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With the full force of the Guilds at her back, Rilandra Vlas seized the Territory Throne of Dena Nehele. The common born Province Queen now owes allegiance to the Master of the Guilds for his assistance in both securing the throne and securing Darcia Glassade's continual safety. Trapped between the demands of the Guilds and the demands of the Aristos, Riley is struggling to rule, finding the palace more of a cage than she could have dreamed possible.
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Author Topic: Gently Weeps  (Read 274 times)

Description: tag: Territory Court/Wards

Offline Niccolo Faa

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Gently Weeps
« on: Jan 26, 18, 09:29:01 PM »
Nick had his schedule now.  It was several days into his residency at the Territory Court, and he had discovered that he appreciated the scheduling and even regimentation of his day.  He had free time, and plenty of it, but he found that knowing what was going to happen in a given day was something of a relief.  It was not that he could not adapt, or that he didn’t like surprises, but he had lived at the whim of someone else for so long, that when he was repeatedly asked if this schedule was alright with him, he realized he had a choice.  Nick could arrange his day, within reason, as he saw fit.  If he was not a morning person, he could opt for evening things to do, if he was not an evening person, vice versa.  There were even very late shifts over night or the wee hours of the mornings, not necessarily things to learn but tasks and duties to complete.

It allowed him to begin to judge when Sway would make her appearances, and that was vital.  She could still surprise him, though that happened less as they continued to become terribly familiar with each other.  Nick was punctual.  He arrived on time and prepared, though occasionally with an extra book or two, as he could not simply conjure one of his duties left time for it.  It was rare that he was late.  If these people were going to take him in, feed him, clothe him, give him things that he simply had to ask for, than the least he could do was show up on time for training, learning, or duties.  Nick was becoming accustomed to being recognized.  Not known so much, that seemed to be reserved for Sway, but he was no longer hidden away, made to wait to be deployed like a ballistae on his Uncle’s battlefield.

Nick had decided to take a different route through the sprawling Palace, so he could learn more about it.  He had even given himself time for that walk.  What he had not accounted for was what he might find along the way.  The Palace had a conservatory.  It was a large room, marble floors, surrounded by glass.  It was beautiful really.  The centerpiece was the piano, polished to an ebony gleam, but there were other instruments; a violin, a cello, even a clarinet.  Neatly placed as though someone could appear at any time to play them, and on a stand, almost alone, near one of the tall windows that dominated the wall, there was a lone guitar.  He found himself standing in front of before he remembered choosing to move.  Nick could not understand the hold it had on him, just seeing another guitar.

I used to play this for your Mother…

Little Nico…

Yes, Little Nico, play us a song…

Julian, please, you said…

The Green Warlord Prince picked up the instrument gingerly.  He held it in his hands as though it might fly apart if he were too rough with it.  It was as delicate as memory, as heavy as his heart for just that moment.  Expressionless still, he began to tune the instrument, unconsciously using Craft to create longer nails so that he could strum each string; a pluck, and then a turn of the key, and another pluck, until he was satisfied.  He did it automatically, without thinking about it.  Nick shrugged off the messenger bag he always had with him, letting it rest on the floor by his feet.  He took a ragged breath, and closed his eyes…he began to play.

The music began softly, the notes clear and crystalline like drops of rain on the glass of the window he stood before.  Slowly, as his fingers began to remember the necessary movements, the notes, the slide along the strings, or simply pressing upon them, the music came with more confidence, more passion.  The notes rose and fell, rose and fell into precisely played high notes, and then into a gentle vibration.  The conservatory echoed with the music gently, and Nick curled over the instrument, lost for the moment, a swell of sorrow filling his chest that he was not even aware of, and then when the music ended....

Sudden and towering RAGE.  The temperature dropped around him turning the rain on the glass into crystals of ice, and he wordlessly raised the guitar over head as though he might smash it upon the marble floor.  Nick held it there for a heartbeat, two, three, his breath coming fast and heavily and then he tossed his head back and opened his mouth in a wordless scream, stamping the rage back down somewhere deep inside.  His body shook with the effort, and he gently placed the guitar back on the stand with trembling hands and stepped back from it.  Nick stared at it for a moment, straightened his clothing, and then shouldered his bag again.  His expression was impassive, easy to accomplish when one was empty.  He turned on his heel preparing to leave, and came up short.

He was not alone.

Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #1 on: Jan 26, 18, 10:19:00 PM »
There were other things he needed to see to, more than he had in the past. With his mother now dead, he was the heir and it was a matter of organizing and ensuring that he could see things handled from here versus constantly having to be back in Sweetbriar in Caecian. He thought, perhaps, that he might talk to Riley about having someone stay there for a while.

After, of course, the place was cleaned and purified. His mother's jewels were still on his person, though they were vanished away in his psychic cabinet, and the bitter ache that had been left with him had not left yet. It was why, of course, he found himself heading towards the conservatory, to the piano there, so that he could play something.

Jeremiah had often used music to calm himself, if not simply play things for those that he cared about as there were many memories of playing with Riley sitting beside him and Sora asleep across their laps. What he was not expecting, however, was the sharp spike of rage that echoed the faint sound of a guitar being played. The Rose Jeweled Warlord Prince had taken to keeping tabs on Nick, wanting to make sure that he was acclimating properly and that he was not running afoul anything.

Not that he expected him to, since Jeremiah had made sure that morning (precious few hours after he had arrived) to Prince Bane to further see him settled in. Training, guard lessons, there were plenty of things that would see him carve out his place here. Jeremiah was, ultimately, more concerned about past trauma rearing it's head and causing issues than anything else. With a young Warlord Prince who clearly knew nothing of kindness ...

Well.

It said enough.

That spike of rage said something as well, Jeremiah not noticed as he stepped inside the conservatory seeing the guitar raised over Nick's head. He had been playing it before, Jeremiah had heard the notes, but now he was not. The Warlord Prince said nothing, simply watched and stood unbothered by the frosty temperature of the room. He was, after all, often chill himself and such a thing was normal as much as he did not like it. The reason he watched was obvious as he expected what came: Nick setting the guitar back down.

Those trembling hands were caught, however, and Jeremiah finally moved into the room properly. There was no vocal greeting, only the slight tilting of his head, as the Warlord Prince moved towards the piano. Jeremiah did not truly have to say anything in response, answers would come in time from Nick, but for now he would settle at the piano. Lift up the cover upon the keys and begin to play, though with how he sat upon the bench he often expected to be joined at some point.

Whether that would be Nick or someone else would remain to be seen.

Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #2 on: Jan 26, 18, 11:44:02 PM »
Nick waited to hear something from Jeremiah.  He did not know what.  A scolding perhaps?  No, he was not a child, and the Queen’s Shadow knew that.  He did not say a word, which caused the newest Ward of the Court to watch him as he moved into the music room.  He returned the nod out of reflex, and watched as the older man moved to take a seat at the piano.  He tilted his head slightly.  He did not know how to play the piano, though it seemed Jeremiah was expecting someone.  Nick was not going to be that person.  Jeremiah had been kind, had even made food for him.  He did not make him feel oppressed by his presence, if that was even the right word.  However, sitting closing beside him as his posture seemed to suggest was something he was not prepared for.

There was no way that Jeremiah missed his outburst.  Nick was not sure what to call what had happened, other than bad memories rising to the surface.  He had not thought about those times in a very long while.  It had all been part of the conditioning, part of the trick that Julian used to control him.  His Father had never struggled, save for the first time that ended with his broken Descent.  Nick stood there for a moment, eying the piano and the Prince that played it, and the music made him hear the words, or perhaps the silence did.

Do you think your Father didn’t know my plans, Little Nico?  I am his Brother.  You were another rung on the ladder, and he and I had always planned to step on you to climb a little higher.  It was only after your Mother that he had a change of heart…

Nick blew out a breath, ”I am sorry if I worried you.  It was not my intention.  I did not know what would happen when I came in here.”  He paused a moment, and adjusted the way the bag went over his shoulder, finding some comfort in the bit of the strap and the weight of the books hidden within the bag.  It had been one of his earliest gifts, once he confessed that he could neither vanish nor conjure objects.  A gift he did not deserve, from strangers who knew nothing about him.  Nick moved to stand at the piano, placing his hand upon the shimmering black surface, feeling the vibration of the music, and then he moved away, turning as if he might leave, and then he turned around again.  ”I know what you are doing, Jeremiah.”  And he was sure that he did, though not precisely by what means.  The Warlord Prince had proven a deft and gentle hand in wrangling others, and him, even during the sparring sessions.

He rolled his shoulders slightly.  Nick did not owe Jeremiah an explanation.  The only person he owed anything to was not there.  He thought of that first night, and his lips pressed into a line for a moment, before he sighed.  ”My Father taught me that song.”  He made the statement quietly, as if in payment for previous kindnesses.  ”He was killed in front of me, by the intruders that night.”  He glanced to the guitar, and then back at Jeremiah.  ”He never once tried to help me.”  Nick declared distantly, ”Not one struggle.  Not one fight.  Not since Mother, and even then that was not for me.”  Nick eyed the other Warlord Prince and decided that was enough for now.  He did not want to discuss it further.  ”That is all.”  Plain statements of fact, made to fill an empty space that he somehow found uncomfortable.

Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #3 on: Feb 01, 18, 10:36:35 PM »
Jeremiah had begun to play, slowly at first, and easing into a soft tune as eventually Nick let out a breath and spoke. Bright eyes, more a pale green closer to Nick's own eye color than blue, glanced towards him as he spoke. He continued to say nothing, though the corner of his mouth twitched upward when the younger Warlord Prince said he knew what he was doing.

He was doing nothing was what he was doing. It was the best thing to do because he knew well that things came in time. To pressure and push, especially those that had trauma, would accomplish nothing. Jeremiah knew this especially well, given his own history and experiences with others. Not that some people did not do better with gentle coaxing, a soft word and understanding, but this was not that kind of situation.

The music continued, his fine-boned hands that were often used in sparring instead showing what they would have been more commonly doing if he had been a different sort of Aristo. Jeremiah's head tilted, listening as Nick explained. What he was playing stopped. There was no discordant hitting of keys, just the simple stop of the music he was playing.

"Do you like it? Playing the guitar and being able to create music?" asked Jeremiah instead, quietly filing away what was shared with him and tucking away his own spike of anger. Not that Nick would sense or even see it upon his face or in the way that his body moved. Riley would, however, as such things were rare from him and it was a quiet thread that said he would explain in a bit. An image was sent to her of Nick, standing as he was within the room, the bag over his shoulder. It tugged upon his heartstrings in way that he could only express to her, the way that Nick composed himself in a moment like this.

Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #4 on: Feb 02, 18, 03:58:14 PM »
Nick had told Jeremiah some things.  Enough, he knew, for Jeremiah and by extension, Riley, to begin to put more of the clues together.  He could not help but think of them as a unit.  He had no doubt that what one knew, the other did, and what one learned, the other learned soon after.  Nick had no Queen, and did not believe he ever wanted one, but he knew that Jeremiah and Riley was probably what that was supposed to be like.  He had never really had a good example of, well, anything.  Certainly nothing that he could emulate by simply having observed it in action.  He did not count Craft or Combat training as the same kind of thing.  Those were skills to learn, Jeremiah and Riley were a kind of aspiration, something to possibly reach for, some day.  However, he did not truly  believe such was ever for him, though there was one possibility that he held close to hs small, dark heart.

Jeremiah had quietly played the piano as Nick paid off his kindness with knowledge.  It seemed the fairest trade, the easiest way for the older Warlord Prince to understand his latest charge.  When he stopped playing, Nick tilted his head slightly, wondering which set of words had caused that reaction.  He was not terribly good with understanding feelings, but he was very good at reading the beats of the heart.  He had once thought that all Males would put him off, so many did, especially the ones that were afraid of him.  Julian stank of fear, resentment, and madness.  Jeremiah was never afraid of him, never resentful, never insane--at least so far.  Despite himself, he wanted to like Jeremiah, he did like Jeremiah, and Riley, but he considered it such a risk.  A risk for them, as much as it was a risk for him, but so far they had not disappointed him.

Even now, Jeremiah did not disappoint.  He did not press for more, as he knew that some would.  He had simply accepted what he had been given, and either respected Nick's wish not to discuss it further, or understood that the Green Warlord Prince was balancing his own internal scales.  At the question, Nick was silent for a long time.  His cat-like eyes cut over to the guitar, and then back to Jeremiah.  "No."  Then he winced slightly, and growled.  That was not true.  It was just confused"I am sorry."  He apologized.  There had been no reason to lie, it was a reflex, a defense.  One day, he might have to lie to Jeremiah and to Riley, but that day had not arrived yet.  He breathed a sigh, and the admission was shockingly difficult, and he did not know why.  "Yes."  He set his bag down again and walked over to the guitar.
 
For a long minute, he simply looked at it, and his hands reached out slowly, as if it were something scalding that might burn him.  Suddenly, he picked the instrument up from the stand.  Nick's voice was as calm and matter of fact as it ever was when he spoke.  "Jeremiah, there are things, many things I do not understand here."  He paused, "I really do appreciate your patience, and Riley's."  He connected the strap that was on the stand to the guitar, and put it over his shoulder with the same graceful slither that he took his bag with.  His hands trembled, and he shook them at the wrists, working his fingers, before he tried to play again, and keep the monsters at bay.  The music is different, less refined, a bit more simplistic, somehow a bit more rustic as well...and then he sings, not perfectly, but honestly. So many feelings that Nick can't possibly figure them all out, or put them in any significant order, the air cools at times as hints of anger bleed out from him, and warms again, blending and flitting through him in seconds; anger, sadness, pain, loss, anger, reluctance, shame, guilt, anger, fear, so much fear...the music ends...and then there is nothing.

He turned to Jeremiah then, his expression calm and impassive, his eyes somehow impossibly bright.  "Do you understand?"  Nick removed the guitar from his shoulder then, and placed it on the rack.  He walked back over to his bag, and shouldered it again.  "It...stirs...things."  That was the best way he could describe it.  "But I cannot...define them, not completely."  He knew that he could not be fixed, as much as he knew that Jeremiah and Riley would try.

Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #5 on: Feb 11, 18, 12:52:11 AM »
Sora hadn’t been home long, but she’d longed to get some practice in since she arrived. During her study in Moesia, she’d filled the time she wasn’t with Gabri or Lady Pavel attempting to sharpen her skills with the piano. Key by key, she’d recalled the things that Jeremiah taught her when she’d first learned to play. That was how he’d drawn her out of her shell after that first year, showing her the young Queen that she could trust him after her world had been ripped apart. Riley had taught her how to be a Queen and how to be comfortable inside her own skin, but Jeremiah taught her how to handle her emotions, how to deal with the things that she didn’t necessarily want to show people.

When the desire to play outweighed her desire to attend to work, Sora rose from her seat and headed for the door, barely giving Cezar a moment to slam a bookmark into his novel and follow her.

She rounded the corner and headed down the hallway to the conservatory doors with Cezar close on her heels. As she drew closer, the sound of the piano brought a smile to her face. Even when her eyes closed, she knew that Jeremiah was here. She heard another instrument playing alongside him, a guitar, and she was already impressed. She drew herself up to her full height, knowing that Jeremiah wasn’t alone. She wanted provide a good impression of Riley and the Territory Court from the outset. Smoothing down her turtleneck sweater and taking a deep breath, Sora entered the conservatory proper.

Jeremiah was in discussion with a young man she’d not met. Sora guessed him to be one of the new Wards of the Court that Riley spoke of earlier. She didn’t know the nature of their conversation, but Sora suddenly felt like she was interrupting something important.

Please excuse my intrusion, Prince Mercer. Prince.” she said, immediately leaning on Protocol so that the two Warlord Princes in attendance didn’t consider her an intruder and tear her to pieces. Jeremiah would never let that happen to her, she knew, but Sora’s responsibilities within the guidelines of Protocol were clear. She gestured to Cezar to hold his position and, thankfully, her Prince stopped behind her and to her left. He acknowledged both Warlord Princes with a bow and then took his cues from his Queen.

I heard the piano and came to enjoy, but we can come back later. Again, we didn’t mean to intrude.” she said.




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #6 on: Feb 13, 18, 12:43:00 AM »
The music that was played, the song that Nick played, told Jeremiah a lot but then ... He was versed in using music to speak that which was unable to be said aloud. It was often how he had let things come loose, unable to find another avenue to do so that would be productive and allow him to work through it.

Nick was working through things, learning things in this new home of his, that would take time to process and begin to fathom and understand. Just like the music that he was capable of but could not quite control how it made him feel.

"I do," replied Jeremiah quietly. His fingers plucked out a somber, yet hopeful melody, one that sounded almost like a child's lullaby or something from a music box. "Often I find it soothing to play music, to let what is within find a place as sounds that I cannot make with my own voice.

"It is not easy to define the tempest," the tempest was, in this moment, the nature of being a Warlord Prince but also emotions in general; the very things in Nick that fluttered and spiked and Jeremiah picked up on despite the fact he was often bereft of such, "to try and capture it with words or even actions but music enables in a certain way. Grants a freedom for you to release things that might otherwise be frowned upon to do so." The corner of his mouth twitched. "As we are what we are but there are those that cannot accept that and so we must curb ourselves, to find other avenues of release for the most extreme of our emotions is a good thing.

"Which, I suppose, is one way of saying that I think taking this back, if it stirs things in you, for yourself would be a good thing. You'll find your place, yourself, sooner if you can settle some things." Jeremiah had a soft way of speaking that made it obvious he clearly was genuine. He clearly did not expect Nick to truly respond, to say something one way or another, but merely wanted to give him something to think about.

His attention flicked almost immediately, however, as he sensed Sora's approach and she entered towards the end of his words to Nick. Hers, much like Riley's, was a presence he was attuned to and so when she was close enough there was no missing her presence. It was, in fact, her that he expected would eventually come and join him on the bench (as she always did).

The Rose Warlord Prince picked himself up, steps made to put himself closer to Sora and between the distance separating her from Nick. There was always attentton paid to Protocol and Etiquette, Cezar acknowledged as always, but this was Sora and when proper formalities were over he would act differently.

"It is quite alright. I was honestly expecting to see you in here today, which is one of the reasons why I am here." A looked went to Nick, a gesture made for him to fall into place next to Jeremiah. "Lady Roman, this is Prince Niccolo Florian Faa, though much like our Queen, he prefers to simply be Nick.

"Nick," eerie eyes cut to the Green Warlord Prince, "this is Lady Sorinna Roman, our Queenling and first Ward." Which was certainly one way to put: this is his and Riley's daughter. By fate, that is, not by blood. "She is just returned recently from being in the Moesia Province with Lady Pavel and her Court there."

Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #7 on: Feb 18, 18, 04:28:37 PM »
Nick was pleased that Jeremiah was intuitive by his nature.  He was not able to explain certain things, many things, and there was something in the other Warlord Prince that made these discussion happen easily, or at least without so many words.  It was hard to put into words concepts one did not entirely understand, but Jeremiah did understand, and often made the right guesses.  He told Nick that he understood what he was trying to convey, and that brought a little relief to the Green Warlord Prince.  He did not want to try and explain further  Jeremiah tried to frame what he was feeling, and he came very close, closer than anyone else could have gotten, he suspected.  ”If I can settle some things.”  He repeated.  Nick had thought he had settled some things, several things, all of them corpses.

It had been like killing strangers, too easy, solving nothing, and granting him no true peace.

Nick was silent, considering how he could reclaim music for anything other than memories he would rather forget, when he sensed the approach of a Queen and others.  It was not Riley, but it was a new Queen, and Nick felt a cold knot form instantly in his stomach.  He closed his eyes for a moment, and turned to face the young woman as she entered.  The young Queen fell to Protocol right away, and once Jeremiah was on his feet, Nick did the same, greeting the Queen and her Males properly.   The knot in his gut faded away.  She was not his, but more importantly, he was not hers.  He had so many choices taken from him, he was not sure what one more would feel like, or mean to him, good or bad.

He bowed with perfect etiquette.  It was not Nick’s perspective, but the perspective of Protocol and common manners.  Then he met the young woman’s eyes, and nodded.  ”A pleasure to meet you, Lady Roman.  Jeremiah is correct, please do address me as Nick, it is the most comfortable, and we have already acknowledged the needs of Protocol, I think.”  The Green Warlord Prince shook his head, ”No, please do not leave.  You have not intruded.  The conservatory is for all of us, and Jeremiah and I can continue our conversation another time.”  He paused a moment, "You are just returned, and I am sure you and Jeremiah have much to talk about."  Their first Ward, which meant she had been there for some time, and had enjoyed the full affection and concern of the Territory Court.

Offline Sorinna Roman

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #8 on: Feb 18, 18, 06:09:43 PM »
Sora favored Jeremiah with a warm smile as he introduced her to her fellow Ward. Years later and Jeremiah was still guiding others, helping others through the benefit of his experience and wisdom. Sora hoped that, someday, one of her males would assume that role in her own Court. Once more, the idea of having a Shadow of her own crossed Sora’s mind. She had thoughts of whom, among her males, would serve in that role but she felt a bit of relief that she didn’t have to decide just yet.

Thank you, Jeremiah. It’s appreciated.” she said, reaching out to place a gentle hand on Jeremiah’s arm, an affirmation of her affection for him.

She turned to regard the other Warlord Prince in the room with a smile that was nearly as warm as the one she offered Jeremiah, but was tempered by her unfamiliarity with this new male. He seemed kind enough, but Sora erred on the side of caution with Warlord Princes whose leashes she did not hold.

Except for Radu. But that was one time and he really did need to get punched in the face.

Very well, Nick. And Sora, for me.” she said, trying to keep the mood in the room light.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed your time here at the Territory Court thus far. As Jeremiah said, I’ve been a part of Riley’s Court for a long time. If you have any questions or need anything, and I can help, please let me know. I’m happy to help. Jeremiah’s amazing, though. You’re in good hands.” Sora said. She did not know Nick’s story, but she knew what it was like to come to a new place and not really know anyone.

Jeremiah taught me to play the piano, despite my attempts otherwise.” she joked.

What instruments do you favor, Nick?




Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #9 on: Feb 26, 18, 11:28:58 PM »
Jeremiah's hand moved to cover Sora's, his fingers holding hers and squeezing lightly. His freedom with affections had increased, though it was a subtle thing, and because he so often had held himself back. It did not appear that he continued to do so, a slow change that had been brought about by being freed from Maker's treachery and the shifts that came from training from Arkadie.

He had not truly noticed it himself, though he did not question the instinct and simply let it be. His hand still covering Sora's, he tugged gently for her to come sit upon the piano bench. He was pleased, of course, that the two of them interacted well. There was always uneasiness, the kind in the furthest recesses of his mind, that crept in whenever he was overseeing an introduction. Sora was, as far as he was concerned, his daughter.

Protective was an understatement.

The same could be said about Nick, though he was freshly part of the Court and Ward to both the Queen and her Shadow. A huff escaped, a small bit of laughter, as his eyes cut towards Sora. "I would say you have done more than attempt, Sora." A look then went to Nick, if only because of the question he had just been asked and considering their previous conversation.

... never mind that he had been singing, not that long ago, and possibly heard. Still, this kind of interaction was what both Riley and himself wanted to happen. The wards - their wards - interacting with one another and forming their own relationships. (Let it also be known that any and all commentary about Jeremiah's awesomeness were hereby ignored. Mostly because he just did not focus on such things and the Rose Warlord Prince was not the kind of male that rolled around in praise. Except, in this case, he was just a tiny bit happy but that was because Sora was daughter and one always was delighted to hear such things from their children.)

Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: Gently Weeps
« Reply #10 on: Feb 27, 18, 03:55:40 PM »
Objectively speaking, the Queen was lovely.  Nick could see that, and she had an easy smile, which was a thing that he could appreciate.  He did not smile often, and sometimes he believed that people abused the expression.  A smile for everything, but he did not see that with Sora.  Her smile was genuine, particularly when she set her eyes upon Jeremiah.  That spoke well of the old Warlord Prince.  Nick listened to Sora, and when she joked with Jeremiah, he glanced between them.  Their affection was clear and easy to see.  Nick turned back to Sora as she gave voice to her question.  Before he answered, he considered what Jeremiah had so recently said to him.  He seemed to make a decision, and spoke.

"The guitar, Sora."  He was not sure what else to offer in that moment, other then a similar fact.  "My Father taught me."  Nick did not want to tell her why, or how, or that his Father was dead.  He did not want to explain how he had been responsible for the slaughter of his entire Family.  Having said that much, he glanced over to Jeremiah, and then back to Sora.  They were connected now, in touch, the old man's hand covering hers.  It was a simple gesture of familiarity and affection, something that Nick, with the exception of his connection to Sway, was largely unfamiliar with.  He would have held her hand in public, but that was denied to them.  She was his treasured secret, and that was good, better than any alternative he'd ever had, or ever would have, he believed.

Sora had asked other tings as well, "The Court has been like nothing I have ever experienced."  He answered one of her earlier questions.  It was an honest statement.  He had never known such kindness, such rapid and open acceptance.  Nick had never known a Queen that cared for him, or danced on the sparring mats with a Male he felt safe with.  He had no particular expression upon his face when he said, but he knew it was meaningful to him, that this had very quickly become a place to call 'Home', which in and of itself was new.  He had been caged before, gilded and sometimes just kept in the dark for days, and when the light shown into that darkness, it only meant things were about to get worse.  "It has been..."  He trailed off a moment, trying to quantify it in a way this new woman would understand.  "...a relief."