Say No To This

  • katahdin

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    Elwin nodded a little, looking over at her as he squeezed her hand a little. "No, there's no need to apologize.. You're doing a wonderful job, and I can't wait to see what Aerith does to cause a scene." He laughed, smiling down at her as he offered his hand to her.

    "So, let me give you that dance I promised you, even if it was to get that woman to leave me alone." He chuckled a little, heading toward the dance floor.
    "That's what I thought too, but Elwin says that sometimes the best strategy is peace, and for peace one needs to be polite, and therefore strategy requires politeness." Aerith explained with a small smile, taking a few sips from her glass of wine as he sipped his. "You are charming, I suppose.. But as Ceren can attest, the last thing that charmed me was a frog.." She laughed at the thought, looking over at him before glancing around the the ballroom.

    "So, why are you standing talking with the obvious crazy person when you could be busy charming the many other beautiful women in this room?"
    January 3rd, 2019 at 06:25am
  • sun spirit

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    Ceren gave Elwin a dubious look, fairly certain that he wasn't exactly having fun, though it soon relaxed into a smile. His ability to reassure her, sometimes without seeming to realize she needed it and doing it so effortlessly, was an ability he'd possessed since they were children. He just always made her feel more self-assured somehow. "I'm betting she disappeared back to her room and she'll scare all these girls away with Theseus," she told him with a small, taking his offered hand.

    The moment he mentioned dancing though, her eyes widened. "N-no, Elwin, wait!" If he heard her arguments though, it was only after they stood facing each other in the middle of the crowd. "El, I don't know how to dance," she whispered urgently to him. She couldn't even begin to guess where to put her hands, and she scanned him as if his body would reveal the answer.
    Nyrel chuckled at the explanation, nodding. "That sounds boring, but I suppose it's better than starting wars," he amended with a small shrug. The natural smile he wore sharpened into a look of confusion when she mentioned being charmed by a frog though. "It must have been an extremely charming frog indeed, then," he settled on, unsure that he really wanted to ask.

    Her question to him brought a smile to his face. "Ah, that's easy," he said breezily. "For one, I suppose I should clarify that I don't think you're crazy. Unusual, but this kingdom could use the fun. Secondly, the many other beautiful women surrounding us are, unfortunately, not interested in being charmed currently. They all have their eyes set on the young king and are hoping they will be the next queen. As a lowly Baron, I am rendered uninteresting."
    January 3rd, 2019 at 06:49am
  • katahdin

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    Elwin led her to the dance floor, ignoring the obvious stares from the other women that were present at the ball. Not many others were moving out to the dance floor considering how few eligible men there were. He smiled down at her reassuringly, adjusting her hand so that it rested on his shoulder, while his hand moved to rest on her waist, his free hand taking hers.

    "It's alright," He reassured her softly, smiling kindly. "It's easy, not tricky at all, just follow me. I'll lead you." He said, squeezing her hand reassuringly before the music started and he set off, leading her in in the dance.
    Aerith scrunched her nose when she mentioned all the women in here having their eyes on the king, laughing softly at the thought of any of them being queen. "They'll all be disappointed. The only people who could ever be queen in this room are Ceren and I, and Ceren's the only one who could become queen through marriage." She explained, shrugging a little as she sipped her wine, looking around the room somewhat boredly as the few couples that were present began to dance.
    January 3rd, 2019 at 07:13am
  • sun spirit

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    It was only her trust in Elwin--that he was telling the truth and wouldn't steer her wrong--that kept Ceren on the dance floor with him. Had it been any other man, she doubted she would've gotten as far as figuring out hand placement. Here she was about to dance with Elwin though. "Okay, I'll try," she replied, letting out a nervous breath and squeezed his hand back.

    The music, when it started, wasn't exactly slow, but she suspected Elwin intentionally slowed down the dance so that she wouldn't struggle to keep up with him. His hand in hers and the one at her waist sort of acted as anchors, gently tugging her towards him so that she was always following where he stepped, and though her steps were halting and awkward, especially compared to how easily he moved, it went far smoother than she expected it to. Enough so that she even felt like she could pull her eyes from making sure her feet followed his and give him a quick smile.
    Well, that piqued his interest... Nyrel tilted his head at Aerith. "What makes you say that?" he asked curiously, hoping the inquiry sounded innocent enough. "Shouldn't it be the other way around? He and Ceren are just childhood friends. The other women are here because they're interested in potentially marrying him. I've talked to a few now, and putting aside the more self-centered ones, there are some genuinely nice women here, if he would give one a chance." There was also her comment about her being able to become queen but not through marriage, but Nyrel mentally filed that information away to be explored later. And though the dancing had begun, he found this conversation far too interesting for him to leave it.
    January 3rd, 2019 at 07:31am
  • katahdin

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    Elwin carefully led her around the dance floor as the music played, humming softly to himself as he kept time, making sure he wouldn't lead her astray, and would rather embarrass himself than embarrass her. He did his best to cover her lack of dancing skill, keeping her close and expertly maneuvering them around the room.

    He smiled down at her as they danced. "You're an excellent dancer, Ceren." He praised as he carefully spun her around, grinning as he brought her back toward him.
    Aerith shook her head a little, finishing her glass of wine and passing the empty cup off to a waiter before continuing her conversation with Nyrel. "Elwin's in love with her." She stated simply when he asked about the other women. "I'm sure they're nice, but that doesn't really do much when Elwin's only got eyes for Ceren." She shrugged a little before looking back at him.

    "Not that I'm not enjoying our conversation.. But I'm not enjoying our conversation, or the ball for that matter, and plan on leaving to go cause trouble somewhere else." She stated simply, looking up at him. "I'm sure you'll have more fun now that you know you can have any woman here." She teased.
    January 3rd, 2019 at 07:48am
  • sun spirit

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    Ceren wasn't expecting the spin, but she kept her balance, largely due to Elwin's careful hold on her, and her eyes were wide as she was pulled back toward him. She wasn't entirely conscious of it, but there was even a happy smiling playing at her lips as she looked up into his eyes. "You mean you're an excellent dancer," she argued without losing her smile. "I still have no idea what I'm doing." She had to admit though... now that she was relaxing a little, it was kind of fun. At some point, she'd even stopped wishing Aerith would show up and help lighten the mood.
    Aerith's statement, said so clearly that it was as if she thought it was common knowledge, shocked Nyrel into silence. Though he had known Ceren was close with Elwin, it was in the same way that he had known she was close with Aerith. That Ceren or Elwin either might have feelings for the other had never honestly crossed his mind. Still, he couldn't help but think it was an extraordinary stroke of luck. If what Aerith said was true, Nyrel needn't have even intervened on his sister's behalf.

    These thoughts were interrupted as Aerith spoke again though, and he focused his gaze back on her, chuckling a bit as she apparently took his request to heart and did away with politeness, instead informing him bluntly that she was essentially bored of his presence. "Go forth and raise this ball to your standards," he intoned formally, raising his wine glass with a smirk. After taking a sip from it, he chuckled. "Only if she's willing to have me," he countered and finished his wine. "But thanks to you, hope is restored."
    January 3rd, 2019 at 08:09am
  • katahdin

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    Aerith grinned at Nyrel, taking a courtesy before disappearing into the crowd, although not before she heard one of the many women in the room walk up to him and ask how his conversation with "the freak" had gone, the woman laughing as she sipped her wine. The hothead clenched her fists angrily, aware of the various odd looks and whispers about her as she walked through the crowd. She was used to it, sure, and had gotten in more than a few spats over it when she was younger, but nowadays she only fought with people when it concerned her ability to assist Elwin or what people thought she should be doing with her life, not little nicknames like "freak" and "loon."

    But, for some reason, hearing someone say it to Nyrel pissed her off, and the thought of him agreeing made her stomach drop. She didn't understand why she cared about his opinion of her, or why she got so nervous when she was around him, or why her stomach had filled with butterflies when he looked at her and smiled, but she did know that she didn't want some hussy talking about her behind her back.

    So, as she wandered around the ballroom, she carefully dropped the little firecrackers she had prepared throughout the room, careful to avoid placing them near any of the guards or near where Elwin and Ceren might go, and, although she thought very briefly that she might have gone too far, managed to "accidentally" bump into the woman who had been talking to Nyrel, leaving one of the little, mostly harmless explosives attached to the back of her dress. She then ascended the staircase which led back to the royal quarters and stood on the balcony, as if surveying the field before a battle, before she snapped her fingers, grinning as her eyes lit up with the various sparks that soon filled the room.
    Elwin grinned as he saw her smile, knowing it was the first genuine smile he'd seen from her in weeks, maybe even years. He chuckled a little at her modesty, shaking his head. "If I were doing all of the work, you would be standing on my toes as we danced. You're better than you give yourself credit for, even if you dont know everything." He smiled kindly. Dancing with Ceren filled his chest with warmth, but also made him terribly nervous, as he realized maybe he did want to risk ruining their friendship after all, if it meant that he might get to have Ceren by his side as more than just a friend.

    As the music slowed so did he, looking down into her eyes as he suddenly grew more serious, his nerves showing in the way he squeezed her hands and darted his tongue out over his lips briefly. "Ceren, I-" He started, but was interrupted by loud cracks and pops and flashes of light coming from various places around the room, the King quickly pulling Ceren to his chest as if to shield her from an explosion, squeezing his eyes shut momentarily as he expected the worst. Although when he spotted a certain friend of his looking rather calm despite the sound of screaming and people fleeing the room, he took a closer look. Firecrackers. Aerith had set firecrackers off in the ballroom.
    January 3rd, 2019 at 07:14pm
  • sun spirit

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    Aerith hadn't yet disappeared from sight when, to Nyrel's surprise, he was approached by a woman. Her question regarding Aerith irritated him, though he was sure his friendly smile didn't betray as much. "Well, it just started, but I can already tell I'll have to end it soon." Usually, he wasn't half so rude to anyone, but the girl had gotten on his nerves, and besides, her father was only a minor duke who already hated him for no reason. "Perhaps you should look in the mirror before spreading ridiculous rumors about others," he advised when her face turned blood-red from his first comment and walked away before he could catch an earful about what he'd said.

    Even if she didn't act or dress traditionally, Nyrel was disgusted with how shallow the buffoons around him were. He'd only had two short conversations with her in the past week, and he could already tell that she was extremely observant and a natural at strategy. Using repeated injuries to get the attention of both her friends was a little childish but admittedly smart. With age and experience, he could imagine that she would be a great General and already knew that Elwin had made a smart choice when he'd appointed her. Her differences meant the rest of the nobles underestimated her, but Nyrel had no doubt she'd turn it on them one day, if she ever got it in her head to.

    Nyrel was standing out on the balcony, considering everything he'd learned that night and his behavior toward the girl that had insulted Aerith when suddenly his ears were filled with a series of consecutive pops from behind, almost as if explosives were going off in the ballroom. When he turned, gray-blue eyes wide, it was to witness chaos. Women and men alike were running and screaming while brightly colored flashes exploded around their feet. No one looked as if they were hurt though, and there was--almost--no fire. He realized firecrackers had been set off in the crowd around the same time his eyes moved from the bewildered guards and his sister wrapped in the king's embrace to Aerith standing at the top of a staircase with the world's most satisfied grin on her face.

    Well, he'd essentially given his blessing to whatever mischief she'd wanted to make... Now standing in the doorway of the balcony, Nyrel just shook his head, and when he caught Aerith's eyes, raised his mostly-empty wine glass to her.
    As Elwin grinned down at her, Ceren couldn't help but give him a curious look, wondering if maybe she'd said something funny... "I'm just trying to keep up with you and not stomp on your feet," she assured him, though it was followed by a soft "thanks" because she knew he was trying to compliment her. The song was coming to an end, the dance slowing even more than the slower pace Elwin had set for them, and Ceren looked up at him in response to her name when chaos suddenly erupted throughout the room. Elwin shocked her when he pulled her into him almost as soon as it started, almost as if his first instinct had been to protect her, but she pulled away, knowing they needed to run if something was happening--especially him. Though Aerith would become queen if he died, he was the last of the royal line.

    But she realized dimly, as guests ran from the ballroom in a panic, that there wasn't any attack or even danger, just Aerith. Ceren let out a breath, looking up at Elwin with a small smile. "I told you she'd make things interesting." Then, realizing how few people were left standing in the ballroom, she sighed. "Aer," she called, finding her friend standing on the stairs leading to the royal chambers and looking to be enjoying herself. "I'm leaving Elwin with you to clean this up. I have a feeling they're going to need me at the infirmary." Since Aerith usually wasn't in the business of getting anyone except herself hurt, Ceren doubted there'd be many injuries, but everyone would be freaked out and even if they didn't think to get checked out at the infirmary, she was sure there would a call for something to soothe the nerves throughout most of the crowd, and because there was almost never any need for healers at this hour, there was only one person in the infirmary at that moment. They'd need help.
    January 3rd, 2019 at 11:02pm
  • katahdin

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    Elwin sighed deeply, knowing he would have a lot of apologize to issue for Aerith's behavior. He looked down at Ceren as she spoke, chuckling a little. "Yeah, this is interesting alright." He mumbled before looking up at where his General stat on the railing of the balcony, swinging her legs childishly, as if to feign innocence, grinning at Nyrel as he raise his glass to her before she looked back down at Ewlin when he addressed her.

    "Aerith, have you gone insane?" He asked, knowing he at the very least needed to attempt to scold her to appease the nobles who he knew would complain. He frowned when Ceren said she had to leave, nodding a little, knowing it was for the best despite wishing their evening could have continued. "Good luck, Ceren.. If you need anything, just ask." He said, giving her arm a reassuring squeeze before turning to Aerith as she came down to stand next to Elwin.

    "Sorry, Elwin. But Nyrel said I could do whatever I wanted to make the ball interesting, so did Ceren." She pouted, but knew that he had to scold her in order to keep all the stuffy old nobles on their side. "I promise I won't set off firecrackers in the ball again."
    January 3rd, 2019 at 11:30pm
  • sun spirit

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    As Elwin began to fuss at Aerith and people rushed in to take care of things, Nyrel slipped out of the ballroom. He didn't go far, however, lingering in the halls outside, having decided to wait on Aerith. It wasn't for any particular reason... other nobles and courtiers he talked to for appearances, to keep on good terms. He rarely found someone he honestly enjoyed having a conversation with, and in the past couple of days, he'd come to realize Aerith was one such person, with the added bonus that she didn't expect him to kiss her ass.
    "I will," Ceren promised, though she knew the chances of that happening were slim to none. "Good luck, yourself. You know where to find me if you need anything," she added, and acting on a whim, stepped forward to kiss his cheek. She left before anymore could be said between them, letting him stay behind to fuss at Aerith while she went to take care of the infirmary.

    As she walked down the hallway, there was an odd warmth in Ceren that she didn't quite know what to do with. Its origin and the feeling itself consumed her mind the entire way to the infirmary, but she put it away when she saw the patients waiting and paused only to change into her scrubs before she jumped in to help Taliesin with the crowd.

    At the end of it all, she'd only had to deal with one injury in the whole bunch, a woman who'd had a firecracker pinned to the back of her dress, and even then, she was more embarrassed than anything, her dressing having caught on fire. Someone had put it out by drenching her with a pitcher of water, and she'd suffered burns on the backs of her legs. Otherwise, there were some with imaginary injuries they'd wanted checked out and needed to be reassured there was nothing wrong with them other than a bit of shock. There was lots of chamomile tea given out and herbs sent with maids to help calm people down.

    It was the biggest crowd Ceren had seen since starting as Royal Healer, and the reactions she'd had weren't encouraging. There were multiple times she gave someone what they needed only for that same person to approach Taliesin, questioning if she had been right. Others asked if she was old enough to be working as a healer and looked at her distrustfully when she explained she as actually the Royal Healer. Taliesin was called in here as well, to confirm this as truth, and it slowed things down overall. It was frustrating, the way she'd had to fight to show the other healers her skill and knowledge so they'd listen to her and the way she now had to fight with patients to believe her. She'd thought her skill was enough, but sometimes she couldn't help but wonder if it really was.
    January 4th, 2019 at 03:31am
  • katahdin

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    Elwin ran a hand over in frustration as Aerith spoke, waving his hand dismissively when one of the guards asked if she should be taken to the dungeons. "She'll just raise this place to the ground if we do that... No. Aerith, go back to your quarters. No where else. You're not allowed out of your rooms until I've sorted everything out and made sure none of these girls fathers expect me to cut off your head." He stated, asking the guard to kindly make sure she got where she was supposed to be going, much to Aerith's disappointment.

    She huffed as she walked out of the room, dragging her feet as the guard accompanying her told her to hurry up and stop playing games. She glared at the man, about to say something rather rude when she spotted Nyrel loitering in the hallway, surprised to see him here still. "Waiting on someone special?" She teased, although she assumed that he was simply waiting for one of the women who still lingered in the ballroom, not imagining he could be waiting for her.
    Once Elwin had given the orders to have everything cleaned up and everyone attended to he returned to his quarters, gladly changing out of the beautiful but stuffy garments he'd had to wear, changing into a night shirt and pants before slumping into his favorite chair by the fire, hoping sleep would come to him easily, although these days it rarely did.

    When he realized sleep wouldnt come any time soon he sent for Ceren and some sleeping medicine, knowing that whatever she gave him usually did the trick.
    January 4th, 2019 at 08:14am
  • sun spirit

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    When Aerith appeared, it was with a guard on her tail—one who didn’t appear to be enjoying his job at that moment. “I thought I would wait and see the aftermath of your little show,” he explained with a chuckle. His eyes flickered back to the guard. “Elwin isn’t so cross he’s sending you to the dungeons, is he?” The question was asked lightly, obviously a joke. Aerith got away with far too much for him to believe that a couple of firecrackers would be Elwin’s breaking point.
    The request came so late that Ceren had already sent Taliesin home and changed into her nightgown. She wasn’t quite in bed yet, but she was definitely getting ready to be, her long, blonde hair pulled out of its braid and falling around her shoulders in golden curls. This didn’t stop her from sending the messenger on his way though, guessing he had to be tired as well, then making the sleep aid for Elwin and heading to his room to deliver it herself.

    Standing outside his door with a small vial in one hand and a glass in the other, Ceren knocked politely and waited for him to call that she could come in before she opened the door. When she did, she found him dressed for bed as well, sitting beside the fireplace with a book in his lap. “Hey. I brought you a glass of warm milk with a little bit of honey in it and something else, if it’s a dire case.” The milk and honey was something her dad had taught her years ago and a method that still worked for her if she couldn’t sleep, but she’d still wanted to be prepared with a backup.
    January 4th, 2019 at 08:32am
  • katahdin

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    Aerith grinned sheepishly as he asked about the guard, holding her arms out and placing her wrists together, as if she were wearing handcuffs. "I am under house arrest for the foreseeable future, or at least until everyone who is mad at me is no longer mad, which means forever." She explained rather dramatically, although her stopping to demonstrate was getting on the guard's nerves, as it was quite late, and so he gave her another jab with the butt end of his halberd to get her moving again, earning a glare from the girl. She reluctantly continued on her way, not wanting to make more of a fuss when she knew she'd given Elwin plenty to deal with.
    Elwin looked up when Ceren came in, offering her a kind smile as he sat up a bit to take the glass from her. "Thank you, Ceren. I know it's late, and you've had a tough few hours and you're probably ready for bed, but I appreciate you bringing me this." He said before taking a few gulps of his milk, relaxing as the warm sweet liquid settled in his stomach.

    "I hope Aerith's tricks didn't cause you too many problems." He said after a while as he stood, setting his book aside as he walked over to his bed, setting his nearly finished glass of milk down on the nightstand before tugging the blankets on his bed back to get ready for bed.
    January 4th, 2019 at 04:16pm
  • sun spirit

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    “Ah,” Nyrel nodded. “I wish you the best of luck.” It was obvious that Aerith couldn’t stop for a chat, and he’d essentially wasted his time. Before he took his leave, however, he put a hand on the guard’s shoulder, halting their little procession once more. It earned him an annoyed look, but Nyrel spoke before the guard could. “If I were you, I’d remember that this is you new General you’re escorting. She may be in trouble, but she still holds that title, and she holds the power to make your life a living hell hen her house arrest ends.” With that helpful warning given, Nyrel winked to Aerith and stepped back to let the two continue on their way.
    [line
    Elwin’s worry brought a little smile to Ceren’s face. “No, it’s okay, El. This is what friends—and Royal Healers—are for. Besides, I’m sure you had the tougher end of everything tonight.” She still stood near the chair at the fireplace when he pulled back the covers on his bed as if he were about to climb in with her standing there. “I guess that means the milk and honey worked,” she smiled, happy that her dad’s old trick could help someone else. She stepped forward to place the vial she held on the nightstand beside his milk. “If you need this, two drops in your milk or a glass of water. Don’t use more than two though,” she warned. They were standing close again, albeit in a very different setting from earlier that night, and an echo of the warmth Ceren had felt then returned. “El, what was it you were going to say to me at the ball?” She hesitated, unsure if he would even remember, and quickly added, “It seemed important.”
    January 4th, 2019 at 05:31pm
  • katahdin

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    Aerith was surprised as Nyrel stood up for her, blushing faintly as he winked at her, that same warm feeling she had felt earlier when he had given her the honey returning, along with the butterflies in her stomach. She grinned a little when she saw the guard stammering and stuttering, reaching out to grab his halberd from him before he had a chance to protest. "As your General, I'm appointing Baron Ashwick here as your temporary replacement. You are free to go." She stated as she held the halberd out to Nyrel, waiting for him to accept it before shooing the guard off with her hands. The guard, although reluctant at first, decided not to push his luck, and turned and hurried off down the hall, intending on having a large cup of ale before bed.

    Aerith turned back to Nyrel, grinning a little. "The job ends once I get to my room where my house arrest will begin, but until then, it's your duty to get me there."
    Elwin chuckled a little as she spoke about her job as both Royal Healer and friend, nodding as he adjusted the pillows the way that he liked them. The maids always made a big fuss about placing fancy sheets and pillows and blankets on his bed, but every time the fancy but useless pillows ended up on the floor in favor of the 'plain' ones he favored. "I'm sure both of us had it equally rough, and it was all Aerith's doing, as usual." He said teasingly, before nodding at her instructions for the sleeping medicine. "Understood. Two drops, and two drops only."

    He looked up from what he was doing when Ceren stepped close again, tensing a little as she spoke of their conversation earlier, suddenly feeling rather bashful and nervous. He had been about to tell her how he felt about her, but he wasn't sure if she'd want to hear it, afraid it would hurt their friendship. He offered her a kind smile, reaching to tuck a strand of her pretty blonde hair behind her ear, letting his hand linger against her cheek. "I'm.. I'm just very glad that you're my friend, Ceren.. I don't know what I would do without you." He finally decided on the words, knowing that they weren't a lie, but weren't the whole truth either.
    January 4th, 2019 at 09:35pm
  • sun spirit

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    Nyrel had already gotten a few steps away when Aerith suddenly took the soldier's halberd and informed him that he was no longer needed. Nyrel held the halberd slightly away from his body, his nose scrunched a little in distaste, his handling of it betraying that he'd never before held one, but he didn't try to argue his way out of the situation, instead sighing as the soldier hurried away. When he looked to Aerith, it was to find her grinning at him. "It's Baron Stonewater of Ashwick, actually," he corrected lightly.

    He considered the halberd again, then shrugged and dropped it to the floor. Turning to Aerith, he smiled. "Well, it seems I've been recruited. Lead the way, General." He had no idea where her room was, so it wasn't as if he'd be leading the way there.
    “It wasn’t too bad,” Ceren chuckled. “There was only one injury, so most of it was just reassuring everyone and giving them something for their nerves. I just went to help because I knew Taliesin was there on his own.” Now that it was over, she suspected it would’ve been easier on Taliesin had she not come, but she didn’t mention it to Elwin. He worried about her too much as it was, and it was something she needed to figure out on her own.

    Ceren looked up into Elwin’s face, studying his expression to get some hint of what he’d wanted to say, some part of her suspecting it was serious and unsure whether to think it was good or bad. He looked so serious, really considering it, that it worried her, though some part of her relaxed a bit when he reached out and tucked her hair behind her ear. “I’m glad that you’re my friend too, Elwin.” Acting on instinct, she stepped forward and wrapped him in a hug.

    But then the strangest thing happened. Everything that had happened since she’d come back to the castle seemed to converge, and she realized that she couldn’t do this. And more than anything else she couldn’t do, she couldn’t do what Nyrel wanted. Jeopardizing what she already had with Elwin on her brother’s whim, no matter the consequences of saying no to him. Especially not with how Elwin relied so heavily on her and Aerith both with his parents dead. The tears were dripping down her face before she knew it. “I-I’m leaving the castle. I can’t be Royal Healer,” she blurted out. “Aerith’s the only patient I’ve had so far who hasn’t questioned me or gone to someone else to make sure I know what I’m doing. And I’m only fifteen and even I can’t believe I’m in charge either. And I missed both of you while I was gone but it feels weird being back and I still think there’s more I could learn. Like from the tribe in the Northern Territory. They know so much, and if I stayed with them, I could learn even more so when I did come back, I’d be older and even better.”
    January 5th, 2019 at 12:41am
  • katahdin

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    Aerith gave a little shrug when she was corrected about his name, catching the halberd before it hit the ground before continuing down the hall, not waiting to see if he followed her or not. "Titles aren't important. It's what you do that counts. For all I care, your name could be Baron Nyrel Stonewater of Asswipe, and it wouldn't change my mind about what kind of person I think you are." She stated rather simply, humming a little as she walked through the halls of the royal apartments with him. At the very end were Elwin's rooms, the fanciest in the palace, fit for a King, of course, and nearby but not quite as far down were Aerith's and the nearby those were Ceren's, although Ceren never really used her rooms, preferring to sleep near the infirmary. It was a beautiful part of the palace, a place not many people got to see.
    Elwin let out a small, content sigh as he wrapped his arms around her to return her hug, tucking his face into her hair, enjoying her closeness as he closed his eyes for a moment. He had been about to say more, to say what he had really wanted to at the ball, when his heart fell, frowning as he realized that Ceren was crying, running her words over and over through his mind as he looked at her. She wasn't happy. She wanted to leave. He looked down at her, the briefest look of hurt filling his eyes, although as soon as it had appeared it was gone, the man clearing his throat a bit awkwardly as he stepped back a bit, giving her shoulders a little squeeze of reassurance.

    "It's alright, Ceren. I shouldn't have asked so much of you so soon after you came back. You'll be relieved of your duties and free to go once you give a written recommendation for a replacement to my steward." He said rather monotonously, as if he were addressing a diplomat or noble, not how he would address a friend, let alone the woman he was in love with. He turned away from her before he gave away his feelings for her, not wanting to guilt her into staying by having her worry about him, instead pretending to fuss with something on his nightstand.

    "I'll arrange for your travel to the Northern Territory, and any expenses you need while there. I wish you well, Lady Ceren."
    January 5th, 2019 at 02:19am
  • sun spirit

    sun spirit (120)

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    Nyrel wasn't quite sure what Aerith planned to do with that halberd she picked up, but he suspected he didn't want to either. Still, he followed as she lead him down the castle halls, suspecting she wanted him to and she hadn't pulled rank on the poor soldier just to be rid of him. "I think that's who some people think I am," he confided as she led him towards the royal apartment, though she'd brought up an interesting point. "What kind of person do you think I am anyway?" They'd reached what he assumed to be her room at this point, considering she'd stopped at the door, and he leaned against the wall, watching her.
    Tears were till falling down Ceren's cheeks when Elwin pulled away, and though he squeezed her shoulders as if trying to reassure her and spoke kindly, the look on his face, his tone, was dead. That was before he turned away, and she knew immediately that she'd hurt him. She couldn't bring herself to reach out to him though and instead stepped back, helping to put space between them.

    "El, you didn't ask too much. At all. You've been great, and I've missed you and Aerith so much. You're--you're my family, but..." She felt more tears fall. "I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you, I'm trying not to, but I can't figure out how."
    January 5th, 2019 at 03:11am
  • katahdin

    katahdin (100)

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    Aerith studied the halberd for a moment after she arrived at her door, as if trying to decide what to do with it, before moving to a door to a random room down the hall, quickly opening the door before tossing it in, as if hiding evidence. She then hurried back across the hall to her room, grabbing Nyrel's shirt and pushing him inside quickly before shutting the door behind them, just as a very angry noble who had been awakened by the halberd being thrown into his room came out into the hall, looking for the perpetrator with furious eyes, although instead of knocking on her door he stormed back to bed, slamming the door behind him.

    Once the coast was clear she stepped away from the door, taking off her cape and sash and tossing them over a chair before heading further into her room, beginning to loosen the straps of her armor as she walked over to the rack where it was kept when she wasn't wearing it. "I think that you'll do whatever you think is best to help yourself and your family get ahead. You're not an outright liar, but you're not an honest man, either, and you generally seem to get what you want." She stated as she managed to get her gloves and boots off, before huffing in frustration when she couldn't reach the straps holding the chest plate on, Ceren having done those for her.
    "It's fine, Ceren. I understand. You have to look out for yourself, and doing everything I ask of you isn't any way to make yourself happy. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide to do. You'll always be welcome here, you know that." He said with a sigh, not turning to her as he moved to blow out the candle on his nightstand. He hoped that she'd excuse herself with no fuss, as the last thing he wanted to do at the moment was blurt out his feelings for her and beg her to stay, even though that was exactly what he wanted. But if he did that, he knew Ceren would either reject him, or stay out of guilt, and he didn't want either of those things. He wanted her to stay because she loved him the way that he loved her.
    January 5th, 2019 at 04:15am
  • sun spirit

    sun spirit (120)

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    As he watched her open a door and throw the halberd into a random room, Nyrel frowned, opening his mouth to ask Aerith which room it was that she'd thrown it into, exactly. He was shocked into silence when she suddenly grabbed the front of his shirt and dragged him into her room, however, only the sounds of stomping footsteps outside alerting him as to why she'd done it. He supposed he should be grateful she hadn't left him outside to take the blame...

    Then she began to strip out of her armor, an action that had Nyrel raising his eyebrows. Pretty nonchalant for a girl who blushed any time he happened to wink in her direction. When she began talking, he frowned, his confusion clearing up when he realized she was answering his question from earlier. She hit the nail on the head too, surprisingly enough. "But you don't hate me. Usually people who notice that side of me decide they don't care for me," he said, smiling faintly as he saw her struggling with her shoulder straps. "Would you like help?" he asked, taking a step in her direction.
    Ceren waited for Elwin to turn to her, to maybe catch some glimpse that he really meant what he said and understood--even if he couldn't understand--but he fiddled with objects on his nightstand instead. And though some part of her insisted that she leave, that she'd caused enough damage, she couldn't seem to bring herself to do it. Ever since she'd been little, anytime she found out something was wrong with someone or something, she had to make it better, however long it took her to figure out how. It was like she couldn't make herself leave it alone until then. She'd been scolded by her parents for it but discovered that tenacity actually helped at the Academy, and now she was unable to walk away from this.

    "It isn't you," she tried to tell him again. "I was Royal Healer for a little bit before you were King, and you hardly ask for anything. And even if you did ask for a lot, I'm your friend; I want to help. I love you and Aerith, and if it was just the three of us and no one else, I'd never consider leaving. If it was just convincing my patients I'm not incompetent, I could live with that too. It's this stupid place and how it tries to ruin everyone and how everyone's always playing games with each other. There's the rumors and acting a certain way to get on someone's nerves and blackmail and coercion, and I thought it'd be better since I was just a healer and not part of the court, but no one's safe from them, and I can't let him make me ruin my friendship, and even if it didn't, how would I live with myself, knowing what I'd done? I won't bring you into this and no matter how bad I get hurt, I can't start acting that way." Ceren was only halfway aware of what she was saying. She was tired, physically and emotionally, stressed, and couldn't stand the thought of Elwin hating her because she'd kept all these secrets from him and tried to take care of everything herself. She'd had no one except Nyrel to talk to when her parents died and not even really him, and then he'd changed afterwards. She'd taken care of herself by keeping herself ridiculously busy for years, and now it was almost as if she'd reached capacity and had to let it out.
    January 5th, 2019 at 06:10am