The sounds of a beating heart pounded through his ears, drowning out his labored breathing as he was half-dragged through the long stone halls of Castle Krackenburgh. The guard on his right shifted him roughly, and he gasped as pain shot through his still throbbing arm. The guard huffed in annoyance, pulling the shorter man to face him. His face was that of a grizzled warrior, not uncommon in Nohr’s forces. Their entire economy was based off of war, he’d seen them take countless other countries under their sphere of influence in the short time he’d been alive; he wasn't dumb enough to assume he’d see a friendly face here.
“Don’t make to much noise, boy. You’re lucky you didn't fall on the field, like the others. As long as you’re silent, we’ll keep it that way.” He bit back a sarcastic remark that would have had him knocked flat on his back. He bit back hard.
The guards picked up the pace again, and the cold, narrow walls began to pan out, opening into a large hall. A dull red carpet spread across the center of the floor from where he stood, leading to large and elaborately carved oaken doors. The carpet’s gold trimming was frayed, and parts of the carpet had been worn away, footprints marring the rough fabric. He tried not to look around the room too much, to keep staring at the footprints instead of the painting that he knew adorned the walls, but this wasn't possible. His head was forced up, as the guard to his left grabbed his long, pale hair, pulling his head back. He was surrounded by the past Kings of Nohr.
Almost every one was a flat portrait, displaying bold-featured men, draped in regal furs, gems gleaming exaggeratedly out of their armour. He couldn't stand to see the men who had forced their own people to live in poverty. One portrait caught his eye however.
There sat a woman, proud and erect in a black background, immediately contrasting herself from the men surrounding her, sitting in their jeweled thrones. She was a regal figure, and seemed strangely foreign in the hall. She had a well-defined face, with sharp cheekbones and dark expressive eyes. Her golden hair was tied up in intricate loops, but somehow pinned in place by a lone white rose. She wore the traditional armour of a hero, a high ranking and extremely well-respected class of elite warrior that he had faced countless times on the battlefield. A silver circlet rested on her brow. She looked directly at him, it seemed, eyes guilty… too sad to fit with the picture of Nohrians he had painted for himself.
Before she could pity him a moment longer, he was swept up again, yanked carelessly to stand on his weak legs, and turned away from the only warm face he had yet to see, towards the heavy oak between himself and his fate. His heart-rate picked up as he was dragged into the lion's mouth.
As soon as they were far enough into the hall for him to see the throne, he was dropped, unceremoniously, and his knees ended up buckling under his own weight. The warm voices that had filled the room had stopped, a gasp being heard as he tried to force himself to his feet. The guards held him in a kneeling position, as a show of respect.
He locked eyes with the man nearest to himself. A young man, maybe as old as his oldest brother, with wavy golden hair and sharp brown eyes. Without breaking eye contact, the man moved forward,
“What is the meaning of this?” His voice was deep and smooth, commanding. It sent shivers down his spine.
“General, sir, we bring you a high ranking prisoner, straight from the battlefield.”
From behind to the man, a woman stepped up besides him, her long curling hair flowing over her shoulders and obscuring her face as she spoke. “Brother, dear, if I’m not mistaken, that is Prince Takumi of Hoshido. Should his brother, crown Prince Ryoma, fall in this war, he shall be next in line.”
The man’s brow had creased, and Takumi noted the circlet across his forehead. His eyes widened, this must be-
“Prince Takumi.” He spoke. “I am Crown Prince Xander, of Nohr.”
Takumi didn't answer, and instead took the other man in. He could see now he was younger than his own brother, by maybe a year or two, but just as commanding. His strongly featured face was stern, and unwavering. He wore a paladin's armor, the metal a pristine, unscathed black, accented with golds and purples. It seemed to Takumi that Nohrians were always suited in armor. From next to him, the woman, his sister stepped forward, frowning.
“Do you refuse to speak for yourself, princeling?”
She was a shapely young woman, wearing warm, form fitting clothing, customary underclothes for aerial units and he realized he’d seen her personally on the field of battle before, battle axe flashing, from the back of a monstrous wyvern. His mouth turned down into a scowl, and the women laughed, her amber eyes flashing. “It’s not wise to bite the hand that will quite literally be feeding you, until we negotiate your release.” Takumi trembled with rage. He sat here, stripped of his pride (and more importantly his weapons), staring at his enemies.
“Camilla, please, let him be...” a soft voice was heard, and Takumi turned to face its owner, his heart stopping. A young girl stood there, her pale, almost white hair dripping down her back, warm almond eyes looking to the other imploringly. Although she was dressed in custom, Nohrian armour, she went barefoot, showing her to be a prisoner or slave.
Through the dryness in his throat, Takumi managed to speak.
Both of the royal siblings in front of him tensed, but the girl turned to face him, looking confused.
"Kamui?" She smiled kindly at him, even as her eyebrows turned down in confusion, "I'm sorry, you must have me confused with someone else you know." She took a step towards him, ignoring the crown princes’ soft order to stop, her cape swishing around her, "My name is Corrin, Princess of Nohr."
Takumi felt physically sick, a bile-like taste sitting at the back of his throat. His weak muscles trembled, face twisting into a scowl as he turned to face the prince again.
"You..." with a swift movement, he had jerked his way out of the guards grip, pure adrenaline sending him crashing into the other male, causing the princess to scream.
Xander skid back a few feet with a grunt, stumbling in surprise, but his taller more muscular figure kept him standing upright. In a single, fluid motion the man flipped him around, pinning him to the ground with a rough knee to the back, causing a hoarse wheeze to leave Takumi's throat. He tried to yell at the man, but found he couldn't talk.
"X-Xander!" He heard her soft footsteps as she dashed forward. "Please, he's already injured! You might-"
"What?" A new voice snickered, heels clicking towards the group. "He might hurt him? May I remind you, foolish sister, that those were his exact intentions for Xander?"
Sister? Takumi snarled indignantly.
The owner of the voice stepped into Takumi's line of sight, eyeing him coldly. If looks could kill, Takumi had no doubt that the both of them would be dead. His features were much more feminine than his brothers, and less muscled. His sharp eyes were pools of silver, pupils slit watching him as a lion would its prey. He movements were fluid, contrasting with his pale features, which came off as almost death-like with the sharp contrast of his obsidian armour.
Kamui moved after this man, and Takumi watched her tensely. Her body language closed off until she made it to his side. She looked at him imploringly, eyebrows knit together. "I understand Leo, but he must be so scared, I just..." her hands trembled and Takumi felt his heart beat uncomfortably as the man, Leo, turned to face her. What had they been doing to her?
To his surprise Leo's gaze softened, if only marginally. "I understand your concern, dear sister, but he is our enemy. And apparently he's delusional as well..." this comment was punctuated with the man making eye contact with Takumi and a sharp upturn of the chin.
What a petty bastard.
"We shall deal with him later, before father returns." The crown prince said as he motioned the guards forward again. "Please do be gentle with him, he appears to be badly injured and his outburst has not helped his case at all."
And like that, Takumi was hoisted up and half dragged towards the door. He didn’t fight them, a strange feeling entering his chest. His limbs trembled, but he knew it wasn't solely from exertion. He glared to the royal family of Nohr, glared to Corrin.
He spoke nothing as he was dragged away.