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  vfakimo
 
03:26am 12/06/2016
 
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  cezixazao
 
05:49am 11/06/2016
 
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04:05pm 23/08/2012
 

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03:47pm 23/08/2012
 

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Революция в Курении! 
  cyclshothafe
 
12:27pm 11/03/2011
 
mood: loved

Сигaрeты без огня, запаха и пепла!

Без канцерогенов, смол и других продуктов горения.

Сигaрeты без огня, запаха и пепла!

 
     

(Comment)

 
 
  queen_ardith
 
12:17am 10/01/2004
 
mood: determined
I woke up in a strange room, the floors and walls built entirely of stone. It was quite dark, as the area was only dimly lit by candles strewn about. The sun had obviously long forsaken the sky, and a new moon meant only sparse starlight filtered through the lone, but barred, window in the corner. Sitting up on the nicely covered bed, I looked about, just barely able to make out rich tapestries lining the walls, depicting forgotten battles, kings, and conquerors of long ago.

Where was I? Obviously this was a room in some rich lord's castle- I knew that much at least. But who's? And how had I gotten here all the way from Aeres?? I had no memory whatsoever of the day, or of that preceeding it. The last thing I could remember was seeing Lord Hawlk curiously faint in front of me back in Aeres. Shortly after that, my mind went blank. Maybe the throbbing pain in the back of my head has something to do with it I thought.

Standing up, I started for the door, turned the handle, and gasped. It was locked. I then rushed to the window, looked down, and saw that I was quite high up in some tower. Straight down below me was a dark and treacherous looking moat. I tried to look further out in the distance, but all i could make out was a shadowy forest.

Suddenly, I heard the echo of distant steps coming up what must have been a staircase just outside the room. My prison... I thought to myself bitterly. The sound grew louder and then stopped right outside my door.
The clank of keys was soon heard as some person unlocked what sounded like more than one lock. Then, as the door began to creak open, I turned to face boldly whoever might be behind it. Whatever was to happen, I was not going to appear scared and helpless. I was a Queen and would have to stay strong.

~Queen Ardith of Aeres
 
     

(1 commented | Comment)

 
From the Personal Thoughts of Lord Hawlk of Eos 
  auroradream
 
02:56am 28/12/2003
 
mood: awake
And so I traveled. Ended up more than just a triffle footsore and weary. For all my time spent roughing it with my many travels one does come to rely heavily upon the comforts that are packed to help you on your way. Yet while I traveled I was able to look back upon the events of the past weeks if not years.

It would be mighty interesting if my family finally came to present me to the royal family. There would be a great confusion along with a pinch of contraversy. Sounds lovely, yet doubtful I should live to see it.

This country does not seem to be doing well at all. The monarchy seems to be falling on its heels and others ruling around them. Not only that but neighboring countries too! I swear, if this all didn't affect me I would sail across the ocean and be gone with them all. This backwards place is getting to me.

Forgive me. I believe I am delerious with hunger and thirst. When Dusk ran off my water ran off too.

It was not until I had traveled for almost a full day that I finally reached a village. By then my feet were bloody and my body completely sore. But I recieved no welcome or help from its people. Except a flask of water and a loaf of bread. They quickly sent me on my way afraid they were so of strangers with the news of late.

Perhaps I should take to life in the forest and live out the rest of my days as a hermit. Oh, but what is this? While it seemed that my travel West had finally brought me back to the my original destination, the castle of Aeres. Joyous...

I looked over my appearance for a moment before I gave a mighty shrug and strode towards the building. The guards frowned at my looks but none the less let me pass. This its self is a curious thing. The King and Queen of Aeres hate uninvited guests...and I am most definately uninvited. But as I passed the stables a familiar nicker caught my attention.

"Dusk!" I cried softly as I hobbled as quickly as I could towards my horse. "You gods forsaken beast, what happened?" I querried as I gazed at the cuts across my horses flesh. "I see whatever caught me, caught you also." I looked around slowly at the stall Dusk was in before I noticed my pack, saddle, and boots next to it. "Well, that helps me a bit," I mettered softly.

Quickly I gathered my back and boots and strode into the keep. A servant passing buy frowned at my appearance but actually grinned slightly after a moment. "Are you looking for the King and Queen Lord Hawk?" they asked.

"Yes," I answered cautiously, "I am."

"Allow me to take you to them!" and thus the servant turned around and took me to a door. A sly grin lit his face as he opened the door for me.

I peered in to see a rather interesting group formed that were about to enter another door. One I could tell was the Queen.

"I beg your pardon your Majesty but would you be so kind as to tell me the whereabouts of Lady Cerian?" With that said, and to my embarassment, I fainted there at their feet, half in the door and half out.

If my brother learns of this I will never hear the end of it.

-Hawk of Eos
 
     

(Comment)

 
Samuel of Arran upon Dionysos, Aeres; the Royal Hunter 
  aznpegasi3003
 
01:06am 26/12/2003
 
mood: busy
O Heavens...
The talks of state had yet to begin, and there I was...trying to find a Princess and a noblewoman, whilst walking abreast with a Prince, among others. Like nothing my father had ever seen, despite all his years -- Bless him. What we spake whiles we walked; well, think naught of it. Best it not be repeated, so they say of matters of the state.

I will say, however, that Cassandra was not found. A little rascal, so they said of her as a young girl! Heavens, now she had up and gone farther away than any could catch her! The guard was cold asleep on the ground, undoubtedly beaten in the face.

A guard confronted me. "Lady Cerian is no where to be found," he said. At this I nearly shot towards the stables, mark me.

Rocare flinched. "That woman," he said, beneath his breath. "It is no wonder that the Lady be not present at such a time. She was here ere Cassandra and I fell, but see, the window is open. No doubt she hastened away, though her intentions I know not."

"And of the Princess?" Queen Genevieve asked.

The guard shook his head, saying, "No trace of the Her Lady Cassandra. We have searched every inch of this castle, madam, from the courtyard to the stables. All horses are accounted for, and no guard in the proximity of this castle speaks of any princess."

The Queen pulled from her neck a gold chain, upon which mine eyes found the most remarkable silver key. Indeed, t' was like no other -- embroidered with rubies, delicate such as a new born babe wrapped and resting in one's arms... Heavens! It appeared the key to a far greater place than any near Hera!

"There is one room your eyes have not yet gazed upon," stated the Queen. She walked quickly to the chamber doors. "Come, there is one door beyond which all royalty has passed...but no common man has, not even my servants."

Well, needless to say, the look that Iona gave me then was most curious. Then I, to Rocare, glared suspiciously. The Prince seemed least contented, with mine eyes upon him...and with Iona, poor wounded lass, at his side also with her eyes eating at his soul. He knew of this chamber, of this secret door, no doubt. He knew much for a young lad, I am not of this doubtful. Yet why did he not speak before? What other great secrets, I wondered, did he harbor?

Here we are, thought I. Looking for Cassandra, who could be dead or within the arms of the enemy...worried we are, because of her. O she with the star of Aphrodite upon her brow! How she does vex us! It is NOT kind!

Thus, unwillingly, we followed the Queen. The Prince, irritated by us Hunters, surely; the guards; and a great host...searching for Cassandra ere the enemy found her.

-Samuel of Arran.
 
     

(Comment)

 
Ivoria of Eire, Royal Advisor to King Alexander and Queen Ardith of Aeres 
  rockontheedge
 
01:57pm 24/12/2003
  The shining hills were green and jeweled in the distance, rolling on into eternity. Their soft voices called to me without words, whispering "away, away, away, come away...". I was neither walking nor running, but rather suspended in midair, or flying perhaps, gliding across, weightless and disembodied, full of the joy in the fertile land around me. I continued on, and on, and on...

My body fell, with a crash muffled by blankets, to my cold chamber floor, thus bringing me firmly back into reality- though nonetheless one I was not the happiest to return to. Shivering, I pulled the blankets back over my nightrobes and made an attempt to regain my composure. Had I fallen out of my bed once more? My eyes squinted as they tried to adjust to the penetrating darkness, broken only by a stream of moonlight coming in through the tall narrow window of my bedchamber that I loved for its view over the lands of Aeres.

I had chills running all over my body, yet my feet felt strangely warm. Glancing down, I was surprised to notice I had slippers on, the ones I generally wore for day-to-day business around the castle.

Alas Ivoria, I thought to myself, You've been walking in your sleep again.

The meeting with Alexander the day before yesterday had not gone well. His escalating rage as I relayed all the trying proceedings of his 'imprisonment' which he had forgotten did not outwardly faze me, but as soon as he bid me go and I was outside his chamber I was shaking, his mood rather disturbed me. At least was pleased that Samuel the Noble had brought back that bastard fiend Vincent- within the day he had "taken care of him". He will not bother these halls again. In the least that is one less worry than will lay on my heart through my troubled sleep, though each morn and message from the proceedings Hera brings more. However the relation that Cerian had somehow found her way to the exiled Princess Cassandra infuriated him, and I was sent away.

My ever analytical and task-oriented mind rushed forward to what would be occurring within a few hours as dawn came. The king would be heading out to Aphrodite with or without the queen- her actions were sporatic and difficult to predict...she was to be leaving for Hera a few days previous but something had apparently come up, I knew not what it was.

Perhaps more kniving plans to take Aeres and all its conquests for herself? I thought cynically to myself. Ah no Ivoria, do not think that, you let your jealousy mask your rational thoughts...it was the murder of Iestyn in the courtyard that distracted her..

Ah yes, Iestyn. Isabelle had informed me of what had happened during her "meeting" this evening during dinner. She had gone down to speak to Ardith about the plight of the serfs in her country (pathetically, the queen did not even attempt to make herself appear intereseted) when interrupted by a scream from the courtyard. After hearing about the mysterious murder in Hera I suppose these random deaths aren't as uncommon as I once supposed. But his death isn't too much of a loss on our part, I suppose, if anything it may be of benefit, as Iestyn was often the one who carried out Ardith's secret plans (such as the capture of the Lady Cerian). He'd stumbled onto his dagger in his drunkeness and stabbed himself in the abdomen. A normal, healthy man of his age would probably be able to live through a wound of that nature with the proper healing and medicines, but he was gone within minutes.

I hadn't heard the loud cry as I was down in the bellows of the library engrossed in a some old papers I found behind some of the shelves, old war plans signed with the hand of Alexander's grandfather, forgotten in the dust. They were in depth, providing detailed instructions and inventories of what would be necesarry for a conquest of Aphrodite. To my knowledge of the history of Aeres (I probably did not know as much as I should as an Advisor, being that I am still technically an outsider, and viewed by many as such) nothing of this magnitude in men and had ever been carried out. I spent hours huddled down paging through them, trying to visualize the formations and battlelines...when I finished reading the faded text I realized it was already evening and headed up to supper to find out what I had missed in the castle.

I did not know as of yet whether I would be accompaning the King and Queen (if she went) on the covert journey to Aphrodite- I had not spoken to Alexander since the meeting on the day after his rescue. The memory of that night still greatly fatigued me, the stench of the servants quarters and the fear that Vincent would discover that Eva and I had rescued him and kill us all bubbling up in my dreams, mixing them into nightmares and not letting me sleep. Before I retreated to my bedchamber I realized that Alexander may have had some knowledge about the long-forgotten plans of his grandfather, and would wish to see them now that they had been recovered. I ran as swiftly as I could to his door, but my knock remained unanswered. I questioned a passing servant who informed me that the king had requested that no one speak to him until the following morning. BUT HE NEEDS TO SEE THESE PLANS! I thought, and my mind raced frantically. I hastily scrawled a note explaining what I had found and that if he needed any further explanation he could call for me. Pulling a small bit of wax out of my deep pockets, I rubbed it around in my hands until it was soft and sticky and stuck my note on top of the heavy folder binding the papers. With a few small shoves I managed to fit the entire package through the wide slot in his door and I heard a resounding slam as they hit the floor of his chamber. I had done all that I could do, and I climbed the stairs up to my comfortable room in search of slumber.

But I had obviously not found it, as I was still in a jumbled heap on the floor, mentally going through the events of the past days as some sort of proof to my continuing sanity. A mumble and a sudden movement coming from my bed startled me and I let out a slight cry and gasp. I stiffened and sat upright, desperate to know who the imposter to my private room was, and terrified at the same time. It was then that an important realization occurred to me, and my breath fell out from under me.

The window, the window, oh dear Lord, the WINDOW. My eyes widened and my hands shook as I gasped for air, confused and frightened of what was happening to me.

No, Ivoria, NO! No, it can't be, oh..no Ivoria your window is fixed into the Eastern wall of the castle..this, this one...its...south...south! just like...like...

Alexander's bedchamber.

I went numb- thoughts running too fast to think to make sense...thankfully my instincts took control within a few seconds and I crawled, shaking and nearly hyperventilating, out of the room, then running, up the stairs and down the silent dark hallways, blankets half tripping me, back up to my chamber. Shutting the door and breathing heavily, I collapsed and began sobbing.

When my eyes could not run anymore, and a headache began to settle in, I finally forced myself to think coherently. I had been sleep-walking, that was certain enough. The other questions were not so easy for me to answer, nor were the solutions. How had I gotten into the locked chamber, why on earth was I going in there? If I had been seen my head would not have been attached for long, trusted advisor notwithstanding. Had anyone spoken to me when I was in this state? Why in God's glory was I doing it, anyways? Should I let the king and queen know about this? Perhaps I just need more sleep..I locked my chamber door and placed a chair in front of it and some sharp objects on the floor so to hinder any further subconscious adventures for the time being, and fell into bed. I may be leaving for Aphrodite tomorrow, and I'll need all the rest I can muster..
 
     

(3 commented | Comment)

 
 
  angelpurelight
 
02:19am 09/08/2003
  I had been standing over the body of a fallen man. Princess Cassandra was laying like a pathetic whelp in the arms of the dear Prince Rocare and I searched the body for wounds of any sort. I found the knife wound and wondered if Cassandra had stabbed him or someone else. I would have to know who he was first.
"Know you this man?" Rocare asked me. He was setting Cassandra's frail body down on her bed. I watched as Rocare brush hair from her porcelain face. It was a pity one so foolish was so smitten with such a lady as she. Such women as Cassandra were not meant to be married, my father would say.
"No, I know him not." I said with a frown.
I tore some of his clothes away for a better look at the wound. Blood spilled to the ground.
"Damn!" I hissed.
Prince Rocares' head jerked up at the sound of such blasphamy from such a noble lady as I yet I cared not for pathetic formalities at such a time.
I leaned in closer to the wound for a better look.
"Go outside and keep watch." I ordered Rocare. "Do not move an inch from the door."
Rocare hesitated slightly to be taking orders from me yet realized it would make the best possible sense at the moment. He grumbled only slightly before I heard him close the heavy wooden door behind him.
Moments dragged by. I hoped someone had heard Cassandra scream and would come soon. I could make nothing of the wound that I had not already discerned the moment I laid eyes upon it. I wondered who he was. Had Cassandra indeed killed him and fainted from such an act? It was terrible, indeed, to kill. It shocked even one so strong as I.
"Know you this man?"
There was man with a deep, gruff sounding voice towering over me. He was panting heavily and looked slightly disheveled. I saw that the window pane had been forced open roughly. The cool night air spilled into the stuffy, room. The stench of the body and his blood became slightly fainter.
I looked up at him more fully, turning myself around. I knew at any moment I could scream and Rocare would come running. Unless the fool had had too much wine. Fool always did enjoy the spirits.
"Yes," I lied, "I know this man now."
I wondered what information that would render me. Far be it from me for the man to shrug and leave with the body, permitting us to ponder who he and the body were the rest of our days.
"Did he tell you why he came?" the man's voice sounded colder probably from my reply.
"No." I was not sure how I could tiptoe around such a lie. "Not before he was murdered."
"Oh? Who killed him?" the man questioned. His voice raised in slight amusement.
"I don't know, sir. Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me?"
I hoped he would bend over and examine the body, I would seize the moment and hit his head with an object of some sort. Therefore we would have a witness and the body. I only hoped Rocare was all right.
Instead, his eyes flickered towards the wound and then back at me.
"Killed himself." he said simply.
"But...how?" I sputtered. "Can you even see the wound clearly where you are? The flames do not shine so brightly from your angle."
"I know enough about killing to know that he did it himself." he returned evenly. "Now Princess Cassandra, you must come with me. You're in grave danger."
This intrigued me. Perhaps I would be hailed a hero for bringing treason into the light. Perhaps even made a member of the royal court. All for risking my life for information regarding my dear princess.
"All right." I said with a nod.
"Help me drag this body out the window. I have a few men down there awaiting my signal."
"What's the signal?" I asked. I slipped my hands under one of the man's massive arms as the man slipped his under the other.
"We drop the body. That's the signal."
I surpressed a laugh as I needed my strength.
With a great heave we managed to toss the man out the window.
"'oie Rabbit! Careful where you drop next time!" I heard a man snarl from below.
"Maybe you should look up more often." Rabbit shot back.
He bowed low and swept his hand to the window.
"After you." he said.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
He sighed and simply shoved me out the window before I could even protest.
I screamed horribly until my cries were cut off by a man catching me as though I had been but a free floating feather.
"Easy does it now me lady." he said.
He gently placed me on a horse. They already had the dead man strapped onto a horse accomapanied by another rider.
Rabbit fell and rolled to a halt. He got up, brushed himself and scowled at me.
"Half the kingdom heard that scream, they did." he muttered.
"I doubt it. I didn't hear an echo." I replied, tossing my head upwards. Make a fool of me...hah!
"Ride on!" Rabbit yelled as quietly as he could.
The horses all started at once and as a group, we rode off into the darkness.
"Imagine, the bloody fool killin' himself afore he could give the bloody message!" one of the riders cried with a roar of laughter.
"Or maybe he gave it to the wrong woman." Rabbit murmured.
I clutched my own wound and hoped the bandages would hold out for a while longer. At least the bleeding had stopped.

-Lady Cerian of Helios
 
     

(8 commented | Comment)

 
Samuel of Arran upon Dionysos, Aeres; the Royal Hunter 
  aznpegasi3003
 
11:58am 08/08/2003
 
mood: annoyed
It appeared the Queen had left us again, to speak higher matters with some authority she put much faith in. This I did not mind, save that she left Rocare with myself and my niece. Would have gone back to the courtyard, or to my chambers, were he not in our midst. Would have rested were it not for the most troublesome servitude I seemed to have thrust myself into.
As I sat I pondered many things, one being how it all began. Methought how strange it had been how I had been thrown into the mess; a mess left better for royals. Oh Heavens -- was it a jest? That I, son of William the Hunter, was to become so important in such a battle between kingdoms? In Hera, I was as a traitor. There as the eyes of Ardith. Oh Forgive me -- I had become that which I hate.
Iona appeared to enjoy the silence less than I. "Uncle," she said. "What is going on? Has someone truly passed on? Will not the Queen permit us in when all that happens here concerns us as well? Does she perceive us weaker than she, that she may not speak with us of such important matters?"
"Iona, be still!" said I. "Intemperate is your spirit -- though may God bless you. Be patient, my niece, and the lady will come. Fear not." I looked at Prince Rocare, silent he still stood. Awkward, it may have been, to be by Hunters who were so far from the blood of royals. Leather clad things, to him; bloody killers of beasts we must have been to him. But in all honesty, hunters are and were naught of murderers.
In my mind, then, I perceived again what had been haunting me for days...weeks, perhaps. With the face of the Prince I remembered the dueling banners. I heard in my ears the yin call, blasting from Pele. Following it, so methought, I could hear war... yet so far off, it seemed, so beyond even the tide of time. In my mind's eye, iron clashed against its brethren, and many an arrow were let loose, ere one man fell. And so the ocean of time would change; the flora laiden crown of kings was passed on, so it appeared in my mind. One king, there came, who would stand above them all... yet, twas not who was to be; certainly not any who I had seen. Only terror ensued after he accepted his crown.
Oh heavens -- my thoughts were interrupted by laughter in the shadows. Rocare stood alert, Iona unsheathed a dagger, and I meself stood to protect them both.
"What a strange bunch," said a voice from the darkness. Pity -- he knew not who he faught. "Two hunters and a prince. Now whither has the Queen gone? I wish to speak with her."
"Doesn't work that way, milord, or master, or whoever you be," replied I. "The lady is in the chamber, with her council, ergo no one, not even us, may disturb her. Begone, foul demon, and return to the land from whence you have come!"
The voice continued to laugh. "My you are a jest, Hunter," it said. At this point I wanted desperately to pull him from hiding. "I will inflict upon you great pain if you do not allow me through."
"Pester off," shouted Iona. I turned to find her face rather sour with disgust -- with the hiding man of course. Yet, t'was not time for her to be angry! "Only cowards hide behind cloths of silk and gold. Only cowards fight not their enemy to retrieve what they desire. Do not you dare harm any of us, else I will hurt you."
The voice at this did not reply, save for jumping from hiding and unsheathing a grand sword. With it he wounded both meself and Iona, but Rocare he did not injure. Ere he departed he threw the sword, such as me ancestors with the mighty javelin, and let it fall beside the prince. "It has only just begun," he said.
Oh how my shoulder did sting! Yet, that was of no importance! Iona! What was wrong with Iona?
"Hunter, I do not think she is well," said the Prince. "Look." He pointed to Iona, and the wound from which there leaked her blood. She held it, and upon her face she applied a facade of peace... but within I knew her soul wept. Quickly I tore the bottom of the white shirt beneath the my black vest, and wrapped it about her arm. The wound would mark her from the shoulder to her elbow -- Oh heavens, have mercy!
Queen Genevieve threw open the chamber doors. "Quickly, we must make haste to find Princess Cassandra and Lady Cerian," said she. She took one glance at meself and my niece -- for a moment her eyes flashed with pity, but, alas, I knew she was in dire need of moving along.
"What goes on that we must find them?" inquired Prince Rocare.
Genevieve looked at him sternly, ere she hurried off. "A beast roams within these walls," she replied. "A mighty filthy one wielding a sword. Now come, and you, Hunters." And so, again, we were off. Iona seemed to have regained all strength, and along my side she walked... the pain was just beginning.

-Samuel of Arran
 
     

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From the Personal Thoughts of Lord Hawlk of Eos 
  auroradream
 
07:50pm 30/07/2003
 
mood: annoyed
I had a splitting headache. That was my first thought as I awoke from my position cousioned on the ground. I could feel springy moss at my back, and felt dappled sunlight on my face...and in my eyes. My head pounded at any movement I attempted to make. Oh, and even better, I don't even recall where I am.

Groaning softly I sat up on my elbows. I was dressed in my usual travel britches and my green tunic. The breeze lifted my now loose hair, which I could tell was in need of serious combing. But strangely enough, my feet were bare. Glancing a the small toes on my feet I wiggled them in confusion. Whereas I did this it seemed that they were waving up at me cotishly. And even worse, I could not see Dusk anywhere.

Beautiful, I thought snidely to myself. Here you are trying to save lives and you can't even keep where you are straight. Or even keep your damned horse in sight!

I stood slowly, groaning at the throbbing in my head and the rest of my body. Cuts and abrasions littered my skin and through my torn clothing I could see bruising. Last I remembered I was to enter the castle of Aeres to save the Lady Cerian.

"And now I am lost in these god forsaken woods!" I shouted causing a flock of birds to leave their roost. My eyes flickered up with their wing beats.

"West," I said aloud. "I shall travel West. No matter where I am I will eventually reach the seas." After a moment of silence I continued with, "Or a village."

Then, with great care, I began my trek through the woods... without shoes.

~Hawlk of Eos.
 
     

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The comings and goings of the Lady Isabelle 
  helem
 
12:38pm 30/07/2003
  Encouraged by my talk with Ivoria, I rose early the next morning and hastened towards the chambers of her majesty Queen Ardith where the meeting was to take place I presumed. As I was not entirely trustful of the Queen, I had a servant lead me there. He took me to a finely furnished room where the walls were covered in tapestries. The window drapes were of a rich fabric and were tied back to let the bright morning sunlight in. I sat on a dark colored sofa to await her majesty's arrival.

The room grew somewhat dark as a figure passed by the window. I glanced up and there stood the Queen. Her hair shone like a ring of fire around her stately face in the sunshine. She looked perplexed.

"So you're Isabelle? Yes, yes, it was something about taxes wasn't it.... Go ahead ask me what you need to, but be quick! There are other more important matters that need to be attended to in this troubled land."

What could be more important than the plight of the peasants! I thought. Surely she doesn't want more enemies. So I started my plea for help, but it was clear Ardith's mind wandered elsewhere. Then, we both heard it. A blood-curdling scream out in the courtyard. Ardith left at once; I followed close behind.
 
     

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Ivoria of Eire, Royal Advisor to King Alexander III and Queen Ardith of Aeres 
  rockontheedge
 
09:11pm 29/07/2003
  That night was, perhaps, one of the longest of my life upon this earth.

The key slid smoothly into the lock and the dungeon door. I nudged Eva to the side slightly and ran to the king, kneeling at his side. I had to stifle a gasp and my tears as I saw how that bastard scum Vincent had wounded Alexander, in his sleep no less. Obviously the man (if he could be called so much as that) had not the honor or dignity to fight the king when he was conscious, perhaps simply because he knew that under normal circumstances he would be smote in a matter of seconds. Eva sat beside me on the filthy chilled floor, looking flustered and vaguely confused by the entire situation, yet very eager to help. She quickly took her apron and brought it around him. At the moment my heart bid me to just hold him close and sob at the injustice of it all, but as was usual my mind knew otherwise. With much difficulty, I took a few deep breathes and tried to think clearly.We could not stay here in the dungeon, the proximity to the important halls and bed chambers or the castle was too near, and with no knowledge of where Vincent had gone, the slightest disturbance could mean the end of all of us. Hastily, I ordered,


"Quickly Eva, you must help me get the King to somewhere where he won't be seen. There is evil awake in the castle and we must keep the King out of danger's way."

She thought for a few seconds, then quickly responded,

"The servants' room. It's rarely patrolled by guards and none will speak of the King's presence. We can get him medical attention and water."

A grateful sigh escaped my lips. Perhaps, if the Lord's eye were upon us, we might make it through this night.

"Very well, help me, we must quickly and quietly as to not be seen."

"Lord," I prayed silently.."dear Lord give me grace, that i may travel through these hallways and courtyards if only for just this night with the silence of a bird's wing, and Alexander may be at once safe and in his rightful position."

I opened my eyes, no longer weary from lack of sleep. The urgency of the situation had refreshed me. I leaned close to the king and whispered..

"This might hurt a little, I'm afraid, but hopefully the pain will be brief. I know you have hurt much tonight." and swallowed a lump in my throat as I again fought not to cry. Despite my efforts, a stray tear left my eye and fell on the king's bruised and cut arm as Eva and I, with not too much difficulty lifted him to our shoulders. He groaned slightly. Alas, I thought wistfully, it is too bad that I am not a phoenix. My tears will not heal anyone.

We swiftly left the dingy cell and I locked it. As we made our way to the Servant's chambers, I was eternally grateful that as king, Alexander had not become stagment and portly as many a King had once become, but instead he remained rather fit and quite slim even once ascending the throne. Were he not, it would have been doubtful that the petite little Eva and my wiry self could have brought him all that way from the dungeons all across the castle to the quarters at all.

After what seemed like an eternity we finally stumbled upon the servants quarters. Softly we entered in, and we rested the king on one of the open cots, which was practically just a straw mattress on the floor with some coarse cloth on it.

"I know its not as elegant as your chambers, but i'm certain its better than that wretched dungeon." I said softly with a laugh. I sent Eva to run get bandages and water, and she got another one of the slumbering pages to assist her. We were finally able to stop most all of the bleeding, though the loss of blood had weakened him considerably. For the entire night he kept lapsing in and out of consciousness, the occasionaly flutter of eyes and then a return to a deep, (hopefully not concussion induced) sleep. On one of these instances he woke suddenly, startling me, and sat up calling "NO! NO! NEVER! NO!" in a distressing manner, and in doing so loosened his bandages. I ran over to try to comfort him and reapply the bandages but no sooner had i sat down beside him to wrap the cuts back up then he dropped back into deep sleep and his head fell drowsily on my shoulder. Perhaps, I thought cynically, under other circumstances i might be enjoying this. But I couldn't enjoy a moment like this, not when I could feel nothing but disgust for he who put someone so strong and fearless in a state as this.

I sighed and sat there wide awake for the remainder of the night, as did Eva close beside me. But as the unfailing sun began to color the raven sky with streaks of gold and orange, I realized that the Queen would probably be alarmed if Eva were to not show up to attend and dress her in the morning. I told her to stay with the queen, and warned her not to mention a word of the past evening's events to her. Soon she left as well, and I stayed perhaps a quarter hour more watching Alexander until i grew fearful of the inevitable gossip of the servants in seeing the king in such a state I realized he would need to be moved back up to his chambers somehow...Frantically thoughts began rushing my mind..

There must, there must be some hidden passageway, come now Ivoria, remember now...but how would you get him up there? His servant will be there momentarily, if I can get him up there in enough time....oh no...how am I going to carry him? With Eva there that was workable but now....well maybe he can walk...Maybe if there was a distraction we could get in up by way of the library...oh dear LORD what will i do...?

Then, as if divine intervention came upon me, a plan emerged full formed from my mind just as the goddess Athena rose from Zeus in the myths of old I had read of times before. I glanced outside...it was not quite daybreak. There would be some servants bustling around, but not many. I spoke to two of the servants preparing for the day, then woke Alexander urgently and thankfully he woke up, though groggliy. I wrapped a servants robe around him, then took a bit of dirt from the dusty floor and rubbed it in his hair to darken it, and at that he mumbled "what in the name of God are you doing Ivoria?" followed by another low moan. But I kept with my work, and finally...Voila. He looked very little like himself. I told him what was going on, and soon we were making our way back into the castle, him limping slightly but not too noticably. We wound through the hallways and soon came to a place where we would have to pass a few servants. I pray this will work.. I leaned around the corner and yelled, in my former accent so as to be not recognized,

"FIGHT! FIGHT! NEAR THE DUNGEONS!" As I had hoped, the servants, not wanting to miss the excitement, ran down to where my two little play actors were psuedo battling. I did not like to have to create such a distraction, but the servants I had spoken to knew my influence and considering the dire situation felt it in their best interest to do my requested favor.

Then, without too much more trouble we made it back up to the King's chambers. Alexander promptly collapsed in his bed. I told his servant Jonathan to wash out his hair and dress him in his new robes so that he might be more comfortable. I probably could have handled this, but i felt it prudent that I make an appearance at breakfast so that none would question my abscence. I would also need to speak with the queen before her departure for hear and about what was really going on with vincent..but as i continued to think on it I realized it could be possible that Ardith may have realized she was interacting with Vincent the night previous instead of her true husband as she had acted...ah well. I cast another look at Alexander, smiled slightly, and descended the small staircase down to the door of the royal bedchamber. Indeed, my prayer had been answered. The king was once again in his rightful place.

***

Going to breakfast had enlightened me on many levels. I heard the news of Samuel's bringing Vincent back to the castle...there were few men such as Samuel, honorable, dignified and fearless, three characteristics found in very few nowadays. There apparently was some confusion over who Vincent really was, but I knew immediately it would have to be him because Alexander was now sleeping back in his chambers. Hopefully the queen could handle the situation. I sighed. And then there was the Cerian issue....

Yawning, I stepped up out of the sun-filled dining hall and began the ascent up to my own chambers in hope that i could perhaps take a brief rest before attending to any of the days activites; the lack of sleep was finally beginning to affect me, but as I walked I was soon accosted by a young page who informed me the king wished to speak with me immediately. I thanked him, sprinted up to the chambers and pried open the heavy door. And there, sitting alert and tense in his bed was the once again fair-haired king. Looking at me intently, he spoke.

“Ivoria, pray tell, what has happened to me in the past few days? My memories fail to impress upon me the full details of the situation.”

I stalled. My thoughts froze..he did not remember..anything, or much of anything at least.. I had read of it, dissociative ammnesia..it happened often times in face of a traumatic event..I reasoned that having your evil twin try to kill you and then imprison you in your own castle dungeon might trigger such a response...sensing my discomfort he continued

“What has occurred to me and my kingdom in my unfortunate absence?”
 
     

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Samuel of Arran upon Dionysos, Aeres; the Royal Hunter 
  aznpegasi3003
 
02:32pm 28/07/2003
 
mood: pensive
Rocare and Cassandra had made their way to the guest hall, to Cassandra's chambers. I do not suppose any took notice of Iona and I -- typical, I suppose. I had heard the steps of Queen Genevieve walking about, hastily, and why, I understood. Much had gone wrong since the day had begun. Many things had happened.

"Your majesty!" cried I. She turned, but she did not requite my care in such a manner I would have liked. Alas.

"Samuel the Hunter," she said, slightly cold for a woman of her usual kindness. "And would you know anything of this, young hunter? And who is that, by your side?"

I bowed, deeply and said, "This is Iona, your majesty, my niece. She came acrost me in the courtyard, and I apologize for her presence. Yet, she will be of no burden to you, as I will take her under my wing. Fear not, my dear Queen, for she may stay in my chambers -- though, chambers I have not yet."

The Queen looked suspiciously at my niece. Yet she sighed, saying, "Be at peace, Samuel. The chambers down the hall have not yet been occupied, and I suppose they ne'er shall be. There is room enough for the both of you, though I do regret in saying that your dear niece may not wander the Great Castle, such as you may." She turned and took one step into the room. But she halted. I wondered what coursed through her mind. Surprised, was I, when she looked back at me, her eyes hopeful and looking into mine. "Perhaps you can help me."

And so, though I protested, Iona was left in the hall, to watch for Prince Rocare. He was, undoubtedly, loath to wake, yet it was not doubtful that his eyes would open soon. Poor Angel, being left alone with a sleeping youth, while Queen Genevieve and I walked into Cassandra's room. Oh heavens, the smell of blood...I recognized that smell.

"Your majesty," said I, kneeling to inspect red liquid smeared on the floor. "Know you what this is?"

"I could not tell," replied the Queen. "Wine, or blood, I assumed."

Oh heavens, how it overtook me. That stench. I have hunted all my life; it is all the same, blood. I stood and looked into the shadows of the room, my senses now sharp. "Someone is hurt," said I. "Stabbed, here. He was hauled, picked up, or perhaps... or perhaps he rose with the strength of his own bones? But how..."

I walked a bit, about the wooden floor. Nothing seemed out of place, though I knew not where things ought to go. There was no blood on the drawers, or desk, or window. No shade touched by murderer's hands. Cassandra slept soundly, with no intention of waking. No weapon lay that had hailed the coming of Doom to any man. It was strange.

"We shall inquire elsewhere," said Queen Genevieve, amidst silence. "Come, Samuel, you may follow me. And bring thy niece, if she witnessed the same as you." And so I followed the Queen into the hall, and -- well, I was quite surprised to find Rocare had awakened.

As Iona stood, Rocare did as well, inquiring much of the Queen. So much, in fact, I remember not much of what he spoke.

"Your majesty, how can we leave the princess here?" asked Rocare. "Is it not safe? If indeed there be a lunatic about these castle walls, how can we not protect her?"

Genevieve turned around, attempting to manage a quivering smile. Her eyes expressed anger and confusion; of course, who in their right mind would remain sane when a murderder roamed his halls? "She shall be safe, young Rocare," replied the Queen. "I will send a guard to watch over her, fret not." True to her word, as we walked down the great stairs to the first floor, the Queen pulled one of the door guards from his post.

"Yes, your majesty," he said, as he ran quickly up the stairs, to Cassandra's room. I shifted uneasily; I did not enjoy the thought of the Princess alone in her room, even for a minute; yet, soon I found us all walking down the Great Hall, to some authority the Queen trusted much. Little words did we speak as we walked; yet, I suppose we wondered the same: the body, the blood... someone had passed and we knew not who!

-Samuel the Hunter of Arran, upon Dionysos; Royal Hunter of Aeres
 
     

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From the diary of Alexander III, King of Aeres 
  allegro1020
 
08:15pm 27/07/2003
 
mood: restless
I sat upright in bed with the hint of a quiet smile upon my face. The black sky held a mask of serenity in its countenance. All of this news that flooded out of Hera at a quickening pace was interesting indeed. I stroked my chin and gathered my thoughts. Tales of murder, and spies graced the tip of my tongue. I sat back in my padded seat and chewed on a plump grape, the juices spilling onto my evening gown. All I knew, from my trusted sources, was that the conference had been interrupted by the death of a mysterious stranger. Gah! This would not do! My hands shook with want, with need. I had to know what was going on! I frowned at my pitiful condition. Here I sat, still unable to leave my room and fearful of anything beyond my recognition. I threatened death at the unknown, and in my sleep ran away from the unreachable. I could not bear to stay like this much longer! If only that fool Vincent had not tried to take my place, none of this would have happened. I would be in Hera, with the others, representing my country with my diplomatic grace. But no! I shook a fist boldly at the bloody head that adorned my once dungeon prison, his head still hanging limply with blood leaking from the eyes and mouth. How delightful the image made me feel! Never again would I have to deal with that nightmare of a man! This glorious thought was interrupted by the creak of my door and a succeeding footstep.
“Who is it?” I called out fearfully.
“Pray excuse me, master, but a letter has arrived from Aphrodite,” said the servant wearily.
“Well, give me to me, Now!” I snapped. He cautiously held the sealed letter in front of me with shaking hands. Evidently the news of a traitor had leaked through the castle rather quickly. I grabbed it and dismissed him with a wave. Breaking the seal with my penknife, I gripped the unfolded paper.

Master,
It seems that the royal family of Aphrodite is in shambles. The King and Queen have shunned their daughter, who currently resides in Hera, and have put a price on her head. The country begins to split into bitter factions. Some type of action at this time seems most appropriate.
Your faithful servant, Jonathon


Ah! This has to be the godsent impetus to relieve me from this vexing haze! Action is appropriate indeed! I gathered my cloak in a bundle and threw it across my shoulders excitedly. Opening my large wooden door quickly, I smiled evenly as two servants jumped up in surprise.
“You, get my things together for a trip at once,” I said to the one on the left. “And you, take me to my Queen. We must discuss a secret diplomatic visit to Aphrodite in the absence of its Princess!” He bowed quickly and started walking. As images of the beautiful head of Aphrodite’s Princess on a stake graced my mind, I left my room without a backward glance.

-Alexander III of Aeres
 
     

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From the thoughts of Queen Genevieve of Hera 
  cellist121
 
02:17am 27/07/2003
  Things were coming together quite nicely, considerably better than I expected. The response to the calling of the Council was fast, especially considering the distance which everyone was obliged to travel. Pleased with this, I pushed back the linens and rose from my bed to greet another day.

As I stood at the window overlooking the southern gardens, I mentally went over the guests that had been given lodging so far: Rocare, Cassandra, the Lady Cerian. Hopefully, Barthol had sufficiently seen that their needs were met this past evening. Between him and his wife, Beryl, I trusted everything concerning our distinguished guests had passed agreeably in the night... as it had in the past, when the guests had started arriving. Namely, Rocare.

We had much to disscuss in this Council. I leaned my head against the foggy glass and sighed. I began to plan in my head the order of the events of the day.

I dressed, and walked down to the Main Hall for the morning meal. My footsteps echoed eerily against the stone floor. I could smell a faint aroma of baking bread, so someone was in their place doing as they were supposed to do, but still--it was too quiet. Silence weighed heavily upon the air, creating an odd sort of tension.

Not even the birds were singing.

I walked away from the main hall, my pace quickening, and ascended a staircase that led towards the guests' quarters in the Great Hall. My mind was filled with anxious, fearful curiousity.

I heard a knock on a door below, which startled me, and caused my heart to lurch forward. I stopped on the steps.

There it was again. The sharp sound of bone hitting wood. Who could possibly be in the inside courtyard of the castle who would be obliged to knock? Visitors came from outside. If it was a servant who had locked himself out... I shouted for Barthol, who would have the key. At that moment I was acutely aware of the cut of my voice against the still air.

I had left my own blessed key upstairs in my chamber.

Thinking no more of the door and the mysterious knocking, I turned towards the guests' lodgings once more. I hoped fervently that nothing was amiss.

But those hopes were dashed as I reached the top of the staircase.

There sat Rocare, slumped forward.

I touched his shoulder. He appeared to be sleeping, which was a relief. But what was he doing out in the hall? I peered into the room whose door he was resting in front of. The Princess Cassandra was sleeping peacefully inside. I noticed some seemingly randomly-placed, crimson-coloured marks on the floor, with skid marks, as though something had been dragged across the room. Perhaps it was some spilled wine.

Or was it blood?

--Queen Genevieve of Hera
 
     

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  dolphinsapphire
 
02:53pm 20/07/2003
  What a long day it has been. I was still baffled by the lady Cerian; how is it that she had the strenght to present herself in a normal and impressive state rather than acquiesce to the pain of her wound? I should never know, only I shall remain impressed.

I sat at the table gazing into the mirror. I was dressed in my sleeping wear save for a necklace which hung around my neck. My eyes drifted to my clothing for the next day in which, on top, lay my corset. "Cursed thing..." I muttered to myself.

I bent my head down towards the floor to remove my necklace. As I came back up my eyes immediatly regarded the mirror which revealed to me that things weren't as they were a mere few seconds ago. In fact, they were dramatically different. A man clothed in black stood in my doorway.

He was quick, so quick that I barely opened my mouth before he had slammed my door behind him and ran to cover my mouth.

I stared fiercely at him with terror. He smirked at me and whispered, "There there my beauty, there be no need to go and hurt your precious voice like that! Just listen to what I have to say." What could I do? He continued without any sign from me that I agreed to his demand.

"I be a carrier for a message sent to ye. It concerns matters back in Aphrodite. There be a revolution going on ain't that so? You be a very popular woman back home eh? The people's princess? Well, ye can be informed now that ye parents have heard of ye attempts to overthrow their gracious rule and have put a price on ye head little one!"

My eyes grew even wider. I had now been proclaimed a traitor to the government. The wretched man continued, "I think ye have been forgetting princess, that there are those still loyal to the current crown, like meself. It is not true that the entire kingdom of Aphrodite follows ye. I have been sent to remind ye and now my missions leads me to destroy all evidence of this conversation."

I didn't know what this meant but I wasn't anxious to find out. Unfortunatly the timing was not up to me at the moment. He stood back from me and quickly pulled a knife out. I started to scream but he silenced my noise by abruptly stabbing himself right through his heart. I stared in horror as the man yelped in pain. He then stared at me with hatred in his eyes all the way to his death on the floor of my chamber.

I stood there with my hand over my heart, breathing out of controllably fast. I had no voice. 'Scream! Scream for help!' my head demanded of me. The other half of my brain questioned, 'Would it be wise to though? Perhaps the ones who come to help may believe that it was me who killed him.'

My decision making came to an end though when Prince Rocare burst into the room. A face I knew was here to help and I could only feel relieved. He stared at the body then up at me and began to come to me with an expression of worry. Before he could closely reach me however I grew faint and fell into his arms. He held me from falling onto the same floor on which that man lay. Before I grew unconsious I saw Lady Cerian enter the room and gaze with horror before kneeling down to examine the consiousness of the dead man. Then all was black...

-Princess Cassandra of Aphrodite
 
     

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