“That I am. I am Orion of Casterly, a Throne of God.” he said, placing the unconscious body of Tempest on a soft area of grass. “I traveled here from the Vaas lands with her mother, Selene, to see to it that the girl, my niece would fix the damage to her relations with her husband and daughter, but alas, she used curse words and vilified the Brax household. This was when the child collapsed, and her beautiful wings turned to ash.”
The Throne opened his wings in full, and took out the Angel sword, if he had to do what he thought best, should she not be able to be saved by the Dragon.
“Twas your magic that made her age, so she could understand the affairs of her parents. I fear it did no good.”
He lent on the sword and stared at the dragon as the time was passing on, and the longer they left it, the worse it would be for the sleeping teen.
“How do we save her from death, or am I to guide her into the light?”
“Then I welcome you, Orion of Casterly to my sanctuary. I am who she calls Philippe. Tell me, how did this come to be?” he asked as Orion placed Tempest upon the ground.
“I traveled here from the Vaas lands with her mother, Selene, to see to it that the girl, my niece would fix the damage to her relations with her husband and daughter, but alas, she used curse words and vilified the Brax household. This was when the child collapsed, and her beautiful wings turned to ash.”
Philippe looked upon Tempest, a kind look in his eyes. There was a metallic sound and he returned his gaze to Orion to see that he had drawn his sword.
“You have no need for weapons her, My Lord Casterly. All will be made well.”
“Twas your magic that made her age, so she could understand the affairs of her parents. I fear it did no good.”
“I never do things without a purpose.” Phillipe replied in a calm tone. He was never one to be angry, it was not his nature. “I did what I did so she could understand the nature of such things and learn from them. Has she learned? I sense she has. A lesson in knowing that everyone makes mistakes. That it is important to learn from those mistakes and try to do better, for everyone involved. She is not blameless in this, nor is she to be the one to blame. That is the lesson that all must know.” Philippe said.
“How do we save her from death, or am I to guide her into the light?”
“Tempest will be herself once more. She will take my words back to your realm, and heal the breach within her family.”
So saying, Philippe bent down until his large maw was directly over his charge. Inhaling deeply, he let loose with a direct blast of fire, encompassing Tempest’s body in its flames. He did not see what, if anything, Orion would do to him upon seeing his niece in such a state. He kept his eyes on his adopted daughter.
The flames circled higher, swirling around in a hurricane-like force, rising from the ground and into the air where it grew larger and brighter. There was no body on the ground, a charred patch of grass and leaves where she once rested.
Keeping his eyes on the flames over his head, Philippe smiled contentedly as the light grew to blinding intensity. And then there was an explosion, blasting through the trees and sending birds flying from their perch.
“As the Phoenix rises from fire and ashe to be reborn, so shall you, my darling Tempest Storm.” Philippe intoned as the light died away. In its place was something so wonderous, it would have brought tears to women’s eyes.
Tempest, alive and whole…and with wings the color of Autumn leaves on a fall day.
She flapped her wings as she descended to the ground, landing gently with a small bend of her knees. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes to stare upon both Philippe and Orion.
“I have heard your words, My-Father and I will heed them. For only through forgiveness can we begin to heal.” Tempest stated.
“And so you shall, My-Daughter. And so you shall.” Philippe smiled, as much as a dragon was able to. She turned to Orion, extending her hand to him.
“Shall we go, Uncle?” she asked, gracing him with one of her rare smiles.
It was truly a miracle, and a wonder to behold, to stand and watch the dragon work his magic. Though done in a manner that would have many panic and scream in horror that the Dragon was killing his charge, on the contrary he was helping her ascend to that of a new form. All part of his plan perhaps, but either way it was magnificent none the less.
Orion stood well back as the flames engulfed the girl and then all was left was ash and charred grass. The Throne had seen great magic before, but never on this scale. The child was a special one, born from the love of good and evil, so it was of course just and right that she was the very center piece at the balance between the Brax and Casterly houses. Without her, there would be war.
“As the Phoenix rises from fire and ashe to be reborn, so shall you, my darling Tempest Storm.”
And so she landed, with wings the colour of autumn leaves, and a golden hue about her form. True beauty, and enough to make a woman shed tears. Orion was relieved and in some ways awe struck by the girl’s radiance. The Dragon and his charge acknowledged the other in a sense that was respectful. They both knew what had to be done, and it was time for Orion to escort the new Tempest Storm back to the castle, and to the Throne room where it all began.
“Shall we go, Uncle?” She said, with a showing of a rare smile. The Throne bowed to her as though she was a high Queen, and then offered his arm. “We shall, my dear.”
The Throne Room
The Prince, dark Lord Joffrey of Brax had been pacing the floor, much like the very night that Tempest was born into the world. His face was dark and sullen, and he kept looking to the throne room doors, hoping…that word on his daughter would reach sooner than later. He only had so much patience. The entire Brax court stood in waiting. Many flapped their wings slowly, others whispered to each other, wondering what would happen if the Princess died. They knew what Joffrey was capable of, and many were frightened by the very thought.
“I don’t like this. I should be there for her.” Joffrey muttered, pacing….back and forth…back and forth…
There was heavy expectation in the air as all present waited for Orion’s return. Would he have Tempest with him, or would he be alone?
Her father paced back and forth, worry etched in every line of his face.
The wait was killing him.
Suddenly, the doors to the throne room were tossed open, slamming against the walls with an echoing thud.
Everyone watched as Orion stode to the front of the room, bowing to Joffery, who looked expectantly at him.
“May I present, Her Royal Highness, Lady Tempest of Brax.” he announced, stepping aside to face the door.
Every head turned toward the door. The anticipation was so high you could taste it.
And then she stepped into the room, wings unfurled to their fullest. There was a collective gasp as the assemblage looked upon her. She was in a word…radiant.
She walked, calm and serene to the area before her father’s throne and stopped at the bottom most step. She looked at her father and gave him a warm smile, a Tempest smile.
“May I present, Her Royal Highness, Lady Tempest of Brax.”
There was a collective gasp of shock and surprise from the gathered throng of Lords and Ladies of the House of Brax, as the Throne introduced the return of the Princess Royal. Prince Joffrey had been slouched in his throne, staring into space, the pain of the worry of his daughter’s life etched on his face. But with the announcement, he raised his head, and then saw what to him was the most beautiful vision aside from his wife Selene.
Tempest had returned, but in a new form. Saved by unknown forces, the Prince was bewildered and he had to wipe his right eye to focus. The massive demon lord rose up from the throne, and then kept silent as she approached the dias. Many were in awe of what had taken place, and how different Tempest looked.
As she reached the bottom most step, she radiated a smile, that she was okay. The feeling that Joffrey had was one of relief and euphoria. Saved from the very clutches of death itself.
He descended the stairs and then with a tilted he reached out to touch her wings, as if to see if they were real.
“It’s a miracle.” The Prince then brought her into an embrace, his head resting on the top of hers, as the court erupted into applause.
“It’s a miracle.” he whispered, pulling her into his arms as those around them began to applaud. She hugged him in return before stepping back. The applause died off as they all waited to see how this little drama would unfold.
“Not a miracle, Father. But a touch of Forgiveness and Love.” she stated with absolute conviction. “What you and Mother have…a love so pure…it is not to be taken lightly. Those who seek to destroy it with their petty jealousies, simply cannot understand such depths of these things. And it is that Forgiveness…that absolute Love…that will heal the breach between us all.” she began. She turned to face their peerage. “Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule.1”
She turned back to her father. “I admit, part of what happened was my fault. But it was your fault and Mother’s fault as well. Marriage is not just a vow of committment. It’s a Vow of Everlasting Love and Devotion. It should not tear you apart, but bring you together. Somewhere along the way, we all lost sight of that.”
She turned to search out Lucan, walking to stand before him. “And you, my brother. You are blameless. You, who were conceived by lies and deceit…have not let such a thing corrupt you. You *are* loved, not only by the woman who birthed you…but by the sister who did not want to see what she would miss.” So saying, she took Lucan’s hand in hers and looked back at her father.
“Forgiving is rediscovering the shining path of peace that at first you thought others took away when they betrayed you.2” she stated, her voice echoing for all to hear. “I have forgiven my mother, realizing now what my actions both in the past and as of now have cost me. My only hope is that she forgives me…forgives us…for our own betrayals as well, so that we can be united, as a family, the Royal House of Brax once more.”
1 as quoted by ~Lewis B. Smedes
2 as quoted by ~~Dodinsky, http://dodinsky.com
Lucan had been waiting with baited breath for any word of Tempest’s return. He didn’t want his sister to die, not when he had just met her. There wasn’t enough time for them to speak or get to know each other, and now he felt it was too late. But alas, the door was opened and his sister was announced in all her glory. Turning, he looked upon her radiant figure with an awe-struck smile, his body glowing with his half-angelic aura at the joy of his sister’s life. Lucan then watched her walk up to her father, and he saw the potential for great happiness within this kingdom. He listened to his words carefully and his heart was uplifted as she spoke to him. Taking his sister’s offered hand, he hesitantly stepped closer to the demon prince. Lucan hadn’t dared to speak to Joffrey before in fear of insulting him. He knew he was just a bastard, and he didn’t wish to soil Joffrey’s image of the ‘perfect’ family. Gripping his sister’s hand, he turned to her and whispered “You are the light of my life, blood of mine.”
+++++++++++++ Moments after Tempest’s Return ++++++++++++++
Selene’s Private Chambers
This was bad. This was very bad. Magda had fled the throne room in a hurry when she learned that Tempest had returned, eager to tell the angelic princess of the miraculous news. However, when she arrived to the princess’s private chambers, she had found Selene lying in a pool of her own blood naked next to her private hot springs. Horrified, Magda had called for a physician to come and now she stood outside of her room waiting. It felt like it had been hours since she had found Selene but really it had only been minutes. Finally, the door opened and she whipped around “How is she?”
The physician just smiled weakly “She is alive. The head wound is pretty severe and I dare say, she will have a splitting head ache for a few days. I suggest some milk of the poppy to help alleviate any discomfort.”
The handmaiden wanted to sigh a breath of relief, but she sensed there was more “So…she will be just fine?”
Hearing the implication behind the question, the physician looked at Magda severely and leaned forward to murmur “The Princess of Casterly knows not of who she is. It would be a great inconvenience upon her psyche to just unload her…troublesome life on her all at once. Best let it come back to her naturally. If I were you, I would go warn the prince so he may decide what to do with her. I hear she was quite treasonous against him in the throne room earlier.” With that, he bowed his head and continued on down the hallway.
Magda raised her head to the ceiling and finally exhaled as though she had been holding her breath for days. Why her? Why was it she was constantly being tested by this woman? Running her hands through her dark tresses, she pushed the door open to Selene’s room and poked her head in. “Hello, your grace…”
The mermaid was soon shocked to see Selene fly across the room and pull her into a warm embrace “Oh my dear! He told me you would be here. Magda, yes? Oh my goodness, the most horrible thing has happened! I was on my way to meet the prince to discuss the Casterly’s alliance with the Brax prince when I hit my head after falling off my horse! Can you just imagine! But the physician assured me you are my closest friend and help me through this. Thank you so much for being here, dove.”
Magda could only stare in surprise at the princess. Her change in demeanor was…adorably uplifting and sweet. How hard did she hit her head? Staring at her in amazement as it had been too long since she had seen her princess like this, she just tilted her head and murmured “Is that what you, uh…remember?”
Blushing deeply, Selene covered her mouth in embarrassment like a small child and whispered “That was what I was told… I was also just informed that the prince has just lost his wife and had almost just lost his child too. To think of the horrors that poor man has faced!” Picking up her skirts, she headed towards the door. “Come, we must do our duty as representatives of the house of Casterly and go pay our respects.” Before Magda could object, Selene was out the door and practically skipping down the hallway. Groaning with exasperation, the handmaiden quickly rushed after the princess.
When Selene stepped into the throne room, it was like a bright new light illuminating in the darkness. Her white wings were unfurled around her, and she seemed to stand out against the darkness as her body glowed and radiated her angelic purity that was finally able to break through in her innocence and naiveté of what she had done to her family previously. Walking towards the throne, there was a soft smile of friendly affection on her face as she gazed towards the lovely scene of Tempest and Lucan holding hands. They looked so darling, she wanted to cry. Seeing Tempest’s wings, her smile grew as she stood before their thrones. “Oh, you must be the lovely Tempest! I have heard of your beauty, but I must say, words cannot do you justice.” Her blue eyes then flicked to Joffrey’s face and she inhaled sharply. The dark prince was…breath taking and stunning. A blush crept into her cheeks as she suddenly felt very shy while looking upon his handsome features. To think he was a widower! At a loss for words, she was soon saved by her handmaiden.
Magda had stepped forward and spoke in hushed tones to Joffrey “Your grace…upon her arrival, the princess of Casterly has hit her head…she does not remember who she is or what her purpose is here. She was informed that she is the eldest princess of Casterly and was sent here to make amends between the houses of Casterly and Brax. She also has been informed that you…uh….recently lost your wife…and Tempest has just returned from the brink of death.”Turning to Selene, she offered the angel an encouraging smile.
Feeling empowered by her handmaiden, Selene clasped her hands together and smiled sadly towards Joffrey and Tempest “Oh, my deepest condolences for your loss…I cannot imagine the sadness that must plague your hearts. But please know, if you ever need any help, whether it be someone to offer any comfort or even just to listen, I am here. I wish to heal the wounds that been shared by both Brax and Casterly alike.” Smiling lovingly towards them both, she stepped back and waited to hear what they had to say. Lucan hid his sadness and despair well, but inside he was a wreck. His mother did not recognize him. Turning away from her, he just kept his eyes locked on Tempest so he did not just fall apart right on the spot. To show such weakness in front of Joffrey should surely only add to his disgust towards him.
The Prince was of course overjoyed as was the kingdom in the return of Lady Tempest of Brax. Her life and welfare were valuable not only to the monarch, but also to the Prince who doted on her so. Her words said about forgiveness and how it was love’s toughest work, was indeed true. He himself knew this. Joffrey let his daughter have the floor, and pass on the wisdom that she has acquired in this new form. It was a new day dawning for the House of Brax, and many felt the same way. Tempest spoke of the purity of love that he and his Selene shared and he had to nod for that was true. He kept standing on the dias, watching his daughter though still in the true state as the Demon Lord.
“I admit, part of what happened was my fault. But it was your fault and Mother’s fault as well. Marriage is not just a vow of commitment. It’s a Vow of Everlasting Love and Devotion. It should not tear you apart, but bring you together. Somewhere along the way, we all lost sight of that.
“I am willing to share the blame in that, Child.” The Prince said, agreeing with her statement. He was not so proud to admit the truth, especially when she presented it as she did.
Orion kept watch as the family looked set to be unifying, but when Tempest spoke to Lucan, Joffrey kept his distance. To him, the child was the son of Desmond, the Warlock, and not a Brax at all. But as he was Tempest’s sibling, he would be willing to be courteous for her sake, and try not to let the past anger him so. This was not going to be some quick fix, and Selene had yet to show before her daughter and the Court.
Joffrey stepped down from the dias, and approached Tempest and Lucan, his brow creasing. Folding his arms, he stood like any father would really. He cared for his daughter’s happiness, and if she was accepting then he would not put up barriers or make trouble.
“Son of the House of Casterly. My daughter speaks of forgiveness, and while I will never forgive your Father for what he did, you are not to blame. You have my word, you will be safe within these walls, and treated with respect.”Joffrey looked over to Orion, with a knowing expression, that this was the right thing to do, even after his wife’s outrageous behavior. She was still one that had not been dealt with, and it was odd that she had not been told to come straight away to the Throne room to see the miracle that was Tempest.
“I wonder what is taking your Mother so long?” Joffrey questioned.
That question was about to be answered, with the arrival of a very angelic and innocent looking Selene. Yes, she swanned into the court Throne room, like it was her first time there. You could see the Lords and ladies fall back, and even Orion took a double take. The Prince wondered what the hell had gotten into her, but again….ever the gentleman, he let her speak.
“Oh, you must be the lovely Tempest! I have heard of your beauty, but I must say, words cannot do you justice.”
Joffrey’s eyes simply went to Orion, who shrugged his shoulders and gestured with his hands he had no idea what was going on. But then looking back at Selene, she was blushing and acting coy in front of him. Didn’t she know who he was?! Confusion was the order of the day, till Magda, Selene’s hand maiden quickly stepped forward and whispered to the Prince exactly what was going on. The Demon jerked his head when he heard Magda’s tale.
“Your grace…upon her arrival, the princess of Casterly has hit her head…she does not remember who she is or what her purpose is here. She was informed that she is the eldest princess of Casterly and was sent here to make amends between the houses of Casterly and Brax. She also has been informed that you…uh….recently lost your wife…and Tempest has just returned from the brink of death.”
“She what? Joffrey looked at Magda incredulously, then back at Selene, who was clearly not all there. But before he could quiz her himself, she decided to pass on her condolences for his late wife.
“Oh, my deepest condolences for your loss…I cannot imagine the sadness that must plague your hearts. But please know, if you ever need any help, whether it be someone to offer any comfort or even just to listen, I am here. I wish to heal the wounds that been shared by both Brax and Casterly alike.”
The Prince suddenly felt the urge to sit down. It just wasn’t making any sense. Yes, he got his daughter back, but now his wife had no idea who she was, or the fact she WAS the lost wife. What a pickle. He reached for his chalice, which was of course empty, and was about ready to order more wine to drown his sorrows, when he realized that would not fix a damn thing. Joffrey simply tipped the chalice upside down and sighed, before setting it down. The Prince sat more casually, as he was quite perplexed. What to say? What to do next?
Finally he found his voice, though he did run his clawed hand down his face, before saying the only thing that came to mind.
“We are honored that you have come so far…to help mend and heal the grief and fractures of this family. I dare say its going to be a rigorous task, for all concerned.” Joffrey glanced at Lucan and Tempest and he too shrugged. They were dealing with someone with amnesia, and to tell her the truth up front with all the drama attached would simply be too much for her to bare. He rose up from his throne, and stepped down the dias approaching Selene, and then bowed down low.
“May I introduce myself. Lord Demon Prince Joffrey…of the House of Brax.” If he was going to play the part, he might as well start now.
Lucan had slowly moved his eyes from his sister to look at the prince as he was addressed. He could tell Joffrey still wasn’t pleased at his presence here in his castle, but there was no way Lucan could abandon either his mother or his sister now. It was a sticky situation, but he was not a coward and would see to it that his mother and sister would mend their relationship. As for Selene and Joffrey… he was at a loss. Selene didn’t even seem to remember she was married to this man, let alone used to be in love with him. Now she stood before him blushing and swooning like a young woman and it made him smile slightly. Oh, this was getting good.
Selene was trying her best not to melt into the floor at the sight of the demon prince’s hellish appearance. The sight of his horns made her heart skip a beat, and it was not out of fear. To see a creature of darkness recline before her in all his hellish glory made the angel both intrigued and amazed. In her mind, she had never met a demon who looked so inviting and beautiful. She was taught as a child to fear and hate demons, as they were supposed to be monsters. But this man before her was no monster…if she was not an angel and knew the true God, she would have thought this man was a dark god himself. It was absolutely gorgeous and perfect in her eyes, and she couldn’t help but notice his claws. Tilting her head, she began to wonder what those claws would feel like on her skin…what it would be like to stare up at his magnificent eyes from below his massive form. Blushing deeply, she realized that these were impure thoughts. How could she dare think like this when the man had just lost his poor wife? To take advantage of his hospitality by flirting would be a dishonor to not only him, but his grieving children as well. But when Joffrey came to stand before her and bow, it nearly undone her. He was just so handsome and perfect in his manners, it was a miracle she didn’t reach out to touch him. Looking up at him shyly, she giggled girlishly and tried to keep herself in check “You honor me, your grace, by welcoming me into your home. I do hope my stay here will not intrude upon you or your lovely family.” Forcing herself to take her eyes off of the gorgeous sex god, she looked towards Tempest and Lucan with a small smile “your children are absolutely breath-taking.”
Magda had returned to her post of standing by the entrance to the throne room in case she had to chase after the princess yet again. She really had a great knack of running away…or at least, she used to. As Magda watched Selene swoon under Joffrey’s gaze as though meeting the dashing prince for the first time, it took all her willpower not to face palm. Who knew what the court was thinking about all this. Selene wasn’t exactly making a fool of herself, but clearly she had forgotten all the anger and hatred she had towards Joffrey and had…a crush on him. It was absolutely ridiculous and Magda had no idea what to do with that. The prince clearly seemed to be at odds with himself since the last two times he had saw Selene, she was yelling and throwing obscenities at him, and then breaking down in hysterics when their daughter fell. Who knew what Joffrey would make of his love-struck wife now that she had not the faintest memory of who they used to be together?
And as if this weren’t enough to dump on her plate, Magda was also trying to deal with the butterflies that were wreaking havoc in her stomach ever since Orion had returned. Why the hell was she feeling this way towards a man? Magda was still wearing the dress she was forced to as a slave: a halter-top with such a large scoop down the back, her arse was always threatening to be exposed. The halter-top style of the dress gave a great view to her ample breasts that curved beneath the fabric and the cleave that was very obvious. The thin fabric did little to cover her, showing a fantastic outline of her naked body beneath as well as accentuating her curves. It was her worst nightmare. Because all of her assets were there on display, she was often raped and beaten by many members of the court. In fact, there were numerous scars and fresh bruises that could be seen on her arms as well as her chest. It was a miracle she could even stomach looking at Orion. Turning her head slightly, she smiled at him nervously before quickly looking ahead. She could not allow herself to starer much longer or she feared she would melt just as her princess threatened to do.
Tempest could only stare as she contemplated this new developement. She was just as in shock as her father was as she looked at him.
As if this day wasn’t trial enough.
After running a clawed hand down his face, her father approached her and offered her a sincere greeting and welcome as she blushed and smiled at him.
Was this what it was like for them when they first met?
Tempest had a half smile on her face as she looked at Lucan.
“This may prove to be just what they need. A clean slate, so to speak.” she whispered to him. When Selene made mention of herself and Lucan, she exectued a curtsey and offered her own greeting.
“Welcome to our family home, Lady Casterly. We are honored to have you here.”