Rating: NC-17 OR WORSE
Disclaimer: Raist made me write these things.
It was so fucking cold. Reinbach Schtolteheim III shuddered and shrugged deeper into his robes. The late spring winds had been steadily growing colder since as the day progressed and the Fellowship progressed on their trek towards Ravensworth. The king, Marcus Sarillius, had thought to carry on with the rest of the army towards Ravensworth before finding an easy route to take towards Remonton. It also probably gave him time to figure out why a select cadre of his men were heading there. Leon Alcibiates was already back.
Leon. Raine smiled into a cuff, feeling his warm breath heat his already growing smile. He had grown found of the man since he had met the bard. Their first encounter had been less than a day ago, when he, Raine, had fallen from the sky onto a hastily-conjured pillow and Leon had arrived fresh from a long ride. The bard looked slightly put out, his blonde hair dirty from his imprisonment (dirty blonde, ooo), and his skin slightly dirtworn and oily. He had definitely been in need of a bath, but Raine had thought it gave the bard a rugged look he might have else escaped. So, for Reinbach, mage extrodinaire, the trek to Ravensworth had consisted of staring at how Leon's ass swayed to the movements of his mount, and Raine happily thought of giving the man a different ride.
Unbeknownst to the lustful mage, another pair of eyes had seen and desired Leon. Marcus Sarillius, the rightful King of Remon, desperately desired the bard's presence in bed. It had been a long time since Sanae, before the Battle of Folsworth Woods, when Sarillius had last seen the bard Alcibiates. He had enjoyed the man's company and found that he had missed Leon's presence when the man disappeared on the eve of battle. He had gone into battle that day with a heavy heart, both borne of the responsibility of leading his countrymen to battle and the wish that Leon would be at his side.
Marcus rode at the head of his troops, surrounded by his advisors and generals, whom were then surrounded by a screen of the best calvary of Remon. It had been like this for a while, since that grave day in Tes Pellaria when the specter of the King of Manster announced Marcus's heritage. He had been a leader since then, but only then by virtue and skill for the job. Now it was cemented; not only did he have the ability, but he had the birthright. The crown rested perfectly atop of the man's thick hair, but in his mind, he was still having to cope with the weight of new responsibility.
The wind blew again, harder, and caused the king to look westward, looking into the invisible headwind. It was unnatural for the wind to be this cold in late spring, and the rustle it caused amongst the new leaf buds was proof of this. Remon wasn't the most lush country, but even it bloomed richer than this. Surveying the wet terrain of dead autumn leaves and growing sprouts of spring, Marcus wondered if the evil that plagued his land had been stemmed at all by his momumental victory at Folsworth. The Imperial Army had been devestated there, with its leaders captured, fled, or dead, and the Clergy of Mardük had been well-beaten as well.
The Remon King could still remember Refan's victory over his nemesis, the Shadow, and had heard from the elves the death of the traitor, Egendaul. Marcus himself took comfort in the capture of General Watanabe, as it was a victory not kill. It softened the blow of Kaizoku Yousei's escape; the Admiral of the Yamatian Navy was a wily one and Marcus knew that the elf would be back. The young king troubled himself no more with these thoughts as the march to Ravensworth continued on, rather letting his thoughts fall back to Leon and how he appreciated his friend's return.
All was not quiet in the Fellowship's camp. Catapults hurled rocks and dead livestock at the walls of Remonton, ballistae shot bolts twice as long and thick as a man, with some bolts being longer than others, and trebuchets did the same stuff as their catapultly companions, but with more grace, range, and damage. The enemy's siege-ware did the same, causing as much damage to the Remon Army as they dealt to their Yamatian oppressors. It was a dirty, foul truth to see: righteousness did not simply bestow victory to the Remon King and his allies; they still had to fight and die to wrest their country from the Shogun's grasping hands.
Marcus Sarillius, the rightful King of Remon and the besieger of his own capital, reflected in this sombering view from atop of his horse. His attendants and lordlings kept their distance further down the hillock he had positioned himself, as per his orders. He wanted to see what his own eyes and mind would tell him, rather than relying on perceptions of others.
"That is what it means to be king," whispered Marcus, as the wind forced his blonde hair to wreath his crown, rather than the reverse. He paused his mumblings and sank into more quiet reflections. He was not worried that the siege would need his attention at the moment; everything had been carefully orchestrated and he put his faith as a paladin into the plan. His horse snorted restlessly and His Majesty smiled; yes, he too was eager to join in taking back his capital, but he knew his part was now to wait in siege. Abel and Raine were to do their parts, too.
Raine. The pompous magician's face flashed in Marcus's mind and, for a moment, the warrior king felt irritation. He frowned, focusing on the mage's face, his haughty features, asking the mental image why he felt this way, when he inadvertently replaced it with the profile of a bard. Leon. He could barely imagine the bard's soft hands caressing his cheek, when suddenly, Leon's face vanished. A fiery arrow arced out above Remonton's gates. Hoofbeats were coming and Marcus wrenched his gaze from the walls of Remonton to the foot of the hill. He could see his company gather and prepare to ride; it was time.
An impulsive aide, eager to dispense his message cried, "Your Majesty, the gates," as he rushed up the hill, outpacing his compatriots. "The gates, my liege! They're opening!" He spurred upwards, perhaps to spur his lord into motion.
Maybe it was the rushing aide that did it, the young soldier filled with so much energy and adrenaline. The young man had seen the horrors of war in the battle of Folsworth, but he still carried hope in his heart and the courage to defend his nation. Maybe it was the pride that the paladin could take, knowing that this was his countryman, his follower. Maybe it was not that at all, but whatever the case, Marcus Sarillius shrugged off his heart's muddled concerns and shrugged on the mantle of kingship. He moved.
As the King moved, Reinbach Schtolteheim III did too. His hands swirled in arcane motions, releasing spells to unleash death and destruction upon the Yamatian ambushers. He was intent on relieving himself the embarrassment of being caught unawares and saving his hide.
"Duck, mage!" Abel swung his spear with viciousness at Raine's head while he uttered his pronouncement. Luckily, the mage was inclined to follow all sorts of strange directions due to his training as a mage. He ducked, throwing his ass out and bending low, unathletic enough to simply drop to the floor. Unluckily, his posterior found itself suddenly rammed against the crouch of a Yamatian assassin, which disconcerted Raine considerably. Luckily, Abel's spear caught the knife-wielding assassin in the throat, crushing his air pipe.
The other members of the gate-infiltration team seemed to be cleaning up the rest of the guards, and Abel saw that the battle would be over in seconds. So he laughed, and threw out a hand to pull up Raine. The mage blushed profusely, feeling the embarrassment of having just come out of a compromising position. He mumbled out thanks, which in turn was greeted with a wide grin (which somehow looked seductive).
Uncomfortable with the stare of the handsome knight on him, Raine gestured ineffectually towards the main area of the room, suggesting that they go on. Abel swung his head to see what the magician could be referring to, letting his long, pale gold hair lightly trail after his head. It appeared to Raine as if there were two golden-haired angels in his camp and he was not a wizard who could pass up opportunities.
Pratt, the youngest and easiest unnerved member of the team, started climbing down the stairs and shouting for his comrades to follow. "Gate opened! C'mon, guys! I don't want to run into anything else up here!"