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Thread: A Last Goodbye - 8/13 Evening, Dockside - Tarran, Tatianna, Nataliah, Evangeline

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    A Last Goodbye - 8/13 Evening, Dockside - Tarran, Tatianna, Nataliah, Evangeline

    The two women were flanked by guards as they approached the harbor. Word had been sent ahead, and the ship that had been looming menacingly on the river for days now lay at port, waiting. Everything about the ship seemed impatient, although perhaps that was something the Queen projected on it as they made their way toward it. She had been told about the scuffle around Evangeline's arrival into the castle, and she was familiar enough with Tarran that she knew he must be champing at the bit to get Evangeline on board and get out on the sea. It hurt her heart that the uncertainty of a plague-ridden homeland was a better alternative to staying any longer on Tuneric, but she couldn't blame them in the slightest. In weaker moments, she had wished that she could board the ship with them rather than have to face the task of rebuilding her slandered reputation.

    Reaching out a hand behind her, Nataliah stayed the porters who were pulling a cart containing a few trunks and smaller packages. There was no need to have them follow and make the pier crowded, although admittedly there wasn't much bustle. It appeared that they were entirely ready to cast off just as soon as their last passenger was safe on board. One of the two sailors stationed at the end of the dock guarding the gangplank to the Righteous Wind came to meet them as they approached, and Nataliah stepped forward to address them.

    "Please inform Captain Hutchinson that the Lady Baptiste has arrived. And if you could...perhaps you could tell Princess Tatianna that her sister is here, and would like to see her before she leaves?"

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    House Hutchinson Tarran Hutchinson's Avatar  
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    Tarran was looking for his jacket, though for the life of him he couldn't remember where he had left it. The bustle of the last few days had made him jumpy and forgetful, and he wasn't entirely sure where he was anymore. Tatianna was waiting patiently in the doorway of the cabin for him, and he smiled at her with embarrassment. "Just a minute," he pleaded, before finally locating the garment on the back of his high chair. Pulling it over his shoulders, he motioned for the princess to lead the way.

    The stalemate had ended without so much as a single ballista firing from the deck of the Righteous Wind, and Tarran was thankful for that. He was interested in hearing the details however. As the pair reached the top deck, Hutchinson frowned. "What in the blazes," he was muttering under his breath. Raising his voice, he called out to the men at the plank. "You are in the presence of a royal daughter of Balfour, you louts. Stand aside and let her aboard."

    The men moved quickly, shamed by their commander, and apologetic as the two women came aboard. Breaking from Tatianna's side, Tarran rushed to Eva and placed his hands under her arms and lifting her toward the sky, spinning her twice before lowering her into his embrace. "Thank you for not making me come in," he told her. He looked and nodded a thank you to Nataliah, and then turned back to his fiancee. "You are well?"

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Informed that her sister had arrived and wanted to see her, Tatianna was more then eager to see Nat and make sure she was safe and well. The recent happenings, the confusion that came with them had her terribly worried and more then a little frightened. Following Tarran up on deck, she looked about for Nat, then frowned when she didn't see her. Tarran's command relieved her mind, parting from him when he rushed forward to Eva so she could go to her sister.

    Anxious blue eyes looked over Nat for any signs of injury or torment. "You're not hurt? They didn't do anything to hurt you?" Langston was dead and that needed to be talked about but not here and now. Right now, she was much more concerned over her sister, her hands reaching for Nat's nervously. "Will you be coming with us? You can't stay here, Nataliah... it's not safe."

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    House Baptiste Evangeline Baptiste's Avatar  
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    She heard Tarran before she saw him, his shouted order causing the men in front of them to quickly step aside with chastised looks on their faces. Evangeline let the Queen step aboard first, but she was not far behind, a grin on her face as she saw her man coming toward her. Hands on his shoulders, she looked down at him while they spun, and already the world was beginning to feel more right. Her feet, when they were back on the deck, were on familiar ground, Tarran was alive and well, and they would soon be heading for home. Their problems were still many, but for now, Eva was thankful.

    As the royals greeted one another, Evangeline took the opportunity to share a quieter moment with her fiance. Her arms around his waist, she leaned her head on his shoulder, speaking quietly near his ear. "I'll be better when we're surrounded by sea, but I am well, yes. I came to no more harm than some sleepless nights, thankfully." There had been moments when she'd been sure that Belle would have her thrown into the dungeon alongside Nataliah, in a horrible parallel to what happened to Rebecca at the hands of Luther.

    Pulling away the slightest bit, she put a hand on Tarran's chest and looked up to meet his eyes. "You seem to be holding up well," she commented with a smile, still always glad to see him up and about and looking healthy. Casting a glance over at the princesses, though, made Evangeline's look darken with concern. She couldn't imagine how Tatianna was dealing with everything that had happened, if she even knew the truth of half of it. "Are we ready to go, once we're done here?"

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Stepping on board, Nataliah immediately moved to her sister, paying little heed to Evangeline and Tarran's reunion. She paused, letting Tatianna look her over, but as she reached out for her hand, Nat pulled her in and held her close, hugging her tightly. Eyes closed tightly, the Queen of Tuneric fought to keep her resolve, steeling herself to let the last of her people go from her grasp. "I'm not hurt, no." Releasing her hold, she pulled a little away. She couldn't honestly say that they hadn't done anything to hurt her...they hadn't been successful in hurting her, but technically Belle had been prepared to drug her in order to secure a confession, by which she would be tried and hanged for regicide.

    Her expression answered Tatianna's question before Nat's words could. "My place is here, at Cailen's side." She hoped she sounded more resolute than she felt. "The threat against me has abated, and Cailen needs me, perhaps now more than ever. If I left now, it would only make it look like the slander was true." It was an argument she'd used on herself a lot recently in the hours that she'd spent while Cailen rested, when her mind was free to cast over the long road that lay before them.

    "Besides," she said, laying a hand on her stomach, "I have to make sure this baby is born in the land it may come to rule." A small, serene smile crossed her lips when she spoke of the babe she carried, the baby that had already saved Nataliah's life. It didn't occur to her that Tatianna might not have heard that she was even pregnant; had the letter which had brought Langston to Hebron made its way to their baby sister? Had Tarran told her, after things had gone downhill?

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    House Hutchinson Tarran Hutchinson's Avatar  
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    Tarran was not at all certain what remained to be done here. He had not made any effort to overhear the conversation of the two sisters in the distance, so he couldn't be certain what they would still have in store for him. "As we speak, there are no Balfourians on King Cailen's soil," he said, unsure if Nataliah was planning on going back to Hebron. "The others are hunkered below," the captain said. Tarran had accepted the risk of passengers, knowing full well that the Righteous Wind was the supreme war vessel on the inland part of Tuneric. Anything in Cailen's armada that might match her, and only the Sword of Cailen was a real threat, was docked at Pyre Cliff.

    While it was true that nobody could have predicted when the plague broke out that their time on Tuneric would come to this, had Tarran had so much as an inkling, he would have taken his chances at home. As it was, news from Balfour had been slow in coming, and he did still have citizens that were his charge. His place was there, and he had, much like Eva, had enough of here.

    "I've brought your effects," he told her with a smile, before pressing his lips to hers softly. "I do so hope that your next home will be your last, Lady Hutchinson."

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    The hug was gratefully returned, glad that her sister was alive, well, unhurt, but when Nat pulled back and spoke of her place being in Tuneric, Tatianna wanted to cry. She was torn between pride and anguish, knowing her sister was right and that she needed to do what was right, what was best, but it was also breaking her heart to be sent back to Balfour. True, it was for her own safety, but Nat had been the one who understood her best, helped her through the adjustments and the changes, and now Tianna had to abandon her to return home.

    Her eyes fell on the hand resting on Nat's stomach before she stared up at her sister. Baby? Nataliah was carrying a child? No-one had told her much of anything about what was going on or why Langston had acted so strangely. There hadn't really been time, but now she knew the heir to the throne of Tuneric rested under her sister's heart. No wonder that Nat insisted on staying. Her eyes filled again, the soft lower lip bitten into as she nodded. The truth couldn't be argued with, but...

    She bravely swallowed back her tears and whispered, "Then let me stay, Nat. I can't leave you, not now. Let me help you, I want to see my niece or nephew born." Truth was, Tianna didn't really have a place that was hers. She was adrift, and staying would give her some purpose, maybe. "Please don't ask me to go, not now that you've told me."

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Seeing the anguish flash across her sister's face, the barely contained tears, broke Nataliah's heart anew. It seemed like ever since she'd been taken from the temple, Tatianna's life had been in constant limbo. First the war, then the resettlement, then plague and seeking refuge, and now she was being cast back over the seas to a homeland that might be more shattered than when she last saw it. It had been hard on everyone, but for Tianna, to whom the unfiltered world was still so new, it must have been an even greater hardship.

    "I would love nothing more than to have you stay with me." Nataliah squeezed her sister's hand, even though the first word of the next sentence was able to be heard already. "But it's not safe here for any Balfourian but me. Not right now, at least." She felt her resolve cracking, but she hoped her sister wouldn't pick up on it. If she were utterly honest, Nataliah was more terrified right now than she had been during the war. What had just happened with Cailen's mother had left her shaken to the core, and she desperately didn't want to be without her kin and countrymen. And, although she hadn't admitted it to any but Evangeline, her pregnancy scared her. She was so keen to have a baby, to provide Cailen with an heir, but even already things had not been easy. She would have given everything to have Tianna and Evangeline stay behind with her, to help her through the coming weeks.

    But she held firm, ignoring the part of her mind that was trying to convince her that Tianna would be safe if she stayed in the castle with her. "I promise I'll write to you as soon as it's safe, and you can come back if you like. Evangeline says the baby shouldn't be here until early next year, so there is time." The thought of all those weeks ahead, dealing with her health as well as nursing Cailen back to fitness, seemed too long to bear, but there was nothing for it.

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Her lips trembled, knowing Nataliah would tell her no, that there was a 'but' attached to her sister's words. It was nearly impossible for Tianna, torn between wanting to protect her sister and not knowing if her brother was still alive and on the throne. And to find out that Langston had betrayed them all, she didn't know what to do or what had happened to her family. And not knowing made it harder for Tatianna to do what was asked of her. The only one she felt she knew, that she could trust was Nat... and Nat was telling her to go.

    She clung to her sister, fingers lacing with Nataliah's for a moment as she nodded. Tianna didn't trust herself to speak further. Nataliah knew best, and her sister had never led her astray. She had to trust Nat now more then ever and trust that she would be safe here. The King's men would surely let no harm come to their Queen, no matter what. And she could pray on the fort-night's sail that all the gods watch over Nataliah. Until that letter came, she doubted she would know a peaceful night's sleep. "I will hold you to that, sister," she finally whispered. "Promise me, please, that you will send word as soon as you can."

    The time for them to part was just about at hand, making Tianna want to weep but she told herself to be brave. To be like Nataliah, strong and true. Swallowing down the lump in her throat, she sighed out a breath. "What do you want me to tell Lochlan when we arrive?"

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    House Baptiste Evangeline Baptiste's Avatar  
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    "'Lady Hutchinson'. I think I very much like the sound of that." Evangeline tasted the title as she said it. There were many unknowns about what they would find when they returned to Balfour, and an incredible amount of work likely to be done, but there was one hopeful glimmer on the horizon: their wedding. Should they not return home to a disaster, the wedding of the Hutchinson lord to his Baptiste bride would be a joyful affair. After all, how could happiness be lacking, when two with such love as they shared were celebrating their union?

    Evangeline cast a worried glance over to the two blonde royals as they stood huddled together. Both looked on the verge of tears, and while she'd known their parting wouldn't be an easy one, she hoped it was going as well as it could. Once they were underway she would have to see how much Tarran and Tatianna knew about everything that had happened, and fill in the blanks as she could. She had asked Nataliah if there was anything she wished to keep quiet, and the queen had ultimately decided that there wasn't; while it was clear that she hoped the truth would be told as sympathetically as it could, the maligned royal knew that those who had been involved deserved to know what really happened.

    Her eyes moved from the Farrand-Calhouns to where the men were loading the last of the things she'd brought with her onto the ship. "Stop on that one for a moment," she called to one man, carrying a smallish box. "Just leave it here for now." Nataliah must have really been involved in what she was talking about, for her to not notice that this particular box was being brought aboard. To Tarran's questioning look, she pressed her lips into a small grimace. "That would be the prince's ashes," she said, her voice barely loud enough to hear. "The queen was going to ask if you'd be willing to have it on board."

    ---

    @Tarran Hutchinson
    Last edited by Amy; 05-21-2014 at 03:40 PM.

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Pulling her sister close, Nataliah let herself breathe in the comfort of her presence for one long last moment. "I swear it." Tears welled in her eyes, but when she pulled back a minute later, they were gone. She had promised herself she would be strong for her sister, and she intended to keep that promise. "You must write as well...in case you can't return as soon as I hope. I'll need to hear that you're well, and what's happened to Lochlan, and Jacquelyn, and everybody else." Her heart ached for Balfour, for the suffering that her homeland had endured. And her heart ached that she could not return to it.

    "I've a letter for him, but I've left it unsealed so that you can read it too." She pulled the parchment from the pocket it had been tucked in, the paper folded neatly in thirds, and handed it to her sister. "I can only hope it's adequate..." Her voice trailed off, but the rest of the sentence was easy to glean. How was one truly to communicate what had happened over the past few weeks in just a letter? "I wish I had enough time to do it myself, but I've asked Lady Baptiste to answer any questions she can for you...I don't truly know what information got out as far as what really happened." Looking up, her eyes sought the woman she mentioned, and she saw her commanding a sailor to put down a very important box.

    Immediately she was drawn from the bubble of private conversation, and she moved to step toward the captain and the doctor, gesturing that Tatianna follow. She heard the last bit of what Evangeline said, and she nodded, looking up to meet Captain Hutchinson's eyes.

    "I was, yes. I understand that this is unusual and unpleasant cargo, but I would ask if you would allow it to travel with you." Kneeling down, she lifted a small padlock so that it could be seen, and standing, she withdrew the matching key. "His crime may be dire, but he is still a son of Balfour. His place is there." There was a hint in her voice as if, against all reason, she had doubts about his guilt. And by that sentence alone, if Tatianna had harbored any doubt as to the contents of the box, she surely didn't now. "I can send him on a later ship if need be, but I feel he will be best kept in Balfourian care."

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Fighting back tears with everything she had, Tianna nodded to her sister's words. Her lip trembled, but if Nataliah could be strong, so could she. She just had to trust that Nat would be safe and well here, and that Cailen would recover. Everything would be all right. Maybe if Tatianna told herself that enough, she'd come to believe it. "I will. I'll write you every week, and tell you everything. And I will try to be here for the baby's birth. You should have some family near when your child is born." Lochlan and Jacquelyn would want to send gifts too, she knew.

    Taking the letter, she looked down at it, still conflicted. Tatianna could hardly believe that Langston had done this, or that he was gone, but the truth stared her right in the face. "I'll make sure I put this into Lochlan's hands myself, and... see what I can do to keep it quiet at home." She swallowed past the lump in her throat, knowing this was going to be an agony of a trip home. Following Nataliah's look, her eyes fell on the box as she obeyed her sister's gesture and trailed over to Tarran and Eva.

    She flinched, knowing that Langston's ashes were in that box. It cost her, but her chin lifted. "I will take it, Nataliah. It's... my responsibility." Whether it was or wasn't, Tianna didn't know or much care, but Langston had been her brother. No matter what he had done, he was family and she wanted to bring him home. Her eyes looked over at Tarran, hoping he wouldn't argue with her about this. It was already hard enough.

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