Trying something different here...
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Through the small screen, Armida watched the two dueling bodies throw themselves down on the rough stone ground. She flinched from the crushing sound of their armor meeting each other as the slimmer fighter on top delivered a swift blow to her opponent. Flinching from the grunts, she fought the urge to close her eyes just before the one who seemed to take control of the match was thrust off and tumbled head over heels.
Armida sighed, a sign of relief as she brought her hands together. Had she not been in the eyes of her lady in waiting and guards, she would have cheered along with the soldiers who lined the court. A glistening knife was sent through the air, quicker than the eye could see, hitting the protective chest plate with a silent thud.
"Are you out of your mind!" A halt came to the entertainment as the high pitched voice screamed from behind her facial mask which covered everything but her eyes.
"Well, we want to know that this armor is suitable for any and everything don't we?" Silence blanketed the small arena as the laughing knife wielder stood to her full height of 5'10, removing the straps around her ears as her mask fell to the ground. She had a brilliant white smile that soldiers had to look away from for fear of becoming another one of her prey. It was always an honor to be named a lover of the powerful Ameqran, but word of the romp filled and submissive positions they found themselves in one night with her also got around. It didn't always help their reputation when they became the butt of jokes for weeks upon end in the barracks.
Turning to where Armida rested, Ameqran gracefully crossed her legs before taking a full bow at the hips. Then, Armida looked to her trusted servant, nodding her head to be helped down the stairs. Before she was removed from behind the portable screen which always kept her face ambiguous in public, a heavy ornate hood was placed over her head. It was light enough for the summer months, but even that didn't stop the suffocating feeling she felt whenever it was placed on her.
Reaching out her hand, it was taken gentily as her long skirts were held up by her own.
Wrapping her hand around the lodged weapon, Allona pulled it free from her chestplate. Looking down to examine the damage left behind. She had been there when the new armor was crafted, and through all of the tests and all of the weaponry, nothing had caused this kind of damage. Of course, she shouldn't be surprised; it was her elder sister Ameqran who had thrown it.
Her skills never failed to impress.
If she didn't fill her time with men and parties, she would give Allona a run for her money in being the top female fighter of their land.
"Do you realize how long it took to get this made? To get this perfected?" She ran her hand down the length of her long black ponytail sitting atop her head. Allona rarely went without her heavy makeup, accentuating her piercing eyes, and adding another level of intimidation to her already natural scowl. One side of her head was shaven clean, a common hairstyle for the female soldiers. It mirrored the male equivalent, which opted for leaving just the hair atop one's head. It was the same style her father sported, and when Allona finally received clearance to join in on the show of rank, she was beyond elated and proud.
"Yeah, well now you can make it better. See, I've helped you sister, you should be thanking me." Ameqran could see that Allona wasn't amused as one side of her face curled into a snarl.
"I'll tell you how you could help me. By -" Allona's scathing words never came out at the sight of Armida descending the steps towards them. Walking to the low lying wall, she opened the gate to allow her into the ring.
"How was the show little one? Wasn't it nice seeing me kicking around Allona? Just like old times."
"You've never kicked around anything-"
"Don't forget who helped turn you into the skilled hard ass that you are now." Ameqran moved past Allona as she scooped Armida into a tight hug.
"God, don't you hate this thing. How the hell do you live like this?" She pulled back, flicking the hanging cloth. It was blood red, one of the finest that their money could buy. It had gold stitching and jewels that helped to way it down. There was never fear of a breeze giving even the briefest of peeks to Armida's face.
"I don't remember living without it." She replied softly. The reality was bleak, and drove a small frown to Ameqran's face as she looked behind her to Allona who simply shrugged, agreeing with her little sister.
"Yes, well. Maybe one day that will all change for you." Her small adage of hope was brushed off as Armida let out a rare laugh.
"I'm not holding my breath for that one." When Armida took her gaze away from her sisters, she saw that the dozens of men that were once cheering so boisterously were now at attention, standing in silence. One arm was crossed diagonally to their opposite shoulder, a standard greeting for members of the royal family. It was to show that for them, they would cross their hearts and put forth their lives in honor of serving the founding family.
Armida never wanted anyone to die for her life, especially when she had never truly lived it, so the salute was always embarrassing for her to stand by and watch. She had tried to tell some in private that it was unnecessary, but her wordless pleas always went unheard.
"Will you be joining me for an afternoon meal?" Looking expectantly to both older women, Armida hoped that her request wouldn't be denied. She rarely had any company to join her, usually eating in silence with Allona and her lady in waiting standing off to the side in without uttering a word.
Ameqran regretfully smiled. "I'm sorry little one; I have already made plans that were forged weeks ago. I'm a woman of my word, and I can't break it." When Allona grunted, Ameqran withdrew one of her many hidden knives, poking her in the side, getting a hiss of pain from her lips.
"I understand, kuza. Hopefully one day, we can share an afternoon together. Soon?" Armida had learned long ago to not show much disappoint about anything, and beyond her veil, she held a leveled expression though her eyes shone in hurt.
"I'll give you my word, that you are my next priority. I promise on that, little one." Looking to the tall tower, she watched as the time keepers began to ring the large bell that would resound throughout the land, signaling another hour past.
"I must get going now. Allona, my dear, that was a wonderful duel I must applaud you. It was a nice stretch for my muscles." Teasingly, Ameqran pinched her cheek before receiving a rough slap. With Armida, she leaned forward, placing a kiss upon her covered cheek.
"I'll be seeing you all." Walking off in her heavy boots, Ameqran captured everyone's gaze as she hopped over the surrounding wall of the arena and disappeared. Little bouts of laughter and jeering came from the men , cut short by Allona's sharp glare in their direction.
"Let's go on then. There's no need to insult the cooks by being late." Allona's tone was light and gentle as she spoke to Armida. Nodding to her personal assistant, she found her eyes locked onto the captivating color that seemed to glow. Before she realized that she had been staring, the other woman ducked her head abashedly, walking to Armida's side as she began to raise her skirts as she took the steps one by one.
"You're on your own. Use your time wisely." Allona directed the men behind her, their dutiful stance relaxed as they went about their ways. When her eyes settled back in front of her, this time she found herself the subject of a pointed stare before they blinked away with a small smile.
"You're so tense, I feel as if I can't properly eat, Allona."
Armida placed the spoon in her hand to the side of her bowl of cooled soup. A delicacy during the summer days and a relief to her and her usual attire. It was soothing and crisp, just the way she liked it. Looking to her older sister who sat as if she was in a royal court session, Armida removed her veiling carefully.
"It's just you and I, sister." Allona's eyebrow crooked up to the lady in waiting as she stood by Armida's side, taking away the veil and leaving them to their meal as she remained in a back corner.
"Allona, Eviva is a friend. We've known her for years, you can relax in her presence as well as any other member of the family."
"Little one, I don't think I was born with the ability to be, relaxed."
Armida watched as Allona took a breath and her shoulders came from around her ears. That was as much of a relaxed position as Armida could hope to pull out of her. By passing utensils, she watched as Allona lifted the bowl before her to her lips. Though the manner would have been rude in the company of others, it was befitting of a warrior like herself, and it even showcased her royal mannerisms taught to her as a young girl as she gingerly wiped her mouth before setting it back down to the table.
"See, now don't you feel much better?" Smirking, Armida, passed a cup to her sister, pouring her a cup of water as they began to take from the many platters before them.
"Allona, might I ask you something?" The grunt from her sister told Armida she had her attention.
"You and Ameqran are such skilled fighters. I don't think I've seen anyone with so much finesse before in my life. You are father's children, so it's only to be expected."
"I don't need your compliments little one. I've heard them a million times before."
"Of course you don't." Armida cleared her throat as she looked Allona in the eye." I'm his daughter as well. You two have proven that it doesn't only take a son to uphold the family name and honor."
"Armida, not this conversation again." Slouching, Allona grabbed for a piece of meat, stuffing her mouth full.
"It is a conversation worthy of thought. I want to learn how to do the things you do."
"Little one, it's much more than learning. You can't just pick up a book and do what we do."
"I know that!" Armida's voice rose as Allona finally stopped eating long enough to see the death glare coming from the younger woman.
"Where's your covering? I can digest my food better without that seething look you give me."
"That's not funny, Allona."
"I didn't intend for it to be." Allona's face scrunched into a scowl as she watched Armida push back from the table. "And just where do you think you are going? Little one, sit down and finish the meal."
"I have lost my appetite. You can finish it yourself."
"Little one!" Allona watched Armida's back disappear as she snatched her head covering from Eviva's hands. Looking to the guard just outside of the door, she called to him. "Don't let her out of bounds." The man took the order with a quick salute before following behind the disgruntled Armida.
Allona pushed away the food on her plate, taking a long drink of water as she heard the soft sounds of fabric floating towards her.
"Her majesty has become restless. She seeks entertainment and enjoyment in activities where she feels useful."
"She's useful right where she is. I don't even understand where these fleeting thoughts of hers come from."
"They are not so fleeting when she speaks of them on a daily basis." Eviva stood by Allona's side, waiting for the other woman to look her way as she sat with her face between her hands.
"Allona, she's spent her entire life in this apartment. Cut off from nearly anyone who isn't family, but for a select few. "
"It's always been this way."Allona said softly." It will always be this way, so she needs to stop wishing for more. She has a servant, guards, unlimited access to anything with in a reasonable distance.What more does she need?" Allona reached for Eviva's hand, drawing the woman into her lap as she began to remove her chest plate. Other than sleep, this was the only time she felt safe enough to do so. Eviva removed it from her body, Her hands sliding down Allona's muscular and toned arms.
"She needs something, Allona." Eviva felt the fabric belt at her waist come undone, and the straps to her dress fall from her arms as Allona buried her head into her neck.
"Something?" She muffled with a laugh as her hand grasped a bare breast. Kneading it softly." Well, so do I." Kissing the soft skin on Eviva's neck, Allona stood from her seat, taking her with her as eager legs wrapped around her waist. Looking to the entrance, Allona went to quickly close it as she made her way to her own room that had been furnished within Armida's apartment. It was there for special reasons; sleep and Eviva.
"One day we will not be so lucky to get time to ourselves."
Allona sat her to her feet, admiring the short hairs between her legs as the dress fell completely from her body.
"Let's not waste it now." Allona could feel herself clench as she stood just inches away from the heat emitting from Eviva's skin. Her lips met hers roughly as she sought to taste every bit of her mouth. Eviva nipped her lip, drawing a growl from Allona as her hands filled themselves with her firm behind as she lead her backwards toward the bed. Sliding back, just as she knew Allona liked it, Eviva sat with her legs haphazardly pulled together, giving Allona a glimpse of the slick folds waiting for her.
In no time, Allona was bare as the day she was born, sliding right in between the space of her woman's legs, fitting perfectly as she delivered kisses up and down her trembling thighs. Her nose filled with Eviva's aroma, something so sweet and addictive that Allona would throw away every bit of common sense in her body just to be wrapped up in it. Without even touching her, she watched as more of Eviva's arousal dripped from the pouty lips, brown and fleshy.
"How long have you been like this, my love?" She asked, concerned and pride laced in her voice as she looked to the fast breathing woman.
"The moment her majesty suggested we go to watch you duel." Eviva nearly whimpered as she felt two fingers part, revealing the pink flesh that was there for Allona to please. The soft lips she felt kissing her nether regions sent a shiver up her spine as Allona became lost in their passion, writhing and moaning so loud that anyone could hear, but not caring about it one bit.
"You do not have to follow me around. I'm sure you would enjoy spending time with the other men, wouldn't you?" Armida turned to the guard for the fifth time, telling him in her own way to get lost. She knew that he couldn't have been more than sixteen or seventeen years old. Where the other men stood stone faced upon any of her requests or bids for conversation, he would nearly shake in his boots, cheeks turning so red that she feared the boy must have had a sickness.
"Why aren't you in school?" Armida came to a stop at the bottom of steps which led into her garden."You are much too young to be wasting away standing at a door." Shaking her head, Armida began walking slowly through the many flowers which she had grown in her spare time.
It was one of the few things she could dedicate herself to; watching them grow and blossom when they had the right amount of air and sun. They were what she aspired to be one day, but she knew that she only had the potential to be the flowers she had seen wilt away within days from bad care. It always saddened her to the point of tears when she would lift them by their limp and shriveled leaves, knowing that one day she would look no different.
"You should be enjoying your studies, making friends and spending time with them. Wouldn't you like that?"
The boy stood terrified at the fact that Armida was now addressing him directly, looking into his eyes from behind the red veiling that shifted in the wind.
"Well? You can speak to me; it's only us two here." She took a step to his three as he backpedalled, giving them distance.
"T-This is an honorable position. It has bestowed honor to my family to have a son being the-"
"What about you? What has this given you?" Armida interrupted him, something she rarely did to anyone."This wasn't something you decided on your own. Someone else told you this is what you were supposed to do. Where you were supposed to be. Whether or not they said this was for your best, it wasn't because they only had the thought of what a title and praise could bring to them. It is all for their own benefit." The boy stood with his mouth agape. His face became ashen as he stared at Armida's face full of anger. It was the first time he had ever seen more than her eyes, and he immediately felt ashamed as he shielded his eyes.
"Your majesty, I please beg of you to replace your coverings. I am not worthy enough to see you face, your majesty." Armida cocked her head to the side, confused by what he began to babble.
Raising a hand to her cheek, she felt her own skin, and immediately understood his reaction. Tilting her head to the sky, she felt the heat upon her face that didn't come from the ridiculous veil. She felt her heart beating hard against her chest, and as she held her fist to it, she drew her eyes back to the boy who refused to look at her.
"Look at me."
E-Excuse me?" He stuttered.
"I have told you to look at me and yet you defy me." Her voice became regal, shedding the softness she had always spoken with as her anger began to rise.
"Please-I can't. It's unlawful." Stepping until she was as close as she could get to him, Armida grabbed a hold of his hands, with a strength that belied her stature as she tore them from him. Though the boy was big and muscular for his age, he was rendered weak before Armida.
"Look. At. Me." There was an order not to be disobeyed as he did what he was told. He saw for the first time, that she indeed didn't possess any defects or imperfections as it had been assumed around the nation. There had always been bets that she had some hideous scarring which kept her hidden from all eyes to see. As a boy, he had been told that to look at her majesty full on would be to forfeit your own life.
He began to cry at the realization.
"Forgive me, your majesty. Forgive me for this mistake." He wept.
"Stop it. Stop it right now. I didn't call for your tears. I called for you to treat me as a person! To look at me, as an equal. Why is that so hard? Is my face that unpleasant? What do I hide for? Why? Acknowledge me!" Armida's eyes became wet with rage as she shook his limp arm, yelling over his sobs.
"I do not know. All I know is that it is law, your majesty. Please, do not do this." Armida's arms shook so violently, the boy thought that her bones would crush from the pressure.
"Please, you may injure yourself." He begged for her to let him go, but a tight hold on his chin kept his head in place as he stared straight into her eyes. He tried twisting his head out of her grip, but to no avail.
"What is your name."
"I-I am just a guard, your majesty."
"Do you think me a fool? Do I not know your position?"
"No, you are no fool, your majesty." He closed his eyes, this being the most interaction he had ever had with the woman. He had always seen her as a quiet demure woman, never changing her moods past a somber pleasant one; she had even been the object of his dreams at night when he returned to the barracks, imagining the day that he could remove her coverings and prove the rumors wrong.
Now staring into her maddened face, he could only feel fear from the intense outpour of emotion she threw at him. He had seen her sad during the days and nights, and had even stood and listened to her speak of doing things in life which she had never done before, but had never entertained her talk.
"Then tell me your name." This time, the burning hiss left her voice as she began to whisper hoarsely. Her eyes pleaded with his as his voice began to break.
"Dacian, your majesty." He finally told her, the tears drying on his cheeks as Armida began to wipe them away.
"Dacian. That is a wonderful name." Armida's eyes softened as she clasped a hand around the side of his neck.
"I ask for your companionship, Dacian. If you are willing to give it, I will take it with great honor." Armida's words were filled with her promise and loyalty as she watched the pupils of his eyes enlarge.
"Please, I know not what a friend is, but I see one in you, Dacian. I have never experienced something of that nature."
"How could her majesty ask for my companionship when I am not worthy of such a gracious gift?"
"Because your majesty sees your worth. She would only hope that you see hers. That you are the one person that does." Dacian shivered beneath her touch as he resisted the temptation to plead with her to take back her every word. Taking a step back he stared at her head on, bringing his boots in to make a loud clack as he extended an arm over his heart.
"Consider me a loyal and unwavering companion to her majesty for as long as she requests." His voice was strong and loud as he called out his dedication to her. Bowing her head, Armida took for his hand, holding it to her own chest before Dacian stiffened in fright.
"As I am to you. A forever and loyal...friend, Dacian." The blush to his cheeks returned as he held his hand by his side as if it were a delicate flower from her garden. Bending down, he picked up the covering she had thrown in the midst of her anger, wiping off the dirt it had gathered before handing it to her with both hands respectfully.
Taking it with a laugh, Armida placed it back on her head, making sure it was snug and centered as she smiled from behind it.
"Now you've seen my face, no one else other than my family has done so, Dacian."
"I am honored, your majesty."
"No, now you can simply lie to rest any of the nasty rumors which I'm sure have travelled around about me. I don't hear them any, but I'm sure they exist." She began to lead them out of the garden and up the stairs.
"No, no, your majesty! There have never been rumors about deformities on your face-" Dacian shut his mouth quick as he felt himself say too much, fearing that she would become offended from his words.
Laughing, Armida began taking the path back to her quarters, with a stammering Dacian trying to explain and dispel any bad mouthing that she knew went on about her."Come now, Dacian. No need to get so worried. I know you haven't seen that particular side of me, but I enjoy a laugh every now and then as much as the next person."
"Your majesty." He expressed in a self-deprecating tone.
"Ah. None of that.You shouldn't talk in such a manner about yourself." She stopped them with one finger raised, catching Dacian off guard as he bumped into her. She was beginning to see the more clumsy side of the boy she had always wondered about, and felt a sisterly pull towards him as he hopped back as if she were made of fire.
"As friends, you must only speak of yourself in the highest of manners. Understood?"
Shaking his head vigorously, Dacian replied." Yes, your majesty."
"Between you and I, Armida will most certainly do." Walking ahead once again of a baffled Dacian, Armida's heart actually began to swell.
The smile to her face stretched her cheeks, as it was the first time she had ever felt such a feeling before.