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 [COMPLETE:Testify- or else.], Tag: Emelia Echtheit
Zaniel Pryor
 Posted: Apr 23 2017, 08:34 PM
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Don't think there is no danger simply because the water is calm . . .

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Three Days

Three Days


Shortly after falling unconscious the physician had arrived, frazzled, threatened with death, and half panicked himself. But the man had done his job. He had tended to Zaniel's wound which had managed to split once again. Where the original stitches had been strong, he could only speculate at what had caused them to tear the way they had. An infection had started. Regardless of all the effort Zaniel had gone through to make sure it wouldn't set in, it had. One might chalk it up to the conditions he'd had to resort to being in, Inn wise. Some of them weren't the cleanest out there, considering he hadn't had the coin to pay for better rooms.


All that aside: he had lived.

It took three days for the infection to be quelled. He had gone through the sweats, fever, chills, you name it. When he wasn't sleeping, he was well drugged beyond his damned mind. Later on, when he'd had time to look back on this, he'd probably say being in and out of consciousness was far better than feeling someone poke around his insides to clean the infection out. He was just lucky it hadn't had the time to spread into his blood, although there was plenty of that drained too since, well, medieval medical practices.


When he woke, it was to the sound of a door shutting. He became aware of two things: first, the bed he was laying on was incredibly soft compared to any he had slept on before. Secondly, it was warm wherever he was. The Inns he had been sleeping in for the past week (minus his three days) were drafty old things that could barely hold the warmth his fireplace had offered, if he even had one in the establishment he was staying in. It had almost made him wish he was a pyrokinetic rather than a hydrokinetic.

He stirred slowly, peeking open one eye. The pain in his side was down to a dull ache compared to what it had been the last he remembered. He shifted, frowning, and pushed himself slowly onto his elbows as everything came flooding back to him. Being summoned, The Queen, their conversation, her request, the pain. Vague memories of someone hovering at his side and extreme nausea at one point. A cursory look around the room told him he was within, at the very least, a very fine Inn. But the size of the door which lead out of the room, the way it arched, spoke more to majesty than it did noble establishment.

There was a simultaneous squirm in his stomach and a pounding in his chest.

Where was he?

The room was not overly magnificent itself, but it was warm, clean, and dignified all the same. The bed was soft, the covers clean and thick and the fireplace recently filled with now crackling logs. It had only a single, small slit of a window which had been covered by white cloth to help block out the draft.
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Emelia Echtheit
 Posted: Apr 25 2017, 01:17 PM
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Tired of waiting on tenterhooks for updates on Zaniel's progress, Emelia soon found ample distraction. She had Lord Amsell's rooms within the castle discreetly sealed off while her guards searched for ledgers and log books. All through the night, while her guest of honour clung to life, she went through each page with a fine tooth comb. Emelia liked figures. Figures were what they were, they never lied and when added together they revealed a stark and uncompromising truth. You couldn't spin mathematics.

In the middle of the first night, her physician arrived bearing news. After totting up the column she was on, she beckoned him inside only to be told that Zaniel's stitches had burst once more. By dawn, she was informed of the infection now wrapping itself around him like a poisoned vine strangling the life from a strong oak.

Now too nervous to focus on the books, she took to pacing her chamber like a caged animal. Back and forth, she almost wore a hole in her fine rugs. They had been a gift from her father, from his homeland far away. But they were the least of her problems while the key to her wealth was slipping in and out of consciousness in a room down the outer gallery. She tried once more to look for evidence of the men who died in the mining disaster, hoping to find names in the log books. In the end, she gave up and had the books returned from whence they came. She knew a man in Landsmeet who was more than capable of making "alterations" should she need it.

But it would all be for nought if Zaniel Pryor was not around to testify against Lord Amsell in the first place. Unable to go forwards and unwilling to go back, she was stuck playing the pacing game. And she paced her way into the third day.

"Your Grace," the Physician spoke softly from the archway of her privy chamber.

She stopped, keeping her back to the man. "You may enter."

At the sound of his approaching footsteps she turned to face him. The pleased look on his face bolstered her flagging spirits.

"Your Grace, I thought you might like to know Pryor's condition has improved immeasurably. Dare I say it, he might even be ready for a visitor."

He would have to be, she thought to herself as she barged straight past the physician and made for the gallery. Before entering the room, she paused at the double doors, looking up at the arch and listening for signs of life on the other side. She heard little beside the soft snores of a sleeper. Ready for a visitor, indeed.

Nonetheless, she let herself in. As quietly as possible, she closed the door behind her and stepped inside. There was a chair at the man's bedside, which she sat down in and watched him as he slowly came too. Waking up, for a man in his condition, was always a strong word. Regaining consciousness was more like and she'd done it herself on more than one occasion.

"Forgive my intrusion, Zaniel." She spoke more to alert him to her presence, rather than genuinely being sorry for intruding so soon in his recovery. "But I thought the time meet for us to continue our little discussion all the same."
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Zaniel Pryor
 Posted: Apr 25 2017, 02:00 PM
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Don't think there is no danger simply because the water is calm . . .

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Zaniel had, admittedly mistakenly, assumed the sound of the door closing had been someone going out and not in. His quick glance around the room hadn't covered all of it and if his visitor had wanted to plunge a dagger through his heart, he probably would have been dead at that point.

So when a feminine voice came from his right, Zaniel's head snapped in it's direction to view it's owner. If he hadn't already appeared confused and pale from his recovery, he might have appeared both at the sight of The Queen sitting at his bedside. He had to school his expression into one that appeared less shocked at the sight of her.

"Yes, of course My Queen."

It was about then that Zaniel became very aware of a few more things. The first and foremost being himself, of course. He was sore, ached all over, and found that if the room hadn't been as warm as it was he might have found it cold. He could tell, from having glanced down at himself once, that he was pale. Pale in Gehiem wasn't strange in itself but Zaniel knew this paleness was due blood loss. His wound had been re-wrapped with fresh bandages that now wound their way from his waist to half way up his torso, he could feel their tightness restricting him from taking any deep breaths.

His chest and arms were otherwise bare and he couldn't have been quite sure the rest of him wasn't, beneath the covers. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but considering present company, well, you know.

He remained propped up on his elbows, knowing that giving little more than a soft bow of his head would be both nearly impossible and likely painful, but he did bow his head to the Queen. "I will testify, for you." While he replied, his mind tried to puzzle together the last of the events he could recall. Nothing beyond what he had already recalled before, and then he found himself wondering how many days he had apparently been keeping the Queen waiting for a clear answer.
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Emelia Echtheit
 Posted: Apr 29 2017, 12:42 PM
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Had she not been so desensitised, she might have found Zaniel's appearance alarming even now, after the treatment. His breathing sounded shallow, he was pale and half-mummified in bandages about his torso. She had seem similar looking souls being disgorged from the dungeons before. Except, of course, they weren't exactly getting the castle's best medical care.

However, despite his blank expression, she knew he must still have been in pain. Nor did she rust how pale he remained. She had to admit to herself, she had expected him to look a lot better than this. What do I pay that physician for? She found herself wondering, and not for the first time.

"Welcome back to the land of the living," she greeted Zaniel as he stirred back into life. "It's a relief to have you back."

For her and the physician, whose life was in the balance.

While she let the poor man get his wits back, she remained seated in the bedside chair normally occupied by the physician. She distracted herself by smoothing down the front of her skirts, arranging the fabric carefully, just so it didn't look as if she was scrutinising the injured man too closely. She had always hated it when people did the same to her.

But, when she heard the words "I will testify", she couldn't help but smile. It was also a relief to know that he hadn't been completely out of it by the end of their last meeting. He had retained some of it and still knew who was at stake here.

She met his gaze, still smiling. "And I assure you, Zaniel, that should we secure a conviction against Lord Amsell, your testimony will be worth its weight in gems and cold straight from my new mine."



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Zaniel Pryor
 Posted: May 1 2017, 10:30 AM
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Don't think there is no danger simply because the water is calm . . .

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By no means did Zaniel consider himself a greedy man, but to be paid for testifying against Lord Amsel was a welcomed addition. He would have done so for no compensation, but he wasn't about to turn it down, either. He'd lost plenty when Lord Amsel had sent his man after him and now Zaniel was sure that this had likely been part of a plan all along. Why pay out to someone that could possibly rat you out down the line, when you could simply have them removed from the equation all together?

When the Queen had greeted him back to the land of the living, Zaniel tilted his head back by a half inch and looked around the room once more. This was the second time he'd been this close to death in two weeks. He was not happy about that. But if the conviction stuck he would be paid hansomly. He could leave here with enough coin in pocket that getting a clean room to rest in until his wounds had healed wouldn't be a problem. And until that time came it seemed he would be offered a clean room, at the very least. He highly doubted the Queen would want to chance a disappearance on his part, be it by his own means or that of Lord Amsel's.


Traveling was out of the question. He'd likely be laid up in the castle town until his wounds had healed, least he want to end up in the same situation yet again.


Gems and Gold straight from Her new mine. Of course. The crown would likely strip Lord Amsel of everything he owned, not likely just the mine. He would be lucky to escape this and not be a ruined man. Zaniel found not an ounce of compassion for the man.

"That is very gracious of you, My Queen." He finally turned his attention back to the woman and for the first time viewed her closely. She was beautiful, but years of the crown looked to have given her a certain...look about her. He wasn't sure he could place it and since had not seen the woman before two weeks ago. With that he also assumed this air about her had come from the crown, though some part of him understood that her upbringing had no doubt played a role in it. When being groomed for a certain lifestyle, sometimes it was hard to be anything but.
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Emelia Echtheit
 Posted: May 2 2017, 10:26 AM
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At the sound of his gratitude Emelia waved her hand in a gesture of dismissal. "I reward those who faithfully serve me, Zaniel. You will be no different."

Now that Emelia had secured Zaniel's testimony she turned her mind toward securing Amsell's person. There was no question of the man being able to slip her grasp, now. So far, only she and Zaniel knew of the plans afoot to bring down the over-mighty lord and it was imperative it remained that way. She would send her own guards out to surround his home and his quarters at court, a reception committee to welcome him to her own dungeons.

It saddened her to have to dispose of a man who had attempted to serve her. But Amsell had made himself too comfortable. He had harangued her one too many times. She breathed in deep, clearing her mind of all prior affection she might have once had for Amsell. It was time to set him aside.

Meanwhile, she noticed Zaniel studying her. It was enough to make her sit up and adjust her position. No matter how often people stared, which they did all the time, she could never quite grow used to it. In return, however, she couldn't help but wonder where he had come from? Where did Zaniel Pryor call 'home?' He was a rugged looking sort, almost weather beaten. All that she could read into that was that he was accustomed to moving from place to place. Maybe he called nowhere home.

"You are welcome to remain here at court throughout your convalescence," she assured him. "So please don't feel I'm going to throw you out of the doors."

This was also her less than subtle way of keeping him close until she had Amsell cast down and the mine safely (and permanently) in her hands. But, somewhere beneath the business layer of her soul, there was some smidgeon of concern for the man's safety. He had almost died not long after entering her halls.

She was also genuinely curious.

"So, Zaniel Pryor," she said. "Where will your wanderings take you once this is all over?"
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Zaniel Pryor
 Posted: May 4 2017, 11:35 PM
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Don't think there is no danger simply because the water is calm . . .

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Serving her faithfully.

His head tipped back slightly as Zaniel slowly pulled his gaze from the Queen at her shifting. Schooled as she might be in the ways of court he picked up on the fact that she had not been entirely comfortable with his staring at her. Was it possibly ther proximity to one another? The seat she sat in was no more than a foot from the edge of the bed he was resting on. From this distance there was no micro expression that Zaniel couldn't have caught with as observitive as he was. Was she uncomfortable around him? In his current state? Her lack of reaction upon her entry had made him decide it wasn't his condition that had caused the discomfort, but what then?

No one liked to be stared at, he found himself thinking. She is also someone. Often people forgot that behind the title of Queen there was a human with needs just as much as the next human, and just as fragile on many levels, if not more.

With a soft wince he slowly began to push himself up until he was no longer on his elbows but instead sitting up right in the bed. Luckily the sheets hadn't fallen away entirely and remained bunched just at his waist-- because now he was entirely positive that, if it were not for the bandages around his torso, he'd be nude as the day he were born. The bed, the room, the medical attention. All of this was things to be in awe of. But what Zaniel lacked was propper clothing to be sitting before a Queen, and that meant any clothing at all at this given moment. Partly he wondered who could have let her into the room without first making sure he were at least clothed from the waist down, if not for any reason but there was the minute possibly that, oh, he might try to get up or something. Or might find himself visited by the Queen.

As he sat up the most of his nude form Emelia might have seen was where his back sloped and gave way to the curve of his rear-- he was built enough to be pleasing to the eye but let's face it. No one want's to be in the damned nude before their queen!

Well.... maybe. But that wasn't a thought Zaniel would even allow himself to entertain.


The Queen had gone on to say he was welcomed to court as long as it took his wound to heal. If he hadn't just been betrayed by one of her court, he might have found this was an opportunity of a lifetime. There were a number of influential people who could be met at court, and many of them would pay very well to have a Hydrokentic serving their house hold. Especially one that could summon rain to water what land they did have during the heat of summer, or could pull water from the air in the mist of a drought to be sure their family and household never went without.

But he would be leery of the Nobility until after the trial of Lord Amsel. It would serve as a reminder to many of them in Emelia's court that they should not play their queen, or those who would serve her faithfully.

"All I could possibly offer you is my faithful service and my life in return, My Queen." My Queen. It was the only title Zaniel was fit to call her by, so if ever Emelia grew tired of hearing it she would have to personally address the matter.


Then he was surprised by her asking of where he planed to go after. Inwardly he had thought she would merely release him from court the moment the trial had ended and that would be that, no cause to wonder where the man might go after.


"Wherever in the Kingdom I may be required," He replied in a light tone, settling his arms over his knees, which his left had been pulled back just enough to do so. "I belong to no house but Gehiem it'self." This meant he was not tied to any Noble house, or any one town, by pay and contract. He was free to travel place to place, but clearly stayed within Gehiem. And even if he were required, compensation was required for him. You don't do something for free if you're really good at it.

Unless you suddenly find yourself on the Queen's bad side or something.
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Emelia Echtheit
 Posted: May 6 2017, 03:28 PM
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Watching Zaniel's painful process of sitting up, Emelia couldn't help but wonder if her presence was making him uncomfortable. She averted her gaze, hoping it might help her star witness against Amsell keep his composure. It was only after a moment's contemplation of the matter that it occurred to her that this man might not be accustomed to having strange women sitting in his bed chamber while he probably naked and alone. She was used to seeing men squirm. Usually, however, it was because they were so spineless that they often had difficulty standing upright. Often it was because they were idiots, or just scared of a lone woman in power. Often it was all the above. But Emelia had a feeling this Zaniel Pryor was none of the above. Not a man with his obvious powers.

Her normally dormant playful side wondered whether he'd feel better if she were naked too. But she was raised better than to actually ask, even in jest. Jests no longer existed for a woman of her station in life. The joke remained unvoiced.

Once she figured he was settled again, she looked back at him and listened to his answer.

"Your faithful service is all ask," she reiterated. "In theory, it's a simple thing. Easy to achieve, almost. Just do as I say, when I say. But it's something many men - and not all of them fools - seem to have great difficulty with. Much to their own sorrow. I do hope you won't be like that?"

She reminded herself that he stood to profit as much as she did when it came to Amsell's fall from power. Still, her suspicious nature crept back up on her like an old stray dog sniffing at her heels.

"Anyway," she continued. "While you're at Court you could meet all sorts of people who would need your skills. If you serve Geheim as well as I expect you to serve me, I could recommend your services to some of my courtiers. Times are expected to grow more difficult for us, but I daresay there's a way for you to turn it to your advantage."

She wondered what it would be like to lead his life. To be free to pass wherever she wanted, with no ties and no obligations. Her life had been one of protocol, duty and service to people who probably hated her every fiber. She didn't have choices in life, but she did have opportunities and she'd learned to maximise them from an early age. She had even learned to create opportunities for herself, as her dear husband learned to his cost.

"In many ways, Zaniel," she sighed. "You're a luckier man than many, even if it doesn't look that way while you're all trussed up in that bed. But then, I think you probably don't need me to tell you that."
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Zaniel Pryor
 Posted: May 8 2017, 03:10 PM
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Don't think there is no danger simply because the water is calm . . .

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"I do hope you won't be like that?"

He considered her words before replying, "Never, my Loyalty is to Gehiem and my Queen." At current, there was no reason for Zaniel to do anything but what he had said, serve faithfully. He was loyal to a fault and he knew it.

She went on to voice exactly the thing he had been thinking. It was a golden opportunity for someone like him. Most Argents found work in a Noble house exceptionally easy, signing on with the house often for generations. But since he was no longer attached to the Monastery or the Argents in anyway, Zaniel did not gain from their title. Even as often as people assumed him to be an Argent.

"It's a golden opportunity not many are presented with." He finally voiced in response. To her next observation she was correct- he didn't need to be told how lucky he was. He could go where he wanted, when he wanted. But for someone who had never really felt as if there was a place to call home, sometimes it got tiresome. Changing Inns, long days and hard nights spent traveling on horse back or by foot. Coin had to be counted and spent carefully, especially after a town's most wealthy, or those willing to pay, no longer needed his assistance. He could travel town to town but one might never know the state of the town you were traveling too.

It could be their most wealthy had just passed away, his lands divided or gifted to a Lord that did not call it home. Or perhaps it had been hit by an illness and was best avoided, forcing you to go on to the next town.

And bandits, of course. Swindlers, anyone and everyone who was out to separate you from your coin.

To this he merely looked at the woman, sensing that her words held a certain level of resentment and longing behind them. Resentment, maybe, for the position she held, and longing to be free of it and it's stresses. Neither of which Zaniel could help the woman with. It wasn't a fairy tale: Queens did not give up their titles to go roam the countryside with no one to wait on them hand and foot.
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Emelia Echtheit
 Posted: May 10 2017, 05:43 AM
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Emelia allowed herself a small smile as he reaffirmed his loyalty to her. Of course, he wouldn't say otherwise to her face, but she was prepared to take it at face value. She had no choice and she needed him. Whether he knew she needed him or not, it didn't matter. She would have to see to it that he knew it was worth his while.

"Your liberty has its drawbacks, I suppose," she said, quietly. "Security, I would imagine, is none-existent and clients are always looking for ways to rip you off. Don't think I don't know what those bastards are like. I've never yet met a man who thought he was quite rich enough. More. They always want more and they'd skin a flea for the fat off its arse."

She smiled again, but there was little genuine mirth behind it. More a resigned feeling of the inevitable. Meanwhile, the fire was burning low in the hearth and soon the winter chills would come creeping through the cracks in the window frames and stealing under the wooden doors. She got up herself and fed a few more logs to the glowing embers, hoping they'd take light.

While she was up on her feet, she opened the shutter a crack to see what sort of a day was dawning. More snow. White all around and cold enough to freeze the bollocks from a brass monkey.

"If we bring Amsell down you will have more financial security," she promised, turning back to Zaniel. "You'll have a cut of the profits, five per cent, for so long as you remain in my employment. Of course, you will be free to take job offers from others in my service. All I ask is that, if you hear anything interesting while in their service, I will be the first person to hear about it."

She wasn't so much as asking him to be her spy. It was more that she was asking him to keep his eyes and ears open. 'Spy' was such an ugly word.

"If you need time to think it through, I'm happy to give you a week."
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Zaniel Pryor
 Posted: May 11 2017, 02:46 PM
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Don't think there is no danger simply because the water is calm . . .

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As the Queen went on to state the exact things Zaniel had found himself thinking, he suddenly began to wonder if the woman was not gifted herself. He turned his head as his gaze followed her across the room, and then to the fire, where she put the logs on herself.


He listened, for he had little else to do. And her company so far hadn't been bad, if not a bit surprising. He felt a sudden rush to his head (on his shoulders, thanks much!) and for a moment his eyes closed as he let it pass. Slowly, carefully, and with several winces, Zaniel began to lower himself back once again.

She was offering him employment. He paused mid-lie, now again on his elbows, and breathed out heavily as he managed the fresh wave of pain. Whatever he had been given to control the pain had no doubt begun to ware off. But employment, from the Queen?

Here, at the Castle? If he hadn't actively been trying to control his facial expressions as it was to mask his pain, he might have shown surprise. He could seek other offers from those at her court, so long as he reported back to her.

A spy. That was exactly what she was asking Zaniel to become.

He tilted his head back and drew in a slow, steadying breath. Agreeing to this too readily could be foolish. He had pledged his loyalty, stated that it was true. But even a man loyal to his queen would do well to take this offer into consideration.


Declining it was out of the question, in the end. She'd made an offer, even if carefully worded, to have Zaniel spy on her own people. If he declined there could be the suspicion that he'd let his next employer know about it. Not that he would, but there was always the suspicion, wasn't there?

He weighed his options. He allowed just enough silence to pass for his next words to hold weight to them. They came neither too quickly or lightly spoken. Spying was not beneath him. And his Queen was always Above him.


"You will know all that I hear and See."





What was he getting himself into.


When Lord Amsel's man had come to collect him and he had declined, this was the last thing he would have suspected the outcome be. He had expected himself to die somewhere in Geheim at the hands of a vengeful Lord. And who knew, maybe that fate was still in store for him. But an offer from the Queen herself had not been something he could have phantom ed in the days past.
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Emelia Echtheit
 Posted: May 13 2017, 09:55 AM
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He looked like he was in pain again, but Emelia couldn't decide if it was a resurgence of the infection or the shock her offer seemed to have dealt. She frowned as he began levering himself about in slow and painful stages. Had she had any kind of medical training she would try to help, but as things stood she remained sat there wincing on his behalf.

She was so lost in concern she almost missed his affirmative answer to her job offer. You will know all that I see and hear...

"I would ask you to, of course, ignore all offers from certain rivals in certain rival kingdoms," she added. "But sometimes, it may be fortuitous. Of course, it's all up to yourself..."

Her sentence trailed off, before she left it hanging mid-air. Things didn't look good and she was becoming increasingly concerned about her newest prize catch.

"Are you quite alright?" she asked, frowning again. "I can get the physician back in here if your pain is too much?"

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Zaniel Pryor
 Posted: May 14 2017, 12:31 PM
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Don't think there is no danger simply because the water is calm . . .

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"No." He sighed, "I'll be fine... I think it's just come to my body's attention someone had been poking around where they otherwise normally wouldn't." He was a stubborn man, clearly. He grimaced softly and let himself down further until his head was laid back on the pillows behind him. They were no doubt the softest pillows he'd had the pleasure of laying his head upon. It certainly beat wadding up his coat under his head on the ground, did it not?

Once he had settled completely, right hand on his chest and left to his side, Zaniel looked towards the woman again. This position was far more comfortable to rest in, or at least as comfortable as he could possibly be without the call for extra medication. "Your Majesty, once my health returns I'll be at your every beckoning call." He reassured her, "And my loyalty will be to you, and only you."

There would be side jobs, there would be spying. If in the turn of events he were sent into Aerlion his fidelity would remain to his Queen. He was forced to exhale sharply before he turned his attention to the ceiling where a pained, half-smile crossed his lips as he closed his eyes, "Give me any task, It will be done."


But...after rest.

After he had healed.
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Emelia Echtheit
 Posted: May 29 2017, 01:28 PM
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Zaniel had clearly reached his limits for now. Emelia took a moment to watch him settle into place, slowly and painfully. Enough, she thought to herself, enough for now. When he spoke, he only confirmed what she suspected already. That he needed time to recover his health. Slowly, as if trying not to make too much noise, she drew back her chair and rose to her feet.

"I understand," she replied, smoothing down her skirts. "You need time. We all need time. When I am on my way out, I will send in the physicians to tend to you again."

They were just outside the door, waiting in the gallery beyond. They were the best in her realm, with a ready supply of pain relief and, gods knew, Zan looked like he needed it. Before leaving the chambers however, she paused at the door and looked back at him.

"You'll have to excuse my enthusiasm in getting to the truth of this matter, Zaniel," she said, as close as she ever got to an apology. "I know how this has taxed you, sorely."

With that, she left.

She found the physicians waiting where she left them. Hovering by the open hearth in the outer gallery. She sent them straight back in, snapping at them to make sure Zaniel only got the best of care.

Once that was done, she had the rest of the day to plan a particularly ignominious end for Lord Amsell. Oh! How the mighty do fall....

((The end!))
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Kate
 Posted: May 30 2017, 05:13 PM
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Those who do not believe in magic will never find it.

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