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 Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee]

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Tsuneo
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Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee] Empty
PostSubject: Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee]   Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee] EmptyWed Feb 11, 2009 8:31 pm

Living in the palace in Batrino was certainly a blessing or a curse. It all depended on who you were. Or who you knew. Or both.

Hark Pageson was a person who was both. He was a someone, and he knew someones. Unfortunately he didn't have a good handle on either one of these aspects of his life and instead of wielding them to gain favor in the eyes of the king or to move up the complex system of intrigues and dramas that ran the royal court, he was controlled by them. He couldn't help who he was, and he couldn't help who he knew, not anymore. But he could help what he did with it. He just...didn't.

But today would be the day that it all changed.

He hoped.

Let's start with who he was. Hark Pageson was, as his name indicated, the son of a page. This was not the truth, but for the sake of the royal records it was. Hark had been brought as an orphan when he was only six and raised to become a trained page within the castle: an errand boy whose sole purpose in life was to deliver messages or objects to other people across the vast land. Of course, the telephone had been invented and was in its earliest stages but pages were a long way off from being displaced from the castle. After all, a page was trustworthy, reliable. And it displayed Bartona's power, that they could afford to keep a servant on hand for the simple relaying of information. Not that it mattered, Aldennia and the Principality were more than capable of having the exact same service, but if Bartona fell behind they would lose face.

Pages had another aspect to them, however. They were a stepping stone, a jumping off point to move into other branches of service, if you were smart enough or strong enough. Those with physical strength would hang around the guards, learn to fight with swords and guns and hope to get into the military or perhaps even the Bartonian Champion Brigade. Those with smarts and cunning could move up the political ladder by dealing with hte various ministers, advisers, Dukes, Barons, Counts, ladies, Sheriffs, Mayors and anyone else with the smallest amount of power. Pages who could not fight, listened. They were spies, employed by everyone within the castle to trick, counter-trick, and counter-counter-trick the nobles in their constant dance of secrecy and power.

Hark was not a fighter. He was fifteen, lanky for his age. He had clean blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes that some might have called attractive, but these were attributes wasted on a page. He wore his simple Bartonian page's uniform practically all of the time, mostly because he had nothing else to wear. He was clumsy, he was weak, and he often made a mess of every task he was sent to do. He had a way of speaking that irked people, irked them so much that he had difficulty keeping "patrons" or nobility that wanted to spy for him. In fact, he only had three patrons, and these three were not of particular interest or power, themselves outcast from the main throng.

This was strange.
Especially since Hark could read minds.

The true story of Hark's history was that he was, in fact, an orphan. But he was not found by the King's people right away and brought to live there was a page. He was adopted by a Diviner, an insane Diviner with thoughts of power and changing the world. Hark and all of the other children of his makeshift Divination Orphanage were experimented on with various magic seals. Some were powerful, giving them to ability to wield the elements. Others killed the children upon activation. One transformed it into a horrific monster that killed the entirety of a nearby village.

That was when Bartonian authorities got involved. They found the Diviner, arrested and eventually executed him, and dealt with the children. Those who had been altered with a seal were sent to the Principality to be studied by their own Diviners. The others were taken into protective custody, and eventually adopted or sent to work in the castle. Hark had been in that second group. Or so they thought.

In reality, a seal had been placed on his skull, underneath the skin out of visual range. Only another Diviner would ever know that seal was there. The seal was a transitional seal; it took the seals that were created when others thought and disassembled them into information and transmitted it directly into Hark's own mind. The ability was remarkable, never performed before, and was the evil Diviner's finest creation. It was a shame it remained unknown, and untrained. Should Hark ever discover the seal and learn to use it, he could have tremendous power...

Hark didn't know anything about his past. His earliest memories dated back to the castle life. All he knew was that he could read minds...not perfectly. Well, not all the time. There were a couple of limitations to his ability. The obvious one was distance. The farther away they were, up to about fifty feet or so, the less he could sense. At distance all he could pick up were impressions, emotions. No concrete thoughts, just a vague sense of what they were thinking about, much like reading body language. Closer up he could pick out the direct thoughts of a person; the images, sounds, memories they experienced. When he was young he had a hard time sorting these out; too many people made him sick as he was overwhelmed with the thoughts and emotions of so many others. Occasionally he would find himself looking for solitude, trading his duties for that of a scrubbing boy when he could, just to be away from people. But he had learned to control it, learned to let only one in at a time, or to block them out completely.

If he knew how to interact better, he could probably be king of Bartona, or at least rule from behind a puppet monarch. But as it was all he had as patrons was a pariah Mage, a dishonored Minister of Food, and a cousin of a nobleman. Not at all an impressive fold of people.

But at the moment, none of these things mattered to Hark. What did matter to him, was Merry Miri.

He was madly in love with the court jester.

She didn't know it, of course. She didn't know him, he was far too shy to say anything to her...ever. Even when it had been his job to deliver her a message he had always looked away, or hid his face or even got another page to do it. He couldn't deal with speaking. Every time she got within his mental range, he choked under the pressure of her mind. The jubiliance and energy that it took to be a jester washed over him so hard that it was hard to keep his mental barriers in place. He supposed that was part of the reason he was in love with her, to be so moved by another person was rare. But there were other things. She was stunningly beautiful, she was hilariously funny. He watched her performances every time he could, bartering bad jobs in order to get court attendance, sneaking looks while he delivered food. One time he even hid in a planter.

Hark sighed. He was taking a much needed break from his duties. Not that he got breaks, but he had managed to finish his task much faster than expected and was biding his time on returning. He sat in a hallway where many of the servants lived, his back against the door of some random room, his feet throbbing. New shoes were always a pain, but he went through them so quickly that the cobbler and Hark knew each other too well, even for fellow servants.

For a moment, he fantasized. Thought about a remarkable scenario where he finds out that he was actually the crown prince of Bartona, a long lost son that the king had for some reason not recognized over the years of living in his palace. He was exalted, given fine robes and jewelry and the power of half a nation. Then he would sweep down from the throne during the performance, and take Miri by the hand, and ask her to marry him. She would say yes, of course, and they would rule the northern province with kindness and benevolence...

It was his favorite fantasy. He thought of it so much that it was beginning to get real...he could almost feel Miri's presence-

Oh no! He could feel Miri's presence! He shot to his feet, sweeping his head back and forth in both directions of the hall. But no footsteps sounded...he lowered his mental barriers and began to focus his attention...where was she-

Oh. In the room. He was sitting in front of her room! Panic rushed into his chest and his legs tensed, ready to walk away...but...

...if he was on this side of the door, then he didn't have to talk to her. Then he could enjoy the waves of emotion and thoughts that she projected without having to actually interact with her. It was...risky, but...when else would he have this chance?

If he had thought about it, he would've realized he had that chance every time Miri was in her room. But, taking the chance that he had now, he slid back against the door, and rested dreamily, shutting his eyes, and letting her thoughts pour into his mind...

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PostSubject: Re: Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee]   Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee] EmptyThu Feb 12, 2009 6:56 am

The Jester's Uniform was hot. No, not in that way. Bartona was a cold place, but the people still did their bits to keep their homes warm. And the castle, especially the King's dining room with it's many blazing fires, was the warmest place in the whole region. And it wasn't exactly very ideal to be dancing around the dining room wearing a multicolored full body suit complete with a matching hat. But then again, it was Miriam's job. It was the thing keeping her from recieving the same treatment to all of the other members of the Spades.

As yet another busy day came to it's end, it was finally time for Miram to head off, the King dismissing her after his usual dose of magic, dancing, juggling, jokes and the works. As he turned away to begin his chatter with the said very important guests who sat around the table, Miriam left with a curtsy.

Curtsies.

Those things were generally reserved for the princesses and the like. Well, actually, it was something any female would do when they came to meet or depart on a higher ranking member of society, but it was one of those things that had always left Miriam just a wee bit confused. There had never been a female court jester in the history of this castle. Actually scratch that. Probably the history of ever. Making little princess gestures wasn't something the Court Jester did, she presumed. Sometimes the said very important guests would simply stare at her when she emerged to begin her performance and think to themselves something along the lines of "A female court jester? You think this is one of those men who dress up as women for the sake of amusement?". Or something like that. Nobody really took her seriously here.

But she was the Court Jester. Nobody was supposed to take her seriously.

As she moved through the halls, feeling herself cool down somewhat, she passed by the young children who knew far too little history or society to question what a sixteen year old girl who should be spending her time getting married and making babies was doing dressed up as a clan. Instead of questions, smiles came to those little mouths are they watched eyed her hopefully. The kids seemed to love her. In the midst of the castle, there was very little fun. Either you were a child of the high society, wishing you were anything but, what with the constant tutoring and expectations - or you were somebody of the lower classes, who found all happiness shielded away by the desire to be one of the "better off". Everybody else in this castle seemed to be exactly that; A servant, or somebody who ordered the servants around.

In such a world where life was no fair, it helped to have a clown around to make you laugh.

Miriam swept quickly past the kids, sending them into a realm of dissapointed as they found that their idol had no time to spare with them. She turned a corner, leaving the warmth of fires and now beginning to feel the cold, even through her uniform, and finally came to her room. Pushing the door open, she found herself gazing into a somewhat handsome chamber. It was definitely better the servants quarters, lower than the royals'. Somewhere in comparison with the fighters. Miriam didn't exactly know where she fit in the scale of things.

In a packet of cards you got your lesser cards; the ones with the numbers on them. Insignificant. If your hand was full of those cards, you'd might as well just discard it. And then you had the court cards; Jack, Queen, King, Ace. Important cards. If you had one of these, you stood a chance. If your hand was full of them, then you basically had the game in the bag, right? But the deck still held another card. The Joker. The Wild Card. That was exactly what Miriam. The Wildcard. She could be high, she could be low. The King and his guests would applaud for her, so that had to mean she was somewhat high, but she was a clown, so she was never given any sort of title.

"Merry" didn't count.

Well, it was pretty safe to bet that the King would not call her back. He seemed pretty finite about his dismissal. That meant Miriam was free to wash off the facepaint and call it a day. Walking straight up to it, Miriam found that the bowl of water she had left on her dressing table had gone cold, but no matter. After she washed her face, she could just crawl into bed. She watched as the water trickled down her face, clearing the mask of white and blue paint that seemed to reveal each and every crease on her face. With each rinse, the temperature of the water became less and less evident, until quite simply, the paint was all gone. Taking off her hat for the day, Miriam set it down beside the bowl of what was now murky white water, and moved to get changed. So many little things she still had to do. And with the tempting onset of sleep so near, it all seemed so tedious.

Believe it or not, when she took off the make-up, the costume and hat, Miriam looked like any other normal girl. She had a good figure for her age, mostly coming from the training she had recieved at the circus and fair skin. She was pretty normal too. Had she not been the Court Jester at the castle, then she would probably be marrying off and making babies a right about now too. Well, maybe not, considering exactly what she was. "Witches" they had called all the people of the circus before they had singled her out. She didn't know if now, after all of these years, they still thought she was a witch or not, but they had thought that all of those people who were at that circus were witches at the times. That was why they had attempted to burn the place the down. That was why they had kidnapped her and all. Simply because of the use of magic, which had been branded as witchcraft.

Miriam didn't exactly know if she thought herself a witch or not, but she certainly did know how to use magic. Not the kind of dark magic that had earned the circus it's infamous name, but certainly magic. Simple stuff, fire and summonings. The things that most had simply thought to be tricks to the eye, but was indeed magic. The reason the circus was so succesful in it's time was the thing that set it apart from all others; real magic.

But there was no more real magic as far as Miriam went anymore. The skills had gone stale from the lack of use over the years. Nowadays, Miriam simply performed the usual tricks; juggling and card tricks. Things that didn't require witchcraft. Sometimes she thought about it, what would the crowds think if she used her real magic in front of them? Would they be impressed? Well, if they didn't know it was real magic then they probably would be. But if they did know what it was, then they'd be either jealous or disaproving or both. Or would they be appreciative? Magic use had pretty much died out now, but back in the day, Miriam had heard that the wielders of magic had been used to fight in armies. Would they allow her to do that? What would it be like, fighting for one's country?

All questions Miriam knew would never be answered. Why? Because she was a girl. Girls never served their countries. They never did anything. Except make get married and make babies. And she wasn't just a girl. She was a clown. Female Clown? Future? The two of them didn't exactly go too well together. But at least this was better than getting burned at the stake. Get up, get dressed, perform, and go to bed. And the little tedious things go in between. That was the life of the Court Jester. That was just the life for her. Right? Routined, but safe.

Before going to sleep, getting changed was second to last of the things that made up Miriam's routine. Well, usually second to last. Getting interrupted was something she expected. She heard the sound of movement outside her door, but in her shuffling as she pulled her costume top off, she didn't quite catch whether there had been a knock or not. Only one way to find out.

"Someone there?"

Even if there was someone, Miriam just expected it to be a maid, nobody else ever called. That's why she decided to do something as stupid as call to the door while she was half dressed.

Silly clown.
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PostSubject: Re: Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee]   Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee] EmptyThu Feb 12, 2009 12:30 pm

Mage Class 3 Cerdic Wilkinson, one of Hark's patrons, had never heard of mind reading or "telepathy" before, but he said occasionally people were born with abilities that couldn't be explained. That was how the first Diviners started, learning to take apart what nature had put together. As far as he knew, Hark was the only person in the world that could do what he could do.

Which left him with a lot of questions.

For example, was what he was doing now sort of...an invasion of privacy? He was pulling out thoughts and impressions of a girl that didn't know he was doing it, much less that he was there at all. Of course, she would never know he was doing it, but that wouldn't necessarily excuse it. He could peek into a woman's room while she was changing and even if she didn't know it would still be wrong. But there were no rules for what he could do, no ethics. So he had to make them up as he went along.

There was also a question of how to use it, how to interpret it. It had taken him years to learn to filter the thoughts of many but outside of that, could he go further? Could he pull out memories and thoughts of a person when they weren't thinking them? Could he make them think something? Too many things he didn't understand about himself.

The only reason he was thinking these things at all was because Miri's thoughts were confusing. They were a series of half-formulated words and sentences mixed in with nuances of emotion, like thoughts usually were. But she was so different from the Miri that usually caused his barriers to collapse. She wasn't the jubilant, bright point of sunshine in a mental landscape of cloaked intentions and hidden agendas anymore.

She was tired. Tired and...sad. Frustrated, maybe was the better word, frustrated with the tedious life she lived. He could feel herself struggling with those thoughts, trying to convince herself of one thing while feeling another. The mind and the heart were always in constant warfare, Hark knew that best of all; wanting to do something but lacking the willpower to do it.

Then she thought about...magic. Strange, she seemed...like she was hiding something, that by thinking of it she was peeking at a secret. The fact that she knew magic wouldn't surprise him, practically everyone used pre-made seals and could form a few of their own. Even Hark had learned a handful from Cerdic, though admittedly none particularly useful. But the power she thought about seemed to be...bigger. Something more sinister.

Her mind was drifting quieter now. It was late, and the methodical background thoughts of her bedtime preparations had been peppering through the rest of her mind as he listened to it. He would go in a minute. Reading dreams could be a frightening experience. Besides, Hark was already late for his final check in before he himself turned in for the evening. He slipped out the simple iron pocketwatch that all the pages carried, and glanced at the time. He was never late for anything, once wouldn't be too-

Her mind jolted with confusion and curiosity with such suddenness it actually caused Hark to jump up from his reclined position.

"Someone there?"

Oh no! What happened? Why was she thinking so strongly that he could hear that thought so-...no, she hadn't thought it, she had said it!

He leapt to his feet in a panic, wanting to run away as fast as possible. But if he did that, she might see him running away and cause suspicion, perhaps accusations that he had been peeping! No he had to stand his ground, had to figure out another way-

"Uh, I'm sorry to disturb you miss but...I have a message!" Ah, good, a message! A...message!? What message! Now what are you going to say, idiot?

"But if you're busy I can...bring it...later. When you're not...busy." He grimaced at his own clumsy words. Why couldn't he be more eloquent? He frantically reached out with his ears and mind, trying to figure out what she was thinking, wondering if his ruse would work.

Even though he should've been thinking up a message...

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PostSubject: Re: Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee]   Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee] EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 9:31 pm

"Uh, I'm sorry to disturb you miss but...I have a message!"

What. A male voice? If it wasn't a maid that called, it was usually another woman. Perhaps one of the few friends she had in palace. Or another woman living around here; this wing of the corridors generally had chambers for the castle's female residents. But this was a guy that was calling her. And it wasn't any guy she knew either. It was a voice she had never heard before. Somewhat immature sounding, but definitely older than her average little fanboy. Hmm... who were they, and what were they after?

"But if you're busy I can...bring it...later. When you're not...busy."

What was this?

Hmm. It wasn't often that she got the luxury of choosing the time of recieving her messages. Actually, it wasn't often that she got the luxury of getting visitors, even if they were just delivering messages.

"Oh, I'm not busy, come in,"
Miriam called out, slipping her shirt over her arms and smiling, waiting for the person on the other side to enter. Well, this sure was going to be interesting; and come whatever of it.

[blah short, but I dunno what to write ;__;]
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PostSubject: Re: Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee]   Only fools fall in love with the fool [Klee] EmptySat Feb 28, 2009 5:11 am

[No worries~]

"Oh, I'm not busy, come in."

Yes!
...no, wait! NO! No no no!

Hark snarled at himself, balling his fists and looking around frantically. But he couldn't back out now, could he? Still, he was worried. The emotions in her mind had mostly been confusion...but not just about the sudden visitor, a sense of something out of place...-oh shoot! He wasn't even supposed to be in the women's quarters! People usually sent messages via maids to the female quarters, not through mlae pages! Blast blast blast, he was such an idiot!

Ack, not now! He had to deal with the situation at hand. He quickly smoothed out his jacket, closed a few buttons he had loosened at the end of his shift, then cleared his throat, straightening up. He just...had to deliver a message. A message that didn't exist but...he could figure out a way around this, right?

...right?

Hark opened the door and shut it gently behind him, looking at Miri. He felt his heart begin to pick up in pace as he looked upon the graceful, athletic lines of her body. He had always found the girl to be beautiful in her bright costume and painted face, but now costumed in only her natural loveliness Hark found her even more stunning.

He cleared his throat, realizing he was staring.

"Sorry to intrude, miss, but I uh...have...instructions..." Hark began tentatively reaching for his pockets. Automatically, he grasped out a small scroll of paper and a fountain pen that he kept with him in order to take notes or write down messages...he wasn't sure why, there wasn't anything written on it. "It'll just be a moment."

He moved over to a small table in the room and spread the parchment out, then took the pen and pressed the tip to the surface. His mind was totally blank...he had to write something...anything! What could he do to make himself not look like a total idiot? If the message was from someone important, like an order, she might actually do it! And then what would happen when she found out that no such order was given? No no, it had to be some other sort of message...a complaint? A compliment? Either might cause her embarrassment: if it was a complaint, she might try too hard to entertain someone. If a compliment, she might think she had favor with someone she didn't...

Was he overthinking this?
He tried to reach out with his mind, but all he got from her was confusion and anticipation. Nothing useful there...

Suddenly he had an idea.

Instead of words, the pen began darting in swooping curves and piercing angles, creating a magic seal on its surface. Satisfied with its construction, Hark slipped the pen away, then took the paper in his hand, holding it face up on his palm. Ceremoniously, he turned to Miri and smiled at her.

"First I was instructed to present you with this." He unlocked a line of spiritual energy from within his body, letting it flow into his palm and into the seal. The seal began to shimmer blue as its magic effects began to take place. Suddenly, the paper jerked and jolted, moving with a mind of its own. It began to twist and crumple until it was a narrow line balancing precariously on Hark's palm.

Then, it bloomed.

Hark extended the paper flower towards her. "From an admirer, miss."

His head was slightly bowed and his eyes pointed at the floor as he was instructed to do when delivering a message, however his mind was completely open now, listening for the thoughts and feelings of Merry Miri, wondering how she would respond to the surprise gift.

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