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[personal profile] the_morningstar616
Written for a prompt over at fic_promptly, the prompt was: David wearing Celapaleis colours

I was very pleased that I wasn't the only one to have noticed that David's tunic colours correspond not to Athlum's flag, but to Celapaleis', and this was the resulting fic:



The orders arrive barely two weeks after the showdown with Hermeien.
With the fall of the Lord of Congress the continent's instability has only increased. Rogue groups threaten the peace and security of neighbouring city states, and the affected Lords rely more heavily on the whims of their remnants than ever before. A leader, no matter how corrupt, had at least enforced some semblance of order to the chaos; now the lack of any such presence only provokes further unrest. It is only a matter of time before Celapaleis requires Athlum's services once more.

It's expected, of course, and that perhaps makes it all the more unbearable. David sighs as he adjusts his tunic, amber, green and embroidered with gold. Celapaleis' colours. Torgal looks on, his expression impassive while Blocter fumes silently at the far end of the grand hall. Emmy and Pagus are nowhere to be seen, and Rush is with his sister in Virtus Parish. David could summon them should he require, though he chooses not to.
Let them have their peace for today, it will be shattered soon enough.

Qubine's envoy coughs impatiently, and David's attention snaps back into focus.
"Lord David?"
David has been trained to become the Marquis since his early years, so it takes little of his self restraint to keep himself from asking if Athlum has any choice in the matter. There is a choice, he knows, Pagus explained the situation to him long ago. He can fight alongside his people, or he can send them to die.
"Give me two days to ready my army and Athlum will be at your service", he sighs; there is little more he can do.
The envoy looks pleased. "Duke Qubine thanks you for your prompt action my Lord."
Blocter glares at the envoy as he leaves then growls, "I'd like to see that little upstart fight half the battles we've won for him."
Torgal silences the yama with a glare and Lord David dismisses them both. Right now he would prefer to be alone with his thoughts.

Blocter would have Qubine fight his own battles, and David remembers a time when his father's yama general voiced a similar sentiment; young and hotheaded himself David had been swayed by the force of his argument, and repeated the wish to his father later. His father had smiled, "Athlum's honour is to be the strength behind Celapalais' rule."
David never truly believed him, though he never mentioned his ideals to his father again.

He remembers the late Duke Qubine, a fragile, tragic young man, and wonders once more just how his father felt about being in thrall to such a young duke. The Qubines have always been young rulers, they have to be. The Umbermarici is a heavy burden to bear, and the life span of the Duke of Celapalais short, even for one bound to a remnant. The current Duke of Qubine is a mere child, orphaned at a much earlier age than his ancestors, and forced into a position of tremendous responsibility. Along with the demands of his remnant and the unrest on the continent, David knows he could well be the last of his line. Perhaps then it is indeed his honour to remove even a small amount of that burden.

It always makes him feel a lesser man. He knows it shouldn't, that there is no reason for him to feel anything but proud as he dresses himself in Qubine's colours and prepares to fight Qubine's battles. Athlum is the strength which makes Celapaleis great. It is almost impossible to remind himself of this, however, when the amber and green he must wear makes him feel so claimed .

Rush returns late to the castle. Irina had returned hours before, and David tries not to think of what Rush might have done with those hours alone. Though he accepts that his own interests might well have influenced his imagination on this count and shakes off the slight pinch of jealousy he feels. He's always hyper aware of Rush these days, for more reasons than the fact that the young man is still technically under his charge while living in the castle.
Rush is not the first young man to have caught his eye, and with Rush, as with all others, David will not reveal this. The people of Athlum are accepting, and will forgive a just leader any unorthodox preferences. Other city states though are not so forgiving, David remembers the disparaging comments made about Hermeien and winces. Such cruelty still confuses him, even directed at such a man as Wilfred Hermeien.

It is not this cruelty, nor is it fear of rejection which stays his tongue with Rush, David is almost certain that Rush's sweet nature would take any sting out of such a situation. No, what David fears is that Rush would agree for all the wrong reasons. Rush has agreed to fight for him, for Athlum out of gratitude, and a misplaced sense of personal debt. David would not want any intimate encounters to be subject to the same misunderstanding. Rush has never shown any interest beyond simple friendship and he would rather preserve that than risk anything further.

David is finally finishing his tasks for the day when Rush stumbles into his study. During the time Rush has spent at the castle this has grown to be a fairly regular occurrence: Rush is lonely, David knows, and appreciates the company in the evening. David is always happy to oblige him. This time however, David has forgotten about the heavy tunic he is wearing, and Rush stops short, staring. "Dave. Um, wow. What's with the dressing up?"
David sighs, "I lead Athlum's army into battle in two days. Celapaleis requires her first line of defence."
Rush's eyes flicker over the unfamiliar robe, lingering on the golden embroidery, before returning to David's face. He grins, "looks good. You should wear that all the time."
David shakes his head in response, "these are not the colours I would choose for myself."
Rush's expression turns thoughtful, and he nods slowly, "I guess it's different when you can't choose to wear someone's crest huh?"
For Rush it is a question of choice. He may choose to wear Athlum's black and red insignia, or, as an independant mercenary he is entitled to wear his own city's colours. Rush is from Eulam, so his colours would be green and gold. Though David wonders what Rush will wear now he is fighting for Athlum.
His father's words run through his head as he contemplates. Those who have the freedom to choose their attire often reveal too much in doing so.

The battle is insignificant, David takes only two unions with him, expecting very little challenge from their foe. What he doesn't expect is to be joined on the battlefield by a third union, led by Rush Sykes.
The new union is soon beside his own in a blur of mystic arts and defensive wards, and the insignia on Rush's armour almost escapes David's notice at first. When he does they're close to the end of the battle, two of the four enemy union have already fallen and the other two are on the defensive, pulling out of deadlock to heal instead of attacking. The third union falls, and suddenly everything is happening much faster than before. The final enemy union lashes out with the fierce desperation of a cornered beast, and David finds himself staggering under the blow of the yama's mace. Then suddenly Rush appears in front of him, bathed in the green-gold light from his talisman. He's moving furiously, limbs a blur of hits which his opponent has no chance of withstanding. For David however it feels like time has slowed once more. He can clearly see Rush's tunic, long, heavy and decorated in the traditional Athlumian black and red. There is something more though. On Rush's back David can plainly see a crest. It's a detailed design, embroidered in gold, a representation of the the Kellendros and the Gae Bolg.

David has never before trusted his father's wisdom. He always believed the late Marquis too lenient on those who were guilty and too stern towards the innocent. He never needed his father's guidance either; even as a child he had Torgal to assist with his work, and Blocter to join him in play. Pagus served to advise him in matters of the state, and Emma in those closer to home. More recently there has been Emmy to advise him on matters of principle, and Rush for anything else he may need. This time, however, David hopes that his father was correct as he seeks out Rush after the battle is won.

David is tense, still unsure despite himself when he seeks out Rush afterwards, the thrill of a battle well-fought, well won still thrumming through his veins. The room in which he finds Rush is dark and thankfully deserted. He's still on edge, expecting this to go wrong and second-guessing himself even as he approaches Rush. Rush is still in his tunic, too exhausted to even begin the process of cleaning up after battle, and David finds him sprawled in the armoury. The air is still heavy with excess adrenalin as David approaches, and his senses note the tang of blood and sweat as he leans in to finally take what he wants.
Rush's eyes widen, as David leans towards him, and each breath sends sparks of warm air over David's lips. David's body tenses as their lips meet, ready to apologise, to leave, until Rush relaxes into the kiss, murmuring, "God Dave, yes. Please. "
David can't help but smile into the kiss before leading Rush to somewhere more comfortable, somewhere he can slide the tunic bearing his own family crest from Rush's body without fear of being disturbed.

Date: 2011-07-05 01:28 am (UTC)
caleili_palquin: (cake)
From: [personal profile] caleili_palquin
Nya! ^_~ That was good, and the idea behind it very interesting. I think I really like your style of writing. It's very realistic without being too hard on the characters. Nice piece. :D

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