• Closed • Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

inb4 dying: Because Part Two will happen in Saun.

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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• Closed • Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Caius Gawyne » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:55 am

Zi'da 90, 717

"—we should go." His words were half-hearted, muttered with a reluctant laziness from under a barely tolerable thick layer of blankets in the bed that they shared, in the home that they'd spent half of Zi'da claiming as their own. The early morning had already drifted past without protest, the last of Zi'da's sunlight long and golden through the uppermost floor's windows of their bedroom, making everything feel cheerful and etherial instead of how the young Gawyne really felt inside. Eyes open, blue irises paled at the thoughts that drifted through his mind when he spoke, watching the face of the delicate pianist whose body had become so comfortable against his own.

But they had an appointment to keep.

Caius sighed then, the weight of the passing trials having swiftly and unexpectedly become heavier and heavier until it felt harder and harder to breathe because of fear, let alone smile—the promise of his natural end no longer a whisper but an agonizing groan in the back of his thoughts. The worry of death made real like the stiffness in his scarred shoulder and the ashen color of the cloak that declared his title to all of Andaris on the streets. As if the threat of murderous intentions at the hand of Valkyr wasn't enough for the pair, the young Gawyne was haunted by what he considered irrefutable, unarguable knowledge—the trial, break, bit, and trill of a death he felt powerless to stop because he didn't understand how it could happen naturally if he was neither ill nor in natural danger.

He'd already confessed his knowledge trials ago, and while he knew the blonde Venora was still suspicious of his watered down Immortal lineage and its so-called gift, Caius felt it. He knew for sure, and he felt as if he was drowning in too many emotions for too short a time,

"Darcyanna, I know it's not proper, but know it's actually official, that it will mean something to all of Rynmere. But, more importantly, it will mean something to us." The northern noble spoke quietly, sincerely, blinking slowly before stretching, unwilling to leave the warm comforts of bed because this forever was far more satisfactory than anything else. The delicate pianist had quickly become all he wanted in life, unexpectedly so. He'd spent so much time desperate to find ways to stop what he knew was coming—wasting time—that the season he'd had with Darcy hadn't been long enough.

Nothing was enough. Nothing would ever be enough.

Even if it was for only a trial, not knowing what tomorrow would bring, Caius longed to have all he could of the moment—just in case. It wasn't the first time he'd brought up the notion of eloping, of a private unofficial officiation of their willingness to commit to one another. He'd joked about it over the past fistful of ten-trials, always with a smile on his face, as if all of noble society would embrace such a scandalous notion—a clandestine ceremony—before the Church-mandated season of Saun and all the finery nobility required, all the finery the blonde Venora deserved.

"I don't care if it's madness or abuse of my power, but somehow the Empress has agreed to see us, to weigh my plea for our union." The young Gawyne realized that was perhaps his only selling point on their idea—the Empress herself!—but he couldn't help the powerful longing for a symbolic solidifying of his very real, very ridiculous feelings for Darcy, "Nor will anyone but us consider it real because they won't know about it, but I don't sarding care about that part."

Caius smirked, the hint of a smile on his face wary, aware this walked a strange line, aware that his honesty about his prophetic gift had been hurtful and strange. He didn't believe that Ziell was malicious in his gift, nor did he believe this knowledge was meant to be a burden, not really. Perhaps, had he not been so in love so late, it would have been a boon to know his natural end. But now, it just fucking hurt.

"We will be officially wed as if we'd done so before all the Kingdom in Saun, actually married, though of course no one but us and the Empress and her witnesses will be the wiser. We can dress as fancy as you like." There, for a trill or two, the northern noble let a wicked, conspiratory grin spread across his face, tone deviously convincing as he curled to kiss the delicate pianist purposefully, persuasively, despite his awareness that he already had everything he wanted here in the cozy space they shared,

"You can still say no, of course."

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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:30 pm

90th Zi’da, 717

Darcyanna lay in the warmth of their shared bed, in the scandalous home she as the Gawyne shared together in desperation to both hide from her sister and to spend as much time together as possible.

She lay in the warmth of the blankets, in the arms of her lover, looking into the pale blue of his eyes and memorising every inch of his face. The man was handsome, not in a stoic rugged way, but much more like the paintings of nobility hung in the halls of the great Houses. She loved his features. His fine aristocratic cheekbones and nose, the way his hair seemed to forever wanting to flip down on his brow, the curve of his lips and the colors of his eyes. Sunlight filtered through the window, imploring them to get up and get on with the day, and yet the pianist stayed.

Darcy stayed, because tomorrow he was supposed to die.

The thought terrified her all over again, made her heart race and her chest constrict with anxious pain. How could the Fates be so unkind, as to bring his light into her blackened path, only to steal it away so soon? Of course, if his prophecies were to be believed the Fates had nothing to do with it.

Immortals.

The pianist had been raised as a Rynlist, but that didn’t mean she felt things about fairytale beings. She simply didn’t believe in them. Now though. Now she hated them. Was that possible? To hate something you spent all of your life not even believing in?

Yes it very much was.

Caius spoke of things, things that in any other lifetime the Venora would be brushing off with proclamations of duty to the Seven and honour to the Rose. Instead, she lay on her side, one hand tucked under her cheek whilst the other reached out to sweep his sandy blonde fringe from his brow.

Marriage, in secret, before Saun. Not proper or recognised in the eyes of the nobility nor of family if they found out, but it was legal and official, and it would be enough for them. Somehow with the influence of his position as Lord Arbiter the Empress had agreed to see them. To hear the plea of the young noble couple, to listen to the reasons why his position deemed it necessary and hopefully before the natural death of Caius Gawyne tomorrow, he would have a wife. He would have his Winter Rose.

As the taller diri curled closer to her with a grin and a kiss, Darcy smiled and kissed him back, looking over his roguish features with one more bit to commit this moment to her memory.

“Officially wed.” She said softly, smiling at the man with eyes that shifted from the stormy greys of sorrow to a twist of lime and lilac. Resting a hand on his cheek, looking up at the face of the only person the musician thought she would ever love, she nodded.

“Yes, always and forever yes. I don’t need a fancy dress, or a fanfare. Just you, my Lord.” Kissing his lips one more time, the blonde’s smile turned to a grin.

Qau’malu, Caius Gawyne.” The mixed blood said tentatively, using the word she’d heard father speak to mother when they thought no one was watching.

“Doesn’t this count as seeing the bride before the wedding? I’ve heard it can be bad luck.” Darcy teased quietly, ignoring the ache that settled firmly in her chest.

Tomorrow was arcs away.

To-trial was theirs.

For better or for worse.
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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Caius Gawyne » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:38 pm

The northern noble's smile warmed genuinely at the touch of Darcy's hand on his face and the sincerity of her words, the trial a singular moment in all of time that was to be unravaged by the truth of what was supposed to come. Her words brought a chagrined blush to his cheeks, spreading from under her delicate fingers, and he willed her to linger with her kiss, the linguistic depth of meaning of her admission of love in Rakahi eliciting a sigh of longing, his mother's use of the words a happy anchor in his memory,

"Qau'malu, Darcyanna Venora." He repeated with a more lopsided grin, slipping away from her proximity lest he allowed himself to become too distracted and make them late,

"I've seen far too much of my bride, then, and I'm alright with that."

Caius hummed at her, choosing not to comment on luck. The Fates knew there wasn't any, as far as he was concerned, and even if luck was real, he'd be running out of the good kind soon enough. He chuckled, though, a light enough sound at his teasing, before giving them both the time and space they needed to dress, to prepare. He made sure to tuck a small velvet pouch that had sat in the drawer of his desk for trials now into the pocket of his long, coat in the purple of his House. He was dressed as he had been for the Soirée in Bellesoir, For a brief moment, even his normally unkempt hair was tamed, but nervous fingers raked through it and returned it to its more usual, disheveled state of being.

With a few good scratches behind Smudge's ear and the donning of the cloak that identified him as not just a Lord, but Lord Arbiter of the Order of the Mantis, Caius was ready to lead his delicate pianist from the rented home they shared and through the cold, snowy streets of Mid-town toward the Crown. The walk was somewhat familiar now, for the northern noble had made the trek to the less regal parts of the Crown far too many times this season, the headquarters of the Order having taken over a barracks of the Iron Hand.

Still, meeting the Empress herself was both somewhat thrilling and quite terrifying.

He was content not to make too much small talk, afraid that real conversation would grow from such innocent banter and sadness would take root again, far too eager to enjoy this trial as both completely unorthodox and utterly exciting. Breaking tradition in all the right ways, Caius reminded himself, and as he glanced at Darcyanna so many times during their walk up to the Crown, toward the Monestary, for all the right reasons.

Bogs, it wasn't fair.

The Knights knew his face, knew his uniform, and while they watched the pair pass through the gates into the Crown proper, he didn't lead them in the usual direction, taking instead the carefully shoveled path of beautiful stones away from the barracks and toward the Monestary, toward The Sacred where he'd first come face to face with the Lord Inquisitor himself in the shadow of his Ancestors and the cover of darkness that Fates-be-damned day in Vhalar.

Placing his too warm hand over the delicate one that curled comfortably around his arm, he grinned at her with glorious stupidity, letting the excitement of the moment burn away all of the fear that hid behind their very reasons for being here, their clandestine union not made simply to sneer at tradition so much as to solidify the claim the pair had made on each others' hearts no matter what tomorrow brought for the young Gawyne.

The carved likenesses of the Seven and the bright sun of the last trials of Vhalar lit the pair's entrance into The Sanctum, and Caius felt his heart race in his narrow chest, longing for his Ancestors to change everything but also to forgive him for all of the mistakes that hounded him. He paused in the knave, sunlight of near-afternoon filtering through the intricate stained glass windows of characteristic scenes that glorified the Seven and their epic exploits, for a quiet moment of conflicted prayer, wanting to quell the mix of emotions that rippled through his very existence.

Having no idea what to expect other than the two nobles were expected, Caius glanced around and kept his smile, "Not everyone gets to see the Empress. I'm a bit nervous myself."

Somewhat awkwardly, the young Gawyne glanced around for a monk or someone else for guidance, aware of his ignorance of expectations now that they were here, only sure that for a rarity in his haphazard, reckless existence, they were early ... or at least on time.

And yet, in some ways, it still felt too late.

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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:53 am

90th Zi’da, 717

Smiling as she lay in the warmth of their shared linens, curling her legs closer and tucking the pillow under her head to watch his tall form as the Gawyne moved away with a purposeful movement. She knew that he wanted to go, to go now so they had more breaks together as man and wife before tomorrow. Yet, the blonde lingered. She memorised his walk, the way the winter sunlight through the windows highlighted the scar on his chest, the lopsided turn of his lips. As he moved away to dress, the Venora closed her eyes, his face burned into her mind.

Slipping from the sheets, Darcyanna moved to the dresser, drawing open the bottom draw and taking out a carefully folded lace dress. It was white silk with a sheer overlay, sleeves sitting off her scarred shoulders and long rose lace sweeping around her legs to the floor. If anything, it was simple, but elegant. Designed for Saun as all wedding dresses were, the blonde had bought it trials ago, ignoring the strange look the seamstress had given her. Darcy could care less that she would be cold, it was a crisp contrast to the warmth of her lover, a way to remind herself that he was still alive. Still here.

Wearing her hair loose in flowing waves, the Venora picked up the silvery rose hair clip that was her family keepsake. The very representation of The Ivory Rose. Clasping it in her platinum locks, the pianist slipped into a pair of white heels and walked over to the vanity. Simple make up this day, merely a touch of mascara on her long lashes and a dusky pink lip stain, the young bride-to-be pulled open the top drawer and withdrew a small white gift box, running her fingers over it tenderly.

Meeting the diri near the front door, she bent down to stroke Smudge fondly, before sweeping up a new white fur-hooded cloak and pulling it over her delicate white dress. Taking Caius’ arm with an almost shy smile, she allowed him to lead the way, appreciative for the lack of small talk. Her thoughts danced between nervous excitement and overwhelming sorrow, unable to stop herself from looking over at the man every now and again as they walked. He looked so regal, in the colors of Gawyne and the cloak of the Order. Even if mother and father had no idea, even if the people wouldn’t recognise it, Darcyanna would know.

In her heart she would know, she was going to be a Gawyne.

Entering the Crown proper, the delicate pianist looked around with genuine curiosity. She hadn’t been this way in a long time, and the walk was incredibly beautiful. As Caius’ hand curled over her own on his arm Darcy looked up with an adoring smile, blushing and glancing away at his ridiculous grin, butterflies in her stomach shifting wildly. Upon entering the Sanctum, the blonde looked around at the carvings of the Seven in reverent awe, lifting her gaze to the stained glass windows with a soft sigh of admiration. Closing her eyes, Darcyanna whispered almost inaudibly, a prayer to the Seven, a begging plea.

Let tomorrow never come. Let the suns freeze in the sky and the season halt its turning. Leave us here, in this trial, for eternity.

Opening her eyes as the taller man spoke, the woman turned to look at him.

“I’ve heard she is beautiful without compare, like the Lady Cyrene reborn. Pure, untouched by sin or hate. She is ethereal.” Swallowing hard, the young Venora ran her free hand over her hair with a nervous laugh.

“Do I look okay? Fates, I am really sarding nervous.” She hissed the admission with dancing lilac and indigo eyes, the iris’ unable to settle.

Hopefully, the Empress would hear his plea.

Fates, let her understand.
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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Djinn » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:37 am

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The Queen-Empress sat on a high-backed chair carved of cherry wood, the colours rose and brown running throughout its stunning craftsmanship. Poised like a statue in it, her sharp eyes surveyed the room in its emptiness, aware of the arrival of the Lord Arbiter and Lady Venora before they even began their search for her audience. Impeccable eyebrows frame sockets too exquisite, and if she were not as devout a Rynlist as she was, many would assume she was Edasha herself. In fact, some whispered it nonetheless, whispers flittering like little birds from peasant ear to peasant ear. And Emerson, she heard them all, with her own ears or the ears of others. She would be insulted, if she were not who she was. Instead, though, she prayed for their jealousy, that they'd see her for the benevolent and loving Empress she was.

And now she was Queen. A smile played at the corners of her contoured lips, tweaking them up into a mysterious angle that was both slightly frightening and incredibly pleasing to those around her. She was flawless, and effortlessly so, but it took more than looks to be Queen and Empress. It took devotion, it took cunning, it took thick skin... And Emerson rose to that challenge just as effortlessly. As the monk entered the room, immediately averting his eyes in the holy place, she tittered, calling him forward to speak. He fell into an awkward bow, obviously not used to such motions, and his stuttering voice came through.

"Your Holy Majesty, Lord Caius Gawyne and Lady Darcyanna Venora requesting your audience. Shall I reprimand them?" He asked, trying desperately not to raise his eyes to meet hers. Voice like silk, she purred in response.

"And why should you, Belaun? They've come to ask me something, I am sure. Lord Arbiter Gawyne has earned that right, I should think," she responded, tossing blonde locks over her shoulder. He turned, still facing downward, and hurried to the door. Slipping through, he rushed to meet Lord Gawyne and Lady Venora, his eyes brazenly, almost defiantly, gluing to their faces. Belaun jumped between them.

"You are here to see Her Holy Majesty, yes? Follow me. She is expecting you," the little monk said, turning to lead them back to the chamber he'd just rushed from. The hairs on their necks prickled when they realized she already knew they were there, but what could they expect? Caius, of course, knew the tumult roiling under the surface of the kingdom, and why would the Empress and Queen not be prepared in case of would-be assassins? As they approached the room, Caius recognized two faces outside the door, grim looks on both. Neither appeared to glance at him as he was brought to bear, but he knew they saw him. They need not recognize his authority over them outside the throne room of the Queen-Empress, but the two Order members knew who he was. And he knew, under their ashen cloaks, swords and Traitorstones resided.

"Do not look at the Empress, whatever you do," Belaun instructed. They both knew the Rynlist traditions, and though she no longer donned her veil, they knew to avert their gaze from Emerson Renault's face. The heavy doors swung open, and radiant sunslight poured forth from the room, obscuring all but Queen-Empress Renault's form. They both entered the room, and the soft imperiousness of Emerson was off-putting. As their eyes adjusted, though, they averted their gazes.

"Lord Arbiter, Lady Venora. A pleasure to see you this trial. May the Seven bless the steps before you, and erase the footprints left behind you," she spoke, her voice soft and clear, like a bell chiming in the next room. The urge to look at her was overwhelming, but they knew the importance of this audience.

"And what may I do for you this trial, my Lord and Lady?" Emerson asked, curiosity tempered by a guess made only more sound by their attire. She knew the forthcoming question.

Only she could do it, she realized.



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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Caius Gawyne » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:25 pm

Caius had met the Empress once before, and the memory of his bloodied, exhausted self kneeling before both his King and his Empress-Queen was a dark smear of grime from the print room on the pages of his mind. When Darcyanna talked of the woman's beauty, he resisted the urge to shrug casually, to dismiss the folklore surrounding the woman who held sway with their ancestors and had married their boy-king who'd threatened his life if there was more failure. The way she'd moved, spoken, and filled the room with her presence after the horrors of that trial in Vhalar had left a strange impression on the northern noble, one he found he couldn't put into words for the blonde Venora who held his hand,

"Do you look okay? Bogs—" The young Gawyne bit his lower lip and willed himself not to produce tears at the question, "Radiant, as always, my Lady, and I thank the Fates I've been allowed look upon your face whenever I've wanted."

He chuckled, offering a lopsided smile before the nervous pair in the knave of the Sanctum were interrupted by the monk. Not bothering to answer the man who clearly knew their response before they gave it, Caius squeezed Darcy's hand and allowed them to be led, watching the man in front of them curiously. There had been a time when the northern noble, second son that he was, had considered the Rynlist clergy as his future. Hunter was next in line, after all, and the perpetual student had found the study of his Kingdom and his Ancestors satiating to his incessant hunger for knowledge and unspoken desire for a peaceful life before he met his end—the end tomorrow promised it would bring.

And yet, everything had changed arcs ago, the stirring of his curiosities about Immortals such as his own family lineage and a general curiosity about the things left unspoken, the truths left uncovered across Idalos that were largely absent from the tenants of his local faith. That curiosity didn't entirely break Caius from tradition so much as create in him different needs, different interests, turning him from the clergy to academia, giving him a more comparative focus. But in his heart of hearts, he held a high regard for those who lived their lives in service to their Ancestors, and despite his contrary considerations, Caius was still a devout enough Rynlist on the inside.

Before the Empress, his spiritual longings stirred under her etherial, mysterious gaze, and it was all the Lord Arbiter could do but remember the public nature of their visit and keep his gaze deferred from her, already knowing her face. He bowed respectfully, having Darcyanna's hand in order to present the proper image before Emerson,

"My Empress, well-chosen of the Seven, and my Queen, light of our fair Kingdom of Rynmere, thank you for the generosity of your audience." The young Gawyne could have manners when necessary, and he cleared his throat just as fearful butterflies danced within the molten cavity of his chest, tickling his esophagus and making words feel suddenly difficult and strange. His heart ached, hot and so very alive in this moment, and he laid his request at the feet of the Queen-Empress with quiet longing,

"As you know, the nature of my service to the Crown is one of danger—death, even—and while I'd selfishly like to pretend that I'm a man of strength and calm and patience, I do not yet possess these traits in admirable quantities." Caius chose to look at Darcy, shifting on his feet just slightly so that the intensity of his emotions washed over the delicate pianist while he professed his feelings and desires before the Empress herself, "That said, my Empress, I love Lady Darcyanna Venora with a fire so fierce, I hope to light the streets of the Eternal Kingdom with its brightness should I arrive there too soon—"

Too soon, indeed.

"—but fear that should I meet my end before Saun, no one in the present Kingdom we will ever know the intensity of our hearts for one another. We're here to beg your pardon to break the tradition of our noble heritage and marry early, to-trial even if possible, so that should service to my living Kingdom call me to the Eternal instead, my Lady Venora would have all the honor deserved a widow of the Lord Arbiter such as I am."

Caius bit his lip, then, aware that he'd left the rest of the story out, afraid that even the mysterious woman before them wouldn't understand the burden of his prophetic gift, the crushing weight of knowing that tomorrow was the trial everything was supposed to unravel, to come to an end he couldn't even pretend to understand,

"It is a pretentious request, my Queen, and as much as I request it, I must humbly ask for your forgiveness. I simply cannot stand another season worried for the fate of our relationship while also doing all I can to bring honor to the Crown."

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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:13 am

90th Zi’da, 717

Darcyanna blushed, elbowing her soon to be husband at his sweet but cheeky comment, glancing up with a small nervous smile as the monk approached them. He seemed unpleasant, unhappy to have to address them, and yet obliged to. At the fact the Emperess already knew they were here the Ivory Rose felt a prickle of goosebumps across her neck. Of course the chosen of the Seven knew they were here, she was the voice of the creed.

As they walked, Caius squeezed her hand, a reassuring sensation under the strange moment in time they found themselves in. She glanced at him, offering up another helplessly self conscious grin, before turning her eyes to the doors as they entered the huge room in which the Empress sat. It was bright with the last suns of Zi’da, flooding the room so the blonde could barely make out what she was looking at. Her eyes slowly adjusted and with lighting speed she adverted her gaze to the floor as to avoid looking upon Her Holiness.

The High Priestess, Empress, Queen of Rynmere addressed the Venora by her full name and it was nearly enough to make the woman giddy with religious delight. She curtsied deeply, with all the elegance and grace afforded to her by the Rose’s name, her ears ringing as the Gawyne spoke to her. Darcy felt a sting of tears at the mention of death, her shifting lilac and lime eyes glancing at him for a moment, meeting his gaze with a small smile.

Honor deserved by a widow of the Lord Arbiter.

The words were bittersweet, beautiful in their delivery and heartfelt honestly, but also horrific in what they meant. Under the pomp of etiquette and manners, the truth lay bare. The diri wished to marry the pianist before he died too young and too soon.

It was too much to bear, hearing it out loud.

Swallowing against the lump in her throat, Darcyanna looked down at her lace skirt brushing her feet and took a couple of quiet calm breaths, forcing away the terrifying urge to bawl like a babe in arms before the Empress.

“Discover, do not Betray. Conquer, do not forget. Seek Knowledge, seek Enrichment. Be just.” She said softly, lifting her bright green eyes to the taller man with an almost sad smile.

What else was there to loose by adding her voice to their plea?

“Every trial is another opportunity to serve the Creed and the Seven, your Most Holy, to strive to live our lives by their Words. I am but a servant of the Fates however I feel in my heart, in my being that we were destined to join our stories together. To think that Lord Gawyne could be taken from this Kingdom to the next before this can come to be is almost more than I can bare.” Taking a deep breath, the blonde looked away to stop the ache in her chest his visage had flared, as though suddenly remembering herself.

“Forgive me, My Queen, I have no place to assume the works of the Fates.” Darcyanna said with a blush, lowering herself into another respectful curtsy, voice thick with emotions barely restrained.
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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Banshee » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:12 pm

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They couldn't look at her - as was only proper - but Emerson could look at them. Surely anyone who had seen them coming in this direction to-trial, dressed as they were could have guessed their purpose, even if such a purpose would have seemed impossible given the season. She had seen many who would dress in greater finery for occasions of marriage but it didn't take a massive leap in logic to determine that their clothing was not for an ordinary occasion, especially together. The young man was in his House Regalia and Lady Venora... she was an unmistakable bride. If they'd been seen then it might be suspected that she'd married them. There would be no proof of course but that would mean nothing; rumours could be dangerous.

She pressed her lips together in thought, waiting to see what the pair of them could say for themselves. If there was anything they could say that might justify a break from tradition set by the Seven themselves. If such a presumptuous request was to be granted then there would have to be good reason.

The Queen-Empress paid attention to them both: the eloquence of the Gawyne's words and the emotion that bubbled beneath; the reverent and heartfelt phrases from the bride-to-be; the sweet, intense looks that were exchanged between them. From their body language, it seemed that they truly loved one another, plainly so, and it was clear that their desire to wed was quite genuine. Caius' certainly had good reason to believe that he might die on any trial, in much the same way that those Order members outside the door could be struck down by some enraged mage. Of course, the young lord was a greater target than those underlings, more likely to fall and leave his lady love behind. It would doubtless be no comfort to say that they would be reunited in the Eternal Kingdom, especially as it might be many arcs before the Venora died and in the meantime, she would likely marry, a young man she'd once believed she loved hardly likely to be in her thoughts. If she wed him though, they would be bound in this life as well as the next.

"You are forgiven, Lady Venora. Your heart is soft and sensitive, you speak from it and I cannot fault you for it," the Queen-Empress remarked, a soft unseen smile on her lips although the pair might well hear it in her voice. "This situation is particularly difficult on you and I cannot imagine that being wed will lessen the burden upon you. The only comfort that could come from it would be the knowledge that one trial you would be reunited. Alas, you are a Venora, a direct descendant of One of the Seven and thus, if you wed Lord Gawyne and he died, you would not be allowed to marry again. Such a thing would be a tragedy. A barren marriage is a sad thing but if it can be prevented, it is a greater shame."

The woman fell silent for a moment, crossing her legs and resting a hand lightly on her crossed knee. "If Lord Gawyne died tomorrow, what would the benefit be? You would be joined in this life briefly and eternally joined in the next but both if you would be stagnant. No heirs, a fountainhead of living divinity cut off. Worse, your widow might be tempted to hasten her entrance to the Eternal Kingdom to join you. That... would be unforgivable, my dear. Even if you did not do something so rash, could you deal with your life being over before it began, my dear?" she asked Darcy.

Her attention turned to Caius at last. "You say that you worry about how Lady Venora will fare if she should die. Think, my Lord, how do you feel about what I have just said? Could you in good conscience say that you would consign her to such a fate? Would it not be better to wait until Saun? If the lady should become pregnant before that season then I could consent to an early union, even if tradition had to be set aside. If the Lord Arbiter should die before Saun and Lady Venora not grow pregnant then she would be free to marry another. If my Lord should die before then but the Lady fall pregnant... well, I'm sure that certain concessions could be made. Even if she was never allowed to marry, she would have the comfort of your child. Do you understand my reasoning, Lord Arbiter? Do you understand how unfortunate it would be to wed Lady Venora to-trial?"
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Always and Forever, Part One [Darcy]

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:07 pm

90th Zi’da, 717

Darcy blushed under the Empresses praise, looking at Caius with a smile that beamed with adoration, placing a hand on his shoulder gently. It was true, she knew that once they wed she would not be able to wed again. Frankly she didn’t sarding care. There was no one else she would ever love, not now not ever. Her heart ached when she looked at him, memorising again how he looked in this moment.

“I would know in my heart we would be together again, one day, in the Eternal Kingdom. My life would not be over your Eminence, not if I knew that I had loved, that I had been loved. With all that which Caius could share with me. Were he to die tomorrow and we were not married—” She shook her head and looked to the ceiling, blinking away the sting of tears as her voice caught in her throat.

“—that would be my heart’s end.” Lowering her lilac gaze, the Venora smiled at her partner, a sad smile that spoke depths. The Queen’s ‘what if’s’ were too close to home, too close to the truth of the matter. As the beautiful Holy Woman addressed the northerner, Darcyanna looked at the floor in front of them, wiping the tears from her cheeks.

If the lady should become pregnant before that season then I could consent to an early union...

The blonde’s ears burned and her heart raced. The Empress was going to deny them this marriage, lest Darcy fall pregnant first? For her own benefit.

Fates, forgive me.

“I’m already with child.” The noble blurted suddenly, looking at Caius with a dark blush covering her pale complexion. She would have to beg forgiveness later. Swallowing hard against the look on his face, she turned back to stare at the tiled floor.

“I think. I’ve suspected for trials but....I haven’t said...I wasn’t sure if...if you’d be ready. I mean, we’d discussed but...” Her eyes shifted to a pale blue, the color spreading across her neck and disappearing under the lace of the dress. Taking a deep breath, she looked at the Gawyne with a shy smile.

“Sorry. I should have...I should have said something sooner. I wanted to wait, to be sure. I wanted it to be a surprise. Surprise?” She whispered, tears fresh in her eyes as she pleaded silently for them to both believe her. It would destroy her if they left this place unwed.

She needed to know they would be bound, in this life and the next. Before the morrow.

“Please, say something Caius.” The young pianist said softly, feeding off her desperation and emotions, voice cracking slightly with feeling.
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