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The Faeries of Ardnaas

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Ardnaas, the Great Mother tree is the home and guardian of the Faeries of Ardnaas. The nobles and royalty reside in the canopies, while lowly peasants reside in the tree's roots.

The Faeries of Ardnaas love to collect trinkets, odds and ends, the sort of things that humans throw out.


While trash to the larger beings, trinkets are a sign of wealth and status. Almost everything in the canopastle (the castle in the canopies) is borrowed, with all of the clothing made of doll clothing and forgotten fabric, a marking of their great wealth, whereas peasants create what they can from nature, sporting clothes made of leaves and nutshells as bowls and such.


There isn't really currency, just sort of a bartering system


The class division is stifling and the peasants feel horribly mistreated, but the Royals are blind to their struggles, never even venturing lower than the lowest tree branches in their entire lifetimes.

Faerie children are born from the love of two fairies and the bud of a flower. In order to create a child a very specific ritual is involved, but the parents can have any gender and relationship as long as it is strong enough to raise a baby. Two incredibly close platonic friends can have a baby, or two deeply infatuated lovers can have a baby. Gender is unnecessary as genitals are used only to dispose of waste. To put it simply, gender has no use or even presence in Ardnaas. There isn't even technically a king and a queen-they're just two royals who rule together.


The leaves and branches don't support that much weight, so a lot of the castle rooms are made of things like foraged birdcages and old birds nests and boxes that are woven into the branches with fabric- and also branches of other trees or fallen branches from the mother herself!


The Faeries also posses a little bit of magic- focused mainly on the earth- the kind of magic to help the flowers grow and keep the tree standing. People who are especially good with the earth are considering High Priests because their religion is based on respecting the earth. However most common Faeries can just train to keep flowers maintained and possibly keep fruit from rotting for a while.


Their diet is almost entirely vegetarian, except for the few warriors who kill insects for food. Cicada season is the most common hunting season, and outside of it, grasshoppers are the most common game. Lightning Bugs are also eaten as delicacies by Royalty.


The rulers are referred to as "Grand Ruler (name)", in the case of the current rulers, they would be Grand Ruler Nasus (Nay-sus), and Grand Ruler Yraam (Yir-om).


Our story turns to Princen Etteloc (Et-al-lock) and their servant Ahtnamaas (Ath-nah-mahs). Their paths will soon intertwine in a way much further than servant and master- it will go so much further than that.

Edited by Darkstorm34

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Princen Etteloc sat in their room, staring into the center of a small pink rose with incredible intensity. They raised their small hand, waving it around the drooping petals, ever-so softly mumbling a spell.


Their room was made from a beautiful silver bird cage, found when they were still but a child. They had decorated the room for more privacy, tying silky multicolored fabric to the top which draped down on every side like an inverted circus tent, not that they had any concept of what a "circus" was.


Princen Etteloc had a sparse room, as they didn't believe in decadence, unlike their parents, the Grand Rulers. Etteloc just didn't see the value in decorating every inch of unused space with trinkets. The only furniture they needed was a bed (fashioned from an old pin cushion), a water basin, and a small garden, so that was all they had.


They stared more deeply into the pink rose, murky blue-green eyes coming alight as the stem began to straighten, as if taking a much-needed breath of fresh air. Etteloc had never come this close to full revival with a spell they had written themself, and they were unbelievably proud. They tried to control their emotions, not wanting to disrupt the magical bond they were maintaining with the vibrant flower, when they suddenly heard the metal door of their room popping open, totally breaking their concentration.


"Princen Ett'loc, Grand Ruler Nasus wants'a have'a word with'a." The Princen's dearest Aid Loraac relayed in a single breath.


"And what grand timing they have," Etteloc was tempted to reply. But they knew better than to go against anything one of the Grand Rulers wanted.


Loraac, bless their heart, went on without prompting. "Now I 'on't mean'ta spook ya, Etty, but people've been eibbing 'bout it all morn', and folks'is sayin' that y'ur gettin' a new serv'nt!"


Princen Etteloc smoothed the silky striped fabric of the dress they were wearing (one of their favorites, actually, with no sleeves and fabric that stopped with a lacy hem just below the knees) and finally looked away from their dear dying rose. "Why would the Grand Rulers do such a thing? Haven't we enough servants, Loraac? Besides, they never get me anything, much less an entire Faerie all to myself! I don't even get YOU to myself, I have to share you with my siblings, and my parents know that you're my absolute favorite aid in the canopastle!"


"Well, Mx Etty, I 'on't want'a seem like'a gossip or'such, but Faeries are eibbing that this new servant is maybe'haps from a diff'nt tree!" Loraac replied in a hushed tone, gushing with enthusiasm.


Etteloc couldn't help but smile. "We haven't done a tree transfer in years, Loraac. You can't listen to every silly rumour the cooks spread. I'm sure the new servant is just exceptional at makeup or sewing or something of the like. They're trying to clean me up, I'm sure you're aware. I believe they want to find me a suitor. That will be a REAL tree transfer. They're considering the Princen of Ebeohpp, I heard..."


The old aid approached Etteloc slowly, placing a ginger hand on their shoulder. "Y'sound so sull'n all of'a suddenly. Suitors 'an't be too'awful, can'ey?"


Etteloc shrugged the hand off, quickly putting on their perfect poker face. "I suppose you're right, Loraac. Don't worry about me." They even threw in a convincing smile. "They're waiting in the grand hall, I assume? Don't worry, I can find my way there on my own. Would you mind changing my sheets while you're in here? If you're not too busy, that is." The princen didn't even wait for a reply. "Thank you, Loraac! I'll see you later!"


Pushing a stray strand of unruly teal hair behind their air, Etteloc took off, shooting out of their birdcage room like a rocket. They had never been a very conventional flyer. The room shook slightly from their powerful takeoff, and they heard Loraac yelp a bit in surprise. This made Etteloc smile to themself.


They hovered in the air for a bit, enjoying the opportunity to stretch their wings, before making a beeline for the grand hall, a cardboard box held up by intertwined scarves tied to sturdy branches. It had taken months to construct, and even more months to decorate to the grand rulers liking.


Etteloc took the front entrance, deciding not to cause Nasus concern by coming in from the roof. Etteloc absorbed the familiar scenery of the grand hall, finding comfort in the multi-patterned "carpeting" and seashell thrones. Nasus sat in their customary throne, legs crossed, arms resting in their lap. They were dressed as extravagantly as ever, long velvet robes complimenting their crown, a twisted paperclip with a large sequin as the centerpiece.


A faerie kneeled at their feet, although at this distance Etteloc couldn't see much of them, apart from their wings, a rather unique pair, Etteloc noted.


"Etteloc, my outstanding little Princen!" Nasus boomed, their Grand Ruler voice sounding exceptionally grand. "We're so glad you've decided to join us. I would like to introduce you to your new servant! I thought you deserved one of your own, considering how hard you've been working in your lessons recently!"


Etteloc's brow furrowed. So you're just going to give me a servant, like they're an object? Fantastic. Exactly what I wanted... Etteloc thought to themself. They had always been a little bitter about their parents' subpar gift giving. They had wanted a sword, or maybe a new robe to celebrate their high marks, not a faerie.


The faerie in question stood from their kneeling position, turning to face Etteloc.


And the Princen's breath caught in their throat. "Who," They began in awe, "Are you?"

Edited by Fiskit

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The little fae blinked once. Their eyes were a glimmering blue, their hair a light, light lavender, almost white. Freckles dotted the little fae's face and body, adding little dots of color on the empty palette that was their skin. They were clothed in a white doll dress- obviously given to them by the Grand Rulers- and their semi-translucent wings were tinted a light violet- to match their hair.


When the faerie spoke, their voice was like the stars, lighting up the Princen's sky with a few simple words. "Ahtnamaas... My name is Ahtnamaas. Your new servant." They offered the Princen a small, shaky smile, their eyes boring into each other's.


They slightly bowed, though not so much the kneel of the position they were previously in, just a slight movement to reassure the Princen that they were the royalty, not the little cute fae in the light white dress who bowed before them. They spoke again. "Your parents did not tell me.. Your name, my Princen?"

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Etteloc just stood for a moment, completely mesmerized. My Princen? they thought to themself. They adjusted their posture, planting their feet in a wide stance and putting their hands on their hips. The gesture caused the bracelet on their wrist to catch the light.


It was the only casual jewelry they chose to wear, a bit of black string with pieces of glitter woven in, wrapped around their arm in a glove like fashion. The black in the string brought out the black stripes of the dress, and combined with the stance, the young servant had to admit that the Princen looked incredibly regal.


They extended their hand towards the servant, ignoring the bow, as they hated the customs that required such submissive actions from servants. They didn't have any real friends, and if they were getting a servant all to themself, they were determined to befriend them, at least. "I am Princen Etteloc, the eldest Princen in the family line. It is an pleasure to meet you, Ahtnamaas. If I may ask, where did you come from?"


Grand Ruler Nasus did not miss the lingering eye contact between the two, but hesitated to comment on it and embarrass the Princen in the presence of their own servant.

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The little servant stuttered for a few moments, seeming confused. "Oh! Oh y-yes." They answered quickly. "I am from the lower part of Lady Ardnaas' trunk, My Princen. I have been training as a servant my whole life." They bowed lower, seeming too nervous to take Etteloc's hand. That went against what they were trained to do. Bow lower! Never make complete eye contact! Let them know you are inferior, that they are your grand ruler, that you are but a leaf, and they a mighty tree! The training that had been ingrained into their head repeated itself, over and over.


Ahtnamaas dropped down into a position almost like they were crawling, their wings drooping. Paranoid thoughts ran through the Faerie's head, leaving her hands quivering, if only slightly. Oh, I hope they do like me... I'm d-doing my very best... Oh, what if I've done something wrong?

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What are they doing? Etteloc thought. Have I not made it clear that I want to shake hands?


The Princen dropped their hand, eyes widening ever so slightly, a realization bubbling to the surface of their mind. It must be because Nasus is watching.


Etteloc bowed their own quick bow to the Grand Ruler. "I would like to continue this conversation in my quarters, if your majesty would permit it."


Nasus looked conflicted for a moment. "I permit it," they finally replied, "But you must remember, Etteloc, Ahtnamaas is your new servant, not your friend."


Straightening their back with a grin on their face, the Princen turned to leave the grand hall. "Come, Ahtnamaas! Follow me to my chambers." They cleared their throat, attempting to seem less excited as they addressed the Grand Ruler directly. "Thank you for the present, Grand Ruler. Your generosity overflows."


Etteloc hovered out of the entrance ever so slightly, barely batting their brilliant blue-green tinted wings as they waited for the timid servant to follow them.

Edited by Fiskit

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Alarm bells rang in the head of the little fae, bringing fear and paranoia to their cautious mind. Alone? What if the Grand Rulers dislike me, and say it when I'm gone?- but they look so nice- what if they actually hate me? What if, what if, what if...


They stood paralyzed in place for the few moments as their mind was invaded by a barrage of intrusive, fearful thoughts. They stared at Etteloc for a long time, wings quivering slightly.


Then Ahtnamaas snapped out of their trance, blinking a couple times and then darting after Etteloc quickly.


"I apologize, my Princen!" They bowed their head. "I was lost in my thoughts! Please find it in your heart to forgive me."

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Etteloc returned simply a soft smile. "You have nothing to fear, Ahtnamaas. I'm known for being rather forgiving." Much to my parents' dismay, they declined to add.


The two flitted to Etteloc's chambers, Etteloc constantly having to watch their flying patterns as to not leave Ahtnamaas behind. The two didn't speak, but it seemed important to stay near each other. Etteloc wasn't even sure if Ahtnamaas had been familiarized with the canopastle's many rooms yet. It would be a shame if the Princen's personal servant was lost on their very first day on the job.


Etteloc found the door closed, so they came to the conclusion that Loraac had already left with the sheets. They couldn't help but smile to themself. Just the two of us.


They carefully jiggled the door open, propelling themself through the door with one arm and then gently landing on the cold silver floor. They asked themself, for the millionth time, why they wouldn't just ask their parents for a rug.


They turned to look at the faerie following close behind them. The servant's expression was hard to read. Impressed? Underwhelmed? Etteloc couldn't seem to figure it out.


When the servant's feet touched the ground, and both pairs of wings fell silent, Etteloc grinned once more and finally opened their mouth to speak. "Welcome to my room."

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"Oh...." Ahtnamaas' eyes brightened. "It is lovely, my Princen! It reminds me of one of the- ah, i forget the name of it- bird... birdcages! It looks exactly like one!"


The excited little servant did not seem to understand that the Princen's room was, in fact, an old birdcage. They looked around, wide-eyed, before jolting to a halt when they made eye contact with their superior.


"O-Oh, my Princen, I apologize!" They stooped down low, bowing. "I got carried away... Is there anything you need to have done? I could--"


They cut off as they looked back up at Etteloc once more, and spoke very quietly. "...oh, yes. We were having a conversation, weren't we?"

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Etteloc sat on their bed nonchalantly, crossing their legs. They allowed their delicate wings to droop behind them, showing just how relaxed they were. They already had the impression that the lovely little servant had been trained too harshly, and they were determined to make a friend. Please, Etty, a voice in their head insisted, don't mess this up.


They smiled warmly at Ahtnamaas once more. "We were. And I have a lot of things I want to know about you."


They paused here, realizing that they had been interrupted during their spell earlier and hadn't gotten to revive their rose yet. Etteloc stood and walked across the room, never turning their back on Ahtnamaas. They had read somewhere that a soothing voice nearby can actually help one do magic! Plus, this way, there was no threat of eye contact, which obviously made Ahtnamaas uncomfortable.


The Princen stood squarely in front of the rose, taking deep breaths. Once they felt prepared to start their spell, they reengaged Ahtnamaas in conversation. "Tell me about your training. What did they tell you that you're here for? As a general servant, or do you have a specific task?"


Right before Ahtnamaas opened their mouth to reply, Etteloc raised their hands in front of the rose, as if the rose was a fire and they were trying to get warm. Soft, foreign words drifted through their lips, seeming to coax the flower back to life. "Go on." They urged, making sure it was clear that Ahtnamaas replying would not break their concentration on the magical task at hand.

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Ahtnamaas seemed to calm a bit, keeping their eyes on the rose that they were slowly healing, beginning to smile slowly.


"I was trained at first like I was going to belong to the Grand Rulers. It was really strict, and they're kind of scary. Apparently, though... They must have decided they didn't need another servant. It was out of the blue... They told me that I would be a servant to one of the Princens, instead... And here I am now." They smiled.


"Like I said, I came from the lower part of Her trunk... My parents and I lived in an old, hollowed out hole. My sibling and I started training to be servants at a young age... But only I proved to be fit for the canopies.... But I miss them."

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Etteloc stared deep into the flower, seeming to coax water vapor from the air itself into the rose's stem, which was completely brown until moments before. They continued mumbling, eyebrow knitting in pure concentration.


The talking was helping. They were closer than they had been earlier with the same spell. It had previously taken them half an hour just to get this close, and then Loraac had barged in and ruined it (bless their heart).


Plus, they were interested in this story. Etteloc had never ventured lower than the lowest branches of the mother tree in their whole life. The princen lapsed concentration for only a moment to ask another question. "Tell me about your siblings."


Then they were back into the magic, feeling it wrap around their thin arms and project onto the rose. They waited patiently for Ahtnamaas to respond, using all their strength not to lose focus at this crucial moment.

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"My siblings..." Ahtnamaas murmured. "It's been a long time since I've seen them. There was Eirol, my older sibling, who became a priest.... And Hanavas, my younger sibling- The one who was going to become a servant, like me."


Ahtnamaas looked down at their hands. "Eirol was extremely good at magic. They almost did it on accident sometimes. It was so... cool. I wish I was taught how to do magic. I never learned.... I know that all faeries are supposed to be able to do it, but I don't know if I can."


The faerie changed the subject. "Hanavas became a forager. They were really good at it, too. One time, they even brought home a dress! It was so exciting!"


The faerie blinked. "You have siblings, right?"

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The Princen blinked, distracted, finally pulling their hands away from the pink rose. It stood upright, lushly colored, looking as alive as ever. Etteloc couldn't help but beam at their good work. It was their first complete revival based on a spell they had written all by themself. My tutor is going to be so incredibly proud, they thought to themself.


They turned towards Ahtnamaas, estatic that the servants story had helped them through the spell. Instead of embarrassing Ahtnamaas by lavishing praise on them for their assistance, Etteloc chose to answer the question. "I do have siblings, yes. Four of them."


Etty threw in a smile. "The grand rulers love eachother very much, and royal families are notoriously large in our tree, apparently. In other kingdoms it would seem that they only have one child, usually, to become the crown princen. Our tradition of having so many kids is a bit unorthodox. It's kind of fascinating, actually. Our system is one of the last of its kind, yet it works so well for us. You would think something that has been nearly wiped out would be weak, but our system leaves opportunity for Princens to be married into other kingdoms and for a different ruler if the eldest disgraces themself and--"


Etteloc paused. "My apologies, Ahtnamaas. I don't mean to bore you. Learning about other kingdoms is always fascinating to me, as I can't imagine living in any tree but Ardnaas. So I tend to pay extra attention to those lessons."


The Princen smiled. "My siblings are Toko, Peevat, Ureyich, and Quelthar. You'll probably be seeing them around the castle. Toko is the baby, only 6 years old. They have long blonde hair and they like to wear very long skirts. Peevat and Quelthar are twins, so don't be discouraged if you mix them up. They both have teal hair, like me, but a few shades darker. Quelthar is eternally moody, so you'll frequently see them in black. Peevat is the polar opposite, and loves white gowns, despite how difficult they are to fly in. And Ureyich is the oldest. They're... a bit scary, to be honest. They're not known to treat servants well, especially cute ones, so if you see a flash of green hair, steer clear."


Etteloc took a deep breath after finishing their rant and looked at Ahtnamaas expectantly. Light was slowly dimming outside, and it was likely to be dinner in a couple hours.

Edited by Fiskit

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Ahtnamaas blinked slowly. Especially cute ones.... Did they just... Imply that I was cute? Much to Etteloc's bemusement, the faerie turned red, stammering.


"I-I'm sure they're all wonderful, but.... So far, I prefer... You."


Quickly changing the subject, the faerie spoke quickly. "The day is nearing the night, my Princen- Do you prefer to have dinner on your own or with your parents? If not, I could get you some dinner- if so, what is it you like?" They stammered as they added- "M-My Princen."

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Etteloc grinned. They had made the "cute" comment offhandedly, not even thinking about it, but they were suddenly very glad they had said it.


"I prefer to eat alone," They told the servant, "But tonight I believe I'll dine with the family. I'm feeling very energized, and it would be good for you to witness a royal dinner. Plus, my other siblings always eat dinner with my parents, apart from Ureyich, so you can meet everyone! Toko will probably be all over you. They love to climb all over servants, literally. But it's alright. Once I tell them that you're mine, Toko will back off. Peevat and Quelthar should leave you alone as well, apart from a few... opening remarks, probably. So we should head towards the dining hall! The meal is already cooked, but I believe that because you are a servant you'll be helping serve the meal. You can ask Jescal about it. They're the head chef around here. Don't worry, I'll help you all I can!"


The Princen flitted towards the metal door, opening it with a loud creak. They put one foot out the door and the other on the edge, completely ready to go. But before they flew away, they extended a hand to the servant, something bright in their eyes. "Ready?"

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With a soft smile, the servant slowly reached towards the princen's hand, grasping it gently, then gazing into their eyes for a moment more.


Then they took off, hand in hand, flying towards the dining hall.


When the two reached their destination, they had to be split up, Ahtnamaas turning and heading towards the kitchen to find Jescal while the princen took their seat beside their parent, Yraam. "I assume you like your new servant? You both seem very close already." The grand ruler chose their words carefully, trying not to relay the sneaking suspicion that the pair had, and more importantly, trying not to embarass their kid, even though they are their parents.


Meanwhile, Ahtnamaas had entered the kitchen and was immediately greeted by Jescal, who began instructing them on what to do. "Now, do you hear me, dear? You are going to take the food out all at once. Your plate will always be for your princen, alright? Now, dear, after you have delivered, wait behind them to serve if they have any orders. When the bell rings, the next part of the meal is ready, and- Oh, I'm sure you already know this. You had to have had some training with serving food, dearie, so you will be fine.~" Jescal patted their head softly, then suddenly, everything began moving fast. A bell rang. A plate was thrust into their hands. A line of servants, all single file, marched out of the kitchen at a pace that was neither slow enough to be excruciatingly boring, nor fast enough for the faeries to suddenly fall, or lose a bit of food, or for something to go wrong.


Each fae placed the plate of food in front of the royal, noble, or high-ranking officer they served, then waiting behind them quietly. Ahtnamaas did the same, gazing at the back of Etteloc's head as they sat with their family.


Of course, things always were quiet and business-like in the beginning. Of course, once the faeries that weren't the members of the royal family got dismissed, things got interesting. There were many less faeries in the room, but much more noise. It seemed much more like a family dinner, with the serious, tense nature of the room having disappeared. Of course, even Grand Rulers have to spend fun time with their families occasionally. It was a happy thing heard by many few, and seen by many fewer. Ahtnamaas smiled the entire time.

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As the family dinner winded down, and the talk of Toko's new toys and Peevat's new books began to dwindle, attention turned to the new servant. It had been two months since the last new servant had entered the canopastle, and any new faces was always an excitement, especially for young Toko, who had basically seen the same faces all their young life. It was a strange discussion, because though they were speaking very directly about Ahtnamaas, they did it almost as if the servant was not in the room.


"I like the new servant very much." Toko commented, swinging their feet under the table and waiting patiently as a servant that was attending them cut their berry into pieces for them. "Can they come play with me later, pares?"


Grand Ruler Nasus and Grand Ruler Yraam shared a look, both silently gauging the best way to discuss with the child that the new servant did, in fact, belong to Etteloc alone. Luckily, or perhaps it was unluckily, Quelthar stepped in before either could speak.


"Sorry, Tokes. The newbie is property of Etty, non-negotiable."


Toko teared up immediately, ceasing to swing their feet. Peevat gave Quelthar a death look before adding their own explanation. "It's alright, Toko. It only means that this servant is supposed to stay with Etteloc all the time. When you get older, you'll get a personal servant too. And they'll play with you all the time! Alright?"


The Grand Rulers initially looked a bit put off at Peevat's promise of a personal servant when Toko grew, but they quickly forgot their worries when the child stopped crying just as quickly as they had started.


Before anyone else could speak, a tall, menacing figure with very long and ragged green hair and dark torn clothing floated in. They calmly took a place at the table to Etteloc's right.


"Evening." The new faerie said, looking around the table. "I decided to pop in for a bit, just to see this new servant everyone is talking about."


Speaking of servants, many of them suddenly looked very uncomfortable. Etteloc, on the other hand, just looked strongly annoyed.


"They're lovely, really. Handsome. Cute. Gorgeous, even." They continued.


Another emotion crossed Etteloc's face. Jealously? No. That would be ridiculous, right? "If you'll remember correctly," They began, "The 'new servant everyone is taling about' belongs to me. And I believe that pares told you to stay away from the servants."


The faerie to Etteloc's right looked cartoonishly offended. "What? Don't be silly! I don't mean it in that way. I was simply admiring their beauty. Am I not allowed to look at your servant? What... is it because you want them all to yourself...?"


Grand Ruler Nasus stepped in before things could go any further. "Ureyich!" They bellowed powerfully. "You are to leave your sibling alone. Do not suggest such vulgarities at a family dinner. Excuse yourself. Etteloc, you may take your servant and leave as well. Toko, Peevat, and Quelthar, you may all continue your meal. Toko, don't cry... Darling, it was only a minor disagreement, there is no need for tears..."


Etteloc did not wait to be told again. They stood from their seat immediately, staring down into Ureyich's amused eyes as they seethed "Thank you, Grand Ruler" and flitted out of the hall, not even turning to confirm that Ahtnamaas was following them.

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