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Tor Vellesca The walls of the castle protect its inhabitants and often shield its secrets as well. Built just after the Asseryan Conquest it was one of the few buildings to make it unscathed through the war and is still filled with stunning mosaics, intricate frescoes, and statues from all over Anterra.
Supplied by the aqueducts that feed the city as well, the palace hosts countless fountains and even running water in some areas and enable it to support near 2,000 inhabitants. Picture


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Game is Rated MA, 18+


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The king's company is set upon along the road from Mirrormount to Moonspire...



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Old 06-07-2016, 06:15 PM   #1
(Lord) Gareth Agrivale
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Default 5.05.31 (noon) | Not Mine, But Yours | Gareth, Valencia [ask to join]

The ride was not long and it was one he was very familiar with, but all the same, it had been too long since he'd ridden such as that, and his back was sore by the time the trip was ended. He had thought to stop in some of the smaller holdings along the way, but it was important that he get to Vellesca as soon as possible. He was greeted by none, and he had not expected to be. That wasn't to say Vellesca was empty. No, she was teeming with servants and even a few nobles were flitting here and there. But she was not so crowded as she had been near the end of the last year. It was hard to not feel the ghost of the plague that was only beginning to pass away from the place.

He saw that his things were being seen to before seeking out his cousin. He was not always close to Valencia, but that was not for a lack of trying. It just seemed to be her way. Isolated and closed off. Not unlike the tower she'd been locked away in since the Holy Days. No doubt her illness had been terrible, but he hoped it was not so bad now.

Gareth was mostly expecting to not be admitted into her chambers when he called on her, so when the servant stepped aside to let him through, it took him a moment to realize what was actually happening. His eyes widened slightly in surprise, and with a grateful nod of his head, he entered and approached Valencia, stopping an appropriate distance away before giving her a bow.

"Your highness... Cousin... It is, as always, a pleasure to see you. Thank you for granting me a moment of your time." He looked up, eyes taking in the sight of her. She was every bit a Vellfyre. Stunning and bright, blonde hair almost golden in the light, and even the signs of childbearing did not detract from that beauty. "They said you were deathly ill, but I see life in those cheeks yet, princess. Dare I assume this means you are feeling better? Or is that my hope making me see what I wish to see?"
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:09 PM   #2
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Elizabeth told her that she should not worry about anything except the child growing inside of her. It was difficult not to after having sent her sister off to Blacktide. The stinking cesspool and there was nothing she could really do to help. It never crossed her mind for a moment it was because she was a woman. No, it was mostly because she was heavy with child and of course stripping to the bare bones she would not be dealing with such an ailment if she were a man. At least, some of the sickness seemed to be going away, but she also did not seem quite right either having bouts of emotions that she never felt before or even concerned of in the past which was just as annoying at the obnoxious cravings for food that she never seemed to like before this pregnancy.

Despite making her home in the tower that her father put her in as punishment, knowing full well she could have moved back to her own apartments, Valencia decided to stay right were she was upon principle and when she would finally have that opportunity to talk to her father once more in the hopes of making amends. As routine, she was dressed when she woke in the morning and dismissed all of her company after she had broke her fast for a bit of time to herself. She also knew that the others needed their own time to themselves as well to get whatever chores and errands done as she kept them busy into the evening.

She was resting grateful that there was no one hovering even her beloved Liz who meant well. There was a servant at her elbow that whispered in low tones that Gareth was at her chamber door and she was about to send him away, but instead gave a nod to allow him entry instead. Carefully, she sat up propped up with a few pillows to give her back some support and she watched as her cousin approached her.

There was of course no smile upon her lips, but there was hardly one present for pregnancy had not completely changed her disposition in that regard. While most would titter and swoon at such a handsome face, and she continued to be unfazed by charm or she might even have liked her boorish husband. "Gareth, I am hardly my sister, you do not need to waste your niceties and pretty words on me. There were circumstances that might have had me escorted to Corvus' door, but I have always been rather stubborn with almost a mannish constitution," she replied dryly.

Her head tilted as she met his gaze and then she cut right to the chase, "Why are you here, cousin?" Using the address allowing him to do so, perhaps there was something she wanted from him as well.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:31 PM   #3
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His expression faltered, but only to give way to confusion. And a bit of hurt. He tilted his head and stepped closer. "I do not think wishing my cousin feels well counts as trivial niceties. My words were sincere, Valencia. Else I would not have said them. You know me well enough to know that." Or so he thought she did. Perhaps he was wrong. "Mannish? Some might call it pure Vellfyre constitution."

He wondered what was going on in her head. How did her thoughts work? She certainly was not like any other woman he'd met. Even Lucia, who managed to catch him off guard with her bluntness, was not so straightforward as Valencia was. "I heard of Edric's passing. I... came to offer my condolences... And to see if you were well. I hope that does not displease you."
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:02 AM   #4
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Valencia could have figured out a puzzle to save her life, but she could never quite understand the nuances of people and how complex they tend to be. Just one word, a tone, an action and they act differently. It was perhaps one reason why she kept herself apart from a majority of them. Some people understood her while others never could. She never made it a point to get them to understand her either.

"It is appreciated. Thank you," she said woodenly trying not to feel awkward, especially when he explained his expression and his earlier comment. She could appreciate bluntness and genuine words amongst all the two-faced courtiers with their forked tongues. Her eyes did lighten and the corners of her lips actually rose a fraction at his compliment regarding the Vellfyre constitution. "Yes, perhaps it is."

"It does not displease me," she replied waving her hand as if dispelling any negativity and then assessed him for a moment as her hand came to be placed upon her belly at least to sooth the place that was just kicked.

Using the armrest, she pulled herself forward despite her big belly to lean towards her cousin and asked, "How much do you love my family, Gareth?"
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:43 PM   #5
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It was strange to see her move with such impediment. He was tempted to go forward to help her, but he knew better and kept his feet rooted firmly to the ground. It was her question that took him aback, however. How much did he love her family? If that wasn't a loaded question, he didn't know what was. Answers to questions such as that usually came with a challenge to prove it through action. He had served Queen Charlotte long enough to know that.

"Why?" he asked. "Have I given you cause to doubt by devotion, cousin? If I have, you have my apologies."
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:01 PM   #6
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She was rubbish at playing such a game, but she knew it was being played with such an answer. How clever he was? Was he clever enough for her to ask him to do something for her? That made her request for him all the more hopeful.

"No, not at all. I just need to know who to trust with something that might be of a delicate nature, but has left concern in my heart. I believe you to be quite capable, but I just wanted to make sure that you were willing and able..." She added, the frown back, but laced with concern...maybe even fear when most of the time she wore a mask of indifference.
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:10 PM   #7
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Well... how suspicious that was. She was a Vellfyre. But she was also married to a Trimerid prince. Dangerous ground to tread. Dangerous ground to tread without the queen's counsel.

"I would say to you to look at the evidence. Your mother has trusted me all these years. Your sister is a dear friend. Your brother, I have sadly not been so close with because of the war, but it is a bond I feel has strengthened since his return. And your father has trusted me enough to hold the seat of Oldcastle, a seat important to the 'Reach and to Edolon. I hope that is answer enough for you, cousin. And I hope, once considered, you might trust me enough to tell you what troubles your heart so."
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:33 PM   #8
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He told her exactly what she needed to hear and even remained quiet long enough to hear him out. "What have you heard of the things happening in Blacktide?" She asked, changing the course of their conversation.
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:35 PM   #9
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He shook his head. "I have heard nothing save that Worthing has been laid to rest. Gods rest him."
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:54 PM   #10
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"My sister was chosen as emissary to go to Blacktide to deliver Worthing to his family," she replied, eyes upon Gareth to see if she could figure out if he already knew such a detail or to perhaps guess on the weight of such a decision from the King.

"I am worried about her," she simply said and fell silent to allow him to speak his mind.
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:06 PM   #11
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"Your sister is a fitting representative for her father," he nodded. "Especially in light of recent events." She, no doubt, was the best choice. A woman skilled in politics who could thrust the weight of the Vellfyres, but a bastard all the same who would not be so threatening. A sword and a balm. He'd have done the same thing. "He sent her alone?" Why else would she worry?
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:10 PM   #12
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"For the most part...I mean Gavin went with her, but I could hardly call what she had with her an army. Is it odd for me to be worried?" She asked in turn.
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:21 PM   #13
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"An army is hardly appropriate for such a visit," he pointed out. "The Wolfes have lost two kinsmen in the span of a few months. The message is meant to be of sympathy. Not of war. Even so, the guard between them both is enough to protect them along the way, is it not? And then in Blacktide, they are under the protection of Lord Wolfe. To say nothing of Lord William who has ever been loyal to your father."

He shook his head. "It is not unusual to worry over one's family. I find myself worrying often over my own even though they are safe." He leaned his weight to one foot. "Tell me, cousin, have you shared your concerns with the Lord Treasurer? Surely Lord Warrick could put any worries you have to rest."
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:38 PM   #14
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True, it was all true and he spoke with reason. "Yes, of course." Was she not conveying her concern very well, was it all for naught? Was it this damnable pregnancy talking or her? It really seemed to be turning her brain into mush of late.

Her eyes had lowered in thought for a moment at his first reply, but it was the second that made her look back up at him. "Lord Warrick left with them and has yet to return," she replied frowning fully wishing he were here to put any worries to bed, but him leaving was a show of concern and respect to his kin or was it something else entirely?
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:49 PM   #15
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Gareth took a lot longer to answer. "You would like me to look into it?" he asked. "I... did not come prepared to venture further. I would need some time to prepare for such a journey... And... I should like to know what I'd be venturing into. More than likely, you need not worry. The Wolfes have been friends for a long time with the Vellfyres and have extended their hospitality enough that she is loathe to leave."

His eyes hadn't been on Blacktide. Save the borders around their reach. The ones shared with Coppelstone. He hadn't been looking to the city more than was expected, but even that hadn't yielded anything back. Come to think on it, though, he hadn't heard much.

"Have you sent a messenger?" he asked. "It's only a day and half's ride."
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:01 PM   #16
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"Yes." She replied not wishing to command him to do so, but to offer his services in case something happened. "Of course, I would not have expected you to set out almost immediately after your arrival. It would be nice the next time to actually send a messenger ahead that you would be arriving so there would be more of a greeting than what you must have received." Unless that is exactly what he wanted, but she wanted to at least be hospitable and not the one at fault for such lax greetings.

"Whatever you need, Cousin, fresh provisions, horses, and perhaps a message for Zee so you can play the part of messenger," she said offering him the resources he might need to do what she asked.

She frowned, "Two have been sent and was never to be heard of again. I do not even know if any of my messages have been received. Perhaps both times beset upon by bandits? It has me wanting to go myself, but in my sorry state and...and Zee told me not to endanger myself in case...in case something goes wrong. How can I sit by idly and do nothing, gods I even know about this union between the Veracoras and the Saherazai, but I do not know if my own sister is all right."
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:11 PM   #17
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"I did not wish to burden you with such, Valencia," he said. "The visit was for you. Not for me."

Still, there were a few words there that he found trouble. Particularly of Zee's warning. And then the last part. He'd heard rumor of it, but... His brow furrowed. "I will go, cousin, but not alone. Gods know what may yet lay in wait on that road if two messengers have gone and not returned. I may have to take a different path..." And he would need more men than he brought. He couldn't borrow from what had been left in Vellesca. But... he knew where he might get some. Some who would need little persuasion.
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:10 PM   #18
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She sighed, "Gareth, you are not a burden, you are family and Lord Gareth Agrivale now. It is your right to enjoy our hospitality and do not think it was your birth that made me avoid you...I avoid most people. It is easier that way." Said with a nonchalant shrug, but how could it not hurt her? People worry over Zee, dote on her every whim and probably some believe she is a proper princess while they wondered about the peculiar princess.

"Of course not alone. I was hoping Zee would be back by now and I would imagine Lord Elijah would be making his way back to Vellesca before her arrival." It was more a hypothetical, but she could not know the man's mind or what sort of correspondence he may have had with her sister as of yet.

"Scouts and a different path, with gifts and a few messages along with a contingent of able bodied men, it might seem rather odd to be refused...a stopover to another town perhaps? I could not imagine Blacktide would refuse you. The journey may be more treacherous than the city itself." Even she sounded doubtful not really one to 'hope' for much or believing such things, just facts to fuel her claim and concern.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:01 PM   #19
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"It is not a right to be honored by the Vellfyres, cousin. It is a privilege. Not one that extends to everybody and one that I will never take for granted." Her words were the first to obviously startle him, and his back straightened and his head cocked back as if she'd just struck him. "I... never thought that, Valencia. In fact, you were one of the few people I didn't think my birth mattered at all to. And I appreciated that more than I can say."

He shook his head. "I will take no more than I brought with me. Vellesca has enough, but not more. And you need who is here. I would never take that from you else you would be under-protected and your sister would likewise scold me for it. No. I did not come with enough, but I will go to Shadowdale and entreat the Vaughns to go ahead with me. Their's is a different road than your messengers would take. While I believe your words likely... it is better to be prepared."
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:59 AM   #20
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"Subjects, family, it is all a popularity contest in the end and I seem ill-equipped to tread lightly, but your words at least lighten my heart," she replied looking sad, but did not continue as she seemed to have caught him by surprise. "We cannot help who our parents are, but making something of yourself despite it all. You are a capable man and protected my mother well. That has more merit than most that are here at court only hoping to curry favor for one reason or another." However, she knew that was the way of it, but a majority of them were useless and weak chinned. She saw neither of those traits in Gareth and he also managed to survive her mother. That was telling in one's character especially to someone that only dealt in facts and logic.

There was relief when he spoke the words and she nodded. "Indeed. Thank you, Cousin. I have never been one to go on the conjecture of bad portents, but something has sat wrong with me ever since my sister stopped by and Lord Warrick went with her. Then I have not heard anything since. Whether it is something or nothing at all, I am grateful. Bring my sister back to me. I..." Her bottom lip trembled as tears filled her eyes. "I do not want to be alone." Damnable pregnancy! I am about to cry.

"You should go and rest, Gareth. I have a few things to do, but come see me again before you leave...and perhaps even before then," she left it open ended, but there was a clear dismissal in her tone. Maybe a bit of Zee was rubbing off on her.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:44 AM   #21
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He knew he should feel honored by her compliment, but was it really a compliment. She didn't say he wasn't currying for favor. Only that he was doing a better job of it than most. And perhaps that was true. No, it was definitely true. But that wasn't the only reason. All he could do then was nod. A silent thanks, but not an actual thanks because... he wasn't sure if it was something to be thankful for.

"Lord Warrick, no doubt, went to pay respects to Lord Worthing. He worked with him in the treasury at times, if I recall. I suppose they may have been close. I would not think too much into that, cousin. And if the road is rife with dangers, it's likely any word she's sent may have met the same fate as your letters. But surely it is no reason to be alarmed. I will set the matter to rest for you, and..." He paused, seeing the tears in her eyes. Watching Valencia moved to such emotion was like watching the moon start moving in the opposite direction. It just wasn't the way it was supposed to happen. "You aren't alone, cousin. You have Lady Elizabeth here. And your husband, the prince."

He took the hint and readied himself for a bow to leave, but he paused again. "Are you certain you require nothing else, cousin?" Maybe she was the sort of person who needed to be alone when she was upset, but he wanted to be sure.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:57 AM   #22
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"I hope that is all it was," she murmured but was not entirely confident knowing she was probably not conveying exactly what she might have felt or observed at the time. She was never very good at that. It was not that she was a cold, unfeeling creature, but it was that she could not deal with how truly emotional she was. Instead of dealing with it, she buried and hid behind her logic and reasoning cutting it off and attempting to appear cold and unemotional.

"And for Elizabeth I am grateful," she added with no mention of her husband the prince.

She gently shook her head. "I never knew how different it is to be with child. It is rather unnerving especially when I do not feel like myself a majority of the time," she waved her hand. "It must sound ridiculous to you and never mind, go Gareth. I would imagine you have quite a bit to do to prepare. If you run into Liz, let her know that I hope that she remembered the books I requested from the library."
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:08 PM   #23
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He nodded and gave a bow of his head. "I do, yes. I'll be gone this time tomorrow, cousin. When I arrive to Blacktide, I will send word to you." He nodded to show he would do just that if he ran into Elizabeth, but he doubted he would. Water the horses, let the men rest, perhaps wait until daybreak, but otherwise... his sights were already on Shadowdale. With a last, lingering smile, he turned to leave.
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