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Fantasy eternally yours [pegasus & ||sunflower||]

Sub Genres
Horror, Mystery, Romance, Supernatural
The rain had been falling down upon the city of Pitrow for hours now, and the sky was slowly turning to a dark grey colour. It felt like weeks since Pitrow had received any sunlight, and the people were in a bad mood, having been forced to halt their work and huddle next to their fires for warmth, instead. In Crawford castle, which was a short walk away from the city, the atmosphere was especially unpleasant. For the servants there, working outside with the horses, or in the garden, was their favourite part of their day, and, if it was raining like it had been for several days now, they had to work inside, where he was. The young lord, Lucian. He never went outside when the sun was shining, and he seemed almost pleased when it was raining. And Lucian pleased was nearly as frightening as Lucian angry.

But it wasn't just the rain that had dampened the mood in Crawford castle. Today was the day that Lucian's fiancée would finally arrive. Nobody had ever thought that this day would come. For years Lucian had refused to marry, but recently he had chosen a young woman named Audrey. Some servants were optimistic enough to think that she could change Lucian, while others had hoped that, for the girl's sake, her parents would refuse the marriage offer. They had not.

At half past noon, a man who appeared to be in his sixties, wearing a sleek black suit, quietly entered Lucian's study. He stood, with perfect posture, in the middle of the room, and looked at the young lord, who stared out of the large window behind his desk, and at the castle's garden that was, for once in some time, free of people. "My lord," he began in a polite fashion, as he rested his hands behind his back, "your fiancee is arriving now. Would you like me to escort you to the entrance hall?"

Lucian was silent for a moment, his dull blue gaze flitting about the vast array of flowers in the garden. Then, he turned to place the glass of red wine that he had been holding on his desk, and, without even glancing at the man, said: "I have no need of your company, Walter. Make yourself useful elsewhere."

"As you wish, my lord," Walter said, seeming unsurprised by Lucian's cold refusal. Not a moment later, he exited the study, leaving Lucian alone again.

The young lord simply glared hauntingly down at his unfinished drink for what felt like minutes, before, once he had shoved his hands into his pockets, he sauntered out of his study, and into the halls.

No one could tell whether or not Lucian Crawford was glad to be getting married. They could only hope that the young girl would make it out alive, unlike the rest of his family.
 
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llSunflowerll

Dark Emperor of Destruction
Audrey played with the hem of her sleeve watching the rain hit the windows of her carriage. It had been a few days since she had left home and the rain only seemed to make it longer. She grew restless as they neared the city but she knew they were to head straight to the castle. No pit stops were allowed by order of her head handmaiden, Jane. Either way, there wouldn't be anyone outside. This rain had been almost nonstop since they made it about halfway. The markets would be closed and doors would be shut. She had been told that it was a really nice place when the sun was shining but she wasn't sure if she fully believed that yet, though there was still time. Especially if she was to marry the lord of this land.

The fact that she was so close to seeing the man she'd be spending the rest of her life with sent butterflies in her stomach. On top of that, she had been told by her few personal maids and servants that this man, Lucian, was...strange. They weren't able to overhear all of her father's conversations with her mother but it was still enough to draw that conclusion.
As the castle came into view through her window she was pleased to see how large it was. If he surely was as strange as she had heard then it would be easy to avoid him when they weren't posing for the public. She cursed to herself. Thinking like that would get her nowhere. She had to at least try and get to know him. Maybe he was just lonely and that made him strange or just disliked humans and so was curt with everyone. Either way she would find out and have to live with the anwser whether she liked it or not.

A sigh escaped from Audrey's lips as the carriage stopped and the horses whinnied, a sign that this was it. A shiver passed through her body as the carriage door was opened by her coachman. He was drenched by the long ride and few stops but he still did what was expected of him no matter how tired he was. He took an umbrella from the side of the carraige and opened it as Audrey left, making sure to keep her dry. She was thankful that this rain was more straight down then a windy sideways rain. The dress she was wearing didn't like water all that much. Picking up the front of her dress she made a quick escape up to the door not wanting to be out in the rain for much longer.

Once inside her coachman went to let Jane inside along with her. The rest of her personal staff was to meet them in a few days before the wedding with a much larger train of carts. What she had with her now would be enough for the next week. A light load in case anything went wrong and she would have to travel back home but that was not something she thought would ever happen. She was a strong woman and little phased her even in a completely new city set to marry a man she was just about to meet. The butterflies in her stomach grew stronger and she felt she would faint. But she didn't want to cause a scene on her first day. Deep down she wanted this to work, to make her family proud.
 
Lucian stalked through the castle's halls and down its staircases, seeming to be in no hurry. He could hear them whispering, worrying. They felt bad for the girl. He couldn't blame them, but their ideas were ridiculous. They thought that he was a man who turned into a wolf during the full moon. They thought that he was an incubus, a male demon who sleeps with women to corrupt them. They even thought that he was the devil in disguise. They were certain that he was either going to force his fiancée to carry his demon offspring, or devour her. They had thought of everything but the correct answer to the enigma that was him. He might have laughed, if he weren't so grim.

A moment after his fiancée had arrived, he walked down the grand staircase which led into the entrance hall, his unreadable gaze drifting to the blonde girl that seemed almost too bright and beautiful for the haunting castle.

Standing next to her was a much plainer woman. Jane. Every so often she would smooth down her dull brown dress, as she glanced around the entrance hall. She felt like the life had been sucked out of her the moment she had stepped inside the castle.

When Lucian descended the steps, and approached them, however, her eyes widened slightly. She wasn't sure if she was intrigued or put-off by him. He was quite handsome, and tall, with a nice build, too, but there was something dark in his gaze, and he didn't even smile at the sight of his fiancée.

"My lady Audrey," he greeted, halting a few steps in front of her. He made no move to bow or kiss her hand. "Welcome to Crawford castle. The trip was long, and I suspect you're tired. I'll have a servant show you and your handmaiden to your rooms." He then turned slightly and called: "Anne!"

A moment later, a young girl with short black hair appeared from a room on the right. She bowed deeply at Lucian and Audrey. "M-my lady! Welcome! I w-will show you to your rooms," she said shakily, before reaching for Audrey's things.
 

llSunflowerll

Dark Emperor of Destruction
Audrey gave Jane a slight nod once she entered the castle glad she looked to be dry. She then glanced back as William, one of her servants, was carrying a few of her things. He was one of three people she brought with her on this first trip, the other two being Jane and the coachman. He was tall and lanky but carried an unseen strength as he was able to carry multiple of her bags at once without breaking a sweat. Or maybe he was sweating, it was hard to tell as he was soaked from the rain.

Hearing the sound of footsteps that weren't Williams she looked back up to the grand central staircase and felt her cheeks grow a bit warm. He was a much more handsome man then she was expecting. He certainly didn't look like the strange and secluded man that was described to her. Perhaps everyone was wrong about him.

"My lord," Audrey gave a slight, polite nod as he grew closer. A bit of shock hit her when he gave no indication to take her hand or even nod as she gave to him. Did he not like her? Did she do something wrong? A lump formed in her throat afraid she had already made a poor first impression.

She watched as the young girl rushed into the room and go to grab her things. "You only need to take a few. William will follow with the rest of it," She said gesturing to two of her smaller and lighter trunks. "No need to carry more than you can handle." This young girl seemed almost scared to their presence which in turn gave her an off feeling about this place. Was it because she didn't receive visitors often and she was out of practice or maybe Lucian was a scary man if not listened to exactly?

"Will we met for dinner tonight?" Audrey asked turning back to Lucian. If they were she wanted to make sure she wore a nicer dress and maybe get in a small nap before. She could also make up for anything she did wrong to upset him and clear the air between them.
 
Lucian's eyes carefully observed Audrey, as if he was silently judging her. He could tell by now that she was starting to feel insecure. Or maybe unsure. Probably both. He couldn't really blame her. The rumors had drifted out of Pitrow a few too many times, and he wouldn't be surprised if she had heard them. Even if she hadn't, she would soon enough. He couldn't stop the servants from talking. It was what they did best. But Lucian couldn't find it in him to care. He saw no point in reassuring her, in being pleasant. They weren't there to be pleasant, they were there to get married. And since when was marriage ever pleasant?

Anne appeared startled by Audrey's words, by her kindness. She nodded her head quickly, and picked up two bags. She stole a fearful glance at Lucian, briefly meeting his dark gaze, before looking back at Audrey. She cursed herself for being so obvious, and managed a small smile that didn't reach her eyes. "T-thank you for your kindness, m-my lady. I don't d-deserve it," she squeaked, her hands tightening around the handles of the bags. As Audrey asked Lucian if they would be meeting for dinner later, she didn't look at the young lord, simply staring down at her feet, instead.

"Yes," Lucian replied, nodding his head slightly. His voice was deep, and it commanded respect, but there was no emotion in it. "Six o'clock. In the dining hall. I'll have someone escort you." His gaze then shifted to Anne again. "Anne."

Just her name was enough to make her tremble. Or maybe it was who was saying it. "Please--please follow m-me, my lady!" she stammered, before turning on her heel and walking toward the grand staircase. She seemed to shrink while passing by Lucian.

Jane looked suspiciously between Lucian and Anne, before lifting her own bag and following behind Audrey. She had heard quite a bit about Lucian Crawford, but all of it was very vague, and before arriving she wasn't sure she could believe it. Now, however, she was starting to think that what she had heard might not be so ridiculous to believe. A man had to be a demon in some way to make a girl fear him like that.
 

llSunflowerll

Dark Emperor of Destruction
The overall feel of the castle was starting to get to Audrey as Lucian spoke again telling her about dinner. It was like all of the air was being sucked from the room, only enough left for her to barely gasp for breath. The gentle blush on her cheek had vanished with the emotionless tone of his voice and she felt herself grow more rigid. If he wanted to be a lifeless husk, she could do the same. Though deep down she knew that it wouldn't affect him. Wasn't he happy to get married and carry on his families legacy? It was tragic that they were unable to see him now themselves but he could at least try.

"Sounds lovely. I hope we can get to know each other," Audrey said with a slight smile. She couldn't help but try to be optimistic. It was in her nature to be nice to people and give them the benefit of the doubt.

With that, she went to follow Anne up the grand staircase not giving Lucian another glance as she stepped past him. "William, bring up the rest of my things," She called out before she would forget making sure he knew as well. The servant nodded and followed up behind the three carry the rests of the bags.
As they walked Audrey turned her head to look at Jane and let out a sigh. "Well, that went...poorly," She said trying to strike up a conversation. "I'm sure dinner will lighten everyone's spirits, hopefully." After saying that she contradicted herself with her thoughts. If Anne was truely this scared of him then he was like this all the time no matter what. The rumors didn't help his cause either. If it was just the rainy weather then these rumors wouldn't be so plentiful and potent.

What had she gotten herself into?
 
Lucian didn't move from where he had been standing as they walked up the staircase. Anne would glance over her shoulder at him every so often, her grip tight on the bags, until, finally, they stepped into the second floor's hallway, and Lucian was out of sight. Slowly, her shoulders sunk. Her breathing became normal, and her pace slowed slightly, as if she wasn't in such a big hurry anymore. The hallways of Crawford castle were just as dreary as the entrance hall, but clearly anywhere Lucian wasn't, was preferable for Anne.

Jane walked slowly behind Audrey, her eyes dancing around the hallway with interest. She had to agree with the public opinion that Crawford castle was haunting, but, at the same time, there was something strangely beautiful about it. It was ancient-looking, yet appeared to be very well taken care of. Either the servants of the castle cared very much for the preservation of the historical fortress, or Lucian did. Regardless, it was something to admire.

When Audrey began speaking to her, Jane looked at her lady with a sympathetic gaze, and bit her lip. "From what I've heard, my lady, he can do much worse. So, perhaps you should count yourself lucky," she whispered, trying not to let Anne hear her words. She might have been so afraid of Lucian that she would tell him everything she heard for fear of what he would do if she did not. "I don't know if dinner will go the way you expect, but I suggest choosing your words wisely when speaking with him."

Jane didn't say anything more as Anne had stopped in front of two grand doors. She skillfully opened one while still carrying the bags, and held it for them to enter. "After you," she said, still quiet but much less timid. "I hope the room is satisfactory. It has the best view in the castle. Lord Lucian made sure of it."

The room was more than satisfactory. It was stunning. There was a four poster bed, two side tables, a dresser, and a bookcase full of dusty texts. Several large windows gave the inhabitant of the room a breathtaking view of the garden. Anemones, hydrangeas, and begonias were particularly abundant. There was even a fountain. In the distance, the magnificent city of Pitrow could be seen.
 

llSunflowerll

Dark Emperor of Destruction
The further inside the castle they went the more Audrey began to appreciate it's beauty. With some more color and bit more modern decor this place could be magnificent. She found herself already planning what she could do with certain hallways and rooms that had their doors open. Of course, if Lucian allowed it. She didn't see him as one to be so open with that kind of change. He didn't seem to care with changing fashions and showed throughout the castle.

Count herself lucky. Audrey couldn't help but roll her eyes, not to Jane but Lucian. They were getting married in a weeks time. If they couldn't set aside their differences and just at least be friends then it would mean nothing. "I'll be sure to be careful with him. Someone has to straighten him out," She muttered more so annoyed with him. Why did he feel the need to strike fear into everyone and have rumors spread across the land? Poor Anne had to live him. Not to mention all of the other maids and servant she had to see.
He won't strike fear into me.

Once inside her new room, her mind cleared a bit. It was a beautiful room and twice the size of her room back home. She looked back to Anne a bit shocked at what she had to say. If Lucian cared enough to give her one the nicest rooms in the castle then surely he didn't want to scare her off. "This room is more than satisfactory, it's one of the nicest I've been in," She said with a smile and went to look around at the pieces of furniture. "I'll be sure to tell him at dinner how happy I am to be staying here."

"Oh William, just set those bags off to the side and go help the coachman. Considering the rain he'll have a hard time with those horses," Audrey said sitting a small chair next to the window.
"Yes ma'am," The tall man said with a slight bow and left the room.

"Your garden is beautiful. If given the chance I would love to compliment the gardener....but if there is nothing left, I should be changing into a nicer dress for dinner, don't you think Jane?" She asked turning her head to look to her own handmaiden. "I did have a dress in mind already too."
 
Jane stepped inside after Audrey, her brown eyes drifting about the room. It was beautiful, that was undeniable, but she couldn't help but be suspicious. Why would Lucian care if Audrey's room had the nicest view or not? He didn't seem like the kind of man that worried about such things. Perhaps it was a tactic he was attempting to use to lure Audrey in. She shook her head, and sighed. The rumors that she had heard were making her paranoid, and she didn't like it. Regardless of what she thought, Audrey was going to marry Lucian soon enough, and it wasn't her place to question that.

Anne stayed by the door, and watched as Audrey admired the room, a small smile playing about her lips. It had been a long time since Crawford castle had been anything but dreary. The servants had grown tired of its lifeless walls, and greatly feared Lord Lucian's wrath. There was no excitement. Ever. She knew it wouldn't last, but it was still nice to see. For now.

At Audrey's words, Jane looked up from a book that she had pulled from the bookcase, and nodded at her. "Yes, of course, my lady," she agreed.

Anne dipped her head slightly. "I'll leave you two alone. If there's anything you need, don't be afraid to ask." She paused, and bit her lip in contemplation, before saying in a shaky voice: "And a-about Lord Lucian--you need to--" The sound of footsteps resonated down the hallway, and Anne fearfully glanced over her shoulder, before pardoning herself in a hurry. "I'm--I'm sorry! Please excuse me!" And, with that, she closed the door behind her, and rushed down the hallway, holding her skirt up slightly so that she would not trip over it.

Jane placed the book back on the shelf, and looked at Audrey expectantly. "Well... Shall we unpack your things, my lady?" she asked, as if Anne's words had not unsettled her.
 

llSunflowerll

Dark Emperor of Destruction
Audrey stood when Jane spoke with a smile happy to be putting on a set of fresh clothes, and nicer ones at that. There was something about wearing a traveling dress that made her feel not herself, then again it could have been this one occasion, but she blamed it on the dress.

She was about to ask Anne if she wanted to help them unpack before she mentioned Lucian. Seeing the girls sudden change in demeanor put her on edge. What did he do to make his servants like this? Did he beat them? OR threaten them with death? That would change once she had a better hold in this place. A good servant was a happy servant anyway.
When Anne failed to produce any information on Lucian and left the room in rush, Audrey let herself huff in annoyance. The poor girl was scared by someone walking in the halls. She was beginning to dislike this man she was going to marry and she had only met him once. If dinner was going to be like their conversation earlier she'd...she'd...Well, to be honest, she couldn't think of what she could do. He hadn't hurt her in any way and gave her a beautiful room. Treating servants poorly and having a bad reputation wasn't a big enough deal to call off the marriage. Her father and mother had worked too hard on this to stop now.

Audrey's mind was whirling as Jane spoke again. "Uh, yes, we shall. We shouldn't near to worry too much though. I'm sure we'll have time tomorrow if we don't finish," She said placing a hand on her head trying to stop the dull throb that began.
She opened a trunk and began to pull out a few of her dresses looking for the one she wanted to wear for dinner. While she looked she also did her best to fold them and put them away in some order. She wasn't the most organized person and it showed in her old study room with laid about everywhere, and her notes scattered over her desk. "I'd like to wear my gold and black dress, the one that matches the rings that mother gave me. I'll show him that I can look powerful," She stopped to lift out another dress, "But pleasant. I mustn't forget I'm not some...Why do you think he acts the way he does?" She asked looking over to Jane unable to hold herself back. "He's isolated himself from the world...who wants to live like that." She shook her head. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she pulled off her simple french hood careful not to pull any of her hair with it. She sat it down next to her on the bed and began to use her fingers to brush through her hair, a nervous tic she had when things weren't going as planned.
 
Jane sighed quietly. She had known Audrey since she was just a little girl, so it wasn't hard for her to notice the worry on her face. And if they had been somewhere else, she probably would have told her to pull herself together. To act like a lady had to in such a situation. But she understood now. Some lords were grumpy or moody, and some lords were arrogant or greedy. Some lords didn't treat their servants or wives right, instead thinking only of themselves. But no lord was like Lucian. She knew that it would have been easier to deal with a man who never shut up about how much money he had, than a man like this. A man who his servants couldn't even look at, for fear that he might hurt him. Not only that, there was the rumors. They were far-fetched, yes, but people didn't come up with stories like these ones for no reason. Perhaps he really was a monster, in some way.

She sat down on the edge of Audrey's bed, and folded her hands on her lap. Any other servant wouldn't have dared to sit down on her lady's bed without permission, but Jane had grown comfortable around Audrey. They were more friends than anything else, nowadays. She reached into the trunk and carefully pulled out a deep red dress. She remembered the day when Audrey had first worn it. It made her hair stand out. She truly looked like a woman, then. Those times had been simpler.

A small, sympathetic smile appeared on her face, and she reached over to place a hand on Audrey's, in an attempt to comfort her. "I think the gold and black dress is perfect, my lady. He will have no choice but to see how beautiful you are," she reassured in a gentle tone.

Then, Jane pulled away, returning her hand to her lap, and looked up at the ceiling in thought. She hummed slightly for a moment. "Why...? Well, lady Audrey, I can only think of two reasons as to why lord Lucian acts the way he does. One, his past was not kind to him. He forced himself to distance himself from people, and put walls up to keep them away. The terrible things that people whisper about him have made him lose hope in people and close relationships with them. Or two… he is exactly what you see… exactly what you hope he isn’t. A man who instills fears in the hearts of everyone around him. A monster." She paused, and looked at Audrey with a serious gaze. "I tell you this not to scare you, but because you are a woman now. Although you wish for lord Lucian to be kind, he may not be. And you have to prepare yourself for that."
 
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llSunflowerll

Dark Emperor of Destruction
Audrey watched Jane pull out a familiar dress, the deep red one her father had made for one of her birthdays. Red was a grown woman's color, not to be worn by a simple, young girl. Perhaps that why her father had it made, to show that she was a woman now.
Thinking of her father made her homesick. She had only been there for an hour and she already longed to be back with her family. But this new course in life had just begun.
Hearing Jane reinforce her dress choice made her feel a bit better but deep down she felt dinner was going to go poorly. Even the gentle hand of Jane was no match for the glare that she could picture Lucian giving her. One wrong word could ruin everything.
Audrey looked up to Jane as she spoke of him and sighed.
"I know you're just trying to tell me the truth, but I don't think I could live with him controlling my life because I'm afraid of him. I'm a Wilkinsone! We didn't sit in fear when the Somers attacked. We took back our land, and more some!" She got her feet and grabbed a piece of the dress. "I will not be pushed around by some man that can't seem to be nice to his own servants. I don't think I could change him but I can change the atmosphere around here if things go according to plan. Let us dress for dinner." She said looking back to Jane with a look of confidence. One thing that ran through her family was the ability to pull confidence it off thin air. It came in handy but sometimes it got in the way of rational thought.
Audrey was already planning things to say to him just to keep conversation with him if he even replied on the first place. Being talkative was easy but knowing what to say and when to say it took skill, skills only those with royal backgrounds would have. Another thing she kept in mind was to never stoop as low as your enemy. Keeping the high ground would always get you far. Even though Lucian wasn't necessarily her enemy she felt it all applied here.
"I suspect I will need a bath drawn before I also tonight. I'm fairly certain I had my favorite oils packed with us."
 

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