Throne Room

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Throne Room

Post by Mesiphidon on Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:28 am

Lu'rae had long since left the nexus, Celesin's Captial City-Ship moving off to more fruitful endeavors, however right now the city floated in deep space as it traveled, the distant stars and planets visible from the 'sky'. Lu'rae's Immuno Grid hardening it's shell to barrier for space travel. Mesiphidon sat his throne watching the space sky. He would have traveled quicker via the large gateway the cities three cores could create, but it was a in some regards a time of peace. Or in the very least minimal threat, and so the Emperor had allowed a more scenic path as a great many of the cities denizens enjoyed the trek through space and it's visions.

But Mesiphidon's attention was more distracted by the large holographic image that hovered in the rooms center beneath the domed glass ceiling. With one leg sprawled over the side of his over large throne... a garish thing of palladium and several other exceptionally rare metals that some others had insisted upon. Well it was comfortable, with the over stuffed cushioning. The holo-display, so vivid in detail it was as it was true window. The display itself held depth, creating true three dimensional sight of the Nexxian City where battle raged, and a very small contingent of his troops worked with others.

His brows knit at that, this... unprecedented alliance. Not that alliance was really what he would call it, perhaps ceasefire was a better word for it. While the city was hardly a triumphant conquest, he could crush it's pitiful resistance with minimal investment. But both Sune and Daul appeared to have a vested interest in this place, and at Esarhaddon's insistence he let them play things out, to see how they would go. That Arcerion also had an interest in the flyspeck nation was of little consequence. The Emperor certainly held no fear of the Exercion or his Empire. But they had come to tentative truce, and the Exercion could be useful and Mesiphidon still held the leverage in regards to the knowledge that Arcerion sought.

No, instead of conquering with swift finality the Emperor sat and watched as the city came under fire and the paltry number of Celesin troops aided them. "At least it will be a good training exercise for them." Murmured to himself as he considered how he might personally respond. His lack of involvement where his troops were concerned irritated him, but this also allowed him to witness the potential of Caden's Legatus, and love interest. Mesiphidon only had to see his Caden with the girl to know. But he couldn't fault his son, and this was a perfect opportunity to see if she was a suitable bride, the Emperor was hardly unaware of Khooey's origins, but her distinct lack of ability in those origins was evident. Yet Caden had proven his eye for potential, vouching for Drustan, the newest Primoris Ignis despite the Emperor's reluctance of the half-breed.

Shaking his head, he leaned back as he could do nothing but watch.


Last edited by Mesiphidon on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Esarhaddon on Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:30 am

“For whom, my love? Who requires training...” She was suddenly there at the window looking at the vast fullness of space and had traveled near instantly via preternatural means, of course. No, not emptiness-- human always called space a 'void' when it was teeming with everything she could comprehend and they could not: other forms of matter, energy, sub-divisions of reality, objects and lifeforms living and traveling through hyperspace and a constant, immortal stream of data in several forms of radiation and waveforms assaulting her from every angle. If they had the ears of Kings they could listen to the music, the pleas and even the death rattles of nations so far away their light would perish before reaching Lu'rae. But, of course, Esarhaddon was built with the ability to drown out her extra sensory abilities; many of them intercepted only by her other forms existing on other planes. Otherwise, her foundation was human and her consciousness might have warped-- an insane King? That was the last thing anyone needed.

“I have a surprise for you”. She turned away from the tall, seamless glass to face him with a warm smile; her eyes like chips of ice as she padded across the onyx flooring on bare feet under gossamer layers of pale blue and black tulle and silk; cinched at the waist with segmented platinum cord. A smaller version of the palladium lion's head crest swung low over her solar plexus. Esarhaddon's hair was down and forming a thick, frothy mass that seemed to have a life of its own. The fabric was gathered around her ankles and she padded up the dais with an almost puckish look on her face, though, it was faint. “Give me your hands....” said the King; now standing in front of him while he sprawled across his throne and hoped he would see fit to sit straight and proper so that she could introduce him to someone.

If Mesiphidon obliged her much smaller digits would wrap around his palms and draw them toward her belly. The swell was very small but obvious under the material.

“This is Cabyses. Your daughter. She has chosen her own name, it seems.” a thread of something entered her tone though this was clearly a magical moment-- fear? Apprehension? Or perhaps just anticipation? “Nebuchadnezzar has assisted me and your experts on replicating her own temporary past ability to reproduce whence she bore Isaak their twins. I might have told you I intended to do so instead of clouding it from you but...any look on your face was worth the effort of surprise.”

"And I know you will love her."
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Mesiphidon on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:01 am

"The Alis of course" His response off handed as his gaze turned to Esarhaddon, her arrival hadn't surprised him. Attuned as he was to every layer of existence, he could have said where she would have appeared. But as always his first sight of her seemed to slow time, and he drank in the moment in silence. Consuming her radiant beauty with a rapt hunger. But something was... different about her, she seemed even more aglow then usual.

Drawing his leg from over the arm of the large throne he sat straight and with little more then a thought the three dimensional holo-display of the Nexxian battle subdued to little more then a smoky vision. "A surprise...?" Eye's widening a touch as he studied her. The question in his tone which had warmed considerably from the usually cool and apathetic manner. It wasn't until she took his hands and placed them on her stomach that his eyes truly widened, the white fires that laced his sclera fading completely to reveal the deep blue irises. He knew before she spoke, feeling the life pulse beneath his palms, the radiant core that shocked even him with it's.. her awareness.

"...Cabyses..." Release as a low whisper, unable to say more for the moment as he looked up from her middle to her eyes. Swallowing before he could wet his tongue to speak. "I knew you looked more radiant than usual." Sliding his hands to her waist he gently turned and pulled her into his lap still shaking his head, shaking away what might have been wetness beading at the corner of his eyes. His left hand sliding back to her middle, "She's marvelous... you're marvelous." There was nothing he could bring himself to say and instead he nestled his head against his beloved, feeling the beginning of life that pulsed within her. Truly wondrous, she felt unlike anything he had ever known.
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Esarhaddon on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:40 am

“I had thought we overtrained them, alas, only so few things are out of my scope. Your militaries are one of them” she joked. Esarhaddon knew the hows and whys for experience and dedication, but, she did at least fail to understand why sometimes militants were put to doing something if just to foster more dedication and nationalism.

And now, yes, she’d managed to catch him off guard after all. The King might have been satisfied in a petty and yet lighthearted sort of manner, but, the fire fading from his eyes only made her smile down at him. Mesiphidon disarmed? It was more likely than most thought, but, seemingly only ever behind closed doors. A side of him no one else would ever know was laid bare for the Umbrageist. A short, breathy laugh as he pulled her across his lap and put his hand over her belly.

“You still think I’m radiant, then?” she teased lightly and put her pale hand over his; his shock of stark white hair grazing idly over her neck and décolletage. “And marvelous even?  Such flattery, love, and it never wears on me I must admit and still makes me feel so shy…”

Now, Esarhaddon had to smile at what came next. Her intentions were not to manipulate or even disarm her husband, the emperor. She’d simply been unable to wait to tell him and knew that a better opportunity would not come along any time soon. “Now…I should like to speak to you about your charming, bullheaded and seemingly something of a Libertine daughter-Primoris. And it will be for something you will almost certainly react to unfavorably…but I should hope you would heed my words for I am fully in favor of it. “

While wondering if Mesiphidon was familiar with Earth and the definition of a libertine she let a hand raise to run her fingertips against the sharp and of his jaw, down his neck and over the swell of his collar, shoulder and bicep. Idly exploring his very warm skin by habit.  Esarhaddon understood that Mesiphidon’s feelings about Daul were complex to say the least, though, she was his star child. She worshipped him and obviously aspired to everything he had achieved and no doubt would one day be as powerful as he was. Even her personality carried enormous inspiration from his own and not from a conscious effort but natural socialization. For hundreds of years his face as he raised her and broke her like a stallion until she could behave and be trained was all that she had known. The father was god in the eyes of the adopted child, but, lately she had been rebellious in her personal life.

“I must be shameless and soften you first. Daul left the human Alis Ignis. The one you didn’t approve of…” Now, she looked into his cerulean gaze after—should he allow her—she gently tipped his chin up to face him. “Be honest. You are relieved, aren’t you?” And with that, she had to give another of those chime-like laughs.
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Mesiphidon on Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:15 am

Mention of Daul and her... lover caused his eyes to narrow and a hint of flame to creep back into his vision but he let it pass. Still caught up by the news of his now unborn child he shook his head, as Esarhaddon's words finally hit home about how. "Nebucadnezzar... and what exacting price is she going to demand for this? Here I thought she returned to being the doting housewife of that... husband of hers." He shook his head, aside from the identical appearance, his wife had nothing in common with her sister. A sister-in law that had a penchant for trouble and never helped without an expected favor in return.

Still, it did gift Esarhaddon with a daughter. Putting it from his mind, and finally taking to his beloved's words "I assumed as much once I saw her with that other one fro-" suddenly he glanced at the smoky holo-display that still showed the battle happening in Nexxian City. Brows furrowing and and the fires returning to his gaze in full force. "Don't you dare tell me that my men are losing their lives, that Daul's... interest in that city is over her unchecked libido." He hadn't raised his voice, but the words were suddenly frigid. For as much as his adopted daughter took after him, he could not understand her abhorrent taste in women. She certainly did not acquire that trait from him. He had married Esarhaddon after all.

He shook his head, keeping a reign on his all but infinite anger by a thread and only because Daul was after all his star child. "I much preferred her when she was my silent shadow. It is your fault that she's out fraternizing with these plebeian insects." His head shook again, before leaning against her. It took several moments before he finally spoke again, though the white infernos in his eyes had not lessened any, at least his tone was no longer molten ice. "...And what is she has done now that you are allegedly in favor of. Know this now I will not have her consorting with those beneath her station. She's going to be the-" He caught himself before revealing that bit. Oh Esarhaddon knew his plans for Daul, who she truly was, but even in the sanctity of his throne room he dare not speak of that long laid surprise. Still he settled back, his hands wrapping around her waist, left palm still feeling the life in her belly as he waited for whatever new objectionable favor his wife wanted him to agree to now.
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Esarhaddon on Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:08 am

The smile never left her face while Mesiphidon groused about Nebuchadnezzar. It wasn’t hard to see that her twin sibling and the emperor didn’t harbor very much goodwill toward each other and somehow Esarhaddon only saw the positives in the situation and adored them both for how hard they struggled to behave—for her sake, no less. Nebu could be a snake and an upstart but seemed to (for the most part) hold it in around Mesiphidon save for her smug, silver tongue rearing it’s head now and then. And somehow the Emperor exhibited marvelous self control as well. “Perhaps she did it because she loves me as much as you, yes?” A quip that she couldn’t quite not giggle around. Why had the other King done it? Doing it at all had been a favor to help Isaak’s process and research when it came to the Kings. Simple!

Now, when he began to speak, stopped himself and then spat out something that made her erupt in a full blown, feminine laugh? Esarhaddon had to pat him on the chest with one hand while obscuring her face with the other. “Goodness no, your men are dying and killing because Sune’ere, sweet boy that he is, he cares for Nexxian more than anything. It was for his sake that Daul, Caden and even Drustan have leant small cores of the Alis to the, ah….Grand Duchess was it? Your daughter might have an ‘unchecked libido’ but she has never forgotten her priorities, love. You can appreciate her for that, I promise.”

Now, the King gently adjusted her posture from sitting across his lap to facing forward in it; encouraging his arms to wrap around her midsection so she could rest her own above them and all while nestling her crown of hair under his chin. “Oh, of course you preferred her that way Mesiphidon. All parents prefer their children when they are cutest” to which he would feel her amusement against him in a faint tittering. “Blame me all you’d prefer as I do indeed take full responsibility. But it is something I had to do. Daul was not functioning well during and after the, ah…your last wife. Ailshyia.”

The King cleared her throat but, as always, seemed entirely too classy, lady like and considered herself beyond the need to be petty and tear that monster  of a woman down. The rejected Shuinsai was ancient history as far as she was concerned. “The girl was regressing and losing control over her core. Do you know what else I saw that perhaps you and no one else had? Loneliness. Yes, your enormous, musclebound prodigy of a daughter was lonely but also hellbent on isolating herself. I would as well if I was too ashamed to tell my father that I had lost my eye and earned a cleaving across my face not from battle but from your ex wife's sick whims.”

Did Mesiphidon know that? If he had been ‘watching’ he might have, but, Ailshyia may have obscured it from it. She had gored Daul’s face and the Primoris had worn the scar and the missing eye for years until Esarhaddon herself saw to have the girl’s face fixed. After that, the faint glimmer of relief and gratitude she’d seen on Daul’s stony visage had pushed her to start attempting to socialize her. It had gone well! But, her cantankerous husband had not always been comfortable with the changes.

Shhhhh she’d say; placing a fingertip on his lips with a wry grin. “Eyes and ears and yes, I know. And I will tell you what she has done and I have met the woman. Arcerion brought her to me. The ‘one’ you mentioned? She is Jophiel Shuinsai, Duchess of Nexxian. And she thought she could hide that immense, staggering power from me. Nothing of the sort can be shielded from a King, of course.” She paused, knowing he may well roll his eyes, grouse, curse Daul’s eyes  and more.

“But, it is not your daughter who has done anything wrong aside from not coming to me about it. But we did speak and she confirmed not only that you had met the beautiful Grand Duchess before, but, via habit somehow she had managed to conceal a great deal of her power from you. And from Daul as well.”

She paused. Mesiphidon surely knew by now that Arcerion was the uncle of Jophiel Shuinsai, yes? “Perhaps this ‘unchecked libido’ problem can be solved with a betrothal….long term, of course. And you need not decide immediately. But also do not refuse immediately, either. Promise me?” She toyed with the large hands over her belly and hoped he wouldn’t erupt.

The King never cosigned something as a worthwhile idea without considering every single available possible outcome. For the most part this situation yielded enough positives to be considered.
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Mesiphidon on Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:16 am

There was little he could do to stop her from twisting to sit as she wished, not that he would have inhibited her anyway as his hands did indeed slip around her midsection. A side of the Emperor that none spare his wife and to some extent his children were privy too. Still for as much as he loved his Empress, were it not for the news he was still recovering from of their unborn child he would have wanted to throw her from his lap at the following onslaught.

As it was his eyes narrowed, and his body tensed, the fires growing even more fierce and were she not a King, very likely the heat within them would have forced her from his lap all together. "You ask me to marry my daughter to a Shuinsai." His words were frigid. "Especially now after you confirmed my suspicions about... her." The Avatar couldn't even begin to say her name, Esarhaddon knew the wounds Ailshyia had left on him more intimately perhaps then even himself. That Arcerion seemed to have disowned his daughter and Mesiphidon's one time betrothed mattered little. Mesiphidon and Arcerion were just along the fringes of cordial as it was with their tenuous peace. Dra'sin held long memories, and there were many atrocities that Mesiphidon had not forgiven, could not forgive. Or forget.

He shook his head, "I met this... Duchess. She hid far less then she believed my dear, a single glimpse spoke of the depth of what she was hiding. But I cared not to delve. At the time Daul had only a hint of infatuation, something I attributed to her missing her previous lover. I now wish I scoured her soul." It almost seemed surprising the air hadn't turned ice by his tone. And despite the mostly apathetic mask on his face the intensity of his gaze hadn't subdued at all. "I'm pleased that my men are not dying for bedroom conquests, and I cannot quite place Sune'ere's attachment to this Nexxian village. I never should have left him in the hands of Ferox. He's far too detached from what and who he is."

His eyes took hold of Esarhaddons and even behind the flames, that soul piercing gaze would be known. "But please do not ask me to marry my child to one of that ilk. What purpose would come of it? Do you fear the Dorian Empire?" His head shook at the words themselves, already knowing she didn't. Esarhaddon was far more cautious than he was, but she held as much fear as he did in this matter. Which was none.

"Is it not enough that Nexxian is half decent stepping stone to grooming Sune'ere for rule? I had hoped he would step up more then he had by now maybe even taken to ruling Nexxian already. But perhaps I must take his training into my own hands." Finally pulling his gaze from hers he sighed. "Daul is young yet my love, terribly young. She should not even be considering marriage now. It will not be long before another new pretty face catches her attention, and then whatever political agenda you have with the Shuinsai will be ruined. I will be forced to crush them mercilessly when they undoubtedly come seeking retribution on my child." It was testament to his affection for Daul that Mesiphidon spoke of her as his very own, never once thinking of her as anything but his blood.

"You know my history with the Shuinsai, you know my history, Daul's history with her. Why would you ask me to bless a union between them and my daughter? More so when you know her name." Certainly Mesiphidon was making several points, but he had yet to speak of his general unwillingness to accept that his daughter would marry. Daul was still his little girl, and he was still her father. In this it seemed Mesiphidon at least almost 'human'. His anger had come to a simmer at this point, but he was still a long ways off from even beginning to agree to Esarhaddon's mad scheme.
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Esarhaddon on Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:49 am

Esarhaddon was forever the warm answer to his icy temperament, the glacial anger that radiated from him. While he spoke with clear and present hardly contained rage she only stroked her long, elegant fingertips across the skin of his forearms and let him speak. At no point did she attempt to calm him, interrupt him or suggest he was being irrational—he was not, in fact, though he was certainly taking each concept presented to him in the worst possible manner. However, the King knew above all things that he had quite good reasons for his current expressions and, no, she had never once forgotten them. They had been considered.

“My love of course your feelings and experiences are valid, though, your doting on Daul does not come with trust, I imagine?” She turned partly; meeting his pyre lit eyes with her calm, mostly human eyes in the palest gray imaginable so that they looked almost colorless save for the reflection of Mesiphidon’s fire dancing over them. “Trust does not come to you easily. Less so even than love, but I do know that you trust me, and I you.”

“You need only to demand I leave you to your thoughts and anger and pester you no further with you, of course, assuming I tilt at windmills…but you will not, I hope. Would you hear me, love?”

She gave a little laugh at the windmill comment as, per usual, the King always seemed impossible to truly upset. Or perhaps she was worried about his display and simply did not show it?

Esarhaddon smiled with a bare hint of amusement at fearing the Dorian empire. “No, of course I do not but do you remember what my specialty was when you first met me? Diplomacy. And underneath that, of course, acquisition.” She, the cunning King, gave a gallic shrug as if to profess faux innocence and knew it would appeal to him later in more intimate settings.

Esarhaddon damned his anger to the wind and still had her hands on him even if he chose to be remote; her hands reaching behind to run through his short, silver hair. “You say Daul is young and not ready? And I agree. But do not think of it as marriage, Mesiphidon, it is a betrothal. As long lived as you and Daul and all of those like you and I are it could last quite some time. In fact—as long as you would like it to and for any sort of leverage you may choose to levy against Arcerion. While we do not fear the Dorian empire there are obviously many positives to extending an olive branch in the form of a betrothal. Also—“

The King moved again; easing gracefully over his lap back to sitting across it. No doubt the Dra`sin emperor was used to the King sliding all over him; seeming to want the line of her body molded against his at all times. For now, oddly, she almost appeared to be trying to comfort him; an arm across his shoulders and her head of hair against his collar with her voice sounding off against the skin of his neck.

“Do not be angry with me. You want to protect your daughter—the Libertine who seems to be getting too comfortable with those women you find unworthy. But you cannot protect her and send her out onto the plains of the universe wearing as a Primoris and bearing your family seal upon her breast with all the pride she holds in Celesin…and then seek to hold her to your own when she may fall in love. So, as a favor to me do not be so hasty in refusing a betrothal, my star, if she could love a Shuinsai after what was done to her , well, anything is possible.” A pause. “Trust Daul. Have faith in her autonomy and if you do not keep said faith for this that she desires—and I believe she does as this one is not like the human woman who so bothered you—this is only as permissed and permanent as you desire it to be. Some time in between now and then you can even forgive me for doing such a wonderful job of socializing her…and see that it all. even the betrothal, fits into the puzzle, the timeline in preparation for...that” She meant Sha'rai.

However, she had to smile at something he said.

“Oh, and, you do not need to take Sune’ere’s training into your own hands. Daul has taken up that mantle as well. She has been training him with Magi and, I must say, she is a brutal and exacting teacher. To that, his skills have increased exponentially. He looks up to her, I think. Somehow…is he not much older?”
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Re: Throne Room

Post by Mesiphidon on Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:19 am

He trusted his wife; she was one of the few that held such a rarity to the Emperor. Of course it was a given considering he loved her, and that alone was the rarest of Mesiphidon’s affections. What limited affections he could have however were deeply profound beyond anything one of empathy could muster. Never the less he remained silent, his anger smoldering as she spoke, but he did listen. And despite his anger she knew all too well how to soften him, his body reacting unconsciously to her slithering form. His arm tightening around her waist as he inhaled the scent of her dark mane of hair, ”I remember your original position my love, all of it. But I am what I am, I know war, I know victory. Despite the successes of your intrigues sometimes it is simply best to take victory and remind them of their betters. And this scheme of yours involves the fragile heart of my only remaining daughter.” He paused a moment his hand resting upon Esarhaddon’s middle. The silent gesture said all he needed to.

He shook his head, the burning anger was still there but it seemed to have steadied to a simmer, Mesiphidon was a master of control, within him was an ever burning rage that could never be quelled. Each of his blood children held that little known flaw, a nearly unconquerable fury that needed to be controlled at all times. Unfortunately Sune’s twin Dragos could never attain that mastery and he was since lost to them. The pang of that loss echoed through Mesiphidon even now, but as with all things he kept it beneath that apathetic visage. You ask me to trust the heart of what some cultures would call a teenager, you ask me to risk not just her emotional well-being but much more. You cannot trust the Shuinsai’s, you know I made that mistake only once.”

He fell silent for a time, saying nothing and simply holding his wife and their unborn child to his chest. His eyes watched the smoky holovision of the Nexxian battle despite not needing to see it before him to know what was happening. Suddenly his muscles seemed to tense, the holo-display suddenly zooming in on a chain of explosions and the form of Sune. ”You say Daul has been training him, we shall see how much and if he really has become more aware of what he is.” The tension would have been missed by anyone, but Esarhaddon had become nearly omniscient in reading his nearly non-existent reactions. ”Let us hope your praise holds true my dear, lest these… invaders force my hand.”

Still watching the display, the heat of his eyes had increased but this time not from anger. Esarhaddon would know full well he had turned his attentions in truth to the battlefield of Nexxian, watching from beyond. Still he knew she expected an answer despite her insistence he take the time. The Emperor was not so blinded by his love as many might believe, even Esarhaddon. He was aware of her wiles, and her methods. Granted that awareness did not entirely diminish their effectiveness, but he sighed. The strain in his tone obvious only to her. ”You wish to see how this… betrothal plays out, insist I may call it off at any time…” Silence followed again before he gave the most minute nod of his head. ”I want her protected at all times, task two of my Dominus to shadow her. The Dorian are unaware of the Dominus they should not raise much comment; it will seem an honor guard fitting of her station. And I will pull her free of this entanglement at even the slightest suggestion of foul play.”

His head tilted to take in his beloved eyes, the intensity of that gaze revealing exactly how hard this decision was for him; a decision based on his trust of her alone. No other in all of existence could convince him to go against his convictions so, even as limited as this was. ”We will monitor this… engagement at all times, you are asking too much from me this time to go along blindly. If you agree to my stipulations I will let you play your hand. But know this.” The end of his words had suddenly hardened and heat from his molten anger seemed ice compared to the terrifying visage that burned in his gaze now. [i]”If she gets hurt, I will extinguish every last vestige of the Dorian and the Shuinsai. They will know the same fate I brought to the Sin’vitae.” It was questionable rather even Esarhaddon knew of the Sin’vitae. Even among the oldest current Dra’sin Emperors it was but a spark of history known only due to their heritage. Mesiphidon was the last living Dra’sin outside of the Al’mir who knew the full truth.

Perhaps it was better that the Shuinsai could not see the Emperor just then as they might very well withdraw the betrothal. Those that had seen such a visage upon the Son of Ruin no longer remained to speak of it. Only when or if Esarhaddon agreed would his gaze soften to its normal stony appearance.

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Re: Throne Room

Post by Esarhaddon on Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:51 pm

The King nodded at his words, exhaling softly and relaxing against him while he held tight to her belly. Goodness, he was already attached, wasn’t he? “Are you not already victorious in all ways?” she teased, meaning to diffuse his worry about the mentioned remaining daughter only because she of Breanta and Alyssia. One dead and the other missing once again while both names tore his heart out and often. Aside from Cabyses who still had yet to see the world for the first time it really was only Daul—who not being of his blood did not matter at all.

Slow breathing and heavy lidded, it might have seemed like the King was teetering on the edge of sleep while he spoke of the Shuinsai, his assumed mistake with Ailshyia, how young Daul was in the grand scheme of things and even the battle of Nexxian, though, she was paying attention and raptly. Esarhaddon was simply known to be often pensive. All the while she enjoyed his too-warm body heat, the cadence of his voice and expected all of the former to have been his final word. However, he broke the silence that spelled easy resignation for his Empress and in such a way that she had to sit up, adjust her frame in his lap and watch his face while he spoke. It was part surprise and disbelief and the rest was the King’s natural habit of reading micro-expressions and tonal variations in what she considered important words. So, yes, the strain and reluctance was obvious…but so was exactly how much faith he had in her.

The faintest smile bloomed over her features and did not even wilt when his demeanor got a little harsher. Esarhaddon knew he did not in any way mean to threaten or patronize her—he was afraid for Daul and would have every corner covered whether anyone else in the arrangement appreciated it or otherwise. Bemused and relieved she seized his hands and gently extended his fingers to kiss the interior of his palm.

“Such a choice is easy, I must say. I will attach Nikolai Krause and Anwar Sossamon to the detail immediately. I shall also see fit to meet with the Shuinsai girl on my own so that I may know her fully without the shadow of Arcerion sealing her lips with his presence. “ Jophiel had seemed somewhat cowtowed by him…she wondered what the story was. “As for the fate of the Dorian empire should they harm her, that is a risk I am willing to take. I assume even Arcerion is as well…to be truthful I fully believe this is in his genuine interest to build bridges. Even he understands betrayal or a coup means certain destruction…if he is wise”

Now, perhaps being a little risqué she turned atop his lap to face him; thighs straddling him for a seat so she could put both arms over his shoulders and put her deeply pigmented lips against either of his eyes. One after the other and then across his lips to see how long he could keep all that ice in his expression.  “If they harm Daul, my love, you will not need to lift a finger. I would seek to regain your trust and faith and would destroy them myself for you. I would bring you the head of Arcerion and anyone he holds dear. I would tether what remains of his empire to ours and damn their history to lore. No harm will fall upon the heads of my beloved family. Even if I am its newest member.”

Esarhaddon kissed him fully then as if she hadn’t just promised him genocide wrapped in a red bow with a rose to go with it and then moved her lips to his ears for the inevitable reminder of what she was and what she thirsted for: knowledge. “Now that you’ve taunted me with a name I do not recognize…the ‘Sin Vitae’, which I saw in none of those tomes…will you tell me of them and this fate?” He’d no doubt be able to feel her grinning against the curvature of his cheekbone. Mesiphidon baiting a King with things she didn’t know? He was a tease.
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Esarhaddon
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