The Arrangement

Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Katyr was walking down the hall mulling over the events that seemed to fill the day. He had heard the news from his mother, other than him being convinced not to cause an issue with Archie last night he had spent the night worrying about his dearest little sister. She was fragile, and full of hope and fantasies. Something the current situations were preventing. Between that human prince’s imprisonment and them being framed for an attack, Katyr felt himself become more restless by the second. Letting out a sigh he made his was to the Elven rest area, a designated spot for them to rest amongst themselves, two guards were stationed on either side of the entrance. Katyr nodded to the guards as he walked past them.



“Prince Katyr!”

Katyr turned his head hearing his name being yelled. It was not a familiar voice but seeing as how they used prince it must have been a human. “Tch.” The clink of the guards blocking the way caused him to look up, seeing one of the younger princes Katyr furrowed his brows, he was going to tell the guards to dismiss him until he heard the boy utter Sarya’s name.

“You need to get Sarya and- “

Katyr could not help but growl and glare at the boy, his frantic words and flustered actions were just confusing.



“Keep her name from your mouth.” He hissed out as he stared at the boy, but his anger slowly subsided as he saw the torment in his eyes. When the boy’s sentence stopped, and he chose not to continue Katyr stood straighter, “What about Sar-“ His words fell short as the boy turned from frantic to composed in almost an instant. It was. Unnatural. Katyr stared at the spot the boy was in for a moment, “What the hell?” He clicked his tongue before walking towards the entrance, the guards tried to protest but Katyr silenced them with a wave of his hand. But walking into the hallway the boy was nowhere he could see. Katyr ran a hand through his hair placing his hand over his mouth as he thought.



What the hell was that brat talking about? Why would I need to get Sarya?”



The more he thought the more frustrated he was. With everything going on this was the worst time for something like this to happen. He rushed out of the rest area and down the hall towards his chambers, his worry grew until he reached his room. Out of breath he leaned against the door frame looking up at his sleeping wife and their child. He let out a sigh and walked over kissing them on top of their heads before running a hand through his hair. He walked back out of the room in hope of bumping into the young prince again.



“Damn crazy brat making a fuss for no reason.”




______



After reporting his findings to Kolvar, and then hearing Grykail being summoned by King Alistair, Uluc had reluctantly returned to his chambers. Mostly at Kolvar’s request to cool his head. Uluc hated the restless feeling this situation was inducing, he preferred things driven by impulse and impatient as he was, he could not just accuse Delafontaine without proper evidence. Though he would have like to, Kolvar urged otherwise. Regardless, Uluc needed answers. Thinking about it objectively there was one person that might have been helpful. Collecting himself her left his chambers and headed towards the prison. Ever since this whole problem occurred, the whole lodge had been littered with guards. Uluc dismissed his in an instant once he made his way outside.



As he approached the prison-like forest he nodded to the guards as he walked past, making his way inside. Though he was here for business he admired the building, of course because he had built it himself. As he passed each empty cell, he thought about what secrets the boy would tell him, as it was, they were on opposite sides. But surely, the boy being locked up was not something he would have known beforehand. Uluc let out another sigh as he reached a cell guarded by one of his own. He whispered for the guard to wait a bit away from them. The guard nodded moving a distance away. Uluc stood in front of his cell, staring at the boys back as he investigated the water basin. Clearing his throat, he lowered his hand to his sides.

“Quite the day it seems, young prince.”



He spoke firmly, it was not that he disliked the young prince. But, from the boy’s prior actions he could not say he favored him. In the end, if the boy were betrayed by his grandfather, he would be of use to him.

“I’ve only come to talk; your trial is still time away.”



_______



By the time Elora reached King Alistair’s chambers, Seamus had already returned from giving Grykail the handkerchief. Seamus simply told her that Hulda had left the King’s quarters to her own chambers. Elora gave him a thanks before asking directions. She followed the way he directed thanking him again before making her way down the hall. She hoped Hulda would have the answers she was missing; she was mostly hoping the woman would not turn her away simply because of what had happened. It was not as though she needed clarification, but with everything going on someone who would give her honest answers regardless of her emotions. Something she was not sure her family, or even Archie would give.

When she reached Hulda’s door she took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders before taking a hesitant knock on her door.



L-lady Hulda, it is me. Princess E-Elora, I-I wish to speak to you. I-If possible.”



She inwardly cursed the stuttering that came from her lips, she was nervous. Something that could not be helped.



_______



Grykail all but had to drag Alaisanna down the hall. It was not long after they left her chambers that they bumped into Seamus. Glancing at his hand, Grykail noticed the cloth in his hand, which he only assumed was the handkerchief. He thanked Seamus as the butler passed the cloth to him. Alaisanna glanced at the cloth and then Seamus, she was displeased with the entire thing but chose to keep her mouth shut. Grykail did not hesitate to pull her along by her wrist once more when Seamus left, Alaisanna huffed at the action but followed along as she could.



I’m assuming you haven’t used your powers.” Grykail glanced back at Alaisanna who only stared at him blankly.



“If I had, we wouldn’t have gotten into this mess.”
She all but hissed the words at him. Just a glimpse into time could have prevented this. Though the cost of using that power was her energy, depending on how much she saw she may faint or worse. After a few more moments trailing down the winding hallways they finally reached the human infirmary. Grykail stopped outside the infirmary and let Alaisanna’s wrist go. Lifting his other hand he knocked softly on the doorframe.



“Excuse me?”
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Alone in her room, the Princess worked her magic on her own brother. She could see through his eyes, immediately shutting him down in front of Katyr. Once he was promptly escorted out of the room, he vanished once out into the corridor. The portal appeared behind her, in the vanity you could see Leo walking out of it like an unliving creature, it closed again once he was completely behind her. Anastasia wiped her brother’s memory of the ruby stone and the happening of bursting in on Katyr. Becoming a scholar had its benefits, and this was one of many.

Once Leo was wiped, Ana placed memories of speaking to her about the trial happening later in the evening. With the snap of her fingers, Leo was talking about the evidence before stopping himself, “D-did something just happen…?”

Anastasia rose her brows, “No. Is something the matter, Leo?” She feigned naivete. Puzzled, Leo shook his head and continued on with the talk, forgetting what had just happened that very moment. If there was one thing, she didn’t need was her dear brother stirring up more trouble with the Elves. ‘Dear Sarya, watch for your babe.’ She thought as her brother rambled on. Rather, she sent the thought toward the Elves’ mind like a faint whisper, her voice disembodied to mask her true voice.

Anastasia went back to playing with her hair. The maids helped her braid it into a half-pony. She kept on looping it over with her newly painted nails. A smile slowly tugged on her lips as she found Leo to turn from her and take a drink of the tea waiting for him.







The Halfling appeared at the top of the hallowed-out tree. As bulky as the Elves were, they weren’t quite as good in detecting her presence. Solana peered through the hole, calling for Archie, causing the Prince to look up from the water basin. It was almost comical at the traitor staring down at him. His brows knitted together, “What the hell do you want?” He was angry, and rightfully so.

“I can prove your innocence.” She said, brandishing a small pouch and dropping it through the vines, watching it fall right into the Crown Prince’s hands. Archie immediately opened the pouch, finding several miscellaneous items in it. He looked back up to find the halfling gone. Archie tossed the pouch away from it, it sailed through the air and landed on the other side of the cot – hiding in plain sight.

He went back to staring at his reflection in the water. Archie was having… a bit of a mental breakdown. ‘What the hell was that? Why the hell does it know Ana?’ Questions turning in his head like cogs, yet one cog would get stuck with the unknowing truth behind it, letting it break down into a million pieces. It broke Archie out of his thoughts at the sound of a throat clearing. But the voice he could not recognise, “Quite the day it seems, young Prince.”

He turned around to find one of the last people he thought he’d see, “So, it does.” He retorts, turning back to the basin to clean his hands and make himself decent by putting his robe back on. Intrigued by the Elven King to come make a personal visit to him, Archie rose a brow to ask why he was here when it was almost immediately answered.

I’ve only come to talk; your trial is still time away.” Uluc added.

“Well, unless it’s about the information regarding my trial. I have nothing to spare. You can find all the information from Hulda, she’s collecting evidence as I speak.” He bluntly states it. From the information being fed to him by one of Hulda’s spies, it seems his distrust of the Elves was growing – and more so, of this so-called marriage. He called it off when it wasn’t his choice to do so, but his Father would accept it, whether or not he liked it. Despite being a Prisoner, he was surprisingly given some wine to sip on before the trial tonight.

And so he did. Archie collected some wine into a wooden cup, sipping it before taking a seat on his cot. “I can’t imagine you visiting me here out of the kindness in your heart, Your Grace.” He added, sparing a glance at the Elf.







Hulda was looking over papers, ink spilt on them from the quill hanging between her index finger and thumb. She doesn’t know how much caffeine she’s consumed at this point of mid-morning, but she was working to prove Archie’s innocence besides the Elves accused. There was also the lingering doubt of Princess Anastasia at the back of her mind, ‘What were you doing in the forest, young Princess?’ Her eyes searching over the documents of—

A gentle knock bringing her back to reality, Hulda placed the papers down and put a book over it. The Spymaster placed her quill back into its case. “L-lady Hulda, it is me, Princess E-Elora, I-I wish to speak to you. I-If possible.” Elora’s voice sounded from behind the wooden door. She went to open the door, looking down at the Elven Princess.

“This is regarding Archie, yes? Come in, make yourself comfortable.” She opened the door wider, leaving to return to the couches placed in front of the small fireplace. The Spymaster cleared out scrolls and books sitting on it. In an inconsiderable matter of time, she mounted evidence and stories together, piecing them to stitch into a blanket she was weaving together to get the bigger picture. “Sorry about the mess. Been uh- doing research.”

Once she cleared the couch off, she returned to the desk and turned around to lean on it. Folding her arms across her chest, “Princess Elora, you may just call me ‘Hulda.’ I am no Lady and not even a part of a noble house.” She lightened the mood. Hulda couldn’t imagine the pain she must’ve gone throughout the night. “Would you like something to drink? Water? Tea? You look rather nervous.” She pointed out. “Well, you don’t have to be nervous with me. I keep everything secret unless… it regards the trial, then it shan’t be a secret.” She let her it be known.







After Seamus delivered the handkerchief, he doubled-back around to go find Hallr. The old brute wouldn’t go another hour without his ale, and he knew the advisors quite well enough. Once the lingering Butler left the scene, Solana hid in plain sight to find Alaisanna and Grykail heading toward the infirmary before she could. Cursing beneath her breath, she slipped away, back toward Pierre’s chambers. It seemed the plan would need to take a different route.

At the infirmary, the knock from the door frame caught the sound of one of the maids. The Human infirmary was off-limits to Elves, but it seemed some did not know of this rule set in place until further notice. The door opened to a halfling staring up at the two large Elves before her.

“Excuse me?” Grykail inquired.

“Your Grace and Majesty, what brings you to the Human infirmary? Were you not informed of the ban on Elves entering the Humans’ half of the lodging? His Majesty, King Alistair placed it this morning.” She informs them.

The two other maids are helping the female Doctor, keeping Aston above death’s grip. It was evident that he wasn’t faring well. The colour from his skin had all but gone and his temperature was dropping dramatically. Several times an hour they had to place him in a hot bath. Although he wasn’t awake, his body reacted to the cold the instant he was back in bed.

The halfling’s hands were clasped behind her. She did a minor signal to the other two maids. “Doctor, would it be alright for these two to be here? They could be of help to the King’s diplomat.” She asked, turning around to see the Doctor nodding.

“Do not tell his Majesty about this encounter or else I might be out of practise for the rest of my days.” She retorts. The halfling moves out of the door frame and makes way for Alaisanna and Grykail to enter.

“If I must confess, I fear Aston may not make it through the day. My expertise only goes so far.” The Doctor confides in the two Elves. “…There’s something else I did not inform the King nor his Council.” She looks up at them both, “Aston was… poisoned.” She pulls the blanket down from over his shoulder. Sure enough, the black ichor was spilling through his veins at an alarming rate. Despite the risk of death, the Doctor was able to stop the speed of it spreading through other methods of sorts. “The maids… are not all Human as you can see. Through the Blackburn’s strategy, I am able to extract blood from the Elven’s blood flowing through their veins and inject minor amounts into Aston’s arm.”

“Now, you’re probably wondering why she’s telling you this. It’s because someone not in this room can’t be trusted – not even King Alistair.” The Maid on the left says. “Please don’t let this information leave the room.”
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
“Dear Sarya, watch for your babe.”

Sarya woke up with a gasp. The horrifying voice that pulled her from her dreams, she was disoriented. The chill that ran up her spine caused her to quickly lift herself from the bed and over to her son’s crib. She let out a small breath seeing him breathe softly. But the unsettling feeling those words in her dreams had given her made her nervous. With the Elves and Humans at each other’s throats, did she really serve purpose in being here. Maybe she could plead with King Kolvar to allow her and the child to leave, the stress wasn’t going to be good for her or her son. She leaned over the crib, running a hand through her messy black hair.


Sarya turned her head looking around the room, any normal person might have thought that she was haunted by something. But a mothers intuition was not something to be taken lightly. She let out another small breath before carefully scooping the small child into her arms.



“My sweet, sweet child.” Sarya brushed his hair back from his face kissing his head gently before moving to the bed. She grabbed a robe placing it clumsily over her shoulders before adjusting the baby in her arms. Sarya knew she needed to leave, her father had once told her that bad dreams were just a way of the world telling you to do or change something.



If this dream were screaming for her to watch her child, she would take the extra step and leave. She walked out of the room, two guards walking behind her as she made her way to King Kolvar’s chambers holding her child to her chest as she did.

When she reached his chambers, she asked Kedori to allow her entrance, Kedori sighed but opened the door. Kolvar was pacing the room, Zestarri at his desk staring out of the window.



“Excuse me my lord.” Sarya spoke in a breathy tone, one that seemed more frantic than graceful. Kolvar stopped mid pace and looked up. “Oh, Sarya. I see you’ve come. No need for formalities, you are family.” He smiled at her and Zestarri turned her head looking at the girl before letting her hand fall and standing.



“My goddess, dear child what ails you. You look as though the spirits are haunting you.” Zestarri walked over and touched her forehead letting out a breath when she saw that the girl did not have a fever. Sarya bit her lip and looked at them, “I wish to leave, I-it may just be my imagination but there is something wrong. A feeling I cannot shake. I wish to leave before things only get worse, and my son is affected.” Kolvar sighed and shook his head, “If you were to leave now that would only raise suspicion. This situation has you stressed; you just need some proper rest is all. I am sure of it. All will be well, and the truth will come to light. The boy is protected by the goddess, no need to fear.” He laid and hand on her shoulder, she wanted to protest but knew it would be to no avail. She nodded reluctantly and walked out of the room back to her own chambers though the terrible feeling never left her.



____



“Well, unless it’s about the information regarding my trial. I have nothing to spare. You can find all the information from Hulda, she’s collecting evidence as I speak.”



Uluc smiled, though it was less than warm towards Archie. It seemed more like he was keeping his words in check and was amused by Archie’s blatant distrust. He stayed silent and clasped his hands behind his back observing the boy for a moment.



“I can’t imagine you visiting me here out of the kindness in your heart, Your Grace.”




Uluc scoffed and looked at him, “Of course not. Your accusations and actions towards Elora were enough to quell any kindness I would have shown.” The distaste was clear in his voice. Uluc sighed and crossed his arms, “Even if you wish to provide me no answers, I will hope I can help you. Regardless of how I feel I will not allow someone who was wrongly accused to perish. Tis’ simply the way I am...” Uluc ran a hand through his hair seeming frustrated with himself. “I am not sure if you are aware, but we are trying hard to fix this mess. Knowing who is the cause. And if Alaisanna is to use her powers, then the truth will come. Before then, I am hoping to find some answers.”



Uluc lowered himself and sat on the ground in front of the gate, the guard moved to protest, and he held up his hand. “I am aware you hold no trust in our kind. But you are young and the wrongs of us as elders does not fall on your shoulders to bear. If you are willing I will help you, and if you are not then I cannot guarantee the outcome of this trial…..And if that is the case I suggest you make peace with Elora before tearing her innocent heart any further.” Uluc narrowed his eyes at the boy as he spoke firmly.



_____



Elora looked up at Hulda out of instinct she held her hands to her chest, her heart seemed to beat louder as she thought the woman might reject her.



“This is regarding Archie, yes? Come in, make yourself comfortable.”



Elora nodded a bit hesitantly, “A-alright.” Elora walked into the room and looked around. Scrolls and books littered her vision wherever she looked, on another occasion she might have chuckled at this.





“Sorry about the mess. Been uh- doing research.”



“It’s alright.” Elora moved her hand from her chest and held her arm, she was still rattled. And a bit surprised that the woman had accepted her into the room so easily. By being a spymaster Elora supposed she was a little less than a threat to the woman. Elora sat carefully, not sure if she should sit or stand at first.



“Princess Elora, you may just call me ‘Hulda.’ I am no Lady and not even a part of a noble house.”



Elora nodded, “H-Hulda it is then.” She managed to give the woman a smile and stared at her lap, messing with the fabric of her dress. What should she ask, where should she start, could she say anything?





“Would you like something to drink? Water? Tea? You look rather nervous. Well, you don’t have to be nervous with me. I keep everything secret unless… it regards the trial, then it shan’t be a secret.”



Elora shook her head chuckling a bit at the woman’s words, though the laugh seemed passive more than cheerful. “I’m not very thirsty as of late…...” She lifted her gaze to the woman and gave another small smile, she seemed tired. “I was a bit worried you might deny my request, given all that is happening I wouldn’t blame you...” Elora mumbled the last few words and let her gaze fall back to her lap. “I-I talked to his Highness, Prince Archie, this morning….I feel more confused then I did before….Though it sounds silly when I think about it.” Her voice was quiet, and she tried to laugh off the last few words. “I learned that King Pierre surely gave him my fathers watch, but that does not explain how it was in the forest… And even though His Highness apologized for his words there is this strange ache in my chest I cannot identify…. And for some reason…I do not believe him.” She frowned and clenched the fabric of her dress in her lap. “I want to help, but I cannot figure out how. And no one will tell me the truth of anything…. Archie was right, I am naïve. Tis’ why no one will be honest with me.” She mumbled, “I’m sorry. I feel like I was ranting, you must be busy.” Elora looked at her a bit embarrassed by her own words.



____



Grykail smiled at the halfling, Alaisanna kept her gaze down the hall. “I wish to see the truth is all. I know it is not allowed but I was hoping I could speak to your doctor.” Grykail spoke with a smile in hopes that it would allow them entrance, even with the ban they needed to see Aston with their own eyes. Grykail’s gaze followed the halfling as she spoke to the doctor, he was glad to see a nod before they slipped into the infirmary.



Alaisanna stayed behind Grykail closer to the door, she wasn’t going to leave but the infirmary gave her memories she wish not remember. Grykail nodded his head at the doctor as she requested for him not to tell King Alistair. “Of course, I would hope you would also keep our visit a secret, I’d hate for there to be more problems arising.” He mumbled the words, but they were loud enough for the doctor and Alaisanna to hear. When she stated that there was information, she had been withholding Alaisanna turned her gaze to the doctor, her face went grim at the word poison. Grykail remained stoic, he had assumed as much. Those that wanted the downfall of the treaty would go all out to make sure it was impossible. Alaisanna’s face grew dark at the sight of ichor and Grykail sighed.



“Of course, it’s the shadow.” Alaisanna hissed and furrowed her brows, the more she saw the poison over Aston’s body the more she wished she could leave. Grykail looked up at the doctor as she explained how she was able to prolong his death. Alaisanna glanced at the maid who spoke. “We have no plans to spill this truth…. And your blood has stalled his death, for that I suppose we should all be grateful.” Alaisanna spoke and nodded her head to the maids. She wasn’t fond of halflings but saving a life was something to honor.



Grykail looked at the doctor, “The ichor as your people call it. It seems to have spread far if you will allow it. I will try my best to cleanse him.” Alaisanna whipped her head to Grykail, “have you gone mad? Are you trying to cause more problem-“Grykail shot her a look that cut her words short, “Attempting to save his life is better than allowing his to succumb to death. If this man lives the truth will come to light.”
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Calliope was out of her normal groove; she was feeling unlike her normal self. She stared at her reflection in the vanity, her platinum curls unfurled around her, spilling down her shoulders. Then, to the ruby stone around her neck, instinctively her manicured hand grasped it. The colour was marvellous, she couldn’t tear her eyes away from it. As if it had its own mind, the colour started glowing unnaturally. In a trance, Calliope continued to stare at it, all senses around her grew dim. It was as if someone turned the lights low, letting the Queen grow hypnotised by the stone.

“Calliope.” A disembodied voice whispered in her ear, startling her out of the trance. She whipped her head around to find no one there. Her heart was beating a million miles an hour. Just what was that?

She turned back to the vanity to no longer find the stone around her neck, her eyes growing wide as she stood quickly. The Queen started tearing the room apart in search of the stone, not knowing it was still around her neck.

After Leo had left to go find Levian, Anastasia remained seated at her vanity, still playing with her raven locks. A smile tugged at her lips, watching the mirror play the event unfold of her Mother tearing her own room apart. Alistair was no one where to be seen, just as she planned it. The only person who ever cared about her was Alistair. Her brothers were sweet, but none held the same bond she did with the King. She could hear the door flinging open, hearing the maids run out with more footsteps running down the corridor.

“What’s happening?” Anastasia feigned concern.

One of the Human Maids answered, “It’s her Majesty. She’s gone mad and wounded herself.”

Anastasia gasped, “Is my Mother going to be alright?” Her face contorted into worry.

“It was a severe cut, but not life threatening.” The Maid retorts, peaking out the door.

“What did you say your name was again?” Ana inquired.

“I-I didn’t, Princess Anastasia. I—”

“You need not be formal with me. Just tell me your name.” She smiled warmly to put the flustered Maid at ease.

“T-thank you. My name is Victoria, Princess.” Victoria curtsies before Anastasia. Then, remembering she couldn’t see which only made her face more red.

“Sweet Victoria, can you tend to my Mother?” Ana continued playing with her hair, “Don’t worry. I have Seamus and his bell.” She retorted into Victoria’s worry. “Run along now. I’ll be sure you aren’t punished for leaving my side.”

With a firm nod and another smack to her forehead, Victoria ran out the door, closing it behind her before her departing shoes could be heard running down the direction of her Mother’s room. Anastasia’s smile grew more…sinister.







“Of course not. Your accusations and actions towards Elora were enough to quell any kindness I would have shown.”

Archie flinched at his words, ‘Fair enough.’ He thought, taking another sip of the sweet wine. He realised he wasn’t getting drunk off it, after tasting less alcohol in it than before. Archie let the cup sit in his hands, mulling over his own thoughts before hearing the elf sigh. He looked up at Uluc. He looked like a walking, scowling art piece. That thought amused Archie.

“Even if you wish to provide me no answers, I will hope I can help you.” Archie furrowed his brows. But it made some sense. The Elves seemed kind enough. “Regardless of how I feel I will not allow someone who was wrongly accused to perish. Tis’ simply the way I am…” He watched the elf run a hand through his hair, frustrated with himself.

Why bother helping me if it pains you?’ Archie thought, taking another quaff of his wine. He savoured the flavour. It helped to keep his hands distracted, otherwise he would bounce his knee – which he didn’t want.

“I am not sure if you are aware, but we are trying hard to fix this mess. Knowing who is the cause. And if Alaisanna is to use her powers, then the truth will come. Before then, I am hoping to find some answers.”

This captured his attention. Of course, they already made the Prince aware of this mess still unfolding as they speak. He felt a twinge of guilt in getting Elora in a vulnerable moment just to hurt her. ‘What’s done is done.’ He chided himself, taking another drink and ultimately finishing it.

“Well, I already know who did it. It was my grandfather.” He confessed. With the images of the events still engrained into his memory. He knew the black stone on the left hand belonged to his grandfather. Surprisingly though, Archie doesn’t recall the stone being on Pierre’s hand when he went to visit him the day prior. Archie chucked the goblet to the side of the cot, he looked over to see the Elf lowering himself in front of the gate.

“I am aware you hold no trust in our kind. But you are young and the wrongs of us as elders does not fall on your shoulders to bear. If you are willing I will help you, and if you are not then I cannot guarantee the outcome of this trial…..And if that is the case I suggest you make peace with Elora before tearing her innocent heart any further.”

While he was talking, Archie fell back into the cot to stare up at the ceiling. Listening to Uluc’s words, he soaked them in. Choosing his next words carefully, “Your Grace, it is noble of you to want to save my life, but I will not lie I played a part in this…treason happening. But you are correct, I don’t wish to die now and there’s something I think that may help.” He sat up in the cot and got to his feet toward the gate. Archie looked the Elven King in the eyes and said, “Do you know how to extract memories?”

Archie dismissed the comment about, ‘tearing Elora’s innocent heart any further.’ If anything, the Prince wanted to amend what he did in the first place.







Hulda watched the meek elf nod, stuttering her words out. She watched the Princess stare into her lap. It was clear the young maiden was nervous, perhaps even intimidated by the Spymaster. Her words, try as she might, seemed to be not as comforting as she thought. Hulda is tired, she couldn’t deny that truth. Working through the night into the morning was something she was used to. The bags under her eyes might’ve appeared her to look dead, but she was wide awake.

“I’m not very thirsty as of late…...”

Hulda appreciated the smile, even if the Princess seemed more nervous than she. “I was a bit worried you might deny my request, given all that is happening I wouldn’t blame you…” She mumbled, watching as she looked away from her.

“Princess Elora, you seemed more nervous to be at my doorway.” She smiled, “Don’t fret, I cannot afford to turn any visitors away at the moment.” Hulda retorts, and it wasn’t a lie. She would need all the information she could get her hands on. Hulda was a sponge, and she wanted to soak it all in. Several hours before the Crown Prince’s trial would take place.

“I-I talked to his Highness, Prince Archie, this morning….I feel more confused then I did before….Though it sounds silly when I think about it.”

Hulda rose her brows. It shouldn’t be surprising that Elora would visit him. She just didn’t think it would be this soon considering what the Prince did to her. Her brows furrowed the moment King Pierre’s name came rolling off her tongue. Then, the frown that contorted her nervousness away. Hulda lent her ear to Elora. She could understand the Princess’ frustration of not knowing things.

“….I want to help, but I cannot figure out how. And no one will tell me the truth of anything…. Archie was right, I am naïve. Tis’ why no one will be honest with me.” Hulda took this moment to make the Princess some chamomile tea. It was clear the event prior still shook her. “I’m sorry. I feel like I was ranting, you must be busy.”

Hulda walked over with the tea still streaming with smoke and placed it on the table in front of her. The Spymaster rested her chin under her left gloved hand, “I know you said you weren’t feeling like drinking anything, but you sound like you do need something to settle your nerves.” She remarked, noting the nervousness not only in her posture or the way her eyes keep shifting, but her voice as well.

“If it helps ease your nerves, your family is innocent.” She says, looking at her as she makes her way back to the desk. “Now, I know that Prince Archie confessed to you about visiting his grandfather and retrieving the watch from him. I can clear your family’s names and restore the truth.” Hulda sifts through the papers on her desk and pulls out a crumpled paper with the Prince’s writing on it.

“But I am afraid the Prince will likely be charged with being guilty.” Hulda holds the paper up to show Elora, “You recognise his handwriting, no?” She inquired, bringing it closer for her to see. “The Crown Prince’s handwriting is difficult to replicate.”

Within the letter, it says;



It will be happening tomorrow. I will meet up with you before the summit.



Though it was short and vague, Hulda ultimately found the culprit of the writing. It was snatched off Solana’s belt during her brush in with one of her spies. “It will be hard to prove his innocence, but I’m not surprised King Delafontaine is caught up in this mess. In my opinion, Pierre is the cause of this treason going on. It’s going to be difficult to charge the second human King with treason. His Majesty’s father-in-law is very meticulous and sharp-eyed in moving his plans during a time like this.”

She looks at Elora as she takes her coffee to take a sip and says, “To recall from before, this ache you speak of…that is heartbreak you are experiencing, young Princess. If you believe his highness’ words, then you must think highly of others’ opinions. If I were to give you some advice, Elora, it would be; not take any words to heart from us…plebeians.” She smiled.

“I’m not great at comforting heartbroken Princesses, much less an angry King. But you must look out for yourself and your heart.” She finished off her cold coffee and placed the wooden cup to the side. “If you want honesty on the case happening now, you may ask what you want now while you still have time.” She suggested.







The female Doctor, formally known as Dr Nelavin nods to his request, “Of course. I wouldn’t want to ignite a fire already burning.” She retorts, wiping the sweat off her forehead. She noted the female Elven being more hesitant to be in the same room as any of them. She offered a smile as best she could. Dr Nelavin could understand that the “shadow” was a danger to anyone within a metre of it.

“We have no plans to spill this truth…. And your blood has stalled his death, for that I suppose we should all be grateful.” Alaisanna’s words moved the halflings, despite her disdain for their kind.

The Maids were grateful to be acknowledged by any Elf from the homelands, a Queen of all Elves was the highest praise they would ever receive. “This ichor as your people call it. It seems to have spread far if you will allow it. I will try my best to cleanse him.” However, the words from Grykail seemed at odds with his counterpart – Queen Alaisanna. “Attempting to save his life better than allowing his to succumb to death. If this man lives the truth will come to light.”

The other maid was caught by Dr Nelavin. She placed her in the chair she was just sitting in. Checking up on the halfling, she looked back at Grykail, “I accept your help. It would be best to do so quickly. The Maids have been at it all night. Sera, would you see Willow to the Maid’s Quarters? Do not speak of this to anyone, understand?” She looks to the maid standing on the other side.

Sera, the second-maid, nods furiously as she makes her way around the two giant Elves to Dr Nelavin’s side. “If anyone asks, say she caught Winter’s Kiss. It’s much more believable. If Seamus catches wind of this, we’re done for. Do not say a peep.” She warned her further.

“O-of course.” Sera said, hoisting the maid up in her arms bridal-style. For a small halfling, Sera could pick up half her size. The Maid went around the two Elves and with help from the Doctor, she was exiting the infirmary in direction of the maid’s quarters. Dr Nelavin closed the door after checking for anyone and resumed back in the place beside Aston.

“I suspect we have thirty minutes before Hulda comes down to check up on him again.” She informs the two, “I know it may seem insignificant, but Aston comes from House Blackburn. Let’s just say…I would rather not see my King further distraught, your Majesties.”
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
“Your Grace, it is noble of you to want to save my life, but I will not lie I played a part in this…treason happening. But you are correct, I don’t wish to die now and there’s something I think that may help.”



Uluc rose his brow, crossing his arms his eyes followed the young prince as he walked. The boy was anxious, that alone was clear, he reminded Uluc of a griffin trapped in a cage. The mere thought made him smirk. “Well, out with it.”



“Do you know how to extract memories?”



Uluc blinked, his expression was stoic, but it was clear the question jarred him. He hadn’t expected it to be this…simple. But it also only complicated things for him further. Uluc closed his eyes furrowing his brows and lifting his head as if trying to rid himself of the scrunch between them. “My ability is to charm others. I am sure you are aware. And if you are not then, I can only pull the truth from others. Or bend them to my will if I please. What you are asking is not something I can do… But, Queen Alaisanna has something similar to what you see. Though extract memories I am not certain. She has the ability to see glimpses of time in reflections.”



Uluc lowered his hand and took a breath before opening his eyes to look at the prince. “It’d do you well to tell me what you know young prince. Alaisanna will only use her powers by choice, and the more I know the more I can convince her to assist you. And when she does, I will tell her to show by trial. That is the only way I can help you.” Uluc’s expression looked more serious than before, he wanted to help the prince. But, most of all he wanted to bring down Pierre.





_______



“I know you said you weren’t feeling like drinking anything, but you sound like you do need something to settle your nerves.”



Elora looked at the teacup and then her gaze followed until she met Hulda’s eyes. She listened to the woman’s explanation and brushed a stray strand of her hair behind her ear. Elora picked the cup up with both hands with a small smile and nod in thanks, “Thank you Lad-I mean Hulda.” She took a sip of the warm liquid and sighed content; the warmth and sweet taste made the anxiety she felt a little better.



“If it helps ease your nerves, your family is innocent. Now, I know that Prince Archie confessed to you about visiting his grandfather and retrieving the watch from him. I can clear your family’s names and restore the truth.”



Elora’s gaze had lowered to the liquid in the cup until Hulda spoke, she turned her head quickly towards the woman. Elora was surprised her family had no part at all in this. It relieved her but for some reason it caused her to worry. If they had no part in it then why was all of this happening. She took a breath and pursed her lips as Hulda continued speaking.


“But I am afraid the Prince will likely be charged with being guilty.”



Elora’s head snapped up, so Archie was involved somehow. She glanced at the paper; the messy scribbles seemed oddly familiar.



“You recognise his handwriting, no?”



Elora nodded as Hulda brought it closer, this was clearly Archie’s handwriting. But why would he write something like this, and what did it mean.



“The Crown Prince’s handwriting is difficult to replicate. It will be hard to prove his innocence, but I’m not surprised King Delafontaine is caught up in this mess. In my opinion, Pierre is the cause of this treason going on. It’s going to be difficult to charge the second human King with treason. His Majesty’s father-in-law is very meticulous and sharp-eyed in moving his plans during a time like this.”



“I see.”
Her voice trailed off and she sat back in her chair. Elora played with the fabric of her dress; her thoughts clouded. “He is like a snake, and his gaze makes me rather uncomfortable. It is clear he is a human to be weary of. His aura is very dark,” Elora mumbled more to herself than Hulda, she was slightly lost in her own thoughts until Hulda spoke again. Her hand instinctively lifted over her heart. Her free hand gripped the cup, and she lowered her gaze again. She was angry Archie had part in this, hurt by his words and unsure of everything else, her emotions and confusion were reflected clearly in her eyes.



“To recall from before, this ache you speak of…that is heartbreak you are experiencing, young Princess. If you believe his highness’ words, then you must think highly of others’ opinions. If I were to give you some advice, Elora, it would be; not take any words to heart from us…plebeians.”


“It seems I was indeed naïve all this time then. I was a bit to hopeful, ad I believed that all beings were kind. And that everyone only spoke from their hearts. Anastasia mentioned something similar before, I suppose I just didn’t understand until now.” She laughed and bit at her pitiful thinking and smiled at Hulda. “I am only pleased to have realized this now before allowing myself these delusions further.”


“I’m not great at comforting heartbroken Princesses, much less an angry King. But you must look out for yourself and your heart.”



Elora shook her head finishing her tea before setting the cup on the table. “Quite the contrary, I believe talking to you has been the most helpful. And your honesty is something I am grateful for. You are the first person who has been truly honest to me. I can see why your Aura is such a warm color.” She hummed a bit happily this time and nodded her head again in thanks.



“If you want honesty on the case happening now, you may ask what you want now while you still have time.”



Elora took a moment to think, she wanted to know so much. Some of the questions answered themselves. “Is there….is there a purpose to this? I mean why would someone so willingly try to prevent the treaty from happening. Is it not for the betterment of our people that we do this? I wish to see them suffer no longer because of a long and spiteful history. And the missing items, I assume they were stolen, correct? And Prince Arc- I mean his highness why did he…… oh never mind, I wish to hear the truth from his lips.” She sighed and folded her hands in her lap. “I just want to know all that is happening, and how I can help as well.”






Alaisanna glanced at the girl who nearly fainted and sighed, of course the blood loss would take a toll on them. When the doctor agreed to accept his help she frowned and ran a hand over her face. Grykail bowed to the woman and smiled, “My pleasure doctor.” Alaisanna placed a hand on her hip as the doctor instructed one of the girls to carry the girl out of the room, that type of strength Alaisanna could be impressed with. “Fine! But, you will use my blood as well Grykail. No exceptions. I will help you.” She stated firmly, she knew very well he had given his blood before the summit, to do so a second time could have consequences.

Grykail sighed but offered her a smile, “So be it.” Grykail took off his coat and placed it to the side. Her pulled a small herbal bag and a vial from his coat pocket and looked at the doctor, “towels and a bowl of water.”

He passed the herbs to Alaisanna who immediately started placing them on the floor outlining the room. When Grykail received the water her poured the liquid inside before placing the towels to soak up the water. Grykail nodded at the doctors words and used the other bowl pouring some of the vial liquid into it as well. Alaisanna walked back over and looked at the doctor glancing at the nurses. “What this ritual contains is sacred, this stays between the people in this room.” She gave Grykail the herbal bag before lifting her hand and taking a nearby scalpel cutting her palm and holding it over the bowl.

Grykail did the same and held his hand next to hers. Alaisanna’s silver blue blood poured into the bowl, mixing with the liquid and Grykail’s deep red blood. When there was enough, they moved their hands, Grykail looked at the doctor. “Please give the patient this to drink, I will start the chant.” He waited for the doctor to take the bowl to Aston before closing his eyes to start the chant.

"Í guðlegu nafni gyðjunnar Kaia, sem andar lífi okkar allra. Ég helga og fylla þessa bolla með töfra mínum, blóði mínu. Illur andi sem eyðir þessum líkama, það er kominn tími til að þú hafir fallið þitt mesta. Farðu aftur í heljarinnar helvíti, þú illt ástand. Ég útlægi þig með þessum heilaga vökva! Þættir Gaia, vinsamlegast komdu fram! Ég kalla þig, vinda vestan hafs, austurland, haf norðursins og anda suðurs! Ég ákalla gyðjuna til að vernda þessar sálir! Og svo skal það vera! "

Alaisanna was behind him chanting alongside him. The black liquid would begin moving itself from the body veins up their throats, just as it did the time before. Grykail’s eyes seemed to glow when he opened them, and Alaisanna’s silver blonde hair lit up her eyes seemed to glow white in color as she chanted.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Archie watched the elf, waiting carefully for his next words. In his situation, there were many things he felt in a short amount of time. If Uluc had a solution to getting him out of this mess he conjured, then he would grasp for the elf’s help. He couldn’t imagine if the King were waiting for Archie to pick a fight with him. Far as he knew, the Crown Prince held no opinion of the Elves nor any resentment. Unlike the olden rulers, seasoned and worn away by time and war, he was hopeful for a better future rather than continue with centuries of suffrage.

“My ability is to charm others.” Uluc relayed to him, “I am sure you are aware. And if you are not then, I can only pull the truth from others. Or bend them to my will if I please.”

Kinda of like Aston then.’ Archie remarked in his mind. There was no way he was going to let him know that.

“What you are asking is not something I can do… But, Queen Alaisanna has something similar to what you see. Though extract memories I am not certain. She has the ability to see glimpses of time in reflections.”

Well, that’s complicated.’ Archie looked to the Elf from his hands, “So… like an Oracle.” He remarked. There were people in their lands who were in contact with the Goddess and her children; the Stars. His people called them, ‘Oracles.’ But there weren’t many presently. There were only a handful of them left, and they were spread throughout the realms for their own safety. The Oracles were not seen as someone with a magical ability, rather they were pitied by the majority. For if Oracles were left to wander in the world unchecked, they could go mad seeing fates of everyone around ‘em.

“Presumably, would she be able to narrow down time frames? There’s only much I can recall, but if extracting memories is uncertain, then I believe I must tread down a different path.” He said, getting to his feet to pace the room. While doing so, the elf spoke once more.

“It’d do you well to tell me what you know young prince. Alaisanna will only use her powers by choice, and the more I know the more I can convince her to assist you. And when she does, I will tell her to show by trial. That is the only way I can help you.”

He’d stop in his tracks to listen to the elf, looking down at him through the invisible barrier. “I fear it is far more complicated than words alone.” The Prince resumed his pace once more. There wasn’t much he knew about the Elves beside the general knowledge of what he learnt in school. Naturally, he was granted the highest form of education in all the human realms, but Elves were more like a footnote in terms to what he learned of them. Their innate ability for magic was well-known, hell, during the civil war he knew. But all other knowledge aside from the general eluded him.

“But I will try.” He stops pacing to drop in front of the barrier once more and sits cross-legged. Looking at the elf, he grew more serious. There were people doubting the Crown Prince could pull of heinous acts, and he wanted to prove that he was innocent. “What do you wish to know?”






Seamus prepared Alistair a small plate of assortments, recalling the elven snacks he was fond of during yesterday’s dinner. With the silver platter stacked with all his majesty’s favourites, he made his way out of the kitchens, toward the King’s temporary quarters. Keeping his opinions to himself, the Butler was made aware that the Queen injured herself. He was hoping to deliver the news softly, Alistair was already under stress about the charges against the Crowned Prince.

Once he made it to his majesty’s door, he knocked a few times before a muffled voice told him to come in. With a gloved hand, he came in to find Alistair and Hallr together over papers on the small table. “My Grace, you must eat. I’ve prepared some refreshments.”

King Alistair ran a hand down his tired face. He hummed to his head butler’s words. Motioning him to set it aside on the table, clearing some papers off. As he bent over, putting the platter down, the large brute beside him rose his brows. His thick fingers grabbing an exotic-looking fruit off the platter to examine it, “Butler, what’s this?”

“Suckled-Perrie.” Seamus answered, “From the lands of Cylarius, a most rare commodity provided by the Elven Queen Alaisanna.”

Hallr rose a brow, ready to put it back down. However, he is hungry and damned his pride, just this once, to try it out. When he popped it into his mouth, it was mouth-watering, an explosion of sweets and spice hitting all the right taste buds in the War Commander’s senses.

“Seamus, why are you here? I did not call for you, did I?” Alistair questioned.

Seamus stood up-right in the straightest posture he could muster, placing his hands behind him to clasp together. “Your Majesty, I apologise to be the bearer of bad news-“ He watched Alistair freeze in his seat. “-but the Queen has been injured.”

Alistair’s brows knitted together, “Who did it?”

“No one, my grace. She injured herself. The Queen grew mad with trying to find some lost jewel and tore the shared chambers of yours apart. Naturally, she was healed and tended to by an Elf- I hope you do not mind. Dr Nelavin currently has her hands full with the Diplomat, Mr Aston Blackburn.”

While his heart was heavy, the worry dissipates from his brow. “While I admire your quick response, Seamus. It’d be best you let it be known right away else be ready to leave the grounds at a moment’s notice.”

It wasn’t the first time he was threatened with being fired. Seamus bowed his head apologetically, “My sincerest apologies, My Grace. I did not mean to offend you in any way. You will not receive any more delays.”

“Seamus, you’re a good butler. But it’s time for you to go somewhere else now. The King and I are were just talking.” Hallr remarks.

Seamus apologised again before leaving, closing the door behind him. He placed the two hairs in a handkerchief and continued on his way toward the Crown Princess’s room. The Butler was on his own mission beside the elf, Kedori, to solve this ridiculous mess unfolding.






Hulda peered at the young Princess, a young ilk fresh out of the Elven Realms, and dashed into enemy territory. She understood it couldn’t have been all the glitz and glamour she was used to. The Spymaster knew better than to console an elf who experienced a small amount of ugliness of Humanity. She was glad to give her some sense of comfort as much as she was awkward in doing so.

“Quite the contrary, I believe talking to you has been the most helpful. And your honesty is something I am grateful for. You are the first person who has been truly honest to me. I can see why your Aura is such a warm color.”

Hulda graced the Princess with a smile, unaware the Spymaster was less than a shining beam of light to anyone. She was an assassin foremost, everything else came second. But she would rather spare the elf any further disappointments.

“Is there….is there a purpose to this? I mean why would someone so willingly try to prevent the treaty from happening. Is it not for the betterment of our people that we do this? I wish to see them suffer no longer because of a long and spiteful history. And the missing items, I assume they were stolen, correct? And Prince Arc- I mean his highness why did he…… oh never mind, I wish to hear the truth from his lips.”

Whilst she talked, Hulda moved about the room, pouring herself some ale. The sun outside the windows was high in the sky now. By the shadows on the sill, the Spymaster could tell she only had seven hours left before the trial. She took a long sip, letting the flavours savour down her throat and coddle it with ease. Hulda wiped away any excrements and placed the cup on the study desk.

She looked at the Princess, as best she could with one eye. “There’s an infinite number of reasons why one would want this treaty to fail. But the most obvious of them all being; the conjoining of two extensive Empires to usher in an era of peace.” Hulda thought on it. A time where she would no longer have to work for the King. But she couldn’t picture it beyond fantasy.

“If I may give you some insight on the Humans’ side of things. Not all of us are bad, as you can see- well, if the marriage goes through.” She spoke, hoping she didn’t elicit any foul memories for her. “The Nobility, not all of them hate the Elves. You’ll be surprised to know that we have a noble house comprised of halflings – the Valmaris Nobility. Halflings banished from the Elven realms and refugees from either side go to the Valmaris for help. Unsurprisingly, they’re despised by the rest of the court, but among the Houses- they’re the most kind.”

She clapped her hands together, “Now, regarding the lost items. We will return them after the trial’s conclusion. And as for the Prince, if you really wish to speak to him, I say do it while you still have the time to visit him. No visitors will be allowed after 5 PM today. Perhaps you can elicit further details out of him I’m unable to grasp out.” She suggested.






Dr Nelavin murmured an ‘okay’ before briefly leaving to return with the requested items. She presented them to King Grykail, watching as he poured a peculiar liquid into it, then placing the towels in to soak it up. Aside from the two elves and her, there was no one else present. “What this ritual contains is sacred, this stays between the people in this room.” Alaisanna warned her.

“I do not wish to cross you when you’re helping me in a precarious situation, your grace.” Dr Nelavin retorts. She watched as they both cut their palms, slicing it without as much a sound uttering past their lips. ‘Who knew art could bleed? My love, you would appreciate this moment.’ She thought as she was handed the bowl after being instructed to feed it to the diplomat.

Nodding, she moves to Aston’s side, propping his head up on some pillows. Then she started feeing it into his mouth. Making sure all of it was going down with ease and without difficulty. While doing-so, she could hear the elves beginning the ritual. Their chants were something unlike she’s ever heard of before. In fact, she’s heard nothing like it in all her harvests being on Gaia.

Her eyes fell to the Diplomat’s shoulder, watching the black ichor move through underneath his skin. Like it was being forced out with sheer will and it was protesting. With the empty bowl placed at the Diplomat’s mouth, the Doctor was ready to capture the plague escaping from his mouth. Soon, he convulsed it out, sputtering as his body shook vigorously. Once it was all out into the bowl, she quickly put it on the floor and off to the side. All at once, Aston stopped moving, and the bed stopped shaking.

Dr Nelavin checked his pulse, finding it weak, yet it remained and continued to grow stronger with each beat. She quickly checked his vitals and situation; the colour was returning to his pale skin. However, he would need the rest. She looked back at the two with a relieved look, wiping the sweat away from Aston’s face, “The Diplomat will make it through. Though I am unsure if he will wake now. His body was heavily affected in the process and will need the rest. I will administer the correct medication to dispel the Winter’s Kiss-like symptoms from his system.”

She finally uttered the words, “Thank you, both. Truly, thank you.”
 

Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Uluc shook his head, as the prince asked about Oracles. Alaisanna might have threatened to cut the young princes tongue out just for saying so. He could feel his internal thoughts jarred with the humorous expression she would make. As he was lost in his thought, he forgot the young prince was there and that he was in the cells, before Archie began speaking again.



“Presumably, would she be able to narrow down time frames? There’s only much I can recall, but if extracting memories is uncertain, then I believe I must tread down a different path.”





“A wise choice, but please don’t speak or oracles to Alaisanna. She would have my head if I repeated your words to her.” Uluc thought the boy was rather smart, a little to fair hearted for his liking but a strong willed boy, nonetheless. Uluc realized the boy had little options and tried his best to think of the best way to explain Alaisanna’s powers without putting so much to the forefront. Uluc once again got lost in his thoughts, he could easily charm the information from the boy if he resisted any but that would do him no good in the end. Eventually he sighed before Archie spoke again.



“I fear it is more complicated than words alone.”



“Alaisanna has the ability to see glimpses into time of her own will. She can see as far as she wishes and as much as she needs, and if she wills it the reflection can be shown. Your own personal memories she cannot access only those events that have taken place. Though it does have its price, but that is not something of your concern.” Uluc stared at the boy for a moment watching the boy pace, human mannerisms were quite interesting. Something Uluc had always studied in his many years. He was happy his son showed more human emotions, something a lot of their kind was unable to understand.



But I will try.” Uluc couldn’t help the smirk that crossed over his features as the boy sat before him. He was pleased the boy was willing to at least try, he was almost certain the boy would have given up. But being proved wrong every so often had its merits.

“What do you wish to know?”



“That’s what I’d been waiting for.” Uluc placed his hands on his knees as her sat cross legged staring at the boy. “I need to know if you are truly innocent. I have taken a choice in not charming you for the truth. But, to help you I must know if you had any part in this. Even small. I need to know how your grandfather received that watch, that being said which lowly beetle chose to aid him. And how did they steal my blade, better yet Alaisanna’s handkerchief. It’d be better if I found the culprit before her.” A concerned look passed over his face as he imagined what she might do to the thief that stole from her. “And anything else you might deem important I want knowledge of.”


~~

Kedori was doing her own investigating in the meantime. Her features were more unique, so she had no ability to bland in with the other maids. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t get information. Kedori had squandered around collecting information here and there for Alaisanna, she was after all Alaisanna’s best spy. Not just her butler or friend. Unfortunately, she had found little information, other than Alaisanna’s handkerchief being stolen sometime between her meeting with the council. On the Elven wing there was little to be found, if she could use her glamour then she would have snuck to the humans side in a flash. Alaisanna had forbade it in worry that it might cause further information.


Kedori waited in the maids quarters, hoping that Seamus would come back with more useful information than the things she found. The only other inconsistency was the recurrent disappearance of Pierre’s lacky. Kedori waved it off as the lockdown of all parties she must be near her king but kept her eye out in event of suspicious movement.


Code:
Aiduin fell back in the patch of grass tossing one arm over his face and the other clutching his sword. His anger had dissipated for the most part, but he was still shaken by the fact that such change had happened in less than a day. He had seen no sight of his sister, and when he returned to the lodge to visit her room she was no where to be found. Katyr was too busy trying to care for Sarya, who had been strangely clingy and worried about the baby, and Naexi was with Strolvac trying to pretend like this situation was merely a dream. Ever since the morning he had been surrounded by guards, there were two closest to the lodge and two not that far from where he laid. He felt like a dog in a cage. He could roam but no matter what he tried he could not leave.



[I]“Agh, that fucking pint-sized plebian brat upsets me!” [/I]Aiduin sat up and tossed his sword, feeling himself get riled up again. [I]“How dare he say those things to my darling sister! All to be accused ha serves him right-“ [/I]Aiduin stopped yelling and sighed rubbing his neck, [I]“Well maybe he doesn’t deserve it, but I believe the goddess is only repaying him with temporary grief.” [/I]Aiduin leaned back on the palms of his hand, he had never seen that expression on his sister. And for her to shut them all out was also unnatural. Maybe they had sheltered her too much, never knowing the cruelty and reality of the world, leaving her to be hopeful of the best…was that really the best option. Aiduin groaned pulling his knees to his chest before resting his chin there. [I]“This Is really pissing me off.” [/I]Aiduin grumbled, he was frustrated that there was little he could do for his sister, he’d go talk to the young prince himself but that might end up terribly since he couldn’t even quell his anger.

Aiduin pushed himself off the ground after a while and made his way back to the lodge. He needed to prepare to go to the trial and see if he could find Elora while he was at it.

Elora scrunched her brows at Hulda’s words, ‘why would anyone dislike the idea of peace at any cost.’ Elora was clearly confused; in her mind it was a simple agreement. One that shouldn’t have been that difficult to begin with. At first, she had felt as though it was unfair, but reminded herself that the people of her kingdom deserved better lives.



“If I may give you some insight on the Humans’ side of things. Not all of us are bad, as you can see- well, if the marriage goes through.”



Elora couldn’t help but laugh a little at the woman’s pause, it was pleasant that the woman was trying to spare the pain. But, at the same time feeding her no false hope. Not that she wasn’t right, if things proceeded no matter the outcome then there my be no marriage at all. Elora was starting to resign herself to the thought that Archie did not care, therefore if there were to still be a marriage it would no longer matter. Elora would hold steadfast, and as lady Hulda said, strengthen her heart.



“The Nobility, not all of them hate the Elves. You’ll be surprised to know that we have a noble house comprised of halflings – the Valmaris Nobility. Halflings banished from the Elven realms and refugees from either side go to the Valmaris for help. Unsurprisingly, they’re despised by the rest of the court, but among the Houses- they’re the most kind.”



Elora looked at her a bit surprised, she had heard of halflings. And since residing in the lodge she had seen her fair share of them, more so that she had her entire life. “I do wonder why they are seen with such hate…. though I cannot blame them.” She closed her eyes and placed a hand to her chest, “At first, I believed your kind was cruel and vicious. I set aside my dislike for your brutal nature towards things for my people. When I first spoke with Archie, I believed I was wrong…And now I see that some of you can be very cruel, and others are very kind.” She opened her eyes and stared at Hulda deeply. “I hope one day, even if the treaty fails that I can meet this noble house and become good friends with the people of it. I will stop at nothing to reach peace for my people.”

“Now, regarding the lost items. We will return them after the trial’s conclusion. And as for the Prince, if you really wish to speak to him, I say do it while you still have the time to visit him. No visitors will be allowed after 5 PM today. Perhaps you can elicit further details out of him I’m unable to grasp out.”



Elora shifted her gaze and frowned a bit, “That seems unlikely. But…. I suppose I should try. There is no harm in attempting.” She gave Hulda a smile and stood before she curtsied and moved towards the door. “Thank you for the words we spoke, it was very helpful in clearing my mind. I feel as though my heart has become a bit stronger today. I will inform you of any information I can find.” Elora nodded her head opening the door before closing it softly behind her. She felt like she should try, she was sure it wouldn’t be any different but there was no harm. With a sigh she straightened her back once more and made her way down the hall, out of the lodge, and towards the cells in the forest once more. This time she made sure to lift her dress just a bit as she walked so, she wouldn’t get it dirty.




~~~

As soon as Dr. Nelavin put the bowl of ichor on the floor and pushed it to the side, Alaisanna made her way over grabbing the herbs from Grykail. She threw the one the ichor, staring at the bowl in disgust as it turned to ash and seemed to stop its high-pitched quiet screeches. When Grykail stopped the chant, the glow that seemed to illuminate their hair and eyes slowly disappeared.



Grykail looked at the man watching as the doctor checked his pulse, Alaisanna crushed the bowl under a heeled foot with little force and whispered some as it soon seemed to be covered in a type of frost. “When the frost disappears you can touch the bowl, until then it would be wise not to touch it.” Alaisanna listened to the doctor’s explanation and crossed her arms making her way back to Grykail’s side as she handed him the bag of herbs.



Grykail nodded to the doctor who gave thanks, “Not at all. Aston has a long life to live, and we still have many things to learn.” Grykail joked a bit trying to lighten the mood. “I am grateful for allowing us to save his life.” Alaisanna scoffed and looked at the doctor. “I am glad he will recover. Please do you best to heal him quickly. And may the goddess now show me who dared commit such crimes.” Her expression grew dark and she turned making her way back to the door. “My business is done here. I will be at the trial then. May the truth come to light.” She mumbled the last words knowing now she would use her powers to find the culprit. Grykail sighed and looked at the doctor apologetically. “I apologize, she is rather stubborn. And this handkerchief means many things to her. For someone to have spread the shadows amongst an innocent….it is unforgivable.”
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Archie lifted a brow. Not that he cared about Queen Alaisanna’s opinion of being compared to an oracle. If anything, it was interesting to see how they cared highly of opinions from Humans, of all species. Instead of digressing, he dismissed it as not of importance. He could return to that topic, if he wasn’t Crown Prince by the end of the day.

“Alaisanna has the ability to see glimpses into time of her own will. She can see as far as she wishes and as much as she needs, and if she wills it the reflection can be shown. Your own personal memories she cannot access only those events that have taken place. Though it does have its price, but that is not something of your concern.”

“Of course.” He mumbles, tapping his pointer against his palm. Thinking on it for a moment, then letting out a sigh, “If it’s at a price, then I must humbly reject any further discussion on using her highness’ ability without her consul first.” It seemed the best choice. From little to what he could recall of the Queen, she was rather as ice as the Kingdom she hailed over.

Archie watched him; he was like a stone statue. It did not matter however he moved. The Elves would be a great muse for inspiring human artists. “That’s what I’d been waiting for.” Archie watched as he placed his hand on his knees, nearly mirroring the way he sat. Thankful for the barrier, it was weird being in close proximity to an elf who despised his kind.

“I need to know if you are truly innocent. I have taken a choice in not charming you for the truth. But to help you I must know if you had any part in this. Even small. I need to know how your grandfather received that watch, that being said which lowly beetle chose to aid him. And how did they steal my blade, better yet Alaisanna’s handkerchief. It’d be better if I found the culprit before her.”

Ah, so you do have an ulterior motive.’ Archie remarked thoughtfully. He stopped playing with his hands and stared right back at Uluc. “Whether I am innocent or not will be judged at the trial, I will accept either outcome.” He retorts, Archie was ready to accept it all. “As for your other questions, I don’t have answers to any. I can only say that I visited my grandfather before yesterday’s dinner.”

Yesterday’s meeting was interesting yet intense. His grandfather showed him many faces in a brief span of time, yet he believed that his grandfather was innocent. Of course, the elves despised him and there was one right in front of him- his grandfather’s greatest thorn recently. If Pierre saw him speaking to Uluc, he would get a chiding. “There are no further details I can recall other than he was not wearing his black stone on his left-ring finger.”

Brother…’ A voice called in his head. Archie grew still, looking behind Uluc, ‘…do not speak.’ A wind blew gently through the entrance. He looked back at the Elven King before standing. “My grandfather did not speak of anything else aside from his men finding it the Haunted Forest. The squid-like creature found in the Black Lake was also identified as belonging to King Blaric’s oceans.” He poured himself some water and took a quick drink of it. “You may charm me, King Uluc.” He gave his permission. There was something else, something someone was not letting him know. The fog on his mind was something he wished to get rid of, and if the Elf’s charming ability could get him to spill what he forgot, then he would allow him to.







Seamus left the Crowned Princess’s room with a strand of her hair in the handkerchief with the others. It wasn’t as difficult as he thought to collect their hairs. The Head Butler is, after all, the Head of keeping the help in check and micromanaging everything for the Lennox Family. Once he found a temporary slot in his schedule to slip away, he did so quickly and quietly.

He made it to the other side, the Elven side of the lodging. Making sure the halls were clear before sneaking around toward the maid’s quarters. To anyone seeing him, it would’ve looked suspicious or even comical to find the Human Butler sneaking around. However, he had to triple-check himself everywhere he went. Eventually, he found Kedori in there once he peaked in.

“Kedori, anyone else here?” He inquired, ducking behind the door. Checking every other second out the door for anyone coming by.







Hulda chuckled, thinking about the stupidity of maintaining a ‘pure’ bloodline. She was thankful to be a Spymaster and not a noble. Human Society is interesting, but to be caught up in its web was something she did not want. Then, looking at the Princess as she relayed her words, “At first, I believed your kind was cruel and vicious. I set aside my dislike for your brutal nature towards things for my people. When I first spoke with Archie, I believed I was wrong…And now I see that some of you can be very cruel, and others are very kind.”

“That’s very noble of you, Princess Elora. But what else can I expect from a Princess?” She smiled, “The Goddess believes in a way of balance.” Hulda was unintentionally giving her less important details, “If there’s good, there's bad. The tip of the scale cannot be higher than the other. If balance were to be thrown off, chaos might ensue, and I might just enjoy the ride.”

“I hope one day, even if the treaty fails that I can meet this noble house and become good friends with the people of it. I will stop at nothing to reach peace for my people.”

Hulda appreciated her hopes in a way. Though she wasn’t envious of the Princess to have high hopes on her kind – halfling or not. Humanity was persistently disappointing in many ways that had her questioning whether her kind were capable of being good. As she got up, giving the Spymaster a farewell, Hulda nods, “Keep your wits about you, Princess.” And watches as she slips back out into the corridor.

The Spymaster looked down at the teacup, placing a cloth over it and wrapped it up into a velvet bag. With a wave of her hand, one of her spies came out of the shadows, “Just to be sure of her innocence, check the prints again.” She handed it off the halfling wrapped up in garb that made her look more like a ninja than anything else. “Do be quick about it, dear.” With a firm nod, the halfling was leaving the Spymaster’s room. Hulda turned back to the study and was ready to head back into the fray.







Dr Nelavin nodded to the Queen’s words. She would accept it as further instruction. It seemed out of the two, King Grykail was the more reasonable one to speak to. She was thankful for his reassuring words, only to have sweat form on her temple at the Queen speak again. Instead of speaking, she nods and watches as she leaves just as she entered. Comforted again by Grykail’s words, she smiled, “Queen Alaisanna is helpful. Her personality is quite strong, but I presume she only wishes to clear her family’s name. It’s quite understandable that she is hesitant of any human.” She retorts.






Outside of the lodging, a black raven soars from a certain window. In the window stands King Delafontaine, watching the bird set off toward the Sonrai region. A smile tugs on his wrinkled face. The bird braves across a long distance from the southern realm. A message scrawled in eloquent writing is tied to its leg. Half an hour later and it is approaching the Sonrai region, a place most avoid if they can. Like a thick fog, it clouds the lands, yet it does not deter the raven from making its way toward its destination.

The weather dramatically shifts from sunny, cloudless skies to a thick, clouded sky, and thick snow falling to the grounds. A fog ever hangs over everything and anything that walks among these lands. It is rare to see another Human roaming about Sonrai Region. It is most rare to see a Valmaris citizen. The raven continues on for another half hour. It passes over several large, stone structures most known as ‘Frozen Gates’ by people throughout the human realms.

It finally reaches its eventual destination; The Blackburn Palace. By a special tune carried by the winds, the raven changes directions and comes to a lower altitude. But as it grows lower and lower, its wings grow stiff from the cold. The temperatures are unforgiving to any living being within its grasp. It slowly yet surely enters a small cave, falling like a sack of potatoes into the hands of a gloved, black masked individual. They turn around and continue the rest of the journey for the raven, keeping it tucked in a bag. This individual crawls through several enclosed places through the cave, and the journey is arduous. The oxygen levels within the cave grow thin, low for anyone not used to it to come in close contact with death’s grasp.

The masked individual finally makes it to a certain point to find sunlight spilling through a hole in the ceiling. In the middle of the carved-out space is a tree, it’s curled up, the top of its leaves are glittering like rubies. Water fills up all around the tree, only a small path is provided for any wanderers into this part of the cave. The individual makes it up to the tree and places the raven on its branches. In a few moments, the frozen bird is shaking off the water melted in its feathers, puffing itself to get dried. This tree is only known to the Blackburn House, and should its name seep out into the lands, it would cause a serious problem.

Wordlessly, the individual continues past the tree, moving further into the cave. It takes another hour before they find themselves out of the cave and back into the harsh Sonrai regions. They continue through the storm, their armour built to brave against the weather. Another half hour and they look up to see an enormous bird, larger than any in the human realms, to swoop down and snatch the individual into its talons. Carrying them higher and higher into the skies, above the clouds and up to the landing point of the entrance to Blackburn’s official residence. They live within a mountainside, while not as eloquently put as the Mao’s, their mountain is the largest in the human realm.

The Individual walks into the building, opening up to find high ceilings fit for a dragon to land in, and marbled floors so shiny, they could see their reflection as they walk. Trekking across the flat floors, no one is around, nor any inanimate objects. On the other side appears nothing but an intricately carved wall, that is until the Individual places their hand on the door, the symbols glow for a second before the true doors reveal themselves. The wall breaks up into two and rumble away before the individual’s eyes; they watch in mild interest.

In the next room reveals Lady Blackburn, she is clothed from head to toe in black except for the mask that hides half her face and parts of her outfit that reveal her shoulders, hands, and parts of her collarbones. Her mask and necklace are trimmed in gold, as are her arm-length gloves. She smirks seeing their Knight come forth to kneel, presenting the scroll before them.

Lady Blackburn plucks it off their hands, and her smile is gone in an instant. “My dear, it would seem our son has fallen into a coma at the hands of the knife ears.” She turns around to find Lord Blackburn sitting on a throne, rather plain yet extravagant, with a carved art behind him.

“King Delafontaine?” He inquired about the sender.

She brings it over, her two lackeys behind her. Following her every movement and mirroring what she does at a fraction of a second. They’re like trained guard dogs yet robots in a sense. She hands the parchment off to her husband and grasps the hands of her lackeys once more.

“They poisoned him with the plague, unsurprisingly.” He mumbles, crumpling the paper and tosses into the fire pit beside the throne. “Send the cure to Hulda by Fenrir. Can’t have our only heir die so soon, now.”

With a snap of her fingers, the Knight from before is given a small vial and sent off on their way from which they came. Lady Blackburn smiles, “We cannot directly help the rightful King, my dear. It would cause an uproar among the people.”

“I have no plans to help the Delafontaine’s. We must resume our neutral position on the mountain. The Goddess and Void should have our souls otherwise.” He reminds her. “Which reminds me, you must cleanse yourself now.” The two lackeys holding Lady Blackburn’s hands guide her away from her husband. Any of them touching outsiders was forbidden, and they deemed even outside conditions impure. The Blackburns were the most religious noble house, rarely seen outside their lands. They devote themselves to the Goddess and Void, they believe in a balance of praying and devotion to the opposing creators.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Uluc watched as Archie tapped on his hand debating whether he would take the chance to find the truth or not. When Archie said he would need to speak with Alaisanna first Uluc stared for a moment. It was always clear to him that humans were greedy, especially in times of need. The fact that the boy was saving face because of a simple price was a little shocking. Uluc couldn’t help but smirk a little. “I’ll be sure to inform her.” Uluc turned his head looking at the ground covered in dirt and placed his hand on the ground whispering a few words in their native language, the tips of his hair and eyes glowed for just a moment before stopping just as his sentence finished. Uluc rolled his shoulders before looking back at the boy, “It is done. She will receive your wishes shortly.”



“Whether I am innocent or not will be judged at the trial, I will accept either outcome. As for your other questions, I don’t have answers to any. I can only say that I visited my grandfather before yesterday’s dinner.”



Uluc frowned a bit at Archie’s answer, he could only narrow his eyes as he stared at the boy. “I’m not sure if I should resign myself to call you a fool because you are wrongly charged. Or if your conscious is just clouded with the thought that you are indeed guilty.” Uluc shook his head propping his elbow on his leg so he might rest his chin on his hand. He was indeed the inspiration of art; the elves were known for their beauty. Something no mere human could compare, the more Uluc stared at the boy the more e wondered what had made the young princess so enamored with him.



“There are no further details I can recall other than he was not wearing his black stone on his left-ring finger.”



“I will keep that in mind.” Uluc mumbled as he looked over the boy. Humans to him were simple creatures, boring repetitive. He disliked their kind for showing wreckage to his beautiful forest, Killing their people mercilessly, and their short dull lives. Uluc’s gaze only shifted to Archie as he stood.



“My grandfather did not speak of anything else aside from his men finding it in the Haunted Forest. The squid-like creature found in the Black Lake was also identified as belonging to King Blaric’s oceans.” Uluc could only wave his hand dismissively at this information, he had already known such outrageous facts. The squid is not the cause of the shadows, but the humans were not aware of this fact. And he did not plan to shed light on Archie’s mistaken information.



“You may charm me, King Uluc.” Uluc’s eyes snapped in Archie’s direction. An interested smile crossed over his features. This was now getting interesting.



“My pleasure young prince.” Uluc pushed himself off the ground and dusted his clothing off before holding his hand out and walking towards the barrier. He closed his eyes as he walked through it with ease and was in the cell with the prince. “Pardon me then, young prince.” Uluc spoke as he made his way inside. He walked over too the prince and his eyes glowed as he waved his hand in front of the prince’s face. A golden mist seemed to pass over Archie’s eyes as he did so. Uluc stared at the boy, “You will tell me what you know. And what you are hiding…won’t you?” Uluc tilted his head watching the boy, he wondered if the prince would be affected with such a simple form of charming.



~~



Kedori was eating an apple when she heard the door open, her ear twitched slightly, she turned her head seeing Seamus peak in. She snickered quietly to herself hopping off the counter she had propped herself upon. She tossed the apple’s core away and dusted her hands against each other. “No, I am the only one. The other maid’s are busy tending to everyone as of late. Most are too tired to even bother.” Kedori walked over to him and locked the door behind him. “No one will come, and if they do, I will cast glamour on you. Hold your fears until the trail Seamus.” She patted his shoulder and moved back to the table closest to her leaning against it. “Did you find anything unusual? It is hard to prove my peoples innocence with little evidence on my side, the most I can say is I have not seen Lord Delafontaine’s lackey as of late. Though I am suspicious of the reasoning I will hold my tongue for now.”



~~



When Elora reached the holding area she stopped in front of the guards. She felt the whispers of the wind, and the feeling of the grass shift ever slightly. Rolling her shoulders back she turned her head to the guards. “Who is here for his highness?” The guard turned his head to her, “King Uluc princess.” Elora nodded slipping past them, she stopped after entering the dense cell area, why would Uluc be here. To charm Archie no doubt. She bit the inside of her cheek and shook her head. She closed her eyes letting out a small breath, “Keep my heart steady.” Straightening her back Elora’s expression turned into a blank stare. She walked slowly down the line of cells, when she reached Archie’s she stopped just before she could see the entrance. They wouldn’t be able to see her if she stood there.



“You will tell me what you know. And what you are hiding…won’t you?”



Elora could feel her breath catch, so he was being charmed. It wasn’t her place to interfere with an investigation, and Uluc would only have charmed Archie with permission. So, for now she would only listen to what would be said. Elora leaned herself against the wall listening to what she only expected was the truth.



~~



Alaisanna stepped out of the doctor’s room turning in the direction of her own chambers once more, it wasn’t long until she reached them again. A warm anger was rising in her, the inability to retrieve her handkerchief that she held so dearly. She opened the door to her chambers closing it softly behind her before making her way to her desk. Alaisanna sat, staring out at the mountains, they had given her this room so she could overlook her home. Feeling her irritation rise with each passing moment she leaned her head back closing her eyes. “May the goddess have mercy and show me the way.” She mumbled to herself, she felt empty without her handkerchief. Alaisanna balled her fist before letting out a sigh. “How dare I allow myself to have such a weakness, one those disgusting bowl eared pheasants could take.” She slammed her fist on the table, rattling her papers, the small teacup that had been placed on her desk fell with a crash.



Alaisanna’s gaze shifted to the teacup, she reached over to pick it up just as she felt a shift in the earth under her feet. “Tch...” She clicked her tongue and moved away from the broken glass and towards the window. She opened the window sitting her hand on the windowsill as a vine crept up the wall towards her. Moving her index finger, she allowed the vine to wrap around her finger, as she listened to the whispers from Uluc’s vine. She closed her eyes, “I offered the young prince a diamond, and he chose to ask the chest to grab it. Quite funny isn’t it? Come to the cells before the trail, I assure that you’ll be entertained.” The message ended with Uluc chuckling; a chill ran up her spine. She clicked her tongue and hissed as the vine froze over and broke.



“Impudent idiot.” Uluc was like the brother she never wanted, irritating and pompous at times. His cryptic message was nothing but a mere annoyance to her. She slammed her window shut, so the young prince had denied Uluc’s offer. Alaisanna was amused, she hadn’t believed that Uluc would set aside his hate for humans to help one, a prince at that. But it must be because the young human was, but a child compared to them. No need for him to suffer because of the elders mistakes. She lifted her fingers to her lips as she thought. ‘to go or to stay.’ A smile formed underneath her fingers, “I suppose the truth will set them free.” A dark chuckle escaped her lips, and she left her room making her way towards the cells, it seemed every step she took against the grass frost covered their tendrils.



~~



“Queen Alaisanna is helpful. Her personality is quite strong, but I presume she only wishes to clear her family’s name. it’s quite understandable that she is hesitant of any human.”



Grykail nodded, “She is not fond of your kind for many reasons. This handkerchief-“ He motioned to the handkerchief peaking from the pocket of his jacket. “It’s from her betrothed, it is the only thing she had left.” Grykail grabbed his coat and pulled it over his shoulders, “Please, send word when he is feeling better. Even if not before the trial, I hope he fares well, and the truth is spoken.” Grykail bowed his head before making his way out of the door, looking at the handkerchief he sighed, he should return this to Hulda before the trail. And maybe tell her the interesting news…maybe. He pulled the handkerchief from his pocket and held it in his hand, making sure it stayed safely wrapped in the cloth as he walked. The Shadow, the ichor, the poison that ran through Aston’s veins. Grykail could feel his features go grim. He stopped in the hallway, on his was to Hulda’s chambers and took a deep breath. Reeling in his own shadows to calm themselves. He shook his head and continued to make his way to her office, giving a small smile and nod of his head to each halfling that passed by.



How much Pierre knew, he was certain there was very little truth to it. If Grykail had his way he would have taken the truth if the ichor to his grave. But there was little time for it, greedy and ignorant humans caused him to lose his wife, his darling moonbeam. What would be lost this time? When he reached Hulda’s door he straightened his coat and knocked on the door. “Hulda I’ve come to return the handkerchief.”
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
The Prince watched as Uluc push himself off the ground, moving through the barrier at his whim. ‘Well, of course… he owns the forest.’ Archie thought. If he thought Humans were large, the elven King made him a dwarf in size. Letting himself relax, Archie continued to watch him make his way over and right up to him, “Pardon me then, young prince.”

He thought there would be some preparation before he enacted his magic upon him, yet Uluc did so instantaneously. A weird feeling passed over him, like a film of fabric embracing him. Whether or not his magic worked instantly, Archie felt no change except being suffocated by nothingness.

“You will tell me what you know. And what you are hiding…won’t you?” Uluc asked, tilting his head at him.

Archie scrunched his brows together, puzzled, “I don’t understand…is it supposed to happen right away? But yes, I will tell you everything and what I’m hiding. I wouldn’t want to keep secrets from your highness.”

Ah, so that’s the spell.’ He watched Uluc. Even if it were simple to an elf such as he, Humans were magickless.







Seamus continued to look around the maid’s quarters. Not everyday you could see what the elven help were like. Then he turned to Kedori, watching her explain and move back to the table. With mentioning of Solana nowhere to be found, Seamus made a mental note to search for the halfling. Although, he was rather neutral about her being a culprit of setting up the Prince. The Butler shook his head, “Nothing out of the ordinary except for several maids who were ‘persuaded’ to do someone’s bidding. I cannot say anything more other than that.” He retorts. Not like was intentionally withholding information, he’d rather the investigation be headed by the Spymaster – who was underway of still turning up evidence stacked against the Prince.

“If it helps ease your fears, Kedori. The Spymaster has concluded the Elves to be deemed innocent. Though we shall see the results of the Prince.” He adds. Generally, a composed man, Seamus was actually afraid that they would behead the Prince at the end of the week. There were exceptions to a Crown Prince, the future King of the human realms, no less.







The Doctor nodded to Grykail’s words, “Of course. Take care.” She bid farewell as she turned her attention back to the Diplomat. With the door firmly shutting behind her, she started caring for him. As for the Council, two were quite busy, though nothing they can’t handle. Halfway from the Infirmary, Hulda was standing, rather than sit in the chair, her eyes sharpened on the documents obtained. Empty inkwells littered her desk, with the instant scratching of the quill to the parchment.

It wasn’t out of the norm for her to be handling over ten crises happening all at the same time, but running on little sleep was starting to burn her out. Usually she’d take half an hour to sleep, yet that wasn’t something she could afford to do – not right now. Almost like a distraction she needed, Hulda heard knocks followed by King Grykail’s words, “Hulda I’ve come to return the handkerchief.”

Letting out a curse, she covered the papers with several books and made her way over to the door. Where she opened it, looking up at the elf, “Well, you can set it on the table.” She left the door open to return to her desk, removing one of the books to start up her writing once more. On cue, a halfling returned with the Spymaster’s request of treats and a pill she knew could not legally take. Rather, the pill wasn’t harmful, it would boost her energy and help her focus more.

The halfling excused themselves after setting things down on the coffee table and handing the pills off to Hulda. The Spymaster thanked her, took the pill almost immediately and washed it down with some water. “Apologies Grykail, if that’s all you’ve come to return, I have work to do.” She gave a smile.








Anastasia was brushing out her tangles, sat in front of the vanity still. A slight change in the air, she felt it and the sounds of the padding footsteps as they wandered over from the window where they entered from. She didn’t have to hear the mute sheathing sound of the blade before she turned around to feel it being pointed at her nose, grazing the tip.

“Well, Jaccia…what took you so long?” The Princess inquired, turning back around to continue brushing her hair.

Jaccia sheathed her blade again, pulling her hood back to reveal a short nest of green hair, and mischievous smile to go along with odd-eye violet and Prussian Blue eyes staring back at Anastasia in the mirror, “Oh, y’know…the old scallywaggin’ on Nae’rin’s shoulder. Couldn’t have been faster if I wanted to, your highness.” She mocks a curtsy to the blind Princess.

Anastasia smiled, “Be a good dear and braid my hair for me?” She inquired.

“Of course, your majesty.” Jaccia snickered, moving from her place to behind the Princess. Her fingerless gloved hands running through her silk midnight locks before braiding her hair quickly into a half ponytail with smaller braids woven into it. Unlike her maids, Anastasia appreciated her friend’s styling skills more.

Whilst Jaccia was finishing it up, Anastasia couldn’t help but reflect on their first meeting. She was roaming the outside walls—before she lost her eyesight—to find a specific plant that grew along the college’s fortress. She had found Jaccia tangled up in ropes, hanging high in trees. It was a sight to see, especially when Jaccia fell from seven metres after cutting through the ropes, only to land on her feet like a catipail. It was the day she learned Jaccia was no random stranger trying to get into the college, but she was one heir to the Valmaris House. Also, why she wore no shoes ninety percent of the time.

It was the small encounter that she would find a friend for life without needing to. Jaccia secured her braid with a leather band rather than the silk bands the Princess was trying to hand off to her. Once she finished, Jaccia popped her knuckles and turned around to go make herself comfortable on one of the couches.

“So, thisis what’s like to be royal, royal. Betcha have maids wiping yer asses and selling it to loyalists.” She remarked, snatching a golden apple off the plate, and biting into it with a loud crunch.

The Princess chuckled, “If that were true, I simply would retire from the court.”

Anastasia liked Jaccia, practically her best friend. She liked that she was treated like a commoner and not like a doll. She also admired Jaccia’s colourful way of words that hail from the Sarralei Jungle.

“Great, then I could whisk ye ‘way from the headaches an’ we can goes branch hoppin’.” Jaccia, however noble she was, was not prim and proper. Her mouth was still full of apple, something the Court would gasp at.

“Oh, to be Jaccia Valmaris. What grand adventures she must have.” Anastasia gave her a wry look.

“Oi! I have plenty o’ ventures for both ofvus.” Jaccia took another loud crunch.

“I don’t doubt you do, Jaccia.” Anastasia remarked, “However, I must ask a favour of you.”

Jaccia lifted a brow, “And what favour do you have in mind, princess?”

“I need you to lend your hand and expertise of ‘handling goods’ from somebody.” Anastasia retorts, “I promise I will give you my bracelet you’ve been eyeing since you got here.”

Jaccia looked up at the masked Princess, “No ide’ what youse talkin’ ‘bout. Have plenty of metal at home.”

“Then why are you still looking at it?” She smiled.

“Alright, alright. Ye caught me red-handed, missus. Don’t go cryin’ for it back now.” Jaccia says, getting up off the couch and tossing the half-eaten apple back on the platter.

“Great. I need you to find King Pierre’s personal guard, Solana. She has something important on her, it is a pouch of sorts. I cannot see what kind, but it should be well-hidden. Can you do that for me?” Anastasia inquired.

“Well, I like a bit o’ a challenge. Shoulda told me soon’r. Coulda been dogfishin’ right now.” Jaccia pulls her hood back up, “Don’t go any’here ‘out my bracelet now.” Then she ran out the window, diving back onto the branch that wasn’t far from her window. Anastasia smiled, slipping the bracelet off and setting into a small box.

“It won’t be going anywhere.”
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
“I don’t understand…is it supposed to happen right away? But yes, I will tell you everything and what I’m hiding. I wouldn’t want to keep secrets from your highness.”



Uluc couldn’t help the smile that passed over his features as Archie responded. He eyes closed and he smiled with him lips closed, ‘how pleasant,’ he couldn’t help but think such thoughts. Being able to enchant people was his skill, but it surprised him that even a boy as stubborn as the prince couldn’t fight it. “Then let’s continue our conversation. Tell me, who gave you the watch, and what did he say?”



Uluc figured this would test whether or not his enchantment was working, or if the young plea- human prince was messing with him. “How are you guilty, you said you had little part in this. What is that small act?” Uluc straightened his head and stared at the boy, unlike most other powers this one would wear off if Uluc wasn’t careful. He had felt a chill run up his spin after delivering the message which could only mean Alaisanna wasn’t that far from visiting. “And finally, tell me what Alaisanna will see- “



Elora didn’t dare move; afraid the charm might lose its effect. She had no idea how it worked, she would have loved Uluc’s ability, to ask people the questions they refused to answer. It wasn’t long until Uluc’s last question, she felt a chill rush over her. Turning her head, she saw Alaisanna walking down the barren forest hall towards Archie’s cell. As Alaisanna walked towards Elora she was spared a glance, Alaisanna felt no need to bother Elora. The girl must have had her reasons for hiding, plus she wasn’t there for Elora. Alaisanna shifted her gaze back in front of her and stopped in front of the cell, her brows furrowed, and she narrowed her eyes at Uluc. “And why should he tell you that Uluc you nosy bat-horse.” She hissed out her words and walked through the barrier with the same effortless movement. Elora had to cover her mouth as she silently laughed at Alaisanna’s comments towards Uluc. One might think the pair were siblings, not that anyone would dare say it out loud.



The same chill that followed her down the hall washed over Uluc, he turned to look at her and frowned. “Because this is an investigation you overgrown popsicle. But please tell the prince why you’ve come.” Uluc huffed and took little hesitation to lift his hand, vines quickly moved to make a chair and Uluc plopped himself down. Alaisanna scoffed at this and turned her cold, gazed over eyes to Archie. “This bat dung of a Lord has told me that you have a request. So, go on with it.” Alaisanna left her arms by her side, intricate white designs ran over her fingers stopping just before her elbow. She wanted to hear from the boy that he wanted her to help, not from the tree-hugging annoyance beside him.



~~



Kedori crossed her arms listening to Seamus explain that the help was ‘persuaded.’ She clicked her tongue and frowned, she wasn’t very moved to find the prince’s innocence, it wasn’t like she had a reason to. But, she was trying to prove her kinds innocence, that was her goal. Kedori uncrossed her arms and tapped her fingers on the rough wood table she had leaned on. When Seamus said the Elves were deemed innocent her eyes snapped up to look at him. She could smell the worry rolling off him in waves, she sighed and offered a hopeful smile. “Though my words do not count for much, I am sure the young prince will be fine. Everyone is working hard to prove his innocence no matter how small I am sure he will be saved.”



~~

Grykail looked down at Hulda and offered a small smile, nodding as she suggested her place it on the desk. He glanced around at the scattered papers and watched as she slipped a pill in her mouth and downed it with a drink. He placed the handkerchief on the desk and stood there for a moment mulling over what he should tell her.

“Apologies Grykail, if that’s all you’ve come to return, I have work to do.”



Her bowed his head and put his hands behind his back, “I have more to say, if I may Hulda.” He shifted his gaze to meet her eyes, “There are traces of ichor on that handkerchief. Though it’d be best not to mention that to anyone. This is a sensitive subject, But I hope you will trust me enough to wait until after for me to explain further.” His black eyes seemed darker as he spoke, he only hopes he could reason with her to wait. This was the most he could tell her without letting her know he had visited Aston, let alone that Aston had been infected.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Archie blinked several times, unsure if he heard his own words correctly. The thought of being easily charmed was…interesting yet alarming at the same time. Usually he did the charming, but at the will of someone else’s doing was a fresh perspective on what it is like to be on the other end. His eyes wandered from the elf toward the entrance, out of habit perhaps or…was someone watching them right now? He looked back to Uluc as he spoke;

“Then let’s continue our conversation. Tell me, who gave you the watch, and what did he say?”

Archie lifted a brow, he already said who, but not what was said. Looking at Uluc in the eye, he had no doubt in his heart that he couldn’t find a reason to doubt his lordship, “Though I’ve told you twice now, Lord Uluc. I will say it again, it was my grandfather – Pierre Delafontaine. What was said? Normal pleasantries I usually have with my grandfather. We talked of the civil war, ate snacks, drank some ale…the usual, and then he told me about how King Blaric was going to great lengths to undermine my father; King Alistair. The proof of the squid and the Plague were more than enough to persuade me, then he showed me the watch. Inside was inscribed words in Elvish language- I don’t speak, read, nor write your language so it more than enough convinced me further that King Blaric was not beneath such an act. I mean, he had elven spies causing the uproar of our civil war not less than a decade ago.”

He was caught off guard, ‘Ah…so I was hiding that part. Who cares…? Surly not them, no?’ Archie saunters away from the elf to fetch himself some water from the basin – as dirty as it might be, he was parched – and drank it down in one go. Before he returned to the elf, once more, to answer his next inquiries.

“How are you guilty, you said you had little part in this. What is that small act?”

“Well, I’ve delivered the watch to Elora in a precarious moment. The exchange of words I’ve no doubt broke her heart and shattered her illusion of goodness in the world. Though I do intend on—”

“And finally, tell what Alaisanna will see-"

Archie could feel the temperature drop several degrees at the presence of the Elf Queen, “And why should he tell you that Uluc you nosy bat-horse.” He looked from Uluc to Alaisanna, caught off in the moment. He looked between the two, like siblings, they bickered. Only looking back to Alaisanna when she addressed him, though like her aura, icy and a glare to match, “This bat dung of a Lord has told me that you have a request. So, go on with it.”

Archie snickered at her never-ending nicknames for Uluc before answering, true to his word, “He’s not wrong…though it was only suggested when I couldn’t tell him about the memories I’ve dealt with. I don’t know if it will work through your magic, according to his Lordship’s words, you only work in real-time, yes? If so, I’m afraid it will be useless otherwise. I need someone to extract my memories, not play it out in reality. As the memories occurred to be without warning, I can only describe useless objects. I’m afraid something is blocking my memory- a lock like a fog. Someone is deliberately blocking me from what may be the truth. Though I sound like a madman, my words are true. I promise my head on it.” He spoke quick-paced, letting an intake of breath fill his lungs once more.

And the promise of his head being on a platter for them will come to reality sooner than they might think. The trial was happening in…six hours now. He realised he must’ve been talking to the Lord for an hour or so now.







Seamus was thankful for the veiled-words of hope, though it wouldn’t do much in the face of truth. It, however, did somewhat ease his old heart. He offered a smile in return, “Your words might hopefully ring true tonight. I do have my own hopes for his innocence, however small it is.” He retorts. “There’s not much else I can offer aside from that bit of information.” He looks around, maybe out of habit or maybe to be triple-sure that they were truly alone. “…but…there’s another in the lodging that wields magic. Can’t you sense the unfamiliarity of it in the air?” He inquires, though he’s mostly speaking on instinct. Seamus has recently felt something change in the air after Archie’s imprisonment. He might seem an old man, but his wits were always sharp as a soldier’s blade.

Never a dull sense about him even as he grew closer to death’s doorstep. “I’m not talking about the halflings either, Kedori. It is a magic that is rare.” He emphasis on ‘rare’ meaning it’s human, something unlikely to happen to any human. And as far as he knew, no one aside from the halflings and elves could wield magic. Among the humans in the lodging, it seemed highly unlikely they caused the stir that ached deep in his belly.







Her smile grew into a thin line, ‘What ever could he speak of?’ She thought and as if reading her thoughts, Grykail answered them. The mentioning of the Plague being on the handkerchief. Though she could sense the room grow suddenly darker as did his eyes, she paused.

Hulda lets out a sigh, motions for him to sit, and grabs her pouches of daggers. Not as a threat, no. But if this brooding elf was going to be rambling on all day, at least she could practise her aim. She places the pouch on the table’s edge, next to the refreshments. Then, she heads over to replace the paper with a new target board since that one was already shredded to pieces by the last time she practised. Hulda returned to the opposite couch and lazily sat on it whilst she grabbed the pouch, pulling a few out to toss one into the paper, missing by a few centimetres.

“I’m serious when I said I’m busy, Grykail. You’ve got until I’ve landed these daggers into that paper dartboard behind you. Until then, my ears are open.” She retorts, giving her own darkened look back at him. Though she didn’t know if she exactly mirrored his look since he already wore clothes to match against the brooding King theme he had going on.

She could let him know that there was a second civil war about to happen or that the nobles of the east were planning on overtaking the capital while her King was on the verge of breaking down any moment. Or the fact that the crown prince would likely have his head chopped off by night and the mention of the shadow… well, there was more of those cases popping up more than anyone could handle at the moment.

If anything, her patience was beginning to wear thin.
 
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Mai_able

Forest Faerie
Mentor
Staff Member on Hiatus
Uluc’s brows furrowed hearing Archie saying King Kolvar had sent spies to stir trouble, that was not something he was aware of let alone sure of. The more interesting question was how that snake Pierre knew. He could always confirm that later. It was clear Pierre was enticing Archie to stir up trouble, Uluc was a little surprised the boy hadn’t noticed initially but he supposed humans were foolish creatures after all. Elora couldn’t help the frown that was on her face. Just because the words were in Elvish tongue and his grandfather had made accusations he had come to such conclusions. She rubbed her temples, how foolish of him. But, she couldn’t blame him. Lord Delafontaine was still his grandfather, his trust and words were worth more than theirs after all.



When Uluc asked why he was guilty Elora’s ears perked up and she glanced to the side. The note from Hulda’s office flashed over her mind and she shook her head lightly to listen.



“Well, I’ve delivered the watch to Elora in a precarious moment. The exchange of words I’ve no doubt broke her heart and shattered her illusion of goodness in the world. Though I do intend on_”



Uluc rubbed his temples and cut him off with his next question, it was none of his concern that he felt guilty about his love life. Uluc was not a therapist for the poor boy, Elora laid her head against the wall. So he was aware of what he had done, though she was curious of his future intentions she knew that wasn’t the answer Uluc was looking for. Elora surely hadn’t expected that answer, and from what it sounded Archie’s note was not the source of his guilt. What she didn’t understand was why he would say such things if he knew what it would cause. Humans were such complicated beings.



Alaisanna watched the boy snicker and rose her brow, she supposed for someone who was not Uluc the insult would be funny. Bat-horses were tiny bat creatures in the shape of horses, demons more likely. Annoying and loud if left to their own devices.



“He’s not wrong… though it was only suggested when I couldn’t tell him about the memories I’ve dealt with. I don’t know if it will work through your magic, according to his Lordship’s words, you only work in real-time, yes? If so, I’m afraid it will be useless otherwise. I need someone to extract memories, not play it out in reality. As the memories occurred to be without warning, I can only describe useless objects. I’m afraid something is blocking my memory- a lock like a fog. Someone is deliberately blocking me from what may be the truth. Though I sound like a madman, my words are true. I promise my head on it.”



Alaisanna listened to the boy ramble, her icy demeanor never faltering, the only change would be her brow rising hearing the explanation of his memories and the fog that blocked them. She glanced at Uluc who only furrowed his brows before turning her eyes back to Archie. “I see this toad’s spell is still on you. You need not promise me your head. Can your innocence not be proven that might just be received.” She stared down at him a moment before lifting her hand, soon two chair like blocks of ice formed. “Sit.” She took her seat and crossed her legs. Unlike Uluc’s more relaxed position she sat straight, the air of it screaming authority.



“You’re in luck young one. I will not waste my time explaining my powers to a human who would not understand.” She waved her hand dismissively at the thought. “ But if it is something as simple as that I can do. What this will cost me is none of your concern. But what shall I get in return for my assistance. I am not so generous as to help without something in return.” She leaned on her hand, as if she was looking down on him. She wasn’t nearly as tall as Grykail, but she was fairly taller than the humans. Elora might have been the only one lacking in that aspect.



~~



Keori watched as Seamus looked around before speaking again, at the mention of a different magic wavelength Kedori shrugged. “Of course, the others are far to busy to notice. But, this unfamiliar magic is lurking around. I have yet to find the source but I am ever curious as to who wields old magic so clearly.” Kedori tilted her head, “though for you to notice such details that is interesting. I didn’t think your kind had the aptitude for such things.”



Kedori wasn’t sure who the magic wielder was, but she knew it wasn’t anyone they were with. Though she was suspicious of the humans, it wasn’t like she could freely explore their area and with everything going on she didn’t think it was the wisest idea. “Well once yer’ prince is saved I can investigate the magic. It’s a lil’ hard right now given the situation.” She rubbed her neck and sighed a bit. “But if you find the source please let me know. It might be a clue to whatever crap is goin’ on here.”



~~



Grykail watched as she sighed, sitting on the couch his gaze following her as she grabbed her pouch of daggers. He had no worries of her attacking him, even if she did he had the confidence he could fend her off. He watched her movements as she arranged items around the room. Upon closer inspection of her face he could tell she was clearly tire, but it was not his place to lecture or judge. Regardless he was here for more important matters.



“I’m serious why I said I’m busy, Grykail. You’ve got until I’ve landed these daggers into that paper dartboard behind you. Until then, my ears are open.”



“Well then I suppose I will do my best to explain.” Grykail leaned on his hand, “I am hoping you might keep this between us for the time being. Once I explain you might see why.” He knew there was no other way than to explain it to her, hopefully she kept her mouth shut about it. Save the trouble to come till after the trial.



“Aston was infected with ichor. Had Alaisanna and I reached him any later he might have succumbed to the underworld.” As she threw the daggers he did not flinch nor move, he merely let them pass him on the board. “Whoever stabbed Aston had planned for him not to speak again, if news that ichor was involved spread it is sure to cause more chaos. I have promised the doctor no harm shall come to her for her assistance so long as she kept the knowledge of the ritual secret. And luckily we were able to save him, though it is unlikely he will wake before trial, let alone the day. I am only advising you because I am certain you were concerned for his health. And finding the culprit is more imparitive than ever."
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
ONE DAY PRIOR TO ARCHIE’S TRIAL

Anastasia watched Archie leave the infirmary. Once he had left, she turned her attention to the Head Butler, Seamus. As far as he knew she was basically a walking disaster with no eyesight sure to run into things at every turn and second. “Seamus, be a dear and help me to my chambers? Oh, and please have them send me a replacement for my dinner. I’m still famished.” She instructed, rather than inquired.

Seamus does a bow, “Princess Anastasia, it would do me to serve you well.” He retorts and helps the Princess away from the infirmary wing. Although it was conjoining with both sides of the building, it was the human’s infirmary. Anastasia gripped onto his arm and walked in line with him at his normal pace. Seamus wondered how the royals were faring, surly the twins’ debacle might’ve caused a stir in their conversation, if so, at least it would break the tense atmosphere.

As they neared her chambers, she could hear her maids rushing over to help relieve Seamus of guiding her. Once they came to her help, Anastasia dismissed Seamus and to tell her parents she was fine. She knew how worried her Mother would be, especially with meat being found in her soup. After he left, Anastasia directed the maids to help her into lighter attire that wouldn’t be a dress, but something more suitable for outerwear and a cloak to top it off.

It satisfied Anastasia with the feeling of the fabric, in which she would wave the maids away for the night. The Princess waved her palm over her eyes, letting her vision return. However, to keep up appearances, she pulled the hood over her mask that covered half of her face. Then, she would leave her chambers, checking for passing help before ultimately slipping out the front doors where she would be spotted slipping out by other maids passing by.

The Princess continued her way, a glowing blue trail she followed from the lodging. Anastasia was out of sights of the elven brutes still lingering outside. With a wield of her magic, she transformed into a mouse; she travelled along the forest floor following the blue trail still visible to only her eye. After thirty minutes of travelling, she transformed back into her original form and dusted off the leaves caught in her cloak. Anastasia was in front of a trunk of a large tree. It appeared to look like any other tree within the forest, but once she knocked on the right parts of the trunk, the outline of a door temporarily formed. There she would look around before opening the door and it would shut almost immediately after she entered, encasing her in darkness.

In a flash, torches light up in a dim-blue, showing a descending spiral staircase. Anastasia would descend the stairs, only the sounds of her footsteps and occasional bug skittering by. It would continue on for what felt like eternity until she finally reached the last step to enter a chamber encased in darkness. The Princess pushed in a smooth stone jutting out from the wall as she entered the middle of the chamber. Once in the centre, it started moving, the rumbling platform lowered her deeper into Gaia’s crust. She was entering Oblitus Urbe, an ancient elven city forgotten to time. The platform would stop to a connecting bridge, the large clicking and last stop of it being the only sounds. The city was encased in darkness until it wasn’t; nothing but blue lights lit up the ruins of Oblitus Urbe. Tracing the steps from the bridge to descend deeper into the caverns, old statues of elves littered among the city, names no longer recognised from ancient elven writing she couldn’t read herself.

Ten minutes later she arrived at her destination, a tree was on fire in the middle of the room with mysterious sunlight casting on it from the circular hole above it. Anastasia removed her mask to place it on one of the side tables, she opened her eyes and started chanting in an olden human language no longer used among her kind. Then appeared the black shadow she was talking to in the mirror back at the lodging.

“It’s been awhile, old friend.” She spoke.

The shadow removed its clouded appearance to reveal an elven conjurer, “Princess Anastasia, how fares the summit?” They asked as they walked around the tree to perform more old magic, letting the place liven up like it was never abandoned. They moved to the side table to pour two cups of water, purified straight from the waterfalls that still spilled into the ruined city.

“Why don’t we speak of the eighth seal first?” She inquired instead, catching the elf’s attention.

They smiled wickedly, “Oh? So, you finally know.” They remark, placing the silver pitcher off to the side, “In that case, what did you find out now that you know you are the eighth seal?







Archie was caught off guard at the sudden appearance of two blocks of ice form in the appearance of chairs, he jumped back. Clearing his throat, he gets back up on his two feet and eyes the chair of suspicion. Instead of delaying the truth any further, he took the seat expecting it to be cold instead it hardly felt cold. Perhaps only the ghost of the bitter fog rolling off it waves, otherwise it was harmless or so he thought.

“You’re in luck young one. I will not waste my time explaining my powers to a human who would not understand.”

Archie rose a brow, ‘Not like I have time to spare.’ He remarked in his mind before the Queen spoke again, “But if it is something as simple as that I can do. What this will cost me is none of your concern. But what shall I get in return for my assistance. I am not so generous as to help without something in return.”

He stared right back at her, those soulless eyes staring right back at him. Archie wondered if Elves even believed in souls. “Well… if that’s what you want to believe, your highness.” He retorts, leaning back in the chair that wasn’t as comfortable as he thought. “Name your price.” He adds. Of course, he should’ve expected that but in his current situation he didn’t exactly have much to offer nor much to think of aside of how he was going to apologise to Elora.







Seamus leaned back, ‘So she knows.’ The Butler wasn’t naïve to the different feelings Elves felt or what his kind felt. ‘An old magic? How old?’ He wondered yet let it remain only in his thoughts. Of course, he wasn’t surprised Kedori would ask such a thing. Humans had a subconscious to danger around them like a second instinct.

“Humans have an aptitude to a lot of things, though Elves think us only brutes with no second instinct to danger.” He retorts, “Humans have a second, third, fourth and many other instincts to danger and survival. An example would be a ‘gut feeling’ or ‘hunch’ on things. Humans just know, we have feelings, too.”

Seamus nods his head to her second phrasing, “I doubt I will find the source soon, but if I find anything out of the usual. You will be the first to know. Please ask your Kings and Queens if they can sense it too, if not. Do not worry about it.” He smiled, “But I believe I must go now.” Despite her being a mere handmaiden, Seamus did her a bow and made his way out of the maid’s quarters.







Soon as he started speaking, Hulda landed two daggers into the dartboard. Noting his subtle warning, she sunk a third into the dartboard just as he announced someone poisoned Aston. She stopped mid-throw to look at Grykail, looking for any lie in his eye yet found none. “Well shit, this complicates things further.” She remarks as she continues her third throw into the dartboard.

“Whoever stabbed Aston had planned for him not to speak again, if news that ichor was involved spread it is sure to cause more chaos. I have promised the doctor no harm shall come to her for her assistance so long as she kept the knowledge of the ritual secret. And luckily we were able to save him, thought it is unlike he will wake before trial, let alone the say. I am only advising you because I am certain you were concerned for his health. And find the culprit is more imperative than ever.”

Looking down to the four daggers, Hulda grabbed another in her gloved hand then back to Grykail. “Oh, I know she’ll keep quiet. Dr Nelavin has a family of four; two beautiful girl twins and two boys. Her husband died in the border wars. One of the sapli- Elves killed him in battle. You don’t have to worry about her, if she utters a word her children will be orphans.” She retorts, landing the fourth blade into the dartboard. “You are mistaken, Grykail. I am not concerned for his health; I’m concerned if his parents will come out their cave.”

As if on coincidence, a spy comes in from the open window, landing behind the couches. “Well?” Hulda inquires, not looking behind her. The Spy briefly glances at the dark elf then to Hulda, “You were correct, again.” The Spy says, producing a frozen raven from their sack, tossing it on the ground in front of the two. Hulda lets out a heavy sigh, seeing the black raven’s feathers in the shades of dark blue and black. “What of the scroll?”

“Here.” The Spy hands over a scroll and another small sack over to her, “The Blackburns may pay a visit soon.” Hulda waves her hand, dismissing the spy that goes back out the window as if never there. She breaks the seal, reads the elegant handwriting, and tosses it on the couch. She opens the sack, finding a small vial inside it. Hulda holds it up to the light and sees the flecks of iridescent colours dancing around in the clear liquid.

Hulda grabs a fifth dagger, instead of throwing it she stabs it into the couch, “I thought I had more time. Well, well, well Grykail, it seems I might need your help after all. Don’t worry it’s not about this.” She points to the vial, “Potent stuff that will balance out his health.” She adds, hiding it away into her pocket. “You spoke of the ichor. I’m afraid the Plague is already far too gone to contain in the moment. Several villages along the coast have already been affected- ehhh, about a few thousand at most. Oh, I won’t need your help “curing” the Villagers. The Lennox Army already burned the victims to the ground.” Hulda recalls confirmed reports from Hallr about whole villagers being burnt to a crisp and cut down without a hesitation. No doubt her King’s son was among the soldiers to kill innocents.

“See I already know your ability to spy, it’s a great trick or- magic I should say, to have.” Hulda gets up to sink the rest of the daggers into the dartboard, not caring about dismissing Grykail longer. “I need your help to spy on the Crown Princess, Anastasia.”

She pours herself some wine and takes a drink, “Pick your price and I’ll pay it forth.” She haggles, “The Princess was seen leaving the grounds somewhere between ten and midnight yesterday. One of the maids found her returning sometime at dawn. I doubt she’s the one concocting a plan to dismantle the treaty. But there’s something else here, don’t you feel it?” She gestures all around the air, “Like a change in the air, aside from the ego stroking going around. I know it’s supposed to be safe here, but I don’t feel safe anywhere. Anyway, there’s someone else here. I just can’t find them yet and my spies are all busy with other business.”

She returns to the couch to pick up the dagger in the couch, “Not to mention, these marbles hidden in the couches.” She digs into the couch and yanks out several clear marbles. “No doubt, Delafontaine’s doing. These marbles are illegal in human realms.” She tosses them into the fire that’s still going in the pit. “You might wanna check your rooms, too. This culprit you speak of is cleverer than I initially thought.”

“Want some wine?” She asks, finishing her goblet to stand up from the couch and fetch more for herself.
 
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