Title: Four Weddings And A Funeral
Day/Theme: February third / Blossom to blossom to dusty blossom
Character/Pairing: SanakiPelleas, SanakiKurthnaga, SanakiLehran, SanakiReyson SanakiNaesala. Snaaki tops all. (Also a bit of PelleasMicaiah during one part)
Summary: The Empress Sanaki is getting married. Heaven help her husband to be. Five things meme, SanakiPelleas, SanakiKurthnaga, SanakiLehran, SanakiNaesala SanakiReyson
A/N: It should be fairly obvious who this is for. Apologies for the lateness, I was trying to work on another and alas, I had no motivation or ideas so it kept Not Getting Done. This is a five things type fic, wherein all but the first and last parts are separate universes. Merry belated Christmas, Myaru
Reyson/Sanaki proved harder than I thought because apparently it's the type of pairing that can only be written once and done one way.
She had expected more. The empress Sanaki glanced over the Daein king who was little more than a boy. He seemed to diminish under her harsh glare. And to think, Daein's tyranny had turned into a little weakling. Amazing, for Ashnard's own blood to be such a milksop. The crazed old bastard must be turning in his grave.
Still, he seemed as if he'd be obedient enough. A thought came into her mind. She could enjoy this arrangement. There was no way she'd let Daein sneak grimy fingers into her country.
"Listen close, King of Daein," she began.
"I'm sorry?" Pelleas said.
"I will not tolerate insubordination. You will be my consort and have no more say than a serving girl in the affairs of the state. In fact, a serving girl would have more say than the foreign likes of you."
"But– I would never– I'm not–"
"Do I make myself clear?"
"..Y-yes," he replied.
"Good. Now you will carry me to my quarters to seal the agreement."
Pelleas looked mournful as he attempted to pick her up. She was light, thin-boned and slim and yet Pelleas huffed and groaned as if he was attempting to pick up a boulder.
Needless to say, the contract was not sealed then and Pelleas ended up with quite a few scorch marks upon his cape.
Sanaki lay back upon a purple and red settee. It was custom cushioned, for all the former ones had proved too hard for her to recline in. A child's chain of white flowers hung over the side, their scent spilling across the room.
Pelleas trembled slightly as he picked through the grapes. She had already rejected three of them, throwing them back in his face when they were de-seeded properly or not fresh enough. And this was their leisure time. She had spent the day undermining him before the senate and nobles, excluding and making it clear that no Daein-born noble would be welcome even if it did bring peace.
"I believe I asked for some more," Sanaki said.
"Yes, Empress– I'm coming–"
In his nervousness he faltered and the bowl spilled to the floor. Grapes rolled onto the clear, mirrored surfaces and he stooped down and bent to pick them up and brush them off before she noticed.
"You–" Sanaki began.
Pelleas flinched as she searched for her fire tome.
On the other side of the room sat Lehran upon a high-backed gilded and mahogany chair beside the settee. His purpose had been to read her a report, but it had been somewhat postponed due to her dealings with her husband-to-be.
Lehran sighed. "Empress, you shouldn't be so harsh on your fiancee. He's just a boy."
Sanaki tilted her head and caught Lehran with a scathing look. "Unless you are actually part of my marriage, you have no right to criticize it, Lehran. If you wish to say anything about it, put a ring on my finger. "
Pelleas looked hopefully and pleading at Lehran. His eyes begged a silent question, a key from his prison. Lehran could do nothing but sigh
This war continued on through the days. As it was, Sanaki's score was in the thousands while Pelleas' score was composed of negative numbers. It would have likely gone up until their wedding day and every day beyond of Pelleas' life if not for a chance occurrence.
A small retinue of underlings came to pay a visit to check on their king, his vice-general amongst them. She walked with purpose and curtsied by the throne. Pelleas dropped the large fan he was using to cool Sanaki and embraced the girl in a most childish and unkingly manner.
"King Pelleas– My ribs. You're crushing them." She coughed and struggled to breathe.
"I'm sorry,"Pelleas said. He lessened his embrace from 'bone-crushing' to 'uncomfortably tight' but didn't dare let go. He clung to her like a drowning man finding a piece of rough driftwood to hold onto.
"Please don't leave me here, Micaiah," Pelleas said in something that was very close to a whimper. He attempted to hide behind her and failed as she was quite some sizes smaller than him.
"Please, Please please can we go home?" he said.
"King Pelleas...you're the king. You say where to go."
"Oh, right," Pelleas said. "I forgot."
He turned to Sanaki and attempted to square his shoulders and meet her fierce gaze, instead of looking at her feet.
"May I simply swear that Daein will certainly never, ever, ever attempt to attack Begnion or betray you? Would that suffice, Empress?"
"I don't know, I was rather enjoying you," Sanaki said thoughtfully.
"I-I just remembered something. I was sworn, at birth to someone else. That would make this contract null and void. I'm sorry but under those circumstances I cannot marry you. Really a shame and sorry to bother you—"
"Is that so? Whom would this be? Have you any proof or documents to this transaction?" Sanaki said.
"N-no, it was a verbal agreement. And I was sworn to..." Pelleas looked around the room. His eyes landed on Lehran, Sigrun and Tanith and skittered away to the silver-haired girl in front of him.
"I can't marry you because..I'm going to marry Micaiah. I love her and we're betrothed and have been since birth and this was Izuka's idea. I'm very sorry to have wasted your time."
He held on a little tighter to Micaiah, who seemed just as stunned by this revelation as the rest of the courtiers close by.
"King Pelleas?!" she gasped.
"They're all liars, those Daein kind," Tanith scoffed.
"I hope your foolishness will not hurt our Empress and her chances at marrying again. You should think before you do such things," Sigrun admonished.
"I'm sorry," Pelleas said again. He attempted to hang his head in shame, but only managed to press his face into Micaiah's hair.
"I hate to say it, but it really may be for the best," Lehran cut in. "Even if the time was wasted, it would be better for such previous agreements to be settled now, and not the day of the wedding."
"Oh, it was no waste," Sanaki said. "I had my amusement."
Sanaki waved them away. "So be it then. I hope you have learned a valuable lesson on your seniority. If you ever try and make your mark on Begnion soil again, I'll kill you myself."
She met him at the interring of the Dragon King. Dhengesea had once been a tall ancient pillar of laguz society, but now he was to be entombed beneath the dust like any other mortal. He had seemed almost god-like in his stature amongst his people, ruling the thousands of years with an unbreakable will. In the end he proved all too fallible.
Kurthnaga was gentle. He balanced a saucer and teacup on his lap and kept himself from crying in her presence. His smile was lopsided, a mere farce to be polite. He wetted his lips and tried to speak.
"So," he said as a fumbling attempt for conversation.
There was little to be said. Everyone was given to the grimness of their world. The morning light even seemed grey-tinged. Pale dusty blossoms blew in the wind outside the encampment. It tore at their leaves and broke their petals apart. In the morning the white sectionals would be strewn about like a spring snow.
"When this is over, what will you do?" Sanaki asked.
"Rule, I suppose. I'm not...sure," Kurthnaga said. Grief still was a fresh wound upon him.
"If you wish, you may visit our libraries before your coronation," Sanaki said. "I heard you were interested in the affairs of beorcs. We will welcome you as a friend."
He cracked a slight smile. "I would like that, thank you."
Sanaki nodded. Her lips were pursed. Usually, she would not have gone out of her way to be kind to the grieving, but as of late, she knew that aching pounding in her chest, like the ribs inside were breaking. She understood what he felt very well.
While Leanne forgave her, Reyson did not. Reyson was the strongest and most influential of the herons. He all but ruled the Hawk kingdom from Tibarn's side.. Breaking through to Reyson was one of the few ways to win over the more merciful side of the hawk king.
The forest was alive again, and a string of cloud-colored blossoms hung from the ceiling. Their scent filled the room with that sweet, lingering whisper of a smell. She bowed before him, aware of the low-cut gown and jewels that rattled at her earlobes.
"I am really so very sorry for the plight, I wish it could be undone. ...Had I been alive, been older then then, my grandmother– and your people might have survived."
"Being contrite will not bring my people back," Reyson said. His voice was grave, full of disdain. He looked at her like some sort of pond scum which had gotten into his drinking water.
"Fine," she said She ripped her gown lower and glared at him, daring him to continue. "I came here to garner your peace by any means possible."
Reyson snorted. "You're supposed to tempt me with those? You're little more than a child."
"Hah! Could a child do this?"
She grabbed a hold of his shoulders for balance and pressed her lips to his in a way that was more violence than sign of physical affection. Reyson's kiss returned was just as scathing.
"Tch, that means nothing," Reyson snorted.
Sanaki drew in a breath as if she was breathing in fire. "Does it?"
She leaned up and started the kiss-fighting again. White wings wrapped around her, soft as new snow.
They were married a few months later. It was the only way to secure the peace of their countries, and each begrudgingly relented.
Besides, Lehran would not stand by and let Sanaki's honor be impugned upon, even if she had been the one to do the seducing.
Even with those bonds they fought within every waking moment, and yet they remained somehow happy in spite of it all. Peace settled over the Serenes, but never in their home.
She'd had a thing for him, but with Naesala it was a common reaction. Most any living breathing girl had a crush on him (as well as some men with discerning tastes.) She didn't think about the future beyond the dissolution of the blood pact as she was thirteen and just getting a handle on passions and affairs of the heart. She ordered him to carry her for more than just avoiding dirtying her robes, she liked the feel of his arms about her.
When the war finished and they returned to their own kingdoms, the crush still remained. She thought of him fondly, with a hot feeling within her breast. Years passed, until one day, she received a dignitary from the bird kingdom. The same black-clad rogue she'd known before bent before her in a mockery of polite submission.
"Diplomat?" She scoffed. "How the mighty has fallen."
Naesala stiffened. His smile froze in place.
"It's enjoyable, I get to travel," he countered smoothly.
"Really, because I could offer you a raise," she said . She twisted a white flower through her fingers and felt the softness of its petals against her skin. She waited to gauge his reaction, a reaction which was a slow unfolding of a smirk, like honey dripping down.
"I do have fond memories of working with you. You did pay ever so well," Naesala said.
"How would you like to be..emperor?"
"It does have a nice ring to it. Emperor Naesala."
The coinage was large and the land tracts vast, the vastest in the whole lang.. Begnion was a ripe, succulent fruit and its lovely Empress had in essence laid it before him on a platter, with her barely covered body as the entree.
"I'll consider it," Naesala said.
"I await your answer," Sanaki said. "I would advise you not tarry, for I may grow bored and find myself someone else to marry."
"I'll keep that in mind," Naesala said.
Her guards and the new senate committee and Lehran all opposed this arrangement, but Sanaki went along with it regardless for she was 16 and felt the need to not only bring home a leather-clad bad boy to shock her family, but to marry him just to cement in the insult.
The white gown was begun as soon as the announcement came. It was an elaborate affair, one that could not be merely rushed. Bastards were born and passed their third birthdays by the time a Begnion wedding dress was finished.
The Empress was getting married to an unnamed person. Gossip spread all through every class, from noble to commoners all with possibilities of their new Emperor to be. Empress Sanaki had kept her affairs in utter secrecy, but it was a question as to who would even be worthy of their Empress. There was a lacking of those with enough peerage to be joined to the highest station of Begnion nobility. A few years back there had been a rumor of her marriage to the young king of Daein, but that had turned out to be false. Within the past year the king of Daein had stepped down, settling that rumor once and for all. The few princes remained that were not of Laguz origin. All sorts of whispers passed across the rooms (had she been seen carrying on with the Archduke Furanzu? Would she actually dare to choose someone below her station out of necessity? Or even out of pure spite? Would she even go so far as to choose a commoner?).
But no matter how much it came in proper conversation, Sanaki was mum about her intended. The months went by and she took Lehran as her surrogate for exchanging vows and practice of the many finite customs of joining within Begnion. He was of similar height to her fiancee, thus Lehran endured the fittings and robes for her unnamed suitor. He endured dinner parties in his stead as her 'advisor'. Nobility was far more lukewarm to Lehran's appeals. Without his wings hidden he was not simply a charming man of many talents, but an ancient laguz, one who had deceived and betrayed them all.
The gala circled out from Sanaki in a spiral of drinking chatting and dancing.
Lehran was agitated. He swirled his wine in his goblet, sipped it, sloshed it from side to side and set it aside.
"Is something the matter, Lehran?"
"It's Kilvas, I suppose," Lehran said. As even as he tried to make his voice completely even, a trace of bitterness slipped in.
"That's for me to know alone," Sanaki said.
She waved aside a servant and tried an appetizer. It was more tart than she usually enjoyed, but for once she didn't simply spit it out and rail at the cook who brought it. She found herself enjoying the difference, the sourness despite preferring a sweet palate.
When she had eaten one, she ate two more of a different variety. She ate them slowly and focused on the taste of it. The second was a spicy fish and cracky ensemble, the third a berry jam.
Lehran waited for her command and was not drawn away by any of the few nobles who would dare try and converse with him.
She liked making him wait.
When she had finally finished, she bestowed her attention upon Lehran again.
"But come, let us stroll in the garden," she said. It was no question, but a command.
"And leave your esteemed guests alone?" Lehran said.
"Their Empress was called away by a pressing matter from an advisor. They will have to understand."
In the garden Lehran plucked a a dusty pale blossom and held it cradled in his hands, as if it brought back some untold memory. After a moment's thought he slipped behind her ear.
"It is a flower traditionally associated with marriage," he said by way of explanation.
"Did your wife wear it?" Sanaki asked. Her voice was sharper, and harder than usual.
"She was the first," Lehran said. Sadness and memory tinged him, and his gaze caught away as one of the flowers was blown away in a night breeze.
Stars above numbered the skies and they too looked like minuscule dots of these flowers. The moon was a large blossom set in the sky, curled up and budded.
"I will wear them to my wedding. It shall be the theme, and match my gown," Sanaki said.
"You've grown," Lehran said. He smiled, sad, nostalgic and brushed the hair from her face. "You're no longer a young girl anymore."
"It took you long enough to notice," Sanaki sniffed.
She outstretched her gloved hand and took Lehran's in hers. "I believe we should return, lest the nobles find even more to gossip about."
"Indeed we should," Lehran chuckled.
"You owe me a dance," she said.
It hung there, the memory of dances shared when she was so young that Lehran would have to lift her up and practically carry her through the waltzing. Now, she fit against him well.
Lehran paced the room. Sanaki was already in her gown and veiled and yet still the groom hadn't bothered to show his filthy face about. It was one thing to be absent in the preparations, but to be late for a wedding?
"Relax, Lehran," Sanaki said.
"Your bridegroom still isn't here yet?" Lehran said.
"Oh, he's arrived," Sanaki said. She handed him a corsage and tied it to his wrist. The same dusty flowers. She had several of them laced into her hair forming a crown. Almost an entire season's blossoms had been harvested for this affair.
"I do hope you remember the lines, it would be a shame for you to make a mistake."
"My lady?" Lehran gasped.
"Don't look so surprised. You should have suspected all along," Sanaki admonished.
Lehran could only gape at her in speechlessness.
"Now get moving, Lehran. You're about to be late for our wedding."