The arching walls of the ballroom draped with shades of blue and purple. The golden lining's laying out intricate details against the marble walls and columns. A spacious room filled with a hum of excitement over the soon to come finishing decorations. Gentle music drifted through the air as a group of performers among many auditioning for the chance to play at the Kingdom's 200th celebration.
The Royal of the Dorrehan Kingdom listened with closed eyes and a relaxed demeanor from their seat among one of the many tables lining the walls. Papers and files splayed in front of them, informing them of each group of musicians in front of them. The Royal sat and listened to the current musicians who had settled in the center of the ballroom.
As the music faded out, the Royal clapped their hands once with a smile. Eyes open and gazing at the musicians in front of them, "Wonderful, a well-crafted mix of something soft as well as something energetic. That would do rather nicely, don't you think, Valor?" The Royal looked up and over their shoulder towards their Guard, standing directly behind them to their side.
An imposing figure, never seen outside of their armor and helm. Only the glow of their ever-changing eyes remained visible to the world. Their eyes snapped down towards their charge at the sound of their name. Their eyes settled on a calm green at the moment. They nodded in agreement, turning back to the group of musicians. Many of which began to shift in discomfort under the eyes of the creature.
The Royal, however, wasn't deterred in the slightest, "Then it's settled," They stated with confidence in their choice, "Come next week, your minstrel shall come to the castle a day early and spend the night, stay through the duration of the day playing off and on at different periods -as we discussed- then rest here for the night before you head home. Your rooms will be provided for you as well as hot meals and two guards stationed at your stage to ensure that none disturb you during your performance. Does this sound fair to you?" The Royal looked over the group, making eye contact with each member to ensure that none of them held second thoughts.
With no argument found, the Royal nodded and stood. Valor pulling out their chair as they did so. "It has been a pleasure, now if you will excuse me I need to meet someone about certain arrangements." They nodded their head towards the multiple groups of musicians and turned to walk away. Their Guard remaining only a step behind.
"Might I be allowed to question, your Majesty?" Valor's voice rumbling like faraway thunder as the pair walked through the vacant halls.
"You may, my dear," the Royal responded with curiosity. After all, Valor never spoke unless no one else was around -which was a rarity- so any chance to hear verbal input from the creature was always a welcomed insight.
"Why hire multiple minstrels to play for a single day? Could you not decide between the five groups?" Valor spoke uncertainly, carefully choosing their words to avoid any unintended offense.
The Royal, however, seemed pleased by the question, "If I were to have one minstrel continuously playing throughout the day, they would grow tired, their fingers and vocals would ache. I would rather not risk their comfort, No It would be better to allow five different groups to play, alternating who plays and when so none grow too tired and allows them all to celebrate the kingdoms 2ooth anniversary with us." They stated matter of factly as they walked into the courtyard that seemed to be bustling with people.
Valor remained silent, looking over the faces working among the decorations. Green eyes, mixing with orange hues as they observed their surroundings. Valor settled their gaze on one of the many gardeners, the one in question wearing a slightly ruffled dark green uniform and moving briskly towards the Royal.
"Your Majesty, I was hoping I could ask for your opinion on the flo-" The gardener's words cut off as his collar was grabbed from behind and wrenched him backward a step.
Valor had moved behind the man before he could get within five feet of the Royal. They held onto his collar as if he were a kitten. Lifting him upwards slightly to deter any movement, deep rumbling sounding from their throat as the tan man cried out in surprise. Valor, with hand on their sword hilt, looked to the Royal, waiting for their instructions.
The Royal watched the brown-haired gardener for a moment. Taking in his appearance as they tried to determine who he was, watching peacefully until they recognized the new face. "Guard, you may release him, this is the new gardener that I was told of, he is harmless."
Valor immediately released the man, watching as he stumbled forward slightly and grabbing his shoulder to ensure that he didn't fall. As soon as the man was steady, they returned to the Royals side without complaint.
"What's Your name, if you don't mind my asking?"
The man hesitated before speaking with caution, "Duffy, your Majesty."
The Royal smiled warmly at him, "A pleasure to meet you, Duffy. I apologize for my Guard. They tend to be a bit overly cautious at times. Are you alright?"
"Yes, Majesty, I was only... Surprised." Duffy's voice wobbled as he spoke, eying Valor all the while, attempting to understand how someone of their size could have moved so swiftly.
"Of course I understand-" they waved off the momentary excitement before continuing the previous topic, "- You mentioned wanting my opinion on something I presume?" By now, the noise had once again begun to fill the courtyard as the decorators and gardeners settled down.
"Yes, I was going to ask if you prefer the first-" Duffy gestured out to a table filled with similar pots filled with flowers colored in shades of blue, "-Or the second arrangement scheme?" He pointed out the next table, the flowers focusing more on yellow and white-colored arrangements.
"The second arrangement, please. We don't need too many blue hues overbearing each other, thank you, Duffy." The Royal state's as they nodded towards him and began walking through the courtyard to the library through the secondary building and across the way.
"You're welcome!" Duffy's voice sounds as the pair walk off.
The Royal waits until they're out of the courtyard before speaking while trying to hide the amused tone, "Valor, you know better than to scare the newcomers, we do not wish to scare them away." They turn to look at their Guard, only to see bright purple and mischievous eyes staring back at them.
Valor would absolutely do so again, and they both knew it.
The library was a common meeting place when discussing simple arrangements involving royals and nobles, Histories of said nobles, and other royals that tended to be kept in the back of the library. Brought out to a small table where a greying lady now sat, standing respectfully as the two approached.
"Good afternoon, my Monarch, Guard Captain Valor." The lady bowed her head in greeting, her graying hair braided as always. Her outfits light blue fabric bringing out the hints of blue in her kind eyes.
"Councilwoman Alesia, a pleasure as always," The pair shared a brief hug while Valor nodded respectfully towards the Councilwoman. The Royal took their seat as did Alesia, "How is your wife, Talia? Doing better now that she's returned home, I hope?"
Alesia smiled at the mention of her wife, "Yes, much better now that our travels for the year are over, and just in time for the anniversary of the Dorrehan Kingdom as well. Thank you for asking."
"Of course, I would ask, you two taught me almost everything I know when I took the throne for someone of non-royal blood, it was quite an experience, and you two made it such an easy transition for me." They state with utmost sincerity.
"We only did our jobs, your Grace, though I know that we both remain proud of how far our Kingdom has come since you've come along."
"Jobs or not, I am allowed to appreciate what you've done for me. As for this Kingdom, The people want to progress. I merely provide them the means to move forward." The Royal stated as if it were just fact. "Regardless, what did we need to discuss today?"
Alesia seemed to jump back to her files, "Yes, Majesty, I am certain that you have heard of the new King to the west? He lies past Noibern's Kingdom, the bastard." she stated without change of voice.
Valor could only rumble in agreement, thoughts falling to the fun they had during the last meeting with King Noibern, oh he screamed like a babe without its mother when his power was prooven useless in the face of danger. That had been amusing.
"What is the Kingdom's name? I might recognize it, Alesia."
Alesia pulled out a parchment of paper from the bundle next to her file. "That's the thing, it's a new Kingdom. Having overthrown the Highlanders Dynasty, the Kingdom itself has been renamed and rebranded, King Henriot and his wife, Queen Lilias."
The Royal leaned over, reading alongside the Councilwoman, "Queen Lilias and King Henriot." They stared at the names as if the ink would reveal more.
"My Monarch, what course of action would you wish to take?" Silence fell as both Councilwoman Alesia and Valor awaited an answer.
The Royal held deep concentration before finally speaking. "I want an invitation sent out, 'the ruler of the Dorrehan Kingdom personally invites you to our 200th celebration as a prosperous kingdom.' However, you wish to phrase it, ensure that there will be no doubt of their arrival. I want those that go unknown to be right under my nose if they are to be a threat. If they are not, then all the better, but what better way to learn than to meet them face to face under the guise of a celebration?"
"Of course, your Majesty, I'll get to it right away," Councilwoman Alesia stood swiftly, grabbing her file and parchments before walking away with purpose. No doubt, Alesia had already arranged the seating for the other invitees to ensure little conflict between royal and noble families.
"Valor," The Royal called, eyes watching the doorway that Alesia had walked out through.
"Yes, Majesty?" they spoke in return, watching the same doorway with admiration.
"I want to be like her when I reach old age."
"As do I."
The Royal paused, "How old are you?" they asked in good spirit.
Valor looked to them, and with complete sincerity and acceptance spoke aloud in the now empty library. "I haven't the slightest idea, my Grace."
The Royal stood as Valor pulled out their chair, walking out of the library slowly to continue their train of thought. "How do you not know your age?"
The Guard tilted their head to the side in thought, "I lost count at some point. I remember having been here for a long time before this Kingdom itself was built, however."
At that, the Royal stopped walking entirely, instead staring at Valor, who stopped walking as well. They stood there, hands behind their back, looking down at the Royal patiently waiting for their next move. The Royal blinked, shook their head, and rested their hand on Valor's upper arm. "In any case, I remain thankful to have you by my side." They spoke in earnest towards their companion for so long now. Silently wondering why such a creature of power would choose to stay.
Valor's eyes stared unmoving at the Royal as they placed their larger hand over the smaller one resting on their arm. Valor's eyes seemed to bore into the Royals, threatening to hear their thoughts. Voice laced thick with emotion as they swore to their Royal. "My power is yours to wield, My sword Yours to command, My very breath my entire being at your sway. It is with pride I remain by your side as I have and will continue to do so until I am no more." They had stepped closer to the Royal as they spoke. Towering over them as if shielding them from the world at Valor's back.
Neither of them spoke for a few moments, in their silent world. The pair only stared at each other, both somewhat surprised at the devotion Valor had displayed so openly.
"Your Majesty, I was wonderi-" One of the butlers had stumbled upon the pair who promptly split apart as if nothing had happened. "Ah... My apologies, my Grace." The butler bowed his head, clasping his gloved hands together.
The Royal had shaken off the feeling that Valor's declaration left them with as they smiled towards the nervous-looking butler.
"It's alright, what is it that you need, Charlie?" the Royal questioned as Valor fell back into position where they always remained, right by their Royal's side.
"I was merely going to suggest that you take to your bed early tonight. Tomorrow is sure to be filled with more planning to be done." Charlie suggested with care in his voice for their majesty.
"I'll be sure to, thank you, Charlie, Goodnight." The Royal watched as the butler bid his goodnight's and went on his way.
Valor waited until they could no longer hear the butler's heartbeat, looking down the hall, eyes drifting to the various paintings decorating the otherwise empty spaces among the walls. "He's right, my Grace. It is hight time I escort you to your chambers for the eve." They stated quietly, in case any more prying ears were about that had gone unheard.
"I suppose you're right, shall we?"
Valor looked to the Royal, holding out an arm for them to hold as they walked on.
The celebration wasn't for another week, but there was still so much to plan as well as new people to greet with so much preparation, nothing could go wrong. Their only concern lay with ensuring King Noibern and his people stay out as well as the safety of the attending and citizens entirely.
But it was a week away, and every detail had time to be tended to, to ensure that everything went according to plan.