Just a little tidbit from Russav's POV, hope you guys like it! Drop a review and I'll love ya forever :P

Disclaimer: I don't own Crown Duel or Joni Mitchell's songs, thank you very much.

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

The night had started as usual, with laughter and dance, yet possessed something that I could not place. A feeling of restlessness - not fear, but a wary consciousness of the unexpected. There was nothing to warrant the guarded way I stood watching the court's frivolities this night.

We had awoken collectively from our enchanted slumber awhile after Flauvic's attempted coup had taken place. The brevity of the situation had weighed heavily on all of us, though the knowledge that he had been defeated somewhat calmed our spirits. I'd met with my esteemed cousin after the affair ended, and encountered a more secretive Marquis than ever before. Naturally, I began my search as to the cause. We all knew he and Meliara had dealt with the Merindars, we knew the story well by now. The Countess had seemed to settle her differences with my cousin, which was a feat I never believed would occur.

The days following the Merindar threat unfolded in carefully constructed parties and political speeches. I was bored to tears during most, itching to question Danric to no end. Nothing in his expression indicated any changes. He appeared as calm and collected as usual. Meliara, on the other hand, could not hide her smile. At first I thought for certain Danric had finally won her over, believing the unbelievable. But as the days progressed with no hints between the two, with friendly comments and gestures, my certainty began to fade.

Seeking out the King to be is quite a challenge, and unfortunately one I was hard pressed to accomplish as the days wore on. Always in meetings and such, I was seething with the urge to question him until he cracked. All in good fun of course.

And so I stood, watching the crowd in the hall before me, mingling and drinking. Tamara, as usual, had pounced on Danric as a dance partner the moment he was available. I watched as she happily participated, hoping to gain a crown. We have our moments, but even I can admit that she is the woman for me. And yet there she is, angling to marry another, all for the sake of status. I do not know what to make of this for the future. I grimaced as her high laughter reached my ears – fake, obviously so.

The dance ended, and I watched as Danric excused himself from Tamara's clutches. He seemed absent once again, and my interest was piqued as I watched him gently excuse himself from the room. I stood straight, searching the crowded hall for auburn hair. Perhaps I was right after all! With no sign of Meliara, I decidedly made my way round the edge of the room, quietly easing to the hallway outside the main doors. Thankfully following my secretive cousin was quite easy.

The hallway was silent, save for the vague whisperings of noise from the ball. I spun about, looking for a sign of the Marquis, and gained nothing but emptiness. I sighed and had nearly resolved to return and pull Tamara from her newest conquest, when I heard muted laughter nearby. I gently eased aside the corner of a tapestry in front of me, and instantly smiled.

My cousin stood before me, Meliara in his arms, and rendered me rather speechless. I knew I was right! Success of the greatest kind. I watched as he whispered in her ear, watched as she smiled and hugged him tighter to herself, as he lowered his head to hers. I withdrew from the tapestry, giving them their privacy. So he had won his fight after all.

I returned to the ball and, in a much more jovial disposition, I might add, carefully snatched Tamara from a confused partner. She protested, but I simply began to dance. I pulled her closer than what is proper and grinned. She looked at me, confusion in her expression, but relented and smiled back, finally giving in.

When seeing love in its truest form, you can't help but desire it yourself. And now, it would finally get its proper chance.