Once upon a time, there was a kingdom so tall it looked as if it touched the sun. The King lived in an immaculate castle with his lovely Queen, their son the crown prince who was a courageous young hero of many battles; and the youngest prince, the bastard prince, who was only 8 years old was already smarter than any of his tutors. However, beyond the castle walls, the people were wrecked with famine, illness, and grief due to the many brave wars that had befallen their home. Yet, they were ignored, and their anger caused them to surround the palace in protest. The crown prince was a kind man, with a just soul; when he came to meet the crowd he asks their demands, listened to their hearts; and they dispersed with hope.
The next day the prince came into town, along with his vanguard. The people surrounded him, greeting him with thanks, but he said nothing. He walked in a daze, a hand reached for his shoulder, and suddenly his sword had run through one of his own men. The kind prince of Auroryn began to morph into a monster, swinging left and right. It wasn’t until his own general stabbed him in the stomach that the madness finally ended, but it was too late, the streets had turned red with blood.
Riots began in every corner of the kingdom, the spark had been lit. As the dawn started to rise, the mob had reached the palace. The staff was slaughtered, the King and Queen were beaten, dragged into the street and hung on the palace gates, and as if it was engulfed by the sun itself, the palace burned to ashes. The youngest prince was kept sheltered inside the palace, no one had ever seen him, therefore no one knew which body was his. It was presumed he burned inside the fire.
The kingdom was then split amongst the noble houses, the fifth house was quickly absorbed by the small, mysterious neighboring kingdom of Lunaris due to the lord of the house’s death in the revolution. After that, the kingdom of Auroryn began to know peace.
—————— 10 years later ————————
The sky castle of the Lunaris kingdom was famous for the gorgeous dense forests that surrounded it, at the heart of this forest was the first prince’s secret garden. Whenever Eiji felt anxious, or happy, or sad, or really anything at all he would come to tend to the flowers. They drooped towards the ground until struck by the moonlight in which the beautiful blue lilies would raise their heads to the stars. Eiji always felt calm under their warm glow, a sense of calm he desperately needed as guests began arriving tonight.
Foreign lords had never stepped foot on Lunarian soil, until today, for the first time in his life Eiji’s home felt, full; full of strangers. Their presence weighed heavily on Eiji’s soul, he felt claustrophobic knowing how many people slept within the castle walls; even in his garden, the air felt burdensome.
“Let’s see,” he spoke to a flower cupped in his hands, ”there’s House Lee, only three of their sons are attending. Ah, I’ve forgotten their names already..”
He looked pitifully down at the flower which seemed to whisper, “It’s okay! Keep going!”.
“House Varishikov, and that Lord, erm, Blanca! And his heir...” his regained confidence then weaned, “The wild lynx.”
Though Eiji had never met him, the young lord of House Varishikov was a renowned swordsman; his name was known by every person across the lands.
“Then there’s Lady Nadia of House Wong,” Eiji had crossed paths with the young lord once, from his tower window he could still see the man’s bizarre purple hair among the crowds.
“Lastly there is...there is…”
“House Corsica.” a voice answered from behind him, causing the young prince to jump slightly.
“Ibe-san! You startled me!”
“I was assisting you.”
“I almost had it, you didn’t give me enough time to remember.” This was, of course, horseshit, but Eiji hated to seem lacking in front of others.
“My apologies Your Highness, would you kindly remind me of the Lord of House Corsica?” Ibe could see a slight blush of embarrassment darken the prince’s face.
“I am afraid I cannot, only because as a knight you should already know these kinds of things.”
“Ah yes, you are correct Your Highness, I wouldn’t want to besmirch my honor.” Ibe then let out a dramatic gasp, “Oh! I remember now, it’s Sir Golzine from House Corsica, how silly of me to forget.”
“Indeed,” Eiji smiled for a moment, before looking to the ground, “So why have really come here?”
Ibe sighed, “With all the guests that have, or will be arriving tonight Her Majesty feels that it is unwise for you to be alone, even in the gardens; thus she has ordered me to escort you back to your chambers.”
Silently, Eiji got up, walking past Ibe to the gate of his little safe haven.
Ibe stopped him with a hand to his shoulder. “She only wishes for your safety.”
Eiji paused for a moment, letting the flower in his palm fall back unto the ground.
“I know,” he said solemnly.
“You are so important to this kingdom-,”
“Tomorrow, and until everyone is gone you must be careful not to-”
“I know Ibe-san,” Eiji straightened himself, raising his head up, ”May we go now?”
“Of course, Your Highness.”
The pair walked back in quiet, a knot of nervous energy growing tighter and tighter in Eiji’s chest as the harsh light of the palace washed away the cool blue glow of the lilies.
“Ash, if you continue to glare like that your face will be forever stuck in a scowl.”
“Wonderful, I hope to be buried with one.”
Blanca gave him an exasperated look, “I understand why you are angry but once we cross the threshold into the palace, you will greet everyone with civility.”
Ash scoffed, “Civility? You act as if that dumb dog won’t attempt to duel me the second he sees me.”
“If I recall, you have provoked Lord Authur into many of your duels,” Blanca said, “If the boy weren’t armed you’d have long since pressed him to death with, wit.”
“Oh so it’s my fault he’s as dull as a rock with the temperament of spurned bull?”
“Ash,” Blanca softened his tone, “I know it’s not Arthur that is making you so agitated.”
He clenched his jaw slightly, spitting out a small warning, “Blanca.”
“You only have to exchange greetings, then you can ignore him the rest of the time, okay?” There was no response. “Lord Shorter will be there, you can wander around with him, how does that sound?”
“I cannot endure that horrid creature, for even a second.” Ash looked away from Blanca, his scowl replaced by a blank stare.
“It will be hard, but you must play your role.”
“Do not forget why we’re here, for the sake of your plans-”
“I know, Blanca,” Ash saw the large obsidian doors of the sky castle come into view, as their carriage slowed.
Attendants rushed out, readying themselves to handle the three loads of luggage in the wagons that followed behind. Ash plastered on his most charming look, pushing his anger, and his anxiety deep into himself, fingers clutching the hilt of his sword only a hair too tightly. He smiled at Blanca as the carriage doors opened.
“Presenting Lord Blanca Varishikov of House Varishikov, the Master of Blades, Hero of Auroryn. And his nephew Lord Ash Lynx, the Dawn-Bringer. Welcome to Lunaris!”
As he crossed the threshold of the palace, Ash steadied himself for a number of things, but he never would have imagined the fate he unknowingly set off the moment his foot touched those marble steps.