Chapter 1: Awakening
The movement of the clock’s hand lead on a new day, brimming the feeling of activeness and movement around the empty Derse bunk for the subordinates of the Derse royal families. Her Imperial, Lady Feferi, and Lord-In-Waiting Eridan were residing in the beautiful property that peaked itself high in the city, watching the lessors ‘bloods’ as if they were God. The rows of beds were empty, sans one, which rested beneath the ticking clock.
“Cut the shit out, give me like twenty more days of sleep,” a sore and grumpy voice called out.
The body was covered with a thin blanket, hiding his features except for the dull blond hair at his head. A pair of darkened glasses rested on his nightstand, soon coupled with a damp wash cloth.
Another form joined the lone male. The female with cascading brown curls got on her knees at his side, roughly tugging the blankets away to greet the boy.
“Time won’t wait for you, even if you think it will. Up and at them, Strider, it’s nearly noon.”
Dave’s red eyes flickered open, blurry at first before finally focusing on the girl in front of him. The youngest of the royal Handmaids who ran the royal chambers. However, due to the Medigo’s defiance, they were shunned to tending to military locales, losing any pride to serving the royal family.
“Aradia, you act like I give a damn. Don’t you have a goat to chase or something?”
The peasant girl shook her head, letting a laugh slip past her lips. There were times Aradia was quite happy with her position, being able to speak with the military who showed so much passion for Derse. It was beautiful really! But there were also times she felt, well, alone as if she was missing something…
“The only goat that needs chasing is you, sit up,” she said with a stern glare, tucking the last bit of sheets in her bag for wash. She would promptly pull herself onto the bed, sitting next to him.
Her fingers were nimble, cracked with scars and dryness from her constant work at the residence. The manual labor, housework, and caretaking of the Derse military was worth the price of beauty. She remained dedicated to them, not the royals.
Dave upturned his nose as he noted those same fingers pull a razor from her pocket. The girl liked to keep the guys clean. It was a bit weird, but cute, in it’s own way.
“I shaved last week, I need to be manly for the battlefield. How the hell do you think I’m going to bring down Prospit with baby ass smooth skin?”
Aradia brought those tanned fingers towards his face, dampening the rough skin with her moist towel. It was a harsh shave, but it would do the trick.
“Don’t crack a smile, Strider, I may very well slip my wrist and slice your jugular. For all you know, I could be a spy from Prospit on some adventure to Derse.”
Dave almost snorted. Almost. His eyes shutting as he allowed the handmaid to tend to her duties, well more so her personal obligation, to tend to the occupants of the house. He noticed the others were gone, probably out patrolling the area or training. Typical, but fucking boring.
“Somehow I just don’t see that. You’re like the definition of Derse minus the massive assfucking the royal family is giving everyone. I’d rather see you sittin’ up on the throne with 20 inch stiletto and a diamond encrusted staff with a rams head on it calling the shots. Not only would you have style, but you would actually give a damn about the people below you.”
The damn clock ticked onward, keeping the silence at bay even if no words left their mouths. Aradia didn’t flinch a bit. In fact, her grip remained strong as ever, grazing the cold shapened metal against the Knight’s jawline.
“That’s nice of you to say so, but I’m fine where I’m at. Who would keep you guys in line on Saturday night? The barmaids would have a hard time dealing with you idiots,” Aradia’s voice whispered, a soft chuckle proved her honesty.
“True. Don’t think I forgot that right hook you gave me two weeks ago. I can still feel it, ” his voice would whisper.
She was done. A quick and clean job. Dave’s hand rose up, rubbing idly at the smoother skin free of prickles and fine hair.
Aradia was quick with cleaning up, grabbing the large sack of blankets to be washed and tucking her blade back into her waistline.
“Enough laying about, you have to go visit the Seer. Her Imperial commands it, after all.”
Dave paused for a moment, letting his hands grip against the legs of his eyewear before slipping them back on, “And why me? I barely made the Knights rank. Like, I know I’m pretty good at most of the shit I do, but I’m still learning to be the best, not just good. Man, whatever, she should have sent my — “
Raising her hand, she shook her head. It was obvious with the ticking of the clock, their silence was lengthy once more.
“Your brother? He hasn’t been heard of in over six months. It’s safe to assume he’s not coming back, if he could.”
Dave was still sore on the subject. Bro had been on the last outskirting mission to Prospit. He was a tough guy, if not a weird one, so he tried not to worry about him. It wasn’t until an official letter from the royal family gave an official declaration stating his K.I.A. status, yet no body was confirmed. Something was fishy and it wasn’t the fucking lusus creatures in the pier nearby.
“Yeah. Right. He’s probably off in Prospit sipping some tea and enjoying an early retirement with some hot babes. Or puppets, probably more hot puppets. Whatever, go finish your duties and I’ll get out of your curly as shit hair.”
Aradia held the bag tighter, glaring at him with hesitance.
“Don’t start any trouble, it’s no fun out there when you’re at your own corpse party!”
Her tune changed, a more lighthearted one. It had been weeks since Dave heard that kind of sweetness in her voice. A lot of the time as she worked she turned full zombie mode, tuning out entirely and almost seeing… absent of any happiness. It worried him, but he respected the broad enough.
“I’ll try not to, but no promises. Never know what the hell life’s ready to give me,” Dave said as he shrugged, watching Aradia walk out.
He was to himself, but not alone. The damn ticking clock urging him out the door as grabbed onto his armor. His eyes caught the glimmer of the tower in the distance, noting the height of it and how it pushed into the very blackness of the sky above. In that long prick of a tower remained the only one to help him with his “royal quest”, a delicate rose kept in a glass case, so to speak. Only problem was getting up there. There was no elevator. Or stairs for that matter. This was going to be a long afternoon.
Chapter 2: Preperations
Rose and Mother have a conversation before Rose must take her leave to aid the seeker.
The budding visions whirled upon a human's mind like water down a drain. Interrupting slumber and claiming her consciousness as their own, the visions one. They successful awoken Rose Lalonde.
Rose was greeted with the warm sun beaming into the lonely tower precisely when her Mother awoke. It seemed like clockwork. A clanking of glass rooms away seemed to be the prelude to that pesky sun. In an empty tower, it seemed the strong rays of light were her only friend.
She preferred the dark. It was calming and offered her time to think. Yet, once that sun invaded her room, her fantasy was gone and reality set back in.
It wasn't normal for Rose to dilly-dally with waking up, but something was begging her to stay in bed. The hay bed was more than comfortable but the cobblestone walls seemed to close around her as each second ticked on.
Sadly, it was time to greet the new day.
The effortless and trivial tasks were accomplished in that morning: prayer, reciting, and practice. It was now high noon and that pesky sun taunted her more than ever., greeting her with a thin veil of sweat against her forehead and sun-dry blond hair.
"You have a session today, y'know."
Rose's form didn't budge at the sound of her Mother's slurred voice. The donations to the tower came in various degrees. Of course, one was to leave the charity for the needy, but Mother was not always as pure as a Seer.
A bit roguish in her actions, actually.
"Yes, I'm aware. There isn't much to do until then. I've done my duties and preparations for the day."
"As to be expected. Do ya even know what business the Condesce scheduled this for?"
Rose took a sigh. Mother was rather nosey.
"War. What else is there?"
There had been no visitors or seekers of knowledge for months. The war with Prospit was not only affecting the warriors who dared to leave home, but those trapped in their own walls.
For someone who has never once stepped foot outside of the tower, she felt more enclosed than ever.
"Shouldn't have asked."
Mother spoke bluntly, shaking her head as she took a swig of her almost out-dated wine. It was never a good day to speak with Rose. Mother had raised her well, yet, there was an eagerness in her heart that mirrored bitterness.
"No, it's alright. I expect you to dabble into my business considering the last vision I had," Rose spoke calmly, wiping a bit of sweat away from her brow.
She was off down the hallway towards her room, expecting her Mother to follow suit.
Which she would.
"Dabble? I would guess you losing your vision for a day deserves a bit of dabbling," Mother was quick with her tongue, snapping back.
There was a bit of silence as Rose changed from her normal attire into her role guise. An elegant orange silk dress and a lace veil that seemed to glow brighter than her celestial nemesis in the sky.
Mother remained quiet, taking a final swig of her drink before setting it down. She was entrusted to enforce the rules on the ground. That was her role. Guardian.
"Rose. Knock the mature act off for once and act like a normal girl. I want to know you're okay with this meeting. I know her Imperial Bitchesce likes to run us lowerbloods dry, but come on, sweetie --"
Clearing her throat, Rose heard a faint bell chiming in the distance. The seeker had rung it and doing so, arrived early to their meeting. Color her surprised.
"While I'd love nothing more to bond with you over aging maturity and social issues, perhaps we can discuss this over dinner tonight? I do have a role to live up to."
Mother's eyes cast away for a moment, her eyebrows knitting downward in disappointment. She raised her too well. Rose was determined, just like she was at her age.
"Alright, you win. Ain't gonna pester you over this shit anymore. Go tend to your business, Rose. Know that I'm proud of you, but more so worried."
Rose wanted to dispel any concern. She was almost of age for crying out loud. It was some passive aggressive attempt of 'motherly love' that irked Rose.
A courtesy nod was given and that was all before Rose exited the room down the hallway. Up the countless wood stairs that lead to the bell tower. It was the highest point in the city, one that had only one entrance -- and that entrance was only accessible to Rose herself. Any seekers of knowledge would have to climb the outer walls of the tower for access.
Needless to say besides the war, there were hardly any visitors willing to seek her guidance now.
It was here that she would find that her future was no always within view sight of her internal catalog of visions.