough for the others to hear. Sarya all but laughed and reached her hand to pat Elora's head.

"Alright, I will tease you no further Elora. As I was saying, we hunt in the afternoon. Well some hunt, Elora and Aidin have a personal competition every year. Though this year all the royal children are too participate. And we all eat what is caught in the evening. The women dye beautiful satin fabrics, and we create the colors for the harvest season clothing. We dance and sing until our feet are much too tired to continue. And if you are of age in the village then you will get paired off to dance and sing with your love. If you have one. Festivals are the only time all four nations can get together without hassle-"

Sarya's words trailed off as some young maids walked over towards them, "Excuse us, princesses. We have been asked to retrieve you, it is nearly time for dinner." The maids were quite the pair, it was clear that there was a young pink-haired elf, a brown-haired human, and a raven-haired halfling. Both Sarya and Elora were quite surprised to see the halfling but hid it well. Sarya allowed the young elf to assist her up and leaned down to pick the babe from Elora's arms. "Ah, it seems our time will be cut short. But, I will surely be delighted to tell you more at another time."

Elora stood as well and reached to help Ana up. She smiled at the young maids, "Then I suppose this is where we part for now. I shall speak to you again when there is time. I still have yet to learn how to annoy your dear brother." Elora chuckled and smiled at the halfling, " I will take my leave now and allow the maid to assist you from here, my mother will have my head if I am not ready by dinner.'

Elora and Sarya both walked off leaving the young human maid to assist Ana though Elora did spare a look back to make sure she was fairing alright.



Elora walked with the young halfling through the lodge until they reached her room, "Princess right this way please." Elora smiled at the young maiden, "Oh please call me Elora, I am sure we are nearly the same in age regardless." Once they were in the room Elora turned to the girl and grabbed her hands holding them gently. "I know you are here to assist me but I would be most delighted if I may be your friend."

The girl flushed and gave a small shy nod, "I-it would be my honor Prince-"

"Just Elora is fine. Tell me what is your name?"
Elora smiled and let the girl's hands go. The girl smiled back, though shyly, and gently moved to gather the things needed for Elora's bath. "My name is Tara, my lady." Elora wanted to protest, but even she knew these things took time. It had taken years for her to have the maids and butlers in her home do the same. She treated them more like family, and halfling or not this girl was young and Elora was hopeful.

She helped Elora disrobe, and bathed her in warm scented waters. Smoothing through her hair as the chatted idly. Elora had been raised like this, she preferred to do some things on her own, but for the most part she did little to protest. It would only frustrate them further when she had. She knew her life might change drastically from this betrothal. Thinking back on Ana's words she wondered if she really would have any time.

She sighed, she wished she had more knowledge of these things. Elora stepped out of the bath and dried herself before stepping into the lovely dress that had been laid out for her. She could only assume it was her mother and sister's idea.

Her hair was brushed out, the ends curled against her waist and small jewels were places in her hair like flowers, the front wisps of her hair were braided and clasped behind her. She knew the humans were much more modest in their clothing, her mid-drift wasn't exposed, but covered by a fabric that connected the dress. She wondered if Archie would like it, she wondered how the humans might judge her. The simple thoughts made her nervous. Once she had finished dressing, her lips were coated with a light gloss that tinted her lips making them appear just a bit pinker and her eyes were decorated with a silver and blue color lightly adorned with sparkles. Her crown worn on top of her head, and the golden necklace she wore with pride. Her ears decorated with jewels.


When she was fully dressed Tara led her back to the main dining area where they would eat, she was nervous as she walked in seeing her siblings dressed as finely as her. It was normal for them, but what of the humans?
 
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Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Hallr’s eyes drifted down to his own goblet and to his sleeve, slightly exposing his wrist. He discreetly covered it up, his left arm was riddled with scars and burn marks at the result of endless wars. If war was a human embodiment, Hallr would resemble it—worn down and always looking like he was reliving traumatic events. The War Commander listened to Alaisanna, dismissing the clear irritability still sticking to her like oak sap. Taking the occasional sip whilst she relayed information about the “Shadow.”

Hallr hummed to her words, his eyes shifting again to meet hers. “Well, that confirms my suspicions of its reach. While I appreciate the offer, the problem’s already been taken care of.” Hallr had given explicit orders to kill any soldier exhibiting symptoms of the Plague. It was a merciful act to offer them death instantaneously rather than waiting on a cot for death to come knocking. The Commander would likely be seen as barbaric or even inhumane in the Queen’s eyes, but he did what he had to do to keep it at bay.

He stood when the doors came open, maids and butlers poured in, likely to prepare the table. “Cure or not, your Grace, the Plague will come for us all. I think the treaty is the best way to end our…treatment toward one another. Until then, I appreciate the time you took to talk with me.” Hallr kept it short and sweet before turning to head out the door and return to the Council’s private quarters.






When the Lennox Royals returned to their chambers, the human maids went to work on them. There was an adjoining room large enough for two bathtubs to fit in with a divider in the middle. Calliope was the first to slip away into her scented hot bath. Letting the maids cleanse her, she took this moment to speak about the others, “What did you think? Too much?”

The Butlers on the other side were lowering the King into the tub. As soon as he settled beneath the clear, blue water, he relaxed while he let the Butlers do their jobs. Hearing his Wife speak for the first time since their departure from the kitchens. “The air felt just right. I think I made the right decision in accepting the treaty.” He retorts.

“You must be wary, Ali.” She says, “I still do not trust Kolvar, no matter how friendly he seems. You remember the Civil War that sparked in our lands, no?”

Alistair let out a sigh, opening his eyes when directed to sit up so they could scrub his back. “Of course, I’m wary, my love.” He says, letting out a groan of relief at the Butler messaging the knots out of his spine. Alistair would speak more about the Civil War that happened between abandoned Soldiers from their ranks and the Delafontaine ranks, but they were not alone. And with experience, he knew how talkative the help was.

The King was always wary of the Elves, despite his wish of wanting to be at peace, too. The Civil War brought to light that the Elves were meddling in their affairs when it kicked off. He could never forgive them in that past event. He sent out his eldest son, never knowing if he would come back alive or be the same again. And within time, he found spies among their ranks, who were eventually weeded out. Spies not from Uenora’s ranks, but from Lynlore’s own.

“Dearie, let’s see what happens at dinner this evening. If all goes well, we must visit them again.” Calliope suggests. Alistair hums to his Wife’s words and enjoys the company of the Butlers cleansing him before he’s eventually pulled out and to dress into his evening attire.






Anastasia listened intently to Sarya’s welcoming words, nodding to express content at Elora making a new friend. Turning her head toward the Elves’ humming, it was whimsical—a tune she never heard before—and it was sweet. Grinning at the woman’s excitement at the mention of ‘festivals.’ Anastasia continued to listen to Sarya speak of the ‘Harvest Festival’ as she described it. She could almost picture the Elves doing such activities. It fit the stereotype the Humans held for their kind.

Laughing at the mention of her brother, of what he would think of Elora running through the woods. “I do not know since I haven’t been in his presence for many seasons now. It will surprise me what he thinks of dear Elora here.” She remarked, smiling at Elora’s flustered words and attempt to defend herself against Sarya’s teasing.

“The Harvest Festival sounds exciting.” Anastasia commented, “I would like to attend one if the treaty is agreed. If not, Elora can write me of her adventures on parchment.” She added with a slight smile. Ready to speak on their own celebrations they would hold soon in the human realms and New Year coming soon in the shorter, colder days. But it was time for the evening dinner.

The Human Maid helped Anastasia to her feet, dusting the grass off her attire. Anastasia quietly thanked the maid, clasping the young maid’s forearm for support. “Thank you for sparing the time to speak with me, Elora and Sarya. May the evening bode better than this afternoon.” She briefly said as she could hear the Elven Women being led away by their own maids. Then, the student was led away from the outside. Only the sounds of nature lingered after their presence was absent.






Seamus, the Head Butler, was overseeing the operations in the kitchens. Not only was he the Head Butler there, but the Elves also had an equivalent to him; Kedori. Seamus noted the chefs were probably the most eager to work with one another. Several of the dishes were already laid out on silver platters with caps placed on them, then whisked away to the meeting room where the Humans and Elves would feast.

“You are several minutes late, Kedori.” Seamus remarked, not sparing a glance to the Elven Female.

“I was tending to my Queen. I don’t have multiple of me running around. Yet I appear near on time.” She retorts.

“You can oversee your staff. I will be there to catch any mistakes and correct them.” Seamus says, his gloved hands clasped behind him.

“Let’s play a game.” She suggests, turning her head slightly to look at the stoic male butler. “It will be productive, I promise.” She smiled.

“Last one to prepare everything exact without error will retrieve the last of the dishes and clean up after the Royals retire for the evening tonight.” Seamus says, sparing a glance at her with a slight upturn smile.

“Done. But if one of the junior staff makes a mistake, you or I will come in to clean up the mess. No scolding.” Kedori added.

“Deal.” Seamus sealed it with a firm nod.






Unlike from earlier in the day when the Humans arrived late, they were the first to arrive at the meeting room. Finding the other half of the long table empty, spare for the elven maids and butlers awaiting their masters to show up. The Lennox Family and the King’s Council sat at their respective places with their placards sitting in front of each seat. Like before, Archie sat next to his mother and his twin sat on the other side. For their evening attire, The Lennox Family wore their house colours, royal navy blue, and pearlescent white.

Once he was seated, Prince Archie took his coat off and hung it over the back of the chair. Instead of wearing elven silk, he was wearing human woven silk. It didn’t feel like nothing, but soft. They hired the best seamstresses in the land to accommodate for their attire made just for the summit. Archie tucked his chin underneath his thumb and index finger. He felt fresh, like a proper Prince worthy of his title. Though his face composed and neutral, it filled his thoughts with questions pertaining to his grandfather’s visit.

Anastasia could smell the various smells wafting from down the corridor. The kitchens were only a door over from the meeting room. Unlike her brothers, her mother and she would don pearlescent white. Calliope wanted her to wear silk, but she adamantly refused and opted to wear a white cotton vest-like dress.

“You seem nervous, brother.” Ana spoke, turning her head over to Levian.

Despite being away from home and his own Princely duties, Levian hadn’t felt this nervous in a while. In fact, the last time he did was a year ago when news of his eldest brother’s falsified death turned up. The Prince would have to endure six more days of this, whether he wanted to—if the Elves and Humans both wanted peace—who was he to skip out on a momentous day?

Levian tucked his shirt in again, pulling it back out, and tucking it in again. Him being nervous was a large understatement. Leo felt at home and at ease. He poured his younger brother some wine and pushed him to drink the vice up.

Then, at the opposite side of their table, the Elf Maiden known as Kedori announced the incoming Royal Elves. Levian looked up from his hands and placed them in his lap, attempting to mirror Archie’s expression as the doors drew open.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Alaisanna couldn't help but glance at his scars, a bitter old barbarian it seemed. One aged fine by war. She couldn't help but scoff at his denial, "Naive." She muttered the word under her breath and finished her drink. He would rather kill his men then save them, well that was honorable in its own way she would allow him that much. But, it only proved that humans were no more than the barbarians she thought. Alaisanna would see how willing he would be one the treaty was made.

Alaisanna watched as he walked away and waited until he was gone to stand, "Foolish humans." She grumbled and placed her goblet on the table before leaving to prepare for the evening.

__

Upon return to their bedchambers, the Blaric Royals were met with the same layout, to tubs filled with warm water, but scented to their liking. As they were disrobed Kolvar looked at his wife, "Do you think they enjoyed our chats?" Kolvar stepped into the water and sunk down with a content sigh. Zestarri stepped into the bath, allowing the maid to move her hair so they might brush it. "As much as I would love to tell you yes dear, I cannot say for sure. Humans are tricky creatures. And ones far younger than us."

Kolvar sighed, he wished he could tell. He was well aware that the humans trusted them as much as beasts trusted their captors. The Civil War had just passed it didn't surprise him, it was after all their institutions that had started it. They spoke no more allowing the maids and butlers to wash and massage the tensions and worries from their bodies before allowing them to dress.

__

The Elven Royal had come shortly after the humans, the first to walk through the doors were Kolvar and Zestarri. They walked in failing as they made eye contact with the other royals and sat at the other end of the table. Unlike the human royals, they cared not for color coding according to their nation. They wore what they liked, as they liked it. It was clear they worse silk, rich elven silk. The colors stood out against their skin and highlighted their unique features. Zestarri's hair was tied up adorned with jewels and her crown that matched Kolvar's.

After the Blaric Royals entered the Council followed soon after, Alaisanna was first. She walked in with grace, her black dress moving to expose the slit that ran up her dress exposing her thighs. The neck of her dress was adorned with silver jewels, known famously for their luster to the elves. She walked over to her sister and sat opposite her, she didn't bother to smile but gave a nod of her head. Uluc trailed in after, his head held high. The green streaks in his hair fit nicely with his outfit, his chest exposed beneath his coat under the fabric. He wore a charming smirk as he walked in being she to smile where it was needed before hitting to the left of Alaisanna.

Grykail was the next to enter, his attire was simpler but adorned with gold lining and intricate designs made of gold as well, he walked in giving a nod of his head before sitting to the right of Alaisanna. Strolvac and Naexi were the next to arrive, quickly moving to sit beside Lord Uluc. Katyr and Sarya followed right behind him sitting beside his father and mother. Sarya carrying the baby in her arms, wrapped in a velvet-colored silk blanket, adorned with silver deers around the lining.

Aiduin came in after, his upper ars lined with bracelets holding a bright golden jewel. he sat next to his father, sparing the younger Lennox royals a sweet wave and smile. Elora was the last to walk in, she looked up as she did so her eyes filled with nervousness. Her eyes rested first on her family, she took a small breath and walked through the door. Her gaze looking over the familiar faces before reaching the ones that were still new. Her eyes landed on Archie, a small pink blush appeared on her cheeks as she sat nearest the humans and pulled her gaze away. She wasn't sure how to feel other than he looked dashing in his clothes, Anastasia looked as beautiful as ever. Their clothes weren't as bright or decorated as theirs but, it was still a sight to behold.

To Elora, the silence seemed to stretch forever. In reality, it was a mere minute before the unison chime of a bell from Kedori and Seamus could be heard. That signaled the start, The table was decorated with various foods common to both kinds. The Elven royals had their plates and filled them with fruits and vegetables, meat would only be eaten during the festival. Elora couldn't help but spare glances at Archie as her plate was filled, making sure he was not staring at her while she did. She wondered what he thought of her dress. Aiduin looked at his sister and nudged her giving her a reassuring smile, she returned the smile thankful for her brother's support.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
It almost felt like a fashion show, not that Archie dabbled in that activity. But if the Elves wore this simplistic yet refined designs of clothing, they would put Human designers to shame. The other Lennox children were ‘wowing’ and ‘ahhing’ to each Elven Royal that came in, each with different grand and intricate designs tailored to their liking. The only ones showing no sort of interest were the Delafontaine’s and Hallr. Aston and Hulda were whispering in each other’s ears. The Council wore simplistic, movable fabrics – fashionable yet still able to defend against any surprise attacks.

Archie was leaning in toward Ana’s ear and describing the attire of the Elves for her. Anastasia could imagine what they looked like in her mind. Sad as it was, it would be another beautiful vision she could never see. When Elora came in, Archie stopped talking to Anastasia. His gaze trailed down her gown then back to her face, seeing the faint blush appear on her cheeks. He tore his eyes away toward his grandfather, who was sternly looking back at him. He turned his attention back to the table and described the remaining Elven attire to Anastasia before falling silent.

In the silence, it broke at the ringing of a bell from the head of the table. That signalled the start of this evening’s dinner. Seamus clapped his hands, Butlers came strolling in from the kitchens, each with different platters with a cap over it. He snapped his gloved fingers, and they put the dishes in front of each of the Humans, then the cap taken off. They poured the Humans their wine and preferred drink before they stepped back and took their place along the wall. Then they started looking at their plates, some examining the food before taking a cautious bite.

“No elf prepared your food, as you requested, my Lord.” Solana spoke into Pierre’s ear. The halfling was watching the Chefs prepare the food, even the staff that set out on the table. As a halfling, she was blessed with the ability of magic and she mastered it quickly. She had checked beforehand if the platters for the Delafontaine’s were poisoned and were not.

Pierre flicked his wrist to dismiss the halfling back to her spot behind him. He picked up the right fork and knife to cut into the pork loin smothered in herb gravy. He took a deliberately slow bite of the pork and ate it with an expression of satisfaction. The others had eaten their own dishes; an equal amount of vegetables, fruit, and meat stacked onto their plates.

Archie looked down into his beef soup, it was a simple dish with seasoning added on top for taste. He copied his grandfather’s moves, taking a slow bite before mirroring his satisfied expression. Then, he took a quick of his wine to wash it down. Archie took this moment to look over at Elora, offering a thumbs up.

To breaking the clinking noises of their silverware, Alistair spoke up, “It has always interested me - your diet. Do Elves survive, alone, on vegetables and plant-based foods?” He asked Kolvar.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Uluc took note of the humans more...subtle choice in clothing. Much like he had stated before he found it..bland, everything about their attire bored him. But, he supposed that was just the way things were for them. Alaisanna and Grykail ate, paying the humans no mind for the most part. Alaisanna held no interest in them, the older warlord had gotten his question answered and unless he chose to speak tactics she would show no interest in conversation again. Grykail would wait for a time when they were meeting again to speak with them, though he would offer politeness where it is needed. The younger Royals, other than Aiduin and Elora paid the humans no mind.

Elora met Archie's gaze as he looked her over, his thumbs up caused her to flush and quickly look to her plate as Aiduin snickered followed by a grunt between his teeth. Elora glared at him before continuing to eat, she had gratefully kicked him under the table.

Kolvar had taken a sip of his wine when Alistair spoke, he swallowed the liquid and cleared his throat. "Yes, for the most part. We eat meat during festivals and during certain celebrations. It is...for spiritual reasons." Kolvar was not sure if he should mention why they chose not to kill animals, the killing of any kind is a touchy subject. He wasn't sure how much trouble it might cause otherwise. "We have no need to eat meat, it does not affect our strengths or magics if we chose not to consume it." Kolvar took a bite of cheese in his mouth.

Zestarri glanced at the halfling offering a small smile before turning her attention back to her food. The atmosphere wasn't quite as terrible as before but the tensions were obvious. Elora hoped dinner would pass quickly. She ate gracefully, or as gracefully as one could eat. She was a little surprised to see Archie so well kept. Though he looked dashing she wondered if he might be uncomfortable, from his thumbs up she could assume he liked her dress. Would they get time to talk once dinner had finished?

The Elven royals finished their fruits, full and now sipping on wine. The baby began to cry and Sarya excused herself to feed him, she thought the humans might be uncomfortable if she were to do so at the table. She walked off to find a quiet room led by Kedori. Katyr talked happily with Naexi and Strolvac. Uluc, Alaisanna, and Grykail were quiet. And Aiduin drank his wine rather bored with the whole dinner ordeal.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Alistair dabbed away the sauce on his lips with his handkerchief, then placing it back down beside his plate. He wasn’t surprised to hear they ate mostly plants and fruits, instead of meats, but he could understand why. The Human King took a sip of his own wine before speaking, “I see. It’s easier for us to kill as we please because we have separate religions aside from your own. It must be a very sensitive time when you take another life of a species.”

“Yes, because we do not believe in mystic tales about imaginable so-called spirits and ghosts.” Pierre spoke up. He was rather distasteful this entire day. When he saw an opportunity to taunt the Elves, he took it. The King stabbed into his pork and took another bite of the juicy meat.

“Spirits are genuine though.” Hulda spoke up in objection for the Elves. “You will know once you die, Pierre.” She gave a subtle, veiled warning to the King.

“Tell me, Hulda. When were you going to bring up the fact that you’ve been sending knife ears into my lands without my knowledge?” He looked at her, quirking a brow as he took a drink of his wine.

“Darling, not now.” Emeligne lowly warned into his ear. Pierre flicked his wrist, and they took away his plate. He stood up and glared at Kolvar, “I will not be dining tonight. I have rebels to quell.” He excused himself, leaving the room with the tension going with him. The other Delafontaines stayed behind, Emeligne telling them to ignore what her husband just spoke of.

“What a pain.” Lily muttered beneath her breath. She was glad she did not inherit her father’s anger. Her half-sister, Calliope, unfortunately, inherited it though.

“How do you suppose they dye their silks?” Levian inquired from Leo, who shrugged his shoulders. The young teen looked to one of the Elves. With luck, he was looking at the one who was blushing like a tomato.

“Hey, you.” Levian was looking at Elora. “How do you dye your fabrics?” He inquired before realising he was addressing Archie’s betrothed when Leo nudged him in the side and whispered into his ear.

“That’s Elora, you idiot!” He whisper-shouts into his brother’s ear. “Be careful what you say to her. The red hair dude with a scowl is her oldest brother.”

Levian shifted his gaze to Katyr before looking at Elora again with an uneasy smile and looked away. Archie directed his attention to his mother, who was grabbing his forearm. She leaned into her son’s ear and whispered, “Don’t move from your seat until I say so and don’t answer any question unless from Kolvar.” Archie nodded his head to his mother before she turned back to her own food and started eating now.

Archie couldn’t pin this uneasy feeling he was getting from what his grandfather spoke of earlier. But he was determined not to speak of it. In this moment, where he felt like a doll with his hair slicked back and put into uncomfortable clothes that were more expensive than his entire wardrobe back at the barracks. Archie felt suddenly alone and overwhelmed with the burdens and responsibilities placed on his shoulders. The Prince was itching to run away, return to the Kingdom and turn down everything. The truth was, he was afraid of change. The sudden betrothal to an Elf—a beautiful one—and to usher in an era of peace. Was it possible?

Without needing to know, he felt eyes on him. Archie looked up from his reflection in the red wine toward Elora. The Prince gave her a slight smile and a wave before subtly using his eyes to signal toward the outside balcony. If she wanted to depart from the table and speak alone, for the first time. If not, then he would understand.

“Ana, can you do me a favour?” He asked his twin as he leaned into her ear.

“What?” She asked.

“Pretend to become sick.” He instructed.

“How?”

“I put a piece of meat in your vegetable soup. I know you’re allergic but pretend that you’re about to puke your guts out.” Archie further said.

“You owe me dinner.” She said and did as said. Anastasia doubled over and started clutching her stomach. Just thinking about the dinner made her turn several shades paler than possible.

“I don’t…feel so…good…” Anastasia drawn out her words, exaggerating her symptoms.

Archie was the first to help her up. Like a wicked duo, she pretended to faint into his arms. “I’ll get her to the Doctor.” Archie said as he effortlessly lifted his twin up into his arms, bridal style. Like putting on a show, Alistair nearly went with them but had Seamus go with them.

Which was bad in Seamus’ eyes, as he still had a deal of his own going on. The Butler gave a nod to Kedori before heading out with Archie carrying Anastasia out. The doors grumbled closed behind them. Calliope almost grew white in the face at the meat in her daughter’s soup. She turned back into her seat, ignoring her motherly instinct to go see Anastasia.

“Anastasia’s allergic to meat, unfortunately. She’ll be fine once she gets to the infirmary.” Alistair reassured everyone in the room – mostly the humans with worry etched into their features.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Kolvar had opened his mouth to answer before Pierre interjected. The earned a very understandable scowl from Uluc and Alaisanna. Zestarri frowned as did Grykail, while Kolvar stood their stoic in his expressions. The younger royals stayed quiet, staring into their plates. They would scowl as well, but it was clear their parents had said enough. When Hulda spoke up Grykail scoffed quietly behind his hand, Alaisanna held a haughty smirk as the King spoke. And Uluc couldn't help but feel amused.

Kolvar, on the other hand, sighed offered a polite nod of his head, he cleared his throat and grabbed his goblet to take another sip of the wine. "It is fine Queen Emeligne. Tis' only to be expected, the tensions will not relieve themselves in just a day." Zestarri looked to her children, chiding Aiduin as he slouched. He groaned and sat up looking to Elora. "This is terrible." He muttered under his breath, Elora only nodded in agreement.

When the boy addressed her she turned her gaze to him and tilted her head, "M-me?" She watched his gaze shift to Kolvar, who was angrily glaring at the boy for addressing his sister as such. Elora bit her lip and watched as the boy looked back at her. "There are oils, we extract the color from plants. And soak them for many days, s-sometimes with magics as well. D-during the festivals, the fabric is made. And it soaks very long, t-that is how," Elora stumbled through her words. Hoping she had made enough sense, she knew the boy was uneasy and frowned a bit sighing.

Would things be like this from now on? Would people always fear her because of her brothers or status? Even now the young maids refused to address her by her name because of the treaty. Ana's words about her time after marriage rang in her ears again, she looked up at the humans until her eyes fell on Archie. How did he feel about the betrothal? Was he as nervous? Did he have worries? She felt like she knew nothing in comparison. Everything had happened so suddenly, would it really be fine to like him when the deal may not even go through?

Elora felt like her head might explode from the thoughts until Archie met her eyes and offered her a smile. Elora offered a small smile in return and followed the shift of his eyes to the balcony. Did he want to escape for a while, maybe they could talk to each other....alone. Alone for the first time since coming to this place. She gave a small almost unnoticeable nod of her head and leaned over whispering to Aiduin.

"Keep Katyr distracted until Sarya comes back? Please?" Elora bit her look and looked at her elder brother hopefully.

"Why?" Aiduin rose his brow and watched her gaze drift to Archie. Aiduin sighed, "Fine. But, only because I think he's not that bad." Elora smiled and squeezed his hand under the table happily. That was until she heard Ana speak.

The talking between the Elves stopped, they turned and looked at her with both curiosity and slight concern. A gasp could be heard as she fainted, Alaisanna took a sip of her wine. Naexi looked over curiously, and Zestarri let out a small "oh dear." Elora gasped and felt the urge to stand immediately, concern washing over her.

Elora's gaze trailed after the twins and Seamus, concern etched over her features. Her gaze was pulled away from the now-closed doors as King Alistair spoke. Zestarri frowned, "I do hope she is alright." Mumbling as she looked at the royal couple. Kolvar looked at them they worry turning into slight relief as they said she would be alright. "I am glad to hear she will be alright."

Elora stood from her chair, "Please excuse me. I do not feel so well." Kolvar turned his head to his daughter and Elora gave a small polite curtsy to everyone before taking her to leave.

"Apologies, Elora does not do well seeing others in bad health. She is...to concerned at times." Kolvar looked apologetically to Alistair as Elora left the dining area. Katyr was going to get up just as Sarya walked back into the room sitting beside him with a small smile. Aiduin let out a small breath, he had not been looking forward to stalling his brother.

Elora stepped out of the dining area before asking a passing maid where the twins had gone. Elora listened to the directions before taking off, she hoped Ana was actually alright.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
“Do you think she’ll be okay, dear?” Calliope whispered toward her husband.

He took a drink of his wine to wash down his food, “Of course. I suspect the boy just wanted to speak with Elora alone. His tactics are quite obvious.” He answered his Wife’s worries.

“Why does she have meat in her soup?” She further inquired. Alistair placed a hand over hers and looked at her, “Because your son is clever, dearie. Where do you think he learned that trick from?” He smiled at her.

Calliope smacked him playfully on the shoulder, a smile replacing her worry. Instead, she turned her attention to finish her first entrée and a second plate was placed in front of her; various vegetables mixed with fruits from the Elven realms. The smells were sweet, sour, and mouth-watering all at the same time. With her salad fork, she delicately plucked some salad from the plate and gingerly ate it. She didn’t expect an explosive amount of tastes in her mouth. Calliope washed it down with some tea and dabbed away any crumbs left behind.

“Did you try the salad from the Elves? It’s quite an experience.” Calliope reviewed for her husband, who was still on his first plate.

On the other end of the table, Levian could feel his ears burning up in embarrassment and worry for his siblings. He turned to Leo, who was happily munching away on his third entrée with mixed foods from both human’s and elven realms. ‘Okay, never mind.’ Levian thought to himself as he looked into his goblet filled with jasmine tea.






Archie had done more than place a piece of meat into Anastasia’s soup. He deliberately put several chunks in it – even biting off pieces to make it look like she ingested it. With Seamus directing the twins down several corridors, reaching into the infirmary made at the neutral zone between the Elves and Humans’ conjoining hallways. He brought her into the room and placed her onto the cot, Seamus stood nearby the door.

Anastasia sat upright, “Seamus, you know it was a setup, right?” She inquired about the family Butler.

If anyone knew the twins’ schemes better than anyone, it was Seamus. The Butler quirked a smile, “I know. Prince Archie, Princess Elora, was following us shortly after we left the meeting room. I think she wishes to see you.” He relayed the information.

“Will you watch her until I get back?” He asked Seamus.

“Don’t worry. No one will show up to check up on me. The Human Doctor hasn’t arrived yet. You’re coincidentally lucky this time ‘round, brother. Now go see your dear betrothed.” Anastasia retorts.

As soon as Archie stepped out of the infirmary, he could see Elora coming down the corridor. A maid with her, likely directing her to where they went. He met her half-ways down the hall, “You may return to dining hall. I will keep her company.” Archie softly spoke to the maid. She quickly did a curtsey to the Royal children, flustered by being addressed by Archie himself, and disappeared back down the corridor whence she came.

Once the maid was gone, Archie looked at Elora for the first time. He wouldn’t lie, she looked beautiful. Breath near taken away at how much she put into her attire for the evening, down to the right makeup. “Hello, Ms Blaric. I believe you’re lost. You’ve wandered in the Humans wing. I believe I’ve seen your fiancée looking for you.” He joked.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Kolvar and Zestarri ate their salads because this was a unique situation they had already decided they would try the meats. Kolvar took a bite of his first humming at the taste, it was salty. Much different from their sweeter foods but good, it had a thick and rich taste that melted in his mouth. He leaned to his wife, "The humans cook their meat in a wonderous way. You must try it." Zestarri chuckled and leaned her head on his shoulder.

Katyr was talking to Strolvac and Naexi still, Sarya thought she might start a conversation, unlike the baby started cooing again. Sarya hushed the baby and sighed, "How are you all fairing the dinner?" Sarya spoke out loud to everyone, hoping to engage the humans in conversation as well. She had missed Ana's fainting and Archie's running off. And she had wondered where Elora went to but dismissed the thought.

"Quite alright dear." Zestarri smiled and held out her arms, "Come let me hold my grandchild, you need to eat to be able to feed him." Sarya nodded grateful for the relief and stood walking over to her mother-in-law and passing her the smaller child. She sat back at the table eating some of the fruits slowly, glancing around at everyone curiously.

__

Elora slowed her speed when she saw Archie, thinking more of it she realized the whole situation in the dining room seemed rather peculiar. It was then she assumed it was a ploy, he had, after all, wanted to leave to begin with. She smiled as he drew closer, giving a small wave as the young maid scurried off. Elora let her dress go, she had gripped it in her hands so she might walk with great speed, but now she moved her hands to smooth the dress out. She looked like a star, glittering in the light of the hall. Her berry-like scent filling the air around them.

Elora glanced at him as he spoke, she couldn't help but laugh just a little. "Oh really? I think I might be lost, Mister Lennox. You must tell him I am also looking for him when you see him." Elora bit her lip as a cheeky smile passed her face, "I must say, Prince, such good acting skills. You must owe her quite a favor." She tested, her hands were clasped together and it was clear from the slight flush on her cheeks and the way her fingers fiddled, that she was nervous. Elora could hear her heart pounding in her ears, it sounded louder than normal to her. Could he hear it?

A shaky hand reached up to brush a stray hair behind her ear. Was she the only one this nervous? Maybe she was being hopeful, the thoughts of early crept up and reminded her to breathe.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
With the sounds of clanking silverware and idle chatter among themselves, Alistair was thoroughly enjoying the mixed vegetables. The tangy taste with the fruits added in was a unique flavour he hadn’t tasted before. Calliope was handling everything with care, as to not stain her dress or disrespect the Elves sitting on the opposite side of them. Her being human seemed to elicit determined judgements before speaking to an elf—they seemed haste in their decisions. She glanced over to her right, seeing the two empty seats where the twins would be. Leo and Levian were enjoying their dinner, talking to one another. She turned back toward her left, “I think I will go check-up—”

“No.” Alistair interjected, “Give them an hour, then you can go check up on them.” He whispered into her ear. Then, the voice of Sarya’s carried over from the Elves’ side. Alistair offered her a warm smile, “It’s good, thank you.” He retorts.

Levian remained quiet. He decided it was best to not talk to the elves just yet. Despite how eager he was to learn about them by mouth and in person than through books and accounts written on them. Leo, unlike Levian, was complimenting their food, “It’s great. New flavours I haven’t tasted before.” He offered a smile and emptied the rest of his wine.

Like the others in the room, Leo was wondering if Anastasia was okay. There weren’t many times he was scared in his life, but one included when they were kids, Anastasia accidentally ate a piece of meat. His poor eldest sister broke out in hives before being taken care of by Emeligne, their second grandmother. If it weren’t for Emeligne, Ana likely would’ve died at a young age. After that, her maids and her mother closely watched her when she had the time.






Archie quirked a brow at Elora, playing along, his smile never wavering. “I believe I saw him heading down that way, but I don’t know what you see in him. Your fiancée seems to be a womaniser.” He further joked before taking it seriously. He looked back at the infirmary door, then back to Elora, “OH, you don’t want to see the wrath of Ana. She’s like my mother, she always gets her way.”

Archie tucked his hands into his pockets. He was playing with a pocket watch in his right pocket. He found it cute that she was blushing like a tomato again. “Well, Elora…you got me all alone.” He never looked away from her, “Would you like to talk when time still allows it? I believe I won’t get the chance again after tonight. No offense to your brother, but he’s a hawk.”

He wouldn’t lie, he hadn’t felt this mischievous since escaping the semi-annual ball when he was in his adolescence. But he was a troublemaker and there were some things he had to hear for himself, from Elora. What his grandfather had spoken to him behind closed doors was still troubling him. Archie pulled his left hand out of his pocket and offered his arm to Elora, “Lady Elora, would you grant me a chance to escort you to this lovely balcony?” His eyes twinkled with mischief, yet a warm demeanour.
 
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