they thought the kingdom would remain tranquil forever. they were wrong. listen to the tale of the citizens of fantasia: of love and lust, of loyalty and betrayals, and of dreams and freedom.
OKAY OKAY I KNOW LONGFICS YEAH YEAH
But I wrote this on a whim and my sister ended up reading it and insisted I post it. So here it is. And this is probably not going to be updated regularly, if it does get updated at all. In any case this was originally going to be a Romeo and Juliet Austria/Hungary thing. Only. No knights or mages or rogues or whatever. BUT THEN I played Final Fantasy XI (the Ivalice Alliance one), added a dash of Hetalia Phantasia, messed with the character relationships a little, and voila. Longfic idea.
The title (subject to change of course) is the English translation for the Latin phrase "ad astra." And this chapter is just a prologue. I already have the backstories and plot twists of sorts in mind, and I know what I'm going to do with about 75% of the Hetalia cast.
Also, Éliás, Kristin and Ada are unimportant minor OCs who represent Elizaveta's father, one of Vash's maids, and the head servant of the Héderváry family. Just thought I'd leave it in a note. Also Liesel is Liechtenstein.
In another time, in another place, there is a mystical land far from the likes you and I have ever heard of. It is a land of castles, queens, and magic, of forbidden love and betrayals. It is a land of Dragonism, where people wholeheartedly serve the Dragons of the Kingdom: five mythical beasts of great power over the elements. The four Great Mages that serve these dragons are selected from the large throng of magic-users, and are second to none save each other and the Royal Mage himself. The identities of these four are kept a tight secret, known only by the Royal Mage, the Queen, and a chosen few.
And when there is sorcery, there is sword. Those who wield the sword are known as Knights, who serve the Queen and are brave, courageous fighters willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of Fantasia.
Or that's what they'd have you believe, because the kingdom's society is far from perfect.
Because it's not just fun and games, you see. There are outlaws who serve nobody but themselves, and plenty of rifts among the citizens. There are strict social classes which love must not transcend: the nobility, at the top, who are the wealthiest and the most influential; the middle class, neither rich nor poor; and the peasants, who make up the majority. Even among the nobility, life is not easy. The economy is destabilizing, and arranged marriages are being set up left and right. There are some, of course, who accept this willingly.
There is one girl who defies this. And this is where our story begins.
to the stars
Chapter 1: Elizaveta
The return of Éliás Héderváry was, as usual, greeted with plenty of chaos. Kindly Ada, left in charge when he wasn't there, would be overseeing the rest of the servants, who in turn would be making sure that the beds were all made, the floors and carpets nicely swept, the windows and mirrors dust-free and polished, the laundry done, the food cooking, and the shelves neatly organized.
On occasions like this his daughter Elizaveta would lock herself in her room and read.
It wasn't that Elizaveta didn't love her father – she loved him exactly as a dutiful daughter should. When he came back she would sit in his study and listen to his tales of his travels as a diplomat. Sometimes they would go horseback-riding (although she hated that accursed sidesaddle) and have a picnic lunch in the woods. He'd give her, his only child, everything she wanted – books, toys, pretty dresses –
- everything, that was, except permission to become a knight.
She had asked, argued, debated, begged, groveled, pleaded, appealed, all to no avail. She reminded him that she was his daughter, that they were a noble family, that the Héderváry family had a history of knighthood (her father had been the exception), that she'd already had enough knighthood training anyways, that how else was she supposed to defend herself, that the Zwinglis' son was already a knight and there was no reason why she should not be –
"There is," Éliás had interjected. "Dearest Elizaveta, you're forgetting you are a girl." If only she'd been male instead – he'd always noted she had the right spirit.
"But Mother was a knight," Elizaveta had argued. "I don't see–"
"You know what happened to your mother, Elizaveta," he'd warned her. "I'm not about to let that happen to you."
With that he'd left the room without another word, not giving his daughter the chance to scream, What happened to her was an accident! Or I'm not Mom! Stop treating me like I'm going to break!
That particular return, however, was different. Instead of the usual debate over knighthood at dinner, Éliás had dropped another bombshell.
"You're getting married."
Elizaveta almost spit out her tea, then remembered she was a lady. "Pardon?"
"I told you." Her father's eyes had a slight twinkle to them. "An arranged marriage."
This time she really did spit out her tea, although she hurried to hide it. "T-to whom? Why?"
He smiled. "To the Bonnefoys' son, Francis. He's a charming young man, I tell you."
"Francis?" While Gilbert had always told her that Francis was a decent guy, she could remember he was part of the reason she started carrying a frying pan around until her father had confiscated it, proclaiming it 'unladylike.' "Father, of all the people to possibly – why Francis? Why am I getting married in the first place?"
"As I'm sure you know the Bonnefoy family is in the Queen's inner circle," he reminded her matter-of-factly. "Marrying into the family would raise our social status. And you are nearing eighteen years of age – I'm sure you're prepared for this, dear, there have been plenty of suitors for your hand, and Francis was the most outstanding one of them."
She frowned. "So basically this is all just for reputation?" she spat out.
His eyes flashed. "We've talked about this before, Elizaveta."
Later that night Elizaveta slipped into the garden unnoticed and whistled.
Immediately he came out to see her, him with his tall stature and refined elegance for one of his social status, him with his sharp indigo eyes and wavy brown hair.
His name left her lips before she could think. "Roderich."
"Elizaveta." Her name sounded so beautiful on his lips. "Good evening."
She suppressed a smile. "How long have you been here?"
"Not very long," he replied. "Perhaps about…ten minutes?"
"And Ada didn't catch you?"
"When does she?" he quipped, and leaned down to steal a kiss.
Elizaveta flushed. "Don't."
Roderich stopped. "Why not? Have they found out?" he asked with sudden alarm.
"Roderich, no." Green eyes met indigo. "I – I'm engaged. Father set me up with Francis Bonnefoy."
Something broke then, Elizaveta could tell. Something in Roderich shattered, and he looked at her with a despondent, sorrowful look. "Does he know…about us?"
Elizaveta shook her head miserably. "I was planning to tell him at dinner. But he told me about Francis, and what could I do about that?"
He blinked. "I don't suppose you…care for Francis?"
"No!" She looked at him as if insulted. "Francis is a womanizing freak. He's nice enough when he's sane, but…" She trailed off and continued in a quieter tone, "Father said their family is incredibly wealthy. The Queen loves them. He thinks that if he had Francis as a son-in-law, he would get back into the Queen's good graces." She sighed. "I really am sorry, Roderich."
Roderich's face was distraught. "Don't be, love. I'm only sorry I can't give you what he can."
She sighed again and placed soft fingers on his chest. "If only you were a noble…"
He looked pained. "Elizaveta, I–"
She looked up at him. "Yes?"
"No, it's nothing." He turned his gaze to the sky. "It's a lovely night."
"Yes." She smiled sweetly. "Can you play something?" she whispered.
"The servants will hear," he reminded her.
"I don't care."
He gave her one of his rare smiles, and took out his always-on-hand violin. And she remembers what a skillful violinist he was, what a skillful mage he was, as the moment the bow touched the strings the flowers began to bloom in the middle of the night.
"Earth magic," he'd told her once. "My specialty." And she'd loved him. He was wonderful. He was everything she'd ever wanted.
Only he wasn't a noble. He was a traveling bard, the kind of mage who used music to convey their magic. And she was the heiress to the Héderváry name. Society forbade it.
Star-crossed lovers. The Romeo and Juliet of their time.
She hadn't minded, for the time being, as long as she was Elizaveta and he was Roderich and they were together. But now, she didn't know what to do.
"I love you," she murmured. She didn't want to worry about that now.
He smiled. "I love you too."
The servants did not hear, and she fell asleep with her head on his shoulder as the strains of the violin echoed into the night.
Gilbert took the news of the engagement well. "Francis is awesome!" he'd told her. "And besides, Veta, you could do worse." But then he'd asked her about Roderich – she knew she was a fool for telling him, but she had to tell someone – and she hadn't known what to answer.
Vash, however, did not take it well. "Francis?" he'd snapped. "Oh, Lord. I pity you, Elizaveta."
Elizaveta knew the reason he was crankier than usual was because of Liesel. She remembered her as Vash's sweet-tempered, kind-hearted little sister who had a fondness for animals and adored her brother beyond everything, despite her dislike for knighthood. And Vash and Elizaveta had loved her back. Only she'd gone missing three weeks prior.
The Héderváry family and the Zwingli family had been good friends for several generations, and although Elizaveta hadn't seen much of Vash as a child – despite being her age he'd refused to play with anyone, declaring himself "neutral" or some crap like that – she still saw him as the brother she'd never had.
Him and Gilbert, in any case, only Vash didn't know about her and Roderich. Elizaveta thought she'd already taken enough of a risk by telling Gilbert.
Anyway, seeing Vash as a brother meant seeing Liesel as a sister, and Elizaveta did just that -which meant she searched for the girl whenever she could, and shared Vash's anguish. Like she was doing now, after she'd told him the news of her engagement.
"What bastards took her?" he growled, slamming his fist on the table, making the china rattle. "Who would dare?"
"Hey, Zwingli," Gilbert said, stuffing a piece of cake down his throat, "Maybe she wasn't kidnapped. Maybe she ran away."
Elizaveta kicked him under the table. "Idiot! What reason would she have for doing that?"
Vash expressed his feelings with a glare directed at Gilbert. "Honestly, Beilschmidt, if you weren't over for afternoon tea…"
Gilbert ignored him. "Can you ask for some more cake? It's awesome. Give my best regards to the chef."
Vash sighed and called for Kristin to come and bring more cake and tea in.
Highborn as well, Gilbert and his little brother were the grandsons of one of the Royal Knights, the highest order of knighthood possible which very few attained within their lifetime. And his high social status meant friendship with people of his class – namely, Elizaveta and Vash. Mostly Elizaveta, considering Vash's childhood 'neutrality,' but all was well and good.
"Change of topic," Elizaveta declared, taking a sip of her tea. She looked at Vash. "How's the military?"
"Pretty good," Vash replied. He had a real talent for archery, having scarily good aim, but he preferred to fight with a sword anyway. "I may or may not get promoted to Lieutenant next week."
"Great!" Gilbert chortled. He'd started serving earlier than Vash had, and was already a General. "Oh, Vashie. Soon we'll be on equal ground, and I'll have nothing to hold over you!"
The shorter young man glared at him yet again.
"Military's mages getting along well?" Elizaveta cut in. The previous year, there had been a scuffle between the military mages, which slowly grew more violent until it left six people dead. Since then the military higher-ups had been keeping an eye on the mages.
"Well enough." Vash shrugged. "Father still doesn't like them, though."
"I never really understood that," Elizaveta noted, thinking of Roderich and his talent for magic, and decided that she made the right decision by not telling Vash. "Why does your family hate mages so much?"
"Liesel didn't," Vash said with a pained look, and shrugged again. "My father said it stemmed from way back. My family had this really precious and important…thing, and some mages conned them into selling it or something."
"And that was how long ago?" Gilbert asked, sharing a look with Elizaveta.
"Fifty? A hundred? Who knows?" Vash near-slammed his head on the table. "I just want my sister back, okay?"
"I'm sure they'll find her," she told him, placing a consoling hand on his shoulder.
"They'd better," Gilbert laughed. "I forgot Liesel owed me money."
Elizaveta stomped on his foot. "In any case, I have to go," she told them. "I have a meeting with Francis at four." She spat out the name as if it was a curse. "There's a dinner afterwards at seven, by the way," she added. "Our engagement party." She rolled her eyes.
"Do I have to see you to the door?" Vash mumbled.
"No." Elizaveta put on her coat and thought she really needed more girl friends.
"Good luck," he replied numbly, his head still buried in the table. "Remember to act like a lady. If you hear any news of Liesel at all–"
He knew her too well. "Tell you, I know."
"Send Fran my best regards," Gilbert called out.
"Of course," she replied with just a hint of bitterness. "See you in a bit." She walked out the door, thinking of womanizing fiancés and star-crossed lovers and missing little sisters and wondering what was up with her life.
So sorry for spamming with this. Review anyway?