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Dianne Astley
Posted: Apr 9 2012, 04:47 PM


Countess of Tardar
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 143
Member No.: 12
Joined: 21-April 11



Dianne had rarely worn a dress so bright. Her mistress had held bright attire in great disdain, and Dianne had known servants dismissed for less. Dianne had always kept to the darkest blues, greens and deepest reds. Only one occassion came to mind of when she wore something more striking - Prince Apollo's birthday ball, when she had worn a red dress that caught the eye of many.
But now that Dianne was free of Rhiann, she would be free in her choice of appearance. She was pleased that her first attempt seemed to gain Roland's approval. But her pleasure was dimmed by the serious conversation that kept trying to break through their happy reunion.
"Nothing, I-"
Dianne broke off as Roland brought up that topic again. Her cheeks flushed red, not with embarrasment or desire, but with a renewal of the anger that she had so recently tried to dismiss. Her eyes sparked dangerously blue, and she looked away from him. How much longer would he hold it against her, that she had sought to save her own skin, rather than wait around and see if Roland considered her worth the trouble of rescuing from Rhiann.
"Whatever you think is best, sir."
She replied curtly. Dianne slid out of Roland's lap, her bare feet hitting the warm rug. She moved away from him, not sure what she was doing. She did not want to offend her lover nor her King, but he stifled her, first with her family, and then throwing an old ill against her.
She paused as she stood in front of the sofa, her hand running up her bare arm. Dianne wondered whether to plead fatigue and request his departure. Did she have the authority to do so? And if she did, would he heed her?


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Roland deGrada
Posted: Apr 10 2012, 07:54 AM


King / Duke of Rodan
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 366
Member No.: 3
Joined: 10-April 11



So he had let that dirty bit of sour emotion slip in. Was it really all that bad? She'd slapped him for heaven's sake! It had stung! That stuff didn't just feel like a happy homecoming! But theyd followed that with the eager kisses he had so anticipated so maybe that had helped the forgiveness along. Maybe it had been wrong to slip in that slightest of jabs... Well, wrong or right he felt bad now.

She slipped from his lap, growing quieter and silenter as he seemed to be doing more and more wrong to annoy her. Perhaps he had jumped into business too soon? He didn't know...there was just do much to do and all he could do was think about what needed to be done and needed to be done and needed -

Dear Lord, he sounded like Mason Thorne.

She stood not far away, her silhoutee still and threatening to once and for all truly flip the tone of this reunion. It was a tenuous place to be, and Roland now extremely wary feared the one wrong word which might push her over that edge.

He sighed. "Dianne... Forgive me. My mind has been cluttered with a thousand things which must be done and they all clamber at me. Don't let that subject cloud what is truth: I have been a long time without even your voice. Apparently I can't even focus my needs to one subject at a time!"


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Dianne Astley
Posted: Apr 10 2012, 09:31 AM


Countess of Tardar
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 143
Member No.: 12
Joined: 21-April 11



Dianne stood uncertainly. She had been thrown from anger to passion and back again. And through it all, she could only think that she loved Roland despite it all. How very pathetic she was becoming, Dianne could no longer even recognise herself anymore.
She stood very still, to catch his every word and tone as Roland spoke to her, as he apologized, or at least brought forth many an excuse without ever saying sorry. Dianne bit her lower lip and her hand moved up to brush a few stray blonde hairs back behind her ear.
She could not understand how a man that she had always thought so capable, was suddenly struggling to keep track of his own thoughts. How he jumped from one topic to another!
Dianne shook her head.
"Perhaps you should visit me when you are in control of your thoughts. I'm sorry Roland, it's been a stressful day, I am tired."
She said quietly, refusing to look at him. Dianne felt a harsh cut across her mind as she berated herself. When had she ever sounded so unwilling and dull in an affair? Was this merely the result of their unsettled problems, or was she cursed to be a dull wife when she had always been the exciting mistress?
But right now she could not bring herself to care. She wished that their reunion had been passionate, or a declaration of love (she would even prefer that awkwardness than this).


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Roland deGrada
Posted: Apr 10 2012, 12:14 PM


King / Duke of Rodan
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 366
Member No.: 3
Joined: 10-April 11



Had she been Rhiann, Roland would have smirked to himself, saucily rebelling in the fact that he had irritated her. It would have pleased him that she couldn't stand his presence and needed him to go. But she wasn't Rhiann and he hadn't been trying to irritate her. A pang of frustration sprang through him as she dismissed him.

Roland remained quiet and he frowned a little as he examined her back. Yeah, he'd known this was coming. Women...so hard to keep happy. Of course the blame was mostly on him for not having the mind to hold off on this topic - and yet on the other hand what /if/ he had come here seeking only physical responses? Didn't women have a problem with that, too?

Perhaps it simply was that she was travel weary. Maybe anyone's temper would be a bit short after the conditions she had been laid to.

He was quiet a few minutes yet as he turned his head in the direction of the door, studying the intricate design. It was time for a drink, it seemed, and as there was none here to his knowledge there was just as fine an excuse as any to yell himself to leave.

But he didn't want to go. He was too much a courtier to argue and too much a disappointed lover to leave.

In irons, he remained silently seated, his chin is his hand, elbow perched upon the sofa's arm, eyes turned upon the door. Not stubborn, just unwilling and wishing, as everyone eventually did, for a time machine.


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Dianne Astley
Posted: Apr 15 2012, 01:24 AM


Countess of Tardar
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 143
Member No.: 12
Joined: 21-April 11



Dianne stood, silently cursing the man. Why couldn't he just abide by her wishes and leave her alone to her troubled thoughts? Or why couldn't he stand up and take her in his arms and force her to push them aside for a pleasant while? Anything but what he was currently doing. Sitting and staring and making Dianne even more uncomfortable.
She waited until her breath and pulse were steady, then turned to look at her lover. When had he ever been content to just sit there?
Dianne's eyes flicked over his features, and her eyes and the hard line of her lips softened at what she read. She turned away to the cabinet on the other side of the room. There was the unmistakable clink of glass, and she shortly returned bearing a glass of rich red wine. There had been a reason that she was such an efficient and effective head maid to his first wife, Dianne had long trained herself to anticipate the deGradas' every need. Dianne stood close to where Roland sat, the skirt of her green dress brushing against his knees. She held out the glass, without judgement.
"One of the ladies sent a fine case of wine to my rooms to welcome me back. I... I do not think they know how to treat me."
Dianne explained softly. The court had always been a place where the ambitious could rise, and those with foresight achieved most. Dianne wondered, over the coming days and weeks, how many ladies that had ignored her before, would suddenly try and attach their fortunes to hers; just to see if anything became of this king's mistress.


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Roland deGrada
Posted: Apr 15 2012, 01:33 PM


King / Duke of Rodan
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 366
Member No.: 3
Joined: 10-April 11



Roland watched in silence as she strode to a cabinet and produced a glass and source of wine. Pouring she returned, gliding over the floor in her happy dress until the material of it was brushing at his knees. Standing there before him Dianne offered the drink in an extended hand as she had times before in her days as maid. He was relieved, of course, knowing that that everlasting thirst would at least be quenched bur also somewhat embarrassed. Lowering his eyes, Roland pursed his lips in an ashamed manner and reached out a hand for the glass, allowing hus fingers to brush hers in gratitude.

Pulling the glass towards his chest, the king took a deep breath and cautiously allowed his dark eyes to find hers. "They will in time. I no longer have to hide my favor in you and those not intimidated by your intelligence or beauty will undoubtedly open their arms to you. he spoke confidently. How could they do anything less?

Giving her a small smile, Roland lifted the wine to his lips, soothing that need despite the liquids mediocre quality.


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Dianne Astley
Posted: Apr 18 2012, 03:20 AM


Countess of Tardar
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 143
Member No.: 12
Joined: 21-April 11



Despite the fact that she told herself that she was pissed off with him, her heart still skipped a beat when Roland's fingers brushed her own as he claimed the glass. Even the smallest things made her pulse race, but she remained calm on the surface.
Dianne allowed her eyes to be caught by Roland's, the rich brown still familiar, but for the first time his gaze not lit by passion or desire. He looked merely content, a state Dianne had never seen him in.
Her lips parted to reply to his comment, but she paused, suddenly struck by the vision. A hoarde of ladies tagging along in her presence, as they had for Rhiann deGrada, Sophia Augustine, Loretta la Roux and countless other queens. All seeking her favour, and probably going to some lengths to gain it. That was a tempting thought. But on the other side, it was not all happy and light. There was likely to be many an ambitious person who sought to bring her down, or even blackmail her for her influence with the King. But she had to admit, that it was all rather exciting. And terrifying. At least when she'd been the right-hand woman of Duchess deGrada, she had her share of respect and glory, but no one turned their eyes in anger to a mere maid, they had focussed instead on her mistress. Dianne would be able to hide behind no one else's skirts now.
"I never wanted to be Queen."
She confessed lightly. She had been happy with her station and never strived to take that position. Only fate had led her in that direction, and she was willing to go along with it for Roland's sake. She sighed.
"At least I am already well-versed in politics."
She added, the corner of her lips turning up in dry amusement. She knew very well a woman's part in politics.


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Roland deGrada
Posted: Apr 18 2012, 05:35 PM


King / Duke of Rodan
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 366
Member No.: 3
Joined: 10-April 11



He had already lifted up the wine once, but he did it again now in some sudden succession as his body rewarded him for the obedience. It had called for the liquor and he had provided in point and now the diseased thing inside of him felt assured that it would be satisfied - so kit backed down a little.

Her eyes, which had caught somewhat to his own surprise, were not steely now as they had momentarily before, cold and cutting in her anger and disappointment. No, already they had changed to something less fear-inspiring. These eyes were soft, and subdued, the eyes of a rainy morning. These weren't his favorite eyes - his favorite eyes were the eyes were the mist-over-Rodani-peaks eyes. The happy-to-see-him, on-the-brink-of-bliss eyes he'd had the pleasure to watch in bed and, sometimes but much more rarely, when he said or did something that made her joyous. He wanted to see more of those eyes from now on.

He smiled at her little joke, his eyes alight at the memories of exactly what she was implying, bit the smile opened up shortly to form words. Her brief statement worried him. Bothered him. She had seemed reluctant before, but Roland wasn't sure if his expectation that she would have adjusted to the idea by now was entirely wrong. Resting the glass in his left hand upon the arm of the sofa, Roland dipped his head a little. As far as he knew he'd already blown his chances at perhaps seeing a little more of Dianne today than she had shown him thus far, so ic he was gonna cut his losses...

"Are you really unhappy with the thought of being my queen? he asked in a candid voice. It would...make me a brilliantly happy man to wed you, Dianne... But I am of no interest in keeping you against your will. If you...wilted...I would be terribly upset with myself. I would...rather you were - I would rather that you were happy. "


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Dianne Astley
Posted: Apr 19 2012, 09:06 AM


Countess of Tardar
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 143
Member No.: 12
Joined: 21-April 11



Dianne's smokey eyes widened in surprise at Roland's halting response. Oh how could she be so cruel as to say something he could take so wrongly?!
"No, never!"
She stressed immediately. Without a thought she dropped to her knees before her lover, her king. Her hands firmly gripping his knees as she gazed up at him, hoping to assess the damage, hoping to beg that he dismiss her comment.
"All I want is to be your wife, your queen. The position is inconsequential as long as I am with you."
Dianne near held her breath, as much as she might be angry at him for her recent "protection", she still loved him, and after enduring such trials for him, she did not wish to be sent from his side. She was sure about that. Although no, she had no where near come to terms with becoming queen. In those hellish weeks of poverty, how could she possibly even think of a royal life, a life that was unimaginable against the daily coarse material, the clay-like food, the dirt and discomfort.
"Do not turn me away now, Roland. Regardless of my temper and worries, I love you, of that I am sure."
Dianne said softly, her gaze dropping as she spoke, not wishing to see his reaction; which would likely just remind her that he did not feel the same in return.
"Besides, aren't brides supposed to be nervous before marriage?"
She smiled gently, realising that this was a large part of the truth. But what did either of them know about what was normal? Roland's first wife had been an ice cold bitch, Dianne could not imagine Rhiann getting nervous. And Dianne was hardly the sweet innocent and blushing bride.


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Roland deGrada
Posted: Apr 19 2012, 11:02 PM


King / Duke of Rodan
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 366
Member No.: 3
Joined: 10-April 11



To be honest, Roland was glad (so long as it didn't seperate them) that Dianne was not very interested in being queen. She would probably grow into its responsibilities in time, but the fact that she was not apparently jumping into it full speed ahead implied that she didn't have any sort of serious ambitions. It meant that, at least for now, he had no reason to fear a second Rhiann in her. She was nervous of the position, unwilling, evern, or frightened...and that was okay!

Although he did mean what he said about her feelings. If it was going to make her unhappy...well, if it was going to make her gravely unhappy there was just no point in doing it. Her life came before her happiness, yes. But did his happiness come before hers? It would have been like plucking the flower that brought you joy and sticking it in some vase somewhere in an attempt to make its beauty yours alone. Soon enough the thing simply died and you were left more somber than you would have been if you'd never rooted up the petals in the first place.

But if she could find some joy in being with him. If he could plant her in his garden rather than stick her in a vase, then...maybe...

The nervous hammering his heart had taken in fear of a positive response from her slipped away as she collapsed to her knees and quickly, earnestly professed that that was not what she had meant. And, f course, he believed her. He wanted it this way and so it was easy to put aside her earlier words as - well, as she suggested - a new bride's nervousness.

But it was even more than that Roland knew. He had felt this same way before becoming king. Oh, sure, it was easy for people to point and say that Roland had taken an easy step up into power and luxury! But the deGradas had never been particularly ambitious people and Roland had very nearly looked for and set up yet another king upon the throne! Except that he couldn't. It had been the wrong time for everything, but somehow, against even his own will, Roland had "ended up" taking the throne. One thing had simply led to another.

Rodan had been behind him and Kelyea and Fexlund's leaders, too! The only thing Roland was really guilty of was not putting up enough of a fight against the tide.

"Ah, Dianne -" Roland sighed, a small smile n his lips as he reached out with his right for her left hand upon his knee. "- and what a resplendent bride you will be. The fingers of his right pushed under her palm, prying her delicate hand from his knee and, if so, tilting down slightly to once again kiss it. He wanted so much more - to still hold her body against his - but in the wake of their brief argument he left it at this. It was good enough, after all.

"I am not of the mind to turn you away." he spoke softly against the backside of her hand, closing his eyes. "I couldn't. I just wanted to be sure that I was not making you do something that...you despised. Everything we do will be seen now...and we can do so much more..." Slowly his eyes opened, peering at hers. "I wish to woo you." he spoke with just a hint of play. "Even if we are married, I want to court* you."

*this can not possibly be the right term. But I am too tired to care.


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Dianne Astley
Posted: Apr 24 2012, 06:17 AM


Countess of Tardar
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 143
Member No.: 12
Joined: 21-April 11



Dianne relaxed as Roland showed no signs of dismissing her, or worse, putting conditions on her. She shifted to make herself more comfortable on the thick rug by Roland's feet, her legs curling up at her side now.
She could not help but smile when her lover took her hand, his coarse fingers wrapping around hers and drawing it up to his lips as he finished speaking. Dianne had not even begun thinking of the actual wedding, she had only been overwhelmed by the fact that she could be with Roland, and try to dispel the fears that had been trained into her. But it was suddenly a delicious thought. Their wedding, the fine gown she would surely be allowed to order, the ceremony and the parties. Dianne had never thought to marry, but even in her wildest dreams, she had never imagined herself getting married in the capital, with the highest nobles in attendance.
Her pulse began to race at the thought. Dianne could hardly believe it, she, the eternal bachelorette was getting excited about marriage.
Dianne watched Roland as he closed his eyes to reply, hypnotised by his very voice, his every flicker of expression. At his final comment, Dianne's soft smile became firmer and her eyes glittered with amusement.
"Court me?"
She echoed, intrigued by the notion. Dianne had witnessed it amongst the courtiers who had too much time, and the maids of the castles that had too little. It had been giggling and silly words, and Dianne had watched with some disdain.
Many a man had tried to woo her, only to be repulsed with cruel words. Only those wise enough to bring gifts worthy of her, or held some use for her mistress gained her brief attention.
"And pray, what might that entail?"
She asked, playing along, curious what Roland intended.


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Roland deGrada
Posted: Apr 24 2012, 11:30 AM


King / Duke of Rodan
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 366
Member No.: 3
Joined: 10-April 11



Her smile, though framed in amusement, was contagious and caused one of mischievous excitement to come from Roland. He hadn’t feared that she might dislike the idea – she hadn’t seemed the sort to him to discourage playful manner or good times – but he had wanted to share his intent with her anyway – if not because it was a topic on his mind than because it may have been a topic on hers. Even the best marriages were lived differently than the lives of two single people searching-out one another. Even the happiest bindings were more settled and less engaged. This is what Roland had seen. He didn’t mind a calm, subdued life with Dianne! But…he didn’t want either of them to miss out on the fun and the light-heartedness.

He wanted to discover her as he hadn’t been able to. He knew so little about her! They…they just had never had time. It was always too dangerous to speak for long and their time alone was always limited to physical endeavors – not that he minded.

But if she was going to be his wife…

Oh,” he smirked, shaking his head a little. “I can’t just tell you things like that.” a small laugh escaped him. “It’s classified.


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This is Tetel’ac, where the women are capricious, the ale is usually tepid, and life is hard. Prince or pauper, the world is a dangerous place to play and the game of politics is far from voluntary. Whether you live in the gentle tropics, lush forests, harsh mountains, or expansive desert, every day is sure to spell adventure for those who live under the intruding thumb of the king, or amoung the hidden eyes of oh so many spies. With a kingdom on the brink of yet a second revolution, the future is a fragile thing indeed.

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