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Thread: [M] Draconian Prophecy (Ushima/Ashen)

  1. #121
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    Beatrice approached the current, and only, occupied guest room in the castle. Floating along beside her was a small tray of food. The maid had some magical skill which made her duties much easier. If she wanted to she could further her studies at the Mage College but she chose to keep her abilities limited. Mage's who finished their training tended to be assigned to units on the battlefield, acting in any number of roles. The only way she could've remained home was if she became a spell researcher or an alchemist. The first one required too many risks and the other has years of experience with herbalism. Beatrice was happy where she was. She got a steady check, saw her son everyday and worked for the Queen. Very prestigious. Knocking on the door Beatrice entered the chamber. "Good morning Lady Clover." The tray of food was set down on the table. "Big day today. The Queen asked me to show you around the castle after breakfast. Then she'd like to have tea with you at noon to discuss important matters. After that there's the feast in the evening." The maid opened the curtains, letting in the morning sunlight. "If you hurry we might be able to catch his majesty the prince during his morning training with the Inner Circle."

    ~

    Mikal groaned as he rolled out of bed. "Morning already?" He yawned. Getting out of bed he stretched. "Man was it good to be in my own bed again. Screw sleeping on the ground with the rocks and bugs." The prince quickly got ready for his morning training, changing his clothes. Bathing would come later, no point washing now only to have to do it again after working up a sweat sparing. The prince took the familiar path through the halls, arriving at the private training yard. One way in and out. It was on the side of the mountain. A low wall was all that was keeping someone from falling off. Training dummies lined the rock wall on the far side. Benches hugged the wall next to the entrance for spectators to sit and watch. The Inner Circle, his father's council and his tutors, were waiting for him.

    "Seems the prince is finally up." Sir Edmont the Valor chuckled. The Skyknight was already waiting for him in the center of the training ring. On his left arm was a shield and his right hand was a sword. "Thought you were going to sleep in."

    "The thought crossed my mind." Mikal plucked a generic shield off the rack. Normally he didn't use one, preferring the two handed style, but he kept up the training to stay in top form.

    "Leave the poor boy alone Charles." High Mystic Delara spoke up. The Archmage was sitting on the bench with Field Marshal Danes. Her dragon as coiling around her torso and leaning over her right shoulder to be pet. Danes' dire bear was curled up next to him sleeping. "He's had it rough for a couple weeks."

    "You know we can't go easy on the boy Del." Danes replied.

    There came the flapping of powerful wings as Edmont's dragon joined them, finding a spot to settle up the mountain and bask in the sun. "I was wondering where Shale was hiding."

    "Just went out to stretch his wings." Sir Edmont the Valor took his fighting stance. "Now ready yourself."

    Mikal took a similar stance and smirked. "Aren't I always?" Edmont didn't answer with words but action. Striking out first. The old Knight, couple years older than his father, might have been getting up there in age but he hasn't lost his step along the way. Mikal blocked with his shield. It was a powerful blow but he held firm, lashing out with a counter.

    ~

    Beatrice was walking along the corridors. The hallway opened up. Large columns allowed an opening to view the private training grounds. This allowed a perfect overhead view for the king to watch his children train and offer advice. "Ah we're in luck they seem to have just started."

  2. #122
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    Clover couldn't sleep. She'd paced the room far too many times, and even tried to explore the castle corridors, but had gotten lost along the way. She'd eventually found her way back to her room, and stared out the window aimlessly. What was her family thinking now? Sophia? She turned away, losing herself to her thoughts.

    The castle guest was in a very light stage of sleep when there was a knock at the door. Clover groggily sat up and watched as Beatrice stepped inside with a tray of food. Breakfast in bed? The maid, from the looks of things, was also a mage of sorts. Clover shifted, suddenly feeling inadequate. She waited until Beatrice was beside her to take up the tray and stare at its contents. "A feast?" Clover said, interrupted Beatrice. "Then what is this?" It was a feast for one, a lonely sort of luxury. Clover hadn't finished her supper last night, and this woman expected her to put all this breakfast away and save room for tea and a feast? She shifted. "Yes, thank you."

    The food was still too much, and Clover ended up leaving a lot on her plate. She stepped away from the bed, wondering what she would wear. Turning back to the bed, she hesitated. "Should I make it?" she mumbled. It would take her much longer than someone accustomed to such a thing, and besides, weren't that what the servants were for? Though Clover had to admit, she didn't like the idea of leaving her chores to someone else. She looked out the window, judged the position of the sun. She had too many things to do, too many places to be. She didn't have time for her chores.

    Beatrice had brought her a dress, though Clover would have rather died than try it on. The lace, the dainty colors and patterns; it completely clashed her style. She narrowed her eyes, then turned away. "Where are my clothes?" she asked. "Would it be possible to ah, bring something else?"

    Clover hated being a burden, but she had her limits. She could get used to the baths and the foods, but she was not going to be prancing around in ballgowns. So, when Beatrice brought her a much shorter outfit, she put it on grudgingly. The soft shirt and short silk skirt were probably the simplest things she was going to find in this castle, but the corset was uncomfortable and added the touch Beatrice assured her the others in the castle would expect. Clover looked in a pane of glass and looked at her reflection. Her outfit was too regal. She turned around, saw the strings Beatrice had helped her tie together. Were all their outfits so difficult to get into?

    Finally, Beatrice and Clover headed out of the guest room. Beatrice escorted her to some sort of training room. She could see Mikal standing among others and their dragons. She wondered if he could see her. Clover almost hoped he wouldn't see her in such a ridiculous getup. She watched him wordlessly. She'd trained plenty in her own tribe, and had watched him take on her family, but so many opponents? "Will he use magic?" she asked Beatrice. "Has he slept enough? He's had such a long journey."

  3. #123
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    Beatrice smiled at the girl. "I doubt they will use magic. While the Inner Circle can use magical abilities to some extent Sir Edmont isn't that well versed as the High Mystic. The Commander is a soldier. He prefers the weight of a sword over that of a spellbook. As for enough sleep I can't say for certain. Though the Prince is used to running on very little energy when he needs to. My husband used to tell me stories of his time training. They'd wake the recruits up at random times or keep them awake longer then make them run drills to practice in case of emergencies and they can't sleep."

    ~

    Mikal took a hard shield bash to the side and landed on his back. Sir Edmont came at him with downward slash. Recovering quickly Mikal raised his shield and blocked, pushing the blade aside. He retaliated with a kick creating some room to get to his feet. Mikal glanced at his shield, it was getting in his way. So he threw it away, at the Knight Commander. Edmont knocked the shield away with his which was all the opening Mikal needed. He rushed in, thrusting with his sword. Not having enough time to pull his shield back Edmont parried. Mikal's blade went wide creating a new opening for Edmont who returned with a strike of his own. The edge of his shield struck Mikal in the head and the prince went down. Delara gasped and covered her mouth. Danes barked out a laugh. "The lad is probably hearing bells."

    "The only thing I hear is your annoying voice." Mikal pulled himself up with his sword. He was covered in sweat and bruises decorated his chest. The prince had long since discarded his shirt, the drenched garment feeling gross against his skin. The side of his head and a small cut and blood slid down the right side of his face to his chin where it hung before dripping to the dirt beneath the prince's feet.

    "Annoying!?" Danes growled and stood up while Delara laughed at the Ranger. "Don't make me come in there and help Charles team up on you!"

    Sir Edmont held his sword out, blocking the Field Marshal from entering the training ground. "He's just trying to get under your skin. The prince has that annoying habit of driving his opponents mad."

    "If it works it works right?" Mikal smirked and wiped his face which didn't do much other than smear it across his cheek. "Ready for round two?" The prince took a two handed grip on his sword.

    ~

    "It seems Edmont is taking it easy today. Due to the fact that the prince returned yesterday." Beatrice gestured to the other end of the hall. "Shall we continue or do you want to watch more?"

  4. #124
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    Clover was a little disappointed she wouldn't be seeing Mikal's magic. She had only seen a bit while he'd lived with her family, and the magic he had used had exhausted him. She would have liked to see some simpler spells. Her family practiced their magic, but they didn't use much of it in combat, as their preferred fighting style was assuming a form of a beast better able to fight. She sighed, but figured there would be more time later to sample the prince's abilities.

    She could tell from his movements the prince was tired, even if he were used to fighting with little sleep. His competitor fought hard, and even scratched Mikal enough to warrant some bleeding. Clover's red eyes danced between the two. She wanted to join the fight, to wield her daggers and fight like a human. She had plenty of skill with her blades and she knew she could take the men on. But Clover didn't move; her daggers were back in her room--one of them, anyway--and, while dressed in this ridiculous dress, she wouldn't be nearly as agile as her weapons allowed. She was reduced to watching her shirtless lover--was that what he was?

    She finally looked up when Beatrice spoke. Clover glanced back at the fighters, then turned her body towards the servant. "Yeah, let's look at more of the castle. I should like to memorize its layout. That would come in handy, surely. I have all the time in the world to watch sweaty men later." She smirked and started off down the corridor again. Clover lingered though, not wanting to go without Beatrice for fear of getting lost. "Where are we going to see? Might we visit the kitchens? I'd like to see how the chefs here prepare things."

  5. #125
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    "Of course we can visit the kitchens. There's something we can see on the way as well." Beatrice led Clover off the balcony and down more hallways. They came to a large metal door. "This is the pump room." The maid led them inside. "This will clear your curiosities about the bathroom." Beatrice showed off the room. Large pumps and pipes working in tandem to pump water throughout the castle. "This room provides water throughout the castle. A similar facility is set up down in the city for the civilians."

    "An' what do we hav' 'er?" A deep accented voice called out. A short man walked over to them. He stood about four foot eight and had long hair and beard that was bright red.

    "Lady Clover this is Balderich Ironhammer. He's the lead Dwarven Engineer employed here at the castle. His people designed the pump system." Beatrice turned to Balderich. "Sir Balderich this is the castle's guest Clover. She came in with the prince last night. We are on our way to the kitchen for the tour and this was on the way."

    "Pleasure to meet you lass." The Dwarf held out his hand for a handshake. "Glad to hav' the prince back in one piece so thanks fer that. The lad still owes me a few drinks an' I plan to cash in soon." Balderich looked at the pumps. "Mighty impressive. Dwarven Engineering at it's finest."

  6. #126
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    Clover trusted Beatrice enough to lead her safely around the castle, so she didn’t protest when the woman told her there was someplace else she had to see. She made sure to count the columns they passed, memorize the suits or armor lining the halls, but she would forget it all soon. When they finally arrived, Clover looked around curiously. The pump room… “So the water flows through here?” she asked, moving to touch one of the pipes. “But how does it flow upwards like this, unless you—”

    She was cut off by the sound of a deep voice. Clover jumped away from the pipes, hoping her touching them hadn’t offended someone. She looked over the man—no, not man—that had entered the room. Beatrice introduced him as a dwarven engineer. She looked around at all the pipes again. “You designed these, then?” she asked. “It’s something else. The way you can bend water, as if you are a nature god yourself, it is a masterful use of your resources and intelligence. I cannot—oh.” She only then noticed his outstretched hand, and took it awkwardly. This dwarf had a firm handshake, which Clover met with her own tough grip. She motioned towards the pipes again. “This kind of technology could greatly benefit society as a whole.”

    She had to wonder at that. Would her family ever come to use things like this? Would her family ever have a single, non-mobile home again? She turned away, pretended to concentrate on one of the pipes. Absently her fingers picked at some flakes of rust. She shook her head, and with it, her thoughts. When she turned back to Balderich, she was smiling again. “I think we should all go out for some drinking some time. I’d love to see Mikal get out-drank by a dwarf. You will bring me along, won’t you?”

  7. #127
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    "Of course lass. The more the merrier." Balderich laughed. "Any friend of the prince is a friend of mine."

    "A couple years ago we struck a trade agreement with the Dwarves of Algorath. Part of the deal was they help us install piping technology." Beatrice explained. "So far we've managed to get it working throughout the city and are soon to start expanding to our other settlements."

    "But tha' creates it's own problems." Balderich jumped in. "Here in the capital it's easy. There's a water source nearby, the river. In remote places if it's not large nough we might not want to compromise the integrity. A small settlement might have a singular well or two tha' could sustain a small village and naturally replenish itself. We'd hate to waste water trying to set up a piping network."

    Beatrice nodded. "The king wants to take technological expansion slowly. Some might even be resistant to change. I'm afraid it's something the prince will inherit once he takes the throne."

    "The lad will manage." Balderich thumped his chest. "Tha' boy has the a stubbornness tha' could rival me own."

    "Quite right." Beatrice turned back to Clover. "Shall we continue on to the kitchens?"

    ~

    Mikal had finished with his physical training and had taken up dueling with Delara. The Hight Mystic was eager to help the young prince practice. Delara fired off a few bolts of magic. The prince responded by quickly bringing up a barrier and attacked with a beam of his own. Countering quickly Delara used a beam of her own and the two attacks met. "Classic beam struggle." Danes smirked. "Think he'll win this time Charles?"

    The Sky Knight crossed his arms. "Doubt it."

    But it didn't matter who could overpower who as Mikal cancelled his attack, rolling to the right. He conjured of few orb of white light the flew toward Delara. The woman was swift though and could easily dodge the orbs as the whizzed around her. But the prince didn't grow frustrated as he directed his orbs. Mikal continued to control his orbs with his left hand. Crouching down he touched the ground with his right and channeled his energy into the dirt. Roots sprouted up from the ground underneath Delara and wrapped around her feet holding her in place. "What!?" She yelled in surprise.The orbs stopped moving and hovered in place.

    "Arcane Grenade!" All the orbs zoomed in on the trapped mage. The was a small explosion around Delara. Dust and small rocks flew every which way.

    Danes laughed. "He even gave it a cool name!"

    A feminine laugh echoed around the training field. "Creative." Flames erupted from beneath Delara, burning her restraints. The mage walked out of the dust cloud, flames trailing behind her with each step. "Lets end this." Waving her arms Delara channeled her energy. Cracks appeared underneath Mikal and a giant stone hand emerged and grasped him tightly.

    "Damn it." The prince curse.

    "You're getting clever with your tactics instead of just trying to overpower your opponent." Delara told him. "You're realizing this isn't like a sword fight. It required a lot more thinking due to how many options you have." With a snap of her fingers the prince was let go. "We'll pick this up later. Go clean up. Don't want to keep your lady friend waiting."

    Mikal was escorted back to his room. Now a sweaty and dirty mess he decided a bath was in proper order. As he filled the tub he wondered if Clover discovered the wonders of Dwarven technology. After washing himself quickly and drying he retrieved his clothes. A darker outfit with gold accents. Mikal didn't bother putting his sword on his belt, instead carrying it with his left hand. Once he was ready he set off to meet Clover, wherever she'd be.
    Last edited by Ushima; 07-14-2017 at 05:58 PM.

  8. #128
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    Clover listened to the history and the plans for this strange technology. She understood why it was a problem, implementing it so far, and such got her thinking about her family again. How many would willingly take to change, especially change brought about by Drakilian allies? Before she could get lost in thought, Beatrice urged her onto the kitchens. Clover bowed her goodbye to the dwarf, and she followed the maid away.

    On the way, Clover heard a giant explosion, and she felt the ground shake. She paused, fingers dancing over her hidden dagger. She looked to Beatrice, who seemed to be perfectly content. Training, apparently. Mikal was training with magics, and she had missed it.

    The kitchens were bigger than Clover imagined. When Beatrice introduced them Clover stepped away to study them. They seemed peaceful, but almost professional. She immediately noticed it wasn't like cooking outside among the whole family. There was no homey feel to these kitchens, and she was all too aware of its absence. She ran her fingers over the counters and walls. They were almost like a prison, confining the cooking flames and the friendliness that should have been spread through food. These kitchens felt hollow, and Clover couldn't imagine working someplace like here.

    After getting over that shock, the girl moved onto the foods. She looked over the spices, recognizing some, guessing at others. Their supply of foodstuffs was greater than she could have imagined. To have so many goods just waiting for the flame... Meanwhile, she had spent her whole life going out and foraging for good for that day. Keeping food like this, where it wouldn't go bad... She could hardly imagine the possibilities of food combinations not otherwise available.

    Clover had convinced one of the cooks to let her watch as he prepared a dessert. It was a fruity sort of pastry that she had never heard of. She studied him, memorizing the recipe. Finally, when the dessert was done, she tried a piece. Too sweet for her liking, but she was more interested in studying the texture. So engrossed in this culinary lesson, she didn't notice the prince enter the kitchens.

    Finally, the cook nudged her, and she turned around. Mikal was there, dressed more like a prince ready for royal matters instead of training. "Mikal!" she greeted. "Try this dessert thing. I just watched one of your cooks make it, and you have so many more kitchen tools here. We might really be able to benefit from using some of these." She walked over to him and touched his fine cloths. "How was training? Did you win?"

  9. #129
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    Mikal smiled. "Yes I am all too familiar with Charles' desserts. My childhood was filled with them." Then he leaned in and whispered. "And knock off the 'we' bit. No one is supposed to know who 'we' is yet remember?" The prince straightened himself up, trying to pass of what the other two had just witnessed as two friends sharing a secret. "By the way you look fantastic in that. See? I knew you would. Thank you for taking care of Clover while I was busy all this time Beatrice."

    Beatrice bowed her head when the prince addressed her. "It was no problem my lord. Lady Clover was an excellent guest."

    "Surprising. From experience she's a bit of a handful." He chuckled as he looked over the kitchen. Everything was in it's usual place, which means the kitchen staff had yet to start. As he was looking around a woman entered the kitchen, followed by two men. Eventually ten people stood in a line.

    "Good they're all here." Charles walked over to the others. "Alright so as you all know the prince returned last night so we're having a small feast this evening. So we'll be busy today."

    "Charles is usually here throughout the day and the rest of the staff comes in for dinner. But since there's a feast he's called them in early." The staff went about starting the fires for cooking roasts and preparing other meals. "Why don't we get out of there way? Anything else you want to see?"

  10. #130
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    Clover colored a bit when Mikal reminded her not to refer to her family. She looked around, though no one had pieced it together. She was suddenly aware again of how much her people were hated. Clover turned away. The prince complimented her, and her blush grew darker. "It's so formal," she complained under her breath.

    Soon a group of people came in. It was the staff, and they were already getting ready for the feast. She had to wonder how much food they had to prepare for a royal banquet like this. Her head hurt just thinking about it. They'd probably make enough food to feed her whole family, multiple times. How would she stomach it all? She decided not to think about it. "Yes, let's let them be," she agreed with Mikal, and they headed out of the kitchens.

    There was so much to see that Clover didn't know where she wanted to go. Her mind wandered to all the places fairy tales told of in castles like this. Suddenly, her eyes lit up, and she turned on the prince. "Do you have an armory?" she asked. "How many swords do you have? Axes, daggers, lances, staves? Are there many magic users here? Would you let me wield something?" She'd had her twin daggers for as long as she could remember, but the idea of wielding a sword--a royal sword--still excited her. A long blade, with more power... "Do you think you could train with me sometime?"

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