Post by Hawkeyes258 on Aug 21, 2021 0:15:21 GMT -5
Alexander Rutherford: Knight of Wisteria
Alexander did his best not to sigh with boredom. When he had been chosen to go on a patrol, he assumed they would run into bandits and save damsels in distress! However, thirty minutes into the patrol, he found this was terribly dull. Alexander rolled his shoulders back and look at the others. Everyone else looked focused and content and would occasionally chat among themselves. Alexander had become a knight a year ago and was still waiting for something exciting to happen.
"What have I told you about slouching?" A older man said which snapped Alexander from his thoughts. He turned to see his mentor giving him a look. "Knights don't slouch you are going to ruin your posture." Alexander rolls his knights but straightens himself in the saddle. "Is this better?" The man known as Ser Akiro chuckles a little and goes back to looking ahead. "I know your bored but this is important. If you don't patrol your kingdom unsavory individuals slip in like snakes. Before you know it, you have an infestation."
"I understand but it's so dull. Where are all the evil doers and innocent maidens in need a strong knight to save them?" This caused the group to laugh. "Most evil doers know to stay away from these parts as for maidens I think you have enough." One of the men said with a smirk. "Remember Jasmine and how she was the apple of your eye?" Alexander was about to speak up when another knight cut him off. "Or the baker's girl Mina?" Alexander cleared his throat though he could feel his face grow hot. "In my defense, Mina simply used me to make her ex jealous." Ser Akiro shakes his head at him. "Yolanda, Mary and oh who is the newest girl Catalina? You ought to be careful or else you are going to have a couple of bastards running around."
Alexander rubbed the back of his neck and looked down at the ground. Admittedly, he did have a weakness for pretty woman but he did his best to be careful! The young man had a wandering eye and frankly wasn't ready to settle down yet as much as a knight can anyway. "Try not to take it to hard kid. I think every knight has had a fling or two. Just as I said be-careful." Alexander glances up shyly at him and nods his head. "I'll try ser." Despite the back and forth, Alexander admired his mentor greatly and looked up to him.
The look of pure panic that crossed her face as the boy she was meant to be guarding stood up, smiled and walked out, was almost comical. Her mouth dropped as she sat their frozen for a minute. She'd been charged with watching him and keeping him put and within minutes he'd quite literally left. Scrambling to her feet she raced out of the tent after him.
As she barreled out she almost tripped over the prince who was now pressing his hands into the grass and dirt? How sheltered was this guy? He was acting like he'd never seen outside before. Letting out a soft sigh she looked around for anyone who was noticing and signaled to them to go get Lilith. The panic was still visible on her face as she did but as soon as her attention turned to his words it faded and she became the same stoic woman she was known to be. It seemed like he wasn't trying to run or anything like that, simply he wanted to be outside. Surely that was fine as long as he didn't leave their camp. He had to go out sooner or later and she was told to keep him comfortable. So if outside was more to his liking then she was sure it was fine. At least that is what she was going to convince herself of.
Standing behind him she just watched him, it really was like he hadn't been outdoors like this ever really. Like a child experiencing life for the first time. She blinked as he addressed her, giving his name. Acting like he wasn't literally a hostage in a well known gang who could and would take his life at any moment if it was deemed beneficial that way. Just who the hell was this guy. From the way he spoke it seemed like he was some kind of noble or some one raised with money and schooling. "Eden." She responded looking down at him from where she stood. "And I'm supposed to be watching you so I'd appreciate it if you didn't waltz off like that. Especially considering you were unconscious moments ago and I'm not getting blamed for a black eye on the guy I was charged with watching. Please." She ended trying to be nice and not sound like she was demanding anything, she got the sense that he wouldn't do to well with orders. He did just stroll out of the tent after all.
"I'm sure after being knocked out you are pretty hungry? Or at least thirsty. I'm not sure how much we have but I'm sure we could find something.."
Lilith had gone to her own tent to work, trying to come up with some plans of how to make sure news of their new guest didn’t get out. That, and continuing to make her elaborate plans to hopefully one day return to Alexandria with the hope of taking her kingdom back, as insurmountable a task as that seemed. She’d been working on the latter for years with very little success and had always made certain to keep anything quiet that might let those under her employ figure out her past, so it had always been secret.
She hadn’t been working for too long when she was interrupted, someone coming to inform her the prince was awake. Already? There really was never a moment’s peace where she could get work done around here.
Either way, she left her tent, hand resting on the sword that sat at her waist, and was soon greeted with a sight she hadn’t been expecting. The prince sitting on the grass like a toddler making a daisy chain, apparently supervised by Eden.
Lilith wasn’t pleased with the fact that the prince wasn’t in the tent, but she knew that the camp was too well-guarded and supervised for the prince to be going anywhere so she supposed it wasn’t really a problem. But still, it was hardly ideal. Regardless, as Lilith approached the displeasure she was feeling wasn’t obvious from her almost unnervingly neutral expression.
She knew better than to undermine her people in front of a prisoner, so if Eden was going to be experiencing any criticism for the prince being able to just wander outside on his own, it wasn’t going to be while he was there to watch it. There was no point in revealing weak spots or discord within the group.
She folded her arms, looking between the two with her eyes, coloured grey by the contacts she wore to disguise the purple. Even in front of her gang members she did this. After all, her being a telekine revealed far too much about her. It also made her a major target. She knew how much people would pay for the head of the last living telekine - which she had to assume she was at that moment. And the people she worked with, while she fostered loyalty in her group by punishing severely those who didn’t exhibit that most important quality, were still criminals after all. Lilith knew of all people that one could generally trust criminals to do whatever benefited them most, even if it meant betraying someone important to them. They’d sell her out in a heartbeat if they knew.
That was why she never showed anyone her real eye colour, not unless she knew they weren’t getting out alive.
“I see you’ve made yourself comfortable,” Lilith commented to Carlo with a raised eyebrow
The kid was treating this kidnapping like a holiday. It was annoying, but she supposed she had to admire his attitude.
“And that you’ve met Eden, who is going to be responsible for you.” she continued with a nod to indicate the woman in question
Lilith approached Carlo more then, dropping to her haunches in front of him to better speak to him.
“I have to keep you alive. That is all that is required of me. Nobody said anything about in one piece. I don’t have to cater to your childish whims or sensibilities. If you don’t make problems for me, you and I will get along just fine. Cause trouble and it’ll be a very different story, and I don’t make empty threats.”
A lie, of course, since she’d told Eden not to let any harm come to him without Lilith’s say-so. She had no intention to hurt Carlo, nor did she want to. But he didn’t have to know that, and she wasn’t opposed to it if she really had to.
She hoped those words would be effective on their own, but if her experience as an older sibling to two younger sisters had taught her anything, it was that it probably wouldn’t. Especially since Carlo was a prince, just like Lilith and her sisters had been princesses.
If it didn’t work, she might have to start treating him the way she would her sisters. Her oldest sibling skills were rusty, but she’d decided that her techniques would probably still be viable.
Carlo almost could feel the grass and flowers calling out to him. He could feel their energy, the ability to bring to life wild blooms, rather than regal bouquets.
Instead of that, he just ran his hands deeper into the dirt. He almost felt like a plant, having been kept in a pot, roots restricted, blooms sheltered to a localized place. Even now, despite the sun shining on his shoulders and neck, he knew it wouldn't matter in the long run. Either he'd go back home, eyes on him, scanning for any wilted spots and weaknesses, or he'd die out here in the wild.
Might as well enjoy it while it lasted. It's not like these people could really hurt him, he'd heard the Rajani girl. He wasn't to be damaged, he was a precious good. Not a person, not a prince, just a treasure.
"Lady Eden," He chuckled, flashing her a charming grin. Looking away from the sun (though it was hard, a flower naturally looked to the light), and back at her. His eyes narrowed, dazed from staring at the bright sky. "What a pretty name."
Picking up a wild flower from a series of weeds near him, he picked it up, offering her it. It was a simple weed, it seemed, but seemed to be an offer of kindness. He ignored her threats or comments or whatever they may be, instead focusing on the approaching leader.
His charming grin turned to a more mischievous one, staying in place as she made her comments. When she lowered herself to be eye level with him, he nodded to her words, seemingly paying attention. That was until he picked out a little violet flower from the wild patch of flowers next to him, leaned forward, and planted it right in her hair.
"Purple fits you," he pointed out, sitting back and pressing his now dirty hands back into the soil.
Though his lips opened, glancing at her once more, raising an eyebrow, "Do I really seem that troublesome to you?" He questioned, "I've been nothing but a gentleman thus far."
Crius made a face at his comment about Callan never having met Elena. He kept thinking it over even as Callan kept talking, apologizing about the life he had early on.
His mistress would never get so angry over just some random person. Maybe if it was a noble but this one in front of him was a palace guard. Sure, he came from an esteemed family of warriors but that never bother Elena before. He must have personally done something to her. Or someone in his family did.
" 'The Siren doesn't hold grudges for no reason'," Crius recited raising his eyebrows at him and frowning. It was something they said all the time. Sure, she was rarely angry like she was now but it wasn't uncommon for her to be deeply annoyed or hold grudges against other people. "That's what we always say. We might not know why she has a grudge but its usually for a reason. So you must have met her before," he insisted.
A moment of silence passed before Crius got to his feet and brushed the stray bits of dirt off his pants. Moving to get the rest of his things he turned his head towards Callan. "I should get Miss Elena. She'll want to know you're awake," he said a little disappointedly. He didn't want to go just yet but he'd probably be in trouble if he lingered too long. And he didn't want to be in trouble again... "Goodluck, try not to pass out too quickly."
And then he was gone. Having slipped out of the tent to go get the notorious gang leader. And almost as soon as he stepped out, Elena was stepping into the tent a calm wrath on her face. Reed followed closely behind her, tired as always and a little angrier than normal. Gone were the friendly faces and in stepped the two leaders that wanted him dead.
Elena didn't stop approaching when she stepped in. She kept her strong stride until she was in a good enough position to rear her leg back and connect the toe of her boot to his jaw. The kick was hard and intended to cause a lot of pain. She couldn't kill him but she could certainly hurt him. Less than he deserved but enough for the moment.
Taking a couple steps back, Elena let out a huff of air and pushed her hair out of her face. She caught her second glancing at her, that never fading look of disapproval carved into his face. "Really?" he asked crossing his arms over his chest. His tone was flat and his head shook from side to side on the smallest scale.
Elena huffed out another breath and shrugged. "I wanted to get it out of my system."
"Sabes que no lo hice," She hissed. Looking down at Callan, she scowled and then turned on her heel and left the tent.
"Let's go," Reed muttered to Callan. He crouched next to the guard dog and undid his binds. All of them. Then he picked the boy up by his bicep and pointed for him to follow Elena. "Follow her. Don't do anything stupid," He threatened. But it also partially sounded like a warning.
Blinking she just sort of stared at him, she was still a bit shocked that he'd gotten up and walked right past her before she could even scramble to her feet. Lady Eden? She was far from that. Then she was being handed a flower? For a moment she didn't move, what was with this guy? Slowly she reached out her hand a took the flower from him. "Uh, thanks... I guess?"
Then footsteps hit her ears, Lilith. Quickly her head whipped around to look at the leader of the gang. She glanced back at the prince on the floor then at the other woman again. She was calm and that was probably not good. It seemed like she wasn't going to get in trouble at least not yet though. Choosing to not say anything about it yet she watched as Lilith spoke to the prince. He seemed unfazed which honestly didn't surprise her at all. As far as she'd seen he didn't think this hostage situation wasn't that big of a deal.
The woman that is going to be responsible for him? She was in charge of him, even after this? Wait, was she on babysitting duty till this was over?
Well, she guessed it was okay right? Sort of. It meant she was being trusted at least a little. Not that she understood why considering he'd already escaped his tent with ease under her watch. Looked like she was going to have to get used to the carefree boy. It seemed her threats had no real effect either, of course, she knew Lilith wasn't going to do anything to him, she'd been told firmly to keep him in one piece. After all, how would you negotiate a profit with a beaten a bruised hostage? It just wasn't ideal, if they were nice they'd stand a better chance of getting whatever he was being traded for.
Shifting from behind the prince she stood next to him now, still holding the little flower she played with it nervously as she stood watching the two. What the hell was she going to do with this guy while he was here? Just sit and stare at him? Watch him as he played in the dirt? She guessed it could have been assigned a harder job, would she prefer the harder job? Probably it was more fun to fight than it was to sit with some guy. They could make flower crowns? She didn't know what to do with this guy, but it seemed she'd need to keep him busy to stop him from doing whatever he wanted.
Callan knew the kid had to be right; Crius would know his own leader, after all. Just like Callan knew Tia. All her idiosyncrasies, all her moods. He could tell when Tia was angry before anyone else could, he could tell when she needed him and when she needed to be left alone. He'd been able to tell the way he'd hurt her with the things he'd said before he left for the army. So he trusted Crius on this one.
But he couldn't understand it. Elena wasn't the kind of person Callan thought he'd forget meeting. She'd only said his surname when she'd seen him in the forest - maybe it was someone from his family who'd wronged her? It wasn't inconceivable.
Callan watched the boy leave, and almost immediately new faces entered the tent. They must have been waiting. The guard was greeted with Elena's boot to his jaw, and it became abundantly clear to him that this wasn't a family thing. No, this seemed far more personal.
Time for a new theory.
Suddenly what Crius had said to him about not passing out too quickly seemed not to be the joke Callan had hoped it might be, and figuring out what the hell Elena's problem with him was rocketed higher on his priorities list. It hurt like hell, of course. If he hadn't been bound his hand would've instinctively flown to the injured jaw, but as it was impossible to do so, he had to settle with a pained grunt and a muttered swear.
Elena and her second had a brief exchange, and he didn't need to understand Elena's hissed words to know that she was most certainly not satisfied with just that kick. It was going to be a long...well, however long he was going to be there. And if Elena had anything to do with it, it wouldn't end well for him, he was fairly sure. He could only hope the decision of whether or not to kill him was kept out of her hands.
Elena then scowled, turned on her heel and left. That meant Callan was alone with her second, who crouched down next to him to undo his bindings. Callan didn't even have time to wonder why before Reed pulled him to his feet and indicated for him to follow Elena. The man caught the warning that lay within his threat about not doing anything stupid. Now both Crius and Reed had given him largely similar warnings about The Siren.
"I don't think I need to," was Callan's response, eyes following where Reed had pointed and where Elena was waiting. This was going to go badly whether he did anything stupid or not. Anyway, if what Crius said was right (and it seemed to be), he'd already done something stupid.
The worst part was, he couldn't remember it.
Still, he didn't waste any time. As reluctant as he was to be alone with a woman who was very clear in her desire to kill him, he also knew it would be equally dangerous to keep a woman who was very clear in her desire to kill him waiting.
So he stepped outside the tent, blinking as he took in the new scene around him of the camp. It smelled of fresh woodland air and woodsmoke, and he could sense the buzz of activity and quiet bustle that there always seemed to be in places like this. Sadly there wasn't enough time to properly soak everything in, never mind to try and see if there were any weak points security-wise. Not that it mattered anyway - not until he knew where Carlo was. He didn't want to try to escape until he knew the location of that other woman, Lilith's, camp. There was no way he was returning without the prince.
All he had time to do was take a breath of that refreshing air in an effort to mentally prepare himself for whatever was about to happen before catching up with Elena.
"Look, clearly we've gotten off on the wrong foot here," he began to her, eyes flicking down for a moment to the boot from which he'd just moments ago received that kick to the jaw "Unless kicking people in the face is a habit of yours"
He couldn't say he really understood what was happening. There had to be something he was missing here. How could he have done something to hurt this woman so badly and yet he didn't remember it? He could only imagine how angry she'd be if she found out that he didn't remember whatever it was that he was supposed to have done. Not to mention that he didn't exactly think she'd believe him if he did try to explain that he didn't remember it.
In other words, Callan couldn't see any scenario in which the following conversation would go well for him.
Lilith froze when Carlo put the flower in her hair, saying purple suited her. She blinked her violet eyes, safely hidden behind the grey contacts. But it was as if the boy could see right through them, could see the Telekine magic flowing through her. Could see Alexandria itself in her.
What did he know? Surely he couldn’t know, surely it had to be a coincidence. The way those green eyes fixed on her made it feel all the more like he somehow knew something. But there was no way. She’d been so careful. Nobody knew she was even alive. Briseis Lenore had been dead for three years, just like she should be. Lying alongside her sisters and her mother just like she sometimes wished she was. Because she hates that for some reason she’d survived, when nobody else had. Why had Minke and Maylea been denied the opportunity to live like she had? Why had she lived while her thirteen year old sister was gone?
If this boy really knew something, it would be bad news indeed. It was the one thing she couldn’t afford getting out. She’d learned how to play the power game, to make herself essentially invulnerable. But if it came out that she was a Telekine, and a princess of Alexandria to boot, every bounty hunter in Oikoumene would be after her. Every ruler would want her head, just to make sure everyone still knew what they did to Factioneers. Or maybe they’d keep her as a prisoner, so they could show off such a rare kind of Factioneer.
But the rational part of her brain took over. It was just a coincidence. There was no way he knew. She touched the flower for a moment, before taking it out of her hair, mouth set in a hard line.
She was unaffected by his words about not causing trouble, about being a gentleman. Instead her mouth just flashed into a brief smile that didn’t reach her eyes, before immediately settling again.
“I think you think this is a game.” Lilith replied evenly, her voice calm but having a sharp, warning edge to it “I assure you it isn’t. I’ve dealt with far too many people like you, I know what you’re doing. Whatever you’re playing, I’m not playing with you.”
Royals who thought they were untouchable? Lilith had seen plenty of those in her time. They were a dime a dozen. It bordered on sociological cliche, really. And that was coming from a former princess. She’d thought she was untouchable too, until her world crumbled around her.
“You’re a decent kid, I can tell.” Lilith said firmly, determined not to let it sound too soft or like a compliment “we’ll get along just fine provided you behave yourself.”
She rose to her feet, dusting herself off, before casting a glance at Eden.
“Keep an eye on him.” she instructed “I’ll arrange for someone to bring some food. God knows Ress wouldn’t have fed him and I doubt Atlas wastes space carrying spare food that he could use for whiskey. I’ll be back later to talk with him.”
With those instructions given, Lilith stepped away to leave the two alone. She could be seen stopping to talk with someone cooking by the fire, before heading back towards her own tent and disappearing inside.
Where, out of sight of the others, she opened her palm to look at the purple flower in her hand. Was this like the ones that used to grow in that little patch outside the palace, on the hill she and her sisters often sat on in the summer? Maybe, it was hard to remember. Even after only three years things were getting blurry now.
She didn’t know how long she stared at that little flower.
Athena scowled at Dante and gave him her middle finger. "Alright die then, it was just a question," she snapped back, ignoring Alex's attempt to keep things civil. Athena could have absolutely looked over his shoulder like a stalker to see what he was reading. But she was trying to be polite by asking. She was never gonna do that again. Especially when she was not above biting back and hitting even lower with someone who thought he was above her in life.
What a joke he was.
Approaching Alex, she gave him a thin and forced smile as she grabbed her skirts, curtsied, and then violently tossed them to the side. A feebile attempt to cast the fabric away and off of her. Of course it just swished back around her legs and settled in its former position.
"Very funny," She hummed in a strained happiness. She was not in the mood to deal with Dante's blatant dislike of her and Alex's childish teasing. She was only growing more and more tired of this twisted way of palace life they had. "You better hope your father isn't thinking of courting me," she hissed bitterly. It was only somewhat of a joke.
Moving around the table to one of the discarded books, Athena ran a hand over the spine and opened it. More information on abilities and what they could do. She could see why this book was cast to the side as it didn't have a lot of information about Telekine's themselves. Much more on Sonix's it seemed.
"I-" The mercenary stopped herself before she could finish her sentence. Physically clamped her mouth shut as she thought about what she was going to offer in a moment of blindness.
"I could teach you some things..."
What in the hell was she thinking? Yes, she wanted to help them keep her sister safe and alive. But, she also had to keep in mind about herself. She was also one of these "dangerous" Telekine's. She loved Alex like a brother but she didn't trust him as far as she could throw Dante (ignoring that she could probably throw that little stick a wide distance). They didn't need to know what she was and who Minke was to her. Not yet.
"I can tell I'm not wanted by half of the party so I'll leave you to it. I just thought I'd check in on you two before I attempt another failed escape plan," She shrugged and turned on her heel. She pulled up her skirts and began walking out of the library, suddenly desperate to be alone and away from this conversation.
Elena hadn't bothered to wait for Callan to follow. Nor did she look at him when he did catch up to her. She stared straight ahead as she led them away from the camp and into the denser parts of the forest. Her expression was stoney almost unreadable. but her body language read as completely enraged. There was tension in her shoulders and her back was stick straight. She was trying t contain herself.
Even when the Verndari spoke, Elena didn't look at him. She simply shoved her hands into her coat and gritted her teeth together. He thought this was funny did he? He was going to make stupid jokes about the sisutation? Now she knew where the prince got it from.
"You deserve worse," She hisssed in response. She picked up her speed once she was certain she was farther away from the camp. Away from anyone hearing them. "Be grateful I didn't kick you harder. Now, stop talking before I forget my deal with those other idiots," she threatened before falling silent.
Every now and then Elena would touch a tree, counting how many they had passed and how deep into the woods they were going. Keeping track of which direction they were going and how she would need to get them back. Every step she took was purposeful, leaving tracks in the dirt to find her way back or for someone to find her. She wasn't making an effort to hide what she was doing, in fact she didn't care if Callan saw it or not.
He wouldn't be able to live long enough if he did run.
When Elena hissed at him that he deserved worse, Callan was more confused than ever. Crius had said that she was holding some sort of grudge, and the kid couldn’t have been more on the money. Clearly whatever he was supposed to have done wasn’t a minor slight, but something far worse.
The problem was, he still really didn’t have the faintest clue what this thing he’d done was. If he’d done something this terrible, he was sure he’d remember it. Sure, he followed orders, but he never went out of his way to cause pain or hurt. Something really wasn’t adding up here.
“I have no idea what it is I’m supposed to have done, but even so, you’re perfectly within your rights to kill me. But you have a nice thing going here - Crius is a great kid - and Queen Adrestia will be on the warpath already.” was his reply
He wanted to make sure they both knew where they stood. Elena could do whatever she wanted, but if any harm came to him or Carlo, Ernestine would be the least of Elena and Lilith’s problems. Besides, as soon as he had a better idea of where to find Lilith’s camp, he’d be trying to make his own escape. He couldn’t face returning to Tia without her brother, not any more than he could face leaving Carlo out here alone.
Elena had a wonderful set-up, but Callan knew that Tia wouldn’t hesitate to take out her anger on her and Lilith when she found out it was they who were holding him and Carlo. Never mind if any harm came to either of them.
Callan understood that; he’d always been protective of the queen and the prince, ever since they were kids. Looking out for them was the one part of his role Callan had never had any issue with, even if he hadn’t always expressed it in the way his father (or Tia’s parents) had wanted him to. He’d do anything for them - after all, wasn’t that why he was in this situation?
Ernestine was dangerous, but Callan felt that his queen was certainly not to be underestimated.
I have no idea what it is I’m supposed to have done...
Elena never made it past those words. Her pace slowed to a stop as those orders played over and over and over again while the Verndari kept talking. nothing he was saying reached her ears. Her boiling rage was blocking everthing else out.
Quick as a whip, Elena turned on him and grabbed one of his arms. Throwing all of her bodyweight back, she used his against him and flipped him over her shoulder. Once his back connected with the ground, she twisted and pulled on the arm in her hands and effectively dug the sole of her boot into his throat.
She should crush his windpipe right now. Be done with him and never have to deal with him or the thought of him ever again. "You don't even f.cking remember?" she snapped, grip tightening on his wrist and her foot pressing down inch by inch. "You can't look at me and remember how you tried to kill me?" There was such an intense fire in her eyes as she stood there shaking. Forcing herself to keep from killing him right then and there.
Instead, she managed to pull her foot away from his throat and land a well aimed kick at his ribs. All the while screaming at him in her native language. "¡Eres una excusa inútil para un hombre! ¡Reconozca lo que hizo!"
What was it Reed had said? Oh yeah, ‘don’t do anything stupid’.
Well, Callan was pretty sure what he’d just done qualified as something stupid, which made the situation he’d now gotten himself into entirely his own fault.
It was only when Elena flipped him, and snapped about him not remembering, that recognition finally flashed across his eyes. He remembered this woman, but he hadn’t recognised her because she’d looked quite different the last time they’d met.
A soldier he’d met after around a year of his service in the army. She’d been pretending to be a man, going by the name Santiago. Callan had found out she was a woman, but had been called away shortly after and never returned to that unit. Once or twice before he’d found himself wondering what had become of that soldier, but now he supposed he had his answer.
The problem was he still didn’t know what he’d done. Was she angry that he knew? Did she think he’d told someone? Of course he hadn’t, he would never have said a word. Especially when he’d known exactly what would have happened to her if that information had gotten out.
He’d seriously thought he might have pushed her to kill him as her foot dug harder and harder into his throat. After all, Elena had threatened to simply forget the orders she’d been given by Ress and Atlas and from their limited interaction Callan fully believed she would. For Elena, the satisfaction of killing him might just outweigh the consequences from Ernestine.
Luckily for him, she removed her foot and opted for a hard kick in the ribs. That was the kind of pain that made you want to double over on yourself. Callan held up the arm Elena hadn’t grabbed to flip him moments before, hoping to placate her for just a moment. She did seem to be done with the physical expression of her anger, now screaming at him in her language.
“You’re Mendoza,” Callan began painfully, breathing heavy, the hand he’d lifted to try and ward off Elena now moving to the throat she’d just been pressing her foot into “I know, I recognise you now.”
He was still feeling like they’d skipped a couple of steps here. He still recognised her, of course, but he still had no idea what had led her to hold this rage against him.
He looked at her now, confused, shaking his head slightly and drawing his brows together. Whatever was happening here, he thought he at least deserved to understand it.
“But I swear I have no idea what this is about,” Callan continued “I seem to be the only one who doesn’t, actually.”
Even Crius had seemed to know more than Callan had, and he got the impression Reed knew. He’d seen the way Elena and her right-hand man had looked when they came into his tent.
“I promise that whatever it is that happened was nothing to do with me.”
He meant that sincerely. If he really knew he’d done something to hurt her, he would’ve owned up to it. He might be a lot of things, but he wasn’t a liar. And the impression he got from Elena was that if he had done it, telling the truth would be a far better option than lying.
No, he figured that if she thought he was lying, he’d be in for far more pain. The real question would be whether she believed him when he said he hadn’t done anything.
Alex had yelled those words once to his father. It was in an argument when he was a teenager, and such spats were so frequent that he didn’t even remember what they had been fighting about.
The prince was known to get hot-tempered in arguments, but he very rarely meant the things he said. This was one of the few exceptions, as much as he didn’t like to admit that little truth.
His cousin Aurore and her parents in Levina had treated him truly kindly while he’d been with them, as terrified as he had been of the situation he’d found himself in. Very different from the father who had seemed so reluctant to show any concern or care for his son from the moment the war with Levina had broken out and his mother had sent him away. Different from the biological mother who had seemed to care for him, but not as much as she cared for her ability to use her son as a political pawn. Different from this new stepmother who seemed to be trying to hard to mother him, like she could somehow fix him if she just acted like she loved him enough.
The exception was his brother. Any negative feelings he had towards Caspian were of Alexiares’ own making. Jealousy that everything seemed so much easier for him, at least from Alex’s perspective. The younger prince knew that, knew that things could be better with him and his brother if he didn’t keep so much distance between them. But they’d never been especially close and as they’d gotten older it seemed harder and more intimidating to bridge that gap. Children, after all, make friends in an instant. It wasn’t so easy once you weren’t infants anymore.
He did wish sometimes that his father hadn’t brought him back. He wished he’d known how much of his father bringing him back to Oralee was about ending the war, or about the shame of a king having a son held captive, and his much was about genuine concern or love for his youngest son.
But the truth was that he never would.
He’s known his father wouldn’t take the words well the moment he’d said them, but he hadn’t lost the venom in his tone. Because he’d meant it. Deeply, truly, achingly meant it.
In Levina, they’d treated him mostly as if he were one of their own. They had never seemed to care the way his father did about the fact that he was half Oraleean and half Levinian. They cared about him for the part of him that belonged to them, rather than judging him for the part that didn’t.
“You’re Adreana’s boy,” he remembered them telling him “we take care of our own.”
He’d known that his safety was conditional on his father’s cooperation with their demands, but he was able to forget about that. Enjoy the illusion that he was completely and totally safe with people that really did care about him.
Alex would rather have had that. There was a very childish part of him that would have rather played house with that Damocles’ sword above his head than come home and faced the cold reality. A reality that wasn’t his fault, and a reality that he couldn’t really change no matter what he did.
So yeah, he did mean it. He did wish that he’d stayed in Levina.
The Lenore family had famously been private and secretive. Few could even speak of having seen the princesses and the queen, and public appearances were not common. Nor was it usual for them to interact with other kingdoms.
Even within the family, they were not always inclined to share things with one another. Lilith - or, as she was known, Briseis - was perhaps the least open of the sisters. She was the oldest, and she had a lot to shoulder. Her nature was quiet, stern and stoic anyway, and the weight of the expectations she placed on herself as future queen made her even less likely to share things with her sisters.
She had always looked up to her mother and the strength she held. She wanted to be like that one day, she’d decided. And to do that she had to show the same strength. Mistakenly, however, from a young age she’d told herself that strength involved distancing once she’d and taking on burdens alone.
Sometimes she’d surprise her sisters by sharing something, often out of the blue and only because it was something that was truly distressing her. She wouldn’t express that emotion in front of Maylea and Minke if she could help it, but they could know by the very fact that she’d chosen to share something that it was affecting her deeply.
The feeling that she had to be more than she was, and that she wanted more than what she was supposed to be, had crushed her sometimes. She’d wanted more than to be queen. She’d wanted adventure. She’d wanted to fight and see the world from somewhere other than the walls of their home.
Sometimes she’d wondered if all of this had so much consumed her that she hadn’t done enough with her sisters.
It was a source of great guilt for her. She was close with them, but she’d never truly let them in. And it hurt her to think Maylea and Minke might have died without knowing how much they meant to her. How she would’ve given her life for them - though there she stood, alive when they were gone.
She didn’t know how to live without everything she’d ever known and everyone she’d ever loved. That was why she’d made a new identity for herself; she couldn’t bear her old name that she shared with them. If she could be someone else she could be someone who’d never had to lose them.
Still, Lilith had never been able to let it go. That was why she still worked to one day return to her old kingdom, or whatever was left of it. She knew the dangers of returning but she was willing to die for it. She didn’t know if she was cut out to be a ruler, but she’d take back the last place she’d had her family at her side come hell or high water.
It was why she’d had such rivalry with Elena right from the start. This woman who was a danger of coming between her and her plan to return home. A woman with a skill in dealing in secrets, secrets Lilith couldn’t afford to get out.
She loved her sisters and nothing, and no one, would stop her from avenging them.
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CherryFeather: omg this one is kinda scary
Oct 24, 2021 0:04:05 GMT -5
CherryFeather: I cried near the end of Path Of Stars sjkshsjk
Oct 24, 2021 0:23:56 GMT -5
CherryFeather: I'm not gonna spoil anything but I CRIED-
Oct 24, 2021 0:24:36 GMT -5
𝓕𝓮𝓪𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓻: Don't worry, I know what happens at the end of Path of Stars.
Oct 24, 2021 14:41:38 GMT -5
𝙵𝚎𝚛𝚛𝚎𝚝𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚙: My copy of Path of Stars may or may not have tear stains on the last few pages…
Oct 24, 2021 14:51:37 GMT -5
𝓕𝓮𝓪𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓻: I don't own a single copy from DOTC. I do own every book in
𝙵𝚎𝚛𝚛𝚎𝚝𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚙: That makes sense.
Oct 24, 2021 16:49:47 GMT -5
Dark Sun: You know how Yellowfang's Secret, for some reason, doesn't have the map territories included in it, right?
Oct 25, 2021 4:09:49 GMT -5
Dark Sun: I had a dream last night that I opened up my copy and the map territories were included, then I saw the ink was faded, the pages were gray, then huge tears and holes were in the top of the pages.
Oct 25, 2021 4:10:27 GMT -5
Dark Sun: I flipped through the book and there were shredded pages, entire sections missing, like one of them was 60 pages...
Oct 25, 2021 4:10:49 GMT -5
Dark Sun: I freaked out when I woke up and I checked my copy to make sure it's okay. Lol
Oct 25, 2021 4:11:05 GMT -5
𝐛𝐥𝟒𝐜𝐤𝐬𝐨𝐥: I am at school right now and I literally can't do this.
Oct 25, 2021 5:25:10 GMT -5