Title: Ripping Off Angel's Wings
Description: Annabelle x Sethius
Sethius VanHampton - November 5, 2010 06:55 AM (GMT)
HE WAS LYING IN BED. Caterina was beside him, and he watched her perfect, scar-less face roll to look at him. Her eyes were bright, alive as they had been when she was a girl, before all the troubles of the world came over them – a look he rarely saw these days, and had last seen when she had described her excitement for having a baby girl. Sethius looked at her with a smile and helpfully said, “You were lost,” and Caterina shook her head before rolling her body on top of his. And when he was inside of her and she was staring down at his face, Sethius noticed that Mandron was at the end of the bed, chatting with Edward who was sitting on a throne, wearing nothing at all except a tie knit of the Hydriad colors and Evangeline’s arms were draped over his bare thighs and her hands cradled her head while the King’s ringed hand covered the gash in her bloody neck while Eva stood behind them all and smiled with unnatural teeth made to tear flesh. Annabelle sat on She’lara’s knee and She’lara braided her hair as the Siren princess stared at Edward while Jackalyn disapprovingly leaned on her sword between them and Mandron was rising to touch Lamina’s breasts while she stood in Ethanov’s whoring arms, standing on a pile of bloodless bodies. Then Benjamin looked at Sethius and pressed his cheekbone into his shoulder and he wasn’t wearing anything either and Caterina rolled onto his other side and they lay together beneath their shared blanket and the Queen and her other commander both rested their fingers on his chest and he lay flat on his back and absorbed the warmth from both of their bodies dully with his arms around either of them like, spread apart like Christ on the crucifix and suddenly everyone was staring at him from directly about his head, straight-faced.
And a little girl walked crawled into his frame of vision and said with her big eyes, one which he knew to be blind and the other which reflected the violence of a werewolf, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Sethius lurched into consciousness.
Who had ripped the wings off of that angel who could seemingly do no wrong before his arrival into her life? With seething vengeance, rumour had it, Eva had aspired to find a cure to the disease which afflicted so many Drows to the extent that fatalities rose uncontrollably. Now, Eva increased the numbers of fatalities with stern swipes of her claws and a gnashing of bloodstained teeth. What had led such a pure thing to this path? How had her hands been so white with pale, meticulously cleaned flesh, and gone to being coated in a slick crimson from the fingertips to the elbow? Was the blame to be placed truly on the man who saw himself in the mirror, no destructive devil, but a ghost? Did this haunted thing really have the power to wretch something so forcefully from the hands of a perfect woman? It must’ve been for, amidst the blood, there was no blonde Hydriad. There was so much blood – he thought of it distantly as he lay still beneath his sheets; when he focussed on the thought, he could almost smell it. The visuals were hazy and unbelievable, but there was no way … how much of it was hers? How much damage had that animal done?
The responsibility that he was feeling for Caterina was overwhelming. Standing was a burden, and his legs burned with his own weight; sitting was not a safe decision, though, for each time he seated himself Sethius felt as if he would double over and vomit again, as he had when the fear of his missing Queen had first hit – he had choked until there was nothing left, and even then had he coughed over his knees while his head spun. The morning was bright before them and, as the commander opened the folds of his tent to glimpse the great outdoors, his eyes ached. His jaw was clenched tight as nausea swept over him and the desire to fall back into restless slumber almost overpowered him, but instead he backed away from the entrance and sunk into the muted brightness of the room. He was astoundingly numb as he moved around the room, unaware of the things which usually bothered him, even seemingly immune to the temperature change as he slid into clothes for the day. The Siren needed somebody to come around and hit him with reality, beat it into him that the world had turned upside down, but instead he readied himself for the day without accepting it easily. He kept thinking it – Caterina’s gone, Caterina’s gone – and nothing impacted him fully. Sethius needed material proof of this strange feeling he had after waking, and yet was too afraid to venture forth and collect it. There was a child too! An unborn being full of potential, something that the two of them had made and feared and hoped for together, for so short a time …
Leaving his comfort zone was inevitable, though, and he would have no excuse not to do so. Sethius dared to fully leave his tent when ready, striking up the rediscovered comfort of the cigarette and charging into a new, fresh hell. Princess Annabelle was potentially going to be assuming control over Hydriad affairs in her sister’s recent absence – he was surrounded by talk of it, the reoccurring “What if?” statements and the constant echo of fear. He had heard this despair before, but now painfully strong uncertainty shook him – but she was hardly capable, Sethius thought, and that had inspired him to send her the eloquent letter requesting her company that morning. It was sickening to think of anybody but Caterina in her throne, however temporary the young blonde’s stay would be. After doing the rounds which he forced himself into, simply to maintain a regular status, he moved into the official council tent, so close to Caterina’s that he might have turned there instead, simply to relive the visions he had taken in the afternoon prior – the blood which stained the cloth of the door, the internal ornamentation of the guard’s, and the red spatter across the flooring … just a spec on the desk … a few drops on the bed where they had first made love – where they have begun a new life. The curious numbness followed him as he sat down at one of the massive round tables. His stomach churned – not yet eight-thirty in the morning and yet he was going to be sick. Sethius coughed into his arm, and the attempt at stopping his empty stomach from heaving violently left tears stinging in his eyes. The liquid was inspired to call on companions, but something inhibited them: something cold. The silence, the tension, the denial: it ate away at him.
All there was to do was wait, before the antichrist took the throne.
Annabelle Lancreteroux - November 5, 2010 01:55 PM (GMT)
Annabelle Lancreteroux had returned to the Iccilic Falls the day that she had met with Mandron Cor’kerym at the Courthouse for a little rendezvous to a palace in an uproar. The Siren Princess had slipped into the palace, dripping wet from her swim, her silk robe clinging to her body as she sauntered through the corridors. The servants were silenced by looks as she passed by, gazing at her wide-eyed and whispering tentatively behind their hands. Annabelle caught snatches of their whispers here and there, “Do you think Her Highness knows?” -- “Where do you think she’s been?” -- “What are we going to do?!” and “Has anyone told Her Highness?!” By the time she had reached her chambers to get dressed, Annabelle was in a foul mood, for someone was keeping secrets from her.
She adjourned to her parlor as soon as she had been dressed by silent servants and by this time she was seething. She called upon her Ladies in Waiting, who all came in wearing black with fresh trails of tears rolling down their cheeks. Anna glared at them as they all sat upon her furniture, clutching handkerchiefs and sniffling loudly. “Will somebody tell me what’s going on?” Annabelle snapped exasperatedly. The Ladies in Waiting all looked rather shocked at the demand, and Anna looked around for Evangeline, but she was not among the ones who had gathered. “Somebody better tell me soon before I lose my temper.”
“It’s her Majesty.” One of the Ladies choked out, “She’s been – she’s been – she’s been taken!”
Annabelle stared at the floor, feeling as if the wind had been knocked out of her. Her sister had been taken? Kidnapped. Was she alive? The Ladies told her everything they knew, which wasn’t much, and Annabelle ordered them out for she didn’t wish to have company as she digested this new development.
She felt … guilty. Here she had been gallivanting around with Mandron Cor’kerym, fraternizing with the enemy like the child everyone said she was… and her sister had been taken by the Minervan army and was being held who knew where! Annabelle’s heart felt very heavy as she sank back into the velvet couch, biting down on her bottom lip. Her mind was whirling. How could she have been so heartless as to betray her sister when her sister was in her most vulnerable state?!
And yet, what could Annabelle have done? She’d have likely been taken as well if she had been there. There was nothing Annabelle could have done.
It was around this time that Edward’s letter had come and Annabelle viewed this in a different light. His words were so eloquently written, so twisting and conniving as if speaking to him directly, and he was right. As the second in line, it was her turn to take the throne. Whatever happened to Caterina, Annabelle would have to step in for as long as necessary. Wasn’t that part of the agreement anyway? Edward would help Annabelle get to the throne and Annabelle in turn would deliver her sister into his hands. It had happened a lot sooner than she had thought, and really she hadn’t done much, but here it had happened.
She changed her dress into something less casual, more queenly, and threw the doors to her chambers open and sought out the rest of the court, announcing to them, “I am taking the place of my sister until it is seen that she is brought home safely.” They all seemed surprised, but in their mourning, they congratulated her on being able to stand in her place at such a dire time, when she would have been mourning herself. Princess Annabelle was the picture of strength and poise and calm in the time of need!
The letter from Sethius had been given to her the next morning and Annabelle smiled to herself as she was dressed in the most regal of gowns, a deep plum silk with lace at the neckline and hem and sleeves. She piled her most luxurious furs upon her shoulders and set off straight away to the battlegrounds.
It had been months since Annabelle had visited the battlegrounds. The war was not something she had been particularly interested in, but for the sake of the role she was playing, she would pretend.
She was shown to the official council tent and stepped inside to find Sethius VanHampton, her sister’s lover and the father of Caterina’s child, conceived out of wedlock. He was obviously torn to pieces, and Annabelle could only guess why he had asked her to come speak with him. Annabelle did not bother waiting for him to acknowledge her or even to take her hand, for he was distracted, obviously, and so she instead found a seat and took it, facing Sethius with a solemn look upon her face. “Sethius…” She said softly, her blue eyes searching his face and feeling rather guilty once more for she had not been there. “Sethius, I am sorry…” Sorry that he was enduring this and taking it so hard. Sorry that he was so weak and so broken. It unnerved her to see him like this. She reached out tentatively and placed a soft hand upon his own hand as if it would comfort him, and for a moment she forgot that she hated him. It was no matter, for she would soon be reminded.
Sethius VanHampton - November 7, 2010 07:53 AM (GMT)
UNUSUALLY SENSITIVE TO THE DISTURBANCE IN THE SILENCE, the commander’s shoulders tightened as he heard his company enter. Initially, Sethius had thought he might attempt to be sympathetic to the princess – they were in the same boat, and dealing with the same loss. Annabelle had lost her sister, bound in blood to wander eternity as connected women, and he had lost the woman he had willingly attached himself to. Blood, he wanted to believe, was thicker than water, but Annabelle, he saw as he rose appropriate in his seat for her entrance, was gaining something from her sister’s absence; he observed her tasteful, extravagant attire and barely kept the horror off of his face. What loss was this? She already looked the part that mere years had deprived her of for so long. The pot called the kettle black, and the commander disapprovingly thought how materialistic this woman was, and how repulsive it was of her to so flamboyantly enter this scene. He remembered almost immediately that he still thought of her as vain and petty, without much reason other than maybe his disdain for her rise to power. It refreshed the reasons that Sethius had intended to speak to her with an air of diplomacy, on matters which might never have crossed his mind were this not directly affecting the lives of every Hydriad and the soldiers of the Quartrant – if only this hadn’t been an issue which had resided with Caterina, then perhaps he might not feel so sick about it.
He was ill at ease with Annabelle’s considerate tone – he had never been particularly adept at shielding his dislike of her and her brother, Ethanov. They were both so young and susceptible to manipulation, the way that he saw it. Both were so beautiful, and the Lancreteroux brother had become notoriously mentionable because of that natural grace; Annabelle was always striking in her own way, although Sethius, perhaps in his bias, was unable to see the side of her which was politically inclined. He disapproved of her, possibly only because he didn’t know much about her beyond her stunning appearance, and the thought that her head would only be complete with the weight of a crown bearing upon it. He detested her uninvolved character, the absolute style through which she placed no influence (or, that was, none known to him) on their people. Annabelle wasn’t fit to be in her older sister’s place by any means, he thought detestable: moreover, she wasn’t Caterina, and this very fact overwhelmed any potential she may have possessed.
Sethius wasn’t sure about where her priorities would lie. Would Annabelle be involved in their offensive strategies, supportive of them? Would she call for retreat, for whatever foolish reason? Would she care to find her sister, or would she embrace her newfound power? What sort of woman would do that was beyond him, but yet the chance that her vanity would block these matters … he shuddered inwardly. He couldn’t take any risk in organizing the precedence of the Quartrant’s affairs. The woman he would one day, without a hint of uncertainty, call his wife in spite of all ordinary expectations, and the child – oh, how his stomach churned once more! The Siren coughed again and tried to hide his surely-burning, pink eyes from the visitor. It was too early for an unborn child to tread through the valley of the shadow of death, unjust to assume that the time for its demise was upon them. Its fate, and he still hopefully thought of this as “hers,” was too closely entwined with Caterina’s, and while neither was certain Sethius was uneasy with possibility. She had never been introduced into a glorious world, designed by her mother’s hands and executed by her father’s violence.
The Corinthians told him that God was not the author of confusion, but Sethius instead found that He was being the conductor of it and not peace – in the Lord he put no trust in this complex issue, and would take things into his own hands. So he dropped back into his chair and tried to face Annabelle, all the while wishing that he hadn’t dropped his cigarette on the ground before entering the tent without any further thought; he was beginning to feel anxious and uncomfortable in his seat, having sat in the silence, restless and without its calming existence in his hand. How vile he might have thought this, were the situation any different. The commander, regardless, met her eyes, unable to smile, but pleased with the effort at civility, and struggled to muster a smile – it wouldn’t rise to his lips, as could only be expected in this time – but then Annabelle’s hand rose to his and he pulled it away as if her very touch was caustic. His gaze shifted from hers awkwardly as he recognized how very inappropriate that action was, or rather the rejection of her gesture, and yet was incapable of doing anything but be absolutely repulsed by it.
“There is no point cutting corners, your Highness,” Sethius began curtly, swallowing hard and closing his eyes for a moment to collect himself, “I know that I’m out of line to say this,” he sounded weak and tired, and it annoyed him. With his arms folded tightly against his chest, he physically scowled at having been so quiet, when bold confidence would serve him best here, “But I would like to speak to you regarding your current position. My understanding is that you will be filling in your sister’s shoes from now until her return,” he was mildly proud that he sounded professional, because he knew that demeanour was about to fall away with confrontation and emotion: “And I don’t think that you should.” he continued flatly, hitting the target sharply on the head, rather than evading it, “I think that I should.”
Annabelle Lancreteroux - November 9, 2010 02:30 AM (GMT)
As soon as Sethius withdrew his hand from hers as though she had some sort of disease that he truly did not want to contract, Annabelle was reminded of her distaste for the weak man before her. She frowned, turning her body away from him and toward the council table before them, drumming her gloved fingers upon the table as he spoke. Had she not been kind in her greeting and considerate in her words? Truly Sethius could not look past his obvious hatred for her even in such a dire time. They could never, it seemed, put aside their differences and work together for the better of mankind, as if their opinions for the better of mankind would ever coincide. Annabelle listened to him, the expression on her face lacking the proper interest, and more echoing the very disgust she knew he felt for her.
Their hatred for each other was not quite something that was simple and would be resolved quickly by any means. Annabelle detested the man before her for so many different reasons. Oh, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways… Perhaps most of all it was because he had always been very plain with his feelings toward her. She had never known someone so very outspoken against her, and it was irritating that he was one of the only men whom she had not been able to win over. Granted, she hadn’t tried very hard because he was the brother of her very best friend, and because Caterina’s obvious affection for him had made him off limits.
His self-righteous attitude irritated her to no end. And here, while he claimed that she was not the one he thought should be on the throne, Annabelle could not help but to feel utterly disgusted by him. He was the father of Caterina’s bastard child. Did he know that the very book he held so close to himself, that he used to judge her many flaws with, was the very book that condemned his sinful acts? What a hypocrite he was! And how very, very irresponsible. It would have been absolutely delightful to Annabelle, had he not been turning such a judgmental eye upon her.
When Sethius stated that he thought he would be better suited to take the throne in her sister’s place, Annabelle let out a small laugh, turning her blue eyes sharply upon him as she did so, her lips curving into such an amused smile. “Do you, now, Sethius?” She said, her tone lightly mocking him as her eyes looked him over briefly, “You believe yourself in quite a capable condition to lead a people, your mind and judgment unclouded by grief and guilt and… whatever else?” Annabelle rolled her eyes. Surely this was merely because he didn’t want her on the throne. Surely he didn’t think himself to be in any position to guide a people, to support and comfort and encourage a people. “You look like hell warmed over, Sethius. I do not think you are in much of a condition at all to be taking any higher position than the one in which you are presently.”
Annabelle smoothed her skirt down with quick movements of the hand, pushing the creases to the side and making a mental note to scold whoever thought this dress appropriate. “I do not understand why you think yourself deserving to take her place… as far as I’m concerned, you have not yet exchanged marriage vows and thus you have no standing within the Royal family, besides fathering an illegitimate child.” She spoke curtly now, deciding to lay it out on the table as well for she, too, thought it best not to beat around the bush. She would rather not spend so much time sugar coating things and wasting time there. “If the position becomes overwhelming, I am sure Ethanov would be more than happy to step in.”
Truthfully, Annabelle was already bored with the conversation. Did Sethius really think that he would get anywhere in confronting Annabelle with this? If so, he truly did not know Annabelle well enough, and had dragged his worthless, weak body out of his godforsaken tent for a useless cause.
“As it were, I do not think even Ethanov’s stepping in to be necessary.” Annabelle said confidently, turning her blue eyes away from Sethius as she did so. She paused a moment before adding, “Don’t you think your time would be better spent going after Caterina?” It was curious to her why he hadn’t gone out himself to find her. Poor Caterina, all alone in some Minervan camp, wondering if she would leave there in one piece, and her lover sitting in a tent quarreling with her sister instead of leading the search for his woman himself. Here he sat, his eyes pink and the rest of him, well… disheveled. What a weak man sat before her! And he though he was in any condition to step in on Caterina’s behalf? It was laughable! Annabelle could hardly suppress the amusement she felt merely thinking of how ridiculous it all was!
OOC: I am sorry she is being such a little madam. She's a bit of a firecracker tonight!
Sethius VanHampton - November 9, 2010 07:52 AM (GMT)
ooc: I'm sorry. I'm tired. If this doesn't make sense, I'll happily revise it tomorrow night ... >> -dies /
done self-righteous douchebaggery character post for the night
THE COMMANDER’S JAW CLENCHED AT HER WORDS, annoyed by her forwardness and her vile pleasure in what he said. Sethius had not expected it to be taken well – perhaps he hadn’t expected anything to begin with. Had he really believed it would be so simple? Did it seem to him a possibility that this woman who had been denied this position all of her life would simply give it up because he thought he was capable? Like any naïve man, he thought he might be – like any naïve woman, she thought she might be. They were a match made in Heaven, although Hell on Earth had no room for such notions. This wouldn’t be an easy conversation, or even, he had known before entering, one he was likely to win.
Sethius was absolutely shocked by her mannerisms. She dealt the harshest words with a girlish twist, and the Siren was revolted by her audacity as she rolled her eyes; the woman’s faux integrity and silent disrespect was all that his mind could interpret her actions for. His face was flaming at what Annabelle so plainly stated, and he felt a hypocritical wash of anger at Caterina; the feeling was irrational, though, and if he was thinking more with his head than his heart, he might have seen it. What right did she have to be telling Annabelle about their personal dealings? He was flushed with embarrassment, humiliation at the indiscretion of their affair and perhaps the stupidity of having been so carelessly involved to being with a woman of her level, as well as the rage he wallowed in for having been tossed into this mess in the first place. It was none of Annabelle’s business what her sister was doing, and – he couldn’t even be indignant in his shock – she had no place to know about their unborn child. There was nothing that was even made definite regarding that situation, and here the woman made knowledge he would have liked to have seen kept confidential known. She laid cards on the table which should have only been his and Caterina’s to hold. The Siren was infuriated.
Probably because of the undeniable accuracy of almost everything that Annabelle said, of course, but he could never admit that – not to himself, and certainly not to her. Sethius wanted to ignore her words, but the weight of responsibility was already too great. Surely, if the man blamed himself any more for what happened, he would not be stringing nooses, but hanging from one tied at his own hand. He ground his teeth unconsciously, watching her fingers drumming for a moment on the surface of the table and feeling a spike of irritation jab at him, the slight sound of her fingers contacting the wood abnormally grating in his ears. He listened with his attention divided between her and his increasing irritation at the small gesture. Until she mentioned Ethanov, he continued much this way – Ethanov, King! He found that he reflected her own lightness back at her, barking a cold laugh out at the thought of that boy in control. Even in his dreams, the idle prince appeared a predator of sex only, without any relevance whatsoever to the political world. He had no business here. In fact, Ethanov might have been the only person less capable for this job than Annabelle, in Sethius’s eyes.
“That’s what I’m doing!” Sethius was barely able to keep the growl of those words from seeping out, “But you have the resources at your fingertips – and to suggest that this is something I should be looking into says everything about you –” he cut himself off sharply. Yelling was the next classification of volume, and it wouldn’t do, “Did you think you would let her rot, and we would take care of saving her? Weren’t you going to take initiative?” that was yelling. He stopped again for a pause in which he swallowed his nausea and loudness, “Where is your grief and where is your guilt? Do you even care?” he choked this out, snarling her own words back at her, “I’m going after Caterina, and I deny the need for my actions to go through you. I don’t think you know what you’re doing, nor do I think you understand the gravity of this situation: the Quartrant needs somebody who does.”
He failed, of course, to think of all the concerns which had struck him in discussion with Caterina. She had mentioned marriage, and all he had thought was that being off the battlefield was no job for him – once he had convinced himself it was the right thing to do, suddenly, the choice was swept away. The commander didn’t recall the thought that had imminently arrived: he was no politician. He had never been and had, for almost as long as he had been involved in the military, been a strategist of words. Actions, perhaps, and this was the winning factor which convinced him to do take up this case against the sister of the woman he loved. He was a man of action, and that was what was needed – they didn’t need the head of a politician on the frontlines: they needed the head of a man who knew procedure and had experience.
“Explain this war to me, Annabelle,” he said hotly, hearing too late that, once again, he sounded more empowered in these words than was professionally acceptable, “And explain what military procedures you would encourage,” he felt the anger rushing through his body and into his dialogue, but luckily just managed to keep the final exclamation points from escaping – he would fake calm, and he would do so poorly, “Better yet: tell me what you’re going to do to promote locating your sister, because there is more to this position than a pretty headpiece and a title,” he stated this as a silent accusation, certainly unfair and most arbitrarily.
He spat: “You don’t really think you’re capable, do you?”
Annabelle Lancreteroux - November 9, 2010 08:13 PM (GMT)
OOC - Yours was fine. :] I hope mine is as well. I had an idea of where I wanted to go with this and she took it in a totally different direction. >> I hope it works!
With absolute satisfaction, Annabelle realized that Sethius had not known that Caterina had confided in her sister about their unborn child. So perhaps they didn’t have a picture perfect relationship at all. Caterina had let Annabelle in while Sethius hadn’t known. But hadn’t he confessed to Evangeline? He was a hypocrite in every sense of the word. Annabelle hated him more than she hated anyone else in the world at that moment, for he was trying to rip this one moment of glory out of her grasp. Her one moment to actually be something more than some silly princess, and he was trying to take that away from her. Well, Annabelle would not let go of this. He could say whatever he wished to her and she wouldn’t budge. She was Queen for a day, or for however long it took to get Caterina back.
Hadn’t Edward promised that Annabelle would be placed on the throne? Was this all his doing? Surely it was. Surely this was all part of his plan. While leaving Caterina there with the Mystics to rot would be more beneficial to Annabelle’s cause, Annabelle was now bent completely on proving Sethius wrong. That was what this would ultimately boil down to. Annabelle was out to prove everyone wrong. Everyone who thought she was incapable of anything – and that included bearing children. Right now, though, she would focus on proving everyone wrong who thought she was incapable of leading. She knew that Edward underestimated her, and now Sethius. She had been underestimated all her life.
Not anymore. She would prove all of them wrong. Annabelle was more than capable.
Sethius was yelling at her. Annabelle was sure that his voice carried well outside of the tent they sat within, and Annabelle could feel her own temper flaring within her, though she… she remained the calm one. Her blue eyes flashed like lightening as the words rumbled out of the pathetic man before her, accusing her and challenging her. “You know nothing about me, Sethius VanHampton. You are blind.” Annabelle hissed at him, keeping her voice low in contrast to his harsh volume. “How dare you insinuate that I’ve felt nothing of my sister’s kidnapping! Don’t you dare think for one second that I have not bore my own grief, my own guilt! And don’t you dare suggest that I would rather leave her to rot!” The last “don’t you dare” came out as more of a growl as her own face became flushed with rage.
“And what have you done, Sethius? Surely you were aware of the situation before I became aware. And surely you’ve had better access to the resources than I have, as I have had to travel over the sea to reach the battlegrounds. I came directly to speak with you, and as soon as you finish your temper tantrum, we might be able to actually get something done in regards to getting Caterina back.” Annabelle was becoming impatient with Sethius yelling at her like she was some sort of child.
“You don’t really think you’re capable, do you?”
Annabelle stood up quickly, the chair she had been sitting on tipping over onto its side as she did so with the force of her rising. “Enough!” she snarled, placing her hands on the table and leaning toward Sethius. “I am not going to sit here and listen to you berate me to my face while my sister is out there enduring who knows what. You are wasting my precious time and unfortunately we do not have precious time to lose if we want Caterina back in one piece.” Annabelle regarded him for a moment before continuing in a slightly softer tone, but still with the force and authority she had infused in the first half. “It is not your fault she has been taken. You and I want the same thing. It would be best if we worked together. We can bicker later.”
The Princess straightened up and smoothed skirts, breathing deeply to calm herself. She would need to keep a calm face about her when she went to meet with She’lara. Annabelle was going to prove Sethius wrong. She was going to get Caterina back.
Sethius VanHampton - November 11, 2010 09:03 AM (GMT)
ooc. Of course your post works -- it's you. Ha. So, uh, mine? Took a direction of it's own too; how was that
for a graceful transition? x__X
INSTANTLY, THE PRINCESS SEEMED TO TAKE THE DEFENCE, and it made Sethius feel entirely too satisfied. She didn’t answer any of his questions, if they could even be said to be so – sharp missiles of insinuation, otherwise. He had challenged her, and she had, he perceived, evaded it. This entire conversation was humiliating, and he wasn’t quite deluded enough to say otherwise; he had to admit that the words which would surely carry beyond their proximity within this private canvas were not flattering – not to him and, less than secretly, he hoped not to Annabelle either. They had both lost their tempers unattractively, but the only relevant consequences was how each perceived the other’s dignity – but regardless, her response was somewhat flattering. He felt as though his case was reinforced by her reaction, unable to see that perhaps it was Sethius who had incited it in the first place. Abusively backing her into the corner might not have been the most expedient way of receiving any civil words, but social standards were no longer on his list of priorities: he was sleeping with the Queen, fathering her illegitimate (as Annabelle seemed all too happy to point out) child, and, frankly, at this point, God probably didn’t want anything to do with him. His midlife crisis was leaning towards a state of disregard for logic, and this clearly reflected in the actions he took now.
Sethius was hardly one to judge, and felt a little stab of guilt for questioning her in the first place, when she seemed to upset now … but a part of him was too stubborn to simply accept that there was more to Annabelle than her pretty face, and wanted to deny that she was leadership material. It was not, to his conscious mind, a possibility that there was any desire within him to have that much power; God-willing, he would happily stay a commander all of his life, wouldn’t he? There was no need for the lure of further control in his day to day life, as far as he was aware, but was there just a small part of him that wanted to deny Annabelle was as rational as, for one brief moment, she appeared? Perhaps he wanted to overlook her coherency in favour of his own potential. It wouldn’t directly come to him, though, this idea that overthrowing the young blonde before him was for his own personal desires and curiosity; how vulgar it would seem for him to take the woman who should have been his wife and use her disappearance as an excuse to fulfill overestimated potential.
The commander knew that his lips would need to be more guarded, now, as Annabelle rose from her chair, positively furious. Her temper matched his, and he caught the low darkness of her tone as she had continued vocalizing. Sethius’s anger contributed to his words too, and he wondered absently how she would react if she knew the reason for the extent of his guilt: Caterina didn’t tell her siblings about Eva, did she? “It’s not your fault,” he heard the lie. His desire to pick a fight, however, was not so prominent that he could bring himself to compare his guilt with hers. It was infantile and it was angry, but he felt with certainty that there was no living soul who could feel as badly as he did in that moment. The world that day was Sethius-centric, and there was no chance he would ever admit that perhaps he was incorrect to so quickly presume the royal’s feelings.
How genuine, he wanted to know, was her reaction? He was so certain that the sisters were more estranged than they had ever allowed to show … and, yet, Caterina had told the younger Lancreteroux woman of their private matters, and that was a question. But this was Annabelle – he tried desperately to think of a reason he disliked her, other than the traits he has assumed she possessed: Sethius wanted her to be conceited and thick-skulled, incompetent and unreasonable. His bias was problematic, and his judgment, as she had hatefully implied prior, was not at its most exemplary status. Not even twenty-four hours from her absence, and already the pandemonium was sinking over their frontlines – oh, when the Minerva found out … but they were, he thought, to blame. This was the direction that they would need to take, he believed already.
But he had no choice other than to finish what he had started. He could pick at linguistics (“bicker” she said, as if this were no more than a fleeting disagreement!) if his mind were more capable of truly absorbing all that she said; he could argue further that his experience much overwhelmed her own. Sethius didn’t take either route, though, and spoke plainly. There was nothing which remotely resembled a retreat in his answer, but he answered the whole of what the princess had spat at him with an apparent, although only partially deliberate, tone of agreement, “No one could deny we would get more done if we were both involved in this,” it hurt to say that aloud, the words burning. But honestly followed it, and Sethius expanded, forcefully steering himself from conversation in case he said something more that would lead the two of them into an almighty power struggle, granted the initial reason that he had drawn Annabelle there – a leap of faith, but his jaw was tensed at the idea. As part of that leap, he made a suggestion for immediacy, dropping his eyes from the princess to her toppled chair, as if to suggest that she sit once more. Sethius was sure that when Annabelle failed to accomplish anything through her attempts at action, then it would have to be acknowledged that he was the only suitable person for the temporary hold of control. His suggestion of seemingly good-intent and surrender was merely another silent fragment of his power play.
“I’m also confident you’ll agree with me in that the only reasonable plan is to take severe military action against the Minerva.”
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