My first collaboration with the help Lazarus76. We've been roleplaying this in private for a while and she said it'd be fine if I published this.
Half is written by here, half is written by me.
Consider my proposition.
King Dominic read that last sentence again and again. He was just sitting in his work chambers when an unfamiliar bird swooped to the window with a note.
It was from Japan. Japan; travel there would take months. The ink was guided by Emperor Saito, confusing the king even further. How did the Japanese ruler understand English?
He pulled his golden hair back, about to read the note again. It was more of a request.
The bird who delivered it just perched at him, as if expecting an immediate response.
And as a king, politics came before games. He placed the rest of the papers in a drawer and locked it. The key remained in his belt.
The Kings best night and close friend was standing at the door waiting for someone to knock. That was a knight's job when kingdoms were too peaceful. There hadn't been a war in all his years as a hero.
This wasn't what he had in mind after he was knighted. The work of a headsman would be more exciting currently.
But nothing could persuade the young knight to leave His Majesty. If he were at the chateau he was raised in, he would have been married to some strange woman and told to get her with child.
Marriage and women were the last things on his mind. Even when the queen brought it up, he would smile and shrug it off.
"Yes Cobb?" He was one of the only people allowed to address the king that way.
"This letter..." Cobb brushed the folded paper over his palm as he approached. "It's from Emperor Saito."
"The ruler of Japan."
Now the warrior was interested. Battle assistance he hoped. "What does he want?"
"He wants an alliance. He wants to migrate to Fantasia with his people... Join us."
"Does he say why?"
Cobb envisioned it in his mind; the country, attacked by one much greater. Homes burned, men slaughtered, children mercilessly killed, women raped... If that were his country he would be devastated.
But what has Saito tried to protect his people?
"They were attacked by the Chinese. I assume he wants us to help him with revenge, which I wouldn't mind. But he says he has offers if we agree. An alliance would mean his son and Phillipa wed at the right time."
Arthur read the letter and refolded it neatly.
"Better call the other regions. We must discuss this today." Cobb paced a bit, trying to shake out the rest of the subject. "Recruit King Horus and Prince Robert and their courts. I want them here in two hours."
Arthur's mind was in turmoil. "What does this mean?" he asked himself, as he began to leave. A marriage? Between Phillipa? He knew how much Cobb doted on his daughter.
As for Robert...Arthur swallowed. His relationship with the other man was spiky, to say the least. But for the king, he jumped on his white horse and rode off.
The workers in the French Region were always active by five. More work was demanded of them when their ruler was ill because they thought it would heal His Majesty.
Indeed, King Maurice was dying. His only son, Robert, was to claim a bride and take the crown.
Only he didn't pick his bride. His father did.
His choice of Queen shocked his son and his people. The bride herself wasn't very thrilled about the news. She would rather fall off the Eiffel Rock.
As a free spirit at heart, Ariadne would wake up whenever her body said to and threw on the nearest dress. After grabbing her weapons and having an apple, she would jump onto her steed Hunter and race off into the woods.
And the announcement of her engagement wasn't enough to keep her away. Anybody on a speeding horse felt free. What she loved was the feeling of power.
There would be targets hung on various trees. As Hunter charged towards them, she would take an arrow and aim it right to the heart. People who pass through the woods would always see arrows perfectly pinned to each bulls eye.
She wouldn't even stop for other carriages.
At the end of the path was a lake with a waterfall. And there was the Eiffel Rock. Only the most bold would climb it. She climbed it almost everyday just to get a good taste of the falling water.
But if things stayed the way they were, she would never be allowed to shoot an arrow or climb a huge rock. Everything would be planned for her.
And just as she perfected her architecture skills too! The father of Queen Mal, Miles, designed most of the castles in Fantasia. He took her under his wing when he saw she was too determined to walk away.
I am not a piece of their politics, she told herself. They will never change who I am. They'll have to kill me first.
A touch of the lake water was all it took to refresh her mind. It told her to think happy thoughts.
Most women pictured silks, jewels, and wealthy husbands. Ariadne thought of archery, architecture and adventure. Maybe even leaving Fantasia to sail around the world.
Hunter snorted a warning. His master sat up from the rock she was lying on to see her father.
Duke Oliver of Cavandar was a very strict father. Since his wife was brutally killed, he's been left to play both the mom and dad. For a man with three daughters, keeping them in their place was a second job.
It was family tradition for women to get married young and breed like mice if they could. To get a husband, a woman must be polite and obedient.
He was against everything she yearned for, and this made them enemies. His stone-sculpted face looked up at her, unchanged.
"What is it Papa?" he would get angry if his daughters didn't greet him by that.
"There's to be a meeting at King Dominics castle."
Why was he telling her this?
"Do you want me to come?"
"For Gods sake Ariadne, yes! You're going to be queen in a week! You must make a good impression for our kingdom."
Wonderful. Here come the tight corsets and the curtsies.
"I'll come down."
"Damn right you will."
Queen Mal read the letter at least fifty times. Her mind was jumping to two opinions. It could have been a trap. Saito could have lied about the attack and then they would attack them. But they had a lot to teach them too: their culture, their arts, everything. Plus they would make great company.
She would have to see what the other counsels thought. Though she knew the princes advisor, Cardinal Browning, would not like the idea. He already had a grudge against the Egyptians for not being Christian. Mal viewed their religion as them simply worshipping God with a different name.
'We already have a nation that worships cats' is what he would say. 'They have a goddess named Nut.'
"The King and Queen of the English Region!" the harold announced, playing his horn to signal their bowing cues. The royal couple entered the room and sat in their equally sized thrones.
"I have called for this meeting because of a letter I received today." he started. "A letter from Japan." He waited for the court to finish their curious whispers. "Emperor Saito would like for him and his people to migrate to our empty lands and become our allies."
Arthur listened, his nerves on edge. He then spotted a dark haired young woman, with a pale, exquisite face, looking at the floor. He then noticed Robert, the prince, moving towards her. Arthur's eyes widened as he tried to take her hand, and noticed how she shook it off, and began to move away from him, as though she wasn't safe.
As the king and queen went on, the only monarch that seemed to listen was King Horus. Prince Robert kept his eyes glued to the girl.
"And my daughter Princess Phillipa may have a future husband." Mal announced. Cobb glanced at her and she replied by saying 'I said maybe' with her smirk.
"Well." Browning looked surprised. "Congratulations."
Robert was ignoring proceedings, his eyes still fixed upon the distant figures.
"And what is that supposed to mean Cardinal?" the queen asked challengingly. It was never a good idea to be smart with her.
"Your Majesties, if they're going to take the empty land, we should build them a traditional Japanese kingdom. And I know the person to do it."
The young girls head looked at his back view. Is he speaking of me? She wondered.
"They've recently just mastered the art. And we will build them a perfect Japanese kingdom."
"That would be wonderful." Mal approved.
"Your architecture is always exceptional Miles. We can't wait to see it." The royals stood up hand in hand. "So it is agreed them. We will ally with Japan."
Ariadne swallowed, unable to comprehend what she'd just heard. Her thoughts were so loud they muted the applause in the back. Robert approached her, smiling. "I hope you can deliver," he whispered. She looked up. His blue eyes were as cold as ice.
"Robert, I'm not going to marry you." she stated again. "You may think that but I know it's my sister you want. So stop harassing me."
Robert raised an eyebrow. "I'm still entitled to have some fun." His hands began to wander dangerously close to her body.
"Don't you dare." she sneered, bearing her pointy teeth. "Especially since my fathers on the other side of the room."
"And what's he going to do? I'm a prince. I can have anything I want. Including you."
"And I have arrows to make you change your mind."
He smiled, and pressed more closely to her. "I'm up for that," he murmured. "You know, I really hate these virginal little girls, who just lie there for me."
"Because they want that crown. And they may have it. I'm leaving." she turned around and pushed through the groups of men. The farther away she was from him, the better. Her father would normally never permit this, but because of Roberts standards, he acted as if he didn't care. She needed to find some bows and arrows fast. Or some ways to convince her father to take her home.
Unhesitant, she went outside to think in the hedge maze. She knew the garden labyrinth all too well.
She heard rapid footsteps, and suddenly felt her wrist being grabbed. "Don't think you can walk away from me." She felt a sharp tug, and realized Robert was grasping her wrist. "No-one walks away from me. Not if they know what's good for them."