Kellerian hadn’t waited long when the knights came through town to take up their offer of work in the capital of Gyllian and for the royal family no less. The reaction of his father as he packed his bag was different , his voice cold and stern as he packed his bag and filled a canister of water.
“The capital has wolves, the royal family are wolves they’ll rip you apart and I won’t have it.” He says his father is the town sheriff. The defender of the people, at least in their town.
“It’s good money, I can find work once they’re done with me and I’ll send my wage on.”
Kellerian wasn’t excited to be leaving but he had to. They needed more than his father's wage to live on, his stepmother's apothecary work brought a little coin but not many could pay and he hated that his sisters Maria and Elizabeth might even think of taking up offers of marriage in the future, just to help them provide. Marias sapphire eyes glinted in the fire light she played with her sister hair. “And I won’t let them marry themselves off to a miner’s son.”
“I’d never let that happen not if they didn’t love them.” His father’s eyes welled at the thought of it happening.
“They’d say they loved them anyway. Please Father let me do this for us.” Kellerian pleaded.
His father put his hands in the air and shook his head. “Go if you think it’s right but if the wolves get you it’s on your head.” He softened. “but write, your mother did that much before she died, she taught you that and more. Don’t neglect us out of distance.”
Kellerian nodded and his father walked out of the room and took the girls to bed being only five they couldn’t understand the necessity of Kellerian’s actions only that he had to go away for a long time and that he’d write. How could they understand. This small house was all that they knew the lessons their mother taught them before she died had been all they taught. There being no school house and their father always coming home tired and with Kellerian gone a new host of problems presented themselves. Someone would need to be found to watch the girls while his father, and step mother and step sibling Jack and Izabelle worked. But there would be one less moth to feed so Kellerian expected when he next saw them all they’d have more to them.
That night his sisters asked for story after story about mean werewolves and nice ones like the royals about their mother and what she was like before they were born and about the night tails she’d tell about older gods and the hero’s that slayed monsters to save the ones they loved. Kellerian had just finished their favourite story when he realised, they were fast asleep and Kellerian kissed them and whispered the same words his mother had every time she’d kissed him good night. In the old language and hushed tones so as not to wake, he’d said he’d do it every time they fell asleep as long as he was there. And until now Kellerian had never thought his vow would be fulfilled so soon.
It had been two years since his mother died and a day didn’t go by that he wasn’t saddened by her passing or by the absence of her presence in his or his sibling’s lives. The hollow ache continued to be present in the smallest things, cooking breakfast, hanging out washing. Watching his father remarry a year ago and to his best friends mother no less was hard but a good thing. And watch new extended family go off to work ached as well. He felt it in everything. But new things didn’t always last and that they sometimes came to an abrupt stop.
Kellerian had grown up in relative peace, day to day life being nothing more than that of an average citizen. He’d never know war nor did he wish to, he didn’t truly know an empty belly their lives were simple and they liked it like that. But it wasn’t to last. All Kellerian knew was that there was a conflict, minor incursions from the neighbouring country, all unsuccessful and that every man was being drafted, though Kellerian wasn’t noble he wasn't trained with a bow or sword or spear so he and the rest of his family escaped. Some men and women left of their own volition choosing to offer their willingness to serve and train under an experience knight or soldier. But Kellerian was the son of a law man and a seamstress having only slight to moderate training in both. He be a dreadful soldier.
But all in all, he was good with his hand and he knew why, magic. From his mother. She made cloaks that forever kept out the cold and that a man’s great grandchildren could wear as new if he chose to hand it down. Kellerian mended roofs that never leaked again and when he was asked to help raise a barn even in the strongest of gales his nails held, the beams he cut didn’t budge and when he mended an item of clothing it never tore again. Even when he’d attempted to make clothes for his little sisters his hands just knew what to do and they never stained, never tore and the colour were forever vibrant.
But nothing compared to his mother’s work, the men and women who bought them, forever told how miraculous her work was even though they didn’t now why. Magic that was why. Both of them had it in their veins, in their hand and very fingers. There was one other thing his mother had given him, the things that had been taken by an accident that he couldn’t think of. His wings. His mother had been half fae and she’d passed on her magic and her wings to him and his sisters but his wings were lost.
People distrusted magic; they didn’t fully understand it so they were scared of it. Only his family knew and his step family didn’t look at him any differently, they’d hugged and embraced him and his sisters. Even tough they found out by accident they always said it was a happy surprise. But magic to elite was valued and coveted, in one of the bog cities having magic would be seen as more a blessing than a curse.. To the royal family it was highly desired. But Kellerian’s magic was his, Maria’s magic was hers and Elizabeth’s magic was hers. It was theirs and no one else. People i the smaller towns and hamlets had only ever heard of magic as a destructive force, one used in war, in battle of ages past. How magic had been used by the faea before the great peace and before they left for their true home.
But still Kellerian’s work was drying up even with other wages coming into the house they needed more. There were shortages everywhere on nearly everything and taxes were rising little by little. That why when a group of knights passed through town asking if anyone was willing to travel to the palace with them. Kellerian would have signed his name in blood if there hadn’t been ink.
So when the horses arrive can hear them, the beet of their hoofs on the ground. Their baying making Kellerian uneasy the beasts weren’t his favourite nor was he theirs, he always thought ot was that little bit of faea in him that made them jolt and rear at first. But once he was bulled onto the mare she was calm and contrite as he patted and stoked her neck. His father tells him to ride safely, Jack and Izabella have tears in their eyes as they wave him off and as he sets of his little sister come running out in their night gowns and bear feet. Yelling Good bye and asking him to write and tell them about the pretty princess and handsome prince if he met any.
Kellerian smiled and choked back tears as he rode and a soldier patted him on the back remarking on how he’d soon find work and that being able to even read and write even the bear minimum was an advantage over others. And as he rode through the gates of his town he left a small weight appear in his heart as he left everything he knew behind the very memories he cherished felt like they would disappear as he left but Kellerian knew they wouldn’t memories never faded not for Kellerian and he’d never let them.
The eight day ride to the Capital city was uneventful for the most part they met up with another group along the way and all through the day and night they told stories of their home, the knights didn’t seem to mind the constant chatter they even joined in once or twice. They mostly stayed silent but they kept him fed and warm when night fell and it was all Kellerian expected or asked for.
Then they approach the capital, the high stone walls unlike anything Kellerian had ever seen before. Towering walls of pale stone Knights in full regalia sword unsheathed and held at their centre with both hands carved into the wall as giant stone guardians. Kellerian magic did backflips as he drew closer the walls were spelled. In a way that Kellerian imagined would bring the statues to life should the threat call for it and should it ever reach the capitol. It was the basic rule of warfare that every one new, once the capital falls so does the country. They make their way through the city. It is loud to say the least, it smells of beautiful spices from all over the country and even the continent. Spices and foods he’d never seen and if Kellerian chose to leave the capital he didn’t think he’d see them again.
The entrance to the palace was heavily guarded by wolves and humans alike, they eyed him with a certain caution as they walked through the gates after which he was dragged off by some servants, stripped and thrown into a tub of cold soapy water, which Kellerian found completely unnecessary, he wasn’t dirty and he’d bather before he left, hell he even scarped under his nails with a needle to get the dirt out and that was torture. Now he was being scrubbed, shaved, buffed and dried. The process was all the more humiliating since the servants were all women or girls no older than himself. He was then dressed, the fabric much more fine than what he’d came in but he’d worn a shirt his mother had made and he missed the softness of it. A simple plain tunic is pulled over his head and trousers are pulled up to his waist. And a pair of fine boots slipped on to his feet. Then he is pushed and shoved into a room with all the others and his made to listen to a pinched faced man droll on to them about etiquette and how to address the royal family as they would soon be meeting them. This Kellerian never expected, he’d thought to be give a menial task such as waiting on people and house work right from getting to the palace but instead it looked like he would be writing a letter about how he met the Queen.
Then the were led to the throne room and told to line up. He falls into place but can’t help to steal a look at the room. High ceilings and ornate golden fixtures, fine silk adorned the walls in the form of tapestries and curtains. It made Kellerian’s head spin and he felt himself sway on his feet slightly. But soon grounded himself lowered his gaze but not before he stole a glance at the royal family. The Queen sat on a throne, her raven hair falling in gentle ringlets about her face and he pale sink with an almost heart shaped face full cheeks and lips, brown-black eyes that radiated kindness. The princess followed their mothers look though their feathers were touch sharper but the eyes were the same kind if a little hard when he glanced over at him. The man who stood on the Queens left was the opposite of her in a few ways, his hair was the colour of sand and his features were sharper, a square jaw rested underneath high cheekbones.
He was attractive but they all they had a life that Kellerian sometimes let himself dream or daydream of. The Queen rose and walked down the few steps leading to the throne with grace and elegance.
She went down the line and asked names and professions, crafts men and women, self-taught herbalists, there’s even a stone mason who the Queen apologises to and asks to get to work right away. All the while Kellerian wondered how to put into words what he did, basically anything a person needed from stone to cloth, he could sing and dance if demanded but he hadn’t come to the capital to pursue that.
“Your name dear?” The queens voice is soft and kind like her eyes and it takes Kellerian a moment before bows
“Kellerian Baudelaire, Majesty.” He keeps his eyes on her for some reason she starts to move around him.
“Kellerian, that’s the old language, isn’t it? Something about water and holy stars I believe. Quite pretty.” She sounds like she attempting to make a convocation out of their meeting though Kellerian for the life of him didn’t know why she hadn’t even asked what he did yet.
“Yes Majesty, ‘water from heavens holy stars.”
“Do many people have this colour hair in the west?” The queen actually touched a strand of his hair and he couldn’t believe it.
“Not many Majesty but some.” This answer seemed to get them back on track.
“What do you do Kellerian?” She’s standing in front of him again and he looks at her square in the eyes, no where else. Her smile is like his mothers and it relaxes him enough so that he very nearly forgot he was addressing the queen of his country.
“Anything you need Majesty. I am able to work with anything from wood or cloth to stone as well if you need it, I can entertain as well if asked.” He doesn’t know if that is the best way to put what he dose but is makes the Queen smile wider.
“We have all the craftsmen we need and as for entertainment we tend to make our own.” The Queen says it kindly, there’s no work for him in the palace and for a moment disappointment sets in his heart.
“Sister he’s an able boy, find him something, give him to one of your daughters as an attendant, surly Veina or Rhea need one.” The blond-haired man speaks and flashes a devil like smile.
Kellerian feels a slight blush creep across is face and bows his head before speaking in a semi-calm voice. “Forgive me but would that not be highly inappropriate Majesty?”
“As if either of us would take a thin thing like you to bed.” One of them chuckles and the blush is getting hotter and hotter.
And then the man is in a fit of giggles and then it stops all of a sudden most likely by a stern look from the Queen.
“He’s too thin for any heavy lifting and…” The princess trails and he looks at her the blush gone from his cheeks and her eyes now a dangerous amber “No, give him to our dear absent brother.”
He looks at the queen if attending the prince was the only option then it was the only option of work he’d happily beg. She glances at him.
“I’ll happily attend the prince, if your Majesty wishes.”
Her smile disappears and there is a touch of grief as she speaks, something has happened to make her son like however he was. “Derek is difficult on the best of days, any servant we put to him he dismisses or they beg me to dismiss them.” She addresses her son so informally but Kellerian expects her to she is concerned. “He was meant to be here today but didn’t even have the curtesy to tell me he wasn’t coming, finding his chambers more convenient.”
‘so he’s having a tantrum about something, wonderful’ Kellerian know wolves can hear a whisper a mile off so only thinks it doesn’t say it.
Though he is sure they can hear his eye roll in their sockets. They huddle together and convers, as the rest of the new servants are led out of the room, he uses his magic to over hear them only slightly, they were after all talking about him and his possible future at the palace. The
Queen is slightly reluctant not wanting to put a nice boy threw the trials of her son, the princesses laugh a little and just insist as does the Prince-Royal. He stops listening after that the rest seems private and above his station in life s there was no point listening to something he wouldn’t understand. Eventually they beckon him over he bows again and then the Queen speaks and he is trown to more servants who once again bath him only this time thankfully the water is warm and they are softer in their handling of him they even let him choose what he will smell like, he closes lavender, all the while the Queen’s words echo in his head.
“You may ask to leave his service at any time, he’s ill-tempered and overly blunt.”
“My god he is a child.” Kellerian says to himself as he’s bathed knowing fully well tat the prince was a good three years his senior.
His hair is cut to a more manageable length and style the woman that does it remarks on the colour as well, Kellerian wonders if anyone in the capitol had actually seen a person with red hair before. And he is given even finer clothes than before though not as breathable he feels suffocated almost as they add layer upon layer to him. Then he’s led to the princes chambers.
Derek looks out of the window book in hand and he can’t help but wonder why he couldn’t enjoy the thing, he’d read the volume hundreds of times and yet today the story seems dry the main character boring and plot to have too many holes in it.
To say that Derek preferred his own company was an understatement he enjoyed the company of his betas and little else his men respected him and he received reports daily but chose to be little more than a name on a piece of paper. He knew why his mother had invited him to look over the new servants to see if there was one he liked perhaps a pretty girl or boy to look after him and attempt to make him more sociable. No. He didn’t go and if his mother had assigned one to him he saw no reason to hinder the process by waiting for who ever walked through his door to mess up.
“Enter.” Derek made sure his voice was stern and cold as always.
When Derek saw who was standing there prim and proper he was no more than seventeen he was from the west that was a certain, the boy smelled of it and wild flowers, berries tart and sweet and then under all of it was something poisonous, something deadly. The scent made his hair stand on end and the wolf want to come out and nash it’s teeth at the boy, but he pushed it down and simply waited for the boy to speak.
The boy bowed and spoke “Highness, you mother has requested that you join her the rest of the royal Family for lunch in the courtyard.”
“Inform her of my absence then relieve yourself of duty, I don’t need nor want you.” Despite everything he was Derek was a prince and yet the boy had the audacity to move not out the door but to open the curtain on the other side of the room and moved to open the wardrobe.
“How dare you, I gave you an order.”
The boy doesn’t answer the question instead poses one of his own. “Do you want to bathe before you go to lunch?” He stood there hand on hip and stared at Derek with a cheeky smile that reminded him of a child when they got what they wanted.
“No, nor do I wish to go to lunch.”
“Yet your mother wishes it as do your sisters and uncle, your sister as the heir apparent and crown princess outranks you, your Uncle as senior prince and Prince-Royal out ranks you, your mother as the Queen outranks you.” The small speech the boy makes is said whilst he chooses clothes from Derek’s wardrobe and laid a selection on the bed along with a few sets of shoes. He then just stood there and waited tapping his foot insistently, not even when Derek flashed his eye alpha red, the boy had no fear and continued to tap and to smile at him warmly as if he weren’t stood in a room with what many humans considered a monster. Not a whiff of fear or anxiety or anything else negative, just warmth. And that tapping that became thunderous how someone could move there foot in a singular motion for so long Derek Coulter didn’t know who this boy was but he was tenacious and by all accounts ruining his day of self-loathing and isolation.
The boy reminds Derek of the time and in a huff and reluctance and a mear plea to god that it will stop the boy from taping his foot, Derek undresses himself and grabs a tunic off of the bed and slips off his shoes. And the boy picked them up and lay a new pair at his feet.
Derek dressed himself and the boy seemed all too happy to allow him to do it, turning around after he'd laid the shoes at his feet, so the boy had a modicum of modesty and wanted to give him some privacy. He’d wanted to dress in all black but it seems his mother had reserved that right for the boy and the boy had chosen striking blues and greens and reds for him to wear all embroidered with either silver or gold, eventually he picked out one in midnight blue with sliver embellishment. And black trousers and boots. Then he walked out with the boy following closely behind. Even with Derek’s massive strides the servant did well to keep up and as they walked, he notices servants, human and wolf alike look and then lower their brows and hurried off in gossip.
When they enter the courtyard, Derek is met with a surprised look from his family which quick flits to the boy and then back to him and all at once he’s given hugs and kisses and handshakes. All the while the boy find a quiet spot under a tree to lean against to fade into the background