What Lies Beneath

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:56 am

Asterin slipped quietly out of the small house she shared with her mother. Her mother had drunk quite a bit last night and was still passed out in one of the chairs. Her mouth was open and she was snoring loudly, but didn’t stir even as Asterin accidently stepped on a creaky board. She looked over at her, but her mother simply turned over and went back to snoring. Asterin was excited to see Elfwine again. She had never really had a friend before. He was nice and seemed to care about her, which she wasn’t used to. It was an odd, but nice feeling. She quickly headed to the buy some honeycakes for them before going to the lake to meet Elfwine.

Nauriel had just poured more tea for Laenaya and herself when suddenly she heard footsteps come out onto the terrace. As she looked over she saw Doretha and three guards and immediately her heart went into her throat. Something was wrong. She knew that before Doretha even spoke. She didn’t realize she had stopped breathing into she forced herself to take a breath. Elfwine was missing. She silently cursed herself for not having tried to speak to him last night about what she and Elessar had told him. She feared he was still upset and had runaway.

“Don’t breathe a word of this yet to the King,” she said knowing how much stress he was under. If they could not find Elfwine in a few hours then she would bring it to his attention. “Get Captain Einor and bring him to me immediately. In the meantime, gather as many guards as we can spare and send them out into the streets. None of the guards are to return until Elfwine is found.”

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Post by Conleth on Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:07 pm

Elfwine smiled brightly when he saw Asterin move into the garden. He waved at her enthusiastically and got up from the bench he had been sitting on to greet her. Once more there was no one else here, it was early yet for some of the favored flowers to bloom and so it was usually vacant until the afternoon.

When she moved close he could smell the honeycakes she held and recognized the white paper that the old woman always used to wrap them in. It was then that he remembered that he hadn’t eaten breakfast and his stomach growled furiously. “Uh...sorry, I didn’t eat breakfast,” He said embarrassed.

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The guards began their search and among them Captain Einor who had ordered more men at all the gates. No one was to apprehend the boy, only watch him and report back to him of Elfwine’s whereabouts. Einor would then brief the queen on the boys location and activities. Afoot the guards and more than a few soldiers fanned out and began on the highest level and would work their way down until the boy was found.

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Brandt had sat up suddenly and yawned. He was cold and damp from the morning dew that had settled upon him. He had fallen asleep behind the royal stables on the bench he sat on. His clothes were mussed, his hair a mass of damp snarls and his mouth felt like the bottom of a hog trough. A large, clay jug was on the ground beside him and when he leaned forward and picked it up, a good shake revealed it was empty and he tossed it down again. That act had made his vision lurch and he fell back against the back of the stable before he fell off of the bench.

‘What am I going to do about Laenaya?’ He asked himself. It was obvious he was failing her as a husband. His only son was gone and that fact, even after so long, had driven a wedge between them. He felt she wanted to be near her family, here in the city, and did not want to go back to their home in Gehenna. He wanted to go back, but he wouldn’t, not without her and not without their daughter. But this...whatever ‘this’ was, wasn’t working either. The problem was that he didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t the most intelligent man, he knew that. And he also knew he wasn’t great with words. Laenaya was though and he often became angry when he knew he was losing an argument. He made up ‘some’ ground in their bed but it was clear they could not continue on this way. Neither of them were content and he wondered if their differences were just to much for them. He decided he needed to go home…

He staggered in and moved straight to the wash basin where he disrobed and began to wash up with a thick cloth and a yellow bar of soap. He didn’t see Laenaya nor Auriela though he didn’t think she would have liked to see him in this state anyway. In Gehenna, he felt as if he had a real purpose. He loved horses and though being a master groomsman wasn't an occupation suitable for his station, he was extremely good at it and enjoyed the work. Lord Phelan had bred some of the most unique horses that he had ever seen over the years and he craved to get back to them and continue that work. That thought repeated itself over and over in his head and as he dried himself off his decision had been made. ‘She wasn’t going to like it but they were going to go back,’ he thought. ‘Kicking and screaming if necessary, In a sack if he had to,’ He added musingly.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:50 pm

Asterin was wearing the same dress as yesterday. Despite being the daughter of an assistant seamstress, she didn't have very many clothes and most of her clothes had been mended several times. Her golden hair was wild and windswept from running and from the light breeze that blew and her cheeks were a little rosy. She smiled when she saw her friend and stepped over to him with the honeycakes. She had ensured that she didn't drop or smash them while running here. She smiled when she heard his stomach grumble and her's followed suit. "I'm hungry too," she said as she handed him one of the cakes. "I'd probably go hungry though if you hadn't given me that money."

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Laenaya left Auriela with her sister Ariana and decided to see if Brandt had returned to their rooms. When she stepped inside she heard him moving around and found him dressing in their bedroom. She wondered where he had slept the night before, but didn't ask him. She didn't want to cause another argument. She found that she was actually rather nervous and hated that she was feeling that way about talking to her own husband. As she looked at him she knew that she still loved him and hoped they could work through this. She didn't know what they were going to do if they couldn't.

"I had breakfast with my mother this morning. She asked if we might go together and check and Calene and Deshane. She and Father would watch Auriela for us. She just hasn't heard from my sister in a few weeks and is worried about them with everything that has happened."

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Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:09 am

Elfwine smiled and picked a spot on a bench for them to sit and eat their honeycakes. It was one thing to eat something he loved but to enjoy it with a friend seemed to make the whole experience much more enjoyable. Now each time he ate a honey cake, Elfwine would remember Asterin, her golden hair and her smile.

With honey on the sides of his mouth he looked over at Asterin. “I thought about you a lot Asterin. I don’t like it that your mum is not there for you. I don’t know what I can do to change it. But...I can be your friend,” he said and took her hand in his.

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Gulbrandt listened to Laenaya as he finished dressing. Once he tied his hair back he moved over toward her and gave her a look as if he were trying to figure out her mood right then. He knew she would not like how he spent last night. Drinking and passing out on a bench behind the stables like some homeless fool. Maybe she wouldn’t ask? He hoped she would not. When she spoke about what the queen had asked he quirked an eyebrow and was thankful for a change of subject.

“Well I think that can be arranged,” he said diplomatically. “But I think it will not require you to go as well. Auriela needs her mother,” he said then turned toward where a pitcher of water and glasses sat on a small end table. His mouth was so dry from all the drinking and for some odd reason he felt...awkward. As if they were just two people who had once been close to one another.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:06 am

Asterin thought the morning was beautiful. The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and birds were singing. She felt strangely happy with Elfwine. It wasn’t a feeling she was used to, but she quite liked it. She smiled over at him when he said he wanted to be her friend. She let him hold her hand and she even gave it a little squeeze.

“I would like that a lot Elfwine. You’ll be my best friend and I’ll be yours.”

——————————————

Laenaya listened to her husband and could smell the alcohol still on him. She knew he had probably passed out last night and she didn’t like that. However what she didn’t like even more was him telling her to stay here at the palace while he went to check on her sister and brother in law. She became upset and angry.

“Brandt, this would give us an opportunity to be alone and talk and save our marriage. I want to save our marriage. I want that more than anything right now. I need you. I need your strength and your love. Without it I will crumble.”

She walked over to him and she placed her forehead against his and closed her eyes as she fought back tears. “I love you so much.”

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Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:00 pm

After feeding the ducks they decided to head back out into the street. However before they made it out of the garden a group of guardsmen dressed in the King’s livery trotted by on foot. Their armor clanked as they moved and they did not pause or stop to look at them though unless they stopped it would be unlikely that they’d have seen them anyway. Elfwine scratched his head.

“Hmm...I wonder what they’re doing out of the keep,” Elfwine said aloud then crept slowly up to the fence gate that was covered in vines. They peered out and saw several groups of men, some guards from the palace and some soldiers moving quickly here and there. It was obvious they were looking for something...or someone but Elfwine had no idea it was he they sought. Now that the coast was clear he took Asterin’s hand in his then took off down the street in a run toward the market square.

Once there the bustle of people made it difficult to move but they bobbed and weaved nimbly around men and women who had come to the market to find what they needed. There were stalls for all kinds of food and drink as well as everything necessities including wool and dyes from Gehenna. There were soldiers there too but with so many people it was easy to avoid their notice but they were clearly looking for someone, Elfwine thought and then he spied the silk merchant. “There...you pick out something you like and we’ll see if we can get you a new dress,” He said with an excited smile.

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Gulbrandt didn’t really know what to say nor what to do. He hated it when Laenaya cried and he could tell she was on the verge of it as she pressed him to her. ‘Obviously this is important to her,’ He thought and put his arms around her middle. “Alright,” He began and removed a hand to tilt her chin up to look at him. “If you really want to go, we’ll go,” He said softly though he didn’t know what a few hard days of riding and sleeping rough would do to improve their marriage. He kissed her lightly on the lips and tasted the saltiness of a few tears that had dripped down her face. He tasted and smelled like alcohol but his light blue eyes had softened as he looked down at her. “I assume we need to leave soon?” He asked as he replaced his arms around her middle.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:23 pm

Asterin was a little startled by how many guards and soldiers were suddenly on the streets. It was obvious to both of them that they were looking for something or someone. Guards and soldiers made her nervous. Even though she was never doing anything wrong, she always felt as if she was when they looked at her. She wondered what the King and Queen would think if they knew Elfwine was friends with someone like her. They probably would not approve because of her low station, but for now she didn't care.

She dashed with Elfwine through the streets until they reached the vendor's stalls. There were more soldiers there, but because of all of the other people they disappeared into the crowd. They happened to be standing next to a silk merchant's stall when suddenly Elfwine suggested that she pick out some silk to have a new dress made. She was suddenly rather self-conscious of the ragged dress she was wearing. She blushed a little.

"Where would I wear a silk dress?"

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Gulbrandt would feel Laenaya relax in his arms when he agreed to have her come as well. She didn't know exactly how this was going to work, but they had to try something. She hoped just being away from the palace, the stress of the war, and their daughter that they would be able to reconnect and talk through their problems. She was prepared to try anything at this point. She let him hold her and she remained close to him even though she smelled the alcohol on him.

"Thank you Brandt," she whispered to him since she was so close. Despite everything she loved this man and wanted to get things back to the way they had been. She was tired of being angry and upset. "Yes, we should probably leave soon. Oh, and don't ask Calene about her latest pregnancy. She had another miscarriage and she and Deshane aren't going to try anymore for another child."

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