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Dinner with guests was always a tricky affair to navigate.  The guests were sat nearest to each other, to promote pleasant conversation, while friends and family were sat far from each other on opposite ends of the table.  While Zephyr was perfectly aware of how these customs came into being, he didn't exactly like them.  Zephyr was in a rare, uncomfortable, position within his own palace.

Sitting next to him tonight was the…eccentrically unique young King of a place…with a very long name.  The word sounded like some Rakselou gibberish, something the shapeshifters would say to make it difficult for humans and ferals to understand what they were saying.  Thankfully, King Noreat translated his own words and explained that he was from the "Mountainous Lands".  Zephyr was unaware such a place existed.  He was also unaware that men could look so much like women up until recently.

King Zephyr sighed under his breath and tried to calm his thoughts.  He didn't…dislike King Noreat.  He simply found the man odd, and something in the back of the old King's mind said that the younger King was more than a painted doll in glamorous dress.  The way that Noreat smiled, how his oval face seemed to default to that expression, it sent a small chill through Zephyr's veins.  It was as if Noreat was both smiling sincerely and insincerely at the same time.  Like a ferrin, waiting for it's prey to draw too close…

"Thank you for your hospitality, Your Majesty," the younger King's voice floated through the air like ice on top of water.

On cue, Zephyr nodded to his guest.  "You are welcome."

As if Zephyr really had any other choice.  King Noreat and his colorful entourage arrived in Highryn just this morning, and it was King Zephyr's duty to extend to them every courtesy.  King Zephyr's advisers had been very keen on reminding their leader that Noreat's people had a different type of magic, one that allowed them to move between worlds and over great distances, and by befriending Noreat they could gain a powerful ally.  And at this time, while Zephyr would never admit it out loud, Geofek needed as many allies as she could amass.  Even if those allies were strange people with magics unheard of in Entity, they had the potential to be endlessly valuable.  One of Zephyr's more religious adviser's thought that Noreat and his people might have been Godsend, straight from Vistra, to help them win the war.

When dinner was served, the two Kings started up pleasant conversation.  Noreat was the only person Zephyr could talk to at the moment, since his daughter was seated on the opposite end of the long table.  She was chatting with a bespectacled man named Damien (not to be confused with the Volusian who Iridesia talked about incessantly).  Zephyr had brought up the benign topic of Noreat's kingdom.  He was mostly curious about what it looked like there.  Geofek was nestled in the mountains, and the Mountainous Land had to be somewhat similar.  However, Noreat didn't want to discuss his home.  Instead, the young King's ice blue eyes watched a leopard feral girl as she rounded the table with a pitcher of wine.  When she got close enough Noreat caught her by her rounded cat's ear and pulled her close to him.

"You have such curious and intriguing servants here, King Zephyr," Noreat said through his unnerving smile.

The leopard feral let out a little yip and looked to her King for some sort of guidance.  He gave the girl a nod, trying to assure her that he wouldn't let the foreigner take her ear off.

"She is one of the ferals, animal people from the southern wildlands."  Zephyr reached over and tried to pry Noreat's hand from the girl's ear, "she also as a job to do right now, and I would request you release her."

Almost reluctantly, Noreat let go of the girl's ear.  The leopard shivered, her yellow fur standing on end.  She quickly filled both the Kings' goblets and darted off the round the other side of the table.  Noreat took a sip of his wine and relaxed in his seat.

"We have nothing like your 'ferals', which I now find to be a terrible defict in my lands.  Instead, the Ynoizmo serve my people.  They are our treasures, and we must keep them close."

"The servants you brought with you with the long ears and colorful hair," Zephyr stated.

Noreat nodded and finally touched his food.

"They remind me of the shigens," the elder King shrugged.

The younger King's icy eyes lit up and he stopped eating his food to speak.

"What might shigens be?"

Zephyr watched as Noreat's eyes darted about the dining room, trying to find a figure that was different from the ferals and humans skittering about the hall.

"There aren't any in my court," Zephyr watched as Noreat's excited expression dulled.

"How heart-wrenchingly disappointing.  How are they alike to my Ynoizmo?"

"They look…somewhat similar.  Shigen's have long ears like your servants, but only in their bipedal forms."

"You talk as if they can change their forms."

"That's because they can."

Noreat's excited sheen returned to his already bright eyes.

"And what, pray tell, do these people turn into?"

"Dragons and phoenixes," Zephyr replied lowly, "I would not suggest seeking them out.  They are not known to be welcoming to humans.  Relations between our kind and theirs are strained at the best."

That only seemed to excite Noreat more.  As the young King was formulating his next question the leopard feral servant from moments ago crept up beside her King.

"Your Majesty, the Princess wishes to be excused…" the leopard relayed.

Zephyr frowned and looked to the other side of the table.  Sitting where Mayanna should was Iridesia.  The girl had already cleaned her plate and was rapping her fingers indignantly against the table.  Ever since she had returned the girl had become more than impatient.  Perhaps it was the Volusian's influence.  Zephyr sighed and rubbed his dark almond eyes.

"Tell her she is free to go.  I won't force her to suffer through a proper meal," the old King growled.

The servant was gone in a second, and a minute later Iridesia disappeared as well.  King Noreat giggled beside Zephyr.

"What do you find so funny, Noreat?"  Zephyr frowned.

"Not funny, simply interesting.  Your princess daughter has quite the wander lust."

"You have no idea."

"The influence of her mother, perhaps?  May I ask where your Queen is, on that topic?"

A wave of cold depression washed through Zephyr.  The elder King sighed and felt his hunger ebb and leave him.

"My wife is with the angels now."

Thankfully, Noreat understood that.  The young King's endless smile flipped upside down.  Zephyr felt his heart sink slightly in his chest.  For some reason he was upset to see Noreat's thin-lipped smile disappear.  Warm, slender fingers wrapped around Zephyr's.  It took the elder King a moment to realize that Noreat had clasped their hands together.

"My most sincerest condolences, King Zephyr.  I had no idea."

Zephyr's eyes were still on Noreat's white hand as he answered.

"I did not expect you to.  But…thank you," he struggled with ending his sentence.

A few tense seconds passed, and Zephyr found his eyes running up Noreat's arm and up to his smooth oval face.  Perhaps his initial judgement of Noreat had been unreasonably harsh.  The younger King did have a smaller and more slender figure than most, but perhaps most men in his world looked akin to him.  Noreat's frown had already shifted back to his serene slight smile.  Almost unwillingly, Zephyr pulled his hand away from his guest's and went back to his meal.

Dinner was carried on more quietly than before.  Noreat and Zephyr still exchanged pleasant comments, and an air of tranquility had settled between the two.  The elder King couldn't remember the last time he felt so relaxed.  He had been so caught up in all the madness of his world recently…  Noreat's visit may have been a saving grace for Zephyr.  For his mental stability at least.  And of course Geofek could use the ally.  Zephyr was also low on…confidants and those he truly trusted.  The only ones he truly trusted were Iridesia and Titan, the latter of which being a gryphon that didn't have the capacity to sell the elder King's secrets and worries.

After dinner the two Kings took a quiet stroll through the palace.  Neither seemed especially tired yet, and Noreat had asked for a tour.  Since the sun was setting and the light was becoming limited, a full tour would have to wait until the morrow.  But for the moment Zephyr could show his guest around rooms surrounding the entrance hall.  As they moved throughout the main foyer Noreat spied something on the far wall.  Silent and swift as a light bird, the younger king crossed the room to investigate what he found to be so intriguing.

"She was lovely," Noreat breathed.

Zephyr hadn't been paying attention to what Noreat was inspecting.

"Who?"

"Your wife," the younger king indicated to the portrait of Mayanna hanging on the wall, "she was an epitome of beauty."

Zephyr felt his heart sink a bit lower.  If he had just been a bit faster, if his guards had been stronger...

"Yes," Zephyr's voice faltered slightly, "she was."

After that exchange Zephyr had one of his knights show King Noreat to his guest mansion.
Don't you people judge me. Misty started all of this, and I am obligated to continue it!

For illustrations to this scene, might I direct all my loyal fans to this lovely picture: [link]

So...*mistytang's King Noreat and my King Zephyr are going to become friends. And while Misty uses her far superior art powers to show off their budding relationship, I am writing the epic story of their friendship. Or something like that. It's like midnight and I can't describe things very well anymore.

This was pretty challenging for me; mostly because I was terrified of writing Noreat wrong. I'm sorry if I portrayed your deliciously evil King in the wrong light, Misty! I am trying. @_@ Also, Zephyr doesn't lend himself to be written in calm situations. He was far easier to write in FE because the scene's he's included in he's rather angry in. <<

True to my style, I started us off en media res, with our Kings enjoying their first dinner together. This was sort of the awkward first date scene, without it really being a first date. So I stuck to benign yet interesting topics, and ended this scene with some lines of Misty's.

I'm not sure I have much else to say, other than I love this awesome story arc. xD I'll try to add more throughout the week(s?)

Next: [link]

King Noreat, Ynoizmo, crack pairing :iconmistytang:
King Zephyr, Story Me
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:iconrachelillustrates:
rachelillustrates Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
Yaaaaaay finally getting to read this :D Very lovely first chapter, great job with the poignant sadness and all the little hints about why Zephyr's struggling and what happened to his Queen.
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much!  It's been a long time since I wrote something and I'm glad my old stuff can still make people smile.  :)
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:iconrachelillustrates:
rachelillustrates Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
You are very welcome! Thank you for sharing your work, and I hope you get to get back to writing soon! (if you want to, that is :heart: )
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I definitely want to.  I'm just stuck with work and such.  So I hope you enjoy what's here.  One day I will come back to it all.  :>
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:iconrachelillustrates:
rachelillustrates Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
I hear that about the stuck-ness. Sending you good vibes for getting writing time! :heart: 
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:iconsheworlds:
sheworlds Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
What a lovely and intriguing start to this story!  I know nothing about this universe, but your writing is crisp and informative enough to usher me into the scene and let me fill in the blanks where needed.  I just love the flow of your writing style!  It's very entrancing while also being very clear and artfully simple all at once.  

Ooooh, Noreat is so entitled, as kings usually are!  But I love when he reaches out and plucks the leopard girl over for closer inspection.  It's so suggestive of the sort of person he is, and sets up a lovely contrast between Noreat and Zephyr.  It's a bit late (so I must head to bed) but I'm really excited to read more!  In general I'm super excited to read your collaborations with MistyTang as the stuff you two produce together is right up my alley.   Your joint creatives seem to be rife with exactly the sorts of themes, worlds and characters I like to explore with my little creative team. :) 
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
EEEE!  Thanks so much!  I always want to work on my showing rather than telling, so if the beginning isn't an overload and gives enough detail then I am totally happy!  And I have been working on my writing style a lot, so I'm glad you enjoy it.  Thank you!

Well a young King like himself is used to getting what he wants. :wink:  But I did have a lot of help from MistyTang on how to write her little Noreat.  I picked her brain for quite a while to make sure I wrote him well!  And of course she proofed anything I was iffy on.  I'm so glad those little details ring true to his personality to the reader, that's always a big goal of mine.

I super love doing collabs with Misty!  Our universes are intertwined at this point and we love it.  I hope we continue to write great stories together in the future too.  Please enjoy our work!
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:iconsheworlds:
sheworlds Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Eeee, everything bout this comment just filled me with squee.  It's totally contagious, hearing someone else expressing excitement for their own creations and collabs with creative partners.  Definitely will continue to enjoy, I'm sure.  In fact, I'm going to head over to the next one just now!  I hope to leave you lots of little comments on the story as I read through these bits and get to know the characters through your lovely unfolding of words and Misty's awesome characters and worldbuilding. :)
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:icontprinces:
Tprinces Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Well I finally figured out where to start reading. I was a little unsure, at first, whether or not the prose would live up to the pictures. When I started reading, I was afraid that things wouldn't be explained and that you would rely too heavily on the visuals (I don't know what came first) and expect us to know what and who everyone is.

However, you do a very good job introducing the world. I would have liked a little more description of the palace, but now that I think of it, it might have distracted from the more important characters. Based on the character designs alone, I knew this wouldn't be a typical love story. Not to mention that your writing style is easy to get addicted to. The dynamic of these two is already intriguing, and I can't wait to see it play out in words rather than pictures :clap:
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for all the compliments! This first chapter I didn't want to load the readers down with descriptions of the palace, I was afraid it would break their attention to the characters. As the story continues more descriptions of the palace emerge. :}
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:icongalopawxy:
GalopaWXY Featured By Owner May 29, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Okay, I'm here from Misty's art and I shall keep this right here on my computer as a treat if I finish my work.
*saves page*
See you soon :D
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner May 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Good luck with your work! I hope you enjoy the story. :}
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:icongalopawxy:
GalopaWXY Featured By Owner May 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am very much :heart:
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:iconcrescent-luna-moon:
Crescent-Luna-Moon Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I've finally decided to start reading this, I blame :iconmistytang: all the way with her pictures and so far, I love! So sad that Zephyr lost his wife, but I know the future, just not the context XD, great job Grim!
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed this first piece, I promise it gets better!

Yes, poor Zephyr's wife, Mayanna, died just six months before this story begins. She was a good wife and Queen. :c
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:iconcrescent-luna-moon:
Crescent-Luna-Moon Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
you should do a side story on how she was alive and how she died, because I'm curious on how she died and how she was like when she was living.
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, Zephyr is from my book, and it's a bit of a subplot as to how Mayanna died. It does get explained though. ;} As for when she was alive, she was a real sweetie. You get a taste of it in a flashback in later chapters of ZxN.
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:iconcrescent-luna-moon:
Crescent-Luna-Moon Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Ah I see, I will be awaking for that chapter! Off to read chapter @! -leaves-
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:iconidealweirdo:
idealweirdo Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011
I've been tracking the tale of this relationship through :iconmistytang:'s comic panels, but decided to start from the beginning and read for more depth. **mutters** I hope this is the beginning... :O Anyhoo, it seemed a good place to start and I love the fact that they are both very deep characters who have more going for them than just a bunch of loved up scenes. :heart: They are very believable and so often writers tend to forget that their characters need development of personality before they can participate in an effective story. All characters, but especially the kings, have just that. It intrigues me and guides me to continue reading about them. =D Kudos goes to you and *mistytang on a very hearty collaboration. :tighthug:
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I read this comment and this is what happened:

:iconohjoyplz: --> :iconexplodeplz:

Thank you so much! And yes, "She Was Lovely" is the beginning of this story arc. I like to pretend that I can write good character development, and I'm so thrilled that you like how I made the characters grow! Your comment has really made me so happy. Thank you. :heart:
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:iconidealweirdo:
idealweirdo Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011
You're so very welcome. :tighthug: I'm glad that I could do that. You give us something to look forward too. :iconhystericsplz:
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:iconpoolwater:
poolwater Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2011  Student General Artist
this is really cool, just one thing, i think you meant with the angels, not with the angles. otherwise its awesome! :)
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, thank you. ^^; silly mistake on my part.

Glad you like it!
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:iconvampirechild1918:
vampirechild1918 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011
Now this is good..... Hmm dinner conversation turned to depression. I enjoy it. Im loving how this Zyphyr fellow is coming out! Its wonderful! Give mistytang my thanks for writing such an interesting one in Noreat. ( FERALS!)
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
You should check out her page, her art is 10,000x's more awesome than mine. And her stories are awesome. :heart:

Thanks for the comments! There aren't going to be many ferals in this story. :C
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:icondrmistytang:
DrMistyTang Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011
Oh, and I'm totally flattered that you used my little bit of dialogue, too! :hug: (I'm glad you found it appropriate for Mr. Zephyr.)
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I plan on using the lines you've written in your little snippets when I write my version of the corresponding scene. :}
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:icondrmistytang:
DrMistyTang Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011
:iconohjoyplz: You. You. You have got Noreat pinned down to a T. Seriously, I could not have written him better! Even him calling Zephyr "Your Majesty"! I was gonna bring that up in a future bit. :eyes: Sort of a pet name, I think. (But I bet you've got something far cleverer in your noggin'. :eyes: )
I love that you've included Damien--I gotta include him myself. >..>; And I love even more that you've mentioned the Ynoizmo. Eee, your attention to detail makes me so happy! ^o^

I love that you made Noreat take Zephyr's hand. So dead on. Marry me now, please?

...I'm beginning to think that it was you that implanted the antennae! And then you implanted a false memory to make me think that it was me who did it! >:^0
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:icongrimreapette:
GrimReapette Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Oh thank god I got Noreat right. I rewrote this, no kidding, 3 times just to make sure I got him just right.

The only person Iridesia likes right now is Damien, and mostly because he has the same name as a Volusian she's come to admire. ;}

Well, I didn't want to jump in with Noreat getting all handsy all at once, I figured a bit of hand holding and then the hair touching and like such as.

The idea that I would be so crafty as to implant an antennae in your brain is absurd. That would require far more wisdom and planning that you know I don't have. I find your argument offensive and I would never do such a thing ever and you won't find any records of my trip to your place anywhere so you have no proof! << >>
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:icondrmistytang:
DrMistyTang Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011
You got him just perfect.
And, it's good that you didn't make him handsy all at once--I think he knows that Zephyr would not respond to that. So, he's holding back. ;) ...for now.

T-then... you'd never find evidence of my trip down to your place! I sear it. :paranoid:
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