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.To Her, He Was The Universe.
by StolenRelics- & bitter.
Nefeli looked at the stranger like he was the whole universe.
But he was full of dead stars and broken debris.
His dragon could be heard moaning within the dragon keep, below the castle.
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Nefeli Ambrose, the youngest and the strangest of the three Ambrose children. Her oldest brother, who served as their father's King Guard Captain, was named in honor of their grandfather. Ryuu, meaning dragon. He was tall with soft purple eyes, married not a day shy of his coming of age day. He was the first, first born son that a father could ever ask for. The middle child was a silly boy named Damien. He was a fierce protector of his little sister and was never far away. He had harsh, violet eyes and took after their mother with a quick wit and a dagger for a tongue. The Ambrose family were commanding rulers with kind souls, but their fearsome presence came from the dragons that hovered over the city in the free skies.
The first recorded interactions with dragons was five generations before Nefeli. The King at the time, Deimos Ambrose had discovered what the mountains hid from the human eyes. A river of lava that you could feel the heat a the walk way that led into the mountain. There laid a large, scarlet eyed and onyx scaled dragon that greeted Deimos with words of an ancient language that within days of contact, Deimos had learned how to speak to the dragon in the mountains. Soon, Deimos had offered his soul through a blood ritual to have this immense power that the dragons could give him.
The dragons were no where near the size of the original one, but still were as fearsome as always. Each child of the Ambrose family would be given an egg on their birth day and it would hatch in the crib with the newborn when ever it was ready. Nefeli was presented with a beautiful white egg that she cuddled as close to it as possible when she was asleep, the heat it put off was a way to get a child to fall to sleep easier. Once it hatched, it was a starlight colored dragon with pink hues on its face and horns and these milky white eyes with black slits in the middle.
Nefeli was nestled in lush pillows and silk sheets with the sun dancing across her face. Her face scrunched up a bit once she realized that morning was here and her eyes opened, looking at the window with an unhappy expression. Soon, her doors would be opened to a young girl around her age named Mara. Mara was Nefeli's friend, but also a worker in the castle. Nefeli never believed herself more important than the people who worked for her family. Her and Mara were almost inseparable.
“My Princess, breakfast in the garden is waiting for your arrival,” Mara bowed dramatically as Nefeli picked herself up from the pillows, pushing her hair from her face. Mara quickly pulled the girl from her bed with a giggle to hurry her along. “Come on, your father is going to kill me if you are late again,” Mara rushed around the half asleep Nefeli, who could only yawn and rub the sleep from her eyes as the other girl did all the work into getting Nefeli ready for the day.
Mara was a dark skinned with dark freckles splattered across her face. Her family had offered their services to the Ambrose family when they were caught trying to make their way into the city to escape wars that ravished their lands from beyond the mountains. She had a small crush on Nefeli's older brother, Damien and would often be seen with him whenever they were watching over Nefeli from afar.
Mara had picked out a soft pink, silk dress that brushed the ground slightly once Nefeli had put it on. In the sunlight, the dress was almost transparent, but only allowed a faint silhouette of Nefeli's body to peek through. The dress also had metal accents on the shoulders where the dress was secured with a set of dragon pins that had been a gift from her older brother, Ryuu.
Once Mara had worked her magic in the short amount of time that she had to get Nefeli ready for the gardens, she felt accomplished with a smile on her face. She could hear voices in the distance, most likely from the gardens, which caused Mara to panic once more before taking a hold of Nefeli by the wrist gently to urge her it was time to go. As they were closing in on the hallway that led into the gardens, Mara and Nefeli had bumped physically into Damien. This caused Mara to step back in respect for the sibling interaction.
“Can't you ever be on time? This is a party for you, hopefully we can finally find you a husband,” Damien grumped before scoffing at his sister's physical shake of her head at the idea of wanting a husband, especially with hos pompous and greedy some of the lords were in the city of Valyria. Some of them just wanted their dragons more than anything else and Nefeli saw right through it.
“I'm sorry," Nefeli quietly spoke before she was dragged off by Damien to the gardens, leaving Mara to follow behind with her head down. Nefeli mulled over the thoughts of a husband, she had been of age for a while, but managed to slip out of every arranged marriage by shear luck and psycho babbling whenever she has her episodes, which was a big reason why their mother and father never pushed for Nefeli to get married any time soon. As Nefeli came in view on her brother's heel, she was quickly greeted and then scorned by her parents before they mingled their way into the party.
The party was successful, but the husband finding was not since Nefeli spent most of her time avoiding what man came towards her unless it was a family member, alone. Of course, she received another scolding once they finished saying their goodbyes to their guests, some leaving empty handed and robbed of a bride such as Nefeli in their heads. Her father would not let just any man marry his daughter and deep down, he was overly protective of his daughter.
Once Nefeli felt like she was in the clear, she slipped off into the cut that was on the back side of the gardens. She had long learned the easiest ways to maneuver the gardens since she had spent more of her time there since she was old enough to go off on her own. She was making her way up into the mountains, where she liked to explore. The gardens had grown boring for her, the older she got.
The sun was shining through the cave entrance that Phoenix lived in. The male let out a small sigh as he stretched his arms over his head. There was a small huff from the blood red dragon beside him. The small heat that the dragon offered made the cave more comfortable in a way. Phoenix stood and leaned back onto his fists. The moment he did his back seemed to pop, and a low moan escaped him. That felt amazing. Sometimes the male wished he had a bed of his own to sleep in at night. He knew it wouldn't happen though.
He had been disowned by his own towns people about a year ago. They found out he had a dragon and they didn't want anything to do with him or the dragon either. When he had come across the egg a couple of years ago he felt like the worlds most lucky man. At the time he had been courting a woman to marry, but she turned out to be in love with someone else. That had broken him. That same day he had come across the blood red egg and he knew what it was. The stories he had grown up with were true.
He had heard of the royal family having dragons, and wondered if this one was forgotten. Since that day he had hid the egg in the barn on his family's land. He would spend hours on end in the barn making sure the egg was tended too. Then before he knew it the egg was hatched, and a beautiful blood red dragon, with jet black eyes was here. He had been going every name he could think of for the creature until he finally decided on Astatrot in the end. The dragon seemed to enjoy the name.
Then everything turned upside down once more. The towns people found out about the dragon and they had told him over and over to get rid of it. To take it to the castle and the royal family would take the dragon off his hands. He had refused. He bonded with the creature, and the creature was bonded to him. He knew that a bond between a human and dragon was unbreakable. He wasn't about to lose the best thing that happened to him. So he was then kicked out and told to never return again unless the dragon was gone.
He knew it wasn't going to happen that way. He shook his head lightly and looked towards the dragon and smiled slightly. “Good morning Astatrot. You ready to go outside?” he asked. It was like the dragon could understand him, because it huffed and stood. The two made their way out of the caves entrance and soon the creature was in the sky. Phoenix watched the creature for a moment and knew he had made the right choice. Yes he wasn't allowed back into his small town, but he didn't care. He had grown up as a hunter anyway.
He knew how to hunt for his own food. He knew how to take care of himself and that's what he's been doing for the last year. He shivered slightly in the cool air and went back inside to grab his cloak and bow. He slipped the cloak on and slipped the hood over his head. He then slipped his arrows onto his back, along with his bow. He made sure his boots were tightened before walking out of the cave once more. He needed to find something to eat and soon. When he walked out he heard voices below.
There was a party going on at the castle. He stood there leaning against a tree watching the party goers. He was surprised at how early they were throwing it. Did they never sleep? A small laughed passed though his lips as he pushed himself away from the tree. He then walked down the path and froze when he heard small footfalls in front of him. He pulled his hood over his head even more, and slipped into the shadow of a tree. When the princess came into view his breath caught in his throat at the sight of her.
She was breathtaking. He didn't know if he should say anything, or just let her keep exploring.. He made sure he was hidden in the shadows of the tree, keeping silent for the time being, leaving the woman to her own business.
Once any of her family members got a hold of her, she knew she would be in pretty big trouble for going beyond the gardens in one of her best dresses. The finest silk with small accents of gold and silver decorating the neck line and sleeves. She could already here her mother and even Mara was going to be upset about it. She had a healthy amount of jealous for the princess, Mara did. But they were best friends and mostly inseparable when Nefeli stayed in the gardens or the castle, but once she went beyond the safety of the castle, Mara always choose to stay within the walls to avoid trouble unlike the princess, of course.
Even knowing the punishments that she would receive being this far from the castle still never bothered the overly curious and adventurous girl. She always went a little bit further each time she managed to get free of the hold that the castle seemed to always have on her. All the punishments in the world could never save Nefeli and her family from the eventual doom that was coming for the closed off castle nestled in the mountains.
“A scratching under the mountain,” Nefeli was muttering nonsense under her breath as she moved through the trees, touching each one she passed. Everything was the still covered in dew, leaving small pieces of bark behind on her pale hands once she touched enough trees. “Fire and brimstone will spew from the skies,” she glanced up at the canopy of trees towards the sky.
Distracted with the canopy, Nefeli's foot caught a root that had started to protrude from the ground. A small yelp escaped her lips as she fell to the ground. Her pale skin tainted with the moist mud and debris on the forest floor. She took a moment to gather herself into a sitting position before assessing the damage to the dress. Oh, she definitely was not going to get out of this one without a loud scolding and most likely a smack from her mother for ruining her newest party dress.
Hand sewn, imported silk and perfectly tailored to my exact measurements, mimicking her mother's voice in her own head as she picked herself up from the forest floor. She hated how her mother sounded, always pushing Nefeli to do the things that a princess should do. It was only natural for a mother to want her idea of what was best for her daughter. Nefeli wanted different and fought against her mother every chance that she could. But, once Nefeli started to showed strong signs of being a dreamer, her mother had given up most of her pushing for her daughter to be a princess and took a softer approach, but it was still no different.
Nefeli dusted the damp leaves and dirt from her dress and continued upwards, towards the shortest of the mountains in the range that surrounded the castle. Kept the castle safe from invasions and greedy people, who wanted to get their hands on the hordes of jewels and gold that the Ambrose family had collected through the decades.
Nefeli was approaching the furthest from the castle that she had been when she felt eyes upon her. She took one step as a personal victory that she had made it this far before turning around, glancing around her. No one was in sight, but she could not shake the feeling of eyes still even after confirming that no one appeared to be there.
“I do not like being stared at by someone that I cannot see,” Nefeli's set of amethyst eyes narrowed as she directly addressed whom ever could be hiding among the trees. She felt like she was not in any immediate danger, but she also knew that her voice could carry far enough that someone could hear her if she was to get snatched.
Phoenix kept to the shadows as he watched the princess. He knew she was the princess because of the fact he had seen her down below. Not fully the way he was seeing her now, but still knew she lived within the castle walls. He cocked his head to the side as he watched her get distracted and ended up falling. A small smirk passed over his lips as he realized she was human like everyone, and got easily distracted. He wanted to go and help her to her feet, but knew better. He stayed in his hiding place a little while longer.
When she was back on her feet and wiping herself off, she spoke once more. She knew he was there? How? Then he realized that people could feel when they were being stared at. Shit. He was hoping he wouldn't have been caught, but he was. He took a breath as he slowly came out from the shadows. He raised his hands slowly to show her that he didn't have any weapons in his hands. “I'm sorry princess, I didn't mean to keep staring at you, but it's not every day I have someone this close to my home” he breathed out.
It was strange seeing someone this close to his caves. He was kind of glad it was the princess, and not someone else. He just hoped that she wouldn't see his dragon in the sky. If she did, he didn't know what she would do, or how she would react. He knew he was breaking the rules, but he could care less. He slowly lowered his hands and made sure his bow was still on his back. He bent down and picked up his arrows he had dropped. He was curious about the woman before him.
He cocked his head to the side as he looked her up and down. “What are you doing here? And why in such nice clothes? You do know they do make clothes for hiking. You just need to know where to look” he said softly. He wasn't going to say anything more, because he was worried he would say something that would end up pissing her off, or making a whole army fall upon him. He just wanted to live his life and not worry about people coming to find him. He was disowned already, and he was okay with that.
He spotted a rabbit in the trees, and he slipped his bow off his back, grabbed an arrow, knocked it and let it fly thorugh the air. The arrow hit the rabbit right in the chest. He watched as the rabbit fell to it's side, dead. He walked over and pulled the arrow out of the small body, and wiped off the blood. He bent down and picked up the rabbit. He snapped it's neck just to make sure it was fully dead. He then slipped the body into his pack. He looked up at the princess from where he was.
He was curious as to why she was here. Why she wasn't screaming. He was worried that she would now though. He stayed where he was, hoping agianst hope that she wouldn't scream. He hadn't gone near her, hadn't pointed his bow at her. So what did she want? Would he be let off the hook? He kept silent as he lowered himself onto the ground, since his legs were already going numb from the position he was in. He kept silent as he waited to see what the woman would say or do.
Nefeli's purple eyes rested upon the man before her as he spoke. She did A fanot fear the man in front of her. If he wanted to take her, kill her, or whatever he could do to her, he would have already done it or been more threatening when she called him out from the shadows of the thick forest. She felt safe, odd enough, even as he took his bow and a single arrow, killing what she assumed was a rabbit. He was hunting, so she was least of his worries or at least she thought that she would be. Small shifts of nervousness and his questioning said otherwise. She was a princess and he was some rogue living in the mountains that surrounded her family's kingdom, of course it would make someone nervous, especially if the princess happened to stumble across you.
“It isn't every day that I have someone in my backyard,” Nefeli finally spoke, a play on his first sentence with a set of narrowed eyes that burned holes into the man's face before her. It was odd to find someone here, that was not from the city, or the kingdom. No one could get beyond these mountains any other way then the single road that lead through, but that was on the other side of the kingdom. Nefeli looked the man up and down before pieces began to click in her head.
“Actually, it isn't normal to find someone here, at all. Actually impossible, unless someone had a means to get as high as these mountains,” Nefeli took a step forward, reaching out to grab a hold of his arm. “So tell me, stranger. How does one get this far without being detected?” Nefeli's curious and soft exterior turned sour and distrusting.
“Nefeli!” A familiar voice called from the edge of the woods. Nefeli's hand held tighter onto the man's arm, as if she had the strength to keep him there. She was more curious of who the man was and if she could keep him there, she could learn more if he was locked up in the dungeons. “Princess! I know you are out here,” he called once more, this time it was closer.
“I am not naive,” Nefeli looked up at the man once more before the low growl of a dragon finally settled the curiosity of how he was even there to begin with and her lips curled into a smile. “Either you can come willingly or….” Nefeli offered, letting the man's arm go. “Or you will have to kill me and my guard and whom ever may come after you,” Nefeli took a step backwards, lengthening the gap enough for it to not appear that anything bad had happened between them while she was out there. She would fight for him to not be permanently imprisoned. He was oddly respectful and could have taken her in any way that he wanted by now.
“I would take the first option, it seems like you would have a fighting chance to find a place in this world and you might get to keep the dragon if you play it correctly,” Nefeli sweetened the deal just a bit, knowing that it would be near impossible to even train his dragon to be used by anyone else. Dragons bonded with their riders.
“Nefeli, get away from him,” the guard approached with his sword drawn.
“Mica, I appreciate the concern, but I am fine, really, ” Nefeli turned to face the guard, raising her hand to his sword.
No, the princess was correct. It wasn't every day that someone would be up this high without some sort of help. He raised a ‘brow at her choice of words and he had to admit he was in her backyard and not the othe way around. He walked over to where the arrow was still sticking up and he bent down and picked up the rabbit. He pulled the arrow out and cracked the rabbit’s neck before placing it into the bag around his shoulder. He listened as the female spoke. The sound of her voice was really calming in a way.
When he stood he was kind of surprised at how quickly she had moved. When she grabbed his arm questioning him on how he had gotten up here in the first place, he thought about lying. But he could hear the growl of Astarot not too far off. He knew the dragon was watching over him and he wanted to make sure the dragon was safe itself. He then heard someone else yelling. A guard? What the hell was going on here? He then turned his eyes towards the princess as she stepped back. Was he really going to surrender?
“Why does it matter how I had gotten up here? There's nothing wrong with anyone living on these mountains. It's not like your family owns all of them” he said. But he was getting kind of nervous. Why would he want to harm someone? It wasn't in him. Yes he had been watching the princess and her family, but that was because he wanted to join them. He wanted to not feel like a total outcast. He wanted to be apart of a world where people would accept him. He knew that was something that wouldn't ever happen so he stayed well hidden.
When the man finally broke through the trees Nefeli told him that she was fine. The guard's hand was still on his sword and Phoenix held his hands up, showing he didn't have any other weapons on him. “I wasn't doing anything to her, I can promise you that. If I had you wouldn't have found her as quickly as you did” he told the guard. Could he trust the royal? He didn't want to lose Astarot at all. But what other choice did he have? “Alright I'll come with you. Just please don't do anything to Astarot. Let him stay here"
“That's all I'm asking from you princess” he said. He wanted to make sure that the dragon would be safe from harm. He knew that Astarot would protect him at all costs. His eyes went up to the sky and there was the huge red dragon perched on the side of the mountain watching the human's below him. He nodded his head towards the creature and the creature took flight once more heading farther away from them. "What am I being taken in for? I wasn't doing anything wrong, and the princess was safe the whole time"
“I promise you, I didn't touch a single hair on her head. If anything she was the one that had touched me” he said with a soft tone. He then turned his eyes to the princess. He couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen now. Would he be locked up for good? Would he end up losing everything he had worked so hard for? He didn't know. He kept his hands at his side as his eyes wandered to the guard that was now with them. He then fell silent as he waited for further direction.
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