Loyalty and tradition


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1. Arranged Marriage

"What? I am getting engaged? To whom? And without my consent? This can only be a jest, no?" The girl's voice was low-key, cold and foreign as the words escaped the full kissable lips. Wild locks of pale silver dangled down the young lady's petite shoulders and slightly underdeveloped chest. She was sitting directly across from her parents. One was sharp featured, almost boney with a large silver mane of pure pride. Obviously her father. The other was clutching the man's hand with creamy skinned hands. Rings adorned both of the couple's hands in all it's glittery and honor. They weren't ashamed of their relationship, they were flaunting it. Like 'Look at us, we succeeded getting married by force, and now we are completely and utterly in love with each other. All is good, and happiness awaits those who do the same.' But Di'novelia would not have it. She wasn't rebellious by nature. She was gentle, didn't speak much out of respect for the elders, and quite simply she was as loyal as one could get. Her mother had the same pale hair as her husband, but she was slightly on the chubby side, and way more background's material, whereas her father had presence, intimidation and pride displayed in the air around him.

"Your husband will do you well. He will treat you like the princess you are. Remember, your father and I have been in the same situation, and see what happened." It was a grand smile her mother put on, but Di'novelia would not be fooled. She knew that it took them hundred years just to gain any emotion than loathing between them. They had revealed it when one of their regular fights had occurred when she was young, and she had eavesdropped on them. It was a shock. A shock over many. But gradually she had come to accept the arrangement after all those years.

"Who is he? I want to know." Her parents glanced at each other in nervously and knowing. They loved their daughter, but tradition was tradition, and sadly for Di'novelia, no one really looked at her anymore since she had aged further into adulthood. No one had asked for her hand, and she hadn't bothered with men at all. Books were a welcome companion for her. Magic was thrilling and inviting, giving her a whole new universe.

"Actually his family will be here shortly. They are in the middle of advising their son as well, just as you. And then we will talk about this civilized. Together." Her mother nodded, and her father grunted in silent agreement. Sighing loudly with a pouting lips and crossed arms, she leaned back in the couch with a sour expression.

"Isn't it an early age for me to be married?" The boy asked, gritting his teeth. He was at that age where chasing skirts and chasing wild dragon hawks with his bow was infinitely more interesting than a lifelong commitment. "Uhhh. Who is she, again?" He asked, though his usual joy and candour fell into a sour nervousness. He was minutes away from meeting someone he would have to be with forever; and he was informed of this only minutes prior too. He shook, as he tried to wake himself from the dream that he thought this was.

 

This was no dream. His parents gave him the identical lecture that they had given her and he could have figured out this was pre-arranged, just like his parents' marriage was. He looked at their rings, and fell silent, and he stopped hearing what they had been telling him. He knew there was no point arguing; he was young, but he was never stupid, He had never been. As they approached the residence that she was in, he placed several fingers in his long hair, whatever colour they may have been. He had forgotten.

Just like her, he enjoyed magic alongside the boyish habits of his. He enjoyed riding; and he enjoyed training. Books had never interested him unless they were of battle. His anxiety died away as they approached the residence; though it spiked up as they walked in. It made his black hair curl at the ends and his ears had turned somewhat sharp; pointed forwards like those of a bull's ready to fight. A surge of adrenaline went through his nerves. He felt like one of those dragon hawks he was hunting.

As they walked in, his eyes searched for her; they glinted blue and they glinted with ferocity. He seemed like a cornered animal; infact, the pheromones his bodies soon let off was exactly equal to that of a cornered animal. He watched his parents meet and shake the hands of the other set of parents; they all seemed equal to him. Equally boring; now. His last ounce of respect died for his parents due to the fact they had forced their hands on him; they had taken his freedom and replaced it for something as stupid as values.

Then he looked at her, blinking. He looked her over again, and he thought he found her beautiful. He hated that. He would have preferred to be married to an ugly girl and then he would have an excuse to cheat. He hated that she was pretty. He squeezed his fist for a brief second. before he bowed respectfully for the other parents. B'evial had died and he had been ushered away in the middle of the night for the perfect son.

Her parents had been sitting, looking her over several times, wanting to see if something was 'wrong' with her. The messy tresses of paleness couldn't be cured from their tousled look, but they framed her small face. Yes, she was too young for marriage, but her parents had promised her no harm. She was in the age where men was only fairly intriguing to look at, and being touched by one would cause a blush of innocence. Her petite body raised itself with a long, laced, pure white dress flowing down her slender arms and curves, hugging them as if it was painted on her, just as the three people entered the door for the unnecessarily large living room. It was a very grand mansion, way too large for such a small family. But nobles saw power in things that were bigger than needed.

 

Her parents rose with her just as they entered, immediately hurrying over to greet their awaited friends. She sighed, rolling her excessively expressed gaze, it's cerulean pigmentation bright and filled to the brim with youthfulness. With elegance she strode over to greet the parents of her coming husband, and lastly she finally laid her eyes upon the much more mature specimen of a boy she had seen in a while. The immediate warmth hinting to a blush could not be hidden, and she sought to look away from his beauty just to compose herself. Politely she stretched out her hand in a gesture of a handshake, but she would not meet his gaze, for it was too intense for her, too unwelcome in her small and enclosed world. He was new, fresh, unlike anything she had laid eyes upon. The want and longing to once again observe the flicker of life in the pools of blue seemed to dawn on her and made her voice small and slightly husky as she whispered out a small greeting.

"Pleasure to me-meet you... D-di'novel-lia..." Her hand was shaky and slightly clammy, but the gaze of her parents made her shut and set into motion.

B'evial tried to prevent himself from phasing out as he watched her; he soon bowed his head forward and decided to watch the floor instead. The girl, he felt pity for, as he knew this was forced upon; he listened to the greetings and looked up once that was done to watch her. His eyes were a beauty just like her own was to look at. For him, all time stopped; B'evial was somewhere else. When he snapped out of it only a second later; she could catch the bare glimpse of a blush across his features, which soon disappeared. He perfectly grasped her hand afterwards, having turned into a humanoid robot. He would be himself once this ordeal was all done; he could not be himself now. He would not be himself now.

He shook her hand, smiling. He seemed perfectly balanced. "I am B'evial, and the pleasure is all mine." He said in perfect diction; his voice was masculine, it was a gentle baritone that he had inherited from his father; and his eyes, though his black, ebony hair was perfectly shaped just like his mother's. "I am so glad we finally met." He said, even though it was a lie, and even though he had not been aware of her existence until an hour ago. Once he looked alright and judged that it was perfectly alright to say so, he added. "I wasn't aware my bride-to-be was going be this pretty."

His parents approved of this of course, as complimenting the genetics of the bride's family was always a sure way to win affection and political favours. Infact, he would expect her parents to smile and approve of the tasteful comment.

The blush deepened, and spread down along her neck to her cleavage. Way too eagerly she backed away from his grasp and his presence.

"Thank you." It was barely a human whisper, but everyone in the room with their well evolved elongated ears could hear it as if she was speaking clearly. She wanted to hide, hide deep in a hole and never come back. She knew his greeting was for show-off and baiting her parents, but truth be told, she had wanted him to mean the words, to utter them to her when they were alone. She wanted his compliments, but she loathed that fact. Marriage in this age? She would rather die... The thought saddened her. By refusing one's parents was to refuse linage and one's parents last wish.

 

As expected of her parents, they praised him for his straightforwardness and his polite manners and excellent eyes. For them she was their treasure, nothing would beat her, but for others it could have been a different story. Di'novelia bowed her head in respect for her fiancé.

"Mother, can I have a word with my f-fiancé?" She cursed herself for failing her pronounciation, but the word 'fiancé' was like a curse in itself. She wanted nothing of the sort, and definitely not from this man. But she would have to endure. Endure, endure, endure. The lovely, elderly lady shrugged, looking to B'evial for approval of her request.

Whoever spoke in reply was not B'evial but rather some macabre version of him. The rebellious, fun loving boy had disappeared, and a perfect son had taken his place. "The lady can speak to me all she wishes, about anything too. A future couple-to-be should get to know each other." He looked at her with eyes again; eyes only seen from her angle and eyes that could not hide the simple truth that he was just as flustered, just as nervous as she was; just as hateful of the idea of the marriage as she. She could see this; because his teeth was gritted underneath his perfect lips, and his eyes seemed a bit moist. Perhaps the boy was holding tears in due to his outrage at having his freedom stolen.  As he had gotten his approval, he took, in a jolly manner, and led her outside; he seemed gentle, not-forceful and infinitely patient. Fitting for a middle-aged High Elf, who knew he had at least several thousand years to come. Not fitting for a boy, but it was to give the impression of the perfect pick. The perfect husband. Once, and of course, if she allowed him of course. Once a considerable distance, and out of sight; he would let go of her hand and his jolly demeanour stopped. It was replaced by someone tired; he found a tree and sat down beside it, to lean on the trunk. He thought of his parents talking with her parents. He felt like vomiting.

The cerulean gaze had pierced his, seen his desires, his dislike and the cage that would slowly make him suffocate. She felt like crying for him, but she was just as outraged by this, that she seemed to lock her heart away for a moment and all clumsiness fading as they escaped outside. Crossing her arms as soon as he had let go of her, she stared down at him. It was an intimidating pose, but her small figure didn't seem to have the presence her father had.

"We will marry. We will live... As partners. Business partners. You won't bother me, I won't bother you. We'll have the freedom we both wish for... And when we have settled we will have a child to prove to our parents that we have fallen in love." The words were sharp, clean and final, but after a breath intake, she fell to her knees, literally crying her eyes out. She was devastated, ruined and unhappy. In an attempt to make herself more presentable while she cried, because ladies cried in a refined way and made no noise, she let her hands glide through her locks of silver, drying her eyes continuously and endlessly.

"Please look away..." She could not bear his eyes upon her. A fallen angel who had just had it's most precious wings ripped from it's body resembled the petite girl's figure in that moment. Fervently, after the small breakdown, she raised her gaze to her boy opposite her.

"I-I-I don't know what to say... It all came as a shock... I thought the rules I just listed... Would suffice for your benefit."

His only response to her words; as he watched the lecture, and waited for it to end, was to shrug. "That works for me." He said, callously. He got up, afterwards and moved towards her. He didn't seem phased by her pose, or by the fact that she had listed such rules in fast succession. Her idea of mercilessness seemed to right through him. He then leant down, and lifted her up on her feet by a strong grasp on her shoulders. He reached down and dusted her white dress away from all the dirt and smudge as his hands glowed a brilliant white; he had used magic to clean her outfit.

"You're going to give away to them that something's wrong." He said, afterwards. "And that's the last thing you want. Is to give them an inkling of a hint that something's wrong. It gets worse if you make them believe you don't want this. They'll personally force it upon you. That'll be bad for both of us."

He took out a tissue from his pocket and gently wiped her tears away too; if she wore any cosmetics, he would take care not to smudge them too obviously. "We will marry. We will live as partners." He repeated her words back to her. "Business partners; this is nothing but a contract. You won't bother me. I won't bother you." His tone remained perfectly still, he remained perfectly calm. "We'll have the freedom we both want. And when we settle, we'll have a child to prove our love to everybody else." His eyes glinted a brilliant blue; it was the colour of the deep sea at night, an extremely rare colour for High Elves. He seemed to hold if she shook; his grip was strong, perhaps a bit to strong.

The little lady was lifted to her feet, and easily so. His magic fascinated her. She wanted to learn.

"I'll try... Not to ruin it. Being betrayed hurts..." Tilting her head up at him, to watch him under wet eyelashes bared from cosmetices, she relied on his calmness, sucked it all up and took it with her, carried it like an armor for protection.

"I will be happy... Definitely." She had mumbled to words to herself, as she avoided his special gaze. His grasp felt secure and steady, the light pain bringing in reality and keeping her grounded. Swallowing the knot that had formed from the crying, and stopping her tears from welling up, she shook her head and smiled pristinely, keeping up the act of pure happiness from this unexpected turn of events. She had now bared herself to him, shown him how she felt and he in turn had revealed some of his emotions.

"Then we should go in and tell them how happy we are, should we not?" For him, the smile would be fake, on her parents it would work perfectly, and hopefully on his parents as well.

He responded to her with a nod. "You're not ruining anything. Come on." He said, as he gently took her back; though with his pace, it would have taken several minutes. He was slow, and careful with her, obviously with both arms still somehow around her. He seemed gingerly, to the outside eye, almost cowardly, though all this, she could devise, was for her own benefit.

"They'll be fooled. When we go inside, just smile and kiss me on the cheek when we're inside. Then, hopefully, the next time I see you, it will be in a pretty gown. And that will be the start of our relationship." He stopped, and thus, stopped her. He knew she was curious. "We can only consummate the relationship when you want it. Until you decide you are ready, you cannot ask me to be loyal to you. In fact, I don't think you can ask me to be loyal to you ever - I am a free spirit. I always will be. You should know that. Though circumstances might change."

Embraced by him as they walked made her feel careful and expectant of some words to flow from his inviting lips. She blushed at the kiss part. One thing was to gaze at the magnificently beautiful statue of David with his darkness, another thing was to touch and actually put it's lips on him. Would she succeed or would she back out? The time would tell, and she wasn't very confident in herself, specially not with his next words as they stopped on the stairs to the mansion. She gawked at him, confused and slightly disappointed but accepting of his terms.

"Then shall have the same rights as you..." She bit her lower lip, well aware that if a child was produced through adultery, they might as well have hanged themselves right there and then. She stomped her foot onto the marble staircase.

"That's unfair!" A purely childish face curled up sourly.

"Then you will promise me to find a way to protect myself from pregnancy! You will find a spell! That's all I require." However, deep within herself she knew she was spewing lies and slander. She would stay loyal to him till the day she would no longer exist.

"It needs to be fair and equal."

"Something can be arranged." He looked down at her as he finally led her to the door of the building. He hadn't said anything further, and he smiled a bit at her proclamation of fairness. He didn't currently have any thoughts on cheating on her of course, but he didn't want to force himself into an implicit agreement; which is why he stated such things. "It needs to be fair and equal." He echoed her as he finally led her inside, his arm wrapped around her for proper display.

They were talking, when they walked in. They seemed to be in good spirits, like the two were pretending to be. B'evial smiled a fake smile as he pulled her gently alongside and sat beside her on the couch, hunching forward slightly in respect. His hair covered his face perfectly, so she would have actually needed to pull some aside to give him the kiss they had agreed to; B'evial seemed to have zoned out, he wasn't aware of his hair's situation. They acknowledged them, but didn't bother to break their conversation for them.

From their perspective, all was good.

She nodded in agreement with him before entering. Leaning against him, she seemed to be snuggling closer as if they hadn't just met each approximately two hours ago. They sat. She as a lady, he as a gentleman. Without further ado, she slipped closer onto him on the comfy but expensive couch. With huge glittering orbs of clear blue, she stared at him with the adoration she had felt for him in the start. Her fingertips raising to his escaped locks, planting them behind his elongated ear, softly feeling along it in a tease, and showing some of her carefree personality along with it. Then she came closer to put her lips upon his cheek. Velvety and feathery like she let her lips linger on his cheek, before retracting and planting another kiss onto his jawline, more specific than the other. This would have raised awareness from her parents, them leading to an immediate gasp of surprise. She herself shivered and completely escaped the intimacy she had just created by laying her hands in her lap and look like a good proper lady.

He snapped back into reality when he felt her lips against his skin; he woke up, and be blushed; though he forced that away as he did prior. He raised a hand towards his jawline, without any of the parents seeing; as they were focusing on their own boisterous laughs and conversation. He rubbed the spit where she kissed him with some longing and affection. He stared forward, zoning out of their conversation.

 

He interrupted them. "Can I ask when is the wedding?" There was eagerness in his voice, this wasn't faked. I guess weddings even excited people with cold hearts. He then turned to look at her; and more fakery, he smiled, like the perfect idea of a happy couple. "I would wish for it to be as soon as possible. You have a lovely daughter, and I cannot wait to call her wife."

Finally getting the parents attention, they all stared at them with the excitement B'evial even expressed.

"Then the news must sadden you. One year from now will be the date. There are lots of things we have to prepare, as it will be a grand ceremony with many guests, colours, drinks and party. We will also prepare a house for you to settle in."

Di'novelia was horrified, but relieved as well. She did not want to be left alone with her husband. She wanted protection. He might have promised her, but nothing was left assure.

"A year... That's a while... But preparations must be done correctly in order to have the perfectly expected wedding, right, my loved one?" She spoke the last three words in a caress, letting herself enjoy the texture and feel of a nickname for one she did not love, nor care for yet. Her smile was as fake as his, never reaching her eyes that remained haunted by the thought of being caged like an animal. Now she knew how that felt.

B'evial's response was a frown followed by a pleasant, accepting smile. Anyone with half a brain who had observed him for more than a minute would have known this was not the real him. He looked at his parents, wondering when they would be done with their conversation; but it seemed to him that this visit was going drag on for several hours more. He got up, muttering audibly. "Excuse me, for a minute." Before he walked out again, his hands glowing from the magic he was about to summon; he teleported several important possessions. Among them was a glass of wine and two bottles, he walked back to the trunk.

He didn't wait for her and he brushed his hair towards his face. He did not want to be seen. Just as he had hoped, his parents thought nothing of it, except the excitement of a boy who was just betrothed to a pretty wife. It was normal for him to be flustered and excited, and this was sufficient to explain his actions, they thought. He gritted his teeth and opened the bottle of wine, pouring some into the glass that now stood on the grass. "Some peace and quiet." He said bitterly against the empty air.

The adept skill in which her betrothed exerted his power enchanted her, drew her in. The youthfulness of interest and eagerness let her have an endless thirst for knowledge and the sort. She wanted to experience and travel the world until she had gained the maturity that her parents emitted would attach itself to her anonymous presence. Relieved from B'evial's mature and larger frame she composed herself as her parents spoke. Indeed it would be a long day, but she would not seek out her fiancé. The thought of never actually seeking him out saddened her and comforted her in an abnormal way. Inhaling and exhaling thoroughly she strode to her parents and began to converse excitedly about the wedding plans, trying to lure his parents in that she was the right lady for their son.

B'evial was alone with his wine and his thoughts. He felt angry, angry at himself for allowing this to happen; he thought about being a bad husband in hopes that she would run away from him. He bit his lower lip; he thought about running away himself. He had heard tales of Quel'dorei pirates up north who lived free; a life full of liquor and adventure was what he desired, not marriage. His respect for his parents waned, and he stood at an impasse; if he didn't take action soon, there would be nothing but a boring future ahead of him.

He cursed his luck and drank some of the red liquid; and then he drank again, and then he drank some more until the bottle was gone and the second one remained. He felt the bitter taste attack his taste-buds. He felt the dizziness and the tipsiness and he got up. By now, atleast an hour had passed; they were still in there discussing. He vaguely remembered the path to his house and started to walk in that direction, pouring and drinking wine along the way. He was slow, slow enough that anyone leaving the house would catch onto him. He seemed like a drifter.

Even when she had kept a distance to him, she could not keep her observing gaze from his nature. He himself was distracting, and whatever he did seemed masculine in a graceful way. Within half an hour she felt exhausted and worn out. They had talked about nothing and everything, and she felt that her share in the conversation became shallower by each minute. As the hour had completely passed she had had enough. It was lame and boring, she wanted nothing to do with these people. Yes, she was referring to them as unfamiliar strangers who just so happened to be her parents and parents in law. Frustrated she whimpered in surrender and ran out the living room to her bed chambers. Her parents would probably find her and bring her back, she would not have it. She was done for the day and nothing could get her out. She had even seen B'evial leave, surely she was allowed the same? Descending into her cluster of pillows on her enormous bed, she clutched a pillow and began to let out her grievance and sorrow for her loss.

Indeed her parents had come for her, but so had B'evial's parents for him. But everyone had agreed it was time to head home. It had been a long day and everyone deserved some rest and time to think. Time to ponder... Lots of time. A whole year until they would see each other again. The thought encouraged Di'novelia into actually leaving the mansion several days afterwards.

He was found in the middle of the road by his parents, and the answer he had as to why he left was a simple. "I wanted to." He acted sober enough that they did not chastise him for drinking; and they went on, where they blamed his sporadic behaviour on his unfathomable excitement. He went up to the living room as soon as they were there and collapsed on his bed, passing out soon thereafter. He did not want to get married, he thought before his consciousness collapsed on him. He did not want to be bound. He did not want to do anything he did not want to do; concepts like loyalty, children, responsibility, and possible parenthood were foreign to him entirely.

He dreamt about pirates, that night. Pirates, and ladies, and treasure, but most of all; the thing that made his blood boil was that he dreamt about her too. He opened his eyes awake; figuring she was just a nightmare before he realized the nightmare was about to enter his life in a year. He felt miserable, as he fell back into sleep.

 

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