maze palace

Glorious Gems of MP - Purana Mahal of Datia

It is a chilly November morning at 9 am, and we are on our way to Datia. The entire drive had very limited visibility and it felt like the fog had developed its own character overnight and started travelling with us like an old companion. Little did I know, this was probably the best preface for the place I was about to visit shortly. Around mid-day, the fog started clearing up to reveal some friendly jaggery hawkers.

I looked around, and find myself surrounded by sugarcane fields! That is when I learnt that the periphery of this district is famous for jaggery factories.

Biting on a few delicious pieces, I moved towards Tourist Motel in Datia where I got a glimpse of the main attraction - the marvellous Bir Singh Palace, also known as Datia Palace and locally referred to as the Purana Mahal. I sat on a bench, looking at the breathtaking view of this overwhelmingly stunning palace!

This palace is famous as a testimony to friendship. As I wondered the story behind the palace, my guide narrated one of the most unique stories I have heard in a long time. Centuries ago, when Bundela Raja Bir Singh and Akbar entered into an alliance at Orchha, it marked the beginning of a friendship with the Mughal ruler’s son Jahangir. Bir Singh built the Jahangir Mahal at Orchha to welcome him on his first visit to the city. But the Raja was not too impressed by the Orchha Mahal and so went on to build this majestic maze of a palace in Datia.

Up close, Bir Singh Palace was more than just a spectacle. So much so that I was awe struck by the entrance gate itself. Each of the tiles, carvings, colours, motifs had a tale about a great friendship. The figures in yellow represent Bir Singh and the one in green depict Jahangir placed in numerous frames made to look like almirahs. The main arch has carvings of them catching deers, a dragon like figure as well as motifs of the sun and the moon.

Sadly, a lot of the enamel work had withered away with time but it still does not need a lot of imagination to guess how breathtaking it must have been when it was built. I spent a good amount of time gazing at the gate and figuring out these stories that were the inspiration for this wall.

Built entirely of brick and stone with no cement or iron to hold it together, this palace is one of the finest examples of the blend of Indo-Islamic architecture. Designed in the form of a Swastik, it is a great balance of classical and symmetrical.  No wonder Sir Edward Lutyens, the renowned British architect was awestruck by this palace. He was so overwhelmed by Datia Mahal that he chose to visit other edifices in India before he embarked on designing New Delhi.

The palace stands on a square base with octagonal towers on each of its corners. Some of the ceilings have beautifully carved islamic patterns that looked like the night sky filled with stars. Some of them have naqqashi work. The chhatris are in the shape of a lotus petal, whereas arches and doorways are clearly inspired my islamic architecture. Every wall spoke to me about the beautiful aesthetics and whispered poems of friendship. Although the rooms with stucco work were shut, I managed to get a peek of a few figures - trees, birds, vases - simply stunning. This wonderful fusion of two worlds made it even more interesting to spend more time around this place.

In the 17th century, the cost of building this palace was about a whopping 35 lakhs but the heartbreaking part is that no one actually ended up living in it.

And the biggest irony - even Jahangir himself was never able to visit it.

About the artist 

Neethi Goldhawk is an independent illustrator and textile print designer who loves drawing all things dreamy, inspired by nature and life. She has illustrated for platforms like Redbull Amaphiko and Launchora. Her pen name (Goldhawk) was concocted in the crowded space of her mind full of absurd characters, who are but little children at heart. She is an avid Tumblr blogger and can be found here

By Neethi Goldhawk
Treasure // Part 2

Part One


Concept of this dragon!shawn

The whole cave palace is like a maze. It’s one massive winding corridor after another. After your running turns to a brisk walk, you find yourself lost entirely. You have no idea which way you came from or which way to go next. Every door you try is locked or goes to another hall it seems. You’re exhausted, tired and scared. You can’t believe the dragon let you go and you’re sure it’s just because it wanted to play with it’s food. Did dragons eat people? You didn’t know. But the way it looked at you when it let you go…you couldn’t get that out of your head. It didn’t look like it wanted to hurt you.

You try one more door and this one opens with ease to reveal a bedroom. There is a huge four post bed and clothes strewn about. As if someone was living there. You close the door behind you and step into the room, careful not to step all over the clothes. They clearly belonged to a man. They looked modern, in fact there was a pair of skinny jeans lying across the end of the bed. Who in their right mind lived in a place like this?

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The Legend of the Moon Goddess (A Choices Fanfic)

Pairing: Liam x MC (Riley)

Category: Romance/Comfort

Summary: Liam tells Riley a story in the garden maze

Author’s Note: I wrote this in a little over an hour, so forgive me if it’s not that polished. This idea just wouldn’t leave me alone (I guess it’s my way of compensating for the lack of a legit Mid-Autumn Festival celebration). This story does pull from Chinese mythos, and since I play with Asian!Liam, that didn’t present a problem for me, but please feel free to skip over this if you don’t find it appropriate. 

(Also, just a disclaimer, there are multiple versions of this myth, and this is just the one I grew up with. Okay, that’s enough rambling for me.)

It’s close to midnight on the 4th of October, and a figure makes her way through the garden maze on Cordonian palace grounds.  

Her heart races as she thinks of meeting her lover once more, her limbs taking her as fast as she can without making too much noise, the high moon illuminating her path clearly.  

Her heart sinks when she doesn’t find him in their spot immediately, but strong arms catch her quickly from behind, his breath warm in her ear as he whispers her name.  


She breaks out into a grin. “Liam." 

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Somewhere Else pt. 5 - The Theater

Summary: All of the what ifs of Drake & Riley meeting somewhere else, in any other way.] 

Part 5 to Somewhere Else

Part 1Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4

“If we’d met somewhere else…anywhere else. At a club in New York or in an airport, or at a party…If you hadn’t been our waitress that night, and I hadn’t been sitting next to Liam…Do you think all of this…do you think it could’ve been different…between us?

Drake had been involved in many bad ideas.

There was the whole hiding-forever-in-the-palace-maze with Liam shebang. Then there was that plan to sail away on a boat and never come back, which had nearly ended with the prince dying on his watch. There were countless escapades with the Beaumont brothers and the prince, all of which he begrudgingly participated in and all of which resulted in nothing but trouble. And of course, he couldn’t forget the fact that the whole reason he came to New York in the first place was because of his own bad idea.

But out of all of that, this one was quite possibly his least favorite of all. And the most uncomfortable.

He knew he should have told Rylie to forget the whole Broadway thing. It was obviously a lot of trouble for her, and he still didn’t understand why she was willing to do this for him. But then she had slipped her small hand into his, led him towards the boutique across the way, and he’d forgotten what he’d wanted to say.

The moment they slipped through the doors, Drake was immediately swarmed with a sense of familiarity as he took in the store’s white and gold theme, crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and the fancy perfume that flooded his nose. It reminded him of the palace.

As Drake stood there, simultaneously hating how polished and glitzy everything looked and also feeling slightly homesick, Riley squeezed his hand and leaned up on her tiptoes to whisper in his ear. “Stay here and try not to break anything. I know someone who works here. I’m sure we can get a deal.”

Before he could protest and shamefully beg her not to leave him in this stuffy looking place, Rylie let go of his hand and walked over to speak to a woman who was busy folding clothes. Drake watched, hands in his pockets as he tried – and failed - to look casual, while Rylie and the employee exchanged a few words. The other woman nodded and disappeared into the backroom.

Smiling, Rylie turned to give him a thumbs up. He returned the gesture, a pained grin plastered on his face. After his initial surprise had worn off, Drake no longer felt homesick but rather out of place, which wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling that he missed back in Cordonia.

An excited squeal stole Rylie’s attention away and Drake looked up to see a tall woman in a black dress with platinum blonde hair that was pulled back into a tight pony tail excitedly fast walk towards Riley, high heels click-clacking across the glossy floor and her arms outstretched.

“Riley!” she exclaimed, enveloping the shorter girl in a hug. “It’s so good to see you! It’s been too long.”

“Yeah, well, when you work in high end places like this, I can’t blame you for not coming back to the bar,” Riley shrugged, pulling away. “You look happy here, though. Fashion. It’s your calling.”

“Oh, it’s wonderful, I love working here,” the blonde said, bouncing up and down on her toes. “But I definitely owe you one because if you hadn’t had my back when we were bussing tables together, I definitely would have lost that job and never would have been able to afford my rent anymore.”

“The tips were pretty great,” Riley chuckled.

“For you, they were. I hardly got anything. I was horrible, of course, but…” the woman shrugged, smiling. As she glanced around the room, her eyes landed on Drake, an eyebrow quirking up. “So, Ryles, who’s your friend over there?”

“Oh, right, I totally forgot to introduce you two!” Rylie looked over her shoulder and waved Drake over. When he came to stand by her, she placed her hand on his arm and gestured between them. “Drake, this is Maisie. Maisie this is Drake. He’s my uh…” she looked up at Drake questioningly and he pretended to be interested in a crystal vase on the table next to him. Rylie turned back to Maisie, brow furrowed. “…friend, I guess?”

Maisie nodded, looking slowly from Drake to Rylie as a small smile formed on her face. “Right…” she said, extending her hand to Drake. “Well, it’s nice to meet you Drake. Rylie and I go way back, like college years back. She and I used to work in the same diner. You have no idea how many times this girl saved my ass. I was the worst waitress ever.”

“Oh, you weren’t…” Riley trailed off, shaking her head with a laugh. “No. Yeah, I guess you were pretty bad.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Maisie rolled her eyes. “Rub it in. But hey, not that I’m not glad to see you, but is there anything I can do for you guys? Or did you just drop by to say hello?”

“Oh, right, right!” Riley said, snapping her fingers. “Well, there’s kind of something I was hoping you could help us with…”

Rylie’s hand slid from Drake’s arm and she gestured for Maisie to follow her a few feet away. Rylie spoke in hushed tones, eyes sparkling as her hands animatedly moved about. Drake couldn’t tell what she was saying, but her hands eventually ended up palm to palm, a pleading gesture.

Suddenly, Maisie’s eyes flicked to Drake and he quickly looked away to inspect the vase again. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her turn back to Rylie, grinning and excitedly shaking her head.

“Thank you!” Rylie exclaimed, no longer keeping her voice down as she threw her arms around Maisie. “You’re really helping us out big time, I owe you one.”

Maisie shook her head. “It’s the least I could do after how much you’ve helped me. Now… what to do with this one?” As she spoke, she faced Drake, tapping her lip thoughtfully. She turned and plucked an expensive-looking shirt off the rack next to her.

Drake looked hesitantly at Rylie, who was grinning and giving him another thumbs up as if to say, Good luck! Have fun!

He was suddenly filled with dread. This did not fit his definition of fun.

“You do what you have to do with him,” Riley said, backing away as she pulled out her phone. “I have to make a few calls… You know, friends in high places, see if they can get us in. I’ll find something to wear when I’m done and then come find you, okay?”

Drake’s vocal cords were straining to shout, Nope! Not okay, I change my mind! Just get me out of this fancy place before I throw up.

“Mhm,” he grunted instead. “Wonderful.”

About twenty minutes later, Drake sat on a bench just outside the boutique. His legs – now clad in dark dress pants - were stretched out before him and crossed at the ankles as he grumbled and tugged at his tie to loosen it up.

“Stupid fancy clothes,” he muttered without much malice, smoothing out his new, white, button up shirt. A much as he hated the dress clothes – and he did, he wouldn’t even dress up for dances during the social season in Cordonia – he felt a little better about it all considering the circumstances. Leave it to Rylie to be the only one ever, besides maybe Savannah, to get him to dress up when he didn’t absolutely have to.

Drake let out a sigh as his eyes roamed around. He’d gotten a little more used to the zoo-like atmosphere of Times Square and it was even starting to grow a little on him. Everything about New York was.

Watching all of the people mill about and listening to the blend of different languages, Drake understood why Rylie loved it here so much. He hadn’t known her for long and he still didn’t know her that well, but she seemed to thrive here. So far, she’d handled everything with ease and she certainly had the connections to make things work. Drake had a feeling she’d fit in anywhere.

The thought of anywhere had Drake thinking about home. Rylie and home. When she’d found out where he was from, Rylie had been so fascinated by Cordonia. He’d been gruff about it first and pushed her away, but ever since he’d apologized and told her about his country, he couldn’t help but imagine her there. Rylie in Cordonia, without all of the harsh and colorful lights that made her look almost untouchable but also vibrant and alive. Whenever he thought of her in Cordonia, she was softer and smooth around the edges, just like she was when he told her about his life and when she held his hand.

Behind him, bells softly jingled and he heard a door open and close.

“There you are. Ready to go?”

Drake stood, turning to face Riley. “Yeah, let’s – “

He froze. Oh.

Rylie stood before him, dressed in a flowing white dress with a plunging neckline that could have been stolen straight from Marilyn Monroe’s closet and simple flats. Her hair, dry once again, had been left to casually fall over one shoulder in gentle, dark waves. Her lips were now colored in a bright red rather than their usual soft pink.

Suddenly, words didn’t seem like a thing Drake knew how to form anymore because now, Riley was standing in front of him and she was beautiful.

“Yes?” Riley said, raising an eyebrow. She gripped a small leather clutch tightly in both of her hands, her eyes steady on him.

“Cole, you, uh…” he scratched the back of his neck, forcing his lips to move. “You look…”

“Can’t even speak, can you? Is it really that bad?” Rylie teased, although a bashful smile was tugging at the corners of her lips.

“No!” Drake said quickly, shaking his head. “No, you look…You look beautiful, Rylie.”

Instantly, she felt her cheeks warm and her hands felt all tingly. For some reason she felt like grinning from ear to ear, but she managed to contain it. “Thank you, Drake. You look quite handsome yourself.”

He nodded and turned towards the theater, ready to walk because he didn’t trust himself to stand there any longer without making an idiot of himself. But before they started off, he felt her hand on the back of his shoulder and then her arm looped under his. He looked down at her, brows raised.

“We’ve got to look the part,” she told him.

“Right.” He nodded, swallowing thickly, and they continued on.

As they wove their way through crowds of people, Drake thought endlessly about her arm linked with his and her dress and her red lipstick.

He let his arm fall to the side, untangling with hers. But before she could move away or someone could squeeze between them, he took her hand.

He decided he quite liked the way they fit.

They didn’t enter through the front doors.

Instead, Rylie led him past the line of people waiting to get in and around to an unlabeled gray metal door on the side of the building. Drake quickly saw that no one else seemed to be around and he wondered vaguely what exactly Rylie’s plan was.

“VIP Entrance,” Rylie explained. “People who want to keep a low profile usually come through here and head up to the balconies.”

“And we’re supposed to just walk right in?”

“Of course not,” she rolled her eyes and gave the handle a twist to show him. “The door’s locked.”

“You got stuff to pick a lock in there or something, Cole?” he asked, nodding his head towards her leather clutch.

She smiled faintly. “I’ve got a little more class than that, Drake. Now, play along.”

With that, she unlaced their hands and looped her arm through his, straightening up and pushing her shoulders back, expression aloof.

Drake raised an eyebrow, taking her lead and straightening up as well, although he didn’t know what they were preparing for. “Wait, what are we – “

Before he could finish, Rylie rapped on the door furiously. She drummed her knuckles against the door insistently until it finally swung inwards, revealing a tall, broad-shouldered man whose frame filled the doorway. He wore a black button up and black dress pants, an earpiece dangling over the cuff of his ear. Security. A clipboard was in his hands and he looked down at Rylie coolly, mouth slowly opening to speak.

Finally,” she huffed before he could speak, shaking her head and placing her other hand on Drake’s arm. “Do you know how long we’ve been waiting here?”

The security guard looked surprised and slightly confounded. “How long…? I only just heard – “

“We’ve been out here for nearly half an hour!” Rylie cried out, rubbing her forehead as if distressed. She stepped away from Drake and began to pace, her hands wringing her hair worriedly. “I was told we could come around back to avoid the crowd – I’m very claustrophobic - and our friends are already inside without us because traffic was such a nightmare so we didn’t have time to eat dinner beforehand and…”

Drake’s eyes flicked to the guard who looked just as confused as Drake felt, which he guessed meant whatever Rylie was trying to do, worked.

“…And on the way here,” she continued, winded,  “there was this awful man who hassled us and I just wanted tonight to be special for our anniversary and so far it’s been nothing but a disaster – we haven’t even eaten all day and I…” Riley trailed off, out of breath and her eyes, unfocused. She shook her head and swayed slightly on her feet. “And I – I think I’m about to…”

Suddenly, Rylie’s eyes fluttered and she fell forward.

“Hey!” Drake cried out, lunging forward just in time to catch her before she hit the ground.

What kind of plan is this? Drake shouted in his head, which lead him to wonder if this really was still part of the plan. What if he hadn’t been ready to catch her?

Not sure what to do, Drake did his best to continue on although his concern was genuine as his eyes darted from Rylie’s unconscious face, serene and unaware, to the guard, who looked positively bewildered. “Don’t just stand there! Do something!”

Wordlessly, the man opened and closed his mouth before backing away to hold the door open for the two. Drake quickly scooped Rylie up and rushed through the door. He looked at the guard questioningly.

“Uh, go down that hall and to the left,” he said, using his hand to gesture down a hallway. “There’s a couch you can, uh… There’s a couch.”

“Thanks,” Drake muttered under his breath and took off down the hall. As he walked, he noticed how limp and unresponsive Rylie felt in his arms. She still had yet to show any signs that this was what she intended to happen and he was actually beginning to worry.

Eventually, Drake ended up in a well-furbished room that looked as if it had been taken straight out of a 1930’s Hollywood hotel. There was a crystal chandelier, much older and more elaborate than the one in the boutique, and cream colored wallpaper with golden designs covered the walls. He moved across the plush maroon carpet and gently set Rylie down on a velvet fainting couch, ignoring the surprised looks he got from the few people who milled about, chatting.

He knelt beside her, hand cupping her cheek. “Christ, Cole…”

Her lip quirked up and Rylie opened one eye slightly to look at him. “So it worked?”

“Did what – “Drake stopped midsentence, his mouth falling open as the realization dawned on him. “So that really was your plan? Riley, what the hell - ”

“Shh!” she said quickly, trying not to smile as she slowly sat up and placed her hand on her head. She looked disoriented and Drake shook his head, knowing now for sure that it was all for show. “What happened?”

Subtly, she gestured for him to lean in and her eyes signaled for him to stay in character.

“You… You fainted,” he said begrudgingly, sitting back on his heels as he shook his head slightly. He couldn’t believe he had actually begun to fall for it.

Rylie nodded slowly, her eyes travelling around the room. They flashed in recognition and she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Drake turned and backed away as a short, nicely dressed man hurried towards them. He had pale skin, dark hair that was styled back with gel, and blue eyes that flicked around as he knelt beside Rylie and handed her a glass of water.

“Fainting, huh?” the man whispered, smiling slightly as Rylie took the glass and drank. Watching them, Drake realized with a start that this guy was in on the plan too.

“Worked, didn’t it?” she said over the rim.

“Amazingly, yes,” he chuckled, reaching into his suit pocket and discreetly producing two ticket stubs. He slipped them into her hand. “Here, these are for you. The best I could do last minute.”

Rylie grinned, lowering the glass and handing it back to him before kissing his cheek. “I owe you one, Daniel.”

“Yeah, you do,” Daniel nodded, standing. He glanced around the room as if to make sure no one was watching. “Enjoy your show, Ryles.”

Rylie nodded and swung her legs off of the couch as Daniel walked away. She looked down at the tickets and smiled faintly.

“Another friend?” Drake sat next to her, his hands in his lap as he looked at her in wonder. What she just did… He couldn’t believe the stunt she just pulled – or the fact that it actually worked. She had guts and she was definitely daring. He couldn’t help but be impressed, yet again.

“Yeah,” Rylie nodded, eyes flitting up to meet his. “What’s that look for?”

Drake looked away quickly, and shook his head. “Nothing. I just… I can’t believe that actually worked. You actually had me going for a moment, there, Cole. I was worried it was all real.”

Rylie giggled. “It’s nice to know you care, Drake. But you have to admit, it was a brilliant plan.”

“Sure, sure it was,” Drake rolled his eyes and ran a hand though his hair before tugging at his tie. “Just… warn me next time you take a dive like that. I might not be able to catch you next time.”

She smirked, nudging his arm with her elbow. “Oh, Drake. You know I like to keep you on your toes.”

Drake clucked his tongue and shook his head. He let out a long sigh and glanced sideways at her. “What am I going to do with you, Cole?”

“Well,” Rylie stood, holding her hand out to him. “For starters, you can follow me to our seats and thank me by buying me a drink later? I think I deserve it, after all. Don’t you think?”

Drake scoffed, taking her hand and letting her lead the way. “Sure thing, Cole. I know I sure as hell could use one.”

The play was great, Drake was sure of it.

Sitting in the theater had dredged up some nostalgic feelings of home that were nice to entertain for a while, but he couldn’t pay attention for the life of him. Not with Rylie sitting next to him.

He couldn’t help but glance her way every so often. Even in the dim lighting, he thought Rylie looked incredible. Stunning, even. But as he watched her, he realized that his interest went beyond how nicely her hair fell, or the gentle slope of her nose, or even how red her lips were.

Forget what he’d thought earlier about Rylie not being particularly striking or comparable to the ladies of the court. He was wrong. He realized that as he found himself caught up in the way she tucked her hair behind her ear, how her lips mouthed the words to the songs, how her eyes sparkled during some of the more powerful acts.

That was beautiful.

“Didn’t anyone teach you that it’s rude to stare?” Rylie whispered out of the corner of her mouth without looking at him.

Her words reminded him of the first ones she’d ever spoken to him. He smiled slightly, not even bothered by the fact she’d caught him staring. “Didn’t anyone ever teach you?

Her lips curved upwards. “I don’t think I’m the one staring.”

“Touché,” Drake said quietly. He looked at her thoughtfully for a few more seconds. He couldn’t believe that it was possible that they’d started their day together at odds, snapping at each other every chance they got. And even after they’d called a truce, they still argued and bickered over almost everything they’d disagreed on. She never let him get away with anything, yet she’d gotten him out here and showed him a good time even though that shouldn’t have been possible.

She was like a weak link in the defenses he’d set up around him, a chink in his armor, a storm that he never saw coming. She’d snuck up on him when he was least expecting it, made herself a place within those walls he’d built, and he didn’t know how to get her out.

But as far as weaknesses went, well… She wasn’t the worst.

Drake forced himself to look away, fixing his eyes on the performers on stage.

During the show’s intermission, the two found themselves in some corner in the back of the theater’s lobby, away from the main crowd of people who were swarming the concession stand and mingling with others.

“Are you enjoying the show?” Drake asked as they leaned against the wall.

“Definitely,” Riley nodded, looking up at him. “Are you?”

“Yeah.” He turned towards her, his shoulder pressing into the wall. “Thanks, Cole. For… all of this. I know I’m a pain in the ass half the time, but this… it means a lot to me. That someone would do as much as you have for me tonight.”

“So you don’t regret coming to New York, now?”

Drake let a few moments pass before responding. Sure, circumstances weren’t ideal and the whole thing was a giant mess. But considering everything, his trip could have gone much worse. He could think of very few things that would make it perfect. “No,” he shook his head. “It’s a mess. But it’s worth it.”

Rylie nodded as she looked down at her dress, fiddling with the hem of it. A comfortable silence lapsed between the both of them as they enjoyed the quiet they had found together amidst the crowd.

After a while, Rylie pushed off the wall and stood up straight, grabbing his hand to hold their arms out between them. She shifted her grip so their knuckles pressed into each other’s palms, thumbs resting on top. “Drake. Hey, Drake.”

“Cole,” he mimicked her, raising his voice a few octaves just to bug her. “Hey, Cole.”

“You’re so annoying, I swear,” Rylie rolled her eyes and tugged on his arm. “Thumb war. Come on, let’s go.”

“You want to have a thumb war?” Drake raised an eyebrow, pushing off against the wall.

“Yeah,” she shrugged, wagging her thumb from side to side. “Unless you’re scared I’m going to beat you.”

Drake scoffed. “Right. Believe what you want, Cole. Let’s go, I can take you any day.”

“Uh huh, less talk more do,” Rylie challenged with a grin. Never once did it occur to her how odd it might look to others that two, nicely dressed and grown adults were competitively having a thumb war in the corner of a theater lobby.

“You’re on, Cole.”

Without waiting, Riley started nudging his thumb with hers, trying to trap it down. They went on like this, laughing and yelping every now and then, not caring a single bit who was watching. After neither could get the best of the other, Rylie gave in to impatience and reached up with her other hand and pushed his thumb down to cover it with hers.


“I think I win,” Rylie chuckled as she took in his extremely offended expression.

“Like hell, you cheater,” Drake scowled, dropping her hand in mock disgust.

They bantered back and forth for a while, Drake bringing in morals and accusing her of breaking made-up Cordonian laws about cheating in thumb wrestling, Rylie giggling and telling him she didn’t care because this wasn’t Cordonia and there weren’t laws here in the United States against “using one’s resources” to win. He told her that was unfair, she laughed harder.

He liked it. He liked it when she laughed. They way her skin crinkled near the corner of her eyes and her cheeks became full to accommodate her large and uncontrollable smile. He liked her laugh lines and the way her nose scrunched up.

“Cole, you’re so…” he peered at her, wonder in his eyes. “What is it about you? You’re so frustrating, but…”

Rylie raised an eyebrow, her lip quirking up as if to egg him on. “But?”

Drake was silent for a few moments before he shook his head. “But… nothing. You’re just frustrating. That’s all.”

“No, I don’t think so, Drake. You were going to say something else.” Riley grinned, shoving his shoulder. Suddenly, her face lit up and her mouth dropped open. “Wait, were you going to compliment me?”

He scoffed. “Me, compliment you? Dream on, Cole. Not in a million years.”

“You’re a bad liar, you know that?” she smirked, folding her arms.

“Am not! And I’m not lying. You’ll never find a guy more truthful than myself.”

“Yeah, right,” Rylie rolled her eyes. “I’ll believe that when pigs fly. I think you, Drake,” she poked his chest, “were just about to say something nice to me.”

“I would never…” He tucked his chin into his neck indignantly as his hand covered hers on his chest.

“Oh, I think you would,” Rylie grinned, slowly drawing closer. “Admit it. I’m growing on you, Drake.”

As she leaned up on her tiptoes so that their faces were inches apart, she became hyper aware of the fact that her hand was flat against his chest and trapped beneath his own. Drake’s expression faltered as he felt her breath on his cheeks, she was that close. The air between them suddenly grew tense, like someone had sucked the air out of the room.

Without meaning to, Drake began to study her face up close. Every detail of her face was now bared to him and his eyes rushed to take it all in, commit it to memory. Her big brown eyes, the faint and few pigmented freckles that had formed from the sun, her gentle but prominent Cupid’s bow. Suddenly, he felt as if they were back in the fountain, drenched and bodies pressed closely together. Not even thinking, he reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear and left his hand on her cheek.

“Maybe so,” he murmured. The thought was laughable, that some stranger from America could possibly grow on him the way Riley did when no one else could even make a mark. But as he gazed at her now, he realized that there was nothing funny about this and the way he suddenly felt about her.

“Knew it,” Rylie breathed out, her face heating as she flourished under his gaze, those dark eyes locking her in place and stealing her breath away. Her other hand came up to press against his chest, feeling his warmth through the fabric of his shirt.

This was strange, so unbelievably strange. A begrudgingly formed friendship between two people from very different worlds so suddenly flipped as they stood, pressed together in the back of a theater lobby.

His eyes fell to her lips.

He wanted to kiss her.

God, he wanted to kiss her.

Her voice was low and gravelly when she spoke. “Drake…”

At the sound of her voice, he looked up again and met her eyes. Instantly, he was sobered, blinking to shake off the wild thoughts that had ran rampant in his mind. He couldn’t…

Drake stepped back, letting his hands fall to his side.

Kissing Rylie suddenly felt impossible, like a bridge he wasn’t meant to cross. No matter what he was feeling, it didn’t matter. While he might go as far as to call Rylie a friend, she was still the stranger he’d met earlier in the day and nothing could change that, not in the time they were allowed. She didn’t have a place in his world, and he didn’t have one in hers. He was only here until morning, and by tomorrow night, he’d be back in Cordonia while Rylie remained in New York. By morning, they’d say their goodbyes, head in separate ways, and life would go back to normal. Nothing could change that, so there was no use to getting attached now.

It was a bad idea from the start, he should have never let things get this far. He should have never let her in.

“We can’t,” he said softly, looking away so he didn’t have to see her expression. He didn’t have to see her face to know that she was just a disappointed as he was, but he knew that looking would only weaken his resolve.

Before Riley could question him further, the crowd around them started shifting and pushed back towards the doors that lead back to the show. Intermission was over.

“Looks like we better head back,” Drake said, tucking his hands into his pockets as he fell in step with everyone else.

Rylie looked after him, her fingertips absently touching the spot on her cheek where his hand had been seconds before.

What the hell was that?

Shaking her head, Rylie shoved those thoughts, those feelings, down and followed him.

(tagging @thedrakeside )

also pixelberry wtf was that last chapter I’m?? upset??

edit: i just realized i switched the spelling of Riley to Rylie i’m so MAD

muldertorture  asked:

Monsieur, you are possessed of a singularly beautiful mind, and from it have come many beautiful creations. I saw someone ask you about an opera but I'd like to ask you about your latest architectural designs. Is there anything you are particularly excited for or contemplating organizing the creation of?

Do you know, I doubt I’ve ever been asked about my architectural endeavours. Blueprints are hardly lively conversation starters.

I suppose it’s all rather unremarkable design as of late. No marble columns, no sweeping balustrades. Curious, really…I have designed palaces, grand mazes, wonders, one may call them, yet now…

…I’ve drafted a house. A small affair; a bit of a cottage, really, with a sunroom, foreign thing, and more windows than are strictly necessary and enough room for two individuals to inhabit it, perhaps, and a piano. A fireplace. A kitchen. A sitting room.

And a garden. I have never had a garden. I once thought them superfluous but I would…well, I suppose I would no longer object to one.

….A careless project of mine, really.


Story:The Royal Romance

Characters: Riley (MC) 

Summary: Riley tries to get her life in the U.S. back on track after the events of King Liam’s coronation, but she can’t run seem to escape all that happened to her in Cordonia.                                                                                                          

Rating: PG (I’m awful at ratings. Alludes to issues of depression and anxiety)

Author’s Note: This has been in my head for a couple of days and when I started writing it was becoming way longer than I initially intended. This is the first part of that story. I’ll do a part 2 if people like it. As always feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

Riley sat in the small waiting area taking in the sleekly designed office space. The friendly, casual atmosphere did little to calm her nerves, which recently were set on edge whenever she ventured outside her apartment. For the girl who had once dreamed of traveling the world, it had become a feat these days for her to make it past her doorway. It had been months since she left Cordonia. A part of her wished she had been strong enough to stay and fight to clear her name alongside her friends, but every time she thought about the night of the coronation, she became overwhelmed and hopeless and wanted nothing more than to get as far away as she could.

She thought she would feel better once she was back home in New York. Riley soon found, however, that even New York filled her with memories of Liam and the night they met. When the opportunity to move across the country with her old college roommate came, she readily jumped at it, hoping to escape her Cordonian fairytale turned nightmare once and for all. But here she was, a world away from everything that had happened to her all those months ago, still hiding from the world, fearing that every stranger that glanced her way could be the one to tip off the press and bring that hoard down on her again. And then she would never be able to escape.

Keep reading

Over the Years

Fandom: Dragon Age

Pairings: Baby Rutherford/Baby Theirin, Sophie Rutherford/Bryce Theirin, Cullen/Inquisitor, Cullen/Tessa, Alistair/Warden, Alistair/Eryn

Rating: Teen

Summary: Sophie Rutherford is the daughter of the Inquisitor and the Commander of the Inquisition. She grew up learning everything from sword fighting and spell casting from her parents. Nothing they have taught her could have possibly prepared her for the Crown Prince of Ferelden, who had a bright smile and blue eyes to match.

(I love the idea of Cullen’s daughter and Alistair’s son falling in love so I finally wrote something)

Bryce hated it when important people visited.

It meant he had to wear a stiff, itchy coat and boots that were too nice to go outside and play in. Oh no, these boots had to stay inside or on the castle grounds so they wouldn’t be ruined.

The thing Bryce hated the most was seeing his parents act all different. They weren’t their laughing, smiling selves when important people were around. The smiles were fake and their words were forced.

Luckily, he was able to have his trusty mabari puppy, Midnight. Which was unusual, since she usually wasn’t allowed to be around important people.

Midnight was his best friend and he was so happy to see her on his 10th name day celebration.

Her black fur gleamed in the sunlight and he patted her head happily. Maybe today won’t be as bad because she was there.

The sound of the gates opening had him looking up and narrowing his eyes as four riders came galloping in. That was a really small number for important people. One was a woman with long, orange hair. His eyes widened when he realized who exactly was visiting. He couldn’t remember much about this lady, but she was super important, he remembered that.

And he remembered that she was very nice.

Bryce instantly knew this wasn’t going to be like the normal visit from important people. He glanced up at his parents and was surprised to see them smiling like they normally did. There was no pretending.

Another rider was behind the important lady and Bryce was curious when he saw a blond, tall man and a little girl. Wait, she looked around his age, did this mean they could play?

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Murder King or Murder Queen? Pt. 2- The Players

Part One: The Timeline

Now, having established a timeline of events, I’m going to look at the players involved and what we know about them. I’m going to save the King and Queen for the final part, but there are a lot of other players who I think all have some influence on what is going on, whether directly or indirectly.

(I had to take one screenshot from Abhiro’s YouTube channels and it is clearly marked in the corner.)

Keep reading

Just Let Go



‘We are made of all those who have built and broken us.’

“—Two weeks straight of just watching it. The break-up hit him harder than I thought,” Becca sighed, shaking her head. “Amy still thinks I had something to do with it.”

Aislan raised a brow, leaning her chin onto her hands that rested on the large bed. “Oh yeah. I can’t think of any reason why she’d come to that conclusion,” the brunette said, voice thick with sarcasm.  

I hear the sarcasm and am electing to ignore it. How’s Cordonia?

She shrugged her shoulders, glancing at the large window. She couldn’t see much from the bed, but what she did see were clear blue skies. Since Aislan’s arrival into the country, it’s been great weather every day. It was like she had some guardian angel looking out for her; or incredible luck.

“The weather is gorgeous. Explored the palace maze earlier,” she answered, hooking her ankles together and rocking them back and forth. “Went to the horse races yesterday.”

I saw. Look at you, Media Queen. I knew my lessons would rub off on you,” her cousin beamed, pulling out her phone. “Have you read the section on you?”

“No…what does it say?”

Lady Aislan Hawke—the Mystery Suitor. This young beauty comes all the way from New York. Not much is known about her, besides her wit, charm and well-mannered nature. This suitor brings in much needed breath of fresh air to Cordonia court. Prince Liam seems taken with her but that’s only half the battle. If she’s chosen, what queen will she be?” Becca glanced back at her, a brow raised. “They’ve really built up your image there.”

“And one wrong move could tear it all down; One of Bertrand’s many reminders,” Aislan sighed, rolling over and staring up at the ceiling. As much as she loved Maxwell, it was his brother she couldn’t stand. He was always breathing down her neck about court, how to get to the prince, how much was at stake for his house—broke house—and how they depended on her. “Was this all a mistake?”

Aislan thought she had said that quietly, but it seemed her cousin heard her.

Does it feel like one?” Becca questioned and she didn’t answer. “Look Ash, I’m not an expert on royalty, but I do know love. Do you have feelings for Liam?”

She thought about it.

Back in New York, Liam seemed like the big brother of the three who happened to have dinner in her restaurant. Looking after Drake and Maxwell—mainly Maxwell—and not having fun himself. When she took him to see the Statue of Liberty, it was the first time he seemed to relax a little. Seeing his soft smile, the awe in his gaze at the French gift…

The time they ran around in the maze, laughing and exploring. His kind, considerate nature was what stood out to her. A guy who would selflessly give his life to protect those he cared about.

Did she love him?


But could there be a future with him?

“There’s something there,” the brunette finally answered, rolling back onto her stomach. “I saw it in New York. Liam carries the weight of this country on his shoulders. I want to help carry the load.”

Becca’s eyes softened. “There’s your answer. He seems like a great guy from what you’ve said—hey Brooke.”

“Sorry! Am I interrupting?” Brooke’s blonde hair was damp as she came into the camera’s view. “Hi Aislan! How’s Cordonia and the prince? Is he treating you right?”

Aislan chuckled. “Hi Brooke. It’s great and yes he is.”

You can use the shower now,” Brooke informed the raven-haired woman who stood up.

Great! I’ve got a date with the nerdy guy. Ben, I think his name is,” Becca said and turned back to her cousin. “Hey, I’ve got to go but have fun. I’ll talk to you later?”

“Sure, if I can get away from the competition for a moment. Love you,” Aislan smiled before ending the Skype chat. Sighing, she closed her laptop and rolled off from the bed. Heading to the window, she gazed out at the view of the royal garden. Gorgeous flowers of all kinds and of all colours dressed the area, drawing your gaze in.

Sitting inside is only going to make me think. And thinking might lead to unnecessary stress as Becca puts it, she thought to herself, musing over her options. It was a nice day out, maybe she could draw some sketches.

Deciding on it, she dug out her sketch pad and a pencil and left her room. Moving her way through the castle, she stepped outside and breathed in the fresh air. The warmth from the sun sent shivers down her spine and her mood was already improving.

Last time she went into the maze, Liam showed her the way out and she remembered every detail of it. With ease, she headed towards the centre and sat down on the marble bench. Opening the pad, her eyes swept the area for something to draw and settled on a single rose.

She had been so absorbed into her task that she had failed to hear footsteps coming from behind.

“Lady Aislan.”

“Jesus Christ!” Aislan swore, jumping a little and throwing her pencil onto the ground. Liam held up his hands, eyes widened a little and a small, amused smile on his lips. “I swear they need to put a damn bell on you. It’s not very prince-like to sneak up on a lady.”

“My apologises,” Liam said but his tone said otherwise. “I was just admiring your work. You’re very talented.”

“Thank you. Now if only my father thought that,” she mused and studied him for a moment. His bone structure was remarkable… “Mind if I draw you?”

He blinked before softening his gaze. “I would be honoured. May I keep the sketch afterwards?”

“Can you negotiate well enough?” she asked, moving over to allow him to sit down beside her.

Liam chuckled. “I would be a terrible future-king if I couldn’t,” he joked and got into a comfortable position. “How would you like me to be?”

“Just be yourself and relax.”

“I always do with you, Aislan.”

She paused and stared at him. His soft, blue eyes stared into her brown ones with warmth and admiration. His shoulders weren’t as tense as usual and he genuinely seemed to be at ease with her. He wasn’t the prince his parents built him to be.

Her heart thudded.

Maybe there is something there after all.


Song: Just Let Go from Bratz Fashion Pixiez

@kittenmusicals @hollyashton

The Ice Palace - a Kristanna week fic

I wrote a thing! And now I will go to BED

The Ice Palace
rated G
words: 2119
Prompt: Kiss/Fairytale

Arendelle – 1945

It had haunted his dreams for as long as he could remember—the ice palace, glittering on the mountain peak like a jeweled crown. Mysterious. Ancient.

Many people said that it didn’t exist. It was a legend, they said. A folk tale meant to explain the unusual weather, a cautionary story to warn climbers off of the treacherous crags. There was no proof, people said. No photographic equipment had ever survived the altitude—no planes could navigate the dangerous winds that whipped around the mountain and kept it perpetually shrouded in dark, stormy clouds.

There was no ice palace, they said. Nothing but a story for children.

Kristoff knew better.

After all, they said the same thing about trolls.

Keep reading

Newt: Pacing

The sound of Cranks were orbiting him, taunting him. Newt’s throat was dry and his feet were soar from endless pacing. That’s all he did. Day after day. He paced. Thinking. Pacing. More thinking. Too much thinking. Please stop thinking.


His body jerked as he refused to let out a sob. He felt his upper lip twitch in anger for WICKED. His face was burning red and he wanted to rip them apart, he wanted to- NO.
He was thinking like one of them.




A crowd of Cranks had gathered to watch the boy as he walked back and forth, oblivious to what was in his path. His eyes rarely blinked and his jaw was locked.
Their ravenous eyes followed him, back and forth. They looked as though they were waiting for something, waiting for him to break. They’d all been there, but they were way past the gone so it didn’t matter to them anymore.




“Hey! Quit it will ya!?” A guard shouted towards Newt, raising his gun threateningly. The Cranks sneered but Newt didn’t notice.



“I said quit it!” The guard raised his voice and stormed over to Newt. Yet even then he was too spaced out to realise.
The guard hit him over the head with the butt of the gun and Newt collapsed to the floor.
Cranks cheered and cackled and more and more were turning their attention to the commotion.

Newt snapped out of his gaze and went into something else that wasn’t…him.
He lost it. He threw himself at the guard, scratching and kicking and screaming…biting, even.
The guard cried out in pain and reached for his gun which had fallen from his grip. Newt pinned him down. But it wasn’t Newt. It was someone else- something else.

Newt started screaming at him, thrashing his arms and legs about wildly.

He then stopped as quickly as he’d started. He sat back in realisation at what he’d done. Guilt flooded his face and he could do nothing but stare.
“I-I’m sorry.” He remorsed, shaking his head in disbelief. He backed away from the guard on his hands and feet, he then noticed all the attentive eyes on him. Every crank in the palace was watching him like a hawk. All were silent.

Every single crazy long gone crank that hadn’t stopped wailing on since the minute he arrived here were dead quiet. It was an eery silence, the one you’d expect before absolute chaos.

Newt then looked down at the guard, noticing a change. He wasn’t moving.

His lifeless body was barely recognisable as being one, his clothes were filthy rags and his skin was as red as the blood that surrounded him. Only some of his hair remained in spaced out blotches and his eyes were wide open with terror.

It didn’t take long for the Cranks to notice too and they began cheering Newt with their chants and shouts. Newt stood up slowly and they grew louder, inching closer to the dead body. In less than a second they were tearing away at the guard, finishing him off like vultures.

Cranks fought Cranks for the best limb or the sharpest tooth or the nicest eyeball. It disgusted Newt, they weren’t people. They were Cranks…and so was he.

He turned away from them and began pacing.









Don’t You Dare!

325 with King George, “Who’s gonna stop me?  You?”  Prompt by anon

“Good morning, my darling,” your husband called as you finally woke.  He went to your side and gave you a brief kiss before returning to his desk.

“Good morning, love. Have you been awake long?”  You glanced out the window at the sun to try and determine how late into the morning it was.

“I’ve been awake long enough.”

“Have you been hard at work?”

“I was meant to be working this new decree, but I’ve been distracted.  You are quite an angel when you sleep.”  

“And what of when I’m awake? Am I still an angel?”

He quietly laughed as he gazed at you fondly and replied, “When you are awake, you are an like an archangel, a Madonna, a goddess―more beautiful and lovely than all of creation.”

You walked over to him and pulled him into a kiss, whispering, “I would not wish any companion in the world but you.”

George smiled and asked, “Shakespeare, darling, this early in the morning?  You must be in an exceptional mood.”

“Well, I did have an excellent start to my morning―a kiss from my handsome husband, compliments from my incredible husband, another kiss from my wonderful husband―just perfect.”

“You seem to have more husbands than I was aware of―pray tell which one am I?” he jested and laughed.

“Why, you are my favorite husband, of course!”  you laughed with him and when the laughter died down after a few minutes asked after breakfast.  George let you know it would be in soon and left you to get dressed.


You had been married to your husband for several years.  He had been king of Great Britain for 20 years now and the two of you had been married for almost as long.  George had only recently been crowned king when he met you as a member of the royal court. You had visiting the court with your father, one of the many dukes scattered throughout England.

Soon after he began to court you, you were engaged and then married.  It had been a wonderful marriage.  Your husband, while odd sometimes, was never shy with his affections.  He wouldn’t hesitate to kiss you in the throne room or hold your hand on a royal visit.  It was a wonderful marriage filled with love and laughter.


After breakfast, George suggested a stroll through the gardens.  The two of you headed outside and walked around, enjoying the scenery. It was a magnificent day—the sun was shining and the birds were singing.  You couldn’t help but smile and sigh contentedly.

“What’s made you so happy, my dear Y/N?” your husband asked.

“You must guess, George.”

“Why don’t you just tell me? Surely, it can’t be anything secret. You wouldn’t keep secrets from me, right?”  He looked at you expectantly.  He knew you would never hide anything from him, but he was very curious to know your thoughts.

“Of course not, love. How about this, if you catch me, I promise to tell you what I’m thinking about?”

“If I catch you?  What do you me―”  Before he could finish his sentence, you were off.  You ran toward the center of the hedge maze, taking random turns and trying to get as far as possible before you had to stop.

You finally stopped in the center of the maze and sat down on the bench there.  You waited for George to catch up.  You hadn’t made it difficult, but you knew he would scold you for running away.  Suddenly, you heard his footsteps approached.

“Y/N!  Where are you?  What is going on?  If I have to run all the way back through, I’m not going to be happy.”  He continued to rant as he finally walked through the opening in the hedge to see you sitting neatly in the center of the maze.  He made his way over to you with a scowl on his face.

“You know, Y/N, dear, it isn’t very nice to run away from your king.”  His face was so stern, it was difficult for you to retain your composure.

“My liege,” you said in a mock-somber voice, “I never meant to upset you.”

“Well, darling, you shall just have to be punished,” he replied, a mischievous smirk appearing as he stalked toward you. Oh, no.  You knew that face.

“You wouldn’t!”

“Wouldn’t I?”

“Don’t you dare!”

You looked around for an easy escape, but there was none to be found and he was almost to your bench.

“Who’s gonna stop me?  You?”  he laughed as he finally approached you and reached towards you.

“George, no!”  you screamed, giggling and laughing as he tickled you. It was your weakness and he knew it.

“Do you surrender?”

“Yes, yes, I surrender!”

You squealed as he lifted you up in his arms and carried you, bridal style, back through the maze towards the palace.  As you entered, he set you down on your feet and pulled you into a kiss.  He finally pulled away, kissed your forehead and walked you back upstairs to your room.

George made to return to his study to work on his papers as he called out, “I’m headed off to work now, so no more distractions.”

I’ll try, but I make no promises.

Good Enough - Loki fic for Secret Santa Fic exchange

TITLE: Good Enough
AUTHOR: theothercourse 
GENRE: Angst/Drama/Romance
FIC SUMMARY:  For thereallimegreenandloki Secret Santa Fic Exchange, a very Merry Christmas to there-will-be-better-days - I hope you enjoy this. I’m not very good with Loki, but I did my best for you. 
AUTHORS NOTES/WARNINGS:  Based heavily on For Good from the musical Wicked, because I love that song. This isn’t a Christmas piece, by request. A very special thank you to missviolethunter and crescent-moon-rising who helped because I don’t normally write Loki, but they do! 

Good Enough

My heart sank all the way to my fancy ball shoes at the sight of it. What I suspected and dreaded for weeks came to fruition, and right before my very eyes. The betrayal, the jealousy burned with the torment of years of wanting, yearning and holding my tongue. How does one confess their heart to their best friend? How should I confess my heart? Why should I?

As part of the royal family of Asgard, Loki was destined for greatness, to become a ruler, a king, a God. He was so skilled in things such as sorcery, magics, duplication, charms, shape shifting and talking his way out of trouble or punishment with the officials around the palace. He charmed me with his tricks and mischievous ways by the time I was ten and I’d been smitten ever since. He was so clever, so intuitive, several steps ahead of most any high ranking person, with a decent amount of intellect.

I covered my crush with false annoyance and avoidance, but Loki was a master manipulator and cold see through my ruse. We remained friends, the best of friends, since our school days, without complication and we were comfortable.

Until the Three Moons Ball.     

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Metal Gleamed in the Twilight (Piano Reprise)
Coeur de Pirate
Metal Gleamed in the Twilight (Piano Reprise)

[Coeur de Pirate] Metal Gleamed in the Twilight - Piano Reprise (Child of Light)

What a shame that the OST for Child of Light left out all the ambient tracks and piano melodies! But worry not, fellow fans, for it is my mission to put every last beautiful trill of the piano in my iTunes library! And I guess I’ll share it with some of you guys in the process because I’m just nice like that. In any case, here is the piano refrain of Metal Gleamed in the Twilight, the beautiful boss theme. You may remember hearing it from talking with Magna, or in the maze of the Twilight Palace. Or other places! The tracks do seem to randomize, after all.