Wednesday, April 16, 2014

L'Adventurer, Orb's Year 945-948


Orb's Year 945
Elyssa L'Adventurer sighed as she let her hand drop down.  It just wasn't any use.  Her heart wasn't in painting right now... She felt... lost...
Wearily, Elyssa crossed the room and sat down on the chaise and sighed, leaning her head back.  She'd thought she'd put the anger and sadness behind her after Prince Phillipe had abandoned her for a better heiress, her cousin, the crown Princess Felicity.  After all, she was just the daughter of the evil Prince Geoffrey that had tried to overthrow the kingdom.  With a pedigree like that, no wonder Phillipe had chosen Felicity!

She shut her eyes and gritted her teeth when she felt the tears threaten once more.  She would not cry about this...
"Elyssa?" her mother said cautiously, "I have something for you."

Elyssa cracked her eyes open and looked towards her mother.  She gasped with surprise and scrambled over to her mother.  
"For me?" she asked with awe. 
Celeste smiled as Elyssa eagerly pulled the soft puppy into her arms and snuggled it against her.  "Just for you, darling."
"Oh, mother, thank you!" Elyssa cried as she sought her mother's comforting hug.  This was exactly what she needed!

***

Their autonoman Castle Guard was tasked with getting all the supplies the castle would need for the puppy that Elyssa had named Rembrandt. 
Elyssa smiled as Rembrandt followed behind her, nipping at her heels.  He was such a playful puppy!  With a grin, she stooped down and pet the little puppy.  "Are you ready for some dinner?" she asked as she tickled his nose, then walked over to his bowl.
After filling his bowl with food, she couldn't help but laugh as he hurried to eat as much as he could, almost falling in the bowl with his eagerness.  Sated, the sweet little puppy waddled over to his velvet bed and fell directly asleep.

Elyssa felt happy and needed for the first time in a long while...

Orb's Year 946
"But you're her cousin, Elyssa.  You must go to the wedding!" Celeste said sternly.  Really, where had this rebellious streak come from?! 
"She'll hardly notice I'm gone!" Elyssa argued petulantly.  She just couldn't bare to watch Felicity marry Phillipe!  She had pictured her wedding a hundred times over with Phillipe when they'd been together.

Celeste's lips thinned and she crossed her arms.  "You are going and that is final.  You will not offend the Crown Princess."
On her way to the Royale Castle, Elyssa stopped to snuggle one last time with Rembrandt.  "Wish me luck," she whispered softly before putting her beloved pet down.

***

"Really, there is no need to have walked me home," she said waspishly. 

Right before Prince Phillipe and Prince Felicity had exchanged their vows, Elyssa had been overwrought and had slipped out to the Entrance Hall to sit.  Moments later, this man had slipped from the Throne Room with an intense frown on his own face.  She'd wondered what his story was. 

Then, their eyes had met and his face had cleared of anger as he approached her.

And she hadn't been able to shake him since!
Prince Berjes hid his smile at the prickly woman and was thankful he had come across her at the Wedding Feast. 

He had stepped from the Throne Room to avoid watching Princess Felicity marry her prince.  He'd been ready to do violence on anything or anyone when he'd glanced across the Hall and seen a vision of an angel with such sadness in her eyes.  She hadn't been happy for the company and had continually tried to think of excuses to be free of him.

With a wicked grin, he teased, "Ah, but I could never allow such a beautiful woman to return home unassisted!  What would the Crown Prince think of his friend?"  In his experience, it never hurt to make mention of his close ties to the Royales.
His ties to the Crown Prince and Princess only made her scowl deepen.  "Well, I am home now. Thank you for your assistance," she said scathingly.

"Won't you give me leave to stand by your fire a moment or two before you send me out in this weather?" he asked quickly.  For some reason, he just wasn't ready to leave her company.

Elyssa scowled at Prince Berjes.  What the devil could he want, pestering me like this! she thought with exasperation.  Good breeding warred with the desire to slink off alone and lick her wounds.  She supposed her pity party could wait a short while.  "Very well," she announced regally.  "You may come in."

She just hoped she didn't regret it...

***



"How is it that we've never met?" Berjes asked the lovely woman as he sat down next to her.  She flashed him a frown as she glanced across the seating area to the unoccupied seating.  Berjes hid his smile once again.  He hadn't been this amused since he'd worked ever so hard to tease Felicity... his cheerful mood vanished in an instant and he frowned abruptly.

"We tend to keep to ourselves," she said softly, shifting uncomfortably after his fierce frown. 
An unwelcome thought occurred to Berjes and he asked, "We? You and your... husband?"

Elyssa flushed.  He should've been her husband.  "No," she answered quietly.  "My mother, Princess Celeste."

Berjes eyes snapped to hers.  "Princess Celeste? So your father was.."

She nodded silently, mentally preparing for the thoughtless comments.  Once, someone had actually asked her if she'd known what her father had been planning.  But his response surprised her.

"That must have been very hard," he said with understanding... and compassion.  Berjes knew how Prince Earl had worried the safety of his aunt and cousin as they sought to capture the murdering traitor.  Bless the Orb they had captured the lunatic before he'd had a chance to harm anyone else!

Elyssa cleared her throat softly, her gaze darting around the room.  Although he had chosen to completely ignore her earlier cues, Berjes found himself honoring this one.
Standing, he smiled, reaching for her hand.  As he kissed her fingers, he announced, "M'lady, I thank you for allowing me to warm my poor bones before making my way home. You have been most gracious!"

Elyssa's eyes fluttered and her pulse quickened as he charmed her.  She supposed he was very practiced at this...
As she watched him leave, she kicked herself for feeling disappointed that he had left so soon.  Scowling, she shook her head. 

***

With a sigh of disgust, she set down her paintbrush.  Her heart just wasn't in it. 
As she cleaned and filled Rembrandt's food dish, her gaze strayed to the parchment nearby.  Perhaps I could send him a note, thanking him for accompanying me homeAfter all, it was the polite thing to do.  She shook her head.  NoShe would seem too forward!
But, somehow she just couldn't resist.

***

Elyssa gasped when CG told her that she had a guest requesting an audience.  She hurried outside, full of hope.  "What are you doing here?" she asked breathlessly.
Prince Berjes grinned at her.  "I have a proposition for you," he said with a wink.

***

Orb's Year 947
Elyssa fitfully paced as she waited for her mother to leave.  Berjes had insisted on complete privacy.
"Are you ready, m'dear?" he asked with a wicked grin as he sauntered inside.  Elyssa's pulse thrummed.  He was standing far more close than was proper.  Unsettling her, she suspected, on purpose.

"Of course, let's go upstairs," she said nervously.

***

"There! Now don't move a muscle!" she instructed him sternly.  

Berjes grinned saucily and flexed his muscle.  "What about this one? Doesn't it make me look more manly?" he asked.

Elyssa bit back a smile, impressed despite herself at his muscular body.  "Unless you can hold it in that manner for hours..." she teased. 

Berjes look smoldered.  "I can hold it like this as long as you like," he promised silkily.

Elyssa took a shaky breath and began painting.
Berjes watched Elyssa as she became absorbed by the painting.  She seemed to glow as she whisked her paintbrush back and forth across the canvas.
After a short time, too bored to remain sitting, he hopped up and ambled over to try to take a peek.

"Berjes! No! You can't look until it's done!" she said in surprise when she saw him approach
"Oh no?" he asked mockingly.  "And just who will stop me?" When she turned as though to hold him back, he leaned over and began tickling her sides.

"Berjes! Oh! Stop it!" she laughed.  "You are incorrigible!"
Berjes leaned closer, lifting his hand to her golden locks. "I'll show you incorrigible," he said huskily as he leaned in for a kiss.  What was it about this woman that drew him to her? he thought absently.
"No!" Elyssa yelped.  "Berjes! No!" she flattened her palms against his chest and pushed him away as his lips descended.
Angrily, she stepped out of his reach.  "You forget yourself, sir!" she said scathingly. 
"Elyssa, I'm sorry if I offended you.  I just..." Berjes began before he was cut short.
"No! I don't want to hear it! This is just a game to you! A game I don't want to play! Just GO!" she snapped, close to tears.  When it looked as though Berjes would argue his point, she shouted as she pointed towards the stairs, "GO!"
After Berjes left, she released the breath she'd been anxiously holding.  She wasn't sure who she was mad at more - him for trying to kiss her or herself for wanting him to...
"Oh Rembrandt, I've made such a mess of things," she said sadly.

Orb's Year 948
"Princess Felicity!" Elyssa said with surprise.  "What brings you by?"

Felicity kissed her cousin's cheek. "Is there a law against coming by to see my cousin?" she asked with a grin.  "Oh! Cesar!" she called out as the unruly young pup bolted inside.

"Oh no! Rembrandt!" Elyssa cried out, hurrying in after Cesar.
The cousins found the dogs happily playing together, though.
So Felicity hurried over to the lounge and sat down, patting the seat next to her.  "While they get to know each other better, we can have a little chat," she said brightly.
Elyssa took a seat, "Congratulations on your daughter.  Gillie is a beautiful name," she said.

"Thank you," Felicity said graciously, then got straight to the point.  "Elyssa, have I done something to anger you?" she asked.

"No! Of course not!" Elyssa answered hurriedly.  "Why ever would you think that?"

Felicity paused and lowered her voice.  "My husband told me of your history," she admitted.  "I thought you might hate me terribly."

"No! I don't hate you! I don't even hate him!" she said, realizing it was true. 
"Oh, what a relief!" Felicity said with a sigh.  "I was quite angry with him for the way he treated you, but he was only trying to do what the best in a untenable situation."

Elyssa nodded, her cheeks flushed. "I understand.  I'm glad you have found true happiness together."

Felicity smiled again, the secret smile of a woman in love with a happy family.  "We certainly have," she said softly, then turning to Elyssa, she announced, "And so that is why, dear cousin, I will not rest until you have found true love as well!"

"Oh no! Please do not worry yourself!" Elyssa said quickly.  "I am quite happy!"

Felicity waved her hand dismissively.  "I'm afraid my mind is set! I will be your fairy godmother!" she announced cheerfully.

Elyssa groaned with dismay.

***

"...I will not rest until you have found true love as well" her cousins words rang in her head as she finished Berjes painting. 

The paintbrush swept over the planes of his smiling face, as though he knew a secret she did not.  But she knew the truth.

Love is a word that comes readily to lips, but love is an emotion that does not exist.

***

"Oh Rembrandt! What am I to do?" she wailed miserably as she flung herself down on the lounge.  She was terribly afraid that she'd gone and fallen in love with a rogue!
Rembrandt licked her face and then hurried off to chase after her puppies, Duke and Duchess.

***

"Celeste, I have news..." King Barron said with a letter clasped tightly in his hand. 

Celeste's face paled.  "What is it?" she asked tersely.  She had put behind her husband's treachery these past years, rebuilding her life.  She didn't think she could stand it if he destroyed her sense of peace!  She clasped her hands together nervously as she tried to read her brother's eyes.

Barron put the missive in his sister's hands.  "Geoffrey L'Adventurer is dead," he said.  "His cousin, the new king, sent the news as soon as he learned it."
Elyssa hurried to her mother's side as her mother let out a sob, and then another until she was sobbing pitifully into her hands. 

"Mother, it will be okay," Elyssa promised, stroking her mother's hair tenderly. 

"I know," Celeste sobbed. "I'm just so... happy..."
She glanced up at her brother.  "It's over! It's truly over!" she said as she launched herself into her brother's arms.  "I always worried deep down that he would return and make my life a living nightmare again.  But, he's gone and it's truly over! Blessed Orb!"

Elyssa closed her eyes as a shudder went through her at her mother's words.  It was over. He didn't have the power to hurt them anymore. 

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