Malich watched as his guests begin to arrive. As expected, his brothers invited every important person they could think of to make a fool out of him. His brothers, of course, would arrive fashionably late and swoop in to save the others from Malich’s meager means, bringing luxury, style and royal regality with them. Or so they hoped.
He watched the frowns and disgusted looks from his royal guests as they approached what looked like a subpar existence until they crossed over the drawbridge and through the barbican leading into the palace. Frowns and scrunched noses turned into wide eyes, smiles and respect.
The palace was made of gray stone, cobblestone walkways on the thoroughfares and silver marble floors with gold flecks. The walls were white with stone gray colored wainscoting. That went a third of the way up the walls. Tall exotic plants were aesthetically placed in various places throughout the palace to offer a pop of color. The ceilings were vaulted, as is customary, with large windows along the halls. His landscaping consisted of a large garden with intricate gravel walkways, porcelain statues of the Gods, water fountains and a large stone terrace for which to entertain guests. There’s also a nature house, a lake, and a large courtyard. His palace is vast, more than forty acres covered in wild flowers of various colors. The garden is surrounded by stone balustrade with hand carved, stone, decorative vases set atop stone pillars.
“Your brother’s are in for a treat,” Mekhi roared with laughter at Malich’s side.
The nymph had instructions to drop the veil once his brothers reached the proximity of the drawbridge. Malich got word that his brothers approached and watched from his bedroom window as the smug looks on his brothers’ face turned red with anger, realizing they’d been duped. He smiles and heads out to greet them.
Kahlem is a master at hiding his snarls but Arokin and Bevi wear their emotions on their sleeves. “Welcome your majesty, brother, to my humbleestate,” Malich inclines his head to Kahlem. He can see the sting already affecting his brothers’ moods. Good. It would only get better from here.
After giving them a tour of his palace, he brought them out to the guests they’d so graciously invited on his behalf, guests who expressed their respect and approval for the new prince. The sting of this betrayal would live on in their minds forever and it gave Malich great joy to finally turn the tables on the lot of them.
Sen shot daggers at him with her eyes, while Rhesus, Cassius, Odin and Odious all smiled with approval. It seems they too are tired of their elder brothers. “Shall we?” Malich motions for them to follow him out onto the Terrace.
Once they are amongst the nobles, Kahlem does his best to do damage control. “It’s a sneaky thing you did with the illusion of a palace in ruin,” one of the Nobles, Ian Volc, and King of the Fall Court smiles.
“It keeps the raiders away,” Malich lies through his teeth, aiming a smug glance at Kahlem.
Kahlem’s temples flare before he schools his features into neutrality. “Perhaps its why our new Queen is tardy to her own party. She probably took one look at the place and went home. It wouldn’t be the first time a girl has run from you would it Malich? We haven’t seen your lovely betrothed around lately.”
If it weren’t for the last surprise he had waiting for them he might have allowed Kahlem to get underneath his skin. Still, in order for his next betrayal to hit home, Malich needed to let a little of his mask slip. He feigned irritation and excused himself from the conversation, very convincingly he might add, and walked away with a smirk.
Malich went over plans for security with Mekhi again for good measure before returning to his brothers. They were talking politics as usual and paying him no attention. “Ah, nephew.” Asherah tries and fails to bring attention to the new Prince. None of the nobles, however, are willing to give Malich the time of day.
Asherah flashes him an apologetic smile as the conversation continues as if she’s said nothing at all. “Who do we know in need of a bride?” Kahlem asks. “Perhaps we can arrange a marriage between the new Queen and one of our allies, strengthening our position as a powerhouse within the planes.”
Malich listens trying not to let his jealousy show as they rattle off single males they feel would be best for the new Queen. He’d all but checked out of the conversation until he heard Kahlem say, “Perhaps I’ll wed her myself and add her to my collection of wives.”
The noblemen laugh at his tasteless joke and the glass in Malich’s hand shatters, his bourbon a waste staining the floors. Servants quickly move in to clean up the mess and when Malich looks up he sees that for once he has everyone’s attention. He flashes them a brief smile and excuses himself for a second time.
“It won’t be long now,” Mekhi whispers to him. Malich nods.
He looks back at his brothers only to see the newly crowned Unseelie King speaking amongst them. Ihsan is the last person he wants to see, but he knows it’s unavoidable. Ihsan meets his gaze briefly before turning to respond to something Bevi said to him. Malich wonders what reaction Ihsan might have when he too set eyes on the new Queen.
Trumpets sound capturing everyone’s attention. Malich smiles and makes the long walk to the barbican to greet Arya and her escort. Evander and Navi flank her with at least twenty Seelie soldiers surrounding her.
She wears a gown of white lace with long sleeves and a plunging neckline. The top of her dress cinches at the waist, tied by a white belt made of silk with a diamond-encrusted front fashioned into the form of her crest. The bottom of her dress is chiffon; also white, that seems to sway around the stilettos he knows are fastened to her hips. Over her head she wears a chiffon cloak, concealing her face, Malich’s idea, so she could unveil herself when the moment presents itself. Beneath her cloak, her hair is upswept in the front, pulled into a topknot, showing off the new white patch of hair. The rest of her fell in curling waves behind her.
“Welcome.” Malich smiles. Arya nods.
He holds out his hand for her to take, and walks her up to the palace. Once they make it to the top stair of the terrace, Malich introduces her, “Nobleman, doms and dames, I present to you Arya, Queen of the Seelie Court.”
Arya removes her cloak, handing it to one of the servants and Malich relishes in the fury behind his brothers’ eyes. This was the last blow to their massive egos and it hit home hard. “Isn’t that his betrothed,” he hears his aunt say on cue, increasing the bite of his betrayal.
Several of the nobles hear and suddenly find a new respect for Malich. It’s superficial at best, but respect nonetheless, respect he could wield as he wishes.
Malich brings Arya over to his brothers who blanche in her presence. “Your majesty,” Arya inclines her head to Kahlem, offering him her hand. He swallows hard, returning the gesture and kisses the back of her hand. “Your majesty,” the words come out as if they’re poison.
Arya offers her hand to all of the nobles before turning to Sen whose eyes are wide with shock. She too swallows hard before taking Arya’s hand and kissing the back of it.
“W-we weren’t aware you were heir to the Seelie throne the last time we met,” Arokin stammers.
“Yes, I’m aware,” is all Arya says in return. She turns to the last noble, holds out her hand for him to take and freezes. Ihsan.ns 22.214.171.124da2