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And by the command of nothing or no one else but his own sorrowful heart, Balor's left hand then very slowly pulled out ahead of him. His fingers very gently, tenderly gripped onto the stem of that flower, plucking it from behind Ulyssa's ear. He held it close to him, for these memories belonged very close to his heart. He cradled this flower in the palm of his hand, devoting all of his attention onto it.

Still drawing air into her lungs, the servant Ulyssa poked her eyes open, intending to see just what her lord was doing. What she found wasn't what she expected, finding a desolated Balor, completely haunted and paralyzed by this single flower. Her rusty brown eyes looked upon him meaningfully, seeing as this flower was the onset of a deep, emotional change.

Yes, Balor recognized this flower... It was a beautiful pale yellow iris, just one of the many versions found at that special place. A rush of memories flooded back, echoing vividly with such sweet sorrow. The laughter of his dear sister, her perfect smile, him always teasing her to catch him, and the inevitable moment when she did. They shared everything together in that field: their happiness and glee, their sadness and pain, their hatred and anger, their victories and defeats...

Those days were truly the happiest days of Balor's entire life, even as they were spent in misery. She was the almighty force which held him together, her smile which shone brighter than even a cloudless sky. No matter the sacrifice, Lucia was always there to listen, to consult, to comfort him. She always knew just what to say, and no matter what, she was there to defend him.

He had spent six years before without such love, but back then he was so absorbed in himself that he did not know how much she truly meant to him. So many times had he unknowingly willed her away, but now this time, he knew... It had only been a short while since she left Governanti, but truly Balor had fallen further than anyone could reach.
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11-Nov-2016 17:10:08

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Gazing upon her lord's breath-stolen mask, Ulyssa had begun to notice a change. Balor's blade beginning to lose its determination to kill, his grip faltering, its deathly fine edge tapering off of her throat. Such would be the perfect opportunity to escape, but Ulyssa made no indication of preserving this life to live. She needed to do whatever she could to assist her lord, for seeing him in such a debilitated state was... unusually painful.

Spiraling downwards in this pit cascading with a false light, Balor was forcefully stopped in the midst of his free fall. Like a hand which reached out to grasp him, to keep him from falling, something too suddenly grabbed him. Such a touch broke him free from that sorrowfully joyous torture device, ushering his consciousness back into reality.

His glowing sapphire blue eyes then yanked sharply off to his right, finding there a hand intertwined with his. Ulyssa's left hand clasped Balor's right hand, the hand which wielded Arbandor. He felt the warmth and liveliness of her skin upon his, feeling as her hand became one with his own. The two met eye-to-eye in this instance, both feeling then as their arms began to ascend.

Ulyssa was the cause of this movement, making the Arbandor move higher. She made it committed to taking her life once more, correcting Balor's hand so that it held Arbandor up against her throat. Her forced adjustment stopped at where her jugular would lie, holding it so closely to her own throat that she actually nicked herself.

Emotion welled up inside both of them, staring at the other within the quiet stillness of the night. Balor's servant continued to look up at him, knowing very well that her life was coming to an end. Even so, she proceeded without fret, gazing upon her lord with keen devotion and care.

"My lord, if you cannot trust me, then I beg of you, do not hesitate, do not stay your hand back," she quietly, acutely urged her lord. "You must protect yourself at all costs."
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11-Nov-2016 17:10:57

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Her hand slipping away from his, losing control over his blade and her fate. With Ulyssa's words becoming history, the two just continued to peer into the other's eyes now without word, without even a breath. They found each other's reflection, one casting off the appearance of a strong, faithful young woman, the other casting off the lost, haunted soul of a ruler.

Balor had no words, not even a thought in mind. He knew not what to make of her willingness of submit her life to his whim, a decision like holding her very living, beating heart in his hand. So simple would this choice be if he were himself of the past, in fact, he'd most likely think her a miserable fool for casting aside her life so readily.

Yet, here he stood now, the differences between himself now and then like night and day. His hand was literally frozen still, even with his Solasúian might pushing it forward. His breath stuttering at the thought of killing her, his hand quivering in fright, not wanting to lose another, not wanting to sully his hands with even more crimson.

"It is all right, my lord," the servant told her king, trying to deliver him from these horrors. "I am a servant, and you are a king. You must do what you must to protect your life, for you live for more than just yourself."

This deep reluctant to steal away her life, it made Balor think so strongly of his past. All these lives he's taken: his father, his mother, his brother, the many human rebels whom he slew, even some Solasúian nobles. Each and every single second of those murders played out in his mind, so precisely did he recount their deaths.

With a roar, he angrily demanded himself to answer but one simple question, "I've spilt the blood of so many others, why is she so different!?" Before Lucia's departure, Balor only thought of Ulyssa as a servant. He's killed people he had known his entire life, so why couldn't he kill someone he only knew for a short while? Just what made Ulyssa so different?
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11-Nov-2016 17:12:28 - Last edited on 07-Dec-2016 13:33:43 by Serene End

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Bit by bit, this question would be dissected, unveiled. In this short period of time, she had stood faithfully at his side. She has always been there whenever he needed something or just another soul to listen to him, she was always there to consult him, to comfort him.

Somehow, despite her inexperience in socialization, she always knew just what to say. Like scaffolding, she always knew how to hold him together, how to best support him. And somehow, despite knowing her for such a brief time, Ulyssa had done more for him than most others he's known for years. She was the one whom he wept tears upon, the one who helped drive away the suffering lingering in his heart. And always -- always -- she would find a way to make him smile, in every single of their conversations.

It was in this moment that Balor's hand began to deter, fall away. His right arm just dropped like dead weight, unable to perpetrate this cold-blooded act. She made no judgment of his decision, not even a sigh of relief that her life was spared. She simply continued to look up at her lord with the same grievous face, a mask of which the king himself mimicked.

Balor's sword fell down to his side, his fingers unlocking for their shaking, intense grip. They let loose the sword of the kings, letting go of Arbandor and his murderous intentions. The unique thud of its adamas skin hitting the floor echoed throughout the castle, throughout the night, revealing Balor's remarkable refusal.

No, he couldn't bring himself to take her life... and he knew exactly why that was.

"...I can't," Balor admitted bitterly, mentally exhausted, but quietly alleviated.

"I understand," Ulyssa replied. "My lord... can you trust me?"
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11-Nov-2016 17:14:46

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The king then nodded his head. "Yes," he answered candidly, then inhaling and exhaling a large, deep breath. "It would seem I've finally realized something, after all this time. Ever since I was but a child, I believed so earnestly that a regime of absolute control would be paramount to fulfilling our desires. To build that tower, to usher in the Utopia that we dreamt so much of, I believed it necessary to garner their loyalty, for them to respect my authority... I thought the objective of a king was to assert his will over all others, to quell the voices against him, to eliminate any and all obstacles before him. I had practiced, prepared myself for this task all throughout the entirety of my life. I vowed to take whatever measure required in order to achieve my sister's happiness, no matter the toll to be paid."

Balor's face then dropped low and despondent, his deep blue glowing eyes sinking down upon his exposed left palm. His gaze fixated upon that pale yellow iris in his hand, bring out an entire photo gallery of memories. "It's become so very clear to me now," the king told his servant, brushing the flower affectionately with his thumb. "I've now the entire world in my hands, yet here I stand, even more empty-handed than that boy who dreamt of the future with such childish aspirations in his heart. Those loyal to me have deserted my side, those who loved and supported me have deserted this world. All this time, I've held them responsible for their departure, cursed them as cowards, blamed them for their abandonment. But I realize now, they left not by their own power, but by my own. All the innocent lives I've slaughtered, this family which I've single-handedly torn asunder... All of them, every single person, would be at my side still if I'd only the courage to look at myself and admit that I... was wrong."

"You cannot say that for certain, my lord," Ulyssa's voice then rushed out, dismissing his claim.
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11-Nov-2016 17:15:20

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"Perhaps not, but admittedly, the situation would be very different if I'd not usurped my father."

"Yes, that is true," the king's servant concurred. "Whether we like it or not, choices define who we are. But not just our own choices, but the choices of others as well. It was not my choice to be a servant, and it was by your choice to usurp the throne. But if I had not become a servant and if you had not chosen to usurp the throne, then I would never come to understand your kindness, my lord. We would have never met, and we do not know where we would be. Someplace better, someplace worse... We cannot say..."

Hearing these words spoken, Balor's eyes were stripped from that alluring, gentle iris, slowly climbing northward. In the middle of all of these sharp-edged words directed at himself, a subtle light would attempt to ease his mind. To combat these horrible emotions, one required a weapon. And there was but one weapon to be had, the ultimate one. A light, delicate, affectionate smile rose up upon Ulyssa's face, catching her lord off guard.

"All I mean to say, my lord, is that I am... happy where we ended up, where I... ended up," Ulyssa genially, honestly professed to her lord, some missteps in her pace due to her reluctance.

Her attempts to relieve her lord's burden were great and mighty, such kind, compassionate words that all but one soul had ever tried getting to Balor's ear. These were the words that he needed to hear, this was the image he needed to see. Her smile like a glorious, contagious disease, ravaging Balor with a delightful, tender, warmhearted fever.
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11-Nov-2016 17:16:11

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Balor's very own cheeks were controlled by this wondrous illness, lifting up to his eyes. The king's face inspired by Ulyssa's word, her smile, her joy, sharing in this warmth. "...You offer me far more than I deserve, Ulyssa," he frankly believed, thankful to have her at his side. "But you're correct, our choices do define who we are. All throughout my life, I've made poor decisions, many of which I now regret wholly. I thought a steel fist and an iron will was the correct path, but I've become nothing more than a dictator, a tyrant. To reach our goals, I chose this path lined with bodies, believing it the best road to travel. I was a fool to have ever convinced myself that murdering anyone could bestow my sister any elation, let alone murdering our own father. No longer can I tolerate this, for the crops I reaped were far too little for the suffering I've sown. If I am to succeed, then I must no longer turn a blind eye to the atrocities that I've committed. I must gather my courage, I must gaze upon them directly in their face, cope with them, learn from them. What I've done is unspeakable, beyond iniquitous, and I cannot accept this as the appropriate means of obtaining our goals any longer."

"You have done some questionable acts, but I do not believe anyone could doubt that you had only purest intentions at heart," Ulyssa then kindly expressed, treading upon unexplored ground. "I would like to think that if any other were in your position, they would likely do the same for that which they care for most of all, be it themselves or someone who they love."

"...Would you?" Balor emotionally asked in a soft, hushed tone.

"I... do not know, my lord," she replied, diverting her gaze as though trying to avoid seeing her lord's presumed disappointment to her lack of an answer. "I have not felt that way... about myself or... anyone."
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11-Nov-2016 17:17:00 - Last edited on 07-Dec-2016 13:37:40 by Serene End

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Contrary to her belief, Balor's face did not pour with disappointment, not even a ounce. Like her, he seemed to patiently await her response, even if such an answer took eons to submit. Ulyssa's face twisted and turned, looking back upon the several nights she had spent with her lord. Hundreds of words mentioned in those nights resonated like her head had become a cathedral, her own personal thoughts becoming swallowed up by the noise.

Having averted her eyes away from Balor, Ulyssa peered southerly. And there, reflecting off of her rusty brown irises, was her answer, the truth. A single memory asserted itself through all others, pushing through this crowded ballroom of thoughts and masquerades. Her eyes had found Balor's hand, a hand which bequeathed the only time she had ever truly felt like a human being.

Her mind playing back the night, recounting the moment their hands adjoined together. The unfamiliar way her heart beated, the emptied concern she had over violating any rule her 'teachers' had instilled in her. She could fondly recollect the steady, yet gentle warmth of his hand in hers, her account so accurate and defined that even her hand now could remember the feeling.

Seeing this hand, reminiscing upon these memories, it was like mining through rock to find a spring. This spring which filled her being with precious feelings, causing her to imagine herself filling up the clothes, the shoes of her past self. Balor could see as she tried to come up with a better answer to his question, and so he waited.

"There is one thing that I do know," her voice then suddenly spoke out. "I would give anything to protect you, my lord."

"Why?" Balor questioned in a whisper, unable to understand why anyone would offer such undying loyalty to a terrible person like him. "Because I am your king?"

"No..." Ulyssa quietly, soundly rejected, casting her rusty brown eyes back into the lively blue void of his eyes. "...Because you are my purpose and meaning."
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11-Nov-2016 17:20:41

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Ulyssa's compassionate words resonated well and true within Balor's heart, reaching his ear from the deep depths that he had dug himself into. An abyss, a prison; she truly was the key which set him free from this darkness. He was frankly surprised by her words, yet at the same time, he himself had begun to share the same emotion for her as well.

Yes, Balor saw qualities in her, different from anyone else. There was one special person Balor could compare her to, that one person, the only person who ever mattered to him. Just looking at her face, just one peek into her eyes, and somehow he could feel a sense of assurance and tranquility embrace him.

Balor and Ulyssa continued to look upon one another, gazing solely into each other's eyes. Their hearts did sway, swimming in an ocean of emotions, its waters so calm and warming. It felt as though time stood patiently still, crafting the perfect moment for the two. Time itself had its own Winter season, yet time was irrelevant to them. They cared only for a single thing: the here and now.

So otherworldly was it to feel anything at all as a human servant out from the Mundus-Ishvara slave trade, having such aspects cut out from them like it were some sort of vicious, malignant cancer. Indeed, the consequences of any feeling at all was a death sentence, for it considered the servant 'defective'. Even as she could hear their furious voices screaming in the back of her head, Ulyssa pressed her advance.

And for Balor as well, a king mustn't ever feel any sort of affection for his servants. She was a filthy, lowly human woman, such attraction was thoroughly and strictly prohibited in the eyes of his ilk. Even Balor could acknowledge the humor in this, for he once slew people who interacted so closely to a human slave. Yet, these thoughts held little value in his heart, caring not for the thoughts and opinions of his fellow brothers and sisters.
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11-Nov-2016 17:21:13

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Balor's eyes sluggishly strayed downwards, capturing the whole of her face. Her lips as dazzling as starlight, the smooth, silvery-white moon bestowing them such an exceptional shimmer. Her pale skin paired well with the moonlight, giving it an flawless glow. Her chocolate brown hair drew in the majestic light like a sponge, bleeding out a color found only in perfection.

So tempting and beautiful was she, Balor could stay himself back no longer. Fraught with these powerful, moving feelings for her, his face began to slowly lean in towards her. Ulyssa shared in these emotions, gently closing her eyes, pushing forward just slightly enough. Their hearts quietly raced, no thought or doubt crossed their minds, not for a moment did they hesitate.

And as their lips so passionately pressed together, a certain pair of glowing blue eyes spectated this entire scene come into fruition. Beyond their tender connection, that Loyal Knight keeping the door had watched on as these emotions came to be born. Yet, when their loving expression came to be, he offered them only the respect of privacy.

Yes, his eyes had seen enough, more than needed. Having peered far beyond his head, the knight's eyes retreated. His hand grasped at the expertly detailed doorknob, very slowly and carefully closing the jaw into this room shut. The near silent closure of the door entered the air, yet its noise disrupted no one.

Having laid witness to this wrongful courtship between king and servant, this knight was bound to report this criminal act. Yet it seemed not even a thought upon his mind, allowing them their moment of togetherness. With a slight smile and chuckle to himself, he then began walking away. He forsook this position, the sound of his armour, the rattling of his chainmail bouncing off of these hallway walls like a sorrow-filled farewell to his presence.
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11-Nov-2016 17:21:53

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