forum If only Fate were not so Cruel // OxO // Closed // 16+
Started by @ElderGod-Icefire

people_alt 78 followers


The Kingdom of Aremar is a prosperous land, but also a cruel and oppressive one. With an overwhelming focus on militarism; strength is everything in this realm. Aremar lives and dies by the sword, and this mindset has caused a cruel hierarchy of power where only those with strength are respected – or even allowed to live. Aremar's culture is one of constant violence and brutality. The Royal Family of Aremar is an autocratic and despotic regime, one that is more than willing to exploit its people and send thousands to their deaths in order to maintain its hold on power. The Royal Family is also responsible for the oppression of the people of Aremar, who are regularly subjected to extreme taxes and harsh treatment. The fate of individuals who oppose the Royal Family is often grim, as they can be sentenced to death or forced into labor camps. The Royal Family uses its power to manipulate and exploit the people of Aremar to its own benefit, and has no regard for human life. They are incredibly corrupt and willing to do anything to maintain their grip on power. They have no respect for human life and will not hesitate to use any means necessary to stay in power, including violence and intimidation. The people of Aremar are trapped in a cycle of exploitation and oppression, and the nobility enjoy living in luxury while their people suffer. The Royal Family is incredibly wealthy and has vast resources at their disposal, and they wield their power over the people of Aremar in order to maintain their position at the top of the social hierarchy.

The prince of Aremar is the oldest son of the royal family, and first in line for the throne. He is a powerful, and ruthless warrior, who has been raised since birth to adhere to tradition and the customs of Aremar. He can be cruel, and brutal, and tends to see people as only a means to an end, rather than as fellow living, breathing humans. He is known as one of the best fighters in the kingdom, a master strategist, and a cunning leader…and as one of the coldest, cruelest men in the kingdom.

That man is not the man that (Name) knew. He, as a child, had been friends with the prince. And the young boy he had known is not the man that the kingdom now knows. When (Name) and the prince were young, they were friends. Then (Name)'s family moved away, and now they've moved back, and he is determined to bring back the boy he once knew. He knows that that boy is somewhere in there, that this cruel, angry man cannot be all there is to the prince.

But Aremar is not a kind kingdom; Aremar is a kingdom that believes that might makes right, and that those with power can and should crush those without it. For a boy raised in a family like that, how can the prince have become anything but another powerhungry tyrant? Another cruel, violent man, who had all kindness beaten out of him?

Rebellion is brewing, and (Name) is part of it. He doesn't believe that the way Aremar has been run for generations is right, nor does he believe that it should last. But, living in the palace and interacting with the prince, he feels caught. Stuck between his childhood best friend, who he still believes can be a good man, and a rebellion that will save the country from more pain.

Can he bring back the light in the prince, or will he be forced to watch as the prince either becomes another king like his father, or the rebellion kills him?

I will be the prince, you would be his childhood friend. Essentially, childhood-friends-to-strangers-to-enemies-to-lovers? kind of?? This is not the most detailed thing I've ever come up with but, uh, I figure we can worldbuild as we go. Your character is a nobleman, and was raised in the palace for a while, hence why he and the prince were friends as kids.


  • Andrew's rules apply
  • No homophobia, transphobia, racism, or ableism ooc; some of it in RP may happen, but it is unacceptable out of character
  • Any smutty scenes will either be taken to PMs or faded to black
  • There will be swearing, violence, and some rather dark content will likely happen or be alluded to
  • For that reason, 16+ only, as I would feel uncomfortable RPing with anyone younger than that
  • I reserve the right to say no to a request to join

Temps will be posted when someone joins


Awesome! I'm pretty busy today but I should have temps up at some point. In the meantime, do you have any questions, or triggers that you'd prefer I avoid?


Age: (20-24)
Gender and Sexuality:


Quick Backstory:
Theme song(s)?:

Name: Aurelium Dyre Montvelio
Nickname(s): Aurel, Aur
Titles: Crown Prince of Aremar; General
Age: 22
Gender and Sexuality: Cis man, he/him. Bisexual

Looks: Aurel is tall, standing at 6'3", with broad shoulders and a muscular body. He certainly doesn't look like a man to be messed with. He has scars all across his body, including one that stretches from the edge of his left eye down to his chin, narrowly avoiding the eye itself. He has dark, wavy hair, which is cut close to his scalp. It is barely long enough to style, and he never lets it get very long anymore. His eyes are a pale, smoky grey. He has thick, expressive eyebrows, and a sharp jawline. He also has another smaller scar that goes horizontally across the right side of his throat, barely missing his windpipe. There is an X cut into the back of his left hand. His body has a lot of assorted scars, those are just the most obvious. Has a tattoo half-sleeve on his left arm, going from his shoulder to his bicep. Has another tattoo of a rune on the left side of his body, just below his ribcage.
Clothes: Tends to stick to simple, but princely clothing. Often a white shirt, dark pants, and some sort of vest. Always has a crown or circlet on, and often has some form of armor, as well, even if it's just a pair of vambraces on his forearms. Always has his sword belted at his side, and usually some other weapon hidden on his person, whether it's a dagger tucked into his boots or something else stashed elsewhere on his person.

Personality: Aurel is logical, but a still rather hot-headed person. He has grown used to getting his way, and very easily intimidates people either through his size or through his abilities, his knowledge, or some combination of all of those things. Can be very vengeful, and deals out harsh punishments that are often more harsh than the offense truly calls for. Does not have any mercy left in him, and tends to truly believe that the world is kill or be killed. Tends to be very emotionless, and can (and has) watched someone die a brutal death with little to no outward reaction.
Quick Backstory: Aurel was not always the crown prince. He had an older half-brother, who was older by ten years. Aurel was six when his brother, Maximus, died. At sixteen, every prince is supposed to prove themselves in a duel. Maximus lost, and their father was the one to end his son's life. While Aurel did not see his brother die, he did hear it, and the sound Max made as he died was imprinted in his mind forever afterwards. The rune below his ribcage he got when he was older, to honor his brother. It is a rune of the letter M, in the same spot their father stabbed him. After Max's death was when Aurel really began to change. His father was not a kind man, and from birth Aurel was raised in fear of the man who had fathered him. That fear, as he grew older, curdled to a bitter hatred, fueled by Max's death and by the abuse that his father put him through and allowed others to put him through. At the age of only 13, Aurel was put into the military, which is where many of his scars are from. When he was sixteen and it was time for his own duel, he won, killing the man he had been dueling. He rose through the ranks of the military brutally and quickly, becoming one of Aremar's youngest generals in history. Has had lovers in the past, both men and women, but has almost always been the one to break it off.
Theme song(s)?: "Another Way Out" by Hollywood Undead
Other: He is a feared man, and there are not many people in the country that have any hope for what he will be like as a ruler


Name: Lucian Callistar
Nickname(s): Luce
Titles: Future Duke of Araniel
Age: twenty-three
Gender and Sexuality: Male, he/him, Bisexual

Looks: Lucian is easy to spot in the crowd. But not because of his height or his bulging muscles, but because of his red hair. It's a very noticeable feature. Red hair was extremely uncommon, even outside if the palace. He could be spotted just about anywhere in the crowd because of it. He stands just under 6' tall. He has an atheltic build from training but he certianly was not the strongest person. He relys on his wit and strategy more than his strength. His pale skin had tanned over the years after leaving the palace. Hard work and training had left him out under the grueling sun.
Clothes: While being a noble, a wealthy noble, Lucian had access to all sorts of clothing and finery. He forwent all of it. He didn't like it. It wasn't him. He stuck to more neutral colors: browns and greens and beiges. He felt neutral colors suited his features better. And he didn't exactly like displaying his wealth for all to see, even at the dismay of his mother.

Personality: Despite the hardships he had been through and the cruel world he has experienced, Lucian is kind. He has a good heart. He cares strongly about the people and wishes to see their freedom from this tyranny. But just because he had a kind heart did not mean that he let people walk all over him. He was strong willed and stubborn. When he put his mind to something, he stopped at nothing until he followed through with it. He didn't mind pulling rank to get what he needed for his people and for his cause. He was done sitting back and watching the people suffer. It was time stand up against the king. His reign was over and it was time for a new one to begin.
Quick Backstory: Lucian had spent most of his childhood in the palace. Due to his family's high standing, his father was close to the king which meant Lucian was close to the now crown prince. They were close in age, just less than a year apart. The two of them were close friends. They played together, got into lots of trouble together as children. They were inseparable. Until they weren't. The day Aurel was sent to the army was the worst day of Lucian's life. He could remember it like it was yesterday. Fear had gripped him, fear for his friend's life. And there had been nothing he could do to stop it. His family left the palace six months later, residing in their estate ever sense. Lucian had never been told why they had been sent away from court and he had never asked. It was back at home that he truly saw his first encounter of cruelty. Pent up in the palace, he never really got to experience anything. But now that he was out, he saw everything. The first time was an elderly couple. The woman had tripped in front of a soldier. And instead of helping her up, they beat her until she died. The husband had tried to stop them but he had only gotten the same treatment. Death. On and on, so many more stories just like that one. It enraged Lucian that was happening to the people. Innocent people. He heard of a rebellion. He got the right contacts and got initiated. He had been training already by the captain of his estate's guard. But now, he trained better, he trained smarter. He snuck away from home to attend to meets and help them plan. And his father never suspected a thing. Lucian knew how to stay under the radar. But now his father has been called back to the palace and Lucian was to accompany him.
Theme song(s)?: tbd
Other: Lucian owns a cat named Spots. She's not really his cat, she wonders around the estate. But he feeds her and takes care of her so she might as well be his.


(perfect. I'ma be honest though, I'm a little stuck on where to start. Maybe with like, Luce's family being announced at court? Since that's something that would happen, is the arrival of important nobles? 'n then he and Aurel see each other again for the first time in ten years?)


(Yeah that sounds good to me! Maybe because conflict is brewing the king and Luce's father set aside their differences to work together against the rebellion?)


(Works for me! So the king wants to pull Luce's father in bc the Callistars have a lot of power, and he wants to use that power to help crush the rebellion. Meanwhile, Luce is part of that rebellion and hoping to drag the prince into it lmao)


(exactlyyy. Sorry for the wait, been pretty busy)

The Callistars had been summoned back to the palace. King Rainar had called them back, wanting to discuss things over with the head of the Callistar family in person. Aremar's internal politics were always fraught with power struggles, and this would be no exception. Rainar was the king, but the Callistars were powerful in their own right, and in a country where those with power made the rules, the king had no wish to turn them into enemies. But this summoning, ah, was this not a small power play all on its own? Yes, the Callistars had lived out at their estate for years, but here they were, back at the palace by the call of just one, solitary man.

Rainar was aging, in his lower 50's now, but still a physically imposing figure. Slightly shorter than his son, he had broad shoulders and a body that, in his prime, had been muscle bound, and even now still spoke of a lot of strength. His eyes gleamed with intelligence, cunning, and pride, and a sword was belted at his side. His crown sat on his hair, dark like his son's, but worn longer. Where Aurelium's hair was short, so as to keep it from being a hazard in battle, Rainar's hair was slightly longer, nearly to his shoulders, and streaked with the grey of an aging man.

Aurelium stood behind his father's throne, arms crossed and a gold circlet in his hair. He cut an imposing figure, standing behind the throne. He wore dark slacks, leather boots, and a white linen shirt. A pair of vambraces, polished to a gleam, shone on his forearms, and, like his father, he had a sword at his side. There were other guards in the room as well, though they wore more armor than the prince. Aurelium did not seem happy to be there, with an expression on his face like there was anywhere else he would rather be.


(Hey, no problem. Weekends are usually pretty busy for me but the past couple of days even more so. And I've got family coming into to town so that might affect how much I'm on as well.)

The Callistar family used to live at court. The Duke of Araniel had been great friends with the king. He had stood by his side, helped in his crusade, and even offered military support. His son, Lucian, was brought to court with him when he was very young. He was about the same age of Prince Aurelium, only seven months older. The two men had come to the same conclusion that their two sons should be friends. So Lucian had been brought to court. He and the prince were in all of the same lessons. The same tutoring to learn the maths and sciences and languages. They had horseback riding lessons and fencing lessons together. Their relationship started off rocky in the beginning, but over time, they warmed up to each other and became close friends. Exactly what the fathers had hoped for.

But that happiness didn't last forever. Aurelium was shipped away at the ripe age of thirteen, off to join the war effort, leaving Lucian alone at court. The prince had been his only true friend. The few other children near his age avoided him because of his relations to the prince. They were afraid if they did anything to Lucian that the prince, or worse, the king, would crack down on them. So he had no one else in the palace. No one but the prince. And Lucian, poor Lucian, had just begun to discover his sexuality and his liking towards the prince when he had been sent away. He had finally discovered that he liked the prince more than just a friend. But Aurelium had been sent away before Lucian could ever say a word.

His family didn't last much longer at the palace. The king and his father had a falling out. What it was, the Duke would never tell him. No one in court knew. There were theories and rumors spread of what might have happened behind those closed doors. But no one ever knew the truth. And the Callistars were sent away from court. This was when Lucian truly learned the brutality of their king. He witnessed firsthand what happened to citizens that didn't fall in line. He visited those concentration camps. He witnessed the horrors unleashed upon the people. And he was horrified. Through a contact, he was able to get in contact with the rebellion that was brewing. He pleaded to let him join, and after some convincing, they accepted him. While he couldn't be an active member, such as helping directly in the fighting or he would risk exposure, he did his part. He would sneak into his father's study and find the plans. He would listen in on the meetings. He would relay all of this information back to the rebellion. But now, the biggest assignment has arrived.

He was going back to the palace, and he was going to tell them everything the king had planned.

Lucian hadn't quite worked out on he was going to get himself into those private meetings between advisors. He had a few ideas but nothing coherent yet. His father had been invited back to court, whatever fallout having been forgiven for the time being. Lucian was accompanying him. It was time for him to learn how to be a Duke, according to his father. The Duke would only live for so long and Lucian needed to be ready to take over his position. If only his father truly knew. The ride had been long and tiring and Lucian wanted nothing more than to collapse into a bed and sleep for days. But they were expected to greet the king first thing. So as the carriage pulled up to the palace, gate, Lucian fixed his hair and smoothed out his clothes. The one thing his father didn't need to instruct him on. Lucian did care about his appearance. And word has it that the prince was back at the palace as well. Lucian didn't know what to do about that either.

The guards led the son and father through the halls. It had been a decade since the last time he had been there. Lucian recognized many things as they walked to the throne room. Some of it had changed but the base of it had remained the same. Only now, he knew this palace was built on death and blood and bones. He no longer felt like this was home. The doors to the throne room were opened and a steward was announcing them to the king. "The Duke Galen Callistar and Lord Lucian Callistar." The duo entered the throne room, stopping at the base of the throne, nothing dropping to one knee in a bow. "Your majesty," the Duke said. His son, Lucian, repeating the words. Though only Lucian knew that the king's time was coming to an end. He would make sure of it.


(alright! No worries if you don't respond too fast, have fun with your family)

Aurel's gaze found Lucian, those grey eyes flickering faintly in recognition. It had been almost ten years, but he knew that face. Sure, both of them had grown, but he knew Lucian. They had been kids together, what felt like a lifetime ago. Seeing the hardships of this country might have helped Lucian grow bolder and more compassionate, but all it had done was harden Aurel into a man that had no softness left in his heart. Seeing and experiencing what he had had turned him into someone that Lucian might no longer recognize as the same boy that had grown up together. Aurel had been tough since he was very young, but he had hardened, too, into a man his father was proud of.

Gods, he hated and loved how his father was proud of him. All he had ever wanted, since he was a child, was for Rainar to be proud of him. At the same time, that tattoo below his ribcage was a permanent reminder of what kind of man Rainar was. A man who would kill his own son, within earshot of his other son. Aurel had already feared his father before that day, but after what happened to Max, he had been terrified, always wondering, in the back of his mind, if Rainar would kill him too.

"Duke Callistar." Rainar greeted, not moving from his throne. "It has been a long time." those six words, spoken calmly, hearkened back to just how many years it had been since Rainar and the Duke had seen each other in person. Since that conflict that had broken their friendship, splintered their formerly unstoppable power. That same power that Rainar now hoped to rekindle, by bringing the Duke back into the fold. Except now, there was no longer the added bonus of having children the same age. No longer was Aurelium there to create a friendship with Lucian. Now, Aurelium stood behind the throne as a warning. The prince had a fearsome reputation now. He was no longer a little boy. Now he was a warning.


Lucian had heard the rumors about the prince in the years they had been separated. He had heard the stories, the atrocities the prince had committed. He had never wanted to believe them. He had wanted to hold onto the image of them as children. The wonderful friendship they had, the love he had held for Aurel. But story after story, whisper after whisper, and Lucian came to mourn the boy the prince had once been. But all those years, he still held onto the hope that the Aurel he knew was still in there, hiding. He kept hope that his father's ugliness hadn't gotten to him yet.

But kneeling there, in the throne room, and seeing Aurel positioned behind the throne, that hope died. Lucian didn't see even a sliver of the prince that Aurel used to be. No, that wasn't Aurel at all. That was Crown Prince Aurelium. Aurel was gone. But Lucian couldn't allow himself to mourn his friend. NOt here, not in this throne room kneeling in front of the king. He would likely be thrown out if he even shed a single tear, not to mention what his father would do to him if he should any weakness.

As the king spoke, both the Duke and his son raised to their feet, both seemingly relaxed even if neither were. The Duke smiled at his old friend. "It has been far too long, I believe." The Duke needed to tread carefully. He wasn't fully back into he king's good graces yet. He would have to work harder to prove himself and he had plans. Plans that would further their movement and likely have the king's love once more. Even if the king's love was a fickle thing.

Lucian was looking past the king and at the prince. He wasn't looking directly at him. No, he was afraid to look him in the eyes. He was afraid to further prove to himself that Aurel was dead and this monster was in his place. Instead, he was looking at his clothes, his stance, his weapon. Anything but his face. Lucian thought he had been ready for this. He thought he was ready to tackle this job. But it just got a whole lot harder now with the prince being stationed at the palace. He was in conflict with himself. Did he try to befriend Aurelium and discover all the secrets the rebellion needed to know? Or should he tread carefully around him and get the information straight from the source? How would his old feelings go into play on this?


Rainar said nothing of what had split their friendship, said nothing of whatever had caused that long ago divide. "Indeed. I trust your time at your estate has treated you well?" pleasantries. The complicated dance of politics, always politics. When was the last time a ruler in this country had had a true friendship that did not dance on a razor's edge? Perhaps never. Aurel certainly had not had such a friendship since he was put into the army; Lucian had been the closest thing he had had, and they had been so young. It felt like a lifetime ago. All his friends since, and even most of his lovers, had been that sort of razor edge relationship; as long as he had the power and the status, they liked him. But any weakness and they always, always turned. He had learned long ago never to say anything, never to let any hint of anything show.

But he was still watching Lucian, gaze still fastened on the young man who had once been his best, closest friend. When they were children, and this palace had been their playground. The tree in the garden that they had climbed on still bore the marks of Aurel's dagger, from when they had both carved into it, leaving their initials scarred into the bark. Aurel's quarters looked different now then they had then, but they were the same rooms. Same big bed that, when they were small enough, they had climbed underneath, the blankets hanging down and creating a little fort in the space between the bed and the floor. All remnants of his childhood had long been emptied from it, but sometimes he still caught little hints of the past, little threads of memory.

It was strange to see Lucian again. They had both changed so much. Lucian, for a while, had been the taller of the two, but now Aurel was. But perhaps it was their personalities that had changed the most. Aurel, perhaps, had changed the most. The military was not a kind place to young boys, and it certainly had not been kind to him.


(AHHHHHHH I'm so sorry this took so long. It's been a busy week and I haven't been on as much.)

Galen nodded his head respectfully to the king. "It has, Your Majesty." Pleasantries, of course. To make the court believe that everything was well between the two men, as if they had worked out everything that had occurred between them. When in reality, it hadn't. But King Rainar needed the Duke much more than the Duke needed the king. And that was how Galen and his son ended up back at court in the hands of the royal family—a dangerous place to be. Someplace no one ever should be. Abdominal things happened in court. Things that were a crime against humanity. But there was no one there to stop them.

Lucian forced his gaze away. This was not his prince. He was no longer the man that Lucian had loved as a child. No longer that friend that would hold him when Lucian was homesick. That prince was dead and it hurt to look at him. Even though he had heard the rumors, he held out some hope that the Aurel he knew was hiding in there somewhere. He had to believe that his friend was buried deep inside. But finally looking him in the eyes, he realized Aurel was gone. There wasn't even a hint of the prince that he knew and loved. He was dead and gone and the realization made Lucian look away. He settled his gaze on the king in a respectful manner. He would do nothing to offend the king and jeopardize his mission.

Galen placed a hand on his son's shoulder. "My son has accompanied me back to the court just like all those years ago. But now I am teaching him how to take my place as Duke when the time comes." Galen would have to be dead before he ever let his son take over as Duke. He had too much that he still wanted to do, and too little faith in his son. Lucian was too soft. He wouldn't be able to handle being Duke. He never believed that. Not when he clung to his mother's skirts any time there was a thunderstorm as a child. Alas, he had only girls birthed to him after Lucian and there was no way he would let them inherit the title. So, he was stuck with Lucian.


(you're good, no worries)

Aurel inhaled softly, chest rising and falling as he glanced away from Lucian. He remained silent. His father did not like it if Aurel interrupted and, despite Aurel's physically imposing size, the prince had long ago become a master at making himself seem smaller, quieter, taking up less space so that his father would almost forget he was there. Rainar would never completely forget, of course, but the king did not like when Aurel made his presence too obvious. So Aurel had long ago learned how to do that, while still looked visually like the prince he was.

Rainar inclined his head faintly, gaze moving to Lucian for a long, long moment. "And mine is here at court as well." he gestured with a hand to where Aurel stood behind the throne. "Learning, as your son is." but what Aurel had learned, was learning, was so different from Lucian. Granted, their fathers were likely trying to teach very similar lessons, but where Lucian was still soft and kind, Aurel had become the kind of hard, angry, almost cruel man that his father was proud of. The model of what Rainar believed a man should be.


Lucian couldn't look at him anymore. Not Aurel. Not his Aurel. His Aurel was gone, replaced by this mold the king had made of him. He had some hope that he would have been able to convince the prince to help him and in time, reveal who he truly was and what he was apart of. He had hoped that the prince had no love of his father and didn't want to see him on the throne. That was not the case. Not with that hard gaze and dead eyes. Lucian couldn't take it.

Lucian had turned into a more mature version of himself over th years. He had seen horror yes, but it had changed him for the better. It had encouraged him to stand up for what was right, even if he had to do it in the shadows. To his friends, he was still laid back and good and caring ti be around. The same he was a child. Only just older now with more experience. He was strong yes, but still kind. And it was hard to find someone these days that knew you could be both of those.

A hand clapped on Lucian's shoulder, drawing him out if his thoughts. His father squeezed hos shoulder tight enough to become painful but he didn't allow it to show on his face. "How about you retire to your rooms, son? I'm sure you'd like to see how they fare." His father turned to the king. "His Magesty and I have some business to attend in private." So much for being taught. But Lucoan didn't expect to get invited into meetings on the first day.

"Of course," he said looking at the king and waiting for dismissal. He, just like everyone else, couldn't leave without the king dismissing him. But he no problems in believing that he would. It was easy to see the king did not want to indulge in these pleasantries. He wanted to get to business and Lucian needed to think of a game plan.


The king looked over at Lucian, considering the young man for a long, quiet moment. "You are dismissed. Aurelium, why don't you accompany Lucian to his rooms?" he glanced behind him to where his son stood behind the throne, and Aurel dipped his head in a faint bow to his father.

"Of course." the tall young man replied, stepping down off the dais and moving over to Lucian. Despite Aurel's imposing height, he moved lightly, with an easy grace to his footsteps that was born of years and years of training, years of learning exactly how his body moved. Closer to Lucian now, his gaze flashed over to the young man, wondering for a moment if Lucian, too, remembered their shared childhood the way he did. If Lucian's had been filled with as much fear and anger as his had. The prince had precious few happy memories to look back on, but all the ones he had were of Lucian. He exhaled through his nose, pushing open the doors to the throne room. "I shall lead the way." he said, keeping his grey eyes on the halls ahead. He did not look at Lucian now, and his countenance was almost like stone, reserved and closed-off.


Lucian bowed deeply to the king and turned on his heels. He waited for the prince only because he had to. Out of respect and duty to royalty. Lucian quite liked his head where it rested on his head and he wanted to keep it there. So he turned and waited until the prince was by his side and then he was walking in sync with Aurel. He didn't looked at the prince. Not even through the corner of his eye. He didn't want to. But he could notice their differences even without looking at him. Aurelium walked light on his feet, he could hardly hear him. Lucian had a heavier step. But part of it was for show. He knew how to keep his steps and body quiet when he was doing his spying. But he had to concentrate. It didn't come to him naturally like it likely did for Aurel.

Lucian didn't speak until he was positive they were far enough away from the king that they wouldn't be overheard. He was terrified of the king and he wasn't ashamed of that. Everyone should be afraid of the king. But they should allow that to keep them from rebelling against him. He cleared his throat, daring to glance at him. "It's been a long time," he said on a low voice.


Aurel's eyes flashed to Lucian for just a moment when the other man spoke, before his attention returned forward again. "It has." he replied, voice low and cautious. What did those ten year old bonds mean? Was there still an ember of friendship, somewhere inside, or had they both been turned to enemies by a decade of separation? He took a breath, gathering his thoughts together. "Nearly ten years, I believe." he had been so young when he had been put into the army. He had spent his formative years being part of that well-oiled machine, ground beneath its heels until he was spat out again at the end, a soldier. A man. A general.

He ran his thumb along the pommel of his sword in a small, soothing gesture. The presence of the weapon at his hip was something he was hardly ever without anymore. Only when he slept was it not belted at his side, and even then, it was within reach. Going without it was not an option. No one would take a general seriously, stripped of his weapon. Plus, without it, he always became more anxious and wary.