Say No To This

  • sun spirit

    sun spirit (120)

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    King Elwin Heletoris, King of Othudel
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    Lady Ceren Stonewater, Royal Healer
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    Lord Nyrel Stonewater, Baron of Ashwick
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    Lady Aerith Oriven, Adviser to the King
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    Lady Eilene Petwenys: daughter of Duke Inchel
    Duke Inchel Petwenys: Duke of Rochani
    Taliesin Miradi: healer
    Duke Deldrach Norren: Duke of Briar Glen
    Lord Fenian Norren: Deldrach's son
    January 2nd, 2019 at 04:20am
  • sun spirit

    sun spirit (120)

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    (So, I know this is just a conversation between my characters, but if you want to bring one or both of yours in, interrupting this sibling time or skip to the event Nyrel mentions at the end, either option is great! I just kind of went with the flow)

    There was absolutely nothing to occupy Ceren’s idle hands, much less her constantly roaming mind. Though it was an esteemed achievement that would undoubtedly endow a boost of status to the Stonewater name, accepting the position of Royal Healer was absolutely, without a doubt, the single biggest mistake she’d made in her young life. She ensured the castle infirmary remained stocked with supplies, coordinated the other healers who worked in the castle (or attempted to, as the matter of her ability to act as Royal Healer due to her age was still a matter of question in more than one circle of influence), she was expected to attend to the royal family should the need arise, and if one of the healers in the infirmary felt that her skills would be better suited to treat the patient rather than an herbal remedy, then and only then was Ceren called upon. Otherwise, there was an office she was expected to sit in, and on the desk there was paperwork for her to attend to. Learning the intricacies of the paperwork had been a challenge at first, a challenge that she had mastered inside of a week, and since then, she remained ahead of the curve on everything that was thrown her way.

    Overall, it was the most boring thing she had ever done, and it was a godsent miracle that she had yet been reduced to a snarling animal pacing its cage in mad, ever-growing desperate attempts to escape the confines of an imprisoned life. It just so happened that Ceren’s cage held every appearance of freedom, for no jailer stood outside her door, no lock kept her within, and despite all arguments screamed by her trapped mind, she had to admit that she was also able to go wherever she wished. Imprisonment hardly seemed a fitting word for the situation, from an outward glance. But looking in…

    Ceren’s eyes scoured the small office. Its walls were a clean white with sage accents, and portraits of the previous occupants adorned the walls. Even her own face stared back at her from down the line, as it had been decided that in light of her being the youngest yet at the remarkable age of fifteen, her likeness should be captured at once. The desk she sat at had been crafted of a light-colored wood, and signs of age were etched into it in the form of occasional stains, blunted edges, and even grooves that looked as if a past Royal Healer, in his or her infinite boredom, had attempted to scratch out a plea for help into the wood. The items sitting on the desk were orderly, each littlest detail set to its proper place. The single cot residing in the corner of the room was neatly made up and awaiting an occupant, and even the opened window, revealing a view of the garden where the castle’s healers tended to many of the herbs used in the infirmary brought no comfort to the young woman.

    From outside her closed door, the sounds of the infirmary quietly snuck in, but it was one sound in particular that stilled Ceren’s roving eyes and set her entire body on edge. Footsteps, measured and purposeful, steadily grew in volume as they carried their bearer ever closer to her door. Finally! her body sang as she pushed back from her uncomfortable chair and touched her hair, ensuring that she had remembered to pull it back in a braid. But of course she had. She was a Healer, after all, and the day she forgot would be the day she resigned in disgrace. Quietly, reminiscent of a child afraid of being caught at doing something naughty, Ceren approached the door, expectantly awaiting the approaching footsteps that seemed to luxuriate in leaving her waiting, though she was sure their presence meant that one of the healers was coming to inform her that her particular skills were needed, however grudging they might be to admit it.

    In the end, impatience won over reason, and Ceren pulled the door open prematurely. Unbeknownst to the terminally bored healer, the footsteps were about to come to a stop before her doorway, and by the time she pulled it open, her guest had already raised his hand to knock. She looked up into dancing aquiline eyes, unable to speak for the startled surprise that grasped her. “In a hurry?” He laughed as he moved out of the direct path of the doorway, as if to let her by, though in the pit of her sinking stomach. Ceren knew better. “And here I was thinking that I would visit my favorite sister today.”

    Ceren’s aquiline gaze slid past her brother, searching the cots and worktables, seeking some excuse to put off this meeting for just a few more minutes, but all within the infirmary was at peace. There was absolutely nothing she could even pretend needed her attention. So she returned her focus to her brother’s casual, smiling face, knowing better after all these years than to hope to catch some glimmer of the thoughts that lay beneath his mask, and finally offered up her own smile. “Rel. I thought you were one of the other healers here to tell me I was needed. Rather than waste time pretending I couldn’t hear the footsteps outside the door, I though I'd met you halfway,” she explained as she stepped back and pushed the door open all the way. As she made room for him to enter the office, she extended him an invitation he didn’t require, “Come in.”

    “How diligent of you!” remarked Baron Stonewater as he swept into the room, leaving Ceren to ensure their privacy by quietly closing the door behind him. “Pull the curtains closed too, will you, Ren? That window of yours lets in an awful draft,” he added flippantly over his shoulder as he made his way towards the room’s cot and unceremoniously plopped himself upon it. Though more than a foot taller than her, Nyrel was in possession of the same slender frame. He wore it well, with bright, expensive garments all tailored and colored to suit him. Soft, one would think, except he was adept in swordcraft, and his practices were frequented by eligible and married women alike. His face was sharp and aristocratic, his shoulder-length hair a soft, pale blue unlike either of their parents’ or her own. He was finely groomed, smoothly cultured, and charismatically dangerous.

    “How’ve you been?” The query was thoughtless and polite, little more than a means of keeping up conversation rather than allowing the loaded silences that so often plagued the siblings be ushered in. And it was asked in the stead of the question pressing at seam of Ceren’s lips because of the open window; as much as Nyrel, Ceren wished to keep her business with her brother within the confines of the last two surviving members of the Stonewater family.

    As she stepped up to the window and pulled the open panes together, gently snapping them to a shut, the answer was returned to her back, bored and casual, “Oh, you know…” But, as Ceren pulled the sage curtains together to protect their conversation from prying eyes, she thought, No, I don’t. Not for a long time now. You stopped confiding in me years ago, Rel.

    “That’s great to hear. I’ve been busy, myself. Adjusting to being Royal Healer has been no walk in the park. There’s so much to do, perhaps not in the areas I had wished, but at least there's always something to do. Going from student at the Academy to Royal Healer has been strange, to say the least.” He hadn’t asked, but Ceren spoke the words anyway as she smoothed the palms of her hands across the soft fabric of the curtains and then turned to face her brother. One look at his carefully notched eyebrow, and she knew that he’d seen through the lie. It was the same lie she’d been telling him for months, one that he’d accepted for the longest time though she’d suspected from onset that he’d suspected, and as with every conversation they had, she couldn’t help but wonder if today was the day that he finally decided to stop accepting the lie or if he would continue with this suspension, perhaps toying with her as he waited to see when she would finally give in and admit to the deceit. With Nyrel, even when she thought she was ahead, Ceren seemed to inevitably find that each time, she’d actually been playing into his game.

    “So you’ve mentioned before,” he allowed as he propped one foot over another, reclining in the bed with his arms crossed behind his head. “To be so busy and keep such a tidy office, you must hardly sleep. I hope you aren’t neglecting your own health in your endeavors, Ren.” She went still as he spoke, but his tone was still light, he didn’t so much as peer over at her, and within several rapid heartbeats, she realized that he had no intentions of continuing. An idle statement then, albeit barbed. Ceren’s shoulders relaxed fractionally, and she moved to her desk, where she perched at the edge of her most uncomfortable chair, turned to face her nonchalant brother.

    “Why are you here, Rel?” The question sprang from her mouth before she could stop it, impatient to be answered. Ceren had been keeping it within since she set eyes on her brother standing outside her door, and now that they were alone within the confines of her office, she could no longer keep it at bay. She was not trained in the way of maneuvering social situations as he was, in the way of double entendres and masks and charm. She knew enough to get by, but her gifts had prevented her from receiving the deeper sort of education that he had. Magic usually only presented itself in an elf with the onset of puberty. In Ceren’s case, however, it had appeared in her late toddler years strongly enough that she’d been placed into the Academy as a child, and she had graduated at the age that many were accepted. Because of this, she had not been trained in the ways of politics and court. It made her particularly susceptible to Nyrel’s games, as she was usually unable to follow his maneuverings, and inevitably, it caused her to sound ignorantly tactless in comparison.

    And of course, rather than break game to answer her forthcomingly, Nyrel ignored the question as easily as if it had never been uttered. In fact, he allowed several heartbeats of silence to descend upon them before he at last turned his head to impose his pressing gaze upon her. “Though you very rarely see patients or do any work that would stain your clothes, you’ve continuously dressed in the same manner as those healers outside rather than in a manner befitting your station, as you could just as easily store a disposable set of clothes in this very room should the need arise for them. You are almost always mysteriously absent from court functions, except for those you are required to attend, have little contact with your healers, and even your childhood friends never see you despite the fact that you are now always within the castle walls. You’ve done a spectacular job of making yourself a ghost, Ren.”

    Something in his voice rang alarms in Ceren’s head, and she sat up a little straighter, muscles tense as she looked into his observant eyes. He had a way of gazing at a person as if he could see into their soul, and it was that very look he gave her then. However, before Ceren could utter a peep, he put up a hand, successfully halting the words in her throat. “It’s fine, sister. I will speak plainly. You are Royal Healer now. I fully expect you to act like it. I have allotted your adjustment period, and it has become apparent that you have abused this kindness toward your own selfish whims. Do you not remember our previous conversations? This is not a punishment or the act of a controlling brother. This is a logical decision based on the good of our family. We are the only two remaining heirs to the Stonewater name, and we must work together to not only retain our current position but to rise in power, not only for ourselves, but for our children. It may not be something you have thought of, but as Baron, it is necessitated that I take it into consideration. So, you will wear something nice each day rather than those rags, yes?”

    Once again, Ceren was unable to so much as form a single-syllable response before her brother continued, as calmly and smoothly as if they were discussing nothing more pressing than the weather. “Onto the more important matter… As you know, the royal family was recently demolished all except for your childhood friend, who now finds himself in the position of King and is being pressed by advisors to begin seeking a wife, and you have likewise reached a marriageable age. If our parents were still alive, they would have already started the search for a suitable husband for you, a responsibility that has now fallen to me. I believe a king should do nicely, though it is not something that I can arrange. You would have to do the work yourself. It shouldn’t be too hard, as he is already partial to you due to your years of friendship. There is to be a formal function later this week that should do nicely. Do you understand?”

    Ceren stared at her brother, ever calm as he laid out his scheme, her stomach bottoming out as his expectations were plainly put before her. “Rel—”

    Nyrel narrowed his eyes, a familiar storm appearing in the bottomless depths of his gaze. “Ceren,” he said as he carelessly slid from the bed, completely undoing the tidy neatness that had possessed it before his appearance in the room. “Did you not agree to help me in matters concerning the good of our family?” His words were a quiet caress, careful and calculated as he stepped closer.

    “I did, but this is going too far, Rel. This is different from an arranged marriage. This involves my friend, Elwin. It would be—”

    Her argument was cut off by the sharp sound of the slap that sounded as Nyrel’s hand met her face, the force of the blow turning her head to the side and the stinging bringing unwanted tears to her eyes. “I have given you space, time, and more leeway than most would offer, Ceren. I have attempted to be understanding of your wishes. But I will not negotiate on this, and you will do as I say on this matter. Do you understand?”

    Ceren pressed her lips together as she cradled her smarting cheek and fought back a fresh wave of tears. She once again prayed to the gods, each and every one that may exist, that they bring back the brother from her earliest memories. Before magic and school and the death of their parents and the responsibilities of being Baron Stonewater. And that failing, she prayed for the strength she would need if she ever hoped to heal him. “Well?” He demanded sharply, his façade broken.

    “Yes, Rel,” she whispered.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 04:37am
  • katahdin

    katahdin (100)

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    @ sun spirit

    While the siblings were speaking in the Royal Healer's office, the infirmary had come to life. Lady Aerith, a longtime friend of both Ceren and King Elwin and someone not known for her sense of caution, was once again being carried in to the infirmary by a pair of guards after yet another accident, the fourth time in the past week. The other times had ranged from training accidents to her nearly slicing a finger off when trying to steal some snacks from the kitchen. This time, however, she'd been out hunting and had managed to kill a boar, although not before falling off her horse and breaking her wrist and getting gored by one of the tusks in the leg. To say the least, Aeirth's presence in the infirmary was not enjoyed by the other healers, and a commotion soon broke out, the young hothead insisting that she be treated by Ceren, even though it wasn't necessary.

    The commotion and news that one of his advisers had been injured once again attracted Elwin's attention, the young King leaving an important meeting with his diplomats to head to the infirmary. Once there, he attempted to negotiate with Aerith about letting the normal healers tend to her wounds, although she continued to fuss.

    "They're all hacks, Elwin, you know it. Ceren's the only one here with half a brain, I don't want them touching me." She spat, swatting one of the healer's away with her good hand when they got too close, cradling her injured hand to her chest while the wound on her leg bled onto both her pants and the previously clean cot.

    With a frustrated sigh, Elwin gave in, motioning for one of the healers to fetch Ceren, who happily obliged, not wanting to deal with Aerith. The knock came just before Nyrel raised his hand to hit his sister, the frantic voice of the healer heard shortly after. "Lady Ceren, the King is asking for you.. Lady-" she was cut off briefly by the sound of breaking glass and Aerith cussing and threatening another one of the healers, but she continued once the noise had died down. "Lady Aerith is here again, and she won't let any of us treat her.."
    January 2nd, 2019 at 05:20am
  • sun spirit

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    The furtive conversation came to a still as a series of urgent knocks fell on the door and a voice explained that Ceren was needed outside. Ceren didn't dare drop her gaze from her brother's until Nyrel nodded, dismissing her. With a deep breath, she urged herself to put her brother from her mind and focus on the present. The King... Her heart constricted, but she pushed past it. And Aerith.

    Any sign of tears dried up in her eyes, and Ceren opened her door to the relief of Leywyn, the healer who'd come to fetch her. It'd been like this since her return to the castle... Despite all the years the other healers had tended to Aerith's various injuries, she refused treatment from anyone except Ceren now and tried to give the infirmary a heart attack in the process. "What are the injuries?" Ceren asked Leywyn, ignoring her still stinging cheek, all business now as she escaped her brother's quiet wrath.

    "Her wrist is swollen. A sprain or break--she won't let anyone look to be sure. And a puncture in her thigh, still bleeding, Lady Ceren," Leywyn answered. Perhaps the only good thing to come of Aerith's frequent visits and insistence on being seen by Ceren was that the other healers didn't dare question her. They simply answered her questions and let her work.

    "Thank you." Like a sea, the hovering healers gratefully parted for Ceren as they saw her approach, only Elwin staying at his friend's side. "Aerith, you can't keep doing this," she said gently to her friend as she touched her arm. She let her magic feel for her friend's injuries, discovering that her wrist was, indeed, broken, and that her puncture went deep. "I need bandages, turmeric, willow bark tea, and a honey, ginger, and goldenseal poultice," she added, knowing one of her hovering healers would gather what she needed.

    Ceren used her magic to slow the bleeding and willed the blood to begin clotting, then focused on knitting back together the torn muscles. When she was finished there, the wound looked more like a shallow laceration. She could've closed it up entirely, but she needed her energy for the broken wrist. "This is going to hurt a little," she added by way of warning to her friend, then sent her magic out once again and with a quick pulse, pushed the bones back into alignment. She wrapped the break in bands of warm magic, willing each broken piece to become one. Soon, she felt that each bone was once again whole, though the surrounding tissue was still highly irritated.

    By this point, a healer had returned with Ceren's requested materials. Nyrel, who thus far had stood by and watched his little sister at work, took the tea pot sitting on the cart that had been wheeled over and poured a generous cup of willow bark tea, which he graciously held until it was called for.

    Turmeric was rubbed into the skin of Aerith's swollen wrist and wrapped in bandages so that she couldn't rub it off, then Ceren applied the honey, ginger, and goldenseal poultice gently to her friend's thigh wound, following which she wrapped the leg tightly in bandages. It was a quick, efficient healing. "Don't use your swollen wrist until tomorrow, and don't wash it. The turmeric will take down the swelling and bruising. Come back in the morning to have your leg redressed. And... where's your tea?'

    "I have it," Nyrel offered, smiling at Ceren when she turned and started, apparently startled to find him hovering. He passed the cup to Aerith with a quick, charming smile. "I see why you demand my sister's services. She has certainly earned her place in the palace."
    January 2nd, 2019 at 06:08am
  • katahdin

    katahdin (100)

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    Both Aerith and Elwin looked up when Ceren came, the King sighing in relief and the young woman grinning excitedly. "You should have seen this boar, Cer, it was huge. I could have ridden it around like a horse if I'd wanted." She bragged as her friend addressed the wound in her thigh, not even wincing, used to the pain and feel of being healed by now.

    "Ceren is right. You should have been more careful, Aerith." Elwin interjected with a frown, obviously relieved once the bleeding had stopped. Elwin had known Ceren and Aerith most of his life, and after losing his entire family, the last thing he wanted was to lose one of his closest and most trusted friends.

    "A month ago you would have been jealous." Aerith retorted with a frown, finally wincing once her broken bone was set. "You used to love hunting with me, and now I never see you, it's not fair." She said, whining childishly as Ceren listed the various instructions for her. "Ceren you know I hate the tumeric..:

    "Enough, Aerith. No more fooling around. I've told you already that I'd like to make you one of my advisors, but you wont do me or anyone else any good if you go and get yourself killed." He sighed, running his fingers through his hair in frustration before turning to Ceren. "May I speak with you a moment? I'm sure your brother will keep her from running off." He said as he led the healer away from Aerith's bedside, watching as the girl carefully took the cup of tea from Nyrel, the faintest hint of a blush on her cheeks, although it was hard to tell with her face smeared with mud and blood like it was.

    "Ceren's the only one who doesn't harass me.." Aerith explained before taking a sip of her tea, scrunching up her nose as she promptly burnt her tongue on the hot liquid. Despite her many faults, she was an excellent warrior, well on her way to becoming a general and the Kings Strategic Advisor and the head of his War Council, but at barely 17 she was still a child at heart, and she wasn't quite ready to grow up. It didn't help that many considered it improper to have a woman leading the kingdoms army, and part of her dislike for the other healers came from them voicing their opinions on the matter every time she ended up in the infirmary, which was often.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 06:23am
  • sun spirit

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    As Aerith complained, Ceren frowned, attempting a stern look that she was sure she failed at. It was hard to be too upset with Aerith, not when she was out doing what she loved, no matter what others had to say about it, even if she did wish her friend would be more careful while she was at it. While she couldn't manage stern though, she could manage a knowing smile. "I know. If you want me to stop using it, you'll have to stop coming to me with swollen and broken limbs." It was her passive-aggressive way of trying to curb Aerith's recklessness, using treatments she knew her friend hated. Everything she did was still effective--she wouldn't refuse to treat anyone properly--but she always intentionally chose the more unpleasant options.

    When Elwin turned to her and requested to speak to her, it felt like a rock settled in her stomach, but she swallowed her nerves and nodded with a glance to Nyrel, acting every bit a proper gentleman. "Of course," she answered. Before she followed the king, however, she looked to her friend. "Drink every last bit of that tea. I know it's bitter, but it'll help prevent infection and ease your pain. I expect every drop to be gone when I come back." That last instruction given, she made her way over to Elwin, who'd already created a buffer of semi-privacy for them. "If this is about Aerith, you know I can't talk her out of this anymore than you can. I'm using herbs I know she hates, hoping she'll start taking more caution just to avoid seeing me, but that's all I can do." Remembering that her cheek might still be red from where Nyrel had slapped her, she belatedly and self-consciously pulled some of her hair out from behind her ear so that it obscured part of her face.

    Left with Aerith, Nyrel resisted the urge to watch his sister's every move, to try and move closer so that he could catch snippets of her conversation with the prince. He'd made it clear what she had to do, and whatever they spoke of now, he knew that she would at least be coming out of her hidey-hole later this week. So, he instead focused on Aerith as she muttered about harassment and scrunched her nose after tasting her tea. "Bitter?" he asked. "I saw where they put the honey, if you'd like something." As he looked down at her, his smile was conspiratal. Aerith was closer to the king than anyone else at the moment and if she would focus herself, could easily work her way up the ranks. Despite the whispers and disapproval that surrounded her, Nyrel saw a valuable ally in her.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 06:45am
  • katahdin

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    Elwin sighed as he listened to Ceren, glancing back at her before nodding a little. "I know, Ceren, and you know I'm grateful.. But she's been acting out more than usual lately, you've had to have noticed. And I was hoping that maybe you could speak to her as a friend, not just as a healer." He suggested, looking down at the young girl with a kind smile. Aerith had been taken in by his family when she was just a girl, an orphan, so she was like a sister to him. His father, before his death, had even secretly changed the laws to ensure that she could also inherit the throne, although only Elwin and Aerith had known, but they told Ceren after Elwin had taken the throne. "My family's death must have been hard on her, and she just wont speak to me.. Could you try? For me?" He asked, resting a gentle hand on her arm.

    Aerith's eyes lit up when he mentioned honey, nodding as she glanced around to make sure none of the healers were watching. She'd always had a sweet tooth. "They don't let me in the kitchen anymore cause I kept taking their honey.. But i guess I never considered taking it from here." She grinned mischievously, as if she'd been told a secret she knew she wouldnt be able to keep.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 06:59am
  • sun spirit

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    As Elwin asked his favor, Ceren looked down at her hands, folded in front of her, as well as his hand resting on her arm. "How do you know she would even talk to me though?" she asked softly, showing the side of her personality she never let slip when the other healers were around. If she acted like a scared little girl, they wouldn't respect her or listen to her. She had to be confident, assured, strong. She couldn't be shy or uncertain or quiet. It was all an act--just one of the many things she'd learned at the Academy.

    "I know why you're asking me, El," she added, risking a glance up into his face. She'd lost her parents nearly five years ago, only a few years after she'd first left for the Academy. She had the unique experience of having lost her parents not to sickness or old age or anything natural, but to briggands. He hoped she could offer some insight he didn't have. But... "I've been gone for a long time. I haven't even been back six months, haven't gotten to know you both again. We've all changed in the last seven years. When I left, you were still asking me for help with the work your tutors gave you, and the worst trouble Aerith got into was sneaking into forbidden parts of the castle or climbing trees ten times taller than her. I was just beginning to learn how to be a noble's daughter... Now you're King, Aerith is hell-bent on running herself into the ground doing reckless things, and I'm the best Healer in the kingdom." There wasn't a touch of pride in the statement; she said it as simple fact.
    "Well, they do use it for healing," Nyrel pointed out with a small chuckle. "That said... I'm sure they could spare just a little to sweeten your tea. Stay there." With a quick wink, he drifted away, looking like he was just wandering around and fiddling with herbs, and when he was sure that none of the healers were paying him any attention, picked up the jar of honey. He hid it in his jacket as he made his way back to Aerith, crouching close to her to be sure no one saw them as he removed it and opened the lid. "One dollop or two?"
    January 2nd, 2019 at 07:16am
  • katahdin

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    Elwin smiled kindly as he listened to her, giving her arm a reassuring squeeze. "Yes, things have changed.. A lot. But you two were best friends before you left for the Academy, and I think both of you need a friend right now. I.. I know I've asked a lot of you both, and it isn't necessarily fair of me to do so, but you two are the only people I'm sure I can trust." He let his hand slide down her arm to drop to her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. "If I have asked too much of you, please tell me. You both are my friends, and I don't want to alienate and lose the both of you by asking too much from the both of you without considering your feelings." He explained, looking down at her. It was true that the three had grown apart a bit in Ceren's time at the Academy and after the murder of Elwin's family, but he hoped that now that things had steadied out that they could become close again, as he was hoping to rely on them both to tell him the truth and to keep him level headed in his new position as King.
    Aerith blushed faintly as he winked, watching him wander around avoiding the other healers to get her the honey. She'd never paid much attention to boys, and now that she was two years past the marrying age, many of the older nobility were trying to push her toward marriage, but that was the last thing she wanted. Marrying meant she'd have to submit to her husband, to give up ever being a warrior or general, and her position at Elwin's side if she decided to take it. After all, most people thought it was crazy enough to have a woman leading armies, let alone a married woman, who could be out raising a family. She smiled as he returned, holding out her cup to him with her good hand. "Two, please." She asked, studying Ceren's older brother curiously. She'd never spent much time around him, as he was always off somewhere else doing who knows what. The last time she remembered seeing him, he was much younger and looked rather dorky in her opinion, but now he was a handsome young man.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 05:25pm
  • sun spirit

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    As Elwin took her hand, Ceren cast a furtive look around, making sure they weren’t being watched. Despite her brother’s wishes, she would have to say something. For now though... her heart ached as he laid bare his worries. So she stepped forward and hugged him like she would’ve done before she’d left—with no care for their positions. “You haven’t asked a lot of me. You’ve hardly asked me for anything since I’ve been back, even after your parents... You’ve let me hide here since I’ve been back. If you need someone to talk to, like Aerith, or just to get away from being king, you can come see me you know. I’m completely bored most days.”

    With that, she pulled out of their hug, giving him a shy smile that too soon turned serious. “El, I know I’m the one who hugged you... but you probably shouldn’t act, umm, romantic, with either me or Aerith.” She felt her cheeks warm and knew she had to be blushing. “N-not that I think you have any intentions like that with either of us! I know you just care and you’re a good friend, but you’re the king now and others are watching you’re probably being pressured to marry. You don’t want anyone to be put off because they think you have something with one of us.”
    Nyrel produced a spoon and at Aerith’s request, give her two dollops of honey to stir into her tea. He didn’t bother putting the jar back, but set it aside on the cart that the healers had brought over when Aerith was being treated. He turned his eyes on the girl as she began to drink her bitter brew once more, much more quiet and subdued now. One of the herbs Ceren had used in healing, maybe? She’d certainly kicked up a fuss earlier when she’d demanded the attentions of the young Royal Healer. “You visit the infirmary a lot, so you?” He asked conversationally, not a hint of reproach in his voice—just curiosity.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 06:27pm
  • katahdin

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    Elwin hugged her back, squeezing the smaller girl in his arms for a moment before releasing her. "Thank you, Ceren.. You're a good friend." He smiled, but he was soon blushing as she grew serious and scolded him, laughing a little as he shook his head. "I understand, I apologize, Ceren.. But I don't want things to change between us just because I'm King now. I could hug and be affectionate with my friends before, why shouldn't I be able to do the same now?" He said, ruffling her hair a little as he glanced over to make sure Aerith wasn't causing trouble, happy to see she'd calmed down as she drank her tea. "What did you give her to calm her down?" He asked curiously, wanting to know in case he needed to calm the hothead when Ceren wasn't around. He didn't mind changing the subject, either, not fond of discussing marriage, which the other nobility were pushing him towards, insisting he marry and start producing heirs as soon as possible.
    Aerith hummed a little as she stirred the honey into her tea, gladly drinking it now that it was sweeter, setting the cup down once she was finished, not wanting to be scolded by Ceren for not following her instructions. She nodded at Nyrel's question, looking up at the man as she poked at her bandaged thigh, wondering if it was safe to walk on now. "Yes. It's the only way to see Ceren anymore, she's always locked up in her office. And Elwin is always in meetings. They're both always so busy, and have no time for fun." She huffed, sitting back against the pillows as she stared up at the ceiling. "I wish things were back to the way they were before. Everything was fine then."
    January 2nd, 2019 at 06:38pm
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    Ceren gave him a smile. "You are too. I hope Aerith appreciates it." She wrinkled her nose and hunched uncomfortably when he ruffled her though, resisting the urge to revert back to her eight year old self and stick her tongue out at him. Something about the action was relaxing at the same time though; he wasn't interested in her. He couldn't be. Nyrel couldn't fault her if Elwin just couldn't see her as anything but a friend. "It's just... something my brother mentioned to me, is all." He brought her attention back to Aerith then, who was uncharacteristically calm as she laid on her cot and talked to Nyrel. Ceren frowned a bit, glancing at Elwin. "I didn't. Nothing seems to work on Aerith, so I stopped trying." She'd be worried she missed something in healing her friend, except Aerith looked almost content in a way. "We should probably check on her." Glancing to Elwin to make sure their short conversation was done, she led the way back to their friend.
    Aerith's words prodded Nyrel's interest; perhaps he could interfere here. "Between you and me," he said, leaning against her cot so that it was easier to talk. "Ceren isn't all that busy. The other healers handle a lot by themselves, rather than let her take care of it, and she's bored to death. I think the reason she stays locked up in there is because she feels awkward being back at the castle though. The Academy was her home for the last seven years, and from what she's told me, it's a completely different environment. Nothing so formal and stuffy such as court here. If she stays here, she can still be in her element, even in the castle. I've tried to get her out, to attend some function and reacclimate herself, but of course she doesn't want to do all this with her big brother. Maybe if it were you and Elwin who were getting her out of that office, she'd have more fun and get used to being back at the castle." As he noticed an approaching figure, Nyrel looked up to find it was Ceren, and quickly amended to Aerith with a brotherly smile, "Just food for thought."
    January 2nd, 2019 at 07:24pm
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    Elwin chuckled, nodding a little as he headed back over with her to Aerith's cot. "I've seen her get this way when she's had too many honey tarts from the kitchen.. But I don't suppose you keep any of those in the infirmary, do you?" He asked with a smile before turning his attention to Aerith and Nyrel. It wasn't that he wasn't interested in Ceren, in fact, he'd had a crush on her for a while, and had things not gone the way they had, if he wasn't King and his family had lived, he might have asked for her hand when she came back from the Academy. But, now that he was King, he needed her friendship more than anything, and didn't dare risk losing it by pursuing her romantically, in case it ended poorly.

    "So, Aerith, are you feeling better?" Elwin asked, grabbing her hand to keep her from picking at the bandage on her leg, which she had already loosened a bit. "The Baron isn't boring you, is he?"

    Aerith had been listening to Nyrel with furrowed brows, thinking over what he was saying. It sounded like a plausible explanation to her, but it also sounded like he was trying to weasel into Ceren's business, something she didn't approve of. Before she could say anything though, Elwin and Ceren were back, and Elwin was speaking to her.

    "Yes, I'm feeling better. Thank you, Ceren." She said with fake politeness, although she was teasing, and really did appreciate what her friend did for her. She shrugged a little when she was asked about Nyrel, reaching for the spoon in the honey pot before plopping it into her mouth, sucking the sweetness from it. "He's fine." She mumbled around her mouthful, smiling innocently at Ceren, knowing she'd be reprimanded for eating medical supplies.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 07:42pm
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    "Not unless someone brought them in today, and I just haven't noticed," Ceren said, answering Elwin's smile with one of her own, which only faded to frustration when she realized what Aerith had been up to. While Elwin held Aerith's hand, Ceren undid the loosened bandages and tightened them up again. Of course, she looked up to find Aerith holding the infirmary's jar of honey, a spoon in her mouth, and could only sigh at the look her friend gave her. "If you really want to thank me, stop hurting yourself," she said, taking the honey.

    "Just doing my part to ensure she doesn't jump out of bed, Your Majesty," Nyrel ensured Elwin, and sensing something was going on with the trio, reached out and took the honey jar from Ceren. At the look she gave him, he explained, "I'll just put this back where I found it and make myself scarce. I suspect my presence is no longer needed here." He paused to give Aerith one last conspiratal wink, then did as he said he would.

    With Nyrel out of the room, Ceren felt like she could breathe a little easier. "Aerith," she started, looking down at her friend. "I don't know what's going on with you, but you can't keep doing this. Every time you come in here, you're wounded a little worse, and one day you're going to come to me with something I can't fix. You'll be on death's doorstep, and I won't be able to work fast enough, or you'll already be dead, and I can't heal death." She crouched next to Aerith so they were eye-level, her expression perfectly serious. "I know... I know we aren't as close as we used to be, but you're still my friend. Imagine how you'd feel if Elwin or I died. That's how we'd feel if we lost you. And none of us have our parents anymore. We have to take care of each other now."
    January 2nd, 2019 at 08:02pm
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    Aerith frowned as Nyrel disappeared with her honey and Ceren adjusted the bandages on her leg, looking between her two friends. Her frown only deepened as Ceren spoke, looking at her with tears welling in her eyes, a look that was a mix of anger and sadness appearing on her face. "When you came back, I tried to come visit every day, but you kept telling me you were too busy with important matters to talk to me, and to leave you alone and you'd talk to me later." She frowned, looking up at Elwin, pointing an accusatory finger at him. "And the same thing happened with him. He said he was King and was too busy dealing with things I couldn't possibly understand the importance of, and that he'd talk to me later."

    She sniffled, looking between the two of them. Sure, she sounded childish, but that was what she was at heart, a child, who had lost her family and felt as if she'd lost her friends all at the same time. "But later never came. So this is the only way I get to see either of you anymore, and I'm sorry for not considering that you were still my friends and cared, as you certainly haven't been acting like it." She snapped, crossing her arms stubbornly over her chest as she stared angrily across the room, not meeting either of their eyes.

    Elwin frowned as he listened, opening his mouth to interject a few times, although Aerith cut him off every time. He looked to Ceren worriedly, feeling incredibly guilty for having not realized how Aerith had been feeling all this time, knowing that he had caused her unnecessary pain. "Aerith.. I'm sorry.. I didn't realize.." He started, unsure of what to say to the girl who he considered a sister.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 08:18pm
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    Aerith's words felt like a spear to Ceren's heart, and she tried to blink back the answering tears she felt trying to form in her eyes as well. She... she had no idea she'd hurt her friend this way and any excuse, even the complete truth, didn't seem good enough. She hated herself for doing this to Aerith and worried maybe Elwin felt similarly, even though he was busy--that she didn't have time and didn't care anymore.

    And the worst part was that she really had been busy at first, but she hadn't made it up to Aerith once things calmed down. She'd let this happen. "Oh, Aerith, I'm so sorry. I'm horrible. I'll come visit you everyday and you can tell me you're busy. I'll kiss a frog or do anything you want to make it up to you," she promised, clutching her friend's good hand. She meant it--every word.

    She, Aerith, and Elwin had been inseparable when they were children. They adventured the castle together, snuck out of it, had sleepovers... they'd been inseperable. And she guessed it never occurred to her that either of them, after not seeing her for seven years, would still consider her to be that close anymore. Not when she didn't still feel close to them the same way she used to be.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 08:35pm
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    Aerith cast a brief glance at Ceren as she spoke, eyes softening a bit, although she was still upset, so she looked away again, waiting for Elwin to apologize before she decided whether to forgive them or not.

    Elwin also knelt at Aerith's side, placing on of his hands over Ceren's on her good hand, looking at her apologetically. "I'm sorry, Aerith, for treating you the way that I did.. You're like my sister, hell, you are my sister, and I never intentionally meant to hurt you. I promise I'll make it up to you. I'll tell the kitchen to give you all the honey tarts you want, and I'll wake up early to train with you, just like we used to." He promised, meaning every word. "I'll even be the one who holds the target for archery practice, and I won't complain if you "miss" and hit me."

    At this, Aerith glanced over at both of them again, which earned a smile from Elwin, knowing that she'd chosen to forgive them. "We are both truly, truly sorry, Aerith. Please forgive us?"

    Aerith was silent for a few more minutes, as if contemplating it before she nodded, sitting up to press a kiss to each of their cheeks. "Ceren, I'll bring you the best frog I have, and I expect it to be a good kiss. Elwin, I accept your offer, but also request that I get to wear your crown when I want, and that you tell Baron Naegeiros that if he ever says anything rude about me again, I'll send him and all his friends to the front lines, as infantrymen, not some stuffy nobles who just sit on horses and watches the war as it happens. Oh, and tell him to kiss my ass." She decided, sitting back against the pillows once she was satisfied, her requests earning a hearty laugh from Elwin, who pulled his two lifelong friends into a hug. "Agreed."
    January 2nd, 2019 at 08:47pm
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    Ceren thought she saw something in Aerith's eyes, but she was disheartened when her friend turned her head again. Elwin came to the rescue before Ceren could continue though, offering his own apology and penance, and when Aerith looked at them again, the healer held her breath, waiting.

    The worry transformed into a smile as her cheek was kissed and she informed she would be kissing Aerith's best frog. "Of course," she agreed, chuckling softly as her friend negotiated with Elwin on his terms. And just like that... it seemed everything was good again. She suspected Aerith would still be upset for a little longer, but they'd all agreed to work on being better, and just maybe there wouldn't be any more need for healing daily.

    Ceren felt more at home as she was hugged by her friends than she had in the months since she'd come back to the castle, and she held onto them, unwilling to let the moment. When finally they all pulled back, she smiled at them. "You can't have any doubt I love you now," she told Aerith. "I'm giving up my first kiss to a frog for you, even though I'm pretty sure your best frog really means your worst."
    January 2nd, 2019 at 08:58pm
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    Aerith hugged her friends back just as tight, happy to be on good terms with them again. Although, Ceren was right, she would be upset for a little while longer, and use it to milk some more favors from the both of them out of it. She grinned sheepishly at Ceren, patting her hand reassuringly. "Theseus is the best at being the worst." She snickered, giving her friend's hand a little squeeze.

    Elwin laughed, pressing a kiss to the troublesome girl's forehead. "I'm not sure if I can use the exact words you want me to, but I will speak with Baron Naegeiros for you.. And I'm assuming you will be taking the position that I offered you?" He asked, hoping that she'd agree.

    Aerith nodded, giving both of her friends hands a squeeze. "Yes, Elwin. I'll take the position.. I want to wear the fancy uniform and get to tell old men who think they're better than me what to do." She grinned, sitting up to swing her legs over the edge of the bed, tentatively testing to see if her leg would support her, and was very pleased to find out it did, with little to no discomfort. "Thanks again, Ceren, this leg is better than it was before." She beamed, beginning to wander around the infirmary, hoping to find where Nyrel had disappeared to with the honey pot.

    Elwin chuckled as he watched her, running his fingers through his hair. "She's a piece of work.. But I'm glad that everything's been sorted out.. Although now I'll have to prepare for the ceremony making her General, and there's that awful ball at the end of the week.." He sighed. He'd enjoyed balls and functions as a child, but now that he was king, he never got to enjoy them, instead having to schmooz and play the diplomat instead of having fun.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 09:15pm
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    (poor Aerith. Nyrel put up the honey and left lol)

    Ceren groaned dramatically. "Just let me get it over with soon," she pleaded, not questioning the fact that Aerith was on a first name basis with the best-worst frog in the kingdom. And she was too relieved at having sorted things out to be truly upset at the prospect of kissing Theseus.

    As Aerith got up and walked around, Ceren watched her carefully, making sure that nothing went wrong, but it appeared that her friend was just fine. The muscle had all healed right. "I don't know about that," she smiled, "but you should only have a scratch now. Just keep those bandages there, and it'll heal fine." She watched as Aerith wandered, having a good guess what she was looking for, but as Elwin spoke, she turned her attention to him. Some part of her had expected him to get back to work once everything was sorted out, just like usual, but he was lingering.

    That awful ball... that was what Nyrel expected her to go to. "Aerith and I could come and keep you company," she offered. "It would be just the three of us like old times, and knowing Aerith, there'll be trouble. No chance of it being boring then." She knew she probably shouldn't volunteer Aerith too, but she just didn't have the courage to offer herself up alone.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 09:36pm