royal-garden

ok you know that ‘make the princess laugh and you can have her hand in marriage’ thing?

imagine so many come in.

they try, so hard, to make her laugh.

she just sits there, morose, ignoring every man who tries to coax a smile.

one day she’s sitting on the balcony. she just looks so sad.

of course that little thief tries to make her smile.

a girl who goes through the (semi public) royal gardens every day to pick flowers, even though technically only the royal family is allowed to do that. 

she sees the princess while she’s picking them up to sell on the streets, and she’s just… so sad. this princess needs someone to cheer her up.

and she tries. she’ll do silly dances when she comes in, she’ll bring up frogs from ponds and act out comedies, she’ll make flower crowns and exaggerate just how hard it is.

the first few days, the princess doesn’t even look at her.

then she starts noticing. this girl, trying so hard to cheer her up. she probably hasn’t even heard of the hand in marriage thing, she doesn’t know she’s trying so hard for nothing.

but she does it anyway.

one day, the princess starts talking to her as she does these things. “You do know that it’s useless?”

“What?” the thief says. “No way! I’m going to get you to laugh!”

“The best jesters in the kingdom have tried, don’t bother,” the princess declared pessimistically, staring down at the girl.

Then the thief puffs out her chest, “Of course I am! I’ll find the best jokes, even better than the jesters have found! I’ll… fight a fire breathing dog for them!”

There’s no laugh, but the corner of the princess’s mouth twitches. it’s sad how she thinks she can make me laugh…

the girl keeps trying, for years, making more silly stories and trading flowers for jokes rather than food or money. the princess slowly realizes the girl is getting closer and closer, asking her for responses in knock knock jokes and encouraging her to speak when she wouldn’t respond immediately.

the princess eventually had the girl hanging from her balcony, holding on tight to the rail and feet wedged between the columns, grinning and telling yet another iteration of that already old chicken joke.

the princess has been smiling, slightly, but she mostly just looks unresponsive. the girl is happy, it’s better than looking so sad, like she had been years before.

the girl moves on to puns, pointing at the exotic lunch the princess was eating. “Why do the melons have to go to get married? They cantaloupe!”

“You only know that word because of me,” the princess snarks, but there’s a small smile there, a bit of happiness. This little flower girl, this thief has grown into an amazing friend, a wonderful person who genuinely just wants to help. she doesn’t know of the deal, only nobles and jesters could know, not the commonfolk.

“Well, it makes quite the pun,” the girl says, proud of her joke. a smile! what an accomplishment!

“Say…” she continued, “What would you call a princess who got swept up in conversation a thief?” she pulled a flower out of her pocket, waving it in front of the princess’s face. the princess’s eyes crossed to see the flower before they rolled at the obvious setup.

though, it was interesting that it obviously involved them.

“I don’t know,” she admitted, sighing in preparation for another horrible pun. “What?”

the girl grinned. “A pretty theft!” she exclaimed, ticking the flower against the princess’s nose.

the princess froze for a moment, stunned. she had been complimented a million times over, called graceful by etiquette instructors, been called beautiful by many a suitor, been called wonderful by her mother before… she stopped thinking about that. 

she had never been called pretty.

she burst into laughter at the commonplace compliment, as if she was some sort of milkmaid who had somehow grown up to be good looking! it was ridiculous, the notion, yet somehow it had her blushing all the same.

then she suddenly stopped, realizing what she’d done.

the flower thief was staring at her in amazement, a blush of her own speckling her cheeks. her flower tilted out from in front of the princess’s nose, as if it had it’s own amazement.

“Wow…” the girl breathed. she’d never heard something so beautiful in her life.

The princess was silent, knowing what she had just done. She had just laughed for the first time in years.

The girl may not have been aware of the arrangement, but she was quickly swept up in it. A maid had heard the laughter and burst in, to find the thief and the princess, caught up in each other’s eyes, reveling in what had just happened.

The wedding was beautiful, a flower filled affair, a wonderful nod to how it happened. The king was so happy to see his daughter with someone who made her smile for once, tearing up as they were wed.

The princess’s laugh was still incredibly rare. She still had a hard time smiling. But a well timed joke from the girl– no, her wife– and another flower that had a hidden meaning behind it, than maybe, maybe you would hear it.

After all, the princess had finally laughed with the one she loved.

“make the princess speak and you will have the crown of kings.”

my knees hurt, as usual, from scrubbing. technically i’m too high of Maid Station to help out with these things, but i like seeing what happens when you clean. the development of things. how a lot of effort can make something. i like learning and trying and working hard to get towards something.

and i’ve seen them, from the back of pillars, from behind cracked doors, from beside her (on the best days) the way they talk to her. oh beautiful won’t you just look at me. oh darling. if you speak i’ll be your prince. if you speak i’ll be your king. 

the princess, i know, finds the lines of suitors boring. it’s in the way her hands are always moving. she hides yawns, leaves early, we make her apologies. once, a man comes and tries to startle her into screaming. she rolls her eyes and looks directly at me. i have to hide my smile behind my sleeve. he is taken away while still screaming.

by accident, i find her once, crying. when we imagine princesses, they always cry daintily. hers is hoarse, angry, and something in it breaks me. in my station i should apologize and bow and leave. instead i am frozen, watching her shoulders heaving.

she looks up and spots me, her cheeks ruddy. i know i should go but instead i make a big show. i act as one of her princes. i make grand gestures and speak in deep voices. i frantically offer her handkerchiefs and trip over my own two feet. a smile crawls up over her, slowly. i dab my sweat away and offer her the used rag. i feign a fluster, turn a terrible cartwheel, make shadow puppets. the sound of her laugh, raw and rusty, sends shivers through me.

for a while, i do not see her after this. but then i am called to her chambers. she is crying again. i offer silly gifts, pebbles and dusting rags and a candlestick from her own kitchen, pretend to steal it, use it as a hat, rock it as a babe. she laughs more easily this time, gladly, and when she laughs i am taken by more important maids, thereby officially Excused.

it goes like this for months. the winter comes. i rarely see her. i spend my week thinking about ways to please her. i knick interesting cookies, show her shiny buttons, learn to cartwheel in a full skirt, and then promptly how to make it look foolish again. i learn how to juggle hot bread and dance as a man would, i learn how to balance on a ball and how to fall down without hurting myself, how to fake a fight with my own body, which colors she likes and which don’t please her.

i show up on a cold eve with a knotted line of scarves hidden down my sleeve, worried and breathless, wondering why she’s been crying. the door opens and she is sitting there, happy. at first i’m confused, but she waves me in. next to her is her small dessert, in two containers. i’m not sure how to respond, so i fake a fall to hear her laugh, and then sit at her feet. she gives me ice cream - so rare a treat. i know what went into making it - the hours of shaking. it’s smooth and tasty. i don’t feign my reaction, but she laughs anyway, kindly. 

it goes like this. i see her more frequently. she likes giving me new things, watching me discover i hate kiwi and love oranges and would die if it made her laugh breathlessly. i’ve made her keel over with cackling and she’s put a fire in me. sometimes we just sit there, quietly, enjoying each other’s company. 

it’s in her hands, always moving. little things i thought were just her, fidgeting. here’s how she says she’s thirsty, this is what her hands do when she needs a second to think, here’s how she shows she’s happy. this is how i learn to speak back to her. around her i spend much of my time smiling. i feel every visit is a gift. a new part to unravel. i find out she doesn’t respond to spoken things, that she needs to be looking in order to know you were speaking. sometimes she has me talk and she holds her hands to the base of my throat, her eyes wide and wondering. sometimes she just looks at me and i forget that i’m her jester in chief. i get caught up in her eyes, in how expressive they are when she’s happy, in how when she’s sad i feel like i’m drowning.

i never see the king or queen, but i know when she’s had a visit with them, because she never comes back happy. two winters i have known her, two winters and now we dine frequently. i am often called to stand beside her, to whisper translations of her desires into the ears of someone more important than i, someone who gets to be the voice of royalty. i can’t decide if i’m her friend or her plaything, but i don’t know i care much of the distinction. every moment i’m near her is a moment free of friction. i take stock of suitors and curtsy to them in daylight only to mock them in the candle’s eye later.

she asks me one night to stay. it has been a bad day. it’s completely not okay. i cannot say no but i cannot, by my station, stay. but she begs with her eyes and her hands and i know i’ll take the punishment. 

we lie beside each other. i make sure to turn to her when i speak. in the dark she can’t see me, so i move my hands in the way i’m learning. she asks if i am ever lonely. i cannot tell her that i am always lonely without her beside me, so instead i say i think all people are very lonely and just are pretending. she laughs a little at that and says she thinks her parents are the two most lonely people that ever met. her mother was like her; broke a fairy curse and talked, just once, although nobody knows what she said. well, excepting her father, who was the only one around, and who won her hand in marriage.

from her mother she learned the art of hands, of speaking without words - from her father she learned that who she was included a curse. that she just wanted someone who would make her open like a rose - someone who could fix her. how she stared out into the royal garden and wished on flowers to be what her kingdom needs.

she fell asleep pressed against me. i couldn’t breathe. i was still awake in the morning. 

the punishment never came. we spent nights like this. the handmaidens had grown to know me. whenever their princess was stubborn, i worked magic and made her lovely.

it was a terrible thing. i did too good a job, i think. the princess glowed too much or shone too brightly - or at least, i saw it that way, so who knows what the truth is. every day it felt like we were being rushed with princes. 

her father’s temper at hosting failed. it was the day before her twenty-first birthday and first time i’d ever seen him. he stormed in at the end of the session. “just speak!” he said, “it’s not that hard! do for others what your mother did!” 

“tomorrow is your last day of this,” he warned her, “either you pick a prince or i pick for you. i’m done with it.”

he stormed off. she was left shellshocked and trembling. that night she didn’t ask me to come, but i waited outside, just in case she changed her mind. i understood why she needed space. either she’d speak and be married tomorrow or she’d be married shortly. i heard her crying and it took everything in my power not to rush in and hold her, cradle her gently. but i cannot come into a room of a royal person without being invited. i stayed there, tears in my own eyes, thinking of treason.

the next day was a huge festival. what had been a birthday celebration was turned into a day about princes. i watched her shake her head. i tried to cheer her up. i tried everything. i frequently came inches from causing public humiliation, toed the line of mocking and failing to acknowledge my station. she wouldn’t smile. not once. not even for anything.

the day was long. the bonfire wore down. i watched her crumple into herself. i was out of ideas. i knelt at her feet. her eyes barely looked at me. just wait, i said to her with my hands, i’ll be right back. i took off running.

the price of stealing is losing my hands. these things that i spoke to her with. these things that mattered so much to me, that helped with my comedy and cleaning. 

i didn’t think of them. i bloodied my fingers when i ripped the royal roses from their stems. and then i ran, as fast as i could, back to her feet. i picked them to show you, i said, as she gasped, looking at my treason, they’re beautiful and nobody told them to open to reveal their secrets to the bees. they are unbroken. as you are. as you always will be. 

she fell off her throne and for a second i was beyond speaking, worried something had happened, or she’d fainted, or i’d said the wrong thing. but then she was on her knees, her arms around me, and i heard it. i heard the soft croak of her speaking. just one word, and it sent shivers down me. my name, in her voice, awkward and unwieldy, but full of love and passion, burning fire through me.

i felt a hand on my shoulder. i was pulled away from her. they already had me in handcuffs while i struggled to get back to her, to tell her i loved her, to beg her to run off with me or maybe just hold me around her, maybe just have her for a moment, because i couldn’t live without her for a moment longer.

they put me in the cells. i rotted in there, for a while or for no time at all, i’m not sure. the thorns scarred my palms. i watched the scabs build up and flake off. every time someone came down, i flinched, wondering if i would be the next to be taken and chopped into bits.

but one day the light was different. not the smoky torch of the jailer, instead a bright light in a lantern. at first when i saw her, my breath caught in my throat, mistaking her for my princess.

but she was my queen. at first we stood in silence. and slowly, i moved my hands to speak. is she married? is what came out, even though i should be more worried about me myself and me.

she is not. she bit her father on the arm when he tried to make her. then she fought him. and then ran away. it took us a bit to find her, i’m afraid. she threatened her own life and the life of everyone in this place. the queen was smiling. i was told there was a young woman who could make the princess speak, whom she would die to save, who brought roses to her feet. someone in a cell, rotting. are you her?

the memory of her voice rang through me. i’m she.

yes, her hands said, for even now, aren’t you speaking to the silent Queen?

she opened the door. come, she said, let’s get you cleaned up for the ceremony.

the crown of kings. when she wraps her arms around my neck and laughs next to me, i am royalty. when she smiles or makes a joke or asks to see my cartwheel again, i’m lost in her. i kiss her whenever i can, which is often. we have roses in a vase at the base of our bed, and for all of the kingdom, i’d give my hands if it would keep her laughing.

the next time she spoke was just once, at our wedding, where she said the two words i do to bind us for eternity. she had learned from me, from holding her hands over my voicebox, the way i learned from her how to use hands to speak. sometimes at night she says my name, just because she likes what it does to me.

i’m more blessed than a king. every day i spend with her is a day i spend happily. 

10

ORGANIZATION XIII: THE DATING GAME

Yesterday I was like “hey consider dating sim where you can just date everyone in Organization XIII” on Twitter and folks were like “YAS OMG I NEED”. Somehow it came to this….uh…..THING of drawing mock-sprites for some imaginary dating sim??? Also because I’m garbage, in this game you play as Aqua and you can romance anyone you want except for Zexion, Roxas and Xion. And BECAUSE I AM ALSO AU TRASH, THIS SIM IS LIKELY GONNA BE IN A CAFE AU SETTING HEUHEU

Peek the read more for the rundown on who’s who:

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10

Take A Bow

1.) Margravial Theater Opera House- Bayreuth,Germany

2.) Palais Garnier- Paris,France

3.) Teatro Real De Madrid- Madrid,Spain

4.) Semperoper - Dresden,Germany

5.) Teatro De Liceu- Barcelona,Spain

6.) Teatro Nacional de São Carlos- Lisbon,Portugal

7.) Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma - Rome,Italy

8.) Royal Theater Of Covent Garden- London, England

9.) Bolshoi Theater- Moscow, Moscow

10.) La Scala- Milan,Italy

Weak For

Sorry, I had to write this, it was really cute, by @ironinkpen

Disclaimer: Voltron doesn’t belong to me and neither does the prompt. 


Keith doesn’t know what makes him pause but suddenly his eyes fall to the empty space on his right and then he frowns.

Where is Lance?

“Pidge,” Keith calls quietly, hoping that his voice would go unnoticed by the small gathering of royals around the room, who were currently entranced with Allura’s speech, “Where did Lance go?”

“Hm?” Pidge hums, head turning to him but eyes never leaving her wrist where she has her hologram screen up, “Uh, I don’t know? He was right behind us before the meeting. I think I might hear him yelp or squeal at something in the garden? Not sure though.”

Keith purses his lips in annoyance before he rolls his eyes. “What could have been so ‘amazing’ that made him miss the meeting?”

“I don’t know. He’s probably flirting with some girls, maybe?” Pidge shrugs, cheering softly to herself when a new dot on her screen turns green, meaning her hacking succeed.

Keith ignores the solid drop his stomach makes at the suggestion and ignores the hard tug inside his chest. He doesn’t even want to picture it. “Whatever thing he’s doing, he needs to be here now or Allura’s gonna throw a fit.”

“Well, you better hurry then and get him, because Allura’s inspirational speech is about to end and then she will notice for sure.”

Keith blinks because excuse you but why is he in charge? and then oh, right, black paladin stuff, yay.

No yay.

Sneaking out of the room wasn’t hard at all and soon he was retaking his own steps from an hour ago. He’s in the royal garden all of the sudden and it’s not long before a familiar voice echoes around him.

“You have got to be the most beautiful little lady I’ve ever seen!” Lance shouts, the happiness in his voice clear as the day and it makes Keith to twitch an almost smile, “Believe me, I would know, I have travel the entire universe!”

Keith sighs then, because he knows who Lance must be talking to and what’s he’s aiming for. Sucking in a breath, Keith turns to head over he heard Lance’s voice and he’s surprised to see that there’s a small group of the planet’s habitants, all of them circling two figures in the middle.

He easily recognizes the blue color on Lance’s armor, just like he recognizes the common castle’s servant attire of the aliens surrounding Lance.

Keith’s curiosity sparks when Lance’s voice keeps going but turning into a more high pitched and playful tone. It’s not unusual, per se, for the Blue Paladin to talk like that, but it’s no usually done in front of potential Mrs. Blue Lions.

Not that Keith has been paying attention to Lance’s tactics.

Whatever.

Keith walks forward, tapping and pulling gently to the side at some of the servants and nodding gratefully when some of them step away voluntarily as soon as they recognize him.

“Lance, what are you doi –“

His words get cut off by a squeal quickly followed by a giggle.

A child-like giggle.

Keith stares at the scene in front of him, of Lance hunching down in front of the young servant in front of him, clearly a female, but he’s not looking at her, he’s looking at the small bundle in her arms.

It’s a baby, a small round baby that sits on their mother’s lap as they giggle and throws their small arms in the air, trying to reach the Paladin’s smiling face.

Huh, would you look at that.

“Keith!” Lance shouts then, turning his attention from the baby to him and Keith’s eyes widen when Lance pulls him forward, “You gotta meet this precious star!”

“Um, hi, hello, I’m Keith and I’m here against my will and I’m sorry for intruding,” Keith says, waving awkwardly at the young mother of the baby, who smiles gently at him.

“It’s alright, Red Paladin, it’s my pleasure to be surrounded by such presence like yourself and the Blue Paladin. I thank you for your brave doing of saving our planet,” she pauses then, eyes falling to the baby on her lap before she continues, softer than before, “For saving us.”

And Keith’s heart melts, because there are no words that could express the feeling of pride that fills him.

He looks down at the baby then, when something grabs his finger. Keith gasps softly before smiling when he sees the way the baby coos, enchanted by his gloves.

“Aren’t they precious?” Lance whispers next to him, sending him a bright smile, “I’m sorry I missed the meeting but I mean, come on? Look at that face.”

Keith snorts but still kneels in front of the baby, letting them nib with their tiny mouth his gloves. “You got lucky this time, Mister.”

Lance chuckles quietly, kneeling down next to him. “Who would have thought Keith Kogane was weak for babies?”

“Not only for them,” Keith mumbles but Lance doesn’t hear, because he’s back to cooing and stealing the baby’s attention in less than a tick.

They both miss the meeting, but that’s okay, Allura didn’t mind after she joined them two hours later.

jazzy-mcdurf  asked:

Dude, you are the most interesting person I've ever seen

I swear that I’m the least interesting person in my immediate family.  For Instance:

  • My sister is raising a fruit bat and may or may not be dating the ace daughter of a UN Diplomat.  We’re thrilled, and have invited her for thanksgiving.
  • My dad is a hobbyist but very, very good Document Recovery Specialist, and has been consulting with the FBI on something in Point Roberts, WA.  We’ll have to wait until 2025 before he can tell us WHAT though.
  • My mother is one of the world’s only Botanical Scientific Illustrators that specializes in Algae.  She’s consulting with several international preservation organizations to get their collections described, to the point where the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydeny AUS, is offering to pay her to fly over and help describe their collection.

Ethiopia gave the world Coffea arabica, the species that produces most of the coffee we drink these days. Today, the country is the largest African producer of Arabica coffee. The crop is the backbone of the country’s economy – some 15 million Ethiopians depend on it for a living.

But the effects of climate change – higher temperatures and less rainfall – could take a toll on the country’s ability to farm this treasured crop. Climate data shows that rainfall in Ethiopia has declined by almost 40 inches since the 1950s. And the frequency of droughts has increased in recent years, affecting coffee growing regions as well.

Ethiopia could lose from 39 to 59 percent of its current coffee-growing areas to climate change by the end of the century, according to a new study published in Nature Plants.

Ethiopian coffee farmers are “on the front lines of climate change,” says Aaron Davis, a scientist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London, and one of the study’s authors. He says many coffee farmers have told him that they are experiencing less frequent harvests.

Ethiopia’s Coffee Farmers Are ‘On The Front Lines Of Climate Change’

Photo: Courtesy of Alan Schaller 

chinoiserie-mademoiselle  asked:

Could you write a oneshot where the reader is the wife of Jaime Lannister and they have a son, who looks like his father. To the public, the reader and Jaime looks like the perfect couple, but behind close doors, it is a loveless, political marriage. The reader loves Jaime, but Jaime, although a good father, doesn't reciprocate her feelings (coughCerseicough). However, after many years of hardship together, he finally returns her feelings and tells her for the first time tells her he loves her.

Pairing: Jaime Lannister x Reader
Fandom: GoT ; ASoIaF
Warnings: mentions of abuse/torture ; language

A/N: somehow, my jaime x reader fics always end up 5+ pages and they’re filled with angst. I don’t know why, but it legit only happens with him. anyways, this was.. my god, an INCREDIBLE request. I live for these requests, I really do. I hope you enjoy it my dear!

                                                           *****

You closed your eyes and enjoyed the sun on your face for a moment.

King’s Landing was blessed with nice and sunny weather most of the days, but you could rarely bathe in the sun like today.

You were sitting in the royal gardens, a book in your lap, while your son and Bronn were playing sword fighting in front of you.

You only opened your eyes again, when you heard your son’s laughter. He was standing over Bronn, a triumphal smile on his face and, oh god, he looked so much like his father. It amazed you every single time.

“I WON!” he turned towards you, but right then, Bronn pulled him down and started tickling him.

“You sure, boy?” your son laughed and tried to fight back, but he was at his uncle’s mercy.

Jaime approached the scene and Bronn let go of Kieran, who immediately ran towards his father. He picked him up and hugged him tightly.

Bronn kept laying in the grass and grinned, then he turned his head towards you.

“He’s talented, that boy.”

“Yes. I know,” you smiled kindly at the man in the grass and then got up to join Jaime and Kieran. “Husband,” you kissed his cheek.

“Wife,” he nodded and thanked Bronn for the lesson with Kieran today, then the three of you went towards the castle.

Kieran ran in front of the two of you, so you hooked your arm with Jaime’s. He tensed under the touch, but didn’t let it show. You could feel it though.

You still wondered how he even managed to have sex with you that one time, for him to finally get his heir.

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5

Plant of the Day

Friday 22 September 2017

Behind the scenes at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, allowed the public to see the research glasshouse collections. These included an orchid display with Coelogyne species. There are around 190 species of these epiphytic orchids with the pseudobulbs having 1-2 plicate leaves. 

Jill Raggett