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Prince Raghnall stood impatiently next to his father, King Domnall, as the presentations continued.  Gods, this is boring, he thought to himself as he glanced toward his cousin Gaetan, who was deep in conversation with one of the Lords.  Raghnall narrowed his eyes as he remembered the last conversation he’d had with Gaetan.

“If you can’t shoulder the duties of Heir, perhaps you don’t deserve the title.”

The recall of Gaetan’s words made him want to growl. Those types of off handed remarks had been becoming more and more common from his Royal Uncle King Paedar’s oldest bastard.  Raghnall wondered if that wasn’t the reason that Domnall had agreed to take Gaetan for his court in the first place.

Raghnall tried to keep himself from scowling as the next young lady was presented to his father.  Leave it to King Domnall to play politics with his own son; hanging a threat of being disowned if he didn’t comply with his father’s wishes of getting married and producing an heir.  The Prince attempted, and mostly succeeded, to keep a pleasant and bland expression on his face as he bowed at the girl who curtsied at him. She blushed as she met his eyes briefly.

Great, another love struck female to deal with, he thought to himself as he watched her walk away. It wasn’t fair to any of them. He simply wasn’t interested in getting married, especially not to one of the blushing innocent Princesses and Ladies he’d met so far.  The idea of marrying some girl he didn’t love just to get her pregnant made him sick. Especially one that probably had no idea of what getting married really involved. He doubted any of these sheltered and pampered flowers had even seen a rutting deer or breeding horse, given the way they reacted to a simple kiss on the hand. But marriage was exactly what his father was expecting from him, the sooner the better in the Kings mind.  Raghnall had hoped, when this whole process was announced to him, that he’d find one of the girls at least attractive; but the more time he spent with the lot of them the more he realized that he wanted more than a pretty face who had been raised to be a “proper lady”.  

Raghnall’s depressed musing was interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Steward, “Your Majesty, the magic worker you requested from Wizard Draxam is here.”

“Ah! Finally! I was wondering when he’d arrive.” The King motioned to the guard to escort the ladies back to their rooms in anticipation of more serious Royal Business.

“Uh . . . Your Majesty . . . “, The Steward looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable and it made Raghnall raise an eyebrow curiously.

King Domnall interrupted, obviously impatient, “Well?  Don’t just stand there, send him in!”

The Steward bowed, “Yes, Your Majesty.”, and hustled off to escort their visitor to the throne room.

He returned, still looking quite nervous, with the magic user in question. Raghnall’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. It wasn’t a male, but a female; a Sorceress. Only a Sorceress could have hair that long and keep it from becoming an absolute mess. Her reddish brown tresses practically dragged the ground as she entered the Throne room. She had an air of confidence and power about her, something he’d never seen in any female he had encountered in his life.  He found it intriguing.  His father, on the other hand, looked livid.  Raghnall stifled a chuckle. Well, today just got MUCH more interesting.

The Steward bowed, “You Majesty, I present Sorceress Eriantielle, sent by Wizard Draxam at your request.” He handed the King a scroll and stepped back.

King Domnall violently handed the scroll to Raghnall, who took it and started reading it to himself as his father proceeded to throw a fit.  Thankfully, reading the scroll allowed Raghnall to hide the amused smirk on his face.  It never ceased to amuse him when his father got unpleasantly surprised. “I ASKED for a WIZARD! Not some female playing at being a magic user!”

Raghnall cleared his throat, “According to this, she’s the most powerful student of Wizard Draxam.  And you did ask for the most powerful magic user without sex specification”, he took secret pleasure in reminding his Royal Father of this point. The Prince was hard pressed not to burst out laughing. Oh, if he had only thought of this himself! Raghnall mentally congratulated Wizard Draxam for his ingenuity. King Domnall was now either going to have to take his request back and look the fool, or accept the fact that a female was powerful enough for his Kingdom. The king was sputtering in frustration as he came to the same conclusion.  

The Prince finished his reading and studied the woman standing calmly in front of the throne. She looked as if she were gazing at a pleasant flower garden rather than a King’s wrath.  Sorceresses were very rare; most magic users were male Wizards, but it was commonly thought that the females were usually the more powerful (contrary to what his father might think).  Raghnall was beginning to agree with common thought as he watched her. This Sorceress Eriantielle was absolutely unmoved by his father’s Royal Conniption.

She glanced over at him and he found himself caught by her gaze.  Stunned, Raghnall stared back into the most unusual eyes he’d ever seen.  They were violet and they held his as if he were being weighed and judged.  He wasn’t sure he liked the sensation, but he couldn’t break the contact.  She then smiled at him, and he felt like he could kill and/or die for that smile. He blinked and shook his head to clear it.  Was she trying to cast a spell on him? His eyes narrowed in suspicion as her attention turned back to the King.  

She finally spoke when it looked as though the King were finished with his initial rant. She had a voice that commanded attention, and yet it was soft and feminine and Raghnall found it very pleasant to listen to. “Begging your pardon, King Domnall,” She curtsied in a very proper and respectful fashion as if she hadn’t just been insulted by the King in front of her, “I was sent here at the request of my Master. If I am not required then I will return to my school, but I was told there was a need for me here.” Her pleasant expression never faltered.

Raghnall looked over at his father. “According to this”, he tapped the scroll still in his hand, “you really don’t have any other options.  If you send her back, Wizard Draxam isn’t sending you another person. You’ve already rejected his last three students.”

The King growled, not looking at his son or the Sorceress in front of him. “Fine.” He motioned to the still nervous Steward, “Find our new . . . “, spitting out the word, “‘Sorceress’ a room.” He glared at the woman. “I expect you to be in the Magic Room without delay.”

She gave a respectful single nod of her head, smiling slightly. “Of course.  My Master told me what your requests were, and I will start on those today.  My terms are in the scroll, and I expect payment promptly.” She stood straight and gave the King a challenging look.

The King sat straighter in his throne, “Young woman, is that a threat?”

She met the King’s eyes, unafraid of his accusation. “I am simply saying I do not work for free. If payment is not prompt all work will be undone and I will be on my way again.”

Raghnall’s jaw almost dropped to the floor as he stared at the fearless woman.  No one had EVER spoken to his father like that. The Prince’s opinion of the Sorceress raised even a few more notches.  He prayed she’d stay. He’d pay her out of his own funds if he had to, but he could not let this woman leave, if just for the entertainment of watching her treat the rest of the court like this! He handed the scroll to his father so that the King could read the terms.  

King Domnall growled and sputtered as he read, his teeth grinding almost audibly.  Raghnall cleared his throat to stifle another chuckle.  The terms were actually very reasonable, but higher than the other three Wizards that were presented previously. Served his father right, there really wasn’t anything wrong with the other three, other than the fact that the King didn’t feel they “looked” intimidating enough.  

The Prince’s mind wandered as he thought of one of them, a man slightly younger than himself by the name of Tiernan. This particular Wizard had told the Prince he was willing to return if asked and had given Raghnall an amulet that would summon him if needed.  The Prince had wondered what it was all about at the time, but didn’t question the Wizard.  Magic users had a strange connection to the Gods. Some of them knew things before they happened, and it was obvious Tiernan knew something.  

Raghnall looked at the Sorceress again, her attention on the King and answering his questions about tiny details of the contract.  Perhaps he should summon Tiernan and make sure that this Eriantielle wasn’t trying to be-spell him in some way.  Yes, better safe than sorry. As amusing as it was to see her stand up to his father, he didn’t trust her entirely. She was a Sorceress after all, and it was disturbing him that he couldn’t get her eyes out of his mind. He nodded to himself as his father begrudgingly accepted the Sorceress’ terms and she was escorted to her new quarters.  The King announced court to be over, but stayed in his throne as the crowd dispersed which was Raghnall’s signal to stay where he was as well.

After the hall was cleared the king cleared his throat, still looking straight ahead. “Raghnall?”

“Yes, Father?” The Prince hoped that his father wanted to discuss the new Sorceress.

His hopes were dashed by the King’s next words. “Have you made any choice yet?”

Raghnall sighed in resignation, “No Father. Not yet.”

“You’re running out of time.  Your birthday is only 6 moons away.  You know what I expect.” King Domnall continued to glare out into the empty reception room.

“I know.  I’ll decide before then.”

The King gave a frustrated sounding sigh and looked down. “I’m only doing this for your own good! Yours and this Kingdom’s!  You need an Heir, I’m not going to be around forever.  I need to know that you will continue the family line!”

“Yes, Father. I know my duty.” Raghnall kept his voice even, his teeth gritted together to keep himself from yelling his response to get his father to shut up about the issue. The man was relentlessly repetitive.

“Good.” The King leaned back in his throne and looked thoughtful, “I really don’t understand why you seem to be having such a problem making up your mind.” He finally looked over at his son and raised an eyebrow, “Unless there’s just too many pretty faces to decide from.” The King let out a forced chuckle, “Perhaps it’s time you put a few of them through their paces, that might help decide the matter.” The older man tapped his chin, “A few bastards wouldn’t hurt either . . .”

Raghnall’s mind instantly went to the thought of having a child growing up to be like Gaetan and frowned. No, he had no intention of fathering any bastards just to placate his father. He turned to his father with an expression of annoyance finally showing. “Half those girls would probably drop dead with shock if I so much as KISSED them! I dread to think what would happen if I tried anything more, I don’t want to scare any of them.”

“If you’re afraid of scaring them then you haven’t been practicing enough. Should I send one of my concubines to your room for some more tutoring?” The King gave his son a calculating look from the corner of his eye.

Raghnall’s cheeks turned red with embarrassment at the suggestion. “That’s not necessary.  The point is that all these candidates are just too innocent!”

The King stroked his beard as comprehension seemed to occur. “Ah . . . I see. Well, there’s not much that can be done about that, I’m afraid.  Princesses and Ladies simply aren’t trained that way. You’ll just have to pick, do your duty, and then take your pleasure elsewhere.”
 
Raghnall rolled his eyes, frustrated that his point wasn’t getting across properly. “Father. . . “

“Enough.  You know what to do. Do it.” The King stood and walked out of the throne room without a second glance toward his son.

***********

Lady Sorceress Eriantielle gave a small sigh of relief as she followed the Steward, holding her head high and keeping herself poised, hiding all the nervousness she still felt over the situation. She was now a Royal Sorceress, she needed to behave like one as she’d been trained. She could hear the stern voice of her Deportment tutor as she adjusted her stride to make sure she didn’t overtake the shorter man showing her the way to her new quarters. She was bound and determined to live up to the Lady Sorceress title.  

Eriantielle hadn’t been sure how this was going to play out, she’d heard so many stories about King Domnall and his exacting standards, but it looked as though Tiernan’s advice had paid off.  Although, it still confused her as to why the Wizard-Healer had encouraged their teacher to send her after Tiernan had been rejected. It was an absolutely insane refusal given that King Domnall would have had not only a Wizard with amazing potential, but also powerful healer in the same man.  But, Tiernan had seemed neither disappointed nor surprised when he had returned. In fact, he’d come back grinning like an idiot and practically blackmailed both herself and their Master into having her presented as the final offer for the job.  Tiernan had been the one to help with the presentation scroll. The terms and ridiculous amount requested were his idea as well.  

Eriantielle had actually hoped she’d be refused and not have to work for such a grumpy, cantankerous man after finally meeting King Domnall, until she spotted Prince Raghnall.  She smiled slightly at the memory of looking into those amazing blue-green eyes; the color of a deep, still, clear pool.  The Prince had humor where his father seemed to have none. She could tell he was amused by the situation and was most certainly supporting her case to his Royal Father.  

What had struck Eriantielle the most during her study of Prince Raghnall was that he had felt honest and absolutely true to what he was.  There was no artifice in his manner, other than his feeble attempts to look serious when he obviously would rather have been laughing in his father’s face.  His attempts had almost broken her façade as well, wanting to join him in his mirth to release her own nervousness.  She could also tell he was unhappy about something, which made her frown; although, his father could explain a lot of that.  Eriantielle wondered how such a man could have been raised by someone like King Domnall and still come out so unnervingly wholesome.  Truly mysterious.  

She sighed quietly as her mind wandered back to his eyes. She was pondering his handsome features, dark golden hair, muscular build when she stopped her thoughts short and shook her head to clear it.  Was she really daydreaming about this Prince?  

With a sudden and nearly electric shock to her system, Tiernan’s behavior suddenly made sense. She was tempted to teleport herself to where the Wizard-Healer was to strangle the life out him. The only things stopping her were decorum and the fact that porting would use up far more power than it was worth. That damned matchmaker! He was trying to set her up with the Prince!  Oh! She was going to kill him the next time she saw him.  Her hands clenched in barely disguised annoyance.

Tiernan’s one maddening habit was matchmaking, and his methods were beyond devious. Some said that The Gods had given him the ability to know when two people were right for each other and he just made sure, by hook or by crook, that those two people were put together somehow.  GODS!  What a mess this could be become!  Prince Raghnall was expected to marry within his station, not some sorceress in his father’s employ. Eriantielle knew that her Lady title was a simple sign of respect for her power, her blood was as common as any peasant and certainly not suitable for any type of high family.  She put her hand to her forehead, Tiernan, what were you thinking? Even if we are ‘right’ for each other, there’s no way it will happen.  She rolled her eyes and determined that there was no way she was going to fall for Prince Raghnall. Despite his amazing good looks and attractive personality. Besides, he was a prince. Highborns were notorious for their treatment of those of lower station; he may have supported her but it was probably just to spite his father. She nodded to herself. There was no reason at all to think that Prince Raghnall would find her attractive. Even if he did, nothing would happen regarding it. She had no intention of even meeting him again, it was a big castle after all and Heirs to the Throne were usually kept just as busy as she was going to be.

Eriantielle was so distracted by her internal argument that she barely noticed her quarters as the Steward showed her around; until she got to the bedroom and had to close her eyes against the ridiculous fantasy of Prince Raghnall on the bed beckoning her closer and wearing nothing but a loose shirt and his tight leggings. She cursed Tiernan internally for his damnable ability.  The Steward left after telling her that the page outside her door would show her to the Magic Room. She prepared quickly to get to work, hoping that keeping busy would distract her from the maddening blue-green eyes that were starting to dominate her thoughts.
I had a version of this in my gallery that I wrote in 2009. The original is no longer there because looking at it was painful and I wanted to do a full update rather than a simple revision. So, to all the people who have read this before, I hope you like the updated version. To all of you who haven't read this, enjoy. It was fun to update and revisit something this old and realize my writing has improved a great deal. :aww:

Feel free to ask questions, I may or may not answer due to spoilers but I'm willing to give it a shot :eyes:

I should add that this is when Tiernan meets Raghnall as well, but he's only an accessory in this one not a main character. :XD: He's also a damned nuisance according to Eriantielle ;P

Next part is here - Raghnall Meets Eriantielle - Part 2It had been a fortnight since the arrival of the Sorceress and Prince Raghnall hadn’t seen her more than handful of times, usually just a glimpse around a corner of long auburn hair.  He had been trying to see her, but she seemed determined to avoid him.  It was beyond frustrating.  She could hole up in that Magic Room for hours and then sneak past him when he was distracted or had to leave to do something. He was beginning to suspect she could turn invisible at will to avoid detection. All he wanted to do was chat and get to know her, at least that’s what he kept telling himself. His heart started pounding every time he thought he caught sight of her and he wondered if it would stop beating all together if he was able to look into those violet eyes again. Her eyes had been haunting his dreams, along with images of being surrounded by a curtain of that beautiful hair.  He imagined it would feel like silk if he was allowed to run his fingers through it.
T


Eriantielle, Raghnall, Tiernan, and the rest belong to me :icongirl-n-herhorse: aka :icondragondoodle:
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:iconzakuro-kona:
Zakuro-Kona Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016   Traditional Artist
:giggle: :clap:  Excellent!  Your writing is so joyful to read. Oh, Tiernan, you matchmaker you! :giggle: I love their reactions to each other.  

( ;) hope you don't mind a wait; I'll be reading all of these before I make art of them~)
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:icongirl-n-herhorse:
girl-n-herhorse Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't mind at all! You've got three portions to read at the moment ;) Now I have a reason to post them faster! :XD:
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:icondestinyfall:
Destinyfall Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Ahaha love it! can't wait for more!
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:iconjoce-in-stitches:
I like it. Small editing note, in the second to last paragraph, the sentence starting "Highborn were notorious...", I think you meant "to spite his father", not "despite". In that same sentence, you want a semicolon, not a comma, between "lower station" and "he may have".
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:icongirl-n-herhorse:
girl-n-herhorse Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah! Thank you! :aww: Fixed.
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:iconcaptain-savvy:
Captain-Savvy Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This was fun to read :giggle: Love their first meeting, and their reactions to the situation. I also especially adore the term Royal Conniption XD Awesomely written! I'm glad you shared it :la:
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:icongirl-n-herhorse:
girl-n-herhorse Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There's more too :evillaugh: The original had three parts . . . this one might stretch to four because some things happened a little too fast in the initial version ;)
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:iconcaptain-savvy:
Captain-Savvy Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Can't wait to see what comes next :giggle:
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:icongirl-n-herhorse:
girl-n-herhorse Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:eyes:
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July 22, 2016
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