Fairytale [Closed to linkthehero]

By Burning_Heart

I'm in love with a fairy tale even though it hurts.

Cause I don't care if I lose my mind. I'm already cursed.

A princess. A knight. A forbidden romance.

Saylin Ture wants nothing more than to escape the betrothal to a man she barely knows. To run away and never look back. Her duties as a princess don't interest her if she can't choose who she can rule with.

_____ is a knight sworn to protect the royal family. Growing up around the family has given them plenty of opportunities to grow close to the princess.

With the wedding fast approaching and unsaid feelings coming to light, can the princess and the knight find a way to be together before it's too late? Or will their romance be another tragedy lost to time?

I'm looking for a semi-literate to literate partner who is willing to flesh out details with me. The story is something I want to write together. This is why the description is so brief.

The knight is left genderless for a reason. I don't mind if they're female, male, binary, anything like that. It's your character. Play them as you like. Just take this seriously, please.

Real pictures are preferred, but not necessary. I'm willing to use illustrated if needed.

Communication. I myself am not that great at being on every day or replying every day. I understand life comes first, but at least keep in contact and agree to let the other know when we'll be replying or taking a break/hiatus, anything like that. I'm a very patient and understanding person, I promise.

Good grammar. I'm not great with this all the time. I constantly make mistakes, but I really don't want to try and decipher a reply.

This is a mature roleplay. ES rules still apply. Any romance that happens will either be skipped or taken off-site. With that said, please be at least 18+. I'm in my twenties and don't feel comfortable RPing with a minor.

Most importantly, have fun. This is just a small idea I had that I wanted to write and I want my partner to do the same.

PM me with the subject of "Fairytale" so that I know you read the entire thing. If I don't see that, I will simply assume you didn't read through and I will ignore you. I don't mean that in a rude way, but it's a pet peeve to go through and explain things or try and talk something over that is already presented above.

If you're interested then I can't wait to hear from you!

Video Chat
Kumospace [Everyone]
Gather.town [Everyone]


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Burning_HeartSaylin   317d ago

[center The garden was just as beautiful as ever at this time of day. With new flowers blooming, all different shades of pinks, blues, and purples. Surrounding the flowers was a hedge maze, and in the center, a bench and fountain. Sitting on the bench was a young woman, a book in her hands as the wind rustled the blonde hairs on her head.]

[center Saylin Ture, princess of the kingdom of Nathea, was currently taking a much-needed break away from her father, sick and tired of the marriage talks. The news had been dropped on her months prior and it had been a fight with him ever since. She knew, as the princess, that she had a duty to the kingdom, but she just wasn't okay with marrying someone she didn't know or care about.]

[center With the days ticking away, it was something that was on her mind more often than not now. A sigh escaped the young woman's lips before she closed the book, setting to the side and pulling her knees up to her chest. One of the reasons she liked to read so much was because she could put herself in the shoes of the main character and live the life that they got to live in the pages. It was a good way to distract herself from the things going on around her.]

[center Unfortunately, she couldn't concentrate on the words today. Tears threatened to spill over onto her cheeks as reality began to sink in again. Forcing herself to stand, she moved towards the fountain, sitting on the edge and placing her hand inside the cool water, smiling as one of the many fish swam up and began examining her fingers.]

[center [b "What is it like to live your life without worrying about the next day, hm? Just swimming in circles without a care in the world?"] Silence answered her and she let out a small laugh. [b "Of course, I do not expect a reply. How could you?"] She knew she would have to return inside soon, but the afternoon sun felt wonderful on her skin. She liked these moments alone, even if her thoughts were filled with sadness.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   317d ago

Growing up, Naim had to work ten times harder than the others to get to where he was now and he was [i not] going to let it all go to waste just because the princess had decided to escape her father's clutches for the day.

"Find her," the king had said, but it was much easier said than done. The castle was gigantic and though he knew every hidden door and every secret passageway, it sometimes took half the guards in the place to track her down.

With one hand on the hilt of his sword at his hip, he moved deftly through the hallways, a soft clanking with every step. He did not wear full armor like some of the others, but he had just enough to prove who he was in case anyone was curious enough about his complexion to ask what he was doing there. But that was rare these days. Most people that worked in the palace were aware of his presence by now. He had grown up here, after all.

It was completely unheard of: to take in a child of the kingdom you were most at war with. Naim's situation was a special circumstance, however. Elzier's people had long been kept under watchful eyes. They had no freedom to speak of. And his mother made it out. While refugees weren't uncommon, what made her special was her knowledge. She came to give news that apparently helped Nathea make a huge breakthrough in the war efforts, pushing the enemy back and even rescued some refugees in the process.

He had never met his mother. Assassin's from Elzier found her shortly after she arrived at the castle with him bundled up in her arms. And so he was given to the wet nurses and raised in the castle and the surrounding lands, trained from childhood to become a knight. To protect the royal family.

[i And find wandering princesses.]

"Have you seen the princess?" he finally asked a couple guards in one of the long hallways.

"No." A simple answer. He moved past them, only to hear, "Desert scum," whispered behind him. He didn't take it personally. He had gotten over the insults when he was a child.

After a long while, he cursed himself for not thinking of it sooner. The gardens! Princess Saylin loved the gardens. He dipped through some shortcuts and finally found his way to the tall hedge mazes and strong scented flowers. He wound his way through the hedges. He found her sitting at the fountain, her back towards him.

He watched her a moment, a strange, familiar feeling tightening in his chest. Then he cleared his throat to announce his presence, hoping not to scare her too bad. "If I were an assassin, you would be dead, Your Highness," he said, not unkindly. "Your father is waiting for you." He looked at her with a sadness in his dark brown eyes. He could tell she wanted nothing to do with her father right now. Something had changed in her and he knew it was some news the king had shared with her, but he was left out of the loop. He always had been until Saylin decided to tell him.

He tried to be there for her, not just to protect her, but as someone for her to lean on as well. He hoped she was not pulling away.
Burning_HeartSaylin   317d ago

[center Though the voice that reached her ears was a familiar one, Saylin couldn't help but jump at the unexpected sound, turning to face the man it belonged to. A smile was quick to find its way onto her face, though it didn't last long. Naim was one of the few people that she knew she could rely on, no matter what was going on. She had yet to tell him what her father had spoken to her about, too afraid of what he would say to her if she did. One of the things she liked so much about him was how honest he was with her, especially when she came to him for advice on a difficult matter.]

[center She let out a soft sigh, turning away from him for a moment. The past few months had definitely been difficult and she was beginning to feel guilty for not confiding in him how to she felt about the whole thing. There had never been a time before now when she felt like she couldn't tell him what was bothering her. She still didn't completely understand why she was so scared.]

[center Or maybe she did and just didn't want to say it out loud.]

[center [b "Why am I not surprised that you found me first?"] she said, a hint of amusement in her voice. She smiled a little. Of course, he had found her. He was one of the only people in the castle who knew her favorite spots and past times. She would tease him about how frustrating it could be that he knew her so well.]

[center [b "Are you willing to come and sit with me for a moment?"] She wouldn't be able to keep the truth from him much longer, so now felt like a better time than any to mention it, even if the idea terrified her. Would he tell her that she didn't have a choice either like her father had the first night they talked about it, or would he be more understanding and share her frustration? It was a gamble she would have to take.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   316d ago

Naim watched her jump slightly, but her shoulders relaxed the moment she saw it was him standing there. He had to take some kind of pride in that he never witnessed her treat the other guards or knights quite the same. He would never say so aloud. Couldn’t, of course.

He could see several emotions pass over her delicate, pale features. She was beautiful, there was no denying that. And the opposite of himself. He had only had the privilege of touching Princess Saylin on a handful of accounts, but when he had taken her hand in the past, her skin was soft and smooth. His was tan and rough and calloused. His face had scars from training and battle. Her face was… perfect. Though he always hated to see it with such pain etched into her brow.

Instead of speaking her mind like she so often did to him, she evaded his look of curiosity with amusement at his finding her first.

“I’m ashamed to say it took me longer than it should have,” he confessed. Though he knew it was true. No other knight would have remembered her favorite spot or even knew of them for that matter. That familiar sense of pride welled up in his chest as he thought about it. Pride and that strange emotion he couldn’t name that had been plaguing him since he had been old enough to meet the princess.

“Of course,” he said at her request, wondering if perhaps she was going to offer some clarity as to why she had been in such a depressed state lately. He did not add “Your Highness” as they had dropped the formality when they were alone together. He still felt guilty about it, but he would do whatever she preferred. He still slipped up from time to time.

Naim moved closer to the fountain and lowered himself down to sit next to the princess. “You have seemed troubled as of late. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

He hated to see her like this. He remembered when they were younger, when he would sneak out of the training quarters and find her to play. Those days were far behind them now. A lifetime ago. They had to lock up the memories of their childhood in order to do their jobs. Now he wasn’t sure if they even happened.
Burning_HeartSaylin   316d ago

[center The young woman did a quick scan of the area, making sure there were no other guards around, before resting her head on Naim's shoulder. This was one of those times where she didn't need the handsome, chivalrous knight that he'd grown up to me. She needed the boy who would comfort her when she fell and scraped her knee. She opened her mouth to say something then, but was cut off by the lump forming in her throat. Saying the words out loud would just make it that more real, and that she didn't want to do.]

[center Unfortunately for her, though, she also knew it wasn't fair to keep it from the man beside her. He would find out eventually, and better he hear it from her and not someone else. Or worse, the day of.]

[center Taking a deep, shaky breath, she finally spoke, her voice soft. [b "The reason he wants to see me is to discuss the marriage he's set up for me. In a few months, I'm supposed to marry the prince of Albion. A completely stranger..."] Tears filled her eyes as fear gripped her. [b "I don't want to marry a man I've never met. What if he's cruel and unforgiving? If I don't know him then I obviously don't love him, or even like him." She wiped at her eyes and pulled away, looking at her friend. [b "I don't know what to do. Father won't listen to reason..."]]

[center It sounded reasonable to her, at least. If she was going to marry someone and rule as their side, she wanted it to be with someone she cared about. Someone that she didn't mind waking up next to and sharing the rest of her life with. As her father as said, however, it was more about the good of the kingdom than it was anything else. To a degree, she could understand it, but it just didn't seem fair. [b "I know there are sacrifices I have to make, but I don't want to make this one, Naim."] Of course, there were other reasons that she didn't want to go through with it, both those reasons had to be kept under lock and key. The one secret that she couldn't spill no matter how much she wanted to or how much it hurt to hide. Fate was cruel.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   316d ago

Naim tried not to let his training get the best of him when her head came to rest on his pauldron. He stiffened, but only for a moment. Then, sensing her need for a the friend in him- not the protector- he relaxed. It took everything he had not to lean into her touch. To rest his dark head of hair on top of her own…

“I hope you have not forgotten that you can tell me anything,” he said softly, looking out at the flowers and hedges hiding them from the view of the castle. With that prompt, she must have finally found the courage to tell him what was on her mind.

Whatever Naim expected her to say, it wasn’t this. He felt the blood drain from his face. There was a pain in his chest. He should have known. She was old enough now to marry and the king was interested in several alliances. The most important one of late was with Albion. But still, he hadn’t expected him to sell his own daughter for trade routes and an extra army.

Then again, he hardly knew the king. Not in the way he knew his daughter. Sure, it was his idea to bring him into the fold. To raise him in the castle and make him a knight. But he never got the sense that he had done it from the goodness of his heart. He always felt like King Ture felt obligated after what his mother had done. And it wasn’t as if he had had any role in raising him. He hadn’t even been given a real surname until his path had been decided for him.

He supposed that’s what the king did best: decided things for others. Naim didn’t know what to say at first. But he knew he had to say something. That is why she was trusting him with this information after all.

“I hear your father didn’t know your mother before their wedding day and they seem to be very in love,” he finally said, turning slowly to face her. When she returned his gaze, her bright eyes meeting his deep and dark, he knew that isn’t what he really wanted to say. His brows furrowed. “And yet you have to wonder when love became a part of it.”

The truth is Naim felt ill and angry. And the worst part is he wasn’t sure why. He knew this day was bound to come. He chalked it up to the fact that Saylin seemed so upset by it all. And he couldn’t blame her. She was a free spirit. She always had been.

“You deserve more than that,” he finally added. “You deserve everything you want.” He lowered his voice to be doubly sure that they would not be overheard. He could not speak ill of the king without consequence. “And if your father does not place your happiness over his conquests then he is a fool.”
Burning_HeartSaylin   316d ago

[center Saylin was silent for a moment. He wasn't wrong. Her parents seemed like they loved one another very much, but she had never asked when the feelings really came to light. She found herself wondering fairly often now a days if her mother had ever felt the same fear and dread that she was currently experiencing. Was it normal to feel this way? Surely anyone in her position would feel ill about the idea.]

[center His next words caught the princess off guard. She was quick to glance around, hoping no one could hear him. Had someone caught wind of what he'd said, he would have been hauled off without question. [b "Do you really think so?"] she asked a moment later. She wanted to be able to think that way, to confront the king with those exact words, but she really didn't like confrontation at the best of times. Perhaps she would make an exception in this one case.]

[center Finally, she stood, making her way over to the bench and picking up the book. She ran her fingers over the cover, a specific scene replaying her head. The girl in the book was in an interesting situation as well. She was a commoner being forced to work to make up her parents debt, and through a series of coincidences, had come to meet a handsome noble. The particular scene she had stopped at was the confession scene, filled with rain and tears as the man told her that, while he loved her, he could never be with her, for his family wouldn't allow it. She knew how the book ended, however. It had been her favorite one since she was younger. The two protagonists would fight back, threatening to run away from both their families until they were allowed to be together.]

[center It was something Saylin had considered for a while there. Just packing up what she deemed essential and sneaking away. Unfortunately, she didn't have a lot of skills that would help her out in the real world. Not to mention, if anyone were to ever find out that the princess had run away, it would cause a huge mess and worry her mother to pieces. Not to mention, she couldn't leave her favorite knight behind. It just wasn't plausible.]

[center [b "I suppose it can't be helped,"] she said, tears falling down her cheeks. [b "You may take me to him."] She turned to face him, forcing herself to smile. She would grin and bear it the best she could, at least for the time being.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   316d ago

The princess stood and Naim stood with her. It would be impertinent of him to remain sitting while royalty stood, so it was habit for him now. He watched her walk over to the bench to retrieve a book she must have been reading. The silk layers of her dress skimmed just over the stones beneath her feet. She seemed to be thinking deeply about something, so he did not interrupt her. He stood with his hand comfortably on the hilt of his sword once more.

When she was ready, she stated as much and he gave her a small nod. "He is in his study," he told her. He gave her one of his rare smiles before adding, "Perhaps we can take the long way."

He held out an arm for her to lead the way out of the gardens and from there he walked just a pace behind her. Once they were back under the watchful eye of the palace and all those who dwelled within, they spoke no more. At least, not as friends would. Naim couldn't help but notice this walk felt more like a prisoner on their way to the guillotine and less like a daughter on her way to speak with her father.

As promised, they took the long way, if only to help her put off her fate a little longer. But he could not keep her from the king forever. Eventually they came upon the closed door and he rapped lightly.

"Enter," came the commanding voice from inside.

Naim opened the door and stepped inside. "Princess Saylin to see you as you requested, Your Majesty," he told the king with a bow of his head, his brown hair falling over his face momentarily.

"Thank you Naim, that will be all. I will speak to my daughter alone." The king looked up from his parchment to look at his daughter. He did not spare Naim a glance. Even so, Naim bowed once again before turning on his heel and leaving. He closed the door behind him, leaving Saylin to her fate and wishing he could have saved her from it.

He made his trek down to the basement where the barracks were kept along with the baths for all the servants of the castle. They were large and communal and fairly cold. Much different from the steaming baths the royal family and the nobles above enjoyed. The same could be said for their beds. Mattresses and pillows stuffed with hay instead of goose feathers. Each room held four guards and their belongings. Naim went to the room he had called his own for years now. Luckily, his bunk mates were nowhere to be seen. Naim needed a moment's respite to think about the news he had been given.

Princess Saylin was betrothed to the prince of Albion. His gloved hand balled into a fist as he struggled with the emotions this stirred in him.
Burning_HeartSaylin   316d ago

[center Saylin didn't try to hide the relief that washed over her at his suggestion. She would have loved nothing more than to take the long way back. She wouldn't have complained if they even when slow to enjoy the scenery and each other's company. Surely her father couldn't be too mad at her for wanting to enjoy the afternoon sun. Yeah, right. He would see right through her. She wasn't as good at lying as she liked to think she was. She always had a tell that tipped the person off.]

[center Not that it mattered. She had no intention of accepting the terms of the betrothal, even if it was already in motion. If she could be brave enough to do so, she would come out and say it. The most she had done was get upset and leave the room when it got brought up. One would think that would be enough to tip the king off that she wasn't happy about it. Either he hadn't caught on, which seemed like a silly thought, or he simply didn't care enough to give it some thought.]

[center The princess liked to think he cared about her feelings, but it was becoming evident that that may not be the case.]

[center She took Naim's arm with her free hand, a light pink tinting her cheeks. She had come to realize that she didn't express just how grateful she was to have someone like him as a friend and the gears in her head starting turning on a gift she could get for him, or even make if she could find the time. She would have to hide it, of course, but she would make it happen.]

[center Once they were free from the protection that the hedges lent them, she allowed Naim to step back, wrapping both arms around the book. The temporary comfort was enough to ease the knot that had formed in her stomach, but Saylin knew it wouldn't last long. Once she was alone with the king, it would only get worse. She could have tried to appeal to her mother, but that was another idea that she knew would be a bust. The queen only had so much say in things, even if her father was constantly asking the woman for advice.]

[center Despite taking the long way, it felt like it had rushed past them, especially when they approached the door to her father's study. She gave Naim one last smile before stepping inside and giving a faint curtsy to the man behind the desk. It was then she felt the urge to reach out for the knight and hold onto him, not wanting to let that last bit of comfort go. Unfortunately, he was gone before she could act upon it.]

[center [b "You did not have to send anyone to come find me. I was only in the garden,"] she said softly. His response had been the same as Naim's; being alone by herself meant she could have easily been killed by an assassin and a string of other, while not impossible, highly unlikely scenarios. She wasn't surprised by the concern. She was the king and queen's only child.]

[center When it came time to talk about the marriage, it took all Saylin had to finally tell him that she wouldn't go through with it. He looked annoyed once the words had tumbled out, but now that they had, she couldn't just stop. [b "There are other ways to secure an alliance. I refuse to be a pawn in the game that we as royals have to play. Not when it comes to giving up the freedom I have to make my own choices."] She took a deep, shaky breath. [b "I will not marry a man I have never met. I won't."]]

[center She had to bite her tongue then before something else was said. She had to be careful when explaining how unfair it was, less she anger the king even further. He was silent for some time before finally standing, placing his hands on the desk. [b [i "While I understand your concern, it's already done. I will not risk losing this alliance by trying to back out and change the terms. It's as simple as that."]]

[center The princess was able to swallow the lump in her throat this time, keeping the tears at bay as best she could. She was tired of crying. [b "I will not go through with this,"] she said, grabbing the book and excusing herself before the back and forth could continue. It wasn't until she was halfway to her room that she allowed herself to lean against the wall and let the tears fall again. None of it was fair, and instead of finding a different solution, she was only left frustrated again.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   315d ago

"You scowl any harder and your face is going to get stuck like that," came a familiar voice from the doorway. He turned to see one of his bunk mates and only good friend Lyam. Blonde hair and handsome face, he was everything a knight [i should] be. His arms were crossed over his chest and he had an amused yet curious look on his face. "What's got you in such a bind?" he asked, entering the room.

"Nothing," came Naim's response, far to quickly.

"I heard the princess was missing. Again."

Naim nodded, still having trouble returning to the present. "She was hoping to find some peace in the gardens."

"Should have known the king would have asked you in particular to find her. You've always had an internal compass pointing right at her. She's your true north." Naim looked up at Lyam sharply.

"What?" he asked.

"I'm just saying. You've always had a connection with her highness. That's all I was getting at," Lyam said, his demeanor changing. His brows furrowed in worry. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Naim answered quickly. Lyam wasn't buying it. "She told you something you can't tell anyone again, didn't she?"

While that wasn't exactly the case and it definitely wasn't what had his heart hammering this time, Naim just nodded. "It's nothing. Really."

"Alright well..." Lyam looked at him, unconvinced. "Supper is ready." Then his friend turned and left the room.

Naim slowly sunk down onto his bed and buried his face in his hands. The last thing he wanted to do was eat. He was too worried about Princess Saylin and how her conversation with the king was going. That's what it must be. That is what this sickening feeling in his gut was. He was simply too worried for her.

He would not allow himself to think about the alternative. He had laid those feelings to rest a long time ago. They were impractical. And impossible. He would not torture himself with the thought.

The next morning Naim was summoned. It seemed as if he was being trusted with more and more these past few years. He didn't mind the work. It kept his mind occupied.

When he entered King Ture's study, the king was finishing signing his name in a flourish. Naim waited patiently and watched him drip wax on the folded letter before removing his ring to use as the royal seal. He finally looked up and Naim bowed. The king held out the letter.

"There it a courier waiting at the east gate. Thomson, you know him."

"Yes, Your Majesty," Naim said, taking the letter.

"He is my most trusted courier. I want you to get this to him. It must be given [i only] to him. It carries an important message that I will not see intercepted." Naim gave a curt not and went to turn, but the king stopped him. "You know my daughter well, Naim." For a moment, nothing followed this statement. Then, finally, "It will be weeks before we get a reply, but I hope I am doing the right thing. She says she will not marry a man she has not met." Hope swelled in Naim's chest. "So then we will bring him here or ship her there so she can meet the man. I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that this alliance is fulfilled." And just like that, the hope was gone. "Is this a fool's errand, Naim? Will my daughter fight me on this, too? You speak to her more than I do."

[i Perhaps you should remedy that,] Naim thought, though he would never dare speak it aloud. Instead, he said, "I cannot admit to knowing Princess Saylin's heart, Your Majesty. We don't speak as much as we used to." Though he tried to hide it, the sadness seeped into his words. Besides, he was not about to deliver news to the king that would make him unhappy. He had learned a long time ago to remain indifferent when asked questions. Knights were not meant to have opinions unless you were specifically placed in an advisory role.

The king nodded, then waved him away. Naim headed instantly for the east gate. He looked down at the letter in his hands. The letter that contained Saylin's fate. The thought of never delivering the letter came to him, but he knew the consequences would be dire. Not just for him, but for the whole kingdom.

Thomson was where the king said he would be and he nodded at Naim. He was expected. [i I'm sorry, my princess.] Naim handed the letter to the courier. "The king says you know where this needs to be taken."

"I do." And just like that, Thomson was climbing up on his horse. The gate opened just enough to let him through and he was gone.
Burning_HeartSaylin   314d ago

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Dancing+Script]

[center Another place the princess loved to be was the window seat inside of her room. It was comfortable, gave her a wonderful view of the city, especially when the sun was setting, and she could easily look down at the hedge maze, where she could see the flowers and the very top of the fountain. It was here that she had decided to sit for some time, thinking over the conversation with her father. She couldn't lose hope just yet. Surely there was something she could do to put a stop to the wedding.]

[center A gasp escaped her lips before she hopped down from the seat, rushing over to her desk and grabbing some parchment paper, along with a quill and ink. She had finally thought of a different approach, and for the first time since her father had told her about the arrangement, she had a real smile on her face.]

[center The next morning, Saylin woke to the sound of knocking on her door. She jumped as sat up, stifling a yawn as she looked down at the half-written note sitting on the desk. She hadn't even realized that she'd fallen asleep. Hearing the knock again, she quickly covered the paper with her book, standing. [b "Come in!"]]

[center She smiled at the sight of Marie, one of the maids that usually came to check on her. The woman had laugh lines on her face, with bright green eyes and silver hair. She was beautiful in her old age, something Saylin hoped she could be when she got older. [b [i "Your highness,"]] she said, bowing her head to her.]

[center The princess smiled at her and waved her hand. [b "Don't worry about the formalities, Marie. It's just the two of us,"] she said, moving towards her vanity on the other side of the room. She could hear the old woman chuckle before coming up behind her. This was the routine every morning; allow the woman to brush and dress her hair before picking out her outfit for the day. Today it would be a sky blue dress. The older woman claimed it brought out her eyes.]

[center The two didn't converse for very long. They hardly ever did outside of the usual list of things Saylin would have to do for the day, starting with her lessons. She tried to sit still as Marie tightened the corset, waiting for her to finally leave so she could go back to writing the letters she had been composing. The moment she left, Saylin was back at the desk, scribbling frantically. Once she was done, folded the two letters, placed them inside of the book she had been reading, and quickly left the room, hurrying towards the library.]

[center Through her lessons, she could barely concentrate, bouncing her leg up and down and rushing through any reading she had to do in the book her tutor had given her. The longer she waited, the more anxious she became. It was a huge relief when she was finally dismissed, snagging the romance book before rushing out of the library, only saying a quick thank you as she left.]

[center The first thing she did now that they were free was rush down to the barracks, praying that Naim was there. She knew she probably shouldn't have been down there, but she wasn't sure when she would get to see Naim again, since he had responsibilities just as she did, and she knew this couldn't wait.]

[center Upon entering, she didn't really see anyone. Perhaps most were already busy with their duties for the day. It seemed like Naim was one of them. However, she did catch sight of another knight she recognized. She hurried over to him, stopping short as she stood to bow to her. [b [i "Your highness. What brings you down here?"]]]

[center She smiled at him. [b "Good afternoon, Sir Lyam. Would you be willing to give this to Sir Niam for me?"] she asked, reaching into the book to pull one of the notes out. She double-checked that the wax seal was the right color, a green instead of the red she used for the other, before holding it out to him. [b "It's very important that he receives this as soon as possible."]]

[center [b [i "Of course, Your Highness,"]] he said as he took it.]

[center Doing her best to hide her excitement, she curtsied to him, said another quick thank you, and turned to leave, heading outside towards the garden.]

[center [Dancing+Script Naim,]]
[center [Dancing+Script I think I may have found a way to stop the wedding before it happens. As soon as you get this, come see me. You know where to find me,]]
[right [Dancing+Script -Saylin]]
linktheheroNaim Ward   314d ago

When the gates closed behind the rider, Naim turned away and headed to make his rounds. He took the front staircase two steps at a time and they delivered him through the massive doors of the castle where twelve men stood guard. When he was back in the main entrance hall- a grand room almost the size of the ballroom itself decorated with tapestries that told the story of the royal family- he turned left to head through the kitchens where he usually started his patrol. To the right was the small door tucked away in the corner that led to the basement and it was at this moment that Lyam emerged from it.

"Naim," he called, his voice sounding rather strange. Naim stopped and turned face the man who held out a sealed letter. Naim's brows furrowed. He could count the number of times he had received letters throughout his life on one hand. The other knights had families to write to, but not Naim. His entire life was here. He turned the parchment over to see his name simply scrawled on the outside in Saylin's hand. He looked back up at Lyam curiously.

"She came looking for you," he said softly so they were not overheard.


"In the basement."

Naim muttered a curse and shook his head. "I have told her time and again not to go down there. It isn't proper-"

"I don't think she was concerned with [i proper] and you know as well as I do that has never been an important attribute to our princess."

"Still. I don't trust half the guard and-"

"It's only the knights she can trust, yes, yes, Naim." Lyam gave his friend a warm smile. "Just read the damn letter, will you? What's done is done. I have to get back to it." And with that, he turned on his heel and headed further into the castle.

Naim hesitated. He wanted to open the letter there, but he was afraid of what it might contain. He should not read it so openly. He tucked it away for the moment and turned not for the kitchens, but for the basement. He took the stairs quickly and eventually found the armory which was empty. Everyone was performing their duties for the day.

He retrieved the letter and broke the seal carefully. His heart jumped into his throat when he read the words.

[i A way to stop the wedding?] He looked up from the paper and remembered the other letter he had had in his hands that day. He was conflicted. He was a knight, sworn to obey his king. But Saylin... He was sworn to protect her, too. And why shouldn't he try to protect her from unhappiness?

He stood, deciding he would at least hear what she had to say. He would tell her about the letter her father sent. He never was good at keeping secrets from her.

He hastily made his way towards his room and lit the candle by his bed before setting the letter aflame. No one could know they were conspiring. When the parchment was nothing but ash, he blew the candle out and left the barracks, heading straight for the garden where he knew she would be. It was the only place they could talk in private other than her chambers and it would be impossible for him to visit her room without someone seeing and reporting the impropriety.

He looked as if he was simply on patrol about the castle, but he veered into the gardens when no one was looking. He took the same path he had used to find her before.

And there she was. Stunning in her blue dress, her blonde hair in several decorative braids and pouring over her shoulders. Naim had to remind himself to breathe before finally approaching her.

"Saylin," he said softly. He could not help himself from taking her hand in his, just the whisper of a touch. "You are playing a dangerous game. I trust Lyam, but if you had handed that letter to anyone else- if it were intercepted..." he trailed off, looking into her blue eyes. Her dress made them shine all the brighter.
Burning_HeartSaylin   314d ago

[center Saylin liked to think she was normally a patient person, though there were many past instances that would prove otherwise. This was definitely one of those times. The more time that passed while she was waiting, the more anxious and nervous she became. She trusted that Lyam would pass on the letter. She just didn't know when he would. Would he intentionally seek out Niam to deliver it, or would he simply wait until their paths crossed? Plenty of questions plagued her mind as she stood around, doing her best to occupy herself, though it wasn't easy.]

[center She felt like she had been waiting an eternity when Naim finally appeared. Her face lit up, though the smile had only lasted for a moment. Her cheeks flushed as he took her hand. She couldn't help but notice how warm it felt, which caused her stomach to do flips. She looked up to meet his eyes, a little surprised that he had used her name. He rarely did that, even when they [i were] alone.]

[center Shaking her head, she squeezed his hand and covered it with the other one. [b "I understand your concern, but I can promise you that I would not have handed it off to just anyone. Sir Lyam is one of the very few that I trusted with that letter."] She couldn't help but grin again. [b "Speaking of, I'm glad you got it so soon. This can't wait,"] she said, doing her best to contain her excitement.]

[center [b "I gave it all some thought last night and, if I can't convince my father to call off the wedding and try a different approach, maybe I can appeal to the king and prince of Albion. I want to explain to them why I cannot go through with the arrangement. I have also thought of other ways we can secure the alliance in place of the wedding."]]

[center She would've shown him the second letter, but there was something she mentioned inside of it that she couldn't let him know about. Not yet, at least. She had to hear what he thought about the idea before she fell through with it. [b "The letter is written, though I have yet to send it. I know that once my father finds out that he will be furious, but I know that it will be worth it if I can pull it off."] Her smile had only grown as she spoke. Unless the rulers of Albion were heartless, there was no way the plan wouldn't work. At least in her mind.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   314d ago

Saylin’s excitement poured out of her much like it had when they were children. He had not seen her full of this much energy since they were teenagers, sneaking away on horseback or hiding in the barns so he could teach her a little bit of fencing. Those days were long over, however.

She was talking about other ways to secure the alliance, and he didn’t know much of anything about politics, but he wasn’t so sure this prince hadn’t already weighed in and demanded her hand in the first place. Some men were monsters like this. He had seen it first hand from some of their own army before he became a knight. But he let her speak. Perhaps her ideas were something no one had thought of before.

She seemed almost hesitant to tell him, though. Upon hearing her father would be more than a little angry with the idea, Naim shook his head in worry, his brows knitting together. Her smile had grown, but his heart weighed heavy on him.

He was not aware that he had tightened his grip on her hand ever so much. “And what if you can’t pull it off?” he asked her, ever the voice of reason. “What if all they want is you?”

She could not be so blind. She had to know of the tales of her beauty that spread throughout their land and no doubt into others. He pulled gently at her hand, guiding her over to the bench and sat her down. He did not sit down with her. Instead, he knelt before her, and kept his eyes locked on hers so she might understand how important this was. His height was enough that he did not have much looking up to do. “Saylin,” he said her name again. He only used her name like this when he was serious. And worried for her. “I need to tell you something.”

“This morning your father trusted me to deliver a letter to his courier. I am unsure why he decided to confide in me, but he told me the contents of the letter. He must have known you told me about the marriage.” He paused, his eyes running over her face with worry. “Because you told the king you would not marry a man you have never met, he is proposing to host the prince here. Or… ship you to him.”

It was only at this moment that his eyes fell. “I didn’t want to deliver it. I felt like I was holding your entire future in my hands.” His words were laced with frustration. “But if I had destroyed the letter, there would have been far more to pay than just the skin on my back.”

He finally returned his eyes to hers. “Do you think whatever you have proposed in this letter of yours could counter something like this? What is it you have written?” His voice was almost pleading now. “If you would allow me to say one selfish thing as your protector and friend: I cannot lose you.”
Burning_HeartSaylin   313d ago

[center Saylin could feel some of the enthusiasm disappear as Niam lead her to the bench. He didn't seem at all proud of her for thinking up any alternatives. She was afraid to ask why. Maybe it was because she had been so careless about the letter? She could admit that it was a bit rash, but she'd been too excited about the possibility of getting the wedding called off to really think about it. Had she not given it to Lyam, she would have held onto the piece of paper until she'd bumped into Niam and could've given it to him in person. She wouldn't have trusted the other knights with it.]

[center When he'd said he had something to tell her, she tried to brace herself for whatever it might have been, but his words weren't what she was expecting. She felt like she'd been punched in the stomach. Any color that had painted her cheeks was now gone. Panic set in for just a moment. She didn't [i want] to meet the prince. That was the thing.]

[center Reaching out, she placed a hand on Niam's cheek, doing her best to reassure him with a small smile. [b "I cannot be mad at you for delivering the letter. I know you would not have been able to deny the request."] It still hurt nonetheless, but she didn't blame him in the slightest.]

[center His next words also had an impact, but one that made her heart skip a beat instead of knotting her stomach. A lump formed in her throat and tears stung at the corners of her eyes, but she managed to hold them back just enough. [b "You will not lose me,"] she said softly. She did not want to tell him what the other letter said, for fear of how he would react. However, there was a chance he might understand more why she wouldn't go through with the arrangement if he knew what she was feeling.]

[center She took a deep breath before speaking again. [b "I've written that I cannot be the woman that they will want me to be with an honest heart. That while I do understand the importance of this alliance for both kingdoms, that I will spend every waking day longing for another while with the prince, and that it would not be fair to anyone in that case."] She paused for a moment. [b "If I have to meet them face to face, so be it. If I cannot send the letter to them, I will tell them in person."] Saylin knew how risky everything was, but she was determined, no matter what.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   312d ago

Saylin's hand against the scruff on his cheek and her determined words steadied him. He wasn't sure he believed that he would not lose her through this marriage, but he would take comfort wherever he could get it.

Naim could tell she was hesitant about telling him the contents of her letter, but she finally divulged her plan after taking a deep breath and preparing herself. He had to wonder what could possibly be so worrying to her. His brows furrowed as she spoke. [i Longing for another?]

Even with her hand on his face, Naim was too dumbstruck to put the pieces together. The view he had of himself had built up a wall so high that not even Saylin's words could break through unless she spoke them right out. He was confident in his abilities as a knight, but he had never had confidence in [i himself]. He never considered he had any worth, which is why he did not instantly understand her meaning.

Instead, his heart dropped. He tried not to let the heartache show on his face as her words sunk in. She was in love with another. His mind reeled, thinking of all the nobles they had as guests at the palace. Which had caught her affections? And would Naim see him worthy enough? The answer was no, he knew. No many was worthy of his princess, not even himself.

Either way, it was clear to Naim that Saylin still did not understand men. Her whole life she tried to see the good in everything and she was hoping once again that the prince of Albion would set aside politics for feelings. Many kings married women who would never be happy then after, but Naim decided not to say this aloud. Instead, he looked her in her magnificent blue eyes and said, "You can try, but... Unless this man you love holds significant power, I highly doubt there will be enough leverage in your favor. These men, they- they want tokens. Riches. Things they can touch." He had stood guard in too many of the kings meetings to not understand this. "I don't mean to hurt you, princess, but..." He shook his head gently. "Let us wait for the response to the king. Whatever it may be, I will remain by your side. If the prince decides he will not see you, then we will send him your letter. If a meeting is arranged, then you will speak to him. And if that doesn't work, then we will keep trying until something works." His determined words gave him courage, but not enough to keep eye contact for his next question. There was a long silence. He almost didn't ask.

"Why didn't you tell me about this man you've fallen so hard for? We used to tell each other everything and now..."
Burning_HeartSaylin   310d ago

[center Saylin found her heart sinking with each word he said. She knew that he wasn't wrong about the way men could be. There [i was] an extremely large chance that the prince had wanted the wedding in order to for the deal to work out. There was also the chance that he wouldn't want to hear her out. The problem was that the princess tried to remain as optimistic and hopeful as she could, for as long as she could. If she didn't then she knew she would grow miserable.]

[center She was grateful that he was willing to stick by her side. He was the main reason she was fighting against it, to begin with. If not for him, she wouldn't have had the courage to write the letter or even consider going against her father. Even if he didn't know it, he was the one who kept her grounded at the worst times.]

[center His question managed to catch her off guard, and for a moment, she wasn't sure how to answer. He believed she had fallen for someone else? She was a bit surprised. There was no one she was as close to. No one else that she ran to or trusted as she did him.]

[center Her heart began to pound hard in her chest. She could lay everything out for him right then and there. The only thing holding her back was how terrified she was of what he would do once he knew. If she were to tell him how she felt and he didn't return the feelings then she knew she wouldn't have anything else keeping her from a marriage she was so against.]

[center She let out a sigh before looking down at the ground. [b "If I had told you then it would've changed everything. I fear you would look at me differently. Not to mention, my father would most likely never allow it, nor do I think he would understand."] She hesitated, her hands shaking in her lap as she gripped the fabric of her dress. It was now or never. She had to take the dive.]

[center [b "I was also afraid that if I told you how I felt, you might not feel the same way."] Once the words had left her lips, she felt a wave of fear wash over her. Whatever happened next would determine the rest of her life and she knew it.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   310d ago

[i Changed everything? Look at her differently?] Who could she have fallen for that would make her so nervous to tell him? Who could she be in love with that her father would never allow her to be with? One of the gardeners? A cook? He swallowed the jealousy rising in his throat and watched her nerves almost get the best of her. Her porcelain fingers gripped her dress and his eyes searched her face.

For a moment he thought she had decided not to tell him. And then she took a wavering breath and spoke so softly he almost couldn’t hear her confession. A long moment passed when he was sure he had misheard her. He expected her to add to the statement, but nothing came. And then the realization crashed over him. His eyes widened and took in the blush painting her cheeks.

“Oh, Saylin,” he whispered. He had been in many battles, but his heart had never beat so hard. Without telling it to, his hand rose to touch the side of her face with a shaking hand. His eyes searched her face. Lowering his head so she was forced to meet his gaze, he saw in the deep blue of her eyes that this was real. His thumb moved softly across her cheekbone.

“Saylin… I…” he mumbled softly. [i I can’t allow this. I’m not worth your affections. Your father would have my head.] These are what he wanted to say. What he opened his mouth [i to] say. But nothing came out. Instead, he leaned in and pressed his lips against the princess’s.Eyes closed, sighing softly. It was not a demanding kiss, despite the heat rising within him. Instead, it was gentle and loving and possessed all the care he had for Saylin.

When he pulled back, he rested his forehead against hers, his hand still on her face. “I have loved you so dearly, but only from afar,” he finally told her, and it was like a weight off of his chest, his shoulders, his soul. “I tried so hard to bury my feelings. Had I known that you…”

He trailed off, unable to speak anymore. He knew this shouldn’t have happened and that they were already in too deep. But he could not bring himself to ruin this moment with his usual practicality.
Burning_HeartSaylin   310d ago

[center Saylin tensed slightly as his hand came to rest on her face. She kept herself from looking away as her eyes met his, gulping slightly as her stomach twisted. He was hesitating to say anything, which only made her fear worsen. She was worried that whatever words left his lips wouldn't be anything good. She probably shouldn't be surprised if that was the case. She already knew that it would be difficult for them to be together if he did indeed feel the same way about her, so she wouldn't blame him if he rejected her feelings altogether.]

[center It wasn't until his lips met hers that her eyes widened and she felt her world tilt slightly. The kiss was soft and sweet, almost exactly as she had imagined it would be so many times. It was enough to make her head spin. It was also enough to tell her that she needed to continue fighting to get herself out of this marriage. If she had been determined before, she was even more determined now.]

[center When he pulled away, it felt too soon, and it took all she had not to pull his lips back to hers. Closing her eyes, she enjoyed the feel of his forehead against hers, reaching up to mirror her actions by placing her own hand on his cheek. That one word was what she'd longed for years now. She just wished she'd had the courage to speak up sooner.]

[center Unfortunately, she couldn't change the past, which was why she had to change the future. [b "It makes me so happy to hear you say that,"] she said softly. [b "I swear to you, I will get out of this marriage. Now that I really have you, I will not lose you."] No, she loved him too much to allow that to happen.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   310d ago

Her next words brought Naim's heart so much conflict. On the one hand, he was so over the moon happy that after years of hiding his feelings, he actually discovered that Saylin returned them. But on the other, there was no way that this happiness could stay.

He knew Saylin not as a princess. Growing up around her made it so he knew her as a friend. He did not see what everyone else saw when they looked at the woman. They saw a woman of power. A future queen. Naim saw his best friend. The girl he had dueled sticks with. The girl who had saved him a cloth of the finest food from her dinner, just so he could get a taste of royaly. The girl who loved him, despite how tan his skin was or his history or status.

These thoughts made his eyes well with the happiest of tears. And yet they were his saddest as well. He had just gained everything he had ever wanted in life, and now he had to say goodbye to it. It would only hurt the both of them to explore these feelings further. If she could not marry even a commoner- and he was lower than that- then what was the point? Perhaps if his skin was white or his hair golden. Or his glorious deeds told in every realm. But he was just Naim. Simple Naim.

He opened his mouth to say as much, but no words came out. He remembered the feeling of her lips on his and he wanted to kick himself for even letting himself show his affection in the first place. Now it would be even harder to turn away from her.

After a momentary breath, he simply said, "We will think of something. I swear it." It was all he could say at the moment. He could not stand to watch her heart break and it was far too soon to break his own. Just one day he wanted to live in the bliss that this was real.

"Princess? Princess Saylin!" A voice called through the hedge maze. Naim had just heard the crunch of a fallen branch and shot to his feet just as the intruder rounded the corner. The knight's eyes found Naim, standing there rather awkwardly before landing on the princess. "Your Highness, your father would like to see you," he said and cleared his throat. "And the king was looking for you, too Sir. I guess I should thank you for being together to make my trip so short," he said with a pleasant laugh.

Naim only nodded to the knight as he walked away before locking eyes with Princess Saylin once more. He bit the inside of his lip before double checking that the knight was well and truly gone, then he closed the distance between them. He took her hands and pulled her to her feet. Unable to help himself, he gathered her in his arms and kissed her again, this time with more vigor than before. When he pulled back, his hands were resting at her waist where her corset made it oh-so easy. "Just in case I never get to do that again," he mumbled into the air between their lips. He knew they were both worried that the king had somehow gotten wind of this already, impossible as it was.
Burning_HeartSaylin   310d ago

[center Saylin hoped Naim was right. She'd wanted this for so long, probably a bit longer than she would care to admit, and she didn't want to have to let go of it for anything. The problem would be trying to convince her father to allow them to be together. Unfortunately, if she couldn't, she knew everything would come crashing down. It just meant she would have to make sure her idea worked.]

[center Had it been possible, she would've stayed like this all day with him. With her feels feelings finally known, she wouldn't have to be as awkward with him when they were alone together, though she knew she still had to be careful in the presence of others. If the wrong person were to see them or hear them together, it would ruin everything before she had a chance to see it through.]

[center Saylin had smiled then and was about to lean in for another small kiss when she heard someone shout her name. Naim was standing before she had time to react, cheeks flushing and eyes wide as she looked up. Trying not to look guilty, she placed a hand over her heart, taking a deep breath. She did her best to make it seem as if she had only been frightened. Not caught doing anything she shouldn't be. [b "Understood. Thank you,"] she said, nodding her head. She let out a sigh of relief when he walked away.]

[center She met Naim's gaze, opening her mouth to comment about how close that was, but didn't have the chance to say anything as he approached her again. A small gasp escaped her lips as he pulled her to him again, and she couldn't help but wrap her arms around his neck, this time returning the kiss. The shock of it all had finally worn off.]

[center She could only nod, her heart pounding and feeling breathless from his actions. He'd always had a way of giving her butterflies. Reluctantly, she pulled away from him, looking up at him. [b "I suppose we should go see what the King needs,"] she said, trying to calm her pounding heart. She was just as worried that he had someone caught wind already. Perhaps it was the guilty conscious.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   309d ago

It was painful to pull so far away from the princess, but it was what must be done. He gestured for her to lead the way, mostly so that he could gather himself without worrying about her eyes on him.

As they left the gardens, his hand came to his lips where hers had been just moments ago. Naim was no stranger to kissing women and when he was on leave he did not hold himself higher than any other man and often found himself tumbling in the sheets with a whore or a woman who fancied herself a knight. But it was rare and when it [i did] happen it was always to chase away feelings for another.

Saylin's lips were unlike any he had ever felt before. Perhaps that was because they were so untouched. Or because he actually had such love for her that it made the action so much more enjoyable.

He dropped his hand when they entered the castle so that he would not give them away and watched Saylin's back as she walked, studying her figure more now than he ever dared to before.

When they finally reached her father's study where he seemed to be living these days, he moved around her to knock lightly on the door. The king's booming voice told them to enter and so Naim opened the door for Saylin and walked in behind her. He bowed when he reached the desk, heart hammering in his chest. Then he pulled out the chair across from the king for Saylin to perch herself in. He stood next to her, expectantly.

"I have heard rumors," King Ture said slowly, reading through a letter. Naim did not dare look at the princess lest he give them away. "Scouts and assassins from Elzier have managed to cross the boarder. Nothing more than whispers." Naim tried to hide the sigh of relief he felt that the reason for this visit was not about their relationship. The king set down his letter and looked up at them. "But even so. With everything we have going on, we cannot risk [i anything]. Naim, I am raising your pay. You know my daughter best out of all the knights and therefore you will be her constant bodyguard starting tomorrow morning."

This was not a suggestion. Every word was law and yet he spoke it so casually. At first Naim did not respond out of simple shock. Then he finally found his words. "Yes, Your Majesty."
Burning_HeartSaylin   309d ago

[center The entire walk to her father's study was an agonizing one. Saylin actually had to remind herself to breathe the closer they got. She hadn't thought about it right away, but now that she had time to reflect on it, there were probably hundreds of ways someone could have spotted them, if they were in the right window at the right angle, or sneaking around the hedge maze when they shouldn't have been, and easily ran back to her father to tell before they had been the wiser.]

[center These were the things running through her head when they were finally in the room, standing before the king, who had a look on his face that she couldn't quite discern. She was grateful for the seat, at least, since it gave her some rest for her legs, which felt weaker by the moment, especially when he first began to speak. It would have been the perfect start to a conversation that she wasn't ready to have with him.]

[center It was why the words that followed those were such a relief, despite the seriousness behind them. She'd rather hear about possible assassins since that was something she knew how to deal with. It was made even better with the knowledge that Naim would be by her side more often now. She kept her head held high, only nodding. If she spoke, she might reveal the excitement that was suddenly rushing through her. The reason why wasn't ideal, but if she got to be with him for the time being, it was enough.]

[center [b "I hope these rumors are just that. I know that, if true, it would cause a lot of trouble for us."] she finally spoke up, watching the King's face. Maybe those rumors would stall the prince of Albion, if she were so lucky.]

[center She hesitated then before slowly standing. [b "Was that all we needed to discuss?"] she asked him, far too eager to get away at this point. She kept her hands held together in front of her, refraining from looking at the knight beside her for the time being. She knew there would be plenty of time for that once they were alone again.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   308d ago

Naim was aware of Saylin’s pleasant tone, but he was far too caught up in his thoughts to take in her words. Luckily they had been addressed to her father. Meanwhile, he was thinking over what this meant for them. He would be the princess’s constant shadow. If the king had any notion of the kind of exchange Naim and his daughter had just shared in the gardens, he would want him as far away from her as possible.

A sick feeling twisted in his gut. His whole life was in service to the king and betraying him like this… He could not have made himself utter a word about it, but the feeling still plagued him, and he knew it would continue to do so. But he told himself- as he often did when he had conflicting thoughts about the king- that he considered himself more in service to the princess. To Saylin.

Soon, the princess was standing from the chair, no doubt eager to be rid of her father’s watchful eye. “Not so fast,” King Ture, called after her and another lump rose in Naim’s throat. “Your tutor says you were not so attentive in class today. Pay him mind.”

Then he waved her away and they left the room without further words. Without speaking, Naim led the way down the massive hall. When they reached an empty section, he turned to her, a look of relief on his face. And then a smile. “Distracted in class?” he teased, letting a younger version of himself show through. A version Saylin was all too familiar with. There was a slight pause and his face became grim.

“Princess…” Two members of the royal court walked past, both bowing low in greeting to their princess. He waited until they were out of earshot. “The wedding and now these rumors. Are you alright? I suppose all we can do is wait to hear back from Albion’s prince and that could take weeks.” He stepped closer to her, almost too close for common etiquette. “I am pleased the king has put me in this position, either way. I will always protect you, no matter what. You know this.” He did not dare mention their kiss and how he hoped there would be more to follow. He hoped he gleaned as much from his words.
Burning_HeartSaylin   308d ago

[center Saylin tensed slightly as she waited for his next words, that same feeling of fear washing over her for just a split second before he mentioned her tutor. She gave a short nod. [b "Yes, father. It won't happen again."] The princess should have known that her being distracted wouldn't have gone unnoticed. With that, she and Naim were waved out, and she had to keep herself from rushing out of the room.]

[center As the two of them walked, she wanted to say something to break the silence, but wasn't sure what she [i could] say. She was relieved that her father hadn't heard about their moment in the garden, but jeez had that been nerve-wracking for the first half.]

[center Saylin had been so lost in thought for a moment that she almost didn't realize when Naim had stopped. She would've run into him if she hadn't noticed at the last second. She looked up at him, tilting her head slightly before her cheeks flushed in embarrassment. [b "I couldn't help it,"] she mumbled, though a smile tugged at the edge of her lips.]

[center She took a small step back as the two members came to pass by them, smiling at them with a small nod, only turning her attention back to the man before her once they had gone. She was hesitant to answer right away. In truth? No. She was a little frightened. Perhaps talks of weddings and such would be put off with the possible danger, but that didn't stop the arrangement from existing.]

[center She glanced around, double-checking that the two of them were alone, before reaching out and taking his hand in hers. She quickly brought it to her lips, placing a kiss on his knuckles before looking up at him. [b "I'm worried. I would be lying if I said I wasn't, all things considered. If they deem it dangerous, they may not risk coming here or having me sent there, since that would just bring trouble to them."] She paused for a moment, letting out a sigh. [b "With any luck, things will at least be delayed."] She smiled at him. [b "I'm glad you're going to be by my side. There's no one else I would rather have protecting me."]]

[center Her cheeks were flush once more, but not from embarrassment this time. Their kiss was still fresh on her mind and she was sure it would leave her with butterflies for weeks to come. [b "Are you alright?"] she finally asked. Surely this was just as stressful for him, if not more so.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   304d ago

Naim understood her worry. So much was up in the air right now. All they could do was be there for each other and hope against all hope that things were delayed. But delaying things did not fix them. It only put them off, hopefully long enough for them to figure out how to deal with them.

These thoughts were heavy on his mind and he looked up at her when she returned the question. She had always been so thoughtful.

"I'm fine," he told her softly. "As long as you are safe, I am okay. You have always been my top priority." He chanced a kiss to the back of her hand. At least this gesture was common enough for any man to gift the princess, but they both knew that his held much more weight. He knew they had to part at some point, so he took a moment to look into her eyes. "Until tomorrow. Then we will be seeing much more of each other." It took everything in him to walk away in that moment.

He performed the last of his duties as an average knight that evening and the next morning he woke earlier than he might have, his body thrumming with excitement for his new position. He put forth extra effort towards his appearance, making sure every piece of his uniform was in place. After washing his face, he left the barracks in search of Princess Saylin. It was still early when he arrived at her room. So early he knew she was still asleep. So he stationed himself outside her room and straightened his doublet.

A servant came to him not an hour later with a letter from the king stating that all knights who go above and beyond to serve should be rewarded and that in order to perform his job better he was given his own chambers and would not need to stay in the barracks anymore. This honor was given only to the best knights in the castle and Naim felt unworthy. The room was on the same level as Saylin's, though a room away for propriety's sake. A key fell out of the envelope.

Naim walked it over to the door and tried it. It opened slowly and inside he was greeted with a room with a large bed- much larger than he had ever slept in before- as well as a fireplace, a table, and anything else someone might have needed in their private living quarters. It was recently dusted, the bedding changed, the drapes and rug beaten. And all for him.

He would move his very few items up here when he had the chance. For now, he didn't even let himself step inside and instead closed and locked the door and retraced his steps back to Saylin's door.
Burning_HeartSaylin   301d ago

[center The kiss to the back of her hand made Saylin's stomach do a flip. It was a reaction that took her by surprise, but she knew exactly why. It was different than every other time he'd done it. It meant more. Despite her pounding heart, she managed a smile, nodding. [b "Until tomorrow,"] she said, watching him walk away. For a moment, she stood in silence, even after he was out of sight. None of what had happened felt completely real. A part of her was convinced that she would wake up in the morning only to find out that their kiss hadn't been real or that Naim didn't actually share her feelings.]

[center Shaking her head, she turned and made her way towards the music room. She would get some time in with the piano before going to her room for the night. As much as she wanted to read, she knew she wouldn't be able to pay attention. Letting her hands run across the keys would come naturally from years of practice. It would require much less concentration.]

[center The next morning, Saylin woke to Marie throwing open the curtains. On a normal day, she would've rolled over and argued that she deserved the few extra minutes of sleep. She knew, however, that she wouldn't be able to that morning. Sitting up, she let out a yawn before slipping out of the bed, allowing the older woman to pick out her dress for the day, along with doing her hair once more.]

[center The two managed a bit of small talk, but Marie had caught on to the change in the Princess's demeanor. It was enough to make her ask Saylin if she was feeling alright, but not enough to make her question anything else. While the blonde wanted to confide in her, she knew it was too risky.]

[center It wasn't long after that Marie finished and made her exit, leaving the door open long enough that Saylin caught a glimpse of Naim standing outside of her door. She couldn't help but grin and bite the inside of her cheek. Turning to the vanity, she was quick to double-check herself, just to make sure she looked her best, before finally stepping outside of the room, looking at the man before her. [b "You're here early,"] she said with a teasing grin.]
linktheheroNaim Ward   294d ago

After some time, though he couldn't say how long- he was good at letting time blur together since much of his job was simply standing guard- the princess's handmaid walked past him and into her room, giving him a polite smile. And some time after that, she left again. He was tempted to peek inside through the closing door to see if he could catch a glimpse of Saylin, but he decided against it.

As it would turn out, he didn't have to wait long to see her, anyway. She emerged not minutes later and he turned his head to smile at her with a loving gaze.

"I am," he confessed. "Though one can never be to early to his duty to protect his princess." And for the first time, he truly felt like she was [i his] princess. No one else could know. But they did. He looked into her eyes for perhaps a moment too long, then he cleared his throat and gestured down the hallway. "The king has moved me up. I now lay my head not far from your own," he said and gestured down the hallway. "I suppose this way I can always be close enough to protect you from any harm. Even your bad dreams," he said softly.

"But forgive me, I'm keeping you from your day," he held out his arm, the other resting on the hilt of his sword as it always did. "What is on the docket for the day? Shall I be enduring lessons with you? Your sewing circle? I can't promise I'll be any good at needlework," he teased, though he knew he would simply make himself scarce by the window in these scenarios. Though he couldn't imagine whatever excitement was taking place outside would be worth looking at when the princess was in the room and he could so easily be looking at her instead.

This was going to be much more difficult than he thought.
Burning_HeartSaylin   283d ago

[center Saylin had to bite back the grin that threatened to spread across her face. The news that he was close by was enough to make her stomach do flips, however. It was scary how easy all of this would seem now that certain pieces had fallen into place. That didn't mean the other pieces weren't something to think about, just that they'd played a part in making this happen. If she were smart, she'd find a way to keep them from fitting into the picture.]

[center She stepped closer to him, taking his arm as her cheeks flushed slightly. [b "Lessons first. It'll be much easier to pay attention now that my mind is more at ease."] She looked up at him with a bright smile, feeling much better than she did the morning before.]

[center This morning wouldn't be much different when it came to her routine. Her lessons were just as boring, but she did pay far more attention, apologizing for not doing so the day before. It was just as difficult, though, since Naim was present this time, and whenever she could, she was sneak quick glances his way, but only when her tutor's back was turned.]


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