The Arrangement

Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
"Do you humans usually eat meat for meals?" Uluc was the one to speak, he was forking over the meat, examining it with curiosity. Since they rarely ate meat he didn't want to take any chances by eating it. Alaisanna rolled her eyes, "What a stupid question Uluc. Of course, they do." Alaisanna sighed and ate another forkful of the fruit. Dinner was..boorish and she had already had enough of Pierre and his snide comments. Grykail glanced up as the butlers and maids came in with more food, it was pastries. Some common to both countries.

Naexi waited for them to place the pastries before grabbing one. She looked over at the younger royals, she had been so occupied with strolvac she had nearly forgotten to introduce herself and mingle. "So young princes...how many summers are you?" She offered a smile, her purple hair seeming bright in contrast to her light-colored dress.

__

Elora chuckled at his words and rolled her eyes glancing at the infirmary, "Well...so long as she is alright. I was quite worried at first, but the timing seemed almost suspicious." Elora bit her lip again, messing with the fabric of her dress. Her eyes had shifted back towards the floor, she found openly staring at him was embarrassing the more she did so. Elora scoffed as he mentioned her brother, "I would not have come if I did not wish to talk to you...As for Katyr, if my plan has worked then Sarya should be back and would not allow him to leave."

Trying to sneak out of the castle to enjoy the night festivals was the most she had done. Meeting with a boy...alone. Well, that was something new. She had her reservations, but to talk to him alone..maybe she would feel more at ease. Elora looked up and met his eyes, she glanced at his arm before bringing her eyes back to his face. "I will," Elora mumbled through her red-faced embarrassment and hesitantly reached her hand out to place lightly against his arm.

Elora doubted they would get much time alone, even were it not for Katyr he had his siblings to look out for and the tensions between their kind were clear. Hearing his grandfather speak so harshly was a bit hurtful, it had made her conscious that things were not well and that to the humans she might as well be a beast. She wondered if Archie shared the same views and if she should trust him as she so wished to. Elora thought all this as he escorted her to the balcony.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Alistair looked over at Uluc, who inquired about an obvious thing. Ready to answer his question with some background history, Alaisanna answered for the Human King instead. The King rose his brows up and down quickly before returning to his own food. He found the air less tense after Pierre left, but it was more less still the same.

“We eat plants, fruits, and meat.” Calliope piped up for Uluc’s question. “Not all of us eat meat, we have plenty of fruits and vegetables that grow in the wild. Meat is just another consumable on our plates. After all, we learned it from you.” Which was a plain fact. Back in their enslavement days, the Humans had to learn how to hunt, cook, and prepare meat delicacies for their former masters. Cannibalism was a common occurrence back in those grim times.

Leo looked up from his plate to the other female Elf, asking them questions. He offered a warm smile, “Well, I’m twenty-three harvest seasons.” Leo nudged his brother in the rib.

Levian yelped before meeting the woman’s gaze and looked away, “T-twenty harvests.” He mumbled.

“He’s twenty harvests.” Leo spoke up for him. “Just turned twenty. How many harvests are you?” Leo asked back. In his mind, he presumably thought older than a hundred, maybe fifty. Elves aged much slower than Humans.






When Elora lightly took his arm, Archie felt something new. Was this feeling called something, ‘Mousenets buzzing in the nest?’ He couldn’t place the feeling, but his stomach felt like it is fluttering. The Prince kept his composure as he led her back down the corridors, retracing the steps back toward the meeting room but heading past it. Once they got to the doors that led to the balcony, he opened it. A fresh evening summer breeze came through.

On the balcony you could see the border separating the realms. The Elves on the left and Humans on the right side. Since they were technically built on the Southern Kingdom’s borders, you could see villages sprawled out here and there in the fields, hardly undeveloped areas left undisturbed. Even nearby, you could hear Humans in the distance celebrating something. Archie assumed it was a pre-celebration for the semi-annual ball or an excuse for the summit’s taking.

Archie leaned on the balcony and enjoyed the cool air on his skin. He wanted to savour the peaceful moment they would have before he would inquire her about something his grandfather spoke of. The more he thought of it, the more it made sense. How else would her father extend a peace treaty out to his father? He looked to her, “You look beautiful, Elora.” He complimented her because she was. And she deserved to know some kind words before the big question came up.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Uluc glanced at the queen and looked at her amused, "Aye your majesty you did. Though I must say, the way you all cook meat is quite...delicious." He offered a smile with no meaning and went back to his plate, shoving the small fillet in his mouth. Kolvar grimaced and Zestarri sighed, "Such a grim topic. Say Queen Emeligne. Do you enjoy tea?" Zestarri wanted to include the other royals as well, and hopefully make some type of peace.

Naexi smiled at the princes as they spoke, "Then you are the same age as Aiduin." Naexi directed her gaze to Leo before Levian spoke. She thought his shy nature was much like Elora and it made her smile a bit more. When she was asked her age she chuckled. "I am twenty-nine summers. Though you must have thought me ancient." She teased them and Strolvac looked at her than the boys. "I am thirty-one summers." Naexi rolled her eyes, "No one asked you. But, Katyr is thirty-five summers, and Sarya is thirty summers...I must ask why do you count by harvest seasons?" Strolvac nudged her playfully and went back to talking to Katyr who spared the boys a glance.

__

Elora stole glances as they walked, he really was handsome. She hoped her heart might stop racing by the time they reached the balcony. It was a familiar feeling, one that usually came while dancing. A rush of breathlessness that made her feel good, the moment when the music reaches its peak and the only sound is her feet against the floor. That feeling was similar to what she felt now like at any moment the music might sweep her away.

When they stepped outside she closed her eyes as the wind blew over her face gently lifting her hair causing the gems to shimmer in the moonlight. It was a nice feeling, something she enjoyed home when she became restless. Elora opened her eyes and gazed upon the field. She glanced at the human realm, it looked lively. The Elven realm quite past the small plains that made it. The tick wall that separated the two kingdoms, maybe soon they would be able to take it down.

Elora watched Archie lean on the balcony, she reached her hands out to grasp it, closing her eyes and lifting her chin to feel the breeze caress her face. His words disrupted the quite and she opened her eyes looking at him. Her face turned pink and she looked at her hands. "Th-thank you, Archie. Y-you, look dashing." There was something in the way he spoke, a weight behind them she couldn't place. His compliment made her feel good about her dress, more than she had when she first put it on. She had no idea where to start, the atmosphere was calm and the silence seemed to fill as time passed. There were things she wanted to say, but still, she was unsure.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Calliope offered a smile, “Well, you must thank the Chef for that. He was the one who cooked it.” She retorts. Emeligne looked over from speaking with Lily in inaudible whispers toward the violet-haired Elf. The Queen of Delafontaine’s lips drew into a thin line, “No. I enjoy wine, though. Do you have any unique flavours from your lands?” She inquired. Unlike the Lennox, Emeligne enjoyed various alcoholic drinks. The House of Montgomery was well known for their particular wines and spiced alcoholic drinks. If duties weren’t keeping her busy, she would take the leisure time to go into wine tasting.

“I suppose so.” Leo retorts to the woman’s words of comparing their ages. Levian was always a recluse, he’d rather keep inside and tuck himself away into the library if he had the choice. When the choice of becoming a soldier or scholar came on his nineteenth harvest, he jumped at the chance to study as a scholar.

Leo poured himself more wine and took a sip as she continued talking. Even her presumably husband butting in to tell Leo his age. “To be factual, Elves age like trees.” He retorts, they took a while to die out. As Humans died out much quicker than them. When the topic of why they counted by harvest seasons came up, Levian took the chance to shine. Pushing his shy demeanour aside, he spoke up, “When the Humans were still slaves to your kind, they counted by the harvests out in the farming encampments. The counting by harvests instead of seasons, like Elves do, has stuck around since.”

“Don’t mind him. He’s a walking history book.” Leo remarked. “But that’s why we count by harvest seasons. I have no ill will against your current kind. But the past was grim.” He added before taking another long drink.






Archie turned his attention her way, smiling as she complimented him. “Thank you, Elora. Though I don’t understand why you’re red like a tomato, are you sick?” He jested. He placed his palm against her forehead, feeling the heat in her frontal lobe. Then, he pulled back, “Wow, do you wish to cool down in the infirmary?” He chuckled, joking about her blushing. “I’m joking. I can hear your heart thumping from here.” He continued and turned back toward the fields once more.

The silence ensued for a few moments before he broke the silence again, his demeanour shifting from jesting to serious. Archie straightened his posture and looked down at Elora, “Elora, there’s something you should know.”

Archie looked her directly in the eyes when he said this next part. He had to know if she knew or not. The evidence was just too interesting to ignore. “Your father’s an excellent actor. But you should know that he was the one who planted the plague in my homelands.”

His brows knitted together, “I want to know if you’re just as naïve as you appear to be. That you’re not apart of this well planned out scheme happening right underneath our noses this entire time.”

Archie pulled out the pocket watch from his right. It was an Elven design with the symbol belonging to her father’s matched official wax seal. He dangled the golden clock in front of her, “This is your father’s, is it not? They found this in the Haunted Forest. Soldiers reported a type of squid-fish only native to the oceans of the Elven Realms found in the Black Lake. I think you should speak with your father about this. Until then…I think this marriage is off the table for now. I apologise Elora, but I must tell my father.”

Archie placed the pocket watch in her hands and left, letting the door slowly close behind him as he made his way back into the meeting room. When he arrived, Alistair looked over to welcome his son. That was until Archie was leaning down into his father’s ear and whispering accusations about Kolvar taking this opportunity to scheme right under their noses.

Alistair looked over at Kolvar and stood upright, “I apologise, but it seems we will skip the rest of dinner for the evening. Thank you for the dishes.” Alistair snapped his fingers and the Human Butlers went to work at cleaning their dishes. With the other Humans, he ordered them all back to their rooms until tomorrow.

“Emeligne, please send your husband to my chambers.” He politely asked in a hushed tone. The Queen of Delafontaine Kingdom nodded, and they all collectively filed out of the meeting room. Leaving the serene atmosphere, probably confusing the others.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Zestarri smiled, if not a bit awkwardly, "Oh yes, we have this wheat whine, it tastes like the fruit from the snow mountains. Called the winterberry." While Zestarri did enjoy alcohol, she reserved it for late nights, dinner, or celebrations mostly. Finding it to be not as calming as tea. Zestarri looked around the table, Elora had been gone for some time. Zestarri assumed she was with the human prince, but she couldn't help but worry. Elora was...delicate, and the young prince was the first to catch her heart.

Naexi laughed at the comment, covering her mouth to do so feeling the outburst had come suddenly. When the younger brother spoke she turned her attention to him. She grimaced at the details of the facts soon regretting her question. She cleared her throat and nodded as Leo remarked, "I see." Her sentence trailed off and things grew quiet for the time being.

___


Elora looked at him surprised, was she really that red? When he reached out and touched her she jumped a bit, his hand was much cooler than her burning face. She looked up at him sheepishly. "I-I am not sick. A-and I need no medical attention!" Elora protested and pouted a bit until he pointed out that he was joking. Elora sighed and placed her hand on her chest. So he could hear her heart, she felt even more embarrassed and closed her eyes to let the red fade from her cheeks.

When he spoke she left one hand on the balcony to face him, she opened her eyes before looking him over, she could feel the change in the atmosphere. Looking up she met his eyes, "What could there be to know?" She rose her brow and tilted her head slightly. Her hair shifted to fall to her side. When he spoke she looked at him as though he had grown two heads, "That's preposterous, my father would never!"

Elora watched his brows knit and looked at him in disbelief if not a little defensive. She couldn't help but clench the railing as he continued to speak. As naive as I appear? What is he going on about? She thought, scanning his face in hope that this was some joke on his part. "Archie there is no way my father did such a thing-" She watched as he drew something from his pocket. Her eyes drifted from his pocket to the watch that dangled in front of her eyes.

At first, she could bring her eyes from it, how did Archie have her father's watch? Her breath caught as he spoke, she looked up at him confusion filled her eyes. When he said the marriage was off she took a step back, her expression changed from confusion to immediate hurt. He hadn't asked her to hear for a conversation, he had asked her here to confirm his suspicions and break things off. She couldn't help the tears that filled her eyes, she wasn't sure how to feel. "Y-you must be jesting, surely..surely yo-you are mistaken. M-my father is not that kind of man! He-he would never-" Elora's words were frantic as though she was trying to convince both him and herself. Her words caught in her throat as he placed the watch in her hand and walked away.

A small sound escape her lips, almost like a sob. Was everything her father said a lie, was she really being fooled? Was this whole marriage a charade. She clenched the watch in her hand and a tear fell down her face as her gaze pulled away from the object in her hand to the doorway Archie walked through. She lifted a hand to run through her hair before the feeling she might collapse came to her, she gripped the railing with her free hand and lowered herself to the ground. Elora felt like she couldn't breathe, her father had planted the poison in their lands. There was no way that could be true, but the evidence was there. She held her arm clutching the watch tightly in her hand. Elora felt her world shift as she hung her head and let the tears fall.

___


The Elves watched as Archie walked back through the doors, Aiduin glanced at the door expecting Elora to trail in after him red-faced. When she didn't he watched as the prince leaned towards his father and whispered something in his ear and whispered something. Aiduin couldn't help but raise his brow a little confused. Kolvar was smiling at Alistair, "Oh uhm alright. We wish you the best night then." He watched as the humans gathered the plates and the royals left with little hesitation.

"Well, that was strange," Katyr spoke wearing the same look of confusion mirrored across the table. Aiduin looked at where the royals had left and then the door Archie walked through, "I'm going to find Elora." He quickly got up and rushed out of the doors, he had and inkling something had happened to her. Ad though he hoped that wasn't this case he feared the worst.

Kolvar cleared his throat and suggested everyone head to bed for the days ahead of them, there was collective nods and small words of good night before everyone parted and headed to their respective rooms.


Aiduin rushed down the hall, he knew she wouldn't be in the infirmary. Asking a maid she said that the young couple had walked to the balcony. Aiduin turned and rushed to the balcony. Throwing open the doors he saw Elora sitting on the ground, holding her shoulders and sniffling.

"Elora?!" Aiduin rushed to her side, crouching to look at her. She looked up at him hopelessly. "What happened Elora? Did he hurt you?" Aiduin's eyes grew dark until she shook her head no tears streaming down her face. Aiduin wiped her tear and held her face, "Then why do your tears run free my dear Elora?" Elora took a shaky breath and leaned into her brother's hands looking at him before sobbing.

"W-where i-is father?" Elora spoke between helpless breaths and sniffled. The shimmer on her fees trailed down her cheeks, she looked beautifully broken even in this state it was a sight to behold. Aiduin helped Elora up carefully and held her by her shoulder as he walked her to her parent's chambers. The walk was filled with her quiet sobs and Aiduin's soothing words. Their father was sitting at a desk while their mother laid in her bed. An elven maid opened the door and turned to the couple. "Excuse me your Highness, Princess Elora and Prince Aiduin are at your door. they say it is urgent."

"Let them in and take your leave then,"
Kolvar spoke looking up from his papers, the maid nodded and let them in scurrying out of the door. Zestarri was the first to notice Elora. She quickly sat up and rose from the bed to Elora's side. She grabbed her, gathering her in her arms. "My goddess, Aiduin what is going on?" Aiduin looked to his mother and shook his head.

Elora pushed herself out of her mothers arms, a fit of sudden anger rushing through her, almost helplessly. She walked over to her father's desk and slammed the watch on the table. Kolvar looked at his daughter's glimmering tear-streaked face and then followed her hand to the watch. "How did you get this Elora? I left this in my desk drawers before leaving for supper?" He looked up at her confused.

Elora frowned and narrowed her eyes, "Prince Archie. He has said that you placed the poison that plagues their lands! They found this in the Haunted Forest, a-and not only that but a squid as well. O-one only found in Elven waters! Father tell me the truth I beg you-" Her voice cracked and she felt the anger turned to despair again as tears filled her eyes once more. "H-he has canceled the m-marriage." The words were almost a mumbled and she felt her hands lift to wipe her eyes. Zestarri stared shocked looking between Elora and her husband. She rushed to Elora's side and gathered her in her arms once more smoothing her hair gently.

"Shh, my child all will be well. There must be some misunderstanding your fathers watch was placed in the drawer. I saw it with my own eyes." Zestarri glanced at her husband, whos brows had furrowed in an unsightly manner. Aiduin clenched his fists, he shouldn't have let Elora go alone.

Kolvar looked at Elora buried in his wife's arms, "Elora I swear to you I had nothing to do with the Shadow. It is not something I or anyone else can control...And I will find why there is such a heinous rumor. Elora, I will fix this I swear it. For now please rest my child. Aiduin, take your sister...stay with her if needed." Aiduin nodded and walked to his sister gently grabbing her as she hugged him tightly. He scooped her up princess style and hesitated a moment before leaving, he was angry, to say the least.

Zestarri stared at the door for a moment before turning to Kolvar. "What are you to do?" She looked at him her expression filled with worry, He folded his hands together over his mouth and shook his head before standing, "I have yet to know. I only hope...I only hope the humans see reason beyond these false truths."

Aiduin carried his star to her room, he stepped out as the maids bathed and changed her into her night attire. The usual laughter that would fill the room was not there, Aiduin leaned his head against the wall as he waited. He clenched his fist tightly. When the maids left the room Aiduin walked in, he went to walk towards Elora. She curled up pulling the covers closer to her chin.

"I-I wish to be alone brother." Her voice was small and quite different from the cheerful banter he was used to. Aiduin sighed and nodded before leaving closing the door softly behind him. Elora laid in the bed and curled up squeezing her eyes shut, in hopes that the pain in her chest would fade. But all she could hear were Archie's words and cold gaze replay in her mind. Elora wanted to believe her father, but she was so confused. As time passed, she slowly cried herself tired and drifted off to sleep.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Pierre set the black messenger raven off, carrying an important message back to his palace. The King turned around to find Solana standing there, hands clasped behind her back. “Did he deliver the news?” He inquired.

Solana nods, “He did as told, my Grace. The pieces are falling into place. King Lennox just left the meeting room angry. I think he suspects you.” She advises him.

“Send the others out to do the rest. I will handle Alistair.” Pierre flicks his wrist, and the halfling is gone from the room in an instant. Everything he’s been building up to this point was finally coming together.

It didn’t take long before his Wife came in, “Alistair wishes to see you.” She spoke softly, coming over to hug him from behind. “He suspects you might have to do something with stirring trouble.” She kisses his temple as he walks out of her embrace.

“There’s nothing to suspect. I will prove my worth to him.” He retorts to her.

“Just be sure to cover your tracks.” Emeligne concludes the conversation as she watches him walk out of the room and is led away toward King Alistair’s chambers. Soon after Pierre leaves, Lily emerges from the shadows.

“It’s a shame that I thought the Elves could do better.” Lily came in to vent out her own feelings. After they relayed her information that the Plague in their lands was King Kolvar’s doing. Lily wasn’t surprised though; she was waiting for this summit to fall apart before it began.






“I will check with my Agents.” Hulda said, coming out of Alistair’s chambers just as Pierre entered, still wearing the outfit they prepared him in. She spared a single glare at him, pretended to brush past him, and continued on her way out the door.

Archie was leaning against the wall outside his father’s chambers. He stood upright when he saw Hulda coming out, “Well?” He inquired as he briskly walked after her.

“The evidence isn’t falsified. Despite what your father suspects of Pierre, I think he might be telling the truth this time.” Hulda retorts, she stops just to turn back at him. “Get some rest, Archie. I will try to disprove him, if I even can.”

Archie gave a small nod and turned the opposite direction of where she was heading. The Spymaster continued on her way towards the Council’s private lounging areas. Once there, the first person she paid a visit to was Hallr – he would have information she needed. She found the giant sitting in his own separate bedroom, on a bed too small for his size.

“What did Alaisanna say?” She asked first thing barging into his room.

“The Plague’s reach is far and wide. She didn’t give specific details on how it spread, though. It could be words that pit against Kolvar though.” Hallr retorts, puffing on a pipe with smoke coming from his mouth.

Aston came stumbling into the room. He was grasping his chest like he was delivered blowing news. And the matter connected with accusations against Kolvar, “I-I think I need a drink.” Both Hulda and Hallr looked up at Aston, a bloodied cloth grasp in his hand and the other covering a wound into his shoulder.






Archie was alone in his chambers. The Prince dismissed all the maids for the night. He needed time alone to himself tonight. Just him and his thoughts as he dipped further into the hot bath that was prepared before they left. He closed his eyes, opening them back up to find moonlight spilling into the room from the open-door balcony side. Either the Elves loved their balconies, or they assumed Humans loved them because they were correct in that department.

After a few more minutes of lingering in the lukewarm water, he got out and dressed himself into nightly attire before slipping into his bed. His chambers were a mess, clothes strewn about from the frustration he released as soon as he was alone. Archie could’ve kept the news to himself, but he would do his people a disservice from keeping damning evidence from them. He fell asleep with darker thoughts that night, which would lead him into a nightmarish hell.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
"What could the humans possibly be plotting Kolvar?" Grykail stood in front of the desk with his hands behind his back. Upon Aiduin and Elora leaving the room he urged the maids to gather Grykail, Alaisanna, as well as Uluc. This turn of events would come to affect all of them. And the sooner they were informed the sooner they could handle this catastrophe. Alaisanna sat on the bed with her sister, Zestarri held her sister's hands tightly. "I am sure it is that snake Delafontaine's doing. He has been against this since arriving with his snide co-"

"Enough!"
Kolvar looked at Alaisanna with a harsh glare, and she quickly held her tongue. "I understand you're suspicious, but I am not human and I refuse to act as such." Kolvar brought his eyes to Grykail. "Find out what is going on, and with haste. Uluc, see if you can find any information as well. Alaisanna....I'd advise you to watch your words." Kolvar stood and furrowed his brows, "How could this have happened? And under our noses at that...and Elora...." Kolvar grit his teeth and waved his hand dismissing Uluc and Grykail.

Uluc walked off first, he went to send word to Dholtos of what had happened. Hopefully, his advisor would hold some answers. Grykail was the next to walk out, looking to the side he saw Aiduin standing by it. "Aiduin, what are you doing?" Aiduin looked at him his fists clenched by his side. "What is going on? I-I know it is not true. B-but for them to tell Elora. Please you must know what is going on." Aiduin looked at him, he was killed with anger and confusion.

Grykail sighed and laid a hand on his shoulder, "I do not know Aiduin, but as your uncle and father's friend, as well as Lord. I will find out. There is nothing I cannot find. Now go sleep. You must conserve your strength." Aiduin hesitated but nodded before trotting off to his room. It was the first time he had felt so worried about anything other than Elora.

Grykail watched the boy go before turning and walking to his chambers. He sat at his own desk tapping his fingers, using his powers was something that seemed necessary in this case. He closed his eyes and took a breath whispering something inaudible. Opening his eyes they were dark in color, there were two ravens on the windowsill. He nodded to them, "Go and find out what you can from the human side as well as the Haunted forest." They caw'd and took off from the windowsill. Grykail felt a buzzing near his ear, a fly. "And you tell your friends to spy on the humans, especially that Delafontaine. And let no one find you." The fly buzzed in response before taking off. He closed his eyes and shook his head, he would sit and listen to what the animals would tell him, in hopes to find the truth.
__

Alaisanna still sat on the bed looking at her sister and Kolvar. "Kolvar, I don't understand how the humans can blame us for the Shadow. We don't even know how it began! A-and why would we poison our own people as well?!" Zestarri laid her head on her sister's shoulder feeling a wave of exhaustion hit her. Kolvar was pacing the room, he was angered that Elora was involved in such confusion, and even more so at the accusations.

"The humans have no recollection of this, we have no information on it either. As you have heard their royals, as well as ours, hiding the truth that they dare to even work with us during those times. We cannot simply just tell them it is not my fault without proper evidence. Alaisanna I know you value our secrets but this is not one we know, nor one we have any information about. Our promise to the humans then is long over, they are long dead and gone." Kolvar paused pacing to look at her, Alaisanna liked at him. A pained look in her expression. "When they wish to know the truth, I will give it Kolvar. But as it stands they only wish to know what they believe." She gently moved Zestarri from her shoulder and stood. She gave a sigh before leaving their room and heading to her own.

Zestarri looked at Kolvar, "Come sit my love, you are tense." Kolvar sighed and sat beside his wife, she moved his head to lay on her shoulder. Zestarri ran her hands over his hair and kissed his head gently. Kolvar sighed and closed his eyes, "Grykail is the only one with ay information from that time. And yet he holds those secrets to himself...as if carrying a grave burden. He has lost both his wives to terrible circumstances, he will tell no more than what we already know." Zestarri made Klvar lay in bed with her.

"I assure you Kolvar, Grykail will find the truth I know it. And al will be well. Now rest Kolvar, you will do no one any good if you are tired." She held him against her chest and after awhile they drifted off.


___


The next morning Elora dismissed the maids who tried to come to dress her, Kolvar had suggested that the young royals eat in their rooms. Elora made them return the breakfast, finding no solace in eating. There were things troubling her mind and a pain in her chest that was unfamiliar. Aiduin knocked on her door, but he was met with silence. He sighed and left her be, hoping that this trouble would soon pass. Katyr, Naexi, and the others tried as well. They were either told to leave or met with silence. Elora had slept terribly, her mind was filled with night terrors and she found herself restless. She was confused and sad, and at this point, she knew no one she could trust. I want to know if you’re just as naïve as you appear to be. The sentence played in her mind time and time again. All she could do was pull the covers over her ears in the hope that she might block out the thoughts from her mind.

The maids both human, halfling, and elven whispered about it as they worked. "The young princess will not eat."

"I hear she will not speak or see anyone." Another maid whispered as they walked down the hall.


"They say King Kolvar planted the poison that the humans face," The other young halfling spoke.

"Why that is crazy, why would he poison his own people as well then-" The girl's words were cut short by Kedori looking down on them. "This lodge has no room to gossip, keep Your thoughts to yourself or leave." Kedori gave them a look as they nodded nervously and scurried away.
__

Aiduin sat outside in the patch of grass the girls had chatted the day before. A sword in the grass beside him, he had practiced with his sword early in the morning after trying to speak with Elora. He fell back in the grass using his arms to cover his eyes."This is bloody ridiculous." He huffed and moved his arm so he could stare at the sky. Elora refusing to eat or speak to anyone, the humans accusing them of poisoning everyone. It was becoming too much to think about, everything had gone so well yesterday. What happened?
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Hulda’s fingers thrummed against the armrest. They provided her a chair after refusing to leave the side of the infirmary’s door. The cloth that was clutched in Aston’s hand belonged to no one other than Queen Alaisanna. She had it placed in another cloth, wrapped carefully, and put among the mounting evidence that was coming to light. With her network of spies within the building—she never felt safe without checking first—and could retrieve a peculiarly small blade. A halfling belonging to the Elves’ staff had come forward after being brought out forcefully. The she-elf confessed it was Uluc who gave her the blade and told her to stab Aston. Whether she was lying, Hulda wouldn’t know until she questioned Aston. Despite his condition, she was leaving no stone unturned.

The door opened, causing the Spymaster to stand immediately. Out came the Human Doctor. She was cleaning her hands off with a white rag already covered in dried blood. The worry in Hulda’s brow grew deeper, “How is he?” She asked.

The Doctor tucked the rag into the front of her apron, “We should talk privately first. This will concern the rumours of the Elves going around.”

“That’s another matter being taken care of. How is Aston? Is he stable enough to talk?” Hulda dismissed the Doctor’s concerns about treason happening. The rumours alone could flame the fire ignited by the Crown Prince.

“He is stable. Unfortunately, he lost too much blood and fell into a coma. We will see if he awakes by tomorrow. For now, I suggest you hold off on questioning him. He will need all the rest he needs.” The Doctor retorts.

Hulda nods and turns around, heading back toward the quarters belonging to the staff of the Humans and Elves. She would need to speak with them next. Her King wanted to prove Kolvar’s innocence, but that option was slimming each time Hulda turned up additional evidence or recent testimonies. The Knife, alone, was proof that the Elves’ were scheming under their noses. The insignia at the bottom of the knife had Uluc’s symbol. Hulda wanted to believe they weren’t as bad as Alistair was making them out to be, but she was having her doubts. She would form her final opinion after all the pieces were unveiled.







Pierre cleared his throat, taking the seat that Alistair pointed toward as he poured himself something stronger; ale. It’d been an old favourite of all the Kings from his lineage whenever they faced tough decisions that weren’t swiftly solved.

“Would you like something to drink, Pierre?” He asked, putting the cap back onto the bottle.

Pierre waved dismissively, “One of us has to have our heads on whenever the Elves show their true colours.”

“Ah, right.” Alistair picked the goblet up and walked over to take the seat on the sofa opposite of Pierre. “You already know why you’re here, so why don’t you already show that you don’t like the Elves?”

Pierre scoffs, “As much as I would like to say that, I concocted a plan as elaborate as the knife ears pulled. Unfortunately, you’re mistaken in thinking I’m behind this. If you need someone to direct your anger at, I’d say point to Archie.”

Alistair looked up at Pierre, his brow furrowed in confusion and anger. “What does my boy have to do with this? He was the one who told me it was Kolvar who planted the Plague in the Haunted Forest.”

“Are you sure you can take his words at face value?” Pierre inquired back, “Archie has changed much over the years, has he not? The Civil War changed him; you saw what he’s like when he’s angry.”

“Civil War or not, he defended the Kingdom against the rebels. Archie has never lied to me, not once. Don’t accuse my boy unless you have evidence that he planned this.” Alistair took another drink of the ale.

“Then you’d be surprised that I do.” Pierre looked at him with disdain.

“Show me the evidence, otherwise your words fall on deaf ears.” Alistair contains his anger. He wanted to lash out at the old man, but that would make Calliope angry at him.

“Ask Kolvar about his pocket watch and where he got it from. Prince Archie is not as innocent as you want him to be.” Pierre’s nostrils are flaring in irritation.

“Oh, I will question Kolvar. When I find out it was you planning this all along, I’ll—”

An uproar of flames came up from the fireplace behind Alistair, causing him to jump off the sofa. This elicited a surprise look from Pierre, too. His plan was going well, but the flames bursting from the fireplace were not his doing. As far as he knew, Solana was gone from the lodging. Aside from his knowing of the halfling to have ties in magic, there was no one else except the Elves with magical ability.

“What in Goddess’ name…” Alistair muttered, his drink was spilled over on the wooden floorboards.







The night seemed a lengthy one. It was only the first day. Six more days they would have to endure of this, and if they couldn’t prove Kolvar’s innocence. Well…it was better the Humans return to their respective Kingdoms and continue to handle their own internal affairs. Prince Archie shot up from his bed, he was covered in sweat from head to toe. He slept half-naked, he always felt in uncomfortable to wear a shirt to bed. The nightmare that shook him awake was fading away from memory. He let out a breath of relief as he climbed out of bed.

Prince Archie went over to the water basin and splashed his face with some cool water. When that woke his brain up, he looked up into the mirror hanging on the wall. Behind him was a black figure, veiled behind a hood. Fear struck in him as he swiftly turned around to find no one there. He turned back into the mirror, finding the figure gone. His heart was beating a fast pace in his rib cage.

What he saw, he didn’t know. The Prince found a silk robe to slip into and wandered over to the open balcony. The doors were left open, and the moon was bright and full tonight. Archie looked outside, seeing an odd pair of black ravens circling around the building before disappearing from his sight. Dismissing it as ravens looking for food, he continued to lean against the door frame and watch the moon.

He had the image of Elora’s hurt expression burned into his mind. ‘Why did I have to say those words?’ He chided himself. ‘As naïve as she appeared? What the hell was I thinking?’ Archie was deep in thought for a long while. First light was peaking over the horizon. The Prince was ready to head to bed when his door came open. It was one of the Maids. He was about to tell her to get out, that he wanted to be alone when Hulda came in after her.

The room soon became overcrowded with guards coming in front of her. It puzzled Archie. “Hulda, what’s going on?”

Hulda was serious, a look of disappointment in her eye at the Crown Prince, “Prince Archie Lennox of Lennox Kingdom, you are under arrest for treason. The charges of attempting to usurp the current ruler and rightful King of Lennox Kingdom, Alistair Lennox; conspiring with the Elves to overturn the Human Realms in their hands, and attempting to assassinate Aston Blackburn of House Blackburn. Anything you say or do will be held against you when the trial proceeds.”

“When is the trial?” He asks, that way he knew how much time he would have to prove his innocence in all this. The charges were ridiculous, but words, alone, would not prove him innocent.

“Today. 8 PM.” Hulda says. Without further speaking, she motions for the guards to put the Prince in handcuffs and they take him away. Though it was neutral territory, it seemed Kolvar had the smarts to have them build cells not known to the Humans within trees filled with magic. Archie was marched out of his temporary chambers, still in his robe as they pulled him out into the corridor. It was early, but the help still saw him being escorted out of the lodging. Some of them wept, and others were unsure if their Prince could do such heinous acts.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
The raven Grykail had sent to examine the Haunted Forest had returned, it was just as he expected. The shadow was spreading, though it was moving slower than he expected it was growing, and if these antics continued to happen it would be too late to stop it easily. He dismissed the bird to find more information and listened to the buzz of the fly nearest him. The human diplomat had been stabbed and was in a coma, the two human kings were chatting about how this whole thing was Archie's doing, and Prince Archie was to be arrested. Grykail grit his teeth, he was the only one with information from that time. His estimate alone would do nothing to prove innocence. He needed more evidence and information. And from what the fly had told him they had until tonight. Grykail sent the fly back to scout the area, and especially to spy on Delafontaine.

___

Uluc had been busy through the night talking to the help. The humans, some he used his powers of charm on, others had no information to give. And then there were the few he could assume worked for Hulda. When he spoke with the elven help he spoke in their native language, any humans passing by couldn't understand them. And for that he was grateful, they had some unique information to give. Uluc walked to Kolvar's chambers and opened the door. His blade had gone missing, which as it came to light had been taken.

Uluc found out not long into his investigations that Aston had been stabbed with it. According to the maids, the doctor had found Alaisannas handkerchief as well. But, the man was in a coma and could answer no questions. Uluc was trying to put the pieces together as he walked to Kolvar's chambers.

Uluc was let in by a maid, "Kolvar there are some things you must know."

Kolvar was at his desk looking over some things, for the time being, he glanced up, "Well, spit it out Uluc." Uluc dismissed the maids cleaning around them and closed the door firmly behind him. "Sir the young prince was seen with your watch...after leaving Lord Delafontaine's room. And my dagger as gone missing, it seems the human diplomat was stabbed and in a coma. They have also accused and arrested the young prince for treason. Kolvar...I do not know what is happening but someone is against us and the young prince it seems. And it has something to do with Delafontaine for sure."

Kolvar listened to Uluc's words and closed his eyes. "I will wait for Grykail, when he comes with information it will tell the truth."

___


Elora heard the maids bustling about the halls and got up for the first time that morning. She let her bare feet hit the ground before sliding out of bed. She cracked the door open and listened to the maids as they spoke. Elora was still in her nightgown, her eyes were puffed from tears and her face looked tired from her restless night.

"Oh this is terrible, they have arrested the young prince for treason!" One of the human maids was relaying to a halfling quite distraught by the news.

"I cannot believe Prince Archie would ever do such a-" The maid stopped as she turned her gaze and saw Elora peeking through the door. Elora opened the door. "What do you mean Archie was arrested. On what grounds?" The maids quickly told her that he was accused of trying to overthrow the current king and working with the elven king to harm the humans. Elora frowned, "Take me to him. Now." The maids nodded and moved to get her dressed, Elora shook her head and slipped on her slippers to follow the maids.

Elora was dressed in her white nightgown it looked more like a commoner's dress, or everyday wear. But she was endowed so it showed no more than she had already exposed. She followed the maids who led her outside the lodge and into the forest, she hadn't known that her father had built cells. This caused her more confusion as she walked but she was determined. Her white hair laid in a mess of waves to her waist and her eyes had smaller dark circles from a restless night, the redness a clear indication she had cried.

"Halt. Who goes there?" A bulky Elven guard stood blocking the entrance along with another. Elora held her head high holding the edged of her fabric so it wouldn't be dirtied by the ground. "Princess Elora Blaric. I demand to see the Prince." The guards nodded and moved out of her way so she could walk in, regardless of the circumstances she was a royal and therefore held power. She walked down the path until seeing a cell guarded. She let her dress go and held her hands together. She felt the nervousness creep up her spine, the memories from the night before made her pause.

What did she have to even ask, why was she even there? Elora closed her eyes and took a breath before holding her head high and walking over, she would not be kept in the dark. And she refused to stay naive. She walked over nodding to the guard and stopped in front of the cell. "P-prince Archie?" She spoke softly, cautiously. As if in a state of belief that it was actually him behind the vines.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
As the first light changed into mid-morning, painting the skies in a concocted rainbow. The Human Guards gripped the Prince by the arms, dragging him along. Archie had lashed out a few times, getting angry as they yanked him along. It resulted in him being dragged against the floor like a rag doll until they made it outside. The crisp summer morning made the Prince look up from the ground, toward the sky and around him. ‘Where are they taking me?’ He thought this was neutral territory, since when did they have cells built in?

Soon they met up with bulky Elven Guards, wearing matching light armour. The Humans produced the Crown Prince forward, stating his crimes, and they exchanged nods of approval before leading Archie further into the Elven Realms. They apparently made the cells straight from the trees. The Elven Guard did a wave of his hand. Vines came unfurling from around the trunk of a tree. At first, Archie was wary he wouldn’t fit in there, but found it appeared smaller than it was on the inside. Once he was inside, the vines covered the entrance again and the handcuffs were gone in a blink of an eye.

Despite how cruel the Elves were in the past, it seemed their tactics in caring for their prisoners had changed. Archie looked around him, the floor was made from the tree’s bark; it was larger than it appeared. The height of the place was large, he looked up to find no way out from attempting to climb out; it was hollowed out and he could see the skies with a few branches blocking the view. There was a small cot, a blanket of sorts, and a barred window. Naturally, Archie attempted to break out of the cell, but found an invisible barrier blocking him in.

The Prince went to the cot and dramatically fell into it, only to groan when it was not as comfortable as it looked. Still, it was better than nothing. He would get used to it in no time since he was accustomed to laying on uncomfortable beds. Soon, he fell asleep after finding nothing else to do. It didn’t take long before he was awakened at the sound of a familiar voice.

Archie sat up in bed, his robe had come undone and it was discarded on the floor. With this, you could see the many scars that littered across his upper torso and sleeve that was now fully exposed for whoever eyed him. He rubbed the sleepiness out of his eyes, only to be disappointed to see Elora there.

“Oh, it’s just you.” He spoke in a dead tone, devoid of life.






Solana jumped from the tree at the Southern Border that went into Elven territory. Once back into the room they assigned her, she pulled her cloak off and stuffed it away into her wardrobe. She chanted a few inaudible words. A bright light enveloped the room, and in her palms appeared a small scroll. The wax seal was black, the insignia belonged to Grykail. And with that, the halfling set out from the room, locking the door behind her as she made her way down corridors and toward Alistair’s room.

She briefly met with one of Hulda’s spies, brushing past the Human maid. Solana’s pouch was pocketed off her belt, which was intentional on her part. Once she reached Alistair’s chambers, she knocked, and the door was pulled open by Pierre.

“Solana, what brings you here?” He inquired, a knowing look passed through them before she pushed past Pierre and towards Alistair.

Alistair finished his one cup of ale a while ago. The King was now sipping on chamomile tea and nursing a headache. He looked up from the teacup, “Why are you here?” He spoke accusingly. He did not trust Solana, only because she worked for Pierre.

Solana did a deep bow, “Forgive me for barging in unannounced, My Grace. But there is something that you must read.” She produced the scroll.

Alistair looked at warily until he noticed the insignia on the wax seal. He gingerly took it and broke the seal. Alistair read the scroll. His face growing into a deeper frown, if it were possible. Alistair could recognise Grykail’s writing since it was also back in letters exchanged from King Azu’s time. He was well aware Grykail was older than he appeared.

“Seamus.” He loudly spoke. The Butler had appeared from the other room. He was watching the entire exchange unfold between the two Kings—it surprised Pierre. “Summon the Council and King Grykail. I wish to convene before the trial.”

Seamus did a bow and slipped out of the room. He would seek out Kedori and have the message relayed to Grykail. Before Kedori departed, Seamus gave her a marble. It was just not any marble. It was a recording crystal—only found in the Black Market in human lands from the Elven Realms.

“Give this to Kolvar and see what you can make of it.” Seamus quickly muttered in her ear before departing to go find Hallr and Hulda since Aston was in a coma now.

The Marble had a recording of the blast of the fire roaring to life. Seamus was no expert in the magical field, but perhaps the Elves could make some sense of it. The looks of the shocked Kings appeared within the recording.\






“Uluc was just here last night. He was charming the servants. I guess to prove his King’s innocence. I don’t fault him. There was not much that any of the Agents gave away, only what was instructed during the charm—” The Butler was interrupted by Seamus appearing.

“Good morning, Hallr and Hulda. The King wishes to see you both. More evidence was brought to light, and King Grykail will also be at this meeting.” Seamus relayed the information to them.

Hulda hardly slept a wink all night. She was meticulous in her interrogations of the servants, even to the Guards that were on post. She knew the boys were asleep all night long. What surprised her was that one of the Elven Maids had seen Anastasia slipped away from the lodging at midnight. While that bit of information was alarming, she would keep it to herself until she questioned Anastasia next. Far as the Spymaster knew, Anastasia was blind as a lion-bat.

The Giant Commander was already out the door, wearing casual clothes this time. Hulda was still wearing her clothes that were chosen for her at yesterday’s evening dinner. She trailed after Hallr, lost in her thoughts as she was putting two and two together until they finally reached Alistair’s door.

The door came open by Seamus. He did a bow and showed them both in. The Head Butler was back outside the door to await Grykail’s arrival. Hulda was the first to comment on their King’s unkempt appearance. He barely made himself decent, wearing a robe to cover himself.

Calliope was already active, likely with Anastasia, since she was abruptly kicked out early in the morning when Pierre paid a visit. Or maybe she was with Emeligne, who knew?

“Aren’t you going to put on something proper?” Hulda asked.

Alistair shook his head, “There’s no time when my son is being accused of treason. I will let you know what I found out when Grykail gets here. In the meantime, would you like something to drink?” He offered a tired smile to his advisors.

“I’ll take some ale.” Hallr spoke for the first time this morning.

“I’ll take your best wine.” Hulda offered a smile back as the two made themselves comfortable on the opposite couch.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Elora watched as Archie sat up, her cheek turned pink and she looked away as his robe fell. When he spoke she instinctively flinched from the tone of his voice. Taking a breath she turned to look at him, the hurt was evident in her eyes. "I apologize for disappointing you with my presence your highness." Her words were small and a little bitter as she spoke. Elora met his eyes before looking at the ground. "I-" Sighed her shoulders fell defeated. "I shouldn't have come. It was foolish of me to think you would wish to speak to someone as-as naive as me." Elora bit her lip and scrunched her face clenching the fabric of her dress in her hands.

The hurt reflected in her tone as it did in her eyes. Elora turned her back to him and closed her eyes. She had made a mistake in coming, why would he want to see her. He was the one who had ended things after all. And even though she had questions to ask, why would he answer?

___

Kedori took the marble and nodded before rushing towards Grykails chambers. Grykail was already gathering himself by the time Kedori came knocking on his door. He opened the door and looked down at her, "No need to relay, I have already seen what is wished. Quickly take that marble to Kolvar." He gave her no chance to speak before walking past her. His small fly spies had been there for the whole exchange, though he was less than please they had four the scroll it was a matter of time before this was to happen. Though Grykail would have preferred these things to happen of his own accord.

Kedori watched him walk away and rushed off to Kolvar's chambers. She knocked on the door and walked inside quickly handing the object to Kolvar. He pressed the center and watched as the fire roared to life. "My Lord, Seamus has requested I show you this. They have summoned Lord Grykail. I know not of what to make of this." Kolvar held his hand up to cease her talking and sat back. "I place my faith that Grykail will fix things. He is much older than I. As for this fire, it is the work of magic....Though none of ours, I have made sure that there are none capable of using fire magic here. It would have been unwise otherwise.....Though there was a time when humans-some humans held magic...They are long gone.." Kolvar trailed off as he stood and walked to the window staring off into the distance.

Grykail walked up to the King door, he looked at Seamus and gave a nod of his head. He knew what they had found, and was ready to answer the questions they might have.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Archie gets up and saunters closer towards the entrance, kneeling down to see her back turned toward him. His anger gone the moment she seemed hurt, instead his demeanour softened. The Prince sat cross-legged in front of the invisible barrier.

“I apologise, Elora.” He spoke once behind her. Archie was apologising for insulting her last night. He did not mean to, but it came out. His Grandfather fed him information he believed to be true. Could she really blame him for putting up a defensive stance? “I did not mean to insult you last night, but you have to understand that I was confirming what I thought to believe truth. I’m about as smart as mousenet when it comes to accusations.” He added, Archie wasn’t ready to give up without a fight.

One of the Human Guards had appeared to deliver food for the Prince. With the Elven Guard’s help, it passed through the barrier, then immediately closed right as Archie grabbed the plate. He stood with the tray and headed back over to the cot. He’d understand if she left. Archie didn’t want to give excuses for his behaviour last night. Not that he had any, especially this early in the morning.






As the Elven King approached the Butler, Seamus promptly open the door with a quick bow. Whether he was Alistair’s Head Butler, he still paid respects to all Royals – regardless of their race. Once the door opens up, the trio stopped talking about the evidence. Alistair waved him in, and once Grykail made himself comfortable, he produced the scroll on the table.

The writing was of Grykail’s, but it wasn’t what the King was expecting. It was written in an ancient dead language that Humans used to read. Alistair recognised the symbols on the parchment but couldn’t read it. Why Solana gave this to him was a question of itself.

“Can you translate?” Alistair inquired as he took his spot. “And don’t try to mistranslate it. I’ll know what it says soon enough.” He warned as he took his goblet to take a drink of it.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Elora tensed when he apologized, the softness in his voice was just as surprising as the harsh tone. She could feel her hands tighten their grip on her dress, but she wasn't sure how to respond. As he continued to speak she closed her eyes. Elora understood well why he acted the way he did, it didn't mean it hurt any less hearing those words. She knew she was naive and full of these childish whims, but hope was the only thing she could hold onto. And now...she was confused. As the guard passed by he she opened her eyes and listened as he shuffled away from the barrier.

"I understand well why you said what you did...but....it does not make the words any less painful." Elora turned to face him and moved towards the barrier. "You have thrown me into the midst of confusion. I do not know who do believe-or even who to trust....and now you have been accused....." Elora lowered herself to the ground and stared at him. "I must know....how did you get my fathers watch. And are you- I mean have y done what the accuse?" As she spoke the last question she was hesitant, as if afraid of the answer.

___

Grykail walked in nodded in thanks to Seamus before taking his seat and adjusting himself. He nodded politely to the royals around him his eyes landing on the parchment before lifting to Alistair. Grykail tapped his fingers on the armrest of the chair and smiled, "Of course, though I am curious as to why it was taken from my manor in the first place." Grykail rose from his seat to grab the parchment and sat back in his chair.

"Lord Azu, the demon's curse has spread. But we have found a cure. Pure Elven blood, it is enough to quell the demon and dispel the curse. In best regard Lord Grykail." Grykail lowered the parchment and rolled it back up, lifting himself from his chair to place it on the table. "I know you must question if I am being truthful, and I assure you I am. You may have it translated as you wish. But, you will tell me who snuck into my manor and stole from me." His usually laid back expression grew dark, "I do not bide well with thieves."

He sat back down and the dark expression on his face seemed to leave no trace, "I have been alive for many centuries. And I was alive when this curse first plagued my lands....It is how my first wife Pyria died...You may ask the questions I know you have, and I will answer.
 
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Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Archie picked up the wooden fork and stabbed into the leaves. He knew which Chef prepared breakfast for him. He listened to Elora. The hurt in her tone of voice did not go unnoticed. He swallowed the dry breakfast down. They forgot water or some substance of liquid. Archie didn’t mind though. He put his fork back down to look over at Elora, staring back at him with a puzzled look. The weight of uncertainty about her words. Perhaps she already knew the answer. Either way, Archie would entertain her.

“I apologise for what I’ve said last night, Elora. Whether you forgive me or resent me is your right. I spoke without thinking about the consequences it would bring…or the hurt—” He cleared his throat and changed the subject of how he acquired her father’s pocket watch. “I got it from my grandfather, he told me what…” His voice died in his throat when he realised he was played like a puppet. ‘Damn it.’ He thought before choosing his next words, “Elora, I think it’s best you return to the lodging. You can find out about the charges from Hulda or at the trial. Later tonight at 8 PM.” Archie returned to his food, taking slow deliberate bites of the fruits caught in the salad.






Hulda swirled her wine, looking over the rim of her cup at Grykail. A literal walking history book, sitting in the other single chair. When he translated the document for them all, the suspicions from Doctor Emerson’s words were now confirmed. ‘They truly use their own blood, how potent.’ She took a drink of her wine.

Alistair had his chin tucked underneath his fist, listening to Grykail’s words. Then he thought about it for a few moments. The King dismissed Grykail’s threats, far as he knew such threats while the treaty wasn’t signed could spark another war. Another one that Alistair himself was not ready to start. He sighed, “Well, that makes sense.” Alistair scratched his beard.

“If I may speak, I have something that may of interest to you, My Grace. Though Grykail here might be…intrigued.” Hulda spared a single lingering glance at the Elf before looking back to her King.

Alistair gestured for her to continue, “Go on. What have you to share?”

“I questioned Doctor Emerson—The Blackburn’s Physician. His words ring true about the ritual the Elves performed on the heirs back at the Palace.” Hulda placed her chips out front. “The Elves performed a ritual of sorts, chanting in Elvish whilst feeding the Heirs with a cup of their own blood mixed with other ingredients, then the Plague was spewed out orally.”

Hallr quirked a brow, “Hulda, you sneaky bug.” He remarked. The War Commander was well aware nothing went unnoticed by the Spymaster whilst Lennox Royalty employed her. It was her job to know everything and anything that took place under the Lennox’s roof.

“Well…intriguing, but it does not help with Archie in his innocence. Grykail, you asked where I retrieved the document? From Solana, Pierre’s halfling. Both Kolvar and I suspect he may have something to do with this nonsense going on. I will reserve my opinions about my Wife’s father.” Alistair retorts.

Hallr took the chance to ask Grykail, “How does the Plague or “Shadow” spread? I questioned Queen Alaisanna, but she was…not in the right state. My Captain out in the South-West lands had to put a Soldier down.”

“Lysander?” Alistair quickly asked.

Hallr shook his head, “Lysander was not harmed, My Grace.”
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Elora's gaze lowered to his plate and then the small cot he sat at. Her gaze watched as he swallowed the food while she spoke, he seemed...less worried than she had expected. But, she also wasn't sure what to expect. When their eyes met and he spoke she could only sigh and close her eyes. Elora knew well why he said the things he did, though she was hurt it was not the time for her to think of herself. She would prove she was not as naive as others so clearly thought.

When he cleared her throat she opened her eyes, hearing him say his grandfather her breath escaped her, she hadn't known she was holding it. Things were just as she suspected, the old man had given Archie her father's watch. But why? Her gaze had trailed off when he called her name, her eyes snapped back to meet his. "But-" She paused and lowered her hand that had instinctively reached out as she wanted to protest. Elora let out another sigh before lifting herself off the ground and dusting her dress. "If you insist, your highness." Elora turned from the barrier, her back again facing him.

Elora knew she was being cold, but it was the only thing she could do/ Th only thing that made her feel just a little better. She lifted her head to look at the treetops and ran her hand through her hair. "Prince I-I forgive you. I will not blame you for your words.....And I...I wish you a fair trial." Elora had wanted to say something else, but it was better this way. She looked back down in front of her and walked off, stopping to whisper to the guards to bring Archie some water before heading back towards the lodge.

___


Grykail turned to Hulda as she spoke, with a raise of his brow. What could she possibly have that is so...intriguing? When she said that she had questioned the doctor Grykail looked amused, leaning on his wrist as he listened. He figured she would find out, he was intrigued though not surprised. "I must say, Hulda, that is intriguing. Though I am curious I will hold my questions for a more....suitable time." He looked at Hulda the amusement clear in his eyes before he turned to Alistair.

Grykail had almost forgotten that the young prince was being held on charges of treason, now that Grykail had confirmed that Pierre's lapdog had stolen from him he was sure the man had set this whole thing up. "There is no need to suspect, I am sure he had something to do with it." Grykail waved his hand dismissively, his spy was still watching, and at that moment a Raven came and sat on the windowsill. Grykail glanced over for a moment before Hallr addressed him.

Grykail frowned, "Alaisanna and the others know as much as I have told them, which is only a bit more than you. They are far younger than I....and they were not present during the times of the plague." Grykail held up his arm and the Revan came and sat on his wrist, Grykail lowered the bird to his ear as it caw'd before he lifted his arm again for it to leave. He paid no mind to the obvious curiosity. " The Shadow is a demon.....and the cause...well you humans caused the plague that first invaded both lands."

Grykail leaned back on his hand, " During those days...some humans were still slaves. A mass majority, you all wanted freedom. And back then some of you held magic, same as us. Those that were not killed during the first sight of powers hid them...Mostly women showed these powers. As time passed it was rare, and then disappeared in humans entirely." Grykail paused thinking of his next words, before running a hand through his hair. "You wanted freedom we were not willing to give, those with any type of powers worked with dark magic....One we have stripped from knowledge. You, humans, summoned a demon, escaping from enslavement..... but the demon, humans could not contain it....And thus the darkness began." He looked at Alistair with a grim expression. "It was much later we found the cure....pure royal elven blood. My wife Pyria sacrificed her life for your kind...for our kinds...and the demon was banished. The darkness was under control thanks to those humans with magic, but it seemed as time passed history had erased the knowledge of it...." Grykail's words trailed off,
"The demon has returned because it can no longer be contained by the barriers holding it back....Because of the knowledge of how to contain it is unknown. As you can see the accusations against Kolvar and your son are quite preposterous, but I plan to gather more evidence than my words to prove their innocence."
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Archie watched her leave, accepting her words and the cold demeanour she gave him – it was only fair. After she left, Archie finished the remaining of his food and discarded the plate to the side. He got up to head back over to the entrance, the vines that were covering it. He asked the Guard what time it was but was met with silence. He returned to the open space of the cell and…started exercising. What else would he do in a time like this?

Back inside the lodging, Anastasia was with her Mother inside her shared chambers with the boys. Leo and Levian were out of the room, likely going to go visit Archie or prove his innocence. Calliope was running her manicured nails through her daughter’s raven hair that cascaded down her back like a waterfall.

“Do you think Archie changed?” Ana asked her Mother. Although she was his fraternal twin, she could feel the unchanged connection she shared with her brother. Right now, he felt relaxed and content, for whichever reason she knew not why.

Calliope hummed at her daughter’s response, thinking it over while she was finished running her fingers through her daughter’s silky hair. Looking into the vanity that was provided for Anastasia, “No.” She was confident with her answer. Over the year he was at the Kingdom, his happiness never wavered, even after experiencing horrific scenes out in the battlefields.

Anastasia was without her mask. Calliope could see the scars that she hid underneath the mask. The Queen was curious what happened to her daughter; it made her sombre in heart – that she wasn’t able to protect her only daughter. Though she couldn’t see, Anastasia’s milky white eyes were looking into the direction she felt eyes on her.

“You wonder about my scars.” Anastasia brought up the topic.

“I don’t mean to pry, but yes, I’ve been curious since your arrival. If it’s a touchy subject, we can speak of anything else.” Calliope retorts.

“I think I’m ready to talk about them, but not now. Tell me about the new teas Queen Zestarri brought over.” Anastasia cleverly changed the subject. To one that Calliope was all too happy to speak of. It didn’t take long for Calliope to chat up a storm about the new flavours. While she was speaking, Anastasia closed her left palm. The door behind her was slowly shutting at the will of her own doing.






Hulda nodded to Grykail’s words, noting it mentally for whenever he showed up or wanted to plant a talk of sorts in the future. For now, the Spymaster continued to nurse her drink whilst listening to Grykail’s words. A gasp coming from her at the news of Human’s dabbling in magic themselves.

The two advisors and Alistair were curious at the sudden Raven making an appearance. Hulda was aware of Grykail’s ability to “see as those who cannot.” Hallr gave the Raven a lingering stare before it left again, back out the way it came in.

Alistair noted the sadness in the Elf’s tone when he spoke of the olden days, when his Wife sacrificed herself for the greater good. Another person who could relate to losing a loved one was the War Commander. Hallr was stroking his beard, furrowing his brow at the mention of his late Wife. When he finished speaking of the Plague and its cruel nature. A silence ensued for them to soak in the words he just spoke of.

“The Shades of Orcus.” Alistair spoke next, getting up to head toward his luggage and started rummaging through the contents. Clothes strewn about before he found King Azu’s personal journal, a red journal to be exact. He came back over and placed it on the table, “King Azu speaks of the brave Men and Women who gave their lives to seal off the Darkness. Though Orcs and Dwarves are no longer numerous in Gaia, those were the ones – alongside Halflings, Elves, and Humans – who ventured on a journey to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. I think you might remember that time, Grykail.” Alistair looks at the Elven King.

Hulda was burning a hole into the personal journal of King Azu. It was an artefact of knowledge she had no access to – try as she might. King Azu—a former King who led the Great War and formed their country as it is today—was someone that was elusive to the Spymaster.

“If I may…” Hulda looked up at Alistair, who gave the green light. She picked up the well-preserved journal and opened it up to the first page. Finding elegant script written across that said it belongs to self-proclaimed Human King, Azu Lennox. She flipped through the pages, smelling the scent of worn and ageing pages before finding the top of a topic: Shades of Orcus and the Six Seals. She started reading down to the bottom of the page before handing it over to Alistair.

“The Six Seals?” She inquired, looking at Grykail. “Does that mean it was sealed by…Four Elf Nations and Two Human Kingdoms?”

“King Azu was a brutal man—toward his family and those who opposed his ruling.” Hallr remarked, “I’m sure he was a thorn in the Elves’ side during that time.” He added.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Grykail let the words sink in taking the time to check in on the spies he had placed throughout the lodge. When Alistair spoke Gryakil focused his attention on the King. Grykail stared at the journal for a while as the King spoke. "I haven't heard that term in a long time...." A sad look passed his features as his eyes turned to Alistair. "But, yes I remember that time well...I remember their faces, their names, the families they left behind. Your highness, I remember it all. But I must be so bold as to ask, what is the point?" Grykail's hand rose to his temples, he remembered that time like it was yesterday. He remembered the nights he had spent trying to forget, no magic or time could make him forget that.

He lowered his hand after rubbing his temples for some time, he could feel a headache coming on the more they spoke. He watched as Hulda's curiosity took over and she grabbed the journal. Grykail could only imagine what that impudent King had written. His eyes trailed the journal as they switched hands, only bothering to meet Hulda's eyes as she spoke to him. "The Six Seals are the nations as you know it. Our four Elven Nations and yes your two humans ones. It required cooperation to seal away the demon....at the time the nations were not made of only humans, it was a time when the Orcs and Dwarves roamed above their hovels. The Kingdoms decided that to seal the demons sacrifices would be made....volunteers."

He mumbled the last words feeling the memories bubble to the surface of his mind. He needed wine or something to ease this growing pain in his hand. When Hallr remarked Grykail scoffed. "I will not hold my tongue. He was a pain. One of the most irritating people I have ever met....But he was determined to save his people. That is the only credit I will give him as a King...I am curious, do you have a plan to save your son? If I can help in any way I will." Grykail moved his gaze to Alistair with a slight nod.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Alistair takes this moment to pour himself some more tea. He emptied it whilst talking to Grykail and his Advisors. “The point is, the Seals were only mean to last for six centuries.” Alistair stirred the sugar in and gingerly took a sip before retaking his place on the couch. “Hulda, flip to the next page.”

The Spymaster did as told and started reading aloud, “…The Saplings sat across from us, proposing an idea of using six seals. Each seal would represent sins that each of our own, but there’s another seal. The Knife Ear’s King said the seventh seal would need to be someone wielding great magical ability. As you know it, us Humans do not harbour to inherit magical affinity—when found in our kind, it’s most commonly found among women. None came forth on our end to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. However, an unexpected guest volunteered, the Angry Elf with no colour to his skin’s wife. I do not care to recall her name, but if she volunteered then so be it. Another band of “volunteers” would be needed to clear out paths to place the six seals only in places each Ruler would know of. The other surprising news came from the Knife Ear’s Conjuror. The six seals would only last six centuries…”

Alistair lifted his hand for her to stop there, “As you can hear, Azu recounts the exact number of six centuries before the seals would break indefinitely.”

“…We’re entering the sixth century soon.” Hallr says out of nowhere. “The New Year in Humans’ calendar begins when the last harvest dies. We have three months at minimum to come up with a plan and push the Plague back, or else…everything will have been for nothing.”

Alistair turned a cheek to Grykail’s obvious dislike for his past ancestor, though he couldn’t fault him for that. On the other hand, Azu’s anger was justified. The King took another sip before answering Grykail’s last question, “Hulda?”

Hulda placed the book back down and dusted her gloved hands, “Right. The evidence coming to light is too compelling. I questioned the staff at what they saw late evening, and some say they saw Archie coming from Pierre’s chambers with a suspected pocket watch in his…well, pocket. The Doctor said she saw Archie with Elora. I’d suggest questioning your…niece?” Hulda questioned at Grykail. She didn’t know how all their relations connected, but they were.

“The Blade that belongs to Uluc was stabbed into Aston’s shoulder. He lost too much blood and fell into a coma early morning. Maid that stabbed him said it was Uluc who told her to do it. Queen Alaisanna’s handkerchief was found in Aston’s hand when he stumbled into Hallr’s room. There was already blood on the handkerchief, and we determined it to not be Aston’s. Either someone else was stabbed or…someone deliberately put another’s blood into the handkerchief. I won’t be able to get more evidence about Alaisanna’s handkerchief ending up with Aston until he awakes.”

“My son mentioned your Lord’s pocket watch. It was presumably found in the Haunted Forest. Archie didn’t say much after that, but those other details will lie with Elora. I can only assume who’s confused and don’t know who to trust.” Alistair regrettably speaks, sighing about his son pulling the plug on the marriage when it wasn’t his right to do so.

“I suggest you speak to Kolvar and Elora about how his pocket watch, presumably ended up in the Haunted Forest.” Alistair added, “I’m not saying he did it, but evidence is more likely to convince my people than words.”






Pierre sat in his room, biding his time as he waited for the others to put the pieces together. Emeligne laid on the bed, on her side as she watched her husband look down at something in front of him. In front of the Delafontaine’s King was a book, not just any book; it was the personal journal of Eldrich Delafontaine—the opposing Human King to Azu Lennox. In his own personal account, there was something amiss with the Elves and Azu during their meeting with their former Masters.

There was an eighth seal. Eldrich met up with the Elven King’s Conjurer and was given explicit instructions to keep this from everyone. Where the eighth seal was, he did not write it down. In his own words, “…the location of the eighth seal must not be known. I will never write it down ‘fore the rise of the Demon to come, it will reveal itself in time.” Eldrich kept peculiar details not known to anyone else but the lineage of Kings who inherited the book.

One thing was known for sure, Eldrich was the likely candidate to become over ruler of the Human Realms before Azu had him assassinated. Though those details were omitted from history and instead replaced with the King dying in battle, which was entirely false.






After the maids helped Calliope and Anastasia dress for the day, they wore simplistic dresses. Anastasia’s was similar to what she wore yesterday, only in a grey colour now. Her mask covered her face once more, and the memories burned out of the maid’s minds after placing it on her. Calliope departed from the shared chambers to go handle business that called for her attention.

Anastasia was alone. For the first time, she could do what she wanted. The Princess removed her mask as she sat in front of the mirror. The door was closed tightly behind her. She did what was next to impossible; magic. With inaudible chanting, she slowly moved her right hand in front of her eyes and once it passed, she opened them. Different coloured eyes stared back at her in the mirror, her left eye hazel and the right eye blue.

That’s when the black figure that Archie saw had manifested behind her, “Princess, you must be careful around the Elves.” It spoke in a disembodied voice.

“My brother is being accused. Can you help me prove his innocence?” She asked it.

The shadow figure nodded its head before disappearing altogether. Anastasia quickly replaced her mask; her eyesight being taken away once more. Then, a maid came wondering in as Lily wanted to see her. Anastasia took the forearm of the maid’s and was led away from her shared chambers and toward the Delafontaine’s.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Grykail nodded with a small sigh, he knew the seal was meant to last six centuries. It would have lasted longer if the humans hadn't disposed of the records he needed. As Hulda read he couldn't help but clench his jaw and tense. Pyria. He could remember the scene as Hulda read it from the page. Kolvar's grandfather was King at the time, Grykail remembered being there in place of his own father who had fallen victim to the shadows. Pyria by his side, she was a spirited woman. And as soon as Azu had spoken he knew she would volunteer, though he wished she hadn't.

Grykail forced himself to relax as Hulda stopped reading. "Yes, I am aware. Six Centuries...is nearly finished. I had stopped keeping track." His brows furrowed and he rubbed his temples again. "The last records of how to subdue the demon are long gone, along with the traces of magics in you humans." Grykail knew time was of the essence, and if it was true that they only had a few months then they needed to finish this treaty and finish working fast. He was worried that they would suggest the seal seals again, and though the idea seemed great he didn't fair the idea of sacrifices again.

When Hulda referred to Elora as his niece he smiled a bit, he could remember when the children were younger and would call him uncle Kail, eve Kolvar at one point referred to him as an older brother of sorts. "Elora had stated that she received the watch from Archie and that it was from the Haunted Forest. As to how he obtained the watch, Uluc has informed us that the maids indeed saw the young Prince leaving Pierre's room with n object in his pocket. I can only assume the watch was from him."

Listening to the explanation for Uluc's blade was almost humorous, he couldn't imagine Uluc asking anyone else to kill someone for him. But, that wasn't something he thought he would mention. Alaisanna's handkerchief was another matter, he didn't understand how that could have been misplaced, Alaisanna kept it on her person's at all times. He would have to question her before the night was up if she didn't have answers he would have to call someone who could find whose blood it was. Considering the evidence Grykail considered the perp lucky that Aston was in a coma, otherwise the truth might have come to light.

Grykail placed his hand over his mouth as he thought, "I will ask them both, though Kolvar has no clue how his watch left his room that evening...Elora, I will see if she is willing to speak with anyone now." Grykail lowered his hand from his face and stood. "I will take my leave now, I will inform you if I come across anything of interest. But, before I take my leave. Lady Hulda, do you have the handkerchief? I would like to take a look at it and see what I can find." Grykail waited for her answer before he bowed politely leaving. He walked down the hall, he would need to check on his spies. He thought about seeing Elora but supposed that Alaisanna would be an easier target.

Alaisanna was in her room irritated, someone had taken her handkerchief as well as framed Uluc. Kolvar was stuck on this let Grykail handle it so he was of no help to her. When Grykail knocked on her door Alaisanna made no sound but he entered regardless. Grykail smiled at her, "Come with me. I need your powers." Alaisanna crossed her arms and frowned, "What for?" Grykail grabbed her wrist, "Don't ask questions Alaisanna. Just come with me." She grits her teeth but followed him regardless, they were headed to the infirmary.
___

Elora had walked back to the lodge more confused than she was before. She didn't know if she could trust Archie but it was clear that something was missing. The hem of her white dress had turned dark from the dirt, at some point she had let it drag on the ground. If her mother saw she would surely be scolded, not only for her nightgown but also for visiting the prince. Upon arrival to her chambers, she requested the maids to help her dress. Walking into her room she let out a breath, the whole situation was becoming unnerving, and there was little she could do to fix her frustrations. Her parents had forbidden her from using her powers so long as they were at the lodge, and she doubted they'd give her a bow and arrow given the situation.

Her door opened and the maids walked in, filling the tub with warm water and helping her disrobe before sitting her in the water. Her fingers drummed along the side of the tub as she tried to piece her thoughts together. Archie had given her the watch, ho he received from his grandfather. And his grandfather had stated it was in the haunted forest. The obvious assumption is that Pierre is to blame, but then why would he imprison his own grandson. Elora groaned frustrated which caused the maid to back up a bit. The maids finished bathing her and helped her out of the bath before getting her dressed.

Elora's dress was simpler than the night before, it made her white hair stand out more under her crown. Once she was dressed she dismissed the maids and left her room. A part of her wanted to visit Anastasia and see if she could find answers. But, with the way, things seemed she wasn't certain that was a good idea. Elora would look for lady Hulda, she would surely have the answers she needed. After asking a few maids for lady Hulda's whereabouts she fond that the advisor was in her King's quarters and that Lord Grykail had just left. Elora wasn't sure if she should still go but she was determined. Taking a breath she walked towards King Alistair's quarters and looked up at Seamus hesitantly.
"I-I would like to speak with lady Hulda."
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Calliope looked down at the box. Inside was an ornate, one-of-a-kind ruby stone necklace made especially to her. She gently pulled it out of the velvet box, eyes gleaming with sparkles at the beauty of it. For the Queen, she was easily enraptured with beautiful things and people.

“Will my Queen allow me to place such a beautiful necklace around her neck?” One of the Human Maids asked.

Calliope briefly gave her a nod, lifting it and unclasping the lock at the back, “Be gentle. It’s from my father.” She warned.

The Maid was gentle, placing the necklace around her neck and clasping the locks together again. In the mirror, she could see the stone glow a brilliant red before slowly dimming once more. Calliope dismissed it as a trick of the light since they were in the private lounging area for the Humans to loiter around in. Her fingers curled around the stone. It was smooth to the touch. Then, she let it go once Leo came into the lounging area, a grim look on his face for the first time since arriving.

She turned around, “What’s wrong, Leo?” Confusion expressed across her features.

It conflicted Leo before seeing the ruby stone. A fear overtook his former emotion, and he hastily backed away. “Don’t come closer, Mother.” His eyebrows knitted together.

“Leo, you’re scaring me.” Calliope was rooted in her steps the entire time. It confused her why he would wander in looking troubled, then suddenly terrified of her.

Leo stumbled out of the lounging area, away from it. He practically ran out of the place and towards the Elves’ side of the building. The Prince read about this ruby stone in his studies before; it was a banished type of stone from the Human Realms. Its connections were familiar toward the black magic it was frequently used for. He felt his heart pulsing in his chest as he bounded down corridors, a gut feeling telling him to head to…an unlikely face.

He barged through the bulky Elven Guards posted at the doors of, “Prince Katyr!” He gasped out before one of the Guards held him back. His breath was lost in his throat, eyes looking at Katyr with urgency, “You need to get Sarya and—” But before he can complete his sentence, he abruptly silences himself. Something is wrong with Leo. He expresses a haunted look, unable to talk as he composes himself. Like a puppet working its magic over him, Leo walks out of the room with the Guards.






Archie exhausted himself out to the point of falling asleep mid-exercise. He awoke to find himself in unfamiliar territory. Like a terrible dream, the only thing he could see in front of him was darkness. A dimly lit orb hovered over the Prince. Instinct took over. He got into a battle stance, ready to fight whoever or whatever came his way.

But it never came.

Archie felt like he was in a defensive stance for an hour before letting himself relax yet on guard. His eyes searching the darkness, ready for the figure to jump out at any moment. And as expected, a dark shadow manifested before his very eyes. He stumbled back in shock, falling on his butt as the shadow grew taller than him. Archie hastily got back to his feet, back into his defensive stance before it spoke to him.

“Prince Archie.” Its voice was disembodied, not having one voice, but many layered over.

“W-what are- who are you?!” He exclaimed; he was panicked yet calm.

“Anastasia knows you’re innocent.” It retorts.

“Knows? How can she know? Wasn’t she asleep all night?” Archie inquired back; he was confused. What would his blind twin know of his supposed charges?

“Let me show you.” It closes the distance between them in a blur, its shadowed hand presses to Archie’s forehead, touching his third eye to see what it can show to him.

Past events play all at once, sounds and smells mix into a cacophony of echoes. Archie captures glimpses of his grandfather speaking, placing a blade into a maid’s palm before he is gone, a handkerchief is stolen from Alaisanna while she’s at the meeting with the Council, Aston’s stabbing, a black butterfly lands on a letter belonging to Elora, A shadow slips back into the lodging, and a scroll. Before Archie is whipped back into the present, he sees a glimpse of Elora in her bed, the expression of a broken heart belonging to her. Then, he comes back into the present; he lets out a large gasp and shoots up to see it is still daytime. The black shadow is gone.

Did he just experience a lucid dream? The Prince sees a goblet of water sitting at the entrance of the vines. Archie takes it, gulping it down before he feels himself again. He knocks it over as he makes his way over to the water basin to wake himself up more. Just what the hell did he do to Elora? How could he fix a simple misunderstanding?

Evidence was key. Archie had the answers. He just didn’t know anyone who could see into the past. Magic was an Elven thing, but he presumably thought none of the Elves that came to the summit would want to see him.

Who would he call?






I will take my leave now, I will inform you if I come across anything of interest. But, before I take my leave. Lady Hulda, do you have the handkerchief? I would like to take a look at it and see what I can find.” Grykail spoke.

The Spymaster nodded, “I will have it delivered to your chambers.” She retorts, watching him until he leaves altogether from Alistair’s room.

Alistair stood, “Go and see what else you can bring to light. I will not see my own Son to rot behind bars for a crime he did not commit. If you need permission to do other things, you have it. Just don’t get caught.” He dismissed the two Advisors and watched them leave before turning to take another sip of his tea.

Already a middle-aged King, Alistair wasn’t getting older and none the wiser from old tricks in the book. He pondered a moment if new grey hairs would show by Archie’s trial. The King had the Maids go fetch his Wife. There was something he needed to hear from her. After all, she is the closest to his father-in-law.

“Would you like a hot bath whilst you wait, my grace?” The Halfling asked, a hopeful look in her eye.

Alistair nodded, offering a slightly warm smile to the maid. He noticed how many halflings that were around in the South. For the summit, some of them were hired, likely of Pierre’s doing to spite the Elves. However, he was glad that he wouldn’t need to struggle with getting ready or trying to present himself by himself in front of prominent figures.

At the other end of the lodging, Hulda was in her chambers with the handkerchief in hand. Her door elicited a duo of knocks before she yelled, “Come in!” to the Butler, Seamus.

He gently grasped the handkerchief already wrapped in another cloth. Seamus did the formal curtsey before taking the planned route back toward Grykail’s chambers.
 
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