Crystal River Academy ─ Private

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    [Of course, I get someone’s name wrong. ಠ_ಠ It was bound to happen eventually (especially since names and dates are the bane of my existence irl), but I tarnished poor Headmaster Percival’s reputation in the process.

    Totally forgot about this; it’s Monday in the rp.]


    Although pleased her impromptu pep talk had rekindled the jester’s smile, Elyse could only muster an uncommitted nod in response. Hands drawn behind her back, she dug her nails into uncalloused fingers to distract herself from the tidal wave of uneasiness that threatened to overwhelm her. Staring unseeingly into the distance, a faint frown manages to contort her once neutral expression as the girl fell into one of her inconsistently occurring moments of silence, accidentally allowing her guard to fall as the perfect mask cracked.


    “Yeah, sure.” Accepting his fate, the disgruntled prince could only agree. The only benefit he could see from being with these two was the possibility of learning more about the elusive Eiris family. His previous excursion to Aulasea had uncovered nothing and his family, not wanting to take any chances, had decided against allying with their neighbor despite all the benefits that could be reaped from having friendly relations with such a highly self-sufficient kingdom. Of all the kingdoms that could lie just beyond the mountainous peaks that separated the two kingdoms, it just had to be the one that was ruled from within a raging sandstorm that was their neighbor. Not wanting to dwell any longer on the topic, Valentine’s scrutinizing gaze wandered the premises for a distraction.


    Unsurprised by the sudden lack of interest once he brings up the many duties of being a mock monarch, Headmaster Percival had come to expect a handful at most to remain. However, the newly added responsibilities and now individually handled public announcements left him only with three. This was unfortunate but all he could do was hail one of the leaving students back with a request. As he waited, Headmaster Percival finished the inquiries and without too much delay, announced this year’s mock monarchs. Handing the appointed trio a large envelope each, he explained, “In the envelope are some instructions on how to access the roll and an announcement. Be sure to register everyone properly and read the announcement once the maximum limit has been reached. The three of you will head out first. Do try to get there and set up before the other students arrive. If you have any questions or concerns, please address them before you leave.”


    Embarrassed that she was caught looking, Mirai slipped through the open theater doors to mingle with the other students. No one seemed to be paying her any mind however panic seized control of her body when she noticed Elysia was headed in her direction. Not realizing she was holding her breath, she let out a sigh of relief when the other girl brushed past, returning to the theater.


    When the person he had summoned had finally arrived, the headmaster shifted his attention to the princess joining the group on the stage. Normally he would not seek someone out but given the available spot, he could think of no better person to fill the last position. “Good morning Elysia.” He smiled. He was well aware of the grief the young girl caused his teaching staff but after speaking with her on a few occasions and observing her for many more, he was certain that she could handle such a taxing workload – it would also keep the girl too preoccupied to cause mischief in class... hopefully. “There is an opening for the West Kingdom, would you like to the position?”


    Brain short-circuiting, Elyse almost gaped at the headmaster. She really didn’t want the responsibility; not to mention that the idea of being a mock queen had never once crossed her mind! Yet… Finding herself unable to reject the headmaster, whom she probably knew better than most students and alumni, Elyse numbly agreed to the sudden promotion. Accepting the envelope with both hands, the third year forced herself to adopt a more natural and carefree expression before she wandered back out into the lobby, this time heading straight out the doors instead of staring blankly through them.


    [Location of the South Kingdom is moved to the castle gate to the south to avoid having students congregating at the plaza and location of the East Kingdom moved to the former marketplace in the east for the students' safety]


    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest

  • may the best of your todays —

    Upon Val's agreement to join the West Kingdom with him and Elyse, Caspian's mood brightened once again, arriving back to the status it was before. The more friends he had in his mock kingdom this year, the better. The extroverted male despised the feeling of loneliness, preferring to be surrounded by friends than being alone.


    As Elyse was summoned back into the theater, Caspian paused his movements, puzzled. What could the Headmaster possibly want? Maybe he had witnessed the princess vaulting over the seats... Cas smirked, deciding that that was the reason for the summons. Finally --somebody other than him was in trouble first this year. "Good luck." he told Elyse with a bright grin, observing as she twisted around and headed back for the theater.


    Standing idly, waiting in the lobby for his friend's return, Cas quickly discovered that it was too dangerous to be in the center of the room. All the eager students --First Years, especially-- were shoving past him; by being stationary, he had already received a few accidental elbow hits to his sides. Cas glimpsed back at the doors of the theater, deciding to follow after Elyse. With all the bodies in the way, however, it would be difficult for him to reach the doors now. But Caspian was determined... and his want to leave the lobby was growing with each accidental nudge and shove he suffered.


    Tapping Val's shoulder lightly and nodding towards the theater's doors, hinting for the other male to follow, Cas began to head back... but he would never reach the theater. As he was making his way through the dense crowd, the dark-haired jester felt a sudden touch on his burgundy cloak, followed by a sharp, forceful tug; it caused his weight to shift backwards, and he toppled back, knocking into the legs of other students and catching himself hard on the floor with his hands. The impact jarred his senses, stunning him momentarily.


    What just happened? How did it happen? His cloak wasn't lengthy enough to step on; it couldn't even reach the ground. No... whatever happened, it was on purpose.


    Caspian, bewildered by the abrupt events, glanced around wildly with wide optics, his face slack-jawed. His green gaze quickly skimmed over the princes and princesses staring down at him, each of their faces wearing one of three expressions: smugness, scornfulness, or mild concern. Cas' face went red hot with embarrassment in response to the mostly judgemental stares. However, in regards to a probable culprit, Caspian couldn't find one; they must have walked away already.


    Okay, so, maybe Caspian isn't lovable to everyone; even with his bubbly personality, he still isn't immune to the hate of others.


    Caspian, uttering a disheartened huff, eventually shoved himself to his feet; he dusted himself off, albeit halfheartedly. It was a shame to be bullied, but it was something he was used to. After all, he wasn't really suppose to be there, at the school. He was only half-royalty --and the other students loved to point out that fact.


    Sweeping his vision around in one last attempt to find the culprit, he instead found Elyse, catching sight of her as she exited the theater. She was moving quickly, her expression blank as she headed for the main doors leading outside. Wanting more than ever to leave the lobby and not wanting to lose sight of his friend, Caspian began to push his way through the crowd, following the Eiris once more --albeit more successfully, this time. His preoccupied mind had forgotten about Val.


    Gingerly taking the allotted envelope handed to him, Atlas offered a nod to the Headmaster and departed from the theater with the other chosen two. Gliding swiftly along, he exited the lobby without a hassle and sauntered in the direction of the library, intending on arriving before anyone else, as instructed.


    [Atlas' is shorter than I would like, but eh, what can you do? *shrugs* ]

    — be the worst of your tomorrows

    Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by winter. ().

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    Unhurried, Val’s wandering gaze slowly trained back onto Cas just as the other male turned and began to walk away. Where was he going? Despite being curious and not knowing what he had wanted, Valentine remained rooted to his spot as his eyes followed Cas instead.


    Finding herself by the wall, Mirai watched warily as the other person she preferred to avoid appeared in her peripheral vision. Luckily for her, he seemed to be too focused on something else to notice her. But she refused to take any chances; with every step Cas took towards the theater, Mirai inched her way towards the doors leading outside. She didn’t stop even when she lost sight of him.


    With a grimace, Valentine was hit with a wave of the second-hand embarrassment when his idle following was stopped short when Cas’ head disappeared into the crowd. He just fell, didn’t he? Unable to handle the awkwardness of the situation, Val averted his gaze and turned to where Elyse once was so she could deal with the situation instead but found the inconvenient princess inconveniently not there. What perfect timing. With an inward groan, Val forced himself to move but did not get far when he noticed that Cas had picked himself up and was heading towards the main doors. Just where was he going?


    Finally taking notice of the mock rulers leaving the lobby and Elyse who was among them, Val intercepted the third year, seizing hold of Cas’ elbow and herding him away from the other students before he could chase after the girl. What was it with this guy and getting into trouble? Did he want to choose his kingdom last again?



    Once the mock monarchs arrived at their assigned locations, they would be greeted by a staff member who directed them towards a makeshift setup that consisted of a tent (for those outside) and a table. On the table was a tablet with a wireless keyboard and mouse, a card printer, and two boxes of different sizes. One box contains the blank cards that will become the students’ only form of identification and in the other were goodie bags with a variety of trinkets that denoted which kingdom the student was a part of.


    Fishing the papers and the variety of trinkets unique to the monarch out of the envelope, Elyse read the instructions thoroughly as she pinned one of the trinkets to her tie. Turning on both the card machine and the tablet, accessing the roll was fairly straightforward: turn on the tablet, open a specific app, log into the listed account, select only these specific things, blah blah blah. With the West Kingdom’s roll open, Elyse registered herself as the queen and printed her ID card all with enough time to skim over the announcement before anyone arrived.



    About ten minutes after the last of the four had left, several screens were projected onto the lobby walls, revealing the first group of students who were able to leave; the next set would be revealed after five minutes. Clearly determined by the time at which the student arrived, Ophelia, Atalanta, Valentine and Mirai had all been permitted to leave by the third group. Though not one to make empty promises, Val decided to wait in the courtyard just outside of the lobby for Cas. Mirai, on the other hand, disappeared the moment she stepped out of the lobby.


    [Post sucks but rewriting it probably won't yield a better one, sorry.]


    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest

  • may the best of your todays —

    When Caspian felt a hand on his elbow, he thought the culprit had come back for a second round. His head whipped around to see who it was, eyes wide... only to find Valentine holding onto his arm, pulling him away from the direction of Elyse. A wave of relief flooded the jester, knowing that with Val, nobody would mess with him for the time being. However, with the relief came confusion. Why was the fourth year leading him away from their friend? Casting a glance at the departing form of the Eiris, his question was quickly answered.


    Caspian's attention suddenly focused on the details he had managed to overlook just seconds before. Elyse wasn't alone; she was leaving with three other people, and she was just barely trailing behind Atlas, who Cas had witnessed waiting at the foot of the stage. In the hands of all four departing students were bright, crisp envelopes --envelopes given to the monarchs of the mock kingdoms.


    "Uh-oh." The words were uttered absentmindedly by Caspian as he watched the form of Elyse disappear from the lobby. That's what the summons was for... but the Eiris might as well have received a punishment. Elyse had never expressed interest in being a mock monarch before, and frankly, Cas believed she had been avoiding the position. However, Cas considered that, perhaps, he was wrong, seeing her walk away with the envelope. She accepted the position, after all... Caspian just hoped it was for either the West or South Kingdom. The dark-haired male couldn't bear being in a mock kingdom with no friends again, but he also didn't want to ruin his "be in every mock kingdom" plan. Conflicted, Cas decided to put his faith in Elyse. Because of their plans, she wouldn't have accepted the monarch position unless it was for the West or South Kingdom... right?

    ***

    Upon arriving at his designated location --the library-- the calm-natured blonde politely greeted the attending staff member with a light smile. Taking the only seat at his allotted table, Atlas opened his given instructions, somehow managing to not tear the envelope in the process. Nodding along to the steps, he followed them exactly; once the card machine came to life and the North Kingdom's role was displayed on screen, he registered himself accordingly --as king. As he waited for the first set of students interested in the North to arrive, Atlas skimmed over the announcements, tapping his foot lightly on the floor.

    ***

    Caspian, for obvious reasons, wasn't in the first few sets. He wasn't an early bird; there was no way he would ever been in the first sets. However, having arrived at the theater dramatically earlier than the previous year, Cas was in one of the middle groups --definitely not first, but definitely not last, either. Once his set was released, the jester began to walk briskly towards the harbor... until his green gaze fell on the waiting figure of Valentine. With a grin, Cas made a slight detour just so he could walk beside Val longer as they headed for the West Kingdom's location. Hopefully Elyse would be there, sitting at the monarch's table...


    [What are you talking about? It's a perfectly fine post!]

    — be the worst of your tomorrows

    Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    Brows furrowing at the younger’s reaction, Val released his grip on the jester as he silently studied his face. The fall was not an accident, but it seemed to him that Cas had not seen the perpetrator’s face. How shameless. Just how entitled were these people, discriminating against people for no good reason? It was no wonder the school taught ethics, these people needed it. They needed it badly. And that’s saying a lot since he doesn’t give two flying fucks about manners or etiquette. Pricks like that don’t make for a good ruler and definitely don’t deserve to be in any position of power in the first place.



    Running a hand through his hair, Val stared out into the great blue expanse as the pair made their way towards the harbor. Not usually one to get lost in his thoughts if it was not about keeping Nevia afloat, there was something about the deep, dark ocean that just drowned him in a feeling of dread. As a prince of a landlocked desert kingdom, he rarely encountered large bodies of water. It’s unnerving; to know this little about something. He hated it. The unknown was worse than death, war, and pain… combined.


    Leaving her room for the second time that morning, Mirai stood in front of her dorm building to marvel at the predicament she had gotten herself into. As planned, she had changed but still had not come up with a kingdom to join. She’s already unpacked all her belongings and cleaned her room thrice already. She can’t do that again. Maybe she could… read! Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Reading is always a good pastime. Maybe she could even find books that would help ease her anxieties about the election. Right so library it is. Don’t change your mind and everything will be fine.


    Repeating this line to herself like a mantra, Mirai soon found herself outside of the library. It was tempting. To change her mind and just wait until three of the four kingdoms were already full. But she was already here. It’s now or never. Drawing in a deep albeit shaky breath, the third year slowly stepped into the room as though bracing herself. What for? She wasn’t sure herself. All she knew was that relief and horror flooded through her when her eyes landed on Atlas… sitting at the table… for the monarch. Well, if there’s a time to get over her embarrassment from earlier, now was probably a good time.


    Registering the students as they came and shooting them the most annoying grin she could muster when they gave her a look of disbelief, Elyse drummed her fingers on the table as she waited for Cas to show up. Her sisters had already informed her that they would be joining a different kingdom, thus, effectively leaving her to shoulder the burden alone. Overcome by their "betrayal", the princess considered jumping into the ocean (for a swim because it's such a nice day) but settled for staring sullenly at the photos stowed in her pocket watch.


    [It just feels super rushed despite how much I edited out my natural impatience; this one does too but it's a little better.]


    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest

  • may the best of your todays —

    Matching the stride of his taller friend, Caspian momentarily glanced at Val every so often as they sauntered together to the harbor. The dark-haired jester would never admit it out loud, but a long time ago, he had noticed that Valentine shared many similarities with several of his bullies. Taller; stronger; aggressive; and Val wasn't the easiest to get along with, either. Another thing Cas had yet to tell Val was that, when Cas was a first year, he had expected Val to just take a place among those degrading his worth, to become another hater. But Val didn't, and that's because there's a crucial difference between Val and Cas' bullies: Val doesn't discriminate... and he also has a heart, though he oftentimes pretends that he doesn't. However, it didn't matter what apathetic façade the hotheaded prince wore anymore; Cas knew Val's heart was truly there; he knew because Val was his friend, a status that many of the other royals avoided because of the stigma surrounding the rank of jester. Caspian had always wanted to tell Valentine how thankful he was for him... but he knew Val would hate him for it, so he kept his mouth shut.


    Arriving at the harbor, Caspian's sea green eyes lit up as he recognized the monarch sitting boredly at the table. Elyse! Yes! His internal struggle between choosing to follow his plans or to be with his friends died away as the worry became pointless. It was settled: the West Kindgom was theirs for the year.


    Despite his overwhelming desire to cut the line and immediately greet his friend, Cas begrudgingly waited at the back... but this didn't stop him from eagerly waving to the Eiris to signal their arrival. Finally, once he and Val properly made it to the front of the line, Caspian inquired his female friend with a bright smile, "So... Queen of the West, huh? Should I call you 'Your Highness' from now on?"

    ***

    Atlas greeted each prospective North student with a pleasant, warm smile and a soothing tone. He didn't wish for a sour attitude to detour anyone from joining the North Kingdom. He wanted the North to be a place for all... but he knew that, eventually, all the spots would be filled, and he would have to start turning people away.


    As the available room on the roll began to shrink, Atlas couldn't help but sense a growing feeling of constriction inside of him. No, no, no. He... he didn't want to have to turn people away. However, his expression never broke, and he continued on with his duties as if nothing was affecting him.


    His feelings settled for a short time when he recognized a familiar face at the back of the crowd. Miria... but she looked oddly different from earlier. Had she changed something about her appearance since leaving the theater? Atlas mentally shook his head. No, that was crazy; she couldn't have.

    — be the worst of your tomorrows

    Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    Returning his enthusiastic greeting with a small wave of her own, it did not take long before Cas and Val arrived at the table. There wasn’t much of a line to begin with. Unlike the other kingdoms, West was filling rather slowly in comparison; not that she minded or cared for that matter but it meant that Elyse was expected to stay at the harbor until the last spot was filled however long that took.


    “I prefer ‘Hey, you’ but ‘Your Highness’ works just as well.” she joked in return, wanting nothing more than to avoid this topic as she handed the pair their ID cards and a bag of trinkets each before directing them towards the announcement that she had stuck onto one of the poles that kept the tent from falling on her head. Elyse was used to being compared to her much more talented and respectable siblings, it was inevitable when you have nine of them. However, something about being addressed so formally never fails to strike a nerve or make her squirm with discomfort. That formal style of address was better suited and more appropriate for addressing her more capable sisters and her twin brother, the king.


    Uninterested in whatever conversation the two were having, Val abandoned them the moment he was handed his card and bag in favor of the small group gathered around the pole. Normally announcements were made once the entire kingdom was gathered but he supposed this worked for how few people were here. Other than the students reading the announcement or waiting in line, there was an underwhelming number of students at the harbor. Those who had already registered had probably left as soon as they were able to so that they wouldn’t have to associate with their infamous troublemaker of a queen any more than they already did. Who could blame them? He would have done the exact same if he was not already attached to Elyse like an accessory. Shuddering at the thought, Valentine focused instead on the announcement that read:


    In a month’s time there will be a week-long festival that will give instructors the chance to meet with parents and/or guardians. All immediate family members will be cordially invited to enjoy the festivities the students will begin preparing over the next month. Forms to register a booth, request the use of a room on-campus, or to sign-up as a security detail will be distributed and accepted by the mock rulers starting tomorrow in the castle lobby. Initial points will be proportional to the number of students participating from each kingdom and any additional points will be determined by which kingdom earns the most over the entire duration of the festival.


    Thoughts of leaving warring with whatever was insisting that she stay, Mirai stared numbly at the rows upon rows of books as her indecisive mind struggled to come up with a decision. Should she stay? There were already so many people here. Was the North Kingdom always this popular, or was there something she was not aware of that everyone else already knows about? Whatever the case may be, she’s getting dangerously close to the front of the line and that was not okay.


    Pulling her hood over her head in an attempt to stave off a sudden full-body chill, Mirai’s brain churned as it tried to formulate a backup plan in case of the worst-case scenario. Oh, why didn’t she think of this beforehand?


    [Ah, totally forgot about this!!]



    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest

    The post was edited 2 times, last by lunacy ().

  • may the best of your todays —

    The dark-haired jester grinned in response to Elyse's retort, amused. She was the only student who bothered to banter with him --and he appreciated her immensely for it.


    Holding the identification card offered to him, Caspian --although he didn't want to move away from Elyse again-- reluctantly ambled towards the announcement paper, curious as to what it said. It mostly likely had information he needed to be aware of... knowing him, however, it was probably information that he wasn't going to retain. Noticing that Val was already skimming over the paper, Cas paused beside his taller friend to read over the words, as well.


    After only a few moments, Cas started rocking back and forth lightly on his heels. The jester wasn't one to stand still for too long; he always had to be moving in one way or another --his mother once explained to him that it was his ADD causing these impulses. Unfortunately, his focus was effected in the exact same way --always having an urge to move. Halfway through reading the announcement, Caspian's attention was lost by the paper and his eyes decided to sweep across the harbor instead... however, as a familiar voice spoke from behind him, Cas' face lit up and he twisted around.


    There. Approaching the back of the West Kingdom's line with a few pals was the source of the voice. "Adrian!" Cas called to his half-brother, his grin spreading from ear to ear as he waltzed towards the first year.


    At an outward glance, it was impossible to tell any relation between Adrian and Caspian... then again, it was difficult to tell even if someone knew both of the boys personally, too. From their mother, Adrian had inherited his facial structure and auburn hair, and from their father, his chocolate eyes and fairly broad shoulders; Cas, on the other hand, was the spitting image of his biological father, facial structure and all -- including his black hair and sea green eyes.


    Comparing their personalities to their appearances, the boys were even less similar in nature. Cas, the extroverted jester with an air of mischief and trouble; versus Adrian, the introverted prince with a nervous aura and studious habits. Honestly, despite sharing a common parent, the two Hood brothers couldn't have been farther apart from each other.

    ***

    Finally, as Miria became the front of the line, the relaxed blonde in charge offered her a calm, light wave. "Good morning, Miria." he told her with a soft, comforting smile, beginning to place her name on the West Kingdom's roll, "I hope you're having a wonderful day, dear."


    — be the worst of your tomorrows

    Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    Smiling after his parting form, the deep green depths did not cast the same reflection; the light expression had failed to penetrate the dark orbs devoid of life. They saw nothing, fading instead into an all too familiar scene: She was leaving while he had stayed. She had turned but looking back had been a huge mistake for she would witness the beginning of the end. Those peaceful hazel green orbs seemed to have collapsed in upon themselves, drawing in light at an increased rate in a desperate attempt to appear normal. Yet his immaculate face remained indifferent, softening only when he realized that she was still there, when he smiled. But he wasn’t. And he never did, ever again.


    Freed from the unwanted task of keeping Cas company when the younger recognized someone amongst the crowd, Valentine seized the opportunity presented to him and briskly strode away. He had been struggling to come up with an excuse to return to his studies and had doubted that he would have been able to get away in the first place. Fortunately, Caspian’s younger brother had arrived in time to inadvertently resolve his troubles. Thank the heavens. He was starting to believe that he would be stuck with the two for the remainder of the day.


    Entangled in ghastly tendrils, Elyse continued the monotonous task but had no recollection of it. How many students she had managed to register, she did not know. However, as she was forcibly returned to her senses, Elyse was greeted by the sight of Val, seated in the corner of the tent, now dressed in casual attire. This was quite the revelation. Attention transferred away from him, the girl would have thought that once he was able to get away, he would have stayed away but clearly that was not the case. After what seemed to be a trip back to his room, Val not only returned but also brought with him one of the thickest books she has ever seen. This was quite the surprise indeed.


    Nearly jumping out of her skin when someone began to speak to her, Mirai turned to face the source of the voice instead of bolting out of the library like her instincts were screaming for her to do. “Good morning, Atlas.” she responded brokenly, unnecessary pauses between each word as she slowly found her voice after her self-induced scare. She really was too anxious for her own good.


    Wonderful day, huh? Although Mirai wished that her voice would have stayed lost during that moment, her tense muscles gradually relaxed at the blonde’s calming and rather endearing demeanor. No matter how long she manages to pent-up her stress and anxieties, the fourth year always manages to quell her worries with the simplest of greetings. It’s nice to not have to think about the dreaded day every once in a while. She really cannot articulate just how grateful she was of Atlas’ presence during her time at school. Although she is not under constant scrutiny by her mother here, it was not any less overwhelming than when she’s with her mother. Born with a silver spoon, Mirai learned very quickly that she should know better than to expect any sympathy from anyone. After all, she lives a very privileged life as the daughter of the queen of a prosperous kingdom, who is she to complain about life being difficult?


    Quietly berating herself for getting so distracted and prolonging her own job, Elyse trained her gaze on the line before her but would find her attention drifting towards the back of the line. Is that Cas? Who is that redhead that he’s talking to? Gaze flickering between the tablet, the student she was registering, and the group, the girl could vaguely recall that Cas has a younger brother but that was about all she knew about the Hood family. Maybe Cas will talk loudly enough to confirm her suspicions…



    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest

  • may the best of your todays —

    The unknowing redhead, standing idly near the group of registering students with a smattering of friends, noticeably jumped when his name was called at a loud volume. Turning his head in bewilderment to locate the source of the voice, his warm chocolate eyes soon fell upon an all-too-familiar upperclassman. A mixture of uneasy emotions flashed across the face of the first year as Adrian seemingly recognized his rather unruly older brother, none of the emotions being delight or happiness. Finally, his features rested on an expression of anxiousness --the face someone wears out of fear of being embarrassed in the moments to follow. "Caspian?"


    "Joining the West Kingdom, huh?" Cas skipped all proper forms of greeting; they were brothers, after all; they were past saying hello to each other. Wearing a bright grin on his face, he inquired, "Gonna be in the same kingdom as your big bro?"


    Hearing Cas' question, Adrian's face soon burned a light shade of red. "Oh, n-no. I... I already registered with the East. I-I just came here to see if anyone I knew was... was registering here. I'm sorry, Cas."


    Although he attempted to hide it, the shift in the jester's expression was slightly visible --his smile had wavered for a moment before returning, and a faint hint of hurt appeared behind his eyes. "That's... nah, it's alright." Cas told his brother, gazing at the redhead, "Don't worry about it. I didn't really discuss the kingdoms with you beforehand, so... yeah. It's my fault." There was a change in his voice as well: a sudden drain of enthusiasm. Despite his rather spotty memory, Cas knew full well he had mentioned joining either the South or West Kingdom to his brother, who chose East. "Maybe next year, then."

    ***

    Hearing the younger student's nervous, fearful response, Atlas couldn't help but feel a pang in his heart for her. To be as anxious as Miria always seemed to be... if it were anyone else dealing with her levels of anxiety, he knew that they would be faring far worse. Miria was strong --stronger than she knew. Atlas hoped that, one day, she would realize this.


    As the card machine whirred, printing on the ink of Miria's new identification card, the charismatic blonde decided to take action in possibly helping her relax. "If you don't mind me saying, Miria, you seem tense." Atlas began, his pearl blue optics resting on her facial features, "To deal with tension and anxieties, I meditate every evening. I find it... therapeutic, and I certainly wouldn't mind having another person join me. If you have the time later today, would you like to join me?" As Atlas' suggestion concluded, the card finished printing; the monarch offered the plastic ID to Miria, affirming her membership in the North Kingdom. "I understand if you decline. You're a very busy person, I know."


    ***

    As Elyse tuned the world back in, the rather one-sided conversation between Caspian and Adrian --having basically been carried purely by Cas-- was in its final stages. The redhead was being nudged away from the West by his impatient friends, and although Cas didn't want to say goodbye, the half-brothers finally uttered their words of departure to each other. Adrian was swiftly swept away by his buddies, and Caspian, wearing a face of mixed expressions, retired back to his own friends, moving to stand close to Elyse's table. He would have left the Eiris to her business and would've stood near Val instead... if Valentine hadn't seemed so preoccupied by a rather thick book. It was best not to interrupt the prince.

    — be the worst of your tomorrows

    Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    Legs crossed and head resting against the arm she propped onto the table, Elyse turned to console the dejected jester. “Don’t take it to heart, Cassie. Maybe he has a reason for joining a different kingdom.” she tentatively began, pointing to the unoccupied chair to the side as her brain tried to formulate her next words. Having only caught Cas’ self-blame, she could only assume that was what they had been discussing. Nevertheless, it seemed to be a sensitive topic for the other third year so she would have to tread carefully. “It’s natural for siblings to drift apart as they grow older. He’s young, he probably just wants some space to be with his friends. Besides, wouldn’t you rather be stuck with your friends for a whole year instead of with a group of people you’ve never met?”


    Eavesdropping on Elyse’s sibling dynamic, Valentine almost snorted. Oh, how that was so true. He and Alia were and had been best friends since they were children, but they avoided being in the same kingdom during their time together at Crystal River for good reason. The one year they decided to join the same kingdom, one of them was at the Headmaster’s office practically begging for a kingdom change after less than a month. He loved his older sister, and she is one of the only people that he would ever consider uttering those words to, but they really needed their time apart to better appreciate the time they are able to spend together. Cas seems like he has, or wants to have, a good relationship with his brother but that sort of thing just can’t be forced; furthermore, how to achieve it depends on the parties involved. From what he could tell, the pair were like night and day, having very little in common except for one very strong connection. Was there even much of a relationship to begin with?


    Accepting the plastic card from the elder, the third year stepped aside to not hold up the rest of the line. “Thank you for the invitation but I will have to pass.” Politely declining, Mirai could feel her ears burning at being so easily exposed by her upperclassman. She was certain that they had turned a noticeable shade of red as a result. At least he tried to be thoughtful.


    To be truthful, she had never tried meditation but if it was what allowed the elder to keep his calm composure, it must be worth a try. However… election day was only a few months away and she had to prepare extensively for the campaigns leading up to that day. At the moment, she was currently working on a speech and had managed to write an impressive six sentences! And it only took her three whole days to come up with! Though she’s already considering scrapping the speech altogether and starting anew but that’s a minor detail.


    Reminded of her pathetic draft that she had tried to erase from her memory, she froze. How much time did she have left? Not wanting to distract Atlas any further, Mirai hastily excused herself from the conversation and disappeared onto one of the upper levels of the library in search of reference material. It had to be perfect if she wanted to stand any chance, if she even wanted to be noticed at all. Too flustered and too focused on her incompetence to notice, she completely overlooked his minor mispronunciation of her name. Not that she would have brought it up anyway.


    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest

  • may the best of your todays —

    Seemingly caught in a distracted trance, Cas' sea green optics slowly followed the direction of Elyse's pointed hand before pausing on the open seat not far from her table. Trapped in this preoccupied state, his friend's words sounded distant; he ambled to the chair and sat down heavily, too sidetracked by his mind to care. Elyse's statement somehow managed to penetrate his thoughts, but despite such, her words still couldn't stop the same phrase from repeating in his mind like a broken record, each replay hurting him more than the last: He's ashamed of me.


    Caspian was absolutely certain that he had causally mentioned the West and South Kingdoms to Adrian. He was sure; he could remember the conversation --which was a miracle. Of course, he couldn't recall much about their exchange, but the dark-haired male could have sworn that his brother told him that he would join either the West or South... only to join the East...


    A brotherly relationship between Caspian and Adrian was, unfortunately, nonexistent. Not through lack of trying on Cas' part, however; on several separate occasions, the jester had attempted to connect with his brother, only for each attempt to fail in one way or another. It seemed as if Cas could do nothing right when it came to bonding with his little brother. They were just too... different. No... I'm different. This thought stabbed its way into the back of the jester's mind. I'm the problem.


    Cas, biting his bottom lip, rested his head on the top of the chair's backside; his gaze was now trained upwards, fixated on the tent's ceiling rather than on his friends. The jester opened and closed his mouth several times, attempting to respond to Elyse but not uttering any sounds. Finally, he struggled out a single, hollow, unhelpful word: "Okay." He knew it didn't answer her question, but it was all he had to offer with his thoughts racing around his mind.


    [Here. Have most of the post. Atlas' section will appear in my next post.]

    [Ah. It seems we're now even, in regards to misspelling names.]

    — be the worst of your tomorrows

    Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    Fingers drumming lightly against the table, Elyse slumped into her chair with a heavy sigh. Deep green eyes turning murky as they observed the jester’s persisting disconsolate state. It was obvious that nothing she had said was registering in Cas’ mind and for a moment, she considered trying again but quickly decided against it. She’ll just be wasting her breath. Let him wallow in his sorrows for a while. He probably just needs some time to think. Besides, there was nothing more she could say except… No. What was she thinking? Why should she tell him before she’s even told her own siblings? Nevertheless, it was difficult to ignore.


    After all, she had severely underestimated how Cas would handle the younger student’s obvious avoidance. But even that was an understatement. They lived in two different bubbles, two different worlds. It was as though she were looking at them if that were to ever see the light of day. Would their relationship deteriorate to be like Cas and his brother’s if that were to happen? Should she even be trusting the words of the living dead?


    Illegitimate children, as much as it’s not their fault and so out of their control, are just so… troublesome. But she is very aware of her place regardless of whether it was by fate or by accident. With a self-mocking smile, Elyse forced her attention to the newly formed line. This was no mistake.


    Using his thumb as a temporary placeholder, Val shut his book when Elyse gave up on trying to console Caspian and turned away without another word. Normally he would have relished the peace and quiet but the encounter with Adrian seemed to have left both in a bad mood. This in itself was odd since one seems to always be happy and the other pretends to be incapable of being in a bad mood. Whatever made them break character, he does not envy them for it. He would gladly risk his life and limbs every day in battle than to deal with the lingering consequences of a scandal that will plague him for as long as he lives even if it were to ensure him a life free from war.


    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest

  • may the best of your todays —

    As Caspian was left to the mercy of his own thoughts, his frustration soon became too much for him to suffer through. His mind was muddled; he could barely think anymore. However, one last sentence managed to infect his mangled thoughts, breaking the jester at last: He hates me. Just like everyone else.


    The dark-haired male could sense it: tears, desperately begging to fall from his sea green eyes and cascade down his pale face. No, no, no. Cas had never experienced one of these sad spells in public before, and he didn't intend on starting now. He knew he had to escape, back to his room.


    Soundlessly, wordlessly, Caspian stood from his chair, biting his bottom lip; he shielded his face from his friends' lines of sight, hiding his emotions as he swiftly exited the tent, his burgundy cloak flowing behind his figure. The jester fled in the direction of the dorms, no longer wishing to be seen by anyone.


    It was difficult to keep up the status of "the happy friend" with so much stress and pressure and... and uncertainty on his shoulders. However, Cas had to continue with his façade. After all, what kind of jester would he be if others knew he was unhappy?

    ***

    As Atlas observed the younger year vanish into the upper levels of the library, the corners of his lips threatened to turn downward. Honestly, the blonde was hoping that Mirai would have accepted his offer. The girl was a nervous wreck; that much was clear just by being around her. She needed help, but she wouldn't allow anything or anyone to aid her. Atlas disliked that; he didn't enjoy watching his friend wear herself thin like this. It was horrible.


    [Not the best post, but here.]

    — be the worst of your tomorrows

    Home is where the wifi connects automatically.

  • ⚜ // iris in a castle of roses and thorns

    Although Caspian managed to obscure his welling tears, his sudden change in mood did not go unnoticed by Valentine who, at that point, was openly staring at the younger student. Confounded, yellow eyes trailed after the departing figure, a grimace disturbing the settled storm as high winds howled inside his head. The small part of him that didn’t put up an aggressive front urged the senior to be the big brother figure that Cas probably needed but Val was hesitant.



    Finally greeted with the message declaring the West Kingdom’s closure to new applicants, Elyse found herself abandoned by Val and Cas. Puzzled by their unannounced disappearance, she hurriedly accepted a letter from one of the staff members and took her leave. In search for no one in particular, Elyse wandered the streets as she perused the letter from the Headmaster that excused the mock monarchs from their first week of classes to distribute and collect the forms necessary for the upcoming festival if so choose.


    In the end, Val had slammed his book shut with a soft thump and followed in the direction that he had watched Cas leave. But mind muddled and crammed full of information that did not pertain to social interaction, the silver-haired male could only convince himself to wait outside of the dormitory for the jester. He had no plan, no course of action as to how to approach comforting someone. It really didn’t help that he seemed to have a knack for offending people even when it was not on purpose. Maybe he should have waited for the Eiris.


    Hidden behind a mountain of books, Mirai scoured through anything and everything she could find in an attempt to keep her anxiety at bay. Maybe she should have taken Atlas up on his offer. She knew all this research wasn’t going to help her, but this was the only thing she excelled at. She was fully aware of her shortcomings. Ah, she’ll never be good enough. Was it too late to run away? However, even that she wouldn’t be confident enough in herself to do. But surely it was better than disappointing her mother and all of her ancestors, right? Right?


    Swept away by the rapids that were her never-ending insecurities, the third year scrapped the umpteenth draft, indulging herself with a not so inward groan. It was more than she deserved but it was the only outlet she allowed herself to have. Face-planting into the pile of books and taking a break was definitely out of the question; that was a luxury that she had not yet earned. Maybe she should ask for help for once… No. Absolutely not. Firmly reminding herself that this was her problem and hers alone, Mirai crudely patched her shattering resolve and engrossed herself in yet another book, maybe also praying for a miracle that would allow her to meet all her mother’s expectations.


    [Hopefully my post isn’t too disorganized to make sense of.]


    ...and within five minutes

    I'd lost interest