I.

She had disappeared shortly after Walter's funeral. She hadn't spoken a word to him that may have betrayed her whereabouts or reasoning for leaving, she simply vanished before the sun set on the day. Leaving no heir behind, it fell on Logan to rule again in his righteous sister's absence despite his status as a former tyrant. He accepted the burden with a heavy heart; Esther was the bright and shining beacon for the people that he simply didn't have the charisma within to be. He wasted no time in sending out special squads to find her. In the mean time, he dutifully saw to the running of his sister's realm, leaving every policy she enacted as it was to the very letter: He just wanted his sister back, and he wanted her to come back to things the way she left them... if she ever did.

The tarnished king sits on a gleaming throne, brought up from years of muck and disparity by the one he thought would be there forever. He sends Jasper to fetch a bottle of port and his favourite brand of cigar; there will be no sleep for the weary king tonight.

II.

She has seen the true hero of Albion, though the fledgling that great king Sparrow birthed tried in earnest to escape the sight of she and everyone else. Theresa knew it was the death of her dear friend and mentor that had pushed the Queen over the edge, as she watched in silence, in a space that was not shared by the cold northern woods that Esther was currently hiding in. She saw no reason to reach out to Esther. No reason to interfere; this was a battle that was fought inside the mind, and the young Queen would have to choose for herself what her next decision would be. She felt her lips lift at the corners as she watched the woman, wrapped in the furs of The Dwellers, huddled beneath an ancient pine. A shiver shook her body. Curious that she had been in the same place for days now, Theresa mused. But then again... when you are a seer of things, the curious is far more easily understood than it is to most.

Stupid woman.

III.

He had appearances to keep, sure. But the one thing that Ben Finn was never any good at, was pretending to give a hobbe's ass about anything he didn't actually give a hobbe's ass about. This, however, was easy for him; he would gladly take this over the public eye and fancy-to-do's and ballrooms and tiny crackers with fish eggs on, and sparkly wine that didn't get you drunk nearly as quickly nor as efficiently as a good bottle of whiskey would. He smiled to himself as he crammed an extra shirt into his rucksack; it was a rush, what he was doing. This would be the third time he had seen her since she had disappeared. It was daring. It was brazen. It was irresponsible.

He couldn't help but chuckle into the silence of the small Bowerstone Industrial apartment as he continued to stuff essentials into the rucksack. If anything, it certainly was love.

Thirty paces north east off of the beaten track, bear west at the tree that looks like a troll, seventy five more paces north, cross a narrow stream and turn right at the group of four boulders... under the ancient pine tree: The charlatan captain knew he would find his true love under the boughs.

IV.

Heartbreak was not a word that a man like Reaver acknowledged in his well-rounded vocabulary. More accurate descriptors of the varying levels of fury he felt included words such as spiteful, vehement, tempestuous.. in short Queen Esther had found herself in a danger zone. It was surely no coincidence that she vanished from right under his nose after the funeral of that louse-ridden oaf, hours before the day of their marriage. The marriage they had in fact contractually agreed upon before she took the throne; they would be wed, and he would be king consort in Albion, thus being entitled to her many... assets, both material and otherwise.

He ground his perfectly white teeth as he sat behind his desk.

"Well?" He hissed over the rim of his brandy glass, "Report, or whatever it is you do."

The well paid mercenary fiddled with his filthy hat in his equally filthy hands. "We thinks we found her, Mistah Reaver. Up in the mountains of Mistpeak, she is. Ain't moved from the same place in days."

"Return her to me." He said quietly. "Mistpeak is frightfully cold this time of year. I would be loathe to hear that my dear fiancee caught a sniffle." He glared at the mercenary as silence fell. "What else do you need?" He said, and it took no genius to detect the threat that lurked beneath the question. The mercenary turned heel and rushed from the room, jamming his rumpled hat on his head as he went.

The duplicitous suitor reclined back in his luxurious leather desk chair and swirled the brandy in his glass. If Reaver had ever learned anything in his very long life, it was that contracts were very much a thing to be taken seriously. People often-times got hurt when they weren't. Tut tut.