The Queen looked the picture of elegance as she headed out for a horse ride today. The monarch, who turns 91 next month, was joined by Head Groom Terry Pendry for the ride along the Thames near Windsor Castle this morning. || 6 March 2017
She’s lightning quick in the water, translucent body almost impossible to spot save for her ocean hued insides. She reminds you of a blue-bellied fish you once saw in an aquarium, but so much majesty could never be contained in glass.
When she sees you approach the end of the dock, she greets you with happy chattering and flashes of bright colours in her skin, still not quite able to form your native words. Her expressions and simple sounds convey her well enough, as do her grasping hands and clumsy mimicry of kisses.
She offers shells and lost trinkets, and most often fresh shellfish. Especially oysters. She sings her people’s language when you get a pearl and delights in the strand you have from past visits.
But her favorite thing to do with you is cuddle in the shallows, long body curled protectively around you while she explores the exotic differences of your form. Always mindful of her claws, careful with her maw of needle teeth, and most importantly your sea maiden will never let you drown.
It’s taken several times to get her to stop keening when you have to leave, almost dangerously chilled from the water, but it’s a precious heartache that makes your return even sweeter.
sidon x short shy reader comfort scenario where reader feels inferior and sad please and also thank you sm ...
No problem sweetie! And if you ever need to talk about emotions that feel like they’re hard to get through, I’m glad to listen!
As for this ask, I’m going to stick to gender neutral pronouns until you correct me.
Comforting tiny shy s/o who has thoughts of inferiority and sadness (Sidon) (Slight trigger warning at the beginning for negative thoughts of self worth)
Stupid. Disgusting. Dumb. Idiot.
This… this had not been a particularly cheery day. Being His Highness’s partner meant bringing a lot of attention from the citizens of Zora and beyond, something they were still trying to get used to. Usually walking around the city’s beautiful sites and taking in the atmosphere calmed them down but today…
Why them? What was His Highness thinking? They don’t belong.
…The elderly had a lot to say. To each other, obviously, as if they would ever give them the time of day.
Ink met the paper as they continued writing, completing the task at hand. Sidon was a prince who would someday be King, which meant that they needed to be just as responsible as him. Completing reports and performing duties was something they usually didn’t mind doing, since it help their lover so much, but today…
His Majesty won’t appreciate if the papers are marked with water drops, let’s put it that way.
(Name) leaned back against the chair, putting the pen down and staring at their hands in frustration, unable to wipe the tears falling on them. They’d always been shy, it was something they struggled with since they were young. And now, it brought them great sadness as they couldn’t find it in themselves to be angry at those words they had said.
“(Name), may I speak to you? There’s a dignitary my father is sending me to meet and he- (Name)!” No, no, no! Quickly they turned away, wiping their eyes as quickly as they could. They couldn’t let him see them like this, they couldn’t!
“Please, (Name), what has happened? Are you hurt?” In less than 2 bounds he was before them, kneeling down and cupping their face in his hand. Concern grew as Sidon saw that his beloved tried to swallow down whatever had happened, trying to keep it to themselves. “Darling, I can only help you if you tell me what happened. Please. Let me help.”
His eyes never left theirs, searching for whatever truth there was within them. Damn it. They didn’t deserve his concern, his soft touch, his smile- any part of him at all. Those elders had more truth that they themselves knew.
“Sidon, it’s… please, it’s… it’s nothing, just-” “If it is nothing than why are there tears here? Beloved, please, do not hide from me. I want to help.”
“I….” Damn him and his gentle voice, barely even a whisper as he spoke to them. Damn their own cowardice, having to look away from that warm gaze to be able to speak. “I… I don’t deserve you… There’s nothing I’ve done or I could ever do to be good enough for you.”
“What? Who- Have the elders said something? Beloved, you are above them, their words are little more than lies-”
“Are they though?!” Their gaze whipped back to him, his mouth agape as their fury overruled their shyness for the first time in a long time. “There’s not an ounce of a fighter within me, I have no experience being a leader, much less a ruler, not once have I done some great deed nor achieved some grand goal- the only thing I’ve ever done is somehow make you think that I’m good enough and I still don’t know why you think that!” Ragged breathes filled the room, the anger leaving them breathless. “They’re… they’re right. All of it, it’s… it’s true.”
Their head dropped, unable- no, unworthy- of continuing to hold his gaze, before the guilt hit them straight in the gut. No. No. They weren’t supposed to have told him, they were just supposed to keep it to themselves, not let him know how they were effected by it, just like a leader should. Goddess, the rumors were true, every ounce of them.
“(Name), look at me.” “…” “(Name).”
Slowly, that warm hand tilted their head upwards before a pair of warm lips kissed them on the forehead softly. Sidon’s other arm wrapped around them and brought them close to him, hiding them away into the rest of him. For a moment, just a moment, the room was silent save for a couple of broken sobs and nightly noises from outside the window. (Name) gave a small squeal of surprise when they found that their legs no longer where on the ground. Instead, their entire body was inside of his grasp, held within his lap as they sat on the bed, warm in their Prince’s arms. Silence eclipsed them once more.
“Did I ever tell you of my sister and Link?” They looked up at him, unable to see over his chin as he continued. “The elders- everyone loved her. There wasn’t a single Zora who hated her. So when she died, everyone blamed the one who got her into the mess- Link. For a century, they spoke of how it was his fault, that he was the worst, that he was a monster who deserved to suffer. And when he came back, they turned their backs on him, refused to give him the time of day and spoke slander of him.”
“…What happened then?” Finally, Sidon looked down at them, with enough love in his eyes that they could feel themselves melt looking at him.
“He proved them wrong. Beloved, I can promise you that their words are just that. Words. Not based in fact but based in a hatred they nurtured over the years. But while they speak of hatred, I see that everyday you are proving them wrong. And that if anyone doesn’t deserve anyone, it is I who doesn’t deserve you.” “What, have you lost-” “How many other people do you think would willingly gain a hundred new duties and still love me? How many others hear such words and still continue caring for another’s well being?” “I-…..Um…”
“(Name). People do not deserve people. They love them for their all. My heart is yours til the day it beats no longer. And while I cannot force you to see all that you are, I can stay with you and help you prove them all wrong your way- ah, what did I say, I’m sorry, are you well?” New tears were falling down their face, though this time there was no frown to be seen on them. Slowly they pulled away and reach up to kiss him on the chin.
“Thank you.” A smile grew on his face, leaning down to kiss them on the forehead.
Temeraire book titles from Temeraire's perspective
Temeraire Graduates from High School
Temeraire Discovers He’s Royalty
Temeraire Makes Annoying Dragon Friends
Temeraire Misplaces his Captain, pt 1
Temeraire Proves He’s Better Than Everyone
Temeraire Misses Elephants a Lot
Temeraire Finally Bones Iskierka
Temeraire Misplaces his Captain, pt 2
@des-zimbits I heard you were looking for loved pets? This is my angel Kiki (also me); she’ll be 11 this August. She yells at me if I don’t give her the Fancy Food™ for dinner, and no matter what I’m doing she always MUST be on top and/or in the middle. It is Law
Mr. Arthur? Hey? Are you there?” Feliciano called again, he started to
fly around the leaves,maybe Arthur just hide himself because he was shy
of meeting a cute girl! but…
“A-Arthur?” Nobody came….
gone! H-He dissapear!!” The poor little bee started to fuss, he didn’t
like this! Maybe someone came to kidnap Mr. Arthur or he was eated by a
“WAAAAAAAHAAAA!!” Felicinao started to cry
“Oh my! Poor thing!” Marianne was concerned and worried, she held the crying little bee carefully
cry please! I bet he’s just around, we will find him!” Marianne said to
Feliciano, trying to cheer up the little bee but Marianne was confused
and… she had a small bad feeling about this… Arthur, maybe he…
didn’t wanted to show himself to her?
Marianne and Feliciano started a search to find Arthur.
day, they tried to find him flying… but nothing. The second day, they
went to the rock fields but… nothing. The third day they tried to
find him in the trees… but nothing and the next day they went to the
mushroom fields…. Nothing at all.
Where was Arthur?
Marianne and Feliciano started to lose their hopes… specially
Marianne. They can’t find Arthur, Where he was? He really…dissapear?
sun was starting to hide and the night was coming. Marianne was giving
another try to find Arthur but suddenly Feliciano fainted.
“Feliciano? Feliciano!!” Marianne cried worriedly
Honey….” Feliciano said weakly. Of course, He didn’t ate his precious
honey for days, he was starving and he didn’t had energy to continue
anymore, besides, he was away from his Beehive for a long time. He was
tired, he need to go back home!
“Oh please, Feli, hold on! I’m taking you back” Marianne said worriedly and she started a flight to Feliciano’s hive.
Inside of the BeeHive, All the little bees watched carefully the return of their most lazy sibling.
little bees were surprised, others just huffed and watched the scene
with a frown, some of them found this a bit funny. Marianne held
Feliciano carefully to the Queen Bee and the Regent Bee.
That happen when a bee doesn’t follow the rules! If he was more
careful….” The Regent Bee Roderich, huffed. He wasn’t happy with this
and he was worried of course1 Even if he didn’t show it that much.
thing? what happened? I was really worried about him, he didn’t come
back home for days!” The Queen Bee Elizabetha was more Merciful and
gentle, she missed her little lazy bee
“Oh! I can assure you that Feliciano wasn’t fooling around. He was
helping me to find an old friend of mine” Marianne tried to save
Feliciano’s skin since the Regent Bee was scary.
“Really? What a sweetie, My little Feli is so kind” Queen Elizabetha was easy to convice
“What kind of friend?…” But the Regent Bee was other story.
“My Moth Friend! Feliciano knows him, he really cared about him and he was doing his best to find Arthur!”
Moth?…. but young lady, Is IMPOSSIBLE to find a Moth at day… Moths
are nocturnal or at least most of them” Roderich explained
“Oh! Is true…. Moths are nocturnal creatures, they can’t really fly well during the day!” Queen Bee answered
“Of course!! They are nocturnal!” Marianne realized and she finally
understood why they couldn’t find Arthur all this time! Even Feliciano
comment once that Arthur always looked tired at day… He’s nocturnal!
you so much, your Majesties. Please, take care of Feliciano, I will
find my old friend!” Marianne made a reverence and she flew away.
you think she’s going to be fine by herself? Is so dangerous outside
and more if it’s night” Queen Elizabetha said concerned but The Regent
Bee held her carefully to drive his queen inside the Hive
think she’s the stubborn type.That Arthur guy sounds really important to
her. I hope her to be careful but we can’t really do nothing… our
bees need us here and we can’t send any of them outside, dear… But she
will be fine if she find that Arthur guy”
In the mushrooms field… Arthur walked slowly, almost lazily. He didn’t
had a good humor like always but this time, there was something
He can’t forget…. he can’t stop remembering Marianne and Feliciano, He can’t forget about Marianne.
really changed! she wasn’t a fatty, annoying little caterpillar
anymore, she grew up to be a beautiful butterfly and she looked so
kind…she was enchanting, she was…
“Damn…” Arthur hissed to
himself, holding his head a bit. Stop thinking about her! Arthur said to
himself but it was hard to not think about Marianne… she was….
Eh? someone called him! Arthur looked up surprised
Impossible! It was really her? Arthur hide behind the mushrooms, careful
to not show himself. Marianne was almost in front of him, she was on an
old rot on top of the stream. The moon was bright that night and the
stars were twinkling.
Marianne was there… worried
Marianne was there…sad.
She was calling his name…she was… trying to find him? she was…Sad? Because she couldn’t find him?
Marianne finally lost all her hopes to find Arthur and she fell on her
knees, completely crestfallen. she will never find Arthur, that was she
thought and Arthur felt like shit…
She was really calling his
name but… What she would say if he show himself to her? He wasn’t a
butterfly… He was just an ugly moth and she always knew about it.
arthur looked down but… he looked up again and…
“…!” Arthur gasped abit.
A big frog… frogs eats bugs… THERE WAS A FROG BEHIND MARIANNE!
No way! NO WAY! He wasn’t going to see Marianne’s death , not in front of him!
“MARIANNE!!” Arthur yelled at her as he jumped to fly towards Marianne and the frog.
suddenly hears her name and she turned around, The frog was almost
ready to send his long and wet tongue to catch the butterfly when…
Marianne cried scared. Arthur manage to crash against the frog. The
poor frog was surprised and confused! His tongue didn’t reach Marianne!
He was just hunting!!
TO “BEE” CONTINUE….
You Majesty, Queen Bee Elizabetha VII! Her Hive is in charge of make
the best honey of the field. All the little bees love their Queen.
Theywork everyday to make Queen Elizabetha happy and she takes care of
them with love. Kind, gentle, merciful and extremely beautiful, Queen
Elizabetha is beloved!
But taking care of thousands and thousands of bees isn’t an easy job, that’s why the Regent Bee Roderich helps Queen Elizabetha. Because
Queen Elizabetha is to merciful for her own good, Regent Roderich is in
charge of putting discipline and make the bees work properly… but
Feliciano is Roderich’s headache.
And…. He’s the reason why all the little bees have curls… Hey! Queen Bee isn’t able make babies by herself!
Summary: You are a poor servant who luckily landed the job at the palace. You live in a little house in the town, where your younger sister at the age of 7 and you live(d). The princes father has passed away, and Prince Bucky has to find a fair maiden to marry. His mother holds a ball for every princess from different countrys, and there he has to find a princess to wed. But, what you don’t know is he has already grown feelings for you. And, his mother is very fond of you even though you are their servant, so she allows you to attend the ball.
Note(s): Female Pronouns once again, but I don’t mind if someone wants me to change it to They instead.
Prince James offered Y/N his hand politely, which she hesitantly held onto as she graciously hopped off the horse. Her E/C orbs weren’t puffy anymore, but her cheeks were still tinted slightly crimson. Y/N brushed off some of the small pieces of dirt off her dress, and fiddled sightly with the threaded and messy hem of it. The Prince, and the guards lead her to the palace entrance, and as they walked in Y/N felt as if time froze.
It was absolutely breathtaking. There was a glorious crystal chandelier which was hanging in the middle of the room. Up ahead was the thrones who belonged to Prince James, and his mother, and the man who once was James’ father. Y/N had heard of the tragic death of the Queens and Prince’s father. Her face softened slightly at the mere thought of how hard it is to lose someone you love, and care for. Just like Y/N lost her parents.
The Queen sat upon her throne, with a kind smile upon her face. She was like the castle, also beautiful. “James, I see you’ve found someone who took up the job.” His mother spoke with an angelic voice, smiling sweetly at Y/N. Y/N bowed her head politely, and curtseyed as she did so. “Yes, we have.” James responded, as he sent a small smile in her direction. “How lovely, whats your name, dear?” The Queen spoke, with her glistening blue eyes gazing at Y/N kindly.
“I’m Y/N. Y/N L/N, your majesty.” She politely introduced herself, bowing her head as she spoke. “Its a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.”
“Its pleasure to meet you, dear. I’m glad you took the offer for the job. You shall be paid 20 dollars/pounds per hour.” The Queen stated, intertwining her fingers with. her own in her lap.
At the word ‘offer’ Y/Ns eyebrows furrowed slightly, for it wasn’t an offer. She decided to ignore that fact, for she thought she only should be lucky to land a job at the glorious palace. Her jaw dropped slightly, when the majesty herself said 20. Y/N only got paid about 8 dollars/pounds per week, which was of course hard to live with, but 15 per hour, it felt like a dream come true. Y/N wanted to save them up so she could by a nice home for her sister, and herself. But, she knew that it would take a while, and who knew what was going to happen with Iris.
“I would suggest closing your mouth, ma’am, force wouldn’t want you catching flies with your mouth.” The Prince suggested with a smirk playing upon his lips. “I apologize, sir. But, thank you so much, your majesty.” Y/N felt like she couldn’t thank her enough.
“Theres no need to thank me. Now, we should find you some proper clothes for a proper wonderful young lady, shouldn’t we?” The Queen chuckled.
Y/N stood mopping the floor of the ballroom, which was absolutely beautiful. The floor had golden colored tiles, and there was a large crystal chandelier in the middle of the room. There were stairs leading up to a hallway, and many other rooms of the palace. It was rare that the ballroom got cleaned since it was barely used, which made Y/N wonder if there was perhaps going to be ball.
When she was younger she always imagined and daydreamed about going to a ball and wearing a gorgeous and breathtaking ball gown. Y/N always dreamt of dancing on the ballroom floor with a Prince Charming. She dreamt of meeting him and it would be love at first sight, like in the common told story Cinderella. The thing was, Y/N had met a her own Prince Charming, the one and only James Buchanan Barnes. Of course she thought she would never have a chance to actually be with him, since she was only a servant in their castle.
What Y/N didn’t know was James felt the same way. Their had grown a friendship between the two of them, even though they were complete opposites. Y/N was only a servant, who used her free time in the castles library, and drown herself in the many books that were there stacked upon the many shelves. Bucky was a prince who instead of drowning in books, drowned in his fame, and used his time only being bored and signing different papers for their country. But, they still had a connection like no other, and James felt himself falling for the girl slowly but surely, and Y/N felt the same way. They of course didn’t know that they both returned the feelings for each other, for they were both to shy to admit their feelings to each other.
Y/N began dancing on the ballrooms breathtaking floor, as she mopped floor twirling around in her pearl white servants dress. She gracefully swayed across the floor twirling around humming as she danced. Y/N danced around in silence with the mop, enjoying her time cleaning. What she didn’t know was the Prince stood by the top of the stairs gazing at her. Bucky found it amusing, and quite adorable and couldn’t take his ocean blue eyes off her dancing figure. He loved the way she gracefully could twirl as if she was a ballerina, and how she dipped the mop laughing to herself. When Y/N noticed him there gazing upon her, her cheeks flushed crimson and she immediately stopped her dancing, as multiple thoughts raced through her mind. How long had he been there? Did he think it was silly? Would she get fired?
“I must say, you dance quite well.” James spoke up, making his way down the stairs. “Thank you, sir. But, I hadn’t expected anyone to see it.” Y/N let out a small chuckle, as she tucked a stray strand of her H/C hair behind her ear.
“Y/N, I thought I told you its fine to just call me Bucky, and not sir.” He stated softly, reaching the end of the stairs, with a smirk playing upon his face. “I apologize, its a habit, and I’m just being polite.” She stated, as she went back to mopping the gold tiles, attempting not to meet his deep blue orbs for her crimson hue decided to stay upon her cheeks.
“Theres no need to apologize, Y/N.” Bucky said, as he strides towards you, trying to make eye contact.
“Is there a special reason as to why I have to clean the ballroom? For It usually doesn’t need cleaning since it doesn’t get used often.” Y/N asked, with curiosity filling her sweet voice.
“Well, my mother says in order to be king I must find a princess to marry, so we can show the other empires we’re strong, and such. So, there for she wants to have a grand ball so I can find myself a wife.” Bucky spoke with a small tone of disappointment in her voice.
“And have you thought of which of the princess’ you want to marry?” Y/N asked, feeling her stomach churn. She could feel a pang of jealousy hit her, and she felt as if her heart broke slightly as if someone had hit it with mjölnir (heh, get that reference?).
“No, all the princess’ that are attending are the same snobby women who are just after our money.” Y/Ns heart lifted once again, as she heard that.
“My mother said that if you want to you can attend the ball. Its tomorrow evening, and my mother told me she actually already has a dress prepared for you.” Bucky nudged her shoulder with a smile tainted on his face. Y/N shook her head, as she let out a small chuckle.
“I’m just a servant, Bucky. I don’t even know how to dance properly, and I would probably just step on everyones toes.” The girl stated, carefully dipping the mop in the bucket of water.
“Thats a lie, Y/N. But if you insist, I can teach you?” He spoke with a smug grin that you knew all too well, as he offered her his hand.
“Now?” She asked, quirking an eyebrow and before she could say anything else he gently grabbed her hand and placed it on his shoulder and grabbed her other hand placing it in his.
James placed his hand carefully on Y/Ns hip, before teaching her how she should move. They had a fun time, and trust me she had stepped on his toes too many times. “I warned you.” Y/N said with a small giggle, as they gracefully danced around the ballroom. They used an hour of just dancing around the ballroom, speaking with each other. Y/Ns cheeks were quite crimson during their lesson, which James teased her for.
Will get to be pretty mature (explicit??), but not yet.
Spoilers for everything Leigh Bardugo has ever published. Don’t read any of this if you haven’t finished Crooked Kingdom and the entirety of the Grisha Trilogy.
If you’d rather read this over on AO3, here’s a handy link for you.
Nina stood at the bow of the ship with Genya, taking measured breaths of the briny sea air. Between the ship’s crew, the refugee Grishas, Kuwei, the members of the Triumvirate, and Matthias’ still body in the ship’s hold, Nina was beginning to feel claustrophobic.
As she often did when she stood above deck, Nina felt Sturmhond’s eyes on her, assessing her the way he assessed everything - the sails, the stars, the weather, his crew.
She was no stranger to the gaze of men, but there was something cool in Sturmhond’s eyes which made Nina think him impervious to the curve of her hips, the swell of her breasts.
Frankly, it was a relief.
He picked his way across the deck, murmuring words to the sailors and the Grisha working up top.
“Morning,” Genya said, looking up with a smile as he approached.
“We should be pulling into port by the end of day tomorrow,” he said by way of greeting. Nina loosed a relieved breath and he eyed her curiously. “Not much of a sailor, Zenik?”
“I’ll just be glad to set my feet back down on Ravkan soil again,” Nina replied. A wide smile broke across Sturmhond’s face, softening his sometimes strange features.
“Me too,” he murmured as he walked away. “Me too.”
Nina turned back to Genya who was watching the privateer’s retreating form almost sadly.
“I’d thought he’d be… bigger.” Nina said. Genya huffed out half a laugh.
“He used to be, once,” she said with a shrug.
“Do you know him well, then?” Nina asked.
“Not well, exactly. Our history is…complicated.” Nina raised a sharp eyebrow.
“Not like that!” Genya laughed. “We never, I swear! But I’ve known him a long time. Before…and after.”
“The war?” Genya bit her lip, her eye thoughtful.
“Yes, that too.” Nina didn’t press the subject. She didn’t know what role Sturmhond had played, exactly, but she was familiar with the things the Grisha had endured during the Ravkan Civil War. The war had changed people, changed the country she loved. And it seemed even the coolest and most confident of privateers hadn’t been immune to its horrors.
Nina hadn’t wanted to even go back to the Little Palace once they returned to Ravka. She was eager to find another ship to take her and Matthias’ body to Fjerda as soon as possible. But Zoya and Genya were insistent that she rest at the Little Palace for a while. Only there would they be able to find a healer to prepare Matthias’ body for another long sea voyage. Genya had done what she could before their trip to Ravka, but her knowledge on the subject was pretty limited. So Nina reluctantly agreed to return with them to the Little Palace before setting out again. She had to admit the idea of a couple weeks with solid ground under her feet again sounded nice.
“And besides, the King will surely want to be briefed on the happenings in Ketterdam, right?” Genya and Zoya shared a conspiratorial look.
“Right,” Genya said with a small laugh. She was practically hopping from excitement to see David after her time away. The thought of Genya and her Fabrikator love lightened Nina’s heart as they approached the palace walls.
The day after Nina’s return to Ravka, she was called before King Nikolai. Genya had already secured a new kefta for Nina to wear, and she smoothed it nervously as she walked through the King’s throne room.
Darker than the typical Heartrender red by a few shades and embellished with swirling black embroidery along the back, the beautifully-crafted garment belied Nina’s new dark affinity.
The King watched her as she approached with a suppressed grin. Of course he didn’t need to be briefed on the happenings in Ketterdam, as he’d been there himself wearing Sturmhond’s face. But his Grisha Triumvirate was insistent that he continued the ruse, even in the midst of their own trusted Grisha.
“Miss Zenik,” Nikolai said as she came close and sketched a stiff bow. She had always seemed at ease around Sturmhond’s ship, if a bit reserved with the other travelers. It was strange to see her dressed up in the Grisha formal wear with her dark curls piled atop her head. “Squaller Nazyalensky has been filling me in on the events of the last several weeks. It sounds like we have you to thank for the recovery of several expatriate Ravkans, as well as the safety of Kuwei Yul-Bo.”
“Of course I didn’t act alone,” Nina demurred. “And of course it wouldn’t have been possible without Zoya, Genya, and Sturmhond.” Zoya nodded in her direction, but Genya was missing from the room. Nina suspected she and David were still enjoying their reunion at the Little Palace.
“Still, your actions were very admirable in the face of the challenges in Ketterdam. Will you be returning to your role in the Second Army, now that you’ve returned to Ravka?”
Nina rubbed a slippered foot awkwardly on the floor tiles in front of her.
“Actually, Your Majesty, I have a personal matter to attend to first. My -” she cleared her throat uncomfortably. “My close friend lost his life in the fighting in Ketterdam. I wish to return his body to Fjerda as soon as possible.”
The King’s golden eyebrows rose up into his hairline.
“I don’t suppose I need to tell you that Grisha such as yourself are not well-received in Fjerda. We’ve suspended the ships on our northern trade route in light of the tensions abroad. There are of course no passenger ships going out to Fjerda either.”
Nina shook out the stiff cuffs of her kefta.
“I was hoping I might convince Sturmhond to take me actually.” She said quietly. “He seems to have only a sliver of self-preservation. He might not find the trip entirely impossible.”
King Nikolai’s hazel eyes lit up a bit.
“No, I suppose he wouldn’t find it impossible at all. Shall I make a formal request on your behalf?”
Nina’s cool formality lifted like a veil at that.
“Oh, could you?” She looked like a girl again, staring up at him with so much unbridled hope that Nikolai suddenly found it hard to meet her eyes. He shrugged.
“He owes me about a million favors. I’ll send a letter right away.”
“Thank you so much, Your Majesty.”
“Of course,” Nikolai nodded. “If that’s all, then you may go. I’ll be in touch when I hear from Sturmhond.” Nikolai could almost feel Zoya rolling her eyes from beside his dais.
Dismissed, Nina turned to go and the rooms’ torches shone upon the back of her kefta. Black embroidery crept from the hem toward her neck in a dark, swirling riot amid the rich, wine red fabric. The sight sent a shiver up Nikolai’s spine. His fingers itched inside his ever-present gloves. It felt, suddenly, like the twist of scars and the dark shadows in his blood had reared up again. His arms, his chest, the backs of his shoulders suddenly felt too hot, too constricted by his finely tailored clothes. As the dark Heartrender swept from his throne room, Nikolai’s eyes watched her go with an intensity he hadn’t felt in years.
Two nights later, Nina had just returned to her room after dinner when there was a knock at her door. Some of her old classmates had been stopping by since her return to hear about her adventures being captured by the druskelle, then gallivanting around Ketterdam for a year.
But when she pulled open the door, Sturmhond was leaning against the door frame.
“Hi,” she said, somewhat awkwardly. His mouth quirked up into a lopsided smile.
“Hi,” he responded. “Uh, can I come in?”
Nina cast a backwards glance at her small room, and shifted to block it from Sturmhond’s line of sight.
“Can you give me a minute?”
“Yeah that’s fine,” but she was already shutting the door in his face.
For someone who arrived in the country with almost no worldly possessions less than a week ago, she had amassed a giant collection of shoes, dresses, tunics, capes, hair ties, and undergarments which were currently strewn across every available surface of her room. There was also more than one serving tray of days-old tea and pastry crumbs haphazardly stacked on the small desk.
Without a second thought, she swept as much of the clutter behind the dressing screen and anything that wouldn’t fit got kicked under the bed. She straightened the quilt across the bed and fluffed a pillow, then her hair. There was no help for her clothes - a drab and ill-fitting tunic and olive leggings, but he had seen her in worse aboard the ship. Her new kefta might have helped a bit, but it was somewhere buried in the heap of clothes relocated to the corner of her room.
With a deep breath, she yanked her door back open. Sturmhond was still lounging in the same position she’d left him in a moment before.
She plastered on her best “House of the White Rose” smile and gestured to the room behind her.
“Come in. Welcome to my humble abode.”
His calculating gaze swept over her room.
“It’s very… homey.”
“Well, we can’t all call a shockingly well-appointed and lavishly furnished pirate ship home.”
“It’s privateer, actually.”
“Alright, shockingly well-appointed and lavishly furnished privateer ship.”
“That has a nice ring to it actually. I’d like that engraved on a plaque,” he said as he perched on the edge of her desk beside a cup of yesterday’s tea with a dead flying floating in it. He poked the cup with one gloved finger and watched the fly slosh around.
“I didn’t know the serious pirate captain could make a joke.” She fixed him with a wicked smile, a challenge.
“Privateer, dear. And I’m not joking. You’ll know when I am because it will be hilarious.” He looked up from the disgusting tea cup and returned her wicked smile. Nina couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled up and out into the small space.
“What are you doing here?”
“I heard you had a proposition for me.” His ruddy eyebrows arched into his ginger hairline in an expression that was vaguely familiar. Nina had enough good grace to blush at the innuendo.
“You got the King’s letter?”
“Actually, I showed up before he’d had a chance to send it. But he filled me in and suggested that you wouldn’t be discouraged from the task. He assured me that you were already well aware that your plan to show up in Fjerda was pure madness.”
“I’ve been told you’re an expert at mad plans,” Nina said coyly, picking at the hem of her tunic.
“By whom?” She could hear the smile in his voice without looking at him.
“By the other expert of mad plans.”
“Kaz Brekker, I assume?”
“Of course,” and he looked up to meet her eyes. They were shining with that light again, that hope that he had seen in the throne room. He shook his head to clear his mind.
“He humbles me. We’ll take my smallest and fastest ship.”
“Wait, what?” Her eyes became glassy with unshed tears.
“Honestly, I’d rather take one of the flying craft but the weather that far north is too unpredictable. Maybe if we waited till spring, but still, if we went down in Fjerdan waters and couldn’t get airborne again, we’d be, well, fucked. So a traditional ship is our best bet. We’ll take a skeleton crew and I won’t force any of the Grisha to travel with us. I’ll ask for volunteers, of course, but I can’t guarantee that any of them will want to take the risk. In the last month the situation in Fjerda has become even more unstable.”
“I understand,” Nina said. A relieved tear spilled down her cheek. “Why are you doing this?”
“Well, when the King asks so nicely…”
“Right,” she sniffed, “because you owe him a million favors.”
“Did he say that? Ridiculous. He owes ME a million favors.” Nina shook her head, laughing.
“I guess I don’t really care why you’ve decided to help -” but he cut her off.
“You have a lot of heart, Zenik. I like that. And I think what you’re doing for Matthias is very honorable.” Another tear rolled down her cheek. “I have some business to handle for the King over the next week or so, but I’ll start making preparations for the journey. I’ll send correspondence when I have a better idea of our sail date.”
He hopped off the corner of the desk where he’d been perched and headed for the door. Nina followed, wringing her hands.
“Thank you for this, Sturmhond. Truly.” He shrugged.
“Call me Niko.”
“Niko?” There was a devilish light in his bright green eyes.
“You didn’t think my mother named me Sturmhond, did you?”
“I didn’t know people like you had mothers, actually.”
Sturmhond - no, Niko’s - laughter echoed down the hallway as he walked away, leaving Nina to her small, disheveled room again.
“This is a terrible idea.”
“I haven’t asked for your opinion, Zoya.”
“You’ve barely been back a week and already you want to go off gallivanting for no reason.”
“I still haven’t asked for your opinion, Zoya. And besides, it’s not ‘no reason.’ Not to her. She made a promise.”
“A promise that has nothing to do with you.”
“I like when people keep their promises,” Nikolai insisted stubbornly.
“Believe me, we all do, Nikolai. It doesn’t mean you have to be the one to take her.”
“There’s no one else who can.”
“If it’s truly that dangerous then all the more reason that you shouldn’t go,” Zoya stomped her foot to punctuate her point.
“Do not treat me like a child, Nazyalensky.”
“Then stop acting like one. You’re no longer the spare second son who can waste his time playing pirate captain. Privateer, I know I know. Don’t waste your breath. I shouldn’t have to tell you that you’re the King now and -”
“Yes, and as the King -” But Genya cut him off.
“Can you two stop arguing for a moment so I can concentrate? If you keep scowling like this I’m going to end up marring one of your beautiful features. On accident, of course.” Genya was removing the Sturmhond tailoring he’d asked her to work up a few hours before. Her hands worked across his face, returning his features to that of the King.
Zoya bit her lip and restrained herself for a whole minute before she started talking again.
“Your people need to see you on the throne.”
“My people need many many things from me, Zoya, and I cannot give all of them all of what they want. But in this specific instance, I can give one of my people exactly what she wants. And I’m the only one who can.”
“Are you fucking her, Nikolai?” Genya’s hands on his face stilled.
“Really, Zoya?” Genya said as she shot a critical look at the Squaller.
“I apologize. That was uncouth. Are you making sweet, passionate love to her, Your Majesty?”
“If I was, that would be my business alone. Not a matter for the Triumvirate. But the answer is no.” Genya’s hands stilled on his face. “What? Spit it out Safin.”
“Well, do you want to?” He could have sworn Zoya was biting her lip to keep herself from bursting out laughing.
“Do you two plan ways to gang up on me, or does it just come that naturally to you?”
Nina made her way to the Corporalki workshops the next morning. She was meeting with a Grisha named Annushka who had taken on the task of preparing Matthias’ body for preservation and eventual burial once they returned him to Fjerda.
Nina had once called the Corporalki labs home when she was a student at the Little Palace, and not much had changed. She picked her way to the desk Annushka called hers.
“Nina, it’s great to see you again.”
“Hello, Annushka. I got your message. Did everything go ok?”
“Yes, all went to plan. The body is prepared and one of David’s apprentices brought a box over just yesterday. It will keep the humidity stable aboard the ship to make sure everything stays intact on the journey over.”
Nina swallowed thickly and nodded her thanks. She never imagined she’d be barely an adult and preparing to bury her first love.
“Would you like to see him before we seal the coffin?”
“I - I don’t think so, if that’s alright.” She had said her goodbyes in Ketterdam.
“Of course,” Annushka reached out to grip her hand. “I’m sorry for your loss, Nina.”
“Thank you, Annu.”
“Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Nina bit the inside of her cheek. There was something else she was wondering.
“Genya said you would be the best to work with Matthias’ body because you’re particularly well-suited to working with the, um, dead.”
“Yes, I’ve always struck a bit of a balance between the Heartrenders and the Healers. Not interested in killing, but not best equipped for medicine and healing, either.”
“I see,” Nina tapped her foot nervously. She liked Annushka, but she wasn’t sure how much she could confide in the Grisha seated across from her. “As you know, I trained as a Heartrender here a few years ago before leaving to join the Second Army.” Annu nodded. “But recently I’ve found that my power has changed. I’m much more in tune with the dead, than the living. In fact,” she dropped her voice low, “I’ve found that I can actually move the dead.” Annushka, to her credit, kept her expression carefully guarded.
“Bring them back, you mean?”
“Not exactly,” although she remembered the moments that she’d tried and almost succeeded with Matthias. “More like, re-animate. I could cause a corpse to get up and walk around, like a marionette. Have you ever heard of other Heartrenders with such affinities?”
Annushka shook her head.
“Not exactly. My own power is much more limited. In the most basic terms, I can isolate and arrest the decomposition of the dead cells. That’s why I’m well suited to the work you needed done with Matthias. But I’ve heard of others who possess a stronger affinity for working with the dead. Those who can manipulate the appearance of a corpse, extract internal organs for study, or even transplant, from the dead. But nothing as large scale as what you’ve described. To re-animate a corpse.” She let out a low whistle. “The power that must take is astronomical.”
Nina shrugged off the praise.
“Well thank you, Annu, for everything. The work on Matthias’ body, as well as the extra information. I’d appreciate if you could keep this confidential. I’m still working through what my new abilities mean.”
“Of course, Nina. If I hear of anything else on the topic, I’ll let you know.” Nina nodded her thanks again and headed back to her own quarters, with thoughts of Grisha who worked with the dead milling about in her head.
Nina was a little bit drunk. She swayed down the hall laughing with two other Grisha her age, on their way to their rooms. Maybe she was more than a little bit drunk, actually.
Suddenly Naomi beside her froze.
“Why didn’t you tell us you had a tall, red-headed man friend, Zenik?” Sturmhond leaned against the wall across from the door to her room, his gloved hands tucked into the pockets of his trousers.
“Oh him? He’s no one. Just renowned sea captain and scourge of the seas, Sturmhond. Maybe you’ve heard of him?”
“Saints, Nina. Send him to my room when you’re done with him, then.” The women giggled as Nina left them behind to approach Sturmhond.
“Did you just call me ‘scourge of the seas’?” He asked her in a low voice as she sauntered toward him. She nodded with a smile. “I take back what I said about calling me Niko. I only want you to call me that from now on.”
Nina laughed and opened the door to her room, gesturing for him to follow.
“Your wish is my command, Most Excellent Pirate Captain, Sir.”
“I like you like this, Zenik.” She turned to him with mischief in her eyes.
“Like what? Drunk? Reeking of kvas and pickled herring? Wearing a low cut dress that barely contains my tits?”
His gaze lowered very slowly to her cleavage and then very slowly back up to her face.
“I was going to say ‘laughing’ but now that you mention it…” She laughed louder at that and stepped away from Sturmhond to reveal the disaster of her room.
“Did you get in a fight with a Squaller? It looks like a tornado came through here. Did the Little Palace fire all of their housekeeping staff?”
“Austerity measures,” she said with a shrug.
“Well I’m glad they’re not skimping on kvas in the dining room, at least. You do smell like liquor and pickled herring, you know.”
“When in Ravka?” He smiled, looking around for a place to sit. With every available flat space covered in clothes and clutter, he sat awkwardly at the end of her unmade bed. She bounced next to him.
“What business, then?”
“The ship and crew are almost ready. We can leave in two days.”
“Wonderful, I’ll start, uh, packing my belongings.”
“You’d better start right away. It looks like it could take a while,” he said surveying the mess.
She leaned in close to him, until her messy curls were nearly brushing his shoulder.
“As soon as I get you out of my bed, I’ll begin.” He loosed a ragged breath and ran one gloved hand over his red hair.
“Are you doing this on purpose to unnerve me?” His gaze was steady on hers.
“Yes. Is it working?”
“Yes!” They laughed together, fierce blushes crossing both of their faces.
“I’ll see you in two days, then.”
“Two days,” he confirmed with a nod.
As she walked him to the door, Nina puzzled over something.
“I thought you were going to send me a letter about the plans,” she said as he started to walk out the door. He paused, shoulders stiffened. Then without turning around to look at her, he shrugged his shoulders.
“I just wanted to see you again.” And then he was gone.
That night, for the first time since Matthias’ death, Nina did not dream of snow and pines and wolves and blue eyes. Instead, on the waves of sleep, she sailed with the green eyes and clever smile of the boy she called the scourge of the seas.
They had gone three years with peace, their kingdom thriving and growing. The crops grew faster than they could harvest, the market was always busy, and the streets were always bustling with smiling faces. The people weren’t sure what to do with the peace, at first, having lived under such a tyrannical ruler for so many years. They would walk with caution, their eyes darting around, as if they were afraid of someone attacking them. Many didn’t know what peace felt like, and almost none of them remembered a time when they were safe.
Then, on a day when Queen Lucy was taking a stroll through the markets, searching for a gift for her dear friend, a young faun fell in front of her, the bucket of water he had been carrying drenching the Valiant from head to toe. The entire street stilled, all fearful of what would happen. The faun himself was visibly shaking with fear, and he started apologizing profusely. “M-my Que-queen I-I-I-” The young woman cut him off then, but not with cold words or a harsh slap, but with a loud, playful laugh, causing the faun to go still as stone. “Please, do call me Lucy! It’s alright, I assure you. I was feeling rather hot, and you helped cool me off, so thank you for that.” She gave him a smile, the kindest smile he had ever seen someone give him, and he gave her a tentative one in return. “Are you all right? That was quite a nasty fall you had. I feel as if I should be the one to apologize!” The faun nodded, his smile growing less afraid and more friendly. “I’m alright.”
“I am overjoyed to hear so. Might I inquire your name?”
“Silas, your majesty.”
“It is my pleasure to meet you, Silas. And please, I’d much rather you call me Lucy. If all my friends started calling me Queen Lucy and Your Majesty, so much time would be waisted!” She gave him such a lovely grin, talking briefly longer before venturing back to the castle, and it was then that the people started to feel that they could have peace.
And then, three years later, that all came crashing down, all with a simple pair of scissors.
“Lucy, Peter wants to talk to you about something. He’s in his chambers.” Edmund’s dark eyes held a hint of despair in them, something the youngest Pevensie hadn’t seen in her brother’s eyes in years. Despite her questions, she nodded, slowly making her way through the warm castle, down long corridors. The magnificent’s door was open just barely when she approached it, making her cautious. A tentative hand pushed its way into the room, the rest of the body following. Inside, light flooded in through the open balcony, a gentle breeze calming her panicked nerves. “Peter? Are you in here?”
“I’m out here, Lu.” His voice floated in on the wind, but there was a heaviness to it, as if he was carrying the world alone on his shoulders. (In a way, he was.) His back was to Lucy as he looked out over her ocean, the smell of the sea filling the room. He gripped something tightly in his hands, something that glinted in the sun and caught Lucy’s curious eye. “Edmund said you wanted to see me? What’s that you’re holding?” He glanced up to look at her, his sister. She had grown so much in three years; not only growing more mature, but physically as well, for she was only now half a head shorter than Susan now, where she had been at least three heads shorter when they first entered Narnia. Her golden hair reached just above her hips, and she was so proud of how long it had gotten. They had all grown their hair long, his own locks stopping just barely below his shoulders. Peter frowned at the thought of what he was about to do. “I’m afraid I did. I need you to do something for me.” Slowly, his hand around the object opened, one finger after another at an agonizingly slow pace, until his palm lay flat, revealing a simple pair of scissors. Lucy’s eyebrows knotted together, perplexed. “What is this?” It was then the young queen noticed the Magnificent’s solemn expression, her eyes darting to the scissors, and then they slowly made their way back up to his hair. “Peter…” Her voice breaks, beginning to understand their situation, “What is this?”
“We knew there was an uprising stirring, of the remaining followers of the Witch. They’ve been burning outlying villages, stealing… killing, and we can let this stand no longer. This started with war, and war seems to be the only way to end it.” His heart breaks at the sight of tears forming in his beloved sisters eyes, his own eyes feeling wet. Her head drops to her chest, her hands covering her face. “We had kept the peace for so long. Everyone here felt safe. We were happy.”
“I know, my darling sister. But perhaps once we accomplish this, we will be peaceful again. Now, if it is something you wish not to do, I’m sure Edmund would be willing, but…” He holds out the scissors, and Lucy’s hands lower from her face, her eyes widening at what he’s asking of her. “Edmund wished to cut his own hair in private, but I cannot bring myself to do it, knowing what it means for us, for Narnia…” The young blonde’s hand shot out, wrapping her fingers around the cold metal, finding them heavier that she expected. “You need not carry this burden alone, brother. For as long as I am you sister, I will help you carry it.”
“When did you become so wise?” She smiles, moving to stand behind her beloved brother. “It comes with the title, I suppose. Are you ready?”
“I don’t think I ever will be, but you should do it before my mind changes.” She nods, and silently, makes the first cut. The strands of hair fall slowly to the ground, sounding louder than they should.
Lucy makes quick work of it, not wishing to draw out something that must be miserable for her brother to endure. It can’t take more than twenty minutes, but to the two Pevensie’s, it feels like an entire lifetime. Once the final cut is made, Lucy sets the scissors on the balcony rail, turning to Peter. His eyes have glazed over, staring down at the hair encircling him. Lucy’s heart breaks for her brother, her king, knowing what has to happen next. Peter weakly utters, “We had three years…” and in that moment, the Valiant Queen knows what she must do. Her hand shoots out, wrenching the scissors for their place, bringing them up to her hair around chin length, and cuts. She continues cutting, (more like violently chopping), until all her hair is roughly the same shortness, and only when the scissors in her hand clatter on the cold stone, she realizes her breathing has grown rather ragged. She’s still for a moment, taking in what she had done, and then she looks to Peter. His mouth gapes open, his gaze shooting between his sister and her golden locks now covering his. He opens his mouth, his voice rough and confused. “Lucy, why…?”
“How many times must I remind you that you are not Atlas? You needn’t carry the world alone. Don’t forget we’re a family, Peter. You wage war against one, you wage it against us all.” He can’t stop himself from staring at the girl in front of him; this girl who was put in a position of power and took the challenge head on, the girl who was more like a young woman due to her knowledge and wisdom and ferocity. Before he was aware it was happening, he was standing, and Lucy was pulled into his embrace, his strong arms wrapping securely around her shoulders. Her own arms wrapped around his waist, the two simply standing, letting the embrace calm them both. They stood there, neither speaking, but knowing that, as long as they had each other, had their family, everything would be alright.
Many years later, they had formed a tradition, of sorts. Whenever there was to be war, and hair was to be cut, all four monarchs would travel to the stone table to do it. It took Susan some time to agree to the idea, ever the hater of war, but Lucy convinced her, in the end. It was Lucy’s idea, after all, that they go to the stone table for the occasion. “He had his hair cut there for us. Seems only right we cut ours there for him.” It was in those silent moments, when hair fell on broken stone, that they felt the most somber, but also, they knew that it was being cut for a purpose, and the peace that became after war was more than worth the small sacrifice.
OOC: As a bit of a note for any who are a bit confused, some backstory. This post was based off of one (I can’t remember who wrote it) but it’s basically a post stating that many nobles, during a time of war, would cut off their hair to signify the end of peace and the start of war. @oh-dont-worry-honey was wonderful and brainstormed headcanons with me, and came up with EXTREMELY good ideas for it, and I’m rather glad with how it came out. I do hope you enjoy it. :)