Stone walls stood guard, motionless in the light of the suns, for miles around the grand capital. From the sparse homesteads just within the barrier to the monolithic castle that towered at it's very core; the city would hustle and bustle with commerce in the markets and children laughing and playing in the alleys between the shops. It was a paradise hidden amid a great forest, it's red cedars that painted the very sky stretched on for days and days in every direction. The northern winds breezed through the boughs and left a constant rustle of sound and life just outside the capital's barricade. Even with all the motion and consistant chatter of those within the walls it seemed altogether devoid of life. At least in comparrison to the simplistic routine of every creature that meanadered through the trunks of eternal trees and ancient ruins that litter the forest floor.
One person in particular stood out among the sea of movement and voice, against a canvas of mocha skin, he appeared to be a quite the peculiar character. He was fair skinned and his hair blazed carmine amid the crowd. Searching that very same crowd for a familiar face so he wouldn't seem as out of place as he did at this moment. Recieving the odd glace in his direction before people hurried along with their own business, leaving him to lean against a stone facade on the brink of an alleyway. Eventually he peeled himself away from the wall to wander through the traffic of the city's cobblestone streets. Having covered his head with the hood of a cloak while he walked past the shops and stands that stood on the sides of the roads nearer to the city center. A hundred voices were calling out their wares and prices to the passerby's, and a hundred more could be heard haggling with customer's who wished to barter.
An amused smile was hidden by the hood as well, listening to all the life that this city brimmed with even after all this time. This was after all, his first return to this place in nearly twenty years. After many years abroad, traveling on his own to learn more about both the worlds he knew, and of himself; he knew it was at least time to come back to the place of his youth, and let someone know he was at the very least still alive. He continued his march toward the castle that towered over the rest of the city, throwing it's immense shadow onto the far side of the capital.
Meanwhile that particular someone was pacing back and forth in the grand hall of the palace dictating a letter to one of her servants. Yet, she had this overwhelming feeling of anxiety crushing her chest and filling her with butterflies. This matron soon dismissed her servant and folded herself into one of the four great thrones, all made of gold with etchings carved into their entirety. She couldn't quite put a finger on what it was that made this sense of nervousness come upon her so suddenly, so she simply waited for whatever was on it's way.
He had made his way up to one of the castle's gateways, and there stood two guards, gleaming in their sterling plate armor with the burgundy and gold seal of the royal family engraved on their chests. It took some quick speech of a silver tongue to finaggle his way past them toward the inner sanctum. The flash of the blade sitting on his hip under that cloak, which bore a similar crest to the one the guard's themselves wore, may have made it all the easier for him. Once allowed into the corridors of the palace he slowly made his way to where he knew she would be.
Unclasping the hook that held his cloak on his body and drawing back his hood before he slid it from his shoulders. Once it was removed it revealed the luster of silver armor encasing his arms and chest, swirled with gold leaf and etched with decorative lines that defined his body beneath the metal plating. One gauntlet emblazoned with the same family crest sat upon the hilt of his sword. Beneathe that armor was mail made of steel rings and black quilted leather. Now with the look of royalty about him he was quick to saunter through the hallway toward that very same grand hall.
People lowered their heads as he walked past and sometimes through them, his walk more determined now that he fit into his surroundings a little better. Whispers spread through the servants slowly before their questions became clear enough to hear.
"Could that really be him?" Incredulous.
"Do you think he'll stay?" Curious.
"Why did he come back?" Furious.
Conversations blurred together as he walked past the voices, eventually they returned to quiet murmurs when all who paused had to continue on with their work. He halted outside the thick wooden doors that seperated him from the grand hall, a hand resting on the door's cool metal handle. Wondering now if this truly was a good idea at the end of the day. Having come this far it was much too late to turn back, word of his presence would make it's way to her ears sooner or later. And in truth it was simpler to go through with this than be seen a coward by turning away at this point. So after a few moments thought he turned the handle and pushed the monumental doors inward, throwing them open for a much more dramatic entrance. He sauntered down the lengthy red carpet that was lain along the center of the hall toward the thrones where a woman draped in gold sat, amazed by his very existence. Ceiling high stainless glass windows threw colour onto the floor in ribbons that crawled up the far wall in the afternoons, leaving an ethereal sense of cinema as he approached where she continued to just sit, stock-still.
When he finally came to the bottom stair before the thrones he too stood still now. Their eyes locked in noiseless conversation as neither moved for minutes that seemed to last an eternity. Finally she slipped herself from her seat, feet like lead as each step was made excruciatingly deliberate down those few steps to where he waited. Barely on the last step before she simply collapsed into his arms, her own wrapping around his neck to keep herself steady in the embrace. He caught her and simply held her like that for a while.
"Where did you go?" Her words were soft spoken into his shoulder before she took a deep breath and straightened herself once again, now holding him at arm's length. Inspecting him. It has been twenty years after all.
"I traveled, I went far too many places and nearly lost myself in some of them... I built a home for my family and I." His voice was soft as well, almost trailing to a whisper while he simply looked to her expression. Watching it fall.
"Your family?" Her smile had faltered, brows crinkling together as it truly dawned on her. "So, you simply came here to say you weren't coming home?" The anger couldn't even raise in her voice as it was far too heartwrenching to be mad at him.
"I came here to tell you I made a life for myself, that I grew up to be a good man, found a good wife. And I came here to tell you I love you." He pulled her closer for another gentle embrace, her arms wrapped tightly around him. She simply didn't want to let him go, afraid she'd never see him again. Her one and only. "I promise I'll come and see you now and then. Tell you of our life. I'll do my best to keep you informed..."
"You had better." A soft chuckle escaped her, shaking her head against his shoulder once again.
"I will, Mother."