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[Arc] The Funeral; Thread 1 of 5
Topic Started: Jul 31 2017, 05:31 PM (105 Views)
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Complete Trash

Le link to accepted arc.


Twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one…

Poised and erect, Kanna counted the passers-by in silence, observing the quickened paces of those that walked by her with several books, files, and briefcases. The marble floor, remarkably pristine despite all the shoes scuffing across the surface, was veined with grey that seemed to lighten and darken in various areas, yet somehow remained neutral against the deep golden colour of the walls which intersected with stark white floorboards. To anyone that was outside of this place, that had never been here, they wouldn’t have known that this was a person’s home, not a public venue for all to enter without permission. The people that continued to go back and forth were service members of the Ashur family, dashing for one area to another with haste, and every so often, one would enter the double doors of frosted glass that towered next to where the Blood Mage sat. Alongside her was Max, one of the very few and rare males of the service branch that bore white hair, but like all the other males, his eyes were a contrasting brilliant ruby that sparkled in the sunlight. Behind his tiny reading glasses, he read today’s newspaper with his left hand while jotting down notes with his right hand – a multi-tasker if there had ever been one.

“I’d suggest telling the truth, Lady Kanna,” he mumbled with a low and raspy voice, breaking the silence between them as he peered over his glasses to gaze unto his master, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission and let’s be honest here, you’ve broken several rules yourself.”

Huffing as she crossed her arms, the significantly smaller woman leaned back against the plush velvet of the arranged seating, defiant of what Max had to say. She knew the reason for being here, for being indicted to the estate that she was in, but she wouldn’t bring anyone else into the treason her maiden had committed. If she could feel guilt for Mary, she would take the blame for everything, condemn herself for being involved with a person outside the Ashur family, but she couldn’t further hurt Ruslan than she already had. Her heart was poisoned with his affection and adoration, she wouldn’t do anything to tarnish the feelings or genuine emotions he held for her – that would be treason on her part. As a moment passed, a moment that Max never faulted from, she finally looked to him as he continued to stare at her, waiting patiently for her reply.

Everyone is a saint when speaking of someone else’s sins, Max,” she retorted with a slight bite, gazing at him with dull eyes of ultramarine, “If we were to speak of our own sins, we would all be in there, not just Mary.

A deep chuckle came from his thin lips as he folded the newspaper into the predetermined fold that existed long before being opened then crossed his legs, wiping away the soft wrinkles from his neatly pressed slacks of dark brown. His notebook was shoved into a pocket on his left breast, along with the silver pen he once wrote with, and the laughter slowly disappeared as he removed a silver flask from deep within a pocket on his trousers – gin, Kanna presumed by the smell – and took a very large swig, keeping himself somewhat sane before offering the vile liquid to his master to which she shook her head. He shrugged and drank again, thinking it to be more for himself so he could deal with what was to take place sooner than later. For Max, being over two-hundred years old, it was considerably obvious that he was about as a nervous as a cat covering up shit which is why he continued to drink like a fish, even during these most strenuous moments. During his tenure, he had only been to one of these trials before and he could remember it like it was yesterday – at the age of twenty-two, the Ashur he had been assigned to was murdered by his maiden, a young girl of only twelve, who had completely fallen in love with him. She had begged for mercy from the council, even after having endured the torture beforehand, and she swore that she had only done as was asked of her since suicide was unacceptable from an Ashur. Max hated what they did to her; her body was mangled and re-pieced together like some sort of Frankenstein experiment, and her eyes had been roughly gouged out with what could only look like savage malpractice. Her hair had been ripped from her head, her teeth removed, her fingernails tore from the cuticles, and the stench of her rotting body was almost too much from him to bear. Unfortunately for the maiden, the next in line, the murdered Ashur’s replacement, was forced to finish her off in front of everyone as she pleaded for mercy from the council. Nobody moved a muscle as he decapitated her, taking her head and placing it on a spike like some sort of prize, and her lifeless body was burned afterwards. He was sickened by the applause of the Ashurs that watched but he knew that the service branch was nothing more than slavery through genetic mutation and their place was to serve. That was his lesson that day and once he became head of staff, he knew that secrets were to be kept, that the heir of each House was always to be kept safe, but after so long, he was back in the same situation because he wasn’t aware of the circumstances surrounding Mary’s outing with Kanna.

If I’d of just been there…

Lost in his own thoughts, Max heard Kanna’s faint voice and caught her moving through his peripheral which snapped him out of his disgusted memory of long ago. As she stood up, so did he, following behind as they entered the lavishly opulent room where several Blood Members sat in suede pews, all donning their wealth with ridiculous jewels and exotic fabrics that he could only dream of wearing. Once inside, he moved through the rows with his hands tucked behind his back, making sure that he kept a reasonable distance from the front of the room, and as they reached the destination, Kanna continued forward and he stayed behind, sauntering over to where the other few members of the Service Branch were standing beside a wall to the right. He scanned over those that were in the audience, searching for any familiar faces, but it wasn’t until he looked to the ornate front where seven people on thrones of varying sizes sat that he recognized two people he hoped he’d never see again.

Zabella and Zahir. Fucking twats…

Ashur of House K, state your name and status,” a voice boomed that Max found unfamiliar.

Kanna bowed with a polite curtsey, “Kanna Ashur, of House K, current reigning heiress.

A few whispers caught Max’s attention as those in the peanut gallery talked among themselves, gossiping about the woman they never thought would be in such a position, and he casted a dark gaze at those that continued to spread vicious rumors about his Lady. While they paid him no attention and continued with their harsh words, the council of seven were beginning the trial with their own introductions as per conduct instructed.

The first was a male to the far right, black haired and red eyed, named Rei, and the one next to him was his twin, named Retsu, both of House R. Next to Retsu was a small male, black haired and red eyed, named Lyle, of House L, who had the attention span of a six year old, which he was, and more interested in drawing childish pictures of obscene visions of macabre horror. Passing by the person in the middle, who sat on the tallest throne, was obvious to everyone in attendance – the mismatched eyes of blue and red, white haired and petite like a very young child, was none other than the Head of the family who needed no introduction, Zabella. A cheeky little bitch that nobody liked or even wanted anything to do with but she was the head honcho so nobody pissed her off unless they wanted a super duper ass whooping with porcelain dolls, much like the one she had in her lap that mimicked herself. Next to her was her brother, Zahir, a very handsome man with white hair and golden hazel eyes which he altered himself some time ago due to some very shady things he needed to do with some even shadier people. The bottom portion of his face was covered with a mask that hid everything except his mouth and he wore eccentric clothing of gold and black, even had earrings that swayed playfully from his alabaster lobes. Both Zabella and Zahir were the last of the first generation and came from House Z. Last but most certainly not least, the raven haired, red eyed murderer of House A – Auesteine. Unlike Kanna, he killed his siblings just for the fun of it, pretending to spar with them, when in reality, he just wanted to slay the competition. He was only seven at the time.

With everyone’s introductions complete, Rei called out for Mary to finally be brought out and once she was, Max’s heart broke and in all honesty, so did Kanna’s. Neither her nor Max needed to display their emotion and while they didn’t, the turmoil inside almost brought the Lady to her knees upon seeing the broken visage of Mary as they planted her firmly in the middle of the room where all could see her. Her body was severely tattered and torn, only bandages were covering her most intimate places, and her magic had been temporarily removed by force – parts of broken metal still protruded from her skin as she wept on her knees. The two men holding her via enlarged needles on rods held her from the throat, making her face visible to everyone while her arms were broken in several places behind her back. She looked like an animal and had been locked away for almost three weeks, suffering in her own mental prison as well as her own filth. Kanna gulped loud enough to keep herself from bursting out in tears at the sight before her – Mary had been her only friend, had served her faithfully for so long, and to witness this terror made a tinge of guilt shimmy up her spine.

Lady Kanna, please reveal your wound for the council to see,” Rei ordered as the other six stared at her with unwavering eyes.

Removing a portion of her dress, she pulled down the material and showed the large scar from where Mary had penetrated her on accident. Everyone stared in awe, speaking to one another as Mary closed her eyes in shame, soft tears rolling down her cheeks as she silently prayed to be saved. Rei nodded and Kanna replaced the material, covering the scar with a delicate movement, and watched as Rei stood up, walked down the three steps to address the Lady properly.

From accounts not only stated from your staff, but also from reliable witnesses, would you mind telling us what happened the day you were injured?

I do mind, actually. What happened does not concern any of you as I am completely healed and would appreciate my maiden back in my home by the end of the day.

More hushed whispers fell over the audience and even the council were taken aback by the brash actions of the woman before them. Hell, even Max was forced to turn around and drink more, hoping he’d not live to see an actual Ashur put in Mary’s predicament.

I beg pardon, Lady Kanna?

I believe my words were simple enough that even Lord Lyle could comprehend them.

Lyle briefly looked up, thinking someone was talking to him, then shrugged, returning to his crayons and paper, drawing more as he continued to ignore the proceeding. Rei took a step further towards Kanna, sizing her up but knowing better than to actually pick a fight with her as she was who she was and bringing harm upon her would be his own execution. Instead, he chose to prod at her with his words.

Very well then, but do tell us with whom you were with during this incident. A particular Knight, a Ruslan Gudleifr, a Seveni, a man with whom you may not be acquainted with… A man that you are forbidden from having contact with or, dare I say, allow yourself to be courted by? From our understanding, based on Mary’s own words, he was touching you inappropriately and you were giving this man permission to do such. Does this sound accurate?

Kanna slowly blinked her eyes before she began to answer, “Lord Rei, that is an in—

Abruptly cut off by Zahir, the white-haired man stood up and interrupted, “As Lady Kanna’s paratabi, that is a false statement brought about by the lies of a condemned maiden. It would be wise of you, Lord Rei, to refrain from buying into the words of someone that is to be executed for they will say anything in order to keep their life. Besides, I was present during the maiden’s rage and there was no Ruslan Gudleifr, or any other Knight for that matter, anywhere around.

Max nearly choked on his gin, Kanna nearly choked on her own saliva, and Mary nearly choked on the very air she was breathing as they simultaneously thought, “This man is lying to the entire council!” Yet nobody spoke, nobody even so much as whispered, and Rei backed down, returning to his seat while mumbling something about having nothing further to say. Zahir also sat back down, keeping his attention solely on Kanna, and Max was sweating bullets, wondering what the hell was going on and what exactly was he being kept in the dark about. Of course, he knew that Zahir was Kanna’s paratabi – a person dedicated from an older generation to marry the heir of the family to complete the purity of their blood and obviously, to procreate, but why he would lie for her, Max couldn’t understand or even begin to comprehend. All he knew was that something really bad was going to happen, especially if the rest of the family actually found out about Ruslan and the gods above knew just how badly that would end. The thought sent shivers down his backbone. Shit was going to hit the fan, he could feel it in his bones, and with any luck, he wouldn’t be around to see anything happen so he wouldn’t be tortured into telling like Mary was. Finally, after a moment of silence from everyone, the little girl on the highest throne stood up with her dolly tucked nicely into the crook of her arm.

Lady Kanna, of House K, my next in line and future wife of my brother, I shall grant your request and allow your maiden to return without any further imprisonment. However, if there are any further complications with your maiden, I shall hold you personally responsible for her actions. In other words, if she cannot comply with the laws of Ashur servitude, then it will be you in her position with no hope for salvation. Take heed in my words, Lady Kanna.

The entirety of the council suddenly walked out of the room while Mary was unhinged from her binding and left on the floor as everyone in the audience shuffled out, talking loudly of what had just transpired and how they were disappointed that nobody died today. Kanna remained where she was, shocked by the short revelations and Max ran quickly to Mary’s side, petting her gently and whispering how stupid she was but also thankful that she was still alive. Slowly turning around, Kanna began walking away, only saying, “Get her home,” but just as she exited the frosted glass double doors, an arm hooked her waist, pulling her towards the much taller man wearing a half-faced mask. Zahir. He pressed his cheek against hers, leaning into her ear as he inhaled her scent, “I can still smell him on you, my Lady. Tell me, does he love you as much as I do?” Almost shaking from the abrupt question and accusation, she frowned and gently tried to push him away from being so close. “Have you forgotten that you were designed and created specifically for me? No soul can love you as mine does, no man can understand and accept you like me, and no Knight can forgive your indiscretions as I do because I purposefully chose what I wanted in my paratabi, what I desired you to be. Playing with a man’s heart is treacherous, my Lady, and I personally would rather not break your newly found toy.

Kanna almost started crying at the mention of a threat towards Ruslan and as much as she wanted to run away from Zahir, she couldn’t find the strength to fight him. Good fortune was on her side when Max walked out of the doors, interrupting the short rendezvous between the two, and carrying a fractured maiden on his hip. Releasing the petite woman from his grasp, Zahir smiled from under his mask, bowing as a gentleman should, then graciously took her hand and gently kissed the back while looking up at her with shimmering eyes of gold, “I would like to meet this Ruslan Gudliefr sometime, my Lady. Do invite him for a glorious dining experience.” With that being said, the man bowed again, smirking lightly before taking his leave which granted Kanna a moment of exhaling the suffocating breath she held. Just as Max was about to say something, Kanna lifted a hand to keep him from speaking and all three of them went home without anything further being said despite the casual glances of curiosity from both service members.

Three hours later, after Mary had been tucked nicely in a rather extravagant bed with her own staff of maids tending to her every whim as she began the processing of healing, Max made sure to check on her from the doorway, simply observing the sleeping woman who had taken quite a beating from people that despised their very existence. However, they were necessary as it was the service members that held the family together, the glue one could say, and they were also the ones subjected to a life of horror, depending on which House they were assigned to. Mary didn’t realize that Kanna was a special kind of crazy, a rarity among the Ashur, as she was one of the few that truly had good intentions as well as an actual place in her heart for compassion. Though she hardly ever showed such a side, it was there and Max had noticed the difference in her demeanor ever since coming into contact with the mysterious Ruslan Gudliefr. Even he didn’t know of this man until today, until the mention of him during the trial, but the whole morning had been such a clusterfuck that he didn’t know whether he was coming or going. But right now, he was going... to be late.

Kanna stood behind Max, adorned in an eccentric attire of bright yellow, icy blue, and white – her dress was tufted and explicitly ornate with bows and ruffles, completely inappropriate for a funeral that the two were to about to leave for. Max, being the more respectable of the servants, bore an entire outfit of black with a simple dark blue hankerchief in the left breast pocket which symbolized his status as staff. As he turned to exit Mary’s room, his eyes widened at the choice of clothing his Lady wore, finding it rather odd and abnormal, even for her, but he said nothing and simply smiled nervously, not wanting to laugh at the dreadful decision. Kanna noticed and frowned, “I look ridiculous, Max, but the maiden you chose to replace Mary picked this and I have no time to change. Laugh if you must.

He didn’t, opting to give a compliment instead, “Your hair is lovely, milady. I prefer curls as opposed to straightened, I’ll admit.”

Patting Max on his forearm, Kanna nodded in appreciation and the twosome left the Estate with haste, making their way to Chrysanthemum for the funeral of a fallen Knight named Isaiah Nordenfelt, a Lieutenant that had been killed during the Boscan War. They talked of Mary’s progress, of other meaningless things, but what itched at the back of Max’s mind was both Zahir and Ruslan, of what Kanna was going to do with the two men she was torn between. Though he wanted to ask and be intrusive, he knew that keeping his mouth shut would be the best path to take and the less he knew, the better off he was. Mary was an example of such lessons to be had, especially when trying to obtain information that not a single person needed to know. The ride was a short commute and the first to exit was Max, holding the door open for Kanna but keeping his hands to himself as he was not allowed to touch a female without permission. As she stepped out, he closed the door behind her and followed like a lost puppy, keeping watch for anyone that attempted to bring harm towards her or himself. Basically, he functioned as a bodyguard as well as a pencil-pusher – somehow, he managed to make it work and the obvious alcoholism helped more often than not.

“Did you personally know the Lieutenant, milady?” he asked as they came to stop at the front of the crowd that lined the streets of Chrysanthemum, to which several people stared at Kanna in her bright dress of yellow and whispered.

I did not, but apparently, he was a well-respected friend of the family which is why I was instructed to attend with our respects,” Kanna explained, bored with the conversation.

“You sound very skeptical.”

Should I not be? I know nothing of such a man nor of our involvement with any Knights.

“The same could be said of your Knight companion, milady, though I know nothing of such an incident.”

Narrowing her eyes at Max, Kanna put a gloved finger over her lips, signifying for him to silence himself on the subject, then turned her attention to the beginning of the procession. She felt a longing to see Ruslan again, having left him in such a rush the last time they were together, or rather, the only time they’d ever been together, and realized that it had been almost a month since then. For a split second, she almost mentioned his name to Max, knowing good and well that if anyone could find Ruslan, it would be him, but she couldn’t and kept her secret despite the yearning in her heart. Tears from strangers could be heard from her surroundings as they sobbed in disbelief of the tragic ending of the Knight but the sadness on her features was from something far more disheartening – almost as if it were Ruslan’s funeral that she was attending. Well, the funeral of a short lived relationship. Blankly staring at the paved street, the Blood Mage tapped her finger against her lips, reminiscing the taste of his against hers, then snapped out of the memory when Max spoke up.

“Should I expect a guest for tonight?” he inquired with a bit of amusement.

Of whom do you speak, Max? I have no intention of entertaining…

With a smirk on his thin lips, he replied, “Of all places to see a Knight, the funeral of one would be such a place, would it not?”

Kanna’s heart fluttered and she briefly showed a faint smile, giving a short nod as she returned her attention to the procession, hopeful that she’d catch a glimpse of said Knight. Grateful as ever to have someone as special as Max, the Lady delicately bounced with a slight excitement to show her gratitude and waited like always, but was also careful to hide her happiness from the ever-watching eyes of grieving strangers.
Edited by kanna, Jul 31 2017, 06:00 PM.
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^ Mood.

"It's not right."

With a solemn complexion upon his visage did Ruslan continue browsing through a mahogany dresser, eyeing the plenitude of different ties before him. It was a day just like any other, uncharacteristically so for a most somber moment as what had transpired. The morning of Chrysanthemum was beautiful as always, with the gleam of the rising sun illuminated amidst the stout bulwarks that protected the Military Capital, and yet the colors as they contrasted against the break of day were far too bright, far too gaudy. It was a travesty almost, to the untimely demise of the man whom he had looked up to.

The knight glanced down the corridor of his apartment, musty and redolent of mold. Aeons had it been since he had last cleaned it. Nordenfelt had oft chastised him about his cleanliness; a kept room reflected the mindset of the tenant, said he. And to an extent, as the private pondered, it was true. Bottles of SSRIs lay strewn atop a chipped wooden table; worn floorboards of oak and yew bore the spartan amenities and boxes that the man had brought from his dormitory almost a year after he had graduated from the Academy. Most tellingly however, was a single wooden waster, alongside a simple pamphlet of tanned leather with silver lining. An invitation to the reception, alongside some parting words within his will. Just what did that imply indeed?

"Get your ass moving, slowpoke."

Ruslan thumbed the letter with care, a faint smile tinged with sadness almost evident. The picture that they had selected for his portrait was the exact same one that they had taken during that time out at Kenny's, when the then-corporal had lost a bet that they had made and ran his wallet dry buying rounds for the men and women in their unit. He heard the jovial laughter and loud clanking of mugs as he glanced, suspended in a moment of time that could no longer be revisited. How far the war seemed back then. How far all of this seemed. No worries were there to be said of the Boscans and troop formations and military stratagems and total casualties; in its stead were petty trifles such as the CO getting married and upcoming inspections. There was his issue with the blade; Isaiah had personally boasted that he would see to it that the Seveni's skill with the sword would be nigh peerless once he was done putting him through the ringer.

*Clang. Clang.*

The sound of the bells tolling grounded him back to reality, as his suspension of disbelief ended as tears rolled down ruddy cheeks and onto the paper, blurring the ink print under the jovial, almost innocent visage of a mentor and friend now deceased. The room with all of its austere furniture and clutter suddenly felt somehow emptier and drearier, the corridor longer and forlorn, as he pocketed the letter inside the bosom of his jacket.

*Clang. Clang.*

Donning a charcoal necktie did a figure emerge from a battered wooden door. Once did it have the proud shoulders of a bearer of the law, bound by bonds of camaraderie and hope. It cast a pitiful shadow, stooped and ponderous. Uncertain and grievous. Heavy footsteps resounded upon cobbled tiles, even amidst the crowds of passersby not related to the event at hand, and yet its plods stood out nevertheless. Finally, it disappeared, into the passenger seat of a hearse.

*Clang. Clang.*

"We are gathered here today to commemorate the loss of a stalwart individual, a filial son, and a dear friend."

Arranged in pristine rows did they stand, the Knights in their surcoats of grey and black. As the bells tolled, and the sun traveled across the azure skies, so too was it that the entire procession felt devoid of color within their hearts. The grave complexions upon the soldiers as they crossed their blades in solemn respect told it all, ever punctuated by the sniffles and wails from the bereaved as they sat in their seats.

"To protect those that could not protect themselves. Lieutenant Isaiah Nordenfelt was truly a Radiant Knight."

That much was obvious, all could discern. Nordenfelt had been a career soldier and a model individual, a man whose sudden death came most troubling to his family and those who knew him. He was a young man whom had, by sheer perseverance and ethic, worked his way up the ranks to where he had been. He was a promising knight who had a rose-tinted future ahead of him. And yet, the sad truth was that his death was a story becoming far too common with the horrific casualties that resulted from the 2nd Boscan War.

"May he truly rest in peace."

The rumble of the hearse ground to a halt as the vehicle pulled up in front of the wrought iron gates that marked the boundary between the living and the dead. And as it stopped, so too did the funeral continue. Ruslan alighted from the wagon, as he alongside the others hoisted the heavy wooden coffin that contained the remains of Isaiah and his belongings: A silver pendant, a coat of finely forged steel and cloth, a pair of amulets. A wooden waster.
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Complete Trash

Behind a pair of extravagant double doors sat a man at a finely crafted mahogany desk that was embellished with intricate carvings and golden metals and while he sat at this desk which had previously been littered with documents, a singular notebook with several scribbles was being furiously written upon. Completely consumed in his work, Zahir had instructed his servants to disallow any disturbances, by any person or persons, until he had finished that which he was so hardily working on. He had locked himself inside the elaborate room, had taken no items from the outside of his work-space, and intended to keep himself there until he figured out where things were going wrong with one of his experiments. Only four hours into his research and mathematical scrutiny, he heard a disturbance from outside but kept working even as blood seeped from under the crack of the doors and the smell of burning flesh wafted through his nostrils. He couldn't be interrupted, not now, not when he was so close to understanding the answer to a problem he'd initially created.

"Zahir!" a tiny, very feminine voice screamed from outside the doors, "You will open these doors immediately!"

Anger and frustration overwhelmed him as he slammed his quill down, breaking the entire instrument in half and splattering ink all over the paperwork and desk. Growling under his breath, he jerked himself from the desk, knocking over the chair in the process, and moved with incredible speed towards the double doors where he abruptly opened them, only to be met by an angry little girl, two dead servants, and a burnt corpse. Upon further inspection, it was obvious that the burnt one had died of... well.. being burned alive, but the other two had had their throats sliced open with something other than a blade and bled out on the floor.

"Anything you need, dear little sister?" he groaned in a monotonous voice as if he had practiced saying it time and time again while perching himself against a wooden panel of the doorway.

"Have you lost what little sanity you had to begin with? Why, in any realm of possibilities, would you allow her to attend that funeral on our behalf?" Zabella asked, kicking away one of the servant's hands to make way for her to move into the room, walking straight past her brother where she turned to stare at him, awaiting a response.

"She's mine to do with as I please," answered he as the doors were closed just as four new servants arrived to clean up the mess Zabella and her doll had made, "Besides, it entertains me to watch her squirm under the pressure. Lady Kanna is several things but appearances are everything to her and she would not allow herself to be seen as that which she is. Of that, I am quite certain."

Zabella scoffed at his confidence as she plopped down on a chaise lounge made of meticulously hand-sewn leather, tucking her doll next to her so that it stared at Zahir with empty, soulless eyes that matched hers. She mused over his statements, deciding on what to share with him and what not to, but ultimately decided to proceed with what she had intended on stating to begin with.

"You have always underestimated your paratabi," she began, watching him walk boldly towards her with a creepy smile plastered on his face that was unmasked, "Lady Kanna makes the fourth one and honestly, I believe her to be the best one thus far, though I was rather fond of Lilian when I think about it. However, you would be wise not to antagonize her any further, Zahir."

The white-haired man remained silent for a few minutes, idling his fingers against a brass ornament on his jacket, thinking about what his sister had mentioned - of no longer antagonizing Kanna, of not being able to toy with something that ultimately belonged to him, and the more he thought about it, the more it bothered him to the point that he began to shake ever so slightly, no longer with a smile present upon her glorious features. Zabella, with her mismatched eyes of sapphire and crimson, stared at him with the same emotionless gaze as her doll, giving off the sensation that not only she was actually watching him but the doll was as well. She finally broke the indescribable silence when she forced herself to remove her body from the comfort of the lounge, delicately walking over to Zahir where she petted his hands with her own, consoling him with a much more softer tone of voice.

"I am not angered by your actions but they do have consequences, brother. You blatantly and openly lied before the council, which I immediately forgave, but I have to question what it is you intend to do with her. She is our blood combined - therefore, she belongs to the both of us and I would insist that you mistreat her no longer, by your hand or another's. Already she has endured far more than I anticipated and if she desires that Knight, allow him to have her for she can be replaced..."

Zahir pushed her away, moving his head back and forth as he spat venomous words, "No replacing this one. She's almost perfect, almost the epitome of what my soul craves, and I won't allow some pathetic soldier to take what is rightfully mine."

"Yet you put her right into his hands by disobeying me and instructing her to attend the funeral of someone I had extinguished because you allowed him to get too close. You truly are your father's son, Zahir, and that is by no means a compliment." she spoke softly as she rotated to turn her back on him, walking away to pick her doll up and head to the double doors, "Oh, and another thing, do try and not make mess of this one, would you? I grow increasingly tired of cleaning up after you."

Tears streaked the facades of so many onlookers - so many were grief-stricken yet so many abhorrently concealed their true feelings with sobs and sniffles, deafening the sound of the hearse when it came to a stop. Amidst the crowd of formal dressings, only those privy to the actual burial of the Lieutenant, were the wealth of Fiore, the high-ranking officials with their significant others, those that held some sort of familial attachment, and the worst of them all, those who were there to ensure he was actually dead. Their faces resembled the rest, sad and teary-eyed, truly remarkable individuals, those that dared to be present during very real mourning but among those of deceit, was Kanna and Max. They had sat through the words of priests, through the bereaved members of Fiorian military that gave their last respects, and offered condolences to the ones fraught with sadness and longing with simple "I'm sorry for your loss"'s. Neither of the two knew the deceased, neither of them actually cared that he no longer breathed, but as it was, they were there on behalf of a family that dictated their actions.

They were the worst, truly.

Standing behind a partial remnant of the Lieutenant's loosely-knitted descendants, Kanna peered from around the man in front of her to glance at the people carrying the coffin; pallbearers, if she recalled correctly. It was at this moment that she caught a glimpse of her beloved, Ruslan, and upon seeing him, her heart fluttered as if a million butterflies had somehow managed to burrow inside her chest and flitted their wings in unison. As she was about to knock the man down that remained between her and Ruslan, Max gently grasped her upper arm and pulled her back next to him, keeping a necessary handle on her lest she do something entirely irresponsible.

"There is a time and place - now is not that time nor that place, milady," he said in a barely heard whisper.

"Unhand me this instant," she spat back at him, entirely peeved that she wasn't able to get away from him, "It was a momentary lapse of judgement."

Whether he liked it or not, Max knew that he shouldn't keep his Lady under his thumb, let alone actually holding her back from what she wanted, and reluctantly released her arm with a slow motion while observing her like a hawk would its prey. She remained where she was for only a split second, long enough that she could straighten her attire and poise herself before abruptly sprinting forward, which Max gave a nice shove from behind just for good measure, forcing her to bump into the man before her as she thrust herself out into the open for all to see, tripping over the man's feet as she did so. There was no hiding anymore as she smacked right into one of the pallbearers, the one immediately behind Ruslan, and attempted to pull herself up by grabbing the very handle of the coffin they were all carrying.

Gasps and cries, more gasps and even harder cries were all Kanna could hear, all she could fully comprehend as she fell down due to the slickness of the handle from someone's sweaty palms. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared, just stared at her with silent judgement and disbelief of what was transpiring right in front of their very eyes - everyone was appalled. Kanna simply knelt forward with her hands splayed on the filthy ground and her back to the crowd where Max remained without interjection. She didn't dare look at anyone as she knew that they were all making obscene remarks about who she was, why she was dressed so inappropriately, and the hardest pill to swallow, was she knew that Ruslan was right next to her, probably doing the exact same as everyone else.

Quietly and without barely any sound, Kanna began to cry unto herself. Tears coursed down her face like twin rivers splitting at the tree that was her nose and waterfalling onto her hands, clothing, and quenching the dry earth. She was absolutely horrified as she continued to weep, mumbling apologies as best she could to the person she loved more than life itself.

"Please forgive me, Ruslan, I am terribly sorry."
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