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Tal Volorro The capital city, first of the Asseryan consuls and now of House Vellfyre. Tal Volorro is both a magnificent feat of Asseryan engineering and a convoluted maze of narrow streets and dark alleys that has grown rapidly and unplanned since Kadreth's War.
1M A331 GAME EVENT
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:05 PM   #1
(Lady) Parissa Harrowmont
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Default 10.05 evening - preparations and panic - Parissa (OPEN)

She sat by the fire, eyes locked on the road and the faint, far-off glow of lights that showed the walls of Tal Volorro, whence they would enter the next morning to pomp, circumstance and a triumphal procession... Her hands were tight around the cup she held, and if the light were brighter it would have betrayed white knuckles and a pale face.

Parissa drank again and closed her eyes. At least tomorrow she'd get to see Amina and Tyana again... they could prepare to sort out their trip to the temples... It would be all right. It would.
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:46 AM   #2
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With the triumphal procession just a night away, it was little wonder that Maressa was busy until even this late an hour. The daylight was nearly gone, fires stoked all around them to provide warmth and light, but she still had so much on her plate. Fortunately, it all concerned no one but her own family. She had helped the Princess with everything that needed doing, letting Bryony take up most of the preparations that went on in the Vayth pavilions, only pinching in with advice and supervision when necessary. Actually, she wanted to push her youngest sister aside and do it all herself, but she knew that Bryony needed the practice, and so she fought the urge.

But even Maressa was not immune to fatigue, and eventually she concluded that having a bit of rest and grabbing a bite to eat before she heads back to the tents that would be her home for one more night. She honestly did not time to bother herself with true dinner, so she just grabbed a plate of bread and cheese, and a cup of mead, and headed towards one of the seats circling a fire pit. The fire looked so warm and inviting, and she'd enjoy the dance of the flickering flames while she relaxed.

And, as it just so happened, Lady Parissa Harrowmont was already there when Maressa came over. "Good evening, Lady Parissa," she greeted the young woman with a smile and a small curtsey before taking a seat. She sat nearby enough to seem friendly, but not close enough to seem intruding. The lady was... not in the best of moods, and either not good or not interested in hiding it. Maressa wanted to convey an impression of someone Lady Parissa could talk to if she chose, but also someone who would not take it against her if she chose to be quiet. Hopefully, the message was getting through.
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Old 01-21-2015, 02:05 AM   #3
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"Oh... Good evening," she said, startled into opening her eyes and looking over at the lady who'd spoken. Princness Ziamara's lady of the chamber, the dark haired one... The names all swirled around her head and it took a moment for her to remember the right one: Maressa. Vayth.

Parissa made herself smile thought it probably wasn't very convincing; she felt too sick with nerves to manage mummery. "Are your preparations all complete? We finished with Lady Melantha a few hours ago."
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Old 01-21-2015, 02:31 AM   #4
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"Indeed," Maressa nodded, replying with a smile, and put her cup down by her side, "And thank the Gods for it. I enjoy my work, but there are moments when it strains even my nerves." It didn't help that some of the younger ladies were prone to daydreaming instead of paying attention to what they're doing and panicking over the silliest things. Maressa liked the fact that those she worked with listened to her because they respected her rather then feared her, but in such chaotic moments, she almost envied the Queen, Princess Alianor, Lady Melantha, and Princess Whitney for their reputations. "I'll just need to see how my sister's handled things for our household, and all the work will truly be done for the day," Maressa mused as she split her chunk of bread by the middle and carefully arranged the slices of cheese in the newly-created crevice. "Excited about the procession tomorrow?" she asked, looking back to Lady Parissa once she was done preparing her meal.
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Old 01-21-2015, 07:39 PM   #5
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"Not really," Parissa admitted with a sheepish smile. "I am excited a bit but... nervous." She shrugged. "Processions are always such an ordeal. But... at least there's not much chance of them throwing anything." Solarii's citizens had a habit of throwing fruit at their nobles when they were upset about something. She paused then and looked at Maressa. "... Is there?"
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Old 01-22-2015, 12:48 AM   #6
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Maressa took a bite while she was listening to Lady Parissa, her poise making even such a crude meal seem almost elegant. "Showering the procession in flowers and petals is tradition," she replied after she swallowed. She wondered, though, how the many who have returned from the Northern Wars would take what Lady Parissa rightfully named as ordeal of procession. There were rumours around court of knights and lords still having night terrors, and one of them was recently reported to have suffered a severe panic attack for reasons no one was able to explain at the Kingsport markets only a few days before Erinalia. War took it's toll even after it was over, and perhaps being surrounded by a large number of extremely loud people throwing things at you would not ease some of the already stirred minds. But Lady Parissa was nervous enough about the procession as it was, and Maressa did not want to add to it, so instead of giving voice to her musings, she smiled to the young woman and added: "For what it's worth, I believe the people are too glad the war is finally over and the Holy Days are approaching to throw anything else."
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:24 AM   #7
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She could not hide her relieved exhale. "Oh, good. Of course you're right." She pushed her hair behind her ears, though the breeze had long since made a mess of the careful braids her maids had plaited it into that morning. "Are you looking forward to being back in Vellesca? I've stayed there once but it was only for a winter court and I was so little I don't remember much of it."
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:04 AM   #8
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Let's hope that she was, Maressa thought to herself. She'd rather enjoy it if the procession passed... well, neither 'peacefully' nor 'uneventfully' were the words that could be applied to such a grand event. 'Pleasantly'? Yes, that worked. A pleasant procession was certainly something she'd like to see and partake in come morrow. And she was sure everyone would agree with her on that.

"It will be nice to be back in Tor Vellesca," she nodded as she replied, "It is a grandiose and wonderful place, with beautiful architecture and art, and an amazing library - though nowhere near as versatile and well stocked as the one in Sunspire - and you will enjoy reacquainting yourself with it. But, in all honesty... I prefer Summerhall. I'm being biased about it, of course; it's the summers spent there and the relaxed, almost homey atmosphere that make it take precedence for me. But I cannot help the way I feel."
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:36 PM   #9
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"Because it's too hot to be stuffy in summer," Parissa said with a faint laugh. "I had forgotten their library... that will be nice. I suppose if it's too bad, I can always ask the prince to let me reside in Summerhall -keep a small court there." Parissa was thoughtful as she said it, but her consideration made some of the tension leave her shoulders.

"Oh well, I suppose I'll ask the gods' advice about where to keep our household... I have a few candles to light for Corvidum anyway."
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:59 PM   #10
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Maressa laughed with Lady Parissa, having another bite of her food as she listened to the young woman's musings. Gods, but this child is to be wed so soon... too soon. And into such high position. Poor girl... nobody deserved to be thrown into the toxic whirlpool of high Court politics at such a tender age.

"Gods aren't going to be of much help there, I'm afraid," she advised Lady Parissa humorously, "As much as they like to play games with our lives, they don't seem to actually care about the day-to-day things those lives consist of. My advice would be to rather concentrate on learning as much of your new environment and those who make it as you can, and to seek allies in the form of a competent steward and an experienced Lady-of-the-Chamber. Once you've found your footing and established your presence in Court, these decisions will be much easier to make... and others easier to convince into giving you permission and aid to achieve your plans." Because even the Princess of Summerhall and the future Queen will still be as dependant on her husband's will as any other wife.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:09 PM   #11
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Parissa shrugged at that. "I expect his highness's steward is well versed enough here... and I do not know whether I will get to name my own retinue- no one's bothered to tell me yet." She admitted the last one more quietly, looking away. It was probably something the queen or Princess Alianor would speak with her about soon, and she was dreading it. "I... am not very good at establishing my presence. Perhaps I should put that first on my list of what to do... but I confess I don't know how. Everyone here is so beautiful and... elegant at everything."
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:43 AM   #12
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"Indeed, he is," Maressa nodded, "Which does not mean you do not need to make an ally of him." In fact, it was very important that he does. Maressa knew the man, and knew he was not likely to stoop so low as to purposefully be careless of his duties just to spite a mistress he did not like, but Lady Parissa's life would be far easier if she established a quality relationship with him. "Traditionally, as retinues serve not only for company, but to aid a woman run her household, you'd be naming one some time around your wedding," she continued, "Considering what an honour it would be to have a position with the Princess of Summerhall, I expect you'll be courted for the favour by quite a few." And some suggestions may even come in the form of thinly veiled orders by people she won't be able to refuse... which was why choosing a Lady-of-the-Chamber she could trust and rely on was crucial.

"Neither of these is a rushing matter, so you'll do well to start with building your own position as you get to know people around you more," she agreed. The poor girl lacked confidence, and that was most certainly not a good thing, especially not for the role she was chosen to play. "Beauty and elegance mean naught in this place," she told Lady Parissa honestly, "They're just a foil, a distraction. Pay them no heed. You were not brought to Court and put where you are to be pretty. You will be the wife of the Crown Prince, and Gods be willing, the Queen of Edolon some day. You need to learn - and learn fast - how to establish your authority over others, how to make them respect you and take well to your lead. If you can learn do to is subtly, all the better... but, for the time being, settle for showing you are not an insecure, provincial little pushover I've heard some pegging you to be. The sad and scary truth, my Lady, is that all eyes are on you right now, and the more you achieve in these first days, the easier it will be to handle things later on... though, make no mistake, it will never be easy."
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:02 AM   #13
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"Yes, but the queen might name one for me, or the king might have his own appointments." Royal brides tended not to get much say in their lives- she'd been reminded of that often enough every time Alianor summoned her in to discuss this or that wedding detail that Charlotte had decided on. Parissa couldn't hide a trace of sullenness at her lips. "I am going to ask for Salindra and maybe if they can send my cousin Vespera... or the queen lets me have Amina... But nobody has courted me. They're probably all waiting to ask Queen Charlotte."

Parissa looked away, into the fire. "I suppose I'll have to come up with something grand to do at Holy Days... or before. Oh well. I'm to start getting a new set of gowns now so maybe that will help."
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:19 AM   #14
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"All too true, I'm afraid," Maressa agreed, her voice soothing and compassionate, "But trust me, as I speak from experience - life is a chariot with many reins, and you will never be allowed to hold all of yours in your hands... but if you keep waiting for others to hand those you can hold to you, you'll wait forever. You're barely allowed any say at the moment, yes... but don't let that become the norm, or you may lose your voice completely. Watch Princess Alianor. Watch Lady Melantha. Watch Princess Ziamara. Watch them, study them. Learn. I was nearly twice your age when I came to Court, a provincial mouse far out of her depth who only left her home once - to move into her husband's - and I learned. So can you."
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:40 AM   #15
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Alianor, Melantha, Ziamara- the women who lived at court with the most influence aside from the queen. Parissa bit her lower lip and nodded. "Thank you for your advice, Lady Maressa." Her eyes looked toward Maressa again. "Did you come to court to find a husband?"
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:54 AM   #16
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"You're welcome," Maressa smiled, wondering to herself how much of that was sincere gratitude and how much a subtle signal to stop mother-henning the lady... and then laughed merrily at Lady Parissa's question. "Gods, no," she replied a moment later, some of the laugh still lingering in her voice, "I may end up with one either way, depending of my father's whims... but no, I'm not interested in seeking one out for myself. I've had a... singularly bad experience with my late lord husband, and I'm afraid it has embittered me against the institution of holy matrimony for life. But, please, do not take me for an example of marital bliss. My case is hardly the norm - and, more to the point, Prince Jason is a far, far better person than the man I was wed to."
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Old 01-23-2015, 03:12 AM   #17
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Parissa initially smiled but the explanation of Maressa's husband made her more serious. Her lips thinned a bit and nodded in understanding. "I was afraid that I'd wed someone... unchivalrous. The mountain lords are often good men but... not always kind ones. You may find a better husband someday. Prince Jason is everything I ever would have wanted; I am not nervous at wedding him... just at living half the year and more at court. I think I'd be happy to marry him even if he wasn't prince."
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Old 01-23-2015, 03:20 AM   #18
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"We'll see how the Gods cast my dice," Maressa replied diplomatically, not wishing to give herself a chance to go into a tirade about just how little she needed a husband. It was neither Lady Parissa's nor the fault of males in general that the Fates were cruel to Maressa, and she refused to blame - even unwittingly - anyone but Alastair for his faults as a person and a spouse. "I'm glad you feel so amiably towards His Highness," she added, smiling, "He is a good friend to my brother, and a kind sibling to my Princess, so I am inclined to think favourably of him, and to believe he will treat you well. The rest, alas, cannot be helped - you'll just have to learn how to swim our muddy, turmoilous waters, and that is that."
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:27 PM   #19
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"Is it so muddy? It seems... so bright. A glittering throng all gathered around the king." She laughed a little and sipped her drink. "What is Princess Ziamara like? I have not gotten to meet her in more than passing yet. She does have such lovely gowns, even if they're all white."
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:43 PM   #20
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"'Seems' being the operative word," Maressa replied honestly. Lady Parissa did not need pretty lies. She did not need to be scared either, though, so Maressa was happy for the change of subject.

"Princess Ziamara is a kind and good friend, wickedly shrewd and wise enough to hide it, and one of the best players at courtly games I've ever met. I've learned much from her, and I believe you will, too," she said with a smile, "She is generally inclined to treat people well, she's unfalteringly loyal to her family, and she enjoys life without feeling the need to apologize for it. But, for all her sweetness, she is, first and foremost a princess, and does not take it well when people forget that." Her smile widened, and she added: "I wish I can tell you that you'll be the best of friends, but the truth is, it all depends on you. Personally, though, I see no reason why you wouldn't get along."
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:13 PM   #21
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She nodded. "I understand... I shall hope I can be friends with my good-sisters... and good-brothers," she added belatedly, recalling the king's other natural children. Prince Myles would be at Tal Volorro, she knew, but so far she had not met Lady Raisa and her children. Parissa looked away, feeling thoughtful. "Um... if... if you were in my place, Lady Maressa... would you venture to the royal tombs on Corvidum? It... I know that Prince Jason was very close with his brother... and it seems disrespectful not to... make a gesture to his spirit."
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:21 PM   #22
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Maressa thought about Lady Parissa's question for a moment, taking a bite and a sip as she considered the ways how she would handle the scenario. "If I were in your place," she finally replied, "I would seek Prince Jason out and tell him that, baring his approval, I would wish to pay my respects to the dead of his family, seeing how I shall soon become a part of it. And, if he agreed, I would then ask him if it would be all right if I did so at his side." The girl may very well have been honest, but even in honesty, it did not hurt to make an appearance of deference, especially where men were concerned.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:06 PM   #23
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"That seems like a good idea," she said with a smile. "I was... well, I'm not as familiar with the 'Reach way of celebrating it. I shall hope Prince Jason will allow me to accompany him then. Thank you, Lady Maressa." She let her smile fade a little. "Is there... anyone in Tal Volorro who you would have me leave a candle for? You have been kind, I would feel remiss if I did not pay respects."
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:13 PM   #24
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"I'm fairly sure he will accept the proposition," Maressa told Lady Parissa in a mild but encouraging way, "From an outsider's perspective, he seems to have taken to you well." Not to mention that, as her future husband (and someone older and more experienced than Lady Parissa had), it was the Prince's job to be her introduction into the ways of his family and his people.

She smiled to the girl, grateful for the thought, though the smile was sad. In truth, Maressa didn't really have anyone to mourn. For all that she loved a good portion of her dead, they didn't often return the favour, and she was Vayth enough to resent them for that. But she could hardly say that to a stranger, now, could she? "If you could spare one for my brother Keven, who died in the Northern Wars, I would be obliged," she replied, "He was... a kind of man who, in death, needs as many candles lit of him as he can get." And she knew not of many who would offer prayers for his poor, tragic soul.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:49 PM   #25
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"So many warriors are that way," Parissa said with a nod. "I will of course. Such spirits are the ones we must appease. But... I'm glad you think Prince Jason has accepted me." She smiled. "There's always so many questions about finding one's place somewhere... and with a future husband more so, I am learning. I adore him already, and it... it's pleasant to hear he does not seem indifferent to the eyes of those who know him better."
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:01 AM   #26
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There were a number of things Maressa wanted to tell Lady Parissa. That adoring anyone, especially one's husband or a lover, was the well-paved road to certain heartbreak. That she needed to snap out of her daydreams and realize that the situation she's in is many things, but good is not one of them. And, most of all, that she really needed to learn how to be less naive.

She settled, though, for correction a misconception she accidentally allowed the young woman to create. "I would not say that I know him," she replied cautiously, "By the time I arrived to Court, His Highness had already left to fight the war, and I've only met him when he and the others returned. But from the things I've heard of him over the years, from what little I got to know him in the past two months, and from what I could observe when the two of you are in company together... no, he does not seem indifferent. But, please, don't forget - true affection takes time and work to build." That was the closest she could get to advising the girl to put a leash on her much too quick and much too strong emotions without sounding like a lecturing bitch.
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:22 AM   #27
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At that, Parissa laughed. "Some, perhaps but others don't. The instant I met my cousins, I knew we were friends. Amina and Ty are the most amazing ladies I know. I simply couldn't breathe if I thought they were unhappy. And of course, I've seen men fall in love with Salindra in a heartbeat. They all seem quite convinced about it."
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:43 AM   #28
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"How old were you when you met your cousins?" Maressa asked rather than let herself go into another rant, "And have you observed Lady Salindra's suitors enough to notice how long it usually takes them to move on to their next lady love?"
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:26 AM   #29
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"Mm... ten?" Parissa said carelessly, shrugging the question off and moving straight into a much more interested response about Salindra's suitors. "Ugh, ages. One of them's been sick for her for two whole years, I heard. And I know one of them's adored her for a whole year. Can you even imagine?" She sighed sadly. "They'll probably go right on being sick about it for ages still. It's just like Solarii- there was one lord who was dying to wed Ty. His father sent him north to stop him writing songs and moping. He still did for almost forever... but he died."
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:48 AM   #30
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Lady Parissa seemed less inclined to think of the differences between making friends as a child and making friends as an adult, but considering she was still more child than adult, that was not a surprise. If she truly believed things would go as easily for her now as they did then... well, Maressa would've certainly preferred if the girl turned out to be right. But she knew a little more about where Lady Parissa was heading to, so she did not indulge in vain hopes for the girl's sake.

"Indeed, I cannot," she replied instead on the subject of the topic the young woman did show some interest in, "And, soon enough, you'll know better, too. What you describe isn't love - it's infatuation, which can be fun and exciting... but almost always ends, and sooner more often than later. It can grow into love, but that is a rare event, and all the more precious for it. A steady affection more often grows from friendship. Not be as romantic and dramatic... but truer, more reliable, and far longer lasting." Maressa found it ironic that she of all people would be giving advice on love and men to young ladies, but this just went to prove life had an odd sense of humour.
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