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Thread: The King Awakens - 8/11 Late Afternoon, King's chambers - Evangeline, Cailen, Vivienne [closed]

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    House Baptiste Evangeline Baptiste's Avatar  
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    The King Awakens - 8/11 Late Afternoon, King's chambers - Evangeline, Cailen, Vivienne [closed]

    Taking in a deep breath, the healer held it for a moment before letting it out through her nose. Hands propped on the desk that had turned into her work table, her head hung between her shoulders, her posture made heavy with weariness and stress. Behind her lay the king, his older sister seated beside him, holding his hand gingerly, her voice a quiet drone as she read to him from some book of stories. Eva did not notice the words, only the sound; her mind was too many other places.

    It had been over a week since she was taken from Tarran. She'd heard no word from him, nor gotten any to him, although that was hardly surprising. She was a prisoner in the castle, just as much under lock and key as if she were in a cell in the dungeon beside the queen. No - not like the queen anymore. She'd been missing for two days, and the usurper-queen's nephew had taken her place.

    There was no hope for her - for any of them - unless Cailen woke up. It was a miracle he was even still alive, given how much blood he'd lost and the severity of his wound. The cuts on his arms had been fairly easily fixed, and would add to the collection of scars the young monarch was accruing, should he live long enough for them to heal. But the stab to his torso had been another matter altogether. It had taken all her knowledge, her most delicate touch, to even stabilize his condition, but it had been achieved. Now it seemed the biggest obstacle was seeing if the king's battered body had enough strength to awaken.

    She was beginning to feel as if she'd done all she could. They could get him to swallow thin broth, but it wasn't enough to sustain him. Unless he woke up soon, the truth of the matter was that the king would simply waste away.

  2. #2
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    Vivienne's voice was the dominant sound in the room. Evangeline had told her that the sound of familiar voices might help bring Cailen around, and so she'd spent many hours at his bedside. She'd talked to him, begged him to wake up, recounted stories of their youth and the trouble they'd all gotten into. Lately she'd been reading him stories that they used to hear as children. The book that was now held in one hand was one their father had read from on the rare times they'd convinced him to read them stories before bed. Her other hand was wrapped around his cold fingers, her thumb running over his knuckles. The fire in the room was hot despite the heat of the day outside, but all the physicians said it had to be this way. Her brother had lost enough blood that he couldn't keep himself warm, they said. From the look of the rugs that had been taken from the room just past this one, Vivienne believed it.

    It wasn't just Cailen who could benefit from being read to, though. It kept her mind from wandering, which in turn kept her from saying something that would be dangerous. As stressed out as she was, as worried for Guy, as concerned for the other Knights of Dawn...she couldn't reveal that she knew anything about what was actually going on. The first hint she gave that she knew where Nataliah was and it was the end for all of them. And so she read, and kept from thinking as much as she could.

    Mid-sentence, Vivienne stopped, her eyes drawn to her brother's prone form. What had drawn her attention? She studied him, trying to ascertain if something had changed, alarm rising up her spine. But then it happened again: the faintest of twitches in his fingers. "Cailen?" His name was almost whispered, and she squeezed his hand, setting the book down and turning more fully to him. And then it came again, only stronger, his fingers pressing against her palm. His breathing, so even and shallow, hitched for a moment and then grew faster. His eyes looked to move, ever so slightly, under his closed lids.

    "Evangeline, something's-" She didn't even finish her sentence, nor did her eyes leave her brother for one moment. "Cailen? Cailen, come on, come back to me brother."

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    House Shellten Cailen Shellten's Avatar  
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    It was a thousand miles away, or so it had seemed, a voice so familiar that he'd been drawn to it. His mind was a muddied mess and Cailen had no idea what was even going on around him. It was just the voice, that's all he had to concentrate on, but he felt so weak and had no idea why. It was the only constant in his confused moments of pain and weakness, a woman's voice that spoke to him for hours on end.

    He felt a hand upon his and all he wanted to was to give it a light squeeze but all his strength had been lost. He began to let helplessness seep into his mind but it was then that a certain amount of searing pain from his chest became more obvious to him. His mouth was dry and the skin upon his lips felt tight. To move was more difficult than it should have been and as he became more aware of his surroundings he started to remember what he'd been doing last.

    Cailen tried to speak but the words did not come out. Instead he opened his eyes slowly and let them adjust to the room. With his head titled towards the voice he recognized his sister and wanted nothing more than to greet her but he could not. He wanted to ask questions. What happened? Where's Langston? But even more importantly where was Nataliah and was she alright?

    Having to settle for what he could do, he gave his sister's hand a gentle squeeze, and closed his eyes.

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    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    The two women were leaning over the bed, Vivienne's book completely forgotten as both her hands wrapped around Cailen's. Evangeline stood by, and they watched as his eyes fluttered open. A relief so strong it brought tears to her eyes flooded the princess even as she smiled at her brother, and when his eyes drifted closed again she lay her forehead down on his shoulder and, for a moment, could do nothing but weep with joy.

    "Keep talking to him, keep him with us if you can," Evangeline said as she rose to turn away, back to her table strewn with supplies. Tears still ran down her cheeks as Vivienne raised her head and nodded, and she squeezed her brother's hand gently. "Wake up, Cailen," she whispered, close to his ear. "We need you...I need you, Nat needs you."

    Evangeline returned with a small glass of water and an extra pillow, to prop the monarch up. "Cai, we're going to lift you a little bit so you're sitting up. Don't try to move yourself, okay? Just work on waking up. Come back to us."

    Working together, Evangeline slid her arms under the king to support and lift him, and Vivienne pushed the pillow beneath him, adjusting it so that he would be lying at a shallow angle. Too much of a shift might mean jostling his wounds, and that wasn't something they could afford to do. Eva let him settle back and set about checking his condition, checking his pulse and for any sign of fever. Vivienne watched closely as the nurse took a dampened cloth and patted the king's mouth, giving his dry lips a little bit of moisture, before she handed the glass she'd gotten earlier over to the princess. "He can have a drink if he wakes up more."

    Vivienne nodded, and set the cup on the table. "Hear that? You've gotta be thirsty..."
    Last edited by Vivienne Shellten; 03-13-2014 at 04:57 PM.

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    House Shellten Cailen Shellten's Avatar  
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    "Nat ..." It was a hoarse whisper that brought about a cough and a groan but he finally found his voice. He could feel them working around him, propping him up on another pillow. He heard his sister talking to him but the fog was lifting a bit slower than it should have been.

    "Cai ... Come back to us."

    Cailen gave Vivienne a nod in return to her words, it was weak, but it was something. He felt a cloth upon his lips and the shifting around his beside kept him focused on what was going on around him. It felt like hours but after a few minutes of poking and prodding he gave his sister's hand a squeeze and slowly opened his eyes. The room was bright though it held no real light and it seemed as warm as a hot summer day. His eyes moved from Vivienne to Evangeline and then back to his sister once again.

    "Wha ..." He couldn't ask, his throat wouldn't let him, and he closed his eyes in frustration.

  6. #6
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    Cailen was still fighting to surface from his long sleep, that much was obvious. Vivienne half wished she could take him by the shoulders and shake him to wake him fully. He needed to wake up, needed to know what was going on, needed to retake control from their mother and save his wife. Everything rested on Cailen waking up and coming back to himself, and although the next few hours were vital and needed to be addressed carefully, first the king needed to be awake enough to realize what was going on.

    "Here, this will help." Lifting the glass, she leaned forward and held it to her brother's lips, helping him to drink in small sips. Behind her, Evangeline raked the fire, glancing over her shoulder at the door and then back at the king. She reminded the princess to not let him have too much at once, and Vivienne nodded, never averting her gaze from her brother's face.

    She wasn't entirely sure how to proceed. How was a girl to tell her brother that his entire world had fallen down around him while he was unconscious? Could he handle the shock, in his frail state? He didn't have much of a choice, but she didn't want to do anything to cause him to relapse. "You've been out for nine days. Do you remember what happened to you?"

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    House Shellten Cailen Shellten's Avatar  
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    The water to his lips helped him wake and he could feel the burning in his side more than he could before. It was not as intense as he was anticipating it to be but it still stopped him from sitting fully. Among other things his body didn't seem to be responding exactly how he'd wished but when Vivienne mentioned he'd been in this sleep for nine days his eyes opened wide.

    First a cough came from his lungs and he stammered out his response. It was a question of shock and horror. "What? What happened?" His voice was hoarse but at least he could complete words and thoughts. His head felt heavy and his neck was stiff but Cailen looked to his sister and Eva for a moment before he remembered. "Langston ... " Panic washed over him now but his arms still did not have the strength to move him from the bed. He tried so hard to move his feet only an inch or so but pain shot through his abdomen and he let his head fall back onto his pillow.

    "Viv ..." She'd know what he was asking. She'd tell him what happened. Frustration washed over him now as he waited for his sister to answer.

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    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    "Don't move!" Vivienne's hands went out and pressed on her brother's chest, keeping him lying back. "Yes, Langston. He attacked you, do you remember?" The question was hardly necessary, given Cailen's reaction. So at least that much was established, but where was she to go from there? For a moment she looked to Evangeline, the look on her face asking if the nurse had any better indication of where to begin, but Eva raised her hands and shook her head, freeing herself from any obligation to participate in the conversation.

    With a bit of a sigh, Viv looked over her brother, still clearly trying to sort out the best way to relate what had happened. She was reminded of when she'd had the same difficulties trying to sum up the situation for Guy when he arrived, but she hoped this time she could do a better job. "Langston is dead. You got stabbed," she laid her hand light as a feather on the blanket over his wound, "and so did he, but you lived and he didn't. That's where things get complicated." There was no way he was going to react well to any of the next part, and it was clear Evangeline had the same opinion, because she moved to busy herself close enough to the bedside that she could hold the king down, if he got too excited and tried to do something foolish like sit up on his own.

    "You were nearly dead...for so long. You lost a lot of blood, and your injury is really bad. Bad enough that if you do what you always do and pretend you're better than you are and try to push things, you could still die." A grave warning, but a necessary one, as she knew how stubborn her brother could be. "What I'm going to tell you next is bad, but you have to trust me. You have to stay calm, and you have to not shout or try to get up or anything like that. Promise me, and then I'll go on."

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    House Shellten Cailen Shellten's Avatar  
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    Cailen listened to Vivienne recount what had happened and he could remember it now. Langston had been heading after his sister with the blade. He was trying to kill Nataliah and the Shellten had done all he could to stop his wife's brother from murdering her. He closed his eyes and let out a pained breath while he listened to her continue to speak, her hand a light touch upon his wound, but her following words caused him to open his eyes wide.

    He was to promise not to move, make a sound, or try to get up? This couldn't be good. He narrowed his gaze and after a moment he finally nodded. In the back of his mind he did register that his sister had mentioned that his wounds were still not healed well. There was still a chance he could die. How reassuring.

    Evangeline was busying herself nearby and Cailen's eyes moved to her. He tried to focus on her face but she quickly looked away and it caused him a little panic. What was about to be said that was so bad that Vivienne had to make him promise and the Baptiste could not even look at him.

    "Nat ..." His voice came out as a whisper and his worry was obvious. Cailen's mouth hung open and he tried to search his sister's eyes for the answers before she spoke them.

  10. #10
    House Shellten Vivienne Shellten's Avatar  

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    She saw the look in her brother's eyes, the wariness and dread, and it twisted her heart. "She's safe," Vivienne said, a promise in her voice. She wished she could also promise that the queen were well, but that might have been too much of a stretch. As far as Viv knew Nataliah's health was sound, but her well-being...was likely not.

    Taking a deep breath, Vivienne prepared herself as much as she could for what was to come. "Mother was one of the first to get there. Vera and I were closed into our rooms, locked down, so I wasn't there to see what happened, but...Mother snapped. She accused Nataliah of some conspiracy with her brother, that she was somehow involved in the attack. And since Langston was dead and you...well, you weren't in any condition to do anything, there was nobody to speak for Nataliah but herself. Nat apparently even said that she was pregnant, but Mother said that it was just a lie to save her own skin. She..." Vivienne didn't want to say that their mother had ordered Nataliah killed. She didn't want to speak the horrible things that their mother had done. But Cailen deserved to know.

    "Mother called for Nataliah to be tried for regicide," she said, her voice quiet, her eyes distant and downcast, as if she wished to be as far from what she was saying as she could. "Nataliah ended up being locked up in the dungeon." Vivienne didn't dare meet her brother's eyes, to see the rage that she knew those words would bring. "The Knights of Dawn have been saviors in this whole thing...they took care of her, while still adhering to Mother's commands - she was saying you were all but dead, and that meant she was in charge. I wrote to Guy, as well...I know he just left, but I didn't know what else to do." There was a vulnerability as she said that, and her voice nearly cracked, but she quickly composed herself. "Mother caught on that the Knights were still loyal to you, and didn't agree with her, and she dismissed them and replaced them with other people...just regular guards, or not even that. Shifty people."

    This was a lot to be laying onto a man who, for the better part of the past week, had been one breath away from the grave. Hesitantly, Vivienne looked to her brother's face, searching his eyes to see which emotion was being expressed most strongly. She was tempted to pause now, to give him a moment to reel, but that almost would have been cruel. When she began to speak again, her words were more measured, more carefully chosen. If the wrong person heard her speak too specifically about what came next, it could be catastrophic. "Nataliah is no longer in the dungeon, although nobody knows where she is." Her eyes told a different story from her words, and she hoped Cailen would catch on that Nat was safe but that it wasn't safe to speak of it. "She disappeared a few days ago, and Mother accused Guy of having a hand in her disappearance and imprisoned him instead. But with you awake, Mother can no longer claim your authority, and things can begin being set to rights." Guy would need to be released first off; it was killing Vivienne that he was suffering and she was unable to do anything for him. Then their mother would need to be restrained, the Knights of Dawn reinstated, and then when it was safe, Nataliah could return. But the very first step was getting Cailen up to speed, and reasserting him into the world of the living.

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    House Shellten Cailen Shellten's Avatar  
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    Cailen's face was truly twisted in anger but he remembered his promise to his sister that he would not get upset, shout, or try to sit up and cause a scene. He took three deep breaths and assessed all of the information that he was given. Nataliah is alive, safe, and with the King's guard. He paused for a moment at the thought that she were pregnant but he decided that would be something for another time.

    Their mother had overstepped this time and it was all he could do to not curse her name out loud. Eva was still busying herself nearby but he squeezed Vivienne's arm and swallowed hard before he spoke. He knew what he needed to do but neither woman in this room would allow it. Cailen decided to take a different tone so they knew they had little choice.

    With the arm on his uninjured side, Cailen pushed himself up so that he were closer to sitting than he had been before. He'd seen that Vivienne had placed the glass of water on the side table so he reached over to get his own drink, using his arms again felt awkward but he took a drink before finally speaking the best he could. His words were breathless and he tried not to let his anger show too strongly upon his features.

    "Viv. Thank you." His voice was still a bit hoarse. After taking another drink he finally felt somewhat human again and maybe he could speak a complete sentence without sounding like an idiot. "You know, I'll need to deal with this." He was attempting to be casual but his furrowed brow was probably a dead give away.

    "Lady Baptiste." He looked to the woman from the corner of his eye. "I get that strain may kill me. Nat needs me." He was quite out of breath and he leaned his head back on the headboard for a moment. "I just need to make it to my throne."

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