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Soothing a Troubled Heart

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Soothing a Troubled Heart

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:04 am

12th Erastus 4712 - night

The night was cool for this time of year, but by no means uncomfortable. Any discomfort the paladin felt, it wasn't from the weather. It went deeper then that. In the back of his mind, he knew that he should sleep soon, but he also knew that sleep wasn't going to bring him rest. His mind was still spinning.

So again, when he needed it most, he found himself at the shrine to Saranrae. Alone amongst the roses and various other frangrances that usually brought peace. Even tonight, he could feel some of the tension slipping away as he prayed for wisdom and strength in such trying times.
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:29 am

The ambassador glided quietly through the castle corridors on slippered feet, thoughtfully considering the information her king would be needing from her. She had not spoken a word to him since he'd arrived in Akiros, choosing instead to let the cacophony of questions and information and greetings from the crush of attendees flow around her without adding to the noise he was being assaulted with.

Over a month had passed since Wynnsaren had left for Mivon following the Founders' Day celebrations, and it was good to be back. King Thaddeus' letter notifying of an oncoming army of goblinoids had hastened a mad rush back to the capitol to aid with preparations while Matsuro Shi dealt with a green dragon threat.

They'd all come back, and none seemed the worse for wear which was a good sign, though King Thaddeus was understandably overwhelmed upon his return. There was so much to do. . .so much to consider. . .so much hanging in the balance! In that brief exchange a few hours ago, Wynn had recognized a change in him. He seemed older, wiser, more authoritative. More. . .kingly, and that lightened the aasimar's heart considerably for what she'd known from her first vision of him was coming to fruition. Thaddeus Medvyed was a man of quality and resolve; a man who grew stronger under pressure. Every trial and difficulty; every challenge as ruler of Novastasia steeled him toward becoming a great king of legend.

And he would have to be. . .

Wynnsaren wore a simple dress of soft, forest green linen with white and silver trim, her raven hair gently pulled back into a loose knot of twists and curls to help keep her cool during the steamy summer days. Tonight was a lovely reprieve.

She made her way toward the marble shrine at the center of the garden, the path opening into a small clearing ringed by mounds of prolific rose bushes representing a dozen different varieties and colors. As expected King Thaddeus was there, and apparently her presence had not gone unnoticed for the monarch rose to his feet and turned toward her as she approached.

"Your Majesty," Wynn smiled, breathing the words amid a grand curtsy. "It is a great pleasure to see you again! I am ashamed to say that I had begun to take our regular visits for granted after the long winter season. A mistake I shall endeavor not to duplicate."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:33 am

"Welcome home, Wynn." Thaddeus said as he approached his glowing friend. "Your presence was well missed my friend." He grinned as usual during their talks, but it didn't quite reach his eyes this night.

"I hope your month away was less exciting then mine. There's much to tell you. Everything from Dark Fey realms to dragons and adventures in between...

"But first... how was your journey? I hope Mivon is becoming more hospitable as time goes on."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:35 am

"I have actually come to enjoy Mivon," Wynnsaren admitted upon rising. "Yes, it can be violent. Yes, the people can be prickly, but when you mix swordlords into a meritocracy, that is simply what you get.

"On the surface, the city can be intimidating to outsiders. Certainly the Council seems aggressive and mistrustful at first. Life in the tumultuous River Kingdoms had made them so, but once you spend some time among the people, you discover a certain rhythm to their comings and goings and to the political push and pull. If you join in this dance than you can find a comfortable niche in which to work and you find that the people can be warm and welcoming. If you attempt to circumvent their ways and their laws, then you will quickly find yourself on the outside at best. . . taking a walk to the fishponds at worst."

Smiling, the aasimar clasped her hands behind her back and glanced up toward the waning moon.

"I believe we have managed to make good headway toward a mutually beneficial trading relationship with Mivon. An avenue to pursue when the opportunity presents itself.

"Now as to what you all have been up to," Wynnsaren arched a dark brow and returned her gaze to meet that of the king's. "The lumberjack you sent home had some. . .interesting stories to tell! An evil fey queen. A realm apart from this world?! It seems that my month has been positive drudgery compared with yours," she teased with an accompanying wink.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:38 am

"I'm pleased he arrived safely." Thaddeus stated with relief in his voice. "I'm afraid that with all the chaos of our return, I wasn't able to give him the attention I wanted to."

They walked through the garden as Thaddeus recounted his month leaving no details by the wayside. Everything from the auction date, to the interrupted wedding party. The meeting of the Fey queen to the battles in the fellnight realm. Finally he ended his story with the encounters with the hobgoblin scouts and the slaying of the green dragon.

"Which, I think that head will look quite nice in the trophy room," he said with a chuckle. "The battle was short, but Sarenrae was strong with me that day, and Zaistrun and Paido set the battlefield beautifully. I can only hope all of our battles go so smoothly.

He looked at his ambassador and raised his eyebrow in question. "What do you think? Drudgery? or something exciting to add? Honestly, if the choice is dealing with dragons or politicians... I think I'd usually prefer the dragon."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:19 am

"It has been my experience that the two terms are not always mutually exclusive, Your Grace," the aasimar smirked, managing the jest though her head was suddenly filled with the whirlwind of events that had transpired while she'd been away!

"My time in Mivon has not been nearly as. . .intense as your adventures here at home, and I believe that to probably be for the best as my skills seem to lie more in the realm of the slaying of bureaucratic dragons rather than the scaled sort.

"Though," she added somewhat sheepishly, "I will admit to a certain yen for the travails and excitement of the road, but all in its time though, yes? I have oft been warned that those who pine for adventure usually find it. For good or for ill."

Wynn walked along beside the king, allowing her hand to float over the buds of delicate flowers shut tight for the evening. Her fingers may have danced insouciantly across the silken petals but her mind was far less calm than what she chose to project, for King Thaddeus had just revealed the extent of the armies arrayed against them! Ten thousand goblinoids would have been trouble enough to deal with, but the forces also consisted of sphinxes, manticore, wyverns and other drake-like creatures, as well as a red dragon! No wonder the king's voice seemed strained this evening!

There was something else she could sense in his demeanor however. . . Something that settled over their conversation as an uncomfortable pall that had never existed during their many previous discussions. Something less a concern of a king and more the concern of a man.

Worry and curiosity finally got the best of her and she begged halt to their progress with a light squeeze upon his elbow. Wynnsaren turned her luminescent eyes up toward the king.

"Forgive me. . . Your Majesty, in what capacity have you asked me here this evening?" She inquired gently. "I mean to project no disrespect you must understand. Only curiosity and a bit of unease. This afternoon upon your arrival you seemed intent purely toward the information I have brought for you about mercenaries, however tonight we have discussed everything but. I cannot help but feel that there is something troubling you even beyond these legions of goblinoids.

"I am your ambassador, and as such I have options awaiting your consideration from both Mivon and Lomebara, but I am also your friend. If you wish a brief respite from political maneuverings, I am just as willing to provide you a shoulder to share your burdens. You know that anything you say to me goes no further than mine own ears."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:58 pm

"I'm not sure your shoulders are wide enough for all the burdens this month has brought me," he said with wry grin.

"I hope you weren't offended earlier. In hindsight I think I'll be doing a lot of apologizing. Everyone is under pressure right now... I don't have the luxury of succumbing to it. I have to be the rock that keeps this kingdom from crumbling.

"But, yes... it's been a trying day, and my thoughts are... confused to say the least."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:22 pm

"My shoulders are as wide as they need to be, Your Grace," Wynnsaren offered an assuring smile. "We are each fated to carry certain burdens. While I might not be able to take yours from you, that does not mean that I cannot assist you in bearing them awhile."

She continued their forward motion with a chuckle. "And no, I was not offended earlier. . . A poor ambassador would I be if I ran off with tears in my eyes when someone spoke to me with a stern voice! My goodness you were thoroughly besieged upon your return! Perhaps you were terse within the crush of people and information but considering the circumstances, nothing less should have been expected. Certainly you did not come off as rude! You delegated and you laid out orders, as it is expected of you as king. You need never apologize for that, in fact I thought the chaotic situation was dealt with rather masterfully," she grinned. "There will surely be more patience and respect the next time you must make such an entrance."

The aasimar provided a span of silence as they walked to give him time to organize his thoughts before pressing him further.

"If it pleases you to discuss it, my king, I am curious what has happened between the slaying of the dragon and your arrival in Akiros that has you in such turmoil. . ."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:46 pm

"Fated to carry certain burdens...." he sighed thoughtfully as he thought back to his adventures in the Stolen Lands. "You've said that before. In fact you said something similar the first time we met."

He spied a stone bench near a marble fountain and sat down upon it. "I've been hearing too much about Fate lately. I'm starting to get that... puppet feeling again. Less a king, and more a pawn. Moved where I need to be, and doing what I need to do.

"Though to be fair, I suppose both kings and pawns are both playing the same game... Probably a mistake to forget that."

He looked at Wynn and tried to remember who knew what... So much information spread out so slowly it seemed.

"You know about my sister's heritage... Did she tell you anything about her origins?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:49 pm

"A bit," Wynnsaren nodded as she stood before the seated monarch, her hands leisurely clasped behind her back. "It was back during the time of our Candlemere exploration, when I was able to surmise Sarala's true heritage and approached her regarding her knowledge of it. She mentioned that she had been adopted but if she knew more she did not seem desirous of elaboration, so I let it drop."

The aasimar's eyes burned with curious luminosity. "Is Sarala in some kind of trouble? Have her birth parents been found?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:54 pm

"Heh... If only!" Thaddeus shook his head with a chuckle. He had never told anyone but Sarala the story that his father had told him. However, since Sarala had told everyone else at the meeting with Feluanil today, he didn't see the harm.

"We grew up thinking we were all blood siblings, but when father was dying he told me the truth of that. It seemed he had acquired her from the fey.

"It seems that when Cor was very young, the fey took him. Father went to get him back, and came back with two children. He feared they'd come back for her someday... so the story was spread that she was indeed Medvyed born. He hoped they'd forget about her, and charged me with her protection.

"Well... today all that has been called into question. When we faced the dragon, Sarala went through the woods to visit a nixie we had meet some time ago. Actually, the one involved with the Mivon logger dispute," he clarified realizing she knew that story well.

"The goal was to arrange a meeting with the Fey queen. To find some way to gain her aid against this army coming our way. I wanted whatever allies I could garner.

This morning after Dracean returned and told us the true threat we faced... We found Ambergretchie waiting for us outside. She's the little Atomie messenger who led us to the queen the first time we met her. Spunky little thing, she's hard not to like.

"Apparently our request for an audience had been accepted."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:57 pm

There were a handful of reasons that the aasimar did not favor the company of fey. One, as a whole, they were completely untrustworthy. Two, they would rather tie your hair into sap-drenched tree branches or put raccoon scat in your waterskin than sit down and have an enjoyable conversation. Three, they liked to poison their needle-like arrows and shoot them liberally at the hind ends of anything that walked around on two legs. Four. . .four was the big one. . .they had a fondness for abducting children.

Children, no doubt, like Sarala who may yet have a family out there who believes there baby to have been carried off by wolves in the night!

"Did the fey queen know something of your sister? The Gronzi Forest is quite a long way from here. . ."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:01 pm

"That's what I thought." Thaddeus said with a nod. "I wouldn't be surprised, but she didn't offer anything on that front.

"The meeting started efficiently enough. Respectful niceties out of the way... after all I may not have made the best first impression those weeks ago. I wasn't sure who to trust and which was the fey queen attacking my people after all...

"Regardless I was trying to make up for that since. Apparently I did too good a job." He sighed deeply and continued.

"Once that was done, I explained all the information we had. The numbers, the motives, the routes that the Red Doom were planning, everything we knew. I thought I was doing a decent job of establishing an alliance but then got a surprise.

"Feluanil asked if I was prepared to do what was needed for the alliance... To fulfill the vow that was made in my name..."

"That was about the time I lost all control of the conversation." He stroked his chin thoughtfully as he still tried to wrap his brain around what had spun his world today.

"When I told her I didn't know of any vow... and we determined that Sarala hadn't said anything in setting the meeting... She said it was made when the fey gave us Sarala...

"At first I thought they wanted to take her back. I challenged that idea immediately, but she told me they had no intention of taking her... it was me that was wanted."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:46 pm

"What precisely do the fey want of you," Wynnsaren asked tentatively, growing more concerned by the moment, "and who would dare make a vow in your. . . Oh heavens, it was your father!"

She didn't have to be an oracle to know that she'd need to be sitting down for whatever he was about to say, so she took a seat on the stone bench a respectful distance from her king.

"Okay." Wynn adjusted the skirt of her dress and folded her hands neatly in her lap before turning to face him with a warm smile. "The look on your face led me to believe I should brace myself. I think I am ready now."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:35 am

"Fate." he said simply. "She claimed that my father made the bargain back then, because I was the third son, and Cor was firstborn. I was... well, she didn't use the term expendable... but that was the feeling I got." There was a bitter disappointment in his voice that truly sounded alien from the paladin's lips.

"Feluanil said that he didn't realize how important I would become... but the fey did. Something about the strands of fate, and mine being extremely important..."

He grinned lopsidedly at the shocked oracle and continued. "I tried to tell her I was already tied to a fate. The shadow that you keep speaking of... but she claimed that the thread of Fate can be cut short if I tried to shirk my duty.

"It wasn't a threat we determined... Nobody there, was going to cut my thread short... and I do believe that. More along the lines of, if Novastasia is destroyed by this horde, I won't be around to fight any other battles...

"It seems... that I am to be part of a joining of her people and mine... It was implied that in order for my 'fate' to be realized, and that to receive the help I need to save my people....

"I am now... betrothed.
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:10 pm

"I feel as if I should offer my felicitations to you, Your Majesty," Wynnsaren announced quietly in a strangely flat voice. "However, I cannot tell if such well-wishes are something you are prepared to accept just now."

She wasn't sure that she was prepared to give them just now!

To say that she was surprised by the news was a gross understatement. Arranged marriages were quite common in these regions, especially among the noble class but this seemed particularly distasteful to the freedom-loving aasimar, for it smacked of familial betrayal. It was cruel for a father to allow his son to be blindsided in this way, if indeed this vow was even legitimate. . .

"Pray, forgive me the asking, but do you trust this fey queen? Has she some actual evidence that your father made this vow, for it would be terribly convenient to make such a claim upon your person without anyone alive that could refute it."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:12 pm

"I don't know." Thad said without pause. "She seemed confident and spoke with an air of indisputable knowledge... and I tend to accept people at face value. However, I concede I wasn't at my best with my world falling out from under me this morning, and most fey are difficult to 'read' on my best days.

"Still, I find it... hard to believe that father would do that. Even harder to believe that he would tell Sarala's story and change it like that on his deathbed. It's... unthinkable.

"Yet that was so far away, and I hadn't told anyone about it... and I'm sure Sara hadn't either, so how could she know?? No, I suspect she was telling the truth more then she was not...

"Not that it matters. I didn't agree to this because of some vow that father made decades ago. I've severed ties with Brevoy and House Medvyed. My actions don't reflect on them, nor am I bound by the promises they made.

"No... I did this for Novastasia. To save the people here. If this is what I need to do..."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:14 pm

Wynnsaren's demeanor eased noticeably at his declaration.

"Well that is a different situation then," she smiled softly. "You made this choice, not your father."

Searching his eyes to try and determine how he felt about it personally, Wynn was met with an expression of turmoil and something akin to bewilderment. So much had changed in a day. This would take time to process properly!

"In that case, I will indeed offer my congratulations on your betrothal, my king! I sincerely pray that you two will find happiness with each other and that this union will strengthen both kingdoms in the joining under one banner."

Feeling fidgety, the aasimar rose from her seat and dipped a curtsy to her liege. "Perhaps you could tell me about her as we walk?" she politely requested. "I would love to hear more about what Queen Fulluinill is like. . . "

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:54 pm

"Feluanil," Thaddeus corrected carefully as they resumed their walk. The name still felt strange on his tongue and he had spent some time practicing it after their second meeting. Tricky language, but after Mivon he really didn't want to unintentionally offend any other rulers.  

"And to be honest, I would if I could..." He shook his head in annoyance. He had been schooled in fey since he was small... and had no idea even what species she was...

"I've never seen anyone like her before..." he looked over and chuckled a bit. "And that's not being poetic or anything... I literally have no idea who or... I suppose 'what' she is. That may be a crude if accurate way to phrase it... but all I know is that she's the Queen of the Fey."

He sighed again. "Or at least 'A' queen of the fey. Prior to that meeting the fey we questioned wouldn't even admit to having a ruling system... and now we've met two who claimed the title. I have no idea how one would gain that title or what it means in the grand scheme of things." So many questions bounced around the young kings brain, he knew it was good to hear some spoken aloud.

"She's beautiful... I'll not deny that, pointed ears... eyes that are some cross between an emerald and seaweed green... which I suppose makes sense.

"She seems to have some affinity for water... Each time I've seen her a small tributary seems to flow out of a river and then she just kind of... rises out of it. Blueish hair... and lots of it... It's pretty much all she seems to wear." He could feel himself start to blush as he remembered her immodesty and his own attempts at the time not to stare.

"Which... will certainly make life around the castle more... awkward. If she intends to move to the castle that is... If she's somehow tied to the forest streams, then this will be a difficult marriage to say the least...."


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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:57 pm

Listening to the description of the Queen Feluanil offered little in the way of insight as to what type of fey she might be, but Wynnsaren's experience in that area was limited to the more common varieties. This queen seemed decidedly uncommon!

"I am sure you could request that your wife wear clothes about town," the aasimar suggested, after clearing her throat awkwardly. "As king, this will still be your nation after all, and Zaistrun will be mightily displeased if productivity plummets because the queen prefers to take her strolls sans dress."

With a smirk, Wynn playfully nudged the paladin's arm with her shoulder as they walked along.

"This union could be a good thing," she reassured. "For the nation and for you. . . Perhaps you do not know each other yet, but you will have a long time to learn and you cannot rule out the possibility that love can grow out of the arrangement."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:06 pm

Thaddeus nodded. "Anything is possible... I hope that you're right.

"The whole thing sits uncomfortably with me though. What part of my 'fate' requires this. I would have worked towards any alliance with full honor even without a wedding bond. This won't make me any more joined with the fey folk then I would have been with Varnhold or Mivon... A simple treaty would have worked just as well.

"This may save the nation in the long term... but what then? Fey aren't known for their short lives... and Feluanil has the bearing similar to an elf... someone who's been around and seen more than I can imagine.... What happens when I die? In battle or old age...

"Did I just sign over my kingdom to someone who's values I know nothing about?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:12 pm

Wynnsaren glanced up at her king in notable alarm! All of these seemed to her to be terribly important questions that should have been raised before such an agreement was struck! Terms. . . Conditions. . . Assurances toward the continuity of rulership. . .

Here she thought that he'd just been personally concerned about marrying someone he didn't know! These kind of unknowns did not solid kingdom stability engender.

"Your Majesty, has this contract already been made? Have you given your word to honor this betrothal or are you simply considering the possibility of it, for certainly these kinds of provisions and concessions would be discussed beforehand. . . Would they not?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:14 pm

Thaddeus grimaced at her alarm. He was alarmed too. The longer he thought on it the more he felt he had made... mistakes in his haste to save his people. Had he doomed them to a worse fate?

"I have given my word... We are considered betrothed now. I can't go back on that... Well, I suppose there are exceptions. Many an engagement has failed to come to fruition. But I didn't agree with the intention to look for loopholes.

"Should I ever get a chance to speak to her, She may change her mind or something...

"No... ceremonies will be performed till after this threat will pass. It sounded like she intends for it to be a human ceremony that my people will recognize.... but a lot of that was a blur.

"There are... many things that we should discuss before the altar."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:56 pm

Wynn nodded in silent agreement. Hopefully there would be time to work out all the details, so as to spare King Thaddeus any. . . unpleasant surprises. As his friend, she desired for him to be happy in this marriage and as his ambassador, she desired the security of the kingdom but as oracle, Wynnsaren had a very specific purpose in this realm and she prayed that Queen Feluanil would help to facilitate that purpose and not prove a hindrance to it.

"If you felt you could trust her enough to make such a commitment," she smiled up at him reassuringly -- and a bit hopefully, "than I am sure she is worthy of that trust. You are an excellent judge of character after all and she has previously played the part of an ally.

"I should very much like to meet her! Do you know when she might honor us with a visit to the capitol?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:57 pm

"No." Thad said with a self-mocking chuckle. "I really have no idea..."

He was amazed at how he had let this whole situation get out of hand. Even for a relative novice in politics and negotiations, he knew better then this. Were it not for his goddess given immunities to charm he would have suspected he'd been ensorceled. Perhaps he had been... just not magically.

"I remember she said that she would send the fey to Akiros shortly... but I don't remember her saying that she would be in their number. I'm hoping to at least get some information from her more common attendants. Maybe I can learn something.

"But as for when you will get a chance to meet her? I really don't know..." He looked at her and grinned a bit. "I'm interested in what your opinion... Both as my friend and an oracle...

"I hope I'm not trading one fate by jeopardizing another." He grimaced as he again thought about how many wheels were spinning that he seemed to be in the middle of. "You seemed surprised by this news... Did any of your visions make mention of a different queen? Or anything about my personal life for that matter..."
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Colin Marcus
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Re: Soothing a Troubled Heart

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