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Prince Stephan
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 15 Dec 2014
Posts: 26
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Can Be Found: The capital city of Berengaria, or his estate at Peronell
325.16 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:48 pm    Post subject: Good News Reply with quote

Peronell was beautiful in the snow. Of course, the estate of the Crown Prince in Pomerania was beautiful in any season, but Marianne had always considered it most beautiful in the depths of winter. As frustrated as she was with the cold weather, for the first time she wasn't newly, wedded, pregnant, or recovering from a difficult birth, and Stephan had been suffering a little for it. His nineteen year old wife had made herself hardy breeches for playing in the snow, and for the first month of their sojourn away from the court, he'd been attacked by flying snowballs from some of the most unlikely places at the least convenient times every single day. She had eventually grown bored of that, though, turning her attention to other distractions that quite often included the new steps of their eighteen-month-old triplets.

Today, however, the triplets had been whisked away, leaving Marianne to find something a little less exuberant to do with herself. The quiet did not last long, however. Wherever Stephan had managed to find some peace for the morning, it was soon shattered by the sound of his merry-tempered wife shouting his name excitedly as she ran through the halls of their manor-house, searching for him. And for once, the servants did absolutely nothing to hinder her, sharing indulgent smiles at the way their shy, quiet princess had come out of herself in two years of marriage to their prince.

Sequestered away in his study, the Crown Prince was busy going over correspondence that included letters from the High King and his brothers, mostly with regard to the war with Coimbra. He set the most recent letter aside to rub at a temple, just as he heard his wife's voice shouting his name. Arching a brow, he glanced to the door, wondering what it was that had excited her so much that she was calling for him.

He didn't have to wait for long to find out. The door burst open - mildly concussing the valet who had been trying to get there first - and Marianne skipped into the study, waving her own letter around her head with a huge smile on her face. "They set a date! And they want to invite us!" she declared, inserting herself into Stephan's lap without so much as a by-your-leave. She kissed his temple as an after-thought, glancing up with an apologetic smile for the valet who was leaving with a headache.

Stephen couldn't help but chuckle at his wife's youthful exuberance. He'd apologize to the valet for her later, but for now, it was all he could do just to keep her from falling off his lap. "Who, love? Who set a date and wants to invite us?" he asked with a chuckle, though he could make a few guesses.

"Elspeth!" she informed him excitedly. "Or rather, Henry and Brynhilde set the date for Elspeth's wedding to Giles or whatever his name is. Elspeth wants to know if it would be seemly to send an open invitation to the entire Pomeran royal house, or whether she should choose a prince and leave it at that."

"Miles," Stephen corrected with another chuckle. "Does she want the entire Pomeran royal house to attend?" he asked further. In the end, it was Elspeth's choice how big she wanted her own wedding to be. He had a feeling "Harry" would grant her whatever she asked.

"I think she just wants family there," Marianne said thoughtfully, calming down now she was able to impart her exciting news face to face. She nestled against him, scanning the letter once again. "Here it is ... Harry has allowed us to have a private ceremony, but we must attend a court-held feast on the same day. It is not what I would have liked. Yet he is the king, and he has enough headaches about my choice without our avoiding the entire court. It would be truly wonderful to have my family here, though I know I cannot expect all of you to attend. Should I invite all, or simply choose a prince and hope he comes escorted?"

"If she is going to choose a prince and an escort, she should choose us," Stephan replied without hesitation, though his brothers might be more fun at a party. He was the elder brother, though, and it sort of went without saying that he and Marianne should be there.

"Or she should choose Felipe," Marianne pointed out with an amused flicker to her smile. "Since he is married to her best friend." She considered this for a moment. "Although ... she could invite Jane separately. That way, she could have two princes at her wedding."

"Why can she not have us all?" Stephan mused aloud. "We are family, after all. Three princes are not the entire royal court," he pointed out, his smile turning a little mischievous. "Perhaps we should surprise her."

Marianne giggled at the sheer mischief radiating from her husband. "If we're going to do that, we might as well uproot your parents and uncle as well," she pointed out impishly. "The council could handle things here for a month or two, couldn't they? And Father would love playing host to the whole of House Hasperan on the way to and from the boat."

"Yes, but if we're going to do that, we will have to warn them, or they will not be prepared to receive all of us," he mused further, unless, of course, they let Harry know without telling Elspeth, but that was a bit devious. "Who do you think she would want to have there?" he asked, one arm circling her waist to keep her secure on his lap.

"If it were left entirely to Elspeth, she would have all of us," his little wife said cheerfully, quite happy to be held close on his lap as her fingers played through his hair. "I think that may be why she is writing for advice. She is hoping that one of us will make the decision for her, so she doesn't feel as though she has slighted any of us."

"If the decision was left to me, I would have all of us, but if news travels to Coimbra that we are all indisposed, there could be trouble," Stephan pointed out with a frown, despite the happy circumstances his wife had just shared. "And Jane should be there for her friend's nuptials."

Marianne echoed his frown, tilting her head as she considered her husband. "Are things moving in Coimbra?" she asked in concern. As a native of Francia, she had always been aware of that country's troublesome neighbor, but only since coming to Pomerania had she become aware of just how troublesome Coimbra still was. "I had thought that the people would have stopped listening to their heretic council by now."

"I am not sure the people have much choice," Stephan pointed out. There was a rebellion going on in Coimbra, but the heretic council ruled with an iron hand, and people were afraid. The situation was still tense and could go either way. "I think we should go. We can bring Felipe and Jane with us, but I am not sure we should risk the entire court attending."

Marianne bit her lip thoughtfully. "We won't be able to take the children," she said quietly. "It wouldn't be fair to them - such a long journey, only to be hidden away most of the time when we are there, anyway."

Stephan didn't want to make the choice for her. It was going to be up to her whether she wanted to make this journey or not. He knew she might not want to be away from the children so long, especially as they were so young, and yet, he also knew how fond she was of Elspeth and how much she'd want to be there for such an important event. "I will let you decide, love," he told her. "Felipe and Jane could do very well in representing us at the wedding, but it is your decision."
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Prince Stephan
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 15 Dec 2014
Posts: 26
See this user's pet
Can Be Found: The capital city of Berengaria, or his estate at Peronell
325.16 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She bit her lip as she thought it over. It wasn't unheard of for royal parents to go on diplomatic missions for a few months at a time, but she was a little uneasy about the idea of leaving their children, all the same. "I should like to talk to your mother about it, before I decide," she said eventually, knowing that Queen Catherine would have advice that would help her make her mind up. "Is that acceptable?"

"Yes, of course," he replied, with a warm, affectionate smile. "I will abide by your wishes. We can always visit in spring when the children are a little older," he suggested, not wanting to disappoint her. He knew how excited she'd been to receive the news and how much she wanted to be there to witness the wedding.

"Or they could come here," she suggested a little shyly. Even after two years as his wife, after securing the royal succession with what was soundly declared a miracle birth of three healthy babies, she had yet to work up the courage to ask for much beyond permission to retire for the night from public events.

"Or that," he said with a smile. "So, what do you think, wife? Shall we travel there for the wedding or let them come to us in the spring?" he asked, letting her make the decision so they relay the message to the rest of the court, starting with the High King.

Marianne flushed, pleased that he was giving her the decision but a little nonplussed by it as well. "We ... we could send Felipe and Jane to their wedding, and invite them to join us for the summer?" she ventured tentatively. "It is a shame Harry and Bryn wouldn't be able to come, but there will be time enough for a proper visit to Carib, won't there?"

"We will make time for a visit," Stephan promised, leaning close to seal that promise with a kiss. Unless something happened with Coimbra that prevented a trip, of course, but that went without staying.

Her lips curved in a soft smile beneath his kiss, her letter discarded onto his desk as her hands delved into his hair, tugging teasingly at the auburn curls she loved so well. "I think you have done enough work for today, dear heart," she murmured against his lips. "If I promise not to pelt you with snow, will you spend the day with me, instead of your desk?"

"Ah, but my desk does not pelt me with snow every chance it gets or distract me from my duties," he pointed out, both arms going around her to pull her close. He could not deny such a sweet request from his wife, but he couldn't help but tease her a little either.

"But isn't one of your duties to secure the royal line?" she asked innocently. "I believe the phrase most commonly used is 'an heir, and a spare', and as yet, we have no spare. How can you possibly fulfill that duty if you neglect your wife?"

He laughed, amused by her question. Of the three children she'd borne him from the same pregnancy, only one had been a son. "And you are anxious to bear another child already?" he asked, eyes shining with amusment. He was, in fact, only to happy to fulfill that duty and would enjoy doing so, even if it didn't immediately result in another heir, but once again, he couldn't help teasing her.

"If you could promise to plant only one this time, I would be most grateful," she teased him in return, kissing the end of his nose. She may have been young in comparison with her husband, but she was not so young that they had not learned a good deal about this marriage business together.

"I'm afraid that's not something I have any control over, love," he reminded her, smiling as she kissed his nose. He certainly hadn't minded that they'd had three children all at once, but he wasn't the one who'd had to bear them, and he would prefer to make things as easy for her as possible, if he could.

"Of course ..." Marianne mused impishly, twirling her fingertip in the loose laces of his shirt. "We may be a little out of practise." They weren't, but she wasn't going to let that get in the way of her first real attempt at seducing her own husband. "It could well be that we should make sure we know exactly what we're doing before we take steps to make a spare."

He doubted they were out of practice, but who was he to argue with a wife who wanted his attention? "Shall we retire to our quarters?" he asked, as he brushed her hair away from her neck and leaned close to brush a trail of kisses against her neck. There was nothing so pressing that it couldn't wait, while he spent the remainder of the day with his wife.

She giggled, tilting her head to let him have his way as she swayed against him. "I do believe the entire estate qualifies as our quarters, love," she pointed out in a husky whisper against his ear. "And I do recall any number of places within these borders where you have exercised your husbandly rights on a very willing wife."

"Are you suggesting I make use of the desk while exercising my husbandly rights, wife?" he asked, pausing in his enjoyment of her neck to eye her with an arched brow. Their bed would have been far more comfortable, but their bed was not handy at the moment.

The arched brow was enough to deflate her confidence, though she knew he did not mean it to. Even knowing he loved her, Marianne still lived with the shadow of her mother's influence over her head; the knowledge that, once her brother had been born, her father had no use for her in his presence. She lived in terror of Stephan ever deciding that she was more of a burden than a joy. Blushing, she shook her head, gently easing back. "A foolish notion, clearly."

"Only foolish in that I would like my wife to be comfortable when I exercise my husbandly rights," he pointed out - rights which she so clearly enjoyed as much as he did. "Let us retire to our rooms," he told her, waiting for her to move off his lap so he could follow her to his feet. He had spent enough time sequestered away in his study. Time alone with her was rare enough these days, between their duties and their children.

Slithering from his lap, she took up the letter she had discarded, setting it safely away from his work papers beneath a paperweight on the corner of the desk. "Stephan ..." she said thoughtfully, a sure sign that she was considering asking him something he was likely to think was ridiculous. "If I were to, say, write to the Dalai, do you think he would pardon those in Coimbra who have been forced to worship a god who does not exist?"

There went that brow of his again as he contemplated her question, which was as unexpected as her presence in his study. "I cannot say, but it is no fault of their own that they are forced to do so. Perhaps we should appeal to him together," he suggested, willing to add his name and weight to such a cause, as well was hers.
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Prince Stephan
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 15 Dec 2014
Posts: 26
See this user's pet
Can Be Found: The capital city of Berengaria, or his estate at Peronell
325.16 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Her eyes lit up, surprised that he would fall in with her plan so enthusiastically. "Truly?" she asked, turning to him with a softly delighted cast to her smile. "You would truly lend your support to such a cause, even after doing battle with them so terribly in the past?"

"It is not the people of Coimbra who are our enemy, dear heart, so much as it is the heretic council and their followers," he told her, moving to his feet and reaching to brush a loose strand of hair away from her face. "Maksim has sent word that there is a newcomer in Tralin's camp, and that he helped rescue prisoners from Imbre Castle."

Suspicion bloomed in her gaze as he imparted that little snippet of information. "I won't ask how Maksim knows that," she decided aloud. It was best not to ask where that particular brother-in-law was concerned. "Even I know Imbre Castle has never been breached. Are they certain this newcomer is for the Goddess and the true line?"

"They seem certain, though I know little more than that. I would like us to be finished with this war, for the sake of all our nations and the good of all our people," he said, with a heavy sigh, the weight of responsibility heavy on his shoulders, but this was what he'd been raised for, and though he was only Crown Prince, the day would someday come when he would be High King.

She turned to him, laying her hands softly against his chest, waiting for his eyes to return to hers before she spoke again. "For now, it is a civil war," she reminded him gently. "There is little anyone can do to influence the outcome at this point. Until there is a decisive battle one way or the other, all we can do is watch. And if Tralin Nairn seems like to win, I'm sure you and Maksim can do something charmingly devious to help him on his way."

"It is not a civil war when it crosses into our borders," he pointed out, though he did not want to argue the fact. She was mostly right, though it was no secret the Pomerans and their allies had been supporting the rebels. "Perhaps if the Dalai agreed to forgive the Coimbrans for worshipping a false god, they would be more inclined to support the rebellion, rather than the council," he speculated further.

"Indeed, they might," she agreed. "If the Dalai were to offer pardon and forgiveness to those who have no choice but to be seen to worship in those awful churches, imagine the support the rebellion might gain from the common man. Their war could be over within a year."

"That is certainly a point we must stress with the Dalai," Stephan agreed, but he suspected this was not what she meant when she'd asked him to spend the day with her. "Come, let us retire to our chambers," he suggested, touching a kiss to her brow before turning to lead her from his study.

"Hmm ..." She let him lead her into the hallway, turning to smooth her hands over his sides as she leaned into him, lifting her head to tease his lips with her own. "Stephan?"

He came to a halt as she turned to face him, dipping his head to meet her lips in clear view of anyone who might be watching, guards included, but this was not such a rare sight where the two of them were concerned. "Yes?"

She hummed against his lips, the mischief he had once longed to raise in her eyes plainly there for him to see, belonging entirely to him. "Catch me," she whispered, and abruptly spanked him hard on one buttock, whirling to hitchup her skirts and run as though the devil were after her, cackling in a manner that was not wholly dissimilar to some of the maid servants when the drink had been flowing.

"Good Goddess," he muttered, chuckling to himself as she hurried off. It was hard to maintain a decorum of dignity when Marianne was around, but the servants and guards had quickly become accustomed to these spurts of playfulness from the Crown Prince and Princess, and even seemed amused by it all. "Why ever did I agree to marry a younger woman?" he murmured to himself with another chuckle before dashing off after her.

Marianne at Peronell was certainly a different being to Marianne at court. Under the eyes of the court, she was refined and quiet, a modest lady who set the example for the ladies of the court under the Queen's direction. At Peronell, she was something of the wild cat Ambassador Chappel had once described her as, still refined and ladylike but with a playful streak that had caused a few embarrassing moments when they had guests. Enough rumors of her impish behavior in private had surfaced to endear her to the people who lived in the town of Peronell, and from them, those rumors spread out, many of the ordinary folk glad to hear that the young princess was still allowed to be young, despite having done her duty. If only they could see her now, skirts hitched to her knees, laughing breathlessly as she scurried along corridors and up stairs, her hair flying behind her as she endeavored to keep just out of her husband's reach.

There was no mistaking that he was quicker than her, without any skirts to hinder him and longer legs to aid him. He didn't bother to run, merely increasing his stride, a smile and a nod here and there to those he passed in the corridors, taking the stairs two at a time in pursuit of his young, playful wife. As it happened, he didn't catch up to her until they reached their quarters, the door slamming shut behind them as he swept her up off her feet and carried her to bed.

Princely duties, indeed. The day either one of them considered their love nothing more than a duty, King Philip would announce himself to be female and present his proof in a pink gown with ruffles. It was just another day in the life of the Crown Prince and Princess of Pomerania, but a day that had brought them good news.
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