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Cornellian VIP Intrigue (Cornellia Only)

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]

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Novitera
Diplomat
 
Posts: 819
Founded: Jul 14, 2014
Anarchy

Postby Novitera » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:44 am

“A Conspicuous Coupling” (IX)
Heselory, State of Calirma, Novitera


The next day, Damian came over to pick up Estelle and Astrid. He was going to show them around while Molly and Nori made their way over to AMC headquarters. Damian had also brought Nori another suit. They jumped into Molly’s sedan and began to drive.

“How are you doing this morning? Are you excited?” Molly said while driving.

Nori was wiggling around in the suit that Damian brought him. “Every morning that I wake up with you next to me, I feel incredible.” Nori smiled. “I am quite excited...a bit anxious too. Not really sure what to expect.”

“Don’t worry. Kenneth will be there. He is handling the negotiations.” Molly answered then sighed. The both of them were falling in love with each other but Molly felt it was time to discuss the reality of the situation. “Nori. I’m falling in love with you but we have to talk about the future...I’m an AMC executive and I don’t plan to give that up anytime soon. It’s my family’s company. My place is here in Heselory…”

“Hmmm” was Nori’s response. “So...uh, what should I do? Should I remain here in Heselory too? I mean, I am Lord, and I have certain duties to fulfill…”

Molly shrugged. “You can stay with me in Heselory as long as you want. You also have obligations, I know that. If you were to remain in Ghant, we could still visit each other often.” She offered. “I don’t want this thing we have to end anytime soon. A few thousand miles is our only obstacle.”

“I would feel comfortable staying here and being with you everyday, on the condition that our eldest son goes to Brontzezko, or perhaps is fostered in Arragard by the King, when he reaches a reasonable age for fostering. He will be Lord after me, and he will have the obligation of carrying on the family name and legacy. If you can give me that...then I will stay here with you.”

Molly balked at the thought. “You would have a child between you and I raised by somebody else? How old would he be when he goes away?” She asked.

“Yes, that is a tradition in Ghant among the nobility. I was ten when I was sent to be fostered in Bogardan, and it was a good experience. I want our son to be prepared to become Lord of Brontzezko, and I want him to be well connected within the nobility. In order to achieve that, he has to be one of them and amongst them. Naturally, the age of which is something that can be discussed and agreed upon. Until our son reaches the age where he can act as Lord in my place, my sister can fulfill those duties. If she were to marry the King, then I can arrange for our son to be fostered by the King himself...and at least then our son would not only be among family, but he would learn and grow at the King’s own court, and amongst his cousins, who would be the King’s own children.”

Molly shook her head. The whole concept was very strange to her. Why were they even talking about this now as they had not even married yet? She forced herself to be calm about the matter. “If our son chooses to foster at the King’s court and become Lord in your place, not only will I allow it, but I will pour all my love and support in the decision. But if he chooses to stay with his parents, to be an AMC man...a lawyer, doctor, writer….hell, if he chooses to join a band and travel the world, if he chooses to never assume his Lordly duties or work for AMC...I will do the same. I’m sorry Nori. I can tell you right now that I will not pressure our children into any decision, let alone force them.”

For the first time in their relationship, Nori became grim. “...I would need at least one son to assume the Lordship...otherwise my House becomes extinct. There is no greater shame in all of Ghant then to be the last of your House.” Nori seemed sad then, looking down.

She reached over and grabbed his hand. “If our son does not want to foster at some King’s court and wants to be with his parents, I will still make sure he learns the Ghantish way along with the Noviteran one. I’ll quit my job and move there with you if need be. You will teach him what you know better than anybody else can. He will be able to understand how important this Lordship is to our family when the time comes. Then you will ask him to assume his Lordly duties…” Molly said, trying to make some kind of compromise. “...but if he declines, I will do everything in my power and use every resource I have at my disposal to make sure he can choose the path that he wants...whatever that may be.” She looked at him and wondered what he thought about that.

Nori held Molly’s hand and smiled. “That makes me feel a bit more reassured. Perhaps if we had enough sons, one of them would be inclined to do his duty.” Nori laughed. “Having enough children usually solves problems like that, after all.”

She grinned in response, happy that Nori was happy. “The important thing is they all get a chance to choose for themselves who they want to be.” Molly stated. “I also have some other terms…”

“Name them.” Nori responded.

“I want to marry in Ghant and I want to be called Molly Aitor Brontzezko afterwards.” She said then smiled at him.

Nori seemed confused. “...Why wouldn’t you just still be Molly Aitor?”

“Because I want everybody in Novitera to know I married a Ghantish Lord and have them fuming about it. And because I love you. But if that is inappropriate, I understand.” She answered.

Nori scratched his head. “Well...uh...it is your name so you can do what you like with it...would our children still be Brontzezkos, I hope?”

“Indeed they would.” She replied. “Damian can carry on the name Aitor and I have a few cousins.”

They arrived at AMC Headquarters in downtown Heselory. The buildings here were much taller. Skyscrapers that reached out to touch the heavens. AMC’s tower was not as tall compared to some of the others. They pulled up to the main entrance and got out where a valet took Molly’s car to be parked. Upon entering the main lobby, there were lines formed at specific checkpoints for the employees. Private Security wearing kevlar vests and totting submachine guns were posted about and checking them. Molly led the way to the executive entrance where there was no line. She flashed a company ID badge at them.

“Hello Miss Aitor.” One of the guards greeted.

“Hey Ron. This is Nori Brontzezko. He’s on the list.” She answered. The man checked a computer really quick then nodded. He gave Nori a visitors badge to carry.

They took the elevator to one of the higher floors and entered a conference room with a long table. Kenneth was already there sitting relaxed. Right across was an entirely glass wall that showed the Heselory skyline.

“Ah, Kenneth...you’re here.” Molly said. He got up to hug her.

“I always come early.” He answered then turned to Nori. “Good to see you again friend.”

Nori bowed courteously. “And you as well, Kenneth. How fareth thee?”

“Alright, been better. Got quite a bit on my plate right now.” Kenneth answered. “Wiyrkomi has me working something fierce.”

Molly grabbed Nori’s arm. “I have to go. I can’t be here during the preliminary negotiations. Conflict of interest you see.” She said to him.

“I understand.” Nori responded after Molly grabbed his arm. Then he pulled her in for a polite kiss. “I will you see you later.”

Molly kissed him back then left. As soon as she did, five men in suits entered from another door. They looked especially serious.

“Molly may own a good deal of AMC and work for them, but remember, AMC is no friend of House Brontzezko.” Kenneth whispered. “Just let me do the talking.”

They sat down across from the five men. The point man of the negotiations for AMC sat in the middle. He was at least 60 and was bald.

“We want the rights to mine, extract and be the sole beneficiary of any proceeds coming from the ore on House Brontzezko land.” The pointman stated. “Can that be had?”

“Yes, for the right price. My client is entitled to a fair deal. Is that right Mister Brontzezko?” Kenneth asked.

“Yes, it is.” Nori nodded.

The pointman leaned back. “50.” He said simply.

Kenneth balked. “190 or we go to Carthum.” He shot back.

That made the five men look at each other. “170. We need a wider profit margin and the costs will be considerable to set up.”

“You can afford it after the revenue from this mine starts coming in. 180. Final offer.” Kenneth retorted. The point man sat there for a few moments thinking. Silently he nodded. Kenneth leaned over to Nori and whispered. “180 is 30 more than I thought we would get. Can you accept 180 million dollars?” He asked.

“Yes, that sounds good.” Nori nodded.

The two parties stood to shake hands. “We’ll draw up the paperwork for each of us to sign.” The pointman stated. That was the real minutia of this deal and where even more negotiation would take place. But that was for the work of lawyers, both Noviteran and Ghantish to make sure everything complied with both their laws.

“Make the check out to House Brontzezko.” Kenneth told them.

The AMC men said their thanks to Nori. Kenneth and Nori were led away to Molly’s office that was on the same floor. It was spacious and a had a good window view of Heselory. She was behind her desk typing something up.

“How’d it go?” Molly asked and stood up to walk over to Nori.

“180.” Kenneth answered.

“Damn. We’re overpaying.” She replied then grinned at Nori. “You aren’t going to spend it all in one place are you?”

“No. I was going to save it and give some to my sister...that should hasten Taboro’s proposal.” Nori laughed.

“Oh good! I love weddings.” Molly replied. Inside she was feeling a bit jealous over wanting Nori to propose too.

Kenneth took this moment to chime in. “There’s more negotiations that need done and I have to prepare. Nori, you’ll probably be back in Ghant by the time its done. I’ll meet you there. I must go now.” He said then walked away.

“I got a lot of my work done on the plane and can take the rest of the day off. Beach?” She asked Nori.

Nori thought for a moment. “Beach and then dinner after that...let’s go some place really nice.”

Later

They were walking along the beach near Molly’s apartment. To the left of them was the bustling city and to the right, the ocean. Molly had called Damian beforehand and made sure he was not at this part with Astrid and Estella, wanting privacy with Nori. Neither of them really talked and were content to just enjoying each other’s presence.

“You don’t have to stay Nori. We can make it work. I know Novitera isn’t exactly your thing. I am just glad you agreed to let me share my country and my home with you.” She broke the silence.

“Wherever you are, that is my home.” Nori smiled as he took her hand.

She leaned in close in response. “Let’s stop here and watch the sunset. I have not seen it in a long time.”

“Sounds good to me.” Nori positioned himself to watch the sunset with Molly...and while doing so, he fumbled around in the pocket of his pants on the leg opposite of Molly, suspecting that she wouldn’t notice.

Molly did not. She was too busy looking out over the horizon. The Noviteran sun was going down. Its orange rays of light made for a beautiful backdrop. “I would do this everyday with you if I could.”

“Indeed...this sunset is quite memorable…” He had the ringbox in his hand, ready to pull out when the moment was right.

“I’ve been waiting for you, you know? Didn’t think you would come along.” Molly stated. “I’ve had boyfriends before you but never have I been in love.”

“...And now your wait is over.” Now is the time. While holding her right hand with his left, Nori pulled out the ringbox with his right hand, faced her and dropped to one knee. He opened the ringbox with a deft finger, revealing a large diamond ring, and then he looked up, ready to meet her eyes. “Molly Aitor, will you marry me?” Well played sir.

At first Molly was a bit confused, not knowing what Nori was up to. Then it hit her. She knew it was coming yet still felt surprised all the same. Molly began to tear up. She could not speak and so nodded with a smile.

“Yes…” She finally choked out and took the ring, putting it on. “Where did you get the time to get this?” Molly asked. “It’s beautiful.”

Nori got to his feet, a great feeling washing over him. He grabbed Molly by the waist and pulled her in close, pressing her against him. “For you I make the time.” He answered before kissing her.

She kissed him back and then hugged him tightly until the tears stopped. “Oh Nori…” was all she could say. The sun was now almost over the horizon.

Nori kissed her mouth and her neck as she was pressed against him. “You ready for dinner, or do you want to go straight for dessert?” Nori asked playfully.

“I think you know the answer to that.” Molly replied with a giggle. “It’s getting dark and nobody is around…” She offered slyly.

Nori, still kissing her, laughed and took the hint...beginning to work at her clothes with deft hands.

The sunset was not the only delight they enjoyed on the beach that night.

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Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2443
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Shalum » Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:29 pm

“Paint it Blackburn”
University of Aragon
Aragon, Shalum


Rebecca Gentry finished her steak and lobster meal at the Serenity Lounge, feeling quite satisfied with her meal, and running into her cousin James Blackburn and this new girl…Ada. Rebecca thought she was very polite, nice and pretty. Rebecca was excited for James.

Rebecca’s excitement was punctuated by her eagerness to call her mom and talk to her about it! Although, she wanted to wait until she was nestled comfortably in her dorm room before she dialed up her mom. Shouldn’t take too long. Rebecca walked a couple of blocks back to the Aragon Metro station, and took it back to campus.

The dorms of the University of Aragon were broken into two sections, one large complex on the northern part of the campus, and the other on the southern side; the actual university wedged between the two. The dorms were, for the most part, multistoried, averaging ten floors each. The tallest dorm on the campus was a thirty story high rise, which could be seen for miles.

There wasn’t much of a difference between the dorm that Rebecca stayed in, other than the fact that it appeared newer, and was only eight stories tall. It was known for housing more of the wealthier students, and had actual security on the clock 24-hours a day. The top floor was an open area, outfitted with computers that could be used by those who lived in the building; making it quite a popular study area.

Rebecca stayed on the third floor, in a cozy room that housed her comfortably. Just down the hall, was where he close friend John Holland lived; in a similar room. When Rebecca got back to her room, she sat down in a comfy chair, plugged in her cell phone and called her mom, waiting for her to pick up on the other end.

Across town, Elizabeth Blackburn found herself at home, watching TV while lounging lazily. She had arrived home from Spartianus earlier in the day, and had opted to take the rest of the day, and the next day, simply because she felt she could use the time off. She paused as she felt her phone vibrate. Her hand went down to her pant’s pockets, extracting the smartphone with deft movements.

It was her daughter Rebecca. She smiled slightly as she answered the phone, brining it to her ear. “Hey baby girl” she answered jovially, wiggling a bit in an attempt to get comfier than she already was.

“Hey mom!” Rebecca exclaimed. “Are you back from Spartianus yet?”

Elizabeth chuckled a bit, momentarily thinking back to earlier in the day, a mischievous grin spreading on her lips. “Yes dearie, your father and I are back. It was a nice trip, though a bit hot for my tastes” she replied. “How have you been?”

“I have been good...just been busy with school and stuff...you will never believe what happened today!”

“Ahh, I know how that feels dear. I was in your shoes once” her mother laughed. “Anyway, what happened? You meet a boy?” she joked teasingly.

“Nope...but I ran into James, and he met a girl…”

Elizabeth blinked in surprise. “Umm...can you repeat that? I thought I just heard you say James met a girl.”

“Yeah...I went out to eat at this place by myself, and I ran into James! He was with this girl named Ada. She was really pretty, nice and polite. I could tell it was a date because James shooed me off!”

Elizabeth smiled widely. So he found a girl, huh? She was happy with the news, and pleasantly surprised. As far as she knew, he had given up on women till his service was over. “He shooed you off? James Blackburn shooed you off?” Elizabeth asked as she giggled. “Do tell, do tell.”

“Well, not really. He just said, ‘nice to see you again, Rebecca,’ and he had that eye...you know, the kind that Aunt Nichole has…” Rebecca laughed.

Elizabeth laughed as well. “That sounds a lot more like him. He’s not the overt type, that one. This...Ada must be a lucky girl. Anyone would be lucky to get James, its just too bad he’s so shy. Wait...he had that eye?” Elizabeth giggled. “Oh dear, that’s good I suppose” she continued. There was a pause. “I’m going to go out on a limb and say Nichole doesn't know about her.”

“Does Aunt Nichole know about anything?” Rebecca asked.

Elizabeth frowned slightly. “I’m going to say no, but I really don’t know myself. She doesn't talk much to him, and because of her...track record, I doubt she would approve of him and Ada” she replied. “I wouldn’t tell Nichole anything...if I were you.”

“Mom...I don’t even talk to her if I can avoid it. She was always kind of mean, you know?”

Elizabeth sighed. “That’s good practice. Yeah, she’s...not the nicest lady in the world” she replied; putting it lightly. “I wonder if he’ll ever tell her about Ada. She’s the kinda girl that could ruin a relationship in an afternoon.”

“It seemed kind of new, so I doubt. I think he would tell Uncle Joshua or Alexander first. Speaking of which, how is Alexander doing?”

Elizabeth hummed quietly. “That would make the most sense, he’s much closer to those two than anyone else” she replied. “Alex is...doing well. He’s around the Royal Palace somewhere at the moment, hanging out with Anna Holland; nothing really new. I swear, those two should get together already. You could cut the tension between them with a knife” she laughed.

“Oh boy...Anna Holland in the family. I bet that would lead to even more talk of me and John...which would be so gross! He is father’s cousin, and that is far too close!”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Dear, you’re not helping your case any by spending time with him, though I can’t blame you. He’s a nice boy, but yeah, too close” she reaffirmed. “But yeah, not much going on with Alexander. Joshua is doing well as I last heard, and Nichole is the same pain that she usually is.”

“Well, I get a lot of attention from boys on campus, even here on my own floor! Hanging out with John makes them...feel discouraged. Plus he helps me with homework when I need it. I have straight A’s right now, and that makes it worth it! But yeah, about Aunt Nichole...she is bitter about being married to Uncle Joshua, right? It was arranged after all, unlike you and dad…”

Elizabeth smirked. “Calm your jets, I was just funning you. He’s a nice boy, and by far the smartest person I’ve ever met. Plus...people know better than to mess with the Hollands. Hopefully, there’s a ‘Miss Right’ out there for him” she replied. She sighed and continued. “Yeah, she’s more than bitter about it, though she’s always been kinda that way whenever she didn’t get what she wanted. It’s a shame too, Joshua such a sweet man, and he’s relatively attractive. He’s above her, not that I’m saying one person is superior to another.”

“What about Dad? I have heard that Aunt Nichole has acted...funny around him...please tell me that isn’t true! That would be so weird and creepy!”

Elizabeth growled into the phone, her hands clenching. “Sorry dear...it’s very true. She tried to take him to bed more than once, got pretty handys so I hear. That damn woman. I don’t doubt she’ll try again. Man...I feel really bad for Joshua.”

Rebecca seemed shocked. “Wow, mom...I am shocked. But I know Dad would never have done anything...I know he is not too fond of Aunt Nichole, and I know how much he loves you.”

Elizabeth smiled a bit and rested her head against the couch, letting her eyes close. “I know, I trust him enough that I’m not worried. His love burns strongly” she grinned. “Still, it doesn't make me feel any better about her doing all that though. Who knows if she ever took a lover or not.”

“...Do you ever wonder if Uncle Joshua isn’t their father?”

Elizabeth sighed. “He’s their father, I’m sure. She may be mean, but she’s not stupid enough to go out and get knocked up by some guy. Hell, James is a slightly taller, spitting image of Joshua. I had my doubts about Alexander, since he’s a dark blonde, but now that he’s older, he looks a lot like Joshua too. She had the two kids that was expected of her and then no more, which is sad.”

“...You and Dad had three.” Rebecca laughed. “Exceeding expectations.”

Elizabeth giggled. “Shalum likes to maintain a two minimum, nothing says there’s a limit” she laughed. “I have to admit, I’m proud I exceeded the expectations.”

“Me too...how come you didn’t have more?”

Elizabeth sighed. “I would have loved to have another one or two, but it just didn’t happen. Our jobs and you three got in the way, and adding another one to the mix wouldn’t have helped...not that we would have minded. It just never happened I suppose.”

“I am sorry to hear that mom. I hate to see you disappointed.”

Elizabeth smiled. “Don’t feel sorry for me, it’s alright. I don’t know how well we would have done. You three were hard to manage” she laughed lightly. “They’re right, parenting is hard work. Hopefully, you’ll feel the same way about a man and kids as I do one day.”

Rebecca smiled. “Well, I hope Anna stays on the market for a while, because as soon as she goes, that puts the spotlight on me!”

“There’s always John!” Elizabeth teased in a sing-song voice. “Don’t worry though, I think you’ve got some time. Anna doesn't know how far she is gone just yet” the elder of the two laughed. “I would get ready though. Once she falls for a boy, hopefully Alex, she’s gonna fall hard.”

Rebecca sighed. “So, anyway...are you going to tell anyone about this Ada girl?”

Elizabeth shrugged, though it couldn’t be seen. “I wasn’t planning on it. If he wants his family to find out, I’d say he’ll want it to be on his terms. To him, he’s starting from the bottom. He’s been off the scene a while, so he’ll probably want to take it slow” Elizabeth replied smartly.

“Is that what Dad did with you?”

“Yeah” Elizabeth beamed. “It was slow at first, but once it happened--just wow. It felt like all at once. I don’t think I could have, or ever can be, happier that I got him. I’m lucky too. He had the pick of the whole campus.”

“Was there the possibility that grandma and grandpa were going to do an arranged marriage for you like they did with Uncle Joshua?”

Elizabeth sighed. “It...it could have happened, yes. Apparently I’m worth my weight in gold by name alone; not counting my looks. Who knows what kind of person I would have ended up with. While grandpa and grandma loved me dearly, they had an obligation to do good for the family as well.”

“Well I am glad Dad saved you! You can’t do much better than half Gentry and half Holland...besides, Dad says that you are worth more than all the gold in the world.” Rebecca smiled.

Elizabeth beamed, wiggling on the couch a bit, eyes still closed. “I could have done a lot worse, yes. I’m the lucky one though. Your father is like no man I have ever met, he always knows just what I need. I thank my lucky stars, and you father, every day for that” she smiled.

That made Rebecca smile. “Well, I heard it took some convincing to get grandpa Edward on board with it...I am glad he accepted it!”

Meanwhile, from behind Elizabeth, Victor emerged. He moved to massage her shoulders and kiss the back of her neck.

Elizabeth bit back a groan, her back arching, eyes flying open before going wide as tin plates. She looked up at her husband and grinned, but maintained her composure. “He always needed convincing, dear” she replied. “Do you need to speak of anything else dear? Your father is calling for me as we speak” she got out through grit teeth; submitting to her husband’s hands.

“No...I guess that’s it. I just wanted to talk to you and see how you were doing, and share that bit of news with you. I love you mom, tell everybody I said hello and that I love them too.”

“I love you too, baby. I’ll tell everyone, I promise” she beamed. “Goodbye baby, feel free to call any time” she smiled, before ending the call. She sat the phone to the side and grinned up at her husband. “How much of that did you hear?” Elizabeth asked her husband.

“I wasn’t listening...I was far too busy looking at you from behind.” Victor replied as he kissed her neck.

Elizabeth grinned and moaned slightly. “A shame...I guess I’ll how to show you how much I love you then” she replied, pulling him down to kiss.

Victor allowed himself to be pulled down, and he swept around to face his wife. “Please do.” Victor responded as he caressed her neck and hair.

Elizabeth grinned and ran her hands down her chest. “I would be more than happy to, my prince” she smirked. She fully intended to show him how much he meant to her.

For Victor’s part, he was ready to Paint it Blackburn.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

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Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:42 pm

“Delivery Day”
The Imperial Palace
Ghish, Ghant


Nathan and Sophia were having dinner in the palace, enjoying each other’s company and laughing. There was a time after their argument over Lavinia that they were not as close as they were accustomed to, but that had changed after the wedding of Michael and Mara. She wasn’t in the mood for sex, but for that Nathan couldn’t necessarily blame her either.
Sophia dressed in a very simple and cozy maternity bed gown, only one piece that could be lifted over her shoulders.

Sophia poked at some sliced pears, while Nathan went to work on a salad with French dressing. They exchanged smiles at one another, and Nathan placed a hand on her thigh. “You are getting big, Sophia…you been eating my chocolate fudge ice cream?” Nathan asked teasingly.

Sophia laughed. “Oh, shut up. This baby of yours will be fat, I swear…unless there is more than one.”

Nathan took that opportunity to examine his wife’s belly. Indeed it was huge. “Has…it been kicking a lot?”

“Oh God yes. Restless and relentless. Better hope it isn’t a girl, or she could be like her aunt Arietta.” Sophia said playfully.

“I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The world can only handle one Arietta…woe be to all if there was another one.” Nathan laughed.

“We should talk about names.” Sophia said. “If it is a girl, I want to name her Sara…such a pretty name. But if it’s a boy, you pick…you still want to name him ‘Nathan’?”

“Of course. There have never been back to back Nathans. Might as well do that. Hopefully he will be better than his father.” Nathan mused.

“…Whatabout John though, after your father? That is such a nice name too.” Sophia asked. “Don’t you want to teach little Prince John to read, write, ride and play?”

Nathan’s eyes got a bit watery at the notion of a son that bore his father’s name. “I do…maybe for the next one. I do want my Nathan…I suppose my pride is so great that I want an heir that has the same name as me.”

Sophia laughed. “That is without a doubt.” Sophia placed a hand on the back of Nathan’s neck. “You were very good at the Grand Ball. Even my father was impressed with you.”

“Oh good. I pleased your father. My day is truly enriched by knowing that.”

Sophia rolled her eyes and chuckled. “I think he is in a good mood because of Lady Margarethe. I am happy for him…this is good for him and he needs this. He has been…not the same since mom died.”

“You’re telling me. Wasn’t it like, the same night or the day after that they…got together? He must have really laid it on her to make her so quick to jump to marital vows so fast. Although I heard she is a cougar. Hopefully your dad…corrects that.”

“Oh come on! You know how he is! Such a silver-tongued devil.” Sophia giggled.

“Well, so are you, so I guess that is one trait that runs in the family.” Nathan replied. Sophia seemed happy and pleased with herself. Ever since the engagement of Mara and Michael, she had loosened up a bit…before that, Sophia was distant. And when Sophia of Dakmoor was happy, so too was Emperor Nathan IV of Ghant.

Nathan changed the subject, despite his better judgment. “What do you make of this business in Azurlavai?”

Sophia took the question in stride. “A most unpleasant situation. I think we can all agree that the Revenant are an obstacle to peace and prosperity not only in Azurlavai, but also to Belisaria as a whole. Having said that, I find the response from the Belisarian League and the Imperium especially to be a bit…heavy handed. I would have preferred diplomacy so that innocent people didn’t have to die and so that the nation wouldn’t be totally ravaged.”

“…Do you think the Imperium has ulterior motives?” Nathan asked.

“…Perhaps. Their presence in Altinum seems to indicate a certain degree of…ambition, for lack of better words. Imperator William made the mistake of handing over Altinum to the Imperium when he should have given it to Azurlavai or Julianica…even Ossoria might have made a more sensible choice.”

“…Imperator William was a dickhead.” Nathan said with a laugh. “Very much cut of the cloth of Allora’s grandfather, although not nearly as extreme.”

Sophia, like any Dakmaran, didn’t like having him brought up. “No…William might have been bad, but he was nowhere near as bad as him” Dakmarans typically avoided even using his name, and for good reason. Nathan III tried to exterminate them, and he almost succeeded in doing so. Since that fateful day almost 80 years ago, House Dakmaran had recovered and soared to even new heights then before…that happened. Empress of Ghant, Crown Prince of Dakmoor and King of New Edom were rather strong stations in life to attain. Although Nathan had to ponder to himself. Once you reach the top, the only way you can go from there is down.

While they were eating some honey baked ham and mashed potatoes with brown gravy, that was when it happened. Her water broke.

Sophia became very, very nervous as it happened, her dress and her seat turning wet. Her eyes bulged, and she began to shake. “Oh my god, it’s time! It’s happening! It’s happening, Nathan! Move! Now! Please!”

Nathan did what he could. Luckily there were staff on hand not too far away that were prepared for this event, and they were quick to help her get to the car to take to the Hospital which was very close to the Palace. It was Empress Elena’s Hospital, the upper end one that served the Imperial Family and other higher up type folks in the city…to Nathan’s recollection.

The hospital grew quiet and began to whisper as Sophia was rushed to the maternity unit. Sophia kept grasping for Nathan’s hand as she was brought into the delivery room on a stretcher. Sophia was crying and breathing hard.

Even though it wasn’t him in labor, Nathan could feel her anguish, her anxiety. It ran through him like a sword. There in that room, Sophia gripped his hand as hard as she ever had before. That left hand of hers was choking the blood in his right hand, while he sat in the chair next to the birthing bed.

“GODAMNIT! MOTHERFUCKER!” Sophia screamed, all the while breathing hard and soaked in sweat. Nathan didn’t know how soon it would be over with. He just hoped it would be sooner rather than later.

It wasn’t supposed to happen so soon, thought the Emperor of Ghant, sweating nervously in that hospital room with his screaming, heaving wife. She was a woman with child bearing hips and a body that could handle it, but she was in pain nonetheless. Times like those were when Nathan was thankful that he was born a male. Glad I will never have to go through that sort of pain. Although, had he been born a girl, he wouldn’t be Emperor, and Uncle Albert would be. That would suck even worse.

It didn’t go easily. Sophia was locked in a struggle, gripping Nathan’s hand, the bar of the birthing bed, and cursing all the gods of men. It went on for hours, an excruciatingly long time that seemed to last forever for Nathan. The pain she was feeling was shooting through her to him, as if he was synchronized with her through that sweaty death grip of hers that left his own hand aching. She held it for so long, that eventually Nathan felt that Sophia was merely an extension of his own body, and that her pain was his.

Hours past, more heavy breathing, sweating, screaming, pushing. Push, push, push! “You have to push, Sophia, come on!” Nathan said. The doctors were doing what they could in that regard as well.

“I AM PUSHING GODAMNIT. MOTHERFUCKER!” Sophia screamed. By now Nathan was used to it…she had been cursing for quite some time during labor. Nathan only had to hope that it would come to an end soon. Come on you little fucker, come out already.

Sophia inhaled and exhaled deeply, and she pushed. She pushed with all her might, and screamed. Then something came forth. The baby began to scream as the doctors snatched it up.

Nathan was more anxious in that moment than he had been in his entire life. “What is it, what sex is the baby.”

The doctor examined the baby, and made a long face, before turning back to the Emperor. “…It is a girl.”

Godamnit…motherfucker. Nathan was disappointed, and surely Ghant would be disappointed to. The nation needed a Prince. Instead it got a Princess. “Sara, welcome to the world.” Nathan said with a deflated feeling.

Sophia was still gripping Nathan’s hand, still screaming, breathing hard and pushing. “Sophia, are you alright?”

“NO! THERE IS ANOTHER!” Sophia was still hanging on the edge.

The doctors nodded. “There is another baby that needs to come out.”

Oh thank God…please be a son, Nathan thought. He could only hope…

Sophia pushed as hard as she could and screamed bloody murder, and then out came another baby, wailing loudly.

Nathan tried to get a look. “Doctors, what is the second baby?”

Again the doctor examined the baby, and then he turned to Nathan with a blank face. “It is a boy.”

Yes! Thank you God! Thank you! Fuck you Uncle Albert! Get fucked! “Crown Prince Nathan, welcome to the world!” Nathan texted his secretary of the news, and informed that the Bells of the Tower Ghish needed to ring. The Bells of the Tower only rang on the occasion of the birth of the heir to the throne or on the death of the Emperor. The last time those bells were rung was on May 19th, 1997, when Nathan became Emperor.

Sophia was weak and feverish, as she had been losing blood. Her grip on his hand was weakening, and her breathing became weaker too. Even then, she still focused. “There is another one…I can feel it.”

“Another one?” Nathan seemed surprised, turning to the doctors.

“There is another.” The doctor said.

Damn…the palace is going to be busy. Nathan thought, as his wife used what little strength remained to her to push out the next baby.

The third and final baby didn’t make any noise. No crying, no wailing. When the doctors pulled it forth, the looked at it with a look of concern.

Nathan looked at the doctor wide eyed. “What is that one?”

“…A boy.” The doctor responded. “Something is wrong. This child needs immediate attention.”

“Prince John, welcome to the world.” Nathan said, trying to get a look at the third baby. He finally did. He was small and puny, and was hardly moving. He started crying in a very low, weak whimper.

As soon as the third baby began to cry, the Bells of the Tower finally began to ring. A few seconds after that, Nathan could hear fireworks and honorary gunshots being fired outside, and people seemed to be cheering. They seemed very happy.

Sophia’s grip on Nathan’s hand loosened itself and fell down. Sophia lost a lot of blood, and seemed to be…not entirely there. In any case, the doctor brought the healthy babies were wrapped up and brought to her after their cords were cut, and she had enough strength to hold them against her.

Sophia seemed concerned about the third baby. “…What’s wrong with John?” Sophia asked.

The doctor gave her an odd look. “The third baby is premature. You…conceived him after you were already pregnant with the twins. It is called superfetation, a rare phenomena, but is not totally unknown to occur. Basically, you conceived the twins, and then later on, you then conceived the third child…via a separate act.” The doctor explained.

Sophia looked out with sunken in eyes. “Will…he be alright?”

The doctor gave a reassuring look. “With the proper medical attention, he should be.”

That made the Empress happy, and she kissed her wailing babies. The Emperor joined in as well, albeit distracted by the ringing of the bells. They did it. They had their babies. They had a little girl, and two sons. The Gods worked in mysterious ways…they didn’t give him a son. They gave him two. And a daughter to boot.
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Ghant
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Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:22 am

“Family, Duty, Honor"
Aretozuri
Zuria, Gotorleku, Ghant


Christopher of the House Zuria spend this day like he spent his other days...drinking. In his section of the Palace, he lounged in his quarters, reclined upon a couch in a robe. The can beside the couch was filled to the brim with glass beer bottles. Unlike many alcoholics, he didn’t really see a problem with admitting he was one. He had a reason to be. Aelia. Drinking made the pain go away...the pain of losing her. That bastard Valerian killed her. The thought made him sad, and being sad made him drink more.

The flatscreen television was on a sports channel, showing highlights. Hockey games, mostly. It was on to provide the otherwise quiet room with some noise, to make him feel less lonely. He could probably find somebody else if he wanted to, but he couldn’t, on account of a broken heart and a defeated soul. Christopher was tall and thin, with short dark red hair and brown eyes. And a beer in his hand, of course, drinking his troubles away, lost in the feeling of it. Funny thing, how he was 41 now, but it didn’t seem like too long ago when he was 29, when he had Aelia in his bed. Oh how he wished she was still there! Yet, all that remained was a ghost and a shattered man in his 40s.

“My son, what are you doing?” Flavia’s voice came from the entrance….she wasn’t alone, either, as with her was Lucia Antonia.

The sudden appearance of his mother startled him. “Mother...I am watching TV. See the hockey highlights?” Christopher pointed to the TV after he jumped a little. “How many times do I have to ask...please knock before coming in!” Christopher straightened up his robe. “...Who’s your friend? Somebody come to come treat with father or with Ray?”

“Someone who wishes to meet you. This is Lucia Antonia, who until recently was the Imperial Relief Officer in New Edom. She has come here to see if you need some relief in a way. Apparently, she has a soft heart for charity cases,” Flavia spoke with uncommon frankness.

Christopher laughed. “I don’t need charity, mother. I need alcohol. If she is here to provide relief, she best have some.”

“Young man, what I mean is this. She wants to marry you. Why, I don’t know, as you continue to wallow in self-pity. This is your chance to man up and get out of that. I will leave the two of you alone. I do not much approve morally of what is likely to take place, but I am too much of a mother not to want her son given back his manhood, by hook or by crook. Lucia, he’s all yours,” Flavia faced up to the hard fact that she was about to suborn fornication, of which she did not generally approve.

“...Marry me? Sex? Mother, what on earth are you going on about?” Christopher seemed surprised, and he hoped his mother would answer him before she left his chambers. He wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t, however.

“This is about you, my son, getting over it. It is time to do so. Life is full of hard knocks. We must pick ourselves up and press ahead, anyway. Time for you do so as well. Lucia will take things in hand from here. You don’t need a mother at a moment like this. You need a wife. She has graciously offered herself for that, as she needs a husband and wishes to get you out of your misery,” Flavia kissed her son’s forehead with uncharacteristic tenderness for a sometimes stern Roman mother and then departed.

Christopher shook his head and sighed, trying to wrap his head around everything that just happened and was being said. After rubbing his forehead, he turned to Lucia once they were alone. “So...care for a beer?” Christopher offered her a cold bottle that was on the other cushion next to the one he was sitting on.

“I shouldn’t enable your problem, but my nerves could use one, so, thank you, Christopher,” Lucia admitted, “It’s not everyday that a mother recruits a woman to be her son’s wife and all but implies that she should take him to bed first, something that she doesn’t even find moral.”

Christopher took a deep drink of his beer. “I love my mother and all, but for the life of me I never understood her. Romans confuse the hell out of me, truly. I just don’t get them. Especially Valerian...fucking bastard.”

“The Augustus is a hard man, I grant you. A hard man for a hard people. We Romans are not a sentimental folk, by and large. We tend to have an essential soldier’s toughness to us, severitas, we call it. Severity in English. However, we are also pragmatists. You need a wife. I need a husband. I ran afoul of the Emperor’s grace myself, though thankfully not like some.

“I will be honest here. The Emperor was very displeased when Aelia married Aelius Corfinius, her cousin, after the divorce, as he knew that it meant that he might have to still deal with her in the future. He frankly would have preferred had she gone here to Ghant and married you. However, she was a hard woman herself in some ways and wanted a chance to be Empress. That was why she married him. The Emperor understood that right away when she made that choice, that she was truly a calculating woman and did what she did for ambition, whereas if she had married you, it would have been love. She also didn’t wish to anger her parents by marrying a foreigner, albeit a nobleman.

“I am different. My ambition is gone, politically speaking. I am in need of a husband. The Emperor commanded me to quit the civil service and marry, and so I will obey him. It is thanks to him, ironically, that I am ready and eager to wed you. I spoke to Flavia and before her to Emperor Nathan, your nephew, and both agreed that you and I should wed. Perhaps you will understand Romans better if your wife is one, just as I will understand the Ghantar better if my husband is Ghantish,” Lucia said between sips of her beer.

“...Why would Valerian command you to quite the civil service? What did you do?” Christopher asked.

“I raped him,” Lucia let that sentence answer it, at least for the moment.

Christopher threw his head back and laughed vigorously, so hard that tears streamed down his face, before keeling over and laughing into his hands. Then he responded after a few moments of sustained and prolonged laughter. “Good for you...I wish I was there to see that.”

“Well, he was drunk, I was lonely…..and his guards didn’t come along to New Edom, too much risk of an international incident. I just took a copy of a key that I had borrowed from him, sneaked into his suite, and then into his bed, and the only mistake that I made was not leaving before dawn.”

“...Yeah...I could see how that might have been a poor choice. But alas, here you are.” Christopher scratched the back of his head. “Listen, and with all due respect. I don’t think I could marry a woman that doesn’t love me. That would just be doing everyone a disservice, you know?”

“Your mother said that you might say that, which is part of why she winked at the idea of something that a daughter of Maximus Ahenobarbus probably never even considered before….us coupling before marriage. We have a chance to build love and lust first. I know my Emperor will give me something of a grace period before I have to actually wed. He knows that marriage isn’t a quick proposition, not even for a Roman, let alone with a Ghantish husband. He wishes that you already had a wife, but Aelia missed her chance on that. She chose poorly, by the way. Aelius Corfinius was always a dreamer, but never had the brains to make his dreams come true. They were too busy being fried by drugs and booze. Plus that temper of his got him regularly into trouble.”

“I don’t care about Valerian. Not after what he did to Aelia. I will do anything within my power to spite him.” Christopher explained. “He wronged you too by ruining your career and forcing you into marrying, perhaps before you were even ready for it. Which reminds me...how old are you, exactly. You look to be about my nephew Nathan’s age...which is a bit awkward.”

“Thank you for the compliment, then. I am actually 32. Just nine years your junior. A bit of a gap for Ghantar, a bit too little of one for Roman taste, but perhaps we can split the difference. As for Aelia, she committed treason, dear Christopher. So did Aelius Corfinius. If she had married you, that wouldn’t have been possible. In any case, I am not opposed to quitting the civil service. Why do you think that I bedded the Emperor? I was ready for a child and hoped to have his bastard, plus relieve both of our needs. I’ve had a good career, reached higher than most women dare, but I am always ready to drop it all for a good marriage and a chance to be a mother.”

Christopher couldn’t help by laugh again. “...I don’t even know what to do! I am no Emperor. Just the uncle of one, and a Lord’s second son. I don’t have anything to offer you, aside from some alcohol. Do you know how you wish to proceed?”

“Well, I am only the daughter of a Roman senator from Belisarium, a prominent local family, but I know exactly what to do,” Lucia then removed her trenchcoat and showed that she wore only pajamas, which she promptly took off, leaving only her birthday suit.

At the sight of Lucia in the nude, Christopher’s mouth went agape. “You are a very beautiful woman, Lucia. Such a shame to think you would waste yourself on the likes of me. Surely you deserve better than I.”

“Nonsense. You are the grandson of Maximus Ahenobarbus, the son of Raymond Zuria and Flavia Ahenobarba. That is quite good enough blood for me and your merit just needs to be found. I will help you find it, support you in it. Trust me. Pretty soon, the past will matter less and a bright future will matter a lot more. Just claim me now. Make me yours,” Lucia grinned.

“Umm...hmm…” Christopher pushed himself from the couch, turned the television off, and carefully placed a hand on the back of her neck, pulling her into him for a soft kiss. The other hand was in her very long dark brown hair, and light blue eyes were most enchanting.

Lucia kissed Christopher feverishly and told him, “Aelia was a fool. She should have stayed here and never left. Any man who can kiss like that, no wonder she slept with you.”

“Shh.” Christopher said softly, before he tugged softly on her hair, kissing her neck when it stuck out to him. The other hand ran down her back, tracing her spine with his fingers.

“As you wish, my lord,” Lucia answered, welcoming the kiss and now responding with movements of her own hand, exploring her favorite part of a man…..good, nice and firm, just as she hoped….the drinking hadn’t softened it yet.

Christopher pressed her against his body, with only his robe between them now. He went to planting kisses on her chest now…

“Well, my lord, you have taken command now, but allow me this,” Lucia said, as she directed his head downward.

Christopher did just that...grabbing her and tossing her onto the couch, and then sending himself downward, knowing precisely what to do and how to do it.

Lucia began to take very deep breaths after Christopher got started, her eyes wide open and larger than ever. Titus had been great, but not like this. He was too much the Roman to dismiss all distracting self-consciousness and relax. Valerian had been drunk and half-asleep, though not bad for that. Christopher, however….Lucia could get used to this.

Still doing what he could to please the woman, Christopher didn’t stop, but rather escalated what he was doing, waiting for that...particular response that he wanted to get from her before it was time to bring in the...big gun.

Lucia continued to revel in the act, already planning to kiss him afterward to thank him. In the meantime, her movements made it quite clear that she didn’t want this to stop for anything, not until she reached her zenith. It was so close now, she could almost taste it….she could definitely smell it, in fact.

If there was one thing that could be said about Ghantar as a stereotype, it was that they didn’t stop...at least not until she had reached the point. So Christopher continued, using his tongue and hands to great effect.

“Christopher….I’m right there,” Lucia spoke softly, her voice suggesting the ache within her for what he offered her.

He nodded, and then in one swift motion, he stood up, cast off his robe, and then he eased himself into her while kissing her on the mouth with much zeal, his hands locking with hers.

Lucia knew that she was very fertile right then and that she had failed to take that night, so this was another chance.

It started softly, but the longer it went on, the more vigorous it became, almost bestial, yet also passionate. The man did what he could to synthesize his mouth, hands and body to create a powerful effect, and he became lost in it.

Lucia smiled secretively, and then she let loose all self-restraint, her body’s movements and also those of her hands showing their gratitude for the attentions of this nobleman. She could definitely see a lot of unfulfilled promise in this man as a lover and husband, and she aimed now to bring it all out of him again, something buried by his pain. Yes, the man had once put horns on her Emperor, but now she embraced him and saw him not as a monster but as a man in need, whose broken heart needed to heal.

It took all the man could not finish early, and at least once he had to restrain himself with powerful force before continuing with zeal. He wanted to make her scream, like he did with Aelia. All it took him was one time with her, and she kept coming back. He was not about to disappoint now.

Lucia now turned even darker, as much as her tan earned in New Edom allowed her, and her toes curled, as she sounded out a wild, feral cry. She had only done that twice before, ironically with Titus and Valerian (though the latter was due to the illicit nature of the act and she was lucky that it didn’t wake him then). With Christopher, it had nothing to do with being taboo, but with the man himself, and that was high praise indeed from her perspective.

That was his cue. As soon as he could feel her reaching the pinnacle, that was when he grabbed her waist, plunged deeply, and then released with a convulsion and a gasp. He held himself there afterwards, as he slumped into her chest, sweat dripping from his shuddering body.

Lucia bucked, shivered, and then let out another cry in response to the sudden plunge. She welcomed it and showed it with repeated kisses as soon as she could give them, as well as grabbing a chosen part of Christopher’s anatomy in her pleasure.

“Congratulations on seeding me, Christopher Zuria,” Lucia whispered.

Christopher kissed Lucia and stroked her hair as he studied her eyes. “Well...that all happened pretty fast...how do you know you are seeded?” The man laughed, still inside.

“Well, it isn’t guaranteed, as it didn’t take last attempt, but it is highly probable…..I am very fertile right now,” Lucia explained with a smile.

“Good...I think we should do that again sometime.” Christopher laughed. “If you are interested, that is.”

“How about after I make you some supper? Do you have anything that I can use for that?”

“Yes, there is quite a bit in my personal kitchen. I usually just make burritos and such, but I am sure someone more crafty can do more in there. For now though, would you like to share a bath with me? Seems we are rather messy.” Christopher chuckled as he removed himself.

“That we are, indeed,” Lucia admitted, grinning as she rose for that, “nothing more Roman than a good hot bath.”

“Good, I will go run it.” Christopher went to his bathroom, and took a few minutes to fill the tub with hot water. While that was going on, he went and got a bottle of wine and some wine glasses to bring to the tub. Once it was ready, he climbed in and said, “its ready.”

Lucia smiled at Christopher and said, “Why, thank you. I can tell that you’re a keeper. Don’t worry. I’ll marry you yet.”

“No need to rush. In Ghant, a man gets what he earns.” Christopher smiled, pouring them each some wine, and inviting Lucia to climb into the water.

“Well, I am confident that you will earn it and then some, as will I. Seems that your mother knew best, after all,” Lucia said as she kissed Christopher with a lot of tongue and joined him in the tub, and then raised her glass, “To a new beginning for both of us, here in Ghant.”

Christopher kissed her back with zeal, before raising his glass in turn. “To a new beginning.” Then he drank deeply from his wine glass, and nuzzled his face in her long brown hair.

“You like my hair, I see. Yours is not so bad, either. Ahenobarban red, I see,” Lucia noted.

In the tub, Christopher couldn’t help but kiss her neck and grope her from behind. “Lusty like one too...I find you irresistible. You had me sold the moment I spilled myself within you.”

“Is that so? Well, what about when I undressed? Did that do anything for you? You had me sold when I felt this,” Lucia reached for that same firm area that she touched before.

“...That is like the difference between seeing a silk pie, and then having a taste. Tasting it is much different from merely seeing it. I liked what I saw, but I liked tasting it even more.” Christopher laughed, kissing her left shoulder.

“Well, there is more of that pie left over. It is the only kind that you can eat your fill and it’s still there,” Lucia winked at him as she finished her glass.

“Garzan red, eh?” she noted the wine.

“Indeed, tis what it is. In no short supply in Ghant, for as you know Ghant and Garza have always been very close, politically and familial,” he explained, as he caressed her bosom.

“Yes, aside from that mess in 2008. Nasty business, that. Anyway, how are your siblings going to take the news that I want to marry their brother?” Lucia asked him as she kept her hand right….there.

“I don’t see why any would be anything but supportive. Caroline, Teresa, Carla and Ray are all good siblings to have, and what I do and who I marry is of little consequence to any of them. Might be just good to do it so mother stops worrying about me,” he explained, the hand on her bosom drifting south to her thigh.

“Such a mother, that one. A little strict, I gather, in some ways, but some of that is due to Maximus Ahenobarbus, her father. Very Roman. She worries about you, but she won’t have cause to now. I aim to make you my husband and me your wife. In the meantime, I am content to just stick around and have my way with you. I’m good at that, you know,” Lucia said in a self-deprecating tone.

“And in the meantime, I will treat you as you deserve to be treated, as befits a woman of your breeding, beauty and brains.” Christopher answered as he began to rinse and massage her scalp, and her back with a loufa.

“Yes, a girl could get used to this. You deserve much as well, my dear. You will see just how much I think that you deserve. You need a woman who will take good care of you and give this place a woman’s touch as well,” Lucia said as she relished the caress of her new lover.

“...When is Valerian going to find out?” he asked as he shampooed her hair.

“When I tell Titus. Which I will soon. The Emperor isn’t as angry as he claims to be, but he had to take action or else invite women that he doesn’t want in his bed to do the same. If he didn’t make an example of me, he’d never get any sleep. Being an Emperor is hazardous to a man’s fidelity,” Lucia snickered.

“...Nathan seems to manage just fine. In a strange way, he is like grandpa Maximus in that regard,” he explained as he washed her hair.

“I caught the Emperor a bit off-guard, as he hadn’t been unfaithful until then. As for Nathan, well, I suspect it’s more fear and love of Sophia than morals. He’s a good man, your nephew. Probably due to his mother, your sister, as well as his grandmother,” Lucia commented.

“Those two have been together since they were too young to remember,” Christopher reflected. “I remember them running around and playing together when they were four, five years old. Nathan would always surprise her with flowers, and she would kiss his cheeks. They were each other’s first kiss, they took each other’s virginity, all that. They might be a funny couple at times, but there is no doubt that they were meant to be together, and that Nathan will do everything in his power to make her happy.”

“I see. Well, I will certainly go out of my way to please you. Man and woman should equally seek to please each other. I would not want you sad ever again, if I can avoid it,” Lucia assured him, a much softer side of the woman who once read the Riot Act to idle relief workers….those volunteers would never have believed that this was the same woman...they never saw this softer side of her at all, just her foot figuratively up their rumps to get them to work.

“You are right. I miss Aelia, but she would have wanted me to move on and be happy. This seems like as good a chance as any,” he responded as he scrubbed her back.

“Well, I will do my best to make you happy, my love. You will see just how happy you can be with me. We will have to see what can be done to help your career, too,” Lucia said as she enjoyed his touch.

“...Did you have anything in mind?” Christopher asked as he ran his fingers through her long, wet hair.

“What if you were asked to become Peace Council Delegate to the CPO?” she suggested.

“...That would be interesting. I wouldn’t mind doing that, although my family has a reputation that leaves...much to be desired. Between my father, my sister Caroline and my niece Arietta, as well as our ancesty, that might raise objections.”

“I might still have some influence, via your mother, who is the Emperor’s grandmother, is she not?” Lucia observed.

“Yes...my mother is Nathan’s grandmother. Although her allegiance to Valerian seems to trump that of her own grandson, I have heard my father say.”

“Well, she hasn’t actually sworn an oath to the Emperor, right? The Emperor released me from mine when he heard of my plan to emigrate, in fact,” Lucia mentioned.

“From what I understand, she swore one to Emperor Tertullian II when she was young. Father said he saw her drop to her knees and kiss Valerian’s robe. I can’t imagine that Nathan would have been very pleased if he saw that.”

“Simple solution then is to have her swear to Nathan. She does that and she will be sworn to own him as her Emperor from then onward,” Lucia explained Roman thought on oaths to Christopher, “Anyway, I can talk to her about seeing if you can be CPO Delegate or else some other key diplomatic post. Diplomacy is a way to rise for sure, if you have the knack.”

“In Ghant, oaths of fealty are not really...insisted upon or taken all that seriously. But yeah, that sounds pleasant, I would say...a diplomatic post.” Christopher finished up his business in the tub and then he got out to dry off...needless to say he was well and ready to have some more fun. He poured himself another glass of wine and threw on a robe.

“So, in that case, I would be such a good trophy wife for you, I think. If you don’t mind my tan, that is. I got that honestly, being out in the Edomite Sun,” Lucia chuckled as she poured another glass and opted to keep in the state of nature.

“If you will pardon me, my dear, I prefer not to wear clothes right now….at all,” Lucia confessed.

Christopher laughed, and then he put his robe back on the rack, back out into bare skin, and found himself throbbing. “I don’t mind at all. You are a better looking woman then even my brother has...and your skin...it is so smooth and hot...I don’t know if I can wait until after dinner to take another bite,” he responded as he placed a hand on her behind.

“Well, you don’t have to wait. Supper can happen whenever you wish. Your home, but my kitchen now….and I say that supper starts here,” Lucia pointed downward again.

“Your kitchen, eh? So be it.” With a clever smirk on his face, Christopher took her hand made to move for the kitchen.

“Dinner is served, lover,” Lucia announced, lying on the table.

In his ravenous hunger, Christopher flipper her onto her stomach, and then he went to town.

Lucia couldn’t help but sigh and gasp with her pleasure as Christopher turned her over like that…..yes, even better than what she did with Titus….he was nice, but Christopher seemed to almost obsess with this kind of service….she bit her bottom lip and fought back the intense scream that wanted to escape her throat.

Christopher’s hands were feeling the warmth of her body around the waist, before he reached out with his left hand and grabbed at her chest, while the right hand reached out and pulled her hair back, as he went at her with an intense savagery.

“Yes….that is good….very good! Keep at it! More of that, please!” Lucia’s primal desire took her over quite audibly.

At this time, Christopher’s primal desire took over quite audibly as well, sounding himself like an animal he pulled back on her hair just enough to bring her face close enough to his for him to kiss her deeply, while the other arm wrapped around and groped her, holding her in place.

Lucia was another person now, a completely feral woman, utterly atavistic, as she nearly howled like a wolf in response to her pleasure. All of the decorum that her mother had taught her was gone, a process started by Titus and now finished by Christopher. She would never be a demure virgin again. Lucia just plain loved it….she couldn’t get enough of this. This was the apparent upside to Ghantish men, though admittedly they had a reputation in Rome and rarely a good one….at least they knew how to couple with passion. Romans could be so brisk and businesslike about it, sometimes too much so. They could pleasure a woman’s body fine, but not always warm her soul, at least not like this.

Emboldened by her reaction, he intensified his zeal, and when he bent over and met her face, he kissed her deeply and didn’t stop...not until she couldn’t take it anymore…

One more scream, a little curling of the toes, and Lucia was unable to avoid collapsing on the table in exhaustion….splendid exhaustion…

Timing was everything...synchronicity. When that happened, Christopher felt himself convulse and dispense himself, and then he fell upon her warm, sweaty back.

“Thank you, Christopher. That was even better than the last time. I think that someone needs some actual supper now, though, don’t you?” Lucia teased him as she kissed him back fiercely.

“...You are an animal!” Christopher laughed, as he flipped her over onto her back and pulled her up, pressing her chest against his as he kissed her passionately.

“I could say the same of you, but that’s hardly a bad thing. See why your mother was uncomfortable? She knew that she was leaving with you with a maneater, but she had no other way to get you out of the dumps and back on your feet,” Lucia smiled at him.

“You? A maneater?” Christopher laughed, as he let her go. “If anything I am a womaneater...no pun intended.”

“Well, there is still plenty of me left to devour, if that is your idea of an appetizer,” Lucia invited him.

Christopher laughed. “What about dinner? I thought you wanted to...you know what, fuck it.” Christopher grabbed her again, set her on table on her back, and knelt before her, taking her up on her offer.

Turning over, Lucia offered him something else to taste….”Have you ever tried that?”

“...Once or twice,” he answered with a smirk, before indulging her.

Lucia couldn’t believe her good luck. She had only had two lovers do that, and the second one was drunk as a skunk when he did it. No other man had taken her up on that but those three in her life, and she thought that she would never get this new lover to do so. She was evidently wrong. She howled yet again and her toes curled all over again...her breath became shallow.

“Oh...you like that don’t you? You sure you aren’t part Ghantish? Christopher laughed as he brought her to that point so quickly.

“Not to my knowledge, though rumor has it that I have freedman ancestors, due to the Sack of Belisarium. We were ennobled much later,” Lucia noted.

“Ah, interesting. Some unknown variables in your blood...perhaps that is what makes you so savage,” he laughed. “So...about dinner?” I figured I would give you the chance to...recharge a bit...you seem to be rather drained...as am I.” Christopher grinned.

“Yes, we need to eat. Let me make you something. Do you mind breakfast for supper?” Lucia proposed.

Christopher shrugged. “Doesn’t matter to me. Whatever you want!” he gave her a playful smack on the behind.

“Oh….kinky. Well, I will cook in my present state if you wish, but perhaps you wouldn’t mind me wearing an apron,” Lucia smiled at him, rubbing where he smacked her.

“Whatever you want. I am your lover, not your father. You can do as you wish,” he smiled.

“Very well, then,” Lucia put on an apron and nothing else, effectively mooning Christopher while she did that.

Christopher took a seat at the table and poured himself some wine as he leaned back. “...What’s all this talk about Azurlavai I have been hearing about? You know anything about that?” he asked.

“Oh, yes….that. It’s a mess, dear. A real mess. I was an Imperial State Secretary before I became Imperial Relief Officer. I know a thing or two about Azurlavai. They’ve had an ongoing civil war. Now it’s getting worse. A lot worse. The rebels are apparently taking over much of the country and the Imperium is using it as a pretext to try to take over….those accursed Imperials. You know the Imperium of Arbites Materia, right?” Lucia matter-of-factly stated, casually relating that she was a former high-ranking civil servant and now she was making breakfast.

“Yeah, I know about them...fuck them,” he laughed. “There is no nation more despised in Ghant than they.”

“Why is that, if I might ask?” Lucia wondered.

“Just the fact that it is idealistic, radical and imperialistic, prone to propaganda and wanton acts of aggression.”

“Yes, them, and Deadora, not to mention Kampfenland. Those Nazis. What brought that up, for instance?” Lucia asked.

“Just curious to pick your brain. I know you are beautiful...but I wanted to see your mind.” Christopher smiled, before pouring himself some more wine.

“Yes, I do have a mind. I am glad to see that you do as well. Too many people leave things to people like me. I’ll be honest here…..I enjoy politics. I just wanted a family more. When it came down to what I want to do with the rest of my life, I wanted a family more than I wanted a career in government. I’ve experienced that. Now it is time to experience this,” Lucia explained.

“...And me doing the things I do, eh? Sounds like you made out like a bandit.”

“I have now, having you. I made a pretty good deal for myself, thanks to speaking to your nephew. He got it started, and Flavia pitched in. I think, though I’m not sure, that your sisters might have been involved in some way,” Lucia admitted.

“That wouldn’t surprise me...especially Caroline, ever the cunning woman she is.”

“Is it true that your nephew Marcus has sandy hair?” Lucia wondered out loud.

“...Yes, it is. A...rare genetic trait, must have come down the line from somewhere…” he answered, scratching the back of his head.

“I see. Well, let’s hope so. It is a very strange phenomenon, couldn’t help but observe,” Lucia said as she finished the Eggs Benedict with hash browns and flapjacks.

“Have you ever had hot sauce on your hash browns? You should try it...pretty good,” he asked.

“Sure, why not? Will have to put plenty of syrup on my flapjacks, though. Wonder how that will mix in my belly,” she laughed.

“For the flapjacks, might I suggest butter, peanut butter and syrup? That is a good Ghantish combo.” Christopher chuckled.

“Never tried that, but for you, I will give it a gander and hope that my belly doesn’t mind,” Lucia winked at him.

Christopher took the plate and added those things to his flapjacks before eating. “This is very good,” he said, sitting down at the table naked.

Lucia followed his lead and started playing footsie with him.

Grinning, he responded by playing footsie in turn, but stroked her other leg with his.

“So….still want to wait and see on the marriage, or would you like to plan for it?” Lucia asked him, smiling.

“Hmm...that’s up to you. I don’t want you to feel rushed.”

“Well, I do plan to obey my Emperor, but that is the last command that he will ever give me. From now on, you command me, sir. Yes, I want to be your wife, though I am content plan it well and live in sin with you until the plans are finished,” Lucia assured, “no reason not to organize to the hilt.”

“I don’t command you, Lucia. You answer to no one. I want an equal, not a lesser.” Christopher grinned as he caressed her leg with his foot. “Having said that, plan it to your heart’s content.”

“What if I told you that I take turns commanding and being commanded? It’s a nice game for me, Christopher. Hence the pleasure of doing what I did to the Emperor and then letting you have me so...roughly. I loved that. It was a nice surprise,” Lucia informed.

“That makes sense. Although, I will be jealous if you raped Valerian, but never raped me.” Christopher laughed.

“Oh, that can be arranged, but you’ll have to at least pretend to resist me,” Lucia grinned.

“Help, help! I am being raped by the beautiful Roman lady! What ever shall I do?” Christopher said in a fake voie, before laughing.

“That was very amusing, my dear, but just wait until it happens,” Lucia smiled and licked her lips at the prospect.

“Oh? You going to surprise me, eh?”

“You’ll never know until it happens, my dear lover,” Lucia assured him, “you know, hate to change topics, but the only part of working for the State that I really missed was relief work. That was my pride and joy, and the only thing that I regret about what I did, losing that.”

“Maybe you can do some relief work in Ghant. There is plenty to go around.”

“That is good to know. I like helping the poor, though I don’t care in what capacity. Hell, I would even work in a soup kitchen. It’s no longer about power or status to me,” Lucia said, more soberly now, “anyway, I’m still too sober. Will you pour me another glass of that fine red?”


“Certainly.” Christopher poured her a tall glass of Garzan red, and then offered her the glass. “There you are my love.”

“Very well, then, another toast…..to living in sin with my future husband. A Roman senator’s daughter and a lord’s second son whose nephew happens to be Emperor of Ghant. Not a bad pairing if you ask me,” Lucia raised her glass.

Christopher raised his glass. “Not too bad at all. Cheers to family, duty, honor, and all that good stuff.” Then he drank, long and deep...savoring the taste.
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Ghant
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Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:00 am

"Albert's Adventures"
The morning following the Grand Ball
Fineberg, New Edom


Albert awoke slowly, scratching his chin with a yawn. He wondered if last night really happened, or if had been a dream. No sense in denying it. He sat up and rubbed the sleep dust from his eyes.

Isabel awoke at the movement of a body next to her, and she quickly saw that it was him. Albert. A cantankerous, often quarrelsome man, but a man whom she had loved for his strength. She had loved him for years and now he was hers. She wasn’t about to let him go, not after last night...not after a night of constant, passionate coupling. No, her mind was made up. Albert was hers and she wasn’t giving him up without a fight.

“Morning, my eagle. You were just as virile as I had hoped. Such a man you are. Very manly and strong. So vigorous and commanding. Tell me, Albert, how was it for you?” Isabel smiled as she began to rub his back a little.

“...It was good...cousin.” Albert answered, that last part hanging on his tongue. He had to wonder what his father was thinking. In any case, he layed back down on his chest as Isabel rubbed his back.

Isabel smiled at the mention of her family relationship. So they were cousins. In many countries, that was normal enough. She didn’t mind, anyway. She began to massage Albert even more than before, eager to relax him a bit...plus she enjoyed the sensuality of the touch.

“I am content to be your mistress, you know. It would not trouble me to be so, for you, that is. For you, I would be many things that I would not for others. All because I love you, Albert Gentry of Ghant, Iron Eagle and one-time Prince Regent. I know the man behind the myth. You went from one hopeless romance to another, when I would have given you everything that you asked. I still can and still will. It is not too late, Albert. I can be yours for the rest of our lives. This is the extent of my love, you see….sweet cousin,” Isabel assured him as she rubbed him harder to relax him even better.

Albert exhaled. “...That should suffice. I can merely tell Laena that you are my guest, a cousin of mine and a confidant. She would never suspect it. Although I wonder about our aunts and uncles...and my son. How would they feel about it should they discover it?” Albert, with a quick hand, reached out to stroke her nether region.

“I understand those fears. They are very natural to fear them, so I will do all that I can to prevent that discovery, within reason. All the same, when we have the privacy, I aim to please you more than you have ever been pleased. You will see. I will live that way for however long it takes, give up the Olwean throne, and be devoted to you, Albert. Just to you. That is what I want. So, if you want to just say that we are cousins, I will be fine with that. If you are ever free to marry, then we can talk about that, but otherwise, I am merely your cousin and your mistress,” Isabel smiled as she planted a kiss on the back of his neck.

“That is all well and good, then. Provided there is discretion, at least for the time being.” Albert continued to feel her.

“There will be discretion, my eagle. Trust me. I will be your good and cooperative mistress, not embarrassing or ruining you with any overt signs of our love affair. We will, how do the lower class say, ‘keep it on the down-low’...,” Isabel promised as she began to moan slightly.

“...So now what?” Albert asked her, relishing in her reaction to his touch.

“Now we make love, mi corazon,” Isabel turned him over and climbed astride her lover, kissing him all over again.

Albert grabbed her by the waist to better work at her, resigning himself to taking his pleasure. “If I didn’t know any better I would say you take after your Gentry side. You are a savage woman.”

“This is more than a little of that to me, lover, as you will find out over time,” Isabel grinned as she continued her movements to make it even more enjoyable for him.

“Like what?” Albert asked, as he let her control the pace and pressure.

“Like this,” Isabel smiled as she leaned over him and waved her bosom in his face.

“Do you like what you see, Albert, my eagle?” Isabel queried with a wink.

“I do. You know what else I like? I want to see you reach the pinnacle. I want to make you scream.” Albert grinned.

“You are….close, much closer than you think,” Isabel bit her lip…..”but first I need to surrender to you. Then I can truly unwind. Isabel then rolled off Albert and lay on her belly, offering him what she hoped that he would desire.

Albert was fast behind her, taking her from behind, and yanking her head back by the hair. He spoke softly into her ear. “Like that?” He asked.

“Yes….don’t tell anyone, but that was exactly what I needed from you, Albert. Take me, my eagle,” Isabel pleaded with him.

Albert took her vigorously, and yanked her head back by the hair again. “Surrender to me.”

“Yes...I surrender, my eagle,” Isabel said as she met him with equal ardor for every motion that he made.

“Then release yourself...finish.” Albert grunted.

Izzy felt more intensity in her release this time than ever, doing it at the command of her “eagle”...she loved him. She was at his command and mercy. She let off a very loud scream and felt her body tighten up as she experienced her climax at last. She slackened at last after she felt it wash over her and gave up all self-control.

When she reached the pinnacle, so did he. He held her in place for a moment, stroking her back. “Good.” Then he kissed the back of her shoulders and withdrew, walking to the bathroom. “A bath perhaps...to get clean.” Albert began to run the bath, filling it with hot water.

“Yes, as much fun as getting dirty was, getting clean will be good. Thank you for not throwing me out this time,” Isabel said as she gave Albert several kisses.

When the bath was full, Albert climbed in, sighing as he felt the warm water rush over him. Then he leaned his head back and waited for Isabel.

Stepping into the tub, Isabel quickly resumed her kisses to Albert’s face, wanting it quite clear that she still desired him as much as she did the night before.

“Just because I have to behave in public doesn’t mean that I can’t lavish you with affection in private, you know,” Izzy smiled at him.

“Yes, indeed.” Albert kissed her back in the tub. “I need to scrub your back.”

“Yes, please do……,” Izzy pleaded with her lover.

Albert began to wash and scrub her hair and back with the warm water. “...Do you miss John?” Albert asked her.

“He was….a nice man. I feel sad for Caroline. I don’t see how Charles is much of a replacement. Still, he wasn’t you. It was always you for me. Deep down, I always knew that. I have loved you most of my life. That is just how I feel,” Isabel explained.

“...When did you know?” Albert asked.

“I knew when you married Laena and I couldn’t bear the finality of it,” Isabel thought mournfully, “that was when I knew that it wasn’t just desire or lust.”

“What about when we were children? When it was me and my brothers and you and your sisters?” Albert asked, curiously.

“I had a crush on you, but I didn’t know how strong or real it would become….it just felt like….a serious feeling of desire and need to be with you, around you. Well, that and lust. Contrary to what some think, I never had eyes for John. I wanted you. I just didn’t realize that it was the real thing until it I thought it was too late,” Isabel recalled the pain of that day.

“...And Uncle Alfonso? I want you to open up to me.” Albert said as he kissed her back.

“It was….sick. Disgusting. Painful. I felt more ashamed and disgusted with myself than ever. I felt vile, filthy….unclean. I felt unsafe. My father, the man that I loved and adored as a daughter does with her father and should…..he did that to me. The things that he did…..even now, even though I would do them gladly with you, thinking about him doing them brings bile to my stomach. It….was truly sick. I can’t begin to describe how low it made me feel, how unfit for human love or company,” Isabel began to actually shed tears now, her face in her hands.

Albert wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him in a tight embrace. “I know...it’s alright...I am here now, Isabel. You will never be made to suffer again. I will have the head of any man who tries.”

“Thank you. Now, do you understand? I never put myself forward for a husband because….Father said that I wasn’t a virgin anymore, and that men….want virgins. So I resigned myself to never marrying, not then, not ever, and by the time that I realized that I might still have a chance, you...had Laena. By then, I knew that I loved you and that Father’s lies prevented us ever being man and wife,” Isabel declared as she kissed his arms.

Albert loosened his hold and splashed some water on her. “You know my father would have shit a brick at the prospect of us getting married. And my mother...she would have been faint!”

“Yes, I know. Cousins should not wed. Well, I cannot help that the man I love is my cousin. It is what I know. I have loved you long before I knew it, my dear eagle. That is just how it is for me,” Isabel confessed.

“My mother loved you to death. I remember how she would make us all cookies, and let us eat the dough until we got sick. I remember Mathias puking because he ate too much. I remember Catalina too...I miss her. And all the rest.”

“Yes, I know. Damn that Guzman. May he roast in Hell. Every hell that can exist, in fact. I remember my sisters. Lovely, each of them. Sweet sisters and I the only survivor. How sick, how perverse is that? They were all such sweet girls. Catalina was my favorite. I used to sneak more dough to her whenever I could and also bring her soft drinks that I got from my allowance money, just to put a smile on her face,” Izzy confessed.

“...How could you let her daughter be taken by a bastard? She could have been Empress of Ghant...what a waste.” Albert asked as he stroked her hair to get the tangles out.

“That is simple. I am not as strong as you, Albert. I can’t say no to my nieces. It wasn’t my call, but I had trouble breaking their hearts. Not even Diego could. She fixated on Ray early on and never gave up the fight to have him. I admire that perseverance.”

“And now the same befalls Maria, it would seem.” Albert sighed as he rested his face against her back.

“Maria and Rosa are happy now. I am glad of that. Blanca, too. I just want to be happy, too….the only way that I can, by making you happy and loving you,” Isabel admitted, “I have seen how more assertive women live. It’s a nice little fantasy, but it never made sense. I was in Ali-Zebu….the men there are not real men as I count them. They are too...docile, too meek for my taste. I love a man that I can respect, a man who can protect me….a man like you.”

“Protecting you is my duty as your male cousin. You should expect no less. I can assure you that if my father knew what was going on, he would have ended your father’s life. I would have done the same. My father may have been a fool, but he was your uncle, and he loved you dearly.”

“Your father was a good man. Not perfect, but a good man, and I loved him. I loved my father, too, but I also hated him. It was a pity that Guzman got my sisters instead of Father. Mother nearly killed him for that and Diego looked ready to murder him after he caught him with Maria later,” Isabel informed him, “in any case, I love and admire you for that strength that you have….that manliness. I’ve always loved what a vigorous and serious man you are. You are a man with pride and courage.”

“What about your mother?” Albert asked curiously, as a reluctant hand reached around to her crotch.

“She wanted nothing much more to do with Father after that and she kept me far away. He still managed to drag her back to his bed, but that was only after making it clear to her that the alternative would be more….beating, more humiliation, more cruelty to us. There were several times that she checked to make sure that he left us alone and that if he had been touching us, he would have awakened missing something or not at all,” Isabel stated as she recalled it.

“...Aunt Bessandra is a good woman. You are fortunate to have her in your life still. She loves you very much, and no one can doubt that she has suffered and sacrificed for you.”

“Yes, Mother is the only parent that I truly count as mine now. Father I do not regard with love or respect anymore….on a different note….a lighter one, if you do more of that, I am likely to have my way with you. I won’t have any other choice,” Isabel warned him.

“...What if that’s the point?” Albert responded deadpan. With a soft chuckle, he got up and out of the tub, having finished bathing, and he went to examine himself in the mirror.

“Well, when you put it that way…..,” Izzy chuckled softly as she rose from the bath and put her arms around his waist.

There was a knock on the door. “Father.” Was the faint sound that was heard.

Albert turned to Isabel. “It is my son.”

“Should I cover up?” Izzy already knew the answer, but she had to ask, even as she slipped her dress back on and got back into her shoes.

“That would be advisable.” Albert answered as he threw on a robe. Then he went to the door and answered.

Prince Edward was there. He was a tall, soft boy, with a big frame but plump. He had fair skin, dark brown eyes and short, black hair. He was dressed in a black and blue tunic, and he bowed before his father. “Father...mother and I did not see you for breakfast this morning. She suspected that something might have been wrong.”

“Eh, yes. Nothing wrong. I was just...tired, and slept in. Your mother worries too much about everything...it is exhausting.” Albert answered.

Izzy, to be careful, hid out of sight for now, hoping that Prince Edward wouldn’t see her in the suite, buf if he did, she had a cover story of “checking up on her cousin”.

Edward became aware, hearing noise. “Is someone else in there?” Edward asked, sticking his head further into the room.

“Oh, hello, cousin. It is just me, Isabel. I was just checking up on your father. I was a bit worried about him. How are you? Should I stay or go, Albert?” Isabel said once she emerged after freshening up a bit.

“Albert nodded. “Yes, me and cousin Isabel have been treating, as we often did when we were children. Alas, there is much catching up to do, so she should be staying. Your mother will understand...the importance of family.”

Edward nodded. “Aye. Good to see you Isabel. I apologize for interrupting. I will be on my way now.”

“Well, let me hug you first. My, you have grown! A very handsome young man. You’ll have the ladies lining up before too long, if not already,” Isabel acted more or less the part of an aunt, which she practically was, given the age difference.

Edward hugged her back. “You are far too kind, cousin Isabel. I have my good name and station, but that tis bout it.”

“Well, time will tell, cousin. Anyway, it has been good to see you again,” Izzy didn’t dwell on the whole issue of his self-esteem….his plumpness was charming, but it wasn’t her concern….she only had eyes for his father.

“Go on now, son. Run along.” Albert said as he patted Edward on the back. The young man bowed, turned around and walked away. Albert shut the door after he was well enough away.

“That was...close,” Isabel blushed a bit, but then she kissed him fiercely on the mouth, adding more than a good dose of tongue.

Albert returned the kiss, and moved to rip what she was wearing off of her.

With her dress ripped off, Isabel grinned at Albert and knelt in front of him, her eyes dancing with devilish intent.

That was Albert shuddered as he cast off his robe, grabbing her hair afterwards. “You are a ravenous woman.”

“I am hungry for you, cousin,” Isabel had to admit that their kinship wasn’t precisely a turn-off as she went for what she wanted.

“...When do you suppose you shall have your fill?” Albert asked with a shudder.

“Never….,” Izzy smiled up at him from what she did.

“Then by all means, eat to your heart’s content.”

Isabel winked at him and went straight to work, her look of satisfaction the only answer she need give him.

Content with that arrangement, Albert maintained his position and let Isabel do as she pleased, or at least until he was...finished.

“How does that feel for you, lover?” Izzy smiled at him as she rose to put her arms around his neck.

“...Well enough.” Albert answered with a kiss. “I hope you are prepared for a northern winter. It is much worse than Garza, rest assured.”

“With you to warm me, Albert, it will be hot enough for me,” Isabel kissed him back with a lot of tongue.

“...A true statement indeed.” Albert responded, returning the kiss. “Tell me, do you think the Ghanto-Garzan alliance will be restored soon? It has been far too long already since it was last in effect.”

“Oh, yes, I know Diego, my love, and he is ready to do that, but he needs to get the Liberal Democratic votes in the Senate. His own minority government badly needs their support. I believe that now he has them, it should be a matter of course. He didn’t want to submit it for reinstatement until he knew that he could get it ratified. A very ruthless and calculating man, that nephew of mine. He was a solid choice to rule,” Izzy explained.

“...He takes after the Gentrys, without a doubt.” Albert chuckled. “So do you.”

“Given that my mother is one, most definitely. A pity that you and I never wed, but I am content to be your mistress. By the way, any ideas for Edward’s bride?” Izzy inquired.

“...My father never would have allowed it...and my mother would have been aghast.” Albert said bluntly, as he walked over to the bed, took a seat and poured some Ghantish white. “I am trying to keep my options open for him...a pain, because he is a constant source of mockery among the nobility, for being fat, socially awkward and inept. Might I digress, Lord Pazuzu insists on his daughter Madi. They get along well enough.”

“What is Madi like?” Izzy wondered, tacitly accepting the reality of Albert’s remarks about the marriage that never was.

“...An intelligent, kind and gentle girl. Quiet...she likes to read and play with animals. Seems decent enough.” Albert replied, dangling the glass of wine in one hand, still sitting on the bed.

“Then I approve. By the way, what will this mean for the Pazuzu/Gentry relationship?” Isabel couldn’t help but note the whole history.

“House Pazuzu’s reputation has been in tatters for the past eighty years, their credibility destroyed. If this were to take place, it would be a great boon to their house, and it would improve their own prospects moving forward. They have been content to marry obscure northern houses and local household knights for many years...but they are an ambitious lot, always looking to improve their position.” Albert explained.

“I see. So, tell me, would you consider a long holiday in Garza, so you can meet up with the King and talk over some…..issues?” Isabel got a sudden bright idea.

“...What would there be to talk about?” Albert asked as he laid back on the bed with his wine.

“Long-term dynastic plans, ways to strengthen the old friendship, basically a miniature reunion of sorts mixed with a summit. He wants to pick a new Ambassador to Ghish by the way. He wanted advice on any Garzans that you’d like sent there. No reason not to deepen the ties that are being renewed. And if….just if, Luciano Guzman happens across your path, let’s just say that you have a private assurance from the King that he never heard or saw a thing,” Isabel winked at Albert.

“Hell, I would help you bind him myself. He raped and killed my sisters and slaughtered their children,” Isabel suddenly became angry as she recalled that horrid day back in 2008.

“His life belongs to Diego by rights. He should be the one to put him down. Yet, if he declines...I would be more than happy to do it myself...with your help, if you are so inclined.” Albert clenched a fist. “But yes, that all sounds pleasant. I would be willing to do this.”

“Good, though I understand if you have to take Laena and meet up with me secretly when we get the chance. Afterward, we can then both return to Ghant in whatever manner you think best,” Isabel proposed.

“...Laena doesn’t like to leave her home. Her and Edward would remain there. I would go to Garza with you, and you alone.” Albert stated bluntly.

“I would try to be discreet about it, of course. By the way, the King would love to personally kill Luciano, but in this day and age, he can’t….as the head of state, he must not take personally execute people, certainly not without trials. He said that he would have done if he had met the guy as a Prince, however,” Isabel explained.

“...Now that I think about it...his life belongs to your mother. She will be in Garza...vengeance ought to be hers.” Albert seethed. “I have heard horror stories of how she took the news in Gavinium...that man deserves to die by her hand.”

“Indeed, and you know that he would never let a thing happen to his grandmother for that,” Isabel agreed with malicious anticipation.

“Indeed, this is very true.” Albert contemplated, still drinking wine.

“Anyway, any other plans for the day, lover?” Isabel queried with a smile to change topics.

“...Are we going back to Ghant from here, or to Garza?” Albert asked.

“Can we stop by Garza first, and then we can make it one trip? Then we can go on to Ghant and I’ll spend the rest of my days as your kept woman,” Izzy smiled at Albert seductively.

“...Certainly. We can go to Garza first. That would be no trouble at all.” Albert spoke, still laying naked on the bed with his glass of wine.

“Well, in that case, what do you think of a nice breakfast, dear? I can have it brought to the suite or we can slip off somehow in disguise to grab a bite,” Isabel proposed.

“Why don’t we have it brought to the suite? I rather enjoy being alone with family.” Albert stated.

“Very well, then, cousin!” Izzy once again kissed him, taking personal delight in being quite literally “kissing cousins”....she just hoped that it didn’t make Albert cringe too much.

Albert kissed her back and drew her into the bed, after setting down his wine glass, of course.

Izzy giggled and began tickling him as they made out, determined to get him ready for yet more passionate games….so much left to do, left to explore….they had some serious catching up to do.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:12 pm

“A Conspicuous Coupling” (X)



Arragard, Arrausta, Empire of Ghant

The occasion was very much like it had been when Nori and Molly had first met. Many a noble lord and lady present for the grand occasion of holy matrimony. Naturally, it wouldn’t be a proper wedding if it wasn’t held within in Church. And, for an occasion such as this, only the Temple of Arragard would suffice.

It was old, roughly 1,200 years old, carved of stone and engraved in patterns of swirls and lines. The mosaic glass glistened red, yellow and orange, and the altar was large and well lit with candles and incense. The organist was performing his usual number, while in other rooms the bride and groom were preparing for the big event.

Nori was accompanied by his cousin, Artur Kuartzoa, Brioar Bogardan and King Taboro himself. As one might expect, it consisted of pep talk and straightening of the tie and such. When it was time, they went to assume their positions at the altar. The Ghantar were to the left of them, with Nori’s extended family sitting in the front, and some other people sitting in the back.

On the other side of the Church were the Noviterans which represented a wide array of Molly’s social circle. At the front was Damian and Aitor extended family from Novitera. Some of the younger teenagers, not even aware they were in the country of their ancestors. Then there was a number of monied AMC executives with their spouses who had austere looks on their faces. Finally were some of Molly’s old college friends and old swimming teammates. Finally, there were some people that Kenneth invited, being Molly’s surrogate father for the event. Harvey Gentry was present along with some of his clients that he was particularly friendly with. The powerful kind who led boardroom meetings like how a commander leads troops into battle. The aggregate net worth of the brides guests easily crossed into the billions.

In a separate room, Molly was with her bridesmaids which were mostly her old sorority sisters from the University of Calirma. Aside from Molly, the women in the room were giggling and joking while one of the bridesmaids fixed Molly’s hair. Clearly some of them had already taken to drink in preparation of the celebrations. A knock on the door interrupted the affair. It was Kenneth, who stepped in wearing a tuxedo that made him look like the hero from one of those spy movies. Molly’s bridesmaids smiled at him and shot looks of interest. He ignored it.

“Molly, it’s almost time.” He said.

She quickly shooed the girls out to go take their places near the altar. Kenneth walked to a corner of the room and leaned against the wall.

“The Noviteran delegation seems to be all here. Their confusion of the decor is amusing.” Kenneth said, trying to make a joke.

Molly put on her veil. The white wedding dress was of a Noviteran fashion. Tight fitting and short. It came with white leggings for modesty. The back of the dress exposed her bare skin and the “XXVI” tattoo. When Molly first bought the dress, she had not considered it would do that but it was too late now and she was happy to flaunt her heritage anyways.

“What do you think my father would say about me marrying a Ghantar?” Molly asked Kenneth.

He shrugged. “From what I remember of Waylon Aitor, I think he’d be happy about anyone you married as long as you were too.”

Hearing her father’s name made Molly’s eyes a little misty. She quickly forced herself to stop less the tears ruin her makeup. Kenneth picked up on the slight spike of emotion.

“I’m sorry you’re father isn’t here Molly. It is a great honor for me to take his place and walk you down the aisle.” Kenneth offered to comfort her.

“I know Kenneth. You’re a fine stand in. Better than anyone can ask for.” Molly replied, feeling better.

She got up from her seat in front of the mirror after taking one last look at herself and left the room with Kenneth behind her.

Nori watched and waited for Molly to enter the main hall. His heart skipped a beat when the doors opened. It wasn’t Molly though. It was the Emperor of Ghant and his entourage.

Nathan must have anticipated that they were waiting for Molly to enter. “Sorry folks...false alarm,” he said with a smirk, as he and his...people found the back rows of the seats on the Ghantish side. Anyone that may have stared at him, he merely waved.

Nori hadn’t been expecting the Emperor of Ghant to attend his wedding, but alas there he was. He wondered what the Noviterans thought about that, and as he narrowed his eyes in the Emperor’s direction, he took a deep breath and sighed at the altar waiting for Molly to enter with her bridesmaids.

If Nathan had entered with Sophia, the Noviterans would have known who he was immediately. The Empress of Ghant being a far more recognizable face for them. Although there were many among them who did know what Nathan looked like and chattered among themselves over his appearance.

First through the doors were Molly’s bridesmades who took their places near the altar. A few moments later came Molly on Kenneth’s arm. The principal wedding song that the Ghantar had for this moment of the event started playing and the audience turned their heads. As per Noviteran tradition, a flower girl threw rose petals as they walked up the aisle.

Molly first eyed the people in the crowd that were closest to her. Friends, family and most of all her brother Damian who was giving her a cheesy grin. Close to the altar, she finally looked up a Nori who was as handsome as ever. Her stomach churned in excitement at seeing him. Molly took her place beside Nori and let go of Kenneth’s arm. He kissed her on the cheek and gave Nori a nod that said, “I approve of you but you have a long and difficult task ahead of you.” Kenneth walked off and took his place in the front row.

In exquisite Ghantish, the septon initiated the marital vows.

“In the presence of your family and friends, I now bind your hands together, to symbolize your new union of love, trust and friendship. Now, please look at one another and pledge your vows to seal your union.”

Nori went first, as was customary. “Molly Aitor. I am yours, you are mine, from this day until the end of my days. Do you accept this ring as a token of my commitment to you as your lawfully wedded husband?”

Molly smiled. “I do.” She answered, being more sure than she ever was in her life. After Nori put on the ring for her she said her own vows. “Nori Brontzezko. I am yours, you are mine, from this day until my end. And in the life after this if there is one. Will you take this ring as token of my love and affection?”

Nori smiled in return. “I will.” He answered, without any hesitation. After Molly put her ring on his hand, the septon continued.

“In the sight of Gods and men, I hereby seal these two souls, binding them as one for eternity. Look upon one another and say the words. ‘Together we are bound, as husband and wife.’

Nori recited the words in unison with Molly at that point, and then the Septon bowed. “Then by the power vested hereunto me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss.”

Nori went to close the gap then.

Molly leaned in for a passionate kiss. Better than their first which had sent her into a whirlwind of glee. The Noviterans in the church, not concerned about propriety stood and cheered them. They clapped, whistled and hooted at the newly wedded couple. Some of the children fired confetti cannons which spooked the elderly in the crowd.

The Ghantar for their part, let out a polite golf clap. The Emperor, however, got up and cheered, almost in imitation of the Noviterans. When the time came, they walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, and out towards the limo that would take them to the Palace for the wedding reception, and presumably, the paperwork.

Molly agreed that the wedding take place in Ghant. In exchange, she was adamant that the event have no lack of Noviteran flavor. A DJ had been hired to play a mix of hip hop, dance, swing and country music from eastern Novitera now popular in the cities. Although he did mix in music that would cater to the Ghantish crowd as well. There were card and dice tables to entertain the guests. Dealers were hired but most of the games were wagers against the players. Alcohol was in no short supply and the open bar held both Noviteran and Ghantish brands which the Noviterans took advantage of. Molly knew there would be banners there to represent the legacy of House Brontzezko so she made sure the blue and gold of the Aitor family was accounted for as well in the decorations.

The part that Nori was looking the most forward to were the dances and the throwing of the garter and the bouquet. There were enough single men and women present to make that a noteworthy spectacle. Nori did wonder what their dance number would be, of course. Probably some Noviteran song, of which he didn’t mind. After all, the wedding day was an important event for a woman. For a man too, but the nuances slightly favored the woman, he had heard it said.

For now, the guests would mingle and get to know each other for the two sides were separated by thousands of miles. Noviteran Aitors and Ghantish Aitors shook hands and asked each other questions about their lives. Many of the Noviteran Aitors being surprised at how far the family history went back for most never considered anything past Kelan and Harold. The doors to reception room opened and in stepped an older gentleman with his wife. He was gray haired and balding while his wife looked a little younger than he was. Noviterans in the room went dead silent and stopped whatever conversations they had to look at this newcomer. The man strode up to a table with his wife. Everyone at it immediately stood. Clearly whoever this was commanded respect.

“May we sit here?” He asked. They happily allowed him to.

Molly leaned over to whisper in Nori’s ear. “That’s Gale Wiyrkomi. They say he might be the most powerful man in Novitera. He’s certainly the richest. I can’t believe he’s here! And did I see the Emperor earlier?” She asked.

“Yeah, that was me.” The Emperor of Ghant yawned. He had taken to drinking early, and had one in his hand. He liked the heavy northern stuff...the kind that could knock out a horse. “You must be that Noviteran gal I have been hearing about. Harvey told me about you in Fineberg. Nice to meet you, and congratulations to both you and Lord Brontzezko.” Nathan said, almost lazily.

“Thank you Nathan! It is a pleasure to meet you and I’m honored that you have come.” Molly replied. Referring to him by his first name was not intentional. But Noviterans did not call somebody “Mister” or “Miss” unless they were a superior in the workplace. “How’s your adventure through Ghant been so far?” She asked.

“It has been eventful, to say the least. Stopping in one place after another, treating with one lord after another. Still a long way to go. I plan on crossing the Ilun mountains upon the morrow ideally, and continuing north into Eskura.” Nathan said.

Nori seemed aghast. “Into the north during winter? Are you mad? Not even anyone from Arrautsa would do that.” Nori turned to Molly. “The Ilun mountains form the border between northern and southern Ghant. We are as northern as southern Ghant gets, but beyond those mountains…”

“...There is great fun to be had!” Nathan exclaimed before he drank. “The Emperor of Ghant can’t be afraid of some snow and ice...and darkness...and barbarians…”

“A tougher person than I. Us Noviterans keep to the warmer climates. Although I commend your bravery.” Molly replied.

Molly scanned the room. Damian was chattering with one of the Ghantish girls. He was seated next to her and had his arm over the back of her chair looking confident. One table held the AMC executives. Some her allies some against her. They seemed to be feigning politeness with each other pretty well. Harvey Gentry and Gale Wiyrkomi looked to be plotting with each other in a corner while sipping on whiskeys. Molly did not like her wedding being a political opportunity for some but pushed the thought out of her head. A few drunken guests had already taken to the dance floor as the DJ played a popular line dancing song.

Nathan raised an eyebrow, and turned to his elder Zinpala Felipe Ziz. “Oh boy, look over there, Ser Ziz. Looks like your niece Daria is getting worked on.” Nathan pointed at the girl sitting in a chair with Damian talking to her.

Felipe grunted. “Hardly worth my attention...yet.”

Molly overheard. “That’s my brother Damian. He’s a good kid! Have no worry.” She said, only half telling the truth. Damian did fine with the ladies but was no womanizer. He always treated them well from what Molly understood and would accept nothing less.

“Now, not to take up too much of your time, but I thought I should add that my great-great-great-grandmother was Lady Dyanna Aitor, daughter of Lord Dennis Aitor and Bodua Baztan. Dyanna married Andar Salazar, who had a son Zandor Salazar, who had a daughter Bethani Salazar, who had a son Raymond Zuria, who had a son Raymond Zuria, who had a daughter Caroline Zuria, who had me.” Nathan mused with a smile.

“Does that make us related at all?” Mollly asked Nathan.

“...Something akin to...tenth cousins, I might venture to guess.” Nathan laughed. Then he saw something that caught his attention. “If you would excuse me, Lord and Lady.” With that he scampered off, and his entourage followed him. Ser Felipe Ziz kept an eye on Damian as he went.

Molly put her arm around Nori’s. “What should we ask the DJ to play?”

“I had a traditional love ballot in mind.” Nori suggested.

“Go tell the DJ to play it and I’ll meet you on the dance floor.” Molly said to Nori with a grin.

Nori nodded and approached the DJ and had him get the song ready. The dance would be nerve racking with everyone watching, but also necessary. After all, there was no better time than the present.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:15 pm

“Gavinians in Ghant”
Belmore Estate
Belmore, Langael, Ghant


Lord Artos Belmore was expecting guests upon his return from the Grand Ball in Fineberg. To his knowledge, Prince Julian of Gavinium was en route with his sisters Heather and Constance, along with the albino Princess Zurine of Thule.

Arlan had spoken with Julian once before regarding marriage arrangements. Initially, Matthew Holland was betrothed to Heather and Constance both, while Julian was betrothed to two Shalumite girls. Arlan’s daughter Allaria threw a wrench in that when she became intimate with Matthew during the Star Ball, and that complication resulted having to make other arrangements. The emergence of Zurine with Julian didn’t make things any easier.

Allaria had made a plan with Julian that would make things...more palpable to all parties. Firstly, Allaria and Matthew would be together. Then, Julian and Zurine would be together. Thirdly, the two Shalumite girls would go to Julian’s brother, Prince Mithra. Lastly, Arlan would find suitable highborn matches for Heather and Constance. It took him awhile, but he found two such eligible highborn fellows who seemed willing enough.

The first was John Mutu, the son of Matthias Mutu, who himself was the son of Lord Balthazar Mutu, Lord of Onmutu. The Mutus were an ancient, wealthy and powerful family that made their fortune in banking and financial services. Sophia’s mother was one Elizabeth Mutu, Matthias’s twin sister, as it were. The Mutus seemed interested in Constance, as she apparently had much in common with John, both being 18 and possessing of similar interests and personalities. From a business standpoint, a solid enough match.

The second one was more difficult, and interest in Heather seemed to be more limited. Assessing the situation, Arlan finally decided that the 19 year old Gavinian Princess could be matched with his own son and heir, Artos, who was 21.

So it was that Arlan, Artos and John sat in a lounge at Belmore estate, dressed in comfortable suits and drinking wine by the fireplace, waiting for the party to arrive.

Julian led the party in their arrival, dressed in his trademark white tuxedo, with a top hat and cane this time, both white as a ghost. It was all meant to have a sort of “blinding” effect calculated to throw people off balance. He’d used it before to great effect in Albicia at the Star Ball and saw no reason not to do so here and now, as he led Heather and Constance to their places, along with a surprise guest…..Countess Natalie Sila-de Mark, the new Gavinian Ambassador to Ghant.

Along side Julian was Zurine of Thule, wearing a white dress trimmed with blue. When the party arrived, Arlan and the others bowed. “Thank you for coming. Please make yourselves comfortable here. I am Lord Arlan of the House Belmore. This is my son Artos.” Arlan gestured towards his son, the tall lean young man with brown hair and blue-green eyes. “And this is John Mutu, heir to the Lordship of Onmutu.” Arlan gestured towards the younger man, the one with the short, dark wavy hair and blue eyes, who seemed cute and nervous as young men often do at that age.

Constance immediately blushed at the sight of the man that she had heard would be her husband. That she could blush at all, given her family history, was a testament to how demure her personal nature really was, in contrast to the far more lively Heather, who winked eagerly at Artos. Julian laughed at the differences between his sisters, both of whom he loved in a most platonic way, which was rather non-Gavinian of him. Natalie also felt a rush of pride at her younger sisters, who were about to help greatly expand the blood of Aelius Jacobus abroad. The fortunes of Gavinium would vastly improve by this, as would those of Ghant.

The gentlemen took their seats, and Arlan continued. “My son Artos is studying political science at the University of Ghish, while John is studying economics at the University of Onmutu. Isn’t that right?”

Artos nodded. “That is true. Although from time to time I serve at my father’s behest in the Jaundeketxea, having once conducted a meeting thereof just prior to the Grand Ball.”

John was less direct. “I...like to...knit with my twin sister Jane sometimes…”

“Knitting is nice. Nothing wrong with that,” Constance assured him.

“Political meetings, you say? That is impressive. So, you’re like Natalie here, who was trying to end wars at the ripe age of 18,” Heather remarked, essentially teasing Natalie about her ill-fated trip to Fineberg, which resulted in her being taken hostage and getting smitten with a foreign Jewish guy named Saul Bar-Ehud.

Natalie covered her face with embarrassment before she realized that it was just a bit of teasing by Heather, nothing more.

“That is quite enough of that, Heather,” Julian gave her a scathing look.

Zurine inclined her head. “So, Heather and Constance, what have you heard about these two?”

“Not much, just that Artos here is quite the achiever. Gets busy and gets things done, right?” Heather responded.

“And John here is quite the courteous and decent fellow, from what I have heard,” Constance noted.

Arlan smiled. “Perhaps you would like to spend some time together, then?” The Lord turned to his son and nudged him.

“Indeed, my lady Heather, perhaps you would allow me the pleasure of entertaining you?” Artos asked.

John nodded. “Yeah...Constance...maybe we can hang out too,” he said shyly.

“What sort of entertainment, pray tell?” Heather asked.

“Hang out….what precisely does that mean, John?” Constance was a little confused by the idiom.

Artos offered Heather his arm. “A walk through the manor, I was thinking.”

John tried to explain. “It means spend some time together. We can talk. I have a twin sister that is our age. She isn’t here but I can tell you about her. Maybe you would like to be friends?”

“Naturally. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine. We are going to be husband and wife, sharing every part of our lives, are we not?” Constance observed as she pecked him on the cheek.

Heather took Artos by the arm and didn’t hesitate to grab a certain lower part of his body for effect, “Yes….a walk, by all means.”

Fortunately, no one was there to see Heather grab Artos by the rear. “You move fast, don’t you?” Artos laughed.

“Why wait?” Heather grinned, not being half as demure as Constance, as she continued to tease that tight, muscled region of her betrothed.

Artos laughed as they walked around. “Because we just met. Clearly you are attracted to me, but I hardly know you...I just met you, and you just met me!”

“I still do not see a problem. Seems that this marriage is going to happen and I would like to be familiar and intimate with my intended’s body,” Heather flirted brazenly with him, her strawberry-blonde hair waving in the icy wind as it gave chills to her creamy skin.

“Do you want to marry me?” Artos asked her pointedly.

“Of course. Not just for politics. Frankly, I like the way that you conduct yourself. I like your fun-loving attitude,” Heather explained.

“Oh, why thank you my lady. Although, you haven’t seen me in action yet.” Artos responded playfully.

“That can be….arranged, you know,” Heather smiled at him knowingly, “do not mistake me for a maiden, you know. I have to warn you that I am not one.”

Constance, however, was a maiden, and she had her own, shyer way of showing her interest, mostly by staring bashfully at John before turning her head away and covering up her face with her hands.

Artos grinned. “Well, I am certainly no maiden myself. I am curious...how many guys have you been with?”

“Honestly, three. To be fair, they were all considered marriageable prospects, but it doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like I gave it away to the public,” Heather worried for a second that Artos would think that she was unsuitable or beneath him for her past…..not everyone shared the traditional Gavinian openness about such things.

“No, not really. If it makes you feel any better I have been with more...girls that is. I mean, more girls then you have been with guys…” Artos shook his head and laughed as they walked through the snow blanketed garden.

“Oh...about that. I have….been with a girl once. Does that bother you? It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t give up men for….that. I definitely prefer your sex to my own,” Heather confessed.

Artos laughed again, putting his hands on his knees. “Why would that bother me? I would have wanted to see that. I mean, you are very pretty...and…”

“Well, please understand that whatever marriage you and I have, it will be one that is acceptable to both of us. If you want monogamy, I will practice it, as long as you do. If you want both of us to look the other way, we can, but bear in mind that to a Gavinian, it makes no difference whether or not the other party is a man or woman. Once fidelity is agreed upon, anything else is infidelity. If it is never agreed upon, however, we are quite willing to consider alternatives. Gavinians believe in fairness most of all,” Heather explained.

“If I were to be Lord, I would want you to be my Lady. I would say that I wouldn’t deviate from your bed, but I haven’t been in your bed yet…” Artos teased.

“As I said….that can be arranged,” Heather snickered.

“...Can it be, eh?” Artos asked, curiously.

“No sense in not sampling the wares before we each commit to the purchase, is there?” Heather winked at him.

“I like the way you think.” There in the snow, with the flakes falling around them, Artos Belmore pulled Heather in for a kiss.

Heather didn’t hesitate to kiss Artos back with a lot of tongue, adding, “You know, in my country, Artos means ‘bear’. Are you a bear?”

“...I don’t know. Why don’t I show you to my chambers and you can find out for yourself?” Artos teased as he kissed her neck.

“That works for me. Perhaps you would like for me to stroke your….fur,” Heather smiled as she prepared to follow him.

“And I of course would be inclined to make your…” Artos examined her with lusty eyes as they walked. “...pur.” He led the way to a side door back inside the estate.

“Challenge accepted,” Heather lightly caressed his hair as she followed him back inside.

“You are quite eager. We shall see about that.” Artos laughed as he led the way to his room shutting the door behind them as he whistled.

“That we shall,” Heather took the last chance to swat him lightly as she followed him.

Inside his chambers, Artos poured them each a glass of red wine. “Do you drink wine, my lady? They say it gets the blood flowing.” Artos grinned.

“Does it now? Well, that sounds like an excellent reason indeed, and it happens that I do love wine, especially reds,” Heather assured him.

“Well, fortunately this is some excellent red wine. Try it and tell me what you think.” Artos finished pouring a glass and offered it to her, interested in seeing what she thought about it. He was also interested in seeing her without any clothes on...

Heather sniffed it first and then sipped it before drinking deeper, clearly pleased. It was a bit drier than Gavinian wine, but that was fine with her, a sign of the exotic….not too dry, after all. Just more than Gavinian wine.

“Very nice vintage. It is a change from what I used to drinking, all that sweet stuff that we tend to make back home. Might be too sweet for your tastebuds, I don’t know,” Heather noted as she then slipped Artos some tongue.

Artos returned the kiss with a hand in her hair and a hand on her behind, before breaking away for a moment. “On the contrary, I am interested in trying some of the sweet stuff that is made in Gavinium.”

“Oh, I just bet that you do,” Heather smiled, beginning to disrobe in full view of him.

Artos examined her then, and nodded. “Not bad, my lady. I can see that you are a woman of great beauty.” Artos answered as he kissed her again.

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Heather mimicked Groucho Marx with a wink.

Artos grabbed her by the waist and maneuvered her onto the bed, kissing her again.

Heather kissed him back eagerly as they tumbled on the bed, more than ready to explore things...

Meanwhile, Constance got tired of being demure and downed a glass of brandy to steel her nerves as she asked John, “Would you like to dance?”

“...Certainly, although I am not so good at dancing.” John answered shyly.

Julian, for his part, was too busy to see much beyond Zurine, of course.

“My dear, what do you think of all this?” he asked her at last.

“Where did Heather and Artos go? They have not come back.” Zurine asked.

Arlan sniggered at the thought...he knew what they were doing. “Giving her a guided tour it would seem.”

“Knowing Heather, I can venture a guess,” Julian chuckled.

Natalie, meanwhile, nursed Sophia while the others spoke, at least for now, since Sophia had cried loudly enough to wake up half of Acheron.

John turned to Constance. “Would you like to speak in a more private venue, my lady?”

“If you wish to do so, I will consent, but I must warn you that I am rather shy,” Constance admitted.

“...I am too…” John responded. “What do you want to do?”

“Perhaps….we can talk about what you and I really want from this marriage….for us, not just Gavinium and Ghant,” Constance suggested.

“We can certainly do that.” John answered as he got up, gesturing his arm shyly to her.

“Well, for instance, I presume that you want children, yes?” Constance shyly brought up the subject as she took his arm.

“Why yes, I would need to have some at some point.” John chuckled as he took Constance down the hall.

“Um….look, I don’t mind something like what Heather and Artos are doing, but I don’t move as fast as she does. Can you go a little slower with me than Artos does with her?” Constance requested, “I’m just...very self-conscious of my body, especially naked.”

“...Uh...I am a virgin...we can always wait if that makes you more comfortable.” John smiled anxiously.

“A little while longer, please. Let me ease into it. Get used to kissing you, holding your hand, touching your face and your hair,” Constance explained.

“...ok.” John smiled. “That sounds nice. I want you to be comfortable and happy.”

“Me, too. I want to be a very good fiancee and later wife for you, mon cherie,” Constance assured.

“Cool. Let’s focus on the little things then, if you are willing. Nothing too big too fast.” John responded as they were alone walking inside the estate.

“Yes, take things slowly and carefully. I’m not like most of my family. Funny thing is that it’s not about morals for me. It’s just that I am not comfortable around most men and even less with women. Then again, when you have creepy relations who want to sleep with you like I did prior to the Massacre….yeah, that might make things a little rough. Some of my aunts made me want to spew,” Constance quipped, unexpectedly clever in her put-down of the family’s old and thankfully abandoned tradition of royal incest.

“Well, you shall always be safe with me.” John reassured her as they walked down the hall.

“This I know. You’re like my protectors in my family, except different and special….I am drawn to you in a way that I am not to them. Thankfully, Great-Aunt Katherine protected me and many of my kith and kin followed her lead. Uncle Pierre….that was another matter. Same with Aunt Simone, Aunt Renee, and Aunt Clarice. Uncle Jean….yuck….I’m glad that they’re dead. Also, my sister Denise…..she tried things, but even Lucian stood up to her about that, the one time that he did at that age, stood up to his twin sister….our sister Serena opposed her as well,” Constance clarified.

“I see. Well, you are welcome to stay with my family in Onmutu, and I think you would like my twin sister Jane. She is very nice, polite and smart too.” John explained to her.

“Yes, most twins are nice. It would be great to meet Jane. She will be my sister-in-law, after all,” Constance noted.

“And like I said, no pressure, no rush. You could even go to school with us, get an education and earn a degree! There is plenty of time.” John suggested enthusiastically.

“I wouldn’t mind culinary school,” Constance thought aloud.

“That can be arranged for sure!” John beamed. This was turning out better than he had feared at one point.

“So, when exactly do you wish to wed?” Julian asked Zurine, not being privy to Constance’s discourse with John, though he would have agreed with her sentiments.

“As soon as we get to Thule, if you would like.” Zurine smiled.

“That would please me, yes. Light or darkness, I would marry you. If we wed in Darkness, you can be my Light,” Julian waxed poetic.

“Well, we can do that, certainly. The flight will be long to Tor, but worth it, I think. You just have to meet all my brothers and sisters!”

“I have no trouble with that. Despite what others might think, my family is changing for the better,” Julian assured Zurine.

“I would certainly hope so, and of that I do not doubt.” Zurine smiled.

“Well, the Massacre was horrible, don’t get me wrong, but it did remove a lot of the most wicked. Perhaps the Light used their evil for some good, the assassins, I mean,” Julian remarked.

“Well, there are those who fear the light, after all.” Zurine mused with a raised eyebrow.

“In any case, I meant what I said. You are my Light,” Julian kissed her.

“And I am glad for it.” Zurine kissed him back.
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Ghant
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User avatar
Hostillia
Envoy
 
Posts: 311
Founded: Aug 31, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Hostillia » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:08 am

Summer Palace,
Xia Jia, Tian Tang, Hostillia


The Forbidden Palace of Shengjing was a grandiose structure, built atop a mountain, so large that the Emperor had not even seen the outer third of it in nearly a decade, it required its own army to be governed, and it demanded over a thousand servants- with all this the Palace in Shengjing was truly more of a city in its own right- a forbidden city. It was from Shengjing that the Son of Heaven reigned, from the Holy Mountain that the Imperial Deity’s rays stretched, taking light to all of the Middle Kingdom and to most of the Divine Empire- when there was an important official from Babaria coming to the Middle Kingdom one could be certain they would see Shengjing, as Shengjing was an embodiment of thousands of years of cultural supremacy and it served to immortalize the wealth and genius of the Han that it serve as an eternal reminder- to both Han and Savage, of what it meant to be a cultured people. Despite what the rumors articulated- the Forbidden Palace was not meant to house a god, it was built with the intention to proclaim from the highest point in Tian Tang that a god resided there and those, while very similar concepts, where at the same time, extremely different. It was the difference between creating a vault to house your most precious possessions and creating a vault that everyone would know at a glimpse housed your greatest possessions, in the same way, much of Shengjing was built- not for the Emperor, not even for the Han- but for the barbarian, and this was the greatest irony.

The Summer Palace, by contrast, was constructed as place for the Emperor to actually reside. It was not the seat of government and was, in fact, far from the capital of Shengjing and instead it rested on the Tortoise Lake which formed the border between Tian Tang and Ma Guo and thus between the Middle Kingdom and the Divine Empire. Being far and away from the hallowed streets of Shengjing meant that the Summer Palace did not need to be a colossal spectacle and instead could be carefully designed to optimize comfort and practicality, while the Forbidden Palace was focused exclusively on magnificence. The result was spectacular- the Summer Palace was the only thing in the small county of Xia Jia which covered about three square kilometers of forest and rolling hills- the border between Xia Jia and Tai Tang, the neighboring county, being guarded by a thick and elaborate wall to dissuade peasants from entering the otherwise unguarded grounds of the Palace. The Palace was essentially a series of breathtakingly beautiful gardens and a vast and complex network of small streams, the majority of them covered in water lilies with koi fish swimming happily beneath the surface of the crystalline clear waters. What wasn’t garden or stream was forested hills which rolled passively throughout the grounds, the valleys had a means of making one feel as though they were days away from anything resembling human civilization, surrounded on all sides by forests and hills when in reality one was almost never more than a loud shout away from the ears of another. The largest of all these hills happened to be near the shores of the large but tranquil Tortoise Lake and it was on the eastside of that grand hill, called the Hill of Princely Peace, was all the buildings and halls necessary to run the Empire. Just because the Empire was not actually intended to be run from the Summer Palace was no excuse for the inability to do so.

The largest of the structures, which could be seen from the top of any hill on the grounds was the Tower of Heavenly Rites, a round three story structure where the Emperor could conduct the rites necessary to ensure prosperity for the Empire- it was built atop the Temple of Civilized Virtue, and thus the top of the Tower climbed over seventy meters into the sky. Directly across a narrow, covered, walkway was the Hall of Celestial Serenity which was a large structure designed to hold court and could entertain several hundred guests. Other than this, there were the Hall of Jade and Hall of Sapphire which were much smaller, large enough to entertain a score of guests each with sleeping chambers to match, these formed the main structures of the eastern side of the Hill of Princely Peace, all of which had an excellent view of the gorgeous Tortoise Lake which was a massive sea of deep blue as far as the eye could see, unbroken save for by the massive statue of the Jade Emperor and the two equally large statues of the Old God of War and the Old God of the Oceans, the three figures rose out of the Lake to stand sentinel- their eyes turned to watch the Lake for unwelcomed guests. The western half of the Hill had been left completely to the beauty of nature, trees abound and natural flowers bloomed along paths that occurred only due to the frequency of travel and truly everything here was more peaceful than anything one would hope to find anywhere else in the world. Well, almost everything.

The Hall of Celestial Serenity was, at the moment very alive and the noise imitating from the large structure, designed to imitate the peacefulness of Heaven, corrupted and polluted the surrounding serene silence. The Grand Chamber was circular in design, at a western point the circle featured three steps up to a platform made of white marble stood- atop the platform sat the Koi Throne, a large seat made of yellow gold with deep blue cushions forming the seat and the back, contrasting with the yellow base. The Throne sat precisely atop a yin yang symbol that had been painstakingly created by polished white and black marble, there was a thick curtain behind the chair which was the same deep blue, the edges in gold, which concealed a private door used only by the Master of the Summer Palace. The Koi Throne reigned over a large court floor also made of marble, however, the floor sunk in and the main court floor could only be reached by descending seven steps, ensuring that Koi Throne was taller than any man. Covering the main court were over a hundred large and plush sitting pillows and beside each a long piece of paper, a writing brush made of panda hair, and a small wooden cup of ink. Upon the pillows sat wealthy looking men in fine robes, obvious landlords of merit, and one could tell easily by the quality of their robes that the most important of the gentry were seated further forward than those of lesser importance. All of them clamored as they spoke, some quietly others fiercely to their neighbors. There was much passion in the room, shuffling as people turned to speak with the men behind them or to write a few notes- however, the noise came to a very abrupt silence as the curtain was pulled back by a man wearing a deep blue tunic under polished silver armor to reveal a single man.

The man was of average height, but he seemed to be as imposing as a giant- his face was completely calm, the very definition of composure, though it also seemed wildly apathetic, as if all the glory of this place was lost on him. His eyes swept uncaringly over the room, taking a very brief and efficient note of who all was present and who had failed to show up this morning for court. It seemed everyone was in attendance- and they should be, it was only the fourth day of court and by far the most important. The earlier days had been spent dealing with minor disputes between neighboring landlords and confirming young sons to the positions of their recently late fathers. Today was the day when truly pressing matters would be discussed- there had been a tax revolt in one of the smaller villages which was still ongoing, the peasants were starting to massacre taxmen and their families. But even more pressing than a minor revolt, which were not entirely unheard of, was the fact that the Emperor was marrying the Most Divine Princess. Everyone was eager for that topic.

“Ten Thousand Years to the Emperor,” the man said quietly and without anything resembling conviction a moment after he had made himself comfortable on the Koi Throne, his words were met with a resounding ‘ten thousand years’ from the gathered group and he held up his hand for silence which was immediately given to him. “I am Tai Hui, your Sovereign- sworn to the service of the Most Divine Emperor, the Son of Heaven, who I will serve faithfully all my days,” he declared in accordance with legal requirement- the room understood the declaration was an odd one, many of the men now assembled had been here when he first made such a decree- right after the death of his father when he had been passed over for the position of Emperor in favor of his younger brother Tai An Xu, that had been an awkward meeting to be certain. Without ascending to the Dragon Throne as his father had, Hui was the oldest man of the Tai Family and thus inherited their Koi Throne and their ruling position from the Summer Palace where he had remained- he had not yet visited Shengjing for any festival, not since it was revealed that he would not be the Lord of Ten Thousand Years. “I understand both my cousin Fang and my cousin Zhang would like to speak on the matter of the Imperial Deities decision to wed the Most Divine Princess, they have my permission to proceed.”

“A thousand words of gratitude my Lord,” Fang replied, standing from the front row, “as it is known- the Son of Heaven has determined it proper to marry the Most Divine Princess. It is not shrouded that this will bring him into a marital union with his own sister. I read in the Scholarly Journal an interesting story, it depicted a man who had been given an idol by a friend and landlord to treasure, however, he turned away from this course and instead substituted one of his own family and in doing so he greatly offended his neighbors who were certain to refuse to continue to cooperate with him. I believe we can draw from this story some very real lessons, first among them being that when someone elects to remove a gift from a powerful friend they risk angering that friend who may then act against the man so foolish as to invoke his anger. Furthermore, to refuse a gift in such a manner greatly breaks that most sacred of bonds between honorable men- trust, having already angered one powerful landlord there is no question that other landlords will be informed quickly and soon they will all refuse to trust or work with the original landlord in question. Thus, his entire network of alliances and the basis of his support will crumble. This is greatly alarming,” the man finished quietly. The room shifted with unease at this information- they would not dispute it- they were far away from Shengjing now, and even though this theoretically was a good thing for the Tai Family, it did not change the fact that- as conservatives and traditionalist, they were primarily opposed. Some even suspected it was a plot by Tu Bei for some nefarious ulterior motive. They shifted their attention to Zhang, another landlord of the front row- in matters like these, a second speaker would mean either argument or agreement.

“My Lord,” Zhang said, bowing very low to the First Prince of the Middle Kingdom, “I read the same article but I took much greater concern with another aspect of the article that my esteemed cousin Fang neglected to adequately describe,” he said, offering a bow to Fang. “It is indeed important that the other landlords lost their trust of the initial landlord in the parable, however, if we are to fully understand the story we must examine why they lost this trust beyond superficial reasons. Yes, it is true that he violated their trust by removing a gift and placing instead an idol from his own home in his most sacred of shrines, however, this represents more than a mere failure to maintain unspoken agreements- it represents a direct threat to the stability of the area due to it being viewed as a consolidation of power around a single family.” He paused a moment for his words to sink in fully, bowing to Hui to bide time. “You see, I theorize that the countryside was stable because the most powerful of landlords came together to agree that in order to avoid fighting they would share power and prevent it from being in the hand of any one landlord, to accomplish this the landlord in question was given a foreign idol with expectations that he would send his own families idol abroad to be worshiped, in this way there would be equality among the powerful landlords. His efforts to put his own idol into his own house thus represented a destabilizing of that fragile balance. Naturally, the other landlords are liable to attempt to rectify this situation by any means possible.” He bowed again to his Lord before sitting.

“Your Lord will speak,” the First Prince said, softly, though it was sufficient to bring silence to the room- it was tense, two speakers of significance, both who were seated on the front row and thus were the wealthiest and most powerful of Hui’s subservient landlords had spoken against the Emperor’s actions. The First Prince seemed to enjoy the unbroken focus on him- it was very clear that the entire room was eager for his words and he enjoyed how anxious they seemed to be. Finally, after a long moment he spoke again, “I will speak forwardly and put before you my concerns- the actions of the Most Divine Emperor to wed the Most Divine Princess brings great upheaval to the realm. It is very likely that the woman who was once the Most Divine Empress, Bao Mei, will be greatly infuriated with the Son of Heaven’s most honorable pursuit of Heaven’s Will for indeed He who was my Brother is certainly filial to His Heavenly Father. Bao Song is a powerful man, he commands the Imperial Army as Heavenly Commander and still more he commands those gentry sworn to the service of the Bao Family who are many and powerful, and worse still, who surround Shengjing. Unfortunately, this is not the extent of our troubles- it is possible that other noble families and peers will see this as an action taken, not for Heaven’s Will, but instead due to some desire to pervert the natural order of things and place the entirety of Shengjing into the hands of the Tai Family- this may cause any of the noble families to form an alliance with Bao Song and inspire them to question the Mandate.” He paused for a moment, the room was not even breathing, even the servants had ceased their motions, listening intently to the words of the Prince. “I am but a man and will not dare to question the Will of the Emperor for His is the Will of Heaven, I am confident that those who lead other noble families and indeed even Bao Song himself will quickly see that this is true- however, dark spirits and black energies are at work in the world around us and they may attempt to trick these otherwise noble and honorable people into taking actions that, were they of clear mind, they would never attempt. Therefore, I do believe that it is imperative that I, as Brother of the Emperor and Sovereign of the Tai Family ensure that none are tricked by nefarious means into taking treasonous action- especially the Heavenly Commander whose armies are so near Shengjing. Therefore I have decided a proper course of action,” another soldier wearing a blue tunic but silver armor approached, he held in his hand a piece of white cloth which he placed into the two hands of the Prince before retreating, constantly bowed. “We are left with no choice but to temporarily see to the security and stability of Shengjing, to ensure the Mandate is not questioned and Heaven’s Will, that the Tai Dynasty should continue, is secured,” he glanced down and slowly undid the cloth to reveal a beautiful blue sheath, a large fish tracing from along it, along with the handle of a sword, he pulled on the handle slightly- revealing the cold steel of the dao and stood, “in these interests, I grant thee, those sworn to my Name,” he placed the sheath on his hip and kept his right hand on the blade in keeping with thousands of years of tradition, “assembly my army.” Immediately the room broke into a thunderous applause as landlords began to slam their firsts into the floor or stamp their feet to indicate approval. Hui watched this with a proud gleam in his eyes, all his planning, it seemed, had led up to this.
"A book is never a masterpiece: it becomes one. Genius is the talent of a dead man." - Carl Sandburg

User avatar
Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:26 pm

“Crowns Once More”
Arragard, Arrautsa


The frigid winds swirled around Mt. Arragard, piling it high with snow, even as the steam from within the mountain seeped out to melt it as it accumulated. Within the mountain was a most grand occasion, that being the coronation of Taboro Errauts as King of Arrautsa, the first such occasion in a very long time.

The crowns of the kings had been kept in Ghish, but now that the first day of 2015 had arrived, those crowns were promptly returned to their rightful owners. The Arrautsans wasted little time in crowning their great lord king, in the same place that all the others had once been crowned. In the mountain, above the fires of thereof, in the sight of gods and men.

There in a deep chamber above the flowing magma, a forgemaster conducted the ceremony with several hundred onlookers, in a great chamber that had long been used for such a purpose. “Taboro of House Errauts, do you solemnly swear by the gods of your ancestors to uphold their laws, and the laws of men in service to their protection and well-being?”

Taboro was on one knee. “To this I swear.”

“And to you, Estella of the House Brontzezko, do you so solemnly swear, to be loyal and true to this man, and to serve as his queen until death do you part?”

“I do.”

“You have knelt before me and all those in this chamber as a great lord who calls himself king and a lady of a good and loyal banner house.” The forgemaster plucked the ancient crown of Arrautsa from a pillow born by a herald…a cold, hard elaborate crown of iron, and then he gently placed it upon Taboro’s head. “Now rise, King Taboro of Arrautsa, and your Queen, Estella Brontzezko.”

Taboro rose from his knee, and once he was standing on two feet, the people cheered and celebrated. Taboro inclined his head towards the onlookers.

The forgemaster continued. “May the iron give him strength, to lead his country ably. May the fire give him passion, to better love his country. May the Gods watch over him and be with him, to give him wisdom and insight. By all the power vested in me, and in accordance with the laws of Gods and Men, I hereby proclaim you king!”

“Long live the king! Long live the king! Long live the king!” The chamber echoed as Taboro took Estella’s hand and smiled. The kings of Arrautsa were back! The pride of the middle kingdom restored. All was right here in Arrautsa…and the celebration would be grand.

Gaemarlen, Gaemar

In Gaemar, the snows were swirling in a soft pattern onto the ground. It was cold, but also quiet, a kind of sleepy winter spell that might serve as an invitation for children to come out and play in it. They did just that, with great fortresses of snow, walls packed high, snowmen and sleds down the hills of the city. There were so many children out that day, as it were, because there were so many adults out. The latter were not interested in playing in the snow, however. They were out in full force for the coronation, as it were.

The great Cathedral of Gaemarlen had always served the needs of coronation. It was a large, grand thing, of white marble and stone that sat downtown. The sleepy, snowy day was filled with anticipation and excitement, as the Kingdom of Gaemar had been restored and the crown had been returned to its rightful owners. People gathered around the cathedral in their coats and jackets as they witnessed on a projector the events that were occurring within.

Within the cathedral, Gadiel and Servia were at the alter on their knees before the high priest, who was reciting the words of wisdom of the church and creed, as many a great lord, lady and knight of Gaemar looked on…the media was there too, of course. Naturally they would be, for such a historic occasion.

“Gadiel of the House Calien, son of Fendulias and Andrea Zul, you kneel here in the sight of God and in the sight of men, to claim that which belongs to you. The crown of your ancestors, of all those of House Calien who have come before you. Many of them good kings, and some bad, but kings all the same. What kind of King will you be, Gadiel? Will you defend your people? Protect your realm? Be honorable and just? Embrace God and Jesus Christ as your lord and holy savior? Will you wear your crown with honor?”

“Yes. I will do all those things. This I solemnly swear, by the grace of God.”

“And of this woman that kneels before me…Servia Ahenobarba. Will you embrace her as your wife, as your queen? To cherish and protect her, from this day until your last day? To honor her always?”

“I will, This I solemnly swear, by the grace of God.”

The high priest approached the crown sitting upon a pedestal on the altar. It was an ornate crown of gold, in the style of twisting vines. The high priest picked it up, and walked towards Gadiel, and placed it gently upon his head. “You have knelt in the sight of God as a mere man of the highest noble stock. Now you may rise, as King Gadiel and Queen Servia of Gaemar. May your reign be long and prosperous.”

With that Gadiel got to his feet, and turned to face the crowd. The people erupted in celebration at the sight of the freshly anointed king. For Gadiel, it was a great moment, made only greater by the fact that his beloved Servia was there with him to share in it.

Dakar, Dakmoor

Dakar was swarming with at least thrice the number of people that it normally had. People from throughout their large country had made the trip to Dakar to witness the occasion. The town was in pleasant condition besides the wear and tear of having millions of people within its confines. The snow was light upon the ground and it ticked down ever so softly.

In the Church of Dakar downtown, all the great lords and ladies of Dakmoor were gathered to witness the coronation of Malibar and the investiture of power within his person. Present to witness the occasion were his children Sophia, Martin, and even Michael, who made the flight to come out and bear witness with his siblings. Next to them was also their uncle Baldakar and cousin Ben, as well as their grandmother Isabella.

Malibar was on his knees, along with Margarethe of Vorindun, his new…woman. That seemed to happen rather fast, and it was something that Sophia, Martin and Michael had discussed at great length over the phone and in video calls. A new step-mother…what kind would she be? Would she be good? Sophia had heard rumors that she was a cougar, and she hoped that the new Queen wouldn’t try to press her luck with Martin. Maria wouldn’t like that…

The septon continued with the rites. “Malibar of House Dakmaran, greatest of the Houses of Ghant, and Lord of Dakmoor, the greatest of the Kingdoms of Ghant. You kneel before me as a great, accomplished lord, one who has achieved much and more for his country, his family, and his ambition. Yet now, your finest moment awaits you…your coronation as king and the receiving of all the royal powers thereof. Do you swear by the old gods and the new, to exercise this power dutifully and justly?

“I do. From this day until my last day.” Malibar answered, not a hint of emotion on his face.

“And do you swear by this woman, Margarethe of Vorindun, to honor her and protect her always, as your wife and as your queen? To love and to cherish her always, until death do you part?”

“I do. To this I swear before gods and men.”

The Septon nodded, before turning and picking up the crown of Dakmoor. It was an elaborate thing, of pure silver rendered in the form of entwined roses, forged during the time of Marcel, the first Dakmaran King. The Septon placed the crown upon Malibar’s head. “Then rise, King Malibar of Dakmoor and Queen Margarethe. May your reign be long and prosperous.”

The cheering in the church and outside in the city was deafening. Malibar wouldn’t have it any other way.

Izotan, Izotza

The city was cold, and the winds howled and whipped around as the snow fell heavily upon the ground. Some people braved the harsh elements in thick coats to bear witness to the crowning of the Ice Queen by a shaman of the ice at the temple on the outskirts of the city.

The temple in question was one maintained by those who followed the ice. The ice cult was big enough in those lands to have many holy people and temples where they conducted their worship of the primordial being responsible for the cold. They made their temple out of it, and because of year round cold were able to maintain it.

Izolde Grismarka knew what was coming…she wasn’t really looking forward to it. The method used for consecrating Ice Queens and Ice Kings, that was. Alas, they would not deviate from the old way, and so she had to be prepared for that.

The ice temple didn’t have many people in it, thankfully. Just some family, friends, a few lords and then the shamans. With Izolde on her knees and her head down, the principle shaman conducted the rites.

“We are gathered here before the gods, and it is the ice and the ice alone that deems any worthy to call themselves of the ice. You, Izolde Grismarka, you wish to claim the mantle of the Ice Queen, one that many before have claimed. Do you submit yourself to your kingdom and to your gods?”

“I do.”

The shaman pointed at a pool of cold water. “There in the pool, you must immerse yourself fully, just as the gods made you. Do this, and the crown shall be yours.”

Izolde nodded as she went to her feet. Without hesitation, she removed all of her clothes and anything that was not native to her body. She knew a few of the guests were staring at her ass…let them. She would be queen and they would not. She approached the pool of water…it looked ice cold, set into the floor made of ice. After taking a very deep breath, she stood on the edge of the pool, shivering from the cold, and looking on at the crowd, she leaned back, and fell into the pool of cold water.

Gods, it was cold! Down in the water, fully submerged, she wanted to scream. Yet she did not, rather lingering for a few seconds fully immersed in the water. Then she went back up, and was helped out by the shamans.

As the shamans wrapped her in thick warm furs, the chief shaman continued. “Behold…you have entered the water a mere woman, of flesh and bone. Now you have arisen, as the Ice Queen. May your reign be long and prosperous.”

Odolara, Odolargia

The winds howled and the snow fell in a swirl upon the great Blood Temple of Odolargia. A massive ziggurat of stone rising from the surrounding tundra, it was home to the blood shamans that adhered the Blood God. Kame Odolaren went there to pay homage, and to be crowned a proper Blood King.

Kame was a middle aged man, tall, broad shouldered and strong. He was bald, with a hard face and deep red eyes. On top of the temple, he knelt as the wind tugged at his cloak and washed over his pale, hairless head. His wife and children were there, on the edge of the platform, looking on. Well, seven of the eight anyway. Errando was not there…he was still in Nalaya. His thoughts were with his firstborn. He had grown tall and strong, and was a good man, all that a father could want in a son. He wished that he could be here, but he mostly wished that he was alright.

The blood shaman was dressed in thick red and black robes, and was covered in scars. “Kame Odolaren, of the bloodline most ancient and true. The powers of the south have deemed you worthy to bear the crown of your ancestors, not worn since the days of Sekundo Snake-eye. You are a man who has ruled this land well for many moons, and you have raised many children. You have lived your life with honor and for your country, which is more than many men can say. And yet now the time has come, to complete your legacy. To wear the Blood Crown.”

“Aye.” Kame responded as he took a knee. “Now is the time. I submit myself fully to the Blood God, to be his loyal and leal servant.”

“Do you swear to uphold justice, and to protect the realm?”

“Aye, I do.”

“Then be born of blood, Kame Odolaren.” The shaman walked to the table upon the elevated platform, and from the dais he directed four men to lift a steaming cauldron. They approached Kame with it in hand, and upon orders, they lifted it over his head and dumped it. The steaming blood crashed over him and saturated him, before it covered the smooth stone surface of the temple.

Then the shaman came forward with a simple crown of bronze, jagged and sharp, and placed it upon Kame’s head. “Now rise, King Kame of Odolargia. Rise from blood to assume your position, the mantle of Blood King.”

With that, Kame rose to his feet, his head and body soaked in blood, of a color with his eyes. The people rejoiced, and Kame for his part drank some blood from a golden chalice to complete the act. The taste was coppery, but at the same time…it was oh so sweet. Like honey…like a maiden’s kiss…like the nectar of kingdom. The Blood Kings were back.

Tor, Thule

Thule was plunged into darkness and the worst cold known to man…totally dangerous to any man who might find himself in its midst. It was in times like these that the underground dens of great hearth fires flourished, beneath keeps, strongholds, homes, or any other such dwelling.

The Tor stronghold was one such place. A massive, yet simplistic structure, down beneath it were the warm and cozy chambers that comprised the subterranean den. A large fire was burning, casting orange light upon the cavernous room that was filled with people, present to witness a most historic event.

The crowning of the old and fat Urtzi Antziga of Thule as king. The man was many years past his prime, and with thirty children, among them eighteen sons and twelve daughters, he naturally never really did anything anyway. Most of the work that went into ruling was done by his elder sons, Erramun, Santutxo, Andar, Otsoko and Hostain.

Today was one day where Urtzi was taking the reigns, so to speak. As the people danced around the fires and played music, the old man fumbled around. “Eh…eh…my crown…gimme gimme. I want it now, eh? I have waited long enough.”

“But father…” Erramun said. “The ceremony…”

“Bugger the ceremony, boy. Tis the same with a wedding. Standing there at the altar, saying a bunch of words, dancing and entertaining guests…why can’t I just carry her off to the bed chambers and fuck her bloody? I just want to put the crown on me head and be done with it. I am an old man…I want to spend the rest of my days moving fast.”

Erramun didn’t seem pleased. “…If mother was still alive…”

“Eh, don’t presume to lecture me about your mother. I have never seen you bleed, boy…unlike your mother. First time I took her she bled like a stuck pig, weeping tears of sweat pain. Hard to believe the seed of that resulted in you. I am the fucking king, not you. You can wait your turn, Erramun. Stupid boy. It is my turn.”

Erramun sighed. “As you say, father…as you say.” He then had the old bronze crown of the Kings of Thule brought over.

With half the room looking on, Urtzi plucked the crown off the pillow and put it on his head. “Ah yes, now that feels quite good. The King of Thule! Ahahaha!” Urtzi looked up at the ceiling and shook his fist. “You see that, Nathan II, Leo and Irat fucking Ismos? I got me crown back! Thule is back!” Urtzi turned to the people present. “You hear that, people? Thule is back. Let the feasting, fucking and fighting begin, and let it continue all night!”

Erramun, for his part, merely shook his head and tried to find something else to do.

Gauekoizarra, Eskura

The oldest kingdom in Ghant had a very formulaic and simple way of going about conducting coronations. They were always held in the same spot, in the city square at the top of the mountain, in the spot that Orin was said to have ascended into the realm of the gods in his quest to confront his father, the great demon Malagoroth.

It was cold, but it was a gentle cold, with snow falling in gusty swirls around the mountain, letting out a soft whistle. Many people had gathered, with torches and candles in hand, looking on as Inigo, his twin sister Izara, and the younger Amalur and Artizar gathered about.

The stars were out and loomed large in the black sky, thankfully. Such was a good open among the Gauekoizarrans, as the identity of their country was based upon the stars of the night sky. So it was the coronations were done in the open and underneath them, so the pale eerie light could shine down upon new kings.

The septon spoke to Inigo while he was on bended knee. “Inigo Orinbere, of the most ancient and proud lineage of northern stock, it has been decided that here, under the stars, that you may join your ancestors in being known as king. King under the stars, King of Gauekoizarra, of the oldest House in all the land. Do you accept this boon?”

“I do.”

“Do you accept that you shall protect the land, its peoples and its ancient and sacred traditions, from this day until your last day?”

“I do.”

The septon plucked the starry crown from a pillow being held by a young usher. It was an old thing, of glowing pale silver. The septon placed it gently upon Inigo’s head, and nodded. “Then rise, King Inigo of Gauekoizarra. Rise and let them see the son of Orin risen.”

Inigo went back to his feet, and the people cheered in a mixture of exuberance and tears. The people of Gauekoizarra felt very strongly about their precious little ancient kingdom, and once again they could take comfort and satisfaction in knowing that it was back, and never to leave again.

Izara approached her twin brother with a great smile. “The crown has returned…it looks quite good on you, I must say. Now that we have it back, what ever shall we do with it?”

“Rule justly and wisely, sister.” Inigo answered. “There is much good that can derive from the crown, after all.”

Jehenna, Eskura

Josu of Jehenna was a man of simple tastes. For his coronation, he didn’t require a fancy, elaborate event. Just a quiet, discreet affair within the confines of the palace. The throne room was large enough to accommodate a coronation of this scale, and he figured that such a venue would suffice for this occasion.

Knights, retainers and bannermen lined the path from the entrance to the throne, which was a great wooden thing…far from the most powerful looking of thrones in Ghant, but elaborate enough to know that it was a throne upon which a king might sit. At the opposite end nearest the throne stood the septons ready to confer their rites and anoint the king.

When Josu reached the end of the long path, he dropped to one knee, maneuvering his thick fur cape and inclining his head. The quiet whispering of the gathered crowds grew even more silent, as the septon cleared his throat in preparation of initiating the ceremony. Most of it Josu tuned out of, at least until it got to the interesting part.

“…Jehenna was always the great city of the north, and in ages past it was formidable enough to rival all the other northern kingdoms combined.” The septon explained. “The king was the symbol of that great kingdom that oft flirted with empire, and it was King Jacobe of Jehenna himself who gathered a mighty host for Prince Charles during the Ghantish Civil War. It was here that the seeds of empire in the north were sown. Now the opportunity has arisen once more to have a king in the north, in the great kingdom of Jehenna.” The septon turned to Josu. “Josu of the House Jehan, the Gods of old have shown you favor, and fate has returned to you the ancient crown of your ancestors. But do you swear before those same Gods to rule justly and fairly, and to protect the realm and do unto it your solemn duty?”

“I do…I swear by all the gods.”

“So be it.” The septon splashed Josu’s face with scented water, and then he placed his hands upon the golden crown of Jehenna. He turned and placed the crown upon Josu’s head. “Then rise, o King of Jehenna. A kingdom and a king restored, for now and forever more.”

With that, Josu got to his feet, amidst the sound of light clapping and soft festive cheering. The king smiled, and made his way back down the path towards the entrance, and down to the feast hall. His thoughts were with his children…he had 5. There was Jacobe, Josephine, Jori, Jana and Jessica. His daughters were all present, all pretty girls with dark hair and blue eyes. Jori was in Gauekoizarra, where he apparently met and feel for the Queen of Dakmoor’s daughter.

And then there was Jacobe…who was dead, having been mauled by bears whilst hunting them. Or at least that was the official story, the one that he told himself to justify naming Jori his heir…

Nodua, Nodua

Murbella Unbarreko was wearing her hair long…all the way down to her buttocks for the grand occasion of coronation…if one could call it grand, anyway. It was being done in the cavernous halls of her sleepy, snowy keep. Many a clansman and tribesman were present, talking amongst themselves as the long haired beauty with golden eyes knelt before the dais leading up to the throne.

Some shamans had come to perform the rites, although not without their primitive chants first. There was some rolling of bones, some burning of incense and the splashing of anointed water.

Murbella sighed…she just wanted to get on with the festivities. No need for all these formalities, yada yada yada…

Her train of thought was interrupted by the shaman speaking. “People of the north, we are gathered here in the sight of Gods and men, to witness a most spectacular event. The crowning of Murbella Unbarreko is the Queen of Nodua. Nodua being the most ancient and northern kingdom, now restored for all time.” The shaman’s eyes turned towards Murbella, who was upon one knee. “Murbella of the House Unbarreko, do you swear by all the Gods of Ghant to uphold the duties of your ancient and sacred office, until death do you part?”

“I do, o shaman. To this I swear.”

“And do you swear to protect the people and defend the land?”

“I do…to this I swear.”

“Very well.” The shaman plucked the gold and bronze circlet from a pillow and placed it upon Murbella’s head. “Then rise, Queen Murbella of the north.”

“The Queen of the North! The Queen of the North! The Queen of the North!” the people chanted.

Murbella grinned as she walked the length of the hall, back towards the feast hall where the celebration was set to take place. Her dress was long and flowing, her eyes gleaming and her hair swaying with her hips. It felt good to be the queen…now she had to figure out how to use her newfound power. Malibar isn’t the only one with a crown in Ghant, she thought.

Yet, being a queen was often a treacherous arrangement, if history served as any indication. She would have to tread carefully, lest she end up like some of the ones from history…

Ziri, Ziri

Duard Hiljantzi was an old man now…a great grandfather, as it happened. Yet, even as he pushed eighty, today was the greatest day of his life. His coronation as King of Ziri, with all eyes on him. Present were his wife Baela Baraza, his daughters Lyn and Laena, his grandchildren Blayn, Magdalena, Edward, and his great-grandson, the infant Duard…named after his great-grandfather. Also present was Lyn’s husband Brudo, and Blayn’s wife, the woods lady Barda.

The old and tired man labored to his knees at the altar, and while he did so he thought of his other son-in-law, Prince Albert. He wasn’t here…he was in Garza. He had been spending much time with that whore cousin of his…Isabel of Garza. Duard remembered her whore mother all too well from many years past...Princess Bessandra of Ghant. All those Gentries…they are all the same, the old man thought. All conniving, treacherous and vindictive.

His train of thought was interrupted by the septon. “Duard Hiljantzi, you have served this realm ably for the better part of fifty years. You have accomplished much, and now the time has come for your great accomplishment yet…your coronation as king. Do you stand ready to fulfill the will of the gods of this land of your ancestors?”

“Yes, of course.”

“And you swear to at all times protect and defend your land its people as is your duty to them as their king?”

“Yes…absolutely.”

“Then by the power vested in me…I hereby consecrate you as King of Ziri.” The septon flicked some holy water upon Duard, and then grabbed the sword crown from the altar pedestal and placed it upon Duard’s head. “You may rise, your majesty.”

With a bit of help, Duard got to his feet, and turned to face the crowds. The people cheered and dipped their heads for the old King. Crown Princess Lyn came out to take her father’s arm and show him the way to the feast hall. Princess Laena joined his flank to help as well.

Duard turned to his younger daughter. “…Laena…sweet girl…how are you? How are things between you and Albert?”

“Well enough, father. One day is very much like the other. Just trying to stay healthy. I have been so tired…so sick…I have not seen him much. He does other things, and I do not begrudge him that…so long as he is faithful to me.” Laena answered, with her lisp. Poor girl was born with a defect of the mouth…leaving her with slurred speech.

“…I see…” Duard thought. Best keep an eye on Albert and that cousin of his.

Ghish, Ghant

“…You are grandma’s baby, aren’t you?” Caroline asked baby Sara who cooed in her grandmother’s arms.

Arietta meanwhile was struggling with the Crown Prince Nathan, the one they called “Baby Nate.” The Emperor was “Papa Nate” these days.

With Malibar and Sophia in Dakar for Malibar’s coronation, the Palace was yielded to Caroline, who took the time to spend with her first grandchildren. And she was loving every minute of it. Bathing them, holding them, feeding them, playing with them. Arietta, Alexia, Amelia and Charles had all come down from Langael as well to participate.

Alexia played with Prince John, while the twins Amelia and Charles were running around the palace playing. The room they were in was comfortable enough, with cozy furniture and a big firepit to keep it warm.

Alexia was quick to take note of the differences between the babies. [i]Sara seems the healthiest, the largest and most robust. A very observant and content baby. Nathan is…fire. Very restless and demanding. John is small and lacking in great health, but is also possessing of a certain hidden strength…a quiet courage.


Alexia knew that some government types would be coming over soon…and that Caroline would deal with them when they did. It didn’t take long for them to arrive, either, as Bobo entered the room with some priests of the Church of Ghant.

“Welcome, men of the church.” Caroline said with a smile. “I take it you are here to consecrate the children as Princes and Princess of Ghant?”

The head priest nodded. “Yes, of course. With the passing of January 1st, the Kingdom of Ghant is restored. As such, these royal children are hereby consecrated as Princess of Ghant, and Princesses of Ghant.”

Arietta cocked her head. “Weren’t they that already upon birth?”

“…Why yes, Imperial Princess and Princes of Ghant, of the Empire. But now they are to be so for the Kingdom as well as the Empire…which are two different things, mind you.”

“…Ok.” Arietta answered.

With that, the priest dabbled some holy water on the foreheads of all three babies, and said, “I hereby consecrate and anoint thee Princes and Princess of Ghant, of the Kingdom of Ghant restored. May the Lord God shine upon you and give you many blessings.”

Caroline bowed her head. “Thank you, your holiness.” With that, the priest inclined his head and took his leave of the room. Arietta shrugged, and went back to trying to entertain “Baby Nate.” …they should call your dad Baby Nate, Arietta giggled. The Crown Prince did seem to take after his father, after all…
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Jedoria
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Founded: Aug 23, 2011
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Jedoria » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:54 pm

Singurătate Cemetery,
Strana Mechty, Jedoria

Depsite being in the middle of summer, the middle of night was unexpectedly cool as an artic cold front from the south managed to overwhelm the Tung Shao mountains that created the border between Jedoria and Hostillia. The slight chill combined with a light wind warranted wearing a jacket, as the Duchess did as she strone along the tombstones of the graveyard. The nearby lamps and the bright moon above illuminated her path. Alone save for her Bastarnae that kept a respectful distance, it allowed the leader of the Jedorian Confederation a moment of blessed solitude. For the briefest of moments she was away from it all, the politics, and debates, the non-stop bombardment of news informing her just how terrible the world she lived in was. Someone was said the world is a good place and worth fighting for. Vianu could only agree with the second part.

Taking a path she had traveled before, Vinau's footsteps softly crushed the grass underfoot. Almost hidden amongst the various slabs of stone and concrete was one she had a personal attachment too. Stopping directly in front of the grave, she allowed a moment to compose herself before she read out the inscription for the millionth time in her head.

"VIOLETA VIANU, JANUARY 6, 1994 - DECEMBER 12, 1994"

Little little Violet. So young, so full of life, so....soon. Too soon. A flood of memories washed over her mind, a bowl, a spoon, an unwrapped present. It was hard to hold back tears, but after so long time had made her stronger. Just barely.

Many voices had told her not to dwell on it, and after the thousandth time she had finally paid them heed. Turning away from the grave that held a coffin so small, she made her way east, towards some of the newer digs. Seemingly isolated was another tombstone, though whether it was out of respect or disgust she wasn't quite sure. Her eyes glanced out through the darkness, barely illuminated by distant lamp posts was this grave's inscription.

"DAMIAN DRAGAN, APRIL 17, 1970 - OCTOBER 14, 2013"

Then, below, another line. "DUKE OF JEDORIA"

There was no grand display, no intricate design, just another mundane slab sticking out of the ground. A memory Jedoria would rather forget. Another memory swirled into her head, a late night phone call that seemed so long ago.

A phone ringing, piercing the silent night. Shuffled bed sheets and squinted eyes at an activated light. Vianu picked up the phone, trying to understand who would call her this early in the morning.

"Hello...? Who is this?" She asked.

"Vianu, it's Kirov."

"....Andrew?"

"Dragan is dead. The Council's Eldest met, you're the stand in."

"Dragan's...what? How, why?"

"By his own hand. How fast can you be in Strana Mechty?"

"I've been out of office for 2-"

"You've already been picked Luminita. You're the only compromise we could get."


She remembered walking into the Hearth before the scene had been cleaned. She saw Dragan in his chair, eyes closed, handgun laying on the ground next to his chair. A quarter sized hole underneath his jaw. The glass window behind him a blood stained mess. They said Dragan had made some of the biggest decisions in his career from this office. He made the biggest decision of his life here too; he chose not to continue it.

"Rest easy, Damian." Was the only epitaph Vainu could think of.

She didn't know why she came here. If it was for answers she never got them. If it was for guidance, she still felt lost. Yet still she came. Traveling the same path, asking the same questions. Maybe one day she would get an answer.

But today was not that day.
Last edited by Jedoria on Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
“We were all of us cogs in a great machine which sometimes rolled forward, nobody knew where, sometimes backwards, nobody knew why.”
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:19 pm

“Allaria’s Allure” (IV)
The Imperatorial Palace
Aragon, Shalum


It was Christmas time in Shalum, though unlike in Acheron, it wasn’t even close to being white. The sun was high in the sky, and the temperature was in the mid-eighties, since Aragon was well below the equator. Still, the spirit of Christmas could be felt across the nation. Many a house and government building were adorned with decorations of one kind or another. The Imperatorial Palace itself seemed to undergo renovations during this time of year, as there had been a number of trees that had been brought in for the event. In the main ballroom of the palace, there was a towering tree that had been a hassle to get in, but was a sight to see. Especially at night, when it was decorated with lights and ornaments.

In-front of the palace, a single government car pulled up. The occupant in the back of it wasted no time in hoping out, grabbing his backpack as he did so. It was the High Prince, Matthew, as it turned out; home for the holidays. While his siblings had decided to stay in Vyrsar for Christmas, he knew that he couldn’t, especially since his fiance had moved into the palace right before he had left.

He walked to the Palace at a slow pace, feeling rather tired. Zurich to Aragon was not a short flight, and he had been stuck at the airport for a few hours due to a damn snowstorm. Tired but excited, that was how he felt at this moment. He offered the two servants who opened the broad palace doors a smile. Just beyond the doors, he found his parents waiting for him, dressed

“Hey kid” his dad, Tyler Holland, greeted simply. “How was your trip?” the Imperator continued as he hugged Matthew. Beside him, his wife Allison did the same, smiling at her oldest son.

“It was long and cold, that’s how it was. Fun though. Everyone was having a good time when I left” Matthew shrugged; shifting the weight of his backpack from one shoulder to the other. “How is Allaria?” the prince asked without thinking.

His father grinned and clapped his son on the shoulder happily. “She’s all moved in now, and her sister Lily is around too. They’ve taken up a wing of the palace. Allaria took the liberty of moving herself into your room. Maybe you should go check up on yourself.” Tyler laughed.

Matthew nodded and smiled. “I think I’ll do that. Love you guys, I’ll see you two later at dinner” he said. He didn’t give them time to reply, as he quickly began to make his way through the maze of palace hallways toward his room among others; which was in the ‘west’ wing of the palace.

Lilliana was walking down the hall with a glass of water...and she must not have seen Matthew in his haste. She was startled when she saw him, and squeaked. “Oh! You are back! So sorry...I hope I didn’t startle you!” the young noble lady was in a tight blue dress that fluttered when she jumped.

Matthew practically jumped back in surprise. He hadn’t been expecting to run into anyone during his trek. The part of the palace that they were in was never a particularly busy one, which was why he liked it. Looking at the woman in-front of him, he smiled, and forced himself to not look her over. Good Lord, Allaria’s sister was gorgeous as well. He could tell why John Blackburn fancied her so. “It’s quite alright Lily, no harm done” he chuckled. “I wasn’t expecting to run into anyone. How are you and Allaria doing?” he asked; pausing from his walk.

“I am well, thank you for asking your highness.” Lilly said with a curtsey. “I am doing a semester at the University of Aragon, and have been hanging out with Rebecca. I elected not to live on campus with her on account of my sister. She has been quite lonely and has had some difficulty adjusting. My presence here as well as your parents have helped her ease in the transition and have made her feel more comfortable.” Lilly smiled with sustained eye contact.

Matthew forced himself to look into Lilly’s eyes, for fearing of roaming. It was rather hard to do, since she was, well, her. Whether she knew it or not, she was a ten in his book, much like Allaria was. “You certainly are a good sister” Matthew smiled. “Man, it’s been a while since I’ve said hello to Rebecca, I may have to do that one of these days. I assume the Johns have been around too” he smiled. “You know, I was actually worried about Allaria. It’s why I came home from Vyrsar a little early, among other things” he winked.

“A good man then. She was upset about the fact that you left her here for an extended period of time. She is in your room of course, watching tv. And yes, the Johns have been around with Rebecca...I suspect that John Blackburn fancies me.”

Matthew nodded and sighed. “I see. I actually didn’t want to leave her, but my father insisted that I go along with the others to Vyrsar, since I’ve been there more times than I can count” he shrugged. “Hopefully I’ll be able to make it up to her soon. She hasn’t been told that I was coming home, according to my father” he replied. At the mention of John, he smiled a bit more and laughed. “Yeah, I think he does as well. From what my John has told me, he is attracted to you, at least somewhat. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, you’re a very beautiful and intelligent woman.”

Lilly smiled. “You are very kind to say so, your highness. Indeed, she is not aware that you are here, nor that you would be returning so soon.”

Matthew nodded, pleased. “Very good. I think I’m going to go surprise her. Do you know where she is?” he inquired. After a pause he added. “Feel free to call my Matthew, or Matt, by the way. We’re family as far as I’m concerned.”

“You must be very tired from your long flight...she is in your room, as mentioned...Matthew.” Lilliana smiled.

Matthew smiled back, not breaking eye contact. “Thank you. It was nice seeing you, Lilliana. If you don’t mind, I’m going to go surprise her now” he replied. They weren’t particularly far from where Allaria was, only a couple of hallways at most.

Lilly did a curtsey as she lowered her eyes, and proceeded to continue walking the way she was originally going, picking up her dress slightly as she went upon quiet feet.

Matthew turned and went on his way, toward his room, which happened to be the opposite way that Lilly was going. Before long, he was approaching the door to his room. It was heavy, made of sturdy, intricately carved wood. It had been standing there for a long time, since before he had ever been thought of. It had a couple of locks that were sturdy as well. He gently approached the door, not wanting to make too much noise. He wanted to surprise Allaria after all.

Allaria was laying on the bed in a thin bedgown, drinking lazily from a glass. There were some magazines strewn around as well as some clothes. Her head was leaning against her hand as she watched tv...a Ghantish Hockey League game, as it were. She sighed and thumbed through a fashion magazine.

Matthew gently twisted the knob of the door, and pushed it open with carefulness, thankful that it was well oiled and didn’t squeak. He was practically holding his breath as he sneaked in, setting his backpack by the door as he closed it. His ‘room’ was more like a small apartment, fit for a High Prince. Whoever had designed and constructed the palace hadn’t been conservative with materials. He found himself standing in the greeting area of sorts, and could hear the TV on in the bedroom deeper in the room. He slipped off his shoes and tiptoed toward the bedroom, trying to figure out how he would surprise her in his head.

As he reached the door frame, he looked into the room. His eyes fixated on Allaria, his beautiful fiance, who was clad in very little. “Allaria” he said softly, voice drifting. He wasn’t standing in the door frame, but beside it, in a way that she couldn’t see him.

Allaria turned her head swiftly at the sound of her name, and her face lit up like fireworks when she saw Matthew. “Matthew! My maite!” she exclaimed as she jumped off the bed and ran to embrace him.

Matthew wore a bright grin as he came into full view. He didn’t waste any time in closing the distance between them, so that he could embrace her with his strong arms. “Allaria, my maite” he echoed back into her ear affectionately. His kissed the side of her neck, and then her lips. “Oh, how I have missed you, my love.” He smiled warmly down at her.

Allaria shuddered under his touch and upon his kiss. “Oh how I missed you! How dare you leave me be! I don’t trust those women up there...you belong to me.” Allaria kissed Matthew passionately and began to work at his clothes zealously.

Matthew ran a hand through her hair as he kissed her back with equal, possibly even greater, fervor. Oh how he missed her touch and affection! “I missed you more than I can ever describe in words. Fear not milday, I am your’s and forever shall be” he replied with a grin. His hands were at her hips now; hot on her skin as they found themselves working their way under her thin state of dress.

Allaria, by no means a strong woman, turned Matthew around and with all her strength pressed her body against his and backwards onto the bed, where she straddled him and tore at his clothes. “You won’t be needing any of those for awhile...make sure you get room service on speed dial.” Allaria laughed as she quivered under his hands and sighed hungrily, like some demon in soft smooth flesh.

Matthew grunted in surprise as he landed on the bed, catching her fall for her, arms wrapped around her waist. He grinned as he looked up at his fiance, wiggling a bit to help her with her task of undressing him. “Don’t worry, they are. Never know when you might need them” he laughed. His hands continued to run over her body, enjoying the soft feeling. Instead of trying to get her gown off though, Matthew took the easier route. The sounds of fabric tearing could be heard as he undressed her in a fluid motion, leaving her bare, and the nightgown ripped. “I’m a little impatient” he laughed as he went back to admiring her pristine body with his hands.

Naturally, she wasn’t wearing anything under the gown, and seemingly within an instant she was naked. It wasn’t much longer before he was too. “No need to play small ball, might as well go straight to home.” Allaria grinned as easily onto him and leaned forward to kiss him deeply.

“I like the way you think.” Matthew managed to get out as his brown eyes intently watched her, a grin spreading on his lips. His hands were still on her hips, digging into them as he held onto her. He let out a deep growl of sorts as she settled upon him. One hand left her hips to cup her face as he kissed her, the prince shifting his hips to encourage her.

This probably went on for a good fifteen minutes or so, until Allaria screamed and swore in Ghantish. “Izorratzen dit! Bai! Nire barruan askatu!” the woman was wild and fierce in her motions and pressing her body close to him with hands pulling on his hair.

When this happened, Matthew followed quickly, unable to control himself any longer after so much time apart from his fiance. His arms were wrapped around her waist, holding her close as humanly possible at this point. His breathing ragged, and his curses drowned out by Allaria. He really needed to learn her language one of these days. “I love you” was one of the things he murmured toward the end.

When she felt him, she gripped his hair hard and shoved herself downward in a loud gasp. Then she meekly fell on top of him and kissed him. “And I love you too. And the way you make me feel.” Allaria caressed his scalp and showered his face with kisses, licking the sweat from his skin.

Matthew kept his arms where they were, keeping her in place atop him. His grin was broad and warm as he looked up at the woman who had stolen his heart in a rather...unorthodox manner. “There has, and will never be, a woman who makes me feel like you do, maite” he said into her ear. He shuddered underneath her at her methods of affection, kissing her back when he could. “I am the luckiest man in the world.”

“I am truly the lucky one...to have chanced upon you at that ball. That ilehoria Alena had her chance!” Allaria giggled as she kissed his neck. “I got you now and no man shall ever dare to question the loyalty of my heart.”

One of Matthew’s hands came up from her hips, ghosting her rear for a moment, before he began to gently rub circles into the small of her back affectionately. “We are both lucky in our own ways. I shall be forever grateful that you came into my life” he murmured as he kissed her bare collarbone, and then her neck in turn. “You are mine, and I am yours. Never fear the loyalty of my heart” he smiled up at her.

Allaria still shuddered upon his kisses and touches like ice upon her warm skin. “I swear that I shall never doubt it.” she was content to just lay there and enjoy the feeling of his body against hers, the warmth of his skin pressed against her own, enjoying the rhythm of his beating heart and her soft brown hair upon his face.

Matthew was equally content, and made no move to get her off of him, instead opting to lay there and gently rub her back. He couldn't believe how much he had missed her in a week, but he did. His heart had longed for her company ever since he had left, and he felt whole once more. “I’m sorry for taking so long to return” he murmured after a long while. “I missed you so much.”

“Next time you should take me with you.” Allaria said softly into his chest. “I promise not to embarrass you or your family. I want to be an Imperatrix that you would be proud of. Let the world see me.”

His hand went further now, to stroke her hair, and tuck a few stands behind her ear so that he could gaze up at her better. “I am proud to have a woman like you by my side, and I will be proud to rule with you as my Imperatrix. The only reason you weren’t invited was because it was supposed to be, ah, a guys trip I guess” he explained softly.

“You sure it wasn’t a snub by the ilehoriar because I am Ghantish? They have no love for my people or my country...I often fear for my home.” Allaria said softly, yet worriedly.

Matthew sighed quietly at her words. She may have had a right to be worried, but he wasn’t. The Vyrsarians weren’t that bad from his experience. “It might have been, but I do not know. Aaron’s girlfriend invited us. But I know what you mean. Fear not maite, there is nothing to fear, I promise you.” He replied back as he tried to soothe her worries.

“...Do you think that Aaron and his girlfriend may be wed?” Allaria asked.

Matthew shrugged slightly and replied. “I do not know, maite. He is still up there with her. Only time will tell. They did look rather comfortable together though.”

“If they do, I will welcome her as my sister-in-law and as a part of our family, and show her the utmost respect and courtesy. But it is my hope that she will return the favor. As your wife and future consort I will not tolerate any disrespect against myself or my family, and I hope that you will support and encourage that.” Allaria said a bit more firmly in between kisses.

Matthew kissed her back fervently, grinning up at her. “Watch yourself maite, you may awake a sleeping giant” he mumbled. “Anyways, so do I. I will support you, but he is also my brother, and I have to support his choices at the same time. Disrespect is something I will not tolerate either, do not fear. I wouldn’t worry about it too much though, they are still in an earlier state of their relationship. Marriage is probably still a ways off. There are marriages that are much closer, if you know what I mean” he laughed.

“I will support his choices as well, and that of all your brothers, as they are my family now. I just want harmony and unity. I am willing to champion that, especially in dangerous times such as these. I would have you know that I have remained on the pill as well, until such a time as is determined that I should come off of it. In the meantime, I am willing to stay on it, as well as other things.” Allaria laughed.

Matthew laughed with her. He was sure that she could tell that things were beginning to come alive again, with all the kissing and such going on. “I am glad to hear that you’re willing to help the Holland family, that means a lot” he smiled. At the mention of the pill, his hand moved down to her stomach to gently rub it. “Maite, when you think you are ready, that is when you get off the pill. Normally, we are supposed to wait to have kids until we are wed, but no one would have to know, especially if we married soon after. Normally Imperators work to put buns in the oven within a year of marriage, even if it means locking themselves and their wives in the bedroom for a month. If you catch my drift” he laughed.

“Hmm...well, if we are getting married next month, would there be much harm in getting a head start?” Allaria smirked, feeling his arousal building once more. “I can stop immediately and give you an heir, sealing the line of succession. Would you like that? You don’t seem to mind trying.” Allaria laughed.

Matthew laughed, and then hummed thoughtfully. “We could easily marry next month, sure. Maybe something with our families, more intimate and special” he replied as he reached down for her hips once more. “I would love to...give you a child Allaria. You're my maite, and I would love nothing more than for you to be the mother of my children. Our children could be Emperors, Kings, Queens, Imperators and so on. It would make me happy if you stopped taking the pill, and let the chips fall where they may. But the question is, are you ready to be a mother?” he asked with a laugh; though it was clear that he was rather serious about the question. As he spoke, he shifted his weight so that Allaria was suddenly, but gently, under him now, between him and the bed; so that he hovered over her.

“Of course! I always wanted to be one, and now that I am in a secure position with someone that I love, might as well.” Allaria giggled as she found herself suddenly between Matthew and the bed.

It was clear that Matthew was happy with that answer, as he peppered her with kisses, grinning as he did so. “I was hoping you would say something like that” he murmured affectionately; running a hand through her hair. He glanced down between them and then back up at her. “Might as well practice, maite” he chuckled.

Allaria laughed. “Yes...we have alot of catching up to do.” she said with a hand reaching for his groin to guide him…
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Ghant
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Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:46 pm

"Services Rendered"
Whitehall Keep
Maldoria Province, Shalum


There was no easy way to get to the ancestral lands of the Whitehall family, that much was certain, especially to anyone who had to dared to make the trek out toward the southwestern corner of Shalum where they were. These lands were more rugged than you would find in most in Shalum, with rocky hills that supported scant amounts of life, and little in the way of fertile lands that could support farming.

Because of this, the few people that lived here had adapted, and had become tempered by their environment. They were a semi-nomadic people, who travelled when they had to -which was often the case- and settled when they were lucky enough to find lands that would support them and their clan. They were known as the Maldorians. The circumstance of their name, and how their people had gotten there, was still unknown this day, though few actually cared as to how or why they had settled down among the hills.

There was one Maldorian family that had stood out from the rest throughout the course of Shalumite history. They were the Whitehalls, known for being a batch of Maldorian warlords with a certain knack for being feral in combat, and practically unbeatable. No legion of Shalum had ever been able to vanquish them or their family line, as waging war in Maldoria was not good for one’s health. They had only stopped raising arms against the Imperator of Shalum and his armies through concession, a marriage that had also elevated their status to nobility within Shalum.

The modern Whitehalls hadn’t changed much throughout history. They still lived in the family castle, which had survived a number of sieges since it had been erected. It was a formidable looking place, with tall walls and guard towers that were still manned by men loyal to the Whitehalls. The place had gone through a number of restorations, to keep it in shape, and a number of modern amenities had been added on to add comfort to the current residents, though they didn’t need such comforts to survive.

The majority of the supplies were bought in by plane, via an airstrip that had been constructed near the castle. While it was expensive to constantly use planes to get supplies, it was also a lot quicker. But today, the plane that would be arriving would not be bringing supplies, no. It was to be bringing something much more important, someone actually. Preparations had been made for her arrival, and while all of that was going on, Lord Walter Whitehall waited patiently for her plane to land, green predatory eyes hidden behind sunglasses.

Lady Jakinda of House Pazuzu was a woman of forty three, with a deceptively dignified face. She looked well enough for a woman her age, with long straight hair that fell down to her behind, and pale skin to contrast. She was shapely and possessed hard, golden eyes that could pierce a man’s soul, it was said. Her late husband certainly thought so and said as much. A shame how after twenty years of marriage, he was unable to give her a child, on account of a...condition that made seeding highly improbable. Always an impatient woman and wanting children born of her body, she decided that the best course of action was to kill him discreetly, and then find somebody else that might be worth it. Upon her brother Orzibal’s recommendation, she decided that meeting his distant business associate Lord Walter Whitehall might be worthwhile. Wealthy, well connected and from an ancient and proud house in Shalum, in addition to him not being that much older, she decided that he might be worthy of her hand...if he could demonstrate his value to her.

Lord Walter Whitehall was a rugged man, true to his environment, who had turned fifty only a month prior. His eyes, which were concealed behind sunglasses for the moment, were green and predatory; and had a certain experience behind them, it clear that he had seen a lot more than most people. Both his hair, and the goatee that he sported, were both raven colored; with hints of grey beginning to seep into the black as he got older. He was a tall, strongly built man, with slightly tan skin that was a result of spending many years in the sun.

He was a lot of things, but most notably, he was an important noble in the Shalumite court, weidling a lot of power that very few families could match. He was also a businessman, weidling several billion dollars counting the assets that he controlled. The most profitable of these assets was the Ring, the most powerful criminal empire in Shalum, though no one outside of his inner circle knew that. This was where much of the power that he wielded came from.

As it turned out, he had already had children, the exact number something he did not know. He had gotten around over the years, and he had been with a number of servants and women under his employment. Even after all of that, he hadn’t married nor had he harbored any plans of that, at least until now. The Pazuzu offer was one that he couldn’t overlook, to put it simply. He stood a lot to gain by marrying a noble woman of her standing.

Lady Pazuzu landed on the private airstrip in her gaudy private jet. The noblewoman barked orders at her attendants to gather her baggage, and once the plane was fully stopped, she grabbed her sunglasses and umbrella and stepped out, down the steps and onto the tarmac.

Walter watched her for a moment from where he stood, before he began to walk forward toward the jet. He had arrived in a jeep, that was capable of navigating the local terrain, though the drive between the castle and the airfield was a rather easy one. As he got closer, he noted with some amusement, the way that the Pazuzu woman barked at her servants, something he did as well. “Jakinda Pazuzu, I presume?” He asked as he approached, eyes fixated on the pale woman.

Lady Jakinda Pazuzu.” Jakinda pointed out with a smirk. “And you must be Lord Walter Whitehall.”

Walter snorted quietly at her words and grinned, nodding before he replied. “That would be I, Lady Pazuzu. A pleasure to meet you in person” he said; eyeing her up and down for a moment behind his sunglasses. He enjoyed fine women, and she looked to be one.

“I have heard very good things about you from my brother. I understand that you are something of a business associate, my lord.” Jakinda said as she walked along away from the plane.

Walter nodded and smiled, a little more than proud of the empire that he had built in the shadows. “That would be correct, milady. I’ve managed to build a rather impressive business over the years, and I’m proud to say that it’s worth a pretty penny just a couple billion” he chuckled. “I have heard things about you from your brother, good things I assure you. If you want, I have a car waiting for us not far away.” He said, motioning toward the waiting jeep nearby.

“Good, thank you, my lord.” Jakinda nodded in appreciation as she made her way to the jeep, climbing in and folding up her umbrella.

“No problem, milady.” He said demurely as he slid into the driver’s seat. Sure, he could have had a servant drive, but he prefered doing it himself. The car was already running, so he only had to put the car into drive and they were on their way. Once they were on the road that led back to the castle, he spoke up again. “How was your flight, Lady Pazuzu?” He queried as he glanced over at her, trying to make conversation since the drive would last several minutes.

“It was long, my lord, and I am quite tired.” Jakinda answered as she leaned back into her seat. “And famished, truly.”

Walter nodded in understanding, though didn’t take his eyes off the road. “I understand, truly. I have been to Ghant once or twice over the years, it is a long flight.” The nobleman replied. The castle was in the distance, and in view, standing imposingly over the local countryside since it was atop a hill. “When we arrive, I can have the servants prepare you something to eat should you wish. Already, a room has been prepared for you as well.”

“Wonderful. Thank you, my lord.” Jakinda flashed a smile.

Walter glanced over for a brief moment to smile back, his white teeth showing. “You’re quite welcome, milady, it is the least I can do for a woman as beautiful as yourself” he replied easily.

“You are very kind to say so. I am forty three now however, well past my prime. What you see now is like the embers of a dwindling fire.” Jakinda answered in truth.

Walter continued to hold his slight smile as he spared another glance at Jakinda, his eyes looking her over once more. “Au contraire, mon cheri” he replied. “That certainly isn’t true, I know for a fact. You’re quite a beautiful woman, if I say so myself” he grinned. “Sometimes, a fruit must ripen before it is truly sweet. And besides, if anyone is past their prime, it is myself. I am fifty, afterall.”

“But a man can get away with it, wouldn’t you say? For the seed never runs out.” Jakinda chuckled. “I at best could provide two children should I deign to remarry.”

A grin spread on Walter’s lips at her words. “Indeed it does not, and for that, I am lucky I suppose. I’m sure you know, but I have no problems with...spreading it and letting it grow” he chuckled. “Two legitimate children is more than I could ever dream of asking for, so it is of no concern to me. We would have to start soon though, if we married” he stated.

“One worthy of inheriting the House and another to use as a bargaining chip.” Jakinda nodded. “And bastards to do the dirty work. Although, there is much to be considered”

“Sounds about right to me.” Walter grunted in agreement as he turned the car to the right, placing it on a direct path to the castle gates. “I’ve got...a number of bastards, whether they know I am actually their father or not is unknown. But that is of no matter. And yes, you are right, there is much to consider. Is there anything you need to know of me, Lady Pazuzu?”

“Why, everything, of course.” Jakinda grinned. “Although I suspect I know enough already. You are exceedingly intelligent. You figured you could more easily build wealth, power and influence without the hinderance of a wife until such a time when it was more or less consolidated. And then, when the time was right, you would consider marrying an older woman that could be an asset to you, and a foreign one that wouldn’t complicate your business endeavors within Shalum.”

Walter grinned back, rather impressed with Jakinda. “My oh my, you’re as sharp as you are beautiful. You pretty much got it in one, I must say. Yes, a wife would have been a hinderance in the past, just another thing to balance among my other...business ventures. Choosing to not take one allowed me to focus on what I needed to, and lovers allowed me to unwind when I wanted to. Now, my businesses are at the point where they can run themselves, though I still prefer to be actively involved in them anyway; to have something to do with my free time. And yes, a foreign women with no ties in Shalum, among other things, wouldn’t complicate things.”

“Aye. That is what you need, and that is why I am here. An older, seasoned woman, one who wouldn’t complicate things and who could deliver the goods without complication. I know the stakes, I know the nature of the game. If you love me then that is fine, and if you don’t, so be it. I married for love once already.” Jakinda explained. “This time I am in it for the prestige and what there is to be offered and what can be gained.”

Walter nodded, his expression more neutral now as he mulled over what he had just heard. “That is good to know. You’re the kind of woman that I need by my side, and that I need as the mother of my heirs. Whether I will come to love you is yet to be seen. It is not impossible, but I simply do not know. Never in my life have I actually loved a woman. And that is why I must warn you, since you are marrying me, that I may not be the most ‘loyal’ of husbands. Whitehalls never have been, and I doubt they ever will be.” He replied with an honest, blunt shrug.

“Loyalty is irrelevant in this instance, my lord. What is important is prestige and influence, and highborn children that can inherit good things from their parents and build upon that. Should the Belmore produce a son, and I a daughter, that could do much for House Whitehall, could it not?” Jakinda asked. “Love would be nothing compared to that sort of power.”

Walter nodded. “I am glad to hear that you are a pragmatist in that regard. Of course, I intend to give you a fair amount of my attention as well” he replied with a small chuckle. “And yes, should that happen, House Whitehall could gain quite a lot. Of course, that is assuming the Belmore girl would even be interested in a Whitehall. The Hollands and Whitehalls have never been friends.” He explained, assuming that she spoke of Allaria Belmore.

“I hope you don’t mind, but speaking of the Belmores, there was an idea that was proposed to me recently by a...noble friend of mine in Aragon. He said that I should try and wed the younger Belmore girl, Liliana I believe is her name. Young and inexperienced, of course, but would also make a good addition to House Whitehall. He proposed that I make a marriage proposal to her family, maybe make her my second wife or something like that. Every man has his price, after all.” Walter shrugged. They were approaching the castle gates now, where two men stood guard with assault rifles in hand. The gate was already open, and the jeep was waved through.

Jakinda nibbled on her bottom lip. “I would advise against that. Any such offer to Lilliana will be rejected, and would invite the mistrust and distaste of Allaria. Such a mistake could bite you in the ass later on down the road, as well as incur the enmity of the Blackburns, as young John has taken a fancy to her. No sense in sacrificing position and standing to entertain an offer that is guaranteed to fail.”

Walter nodded sagely, though he was just a tad disappointed at the news to tell the truth, though he had been expecting to hear as such. He knew that Lilliana was a beautiful woman, if the pictures he had been forwarded said anything of her. “I suspected as much, a bad idea from the start, but I had to at least consider it; as I have all the other proposals I’ve seen cross my desk so far. Earning the ire of the future Imperatrix, and resparking the Whitehall/Blackburn feud, are not things I want to do” he replied.

They had entered the interior courtyard of the castle, which at one time had been used to train men for war among other things. These days, it didn’t get much use, other than a garden that had been established in the middle for pleasure. Even a man as rugged as him enjoyed the sight of the garden. “We are here, Lady Pazuzu.” He said as he brought the jeep to a stop.

“Marvelous. Would you be so kind as to escort me, my lord?” The lady asked.

Walter nodded and smiled, as he slid out of the jeep. “I would be happy to, milady.” The Shalumite nobleman replied as he rounded the jeep. He opened her door and held out his hand for her to take, remembering some of the lessons he had been taught over the years.

Jakinda took his hand and climbed out of the jeep. “Now, let us see this palace of yours, shall we?”

Walter nodded and began to lead them down a path toward a set of large doors, where two men were standing on either side of the door, weapons slung over their shoulders. They were wearing military uniforms with the Whitehall family crest in place of a unit patch. They both straightened and opened the doors for the couple as they walked through.

“Don’t mind them, that is rather normal here, and in a lot of noble houses across Shalum. Having men at arms loyal to you and you only isn’t to be unexpected though, I suppose.” He explained as they stepped into the castle itself. It was noticeably cooler within the castle when compared the outdoors, where summer was in full effect.

“Same goes where I am from.” Jakinda said softly, taking off her sunglasses.

The area they were in was some sort of main hall, that was large enough to entertain any visiting parties that may have dropped by. Plush carpets were on the floors, and paintings hung on the stone walls, which had stood there for hundreds of years without fail. “This is one of the main castle halls, where the Whitehall family often met and made decisions. I’ve seen that it, and the whole castle, be modernized a little over the years.”

Jakinda looked around and took note of what she saw. “Reminds me of home...very nice, my lord.”

Walter smiled slightly. “I thought it may remind of your homelands, I have heard some stories from them over the years. I’ve always felt at home here. This is where I was raised, where I hope to raise my own children, and where I hope to live out my days.” He said as he looked around, admiring the view, even though it had long since become normal to him. “This is my home, and maybe your’s someday, milady?” He asked as he tilted his head to look down at her.

Jakinda Pazuzu was only 5’8’’, which was rather short for her family. She looked up at him. “Perhaps. You see things like a Ghantar does, my lord. For one’s home is as important as anything he has in this world. Perhaps we can talk more over food, yes?”

Walter stood at six-foot-even, not much taller than Jakinda, but enough that it was noticeable. Generally speaking, Whitehalls were a little taller overall. “Certainly, certainly, right this way.” He said, tilting his head toward the hallway to their left. Leading her, his arm interlaced with her own, he took her down a hallway toward the feast hall. Along the way, they passed a few more paintings and smaller, less important rooms along two servants who bowed at their presence before moving out of their way.

The feasting room was a large, but more simply decorated room. At one time, it had been furnished with a number of tables for the occupants of the keep. Now, however, there was only a single, long table to sit at. “Here we are, milady, the castle’s feast hall. Is there anything your heart desires? While much of the castle has been left the way it was, the kitchen is one of the most modern sections. I make sure it is well stocked year round, meats and vegetables, things of the like; not to mention a cook.” He explained as a servant approached.

“Fantastic, my lord.” Jakinda said as she took a seat at the table and waited to be served.

Walter took the seat beside her quietly, the wood of the legs scraping against the rock floor. As he did this, the servant; a younger girl in her mid-twenties, curtsied and approached. “Good evening, milord and milady, is there anything that you wish?” She asked, notepad in hand.

“Some dark wine and steak would do nicely, child.” Jakinda said. “And do be quick about it, I am famished.”

The servant girl nodded and quickly scribbled it down. She paused for a moment. “How would you like it cooked, milady? And would you prefer bison or beef steak?” She asked intently, hoping to get the order right.

“Bison...rare, nice and bloody, if you would be so kind.” Jakinda said, studying the physique of the serving girl.

The serving girl was, unsurprisingly, a pretty thing, with dirty-blonde hair and blue eyes; shorter than Jakinda by a couple of inches. She blinked in surprise, but nodded, not used to seeing rare steaks ordered. “As you wish ma’am, and for yourself, milord?” The girl queried quickly.

Walter hummed thoughtfully and smiled at Jakinda. “A woman after my own heart, it seems. I was going to order the same, though medium-rare. Now get to it.”

“Yes, right away.” The serving girl said, before quickly trekking away to place the order.

Jakinda watched her leave, before turning to Walter. “Such fine, juicy cuts you have here,” she chuckled. “Have you tasted of that one yet?”

Walter chuckled and grinned. “Why thank you, I like to think that I keep good stock around. No, not yet, that one is a new addition. Still in training for her duties, actually.” Walter replied.

“I like that one. Seeing as how she is fresh, perhaps she can serve me. And I would very much enjoy watching her serve you.” Jakinda smirked.

Walter’s eyebrows rose at her words. “Oh, would you now? I had been planning on...tasting someday, but I wasn’t expecting to hear that.” The nobleman smirked right back at her.

Jakinda raised an eyebrow in return. “They say that two is company but three is a party, and oh how I do enjoy parties.”

Walter laughed. “Oh, I’m liking you more with every second, milady. I’ve always enjoyed parties myself. Maybe something like that could be arranged soon. Servants are trained to help their masters however they may need it.” He explained with a grin.

The serving girl returned a moment later, with two wine glasses in hand, appearing nervous. She had never actually served her lord before. “Your wine, milord and lady.” The serving girl said, leaning down to hand them their glasses, giving Jakinda and Walter a nice view for a moment.

“Thank you, child.” Jakinda said as she took the glass of wine and sipped from it. “What is your name?”

“It is no problem, milady, for it is my duty.” The girl replied demurely, blue eyes downcast. She blinked in surprise, obviously not expecting to be questioned in that way. “It is Heather, milady.” She almost stammered out.

“...Where are you from, Heather?” Jakinda asked, curiously.

Heather shifted on her heels, tucking a few strands of blonde hair behind her ear. “I am from Frankfurt, milady.” She replied.

“So tell me then. How old are you, and what did you do before you came here?” Jakinda asked, softly.

Heather blinked in surprise, and shot a quick glance toward the kitchens. She knew the food wouldn’t take long to prepare. “I am twenty-four, milady. I was a Student at the University of Frankfurt, pre-med. My family recently experienced some financial problems, and I chose to drop out in order to help them. Milord, is kind enough to pay me well.” She explained, shifting.

“Better go check on the food, Heather. We can talk more when you return.” Jakinda stated.

“Yes, right away.” Heather quickly said, turning so that she could return to the kitchen.

“She seems...nice.” Walter commented as he sipped on his wine casually. “Innocent as well. I didn’t actually find her, I let my assistant do most of the scouting, I just approve or decline their files.” Walter explained.

“This is good, very good. She could be quite useful.” Jakinda grinned.

Walter grinned at Jakinda and set his glass down. “Indeed she could be. If you wanted, I could remove her from kitchen duties, assign her to you should you want.” The nobleman offered.

“I would like that...very much in fact.” Jakinda answered with a flash of a smile.

Walter smiled, pleased at the answer. “If that is the case, I will have it done immediately after we eat, unless you want to tell her yourself.” He replied as he glanced toward the kitchen area, where Heather had emerged with two plates in hand.

“Here you go, milord and milady.” She said, leaning down again to hand them their plates of steak. “Two bison steaks and the proper utensils.”

“Tell me, Heather, would you like to go back to med school?” Jakinda asked as she took the steak and cut into it.

Heather blinked and thought about the question for a moment. “Maybe someday, milady. It is expensive, and my family needs money. Working here provides me with enough to help them, and a little for myself as well. So...I’m not quite sure, yet, I guess.”

Jakinda tore into the steak with her knife and ate the bloody bits of meat off the end of it. “What if I were to pay for all of these expenses?”

Heather’s blue eyes widened in surprise at her words. “I...I.” She stammered, not sure what to say. “That would be wonderful, milady, truly wonderful.” She replied happily. “But that is too much for me to ask. It would be a long time before I could ever repay you.”

Meanwhile, Walter watched, cutting into his steak and taking bites; wondering what Jakinda would say.

“I would consider the debt paid provided you served me ably, and tended to my needs as the Lady of this Estate. Should you do so, I will pay not only for your tuition, but also for your family’s expenses. Do you consider that a reasonable arrangement?” Jakinda asked, as juice ran down her chin.

Heather nodded quickly, a smile on her lips. “Of course, that would be more than reasonable, milady. That would help me immensely. I guess this makes me...your personal servant then.” She replied after a moment, making sure that she was remembering right. “Yes, that is right I believe. Whatever you ask of me, it is my duty to serve.”

“Good...very good. We can talk more after I am done eating, in my chambers.” Jakinda smiled.

“Of course, of course, I’ll make myself scarce. Thank you, milady, summon me if you need anything. I won’t be far...and thank you.” Heather smiled, before quickly leaving the two nobles alone.

Walter smiled at Jakinda and patted her on the thigh, before cutting another piece of his steak. Bison was a little tougher than beef, but healthier. “That was rather nice of you. I don’t think she knows what’s coming though.” He laughed after he swallowed.

“She said she do whatever I asked of her...such is a natural consequence of offering something that is highly desired. If you dangle a piece of cheese in front of a rat, you can get it to do anything,” Jakinda said as she sucked on the juice from a cut of her steak.

Walter nodded in understanding. “Indeed, she offered just that. She will find out soon enough just what whatever entails.” He said with a small grin. “That will be interesting to see, if you don’t mind.” He said as he cut another piece of steak, juice dripping down the knife as he placed another chunk in his mouth.

“So tell me, my lord, have you thought about what you might like for dessert?” Jakinda asked.

Walter hummed and looked over at Jakinda, green eyes intent for a moment. “I think you may know already.” He chuckled. “But the cherry pie is rather good as well if you wanted something like that.”

“As a matter of fact I do. I do enjoy cherries.” Jakinda said as she finished eating, licking the juice from her fingers. “My lord, would you be so kind as to show me to my chambers?”

“As do I, milady.” Walter replied as he swallowed, the majority of his steak now consumed. “I would be happy to.” He said as he slid out of his chair. He offered her his hand to lead her. “Right this way.” He said as he nodded toward the feast hall doors.

Jakinda took his hand and let him lead her to her designated chambers in the castle, curious to see what they looked like.

The walk to her chambers took them deeper into the castle, where overhead lights replaced windows to an extent. The place had been built to withstand sieges, so aesthetic fixtures like windows weren’t as common. Eventually, they arrived at her room, the walk quiet, but comfortable as far as Walter was concerned. “Here we are. This is one of the larger bedrooms in the castle, other than the one I sleep in, of course. Sorry if it is a bit bare at the moment.” He said as he pushed the sturdy door to her room open.

The chambers that Jakinda had been assigned were rather large, with high ceilings. The floor was smooth, local rock. The lights were low for the moment, but could be turned up. There was a fireplace that could be used as well, to heat the room if it grew too cold. Dressers and drawers were here and there for Jakinda to put her things in. A single wooden door would lead her to a bathroom with more modern water fixtures.

The centerpiece of the room, however, was a king sized bed with thick, colorful covers. Even though it was warm this time of year, it could still get cold at night. “Here we are, milady. We weren’t sure what to put in here, so we left it a little bare, and thought we would let you decide later when you arrived.”

“Splendid, thank you, my lord. Would you care to summon Heather?” Jakinda asked.

“Ah yes, there is a phone over here, let me do that. “ He said, walking away from her. He trekked over to the nearby phone, which sat beside her bed, which allowed him to call the rest of the house. He spoke for a few moments, nodding his head now and then, before he put it back down. “She is on her way, milady. She wanted to change from her kitchen clothes into something more suitable.” He explained.

“Good, that is most appropriate.” Jakinda grinned, noting that her things were already in place compliments of her train.

There was a knock on the door after around a minute. Walter opened it to reveal Heather, dressed in a blue dress that one would have expected a servant to wear. It was to be noted that she filled it out well. “You summoned me, milady?” Heather asked, curtsying.

“I did, child, thank you for coming.” Jakinda offered, walking close and examining the dress, feeling it in her hands. “Tell me true, Heather. You are twenty-four...I take it you have been with a man before?”

Heather squirmed a bit, surprised by the sudden touch, but chose to stay where she was. Her eyes went wide, and her cheeks reddened, making her look rather cute. “I-er,” she stuttered. She glanced at Walter, who was smirking at her, her mind still not quite caught up yet. “Yes, milady, I have been with a couple.” She said nervously.

Jakinda nodded. “Good, good. When I was your age, I was already married, to the same man that took me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to, but he was quite assertive. It hurt, too. Consider yourself fortunate. Now, one other thing I was curious about...have you ever been with a woman?”

Heather frowned slightly. Her first had been awkward, but at least she had managed to find some sort of enjoyment out of it. She slowly shook her head, cheeks still burning. “I can’t say I have, milady. I kissed a girl once during a college party, though there was alcohol involved. That’s my extent with them, though.”

“And when you kissed this girl, did you like it?” Jakinda asked.

“It was strange, I must admit, but not all that bad. I guess you could say I enjoyed it.” Heather replied, eyes on her feet, too embarrassed to meet Jakinda’s eyes.

“Good, very good. You see, I like you already. You have goals, dreams and aspirations. You are also kind hearted, caring about your family. And you are no stranger to men, nor really all that much to women. So you are a very reasonable person, eh?” Jakinda wondered aloud, placing her hand under Heather’s chin.

Heather had no choice but to look into Jakinda’s eyes, her blue wide but curious. “I guess you could say that, milady. I try to be, at the very least.” She replied, realization beginning to sink in. She had the feeling that she knew what was coming.

Jakinda took a step back. “Good. So if I asked you to take off that pretty blue dress of yours, that wouldn’t be such a terrible thing to ask of you, now would it?”

Heather blushed even harder now, but nodded slowly. “No it wouldn’t, I suppose.” She replied as her hands went to her shoulders. She slowly tugged at the dress, until it pooled around her feet, leaving her mostly exposed; other than the lacy undergarments that she chose to wear, things she had brought with her.

“Those too, child.” Jakinda pointed at the undergarments.

Heather nodded and did as she was told, tossing them to the side after a moment. Walter had taken the time to step back beside Jakinda, and grin. “As you wish, milady.” Heather had said quietly.

Jakinda looked her up and down. “Yes, very nice. There is nothing to be ashamed of. A body like yours is meant to be used.” Jakinda pressed her lips to Heather’s and kissed her softly. “Now you take off mine.”

Heather was surprised at the sudden kiss, but yielded and returned it after a moment. She smiled, albet very shyly. “Your wish is my command, milady.” The girl replied as she began to do as she was told, her hands deft as she removed the Ghantish woman’s dress.

Jakinda continued to kiss her and run her hands over her body and through her hair as she undressed her, enjoying the taste of her mouth. “Hmm, very good.”

Heather smiled up at Jakinda as she managed to fully free the older woman from her dress. She took a small amount of initiative and kissed her by her own accord this time. “There you go, milady, as requested.”

Jakinda slipped out of her undergarments, revealing a still firm and shapely pale figure. She grabbed Heather by the arms and backed up against the bed, until she fell back upon it. With Heather pressed against her, she kissed her again, before deftly pushing Heather’s head down between her legs…

Heather gasped in surprise as she found herself pulled onto the bed, squirming in anticipation. She could feel her heart pounding quickly in her chest now. As she was pushed down, she looked up at Jakinda and grinned slightly, before doing as the Ghantish woman wanted her too.

Jakinda gasped in pleasure and with a shudder as she looked over at Walter. “Now you, my lord.”

Walter grinned and approached the bed, where Heather was still doing as she was told diligently. “As you say.” He replied, grunting. He quickly lost what he was wearing, making no show of it. It was clear that what he had seen thus far had gotten his blood flowing...

Jakinda bit her bottom lip. “Yes...yes...like that.” The noble lady looked at Walter. “Now as for you, come down on your knees at the front of the bed, my lord. Let me have a taste of some more of the local meat.”

Walter grinned down at Jakinda and did as he was told, wasting little time, as he was a man with little patience in these sorts of situations. “Have at it, milady.” He replied as he watched her, green eyes hungry.

“Yes...yes…” Jakinda said with a quiver as she wiggled forward and went down on the lord, somewhat hungrily.

“Ja, sehr gut.” The nobleman growled under his breath, his eyes closing as pleasure surged through him. With a surprising gentleness, he ran his hands through her hair and muttered the occasional curse.

This had gone on for a few minutes, until Jakinda was on the brink and gripped Heather’s head with her thighs. “Stop...that is good! Now switch places, and my lord, give me your seed.”

Heather had almost become lost in what she was doing, and barely managed to follow the order, once she managed free herself from Jakinda’s thighs. Her arms and legs were shaking as she did as she was told.

“Happy to oblige.” Walter grunted out as he slid over to Jakinda and took her without hesitation, not wanting to waste too much time.

Jakinda availed herself to Heather’s nether region while Walter was doing his thing. “Oh...yes...my lord...hard and do not stop. Feel free to...kiss her if you please.”

Heather’s gasps and other noises of pleasure were muffled as she buried her face into a nearby pillow. Never had a man made her feel this good. Meanwhile, Walter gave Jakinda exactly what she wanted, holding nothing back. This went on for several minutes, it clear that Walter had impressive stamina. When he came close he grunted Heather’s name out, bringing her up for a kiss as he donated his seed to the Ghantish below him.

Lady Pazuzu was finished at the same time, a totally spent force that collapsed down into the mattress. “Heather, darling, if you would be so kind...please go back to your previous position. And Walter, my dear, come over here.”

“As you wish, milady.” A rather breathless Heather replied as she crawled back to Lady Pazuzu, still shaking. Nevertheless, she did as she was told.

Meanwhile, Walter had fallen down onto the mattress, next to Jakinda. He leaned over, and placed a hand on her neck as he pressed a kiss to her lips. “That was fantastic, dear.” He grinned at her.

“Aye it was, but we are...not done yet. Let me clean you up and get you ready for the second course.” Jakinda smirked as she kissed him and then went down on him again, quivering as Heather went back down on her. “When you are ready I want to watch you take her like a dog in heat, and you are going to kiss me like a lover while you are doing it.”

Surprise shot through Heather, but she didn’t cease at her task. She wanted her lord to take her? That was something she hadn’t even considered thus far. The idea was a daunting one, but not one she was against by any means.

Walter grunted under his breath and ran his hands through Jakinda’s hair. He looked down at Heather and grinned, eyeing her body. “I could do that, most definitely.” He laughed and laid back, letting Jakinda do what she wanted. “Stop...it is time.” He said after a while, tapping Jakinda on the side of the head.

Jakinda got up and grabbed Heather by the arms and threw her down on the bed, face up. Jakinda fell on top of her, pressing her bosom against hers, and began to kiss her passionately, waiting for Walter to get in position.

Walter wasted no time in getting behind Heather, taking her quickly, earning a moan of pleasure from the dirty-blonde. He got to work, occasionally grunting out, whether it be out of pleasure or a curse.

The Pazuzu lady got off of Heather then, and said. “Flip her over now,” before proceeding to kiss Walter deeply.

Walter did as told, and flipped the petite girl with ease, pausing very little in his movements. He said nothing, as he wrapped his hands around Jakinda’s neck and kissed her back deeply.

“Yes...yes...that’s it. Nice and hard, and don’t stop.” Jakinda giggled as she pressed her mouth against Walter’s, enjoying it.

“I don’t plan on it, anything but.” The nobleman growled in-between kisses, not slowing up. Below them, Heather whimpered loudly, it clear what had just happened as her eyes screwed shut. Walter went a while longer before he growled himself, stilling as he gave Heather his seed as well.

Jakinda grabbed the younger woman and pulled her forward, flipping her on her back. Then she went down on her again. “You see, child? I am not so unreasonable. I reward good and leal service. And I have somethings for you to take...can’t have the seed taking, after all.”

Heather gasped and whimpered as she again found herself beset upon by Jakinda. The most she could do was nod limply. “Of course, milady, we can’t have that. You are...kind enough as is.” She gasped.


“And has my lord had his fill yet?” Jakinda asked Walter. “If not you may take me again, otherwise let us have some lady time.”

Walter grunted and fell back onto the bed, his green eyes watching the two. “Yes, I am alright for now. I am going to need a few minutes at least, take all the time you need.” He chuckled, leaning back against the headboard so that he had a better view.

“Indeed my lord. Perhaps, we might some time to ourselves, for there are some matters of business to discuss between women and such.” Jakinda stated.

Walter nodded and sat up now. “I take it that you wish for me to leave for a while?” He inquired with a raised brow, wanting to confirm before he got off the bed.

“Just for a time, if you would be so kind. You shall be rewarded later, I can assure you,” the noble woman said with a grin. “I am already quite fond of you.”

Walter laughed and slid off the bed, grinning at Jakinda as he went. “And I of you, milady. Such a short time we’ve known each other, but I enjoy your company for sure.” He said, leaning down to pick up his pants and pull them on. “Should you need me, I shall be in my office. If you don’t know where that it, Heather can show you...assuming she can think straight.” He laughed and pulled his shirt on. “Take care.” He said, before heading to the room’s door, letting himself out.

Jakinda waited until Walter was gone, before laying on top of Heather. Looking down into the younger woman’s eyes, Jakinda spoke to her. “Do you understand what just happened?”

Heather shifted, tentatively wrapping her petite arms around Jakinda’s waist as she looked up at the noblewoman. She opened her mouth, and then closed it, thinking it over before she spoke. “I...I think I do. You want me to serve you and milord in more ways than one.” She said. “Am I some sort of mistress?” She asked, looking into Jakinda’s eyes.

The noble lady shook her head. “No. Lord Whitehall was going to take you eventually anyway, one way or the other. If you were just some kitchen servant, it would have been worse. It would have been rougher, harder, more awkward and uncomfortable for you. you would in essence be his pump and dump on beck and call, and chances are you would have gotten pregnant.” Jakinda explained. “But now, you see, by serving me, you are safe from him...under my protection. And I let him take you so I could earn his trust and pleasure, which I could use to your benefit. He has to go through me to get to you if he wants you.”

For a long moment, Heather was quiet, as she silently pondered what she had just been told. None of that was what she had been expecting when she had signed on to serve Lord Whitehall. Then again, the rather impressive paycheck for such a seemingly low position had been more than enough for a girl in her position. “That sounds rather uncomfortable, milady, thank you for helping me.” She said, closing her eyes and shuddering as she buried her head against Jakinda’s shoulder. “I couldn’t imagine...being on call like that. I owe you much more than I thought I already did, that is for sure.” She glanced down between them and frowned, rubbing her thighs together. “We may need to fetch those things you spoke of earlier, I didn’t exactly prepare to bed the lord.” She explained. She then looked back into Jakinda’s eyes. “What about the rest of those who serve him. There are other women as well, though I don’t know them myself.”

“...One’s that I am sure have already been broken in and accustomed to his whims. You have not, so I got to you first.” Jakinda answered, playing with the younger woman’s hair. “And I can assure you, laying with a woman is much less awkward than laying with a man...especially one twice your age. The thought of laying with a fifty year old when I was twenty four I thought to be absolutely disgusting. Now, having said that, there is something I want you to do, everyday starting now.”

Heather nodded and sighed, knowing it was true. “That makes sense, I suppose, milady. I feel sorry for them, since it is unlikely that they knew what they were signing up for.” She sighed and watched Jakinda. “Maybe for a Ghantar, you are a little freer in that regard. In Shalum, a nobleman can buy his marriage for all intents and purposes, and they usually choose younger; that isn’t a secret by any means.” She explained. “What is it, milady?”

“In my bag on the dresser I have some birth control. I want you to take it everyday...and for today you can chew the leaf. I don’t want you to get pregnant...do you?” Jakinda asked.

Heather look torn for a brief moment. “To be honest, not really, not yet. But on the other hand, I could think of worse men to father my child. A nobleman, especially a Whitehall, isn’t of bad stock.” She explained. “I will do as you say though, I promise.”

Jakinda smiled. “Good, I am glad you promise.” Then her dark yellow eyes seemed to pierce as she wrapped a soft, pale hand around Heather’s throat. “And if you break that promise, and disobey me by letting his seed take, so help me Gods I will not only cut the bastard from your belly, but I will throw you out of my service, give you to some friends of mine, and you can kiss your dreams of being a doctor and your family’s aid goodbye. You understand?”

Heather let out a pathetic sounding squeak as her blue eyes went wide in horror. She shivered involuntarily in fear and nodded quickly. “I understand, I understand, I really do!” She said quickly.

Lady Pazuzu patted her on the head, and stroked her hair and cheeks. “That’s a good girl.” Jakinda said with a smile. “You are very smart. I like that. And it seems as though you are still a mess...let me clean you up.” With that, Jakinda went back down between the younger woman’s legs and resumed availing herself to her nether region.

Heather gasped, her back arching, her breath seemingly stolen from her lungs. “Thank you, milady! Right there...ja!” She gasped out.

Right there, Jakinda thought as she continued to do whatever right there was, and content to know that she had a pet that she could use for her own personal pleasure...and as a means of manipulating Lord Whitehall if needs be. So far, so good.

Heather lost any sense of time as she gasped and squirmed, indescribable feelings of pleasure and contentment flowing through her again. She loved this, more than a woman as religious as her probably should have. Even Lord Whitehall hadn’t made her feel this good. Eventually, after a few minutes, she gasped out, her body going tense.

Jakinda came back up when she was finished, and laid beside Heather and kissed her deeply with fluids still in her mouth. “Now, stay here, lay with me for awhile. I am quite tired and I could use the rest...so could you I imagine. Your skin is so warm, soft and smooth, I want to feel it,” she said before kissing her again, hands in her hair.

Heather kissed her back and smiled, nodding. “I am tired as well, milady. I think I could use some time to recover from this.” She sighed contently, and nuzzled against Jakinda. “You’re warm and soft too.” She murmured, eyes beginning to droop already.

“Shh, rest now.” Jakinda said as she reached for the blanket and pulled it over them, getting warm and snugly underneath, with legs entwined and bodies close. Then she gave Heather a pill from the bag on the side of the bed. “And swallow that now,” she said as she traced Heather’s spine with her index finger.

Heather complied, having no issue swallowing without water. “There we go, milady.” She smiled, gazing at Jakinda with lidded eyes. “That feels nice.” She said quietly, resting her head on Jakinda’s shoulder, eyes drooping and eventually shutting.

“Yes, it does, child.” Jakinda said as she stroked Heather’s hair and found herself drifting off into sleep as well...her final thoughts before sleep took her consisting of Services Rendered.
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Ghant
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Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:44 pm

“Allamunnae at the Grand Ball”
Fineberg, New Edom


Breaking free from small-talk with strangers and searching desperately for familiar faces, Vitus Sproek, crown prince of Staalmark, and Marie Izaaksunn, crown princess of Onneria, parted ways with the rest of the Allamunnic delegation. With their black hair and blue eyes so alike, one could have been forgiven for thinking the two heirs of different Allamunnic thrones were siblings. In point of fact, they were cousins, and their relief came from another one of Marie's cousins.

The two stood out fairly easily. Marie was an athletic and beautiful woman, and Vitus was the equivalent, tall and strongly-built. They each wore clothes that flattered them, Marie a close-fitting light blue dress that was just far enough off the ground to give a glimpse of matching high-heeled shoes. Vitus, for his part, was in a well-made black suit with a white shirt, pants and tie to match the jacket, and dark, leather dress shoes, his muscular frame obvious in its own way.

They were both quite sure they were able to catch Arietta's eye as she and John Holland moved around the dance floor, when the red-haired Ghantar was looking in their direction. Marie gave a small wave, not enough to draw overmuch attention, and Vitus simply made eye-contact and nodded, a wolfish grin on his face.

Marie saw his expression and rolled her eyes. "Get that smirk off your face, Vitus. Everyone can tell exactly what you're thinking about." She crossed her arms. "A little bit of subtlety wouldn't kill you," she added. Vitus didn't even bother looking back at her before answering.

"It's not my fault she flips all the right switches," he said, still watching Arietta, hoping she hadn't been flirting
much with other men. Or at least not been doing more than flirting. He didn't want to be unrealistic, after all.

Arietta’s face lit up when she saw Vitus and her cousin Marie…she waved at Arietta. This was enough to turn back to John and say. “Well, nice talking to you…but my boyfriend and my cousin are here!”

Arietta broke free and ran up to Marie and Vitus. “Sup mafuggas!” "Heya, Ari!" Marie answered, probably a little louder than necessary. "It's good to see you again!"

Arietta moved to give Marie a big hug, while batting her eyebrows at Vitus. “Hey there…” she said, slyly, drawing another grin from Vitus. Marie, for her part, let herself be pulled into a hug with her fiery-haired cousin. "I was a little sad that I missed you at the Star Ball," she said as they embraced. "How've you been?"

Arietta had a hard time containing her excitement. “Oh yeah…dude, that ball was cray! I missed you by a hair…there was a lot going on, and I got…sidetracked rather early on.” Arietta winked at Vitus. “But good besides that, just been chillen.”

Marie gave Arietta look that suggested she had a pretty good idea of what "sidetracked" meant. "If we don't get a chance to do it here, we need to catch up later," she said. "For 'chillen' I bet you've been way busier than you're saying," she added with a grin.

Vitus caught Arietta's look and eyebrow waggle. "Try not to leer too hard," he said, chuckling. "I'm just a modest ol' prince," he added. After Marie and Arietta pulled apart, he hugged her, too, kissing her on the mouth. "I've missed you," he said after they pulled apart.

“…I missed you more!” Arietta teased, flashing a smile.

Nathan walked over to where Marie and Vitus were…at the same time Arietta and Stephen were doing the same. “Vitus, Marie, Ari.” Nathan smiled, as he went up to hug his cousin after Arietta did.

Stephen smiled wide. “Well well, look at this! My nephew Nathan, and my nieces Marie and Arietta.” Stephen had already exchanged pleasantries with Nathan and Arietta earlier, so he turned his attention to Marie, and extended his arms to her for a big hug. “How is my niece?”

Marie hugged both Nathan as well as her Uncle Stephen. "Hiya, Nate," she said with a chuckle. "I missed you, too. How have you been?" She repeated the questions with Stephen as they hugged. "And I've been doing great, Uncle," she said. "Soccer and studies alike, going smoothly."

Nathan nodded with a grin. “Been dealing with this new alliance and Sophia…the baby is coming soon, and I ought to be ready.”

She didn't squeal, but Marie definitely jumped and made an excited noise. "I'd almost forgotten! Is Sophie around? You need to let me know as soon as the baby's born! He's going to be getting a visit from his 'Auntie' Marie," she said with a chuckle. She patted Nathan on the shoulder. "I'm sure you'll do fine as a father, though," she said.

Stephen watched with hawkish eyes as Vitus drew Arietta in for the kiss. “I have been well…your cousins Alexander and Lucas are around here somewhere. Not really sure where…one can never know with those two,” he laughed. “Your uncle Albert was here too, but he ran off somewhere and has not come back. You know how he is though…always brooding about something.”

"Yeah, that's no surprise," Marie said of her uncle. "Oh, I haven't seen Alex and Lucas in forever, either! I'll have to try and find them!" she added.

He also narrowed his eyes on Vitus. “And you must be Vitus of Staalmark. Ari has told me a lot about you.”

Vitus spoke, almost having a deer in the headlights look. "Uhh, all good, I hope?" he asked, shooting a glance at Ari. "I'm not in trouble am I?" he added, as he seemed to recover slightly.

Stephen grinned and then chuckled, placing a large hand on Vitus’s shoulder. “Relax, boy…there is no trouble.” Stephen laughed a bit more, and then continued with a “yet.”

Vitus pantomimed wiping sweat from his brow and gave a theatrical sigh of relief. "Oh, good. Had me scared there for a moment," he said with a grin. Luckily, Arietta saved him from further awkwardness for the time.

Arietta shook her head. “So, Crown Prince Vitus of Staalmark…I was wondering if you might do this lady the honor of a dance…if Uncle Stephen doesn’t mind.”

Stephen shrugged. “Go right on ahead, if you are so inclined. Vitus and I can always talk later,” he responded, half serious, half jovially.

Nathan raised his eyebrows. “So cousin, care to dance with me?” Nathan extended his hand to his cousin Marie.

Stephen playfully sighed. “Darn, nephew! I was going to ask her to dance! Go ahead, I can wait.”

Meanwhile, Marie took Nathan's hand. "Yeah, sure, Nate. Juuust for you," she said with a grin.

Nathan took his younger cousin’s hand, and led her out to floor, where he proceeded to dance with her playfully. “Hey, so how’s everybody? Aunt Carrie, Uncle Theo, Grace, Ophelia, and Aetius? I don’t get to see any of you guys nearly as much as I would like. I know Ari has been out there recently on and off…how has that been? Please tell me she hasn’t done anything too irritating.” Nathan laughed.

Marie laughed as she danced loosely and easily with her cousin. “Mum and Dad are both quite well. Ophie and Aetius, it was decided, weren’t old enough to come, so Mum stayed with them, and Dad had some business to attend to in St. Theodur. Something about commending a unit that had been serving in Valik, I think,” she said. “And Grace actually tried to come with, but Mum caught her and said absolutely not, she’s only seventeen and there’s not much difference between a young nobleman and a wolf looking for a meal, she said,” she continued.

She laughed again at the question about Arietta. “No, no, she’s… well, I’d be lying if I said she’s been an angel, but she’s managed to keep out of the tabloids, and we haven’t had to bail her out of jail just yet, sooo…” she said, still smiling.

Nathan laughed riotously. “It’s a shame Aunt Caroline couldn’t come out, she was always fond of Sophia...used to babysit. Can’t say I blame her though. I wouldn’t trust Grace around this lot either.” Nathan laughed. “As for the baby, I will let you know when it happens, though...rest assured. Might have to put Marie in the name.” Nathan smiled.

“...And about that. I wonder if it would be prudent to consider having her out there on a more...frequent, if not permanent basis. Especially considering this Vitus business. I suspect that a match with him is her most viable option, and she certainly doesn’t seem hesitant in that regard.” Nathan commented.

“Aww, you’re so sweet, Nate,” she said with a chuckle. “And yeah, I guess the two years makes a difference. Grace seems crazy sheltered to me, now, but I guess I must not have been much different before getting out of the palace,” she said. “But yeah, so Mum’s got her hands full with those three, needless to say.”

“As for Ari staying with us more often… I like the plan!” she said cheerfully. “And I don’t think there’d be much of a problem with it, but it’d probably be good to ask Mum and Dad,” she added. “And I gotta agree. I don’t think Ari’s capable of being smitten, but this is about as close as I’ve seen her to it.”

“...I never thought Ari would settle down before you.” Nathan chuckled as he danced with her, giving her a spin. “Vitus must be really something. But yes, talking to Aunt Carrie and Uncle Theo would be advisable...would you like to have that honor?” Nathan asked.

“I’d say that’s a dubious ‘honor’,” she said, looking askew at Nathan, “But yes, I suppose I could do it. But I’m leaving the specifics to you to sort out. That’s more than my job’s worth,” she added.

“That sounds like a plan, then.” Nathan nodded. “They can get ahold of me for the specifics then. Which might consist of shipping her limited edition pink bugatti out to Onneria.” Nathan laughed.

Marie laughed, remembering the car Arietta enjoyed so much. Suffice to say, it went very against Allamunnic tastes, which tended to run along more understated lines (Marie’s own silver car was considered a little flashy by her family). “Sounds good to me!”

“So tell me what else is going on...any new politics? Any new guys?” Nathan asked curiously.

“Nothing much has been happening politically that I’m aware of,” she said. “There was some business in the northeast, where Lord Redmunn and Lord Grahulm went about putting the squeeze on the local gentry, if I recall right, and they dispatched Federal troops to make sure things didn’t get violent, but I don’t know too many of the specifics. Dad’s monthly trip to St. Theodur seems to be dealing with more trivial stuff, though.”

She paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts. “And there’s been a boys, though, well, y’know. I’m not as much of a flirt as your sister, but I wouldn’t call any of them serious. Mostly just scoping out interest, it seems. But there was one guy that kept asking Dad for an introduction. An army officer, name was Durkheim. From the landed gentry, but not real high up. Seemed ambitious. Said all the right things. But… I dunno, there was just something about him that felt off. He kissed my hand at the introduction, and I kind of wanted to wipe it off on something,” she said with a shrug. “Haven’t talked to him since.”

Nathan laughed. “Oh no...putting the squeeze on the local gentry? I hope your mother wasn’t one of them!” This of course, was yet another cheesy ‘Gentry’ joke, as that was the name of the Imperial House. “Knowing my aunt, she probably told you he was a player. I will give her credit in that she seems to be an excellent judge of character. Back when I was in dating mode I used to solicit her advice...she was never wrong. When you and her think a guy is good, then he probably is one worth letting stick around. She will be good to have around when you are Queen too, for I consider her council to be quite sage.”

Marie’s laugh rang out at the cheesy joke; her father was a champion pun-maker, and she had always found it delightful. “She actually didn’t say anything until afterward, but she did confirm my impression,” she said. “Maybe she was testing my instincts,” she guessed. “I’m in no hurry, though. I figure I’ve got at least a decade of easy eligibility, and it won’t exactly go away after that, given my rank,” she added.

“Hopefully rule is a long time coming, too. Unless it means Mum and Dad retiring, I guess, although I’m not really sure how much precedent there is for that in our family,” she said.

“Developing your instinct...that’s a good mother right there.” Nathan nodded. “No harm in waiting. Sophia made me wait for years...until she knew she was ready. Definitely no reason to rush headlong. Besides, there are more pressing things to focus on, eh?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Finishing my education. Learning to rule. Getting the wildness out of my system before I’m definitely expected to be completely responsible,” she continued with a chuckle. “Besides, Grace already seems like she’d be plenty capable. I’m comfortable with the idea of her as my heir. I don’t imagine I would be unhappy, even if I were a… uhh…” she coughed. “Uhh, virgin queen,” she continued, with another cough that sounded suspiciously like a laugh. “I think we’d be in solid hands with Grace. Though hopefully, that’s even further off.”

Nathan raised an eyebrow. “...You thinking about letting her take up the mantle, or are you just preparing in case something ill should befall you?”

“Doesn’t hurt to be prepared,” she explained. “I fully intend to do my duty whenever the time comes. I just don’t feel that it’s essential that our family line continue through me, if that ends up not being in the cards. I certainly wouldn’t mind having children of my own and everything, but it’s not like I’ll be devoid of family, and our line won’t end if I don’t.” She shrugged. “If I’m to rule, I can’t shackle myself to someone who might try and go behind my back or control things. So I have to be extra careful with finding a partner.”

Nathan nodded in agreement. “Agreed, that makes sense. Take your time with it. And, should you become serious in your wish to find somebody good, just let me know, and I can field some options for you, that you and your mother both might find at the very least adequate, in terms of temperament, attractiveness, rank and station.”

“Oh, I’m sure Mum and Dad are more than willing to help in that department if I ask for it,” she said, with a laughing snort. “We’ll see what happens, though. Again, I’m in no hurry.”

“Well, if there isn’t anything else, I probably shouldn’t keep you much longer...Uncle Stephen must have his dance, after all.” Nathan chuckled.

Marie nodded as they finished their turn around the dance floor, finishing with a playful (and somewhat goofy) flourish and bow. “Yes, shouldn’t keep Uncle waiting. It’s been a pleasure, Nate,” she said as she bowed. “When should I expect to see you again?” she asked.

“As soon as you wish. I do love to travel, after all. And should Arietta be at court in Onneria, I might just visit very soon.” Nathan smiled, as he bowed. “Until next time.” At that point, Nathan took his leave, and Uncle Stephen stepped in, handling his niece delicately. “Hello Marie. I have been meaning to see how well you dance,” he smiled.

Almost without any real effort, Marie stepped to her uncle and continued a similar dance to the one she had started with Nathan, if a little more restrained and tasteful. She smiled at Stephan’s comment. “Well, I doubt I’m about to put anyone to shame, but I like to think I’m not bad,” she said with something between a chuckle and a giggle. “So what’s been keeping you busy?” she asked as they settled into a pattern and rhythm.

“I want to know all there is to know about my niece of late. How are you, what are you up to? Hopefully Arietta hasn’t been corrupting you or your sisters.” Stephen laughed.

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that,” she said. “I’m too set in my ways already. So’s Grace. Worse Ari can do is egg us on in what we already get up to. Not that Grace ever does anything.” She looked mock-serious for a moment. “Nor I. Never ever.” She shrugged. “But I’ve been working on school. Soccer season is wrapping up. We’ve got our last game next week, on Friday, for the state college championship. My studies are going well. I suspect finals will be a pain, but they’ll be manageable.”

“...And how is your mother? I do often worry for my little sister...such is the way of things, after all. Is she well?” Stephen asked.

“Oh, she’s doing well. Aetius and Ophie keep her and the maid busy, for sure,” she said. “They’re both right around that age when nobody gets to rest because they need an eye kept on them. You know how teens can be,” she said. “But other than that, Mum’s doing quite well. If it hadn’t fallen right at the same time as the Regent’s Council’s meeting, she probably would have come, but she needed to manage things while Dad’s in St. Theodur,” she explained.

“Aye. She wasn’t always so responsible...she had a wild streak when she was younger. Even with five older brothers, keeping up with her and keeping her out of trouble was a pain.” Stephen laughed as they danced. “Good to see that isn’t exactly rubbing off. Onneria could do without any Gentryesque shinanigans.”

Maybe it was simply the fact that her exploits did not equal her cousin’s, but Stephen seemed to have missed the fact that Marie was not terribly docile, either, but she held her tongue on the matter. Instead, she shrugged. “That’s true. Onneria’s always seemed, well, not stiff, but the whole kingdom seems to have an idea of what’s proper and what isn’t,” she said. “Maybe that helps. I don’t really know. And Mum and Dad got lucky with Grace, I think. Girl’s as tranquil as can be.”

“Balance is what is important, not just in one’s personal exploits, but in ruling, or so your grandmother used to say. You are a young woman, nearly twenty. No one can begrudge you growing up and learning about life. I just want you to be safe, is all. I don’t want to see you get hurt. That might just be me being the concerned Uncle, but I only want you to be happy and successful.” Stephen explained.

She shrugged again. I’m plenty safe, she added, inwardly. All she said, though, was “And I’m plenty happy. Don’t worry too much about me.” She smiled at her uncle.

“How about on your end? What’s been happening?”

“I won’t worry too much then.” Stephen smiled. “Wife is good, if not getting grumpy with age...you know how Lysa is. Chipper and funny one moment, and then brooding the next, but never too much of a pain. Alysanne is good, and Alexander and Lucas are...well, boys will be boys. There is talk of getting Alexander appointed as Ambassador to New Edom...he is smart enough and well educated enough to pull that off, me thinks.”

“Well, maybe I’ll run into them later. You said they were around?” Marie nodded. “I think Alex would be a good fit for the position, if I might say so myself.”

“Around here somewhere...maybe with girls…” Stephen laughed. “Both of them are charmers, after all...each in their own way. Who all came with you from the States?”

“Oh, two other Staalmarkers,” she said. “Andrik and Erika Filius. Andrik’s the son of Lord Filius up in Staalmark, and Erika is his wife. Both are quite active in politics, from what I hear, although the subtleties of their position is escaping me, at the moment,” she explained. “They wandered off to hobnob, I think, although given how Andrik seems to operate, he’s probably managed to orchestrate no fewer than three backroom deals since we’ve arrived, damn if I know how.”

“Gotcha. Now, tell me about this Vitus fellow. Naturally, he has caught everyone’s attention. Your mother likes him too, from what I have gathered. What do you know?” Stephen asked.

She shrugged. “Not much to tell. He’s another one of my cousins, on Dad’s side. Good guy. Knows what he wants, likes to get it, but also seems to make an effort to do right by other folks. He’s a friendly sort. He’s probably got good ruler material in him, although that’s always spotty until someone’s actually on-the-job,” she said. She shrugged again. “Ari could do worse, though I’d be lying if I said I don’t find the idea of two of my cousins possibly getting hitched to each other a bit… odd. But they’re not related to each other, so it’s probably just from where I’m sitting.”

“And plus, wouldn’t it be exciting for you both to be neighboring Queens?” Stephen asked with a chuckle.

Marie laughed. “Oh dear Lord,” she said, “That would be… frightening, to say the least. Last thing anyone needs is us in neighboring states, egging each other on. That could end
badly!”

“...It would be amusing though, you have to admit. You never know, she might have the makings of a good Queen, even if she has little in the way of preparation. Spontaneity is the spice of life, it is oft said.” Stephen ruminated.

She shrugged again. “We’ll see. Cross that bridge when we come to it, and so on and so forth,” Marie said. “Either way, I’m sure the next few months with those two will be interesting ones.”

“Yes...your mother is going to be keeping an eye on them. Nathan told me about this plan to let her stay with you down there, and it would be good for her. She may be older than you, but I think she looks up to and admires you. You are a leader, much like your grandmother. I believe you will do well in life.” Stephen smiled.

Marie was not quite sure what to say in response to that, so she shrugged, smiled, and responded with “I sure hope so.”

“Well, dear nice, I don’t want to take up too much of your time. You dance well, I might add, and perhaps now is the time for me to take my leave of you.” Stephen suggested as the song came to a close.

“It’s been a pleasure, Uncle,” Marie said with a smile. “And thank you for the compliment. You’re not so bad at it yourself,” she added, stepping back slightly..

Stephen bowed. “Thank you Marie. I love you, and have a pleasant evening.” With that, Stephen walked away, wondering where Arietta was at, or Vitus for that matter…

“Love you, too, Uncle. Take care,” she said, stepping away. She glanced around, also wondering where her cousins had wandered off to. However, that was short-lived, as she was distracted by another familiar face. “Rebecca!” she shouted, recognizing her second-cousin. She approached the Princess, surrounded by a gaggle of other Ghantish ladies. “It’s good to see you here,” she said as she came closer.

Rebecca waved from the group of twelve noble girls that consisted of Rebecca, Princess Alexia, Aita Loi, Sara Sastagai, Darla Dyn, Serala Salazar, Elsa Egurrahari, Anara Odolaren, Ella Maedros, Bethany Broga, Ozora Ordos and Usoa Uru. They all greeted Marie warmly as she approached, most of them at least having either been acquainted with her once or having heard of her. “Sup girl? It’s good to see you too!” Rebecca offered a hug. “I like your dress.”

“Your’s is pretty awesome, too,” Marie said as she allowed herself to be pulled into the hug. After they pulled apart, she waved to the rest of the group. “Hi, everyone! Hope I didn’t interrupt anything!” she said with an apologetic smile.

“Not interrupting anything, really.” Bethany responded. “We were just talking about...stuff. Clothes, boys, stuff like that. Tonight has been eventful.”

Darla Dyn sniggered. “Did you see the Ice Queen get bitch slapped by Maria of Garza? I was like, no way! But if Prince Martin was my man, I would have bitch slapped her too!”

Marie chuckled. “No, I guess I missed that,” she said. “Sounds like quite a sight, though! Why did she do that?”

“Izolde the Ice Queen grabbed Martin’s ass and Maria saw it. She didn’t like that one bit.” Usoa Uru answered. “Can’t say I blame her.”

Alexia chimed in her usually sagely way. “Maria of Garza is very much in love with Prince Martin, and her jealousy is fierce. Woe be to any woman that might express an interest in him.”

“Ohhh, okay. That makes sense,” Marie said, still listening attentively. “Seems like a slightly disproportionate way of handling it, but it makes sense in principle,” she conceded. “Anything else interesting that I might have missed?” she asked.

“Many proposals, cousin. Namely, Martin to Maria, as was expected, King Gadiel of Gaemar to the Roman Servia Ahenobarba, King Taboro of Arrautsa to Estella Brontzezko, and Kaiser Martin of Vorindun to Nathan’s half-sister Alexandra.”

Alexia nodded. “Set for August of 2016, on her 18th birthday. My sister has never been one for stalling.”

Marie reminded herself as she briefly wondered why Alexandra would be hurrying by setting her wedding day two years into the future. “I think I did see a few of those. I guess, y’know, if there’s a specific event to pop the question at, a wedding would seem like the obvious choice.”

“It is Proposamenkatean.” Serala Salazar stated. “Following a wedding, the act of men proposing to women in sequence, for it is said that the longer the chain of proposals, the greater the fortune they shall all possess.”

“The fortunes of each shall be great, it would seem.” Seconded Darla Dyn. “For there have been many this night.”

Marie nodded, remembering the concept being explained to her, once. Still, the idea of such a large crowd at a wedding, even a state one, was itself more than a little strange to her. Allamunnic weddings, Christian and pagan alike, tended to be positively austere by comparison, with few other than close friends, immediate family, and maybe any extended family the bride and groom were close with attending. Certainly not with much opportunity for a string of marriage proposals following the ceremony.

“Nobody here is expecting one, by any chance?” she asked, with a glance around the group.

The girls shook their heads collectively. “Nah.” Rebecca answered. “Most of us are going to school or are not ready for such a commitment, you know?”

Marie wiped her brow with exaggerated relief. “Phew, glad I’m not the only one!” she said with a chuckle.

“Indeed, you certainly are not. Most of us are maidens too, myself included.” Rebecca smiled. “Never the rush.”

“Oh, yes, we are,” Marie said with a chuckle. “Absolutely. No rush whatsoever,” she added.

Elsa Egurraharri ahemed. “Where is Prince Vitus? He is very handsome...I was hoping to dance with him.”

“Y’know… I’m not actually sure,” Marie said, looking around. “I think he went to dance with Ari, but they both seem to have disapp--” Marie stopped and shook her head. “No idea where they actually went, but I’d hazard a guess they don’t want to be disturbed right now,” she said with a laugh.

Alexia sighed. “My sister is possessing of a low cunning. Hopefully, Prince Vitus can prove a good influence.”

Marie laughed. “Vitus occasionally at least looks before he leaps, but he tends to leap, all the same. Honestly, they seem like a good fit in general.” She shrugged. “Anyway, anyone I need to be on the lookout for?” she asked. “I’ve got at least a little more wandering to do before the night is over, but I might need to watch my own back for a bit…” she continued.

Anara Odolaren, normally a quiet girl, spoke then. “The Shalumites are on the hunt tonight. The usual mantra...telling us how we are all so beautiful and how grateful they are for our attentions. Such sweet talkers, the lot of them. But even a fool can see the game that they play.” The other girls nodded in unison, aside from Rebecca, who possessed a Shalumite mother and grandmother.

She nodded along with them. “Yeah, Mum always tells me to be careful around Shalumite men. Of course, she might be a tad biased, but past experience seems to suggest that she’s not wrong, either,” she added. I wonder if that’s a cultural thing, or if it’s just entitled nobles? she wondered without a hint of irony.

Ella Maedros was curious. “What kind of men do you like, Marie?” The others nodded in curiosity as well.

Well, that wasn’t quite out of left field, but it still wasn’t a question she had been expecting. She thought for a moment, and decided to just give a generic list. “Well, athletic. Y’know, muscular, but not too much. He’s gotta have a good sense of humor. Can’t be an idiot, either, but I’d rather he not be smarter than I am, at least not by much…” She shrugged. “Mostly, I’d know one I like when I see and talk to him.”

Ella nodded. “Aye, that sounds quite reasonable. I can’t say I disagree. Highborn too though...can’t be wasting oneself on a lowborn boy,” she giggled.

“Yes, that’s true,” Marie agreed. She did not disapprove of the low-born, per se, but she had certainly been instilled with some of the expectations of her class. And there was a reason some were high-born and some were not, as far as she was concerned, and you were even more likely to run into the unsavory characters she had already encountered in the nobility among the low-born. At least, so she had been lead to believe.

“What are your plans for the duration of the evening?” Rebecca asked Marie.

“I don’t know. Wander around. Maybe a few more dances, if I can find a partner… get drunk, maybe. Might just end up sticking with Andrik and Erika.”

“Well in any case, I am glad you came and I hope that you have fun! Oh yeah and be safe, but I probably don’t need to tell you that.” Rebecca smiled.

“I sure will!” Marie said with a pleasant smile, as she began to walk away.

The other girls said their goodbyes to Marie as they went back to conversing amongst themselves…


*******


Meanwhile, Arietta grabbed Vitus by the hand and led him out to the floor. “Been meaning to get you out on the floor. You would be surprised how inadequate all these other guys seem compared to you...and they act so strange around me! It’s like they don’t like me or something!” Arietta commented.

Vitus snorted. “You can be a little intense, dearest,” he said, deliberately using a term of endearment that he was sure she’d bridle at a bit. “But hey, it’s their loss,” he added. He paused, thinking for a moment. “Wait, ‘inadequate’? Have you been having dossiers prepared on them, or something?” he asked, laughing, giving her a look of mock-suspicion. That said, his tone made it clear he actually wasn’t concerned about the idea Arietta might have strayed, in spite of the public reputation she had.

Arietta grinned as she danced, her long red hair going this way and that. “It’s always the same, really. They come on too strong or too meekly, they have preconceived notions or none at all, they have ulterior motives or none at all. I find them all so...boring, you know? It’s like...I’m not stupid. I know a good thing when I have it. They all think I am a cheater, or that I have no sense of loyalty or commitment. That’s so wrong! As a matter of fact I do...when it is earned. And you, my dear prince, have yet to disappoint.” Arietta giggled.

“You’d be amazed at how much effort that takes, though,” Vitus said, with a grin. “I’m sure you’re aware of how much effort it takes to keep you satisfied,” he said with a shrug. “So… I guess that means there’s none of these young bucks around here that I need to sort out, then?” he asked, grinning wolfishly again. “Almost a pity, but I guess I can settle for being a lover instead of a fighter.”

“...Something tells me you don’t mind the effort.” Arietta smirked. “After all, isn’t the reward worth the effort?” Arietta mused as she groped his behind, discreetly. “All these young bucks are too scared, anyway.”

No matter how much he wanted to, Vitus did not answer the grope with one of his own, not with the chance of her family watching. His grin did widen a little bit, however. “Oh, you have your ways of making it worthwhile, that’s true.” He glanced at the man Arietta had been dancing with before. “Scared of what?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow. “You don’t have some reputation as a serial killer or something that’s been kept secret from me, right?” he asked, still smiling.

Arietta laughed. “Apparently my touch is toxic...I couldn’t help but get that sense from that Holland boy over there. Shalumites are like predators...they only go after game they think are worthy of...taking down. Suffice it to say that my reputation as a great and intimidating princess precedes me!”

“Yeah, Marie’s mentioned something about not being really comfortable with Shalumites, the way her mom raised her,” he said. “I’ve only met a few, and I can’t say I found them terribly offensive, but nor were they terribly noteworthy,” he said. He nodded. “Yeah, they’re probably scared of you. Who knows, you might blow smoke in their face or something,” he said with a chuckle. He thought back to more than one of their encounters. “Hell, I’m a little surprised your skills as a chimney haven’t been recognized,” he added.

“...I try to keep my skills and abilities as a blower rather close to the belt…” Arietta smirked. “Kinda takes all the surprise out if everybody knows, don’t you think?” For as much as she liked to bullshit, she found that Vitus was one of few people (along with Aunt Caroline and Uncle Theo) whom she could bring herself to talk seriously with. “So, what’s new as Crown Prince?” Arietta asked. “I bet you have a good number of girls wanting to take a shot at you for that crown.”

“Ohh, yeah, there are,” he said. “Luckily, word seems to have gotten out that I’m off the market,” he added. “Of course, that hasn’t stopped one or two, but at least that wasn’t too hard to shut down. I made a note of them, though. Ambitious folks can be useful in the long-term, even if you have no intention of giving them what they want,” he said.

“As for other business… Father’s been having me do research and keep tabs on the situation in the Bluwaalds, though. The local leaders, Lords Redmunn and Grahulm, were doing some solidifying of their power. Not really worrying, but since Bluwaald is right next door, worth keeping an eye on. And I’ve been trying my hand at regency while he’s away in St. Theodur for Regent’s Council business. So I get a little bit of experience ruling, even if Mom’s been giving me some help,” he added.

“That’s pretty hot. Vitus, taking the reigns of power. I would be lying if I didn’t say that turns me on…” Arietta was flush. “I want to be at court next time you do that. I could play the role of the...ruler’s right hand. And besides, every good ruler needs a good woman, eh?” Arietta teased.

“I’m sure you’re welcome to come by the next time Father has to go attend to Regent’s Council business,” he said. “Although I will need to still be able to get my work done,” he added, raising an eyebrow. “Kingdoms don’t quite run themselves. But I think, yes, you could certainly help,” he added, grinning mischievously.

“...Of course! Ruling is very stressful, I would imagine. Lot’s of pent up pressure just begging for a release. And fortunately, the Red Princess never disappoints.” Arietta laughed riotously.

Vitus laughed right along with her. “Oh, there’s pressure alright. However, I find my memory a little spotty. How can I be sure that you’re not embellishing your abilities?” he mused with a chuckle. “I think, if you’re not too busy to spare a little bit of time, it might be good if you could refresh my memory,” he continued.

Arietta pressed herself against Vitus then as they danced. “You know, I would enjoy that a great deal...although I was planning on hanging out with Lavinia tonight, since we won’t see each other for awhile after tonight…” Arietta seemed conflicted.

Vitus shrugged. “Whatever works for you. I’m flexible,” he said. “Although we certainly don’t need to spend all night on that. I’m sure we’ll be getting another chance to see each other in the not-too-distant future,” he continued. “But if you want my two cents…” he trailed off, knowing that Arietta knew pretty much what he would suggest if asked for input.

“Of course I want your two cents...hit me with it, loverboy.” Arietta teased.

“As I said, we certainly don’t need to spend all night on something,” he said. “We could always substitute… intensity for… time spent.” he said as he shrugged. “But of course, I’m flexible. But I’m sure there’s any number of unwatched closets, pantries, and so on,” he said with a shrug. “I wouldn’t want you to be unsatisfied before you go out.”

“Well...as it happens, I would request a private audience with you in my room.” Arietta said with a hair twirl and a smirk.

“I’m inclined to grant your request,” he said, in his best regal tone, puffing out his chest slightly. Then he glanced over his shoulder. “But won’t your brother and uncle be expecting us? We’ll have to slip out without them noticing.” His tone suggested that he did not think that would be much of a problem, and was more of an observation than anything.

“...Fuck em. Let’s go now.” Arietta giggled as she snatched at his hand to lead him off.

Letting Arietta pull him, Vitus did not quite run after her, but kept pace. “Yes, ma’am,” he said, as she lead him off the floor, not quite forcefully.

Arietta was good at doing things without going noticed. This was no exception. Down the hall she took him, until they got to her room. Once they were inside, she shut it and locked it behind them. “So...as you were saying, oh Crown Prince Vitus?” Arietta asked coyly as she traced his sternum with an index finger.

She barely managed to finish the sentence before Vitus had practically pushed her against the wall and kissed her heatedly. Even as she responded, he eagerly began working to loosen her dress, almost desperate with need.

Arietta was immensely aroused by Vitus’s hunger...and to think that she might not have done anything with him that night! The Red Princess grew flush and gasped as she kissed him back and began working his own clothes, pants first.

Vitus thought, mildly irritated as he fumbled for a moment, trying to figure out how exactly to get the red garment off. It took another excruciatingly long moment for him to find what he was looking for, and he pushed it down from Arietta’s chest almost as soon as he could, as he felt her loosening his pants. He broke the kiss to move lower as he worked her dress further and further down, planting kisses and gentle touches all over her as he went.

Shuddering and gasping, Arietta climbed out of her dress and slipped out of everything else, down to bare skin, while she frantically kissed Vitus on the mouth or on whatever part of his body was within reach of her face. Her own hunger building, she worked to get him down to bare skin as well, with a hand grasping at his crotch. Apparently, she wanted this as much as he did.

As he began helping her remove his clothes, Vitus stayed low, and began to tease Arietta with whatever means he had available. He lingered on the task for several minutes until he was as naked as she, at which point he stood back up, inches away from her. He gave her another kiss, then broke away. “There, that’s much better,” he said. “I think you’re ready for your audience with the prince.”

In the heat of the moment and mad with lust, the Red Princess shivered against his teasing. After he had rose to his feet to speak, she decided to make good on her talk of her blowing skills…

He ran his fingers through her hair, guiding her firmly, but gently, but mostly allowing her to work at her own pace, as she saw fit. He leaned back against the wall as she did, groaning contentedly, enjoying the sensation for several minutes. He considered speaking up, so that he could save himself a bit, but he decided against it, letting her continue as long she wanted.

After several minutes and not wanting to waste it all on that, Arietta regathered her self and used her body to guide Vitus to the bed, before essentially jumping on him so they both tumbled unto it. She would not have it said that she was anything but vigorous.

However, even as he fell back and she pounced, Vitus decided he wanted something else. Almost as soon as Arietta landed, he pushed her back, rolling her off from on top of him. He sprang up as she got back onto her hands and knees, and, in a moment of swift movement, he had taken her from behind, resting one strong hand on her hip and another on her shoulder, holding her steady as he thrust into her.

She hadn’t been expecting that, but that wasn’t such a bad thing, either. She rather enjoyed that, and for good reason. It felt amazing...so she went with it, moaning and hollering as they were in the motions of it. He must have wanted it very bad.

In some ways, their separation had been harder on Vitus than Arietta. He had certainly missed having her around, and more than a little bit of that was obvious in the intensity and near desperation he showed as he pounded away, trying to giver her what he could almost as hard as he could.

Overwhelmed with passion and pleasure, after a few minutes Arietta could feel herself reaching the pinnacle. Like at the Star Ball, she found herself yelling, “Vitus! Vitus!” as she worked herself against him like an animal.

The sheer number of times they had done this in the few months since then ensured that Vitus had a good sense of where she was. He reached one hand back and teased her as he kept going, coaxing more calls from her, even as he felt himself nearing his own breaking point. Nevertheless, practice bore out, and he recognized the signs of her ecstasy just as he slowed, his thrusts becoming ragged and stopping entirely as he blew his load in her.


Arietta lingered there for a bit before crashing down unto the bed, sprawling out in a mass of sweaty flesh. “Holy shit that was amazing...and to think I almost passed up on that.” Arietta laughed as she rolled onto her back.

Vitus said nothing, just tried to slow down his breathing a bit as he panted into the silence following Arietta’s declaration. After he caught his breath, he voiced his agreement. After a fashion, anyway. “Holy fuck.” Another minute or two passed, and he glanced over at the Red Princess, drinking in the sight of her naked body.

“Umm, so, either we need to get a move on,” he said, “or I’m going to get all riled up again. I’m alright with that, provided you’re up for another go ‘round in about, oh, say, twenty minutes,” he said.

“Hmm…” Arietta said as she ran her leg over his. “Perhaps it’s time to take a bath...been meaning to take one...especially after that,” she laughed. “Care to join me? Then I got skedattle right quick.”

Vitus seemed to perk up, despite his previous exertion, and he nodded enthusiastically. “What kind of question is that?” he asked, sitting up. “The ‘right quick’ part might be a little tough, though…” he said as he stood and stretched.

Arietta hopped off the bed and skipped to the bathroom to run a hot bath. “Gotta strike a balance between boyfriend time and girlfriend time. I won’t be seeing many of my Edomite friends after tonight, so I can’t miss out. I will be seeing plenty of you though, and I promise to make it worth your while, you savage beast.” Arietta laughed as she sat down in the tub as the water filled it up.

He was still amazed at how grand the Edomites made things. The tub was bigger than good taste and decency would allow for in the States, but so much the better, in this case. He had followed Arietta into the bathroom, and dipped a foot into the water before asking “Mind if I join you?”

Arietta laughed. “Of course not, get in. I even got some wine.” Arietta poured herself a tall glass of red wine from a bottle on a small table next to the tub, and offered the filled glass to Vitus. “Tis some good shit.”

Vitus took the glass Arietta offered him. The level was a little high, a problem he fixed by sipping some off the top. “Damn, you’re right, this is good,” he said. He set the glass down and slid the rest of the way into the tub, settling in next to Arietta. He put an arm around her shoulders. His arms were long enough to match his frame, and that, along with the position of his arm allowed him to sneakily grope Arietta’s chest for a moment.

Arietta poured herself a glass, and then rested against Vitus as the tub began to fill up. She giggled when Vitus groped her chest. “You can’t keep your hands off me, can you?” Arietta sniggered as she took a drink of her wine. “And to think it all started with a cry for help.”

He chuckled. “You don’t exactly tend to keep your hands to yourself, either,” he said, picking up the glass and taking another sip. “Nor do I hear you complaining,” he said with another laugh. He moved his arm down, hand below the water. “What can I say, though? I can’t help a damsel in distress,” he continued with a mischievous smile as he began to gently tease her with his fingers.

Arietta gasped as he played with her. “...Oh...damn…yes…” Arietta reached out and turned the water off, and descended into the water briefly before coming up, her entire body wet. “...You should...shampoo...me…” Arietta articulated as she squirmed around against Vitus.

Vitus had, in some ways, a sense of humor that could almost be called “classically Dad-like.” So he took Arietta completely literally, grabbed a bottle of her shampoo with his other hand, and proceeded to squirt a usable amount on top of her head before setting the bottle back down. He then continued what he was doing with a grin.

The princess merely leaned back and enjoyed the attention that Vitus was showing her, with her eyes closed and her mouth shut to avoid getting shampoo in them, although she did ask, “do you ever think about the future, Vitus?” Arietta didn’t know why she asked, but alas she did. She was curious to hear what he might say.

At that, Vitus stopped. He seemed to pause everything as he thought, probably weighing his response. After a moment, he spoke. “I have. But not really more than in generalities. I tend to think about what will happen when Father eventually passes, although hopefully that’s a long time coming. Whether I’ll be up to the job of ruling. And whether you’ll be there with me,” he added, after another pause. “But I was born to serve the people, so life’s always sort of been about preparing for that time, I guess.” He shrugged. “Why, have you?”

Arietta shrugged. “I live in the here and now. But I do wonder what this is, you know? Maybe it just is what it is...I don’t know.”

He turned slightly to look Arietta in the face. “Is that what you want? For this to just be what it is?” His face showed a little more concern than usual, and his tone was not quite worried, but nor was he entirely at ease.

“I enjoy what I have when I have it...the question is, what do you want?” Arietta asked, rather benignly under his touch and nestled against him.

“I don’t want to rush into anything. And I don’t want to put pressure on you. But… would you be willing to, I don’t know how to put it exactly… I guess try to work at this with the long-term in-mind? I don’t want this to just be a thing that ends after a few months, maybe a year or two.” He shrugged. “I don’t know, though. It’s only been a few months. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”

“Yeah, I think I can do that.” Arietta smiled. “My brother was going to talk to Uncle Theo and Aunt Caroline about me spending more time in Onneria. I rather like the idea. Do you?”

“I absolutely like the idea,” Vitus said, smiling. “Although hopefully you’ll get to come to Staalburg, some, too. Maybe it’s just state pride, but I’d say it’s a way cooler city than Onneria,” he said.

“...I would certainly split my time, although I suspect you would be more than willing to come…” Arietta laughed.

Intended or not, Vitus saw the pun in her musing, and burst out laughing himself. “Yeah, yeah, I think I’d be willing to come for you,” he said, between laughs.

Arietta submerged herself in the bathwater, in came back up to better rinse the shampoo from her long red hair. “Be glad you are not a girl with long thick hair. It can be a pain in the ass, despite how fun it is to play with,” she laughed.

“Aww, so you’re saying I shouldn’t grow it out?” he said teasingly. “I guess I’ll just have to take the advice, I suppose.”

“I doubt I would mind what you did with your hair...I am sure I would fancy it besides.” Arietta said as she got the last of the shampoo out of her hair. “I should probably be getting ready.” With that, she emerged from the tub to dry herself off. “There are much goings on tonight. You are welcome to join, although I cannot guarantee that you would not be at risk of any incident.”

Vitus laughed. “Yeah, but it seems like more trouble than it’s worth,” he said. As Arietta got out of the tub, he followed her, grabbing a different towel. “I probably shouldn’t,” he said. “I imagine if I stay separated from the rest of the delegation too long, there might be some kind of consternation about where I’ve gone,” he said. “But…” he kissed her on top of the head. “Try not to get in
much trouble tonight, okay?” he said, voice teasing.

“...Just for you, I won’t.” Arietta answered with a playful slap on his behind.

He shook his head, wondering how well that would go, but decided to dismiss the worry as he toweled off.

As Arietta was drying her hair, she posed a question out of curiosity. “So, what are you going to do for the rest of the night?”

He shrugged. “I’m not sure. Probably wander around a bit. See if I can network a bit. If all else fails, maybe stick with the Filius’,” he said. “They’re a good couple. They’re both ambitious, but both well-grounded as well,” he added, “but I probably can’t do anything really crazy, or Father will have my head,” he continued with a chuckle.

“...I wonder what your father would think about me.” Arietta teased, still in front of the mirror.

“Oh, I’m sure he disapproves. At least mildly. It’s sort of what he does.” He laughed. “He’d probably still accept you, though. Man’s practical. And I would be surprised if he hasn’t met anyone that can be at least as overwhelming as you are,” he continued. “If I’m guessing right, he probably also assumes I can handle you, and that’s why he’s said nothing about it.”

That made Arietta laugh. “Can you handle me, Vitus?”

He laughed. “I doubt it, but maybe I can manage it halfway,” he said, pulling his underwear and pants back on.

“Well, you get points for effort, I will give you that.” Arietta winked as she finished up and went to her closet to put on another ball dress she had hung up, one that was less encumbering.

“And I can always try harder!” Vitus said with a laugh as he finished getting dressed. “By far the most enjoyable effort that I’ve ever put into anything.” He tucked his shirt back in and stretched his shoulders. “So… where to next? Do you need me to help you sneak out?”

“I do like harder.” Arietta smirked once she was fully dressed. “You could always escort me if you would like, I wouldn’t deny you the pleasure of my company on the way out.”

“Well, in that case, I’ll stick with you while I can,” he said with a chuckle. “And we’ll go for that next time. Maybe next time, you’ll be able to stick around a little longer…”

Arietta laughed as she playfully pushed back on Vitus. “It’s not my fault you are...so good! You just know how to push my buttons right. Better save your strength for next time though...you will need it.” Arietta said with a grin as she finished getting ready and opened the door to leave.

As he joined her, following her out the door, Vitus countered. “Ah, but who said I was talking about a bigger main course? Maybe I just think you should stay for seconds more often.”

“Well, there isn’t much I can do at the moment, given the constraints.” Arietta shrugged, albeit bashfully. “If you can be patient, there will be seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, so on and so forth at a later time. I promise.”

Vitus laughed. “I’ll hold you to that,” he said, grinning. He gave her a kiss as they neared her destination. “Try not to get in too much trouble tonight, alright?” he admonished with a chuckle.

Arietta kissed him back, before raising an eyebrow as she was about to scamper off. “Do I strike you as the kind of girl that gets into trouble?” she asked sarcastically, with a devilish smirk. “See you round, loverboy.”

Vitus did not even dignify that with a response, simply shaking his head and laughing.
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Ghant
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Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:34 pm

“Allaria’s Allure” (V)
The Imperatorial Palace
Aragon, Shalum


In the gym, the young ladies at court were playing a game of two on two basketball. One team featured the Belmore sisters Allaria and Lilliana, while the other team featured Princess Rebecca of Ghant and Mollie Elden. Needless to say, Rebecca and Mollie were winning quite handily. All of them were dressed in tanktops and gym shorts, with the the Belmores and Rebecca having their hair held back by bands.

Mollie was the newest to this group of royal ladies, and was herself, not of high birth, though her family did have a good amount of money to their name; which allowed her to attend the University of Aragon without problem. She was a taller girl, at 5’10 without shoes, with an athletic figure. She was pretty, though not the curviest of women. Her hair was naturally blonde, and her eyes blue as the ocean. Her mother was an Azzie immigrant who had fled Radik during the long civil war, and had ended up in Aragon, where she had met her current husband.

She was having a great time, playing with her classmates here. She was naturally athletic, and able to assist Rebecca when she needed it, among other things. It almost wasn’t even fair to Allaria and Lilliana, to be honest.

Lilly was better at basketball than Allaria, who quite frankly sucked, for she could neither shoot nor defend. Rebecca was quick, and could defend. Her shooting wasn’t so good, so when she got the ball she passed it to Mollie for easy layups.

Mollie was quick on her feet, and was able to score with ease whenever Rebecca sent the ball to her. Getting past Allaria was little of an issue for her, and Lilly didn’t prove much more challenging. She often alternated between going in for the easy points, and staying back out to take shots, in order to make it a little more fair for the other team. Even though they had been playing for a while now, she wasn’t even sweating that much, yet anyway.

“This sucks.” Allaria pouted. “I want Mollie on my team next game,” she said she leaned on her knees and panted.

“I figured you would have been good by now...didn’t you used to play with Artos all the time?” Lilly asked her older sister.

“Yeah, but he always kicked my ass, and father always said that I don’t really need to learn how to play anyway, so I didn’t.” Allaria laughed.

Mollie laughed and dribbled the ball casually, occasionally between her legs for fun. “I wouldn’t worry about it too much, you’ll get there if you keep practicing.” She said lightly, not wanting to rub the victory in. “Work on cardio too, that would help you a bit, for sure.”

As Mollie spoke, one of the doors of the gym opened up to reveal two young men, one of whom was carrying a basketball. They were both dressed in gym clothes, shorts and t-shirts. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that it was the ‘Johns’, or Count John Blackburn and Prince John Holland. The former was the one carrying the ball.

The girls stopped for a minute, wiping the sweat from their foreheads, especially Lilly, who blushed. Allaria spoke up. “Hello boys, came to watch the girls play?” she asked with a smirk.

Both of the boy’s heads snapped over to the girls on the court. While John Holland just smiled at them, the Blackburn of the two blushed as he eyed them; finding it hard to not look at Lilly in her current state of dress. “You could say that, I suppose.” John Holland answered back as he and his friend walked up to them. “Really, we just came to play basketball though, like you guys. No class today, and nothing better to do.” The young prince shrugged.

Rebecca laughed. “School is about to be in session, punks. New teams. You two on Allaria’s team, and Lilly, Mollie and I on the other. You guys think you can handle that?” Rebecca asked, teasingly.

John laughed and rolled his eyes. “We’ll see about that, Becca. I wouldn’t be so sure though, Blackburn here is a pretty good shooter, good at hitting the deep shots and all of that.” He said, glancing over at his friend as he stretched his arms.

Blackburn coughed and looked at Allaria, trying to not let his gaze linger on Lilliana too much. “I wouldn’t boast too much, I have off days.” He shrugged. He bounced passed the ball he was holding to Rebecca and smiled confidently. “You guys can have ball first, if you want.”

“Yeah, we will see about that. Ladies first.” Rebecca said as she prepared to guard John Holland. “Mollie, play the field and be ready for layups and such...you know what to do. Lilly, you stay on John Blackburn. Don’t let him get open for a three.”

Lilly blushed. “...But.”

Allaria teased her sister. “What’s a matter, you scared?”

“No!” Lilly said, slightly embarrassed.

“Then stay on him.” Rebecca said as she went to start the game.

John Blackburn coughed awkwardly as he walked over to guard Lilly, giving her a small smile that could have been considered shy. “Don’t, ah, worry about it too much. I’ll go easy on you.” He chuckled lightly as he got ready to guard her.

John Blackburn grinned at Rebecca, one of his better friends. “You’re on. Let’s play.” He laughed.

Mollie quickly trotted to the side, hoping to outpace Allaria, clapping her hands together. “Rebecca, ball!” She called, signaling the game was underway.

Rebecca dribbled the ball and did a deque before passing the ball to Mollie, while Lilly was guarding Blackburn, but not too close, hoping to avoid ‘boob contact’, something she of all the girls present had the most to worry about.

Mollie had no issue getting past Allaria, who was guarding her, or trying to anyway. The half-Azzie girl found it hard to tell if she was really that bad at basketball, or just wasn’t giving it her all. “Maybe if the High Prince and you could keep apart for a few hours you’d be more energetic, eh?” She teased at one point as she went in for an easy layup, which went it with ease.

Meanwhile, John Blackburn was doing his best to keep a mutual amount of space between he and Lilly. He often had a hard enough time keeping his eyes off her as it was, and her, only a few feet of space between them, it was especially hard to do.

Allaria’s face was flush. “Hey, that’s not fair! If any of you had a significant other, you would understand.”

“I don’t have one.” Rebecca said with a grin. “Too busy beating yall asses.”

“...Me neither.” Lilly said in turn, aware that her bosom was bouncing and there were beads of sweat sliding into her cleavage, making her guard much more loosely.

Rebecca took note of this, and one one possession passed the ball to Lilly, who then shot a three pointer. Rebecca taunted him. “Ooo, get burned!”

Mollie laughed and stuck her tongue out at Allaria. “I know, I know, just teasing girl. Gosh.” She laughed, leaving it at that. She had seen Allaria’s boytoy, and didn’t blame her for being tired in the least.

“Single here.” John Holland added for no particular reason, as he rolled his eyes at Rebecca. “I wouldn’t count your chickens yet, Becca, we’re just getting started.” He pointed out.

John Blackburn coughed again. “Uh yeah, I’m not seeing anyone either.” He said as he awkwardly turned his head to look away from Lilly’s cleavage, trying to be respectful. Admittedly, he hadn’t done any ‘looking’ since the wedding in New Edom. At least...looking at women like he used to.

On a subsequent play, when the John’s got the ball, there were a number of passes, until it got to John Blackburn. Instead of taking it in, the young count simply took it out to the three point line and fired off a shot, which went in without problem, making a swooshing sound as it did so. “Got ya.” He laughed lightly, trying to make things less awkward between himself and Lilly.

Lilly tried to body up on him without success, still afraid of pressing herself against him. “Come on Lil, you gotta stay on him. Don’t let him get open like that.” Rebecca pointed out.

Allaria laughed. “Lilly is scared.”

Lilly’s face flared up, and she got ready for the next play, those green eyes of hers focused on John Blackburn.

“Getting a little closer wouldn’t kill ya.” Mollie had added in at one point, as she watched the group. She wasn’t used to having to deal with the whole ‘cleavage problem’ and didn’t really get what was going on.

John Blackburn gulped and looked over at Lilly, wondering what she was going to do next. He could tell that, by the look that she was sending him, that he might not have liked what was coming next. He found himself looking into her eyes for a moment, his own blue-green ones wide. When he finally did look away, at the other John, he noticed that the prince was biting back an amused smirk.

“Play on people, girl’s ball.” John Holland called out, as he bounce passed the ball to Rebecca. The boys team, and Allaria, had just scored.

Rebecca passed the ball to Lilly, who tried to get open for a deep shot.

John Blackburn was quick to react to this, closing the gap between them so that he could block if need be. The game was a close one thus far, though he and John were taking it easy on the other team, except when it was Mollie with the ball. As he got close to Lilly, enough that he could bump into her with one misstep, he realized that he was closer than he probably should have been.

Lilly took the ball and dribbled it, turning around to use her body to back up towards the rim. She had a large behind and was not afraid to throw it around in order to get closer to the rim..

John had to bite back a groan as he realized what Lilly was doing. He quickly put up his arms, hoping to block anything she may have done. However, as he took another step forward with the hopes of stopping or diverting her, he bumped into her; his blue-green eyes going wide.

Lilly was taken off guard, and upon being bumped into from behind she fell forward with the ball down to the ground.

“Shit, shit, shit. Sorry about that.” John Blackburn quickly apologized as he looked down at Lilly, eyes wide and apologetic. He was having a hard time not looking at her rear, especially in this moment, with it present in such a manner. “Are you alright, Lil?” He asked as he bent down slightly, offering her his hand.

Just then, Lilly did a roll to the side and jumped to her feet, and then she fired off a shot that went straight in. Then she smirked at John Blackburn. “Are you alright, Blackie? Cus you just got burned!”

“Oh snap!” Rebecca said. “What now boy?” Allaria keeled over laughing.

“You just owned, son!” Mollie called out, stopping beside Allaria that she could laugh as well. She would have considered that sickenly cute in any other instance. Nearby, John Holland was snickering as he stood beside Rebecca, covering his mouth with his hand.

John Blackburn was blushing rather hotly now, his mouth agape as he stared at Lilly. He couldn’t believe that she had managed to play that off so well, and hit the shot without problem. “You’re so evil, Lilly.” He finally managed to say, shaking his head, though he was smiling slightly at her. The girls now had the lead.

“That’s what you get for not focusing on the ball.” Lilly responded demurely.

“I think Johnny is too busy focusing on other things.” The Holland said quietly, only loud enough for Rebecca to hear, or so he thought anyways as he smiled to himself.

The Blackburn opened his mouth and closed it, as he shook his head, trying to think of what to say. “Touche.” He finally managed to respond weakly, something he mentally cursed himself for a moment later. “You’re so going to pay for that, one of these days.” He said a moment later, in mock serious, as he looked her in the eyes.

“We’ll see about that, Blackie.” Lilly giggled.

As Rebecca got back into position, she wondered aloud. “Yo, what’s going on with James and Ada? Haven’t heard much from them.”

John ‘Blackie’ Blackburn rolled his eyes and smiled, secretly pleased that he had some sort of nickname now. “Now you’re just asking for it.” He chuckled quietly.

He then shrugged and looked over at Rebecca. “Dunno. I haven’t heard a lot from them either. Last I heard, they had gone down to Frankfurt for some trip to themselves. They’re probably fine, assuming they didn’t run into mom.” He shrugged.

Allaria giggled. “Do you think he’s hitting that?”

Blackie coughed and flushed a bit. “I wouldn’t know, I try not to ask. I’m sure he wants to though, and I wouldn’t blame him. He seems to like her a lot though, that’s for sure.”

Rebecca was dribbling the ball and passed it to Mollie. “There you go!” Lilly then turned to John Holland. “He’s Blackie and you're Hollie. Makes it easier to address you guys.” The younger Belmore giggled.

Mollie grinned and caught the ball, deftly dribbling it. She would probably end up toying with Allaria for a bit before she either shot it, or passed it.

Blackie chuckled and got ready to guard again if need be, no longer as afraid to get close. “Indeed. That oughta make things a lot easier. Won’t it, Hollie?” He asked in a teasing tone as he looked over at his princely friend, who rolled his eyes.

Allaria, of course, was too uncoordinated to successfully guard Mollie, and only made a brief attempt at stopping her from shooting. “You girls are lucky Matthew isn’t on my team. He would burn all of you and make you cry,” she said with a chuckle.

Mollie didn’t put much effort into it, but managed to outmaneuver Allaria, and make the shot, increasing the girl’s lead even more, though no one was really keeping score at this point.

“I wouldn’t put it past him. Matthew and sports in general go hand-in-hand, it seems. He’s always been awesome at, well, everything it seemed.” Hollie said as he stood beside Rebecca, ready to block her if the ball got to her somehow. Blackie was also ready, as he stood near Lilly, with a few feet just in case.

“Game point, girls. Let’s get it.” Rebecca proclaimed as she took the ball and dribbled it near Hollie. “Don’t let me break away, cuz.”

Hollie scoffed and stuck close to her, long arms outstretched. “I wouldn’t dream of it. Bring it on.” He challenged as he shuffled. Meanwhile, Blackie watched the ball intently, while doing his best to be aware of where Lilly was behind him.

Hollie was watching as well, moving to receive a pass from Rebecca if she couldn’t get past John.

Rebecca passed the ball to Lilly, who was behind Blackie and just able to snatch the pass. She dribbled it while grinning and him.

“Here we go.” Blackie muttered to himself as he quickly shifted to guard Lilly. He wasn’t going to be fooled if she decided to play him this time. He stuck close to her, still silently nervous of touching her wrong, though it didn’t show.

Lilly used her body to push forward, not afraid to push against his chest with her’s, using her boobs to push him back.

Blackie grunted under his breath as he found himself pushed back, silently thankful that it was a grunt that came out and not a groan. He could tell that she was rather...soft, and it was making his mind run with thoughts that he would have been ashamed of if anyone else knew. He quickly shook his head and got back close to her, hoping to cut her off somehow.

Lilly tried to deque around him then, throwing an arm out to keep him off.

John found himself unable to get any closer with her arms outstretched, and knew that he would have had to apply more force than was legal to get close. The most he could do was outstretch his hands and hope she missed, unless he managed to bat it away.

Rather than shoot, which she suspected he expected, she passed it under him to Mollie, hoping she could lay it in.

Mollie grinned and Blackie let out an ‘oof’ sound as it happened. The half-Azzie quickly bypassed Allaria, and before John Holland could break away from Becca, she managed to make a simple layup to win the game. She grinned. “Yes!”

“Good game boys.” Rebecca said, wiping the sweat from her forehead on her way to where her water was. The lean princess sat down against the wall and stuck her legs out, drinking deeply from the bottle.

“Yeah, good game for sure.” Lilly added before doing the same next to Rebecca.

“Good game.” The Johns said about the same time, which was unsurprising. They walked over to the wall, where they had set their own bottles prior to starting the game. They both took long gulps of their water as they wiped the sweat from their brow’s.

Mollie too had followed them over and had begun to drink as well. She let her hair free from it’s ponytail, running a hand through it.

Lilly and Rebecca followed suit, each letting their hair down. Lilly’s was long, thick and dark brown, while Rebecca’s was shorter, thinner and of a lighter shade. “You have such pretty hair, Mollie.” Lilly commented, as Allaria walked over to join them, sitting next to her sister. She let her long, sweaty chestnut hair fall loose.

Mollie smiled and ran a hand through her golden hair. “Thank you. You guy’s hair is pretty as well.” She replied as she sat down, resting her back against the wall, nursing her water bottle.

Blackie glanced over at Lilly and watched her for a moment, before looking away. He hadn’t seen her with her hair down, in recent memory. She looked really pretty with it down, actually, though it wasn’t something he could say aloud. He was sure that the image of her hair, among others, was now ingrained in his memory.

At that moment, the gym doors could be heard opening. Stepping in was a new, sweatless figure, dressed in shorts and a blue polo shirt. It was High Prince Matthew, looking semi-formal at the moment. He smiled and waved as he approached. “Hey guys.” He greeted.

“Sup Matt?” Rebecca asked. Allaria was panting like a dog as she chugged on some cold water, her face blushing as he walked in. Lilly, meanwhile, was running fingers through her thick hair, quietly cursing those northern Ghantish genes of hers.

“Oh not too much, Rebecca, just got back from doing some stuff at the Conclave of Dominae. Nothing as interesting as what you all have been doing, I assure you.” He laughed as he walked over. He stopped beside Allaria and knelt down to her level, smiling at her, and then her younger sister. “Hey Lilly, Mollie.” He smiled at them. He then turned his gaze back to his fiance. “Have fun, babe?”

Allaria pouted. “These girls are too good, and mean. They whooped my ass.”

Matthew chuckled and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, placing a kiss on her cheek, not minding the salty taste. “Aww, poor girl, sounds like you’ve had a rough day. Do you need to go back to the Palace and rest?” He asked smiling, rubbing her shoulder.

“Yeah, I am all sweaty and these tight gym clothes are sticky. I need to get them off.” Allaria said coyly, while Rebecca and Lilly sniggered.

Matthew grinned down at Allaria, looking into her eyes. “Oh? Do you know? I think that could be arranged.” The High Prince laughed and patted her thigh. “Do I need to carry you to the car, for that matter?” He asked jokingly.

“Carry me.” Allaria said meekly, with a smirk.

Matthew smirked down at Allaria and nodded. He was surprised that she had no problem with this, especially in-front of her assembled friends, though he didn’t mind any himself. Over the time he had spent with Allaria, he had grown accustomed to carrying her, and managed to do it with ease. In a fluid movement, he took her into his arms, and stood up, hugging her tight against his body as he did so; having no problem doing so. “Happy now?” He asked with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

“Yeah, let’s get out of here,” she looked down at the other girls and the boys. “See you round suckers.”

“Have fun you guys. We’ll see y’all later.” The High Prince laughed as he held onto Allaria, her skin hot from exertion against his cool skin. The group waved goodbye to them as they exited the gym. Before long, the couple found themselves alone in the halls of the palace. “Where to, milady?” Matthew asked as he held onto Allaria, his brown eyes focused intently on her.

“Back to our suite, where perhaps you can help me peel these sticky clothes off me. I am so hot right now…” Allaria panted.

Matthew nodded and placed a quick kiss on her lips. “As you wish, milady. I would be more than happy to help you peel them off. I’d say a shower is in order as well.” Matthew replied as he turned the corner, taking them into the next hallway. As they got closer to their room, and Matthew turned a corner, he had to stop abruptly, lest he want to run headlong into his parents.

“Mom, Dad!” Matthew said in surprise as he clutched Allaria against him on instinct.

Imperator Tyler Holland and Allison Holland both looked at them in surprise, eyebrows raising as they noted Matthew carrying his fiance. “How are you two?” Tyler asked, blinking.

“Uh, hello, your majesties.” Allaria blushed. “Matthew was helping me back to our room. I played basketball with the girls and the Johns, and I got beat...the girl team won, can you believe that?” she asked, jovially.

“Oh, did you now?” Allison Holland asked with a small smile, crossing her arms as she glanced between her son and his fiance. “That must have been something to see. Let me guess, Hollie and John Blackburn dominated the game?”

“For my team, yes. But Lilliana, Rebecca and their friend Mollie Elden were too strong, and they had all kinds of dirty tricks!” Allaria laughed.

Allison giggled, and Tyler chuckled, at the Ghantish woman’s words. “That sounds about right. John is always talking about how Mollie is the only one that’s a challenge, I hope you at least had fun.”

“It was a good workout, that’s for sure. And time to spend with friends and family.” Allaria nodded.

Allison smiled and nodded approvingly. “Those are always nice things, Allaria, make the most of them. They are precious, but fleeting I’m afraid.” Allison said.

Tyler coughed, clearing his throat. “I was meaning to ask you this, Allaria, and I can at a later time if you want. Do you have any plans for when you become High Princess? Any goals?” He asked.

“...To produce a healthy heir, familiarize myself with the Shalumite nobility and to learn more about domestic and foreign policy.” Allaria answered.

Tyler nodded. “Those are all good things, especially the first one.” He smiled, secretly wondering if he’d be a grandfather sooner than later. Matthew and Allaria’s affections for one another were known well enough. “Familiarizing yourself with the nobility shouldn’t be terribly hard. They often come to Aragon for the Conclave of Dominae.” He explained. “Is there anything you wish to know about our policies, both foreign and domestic?”

“Yes. I would like to attend some of these Conclave meetings sometime, and naturally, as High Princess and later Imperatrix, God willing, I would want to know that our alliance with my home country is in good standing.” Allaria stated. “Is that the case?”

Allison chuckled. “You say that now girl, but just you wait, you may not feel so excited later on. Watching the government review bill after bill isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Watching paint dry is probably more fun. Dinosaurs flapping their jowls and all of that.” Allison shrugged. “Believe me, I know. I’m the ‘Imperatrix of the Conclave’ at times.”

Tyler sighed. “For now, everything is well. I hope to see it maintained, and possibly improved upon. Hopefully the Ghantish government understands, though, that Shalum isn’t in the position currently to provide them much if any support should they need it.”

Allaria raised an eyebrow. “I doubt very much that they are in any position to need it. It would be enough to know that support exists, be it even of the most benign variety.”

Tyler nodded. “Of course, of course, that kind exists here in Shalum. Ghant has our support in that manner, unless it is something that is simply too conflicting with the Shalumite way of life.” The Imperator explained. “I was speaking of the military kind regarding support. The military lifestyle and Shalum go hand-in-hand.”

Allaria giggled, “I doubt Ghant would require military support any time soon, even though if my history lessons serve me correctly, Shalum might still owe Ghant a favor.”

Tyler laughed. “Very true, I would find it surprising if Ghant needed Shalumite boots on the ground, but anything is possible. And yeah, I guess Shalum owes Ghant a favor or two. Hopefully repaying those favors won’t be too hard to do. “Anyways, anything else?”

“...What should I name our first child?” Allaria asked. “It’s in the oven.”

There was a long moment of silence, where all eyes went to Allaria. “You’re pregnant? Already?” Matthew asked incredulously. They had only agreed to take her off the pill a couple of weeks ago, a little more than a month...

“Hmm, well, you shouldn’t be that surprised.” Allaria smirked. “It’s not for a lack of trying. But yes, I thought you and your parents should know, in case certain preparations are required in that regard.”

Tyler Holland and Allison were both smiling proudly at the two, and Matthew was blushing slightly. They had been trying rather hard over the last few weeks, and had spent much of their time along in the throes of passion trying for a child. Apparently it had paid off. “Well, it’s not earth shattering news, I just thought it would have taken a little longer.” Matthew laughed and kissed Allaria, who was still in his arms.

“Congrats you two, we’re both really happy for you.” Tyler smiled at them. He then nodded and hummed. “Yes, there are some things that need to be done, sooner than later now. Unless you want to be the first known Imperatrix to be expecting prior to marriage, we’re going to have to push the date for the wedding up a bit, which shouldn’t be an issue.”

“Yes, I agree. Maybe in a couple weeks in the middle of February. Something small, my family can come out and such.” Allaria suggested.

Allison smiled at Allaria and nodded. “That could be arranged. The weather would be nice then, toward the end of summer. I always wanted a small, nice ceremony myself, but this big lug’s father; Andrew, wanted to have a proper wedding.” She chuckled. “I look forward to meeting your family again, they were nice.”

“Yes, my mother told me as much.” Allaria chuckled. “I was thinking though...should it be a girl, Allora. And a boy...Andrew. As I understand it, there has never been a Imperator with the name of a predecessor. So perhaps it is time for there to be a ‘second’, eh?”

For a brief moment, Matthew thought that he saw his father wipe at his eyes. The Imperator’s smile turned into a full, bright beam as he looked at Allaria. “Those are both wonderful names. The Holland family would be honored to have it’s new addition be named either of those. And yes, there has never been an Imperator named after a predecessor. A prince, yes, more than one actually. But never an Imperator.” He explained.

“I’m gonna be a grandmother.” Allison whispered to herself.

“Well, I am glad you are pleased. We Belmore’s work fast, and I told Matthew as much when I met him at the Star Ball.” Allaria laughed. “In any case, I do need to get out of these clothes and bathe…”

Tyler nodded, as did Allison. “Well, it was good talking to you two. I’m glad to hear that you take this all seriously, it’s a big deal. We’ll leave you two lovebirds alone. And again, congrats you two.” Tyler laughed, before taking Allison by hand and leading her down the hall.

Matthew shook his head before placing a long kiss on Allaria’s lips. “We’re going to be parents. That’s...awesome.” He beamed down at her as he began to walk again, their room in sight before long. “You ready to be a mom?” He asked as he pushed their door open with one hand.

“Do I have a choice?” Allaria laughed. “I am good at thinking on my feet. I will figure it out...and I have lots of help too.”

Matthew laughed and kissed her again. “Good point. You’ve got this, we’ve got this. We both have great families to help out, we’ll do fine, I’m sure.” He smiled. “Want me to take you to the bathroom so you can bathe right away?”

“No, no...get these gym clothes off me...I am so hot, I am burning,” Allaria said demurely.

“All right, I can do that. I’m gonna have to set you down though.” Matthew murmured affectionately as he sat her down onto her feet. “Let me get these for you.” He said, his longer fingers working to pull her shirt up. “Man...you’re really sweaty.” He chuckled as he pulled her shirt up over her stomach, and so on.

“You should be too. If we are taking a bath soon anyway, might as well get a little dirty, eh?” Allaria teased once she was naked, tugging at the belt on his pants.

Matthew laughed and nodded. “How can I resist an offer like that, milady?” He asked with a grin as he tugged his shirt off and tossed it to the side. As he looked down at her naked body, he whistled. “I know I’ve said this a million times, but goddamn you’re beautiful.”

“Let me see how much you mean it then.” Allaria said as she kissed him.

Matthew grinned and kissed Allaria back with passion, running one hand through her hair, and using the other to pull her tight against him, nothing between them. “You know how much I mean it, but I’m more than happy to show you.” He grinned, kissing her neck now.

Allaria shuddered as she played with his bits. “Like a dog, hard and fast. That’s how I want it. Let’s see how long you can go, and then bathtime, eh?”

Matthew growled into her ear, a wolfish grin on his lips. “Sounds like a lot of fun to me. Hope you can handle the heat.” He laughed and kissed her neck even more. In an instant though, he had spun her around, arm still around her waist as he held her back against his chest, her long hair tickling his face. “Are you sure that you want it right here?” He asked in regards to their location. They had stripped in the middle of the suite, their clothes on the floor around them, with little furniture around other than a kitchen table and counters.

“Over the table should suffice. Don’t be shy now.” Allaria teased.

Matthew chuckled quietly, kissing the back of her neck. “I wasn’t being shy, I just wanted to make sure that you were comfortable.” He murmured as he walked them over to the kitchen table; which was high enough that she didn’t have to do much leaning. He waited for her to bend over, before taking her as she wanted, his hands gripping her hips. Hard and fast was the name of the game here, and he didn’t want to disappoint her.

Allaria leaned over the table and pressed her chest and face down onto it. “Have at it, loverboy.”

“Happy to oblige.” He grunted, before taking her like a dog. With fast and hard came a little roughness, which was inevitable, though Matthew didn’t seem to notice too much. He was focused on moving, and giving her the pleasure that she and he both wanted desperately. Occasionally, he would grunt or curse under his breath, but not much more than that. Even at the pace he was going, he would be able to go like this for a while, thanks to his stamina.

Allaria cursed loudly in Ghantish. “Bai ... izorratzen dit txakur bat bezala!” She arched her back far and tried to lean back to kiss him, but needed some help. “Pull my hair, god damnit!”

Matthew grunted and continued to give Allaria what she wanted. “More than happy to.” He grinned, as he reached up and wrapped a hand in her hair, pulling her back to him so that he could kiss her; more roughly than the time before. “Ugh...mein gott I love you, Allaria.” He growled between kisses.

“Umm...I love you too. Don’t hold back for too long!” Allaria said as she exclaimed, half moaning and half screaming as one of her hands clutched at his hair and the other was on the table.

“I don’t think I could if I wanted too!” The high prince grunted as he took her. This only went on for another minute or two, before he could hold back no longer. As he came crashing down, he tugged on Allaria’s hair again and kissed her passionately.

The feeling of that was more than enough to make her release, and then she slumped down on the table, breathing hard. “That was good, see?”


Matthew was breathing hard as well, and had to use his hands to prop himself up, lest he crush Allaria under his weight. “More than good, that was great.” He laughed, still trying to recover his breath. It was different from their normal, passionate lovemaking, which he enjoyed a lot as well. There was something indescribably alluring about what he had just done.

“Told you it would be!” Allaria chuckled. “Now, too the bath! But you will have to carry me.”

Matthew laughed and stepped back, before reach forward to flip her over onto her back so that he could carry her a bit better. He gently removed her from the table, and held her in his arms as he walked her over to their bathroom door. “I never doubted you.” He laughed as they stepped in to the spacious washroom.

“Good Lord, I nearly stuck to the table! And my hair is so sweaty and gross! I need a cold bath quick!” Allaria was quite eager for it.

“On it, milady.” The High Prince laughed as he walked her over to their tub, which could fit them both easily. The gently turned the handle, allowing cool water to flow into the tub. “Want to get in yourself, or want me to set you down?” He asked as he held her.

“Oh, set me down, if you would be so kind!” Allaria giggled.

Matthew chuckled and set her down into the tub, where the water was flowing readily, up to her thighs. “I hope you don’t mind if I join you.” He laughed as he eased into the tub himself.

“Not at all...but can you handle a cold bath?” Allaria wondered, gasping at how good the cold water was making her feel.

Matthew nodded and sighed as he felt the cool water flow around him. “Yeah, I can certainly handle it. A little cold never hurt.” He chuckled.

“Good, then climb in, and enjoy the water.” Allaria splashed him.

Matthew laughed and did just that. As he settled beside Allaria he smirked and splashed her right back. “Two can play at that game.” He laughed.

Allaria took the splash to the face like a champion, and merely laid back as the cold water immersed her. “This is very nice.”

Matthew nodded and smiled, leaning back against the tub. “Yes...yes it is.” He replied, eyes closed for a moment as he enjoyed the feeling.

And Allaria, for her part, contently nestled up against him and closed her eyes as well.
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Ghant
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Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:48 am

(OOC: Continued From The Everton Convention)

“Fun With Jane”
Everton, Alizeria


Titus approached the door to Jane’s suite carefully and subtly, knocking very lightly at her door.

“Your Majesty, this is the Caesar,” Titus announced quietly.

Jane yawned as she got up from the bed, wine glass still in hand, and opened the door. “Welcome, Titus. Please, come in.”

“Your Majesty clearly could use a friend, I think. Just as I noted. People were a little rough on you. Even your cousin or nephew, whatever, the King of Free Garza,” Titus expressed empathy.

“Diego is my sister’s grandson, making me his great-aunt. But yes, you are right.” Jane shut the door behind him. “What part of ‘no official business’ until tomorrow do they not get? Everybody showed up with a stick up their ass, and then smothered what was supposed to be a light, social event into one of cock measuring and posturing. That Perrin is a brute! I can’t believe my great-niece is married to him. And that Adenauer, what a bitch. I did her a favor and then she spit in my face!” Jane was irate.

“Well, I brought a consolation prize. A bottle of fine Grossprussian schnapps, if you’re up to sharing it with me. Raspberry flavor,” Titus offered in a very genteel and cordial manner, belying his birth as an orphan.

Jane finished her wine glass, and then held it out for Titus to pour. “That is most kind of you, Titus. By all means, pour me a glass.”

“As you wish, domina,” Titus agreed, pouring a glass without any sense of ego or vanity at stake. He was just befriending a lonely woman and maybe something could be achieved here….if only small.

“...Did you wish to discuss something?” Jane wondered aloud.

“Perhaps something lighter, such as how young you are for a woman in her late fifties. You have held together quite well, I think. I get the impression that your son is not comfortable with your continued vitality, but I’m not sure just how badly, of course,” Titus flirted lightly.

“Jane raised an eyebrow. “Naturally it annoys many people. I feel as though they want me to grow old and retire to some convent somewhere of something. But I could never do that, oh no. I was meant for the spotlight, Titus.”

“Yes, you are quite photogenic, and very spirited, as shown by your open stance on the sodomy bill. Very brave of you, of course,” Titus smiled at her.

“A stupid argument. If somebody wants to take it in the ass, who’s business is that? And besides, men aren’t the only ones that can do that.” Jane sniggered.

“Oh, that is very true. Believe it or not, old Roman custom says that the wife does that on the wedding night and the other….is given up only on the following night,” Titus observed.

Jane laughed. “Not for everyone though, I can imagine. Perrin doesn’t strike me as the sort of man that would put it in the poo hole...although it would be ironic if he was, would it not? ‘Just a simple soldier’ he says...how many simple soldiers do that?” Jane said with a smirk.

“I wouldn’t know that, but plenty of monks do. I had to fend off plenty of advances while in the orphanage, I assure you. Long story, but I won my hard struggle to assert my manhood,” Titus grimaced as he recalled the past while drinking his own schnapps.

“Ah yes, this orphan business. Have you tried to find out who your parents are?” Jane asked curiously as she sat on the bed.

“Sure, but no luck so far. The monks covered up well for the irresponsible jerks. They didn’t want me to know a mother’s love, after all. In that, they succeeded,” Titus confessed, “I have never known that.”

Jane rubbed her neck. “Sounds like they went to great lengths to cover up your parentage...wouldn’t you say?” Jane asked again. “Makes one wonder why.”

“This is true. They destroyed all known records, I know that. Or suspect it, at least. I didn’t even meet a woman in the flesh until my 15th birthday,” Titus informed Jane.

“One of your parents were highborn then, otherwise there would have been no urgency to cover it up so thoroughly.” Jane pointed out.

“That thought has crossed my mind, but not sure if I can ever prove it. So for now, I have only that nobility which I have earned...or married,” Titus admitted with frustration showing.

“Hmm…” Jane said as she tapped her chin. “What is your birthday and year?”

“August 16, 1977. Why do you ask, I am curious?” Titus admitted, “assuming that they didn’t lie to me about that, too.”

“It is possible. But, assuming it is true, you were conceived around Christmas of 1976. Would be easier to backtrack and learn about, say, social events around that time. Start digging around, and you might find somebody that made a mistake they wanted to go away.” Jane explained.

“Yes, I suppose that whatever my parentage, I was that. A mistake,” Titus thought morosely as he took another swig.

“Well, look on the bright side. If we assume that at least one of your parents were highborn, then you are not just some common born mud blood. Just a bastard at worse. And bastards have done worse than you, Titus.” Jane said reassuringly. “Although, I know Nathan is fond of your wife.”

“I’ve been called worse than mud blood. Peasant. Freedman. Son of a debt-slave. Son of a whore. All kinds of harsh epithets, often by the very monks who taught me. Evidently, they wanted me to be extra meek, growing up. Still they did me plenty of favors, giving me a well-rounded education,” Titus admitted, recalling those names that he was called with more than a little pain.

“Maybe your mother wasn’t any of those things...maybe she was just a young woman that made a mistake, and couldn’t in good conscious terminate you.” Jane state softly. “Whoever she was, she loved you enough to give birth to you and let you have your chance at life. And some life it has turned out to be..”

“She did me that much, it is true. I cannot begin to imagine what scandal she endured and faced to give birth to me,” Titus agreed.

“And that, young man, is the point. That things can always be worse, and you have it very good compared to some. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Jane shrugged.

“Nietzsche. Well quoted and often. True enough at any rate. I am the man that I am today because the monks were so hard on me and my mother let me live instead of aborting me,” Titus noted as he poured another glass for Jane and himself.

“By the way...my brother wanted to talk to Valerian earlier...I suspect it was about our nephew Mathias and Valeria. Your father-in-law told Nathan that he and she would think about that back at the Grand Ball...how stands that now? Valeria is a lovely woman I am told, but she doesn’t get any younger.” Jane said, wondering what the situation was there.

“Valeria is more interested than she was before, I grant you, if only because the door from the Edomite side was shut on her. The Azurlavai mess seems to have crushed her hopes of Admiral Prince Elijah Shalmaneser. Now she is more open to Mathias, it seems,” Titus agreed.

“This is good then. Mathias was married to Mia Tronpa for over twenty years before she died of cancer. She was barren, but he never left her. Tragic certainly, and many wondered if he would find love again. In any case, he is in Bastyak now, working for the Tsar’s cause...I am wondering what your thoughts are on that, and on the prospect of a marriage between the Tsarevich and a young Roman noble lady.” Jane felt as though she was on a roll.

“Privately, Valerian is torn. He believes in monarchy on principle, mind you, but he also has worries about the Nekulturnyan question and the dangers of any...shall we say unstable rulers. That being said, he favors a referendum and if the people want a monarchy, why not accept it? The marriage question is easier. It’s another bond between the noblest Roman families and the House of Gentry, after all,” Titus assured her.

“I have heard the names Sulpicia Liciniana and Claudia Procula thrown around...the same Caludia Procula whose father is Claudius Proculous, I presume, who seems to be interested in Edward’s daughter Rosalina, God bless her poor, broken heart.” Jane lamented with a sigh.

“I have heard of that. Jack Harper, a general of Shalum, right?” Titus confirmed.

Jane snorted at the sound. “Yeah, that’s the one. Although more the fool my brother is for denying him her hand. Still, he had the chance to be with her finally and he passed it up for that little hot cunt of his...Camilla Sharra, I believe.” Jane was tempted to spit.

“She’ll do better with old Claudius. Whatever else he might be, but he has a soft spot for broken-hearted women,” Titus answered casually.

“This is good, then. Back on point though, couldn’t Sulpicia or Claudia influence the monarchy in favor of the Emperor? After all, Flavia didn’t even swear fealty to her own grandson until Christmastime. Loyalty runs deep among the Romans, as does their ability to govern effectively.” Jane pointed out.

“In favor of Valerian, you mean?” Titus asked for clarity.

“Yes. And for you in time, I would assume.” Jane clarified.

“That is certainly a danger. Though ultimately, a Roman wife is loyal to her husband first, Roman or not,” Titus observed casually, “that is bred into them, truth be told.”

“Like it was with Aelia...Valerian’s wife that he put down like a stray dog?” Jane asked, smugly.

“Aelia was a freakish exception that proved the rule. She was….one of the less than principled sort, something was very wrong with her. There are always women like that in every country, of course. Of course, originally the Emperor and she had an understanding, but she violated it by being indiscreet in ways that hurt his career, while he was far more careful with his affairs. So, finally, he decided that he couldn’t have an open marriage anymore and wanted both of them to be faithful. He was after that point, but she was not, in spite of her promise to be. She not only had affairs, but open and public ones, which embarrassed and humiliated him. Eventually, he divorced her as a result.

“That was to be the end of it, as she married Aelius Corfinius, their first cousin, but sadly she committed more offenses while Corfinius was in Hostillia and even more once he was recalled. She plotted to make Corfinius take her back and she connived with him to alter official papers,” Titus explained.

“...I seem to recall that Galara altered official papers too...yet she was not put to death.” Jane pointed out gently.

‘True, but Galara was known to be insane and she was the mother of a reigning Augustus. Furthermore, she didn’t harm relations with Hostillia as Aelia and Corfinius did. Mamercus, too, but he didn’t alter the papers, just leaked things to the press about what was going on. Lucky for him that he didn’t actually commit prosecutable treason. He was the Emperor’s old friend and that of the previous one, Decentius, but not even that could have saved his life in this case, though if he was proven to be senile, that might have spared him,” Titus answered, offering her another glass.

Jane accepted the glass. “And yet, even when Nathan pleaded for her exile to Ghant on his uncle’s behalf, Valerian saw fit to put her to death anyway. That turned the Zurias against him in an instant, and he will find nothing but mockery and scorn amongst that House.”

“Not with Flavia. What of Carla? I hear that they were…..intimates, shall we say? I could see Christopher and Caroline holding a grudge, of course. Caroline seems to have thought that the Romans treated her brother and son poorly. For the record, Valerian wept when he got home from the conference and actually saw a letter from Aelia, penned from her cell, pleading for her own life….one that he never saw before he ordered her execution,” Titus noted, “I was there. I saw him mourning his cousin and ex-wife. She was a shabby wife, but some part of him still grieved over what duty required of him.”

“Duty didn’t require it. He could have exiled her to Zuria, agreed to keep her under house arrest for her life. At least then she wouldn’t have been wasted and power sacrificed. The Zurias have great power at court now that Flavia is adjunct...Aelia’s death has not been forgotten by any of them. Such a decision could come back to bite Roman interests in Ghant in the ass.” Jane said, bemused. “Now, as for Carla...I don’t know much about any of that, aside from her always being somewhat of a woman that did as she pleases with a sort of nonchalant, yet business like approach. As for Caroline, well, we are seven years apart, but I knew her when she was young. She has always had a distaste for Romans, on account of her acrimonious relationship with her mother growing up. The coldness there led her to a life of wanton sexual ambitions, scheming for respect and drug use.”

“That explains a lot. I suppose that Nathan’s hatred of Valerian spilled over into hatred of me to an extent, but he seems to adore Livia. Then again, Livia is easy to admire. She is a very friendly, easygoing sort of young woman. Perhaps it might ameliorate things with the Zurias if the Emperor gave Lucia and Christopher a wedding present of sorts. Not counting the fact that Valerian could have agreed to Prince Albert’s offer to haul Christopher in chains before him and he declined that offer. He never could stomach the sight of shackles, you know, or rather men in them. That being said, tell me truly, what is the deal with you and your son….and with Prince Edward. There seems to be some real friction there, and with Anthony Ashton,” Titus inquired, politely introducing a new topic.

Jane sighed. “Nathan doesn’t hate Valerian, rather the opposite is true. Where did you get that impression? He likes and respects the man, enough to pursue his daughter for the next Empress of Ghant. As for you, well, he doesn’t believe you have the blood necessary to inherit the principate, believing that the Caesar ought to have been Servius Ahenobarbus, a man much better suited on account of blood with some merit to boot. And as for my son...well, he is my only child. John had...low sperm count, and Niky was the only child he could give me. I spoiled him rotten and pampered him, and it turned him into a cretin. Ashton, meanwhile, is an asshole. My brother Edward is under a lot of stress trying to keep our House from becoming the laughing stock of the world, and he can feel as though he is failing under the weight. I suppose I do not help him...people have always found me difficult.”

“Oh, just the combination of his Zuria relations and his criticism of certain decisions, such as naming me Caesar. Bear in mind that to Valerian, as Augustus, he wanted a man whom he could count on carrying on the torch of his policies, someone who proved his loyalty and merit, and while he considers Servius Ahenobarbus to a very noble and respectable man, he also knows that the man is new to the civil service. Valerian wanted a man with a more diplomatic and bureaucratic background, essentially, to succeed him. He is, however, third in line, so if anything happens to both of us, he gets the job,” Titus noted, “so you regard Nik as a cretin. I am curious on what basis.”

“He doesn’t listen to nor does he respect his mother.” Jane said bluntly. “And his lifestyle choices are questionable. He reminds me of my brother, the late Emperor Albert.”

“Meaning, excess in everything. It’s one thing to have a fling now and then, but quite another to go through half the whiskey and women in Krostuk?” Titus sought clarity, “and by disrespecting you, in what way?”

“He doesn’t respect my privacy, he doesn’t know how to knock when the door is shut.” Jane said almost laughing. “And yes, something along those lines I would say.” Jane mulled a thought over. “You know, it might mean a lot if Valerian were to attend Christopher and Lucia’s wedding in person, as his avoidance of the Zuria’s seems like an act of cowardice and guilt.”

“I can see how that might seem so, though to be honest, as an Emperor, husband, and father, he has been very busy of late. I won’t speculate on his marriage, but having two daughters come into his life recently, and one of them he didn’t know about until she was 18 is a major shift in his lifestyle. Even so, I can pass that idea on, along with sending Aelia’s remains to Christopher, if Lucia doesn’t mind a tomb to Aelia on the Zuria estate,” Titus said as he drank more schnapps, starting to feel rather congenial compared to the stress of the state dinner.

“That would be quite the boon I am sure...do the Aurelians not care to keep the remains?” Jane asked. “And again with the ‘Baby Nate’ - Marcia match...it can reconcile our Houses once and for all, consolidate Ghant, deliver the Zurias, the Dakmarans, and give her a station that would be the highest she could ever possibly attain. Seems like a match made in heaven.”

“Aelia was basically disowned by her family, but they put her remains there so as not to anger the Emperor. He wanted her to have a Christian burial and such, despite all that she did. They would be relieved not to have to keep her there. She died penniless and disgraced, but some part of the Emperor must have been touched by the earlier memories of their youthful passion. He even attended her funeral, albeit not broadcasting the fact, and paid for a decent chaplain to hold her funeral mass. I do not think that anyone else but her father attended. Her mother flatly refused to do so.

“As to the Crown Prince and my infant sister-in-law, that does seem a reasonable match and the Emperor is seriously entertaining it, I assure you. I will work to encourage it, as it would be in Marcia’s best interests to be an Empress after all. She will have more power than her sister, my wife,” Titus observed, “not that Livia minds. She cares little for power. She is happy to be Augusta as consort. It was more than she ever dreamed before she learned that her father was the Emperor of Rome. Livia is a very playful, delightful woman. Hard to explain, but she even makes up little games to keep things from getting dull. She might become known as the most mischievous Empress ever.”

“I will be sure to pass the information regarding Aelia along to my brother. He will see to the matter.” Jane said with a nod. “By the way, who is this Gaudentia woman that has been whispered about?”

“She is our Legate in Draconis…..and mistress to the Emperor of Ghant. Yes, Nathan and she have been lovers for a little while now,” Titus explained with a smile, “you know, I bet that is what you could use. A lover. Or maybe I am gauging you wrong.”

Jane laughed heartily. “That is stupid. Nathan would never deviate from Sophia. Not sure where you got that bit of information, but it is surely incorrect. And even in the remote chance that Nathan would even for a mere second consider it, it would have to be one very rare woman to achieve leading him astray...one that could rival even the White Rose of Dakmoor. And yes, as for me, I could use a lover...I have been lost since John left me.”

“Perhaps this will clarify things further,” Titus showed Jane a report from Gaudentia’s aides who had joined her along the trip…..a report that included Gaudentia and Nathan leaving rooms suddenly together and them dancing very closely indeed...he also put a photograph of Gaudentia herself, “this stuff isn’t a state secret. Not that this part. It’s just a simple case of extramarital passion, but we Romans have a bad habit of logging everything for future reference….even such assignations. On the other hand, we also have a reputation for making love like engineers. Not sure where we get that, perhaps being no-nonsense and not very poetic about it. I wonder if Gaudentia is like that in bed.”

Jane shook her head. “This doesn’t prove anything. Until there is a picture of them kissing or fucking, or he confirms it himself, all we have are smoke and mirrors. This stinks with the stench of a scheme hatched by Gallienus to discredit and undermine Dakmaran prestige.”

“Perhaps this will be more persuasive,” Titus showed the latest bit sent to him via text. Gaudentia kissing Nathan in full view of the others right before trial by combat. It was snapped by one of her aides, who perhaps thought that the Caesar might want to use some leverage against Nathan.

“...That is a little more convincing, and it demonstrates that perhaps Gaudentia has some fire for him, but where is the smoking gun proof that he has returned these affections? Remember, this is the same Nathan that had to refuse the advances of Allaria Belmore on a daily basis whilst she was Sophia’s principal lady-in-waiting.” Jane pointed out.

“Fair enough. It could be one-sided. Not that it matters as much now. Nathan has been badly injured, you know. I’m not sure if he has regained consciousness yet. There are fears for his life,” Titus agreed, “so, on a lighter note, what sort of lover would you seek, if you could acquire one tonight?”

Titus wasn’t being as subtle now, of course. The schnapps had emboldened him and Jane’s mood seemed playful enough to allow him some liberties.

Jane grinned. “When I was a young ingenue, there was a song that summed up what I want.” Jane giggled as she recited the lines.


“I want a man with a slow hand
I want a lover with an easy touch
I want somebody who will spend some time
Not come and go in a heated rush
I want somebody who will understand
When it comes to love, I want a slow hand”


“Sounds familiar. What about a fling? Would you seek the same sort of man for that?” Titus teased Jane a little, feeling bolder.

Jane shrugged. “I would be inclined to wing it with a strong, assertive male type, one that can have his way with me.”

“Is that a fact? Well, sometimes, an assertive man can also be a slow hand, of course. Depends on the mood and the situation. Best of both worlds, wouldn’t you agree?” Titus was a bit more brazen now.

“Why of course, that sounds most delightful.” Jane nodded in agreement with a raised eyebrow.

“Perhaps you would like a taste of what Allaria Belmore experienced at the Star Ball in Albicia, then,” Titus grinned, “before she found love with Matthew Holland, that is. Only with her, I didn’t go all out. With the Dowager Queen of Alizeria….well, you deserve a bit more.”

“...What are you getting at, Titus?” Jane asked, curiously.

“You and me, of course. I am impressed at how you have kept everything together and retained your beauty and sexual attractiveness at 57. I’m 37. Have you ever wanted to sleep with a man twenty years your junior?” Titus finally declared.

Jane had a hard time composing speech. “...Well...I...um...yes, but...with all due respect, Titus...this just doesn’t seem right. You are a very handsome, thoughtful young man, but...something about you...I don’t know...makes it feel wrong. I don’t know what it is, I can’t put my finger on it, but...I can’t.” Should I tell him how much he reminds me of my deceased nephew John?

“Fair enough. We can always just be friends. Still, the offer stands if you wish to avail yourself of it,” Titus smiled at her, “at any rate, I’ve rarely been turned down by a more beautiful woman.”

“You are very kind to say so. You are a very sweet, gentle and courteous young man. You...remind me of my nephew John, Nathan’s father. He was quiet, gracious, thoughtful and worked hard...maybe a bit too hard. His passing was a tragedy of the highest order that affected Ghant greatly.” Jane said, sorrowfully.

“Thank you and my belated condolences, of course. That must have been very hard to bear. Perhaps the resemblance is what makes it feel wrong to you. As if it were incest, which is something repulsive to a Roman, too, as you know. Gabinius and his mother and aunt notwithstanding, of course,” Titus thought about it.

“Aye...something like that.” Jane’s jaw suddenly hit the floor. “You know, my brother Albert back when he was Crown Prince, went to Rome for a Christmas party back in 1976 with his family…” Jane shook her head. “No, there is no way, that’s stupid, forget about that.”

“Forget about what?” Titus wondered.

“Nothing...nothing at all, sweet Caesar. Just a silly old rambling woman with flights of fancy passing through her mind is all.” Jane laughed as she tapped Titus on the cheek with her hand. “Now, if you are looking for somebody to...stray with, I might suggest that Garzan...what was her name…” Jane thought. “Sandra Velasco, that’s the one.”

“Sandra? Word has it that she’s Diego’s newest mistress. I don’t shit where I eat, but if he ever cuts her loose and we’re in the same conference again, who knows? I do know of a certain stewardess who has been making eyes at both Valerian and me. Castina, that was her name. Still, if you ever change your mind, you know where my suite is. Just knock twice and say that it’s the postwoman,” Titus winked at Jane, “and for the record, you really don’t look as old as you say.”

“Well thank you Titus. And please be mindful about my great-niece Willow. She is freshly eighteen and a maiden. Very pretty, granted, but also very naive. I doubt Edward would take kindly to any advances upon her.” Jane smiled. “And thank you for coming, even if it was another coming that you had in mind.”

“Well, let’s just say that I was in the mood to be of assistance in whatever way you needed it. Perhaps I can arrange another fellow for you. One who might be of a lower station, but would have the discretion not to say a thing. As for Willow, I am not prepared to create an incident just to pop a cherry. She’s sweet and all that, but I have no need to cheapen her. I generally go after women close to my own age or older, with rare exceptions like Ava or Livia. She needs a husband soon, though. Just a thought. All of the young bear cubs might come looking for that honey soon. When I need someone younger, Livia more than suffices for that,” Titus assured Jane.

“Well, there is interest in Nekulturnya about making Ava Tsarevna.” Jane said. “And also, Edward tells that there is a contingency plan for if something should happen to Sophia, that Ava would the favorite to become the new Empress.”

Titus did his best to conceal the jealousy in his face over the idea of yet another man having Ava for his wife, after losing her to that fool from Darmen…..yet, she deserved to be happy, and since he couldn’t marry her, shouldn’t someone? Solid Roman practical thinking there, of course, warring with that irrational part of his soul that still felt a pang from the idea that Ava would become another man’s bride, bear that lucky man his children…..and yet, Titus was already feeling a growth in his ardor and passion for his arranged wife, the woman that he married for politics….Livia Marcella. She was his and she took pride in the fact, never indicated any sense of humiliation over bedding an orphan like her husband. She had been flattered and wooed by other men, but so far had never even shown any real interest in them, despite being a beauty that made noblemen and princes in other lands and the Empire itself quickly forget that she was brought up as a very lowly commoner.

“She would make a splendid consort for any monarch. She deserves to be happy. I love her still and while jealous, I wish her happiness and proper respect for a change. I worry about her a lot, you know. Poor girl. So sad and lonely. Life under Elijah Shalmaneser’s thumb as his little sister can’t be easy. As for me, I am still a very fortunate man. Livia is a wife that has rapidly begun the healing of my wounded heart and injured pride. I love how much she makes other men green with envy that I have such a wife. Yes, I married her for reasons of state, not for love, but I am falling in love with her and have been since we wed,” Titus thought aloud.

“Well, that is certainly the opposite of Nathan and Sophia then. Married for love, and then later for reasons of state.” Jane laughed.

“Prominent Romans seldom marry for love. It is a luxury that few of us can afford. Then again, there are also such men as Gallienus, who refuses to marry at all. Of course, he’s a sodomite and people just pretend not to know. The ones that don’t pretend, like the Dakmarans, rapidly learn what it is to cross such a man. He is not a forgiving fellow, my successor as Master of Offices. He just likes his revenge served nice and chilled,” Titus commented somewhat nonchalantly, not being worried about what petty revenges Gallienus might inflict on the House of Dakmaran as long as they didn’t undermine Rome.

“...House Dakmaran has undermined Rome from the very start, back in the days of Queen Martina Honoria.” Jane said with a shrug. “Its what Dakmoor does. They are the edge of the world, in more ways than one.”

“Can’t be a comfortable place for Lucius Arrius. Rumor has it that he has been lobbying for a new posting more than once. But he stays for now and bites his tongue, and rumor has it, beds the wives of any Dakmooran noble that he can. Their wives, not their daughters. He wants them a little insecure around him,” Titus laughed, “I hear that Gallienus pushed for that appointment, as it happens.”

“Well, Titus...I would suggest appointing someone to Dakar that can have the favor of the Queen or the Crown Princess...you following me?” Jane wondered.

“I see. Then perhaps the adulterous wives in Dakar will have some bad news and the cuckolded husbands some good very soon. Lucius Arrius might get his transfer after all. To Arragard, maybe. Rumor has it that the King doesn’t like Mardonius the eunuch legate,” Titus observed.

“...Places that keep to the Old Gods are none too fond of Eunuchs. I remember the stories of how even Galara demanded from her son to not have them around.” Jane laughed.

“As with most of her demands, that was ignored, I believe,” Titus recalled, “what about eunuchs offends the Old Ways?”

“The fact that they are men without balls, and therefore not really men. Abominations.” Jane pointed out.

“Is it a no self-mutilation thing?” Titus wondered.

Jane shrugged. “That’s got something to do with it, yes.”

“So, they must have been in favor of the Edict of Manumission issued on April 2, 2011 by the Emperor Sextus Macrinus Felix, which abolished not only castration, but most forms of torture, slavery, debt-bondage, etc. All eunuchs today were cut before that law was enacted, of course. Too late for them, but not for later chamberlains. The only downside is that chamberlains will now no longer leave their properties to the State and will also be able to seduce women of the imperial family,” Titus remarked.

“Ella labored for such an Edict until she died in 1940.” Jane said. “She was very much ahead of her time. Small wonder she won the Cornellian Peace Prize in 1940, at the age of 100.”

“Interestingly enough, Bishop Calenus was a strong advocate of abolition, of course, and he paid for it by being stripped of his property and his diocese. He died an impoverished monk living in a remote monastery. He was ahead of his time, too. Ella is considered by many a saint and there is a push to canonize Calenus these days. I wonder what Ella thought of Calenus,” Titus asked.

“I wouldn’t know, but I can assume she applauded his selflessness.” Jane nodded with a yawn.

“Well, on that note, I see that you are rather tired, and I will depart, my worthy hostess. Thank you for being hospitable and even letting me down easy. Feel free to keep the rest of the schnapps. It’s a gift from me to you, personally. Let me know if you opt to change your mind or wish me to arrange a strapping young man for your bed. As a favor to a friend, of course,” Titus winked at Jane and kissed her hand as he prepared to leave.

“I will keep that in mind. Thank you and goodnight, Caesar.” Jane smiled as she saw him out.
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Ghant
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Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:55 pm

The Everton Convention
The Morning of the Second Day
Everton, Alizeria


Blanca was still disappointed not to have found her way into Perrin’s bed the night before, but then he did have work on his hands. She awoke to a scream from Sandra and found out quickly what was amiss. Learning of the drugging and rape, she got dressed and ran out in a hurry to get some emergency contraceptives for her brother’s mistress. It was an odd situation, but she actually liked Sandra. She was a very good woman, even if she was intimate with a married man. She was a nurse, after all. That was a very noble profession.

Blanca had barely made it back from where she got the pill, when she saw her….Willow. Her old cousin and friend, though they had gotten on each other’s nerves last night. Perhaps it was just the jet lag. Yes, that could be it.

Willow was wearing a casual green gown when she saw her second cousin Blanca. “Blanca...good morning.” She sensed that something was amiss. “What’s wrong? Everything alright?”

“Oh...yes, cousin, something is very wrong. Sandra, my brother’s nurse….she was raped. Drugged and raped, that is. I’m trying to get these pills back to her,” Blanca was ashen.

Willow gasped and covered her mouth in horror, her light blue eyes wide. “That is horrible! There is a rapist amok in Everton? We should tell my grandfather...he will know what to do.”

As if invoked by magic, Numerius Calixtus just happened to have finished his check-ups on security with the vigiles and decided to grab some high-protein snacks….before he noticed Willow and Blanca, neither of whom seemed to realize who he was.

“Ladies, it is my honor to meet you. Are you quite alright?” Calixtus asked them, being very polite and deferential as part of his mask.

Willow looked at Blanca, deferring to her to explain the situation if she saw fit to do so.

“Well, it’s really a private matter, unless you can help out with matters of criminal justice. A friend of mine was...well, drugged….and raped,” Blanca stammered out.

“Drugged first or raped first? Because just because it’s a drug, doesn’t make it rape now, does it? Sometimes, the lady just wants it and the drug opens her mind,” Calixtus asserted….he had never bought into this foolish foreign idea that intoxication equaled rape, though he didn’t care to risk being arrested by those who did.

Blanca was livid now….disgusted from being around the man…., “Excuse me, I think that I will take my leave now. Willow, care to join me?”

“Why yes, of course.” Willow did a courtesy and went to follow Blanca.

“Oh, ladies, my apologies. I did not mean to offend. And just to prove that I am not a vicious person, perhaps I can buy you something….solid. That’s perfectly safe, after all,” Calixtus offered...

….not revealing that he had ways of distracting people and he planned to drug the drinks that they already had when their backs were turned….well, at least the light brown one. Close enough to blonde, if not quite. Blanca was too dark for his taste. He had the nagging feeling that she was married to someone influential, anyway. She looked familiar that way. Still, how to separate them until it was time? How to get back to work, too, in time not for his absence to be noted? Then again, being chief of the detail had its perks.

Calixtus felt a rush of excitement, in fact….he had never done something this brazen before, in broad daylight. Only under cover of night. This was a brand new thrill, to take a woman right under everyone’s nose.

Blanca shook her head, “No, thank you, sir. I think that we’re done with you. Please leave us alone.”

“...Buy what?” Willow asked, curiously.

“Well, if your scowling friend doesn’t mind, I would like to buy you some yogurt or perhaps a muffin. Can’t be tampered with, right?” Calixtus beamed at them, “do you like poppyseed? It was all a hypothetical statement, no offense ever intended, you know.”

Willow conceded the point that she was naive. She looked at Blanca for guidance in this situation, unsure of herself.

“Willow...just don’t. Please, trust me on this. I have to go bring this pill to Sandra. Please, just come with me,” Blanca urged her, “I don’t trust him.”

“Oh, come now, don’t be a spoilsport! Let your friend get a simple gift. No strings attached, I swear to God,” Calixtus assured Willow, “just a peace offering.”

Willow had enough common sense to know what she ought to do. “...I should go. Thanks for the offer though.”

Calixtus now turned very red in the face. He had taken a risk already, and now he was very annoyed at his first failure so far. That couldn’t be allowed. He was too far gone, and so he bowed slightly, before standing up with his hand out...and chloroform in it, to cover Willow’s mouth.

“No silly bitch is getting away from me that easily, lady,” Calixtus snarled, pulling out a Taser in an effort to zap Blanca.

In a fit of sheer horror, Willow screamed at the top of her lungs…

“Lady, you had best shut up!” Calixtus said, distracted for a second to try to zap her instead.

“Help! Help!” Willow wailed loudly, trembling in fear and attempting to get away.

As it turned out, there were a couple of people nearby that heard Willow’s cries, both of whom were part of the Shalumite delegation. The woman of the two was Alyssa Holland, dressed in a green dress, hair pulled back into a bun. She had quite a number of years on her escort.

Her escort happened to be of high birth, son of a Shalumite count. He was Alexander Blackburn, a man of twenty-seven years, and in good shape. He was wearing the dress uniform of the Royal Infantry. As he heard Willow’s cries, he blinked, hand automatically going for the baton on his side. Damn Alizerians...they hadn’t let him bring his normal sidearm with him. “I heard something, stay behind me, ma’am!” He order, already in motion toward the sounds of the woman. Stubborn as she was, Alyssa followed the younger count.

Blanca kicked Calixtus in the shin, determined to make him stop.

Calixtus shrieked in pain, just in time for Donatus Severianus, one of his own vigiles, to come upon him.

“What’s the matter, sir?” Donatus at first assumed that his boss was under attack.

“That...bitch kicked me in the shin!” Calixtus pointed, about to rush her, but Donatus grabbed him by the belt.

“No, sir...I don’t care what she did. That’s the wife of the Boy General, for God’s sake! Don’t you recognize her?” Donatus warned him.

“That’s Princess Blanca?” Calixtus lost all color in his face, but then he elbowed Donatus and rushed at Willow this time.

That was the moment that Alexander Blackburn and Alyssa Holland appeared, the former looking alert as he stepped in, baton in hand but pointed toward the ground. “Halt! What is going on here?” He said, voice a deep baritone.

“Willow!” Alyssa cried as she saw her granddaughter in what appeared to be danger.

“Grandma!” Willow yelled as she cried, trembling with terror and struggling. “Help me!”

“That worm tried to rape Willow!” Blanca pointed at Calixtus, “he’s mad with lust. Just look at him!’

Calixtus now rushed at Alexander with his Taser, trying to zap him.

“Don’t do it, sir! You’re already going to lose your head! Don’t make the Emperor hang you!” Donatus warned him.

Alexander’s blonde eyebrows rose for a brief moment, before his training kicked in, his hands coming up into a defensive stance. If this man thought that a simple rush would be the end of things, he had another thing coming. The Shalumite royal infantry put out good soldiers, and Alexander was surely that. In a flash, the Shalumite count sidestepped the man, and struck at his hand at the same time with the baton, hoping to disarm him. This wasn’t the end though, as Alexander set himself on his back leg and shot a kick out toward his opponent's exposed side.

Calixtus fell over in agony, dropping the Taser and screaming at Donatus to help him.

“No, sir. You got yourself into this mess. By the authority vested in me by the Divine Augustus, I hereby relieve you of your post and place you under arrest. However, the Shalumites get custody of you for now. Don’t make it worse for yourself. Just hope that you’re not turned over to me. I’ll do my best to see that you die like a common rapist and murderer,” Donatus spoke sternly, “you have tarnished the honor of the Augustus and the Empire. He will never forgive you.”

Alexander wasn’t done yet. As the Roman fell to the ground, the Shalumite rolled him onto his stomach, dropping down so that his full weight was on the man, one knee in his lower back, and the other on his neck. Attempting to get up would prove as useless and it would painful. “I’m placing you under arrest, however the moment I can, you’re going to Roman hands to be dealt with properly.” Alexander growled. “Unless of course, you want me to just break your neck right here, it wouldn’t be hard.” He taunted as pressed down on the man. “Uhh,” he glanced over at Donatus. “Can you help me out here?”

Donatus grabbed some handcuffs and slapped them on each wrist to secure Calixtus for the holding, “Should we alert Alizerian authorities? This crime was committed on Alizerian soil. My deepest apologies and I am sure that the Emperor will feel the same way when he learns of this. It is a complete dishonor to Rome. He will pay for this, one way or the other.”

Meanwhile, Alyssa ran over to Willow, and threw her arms around the girl.

Willow was a weeping mess on the floor, crying profusely and trembling terribly. When Alyssa got to her and threw her arms around her, Willow buried her face in her grandmother’s abdomen and gripped her dress as if life depended upon it.

Blanca joined the two, hugging both Willow and Alyssa, all past differences forgotten now. This was family, after all.

Alyssa sniffled and hugged Willow tightly. “It’s alright, you're safe, I promise.” She whispered, stroking the young woman’s back gently.

Alexander nodded and helped the Roman if he needed it. “It is of no issue, sorry it took so long for me to arrive. I think alerting them would be best, I doubt we’re completely capable of holding a prisoner in our current state.” He pointed out, standing up.

“He might well have to stay in an Alizerian holding cell for now, then. This is a complete disgrace. As soon as the Emperor knows, if possible, the man’s life will be forfeit, I assure you of that.”

Just then, half a dozen Ghantish guards came running down the hall. They stopped before Alyssa and inclined their heads, before one of them spoke. “Your highness, we heard screaming. Is everything alright?”

Alexander nodded and resisted the urge to take a whack at the would-be rapist with his baton for good measure. “That sounds good enough to me, surely he deserves it. We’ll see how the afterlife decides to judge him as well.” The Shalumite count muttered the last sentence as he put his baton away.

Alyssa looked over at the Romans and Alexander. “He attempted to attack and take advantage of Willow here. It is under control now.” She said, looking up at the men.

The guard spoke again. “Let us take him and confine him to quarters then, your highness. Your husband will want him in the possession of Ghantish men, for the crimes of attempting to commit indecency towards a Lady of Ghant.”

“Do you have facilities to hold him?” Donatus asked.

“Also, what of Alizerian jurisdiction. This is Everton, after all,” Blanca noted.

“We have a room, chains and a dozen armed men. That should be enough for now, until this mess is sorted out.” The guard responded bluntly, and addressed Alyssa. “Please your highness, let us take him. It would be an honor to stand vigil over this vermin until he is dealt with accordingly.”

Alexander could feel the adrenaline wearing off now. While the altercation had only last a few seconds at most for his part, his body had decided that it warranted the rush of chemicals. He glanced at Donatus and shrugged. “I wouldn't be adverse to handing him over, if only temporarily.”

“This man could face trials in up to six nations, given what he’s done. Sure, if the Ghantar want him, they can have for now. Still, need to contact the Royal Constabulary and the Crown Counsel. He presumably broke Alizerian law, too,” Donatus observed.

“Will you not talk about me as if I’m not even here! I am a Roman aristocrat, the son of a senator! I will not be held by Ghantish bastards or Alizerian sheep lovers!”

Alexander grunted and gripped the rapist at the shoulder, strong hands digging into. “And you’re about five seconds away from this baton being shoved places the sun don’t shine, so shut it.” He ordered sternly, green eyes challenging the man.

“Take him away if you so wish.” Alyssa chimed in, looking at the guards.

“As you command.” The six of them went over to Calixtus to scoop him up and haul him away. “...Would you like to inform your husband yourself, your highness?” The guard asked.

Blanca spat on Calixtus as the guards grabbed him, “Roast in Hell for all eternity, you filth!”

Alyssa nodded and looked at the guard. “Yes, I will. Not now though, I’m sure my granddaughter needs me more.”

“As you wish, your highness.” The guard bowed and helped secure Calixtus in order to carry him off to a room where he could be bound in chains and placed under heavy guard until what should be done with him could be sorted out.

Willow was still crying into her grandmother’s dress, clinging to her and sobbing uncontrollably.

Alyssa cooed slightly, and held Willow close to her, hugging her affectionately. “It’s alright baby girl, you’re alright.” She reassured her, not quite sure what else to say. Meanwhile, Alexander sighed and walked over to the nearest chair, plopping down in it.

“This is a true dishonor and disgrace, and I am ashamed. Be assured that I will inform the Emperor of this, and his retribution will come down upon this man’s head for such a crime. Nobody does such things while serving him and fails to incur his wrath,” Donatus told Willow, Alyssa, and Blanca.

“Indeed. I trust Roman justice. What of you, cousin?” Blanca asked Willow, “what can I do for you before I head back?”

Willow had calmed down some, now merely sobbing softly as she rested her head in her grandmother’s lap. “Will you come spend some time with me in my room?” Willow asked.

“Sure, cousin. Do you mind coming with me for a moment, so I can drop off something really quick with my brother’s nurse?” Blanca asked Willow.

“...Only if grandma comes too.” Willow said.

Alyssa smiled softly and nodded. “Of course dear, I would be happy to.” She replied.

Alexander coughed and stood up. “If I am no longer needed, ladies, I will return to my duties.” He said, moving toward the door.

“Thank you, Alejandro,” Blanca used his Spanish name, “you helped a great deal. Saved me, that’s for sure.”

“Excuse me. I must report this matter to the Augustus as soon as he leaves the conference room,” Donatus announced, “to put it mildly, he will not be pleased.”

Alexander glanced at Blanca and smiled slightly. “De nada, senora, it is part of the job.” He replied. He glanced at Donatus. “Godspeed. I’m sure he won’t be.”

“...We should go, then.” Willow slowly got to her feet and smiled at Alexander. “Thank you, sir. My cousin Rebecca speaks highly of you...now I can see why.”

Alexander paused at the door and smiled, dipping his head. “Ah, Rebecca is a good girl herself. I like her a lot. Good to know she isn’t spreading rumors about me.” He chuckled before turning.

Meanwhile, Alyssa made her way out with Willow. As she went, she dug out her smartphone and texted her husband. My love, something has come up. A Roman..tried to take advantage of poor Willow. I’m with her now, keeping her company, not sure when I will be back.

Edward, turning red as a beet, responded. Where is this Roman now?

In Ghantish custody She responded quickly.

Edward excused himself and walked out of the conference room politely and as discreetly as he could, making his way towards the room where he had his guards assigned.

Meanwhile, Donatus was there waiting outside the conference room until just the right moment that the Augustus exited, and then he pounced, slipping a note that he had prepared, since he didn’t know if he could get the words out for this.

Forgive me, Domine, but your chief of the vigiles has disgraced us all. He attempted to rape Princess Willow of Ghant and even to assault Princess Blanca of Free Garza. Numerius Calixtus has been relieved of his post, pending your pleasure, and placed in Ghantish custody with the aid of the Shalumite bodyguard Alexander Blackburn, a very brave and loyal man.

Valerian’s face turned so deeply red that he might be mistaken for a tomato. His breath came out very shallow, and the vein in his neck really began sticking out. His eyes narrowed and he glared in no particular direction, a very cold anger taking over him.

“Take me to this….human waste that used to be my chief of security. I trusted him, but no more. Have the Alizerians been informed? They need to be. This atrocity was committed in their jurisdiction. They have the right to hold and prosecute him if they wish. Otherwise, it’s back to Constantinople in disgrace, to stand trial for his life. I do not need to tell you the likely outcome of that. Noble or not, he will face the full weight of the law. Remember, beheading nobles is only custom. No law that forbids their hanging from the gallows,” Valerian gritted his teeth in outrage.

“I wish to personally render my condolences to the young lady and her family, anyway,” the Emperor added, “nobody uses my name and authority to force themselves upon young women, or young men, for that matter. He has wronged five nations with whom I have friendly relations, too. He will pay for this!”

Edward was walking down the hall when he chanced upon Valerian. “Your Eminence. If you have a moment. Come with me.”

“Certainly. I have apologies to render, it seems. One of my staff has attempted to defile your granddaughter’s chastity, I have heard. My condolences. Be assured that one way or another, he will pay for this!” Valerian’s face was still red with rage.

For Blanca, it was a simple matter of dropping off the pill for Sandra at last, only to have the nurse shake her head….”Too late, Blanca. Sorry. I know that something kept you, obviously, but it’s too late. This was my fertile period. That’s why Diego and I were going to use protection. Too late.”

Willow shook her head. “Not too late...we have some leaf. Take that and you should be fine.”

“Better odds than I have otherwise, thank you. What happened?” Sandra asked.

“Yes, something must have occurred,” Alicia chimed in.

Torres had a very dark look on his face, but only because he read the body language.

“I can guess. I think that we have a predator on the loose. A serial rapist. He drugged and assaulted Sandra last night, it seems. Now he has tried his hand at you, perhaps, senorita,” the Civil Guard officer grimaced.

“I think so, too, but he’s not on the loose, if it’s the same man. He’s in Ghantish custody. A Roman. Former head of the vigiles bodyguard to the Emperor Valerian. Numerius Calixtus. Arrested by the Shalumite officer Alexander Blackburn and by his own deputy, Donatus Severianus,” Blanca relayed the information that had been given to her.

“Disgusting vermin. I hope that the Emperor gets him before we do, because if not, I will personally kneecap him...and that’s without a gun,” Major Osvaldo Torres insisted.

“The leaf is a natural abortifacient, and if taken immediately after conception, shall terminate the pregnancy. Works every time, I promise.” Willow flashed a gentle smile, as a servant entered the room with some, having had been summoned earlier by Willow before the assault.

“Normally, I wouldn’t approve, but what other option do I have? There is a reason that even Catholic Garza makes that exception in the law,” Sandra agreed, taking the proffered herb.

“It truly is a shame to know that such a man had access to vulnerable women.” Willow said, still wiping the tears from her eyes.. “But the worst is behind us. I know that justice will be done.”

“It had better be, or I will see it done myself,” Torres warned, “like Prince Albert with Luciano Guzman.”

“Come along, cousin. Back to your chambers. Let’s play a good game of chess,” Blanca proposed.

“Ok, Blanca. Let’s go.” Willow smiled as she did a courtesy to the others and went off with her grandmother to Willow’s room.

Meanwhile, Edward clenched his jaw and gave Valerian an unsympathetic look. “With all due respect, your Eminence, first there was Maria Priscilla at the Star Ball, and now this vermin who would dare presume to even touch my granddaughter and my great-niece. Between the two of them, it would seem as though the Imperial Household is festering with people that put young women at risk of assault. I am not about to question your leadership, but I wonder what you are going to do about that. After all, I am sure you don’t want Marcia to grow up exposed to such danger.”

“Do? I am going to institute another purge of the vigiles. Apparently, the first one two years ago has been forgotten or wasn’t thorough enough. People need to know better than to abuse their power as secret agents of the Principate. This was clearly a secret agent who let the power get to his head. That’s the trouble with secret police. Ego. The power trip. Perhaps it’s time for a review of psychological evaluations being used as well. Something is being overlooked. This man could be a sociopath, though. Those are very hard to spot. As to Maria Priscilla, that was just my daughter rashly doing a favor for a friend. She has learned her lesson there in picking her maids. No more favors. Reliable maidservants only for foreign trips,” Valerian assured him.

Edward stopped in front of the room with guards posted in front, and he waved his hand, signalling them to stand aside. Edward opened the door, and found Calixtus bound in chains to a chair, with ten men standing around him with clubs drawn. Edward looked at the man and deferred to Valerian to address him.

“Stand in the presence of your Emperor, citizen! Look at me! How dare you presume to put a hand on the wife of my good ally the President of New Edom, but worse still, to put a hand for the purpose of violating the chastity of a young woman of my blood! She is related to the House of Gentry, which means that she is also related to me! Blood of my blood! A cousin of mine! She is also related to the Imperial House of Holland in Shalum! I will make you wish that I just took your head! If it didn’t violate Roman law, I would have you gelded, crucified, and burnt alive! You wil pay for this, you worm! I have half a mind to let the Deadorans judge you, just to get the satisfaction of seeing you a eunuch for the rest of your days! You are the lowest scum of them all!”

“Sire….please, forgive me! It wasn’t meant to get out of hand like this…,” Calixtus now lost control of his bladder, for he had angered the Lord of the World, a demigod in Roman eyes.

“I did not permit you to speak! You will be divested of all property, personal possessions, and your Roman citizenship forthwith. I have the power to revoke all of these, leaving you stateless and penniless, which I do at this moment. You are now in the custody of the Ghantish, and you had better hope that the Edomites do not push for extradition for your assault upon Princess Blanca, or else you will likely hang. You still might, if you are turned over to Roman justice for that matter. Of course, you might get lucky and the Alizerians might take custody of you and the case, in which case, you will be probably used for the satisfaction of sheep! It would serve you right!”

Edward spoke quietly to Valerian. “Your Eminence, I suggest that we inform Tyler, Diego, Perrin and Anthony at the earliest opportunity. We will need to deliberate and determine what crimes he has committed against all of these nations.”

“Agreed. He will pay. Just a question of where. Now he does so without the protection of Roman law. He is no longer a citizen of Rome. He is in your hands for now, Prince. Do what you wish with him,” Valerian said, turning his back on the man.

“...I take it you will inform the other concerned leaders via private messages?” Edward asked.

“Yes, but I will write them myself. This touches upon my honor,” Valerian said, “again, deep condolences to your family. If you need restitution, I will pay it myself.”

“I trust you will bring this to their attention expediently then.” Edward nodded. “It will be enough restitution to know that this man’s treachery shall be exposed and his crimes made known to all the nations that he has offended.” Edward explained as he left the room.

Valerian later prepared a message to concerned parties informing them of what had transpired:

To: Anthony Ashton, Tyler Holland, Diego IV, Perrin Pahath-Moab
From: Valerian Augustus

Friends and allies, I regret to inform you of a traitor, a serpent in my retinue. The now former head of my security detail, Numerius Calixtus, who has been disgraced and removed from office. This man attempted to violate the honor of Princess Willow of Ghant. This dishonorable crime will not go unpunished, I assure you. He also attempted to zap Princess Blanca of Free Garza with a Taser, so that she couldn’t interfere with the assault. Fortunately, not a hair on either woman’s head was actually harmed, due to a combined effort by Donatus Severianus, Princess Willow herself, Princess Blanca herself, Alexander Blackburn of Shalum, and Princess Alyssa Holland-Gentry of Ghant. Calixtus himself suffered repeated injuries, including a kick to the shin by Princess Blanca herself, but he brought those upon himself.

Rest assured that you have my deepest condolences and apologies for the fact that this reptile hailed from Philippi, one of my cities. He has forfeited his citizenship and all property for his crimes, and it remains to be seen what legal system will try his crimes, who has jurisdiction over him. I have also initiated proceedings for excommunication by the Church, assuming that the Council of Belisarium concurs with my counsel.

We should confer briefly tonight, if possible, to decide his fate. I am horrified that such a worm could have gained and betrayed my confidence in him so much. I urge you to recognize that this villain is not typical of Roman men, noble or common. Suffice it to say, however, that the ranks of the vigiles will be next to endure Imperial review and investigation. Clearly, something is amiss if sociopaths like Calixtus are not discovered sooner.

In hoc signo vinces,
Valerian Augustus
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Ghant
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New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 22922
Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Democratic Socialists

Postby New Edom » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:35 pm

The Everton Convention

By the time the message reached Perrin, he was listening to speeches in response to his own, and so he read it, no expression on his face, and then beckoned Commander Kaarlo Rautio over to him. Elizabeth Corbulo and Lieutenant Sharra as well as Count Urban very much wanted to be privy to this, but they hung back as though just attentive to the conference. King Diego IV was talking.

"Confer with Count Urban," murmured Perrin to his Chief of Staff, "I want security from the embassy to take over Princess Blanca's security detail for the time being. Get me in contact with Harcourt right away. Major Pudens is fired, and is to be court martialed immediately for not informing us that Blanca was coming and for letting her slip through his fingers. His staff are to be questioned. As for her personal staff, her social secretary is to be questioned and if need to charged with gross negligence and criminal incompetence. Her maids are also to be questioned."

He tapped his finger a moment, and then said, "Alright, carry on, Kaarlo, thank you."

"sir, my deepest symp--"

"Thank you," said Perrin, waving him away. He nodded to Diego as he finished his speech, and then began to write something. When he was done, he beckoned to Lieutenant Sharra. "Please give this to my wife, immediately."

My dearest Blanca,

I am of course aghast at how you were treated by the vile Calixtus, and I am glad that you resisted him and am proud of you.

However I am entirely displeased that you found a way to circumvent the security and means of communication I had placed around you. You were aware of the dangers of being in a high profile setting. I do not wish to be surprised at work by you, at any time. You will in future confine yourself to the duties of a wife and speak to me directly of your desires, which I will, when it is possible and does not conflict with my responsibilities, happily fulfill.

I am of course very displeased anyone should dare lay hands upon you. An example will be made both of the man Calixtus and of those of your staff who in neglecting their duty to me endangered you.

with fondest love,
Perrin


He then sent a brief message of thanks to the Emperor about his letter, and advised that he would speak to him later concerning the matter. He advised that for the time being their respective staffs put together a plan regarding jurisdiction and appropriate handling of the criminal, and that security should be tightened. He then gave his attention back to the conference.
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Free Garza
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 420
Founded: Jan 17, 2005
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

HRH Princess Blanca of Free Garza

Postby Free Garza » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:12 pm

Receiving the letter from Perrin, Blanca's heart sank with the idea that she had caused him pain or disappointment at all. She had meant well, but her little adventure had caused trouble, not romance.

"Take this letter to my husband, please," she asked Lieutenant Arnulfo Dominguez, part of the Civil Guard detachment.

Dear Perrin,

I thank you for your kind words and I accept your rebuke for having displeased you. I am deeply sorry for having caused you any distress. Henceforth, I will do as I am told and not try anything silly like this. It was immature and stupid of me, no doubt due to my being so young.

Love,
Blanca
Viva La Garza!

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Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2443
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

A Trip to Garza

Postby Shalum » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:37 pm

Ciudad de Garza Libre, Free Garza

The case of Juanita San Martin, bastard daughter of King Alfonso VI, and thus aunt of King Diego IV, was one of a very eager woman to marry. She had been left at the alter by her groom, Reynaldo Portillo, while with child no less. She was relatively recent to the idea of being royal, of course. Portillo had in fact left her when he learned of her past, being firmly opposed to marrying a member of the hated royal family, even if illegitimate. The child, Jose, was still very young, and would presumably view any stepfather as his father.

The match was being arranged by her nephew, King Diego IV, much to Juanita’s relief, but she still wanted to meet this man who might well become her new husband. Markus Leeman, seemed impressive enough from the sound of it, but would they click? Would he get along with Jose?

The man that Juanita had been set to marry, assuming everything went to plan, was not from her home country, but from the nation of Shalum to the south. He was an older man, at the age of sixty, literally twice as old as she was. He was a nobleman, and a military officer, high ranking in both, though the latter was far more important, admittedly. He had never married, not wanting the stress of having a wife while he worked on moving on in the world, and instead chose to take two women as his lovers. They acted as pseudo-wives to him, sharing his bed, cooking his meals, and cleaning among other things. They had both been with him long enough to create children, none of which were legitimate. In good conscience, he couldn’t let them be left to fend for themselves, and had set aside a portion of his wealth so that they could get proper educations.

The day of the meeting, and Mr. Leeman was greeted at the Royal Valdez Palace by Ignacio Marin, the newly appointed chamberlain.

“Senor Leeman? Welcome to the Royal Valdez Palace. First of all, let me introduce you to Lieutenant Jacopo Moreno, temporary chief of the Civil Guard security detail for the Royal Valdez Palace. Lieutenant Moreno will simply oversee the inspection process, which should be rather streamlined in this case,” Marin informed Leeman.

Markus arrived at the Royal palace right on time, wearing his dress uniform, which placed him in the Shalumite Air Force, as part of the Strategic Missile Command. If a cruise missile strike was needed, or especially -God forbid- a nuclear strike was necessary, he was one of the few that was capable of launching them.

Looking at the Garzans he nodded, and saluted them. “It is a pleasure to meet you, gentleman. I am General Markus Leeman indeed, from Shalum.” He said demurely, removing his cap and tucking it under his arm. “It is nice to meet you, Lieutenant Moreno. If there is anything you need to know of me, let me know.”

“It is an honor to meet you, General. Leave it to the civilians not to understand military rank and such. I might be no soldier, either, but I was in the Air Force before I went into the Civil Guard,” Moreno noted, “military police, of course.”

Marin coughed, “Apologies, of course, for overlooking your rank, General. So used to civilians these days. Spent only a few months in the Army back in 2007 to 2008, before I was booted out for refusing to swear allegiance to Guzman when he took over. Had to find other work since then. It was a rash mistake of mine, but then, feelings were running high back then, on both sides. I personally blamed Guzman for Rojo Martes back then, didn’t know it was just his son at fault.”

Markus smiled slightly and nodded, taking a brief moment to scratch at his well kept beard, which was grey like the rest of his hair. At one time he had been a sandy blonde, but with age came a change in hair color, unfortunately. “No hay problema.” He replied, glancing between Moreno and Marin. “I wasn’t sure if my staff had sent ahead anything about me, so it’s of no issue. I was a civvie once, a long time ago.” He chuckled. He then nodded sagely. “Ah yes, Rojo Martes. That was a rather...nasty incident.” He said with a small frown. There hadn’t been a lack of media coverage in Shalum, that much was clear.

“So, are you ready to meet the young woman in question. She is a very nice young woman. Suffered a lot, but hasn’t turned bad, “ Ignacio informed the General.

“Indeed. If I was single and she weren’t royal, who knows,” Jacopo agreed, his wedding band on full display, “but then my wife is terrific herself.”

Markus held his small smile and nodded. “Of course, of course, I’m ready to meet her.” He replied with another nod. He had thought about how this might go down for a while, and had wondered a great bit about how she would react to him. He was, after all, twice her age, and this wasn’t Shalum. “I have heard many good things about her, I look forward to meeting her in-person.” He continued. He then glanced at Jacopo and chuckled. “I’m quite sure she is.” He replied, glancing between the two men, hoping one of them would lead the way.

“This way, General.”

Marin led General Leeman past the drawbridge onto the main part of the Castle….yes, that part of the Palace was an actual castle, a little way to the right, to a small, intimate room with several chairs and a small table. A chandelier provided light and underneath, rising to greet Leeman, was a woman of average height, some slight plumpness typical of a woman who had given birth at least once, a somewhat bronze tan brought on by the fact that she hadn’t even learned that she was royal until her 20s, was never acknowledged by her father, very striking green eyes, and dirty blonde hair, worn in a bun.

“General, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am Juanita San Martin,” she smiled, pointing with pride to her son, Jose, a redhaired boy of 6, “this is my son, Jose.”

Markus followed the two men quietly, each step precise and measured, hat kept tucked under his arm since they were indoors. As he went, his blue-green eyes looked around the place, taking it in. He hadn’t been expecting to be brought to an actual castle, but he didn’t mind in the least. He appreciated older architecture of most styles, and Garzan was up on his list, only behind older Germanic and some Roman styles.

As his eyes landed on the woman at the table, they lit up. He had been told that she was a beautiful woman, and that much was certainly true, he noted approval. He himself, had been told that he was a good looking man, at least back in the day. He was about normal size for a Shalumite, at six-foot even. Alas, his days of being muscular were behind him, but he was still a large man.

He smiled at the Garzan woman and dipped his head slightly in greeting. Technically, she was royalty, whereas he was only a high ranking nobleman. “It is a pleasure to meet you in person, Juanita. General Markus Leeman of Shalum, at your service.” He replied warmly. He then tilted his head downward to look at the young boy, his smile holding. He didn’t mind if she had a child in the least, since he had three of his own. “Hi Jose,” he greeted, waving his hand at the boy.

‘Hola, General! You really are a general, si?” the boy’s eyes lit up, his mind thinking of war in juvenile fantasies of glorious action, not knowing brutal reality in his innocence.

Markus nodded and chuckled quietly, find amusement at the boy’s innocence and excitement. “Claro que si. I am not a man of battle though. I command planes and things like that.” He explained to the boy with a smile.

“A pilot?” Jose’s eyes grew wider.

“That’s my little boy, always dreaming of being either a soldier or an ace. Such a healthy little man, too. Not afraid of playing in dirt and mud. No pasty little existence of video games for him. He loves the outdoors,” Juanita was proud of that and visibly so.

Markus chuckled and nodded at the boy. “At one time, I was. Now I am older, and get to tell the pilots what to do.” He smiled. He then tilted his head to look at Jaunita, who was shorter than he was, but so much that it was an inconvenience. “That’s a good thing to hear. Children need to spend time outdoors, exercise and all of that. When I was young, my parents about had to drag me into the house at times.” He replied

“Yes, one good thing about Garza. We’re too poor a nation to have lost our ruggedness yet,” Juanita noted, “many bad things about lagging behind others, but that much is good. Still, we’re slowly catching up. I just hope that the young men don’t lose that rugged quality in the process.”

Markus nodded sagely now. “That is something I can understand. With things lagging, the people adapt to survive, and even thrive at times. Shalum was once like that, and we still are to a degree in the southern part of the nation, due to conflict and things of the like. From what I have observed, it takes a generation or two to lose those qualities.”

“That fits. It seems that we have some things in common already, in addition to being parents. Those without children can never understand what that is like, can they? What it’s like for life to revolve around one’s children,” Juanita noted with a knowing smile.

Markus smiled back at Juanita, looking into her eyes for a moment. “Yes it does. I doubt people without them could ever fully understand what it’s like, you are correct. Being a parent is something I enjoy, and am proud of, that much is certain.” He replied. “I have three kids myself, two boys and a girl. My youngest son is around your age, actually, Jose.” He said, glancing down at the young boy for a moment.

“A brother!” Jose’s eyes lit up.

“Si.” Markus reaffirmed. “His name is Felix. He’s kinda like you actually. Likes the outdoors, and what I do for a living.” He added.

“We can be brothers!” Jose shouted with joy.

“He really is excited at that idea. Hates being an only child. It can be lonely at times,” Juanita smiled, “I believe that the King is preparing to meet us in a little bit. What do you think of that idea? I still have trouble getting used to the idea that he’s my nephew. It threw me back when he told me to call him Diego and started calling me Aunt Juanita. We’re practically the same age!”

Markus laughed and nodded. “I can certainly see how that would be a big change. Having someone in such a standing as he must be interesting.” He replied with a smile. “I look forward to meeting him, since he was the one that set this up.” Markus explained.

“That would be right now, then,” another voice, somewhat baritone, projected.

A tall man with sandy hair and bright blue eyes entered the room, wearing a simple business suit and smoking a cigarette.

“Your Majesty!” Juanita curtsied at once.

“Tia Juanita, please stand up! You’re my aunt. I will not have my blood curtsy to me. In fact, as of today, you are Marquise de San Martin. Jose is now Baron Valdez. I will not have you treated like a commoner anymore. This must be General Leeman! What an honor, sir!” Diego offered to shake Markus’s hand.

Markus was surprised by the sudden appearance of the king, and he too bowed at once for a moment, though in the Shalumite manner, which was nodding ones head in a sign of acknowledgement. He watched the king with a mix of amusement and approval as he bequeathed what he assumed were Garzan noble titles to Juanita and Jose. “Your majesty, it is truly an honor to meet you in person.” The general replied as he reached out and shook Diego’s hand firmly in response.

“Thank you, General. Well, without further ado, let’s have some lunch, shall we?” Diego offered, while another woman joined them, a lovely blonde with blue eyes and a slight tan, dressed in a nurse’s scrubs, of all things.

“This is my nurse, Sandra Velasco. I hope that you do not mind if she joins us for lunch in my private office,” Diego asked.

“No trouble at all, Your Majesty….sorry, Diego. Right, Jose?” Juanita stammered.

“Is she really a nurse?” Jose asked, curiously.

“Yes, little cousin, she is,” Diego laughed.

“I am, Your Grace,” Sandra answered bashfully, “General Leeman? A real pleasure. Sandra Velasco, the Royal Nurse.”

“Yes, lunch sounds good.” Leeman replied as he followed them. He glanced at the nurse and nodded. “Of course, no issue at all.” He smiled and nodded. “Yes, that is I, it’s a pleasure to meet you Miss Velasco.” He said, holding his smile, flashing his white teeth for a moment, before looking around at the rest of the group.

“Regrettably, Her Majesty the Queen will not be able to join us at the moment. She is still in Ghant, as I recall. She should be back by March, though. Then you can meet her, I trust,” Diego observed.

“Her Majesty is sorely missed, Diego,” Juanita forced herself to say, even as she winked at Markus and leaned over to whisper, “Sandra isn’t just his nurse, if you know what I mean.”

A small grin played on Markus’ lips as he whispered back. “I suspected as much. I can see why a man would have more than one reason to keep her around.” He said softly.

“You can keep your others, too, you know. It’s perfectly fine with me. Just don’t neglect me. Be good to my son, too. That’s all that I ask of you,” Juanita assured him quietly.

Markus turned more serious now, as he gently reached out and placed his hand on the small of her back. “I am glad to hear as such. I would feel bad about turning them away after the time I have spent with them, knowing that makes me feel better.” He replied quietly. “I want you to know this though. If I am lucky enough to have you as my wife, I promise I’ll treat you the best that I can, not because it’s my duty, but because it’s something I genuinely want to do. You’re a beautiful, kind woman who deserves the best.” He replied, gently rubbing small circles into her back, hoping he wasn’t pushing the line. “I promise I’ll do my best for him. I can...even adopt him if you wanted me to.” He added. He hoped that she wasn’t adverse to another child, because he knew that he wanted to have one with her, if she decided to marry him.

“Oh, thank you, General, or should I call you Markus now? Perhaps Marco, as they say in my language. I would be fine if you wish to adopt Jose. God knows that he needs a father. His old man has never seen him once since that awful day when he left me at the altar. I would also love to have your children, if you desire. That would be great, to give Jose brothers or sisters….or both. I will do my best to be a great wife to you as well, I swear,” Juanita told him.

Markus smiled warmly and nodded. “Feel free to call me whatever you like, I don’t mind. Markus, Marco, I’m fine with with what you want to call me.” He replied honestly. He then sighed and shook his head for a moment. “It is a shame that, that sort of thing happens. It is a man’s duty to raise and look over his children, and is something I take very seriously. If that is the case, I will adopt him when he marry.”

He then paused and gazed into her eyes. “To be honest, I really would like to have a child with you, maybe more than one if God wills it. Be fruitful and multiply as it says.” He chuckled. “I habor not even the slightest doubt, I know you’ll be a good wife. One thing though, with my job and pay, is that you don’t have to even think about working. Are you alright with that? I know some women like to work, and I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” He explained.

“I wouldn’t mind having time to be a full-time wife and mother. That would be very nice, in fact,” Juanita admitted.

Sandra overheard that and said, “There are times that I wouldn’t mind that, either, but I also enjoy nursing, so I choose this life for now.”

“You are very good at it, of course,” Diego smiled at her and she thanked him with a kiss.

Markus nodded in acknowledgment. He had been hoping to hear an answer like that, truth be told. The idea of being able to spoil her was one he rather enjoyed. “I am glad to hear that. You’ll do great. Being a full-time wife and mother will allow you to be around Jose as much as you like...as well as any other kids we may have.” He smiled, before tilting his head to look at Sandra. “They say that you should do what you enjoy, so that you’ll never have to work. I’m glad to see that you enjoy your profession.”

He then gazed back at Juanita. “I have two question for you. First, is there anything you need to know about me or anything in general about our marriage? Second, do you have any qualms about moving to Shalum? I’m not able to leave my post, without retiring anyways, I’m afraid.”

“I would be perfectly happy to live with you, wherever you are. In fact, it might be for the best. No questions and comments about my bastardy and such. Also, do you have any issue with having a Catholic wedding?” Juanita broached the religion issue.

Markus shook his head. “Absolutely not. I’m actually a Catholic myself.” The general replied. Reaching for his collar, he produced a crucifix which hung around his neck, but had been hidden under his uniform. “Much of Shalum is Catholic actually.” He pointed out.

“That is very good to know, Marco,” Juanita smiled as she kissed him for the first time.

Markus smiled and kissed her back gently, hoping he wasn’t pressing much more than was allowed at the moment. “I’m glad that you are alright with it. I’m sure you’ll love Shalum.” He smiled.

“That sounds like it. Nothing against Free Garza, but a fresh start would be nice, where I am not known as the bastard daughter of Alfonso VI,” Juanita agreed.

“That is a very good reason. Sometimes we must start anew in order to move on with life. I will do my best to make your transition to Shalum a good one, Juanita, I promise.” He replied. “So...I think I know what the answer is.” He chuckled. “But will you do the honor me the immense of marrying me? I think it would only be right if I asked officially.” He smiled.

“Yes, Marco..Markus, I will marry you. Thank you for honoring me with that. You are a wonderful man, I can see that. I will be very happy with you and you with me,” Juanita returned the smile.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

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Alizeria
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1421
Founded: Jan 03, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Alizeria » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:14 am

The Everton Convention

Discussions were well underway in the conference room when Anthony Ashton's chief spin doctor Andrew James - a man who looked like he could easily have been Tavish DeGroot's long lost twin brother - quietly passed Valerian's note to Anthony Ashton.

"You're getting a lot of love notes from a certain Roman Emperor lately," He whispered in his darkly sarcastic voice. "Anyone might start to think he's got a bit of a crush on you."

James tried to keep up the appearance of it being a light-hearted note and conversation for the benefit of anyone else at the conference who might have been watching, faking a smile that bore more resemblance to the kind of facial expression one makes when one has recently stepped in dog's droppings than it did to a genuine human smile.

The Prime Minister, as ever, kept his poker face as he read Valerian's note, sighing after he read it and blinking a few times while saying nothing.

Andrew James had known Anthony Ashton long enough to know that his blinking after reading the note might as well be him destroying the furniture - while the Prime Minister may have kept his veneer of icy coolness on the surface, James could tell that on the inside he was absolutely apoplectic with rage.

"You, Valerian and the others will get your meeting later on," Said James. "In the meantime we'll be handling this. Obviously we don't want the media knowing or it'll overshadow the conference."

James and Ashton's eyes met for the briefest of seconds - both were also acutely aware that Alizeria had seen a murder while Ashton had been Prime Minister. The idea of a murder and a rape occurring on Alizerian soil, while Ashton had been in power, was going to give the Opposition a field day.

"The culprit has been apprehended?" Asked Ashton.

"Yes Prime Minister." Said James.

The Prime Minister nodded. "This falls under our jurisdiction. Have the victims call the police and press charges, I'll explain the legal situation to the relevant parties and by God if the media finds out about this then I will tell Emperor Valerian that you were the co-conspirator in the rape and have him hang you."

The hint of a smile could be seen at the corner of Ashton's mouth - Andrew James was perhaps the only person in Alizeria who could get away with joking to the Prime Minister at such a serious time, such was the trust between the two men.
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Late Roman Empire wrote:Draconians often joke that they double-inspect imports of Alizerian lamb for signs of coupling.

New Edom wrote:Did you hear about that Alizerian who said he’d eat some sheep’s balls on a bet? He won the bet, but damn did that sheep kick him.

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Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:24 pm

“Allaria’s Allure” (VI)
St. Michael's Cathedral
Aragon, Shalum


The time had finally arrived for High Prince Matthew of Shalum and Allaria Belmore to be sealed in holy matrimony in the

On one side of the aisle were Allaria’s family and extended family from Ghant. Among them were Allaria’s mother Andraste Broda, brothers Artos, Simon and Lucas, her her grandparents Balan Broda and the Jendebasa lady Belbe, her paternal grandmother Aldara Udaberri, her uncle Andar Broda and his wife, Lady Annalise Ginaz, and other aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins. Victor and his wife and children were also present.

Allaria’s sisters comprised the bridal party. Lilliana was the maid of honor, with Bastilla, Mallori and Salli, along with her cousin Baela Broda being the bridesmaids.

One the other side of the aisle was Matthew’s family and extended family. Of course, there was the the groom’s parents, Tyler and Allison Holland, both dressed nicely for the occasion. None of their immediate children were sitting beside them, as they were already up at the altar for the most part. Tyler’s sisters had all managed to make it for the occasion, even Alyssa, who had drug Edward along regardless of if he wanted to or not. Urban Holland was there with Malcolm, both of whom were in their dress uniforms. Then there was the rest of the Holland clan, aunts, uncles, cousins, and things of the like. There weren’t many family friends present in the crowd, other than John Blackburn.

Up at the altar was Matthew, waiting patiently, dressed in fine suit. His party consisted of his brothers and his best friend. William was the best man for the occasion. Standing beside him was John Holland, Aaron Holland, and Alexander Blackburn.

After a time, it grew quiet and the organ began to play. Then, Allaria emerged in her white wedding dress, on the arm of her father, Lord Arlan Belmore. They walked slowly down the length of the aisle, with Arlan growing misty eyed and Andraste crying. Allaria was radiant, with a large pearly white smile and twinkling eyes on the very of watering. Once Arlan got her to the altar, he took his seat in the front row beside his wife, and then the Priest began to conduct the ceremony.

The usual pleasantries were given, and then they got to the meat and potatoes a time later.

The Priest stated, “Dearly Beloveds and Honored Guests: We are gathered here this day in the sight of God and the company assembled to witness the giving and receiving of the marriage vows.

“Marriage is an institution ordained of God and is not to be entered into lightly or in jest and only after much consideration.

The Priest addressed Matthew. “Do you, Matthew Holland, take this woman, Allaria Belmore, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself solely unto her for as long as you both shall live?”

Matthew was beaming as he replied. “I do”

The Priest then spoke to Allaria, “Do you, Allaria Belmore, take this man Matthew Holland, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and health, to love, honor and obey, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself solely unto him for as long as you both shall live?”

Now with tears streaming, Allaria answered, “I do.”

The Priest then said, “If there be anyone present who may show just and lawful cause why this couple may not be legally wed, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.”

There was silence on the Ghantish side of the aisle. It was wondered by a few if there might be some renegade admirerer or past lover that might object on the other side.

Thankfully, there wasn’t anything of the sort on the Holland side either. Only silence was heard, as a few people glanced around, wondering if someone might actually dare to speak up. But there was not on the Holland’s side, allowing things to continue.

With the consent of silence, the rings were exchanged, and the Priest spoke once again.

“By the authority vested in me by the Democratic States of Shalum, I now pronounce you man and wife and what God hath joined together, let no man nor woman put asunder. You may now kiss the bride.”

Matthew smiled lovingly at Allaria as he leaned forward to kiss her. Before he did so, however, he whispered. “You look beautiful, my maite.” With that, he brought their lips together in a passionate kiss. As he did so, there was a bit of applause on the Holland’s side of the aisle.

The Ghantish side let off a soft golf clap, and then it was time for the bride and groom to leave down the aisle. Lilliana was set to walk with William, gulping as she was about to do so, having heard less than flattering things about him from Arietta.

Matthew was more than happy to lead Allaria by hand down the aisle, beaming the whole time. Pride swelled in his heart at the notion that she was finally his wife. Meanwhile, William didn’t seem to notice Lilliana’s reaction to his presence, as he stepped forward and offered her his arm to lead her.

Lilliana offered a smile and took it, and she was followed by her cousin and younger sisters with the other men of Matthew’s party.

In pairs, the bridesmaids and groomsmen followed Matthew and Allaria out until there was no one left at the altar. This left only the two’s respective families to exit.

At that point, everyone began to leave, front rows first, to go to their respective vehicles for the reception at the Palace, which the Ghantish guests assumed would be quite spectacular.

When everyone had found their vehicles, they were actually escorted by police through the city of Aragon, so that they could arrive at the palace in a more orderly fashion. The palace grounds themselves had been prepared days in advance for the celebration of the marriage. The yard crews had spent many days preparing things, and the Palace’s kitchen staff had been temporarily increased two-fold to deal with the amount of food that had to be prepared for such an event. There were more kinds of food present that one could keep track of, it seemed, not to mention plenty of alcohol to entertain the guests.

There was one special, elevated table that was rather large. It had been set aside specially for Matthew and Allaria along with their wedding parties. Of course, they arrived first, and were allowed to get first dibs on the food.

Spread out everywhere else, were smaller tables that kept people in smaller groups. At one such table, there were the bride and groom’s family. Everywhere else, the guests were spread out, usually sorted by what family they came from.

Andraste dabbed the tears from her eyes with a handkerchief while sitting at the Parents table. “That was a spectacular wedding, wouldn’t you say?” she asked no one in particular.

Allison smiled and wiped her own eyes. It was on rare occasions that one could see her cry, and this was certainly one of them. “Yes, it was spectacular, indeed. I’m so happy to see them together finally.” She sighed, leaning against Tyler slightly. “Allaria was so beautiful. Glowing practically.”

“Shalum finally has her high princess now.” Tyler chuckled as he rubbed Allison’s back.

“Indeed it does.” Arlan said with enthusiasm. “I am certainly proud of her. Your son clearly has fine tastes.”

The Imperator smiled and nodded. “I am proud of him, that much is for certain. He’s said nothing but good about her, she’s got him sufficiently wrapped around her finger.” The Imperator laughed as he sipped his red wine. “The best of tastes, indeed. They will make for good parents one day.” He commented, not knowing if Allaria had told her own parents about her pregnancy.

“I would imagine so.” Arlan commented, as Andraste’s mother Belbe approached the table and sat down next to her daughter. Belbe, being a northern Jendebasa from some far flung tribe, was rather blunt and backward in her speech, and only knowing Ghantish. “Non dago kanpotar errege hau?” (Where is this outsider king?)

Andraste smiled. “Your Majesties, this is my mother, Belbe of the Garabianu Clan. She only speaks Ghantish though...she said she wanted to meet the Imperator.”

Tyler was slightly surprised by the new woman’s sudden appearance, but he could tell just by looking at her, that she was Andraste’s mother. They looked rather similar, other than the age difference. He smiled and tilted his head in acknowledgement of the woman. “That is quite alright. Alas, it’s been far too long since I practiced my mother’s tongue.” He replied. “Tell her that I am honored to meet her.” He smiled.

Andraste nodded and turned to her mother. “Zuen saritua betetzen badituzu, esan zuen.” (He said it is an honor to meet you.)

The older woman grinned as she inclined her head. “Jakina da.” (Of course it is.) Then she went off to find her Lordly husband. Andraste laughed. “The Jendebasa are known to be rather direct...a sword that cuts both ways. My father encountered her up north when he was a young man travelling the country. Once he found her...he never let her go,” she grinned.

Tyler chuckled as he watched the elder woman leave. “I can certainly tell that they’re more direct.” He replied with a smile. “I can see how your father would not want to let go of a woman like her. I hear that it is rather hard to let go of someone with Belmore blood in them. That must have been what got Matthew as well.” The Imperator grinned slightly.

“...My father always says that the hardest part of the day is getting out of bed…” Andraste sniggered.

Allison laughed, joining in. “I’m sure it was.” She smirked. “I bet, with a woman like her, that there were many a reason to not get out of bed.” She giggled. Personally, she had made it her goal through the years to give Tyler a reason not to leave either.

Meanwhile, at the main table, Allaria was attempting to feed Matthew bits of steak off a fork. “Come on now, don’t be shy. Just take a bite...I know you like the way the juice tastes.”

Matthew smirked, and leaned forward, taking a piece of the steak in his mouth. He chewed and swallowed, some of the juices that running off the corners of his mouth. “You know me too well, my love. Juices are something I rather enjoy.” He grinned.

Eight year old Salli looked at William and cocked her head. “...Are you Willy Holland?”

William peered down at the young girl from over his cup of beer. He gently set it to the side, wiping his mouth. “Why yes I am little girl...and who are you?”

“I am Salli Belmore! Bridesmaid!” The little girl said enthusiastically.

The prince chuckled. “It’s nice to meet you, Salli. Your dress looks nice.” He complemented, not quite sure what else to say.

“Thank you.” Salli smiled. “Is it true that you can’t get it up?” she asked benignly, not knowing what that meant, only having heard it said.

William’s eyes widened in surprise. Really? A girl as young as her had been told such things? Damn that Red Menace. It took a lot out of him to not growl indignantly. “It’s not problem, Salli.” He tried his best to stay calm. “But no, the answer is no to that question. I wouldn’t worry about something like that if I were you though.” He advised her. “That’s also something I wouldn’t talk about. It’s...big girl talk.”

Salli put her hands on her hips and made a pouty face. “But I am a big girl! I can put on my own dresses and go potty!” she thought for a minute. “Ari said that you are mean to girls…”

Allaria was catching on. “Salli, enough with that. Leave him alone.” Then she turned to her new brother-in-law. “Please don’t mind her. She is too smart for her own good and can be very annoying.”

William gnawed on his bottom lip as he did his best to not respond. What was with everyone thinking he was a wife-beating, abusive man? He had never so much as laid his hands on a woman with ill intent. When Allaria finally turned the girl away, he sighed relief. “It’s alright, I know how annoying kids can be, especially smart ones. John Holland is my brother, after all.” He chuckled.

Mallori was slightly older, ten to be precise, and she was fawning over her dress. “My dress is best, because I dress to impress.”

Bastilla, sixteen, looked like she was somewhere else mentally. “Hardly. You are just stupid.”

“Am not!” Mallori snapped back.

Lilliana corrected them both. “Stop, the lot of you...you are embarrassing our family.”

Allaria twirled her hair and blushed. “...See the trouble with little sisters, and why I said you should be glad you only have one?”

Matthew laughed and rubbed Allaria’s back gently. It seemed that he had kept his hand on her back or her stomach a lot lately. “I know what you mean. Sure, my brothers and I fought once and a while, but it was never that annoying.” He grinned as he replied.

“The problem is that Bastilla thinks that Arietta is cool, and so the younger ones that want to be like their big sister think the same way. Arietta is my friend, don’t get me wrong, but she isn’t a good influence on young girls.” Allaria sighed.

Matthew nodded sagely. “I know what you mean. Personally, I don’t really have anything against Arietta, but after everything she and William went through, it’s my duty to back him up. Arietta certainly isn’t the best of influences.” He replied. Reaching forward, he rested a hand on Allaria’s taut stomach. “Maybe it would be for the best if we limit contact between her and any kids we have.” He chuckled.

“By then I hope she is married, maybe with children of her own. She is quite taken with Crown Prince Vitus of Staalmark.” Allaria added as she put a hand over his on her stomach.

Matthew nodded and smiled, kissing Allaria lightly on the lips. He felt accomplished, with her at his side, and a child on the way. “I wish her the best of luck with him. I wonder what will come of all of that. I never took her for the ‘marry and settle down’ type, to be honest.” He replied, gently using his thumb to stroke her stomach. The table blocked the view of those around them from seeing him do this.

“She just needs the right man, and he might be it.” Allaria said. “They used to say mean things about me, but hey, I found the right man for me, and now its all a moot point.”

Matthew nodded in understanding. “You have a good point, maite. We’ll see what happens with time, I suppose.” He replied. “With the right man, anything is possible.” He laughed and kissed her on the cheek.

Lilly looked around from her perch at the elevated table in her bridesmaid’s dress and looked for her friends, Rebecca and Mollie Elden. She waved to Rebecca when she saw her, and she waved back.

Mollie smiled and waved back at Lilly from where she sat. The table that she was sharing with Rebecca, also had John Blackburn at it. They had been chatting when Lilly waved at them. “You think we should go say hello?” John Blackburn asked Rebecca.

“Everybody else is, so why not?” Rebecca shrugged, getting up from her seat.

“Sounds good.” John Blackburn said, standing up, taking his wine glass with him. Mollie shrugged and followed Rebecca and John over to the table. “Hey beautiful, how’s things going over here at the awesome table?” John asked with a smile as the group reached the table.

“Good, thank you.” Salli blushed.

“He wasn’t talking to you.” Mallori said as she batted her eyelashes.

John rolled his eyes, and winked at Mallori. “Actually, I was saying hello to Lilly, but you two both look beautiful.” He replied warmly.

Lilly blushed. “You think so eh? Things are quite well here, thank you.” Lilly had her long dark brown hair done up in a bun, with some loose bangs beside her face. “The dancing will start soon.”

“I am a man that speaks the truth, and any less would be a lie, milady.” He smiled and nodded at the blushing Lilly. “Absolutely ravishing. When it comes time to dance, would you do me the honor of being my first partner for the night?”

“Certainly, Blackie.” Lilly smiled. “Better put down some of this wine first...it won’t drink itself.”

“Awesome.” Blackie smiled right back at her. “Yes, I’m sure some wine wouldn’t hurt. Cheers?” He offered his glass to clink. He had already drunk about a fourth a cup of his own wine.

“Cheers!” Lilly raised her glass.

“Cheers.” He smiled and took a long sip of his wine, the red liquid going down easily. He doubted this would be his last glass of the night.

Not long after, William gave his ‘best man’s speech’, followed by Lilly giving her equivalent, and then came time for the dancing. A true band had been selected for such an event, and a large dance floor set up for the families. “Shall we, milady?” Blackie asked as he offered his hand to Lilliana.

“Yes, in a minute.” The first dance was always for the bride and groom. Allaria took to the floor and danced with Matthew to their wedding song, which made her cry...the crying was infectious, to say the least.

John smiled as he watched the couple take center stage. They looked absolutely happy, even in tears as they danced. As he stood there, John had half a mind to reach down and take Lilly’s hand, so that he could slip his fingers between her own. The mood was a romantic one, and it would have been fitting. But there wasn’t enough wine in him just yet for that…

On the floor, Matthew smiled as he danced with his wife. “You look so beautiful.” He commented as he brushed a few tears away with his thumb. Part of him wondered if she was crying because of happiness, or pregnancy hormones, or both.

“Thank you maite, and you are very handsome. I love you more than words can say.” Allaria cried as they danced. Afterwards, it was Arlan’s turn to dance with Allaria, and then after that, Allison would have the chance to dance with Matthew.

Matthew beamed and danced with her till it came time for her father to dance with her. He watched that from the side, smiling at the two. Meanwhile, his mother stood next to him, smiling as well. “You did good Matthew, really good.”

“Thanks mom.” He said quietly, with pride in his tone.

After Allaria shared her teary eyed dance with her father, it was time for Matthew and Allison to take the floor. Allaria was eager to see that.

Matthew and Allison took to the floor at their cue, and began to dance. It was clear that Allison was a little misty eyed herself throughout the time. They took it slow, mostly because, even after many years, Allison couldn’t really dance that well. She was just thankful that she didn’t trip throughout the time. Finally she and Matthew smiled and exited, the later drifting over to Allaria.

Then it was time for everyone to go out to the floor. Lilly took Blackie buy the hand and led him out to dance. Arlan asked Allison for one, Artos asked Mollie, so on and so forth.

Tyler ended up asking Andraste for a dance as well. Meanwhile, Blackie was smiling widely on the floor as he and Lilly began to dance. It was a joyous occasions, and many people could be seen partaking on the floor. “The wedding was really beautiful. The bridesmaids were awesome.” He chuckled quietly as they danced. Maybe it was the wine, but he felt pretty good at the moment.

“I agree, it was quite nice. I enjoyed it thoroughly, although I did cry a bit. I think this puts our family on the map a bit.” Lilly explained with a smile.

“Nothing wrong with a bit of cry, I saw many people with at least a mist in their eyes.” Blackie smiled back. “I’m sure it does. I take it that it elevates your family a bit, marrying royalty and such?”

“Yeah...pretty much that.” Lilly said. “I don’t think many outside Ghant knew who we were before that.”

Blackie nodded in understanding. “Few knew of the Blackburns outside of Shalum for a long time. Some families rise, and other fall. This certainly has the Belmore’s on the rise. As long as the Holland lines continue, there will be Belmore blood running in their veins. There will be many a suitor, at least more than there already were, pining for the affections of you and your kin.”

“I suppose you are right.” Lilly said. She didn’t stop dancing with him after the first song. Her cousin James Broda asked Mollie for a dance, and Belbe suggested the same to Matthew with “dantza.”

John was more than happy to dance with Lilly. He kept his hands in respectable places, but now and then they would drift south, both by his own accord and the movements of dancing. Nearby with a smile, Molli took James by the hand, more than happy to dance with him. Similarly, Matthew was happy to dance with Belbe, though he didn’t understand a word of Ghantish.

Belbe knew that Matthew didn’t speak Ghantish, so she used her hands to communicate. “Allaria nire biloba da.” (Allaria is my granddaughter.) She pointed at Andraste and then to her stomach, hoping that he took the hint.

It took a moment, but Matthew finally managed to decipher what the woman meant. Andraste was her daughter, and therefore Allaria was her granddaughter. He nodded in understanding, smiling. “Oh, that’s cool. Nice to meet you.” He replied, knowing she didn’t understand what he said.

“Ikus dezagun.” (Let’s see.) Belbe used her hands to probe his face, tracing his cheeks and his chin, poking him softly in the ribs, a hand on his back and on his stomach, and then a gentle tug of his hair. “Bai, oso ona. Ko hau osasuntsua da.” (Very good, this one is healthy.) Belbe grinned and patted him on the back, thick dark hair turning grey and deep blue eyes searching his face with a raised eyebrow.

Matthew raised an eyebrow in surprise as he was poked and prodded by this new woman. He wasn’t sure what was going on, to say the least, but he wasn’t exactly fond of it. Still, he offered no sort of protest during the entire time. “I take it you approve?” He asked, looking down at her.

Belbe cocked her head, not knowing what that meant. “Kanpotar ez dut hitz egiten ez.” (I don’t speak outsider.) That was when Allaria finished dancing with her brother Artos and returned, giggling. “Looks like my grandmother found you finally.” she said to Matthew, before turning to her. “Beraz, amona, zer uste duzu?” (So, grandmother, what do you think?)

Belbe patted him on the chest. “Ale on batek...hazia indartsua da.” (A good specimen, and the seed is strong.)

Allaria giggled. “Dakit...nire barruan dago.” (I know...it is inside me.)

The elder Jendebasa smirked. “Lan ona.” (Good work). Then she inclined her head and walked off.

“She is a very sweet old lady.” Allaria smiled as she spoke to Matthew.

Matthew glanced between the two women, not quite sure what happened. Finally, he smiled and nodded at Allaria, wrapping an arm around her waist. “She seemed...nice, yeah. What was she doing though? Poking and prodding?” He asked, not used to anything like what had just happened.

“...Think of it in terms of...product inspection. She was pleased with what she saw.” Allaria smiled.

Matthew nodded and smiled back at his wife. “I guess that’s a good thing.” He chuckled. “Nice to know that I earned her approval.”

Meanwhile, James Broda enjoyed dancing with Mollie, and the eighteen year old lordling had a twinkle in his eye. “Has anyone ever told you that your eyes sparkle like the stars upon a moonlit midsummer night?”

Mollie blushed hotly at his words, her smile a nervous one as she subtly did her best to get a little closer to him. She felt so out of place her, a normal, albeit rich girl among all of these nobility. “Than you. You are so kind, milord.” She smiled at her, putting a little more emphasis into her movements. While she wasn’t the biggest up top, she had a nice pair of hips on her. “You are a very handsome man, you know.” She smiled nervously.

James held her close to her with one hand on the small of her back and the other in her hand, moving to interlock fingers. He was a bit nervous too...but not nervous enough. “This may be true, but it pales in comparison to your beauty. My cousin Lilly has often spoken highly of you, but she must have failed to mention that you are something plucked from a fairy tale.” Maybe this is all the wine speaking…

Hollie’s heart was pounding in her chest as she was held close to him. His hand felt like fire on her back, electricity practically crackling at his touch. She met him halfway, and interlocked his fingers with her own. “You do me a great honor by speaking about me in such a way, milord.” She smiled up at him, their bodies getting closer. She had consumed a fair amount of wine as well. “You appearance is that of a knight out of a fairy tale. The kind that comes and rescues the beautiful lady.” She smiled.

“...And can I rescue you then?” James asked as the hand on his back traced up her spine to the back of her neck.

Hollie visibly shivered under his touch, her lips parting slightly. She nodded and grinned up at him. “You can if you want, but I must warn you, rescuing a lady is no easy feat.” She winked.

“Nothing worth doing is easy.” James said with a smile as he went in for the kiss.

“Not it is not, milord.” Hollie replied softly as she tilted her head upward so that she could kiss him. As she did so, she stepped forward, bringing their bodies together. One hand came up so that she could hold onto him, lest she fall in her somewhat inebriated state.

Without really thinking, James moved a hand onto her behind while he was kissing her, and pressing her firmly against himself. He was feeling hot. He gave her a bit of tongue to see what she thought about that.

Hollie moaned quietly as he felt his hand on her rather plentiful rear. He would have found that there was plenty to grab ahold of. When she felt his tongue, she responded in turn with her own, not put off by the move. If anything, it made her heart beat faster.

James figured it was time to move in for the kill, especially since he found his thigh rubbing her crotch. “...What do you say we take this party to someplace more private?”

Hollie practically whimpered as she felt his thigh rub against her. She grinned up at him and pressed tighter against her, her eyes alight. “I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea. I know that this dress is far too hot and tight right now. Do you think that you could help me get it off?” She asked coyly.

“Absolutely. I am good at getting things off.” James teased as he kissed her neck, sucking lightly on the smooth skin. “Your room or mine?”

Hollie giggled. “You’re not the only one who's good at getting things off.” She smirked. “Yours. Definitely yours.”

“We should go then.” James said as he parted her legs with his and kissed her again with a hand on her behind.

“Lead the way then, I’m don’t know where your room is.” She replied, grinning widely up at him. “I hope you don’t have anywhere to be tonight, you’re gonna be occupied for a while.” She laughed.

“...You will know where it is after tonight.” James spoke softly into her ear as he brushed her cheek with his. “Nothing going on...tomorrow either.” With that, he took her hand and led the way.

“I”m sure I will.” She replied in a low, husky tone. She grinned and followed him, her small hand interlocked with his own. “I like the way you think, you practically read my mind.” She said as she followed.

Lilliana noticed as one of her best friends and her cousin James walked off the floor. She might have been a maiden, but she wasn’t that naive. “Looks like Mollie just got swooped by my cousin James,” she giggled as she danced with Blackie. “Probably won’t be seeing either of them for a while.”

Blackie chuckled as he glanced over his shoulder to see the two exiting at a rather fast pace, a small smile creasing on his lips. It appeared that the alcohol and the mood were certainly starting to take hold. He was certainly feeling the warming effects, anyways. “Probably not. Looks like the bride and groom aren’t the only ones who will have a good time tonight.” He laughed.

“Aye, so it would seem, my friend.” Lilly said with a smile. “I am sure there will be a lot more than just them.”

“Oh, I’m sure of that. There is a good mood in the air tonight, I can feel it. That or the alcohol is starting to warm me up.” He joked as he danced. His subconscious had steered him slightly closer to Lilly, but it was something he hadn’t noticed yet. “Luck and love are in the air tonight, it seems.” He replied as he smiled down at his friend.

“Yes, that certainly appears to be the case.” Lilly nodded in agreement, oblivious to his movements. “I have had quite a bit to drink...definitely feeling tipsy.”

John smiled down at Lilly and continued to dance. Like the tide, closer and closer, but not noticeable just yet. For the most part, he was still unaware of the closing distance, as he was too focused on her face to focus on the placement of his feet. “Yeah, I know what you mean. I had a couple of glasses, they’re starting to warm me up.” He agreed. “Let me know if you think you’re gonna fall, I’ll make sure to catch ya.” He joked with a smile.

“Well thanks Blackie, I appreciate that.” Lilly laughed with a twinkle in her eye. “Probably not…” she must have been jinxed, because she tripped over his foot.

In an instant, John wrapped his arms around her so that she wouldn’t fall, following up on his promise. As he did so, he ended up over-correcting, pulling her close against, one of his hands ending up on her rear, squeezing slightly at that due instinct. He blinked in surprise as he looked down at her, their faces suddenly a lot closer. After a pause, he smiled sheepishly. “See, I told you I would catch you, milady.” He chuckled nervously, though not that nervously.

Lilly chose not to think anything of the squeeze on her behind. “...Thank you, Blackie,” she said, using him to get back on her feet. “I am far too clumsy.”

Blackie smiled kindly and took a step back so that she would have some room, and immediately missed the feeling of having her pressing tightly against him. Man, the wine was really getting to him. “No problem, Lil. Blame it on the wine.” He chuckled. Blame it on the goose, gotcha feeling loose…

“Yes, that damned wine.” Lilly said with a laugh as she reassumed a dancing posture, hand in hand, and the other on his opposite shoulder. She studied his eyes, looking for something in them.

Blackie laughed with her as he resumed the posture that they had been using beforehand. One of his hands was interlaced with her own, and his other was resting on her side in a respectable place. As he gazed upon her, he found himself unable to look away from her eyes, his own blue-green ones meeting her own.

Lilly looked away from the gaze, finding the intensity a bit overwhelming. “Did you see my grandma examine Matthew?” she asked.

John coughed, feeling slightly awkward all of a sudden. Thankfully, Lilly brought up other subjects. “I did actually. It was kinda funny, especially the look on his face.” He chuckled.

“You should watch out, or she will come inspect you next.” Lilly laughed.

Blackie chuckled as he began to dance once more. “I think I’m safe, at least for the moment. But thanks for the warning. For all I know, she could be pop up at any moment.” He laughed at the idea.

“She can too. Northerners, especially Jendebasa, are very good at going unnoticed when they choose to be. You never know when they will strike.” Lilly teased.

Blackie glanced over his shoulder jokingly, as if he expected her to appear. “I bet they can, from what I’ve heard of the north. Think I should be worried?” He asked with a smile.

“Probably not...as long as you don’t try anything funny.” Lilly smirked.

Blackie raised an eyebrow and smiled down at her. “Oh? And what would constitute as funny, Lilly?”

“...You know...putting the moves in,” she blushed.

Blackie smiled down at the blushing girl, his hand which was on her side going lower slightly. “Would moves be such a bad thing though?” He asked as he looked down at her.

Lilly raised and eyebrow and laughed. “Uh...I don’t know,” she said before laughing some more.

Blackie laughed with her. Truth be told, he really wanted to make some moves himself, but his inexperience with women was limiting him. But, there was no time like the present. “Would you ever be opposed if...someone tried to make a move or two?”

“...Well, I mean...I guess it depends on what their intentions are. I am a maiden and never been in a serious relationship or anything like that…” Lilly wondered where this conversation was going, although she did have an idea.

John really hoped this wouldn’t end in disaster. He liked Lilly a lot, both as a friend...and as something more. He had liked her ever since they had met at the Star Ball, in fact, smitten at first sight. He valued their friendship a lot, and he didn’t want to lose it, but he also hoped for something more. “I’ve never been in a serious relationship either.” He found himself admitting as they danced. “What if...their intentions were good ones, I suppose?”

“...Well, then that’s good.” Lilly nodded slightly. “I mean, if there is no hurry, then things can just sort of happen on their own, you know what I mean? Just sort of...ease into things.”

Blackie nodded as he looked down at her. He agreed with her, but he wasn’t quite sure what to make of what she said either. He didn’t want to come off as too forward if she wanted to take things slowly. “Yeah, I know what you mean. You wanna be...comfortable with the person when things like that finally happen? Let the chips fall where they may and all.”

“Something like that, pretty much.” Lilly shrugged. “Maybe I am just a little shy.”

Blackie smiled. His hand hadn’t gone any further yet, and he didn’t want to push things. “Nothing wrong with that. You want to find the right person and all, that’s a good way of doing things. I’ve always been a little shy myself.” He chuckled. Except when I have alcohol in me….

“...You don’t think I know do you?” Lilly asked, with a raised eyebrow.

John blinked in surprise. He really wasn’t sure what to make of what she had just said. “I...ah, don’t think I ever said that?” He said, though it sounded somewhat like a question. Way to go Blackburn, make a fool of yourself. Good work.

Hmm...best not let him know that I know how he feels about me. “...No...I know that you are not as shy as you think. I know that from the way you play basketball,” Lilly giggled.

Blackie flushed as memories of the basketball game played in his head. That had been a particular fun match, especially the physical aspects of it. “You have a good point, Lilly.” He chuckled as they danced. “That was one of my more outgoing moments, perhaps. I can be outgoing at times as well, like when I’m in the zone, I suppose.”

“Are you in the zone right now?” she wondered aloud.

“I-ah-I don’t know to be honest. I feel pretty good at the moment, but I’m not sure if I’m in ‘the zone’ either.” He admitted with a small smile.

“That’s ok though.” Lilly smiled. “Just have fun.”

John smiled at Lilly and nodded. “I can do that.” He replied. It’s not hard to have fun when you’re around.

Meanwhile, Allaria scoped out the dance floor and took note of what she saw and heard. “Do you think Mollie knows what she is in for with my cousin James? I saw them all over each other, and then they dipped out.”

Matthew chuckled and nodded. “I’m pretty sure she can handle herself, maite. Mollie is a good girl, but she isn’t one to be reckoned with either, from what I have heard. She’s half-Azzie, half-Shalumite like I am. Rumor is that their blood runs hot. If anything, James doesn’t know what he’s in for.” He replied with a smirk.

Meanwhile, Arlan asked Allison to dance, and Andraste gave Tyler that look of invitation. The two Shalumite leaders glanced at one another, before they split off, Tyler going with Andraste, and Allison with Arlan.

“Lady Belmore, it is good to see you again.” Tyler said with a nod as stepped up.

“And good to see you again as well,” Andraste said with a smile as she got in a dancing posture with Tyler. “So, how has the evening been faring you?”

Tyler smiled as he interlaced his hand with her own, and placed his hand on her side carefully. He had no intentions of repeating the last encounter that he had shared. “It has been going well, I have really enjoyed it. The whole thing was beautiful. It makes me happy to know that my son has found happiness.” He replied. “How has it been going for you?”

“Quite well...I did cry though.” Andraste said. “And I have to keep up on these pesky daughters of mine. Especially Bastilla...only sixteen and she wants to get married...to your great-nephew Stephen no less. Miranda seems to favor the match...I have not talked to Alyssa about it.”

Tyler chuckled. “I wouldn’t worry too much about that, a lot of women cried, even Allison, though I doubt she’d ever admit it.” He laughed. “I understand what you mean. I’ve never had to worry too much about girls, I had five kids and only one girl.” Tyler continued. He nodded. “I wish you the best of luck in a situation like that, I don’t have much experience when it comes to that sort of thing. She is young, but so was I when Allison won my heart.” Tyler shrugged.

“...And I take it you are aware that Allaria is expecting?” Andraste asked with a sly smile and a raised eyebrow.

Tyler chuckled and nodded, a small grin creasing his lips. “I am aware that she, yes. She dropped the bomb rather suddenly. They certainly didn’t waste any time, though Allison and I didn’t either.” He laughed.

“No sense in putting off later what can be done sooner, eh?” Andraste laughed. “Wasn’t so different from us, either.”

“Pretty much, though Allison and I didn’t exactly plan for Matthew to happen when he did. But things happen, you know?” Tyler replied with a smirk. “Neither of us regret him coming so soon though.” He nodded.

“...I don’t think Allaria regrets him coming so soon either.” Andraste giggled.

Tyler smirked. “I doubt she regrets it at all. She seemed rather happy to have a royal child in her tummy.” He replied. “And for the record, I doubt it was quick, us Hollands never are.” He winked.

“I am sure they are their first times.” Andraste supposed. “After all, everyone is in such a rush in their youth.”

Tyler nodded. “Well, you have a point there. Even I was, as that is the nature of things. Young men are eager at first to take what they want. With age comes experience and appreciation.” He smiled.

“Who was your first?” Andraste wondered aloud.

Tyler glanced over his shoulder a time or two. “Are you aware of concubinage in Shalum?” He inquired. “Its not something that’s widely practiced, outside of the nobility these days.”

“Hmm...how did you get one of those? I thought your mother barred concubines from the Palace while she was Imperatrix?” Andraste asked.

Tyler nodded. “That she did. My father was more than happy to adhere to her wishes. He never told her, but he slipped the Blackburns some money. They’re family friends, you see. Anyways, Lord Blackburn was more than happy to acquire me one as a...birthday present of sorts.” He replied. “I know, it sounds barbaric, but it’s really not. In Shalumite culture, its kind of an honor to be one if you’re serving a noble or royal. Long story short, a couple of days after my sixteenth birthday, my father sent me to the Blackburn estates saying that I was going to spend a couple of days with them, something that happened quite often, so it wasn’t too surprising to my mother. However, instead of them being present, I found that I had the Blackburn estate to myself along with two rather beautiful women no older than myself. It was a fun weekend.” He chuckled.

“Did Allora ever find out?” Andraste asked with a giggle.

Tyler smirked. “If she did, I was never told so. As far as I know, my father got away with it. I didn’t ask too many questions. My father and I never spoke about it much.” He chuckled.

“Probably because he knew Allora would be irate with him.” Andraste laughed. “Your mother was supposedly a very proper princess.”

Tyler chuckled. “Oh, I’m sure she would have been. He knew her well enough to know the consequences, but it didn’t stop him.” He smiled. “That she was. She was a woman of great beauty and grace. Not to mention an awesome mom.”

“Reminds me of that old saying, “what mother doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Speaking of which, I should go check on the girls...make sure they stay out of trouble. Which they probably are not.” Andraste chuckled.

Tyler laughed and slowed to a halt. “That is true. Good luck, Lady Belmore. I would watch out, I hear John Blackburn has taken a liking to your daughter Lilliana. Those Blackburn types can be quite a match, and I hear he’s a rather good shooter, on the court of course.” Tyler chuckled.

“Seems like my daughters have a fondness for good shooters. They got that from me.” Andraste winked. “Until next time, Tyler.” With that, she did a curtsy and went off in search of her little troublemakers.

Meanwhile, with the other two, Arlan was careful dancing with Allison, on account of their previous encounter when they visited at the Palace.

“A lovely evening, isn’t it?” Allison asked with a smile as she looked at Arlan. He was taller than she was, but not by all that much.

“It has been. Crazy to think how much time has gone by. I remember when she was a baby, you know. Shoot, I remember my own wedding, getting examined by my mother-in-law and such.” Arlan laughed.

Allison noted how Arlan was careful with her, but said nothing of it. She didn’t blame him for wanting to be careful, though she knew it wasn’t necessary. She giggled and nodded. “I know what you mean. Amazing how the years fly, isn’t it? I remember when Matthew was little more than a wee baby. Those were some crazy times.” She chuckled. “I remember my own wedding as well. It was certainly something that I could never regret. Thankfully, I never got examined by his mother.”

Arlan laughed. “Well from what I heard, Princess Allora examined you over a longer period of time...and eventually she was convinced. Apparently it took some convincing though.”

Allison nodded and smiled. “That is true, you have a good point, Arlan. She was very...watchful of me for a long time, I remember that much. Normally, Tyler is pretty laid back, regardless of what you may hear. When it came to me though, he was dead set by all accounts.” She grinned. “He made sure to lock me down though.” She said, glancing down at her stomach to hint.

“Aye. Supposedly she wasn’t too thrilled about that...until the High Prince was born, that is.” Arlan smiled. “May she rest in peace.”

Allison giggled and nodded. “Yeah, I doubt she was. Tyler isn’t the best with control though, things happen.” She laughed. “Anyways, she was rather accepting in the long run, I came to respect her a lot. I hope she rests well.” The Imperatrix affirmed.

“You know, I wonder while I am here if you have any concerns regarding Ghant that I might be able to take back with me and have addressed.” Arlan suggested, fishing for things to say.

Allison nibbled on her bottom lip thoughtfully, a habit of her’s that Tyler thought was oddly sexy. After a moment, she shook her head. “Not really, no. I can safely say that Ghant hasn’t done anything that my husband or Shalum has an issue with, as far as I know anyway.” She shrugged. “But then again, we’ve had so much going on lately, that things that we might pay a little more attention to, the social issues, have been outspoken by war talk.” She replied.

“Fair enough. Ghant doesn’t like to rock the boat...we try to stay pretty reliable.” Arlan said.

Allison nodded and smiled. “That is very true. Nothing offensive I’ve seen has come from Ghant.” She replied. “What do you think the Ghantish view of Shalum is?” She inquired curiously, trying to make conversation.

“A strong and steadfast ally...although to be blunt, there is a lot of bitching about what’s going on in Azurlavai.” Arlan answered truthfully.

Allison chuckled. “I am not surprised to hear that. No one is really happy with what we’re doing. But no one really understands what we’ve gone through though. We’ve been fighting the Azzies perpetually since 1947. Those wars have claimed tens of thousands, and affected even more. My husband and government want to end the problem, more permanently, otherwise they’ll rise again.” She explained. “And I don’t blame them...those people kidnapped the woman in my life.” She sighed.

“The woman?” Arlan asked, confused.

“Frieda Trotsbeck, Tyler and I’s fiancee, and the woman who is pregnant with my...nephew, or step-son. Hell, I don’t know what you would officially call him.” Allison replied.

“Oh right, I heard about that...and some Jotnar types...I wonder if Unni Yarudi was involved?” Arlan stated, now very interested in learning.

Allison glanced left and right. “Between us, I think he was. The man that sent us her ransom video was rather...Ghantish. Definitely a Jotnar guy.” She said more seriously now.

“...Do you know who he was?” Arlan asked.

Allison shook her head bitterly. “No I don’t, sadly. The bastard was smart enough to not use his own name.”

“Clever, whoever he was.” Arlan shrugged. “I should go check on my little girls...that one that’s eight, Salli...she is a feisty one.”

Allison smiled and patted Arlan on the back. “Go ahead, go look after your family. I’m gonna go find my husband, I think I owe him a dance. Take care Arlan, and good luck.” She said and curtsied.

Just then, it was time for Allaria to throw the bouquet. All of the single ladies were asked to go out onto the floor to try to catch it. Rebecca came out with Lilly and the younger ones...Bastilla wanted it badly, jumping in anticipation.

Yet, when Allaria took it and threw it over her head, it landed right in Lilly’s hands. “Oh,” she said.

Then for the throwing of the garter, Allaria had to sit in a chair and stick her leg out so Matthew could take it off and then toss it into the crowd of single men.

Matthew wasted no time doing what he was supposed to do. It was clear that he had a fair amount of experience in such a position...and within a few moments, he managed to get the garter off of his lovely wife. The single men were less enthusiastic about the whole thing when compared to their female counterparts, but they still were happy to participate. When he threw it, it soared through the air, and practically landed in John Blackburn’s hands. The young man fumbled with it for a moment, a sheepish look on his face. “Huh.” He said as he blinked in surprise.

Now what are the odds of that? Allaria thought as she saw that. “You know what that means...Blackie gets to put that on your leg. Come on now sis.”

Lilly blushed a shade of crimson as she sat down and stuck her leg out so John Blackburn could slide the garter up her leg to her thigh, albeit a bit nervous about it.

John Blackburn’s color was similar to Lilly’s as he knelt down before her, garter clutched in his hands, which were practically shaking in nervousness. He hadn’t been expecting to end up between her legs like this. “Eh, I wasn’t expecting this.” He tried to joke as he tentatively slid the garter up her leg, his hand ghosting her thigh for a moment. “There we go.” He smiled sheepishly.

And with the cake already having been cut, the dances had and so on and so forth, the evening was coming to a close. “Now for the final part,” Allaria said with a grin. “Do you think you can carry me from here to our chambers?”

Matthew grinned at his wife, gently caressing her through her dress. “It would be my pleasure, maite.” She smirked as he leaned down and picked her up bridal style with ease. “Let us go my love, we need to finalize our marriage.” He laughed as he carried her off.

After they had went off to fulfill their marital duties, others lingered for a time, continuing to dance, eat, drink and converse. Lilly went off to bed eventually, and as she changed out of her dress, she noticed the garter again. She blushed as she removed it from her leg, and got ready for bed. Chances are I will get more sleep then some other people I know.
Last edited by Ghant on Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:50 am

“Services Rendered” (II)
Whitehall Keep
Maldoria Province, Shalum


Jakinda Pazuzu sat in her chambers, combing through some documents. Reports, minutes, agendas. She wanted to stay well informed on politics, news and business, for she never knew when such information would prove useful. Such was her focus of late, since other things had previously been taken care of.

As it were, they were married now, quickly and discreetly. There was no sense in delay, as a widowed Pazuzu woman in her forties was practically untouchable in Ghant...this was her best option, and she knew it. Hence the expediency. Walter took her to the nearest city, married her without pomp, celebration or ceremony in a courthouse, and then they returned back to to the castle for consummation. And that was that. After all, Pazuzus didn’t like to draw attention to themselves...Whitehalls seemed to be the same way. So it worked out well for both of them.

Walter Whitehall hummed quietly to himself as he walked through the halls of his castle, the sounds of his footfalls echoing in the empty, stone hallway. He was feeling rather good at the moment, truth be told. He was married now to an attractive woman capable of meeting the majority of his needs, he also had a decent amount of sway in the Shalumite government, not to mention a successful criminal empire that was growing in power with every passing day. Soon Acheron would be in his grasp, as Belisaria already was.

Before he knew it, he found himself at the doors to his wife’s chambers. Without any knocking, or other sense of warning, he pushed the door open and stepped in. He looked over at Jakinda and smiled, his aged lips creasing upward. “Good afternoon, my lovely wife. How are things going?” He asked, glancing at the papers in her hands. He had left a good deal of information about his business and political ventures open to her to look at.

She certainly didn’t waste the opportunity. “Well, Walter...quite well. Although, after reviewing the available body of information, I might make a suggestion to protect...our assets.” Jakinda wasn’t about to tell him that one of the main reasons why she married him was to achieve greater access to Ring operational knowledge for her family. Not yet.

Watler raised an eyebrow and nodded, trekking over to his wife. He took a seat beside her and kissed her on the cheek, his rugged facial hair rubbing against her skin for a moment. “And what would that be, my wife?” He asked curiously, eyes watching her.

Jakinda looked at him with those dull yellow eyes of hers. “Operations in Azurlavai are under threat now. Operations in Julianica I suspect will be too, as the Julianicans will most likely take a hardline stance against organized crime in their country to avoid becoming a target. What do you think will happen when Ring assets and business associations in Azurlavai get traced back to you? You could lose everything.”

Walter blinked. “I would think that may be taking it a little far. My people in the Shalumite government have been doing a good job at keeping any watchful eyes off of my organization so far. The cops can’t touch me at the moment, nor can the federal government. If anyone would fall, it would be my contacts and assets within the government first, my younger brother included.” He replied with a shrug. “At the moment, people are too focused on the invasion of Azurlavai to deal with my Ring operatives making a few people disappear, and gangs drop off the map. And within Julianica, our operations are limited at best at the moment. We don’t have a lot of interests there.”

“But the Belisarian League can.” Jakinda said, before looking around the room. “Azurlavai is a high risk area. Unni Yarudi knows this. That is why he is looking to...increase his assets within Ghant, where there is more asset security and less risk of loss. I would advise you to consider that as well...I am not asking you to give up control of your eggs, just to consider how many are in...each basket.”

Walter nodded thoughtfully. “You have a point. I’m not overly worried about the League, to be honest. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the news, but there has begun to be divisions within the League. Nations like Schottia are beginning to reconsider staying in, and it may only be a matter of time before others do as well. The League could collapse, for all we know.” He shrugged. “Still I think I know what you mean. You want me to move things around, yes?”

“I want you to think about covering your ass and at opportunities to not only secure what you have, but grow it. We need Unni Yarudi as much as he needs us, you know. Especially with the walls closing in.” Jakinda tried to explain. “And...why is the League beginning to split? Any particular reasons for that?”

Walter nodded and sighed. “Again, you are correct. We do need him. What do you think I should do to secure and grow the Ring?” He asked, deciding to see where she took this. “There are a couple of things. Some don’t see the League as effective these days, I believe. I mean, look at Arbites, they bombed Azurlavai and the League did nothing, even when the death toll began to roll in. Some member states just don’t do a lot, and it seems as if the bigger states aren’t happy about that.” He shrugged.

“That and they play politics when it should be about protecting the interests of all members.” Jakinda pointed out. “Asset protection and growth will be hard to in places like Azurlavai. There are no such troubles in northern Ghant. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

Walter nodded in agreement about the League, but said nothing more about it. “You have your point. We don’t necessarily need to grow and set roots in Azurlavai, as long as we manage to harvest what we need.” He pointed out. “I see. The Ring does have a base, albeit a small one, in northern Ghant, actually.” He replied. “I wasn’t aware we could do much growing in northern Ghant though. I always thought that they wouldn’t be the most approving of what we do.”

“Look at Azurlavai. It became a target. When is anyone going to target northern Ghant? Imagine being able to do whatever you want, and not have to worry about your assets being retaliated against?” Jakinda’s eyes flashed.

Walter nodded. “I suppose you’re right. Setting deeper roots in the area would allow us to do quite a bit. I don’t think performing our normal harvesting operations would be a good idea though” He commented. “If you want, I can get things in motion to send more people up that way.”

“Probably not. But there are plenty of nations nearby ripe for the taking. And plenty of places to hide them.” Jakinda smirked.

Walter smirked back at her as he reached out and wrapped an arm around her waist. “You have a very good point. Maybe northern Ghant would make for a good base of operations and processing area. We could possibly expand into Nekulturnalya. I don’t think we have a lot of dealings with them yet.” He replied.

“Not yet...don’t forget about the other countries too. Vyrsar, Old and New Macureus, the Allamunnic States, TECT...all ripe and unsuspecting.” Jakinda said as she reached for his arm to caress it.

Walter nodded and grinned. “Indeed. I’m wary of Vyrsar and TECT due to the close ties that Shalum has with them, plus how militarized they are. Hard targets.” He pointed out as he began to caress her side. “But the others though...they may be good as well.” He winked and grinned wolfishly.

“And isn’t it said that the tougher to crack, the sweeter the snack?” Jakinda giggled before kissing him.

Walter chuckled and wrapped his arms around her small frame as he kissed her back. “That is a good point.” He grinned and kissed her again. He glanced down and smirked. “And you know how I love sweet snacks.”

“You should be careful. Too many of those and you will grow soft and fat.” Jakinda laughed.

Walter chuckled and kissed her neck, as he rubbed the small of her back. “That could happen, yes. But I think it would be a lot of fun in the meantime.” He winked.

“Such is the case with sweet things. Although you should try seasoned meat sometime.” Jakinda blushed as she tugged at his pants.

Walter smirked and let go of her, allowing her the room she needed to tug at his pants more freely. “Indeed it is.” He grinned as he watched her. “I don’t mind meats, but I think it would be better if I let you handle them.” He chuckled as he let his hands rest at his side.

“Oh, is that so?” Jakinda asked coyly as she undid his pants. “And what do we have here?”

Walter chuckled and nodded. As she undid his pants, what she had been seeking was let free, already ready for her. “I think that’s one of those seasoned meats you were talking about.” He smirked down at her.

“You think so eh? Let me see about that.” The Pazuzu lady availed herself to it.

Walter grinned and nodded. “I do.” No sooner had he been able to reply before she decided to avail herself. He grunted in approval and let his head lay back. “Very good.” He muttered under his breath.

That was win Jakinda got up, kissed him on the mouth, and pushed him down onto the bed before resuming. “Very good indeed.”

Walter offered no resistance after the kiss, instead opting to simply fall back onto the bed and let her do as she wanted. “You’re quite good at this sort of thing.” He chuckled under his breath as he reached down and ran his hands through her hair. There were certainly other reasons that I married you besides your connections and mind, after all…

“I have a lot of experience under my belt...looks like you do too,” Jakinda grinned as she cast off her robe, leaving her in bare skin, and then proceeding to continue.

Walter chuckled, a deep booming sound that echoed in her room for a moment. “Yes I do, many many years of it, in fact. Plenty of time to learn the tricks of the trade.” He smirked as he eyed her delicious figure. “It certainly helps when you have a beautiful partner such as yourself.” He said with a hunger in his eyes as he watched her.

“Why don’t you show me some of these tricks then?” Jakinda laughed. “Talk is cheap, after all.”

Walter chuckled and sat upright, doing his best to not disturb what she was doing. “Well, if you want to see some of those tricks, you’re gonna have to stop what you’re doing and get up here.” He patted the bed.

Jakinda smiled as she climbed on the bed, and gave his manhood a very slight twist. “Let’s see what you got then, shall we?”

Walter growled under his breath as she twisted. “If you want a show, you’re certainly going to get it.” He smirked and gave her a slight nudge so that he was hovering over her. He licked his lips and looked down between them. “Do you want an appetizer, or would you prefer the meal itself?” He said as he leaned down, his breath tickling her ear. He kissed her on the neck and smirked wider.

“Why don’t you surprise me?” Jakinda teased as she flicked him, gasping as he kissed her neck.

Walter hummed as he thought it over. “I think I can do that.” He replied quietly, as he began to kiss his way down her body, getting lower and lower with every kiss. “I hope you don’t have any plans of going anywhere, you might not be in the best shape to walk when I’m done with you.” He smirked as he made his way south. He quickly found what he meant to, and did not waste any time going down on her.

“I am Ghantish...you underestimate what I am capable of enduring.” Jakinda said before she moaned.

Walter grinned up at her, pausing for only a moment. “And I’ve got more endurance than you probably think. It’s a war of attrition, and I’m going to win.” He said confidently, before going back down with impunity. It was clear that he knew what he was doing.

“There are no winners or losers, silly man. Only those who come and those who go.” Jakinda laughed, laying back in enjoyment as he went and did his thing…

...at least an hour or so later, Jakinda lost track of time, she laid in bed with her black hair long and loose, her body sweaty. “My, am I thirsty all of a sudden. I would fancy myself some milk right about now...and some fresh air.”

Walter laid on his back beside her, panting and bare to the world. He smiled over at her. “You just got some milk.” He joked between quietly, leaning over to kiss her neck once more, his tongue tasting the sweat. “But yes, I know what you mean. Do you want to go get it, or do you want me to call a servant?” He asked.

“I will go get it myself, thank you.” Jakinda threw on her robe, and snuck away on bare feet.

“Good luck then, I will stay here and relax.” He said, his eyes on her backside as she walked away. He reached over and picked up the remote to the television in her room, and flicked it on. While he liked his old castle, he didn’t stray away completely from modern devices.

Meanwhile, Jakinda walked down the halls of the castle towards the dining and adjoining kitchen area, fully prepared to go into the kitchen area herself to help herself to what she wanted.

Jakinda would have found the dining area and kitchen to both be deserted at the current time of day. There would occasionally be a servant or two passing through, but that was about the extent of it. Later, of course, there would come cooks to make the meals for the inhabitants of the castle, but not now.

However, there was a single figure in the kitchen. She was slightly taller for a woman, standing at 5’8 in her normal tennis shoes. She was wearing khaki pants and a blue short sleeve shirt, with an apron around her waist. She was, truth be told, a rather pretty girl, with wide hips and a tight body for the most part, though there was a slight plumpness there that one may have expected from a woman who had kids at one time or another. She had long raven hair and cerulean eyes. At the moment, she was intent with cleaning up the kitchen, and wasn’t paying attention to much else.

“Looks like it is just you and me, child.” Jakinda called out softly in her black robe.

The woman made a noise of surprise as she turned around, eyes wide. “Oh! Ah...sorry, milady, I didn’t hear you enter.” She apologized with a flush face as she leaned down to pick up the rag she had dropped. “I wasn’t expecting to see anyone at this hour.”

“Of course.” Jakinda examined the younger woman, putting her hands on her face and her hair. “I don’t believe we have met. You are?”

The younger woman, who looked to be in her late twenties, looked nervous. “We haven’t, milady. My name is Claire Wilson. I’m part of the custodial staff. We’re behind the scenes kind of people.”

“Is that so?” Jakinda asked as she began to rub the younger woman’s shoulders and whispered into her ear from behind. “And how long have you been in our service for?”

Claire blinked as her shoulders were rubbed, her face heating up more than it already was. Behind her back, she began to nervously play with her hands. “I have been in the service of milord for close to seven years now, milady.” She replied softly.

“Seven years eh? Why so long?” Jakinda asked, rubbing her nose in Claire’s hair.

“I was...never the best student, milady.” She replied sheepishly. “Never the best grades, didn’t do too well on the standardized tests. I wasn’t able to get into any good colleges like my parents wanted me to. And then word spread around town that a lord was looking for people to fill his staff, and I jumped at the chance. Me and a few other girls got hired, and I ended up here. The pay has always been good enough to warrant staying.”

“Oh, I am sure it was. Walter loves having pretty young things on his staff.” Jakinda reached around a hand and felt Claire’s stomach. “You are a mother?”

Claire blushed hotly. “Yes he does, milady. He really enjoys having beautiful women to look at among other things.” She replied, not quite able to meet Jakinda’s eyes. She squeaked as she felt a hand on her stomach. “Yes, milady, I am a mother. I have a son.” She quietly replied as her nervousness spiked.

“Oh? How old is he?” Jakinda asked as she rubbed her mouth against the back of Claire’s neck.

Claire practically winced at the question. “He is...five years old, milady.” She replied quietly. Her eyebrows shot up as she felt Jakinda’s mouth on her neck.

“...Splendid. What is his name?” Lady Pazuzu delicately licked the nape of her neck.

Claire shivered, though not necessarily out of pleasure. This was starting to get weird. “His name is Adrian, milady.” She replied.

“...And who is Adrian’s father?” The older woman asked as she ran her fingers through Claire’s hair.

Claire’s eyes went wide with what may have considered fear. She knew about bastards, and how nobles weren’t fond of them. “...Lord Whitehall is, milady.”

“Is that so? How pleasant.” Jakinda giggled as her fingers went further into Claire’s hair. “And when was the last time you shared a bed?”

Claire gulped loudly, nervous. “No, milady, the lord and I have shared a bed...or table on many occasions since he was conceived, and before he was. Milord has used me as a lover for quite a while now.” She said, looking down at her feet in embarrassment.

The fingers in her hair began to tighten around strands. “I asked you when the last time was.” Jakinda said, her voice going from soft to one more intense.

Claire whimpered, sounding like a wounded puppy. “I am not sure, milady!” She whispered sharply, fear in her tone. “It has been a couple of weeks since he and I shared a bed.” She replied. But I have done other things since then. Ran through her mind.

“Did you enjoy it?” Jakinda asked more pressingly.

Claire whimpered again. “The first few times were horrid and painful.” She said quickly. “I’ve gotten used to it since then, and have found enjoyment on a few occasions.” She replied nervously. “Milord was my first, and has been my only since.” She said quietly. “The last time he called for me was the day before your arrival. He didn’t take me...but I spent a good while on my knees.”

Jakinda gripped Claire’s hair in one hand and gave it a tight tug, while the other hand went around her throat. As she did so she snarled, baring her teeth. “I don’t want you to enjoy it. And I don’t want you getting any ideas, for yourself or your son. If I so much as sniff an ounce of ambition from you, I will have you enslaved and your son fed to dogs while you watch. Do I make myself clear, Claire Wilson?”

Claire gasped, but didn’t get to finish making the noise, as Jakinda’s hand tightened around her throat. She found it hard to so much as breath. “Yes, milady!” She gasped out, eyes wide with fear. “I promise I won’t enjoy it ever again.” She continued. That won’t be hard anyways. She looked around, wishing someone would come and help her. “I promise you I won’t try anything, on my son’s life, I swear it! The lord would have me thrown to the guards for their own pleasure before you could get to me. Please don’t kill me!” She begged.

“It’s your son you should be worried about.” Jakinda responded harshly as she let go of her hair and her neck. “Maybe its about time you settled down, found a good man and started a family. Wouldn’t you like that?” Jakinda asked as she spun Claire around. “If you stick around here, I might have to have a taste,” she said as she kissed her, sticking out some tongue.

Claire squirmed, her firm chest pressing against Jakinda. “No milady.” She replied under her breath. “I can’t--I don’t want to. This is all I know, and I don’t think I could find a better job anywhere else for the same pay.” She whimpered. “I want my son to go on, have a good future. Away from here, of course.” She quickly added. “I know the lord wants me around as well.” She said, fully expecting to be tasted at this rate.

“Well in that case, I will make you a deal. You will bear no more children by my husband. Sound fair?” Jakinda asked.

Claire looked at Jakinda nervously. “I suppose that would be fair, milady. Just please, don’t tell the lord. He’s not a fan in having us try and attempt to not have children. Some sort of perverse pleasure in knocking us up or something.” She squirmed.

“I won’t tell a soul, provided you play along with your lady’s wishes.” Jakinda smiled. “Perhaps you should come visit me in my room later this evening. I would like that.” Then her smiled faded. “And I am sure Walter would appreciate your cooperation as much as I would. For it is as you say...he wouldn’t want to find anything out that he doesn’t like.”

Claire nodded weakly. “As you wish, milady. I will be happy to join you two later tonight if you want me to.” She said, though her tone was anything but joyful. “I just want my son and I to have a decent life, and for that, I will do my best to not do anything that would offend you or milord.”

“Good. And in time, I will find a...suitable arrangement for your son, which may consist of a proper education.” Jakinda reassured her as she pulled away and went to the refrigerator.

Claire nodded and watched Jakinda nervously. The woman was far too close to kitchen knives for her liking. “Thank you, ma’am, I would like that. To see him get something would be better than nothing.” She sighed sadly.

Jakinda poured herself a large glass of milk and drank deeply from it, rubbing her stomach under her robe. “Something is better than nothing. You would be wise to remember that, Claire.”

Claire watched Jakinda rub her stomach as she drank the milk. She nervously toyed with the towel in her hands. “Eh...thank you, milady. Is there anything else you require of me?” She asked nervously.

“No. Be well.” Jakinda offered a devilish smile.

“Take care, milady.” She replied, turning to leave. “I am on call at all hours, for I am at your service.” She said, almost fearfully, before she all but ran away.

Jakinda took the whole gallon of milk and returned to her room with it in one hand and the glass in the other, half expecting to see Walter still in bed.

Walter still was, in fact, still in the bed, though he had at some point gotten under the covers. He was still bare, only covered by the sheets. He raised an eyebrow as he saw the whole gallon of milk. “Welcome back, my wife. I must have gotten you really thirsty.” He chuckled.

“And I can walk just fine too...how about that?” Jakinda teased him as she set the gallon and the glass upon the nightstand before casting off her robe and climbing in under the covers.

Walter laughed at her teasings and opened his arms up, so that he could wrap one around her when she got under the covers. “Alright, alright, you’ve got your point. Your Ghantar are durable folk.” He chuckled and kissed her with surprising affection. “Have a good trip?”

“Yes. Got some milk...suddenly craving it,” she answered as she cuddled him under the blanket.

Walter was normally not a cuddler, but she was certainly different. So, he cuddled her back, holding her close to him. She was nice and warm. “Craving eh?” He asked quietly. He had half a mind to make another milk joke, but decided against it. “It’s good we’ve got plenty then.” He chuckled and kissed her.

“Thankfully. Although some things are better in fewer quantities.” Jakinda teased.

Walter laughed and grinned against her. “Oh yeah? What would one of those things be?” He asked with a raised raven eyebrow.

“Bastards.” Jakinda said dryly.

Walter simply blinked at her. “Oh? What brought that on?” He asked curiously.

Jakinda shrugged. “Just a random musing of a horny forty-something year old woman,” she said as she started tugging on his manhood while kissing his neck.

Walter was about to comment on how weird that sounded, but she began to tug on him, erasing that thought. He grinned and kissed her back. “Well, I can’t account for the bastards, but what do you say about making some legitimate kids?”

“For all I know there is already one in there. Doesn’t hurt to keep trying though, now does it?” she asked.

Walter smirked and rubbed her smooth stomach affectionately. “I hope that there is. I’ve been waiting for a legitimate heir for a while now. I think we should keep trying...just in case.” He laughed as she continued to tug him.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to that,” she teased him as she stroked.

Walter laughed and laid back. This went on for a bit, till he was fully up to the challenge. “I’m ready if you are, my wife.” He grinned at her as he caressed her bare body.

“Good,” she answered as she climbed on top of him.

Walter growled under his breath and place his hands on her hips as she climbed atop him. “Mein gott, you’re beautiful.” He muttered under his breath as he looked up at her.

“I know,” she laughed. After about an hour of that, she was laying in bed again, resting.

Walter yawned as he rested alongside her, and kissed her neck, something that had become a common sign of affection with him. “That was just as great as ever, my wife.” He said as he lazily rubbed her stomach.

“Of course,” she giggled as she poured herself some more milk. “I don’t mind not having any clothes on for extended periods of time, it would seem.”

“Neither do I, my wife.” He chuckled as he watched her pour the milk. “Still have the craving, eh?” He asked curiously as he rubbed her side now.

“It is cold and refreshing...like you,” she smirked.

Walter laughed. “I’m glad you think that milk and I are equals.” He replied, rolling his eyes for a moment. “I’m certainly refreshing though. And probably as nutritious.” He winked.

“Both rich sources of Vitamin D.” Jakinda said with a yawn as she laid down to rest, half expecting Walter to leave her to it.

Walter grinned and nodded. “That they are.” He said. After a moment, he shifted . “I think I am going to head out for a while, maybe go to my office and get to work on the Ring moving to Ghant.” He said as he slid out of bed. He gathered his clothes and pulled them on. “Take care, my lovely wife.” He smiled and left.

“Have fun,” she called after him. Jakinda waited for roughly ten minutes before summoning Heather and Claire to attend her.

Like clockwork, Heather and Claire appeared, entering without knocking. They both seemed surprised to see the other, but didn’t question it. “You summoned us, milady?” Heather spoke up as she stepped in. She wasn’t in her more formal dress, but instead a white shirt and pencil skirt that showed off her legs.

“I did. Both of you are...seasoned women. I am sure you have met before, eh?” Jakinda asked with a mischievous grin.

They both blushed at being considered seasoned, knowing what she meant. “Er--yes we have milady, a couple of times anyways.” Claire replied with a nod.

Heather nodded. “I must admit we don’t know each other well, I’m still a bit new to the place.”

“...How do you feel about each other?” Jakinda asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Heather is very nice, I have nothing but good to say about her.” Claire replied with a shrug.

“Claire is a very attractive woman.” Heather replied bluntly at the same time, causing both girls to look at each other, before back at Jakinda.

“Yes she is. In fact...it would please me to see the two of you kiss…” Jakinda stated provocatively from underneath the blanket, with only her head and shoulders poking up and out.

“Your wish is my command, milady.” Claire blushed hotly as she looked at Heather, the later of whom was grinning widely. “How do you want us to--oof!” She never got to finish as Heather pulled her in for a kiss in the way one would expect a lover to do.

“Yes, very good. Just like that. Ease into it, enjoy it.” Jakinda encouraged them as she played with herself under the blanket.

Claire felt weird, kissing a woman. It was something she had never done before, but truth be told, it could have been worse. On the other hand, Heather looked more than happy to enjoy herself, as she continued to kiss Claire, her hands roaming over the older girl’s body.

“Like this, milady?” Heather asked with a grin when she pulled back for air, her hands tugging at Claire’s clothing.

“Yes, there you go. Take off each other’s clothes.” Jakinda said with a giggle.

“With pleasure.” Heather replied with a grin, before she began to tug at Claire’s clothing with a sense of urgency. Within a few moments, she had the raven haired woman stripped to nothing, her alabaster skin on display for all to see, including the stretch marks that ran across her stomach.

“You’ve got a nice body for having a kid, girl.” Heather pointed out as she took the liberty of undressing herself. She had worn some lacy undergarments to tease Jakinda with.

“Yes...yes she does.” Jakinda said in agreement. “She is shy...you should make her feel more comfortable, show her some of those tricks I taught you.”

“Sure.” Heather smirked and pushed Claire onto the bed beside Jakinda. The raven haired mother squirmed, but before she could do much more, Heather had pushed her legs open and had settled between them. She was kissing her all over, her chest and stomach, before eventually getting to the place that she knew Claire would love.

“Oh god!” Claire gasped aloud. Truth be told, she had never had this done for her before. Walter had always prefered to bend her over and get to work, never any more warm up than necessary.

Jakinda laughed. “Yes, you like that don’t you? Just relax, let it rush over you. Feel it in your roots,” she said as she caressed Claire’s body as she kissed it tenderly.

“Like it? I love it!” Claire gasped as she felt pleasure shoot through her, the kind she had never felt before. “I’ve...never had this done to me before, milady.” She got out through the gasps. “God your lips feel so good, Jakinda.” She giggled as she was kissed, Heather never letting up.

“...Good. We can form a circle now,” she laughed as she went between Heather’s legs and offered her own to Claire to figure out.

Heather only paused long enough to gasp as Jakinda availed herself to her. After a moment, she got back to what she was doing. “Uhh, sure we can.” Claire said hesitantly as she got close to Jakinda and began to nervously return the favor, knowing enough to hopefully give the Ghantar pleasure.

“Yes...like that. Give and receive.” Jakinda encouraged her. “Just let your inhibitions run wild.”

Claire nodded and continued to give Jakinda what she wanted, slowly working up more courage as she went. “Oh...ooh!” Claire shivered as she felt Heather’s work come to fruition.

Heather giggled and licked her lips, before going back in without mercy. “Very good Jakinda, you’re awesome at this.” She laughed as she glanced at the Ghantar for a moment.

“I want you to make her explode...think you can do that?” Lady Pazuzu asked.

“Think? I know!” Heather grinned wolfishly and went full blast on Claire. The raven haired mother could only gasp for mercy as she squirmed and moaned.

Another minute or so later, Claire gasped loudly, crying out Heather’s name, as an insane amount of pleasure wracked her body. To her credit, the blonde licked her lips and looked at Jakinda. “Happy, milady?” She asked.

“Yes, very. You see, Claire? Girl time is fun,” she said as she snuggled her and kissed her neck.

“I think I could get used to girl time.” She sighed with a happy laziness, before kissing Jakinda back, the taste of her still on her lips.

“I am glad for it.” Jakinda said beaming as she pressed her chest against Claire’s and kissed her back with tongue. With her foot she prodded Heather. “Come on over to the other side.”

Claire moaned and responded with her own tongue, swirling it with Jakinda’s. She was actually enjoying this, truth be told. It was a lot better than spending a couple hours on a desk while the lord had his way with her, and then sent her off as if she had simply stopped by to deliver a letter.

Heather nodded and grinned, crawling over to where she was told. “Yes, milady?”

“Cuddle and snuggle. There is plenty of fun to have under the blankets,” Jakinda told her with hands reaching out to caress them both.

“Sounds like fun to me.” Heather said with a grin as she got under the covers and cuddled up next to Jakinda. “You and the lord certainly had fun.” She giggled as she noted the damp sheets.

“This is nice.” Claire sighed as she cuddled against Jakinda and was caressed. Hard to believe the woman had been threatening to enslave her only a couple of hours earlier.

“I do my duties and keep him busy. I drain him of everything he has. That means more time for us,” Lady Pazuzu said as she kissed Claire while rubbing her nether-region.

“Lord Whitehall? Drained? I didn’t know that was possible.” Claire giggled as she kissed Jakinda back, grinding her hips against her lady’s hand.

“Any time for us is good.” Heather added. “I don’t mind Lord Whitehall, or doing what he wants now or then, but this is more fun.”

“Yes.” Jakinda said. “Yes it is.”
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Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:40 pm

“Gavinians in Ghant” (II)
Gavinian Embassy
Ghish, Ghant


Her Royal Highness, Princess Natalie, Ambassador of Gavinium Magnus to the Empire of Ghant, sat very quietly as she listened to the music during her lunch break and ate some local vegetarian cuisine, beans, seal fat, and steamed vegetables, to sample it. She couldn’t be a vegan these days, sadly, living this far north. She needed the animal fat too much in this extreme weather. She waited for her lunch date, who just happened to live with her. Prince Benjamin of Dakmoor, her fiance. She adored him, though she really wanted him to get something for himself that would raise his self-esteem, such as a position with the Government somehow.

Since coming down to Ghish, Benjamin began to work for his uncle in the Jauneketxea as a liason, which allowed him to take up residency within Ghish. He more or less lived out of the Gavinian embassy in Ghish, which was a lofty structure that could be described as a palace in its own right. It was designated as such in 1940 by them Prime Minister Malderi Haribec and Emperor Michael. Natalie was the 8th such ambassador since then. Ben came bearing a gift for Natalie as he entered the embassy.

“Benjamin!” Natalie rose and gave him a passionate kiss that didn’t leave any of the staff who were ignorant still so….if they had any doubts, now they knew.

Natalie was a truly stunning woman, by any and all accounts, though much darker than most Gavinians, royal or otherwise. Her Edomite, Baran to be precise, grandfather’s heritage showed up in her olive skin, although she lacked the classic Baran curves, being more slender like her mother. Her hair was jet-black, but her eyes were the bluest of the blue.

“...I brought you a present. I think you might like it.” Ben smiled as he held a box in his hands.

“Oh, Ben, my love, thank you!” Natalie’s eyes brightened as she opened it.

It was a Kerbasi set, custom painted with the colors of Gavinium, being red and yellow. “I had it specially made.” Ben smiled.

“That is very sweet of you, my dear. Once again, you remind me of why I fell in love with you,” Natalie smiled at him, “something to eat, my love?”

“Why yes, please. Let me guess...steamed vegetables?” Ben asked with a smile and a kiss.

Natalie kissed him back eagerly, “Yes, of course. Steamed veggies, seal fat, and haricot beans. There is plenty. The staff by now are getting used to you, I think. They like you. Shouldn’t be hard to get some brought in from the kitchen.”

Natalie didn’t mention just how much the staff liked Ben, in case it made him awkward. This was a Gavinian building, after all. Many of the staff were Gavinians and they had rather unorthodox views on fidelity and monogamy compared to many Ghantar. Few would have seen it as a betrayal of Natalie to hit on Ben….including some of the male staff, too. She had already had to work hard to get them used to the idea that she wouldn’t fool around with them, that she was faithful to Ben. More than a few waitresses kept rushing to get the job of serving the handsome Dakmaran prince.

“Sounds delicious, I can’t wait.” Ben said enthusiastically. “I hear that little Sophia has been having fun with big Sophia’s babies. They are pretty cute together.”

“Yes, it is very sweet of the Empress to let them play together. Play dates with an Empress. A hell of a form of diplomacy, but for mothers, it works pretty well,” Natalie snickered as she ordered the staff to bring some lunch to Ben.

Her bodyguard, however, made a face as he realized that he had to taste yet more seal fat just to safeguard Ben’s health, too.

“How is security lately?” Ben asked, curiously.

“Oh, that, yes. I had to have three, not one, not two, but three idiots thrown out on their asses for crazy shit. Othmanis, I mean really!” Natalie remembered the incident with the Othmani imams who wanted to convert her to Islam….they never got past the Royal Guard, of course.

“What are Othmanis doing in Ghish, anyway?” Natalie chuckled for a second, “aside from diplomats, of course. How are things with your new job?”

“It is good, I do stuff for my Uncle. It isn’t hard work, it is rather fun. Treating with lords and such.” Ben explained. “I suppose the Othmanis are looking for opportunities, same as anyone else up here.”

“Fair enough. You know, if I were gay, that Premier of theirs…..very cute, though I would never cheat on you,” Natalie admitted, winking at Ben, “glad that you’re happy. Does it give you access to power and a sense of your mission, your purpose?”

“...It gives me an excuse to be in Ghish and to do something that is fitting for my rank and station, so that works well enough for me.” Ben responded.

Right then, the waitress, Sandrine, knocked on the door, and the bodyguard, Marcel, let her in. Sandrine was a very short, but rather cute, plump young woman, somewhat shy but fond of Ben...she had a slight crush on him, in fact and had rushed for this job. She would never dare to flirt, but she kept furtive glances going at him as she brought Ben’s food to him. Then Marcel rushed to taste the food first, as always.

“Not to my taste, but at least I’m alive, so it isn’t poisoned,” Marcel assured them, staring at Sandrine’s buns as their shape showed through her skirt.

“Sandrine.” Ben said, softly.

“Stop,” Natalie said to Sandrine as she started to walk out, “the Prince wants to speak to you. Ben, what did you want to say to Sandrine?”

For Natalie’s part, she had learned to cope with jealousy and such, so if Ben wanted to take Sandrine right then, she would just adjust the girl’s time on the time clock so that she wasn’t screwing on company time. Natalie’s fidelity didn’t mean that she expected it of Ben. Despite her nation’s severe emphasis on fairness, Natalie was no Luminarian...she was a Buddhist. She didn’t let such things bother her. The point here was to demonstrate that her staff would obey her, whatever she instructed them.

“I wanted to thank you for your service. It is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.” Ben offered with a smile.

“You are welcome, monsieur. I am honored to serve one of your rank….and your….other qualities, monsieur. Merci,” Sandrine smiled with a Francophone accent, while pushing back some of her golden bangs away from her face.

After Sandrine departed, Natalie winked at Ben again, “You do realize that she has a crush on you, right?”

Ben smirked. “One thing you learn growing up as a Dakmaran is that half of the people you meet will have crushes on you.”

“If you ever wanted to take a maitresse, it would not offend me. Just because I am monogamous, doesn’t mean that you have to be,” Natalie offered.

“That’s silly...you know I only have eyes for you. I don’t need another woman.” Ben stated, before leaning in close. “Unless you want to share one…”

“Maybe someday, as a special present to you. I’m not ready for that yet. I’m still very hung up on you. Just getting used to my new boy toy,” Natalie teased him, “if I ever did, would you like it to be Sandrine?”

“That depends...would you like it to be Sandrine?” Ben asked, curiously.

“Probably. She is loyal and discreet. More in love with you than with me. But that’s hypothetical, again. I’m not ready just yet. I tend to get playful at times with the man that I love, as you know. Right now, I just want to focus on you,” Natalie laughed at herself...despite her Buddhist sobriety, she could be rather wild when alone with Ben, just as she had with Rupert.

“Focus on you...and on your pleasure, Ben,” Natalie rose, hiking up her skirt to show her panties.

“Do you like them?” she asked him, closing the distance.

Marcel coughed for a moment, and then left the room for a second, as this was an intimate moment. He just stood outside the door.

“...I like them alot.” Ben said as his eyes fixed on the panties. “I think I would like them better if they were on the floor though.”

“Eat lunch first….or dessert?” Natalie asked him, making it quite clear what “dessert” meant.

“They say that life is so short, might as well eat dessert first.” Ben grinned.

“Plenty of time for lunch, oui?” Natalie said, sliding her black satin panties off and slipping them into his pocket, “those are for you to keep, if you wish.”

With that, she gestured for Ben to get on his knees as she sat on the desk, pushing some papers out of the way for now.

“Dessert is served, Your Highness,” Natalie grinned at him, letting him see how smooth she was down there, “don’t worry, I won’t make Marcel taste it first.”

Ben laughed as he did as he was bid and went along with it, pursuing his lover’s pleasure with zeal.

Natalie had to bite her lip to keep from screaming and moaning too loud as she felt Ben’s lips and tongue devour her. Oh...damn, this was special. She had adored Rupert, but he was never that fond of dining at the Y…..thankfully, Ben had shown her just how wonderful it could be for a man to do that for her. She had learned a whole new definition of pleasure from this prince of hers...this delectable young man that she jokingly called her “boy toy” despite being 2 years her senior.

“Just putting in work at the office.” Ben laughed as he continued, enjoying the taste and her suppressed vocalizations.

“Oh, damn you, Ben, you are so….skilled. That’s my boy toy,” Natalie squirmed, continued biting her lower lip, and letting her juices flow so freely.

“They also say that the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice. Makes sense considering your tan.” Ben grinned, using his tongue to great effect.

“Just how sweet?” Natalie asked breathlessly, as she was overwhelmed by Ben’s efforts.

“Sweeter than honey.” Ben answered, quite eager to get the favor returned.

Just then, Natalie lost all degree of self-control, moaning ever louder as she gave in completely to her pleasure…..her climax came and nearly knocked her over backwards on the desk. She was a bit wobbly on her legs, but she forced herself to kneel, anyway, and went straight to work, pushing Ben’s pants down to his knees.

“You can eat lunch now. I’ll have my dessert,” Natalie encouraged him with a grin as she got to work on tasting her….dessert.

“At least I know of another source of protein, which is handy for a vegetarian like me,” Natalie laughed.

Interestingly enough, Ben sat at the desk and tried to eat some steamed vegetables, while Natalie was under the desk. “...Oh...oh…”

“Having trouble concentrating on lunch, aren’t you?” Natalie teased Ben as he sat in her chair….she loved it when he sat there, in fact, and she was under the desk for him.

Natalie then resumed her highly delicious work, letting more of him inside her….oh, the salty taste of him, just so delightful….she craved more than just that first sampling…..she wanted his seed for dessert.

“Bet that you would love for an intern to do this for you, wouldn’t you? Imagine me as that intern, Ben,” Natalie tantalized him….she also found his cut meat a nice contrast to Rupert’s old, fine, but uncut equipment.

“I would lay you on the table for me to enjoy as dessert and let the intern go under the table.” Ben laughed.

“Oh, my, my….you poor fellow, you really need that menage a trois soon, don’t you? It can be arranged, just give me a few weeks to monopolize you first. I promise that I will deliver it. On my honor as a princess of the House of Aelius,” Natalie swore as she resumed her work….she could do whatever pleased Ben….she adored him.

“No rush...I could do with only you until my bones turn to dust.” Ben grinned as he gave her what she wanted a bit sooner than he had thought he might have.

“Salty….yet a little sweet. I love it,” Natalie licked her lips and gulped every drop down.


“You don’t mind a kiss, do you?” she asked him as she actually began feeding him with his own spoon.

Ben cocked his head, and then answered. “...Not at all, my love.”

Natalie just plain loved pampering a man. It was just in her nature to go all out to please him and she swore to herself that she would surprise Ben very soon, as soon as she was ready for it, with that threesome. At least once. Maybe only once, but at least once, for him, the ultimate male fantasy come true.

“...You are very good at that.” Ben pointed out, still seated at the desk.

“Thank you….I studied up to make sure that I got it right. I adore you and I want you to understand just how much,” Natalie assured him as she fed him and then gave him a very wet kiss indeed.

Ben kissed her back and winced a bit at the taste. “Oh my!”

“Sorry, dear. I went too far that time,” Natalie put her fingers to Ben’s mouth to gather it up, licking her fingers right after that, “please don’t be angry with me.”

But instead, Ben sucked on her fingers.

“Oh, Light….my sweet, sweet Ben, this is the sort of thing I love about you, such surprises. Just you wait for your surprise….you never know when it will come to you,” Natalie smiled at Ben before feeding him of the beans and veggies to get the taste of himself off his tongue.

“So tell me, have you talked to your family lately? Is there any new news?” Ben asked as he was getting fed.

“Here or back home? Back home, everyone and their uncle is swarming around the Shahanshah Palace, eager to see how the Queen’s pregnancy goes. When she’s present and not back in Olwe, of course. Queen Lily isn’t a normal consort by any means. I’ve had to carefully disengage from more than a few make-out sessions with her. Typical Olwean behavior. She could give Princess Lilith of Ganos a run for her money! They don’t know any other way to live but rampant and unabashed promiscuity. Makes me wonder just how much action the King is getting. If the Queen has any say about it, he probably never gets a chance to refill the sack from being drained so much. I thought that we Gavinians were a randy bunch,” Natalie laughed a bit as she kept feeding Ben.

“Crown Princess Desiree, my other cousin, is another matter. Seemingly loyal and faithful by Gavinian standards to her husband Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain, who any careful observer would know isn’t likely to be faithful to her. Whatever happened to the classical Gavinian insistence on justice and fairness, you ask? Well, she’s a Christian now, just as I am a Buddhist. Change the religion and you change a hell of a lot about a person, I think,” Natalie rambled, catching herself.

“Sorry, babe. Didn’t mean to ramble,” she laughed at herself.

“It is quite fine.” Ben reassured her from the desk. “The Olweans and the northerners seem to have a few things in common then. Did you hear about Isabel and Albert, by the way? Imagine if Albert was Grand Duke of New Olwe right now…” Ben shuddered at the thought of the Iron Eagle making his nest in New Olwe.

“Talk about a mismatch. From what I can tell, though, he seems to have a kingdom of his own already. The Kingdom of Ziri. One would think that was enough,” Natalie thought aloud, “isn’t there an Old Law about ruling foreign lands or something like that?”

“Only about ruling them from a foreign seat. Nothing about a man going somewhere else to rule.” Ben shrugged. “Ziri isn’t actually his though...he is merely ruling it for his son.”

“So, Edward is the true King of Ziri, then,” Natalie noted, “thanks for clarifying that and the other issue, honey.”

She then lifted up her top above her and removed her bra, saying, “Perhaps it is time to wash down your lunch with some milk, do you mind? I have to keep these ladies pumping and I could use the help when the littles ones are at the nursery at times. Otherwise, it’s the pump for me. Guess which is more pleasurable?”

“Oh?” Ben had an idea. “I think I know a good way to get the juices flowing.”

“What would that be?” Natalie snickered, “whatever it is, I might be tempted to take the rest of the day off. The poor Gavinian people will just have to understand that sometimes, a woman needs time with her man. Even in the middle of a random Tuesday. Call it a personal day or something. How about we elope?”

“I will drink from you as I make love to you.” Ben suggested with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Oh...I love it, but before or after we get married?” Natalie suggested, “I’m suddenly in a rush to become your bride.”

“You want to get married now?” Ben asked, surprised.

“Sure, they’ll let us take off for the day for that. Not even Max will get that upset. He’s such a nice young man, and even if he does, his mother will coax him into forgiving us,” Natalie’s eyes danced with mischief now.

“...Isn’t Max older than you?” Ben laughed.

“By one year. Honey, please understand, I feel so much older than my years at times. Something to do with how much I have experienced, I guess. I might be only 20, but still, I feel much older, except when with you. Rupert was nice, but being with him made me feel old and stuffy at times. Not always, but at times. You make me feel like the young woman that I really still am. One of the reasons that I love you so much,” Natalie winked at him.

“Well, when we are together, you feel pretty young…” Ben smirked.

“Very much so. How about it? Want to become brother-in-law of the new Grand Duke of New Olwe?” Natalie suggested, “husband to the Chancellor’s widow. Son-in-law to King Damien I?”

“I do, I just need a ring...oh.” Ben took the ring he had on his hand that he got from his father...it belonged to Ben’s mother...an heirloom of sorts. Ben got up from the desk and pulled his pants up, before dropping to one knee. “Natalie of Gavinium, will you marry me?”

“Oui, monsieur. Je vais devenir votre épouse, et le plus tôt sera le mieux. Pas de temps à perdre. Je veux reproduire nombreux fils et filles pour vous,” Natalie answered in French.

Ben rose to his feet and smiled before kissing her. “Great! So...how do you want to go about it then?”

“Well, who here can officiate weddings?” Natalie thought aloud.

“Anybody. Any church or creed...not sure which one you want to do it in. Or just do a non-religious one, with some quick paperwork and such.” Ben explained.

“Does Ghish have a Mayor, and if so, would he be inclined to perform such a wedding?” Natalie wondered.

“...He could, although that would be somewhat unorthodox.” Ben pointed out.

“Why is that, Ben?” Natalie inquired.

“The mayor concerns himself with governing the city...although he might be willing to make an exception as a favor. He owes Sophia a few favors.” Ben grinned.

“Does he now? Well, Sophia is a popular and influential woman. That makes sense. I suppose that I just assumed. Mayors in Gavinium perform weddings on a semi-regular basis, as part of their ceremonial functions,” Natalie then said facetiously, “the Mayors are generally not as powerful as you might think in Gavinium, since they can’t sneeze without Royal Assent….local autonomy barely exists.”

“Would you like to call the Mayor, or should I?” Ben asked her.

“Sure, if he will do it. I would love to take my vows to you, my dear. I can’t wait any longer to be your wife,” Natalie swore.

“Go ahead and give him a call then. He is a nice man.” Ben smiled.

“Very well, then,” Natalie dialed the Mayor’s numbers, waiting with baited breath as she continued to display her bosom, small, but firm, to her lover.

“This is the office of Nori Marko, Mayor of Ghish,” a female voice answered. “How can I help you today?”

“This is Her Royal Highness, Princess Natalie Sila-de Mark, Ambassador of Gavinium Magnus. Is the Mayor available to listen to a special request?” Natalie asked nervously.

“Yes, wait just a moment while I transfer you.” After a few seconds, the Mayor answered. “Nori Marko here...what can I do for you, Princess?”

“I have a very special request for you. I know that it is unorthodox in Ghant, though it’s commonplace in Gavinium, but would you oppose officiating a wedding for Prince Benjamin of Dakmoor and myself?” Natalie’s voice purred a little to coax him.

“...I suppose I can do that. When would you like to have this done?” Nori asked.

“Today, within the hour, if possible. We can keep it simple and brief, of course. I am a widow and he is a bachelor. No impediment to marriage, is there?” Natalie asked.

“Not at all. Meet me at the courthouse as soon as you can, I can take care of it for you right quick,” the mayor said.

“Thank you, Your Excellency. You have my eternal gratitude,” Natalie assured him, winking at Ben.

“Guess that we’ll have to get dressed for now, but then you can have your way with me. Excuse me while I badge out, of course. Yes, even Princesses have to do that in the civil service,” Natalie laughed as she kissed her lover.

“Better straighten up my clothes, then.” Ben answered as he kissed her and made sure he was ready. His clothes seemed presentable enough and appropriate for the occasion at hand. “We should get going when you are ready.”

Natalie dressed in a hurry, badging out and winking at Ben as she followed Marcel out to her limo, the driver, Antoine, having orders already waiting for him from Marcel himself to wait for the Ambassador. Natalie turned to Ben with an invitation.

“Coming along for the ride, fiance?” she smiled.

“Yes, of course.” Ben responded hastily as he went after her.

The drive to the courthouse was fun for Natalie, who exposed her breasts to Ben yet again in the limo, teasing him to get him in the right mood. She also made out with him as much as she could, her tongue invading his mouth frequently for good measure. Her hands went down the back of his pants as well, groping the Prince for the hell of it.

“You should be careful with those hands of yours,” Ben teased. “I don’t think the mayor would think very highly of that.”

“Yes, I suppose that I should behave better in his presence, but the moment that we are out of his sight and in the limo, I am going to manhandle you,” Natalie warned him with a wink.

“Oh, is that right?” Ben teased her. “We will have to see about that.”

“Yes, we will. Trust me, we are going to take the whole day off and I am going to use you for my pleasure,” Natalie told him bluntly.

“So, you do plan on getting off today, eh?” Ben smirked.

“Certainly, especially if you wish to help,” Natalie chuckled as they reached the courthouse. She covered up in a hurry, of course.

The courthouse was a very large, old marble building, black and white as it were, with an open and domed entrance hall. Ben walked up to the reception counter. “Prince Ben of Dakmoor and Ambassador Princess Natalie of Gavinium, here to see the mayor.”

“Of course. The mayor is waiting in the courtroom.” The receptionist said with a smile.

“This is rather exciting. I hope that those inconvenienced by this will not get too angry with us,” Natalie smiled and would have blushed had she been fair rather than swarthy.

The courtroom was empty aside from the mayor in his suit. A fleshy man with short brown hair and grey eyes, he was wearing a suit and had some papers in his hands, which he laid upon the podium. “Welcome, Prince and Princess, nice to meet you and thank you for coming,” he said in a gruff voice.

“Thank you, Your Honor, for this and for taking the time for us. I regret any inconvenience that I may have caused, but I do believe that this is a marriage of state, even if it is also a loving marriage in our case. This marriage would unite House Dakmaran and the House of Aelius, after all,” Natalie declared with a smile.

Nori coughed. “Yes, of course.” That was when he stepped behind the podium and began to thumb through the paperwork.

“Well, are you ready to marry a dirty Gavinian?” Natalie teased Ben a little about Gavinium’s reputation in Ghant.

“Only if you are ready to marry a dirty Ghantar,” Ben laughed.

The Mayor ahemed

The Mayor stated, “Dearly Beloveds and Honored Guests: We are gathered here this day in the sight of God and the company assembled to witness the giving and receiving of the marriage vows.

“Marriage is an institution ordained of God and is not to be entered into lightly or in jest and only after much consideration.

The Mayor addressed Ben. “Do you, Prince Benjamin of Dakmoor, take this woman, Princess Natalie of Gavinium, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself solely unto her for as long as you both shall live?”

Ben replied, “I do”

The Mayor then spoke to Natalie, “Do you, Princess Natalie of Gavinium, take this man Prince Benjamin of Dakmoor, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and health, to love, honor and obey, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself solely unto him for as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” Natalie smiled, winking at Ben and mouthing, I won’t hold you to the fidelity part.

“...If there be anyone present who may show just and lawful cause why this couple may not be legally wed, let him speak now or forever hold his peace,” Nori said, looking around the empty room. Then he smiled and proceeded. “You may exchange the rings.”

Ben proceeded to put the ring on Natalie’s finger, and waited for her to do the same.

Natalie smiled at Ben and put the ring on his finger as well, her eyes dancing with the delight of taking this husband….such a contrast to her late husband, true, but such a delicious young man, easygoing and gregarious. He was, for lack of a better word, fun.

Once that was done, the Mayor continued. “By the authority vested in me by...the city of Ghish, I now pronounce you man and wife and what God hath joined together, let no man nor woman put asunder. You may now kiss the bride.”

With that, Ben kissed his new bride eagerly.

Natalie kissed him much harder, with more than a little tongue.

“Ahem.” The mayor said. “That concludes this ceremony. I will see to the paperwork.”

“Thank you Mr. Mayor.” Ben responded, before turning to his new wife. “Let’s get out of here, shall we?”

“Yes, let us do so...husband,” Natalie smiled at him and nodded to the Mayor, “thank you, sir.”

Nori bowed. “Tis my pleasure and an honor truly,” he responded as he picked up his paperwork and left.

“Well, my dear, let’s get to the limo. I have a marriage to consummate and wifely rights to exercise,” Natalie smiled at her sweet Ben...now her husband, “you do realize that this makes you young Sophia’s stepfather, right?”

“Yes, of course. I am well aware. Although Big Sophia gushes over her enough to make her a court baby,” Ben laughed as they walked together back to the limo.

“Well, if I stay here long enough, and now it seems that I will, she and I will have a chance to have plenty of play dates. She is my cousin-in-law now, after all. I’ve married into her house,” Natalie said, kneeling rather suddenly to attack Ben once they were alone with her teeth, which moved his zipper down without using her hands.

Back in the limo, Ben tried to encourage her to save her strength for when they were back at the embassy. “You are ravenous!” he exclaimed.

“Oh, but we are young, my love. Both of us. We have much of the afternoon to plunder each other before I pick up the little one, and I intend to take full advantage of it,” Natalie assured him as she went down yet again.

“...Well...I certainly won’t stop you,” he responded, contently.

“Good, now shut up and let me serve you,” Natalie grinned as she resumed her service to him.

Her mouth became very focused on what she was doing, eager to make him hungry for her and ready to consummate their marriage. Her tongue explored everything that it could as well, as if trying to drive him wild and out of his mind. She also planted kisses on her favorite part of him as well.

Ben was enjoying it for now, but alas he was very eager to get her back to her chambers in the embassy where things might be more secluded. In the meantime, he just sat back and stayed quiet.

Once they arrived at Natalie’s apartment, she stopped what she did and began pulling Ben by his necktie to the door of her suite in the Embassy. Then she opened the door and asked, “So, I hear of this quaint foreign custom where the groom carries the bride over the threshold. Want to do it?”

“Yes,” Ben laughed as he threw Natalie over his shoulder and hauled her off to her chambers. They were in her chambers before too long.

“I believe that I offered you my milk and my bosom,” Natalie said, disrobing in front of him and presenting her breasts for his use, “I am a lady of my word.”

With a playful grin, the Dakmaran prince went right it upon her suggestion.

Natalie licked her lips as she felt her lover’s mouth on her bosom, enjoying the kiss and caress of his tongue there as well.

Ben shifted her from standing on the floor to laying down on the bed as he continued to please her how she wanted.

“Do you enjoy this? Rumor has it that the Emperor does. Does he?” Natalie moaned in response to Ben’s oral arguments.

“...Does he enjoy what?” Ben asked, giggling, as he began to rub her down low through her undergarments.

“The taste of a mother’s milk, and I don’t mean the bovine variety, either,” Natalie snickered, as she welcomed his kiss.

“...I have never heard of any such thing...probably some rumor. You should be careful who you repeat that around, as Sophia doesn’t take kindly to such things.” Ben responded truthfully.

“Well, I am now a Dakmaran, and I don’t want to displease my cousin-in-law, do I?” Natalie began to shiver as she enjoyed the touch of her husband again.

“Don’t be silly...you are an Aelian still...just married to a Dakmaran.” Ben explained. “We don’t change surnames in Ghant, you see,” he said as he kissed her neck and caressed her bosom.

“That’s handy. How does it feel, knowing that your wife is a direct descendant of the much despised Sophia and Maximian?” Natalie teased him as she enjoyed his touch.

“...I try not to think about it.” Ben said dryly as he went back to her breasts.

“Does it bother you to think about it? If it helps, remember that my grandfather was an Edomite,” Natalie noted as she fed him, “I’m one quarter Baran.”

“I just try to focus on the here and now...not that far back.” Ben answered.

“So, it doesn’t….turn you on, any, the forbidden romance?” Natalie asked, her hands stroking his hair, “what about this….does it excite you, to know that I want to give little Sophia a baby brother very soon.”

“What turns me on is you...not the rest of that stuff,” Ben commented. “Depends on if you are ready to bear a Dakmaran Prince.”

“My sweet, sexy husband. I am going to have so much fun getting knocked up by you. I can see why Dakmarans are popular...are you ready….I am. Take me. Consummate our marriage. Take your bride and put your seed inside her,” Natalie urged him suddenly.

“You will have to remove my clothes first,” Ben smirked.

“As you wish, my lord,” Natalie knelt before him, beginning to take off every article of clothing with her mouth. No hands involved at all.

“How did you learn to do that?” Ben asked, curiously.

“Rupert. He….sometimes had his hands busy, and my own hands were engaged...further south...so I made it a game, see if I could remove articles of clothing with my teeth. Of course, it does sometimes leave marks,” Natalie winked at him as she pulled off his sleeves with her mouth, followed by the shirt itself.

“Did it ever leave a Sila-de Mark?” Ben teased.

Natalie roared with laughter at that, as she then undid his zipper with her teeth, and then pulled down his pants.

“Going to have to do the socks too...think you are up for that?” Ben asked playfully.

“Are they nice and smelly, too?” Natalie asked, as she tore his socks off, and replied, “evidently.”

She began kissing his feet and sucking his toes a bit, just to see how he’d react.

“Oh…” Ben said softly, enjoying that sensation. “Now just one piece remains.”

Natalie winked at her husband and rose to remove that with her teeth as well, sliding it down to his ankles before rising to kiss her way up his legs.

That was when Ben used his larger size to grab Natalie by the waist, flip her around, and please her the way she surely intended to please him.

“Uh….oh….Light, that is….extraordinary!” Natalie moaned in response.

“They say that it is more sensitive and easier to...hit the peak, shortly after delivery.” Ben pointed out. “Have you noticed a difference?”

“Some...might be why I am both sore and uninterested one minute, and then very interested and sensitive the next. Sorry if I have been such a roller-coaster of a woman,” Natalie nearly blushed, but for her olive skin.

“I like roller-coasters...especially ones that I can ride.” Ben laughed as he pleased her.

“Or ones that ride you?” Natalie asked, pushing Ben onto his back, climbing onto his face, and going straight for the meat….she was a vegetarian, but this kind of meat was fine with her.

“Is your skin so hot because you are part Baran?” Ben asked with a loud gasp.

“You like my skin? Well, it’s an olive complexion because of the Baran blood, yes. I am probably the only olive Gavinian royal in the whole family, except a touch of it with Sophia,” Natalie confessed as she moved her lips to engulf him completely and also her hips to give him a better taste.

“You are hungry for the seed aren’t you?” Ben asked as he intensified on his end.

“Yes, but...in here. Put it where it belongs most. Put a baby in me,” Natalie begged him, switching positions to straddle him now, “give Sophia a baby brother or sister close to her own age.”

“If you think you can handle it, so be it.” Ben grabbed her by the waist and began to thrust.

“Handle me...yes….though finding love handles on me is only slightly easier now that I’ve had a baby,” Natalie teased as she mounted him.

“If you want what you say you want...gonna have to work for it.” Ben teased her mischieviously.

“How hard, lover?” Natalie asked, working her hips to get him more desperate to reach that point.

“As hard as you can,” Ben told as her as he got into the motion.

“Harder than that, hubby,” Natalie proved her point, rocking his manly parts with thrusts that probably would scare many a man with their intensity.

“Oh! You do want it badly don’t you?” Ben shouted as he went at it hard.

“Yes, yes, monsieur...I do!” Natalie pleaded for it now.

Not able to withstand for much longer, Ben gave her what she was after, before shifting her so she was on her back and he on top of her. “And there you go,” he said. Then he kissed her.


“Thank you...monsieur. That was just part of it, however. I don’t have to pick up Sophia for another few hours. By that time, if you do your job right, I will be walking rather funny indeed,” Natalie suggested with a devilish smile as she kissed him back.

“I don’t think Big Sophia will mind watching Little Sophia...she is baby crazed right now, after all.” Ben laughed as he stroked her hair.

“True, lover. For now, though, let me kiss you until we both want to couple again,” Natalie answered, giving Ben a series of kisses that were designed to make any red-blooded man shiver.

“This is what I wanted to do to Saul Bar-Ehud, years ago...and for Rupert. But now, at last, I get to worship a man with my kisses. Rupert didn’t like it, said he was too ticklish for it,” Natalie explained.

“I am not too ticklish...are you?” That was when Ben reached out with his hands and went to tickle her ribs.

Natalie now burst into laughter, “But, of course. Still, feel free to tickle my….fancy, as you please, husband.”

“Like this?” Ben tickled her feet just then.

“Yes, or other parts, mon cherie,” Natalie giggled, “the afternoon has just begun, husband. I want to make very sure that you knock me up.”
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Nalaya
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Posts: 4282
Founded: Jul 02, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby Nalaya » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:41 pm

The Hin K'are Hotel
Armavir, Nalaya


"The Quarval-sharess only wished that I convey to you her utmost sincerity, Arzhani," the heavily tattooed Mak'ur said. He was a man covered in the swirling green script that indicated his status as yath'abban, friendly and less sharply featured than the average Mak'ur due to his half-Arusai heritage. Ryld had been appointed representative for the moment because he stood with a foot in each world, more understanding when it came to the politics of the world beyond the Homeland. He was still a member of the Yath, which at least meant the Quarval-sharess was still taking the matter seriously. Disdainfully and perhaps hatefully, but seriously.

Khavar would have counted it as a blessing and moved on with her life had the bitch—no, she corrected herself mentally as she remembered their translation of the word, elg'caress—not withdrawn from mediation between the different faiths. Coexist was not a word in Lledrith's dictionary any more than compromise was. "Her sincerity regarding her admission that she would rather burn Armavir to ashes than spend another moment pretending she cares? I'm paraphrasing, of course," Khavar said in a clipped tone. She would give Lledrith that: the Quarval-sharess had some level of eloquence to complement animal cunning and a vicious streak wider than the Chath Niar'haanin. While straightforward to beyond the point of bluntness, her grievances were at least very solidly grounded in reality.

"She will not act in the absence of evidence or incident, Arzhani," Ryld said respectfully. He knew that much about the leader of his faith.

"And how long, precisely, do you think it will take before that presents itself?" Khavar said acidly, leaning back in her seat. The room was very quiet in response. No one wanted to say what they were thinking: it wouldn't be long now. "Thank you for the message, Honored Ryld." She was making a point to use the proper titles of the people she encountered no matter how angry she became. It was an effort to ingrain it as a new habit. "We will revisit the matter later. I am certain you are quite tired. It is a long train ride between here and Karsoluthiyl."

He bowed respectfully. "May your evening be well, Arzhani." Ryld was quick to leave. He had a good sense of when tempers were dangerously close to exploding after a lifetime of being around violent and often volatile people.

"The Dread Wolf is more dangerous than Qasim by a mile. Ethnic snobs are one thing, but religious zealots are an entirely different animal," Siran Zadian said. She watched carefully as Khavar combed her fingers through her hair, hoping for an indication of the Protector's mood. They knew that she had to be furious. Just being in Armavir did that to the woman. "We all know the tribal leaders here aren't going to back down. They'll do their song and dance about cracking down on this bullshit, but they aren't going to press it. My information suggests it's growing in prevalence in the upper echelons. We should think about bringing back the Sulhanate. It at least made them more accountable."

Khavar made a sound of disapproval and Hravad grunted. The grim-faced, scarred general adjusted a gold cufflink engraved with the symbol of the Banak. "Giving them official power would only inflame things more," he said in his gravelly voice.

"This will be a war," Khavar said coolly. "It is only a matter of time before Lledrith loses her patience. She has been unreasonably calm about the matter for weeks now, which means she is planning something."

Siran grimaced. Someone like the Quarval-sharess planning anything was going to make her life more of a nightmare than it already was with everything going on throughout the region. She had passed the workloads to specialists, but things like this needed her full attention. Unfortunately, four or five things like this were happening simultaneously all of the time. Steel-colored hairs were starting to appear mixed in with the brown and she didn't wonder why in the slightest. "If it wasn't her, I'd suggest we just eliminate her as a political rival," Siran said as she massaged her temples lightly. All of them were ruminating on the issue. "But this is the Dread Wolf. You don't blackmail or threaten or assassinate a force of nature."

"The power vacuum she would leave in her wake would be comparable to Anahid, if not worse. Anahid had contingencies," Hravad said, temporarily ignoring the moral problem posed by that idea. "We need Lledrith. Her force of personality is the only thing holding the Homeland together. Keeping the different factions of theirs all moving in the same direction is something that can't be accomplished by an outsider."

"Then we turn our attention to the Nava'ai," Siran said. There was an undeniable note of frustration in her voice. "Their tribal leaders would be a hell of a lot easier to get rid of."

Now it was time to try and be the voice of conscience, while there was a large possibility that Siran's thoughts might be acted on. "Political opponents dying in the dead of night—" Hravad began.

"Will reinforce the belief that the federal government has power?" Siran finished, neatly cutting him off. She could see his temper rising and kept herself calm. "This is Nalaya. If some have to die so that many live, that's a sacrifice we should all be willing to make. If anyone knows the cold, hard truth of that, it's you, Hravad. How many men and women have died on the battlefield at your order?"

"That is different," Hravad growled.

"Dead is dead," Siran said harshly, standing up when he launched himself up from his seat in a flexing of powerful muscle. It put them almost toe to toe. "Let's stop playing pretend that shooting a man in the face is any different than doing it in the back. This is not an honorable world and it never was. If we indulge in this stupid little fantasy, we risk losing everything! Everything Anahid ever did would mean nothing!" Her voice had risen in volume until it was a shout. She gripped the edge of the table, trying to rein in her temper. She would shout, but she never did real damage when her blood was up. It was a few days later when she had brooded over the issue and formulated a plan that people knew to keep back. Siran believed heavily in getting even. She also preferred her violence as antiseptic as possible, with long range and a gun taking precidence over close range and a knife any day. In Hravad's mind, that made it even more difficult to do anything to stop it.

"So you would rather degrade it?" Hravad demanded. "If we sacrifice everything we are to keep this going, we are allowing the soul to die as the body continues onward as a husk. There is a difference between a shot in the face and a knife in the back. Yes, dead is dead. But the person wielding the knife or the gun...they are the ones changed. You cannot tell me that betrayal and murder affect people for the better, Siran."

"This isn't about better, Hravad. This is about survival," Siran said. She went to open her mouth and then stopped abruptly at the soft noise of a throat clearing.

Both of them turned and looked at Khavar, who was studying them with a calmly pensive air. However irritated she had been, she had recovered with grace. "While this is a very fascinating and illuminating discussion, we still possess a very real and imminent problem that will not be resolved by a philosophical debate," the Tigress said. "Siran, do you have names?"

"I—what do you mean?" the head of the Unkndirnei said.

"The faern in the tribal leadership. Do you have names?" Khavar said.

Siran pursed her lips. "I have suspects, Arzhani. We haven't been able to gather evidence that isn't circumstantial. They're hiding it. If we just took care of them now—"

"They could be innocent," Hravad snapped.

"Do you honestly think anyone cares if they're guilty, Hravad?" Siran shot back.

"Do I need to separate you two?" Khavar said sharply before Hravad could retort. "Because this room does have corners enough for the both of you." Once the two had fallen into sullen silence, she nodded. "Now that we are all on the same wavelength for the fleeting moment.... Siran, I want you to focus the Inkvizitors on this. Send me the names. Who dies and who lives will be my decision, not yours. Your duty is to obey and then ensure there is no evidence that the Dread Wolf might stumble upon. Not a scrap, not a whisper."

"Arzhani," Hravad began with blood still boiling in his veins, glare focused on Siran. He hesitated when he felt those distant grey-green eyes focused on him.

"Zadian, out. Hravad and I need to have a talk," the Protector said coolly, her tone not unlike she was speaking to pets or small children. "I expect you to forward me those files immediately."

Siran gave the woman a sharp salute and then stalked out, leaving the two of them alone. There was no question that Hravad was still the right-hand man even if Khavar tended to agree with Siran more often than him. He was in his own strange way the cornerstone of the Avangardn, part of the foundation. He never let them forget where they had come from. "I am listening, Arzhani," Hravad said, clasping his hands behind his back as he looked at her with his mouth pressed into a chiseled line. His whole face was as gentle and yielding as granite.

It was hard to believe much of the time that this was the same man she had seen wrapped around Vaneni's little finger. They had been so close...it reminded her of herself and Falk, which always caused a little spark of ache in her heart. She had never been in love with her Nord companion, but she had loved him as much as she could. Khavar went over and poured him a cup of coffee. This was followed by another for herself. The tea set now being used for coffee was from Hostillia and was unquestionably the nicest thing in this normally empty office. It had been carefully packed to accompany them from Sevan, each delicate piece with their intricate blue designs. It was undoubtedly meant for an altogether more civilized beverage, but they could afford this chance to be uncivilized in private. "Hravad, I respect your judgment. I respect you. I even like you. There are very few people I can say that about," Khavar said calmly. "I would respect you less had you not said something, knowing what Anahid was to you."

"But you have no intention of listening," Hravad said, a little unbalanced by the idea of her approval in any way, shape, or form. She had a way of disrupting his anger, not settling him down or setting him off, but instead rearranging it to suit her current desire.

Khavar studied him for a moment before handing him his coffee. "Siri left her book laying on the table this morning. Have you ever heard of mere exposure theory? The idea is that we learn to prefer things we are exposed to frequently."

Hravad took his coffee carefully. It was almost a compliment in a strange way, to be what Khavar held up as the higher virtues she was supposed to aspire to. It was no guarantee that she would ever listen, but it was a little indication that she was at least self aware. "Is that why you keep Siri and I around?" he said, only partially mollified. He knew better than to continue his tirade.

"I keep you around because you are useful," the Protector answered. She sipped her coffee and left it a that.

And that, for the moment, was the end of it.
Last edited by Nalaya on Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Do you know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?
- Pope Julius III

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Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:48 pm

“Daddy Dearest”
Inperiala Palace
Ghish, Ghant


“...When was the last time you were in Ghish?” Martin asked Maria as he held her hand in the halls of the Palace. He had come to consider the touch of her skin almost like air...nearly as necessary.

“God, I think that it was some time after Rojo Martes. Too much crap went down when Rosa spurned Michael. It was tough for me to be back, for that reason and Blanca was always making eyes at Nathan,” Maria laughed.

“Yes, I do recall that, actually.” Martin said. “That was a blow that I don’t think he ever properly recovered from. He cooped it up inside and let it stew for a number of years, but it affected him in ways that I doubt most realize.”

“And now it has led him into a bad marriage with Queen Mara. He should have asked for Jocasta’s hand instead. Not that Mara is a bad woman. She’s just wrong for Michael. Really, Rosa would have been best, but she didn’t want him. I think that it was just….timing. If he hadn’t approached her right then about it, she probably would have gone back to him out of sentimentality, nostalgia. Instead, that Ganosian has her,” Maria confessed her private misgivings, “I don’t mind him being a bastard, but I’m not sure I approve of Ganosia.”

“Ray is a decent man, to be fair, and I firmly believe that if Ray and Michael were switched in time, Rosa would be married to Michael...for it as as you say, a matter of timing.” Martin agreed. “Jocasta couldn’t make Michael a King...Mara could though. Hence why my father pushed for it as hard as he did...you do know he pushed hard for me to marry Alazne Dain?”

“Why didn’t Michael marry Alazne?” Maria asked.

“He probably would have eventually, had it not been for my father’s Edomite ambitions.” Martin explained. “Alazne would have been good for him too...a very safe choice. But also a very unambitious one.”

“And your father does everything by ambition. Which reminds me, I need to face him, sooner or later. And he hates me,” Maria grew a rather long face now.

“Yes, that is what happens next. Just you and him, with dinner. I won’t be far away though...it needs to happen.” Martin tried to tell her. “Think of it as initiation.”

“All the same, he hates me. I’m convinced of it,” Maria started getting misty, “hates me for ruining his plans.”

Just then, another voice spoke up, “He would be a fool to hate such a lovely young woman. Trust me. He doesn’t hate you. He just doesn’t approve of the match.”

Otto von Lange, brother of Queen Margarethe of Dakmoor and thus brother-in-law of King Malibar, smiled at the young couple, “Captain Otto von Lange of the Imperial Navy.”

“...Would that be Uncle Otto, then?” Martin asked politely with a slight bow. “Where is step-mother?”

“Uncle Otto, I am. Have you met my son, Helmut?” the retired skipper asked them.

“Can’t say that I have.” Martin answered politely.

“You really should….he’s….something else,” Margarethe piped in, making Maria blush.

“Oh, no….mother-in-law…..you didn’t, did you?” she acted stunned.

“No, of course not, but I still have eyes,” Margarethe laughed, “can you keep a secret, however?”

Her eyes really danced with mischief now.

“Oh, Margarethe, is this really the time to tell that one?” Otto scowled.

“Sure, Malibar isn’t here yet. And besides, even if he were, this was before my marriage to him. Now I am faithful as they get,” Margarethe swore.

Martin bowed before his step-mother and kissed her hand. “Your Majesty, it is good to see you in such fine health...but dare I ask...do I want to hear your secret?”

“Well, only if you are ready to understand that your brother isn’t the only goat around Ghish….or Maximeum….or Fineberg. I slept with Nathan for a short time,” she confessed.

“Mother-in-law, no! Please, no, oh, God!” Maria gasped, her mouth open.

Martin narrowed his eyes. “I don’t know what kind of sick joke that is...but it should never repeated, true or false. My father would be livid if he knew you were going around saying that.”

“Oh, my dear stepson, I do have limits. And I’ve lost the taste for men your age, trust me. Your father has cured me of that. Still, I remember my conquests rather fondly, and his….time with me was politically useful. It got him out of Helga’s bed, after all,” Margarethe explained, “and Karl, like your father, had his plans that no one was permitted to frustrate. The idea of Nathan with Helga was simply unacceptable to him. Couldn’t be permitted.”

“Karl was a poor judge of character...and so are you apparently, if you would see fit to tell me such things...for what purpose do they serve other than to stir shit?” Martin insisted.

“Yes, mother-in-law, what purpose?” Maria was a bit livid herself now.

“To show you a relevant point, both of you! Get it into your heads, you’ve gotten lucky. Marriage for love sometimes works, but it is the exception that proves the rule. Yes, you were right about each other, but try and understand your father’s perspective, will you? And, yes, Karl’s. Sometimes, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Helga and Diego gave Garza a Protestant bride to reassure the secularists and minorities of there not being a restoration of Catholic power in full. You and Alazne were to strengthen your father’s grip on Ghant. Michael was supposed to rule New Edom from the bedroom. Only so far, it hasn’t turned out well for your father’s ambitions, because Michael and, yes, Sophia, are too romantic to govern through marriage,” Margarethe’s tone became stronger, showed that she was made of sterner stuff.

“What of you and Malibar?” Maria wondered.

“That is….different. I have the luxury of marrying for love. This time. Though it helps that I am now a Queen. That certainly pleases me a lot,” Margarethe said, “now in your interview with Malibar, just remember this. I love him. He is my husband, and I would walk on hot coals for him. Still, he is ruthless and ambitious. Don’t make him angry. Be peaceful and conciliatory.”

Martin gave Margarethe a disapproving look. “I am going to go check on Sophia and the babies...go ahead and see my father, maite. He is in his dining room at the end of the hall,” then he kissed her before walking away, not particularly happy.

“All of you, you are something else. And next time you try to make a point, sister, do it by some other means, will you?” Otto rolled his eyes, but still kissed her lips in a platonic way.

“Of course….Otto. You are right. You are always right,” Margarethe blushed as she admitted this.

“So, Uncle Otto is the Pope?” Maria teased, but nodded to Martin, “Very well. I go to my altar, ready for sacrifice as the lamb that I am.”

The guards flanked the set of double doors at the end of the hall. Within was a dimly lit dining room with a long wooden table, some tall windows and a fireplace at the end of the room behind where Malibar sat. He was dressed in black robes trimmed with purple, and his black hair was neatly trimmed and groomed. He was cutting some bloody steak, with mashed potatoes, corn and green beans on a large porcelain plate, and was drinking black wine from a chalice.

It wasn’t in Maria’s nature to quite take Margarethe’s advice. She was no German Vorindun woman. Kinder, kirche und kuch and all that rubbish. She was a royal Garzan Princess, of the House of Valdez, and she was very proud that her monarchy was older than that of the Vorindun, at least its present incarnation. She sat down quietly, but with dignity, and gestured for the servants to serve her as well.

Malibar didn’t acknowledge her entering, rather looking at his plate and not making any facial expressions. “Greeting, Princess.” Malibar said dryly as he drank from his chalice. “Do you know why you are here?”

“Yes, because you hate me and disapprove of me,” Maria said casually, eating her steak without shame.

“...What makes you think that?” Malibar asked her, his cold, deep blue eyes suddenly gazing upon her...piercing her like icicles.

“Oh, you’ve made it abundantly clear what you think of my marriage to your son, or rather my engagement to him,” Maria declared, not prepared to back down, “but I am the mother of his child, and I will not bear him a bastard.”

“How have I made it clear?” Malibar responded, completely unimpressed.

“You have verbally and publicly berated him for this marriage, Father-in-law. Just know this. I love your son with a loyalty and fidelity that none will ever match, not your precious Alazne, nor anyone else. Not Sara of Albicia. I adore him. He is the man that I have always loved, from my youngest days. He is the only man that I have ever loved. I will do anything for Martin. Anything,” Maria made it clear where she stood, “quite the contrast to Michael, who blows hot and cold for Mara, Rosa, and God knows who else.”

Malibar made a long, low sighing noise as he chewed on his steak. “That is irrelevant. Do you know what the important thing is here?”

“I know what it is for me. I cannot say what it is for you. Ambition, perhaps, poorly disguised as duty,” Maria asserted.

“No,” Malibar answered as he drank from his chalice with an unflinching gaze. “What is important?”

“I cannot say what it is to you. I can only tell you what is important for me. And for me, it is Martin. His welfare. His happiness. Him. Everything about him. That’s what is important to me. Your son. Yes, believe it or not, someone loves him that completely and will not humiliate him in public, unlike others that I know,” Maria stared him down.

“You don’t get it.” Malibar said pointedly. “You miss the point. What is important is the House. Its reputation, its position, its legacy. Love doesn’t do anything for that...but purpose and duty...those do. That is what is important...what’s at stake.”

“Meaning your personal avarice and ambition. Your lust for power. Yes, I know of it. Though what I have done to harm it is beyond me. I am a Princess of Garza, after all. Your son has now mingled his blood with that of Alfonso the Wolf and other great kings of Garza. I see no duty here, only greed and a blinding ego….a will to power. Nothing more,” Maria said as she drank her water, refusing the wine.

The King of Dakmoor was unphased. “"Martin’s first duty is to the House. He will do what is in the house's best interests. If you wish to marry my son and bear his children, you will learn to accept the nature of our House...which is that the House always comes first. If you are to be his wife, the future Queen and the mother of the future line, you will understand this. Otherwise you are without use."

“Meaning yours? What was it you said of Michael? My second son. His uses are few. What manner of father says that sort of thing? Not mine, I assure you. My grandfather, for sure, and he was a very wicked man. But not my father or mother. I have seen where your definition of duty and the future of the House lead. Destruction. Divorce. Unhappy marriages. Mismatches like Michael and Mara,” Maria observed.

Malibar seemingly ignored her barbs. “If you love my son like you say you do, you will accept our ways. Otherwise, you are free to leave. It is well within my power to see that such is arranged.”

“And how are you going to make your son accept your ways? He doesn’t seem to agree with them. What have your ways gotten your House? The enmity of prominent Baran aristocrats in New Edom. The hatred of half of Ghant. Fierce loathing by my brother, King Diego IV of Garza. The active disgust and revulsion of your own son-in-law, the Emperor of Ghant himself,” Maria pointed out.

“All fools who don’t understand,” Malibar shrugged, still speaking politely, yet sharply. “The Burning of the Roses has taught us that we must be able to stand together in order to survive as a house, that all it takes is one weak link to bring it all crashing down. My father spent his entire life attempting to rebuild our standing, and I have tried to do the same after him. That task will eventually fall upon Martin, and you by extension. Everything I have done, I have done for the reputation of our family. Because it was what had to be done.”

“Oh, yes, and what a marvelous outcome we have seen!” a sharp, distinctly female voice spoke out from the door as it opened up, “You didn’t think that even your guards would keep out the Imperial Adjunct, did you?”

Flavia Ahenobarba stood regally, every inch the scion of an imperial Roman house, “What can we say of you, Malibar? You divided the Empire of Ghant for the glory of House Dakmaran and the Kingdom of Dakmoor? And now you’re dividing New Edom as well, and giving this poor girl a vicious tongue-lashing to boot.”

Malibar was clearly annoyed. “What can be said of me is that I have more men in the Palace than you, Flavia,” he said as he sipped from his chalice. “And also that what I do is for the betterment of the country. The situation in New Edom is my son’s fault...fool that he is. And you should also know that I did the same for your grandson...at least he listened to what I had to say.”

“It seems an odd coincidence that the interests of Ghant and Dakmoor, particularly House Dakmaran, seem to be regarded as one and the same. Rather a conflict of interest, if you ask me. Maria, dear, I hope that he hasn’t entirely put you off your appetite. Don’t worry about the wine. One glass a day won’t harm the child. The doctors have assured me of that. I am only here to assure you that whatever he does, you have a friend in me. And so I take my leave of both of you,” Flavia sneered as she walked away, back through the door.

“Apologies, Father-in-law. I did not put her up to that, I swear,” Maria blushed now, “Romans, right? Sweet old lady, except for when she knows best. I wonder who wears the toga in that marriage. Look, perhaps, we can put this...enmity behind us. Start afresh. I am loyal to your son. Loyal until death. And my child is of your House now, too. I have a vested interest in its future. I just do not see where my marriage has harmed it,” Maria made a gesture of peace.

“Your blood is tainted. Its the same reason why my father forbid me from courting your mother, despite my protestations.” Malibar told her as he ate his steak.

“And blood will tell? What absolute rubbish. I have never believed in that. It’s the same reasoning used on Rojo Martes by Luciano Guzman, to justify the massacre of so many women and children of my house,” Maria ground her teeth in outrage.

“Take a good look at your Aunt Isabel to prove my point,” Malibar said sternly as he dabbled his mouth with a cloth napkin.

“What about my Aunt? Is this because you and the King of Ziri despise each other?” Maria asked him, “look, tainted blood or not, has it ever occurred to you that people are individuals, not the sum of their bloodlines? We know how about you and Albert, how you hate each other because of Elizabeth Mutu, Martin’s mother.”

“Isabel is mad.” Malibar pointed out.

“Mad how? Madly in love with Albert, I concede that. But mad? Really? Is that the tainted blood that you mean, Father-in-law?” Maria asked bluntly.

“She is mentally insane. Reports from Ziri indicate this.” Malibar told her frankly.

“In what way is she mad? Diego hasn’t said anything about this, neither have Rosa or Blanca,” Maria noted.

“Declaring Albert a god, sexually pleasing him in front of court and demonstrating mentally unstable tendencies.” Malibar said bluntly.

“What….tendencies? Are you sure that she meant that literally, Father-in-law? To my understanding, Aunt Isabel is a religious skeptic, barely a Catholic, let alone some kind of pagan or cultist,” Maria expressed real doubt at this.

“It is fact,” he said pointedly.

“That she made a comment that could well be facetious? How many women have declared you a god, Father-in-law, in the heat of passion?” Maria asked him, “The worst that might be said of her is that she is obsessed with the King of Ziri and that she is an exhibitionist. She doesn’t stray, either, from what I have heard. She is faithful, like me.”

“I want to be sure that your loyalties are to the house, and that you will serve it and represent it in good faith.” Malibar said politely.

“And just do you propose that I prove this, and that I represent it well? Do I have to murder someone? Poison people? Arrange blackmail? Kidnappings?” Maria wondered just how evil he really was, “you know, you and Albert are two sides of the same coin.”

“Respect would be a decent place to start.” Malibar added.

“While you connive, murder, and God alone knows what to get your sons and daughters planted on whatever thrones of power you find? What was Alazne to you, by the way? What use did she have for you?” Maria asked about her rival.

“...And who have I murdered?” Malibar wondered with a cock of his head.

“I do not know, but I have known men like you before. Someone is always murdered in time. Luciano Guzman. Grandfather. King Albert of Ziri. Men of….purpose, as you put it, for which they sacrifice every virtue that they once possessed and every scruple that they once held sacred,” Maria declared, “not sure with Diego. I like to think that his ruthlessness has some limits.”

“I don’t murder people. All I do is what I can for my family...that is my only expectation.” Malibar insisted.

“I see...I’m glad that you have some...ethics, I suppose. Otherwise, I might well die from a poisoned meal,” Maria nodded, “I took you for the other Albert, or another Grandfather.”

“You would be mistaken, then. I make difficult choices, but necessary ones. And I am willing to take the heat for those choices, because my family is worth it. After you give birth, perhaps you will understand how important protecting your family is.” Malibar said, almost sympathetically.

“Martin is my family. So is this unborn child. If anyone ever tries to harm them, they will have to face me and slay me first,” Maria’s eyes blazed with fire, “he rescued me from Grandfather. I am forever in his debt.”

“And your son shall be King of Dakmoor and Head of House Dakmaran in due time...are you prepared for that responsibility?” Malibar asked her.

“I am prepared to do whatever it takes to defend Martin and our child,” Maria spoke in heated tones.

“And what about Sophia, and Michael, and others?” Malibar wondered.

“They are family, now, Father-in-law. By marriage. They matter to Martin. They matter to me. I do wish that Michael would have behaved a bit….better toward Mara, though,” Maria thought, “though to be fair, I blame Rosa a little for that. She should have given him another chance before going after a Ganosian. I have no use for that lot. A bastard is one thing, but a member of the same family as Lilith?”

“Michael and Rosa would have been more acceptable to me than you and Martin. Alas, it is what it is and it must be worked with accordingly. One must learn to accept the reality of the situation if one is to achieve success...it’s about rolling with the punches, as they say.” Malibar explained nonchalantly.

“I think, Father-in-law, that I may yet surprise you, whatever tainted blood you believe that I have,” Maria smiled, “in any case, I would have preferred Michael and Rosa together, along with Martin and me, both God only granted half that wish. One cannot make Rosa do anything that she doesn’t want to do. Trust me, people have tried. It is, if I dare say so, rather Ghantish of her. Certainly not very Garzan. Just know this. I will defend my family, new and old, with the last breath in my lungs and the last beat of my heart. Of course, to me, the only blood that has mystical qualities is the sacred blood of Christ. Yes, Father-in-law, I am a Protestant Christian these days, but I still believe in consubstantiation, though not transubstantiation. I wonder if Diego still thinks that I am going to burn in Hell for leaving Holy Mother Church.”

One thing that I do not miss….Catholic piety, Maria thought, incense and votive candles. Saints’ days and the Host. That awful strict abhorrence of the leaf.

...Who cares what he thinks? When you are Queen of Dakmoor, you will be his social equal. He would be wise to remember that,” Malibar explained as he finished eating. “How was dinner?”

“Well, it’s more that he’s my brother. He raised me to an extent. Almost a father to me in some ways. Or perhaps more like an uncle. I will stand with Martin, no matter what, at any rate. Right or wrong, yes even against Diego, much as it will pain me. My loyalty is to my husband and to my new family above all else. Right or wrong. And, yes, dinner was very nice, though I’ve been rather ill of late. Morning sickness, it seems, is a misnomer, as it comes at any time of the day,” Maria blushed.

“I see.” Malibar said dryly. “Well, you have my blessings. Welcome to the family. You are free to leave when you would deign to do so.”

“Then, my lord, with thanks for your blessings and your graciousness toward a silly woman like me, I take my leave of you. However, I will kiss your ring first, as you are now my king,” Maria curtsied and kissing Malibar’s ring, before leaving.

Outside the dining room, the five year old Bella Haro stood in a white dress with a teddy bear clung to her fair and freckled skin. She looked up at Maria with wide brown eyes framed by scruffy red hair.

“Hello, child. Who are you?” Maria offered her a hug and a smile.

“My name is Bella of House Haro...Nathan’s cousin. I am a big girl now!” Bella insisted as she hugged her back and snuggled her.

“Yes, you are. So, who are your mother and father, child?” Maria asked.

“My daddy is Lord Harald Haro and my mommy is Lady Carla Zuria,” Bella smiled.

“Ah, very noble family, indeed. Do you know who I am?” Maria smiled as she kept holding her.

“Princess Maria of Garza!” Bella exclaimed.

“Yes, that is true, though soon I will be married to Prince Martin of Dakmoor. What do you think of that?” she said as she held Bella.

“I know where he is.” Bella blushed.

“Where is that?” Maria asked.

Bella smiled. “With Ari in her room.”

“Yes, thank you, Bella dulce,” Maria kissed her on the forehead and let her go.

The little girl giggled as she ran off, leaving Maria to her own devices.

Maria then approached Arietta’s door, fearful of what they might be doing. Did she have cause to fear the Red Menace now? Was there any reason to fear?

From the other side of the door there was some giggling. “Come on...give it to me!” A female voice said.

“...Not yet...you have to earn it,” a male voice said.

Maria was now red in her face with jealousy, bursting into the room, ready to give Arietta piece of her mind…., “Ari, I swear to God that if you are coming on to Martin, I will make you pay!”

“...What the fuck?” Arietta was sitting in a chair by the window, while Martin was sitting in another, with a pipe in his hand.

“...Hey Maria...I don’t smoke often, just on occasion,” Martin told her, a bit embarrassed.

“After sex smoking, I take it?” Maria’s face was very red now and steam must have seemed ready to come from her ears...how dare they?

“...I have never had sex with Arietta...never will.” Martin said, shocked and mouth agape.

“...Seriously, Maria?” Arietta asked, startled. “Look around. Does it look like we had sex?”

Maria blushed now, “Sorry, just….you know me. Outrageously jealous.”

Martin got up and embraced Maria. “I know...but you can trust me. I would never betray you,” with that, he went to the bathroom. Meanwhile, with just Maria and Arietta in the room, Arietta offered her the pipe.

Maria turned up her nose….”Thank you, but no thanks. I am...pregnant.”

“...You know what it is yet?” Arietta asked Maria, curiously.

“Not sure, but I don’t care. I want to have many children with Martin. Malibar will soon see that I am very good for his son,” Maria asserted, “I hope to conceive at least half a dozen, if not more.”

“Yeah, well you better...because if you fail to please him, he can always come see me,” Arietta teased.

Maria’s eyes narrowed…..”Oh, really? No danger of that. I plan to use him and drain him so that nothing will be left for other women. No offense, but this one is mine. I do not share. Ever. Have you ever considered Michael, now that his marriage is on the rocks? You’d completely rule that roost.”

“That isn’t the roost I want to rule...and you better not mess up, Maria. Otherwise, that shit’s gonna get snatched,” Arietta chuckled. “I ain’t the Ice Queen either. I would hit back.”

“I was surprised that she didn’t hit me. Keep dreaming, Ari. Those balls will be very empty at the end of every night if I have my way. Is it just my man that you want or is it big, beefy Alois? Do you secretly cream yourself at night dreaming of his big…..endowment?” Maria teased her.

“No way! I got Crown Prince Vitus of Staalmark to keep me satisfied. “ Arietta told her with crossed arms. That was when Martin reemerged from the bathroom. “Will you walk with me, my love?” Martin asked Maria with an outstretched arm.

“Sure, my love...and if you have Vitus, you’d better be faithful to him and stay away from my Martin, Ari. Vitus deserves better than to be cheated on,” Maria gave her parting shot as she took Martin’s arm.

As they walked away from Arietta’s room and along the hall, Martin raised an eyebrow. “You girls fighting over me?”

“Well, she had better stick to her man and leave you alone. I do not share. I didn’t slap the Ice Queen for the fun of it, though it was enjoyable, seeing the look on her face. I doubt that anyone had ever slapped her before in her entire life,” Maria giggled as they walked.

“...Well, if you don’t share, better not let it go to waste,” Martin teased her as he turned his head to kiss her neck.

“Oh, I made it abundantly clear that I intend to use you up and drain you of all your manly seed...like your own personal succubus,” Maria laughed at that, “I only have eyes for you. You have my undivided attention, so you’d better get used to being my personal love slave.”

Then she proved her point, opening his shirt, to kiss her way down his neck and chest….in full view of anyone there. She didn’t stop there, pushing him into a corner and unzipping his pants to attack him with her mouth.

“Damn!” Martin stated as he grabbed her by the waist and guided her into the closest room. It was a drawing room with a large, square table and some books on shelves. It was empty, fortunately, and Martin closed the door behind them as he backed himself up against the drawing table.

“Ready to take your personal succubus and tame her, make her obey your will? Or would you rather surrender to her?” Maria asked him coyly.

“...Why don’t we just find out?” Martin asked has he began to tear at her dress and suck on her neck.

“Yes, tear my dress off….use me roughly!” Maria urged him, quite willing to let him take the lead...this time.

“...Not too roughly...I don’t want to hurt the baby...the heir to the throne,” Martin said softly as he nibbled on her neck, before pushing her head down.

“Good….just roughly enough, then. Nice to me….you are,” Maria began to sigh with delight.

“...Don’t be so sure,” Martin said with a smirk as he began to tickle her ribs.

“Whatever you wish….as long as I can take command at times, too,” Maria snickered, tickling him back.

“...Let’s see what you got, then...see how much like Diego you truly are,” Martin laughed as he quickly tore at her dress.

“What, have you been with my brother, too? Didn’t know he swung that way, or you for that matter,” Maria teased him as she pantsed him completely.

Martin laughed. “No...I mean that he is very assertive and dominant. Helga was a different woman when she was with Nathan...he likes it when a woman is wild. Most men in Ghant do. More fun that way.”

“I am wild, but only with you. Not with other men. They do not interest me at all, and they had better not interest you, either,” Maria said as she suddenly put his belt around his wrists to bind him.

“Trust me, Martin, mi corazon?” Maria pleaded with him.

Martin raised an eyebrow, then he nodded. “Of course...with my life. Let’s see what you got, but best be serious. If I get this belt off, my hands won’t be coming off of you anytime soon.”

“Thank you, senor. Trust me, Martin…..you will be able to return the favor. I do nothing like this with others,” Maria smiled, pushing him onto a chair and straddling him to get him right where she wanted him.

“...You have never done anything with others!” Martin laughed, content to let her do what she wanted to do with him.

“Very true, but then why would I wish to? Life without you and only you, it is unthinkable!” Maria said as she bounced up and down on Martin, her bosom now in his face.

“As unthinkable as life would be without you,” Martin managed to mutter out through his gasps.

“Yes, indeed, and I promise you….next time, you can tie me up,” Maria laughed as she kissed him through her moans.
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Ghant
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Factbook | IIwiki | RP Resume | IIwiki Admin | Recipient of the Greater Dienstad Roleplay Reward
"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias
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