((It's been a long time since I'd last posted an "origin" story with Amara's Tale, and the following has been another work I'd previously written and enjoy going back to every now and then. :) Bear in mind, this story takes place nearly ten years prior to the "present era" in which we all commonly RP. The Declain Steele of "today" is a far different man when compared to the younger version of himself that you'll meet in the context of this story.
As such, I'd wanted to post this story many times before today. Part of me always hesitated though, because while he's not been retconned or modified in any way from this origin story to the honorable, rugged and driven "noir" detective you've all come to know today, I was concerned that he might've come off as way too different.
I'll hesitate no longer. :)
In addition to getting an in-depth view of the young man who later becomes Detective First Class Declain Steele, you'll also become mildly acquainted with most of his family - Clan Steele - who make up the character base of the three years' (and more) worth of private RP and personal lore that my RP partner and I had built from the ground up and cultivated in all of that time on Earthen Ring. :) In addition, names of family members and their direct relationships to Declain in the family line are outlined in his character sheet, should anyone feel so inclined. :)
Clan Steele is the basis of one of the main storylines I've been personally working on, and their exploits will likely be the first in a planned series of novels that I will (hopefully, one day) have the pleasure to finish writing and, more so share with all of you and, perhaps the world. :D
And so, without further ado...
**OBLIGATORY LITERARY DISCLAIMER**
The following story contains Mature Language and Content, Adult/Dark Themes, Strong Sexual Situations and Highly Explicit Content.
The faint sound of repeated knocking upon a heavy wooden door began thudding and echoing amid a comfortable darkness. The knocking grew louder and more profound while the darkness slowly withdrew, giving way to a bright light as the young man's eyes opened. He rolled over and raised a hand swiftly to shield his eyes from the sun's vibrant rays peering through his window, then began grumbling incoherently in response, first to himself, then as a reaction to the incessant knocking. "Declain...?" a soft, melodious and deeply maternal voice called into the door, "Declain, sweetheart, why aren't you answering your door? Are you decent...?" He recognized his mother's voice, that of Lady Alaisynn Steele, as his brain slowly awakened. It was quite frequently in recent months that she'd come to his door like this and he decidedly figured it was time for breakfast. Or lunch, depending on how long he must've been sleeping.
The young man sat up slowly in his plush and rather enormous bed, lazily rubbing his hands over his eyes, then brushed a hand fully through his long, raven black hair. He stretched and yawned as the knocking ceased for at least the moment, grateful for the chance to shake the proverbial cobwebs from his mind in silence. Young Declain Steele swung his legs around to the edge of the bed and glanced incredulously at an unusual sight on his bedroom floor. He sat there for several more moments, staring blankly at a large silver platter with a small collection of emptied plates, mostly cleaned utensils and three ornate gold-plated chalices. Strewn about the floor beside the platter were seven large empty bottles of wine that he didn't recall drinking.
No sooner did he begin to slowly piece together the events of his previous night's activities, than he suddenly heard the soft groaning of a young woman behind him. Declain's eyes widened as he suddenly remembered a hell of a lot more, gritting his teeth as he hung his head in his hands and sighed. A youthful and robust draenei girl unfurled the blankets she'd been entwined in moments ago and sat up behind Declain, curling her arms slowly around him from behind. Her fingers spread wide open as she caressed up and down his naked chest like it were some prized antique. "Mmmm," she muttered while sighing happily and nuzzling her cheek against his neck, "Quite a night ve had last night, eh, m'lord?" Declain urged his foot forth, his toes softly nudging one of the empty wine bottles as it clattered quietly across the floor. "Shit..." he grumbled, "Vhaelindraa, how did we drink seven bottles of my mother's prized dewberry wine all by ourselves? All I remember is that you came by to bring me my supper, and then, well..." Declain slightly blushed as his voice trailed off, eyes slowly closing at the wonderful sensation of her hands upon him.
The draenei maiden giggled softly and crawled beside him at the edge of the bed, craning her neck aside as she remained on all fours, airily kissing the well-toned surface of his chest and abdomen. "Don't vorry about the mess, m'lord. I vill take care of it. It's part of my job, after all, no?" Declain watched her with a small smile, shaking his head silently with an expression of mild and continued disbelief at having bedded such an exotic and radiant young woman. "Besides," Vhaelindraa continued, with a clever smirk, "Ve didn't drink that vine all by ourselves. Did ve, Rhoswyn...?" Vhae hopped out of the bed, her hooves making a delicate 'clacking' sound as they touched the bedroom floor, then she giggled once again, leaning over and snatching a blanket from the bed to reveal a tall, lithe and very naked young Kaldorei woman slowly rousing from slumber.
Declain's gaze widened suddenly and he shot up immediately from the bed at hearing this. "Rhoswyn?! Oh fuck, we're all in so much trouble if..." Vhae laughed some more and began dutifully tidying up Declain's room, somehow forgetting to put her maid uniform back on just yet. Rhoswyn remained laying on her side for a few moments, grinning up at Declain as he fussed about. She winked at him and blew a soft kiss his way, then sat up and began rolling her neck and shoulders, feeling her joints popping and cracking, much to her delight. "Well, good morning to you too, Declain. Or is it afternoon...?" Rhoswyn squinted her eyes slightly as she glanced at the sunlight peeking inside the bedroom window. "Afternoon," she grumbled with an assured certainty, then smirked up into Declain's eyes. "You're likely in trouble again, young man! Did your mother already come knocking, looking for you? She'll most likely be back, you know."
Declain winced and nodded his head slightly, glancing around hastily for wherever Rhoswyn's clothes were thrown in the midst of their previous night's lascivious romp. "Which is why the two of you need to get dressed and get to your duties as usual! She already came knocking once that I know of. Woke me up, actually. And hey, don't scold me like that, Rhos. She's your mentor, just as much as she's my mother. Your shan'do, you horny slut." He clicked his tongue and grinned playfully at her with mock disapproval, then continued. "I'm sure there's gotta be something in the ancient Druid rulebooks that say that's a no-no." Declain insistently tossed Rhoswyn's clothes onto the bed and began gathering Vhae's immediately after. "You too, Vhae. Come on, at least get dressed, would ya? You'd at least be a little less conspicuous if you're found cleaning in here, with all of your clothes on might I add, should my mother return soon. While I'm sure my brothers and uncles, and probably even my father, would enjoy watching you clean the rest of the Keep with your tits and ass hanging out, I'm sure Kaevinna would likely take it as a grave offense to her mentorship."
Vhae grinned up at him from the floor, bent to her knees and gathering the empty wine bottles into a trash bag, still naked as the day she was born. "Vell vell, Declain! I'm sure Lady Alaisynn and Mistress Kaevinna also didn't choose to mentor us for our villingness to attend you as personal servants and fuck you like wanton whores, either! Yet, ve dutifully do both vhen the mood strikes, no?" Declain narrowed his eyes, scowling a bit, although hardly taking her smart-assed words personally. She was right, after all, and it wasn't like he hadn't been enjoying their company immensely each time these clandestine little trysts occurred. On many mornings after, Declain often laid awake in his bed and wondered how he'd managed to be so lucky; all his life he'd been told of "the Steele charm" that the members of his family all possessed but this was beyond anything he'd ever imagined!
Rhoswyn leaned back a bit, fully unashamed of her nudity, and slowly slid her panties up past her long, shapely legs and up to her waist. She snickered at Vhae's rather blunt retort then stood from the bed to stretch a little before making her way toward Declain. Rhos leaned her head upon his shoulder and teased a delicate hand along his chest, sighing with an air of luxuriated delight. "We're just picking on you Declain," Rhoswyn said with a gentle sigh. "This is all just for fun, is it not? You're just so vital and full of vibrant enthusiasm. A quality that can be rare among the kaldorei, especially as they age."
She paused a moment to lick at his earlobe and suckle softly at it, her eyes studying Vhae as she resumed her ordinary cleaning duties, still in all her naked glory. "Think of the great Warden, Ysgareth Ravenoak, for instance. He's as exceedingly handsome and alluring a man as I've seen among my people, particularly for a Druid, but..." Rhoswyn grinned and pressed her hand to Declain's cheek, turning his face to hers. "...He's just so stoic and serious all of the time! It's... somewhat boring, don't you think? How do you think that might translate to the bedroom, hmm? On the other hand, he did manage to take a true wildsaber like Asherenne Darkwhysper as his devoted wife, so maybe there's a lot more to him after all. Okay, bad example, maybe." Rhoswyn grinned into Declain's shimmering emerald eyes and leaned in slowly, pressing a series of soft kisses to his lips. "But, sure, as a kaldorei druidess, I've always greatly admired Shan'do Ravenoak for his power and mysticism as such an accomplished Druid and Warden of our sect. We all do. Even your mother does I'm sure, despite being his surrogate daughter for most of her life. Or so I've heard, concerning that last part. He's quite a legend among our brethren. If he weren't married to his equally legendary life mate, I don't doubt that he'd do quite well for himself among our mating frolics through the Moonglade. His reputation alone makes him quite the desirable sire, even if his age and demeanor might or might not, in fact, inhibit his... creativity." Declain furrowed his brow skeptically as Rhoswyn spoke, crossing his arms plaintively across his chest. "Well, he's practically my grandfather, you know." he sharply retorted. "He dwells both within and outside of this Keep most of the time, very accessible and conveniently nearby. So maybe you oughta go warm Shan'do Ravenoak's bed one night and find out the truth of your musings, just to be certain. See if you find my mother so willing to protect you then, while my grandmother cleanly removes your head from your shoulders in retaliation!"
Rhoswyn unfolded Declain's arms with mild effort and pulled him into a tight embrace, her ample and bared bosom pressed against his own naked chest, smiling adoringly into his eyes as she softly laughed. "You're getting angry and jealous, m'lord. That's not how I meant it. It's your bed that I warmed last night, was it not? It's you that I choose for my pleasures Declain, you that I explore Nature's most intimate and intended purposes with. Sure, I'm merely an apprentice herbalist and alchemist. Also, an adept druidess who was lucky enough to be chosen by such a wise and powerful Shan'do as your mother. But I'm also a woman. Simply and plainly, a woman. A woman with needs and appetites. Desires. And you, m'lord, fulfill them quite admirably." She cupped Declain's face preciously with both hands and began to kiss him before sending one of her hands to slide down his abdomen and beneath his underwear.
Vhaelindraa watched as this scene unfolded, licking her lips softly. Her eyes shifted to a light, ethereal azure hue as she remained on her knees, but halted her cleaning and began crawling over to the two of them. "Draenei men can be vay too serious for my tastes as vell," Vhae muttered lowly amid her sudden distraction. "Most are so pious in the Light, and their strong righteousness can be stifling to the lusts and desires a young voman can sometimes feel. I believe that vhat Rhoswyn is trying to say is, ve deeply appreciate your inner strengths, your vitality and the... sheer potential that such qualities provide!" She grinned then, sighing in a deeply sultry manner as she stopped beside Declain and Rhosywn's legs, one hand stroking smoothly over her breasts while the other went between her legs.
Declain hesitated suddenly, despite his body's apparent lack of reluctance, glancing between Rhoswyn in front of him and Vhaelindraa at his side. "D-Don't you two have duties to see to...? As it is, I need to get dressed and attend my mother at court... I should go... You both should go... I... Hmm." His resolve to resist their collective charms died in his mouth before it could escape. Rhoswyn tugged Declain's hardened manhood from his underwear and began stroking it's full length, moaning against his lips as she kissed him deep and hard. Her voice was a light, seductive whisper as she playfully pouted her lips into a feigned frown. "...Just a little more playtime, m'lord? Ravish our bodies once more to start the day off right, hmm? I'm a druidess after all, Declain. This virile pulse of life inside you excites me so. You must share it. I can't help myself! Nature demands our coupling!"
Rhoswyn jerked his hardened shaft a little more until Vhae leaned in close and wrapped her own fingers around it, ultimately parting her lips and swirling her tongue deftly over the swollen head of his manhood before finally sucking it into her mouth. Declain groaned lowly as Vhae began bobbing her head more vigorously, one of his hands instinctively threading through her wild tresses and over the curvature of her horns. "W-We shouldn't..." Declain stammered lowly, though he made no further move to stop the situation. His mouth was quickly sealed by Rhoswyn's again, followed by her slow descent down his body as she peppered every last inch of his flesh with her luscious kisses. Before long, she'd joined Vhae upon her knees in front of Declain and they began sharing his bulging, glorious manhood in brief but incredibly sensuous turns.
He couldn't take it much longer after such intense stimulation. Declain pulled Rhoswyn to her feet then turned her around and tossed her against the bed. Without further word or warning, he tugged her panties down and grabbed her breasts from behind then slid the full length of his cock deep inside of her in a single thrust. Declain grunted and moaned lowly as his body crashed hard against Rhoswyn's, his hips smacking relentlessly against her ass with each powerful thrust. Vhaelindraa watched him pound Rhoswyn so deliciously with such a sensual intrigue in her eyes. She swiftly climbed back onto Declain's bed for a better vantage, leaning forward to kiss Rhoswyn while she was being ravaged from behind. Vhae's hands roamed the beautiful kaldorei's body before moving to her own breasts and moist slit while eagerly awaiting her imminent turn with Declain's powerful manhood.
That familiar, motherly voice once again called from the other side of the door in the midst of their wild, passionate fucking. "Alright, Declain, sweetheart. I think you've gotten more than enough rest, it's time to get up and make something of the day!" The heavy wooden door of Declain's bedroom suddenly swung open, as Lady Alaisynn Steele pushed through it and stepped inside the room with strong, urgent purpose. The shrill, deeply horrified wail that followed made it quite evident that Laisey wasn't at all prepared for the sight that followed her boldly opening that door without invitation. A couple of nearby Keep Guardsmen rushed to the hallway of the residential wing in response to the Lady's sharp cry of alarm, standing at the ready to defend their lady liege. Alaisynn shot the men a quick glance with her captivating verdant gaze and hastily waved them away. A keen blush tinted her otherwise breathtaking visage a light crimson and Alaisynn was forced to take a few moments to compose herself.
Vhaelindraa leaped to her hooves and grabbed a nearby blanket, covering herself swiftly as she stumbled about and made a futile grab at her maid's attire, all bundled up in her free hand. Declain and Rhoswyn remained frozen in place at first, their bodies nearly a deep scarlet hue from head to toe with a sheer embarrassed blush. Slowly, Rhoswyn moved from Declain, his manhood still slick with her juices and raging hard, then bowed her head in shamed and sorrowful apology before her Shan'do and knelt down to retrieve her clothing from the floor. Alaisynn crossed her arms and averted her gaze long enough for the trio to barely cover their shame, then narrowed her eyes as her voice descended to a deeper, more foreboding tone than either woman had ever heard before. Even Declain had only heard his mother embroiled in such an anger once, maybe twice, before in his entire life.
"...Ungrateful whores, both of you." Alaisynn growled through bared teeth, bringing a chaotic flare into her narrowed emerald eyes and fixing them hard upon the two young women. "I'm gracious enough to invite you into my home. The Keep that I share with my husband, the Highlord, and our family. You, Rhoswyn, I allow to earn your keep in exchange for being your Shan'do. I feed you and clothe you, provide you a reasonable wage, shelter and access to both my vast personal gardens and alchemical laboratory for research. Is this how you conduct yourself as repayment? Is it...?" Rhoswyn couldn't bear to raise her eyes to meet with Alaisynn's. She shook her head silently as emotion began to clutch at the back of her throat, knowing full well the gravity of the consequences to her actions.
"And you," Lady Alaisynn continued, this time pointing at Vhaelindraa for a brief second. "I will inform your Mistress of your conduct. I'm certain that she will deal with you urgently and as she sees fit. Though this is my House, Kaevinna is one of my closest friends and most trusted advisors and, alongside Elder Valandaar, premier among some of the greatest shamans I have ever known. Should she choose to dismiss you Vhaelindraa, you should know that this was quite the opportunity that you've squandered." Vhae also had no words of explanation for Lady Alaisynn Steele, sharing in the deep sorrow and shame that Rhoswyn was also feeling in those moments.
Alaisynn was like a fierce cat with her prey hopelessly cornered, just as swiftly bringing her gaze to bear upon Declain, her expression and tone of voice seeming a bit lighter suddenly. "Regardless of the outcome of this mess, I don't want either of you... 'ladies'... to think that my son Declain is without blame or consequence. I'm certain that he is just as equally to blame. He is his father's son, after all. But he is our son. The two of you, however, if not our disciples, are nothing else to me or our family befitting this show of disrespect." She allowed herself a small smile for the briefest of moments as she regarded Declain, despite her increasingly venomous tone toward the two young women. She'd looked upon her youngest son with the everlasting admiration of a devoted, loving mother, though it was clear she was still quite disappointed and cross with him.
"Rest assured, Declain Elijah Sebastien Steele, you will have your own penance to pay and pay it, you will! I'm very disappointed in you. I understand that you have urges, and normally, such intimacy is a beautiful, natural thing in my eyes. Particularly because I am a druidess. But there are far better uses of your time these days than languishing in bed all day, half-hung over and naked, and consorting with young ladies. Young ladies, who are equally lacking in the expected duties of their own right now! Nevertheless, my son, this is hardly your only shortcoming of late, and family concerns are for neither Rhoswyn nor Vhaelindraa's ears..." Her eyes shifted from Declain to the two young women, the corners of her lips curled into a displeased grimace as she turned aside in the doorway. "...Now! Gather your things, both of you, and get the fuck out of my sight. You have duties to attend. Go see to them! And with all due diligence! I will summon you both to the Grand Hall after your fates have been decided, and not a moment sooner."
Declain swallowed hard, watching as Rhoswyn and Vhae hung their heads and silently made their way out of his bedroom, this time fully dressed and mildly presentable. He watched as Alaisynn's eyes remained fixated on both women, staring them down with such primal intensity. Declain also realized that it was extremely rare that his mother ever used the word "fuck", but if she did, she was truly angered and in deep distress. Or she was having a particularly intense and torrid night with her husband, Declain's father, in the relative privacy of their bedchambers. Bedchambers which had painfully thin walls for some reason, much to Declain's equal fascination and chagrin while growing up.
Declain knew this was going to be bad, though. Alaisynn rested her hand on the doorknob of his bedroom door, chewing her bottom lip sadly as she merely watched him silently for a few moments longer. "I will be sitting court for the remainder of the day in your father's stead, Declain. I already asked him earlier to speak frankly with you after I'd knocked on your door the first time with no answer, and you'd better believe that I'll be bringing this... this... depravity, to his attention as well."
Declain shook his head and furrowed his brow. "Depravity?!" he angrily inquired, "What depravity, Mom? I was having sex with two beautiful women! Something that you've told me so many times is 'the purest expression of the most beautiful parts of Nature'! You and Dad have sex all the fucking time, do you think I care about that? Xander fucks his wife almost every single night! Papa Bear and Gramma Ashe do it fairly often too, I'm sure. Lethie... heh, she's probably got all sorts of crazy magickal sex toys that she brings home from Dalaran! You think I don't hear her moaning at night sometimes, when she's here for one of her routine family visits? Same with Lillypad! Quite the set of lungs on her too by the way, despite how quiet she tries to be about it! Same with my cousins, same with everyone! Ecstatic screams, a lot of intense and seemingly enjoyable sex going on under this roof and do I judge anyone?! No! Everyone's doing their own thing in this family for as long as I can remember. I find a couple of women to have a little fun with myself, and suddenly it's depravity? Depravity?! Bullshit, is what this is!" Alaisynn sighed sadly as she looked upon him amid his vehement outburst. She detested having to be so heavy handed with him, but he was giving her no other choice. She'd spoken urgently with Draike so many times about what they could do to bring their youngest son around to finding his true path. Alaisynn wanted so badly for Declain to wake up one day and begin taking charge of his legacy as a Steele man, but it didn't seem to be happening on his own.
Declain was 'her baby' though, and given both his words and the circumstances, she began to wonder if being maternally overprotective in the heat of the moment was more the culprit than his own wrongdoing. Still, she now worried that his sexual innocence was stolen from him by two outsiders, whom Clan Steele had welcomed into their home and lives for an entirely different purpose than that. Though on the other hand, she remembered well her own younger years with her beloved Draike, and how charming and dashing he could be. He still was, although their lives were far different now. They didn't bear the worries and concerns then that they did now, as the Highlord and Lady of the independent nation of Steelhaven. The weight of their responsibilities precluded youthful, carefree frivolity. Despite her thoughts Alaisynn remained angered and still felt disrespected, but relented slightly in the thought that with time and Kaevinna's wise counsel, an amicable and fair solution might be found.
Alaisynn silently moved toward Declain, her lips still pursed with her apparent disappointment, and wrapped her arms around him. She hugged him close and tightly, nuzzling her cheek to his before cupping his handsome face in her hands and pressing a gentle, loving kiss to his cheek then his forehead. "Declain," she whispered with a wistful smile, "When you were a baby, I demanded that you not grow up so quickly. You didn't listen then, just as you never listen now." Laisey laughed and stroked his cheek gently as she silently studied his features for a few more moments. "You're so strong and handsome, you look a lot like your father back in the days when we first met, in fact. I... guess I can't blame Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa too harshly for their conduct. Yet... it also remains inappropriate to their stations within this family." She noted Declain's rising desire to contradict her and add his own opinion, but she quickly hushed him with a slender finger pressed to his lips. "Quiet, my youngest heart. Please. Your father will be in to speak with you soon, and all I ask is that you listen to what he has to say. I love you Declain. I only want the best for you, and I eagerly await the day that you fully realize your potential. You have a great deal of it inside of you, my son, just waiting for you to pluck it out and make it your own. Generations of not only your father's fine human heritage are within you, but those which you've inherited from me. Those of the Kaldorei, and of course, the Sin'dorei. Storied and rich bloodlines both individually and within our family, combined into who we are today."
Lady Alaisynn Steele offered her son a soft, reassuring smile as she touched his face once more then turned on her heel to depart, but suddenly paused and turned to look upon him once more. "It's funny, Declain. As you've grown into manhood, so many have compared your likeness so strongly to your father, and with clearly good reason. Yet, for me... and perhaps, even for your aunt Rhaeyne and Gramma Ashe... I see so much of my long-lost brother in your disposition. You remind me so much of Sebastien. My dearest 'Bassy'. I don't speak often of him, none of us really do. It's just... far too painful for us, we three Darkwhysper women. But I think about him every single day." Alaisynn sighed deeply as tears began to mist her shimmering emerald eyes though she forced a joyful smile across her lips. "Your father was compassionate enough on your nameday to allow me to grant you my brother's namesake. It's the absolute least I could've done, all of these years later. I'd never told you any of this before, and I'm not entirely sure why I'm telling you now. He's just been on my mind a lot, especially in these most recent years. I think the sentiment grew even stronger in me when Lillypad and Izzy were taken away to Pandaemonium those years ago. We returned them home safely and soundly in the end, but it still... changed some things in me, as a mother and as part of this family we've built." She shook her head softly, her mind now clouded with the sadness of these familial thoughts, then reached out and tenderly touched Declain's face one last time before she made to leave.
Declain, mildly stunned by the revelation, reached his hand up to touch hers, holding her to remain in the process. "Mom, I... I don't know what to say. I never knew of any of that, no one ever told me. I mean, I've heard of Uncle Sebastien but, but no one ever wanted to talk about him. I don't want to disappoint you anymore. I want to be the man that you and Dad have raised me to be. I just... I don't know how. I feel so lost most of the time. Mom, I love you, okay? Don't be sad, please. I love you and our family, and I'll find my own way. Soon, okay?" Alaisynn smiled faintly upon her son, nodding her assent to his words. "Yes, my youngest heart. You will. Perhaps much sooner than you realize. But, enough of our reverie for now, there will be much to discuss later once the Keep has closed for the evening. Speaking of, I really ought to be getting to the Grand Hall to relieve your father. Remember, he'll be stopping by your room shortly." Lady Alaisynn Steele offered her son a final smile of pure pride and adoration as she then shut the bedroom door gently behind her.
Standing in the adjoining hallway for a few more moments, Laisey heaved a deep sigh and closed her eyes. Her lips quivered a bit while she cleared her throat and inconspicuously brushed a few stray tears from her eyes, then headed toward the Grand Hall to attend court.
Last edited by Amaranthaea on 2015-07-11 5:02 pm; edited 6 times in total
Many years had passed between Alaisynn giving birth to Xander and Lillypad and when she'd become pregnant with Declain. The news filled her and the entire Clan with such delightful anticipation, even as her children began having their own children with time. Alaisynn also deeply enjoyed being pregnant again and feeling that spark of life growing inside of her. Playing such an active role in the endless cycle of life and Nature, particularly as a druidess, made her incredibly happy. Even more so, that she remained so deeply in love with Draike for all of these years and he hadn't seemed to grow tired or bored with her either. Alaisynn never once doubted Draike's loyalty or love, but she knew deeply in her heart that humans were in fact subject to flights of fancy at times. Despite this, she'd hoped all throughout their years together that her beloved husband was different, and so he was. Draike had been so elated when she'd confided her pregnancy to him; he was just as loving and attentive to her needs as he was when she first bore Lachlainn in her womb so many years ago.
Such a memory often called to mind her firstborn son, in fact. Declain was defiant and oft-times a bit of a black sheep like his eldest brother, though not in the same ways. She treated him very much the same as she'd treated Lachlainn in his youth though, with kind nurturing and careful attention, making sure that he knew that despite his differences, he was greatly loved and adored. This was made even easier by the fact that Clan Steele had become far more prominent throughout Azeroth by the time of Declain's birth, and the family fortunes had been greatly improved since the days of Lachlainn's. As a result, Declain was raised with all manner of advantage and given every opportunity to excel and easily blaze his own trail in life as the rest of the Steele progeny had before him.
Unlike Lachlainn, Declain had always been naturally good-natured throughout his youth, with no inherent bent toward macabre and outlandish pursuits. But if Alaisynn were forced to view her children with blunt honesty, Lachlainn was certainly a certified alpha male, where Declain was much like the runt of her litter as a child. Declain grew into manhood with handsome good looks, oftentimes referred to as the "spitting image of his father", and developed a naturally fit and toned physique. He was quite sharp and quick-witted as well, and as eloquent and well-educated as one might expect the son of an esteemed noble family would be. But despite all this, Declain's undoing was nothing short of apathy and aimlessness. While his siblings and cousins all genuinely liked him and got along quite well with Declain, he could never seem to break through any of their interests and paths long enough to make an equal mark. Initially, he aspired to each of his elder siblings with a great enthusiasm, regardless.
Declain thought Lainn's aloof and mysterious nature made him such an incredible "bad-ass" and his command over the Fel arts was nothing short of awe-inspiring. (He'd even adopted Lachlainn's family nickname 'Lain' in an attempt to emulate him.) But alas, Declain lacked his eldest brother's studious nature and sheer discipline, and the only demons he had interest in were the ones with large breasts and barely-there attire. His sister Ayleth and cousin Kaldaerion, being esteemed members of the Dalaran Mage Academy's professorship, agreed to grant him an in-depth, personal tour of the campus. Again, his lack of scholarly discipline and selfless desire to toil endlessly doing research led him to become incredibly disillusioned and confirmed once and for all that he sadly had no real affinity for magick.
Declain had always admired Lylandris for her valor and indomitable inner strength. He was even further impressed by the fact that she'd been personally chosen by the Light to wield it, as their father had before her! Growing up, he'd heard many stories of mythological proportions about all of Clan Steele's illustrious line and their many adventures throughout Azeroth and beyond. He particularly loved hearing of Lachlainn's exploits, but the tales of Lylandris' noble courage and stark heroism seemed to impress Declain even more. In time, he'd begun training with Lillypad whenever she could accommodate him, though it slowly began to lose its luster for Declain. He found himself much preferring a more dominant, aggressive approach to combat in favor of being a solid bulwark who shielded blows and reacted when an opening presented itself. It also didn't help matters that the Light didn't seem to be choosing him for knightly service anytime soon. Lyl's twin and Declain's elder brother, Xander, consequently seemed as though he'd be a perfect match to help the youngest Steele to find his true path. Declain met with surprisingly great success as Xander's apprentice for quite some time, particularly when his elder brother taught him the finer points of expertly wielding two weapons simultaneously in the heat of battle.
Declain found intense swordplay to be engaging and exciting, particularly in tandem with his elder brother's strict philosophy of morale-crushing, intimidating offense in the face of any foe. Xander had in turn learned this relentless, in-your-face style from their father Draike and grandmother Asherenne; though it was the latter's time-honored and deeply coveted Darkwhysper military tactics and techniques which made it truly deadly in the right hands. After months of training, it seemed that Declain's enthusiasm extended particularly to an affinity for swords and other styles of blades in particular. He would often stay a bit later after training with Xander, helping the Keep Smithy to clean, polish and sharpen his favored weapons in an effort to personally ensure they remained fit for his practices. Xander eventually found himself so deeply impressed with his youngest brother that he'd asked Asherenne and Draike to sit in, observe and assess a few of their training sessions for further affirmation of Declain's talents. With their collective blessing added to Xander's, it appeared Declain was well on his way to becoming the next warrior to be added to Clan Steele's already impressive roster of melee combatants.
One fateful day, Declain arrived early to the family training hall and began to idly examine a full rack of various weapons along the wall. In the process of this, Declain also noticed the smithy had left a row of knives, daggers and dirks nearby, all freshly polished and sharpened. Curiously, he drew his sword from its scabbard at his hip, then grabbed one of the daggers from the rack and twirled them both in his hands. Declain furrowed his brow as intrigue took him over, pacing slowly toward one of the nearby training dummies. The dagger was so light and compact in his off-hand when compared to the weight of a second, larger blade!
Declain began to slowly and tentatively unleash calculated sword and dagger strikes upon the training dummy, his mind alight with the additional possibilities a lighter off-hand presented to his combat style. He learned to compensate for the reduced weight and strike distance of the dagger, but knew that with proper training, he could learn to fight like the famed swashbucklers of Kul Tiras and the South Seas. Even better, like his uncle Draivian Swiftgale, and cousin Nelaysha! Distracted by his reverie, Declain hadn't noticed when Xander finally entered the training hall. With narrowed eyes and his powerful arms across his massive chest, Xander watched his youngest brother with a skeptical interest. Declain moved to assail three training dummies at once, swinging his blades about with a sweeping flourish in tandem with evasive footwork like some agile rogue. A heated dispute ensued when Xander finally made his presence known to Declain, with harsh words and even harsher insults exchanged. Xander decried Declain's "newfound" fighting style and commanded him to toss the dagger away so that they might resume their training correctly. Declain naturally declined and stormed out from the training hall, feeling dejected and even insulted by his elder brother's close-minded and bullishly ignorant attitude.
Following that incident, it seemed that everyone was always so busy with their own lives day to day, that Declain never truly felt that he was really a part of any of it anymore. Naturally, his despondent reaction to much of this feeling was to withdraw from many of the inclusive aspects of their family life around the Keep at Steelhaven and often venturing out into the city in secrecy. Declain also hadn't abandoned his fascination with the "new" style of combat he'd discovered and continued to train on his own, adding throwing knives and stealth techniques to his already impressive fighting prowess.
A few months had passed before Draike and Alaisynn decided that Declain had been given enough time on his own to begin seriously considering his aims in life again. To this end, Draike had presented one of his own personal hobbies to his youngest son's attentions; his private Engineering space, built deep inside the bowels of Steelhaven Keep. In their youths, Draike had imparted his knowledge of this profession to both Lylandris and Alexaindre. It not only kept the twins' hands busy, but also helped to build and foster the focused and analytical minds that both still possessed to this day.
Draike had hoped the curious wonders of Engineering would do the same for Declain, and perhaps even serve to finally set him on a proper, life-enriching path. In time, it was a common occurrence for Declain to be found in his father's shop, working on some device or another. In truth, Declain continued to escape into the outskirts of the city and eventually began to add his new engineering creations, particularly a variety of bombs and explosives, to his unique self-taught fighting style!
After building his very first custom Mekgineer's Chopper, Declain no longer needed to sneak out of Steelhaven Keep, having been given the full blessing of his father to venture out on his bike and see all of the grand city's sights on his own. Draike was deeply proud of his son and believed that he'd continue his interests as an Engineer and finally begin to make his own way, as the rest of his children had. In time, however, Declain once again lost his momentum and Engineering also no longer held his sole primary interests.
Soon after, Declain had met Rhoswyn Moonshae and Vhaelindraa by way of their associations with his mother Alaisynn and sister-in-law Kaevinna, respectively. The latter two women, widely esteemed and considered paragons in their chosen paths, had decided to take on apprentices in an effort to bolster the strength of Steelhaven as an independent nation and to assure that the traditions of druidism and shamanism remained strong and preserved for future generations to learn from. Each decided that they would begin with a single dedicated pupil, who would then assist in further training in the future as larger tutorships would be established. In time, according to their plan, Steelhaven would become a place of learning for many prospective Druids and Shamans and in turn, would also grant the nation a sizeable force of Nature and the Elements to add to their standing military, in the event of unforeseeable conflict.
Rhos and Vhae were ultimately chosen as their first disciples after a rigorous process of elimination among the many applicants who competed for the unique opportunity. Once selected, they were asked to swear oaths of fealty to Steelhaven and its lordship, as well as agree to work as proscribed by their mentors in fair exchange for this exclusive tutelage. Both young women agreed to the terms and immediately afterward, were invited to live in modest guest quarters at Steelhaven Keep to begin their educations posthaste.
Declain was at first a mere curiosity to the two young women. They took to regarding him politely and with the respect due to the youngest son of the House nobility. Eventually, seeing Declain as the only ever-present Steele among the Highlord and Lady's progeny, Rhoswyn and Vhae soon befriended him and began to spend what little spare time their mentors first afforded them with him. They both saw him as a boyishly charming younger brother at first, although with time, Rhos and Vhae began to see other, more attractive qualities in Declain.
Sometime later, while on an extended holiday from their studies, the two ladies ventured out with Declain into Steelhaven City late one night and got heavily drunk at a tavern. Finding themselves unable to walk back home to the Keep on their own, Declain paid the innkeeper for a room so they could all safely sleep it off. Amid their drunken haze, Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa seduced Declain and the three of them spent much of that evening deeply entrenched in lustful, carnal bliss. In time, Declain's passionate affair with the two young women - both individually and collectively, as circumstance allowed - culminated in bolder ventures. Eventually, Rhos and Vhae began to simply skip their forays into the city and found their pleasures by directly visiting Declain's bedroom, under the hallowed roof of his parents' home.
They hadn't ever been caught nor aroused even the slightest suspicions until Lady Alaisynn Steele had discovered their scandalous secret firsthand, much to her shock and chagrin.
The Highlord of Steelhaven, Draike Steele, strode with his typically confident and noble gait from his throne at the Grand Hall to the residential wing of the Keep with purpose. He smiled cordially and nodded his stern acknowledgment to every attendant and servant that he'd passed on his way to his destination. Stopping just outside of Declain's bedroom door, Highlord Steele knocked politely - more as a warning than a request for permission - then opened it to find his son sitting on his bed and making adjustments to some clearly technical device of fine Engineering make.
"Afternoon, Declain." Draike uttered in his smooth yet deep and commanding voice. He smiled a bit and gestured to Declain as his son fidgeted with a screwdriver then began twirling it deftly between his fingers before setting it and his device down on a nearby desk. "I see that you've gotten back to tinkering a bit more of late. That's very good! Keep that mind sharp and those hands busy." Declain grimaced slightly, casting a sidelong glance at his father. "My hands have been quite busy outside the shop as well, as I'm sure Mom's told you by now." Declain's voice was full of tentative defensiveness, watching his father warily as Draike grinned and shook his head a little, then sat next to him on his bed. "She did, yes. I got quite the earful in private, before we exchanged places at court." Declain sighed in response and shrugged his shoulders, his emerald eyes meeting with his father's own, narrowing as he mentally and emotionally braced for verbal impact. "Yeah, Dad. You got an earful, and now I'm about to get one, right? I really don't see what the problem is, all I did was-" Draike raised a hand urgently, cutting his son off with the abrupt gesture, then shook his head and turned a little more to face his son completely.
"Declain. It's fine, you're not in any trouble over that," Draike stated plainly. "You're definitely more than of an acceptable age to bed women, though we obviously expect that you do so responsibly, my son." He snickered heartily at Declain's sudden expression of deep confusion, then grinned as he continued. "I was even younger than you are now when I'd begun sharing intimacies with a serving girl at the Lion's Pride Inn. And two of the neighbors' daughters, behind the hay stacks in their father's barn. Sometimes, both of them at the same time!" Draike's grin widened as he observed Declain's expression melting from that of skepticism and antagonism to one of complete awe and even a bit of reverence. "Of course," Draike continued on, "I never did finish off inside of any of them. I had far greater plans for myself than getting some young maidens pregnant and having to spend the rest of my entire life in Goldshire. Most likely, I'd have ended up having to take over your grandfather's shop and smithy to support my impending family, and then I would never have had the grand adventures I'd dreamed of ever since I was a young boy."
Declain's jaw slacked a bit as his ordinarily quick-witted mind failed him for a few brief moments. "So... You're not here to scold me and tell me that what I did was wrong?" Declain drew his knees to his chest as he sat further back on his bed, watching his father with a renewed interest. "By the sounds of it, though... If you bitched at me for it, you'd be quite the hypocrite, anyway. Why haven't you ever told me any of this before? Do the others know...?" Draike nodded a bit, his clever grin ever present as a conspiratorial expression filled his handsome features. "You did nothing wrong, son. Although screwing your mother and sister-in-law's apprentices might not have been the wisest decision, in retrospect! But.. we Steele men are quite susceptible to the allures of a lovely woman. Strong in heart, mind, body and soul as we are, even we aren't wholly immune to some small measure of weakness. Passion is our cross to bear, my son. A blessing, and a curse, at times."
Draike mused with a wise grin as he regarded his son's second question with an air of blunt honesty. "They do know, son. Your brothers do, at least, and likely in the most detail. There are just certain things that only men can discuss, Declain. I had the 'sex talk' with all of your siblings and even some of your cousins, though. It only felt right, my duty in fact, as patriarch of this Clan and family. Even Lachlainn eagerly received the talk, if you can believe that. He was curious at a very young age, despite his... rather interesting proclivities. But he's my son, and a Steele, and so stood to benefit from my wisdom. Your mother and I had never really known him to have a steady lady friend or lover in his youth, but..."
Draike's voice faded slowly as his eyes narrowed a little in sudden ponderance. His mind spared a few moments to think upon Lachlainn and particularly, Lainn's sister Lylandris. The latter being his 'Shining Star' and likeliest among his progeny to succeed him. Draike wasn't a foolish man by any means, nor blind to many things around him, but in absence of either of his children coming right out and confessing their star-crossed sins, he did often wonder on the depth of their closeness in adulthood. How Lachlainn loomed at Lillypad's side, ever present to her needs and whims. How he was always at her arm's reach and free to her sole beckoning when to the rest of the family, he'd remained mostly aloof and secluded. How his beautiful grandchildren Isbeth and Evandre, now grown themselves, had taken such a liking and likeness to their uncle Lachlainn both as children and adults. Isbeth in particular, who by now had grown into a powerful and accomplished warlock in her own right and had born a child of her own; a son, Corven Xzavier Lachlainn Steele, by a man she'd only speak of in the vaguest, yet most reverent, of tones. Though he didn't relish the thought of his lovely granddaughter bearing a child out of some unattached dalliance, Draike desired peace among his family and kept his suspicions mostly between himself and Alaisynn. Draike chose only to love little Xzavier after he was born, a mere few months after Declain, and enjoyed the fact that he was now a great-grandfather.
Draike's family was growing steadily in these last many years and he was proud beyond measure. He knew in his heart that he loved his family regardless, and in its entirety, for whatever quirks or hidden secrets they all bore in their hearts. He too, after all, wasn't fully forthright and honest with his family either. He, too, bore a sinful blemish upon his own heart and soul. Draike has loved Asherenne intensely since the night they'd finally shared their hearts with one another in the secluded woodlands of Teldrassil. He loved her with such fiery passion, burning hotter than the deepest recesses of Blackrock Mountain; as fiercely as he loved his devoted wife Alaisynn as well. But he just couldn't let Ashe go, even after carrying on their affair for all of these years and bearing two children of their own in the process. Draike took a deep breath and shook his head clear of those thoughts for now, decidedly returning to the task at hand with his youngest son.
Declain rested his chin atop his knees as he watched his father, eyes widened a bit and fixated upon Draike's rather imposing figure. "...Does Mom know about all of this, too? It sounds like you had a long line of women notching your belt before you'd even met her. When I was young and she used to tell stories about how you two met and got married, started our family off, she did say that she was a virgin. Doesn't she ever feel jealous of that?" Draike shrugged a bit, a thoughtful expression crossing his face as he scratched his noble's beard gently. "As far I know, your mother feels no jealousy toward my past and she understands it from Nature's point of view. I am human, after all. We live much shorter lives by comparison to the kaldorei and sin'dorei from whom you, your siblings and your mother and aunt Rhaeyne are descended. The life of a human is like a passing breeze to their near-immortality. As a druidess, your mother also has a much deeper understanding of such things, so I guess that's how she also looks at it. If anything, your grandmother Asherenne knows a lot more of my exploits than your mother does. We met long before I knew Alaisynn, back when we joined the same mercenary company, as I'm sure you remember from our many war stories that we've shared. I used to have a really strong affection for her back then, too. Oh, your grandmother was in prime physical condition! Not that she isn't now, of course. She was so strong and savage! The strongest woman I think I'd ever seen in my life by then. Solid, tall and beautiful. And fiercely artful with her great-axes on the battlefield. I always felt she was too good for me back then though, and I guess she thought she was, too." Draike winked and chuckled heartily at his last remark, again calling to mind the unspoken contrary truth that's existed behind the scenes of this family for many years now. "It all worked out though. I met her daughter - your mother - some years later and we fell in love, got married and... well, here we all are, right? Besides, your Gramma Ashe and Papa Bear eventually re-discovered their youthful love for each other and mated for life after that, so... I'd say everyone found their happiness in the end."
Declain nodded and leaned his back to the wall behind him, canting his head aside slightly as he looked upon his father and spoke earnestly. "I don't think I'm in love with Rhoswyn or Vhaelindraa, Dad. That's the thing. And I'm sure neither of them love me in that way, either. All I really know is that we enjoy spending time together and... well, having sex whenever the mood strikes. But how can you love two people the same way, anyway? Even if I did feel that way, how would I choose? It wouldn't be fair to Vhae if I chose Rhos and favored her, or the other way around. But I don't even see this 'true, romantic love' as an issue here. I still want to just go out and see the world first. Have my own adventures, like you and everyone else had, before I even consider settling down." Declain caught a slightly dismayed expression cross his father's features as he spoke, though it vanished just as quickly. His ignorance of the secret truth misdirected his perception of Draike's mood, as he couldn't possibly know his words had so poignantly struck his father for a very personal reason. No one still knew all of these years later, in fact; only Asherenne, Draike and their bedsheets, with none involved feeling too inclined to change that.
Draike scratched at his beard contemplatively and frowned slightly. He placed a hand softly upon Declain's knee and shrugged a bit. "There's really no true answer to any of that, Declain. You never know that you've found love... True love... Until it's already taken firm hold of your heart and forced you to recognize it. When your thoughts are of nothing but your beloved, and being apart from her creates a deep void in your very soul, then you know that you've found love. And it often presents itself in the most unlikely of places." Draike smiled warmly then, reminiscing as he spoke, then continued. "I met your mother through Kaevinna very early on in our friendship. She asked me to do a bodyguard detail as a personal favor, and so I agreed. Alaisynn was nothing short of breathtaking and beautiful when I first saw her. She was dressed and ready for battle too! I flirted a little, but she was all business and deflected most of my advances with her kind words and that lovely, dazzling smile of hers. By the end of the evening, I escorted her through one last venture, this time through the Stockades beneath Stormwind City. I believe there were some deep impurities down there that she sought to cleanse with her druidic talents."
Draike blushed slightly at the thought, his emerald eyes shining softly as he'd glanced from Declain to the bedroom window where the dissipating light of the approaching dusk began to fade. "The Stockades aren't exactly the ideal place to court a beautiful woman and find yourself a wife, yet there we were. I was so taken by all that I'd seen that night in your mother's ways and mannerisms. Her strength, her ferocity and even more so, the gentility and compassion that was in her eyes as we'd begun to talk and get to know one another better. I'd boldly took a chance and confessed my true feelings to her, right there in the relative safety of one of the nearby uninhabited prison cells. Which, she happily accepted. We made passionate love that very night! We've been together ever since that fateful day, my son... And I've not regretted it a single day of this life that the Light has blessed me with." Draike turned his gaze once more to look upon Declain, their youngest child together, and smiled joyfully. "I love your mother in a way that words could never describe, Declain. Someday, maybe you will also meet such a woman and make her your own." Draike's smile curled into a bit of a devious grin for the moment. "Though I must say, son. Between you and I, you're already off to an excellent start. A kaldorei AND draenei woman? And both at the same time, sometimes?! I only consorted with human women through my earliest intimate exploits, so you should certainly take pride in that much. As you mother enjoys saying, you are your father's son after all."
Draike's smile remained across his lips, though his mind then shifted to a more serious matter which he'd also intended to address with his youngest son. He heaved a deep sigh and rose slowly from the edge of Declain's bed then pulled a chair from the corner of the room and sat down to face his son. "Declain. While we're having fun banter right now, there is a matter of the utmost importance that I do need to broach with you." Declain canted his head curiously and straightened his posture against the wall behind him. He thought the worst had been over and so, was naturally curious as to this next phase of their conversation. "Your mother and I have been discussing a great many things of late, my son." Draike began, his emerald gaze filled with equal parts of noble pride and compassion. "Your current aimless course of conduct being prime among our many concerns. Do you know that by the age of fifteen, your sister Lylandris had already been called to the Light's service and passed her squirehood to begin training as a knight banneret? I'll not go into the rest of her personal accomplishments nor go on to list those of your other siblings, Declain. But needless to say, it only serves to find further lacking in your own sum total of achievements at the age of nineteen."
Declain furrowed his brow in response, crossing his arms over his chest as his demeanor shifted to his earlier skepticism and trepidation. "How did I know that our... 'little talk' was gonna turn into this again, Dad?" Declain cooly remarked. "I promised Mom earlier, and I'll promise you the same thing. I will find my mark! I will do better, try harder, and make something more of myself. I can stop drinking as much. I can take more interest in things. Maybe I'll even spend less time around Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa, if that'll help keep me focused! I mean, you can't expect me to stay away from them completely, though. You said it yourself Dad, I mean come on, a draenei and a kaldorei woman! And they're willing to sleep with me!" He grinned at this, attempting a bit of their earlier brevity to lighten his father's mood. "But I'm sure of it, Dad. Really. I can be more diligent in finding my way in life. I'll be a Light's honest Steele man that you and Mom, and the rest of the family, can be real proud of! Real soon, in fact."
Declain's smile dimmed a little as he made his best attempt at seeming contrite for his father. "Look Dad, I know that Xander and I had that huge falling out over my Warrior's training, but we've since mended ways thanks to Mom and Kaevinna. I refuse to train with him again though, but I've been spending a lot of time with Grandmaster Yohiro and Ankaaya! I promised them both that I wouldn't ditch training like I did the last time and they've agreed to give me another chance. I'll pick up with them and continue my monk training where I'd left off. And combined with all the training I've been doing on my own, I'll be more than ready to venture out and be able to defend myself and represent the honor and glory of Clan Steele!" Draike listened patiently as his son entreated him with the same vows and promises as he'd grown accustomed to in recent years, including this new old one of becoming a master monk. He scratched his beard contemplatively then nodded with a low grumble as he'd appeared to consider Declain's words. "All the same my son, I will accept your offer of imminent hard work and discipline, though with an additional caveat." Declain breathed a sigh of relief, knowing well this part of the conversation. He'd promised his father he'd change and bought himself a little more time again to be left alone and to his own devices. Declain suppressed his triumphant grin for now, and nodded to his father in an attempt to show acquiescence to this "caveat" he spoke of.
"You will begin your life of soul-searching and adventure posthaste, my son. In fact, by the light of dawn tomorrow morning, you will depart from Steelhaven by transport carriage and arrive at the Chillwind Camp in Western Plaguelands. From there, you'll be flown directly on one of our finest gryphon steeds to Stormwind City, where you will report to your uncle Dravian at his Swiftgale Investigations office near the harbor. Your aunt and uncle have agreed to allow you to have a room at their office to yourself and will be keeping a sharp eye on you. Your room and board will cost you nothing in exchange for your hard work and diligence with Draivian's detective agency, until you're able to live and operate on your own in Stormwind. Stormwind City will be your base of operations from this point forward, my son. At least to start with, until you begin to make contacts and connections with anyone you meet in the process of course! It's your life Declain, and every decision from here on out is yours to make. Save for this one, naturally. This decision is non-negotiable. And very, very final."
Draike stood from the chair he'd been sitting in and looked down upon his son, a gravely serious expression written across his features to mark the significance of his words. Declain, ordinarily argumentative and normally given to a vivacious rant by this point, glanced up at his father and nodded silently. As much as Declain was given to youthful disrespect and a disdain for authority, there was something about his father that led him to shy away from such behavior when it seemed that they were about to match their aggressions. Much to Declain's eventual chagrin, once Alaisynn had learned of this rational fear that her youngest son had, she was a lot more wont to sic Draike upon him for these serious discussions. Declain slid from his bed and stood up straight in front of his father, nodding and offering him a determined expression, though his voice indicated that he was in fact a bit wounded by the decree. "...Well, if that's as final as final gets, Dad, I don't have much choice, do I?" he retorted finally. "Is this what Mom wants too? Did she OK this, what you've so suddenly decided for me. Sending me away from home and the family I love. You're not even giving me enough time to say goodbye to everyone. Just, 'okay Declain, see you later, have a nice life'!"
Draike shook his head softly with a sigh. "You aren't exiled from Steelhaven, my son. Steelhaven is and always will be your home Declain, and you are more than welcome to return here whenever you have the time to spare. In fact, I'm quite certain that your mother will insist upon it, as she does with the rest of our erstwhile family members. Which, by the way, this decision was hers in fact, as much as it pained her to make it. None of us want you to leave. This is merely the boot in the ass that you seem to need, my son. You have everything here, and perhaps that's mine and your mother's fault for spoiling you and giving you every reason to nest here comfortably. But, quite appropriately to your mother's druidic nature, she's decided that it's time for you to leave the nest and find your wings. Fly on your own, as she so succinctly put it. I guess that makes you her baby bird in this case." Draike sighed heavily with a light shrug in his shoulders. "You don't know how much this decision is breaking your mother's heart, Declain. But right now, you let me worry about her and I'll see to her every need in your absence to help ease her into this. She loves all of you in equal measure, my son, but you are her youngest. Her baby, Declain. Presumably, you're her last remaining chance at being a flesh and blood mother, and now you've grown into a fine young man. True, she's a mother to all things natural by design, but you were once a part of her, inside, and she'll never forget that feeling." Declain clicked his tongue and smirked in response to his father's words. "Dad, no offense, but with the way you two can't keep your mitts off each other, I won't be surprised at any news of a new baby brother or sister eventually. You sly bastard." Draike attempted to remain stoic but found himself unable to hold it, cracking a clever grin as he wrapped his arm around Declain's shoulder and pulled him close, snickering a bit.
"Mmm," Draike murmured softly, casting his son a sidelong glance while grinning wisely. "Well, I suppose I may need to make love to her a lot more often in your absence, Declain. It's a sacrifice I'll bear in good stride, of course. But if you must know, your mother's quite crafty with her druidic contraceptions. No new children unless she decides she's ready again, as I understand it. We had a lot of sex after Xander and Lillypad were born and your mother's body mended from the stress of twins. I mean, a lot! Several times a day, sometimes. It was nearly, what, almost ten years before she got pregnant with you. So, we'll just have to wait and see on that one!" Declain wrinkled his nose in response, chuckling just a bit uncomfortably at his father's words. "You know Dad, Mom's one of the most beautiful kaldorei women I've ever seen, but she's still my mother. I really... really, don't want to think about how often or how well you're putting it to her! Not that these flimsy fucking walls in my room have done much to conceal that, either." Draike gasped abruptly and looked upon his son, flashing him a sheepish grin in response to that last statement.
"Speaking of which, Dad. What's gonna happen with Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa? Do you know? No matter what happens, I still feel responsible for them getting into trouble with Mom and Kaevinna. Anyway, I'd really like to say goodbye to them before I leave." Draike walked to Declain's bedroom door and stopped, turning to face him with a smirk. "Ah yes, the two young women. You'd probably like to fuck them both one last time before you leave, hmm? I'm sure they'd appreciate the opportunity as well. I truly don't know what your mother and Kaevinna are planning to do with them, but they likely won't convene on that until after our family banquet tonight. Well, your 'farewell banquet' now, I ought to say, to which I've cordially invited both of your... friends, as our honored guests. You three will eat, drink and make merry tonight with the family, but should you and your guests find time to consort elsewhere for a part of the night, then..." Draike shrugged and wore an expression of feigned innocence before giving his son a sly wink. "...Well, I'll have to run interference with your mother and keep her interests focused elsewhere, won't I? I still fondly remember those days, my son, for as undeniably happy as I am with your mother and our married life for all these years. So I won't deprive you of such an opportunity should it present itself tonight. Just make sure not to disappear all evening, would you? And at the very least, wait until all of the family festivities have ended. As willing as I am to champion your young lusts, my son, I don't want to end up frozen out myself in the process!" Draike nodded with a cordial grin to Declain, then turned and exited his son's bedroom, closing the door firmly behind himself.
Declain urgently made haste to the family training hall, clad in his self-styled leather battle garb and strapped with his many holsters and sheaths of daggers and knives, with his most favored blades at his hips. He probably should've been getting himself ready for his imminent "farewell party" but instead elected to first blow off some steam. Declain drew his blades without hesitation and sneaked deftly behind one of the five training dummies he'd set up beforehand. A mighty slash resonated hard into the dummy as it rocked heavily from the force of his blades. It continued to swing about wildly as Declain unleashed a flurry of sword and dagger strikes into the remaining four training dummies, then he flipped and somersaulted aside and collapsed to his knees, tossing several throwing knives with blinding speed and nigh-impossible accuracy. With a thundering roar of pure aggression, Declain leaped into the air above two of his targets and once more fell to his knees, thrusting two daggers behind himself and into where the kidneys would be on a humanoid mark. He spun around then, performing a flawless cartwheel between the other two dummies before leaping into the air and kicking both in the back of their heads. Before the very first training dummy had ceased it's wobbling from his earlier sneak attack, Declain wheeled aside and buried several more daggers into it's vital areas, finishing with a mighty, spinning flourish of his sword that managed to cleave the target in half. Declain's eyes were narrowed and he could literally 'feel' the adrenaline dispersing throughout his entire body, bringing his sudden assault to an end with all "targets" eliminated.
The sound of singular clapping echoed through the empty training hall, shaking Declain from his deadly focus as his gaze shot aside to look upon its source. Xander, dressed in his finest noble attire, stood at the training hall entrance, grinning as he stepped closer into view. Kaevinna, magnificently dressed and made-up for the evening's occasion as well, moved beside him and smiled warmly between the two brothers. "Declain, what the fuck was that?!" Xander bellowed forth, still advancing toward his youngest brother. His eyes were a deep emerald and shimmering with a stern tactical brilliance as he stopped in front of Declain and extended his hand out expectantly. Declain brushed the beads of sweat from his brow with one hand and passed his sword to his elder brother with the other, grinning cooly. "That was some wild shit that you just can't do with a suit of plate mail weighing you down, Xander." "Mmm," Xander responded sharply, taking Declain's sword and giving it a few check swings, then paused to raise the blade to his eyes. He glanced down its length and assessed its weight and sturdiness silently, making no remark to denote his thoughts for several moments. "Well, do keep in mind that in a real battle, the enemy doesn't just stand around, waiting to be struck and dismantled. Your way is definitely not my way, Little Brother," Xander finally spoke, then tossed the sword back to his youngest brother. He allowed himself the smallest of smiles then, displaying a reserved and stoic approval to his youngest brother. "...But judging by what I just saw, I'm definitely glad that you're on our side. You moved like an assassin, yet there was such a boldness to your strikes. It's as though you've combined a lot of our training with that of Grandmaster Hiro and my dearest Kaaya. But added your own moves as well! Fluid and graceful, yet bold and brutal. Interesting."
Declain nodded, feeling vindicated by Xander's words, then smiled at Kaevinna who had since been silent and willing to allow the two brothers to work through their bravado and find this common ground. "Yes Declain, vell done, I agree!" Kaevinna exclaimed, clapping her hands softly and deeply relieved that they weren't about to tear open an old wound so soon and suddenly. "Ve should probably adjourn to the Grand Hall soon though, and you, Young Squire, should go bathe and dress for the occasion! It's an important night for us all, but you're the man of the hour, no? Shall ve see you there, then?" Declain raised a brow, his expression a bit incredulous as he regarded Kaevinna. "Young Squire, my lady?" he inquired, a light blush tinging his cheeks. Kaevinna nodded with an airy, clever grin in response. "Vell, you'd always remarked about liking my pet name for Xander. My 'Young Master'! You are vell on your way to such a title by now, I'm certain? A Steele man like your brother vhen I met and fell in love with him; young and strong and handsome. Also, for your having bedded my apprentice and apparently, quite vell from what I hear!" She winked slyly and chuckled at Declain's new expression of shock and wonder. "I have known for some time now, Young Squire, there is no need to vorry. Your mother vas in quite an uproar over it earlier, though. But, you have not detracted so terribly from Vhaelindraa's studies vith me, that I seek her dismissal. Rhoswyn vill be fine and remain here as vell I'm sure, vonce your mother cools off a little. I vill do what I can, of course. Although now..." Kaevinna paused a moment to sigh softly. "...It seems that you vill be leaving us for a vhile. But this is a good thing in the end, no? You have no ties to hold you here, you are young! Go! See the vorld and its many vonders! Experience every pleasure and joy that you desire! I'd encouraged your brother to do the same in fact, before finally returning home and to me. To our love! And I loved him vith all of my heart even then, yet I had to know that he vas certain about his love for me. As much as it pained me, I had to be sure. Though I know such is not the case for you and your lady friends. So vhy not just enjoy it?"
Kaevinna once more adopted a bright and encouraging smile, particularly as Xander smiled upon her and gave her arm a gentle squeeze as she'd leaned into him, both remembering those torrid days before their marriage. "The Elements guide and vatch over you, Young Squire. I have heard the whispers upon the vinds as they tell me of your fate. You are destined to great things, ve all know this, and deep down so do you!" Kaevinna unwound her arm from Xander's long enough to move toward Declain and press a soft kiss to his cheek. She smiled warmly into his eyes before returning to her husband's side. "Ve vill see you later on, Young Squire. Now go take a bath, you stink!" She snickered playfully as Xander scratched his fingertips gently beneath her chin, tilting her face upward to receive a soft kiss and murmured softly against her lips. "...You like it when I stink from a long day of training, Kae." The radiant Shamaness smirked coyly up at her husband and nodded, arching a curious brow. "I do, Young Master! There's something about your natural smell mixed with your sweat that drives me vild. Vell, vould you rather go on ahead so I can be alone vith your brother, then?" Xander grimaced with instant jealousy, but Kaevinna laughed again and brought a hand to his chin, giving his beard a playful tug before kissing his lips once more. "...I knew you were joking, Kae. I love you." Xander grumbled against her lips, then parted the kiss and nodded to Declain, offering him a playful smirk. "Yeah, we're heading out now. Don't forget your rubber hawkstriders when you go take your bath, pipsqueak." Declain laughed heartily and turned to watch as they left the training hall, grinning wisely. "That's rubber gryphons, you big dope. Rubber gryphons! Yeah, you keep walking Xander, before I take your wife up on her offer! I'm the Steele man, Mark VI, you couldn't handle all this!" Kaevinna turned slightly, grinning smugly in response to Declain's youthful boasting as she shook her head softly. "It's a good thing I'm completely loyal and devoted to my husband," she'd thought to herself in response as she and Xander walked toward the Grand Hall. "I'd show you a whole new vorld in a single night and leave you begging for more! There's a reason above all vhy my Young Master sowed his vild oats all through Azeroth and yet found himself returning to my loving embrace. It is you, Young Squire, who could not handle all that I can offer!" Kaevinna's lips pursed into a sultry grin amid a sharp arousal rising from beneath her evening gown and undergarments. She leaned into Xander's powerful arm and nuzzled it softly before flashing him a warm, loving smile as they disappeared through the large wooden doors leading into the Grand Hall. Oh yes, her Young Master was going to earn his title again tonight, for sure.
Within the short hours that followed Declain's departure of the training hall, he was cleaned up and dressed in his most presentable noble ensemble. He paused a moment and swallowed hard, approaching the large, sprawling banquet hall with a casual stride that belied the emotional wreck he felt welling up inside of him. The time was growing nearer now. It was becoming far too real to Declain; by the break of dawn, he would board a carriage that would take him to his destiny. Far away from home, and away from all of the comforts and carefree living that he'd grown accustomed to since he was a small boy. Away from his father, whom he deeply respected for as much as he'd defy and argue with him at times. Away from his mother, whom he loved and admired so deeply for all of her doting compassion, love and understanding. Away from his siblings and cousins, whom he enjoyed spending time with and shadowing like a curious pup whenever they'd come by the Keep to visit. And although he had no true romantic feelings for either woman, he knew that he'd also miss Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa for being his truest friends and companions amid their shared intimacies and passions.
Declain was leaving home soon and preparing to become his own man. For all of the parts of that truth which filled him with nervous dread, there was also a small and steadily growing spark of courage inside of him that began to urge him toward excited anticipation. What wonders lay waiting for him outside of not only Steelhaven, but the Eastern Plaguelands and all of Azeroth beyond that! Not to mention, he was rather excited about the prospect of spending quality time with his uncle Draivian and impossibly beautiful aunt Rhaeyne. It had also been a long time since he'd last seen his cousin Nelaysha, particularly once she'd decided to spend her life in loving union with Damieon. The two were known to spend lengthy periods of time away at sea and seeking their own private adventures, but Declain nevertheless looked forward to the possibility of seeing them soon once he'd moved to Stormwind City with his aunt and uncle.
Soon, the amazing stories would no longer be mere stories seen through others' eyes and experienced vicariously through their storyteller. Soon, Declain Steele would be writing his own story and taking charge of his own life, leading it as he saw fit and making certain to take as big a bite out of life as he could. He didn't know when or how, but Declain assured himself that he would find a way to make his mark on the whole of Azeroth and do the fine legacy of his Steele bloodline proud.
Declain steeled himself for the impending soiree that awaited him behind the large wooden doors of the banquet hall, then put on his best and most gracious smile and entered to find his family eagerly anticipating his arrival. Declain paused at the open doorway for a few moments and found a veritable "who's who" of the Clan and family. It seemed that nearly everyone he knew was in attendance, despite the extremely short notice that Draike and Alaisynn had given them. "There he is!" someone exclaimed amid the loud cacophony of a multitude of conversations taking place within the banquet hall. Suddenly, all eyes were upon Declain as he moved further inside of the hall and was immediately approached by one of their servants, carrying a tray of chalices, each filled generously with some of Alaisynn's prized sweet dewberry wine. Declain took one and nodded, smiling graciously at the servant as she returned the nod then urgently set about refreshing the other guests' drinks. Draike raised his glass while Alaisynn raised hers as well, and suddenly, so did everyone else. He cleared his throat gently and smiled proudly upon his youngest son. "Lords and ladies. Beloved friends and family members, all. We're here today to honor my youngest son, Declain, and to wish him safe and successful journeys upon his departure from our hallowed home." Draike motioned Declain over, glass still raised and awaiting his son to take his place beside him. After he'd done so, Alaisynn wrapped an arm proudly around Declain and hugged him close, adding her own feelings to the toast. "We've watched you grow from an adorable, inquisitive infant to the dashing, noble young man that stands before us here today, my youngest heart. We're all proud to be here tonight, and proud of you, Declain! The legacy of Clan Steele is now yours, as much as it has been ours, and we're confident that you will make your mark just as profoundly. May Elune guide your path, as you begin your life anew in Stormwind City!" A wave of murmured well wishes and boisterous applause issued forth from the small gathering then everyone took an honorary swallow of their wine to finish the toast.
Alaisynn hugged Declain even more tightly and feathered his cheeks with kisses, then began to lead him around the room with her arm linked in his, first making sure to bring him to her twin sister Rhaeyne. They had a cordial conversation, particularly as Declain would soon be living at the office that she and Draivian owned. Rhaeyne also made a point to apologize for the absence of her daughter, husband and virtual son-in-law Damieon, but also made certain to note how painfully short the notice was to attend this celebration. Declain secretly admired the way his aunt was in many ways a perfect noble Lady; even when irritated or displeased, she always had the poise to seem appreciative and polite, yet never shied from showing her fangs beneath those same honeyed words either.
Alaisynn was smiling brightly as she continued to drag her son about and share in small conversation with each of their guests. On each go-round, Declain couldn't help noticing Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa, dressed in their own captivating fineries, making their rounds throughout the banquet hall as well. Though they weren't family, they were still honored and invited guests of the Clan Patriarch and seemed to socialize with the others well enough. He wanted to approach them finally, to speak with them in private and not solely for the purpose of carnal bliss, but to apologize for any trouble he might've caused them. After all, he hadn't spoken to either of them since they'd been caught in his bedroom earlier by Lady Alaisynn. Yet for the time being, Declain did as his mother wished and followed her dutifully. Though there was a part of him that began to wonder if his mother was being uncharacteristically passive-aggressive in leading him around; as though she might've been trying to steer him away from Rhos and Vhae on purpose.
Declain knew well all of his family members, though some better than others, yet he found a great interest in spending time with the ones he'd less frequently seen over the years regardless. He was rather excited by the time Laisey had led him to some of the more reclusive members of the family, lurking in one particular corner of the hall though enjoying themselves and their "people-watching" nevertheless. His surrogate aunt Ysildwen sat conversing with nephew Evandre and his twin sister Isbeth, and her son Corven Xzavier, by the time Laisey had come around to them. Lachlainn was nearby in the periphery of Declain's vision as well, wearing a sultry and devilish grin as he and Lylandris whispered back and forth to one another. At one point, he'd even observed them holding hands and exchanging endearing glances, their fingers twining precariously together, almost as if they were lifelong lovers and not siblings. It was things like that which had always made Declain wonder about the two of them, yet he could think no more upon it for the moment as he was suddenly torn from his mother's arm and being hugged into a firm, ample pair of breasts. Declain failed at suppressing a shameless grin as he'd realized his aunt Ysildwen, amid her high excitement, was the one who snatched him away and embraced him enthusiastically. "Declain!" she cried, finally releasing him from her arms enough to take a single step back. "Let me have a good look at you, dearie! Oh, by Elune's Grace, Alaisynn... You didn't tell me he grew up into such a scrumptious, strapping young man! It's almost like looking at Draike so many years ago, back to when I'd first met him. Mmm, mmm. De-lish."
Laisey beamed proudly and blushed a little, brushing a hand lightly over her adoptive sister's shoulder. "Oh, Wennie. You're so terrible!" she responded with an elated giggle. "That's my youngest son, you know. I don't want to hear all of that!" Ysildwen's lips curled into a perfect feline grin as she cupped Declain's face in her hands, peppering his cheeks and lips with soft, sweet kisses. "Now, you listen here, Declain," Wennie added with a more serious expression, though she still hadn't ceased her pawing at him. "I've heard that you're going to spend time with your uncle Draivian and my sister, but I want you to know that you're welcome to visit me at the Duskwood, any time you like. Morning, afternoon, night, whenever. Any time you feel like, okay?" She smiled into his eyes, taking his hand into hers and caressing it gently. It seemed this cat was still up to her same old naturally seductive tricks after all of these years. "These days, I'm usually either at home or spending some limited time in Stormwind City or Darnassus, so I don't ever want you to feel like you're trapped, alone and so far away from home, dearie." She raised Declain's hand to her lips and kissed his fingertips gently, then released it with a warm smile. "Draivian's a really good man, though I'm sure you know that already, and Rhaeyne's a sniping, stuck-up bitch sometimes, but deep down she really loves you, Declain. Not as much as I do of course, but we won't tell her that, will we?" Ysildwen giggled in her typical witchy fashion at her own jesting, then shook her head softly. Declain politely managed to snicker at her uniquely catty brand of humor, particularly in knowing that his aunts Wennie and Rhaeyne were very close and shared a unique kinship throughout their years together as sisters. "You'll still have a lot more family around you, even if many of us reside here at Steelhaven most of the time. Isbeth and Evandre spend plenty of time at my cottage in Duskwood. Your brother Lachlainn's a damn near permanent fixture in my libraries." Wennie paused a moment at saying that, then shot her beloved nephew an intrigued glance as he remained huddled closely with his sister Lillypad. "Your great-uncle Jonathan also visits me from time to time! There's some really good hunting in the Duskwood, in fact. Maybe he'll agree to take you sometime! And don't forget your cousin Xzavier, who's also about to begin his own 'field research' very soon! Oh, you two were thick as thieves as children, even if you weren't together all of the time..."
Xzavier glanced upward at hearing his name being mentioned by Ysildwen, a small smile spread across his lips after taking a light sip of wine. He was as handsome as any Steele man in the whole of the Clan, but there was a stark ruggedness about him as well. Something almost... lupine in his appearance, which most had attributed to his unknown father. It'd been said that he had the proverbial 'eyes of a wolf' as well, though much of that was considered by the rest of the family to be a result of Xzavier's natural disposition. Xzavier was raised mainly by Isbeth, despite Draike, Alaisynn and Lylandris' relentless insistence that she move to Steelhaven with her son and allow them to help directly raise and provide for him. She declined their many offers, much to her mother and grandparents' dismay. Isbeth knew that part of their collective motives were to not see history repeat itself; though the circumstances were different, Lylandris raised her twins fantastically, but also, did so as a single mother. Knowing the secret truth of Xzavier's parentage, however, Izzy also wished not to torment her beloved mate and twice-great uncle Jonathan with the constant presence of his illegitimate son. A son, that he could never openly recognize as such in public or especially, among their esteemed family. Xzavier was still loved just as much by the Clan and family regardless of the distance, and on the many occasions he would visit Steelhaven with his mother, he and Declain were often placed together to play and occupy one another.
Xzavier rose from his chair and approached, almost dutifully so, then patted Declain hard upon the shoulder and grinned. "Yeah, we were close at one time, Aunt Wennie. We just haven't seen each other much in these recent years. Perhaps that will change soon." Xzavier stated rather matter-of-factly. "He used to love stealing my toys when we were young. Oh, how he'd cry when I took one of his, though." Ysildwen laughed in response to Xzavier's words, smiling warmly as she kissed Declain on the cheek then silently excused herself to allow the two cousins to get better acquainted.
Declain returned the grin until he'd followed Xzavier's sudden line of vision, furrowing his brow with concern as he'd noticed his cousin staring pointedly at Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa across the room. Declain cleared his throat and moved urgently in front of Xzavier's view of the women, forcing a smile to his lips. "Ah, but we're beyond the ken of toys and other such childish things, Xzavier." Declain uttered, his emerald eyes locked with his cousin's. "We're men now, aren't we? Men on the precipice of taking the reins of our destinies and charging toward the honor and esteem of our bloodline. We're Steele men, above all else." Xzavier nodded his assent with a smirk. "Yes, cousin. Steele men, indeed. And we Steele men take what we desire, don't we? Make it our own. Isn't that our tradition, after all?" Declain nodded, taking Xzavier's hand into his and shaking it cordially, then pulled him in close for a polite embrace. "...I understand that you were kicked out of the priesthood, dear cousin? But I guarantee that you won't be breaking your old vows of chastity here within the Keep's walls. Not with those two, at least." Declain's voice was low and grim as he spoke into his cousin's ear, their exchange hushed completely by the banter and commotion of their family all around them. "I don't give a shit what kind of dark and forbidden magicks that Lachlainn's been teaching you. A dagger in my back would just as soon become a dagger between your ribs. Family or not. I love you like my own brother, Xzavier, I don't want any quarrel with you. But freely threaten what's mine like that again and I'll fucking end you."
Xzavier smirked and nodded his understanding, adding his own words to the exchange. "Bold words, cousin, and quite the temper! Poor little lord Declain. Soon, you'll be gone and they'll go unprotected by your hand. You would so impulsively slay your own flesh and blood for the honor of two whores? You know who they are and what they mean to you. And what preciously little you mean to them. Don't tell me when you leave here and find a bevy of new sluts to plunge your cock into, that you'll be lying beside your bedmates in the morning and pining for the two of them. Don't make me sick with your false platitudes Declain, you're merely being as selfish and spoiled as you've always been. But I possess plenty of lovers in my thrall, so I don't need any of yours anyway. I merely thought to... sample the local cuisine here, if I might. But just as when we were children, you're so stubbornly unwilling to share. Very well, then." Xzavier shrugged his shoulders carelessly then gestured toward his great-grandparents, Draike and Alaisynn, both now standing at the head of the enormous banquet table and engaged in light conversation among Kaevinna, Ysgareth and Asherenne. All five of them, potentially the truest elders of Clan Steele by way of authority.
"The Highlord and Lady have done well to assimilate all of Azeroth's people here, even a small cadre of the Horde races. The subsequent intermingling of its citizens, such as the bloodline that flows through our veins, has become more commonplace here in Steelhaven. Are your precious floozies even pure blooded, I wonder? Not that it matters to you, I'm sure. They're only mere bed warmers after all." Declain tightened his fists as he felt his lips curl into a venomous sneer. He wanted to violently throttle his cousin for being such a smug asshole, yet knew he couldn't do so among all of their family! He refused to ruin this night and earn the ire of his mother in particular. Xzavier, sensing Declain's deep trepidation, grinned ominously and chuckled defiantly at his cousin. Behind them, the two young men heard the low rumble of Lachlainn's throat clearing, the elder warlock's eyes flaring for a brief moment with their fel-tainted sheen. Lainn rested a hand on Declain's shoulder and fixed his piercing gaze upon Xzavier, shaking his head disapprovingly.
Isbeth, in such an automatic manner that it seemed a common occurrence, abruptly ceased her conversation with her brother Evandre and rose swiftly to her feet. Even as she moved in a hurried manner, Izzy was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. Her pregnancy with Xzavier and the subsequent era of motherhood that followed did much to actually enhance the curvature of her body and gave her an even stronger presence and aura of confidence than ever before. Much like her mentor, uncle Lachlainn, and how explicitly he'd taught her to emulate him, Isbeth practically oozed sensual charisma with every glance and gesture. Declain studied Izzy silently for a few moments, admittedly a bit dazzled by her, as Isbeth immediately linked her arm with Xzavier's and tugged him closer to her side. Isbeth smiled warmly upon Declain and leaned in to offer him a brief embrace and a kiss on the cheek. "Declain! Hello, love! I despise seeming rude, but do you think we can catch up a bit later? I'm quite parched and the wine bearers don't seem to favor this corner of the room. Besides, Xzavier and I have yet to make our rounds with the rest of the family. If you'll excuse us?" Her smile faded slightly as her eyes locked with her almighty uncle's stern glare for a few brief but intimidating moments, then she shot her son a pointed glance and nodded, forcing the smile to return to her pouted ruby red lips as Declain regarded her request with a polite nod. Xzavier nodded a silent assent to Isbeth, aside from a timid "Yes, Mother", and pressed a gentle, reverent kiss to the crown of her head. He forced a small smile as well, then grumbled lowly to Declain and walked away with Isbeth to the other side of the banquet hall.
"My new disciple," Lachlainn mused, tightening his arm around Declain's shoulder for the briefest of moments before withdrawing it just as swiftly. "And a smug, conceited little shit most of the time. The little fucker thinks himself my equal, and so very early in his training! He'll learn his place, much sooner than he pleases." He grinned slyly and cast his youngest brother a sidelong glance. "Mmm. I've got his mother well trained to keep him under control though, as you'd just observed. Isbeth has always been my most prized pupil and she's keenly aware that I greatly respect her many powers. But she knows that I have very little tolerance for cheek and foolishness, Declain. She also knows, and so rightly fears, that I won't hesitate to smite her cocky little pup across the face should he ever truly test my patience."
Declain arched a curious brow as he looked upon Lachlainn, finding only blunt sincerity in his eldest brother's expression. "Holy shit," Declain thought to himself, "Lachlainn really doesn't fuck around!" Lainn suddenly laughed and gazed into Declain's eyes as though he'd actually heard his thoughts, then nodded and retorted, "Indeed." Lainn grinned proudly as he idly watched Isbeth in the distance, mingling coquettishly with the rest of their family, his fel-green eyes drinking her luscious curves in with a sinful, lust-filled glare. "Utterly ravishing, isn't she Declain? A magnificent creature to my eyes, and so like her mother in more ways than she'd ever care to admit. A shame indeed that she's our niece by blood. I bet you'd enjoy fucking her if not for that single dreadful detail, hmm?" Declain shot his eldest brother a swift glance of alarm, crossing his arms as he awkwardly found himself actually considering such a prospect for far longer than he'd care to admit, then decidedly shaking his head of such an incestuous notion. Lachlainn knew, though, and merely smirked and nodded slightly.
"Anyway... Make no mistake, Declain," Lachlainn continued, "Xzavier may not have been raised in a massive Keep such as this, but he was never left for wanting. If you were spoiled by Mother and Father, then so too was he. Isbeth has been an excellent mother to him as well, even if it has detracted over time from her studies under my strict tutelage. But as fair compensation, and due to his... unfortunate recent dismissal from the Cathedral of the Light, she's given him over to me for proper instruction and discipline. For as much as he needs the former, his need for the latter is tenfold greater." Lachlainn crossed his arms over his chest and heaved a deep sigh. "Xzavier will be an excellent warlock one day, and a far better man, I will see to that. But the road to each will be long and perilous if he doesn't change his ways." He shook his head softly and turned to Declain, offering him a small grin and poked him lightly in the shoulder. "As for you, my youngest brother. I hear you're quite the lover and the fighter! Continue your diligence with vigor, Declain. Stormwind City is a good place to start cutting your teeth in both respects. I speak from experience, naturally. Should you ever need anything, you know where to find me. Father would most likely disapprove, but since when have I ever given a shit about that?"
Almost right on cue, Lylandris moved in closer behind Declain and covered his eyes playfully. She giggled joyfully before releasing her baby brother and spinning him around to face her. "I didn't mean to interrupt the sweet little heart-to-heart between brothers, but I was getting lonely over there by myself!" Lillypad grinned wisely at Declain then Lachlainn and stuck her tongue out at him defiantly. "You must forgive your sister, Declain," Lainn sharply responded with a smirk, "She's enjoyed the festivities quite a bit tonight and I might soon need to carry her off to bed." Lylandris grinned wisely then snickered with a light, airy snort. "Carry ME off to bed? I'll carry YOU off to bed, Lainny Poo! I train my body hard all day, every day, while you sit in libraries and read dusty old books and tomes!" She shook her head softly then seemed to collect herself in an instant, smiling warmly into Declain's eyes as she tightly embraced him. "No, but seriously... I'm so proud of you, Little Brother! Please be safe during your time in Stormwind City and keep your wits about you at all times! But remember, you'll always have family, no matter what. Such is the most important tenet of this Clan and family, is it not? Through thick and thin, through hardship and triumph, we always stick together."
Lylandris turned her head slightly and kissed Declain's cheek then released him from her embrace. "I'll have to get used to not seeing you around the Keep all the time, but you'd better make sure to come visit us once in a while, okay? Mother will be furious and heartbroken if you don't, you know that. And so will I." Lillypad winked at him caressed a hand softly across Declain's cheek as she blinked slowly and hiccupped, a bit drunk, before murmuring softly to him. "My baby brother... All grown up and leaving the nest... I'm really going to miss you, Declain." Declain smiled warmly, feeling a bit of emotion catching in the back of his throat, then stepped forth and hugged Lylandris tightly. "I'm gonna miss you too, Lillypad. And I promise, I'll make sure to visit. I'll probably have to get a little independence first, though. Prove my worth to Uncle Draivian and Aunt Rhaeyne, get a few things nailed down in Stormwind. But I'll make it work." Lillypad smiled and brushed a hand through Declain's hair, tugging lightly on his ponytail as she kissed his cheek softly. "I know you will, Little Brother. You're a Steele, after all! I know you'll do well for yourself out there."
Lachlainn nodded his silent agreement, or so it seemed at least, to their sister's words then took Lylandris' hand into his and pulled her slowly against him. He murmured softly against her ear as he leaned in closer, once more entwining his fingers with hers. "We shouldn't really keep Declain to ourselves much longer, dearest Sister. After all, this is likely the last evening that he'll spend here in quite some time. I'm certain there must still be a couple more guests awaiting his company." Lainn grinned into Declain's eyes and motioned across the hall with his gaze to Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa, still looking as radiant and lovely as they had earlier. Vhae was smiling softly and engaged in a conversation with Elder Valandaar. Rhos was seated near the two draenei, wincing slightly as she removed both of her shoes and seemed immediately relieved, rubbing her hands carefully over her woefully aching feet.
"They're waiting for you Declain," Lachlainn wisely suggested with sly grin, "It seems the party is slowly winding down, anyway. Soon, I imagine most of our guests will begin retiring for the rest of the evening anyway. Just because Mother and Father threw you this party, it doesn't mean that all of our lives have suddenly stopped. Duty beckons regardless." Lylandris smiled supportively and nodded, leaning into Lachlainn's arm as though he were some gentlemanly escort about town and not her elder brother. "I've got to put the initiates through their paces early in the morning," she stated plainly, "So I know I'll definitely need some sleep very soon!" Lillypad then pulled Declain into a half-armed embrace and kissed his cheek gently. "I'll try hard to be there, though. To see you off before your carriage departs. But in case I can't, then be well and have a pleasant journey, Little Brother. May the Light guide your path and keep you safe!" With that, Lachlainn and Lylandris veered away and toward the exit of the banquet hall, idly chatting and laughing softly all the way.
Declain turned and glanced about swiftly, suddenly nervous at seeing neither Rhoswyn nor Vhaelindraa anywhere. The room was a lot less crowded by this time and Declain scanned every face to be certain. He strode urgently toward his father, though before he could speak, Draike immediately raised a hand to calm him. "Declain, my son. Has the evening been finding you well?" He smiled warmly upon Declain and placed a hand firmly upon his shoulder. "I sent your lovely guests on a brief errand. They'll return very soon, don't worry." Draike gestured aside to the small, all female gathering beside him - Alaisynn, Rhaeyne, Kaevinna, Taralenne, Ayleth and Asherenne - and grinned a bit. "Your mother seemed so happy to be among her fellow Ladies, I didn't want to pull her away. Tonight she's a daughter, a sister and an old, trusted friend, as well as your proud mother. It's good for her. I worry sometimes that wearing the mantle of 'Lady of Steelhaven' weighs too heavily upon her brow. Your mother is one of the strongest women I've ever known, so it doesn't speak at all to frailty or womanly weakness. It's not easy being Highlord either, but I manage nevertheless. However, as I've raised you to understand, Declain, it is our responsibility - the man's responsibility - to care for and protect our women regardless.
Draike's attentions suddenly shifted to the entrance of the banquet hall, a small and pleasant smile across his lips. "Ah, there they are," the Highlord joyfully declared, leaving Declain's side and striding hastily toward the doorway. Alaisynn looked up from amid her conversation as well, smiling brightly as she leaped to her feet at a sudden, seemingly unexpected sight. Declain arched a curious brow then wheeled around swiftly, suddenly struck by the same incredible sight. "Grandpapa Kurran!" Declain cried, his mouth pursed into an 'o' of sheer surprise. He was greeted by the sight of Draike courteously taking his own father's arm and leading him to the head of the banquet table, where most of the family had congregated by now, and helped seat him comfortably. The Highlord then politely smiled upon Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa and thanked them for their kind service, taking each of their hands so gallantly and kissing them in noble gratitude.
Declain rushed to his grandfather's side and knelt beside him, deeply overcome with emotion. Kurran smiled weakly and reached out to touch his youngest grandson's face tenderly. Alaisynn smiled softly as she took her husband's arm and snuggled against him, a gentle mist forming in her shining emerald eyes. "He insisted on being here for you tonight my son," Draike stated with a warm smile. "We'd told him of your impending journey and he wouldn't take no for an answer. Even after strict orders to remain in bed and not exert himself too much." Alaisynn nodded a bit, extending a hand to the back of Declain's head, threading her slender fingers smoothly through his raven black locks. "Papa Bear gave him some mild pain relieving herbs and said his breathing is stable enough, but advised us not to bring him in until it was less crowded." Kurran's eyes flickered opened and closed for a few moments, his smile never fading for an instant, then cleared his throat with some effort and shook his head a bit, glancing up at Laisey and Draike with surprisingly clever grin. "And, I... told... him. 'I ain't dead yet... lad'." Kurran coughed and wheezed a little bit as he spoke, then slowly redirected his poor, squinted eyesight toward Declain.
He took his youngest grandson's hand and gave it a light squeeze, much of his strength from his younger days as a blacksmith now mostly gone. "Declain... I, know you... will... do the Steele, name... proud, my... son," he muttered lowly amid his short breaths and sharp wheezing. "I will Grandpapa," Declain murmured softly to Kurran. ”I will make my mark all throughout Azeroth, I promise you. I'll make such a loud noise, that you'll be able to hear it no matter where I am. You just hang in there, Grandpapa, okay? You hang in there 'til I return home, so I can tell you all about my adventures, just like you used to tell me your stories when I was a kid." Kurran's face lit up softly and he nodded with a faint smile. "Oh, I... ain't... going anywhere, soon... Declain! Your Grandpapa is... too stubborn, to die... yet. I will be... right, here... waiting... for... the day you... return, home."
Despite the inherent sorrow involved in the knowledge that Kurran was old, infirm and inevitably soon to perish, everyone maintained their happiest smiles and brightest expressions in his presence. For some, it was out of love for the man who toiled for decades to provide the best life that he could for his beloved family, and later, in old age became a wise beacon to all of his brood. For others, it was out deep respect for a man who lived a rich, full life as both a soldier in the service of his King and as possibly one of the greatest blacksmiths to ever sling irons on the anvil. Kurran was being made ever comfortable at all hours of the day and night these days, receiving the benefit of the best physicians throughout Azeroth, including being referred to the personal care of both his loving daughter-in-law Alaisynn and her infinitely wise Shan'do, Ysgareth. Despite his inability to weave complex restoration magicks since the conclusion of the Siege of Orgrimmar, Gar was still a master herbalist and alchemist. He was also well-educated in humanoid anatomy and natural remedies for most things that could ail a person. Over the decades that she'd spent in his care, Alaisynn learned much of this knowledge herself, though she'd always deferred to her mentor in those rare matters where she'd been unsure of herself. As such, Gar agreed to do his best to attend Kurran's illnesses as much as he possibly could, though ultimately he knew that all of his druidic ability still couldn't stop the circle of life. Death was in fact inevitable and Kurran had been running on a great deal of borrowed time already, as it was.
Eventually, the hour had grown very late and most of the guests had taken their leave along with many of the Steele family members. Draike himself finally relented and offered to walk his father back to his quarters and adjourn to his bedroom with Alaisynn planning not to be too far behind him. Declain sat, despondent and lonesome, at one of the tables. At some point after his grandfather made an appearance, he'd lost track of Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa. They simply... were no longer there. He assumed they'd left the banquet at some point on their own, perhaps feeling that their welcome had finally worn out. Alaisynn approached her youngest son and hugged him tightly, kissing his cheek tenderly as she made to retire for the evening. "Remember, Declain. Early, okay? Your carriage will be leaving at dawn, whether you're ready to board it or not! Why don't you go get some sleep in the meantime? You look a little worn out."
Alaisynn smiled softly and sighed as she took a seat beside Declain and patted his back encouragingly. "...Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa will be here when you do return, by the way. Kaevinna, your Gramma Ashe and the others helped me to see the reason in what happened, and I won't see either of them dismissed for it. We'll be keeping them a lot busier, mind you, but they will remain our disciples as planned. You were right though, my youngest heart, I did tell you that sex is a beautiful, natural thing and should be treasured. I just... Didn't want to admit to myself that my little boy's a grown man now, and that you might engage in such things. And, so long as you're responsible about it..." Declain nodded and returned his mother's warm smile. "They're only my friends, Mom. I find them both very attractive and it seems they think the same of me. I'm not looking to be married or engaged, or any of that crap right now. If such is ever my intention, trust me, you and Dad would be the first to know it. I love Rhoswyn and Vhae, Mom... but I don't LOVE them, you know?" Declain sighed deeply then, rolling his eyes slightly. "But it seems they've gone and disappeared anyway. Probably back to their rooms and sleeping I'd imagine." Alaisynn couldn't suppress a grin then, flashing it coyly at her son. "Ah, I see now! You were probably planning to sneak off at some point and make love to them one last time, hmm? It's... somewhat romantic, in a way! And no doubt, your father probably had some small hand in the conspiracy too, that sly, handsome man of mine. He's going to get it."
She took her clearly correct guess in good humor though, giggling softly as she draped an arm around Declain and hugged him close before rising once more to her feet. "Who knows what the future holds, my youngest heart? Perhaps there's a woman out there somewhere, just waiting for you to sweep her off her feet. That's another of the fine beauties of life, Declain. But enough of that for now. I'm off to tend to your aunt Rhaeyne's private quarters for a few moments. I need to make sure they're to her satisfaction, then I'm off to bed with your father. May Elune bless you and grant you restful sleep..." She turned aside slightly, smiling adoringly upon her son, then blew him a kiss and turned back to leave.
Declain sauntered toward his bedroom and slowly opened the door, heaving another deep sigh as he did so. Taking a few steps into the room, his eyes widened to the sight of Rhoswyn - stark naked amid a veil of red and white rose petals - laying casually across his bed. "Rhoswyn...?! I thought you'd left, I thought..." He suddenly felt hands around his waist as Vhaelindraa had revealed herself - also completely naked and looking ready for action - from behind his door and embraced him from behind. "And don't forget about me, m'lord," Vhae murmured as she licked his neck seductively and kissed downward until she reached his collarbone. "Vhaelindraa... Oh, you sneaky little wenches! Did you both plan this all along?"
Declain laughed then grinned enthusiastically and proceeded to move toward the bed with Vhae following closely right behind him. In no time at all, his wanton lovers stripped Declain of his clothes and urged him to lay back on the bed. His hands roamed about their lithe, shapely bodies while they kissed and cajoled at his most sensitive areas, as well as each other's. Before long, Rhoswyn began stroking Declain's now fully hardened length and finally popped it into her mouth. She sucked him deeply and aggressively, bobbing her head wildly in his lap, while he and Vhaelindraa were passionately making out with each other. Before long, Declain urged his draenei lover to sit atop his face, gripping her thighs tightly and swirling his tongue around deep inside of her moist hole. Rhoswyn eventually ceased her oral fixations and swiftly climbed onto Declain's raging member. She and Vhaelindraa sat facing one another, hands roaming and lips searching each other's bodies as Declain pleasured them both simultaneously! Before long, both women's bodies began to tremble and quiver in rhythm with Declain beneath them. Incredible orgasms tore through each of their bodies like an immense wave crashing against the ocean shore. Declain mumbled and groaned against Vhae's dripping wet slit while she quaked and flailed about atop him. He felt his potent seed spurting up inside of Rhoswyn as her own sensual juices streamed down from inside her and coated both of their hips completely. Rhoswyn sighed deeply with intense ecstasy and flopped down beside Declain on the bed, her chest heaving and her nethers still tingling from the sheer intense impaling she'd just experienced on behalf of Declain's earlier wild thrusting.
"I vant some more," Vhaelindraa groaned, her own maidenhead soaked with her cum and Declain's saliva. "Give it to me now, m'lord. I need it! I need you so deep inside of me!" Declain smirked into her eyes as he swiftly rose to his knees and tossed Vhae onto her back in front of him. He leaned over her like a stalking predator, his emerald eyes shimmering with lust and desires unimaginable. Rhoswyn luxuriated beside Vhaelindraa on the bed and began to kiss her draenei companion and caress her breasts with great enthusiasm. Rhos cast a sideward grin upon Declain as he rested his hands upon Vhae's knees and spread her legs wide open, teasing the head of his manhood over her moistened slit. As Declain slid inside of Vhaelindraa with a deep, guttural growl of sheer passion, Rhos cruelly lifted her leg and began dragging her toes across her young lord's sculpted chest. "Mmm. You'd better save some for me when you're finished, m'lord!" Rhoswyn cooed seductively as she dragged her foot up Declain's chest then moved it across his cheek. "I want you to fuck me like that all night, m'lord. We don't know when you'll be back to ravage us like this again!" Declain grinned down upon his two lustful partners, thrusting Vhaelindraa deeply and with every bit of his might while she moaned and wailed with such immense delight. He nibbled and suckled on Rhoswyn's luscious toes each time she'd playfully slide her foot across his cheek, for added sultry measure.
Before long, the impassioned trio had endured all manner of positions and pleasures that extended to the limits of their wildest imaginations! Declain hardly cared for the noise they collectively made, as he was certain by now that everyone knew what he was up to and whom with. He was leaving in the morning, and simply didn't care at this point. He went for broke and Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa followed every step of the way. Little did any of them realize however, that amid their passionate displays, they had an audience of one looking in. And deeply enjoying the show, no less.
"Fuck... me... runnin'..." Draivian muttered to himself, his jaw agape as he grinned with sheer amazement while he knelt low to the keyhole of Declain's door. He'd regretfully missed the earlier farewell banquet and festivities thanks to a particularly difficult case that he'd been so diligently working on, but decided he might come visit anyway and at the very least, surprise his wife with his presence. Draivian had been making his way gingerly through the residential wing of the house when he'd heard the wild commotion reverberating from Declainn's bedroom door and, naturally, became curious. Slowly, he stood from the keyhole and shook his head softly. "I'm thinkin' I'm gonna like havin' that kid around, bloody hells! Alright, I need to go fuck my wife now... Feel like I'm about to explode." Draivian smirked as he walked away with that prevailing thought, his eyes scanning each doorway while sniffing lightly at the air until he paused in front of a particular door. He cleared his throat gently then stopped to adjust his own growing arousal inside his pants. The corners of his lips curled into a devious grin. "Yep. This is it, I'd know that perfume anywhere. My Queenie's inside! She'd better be in a good mood. Elune, please tell me she's in a good mood!" He chuckled heartily and rested a hand on the doorknob, turning it slowly before opening the door and disappearing behind it just as swiftly.
Last edited by Amaranthaea on 2015-07-11 7:31 pm; edited 11 times in total
Declain awoke, fully naked and completely spent, to the sounds of a gentle rapping at his bedroom door. He shot up quickly out of bed and glanced around while urgently tugging on a pair of underwear. There was no sign of Rhoswyn or Vhaelindraa this time and, before he could answer his door, it slowly opened to reveal his mother's smiling face. She peered around it curiously at first herself, then fully opened the door and stepped inside the room with a wistful smile on her lovely face. "It's time, my youngest heart. The carriage has been packed and loaded, and the coachman will be ready to leave in thirty minutes. You'll need to be dressed and ready very soon. I will be outside at the Keep gates with your father, waiting to see you off."
Declain nodded, still attempting to brush the sleep from his eyes and the haze from his mind. He didn't really remember when Rhoswyn and Vhaelindraa had left his room this morning. He supposed that he was glad they'd had the foresight to do so, though he was a little saddened that he hadn't had the formal opportunity to say an actual farewell. He went to the large armoire against the far wall of his bedroom, then to his closet to gather up some casual but presentable clothing to wear for his impending journey. Once he'd fully dressed, Declain stopped at his bedroom doorway and glanced around, one last time, before exiting the bedroom and shutting the door firmly behind him.
By the time Declain had made it outside to the gates of Steelhaven Keep, the coachman had already made all of the necessary preparations for their ride to Chillwind Camp and was seated on the rider box with reins in hand. Declain's father and mother were waiting, arm in arm, near the carriage door and appeared to be having some kind of casual, airy conversation with someone inside. Alaisynn turned slightly and noticed Declain, then moved toward him and smiled again into his eyes. Her voice was pleasant and joyful, despite the quiver of sadness in her lips as she clearly was struggling to keep herself composed. "It seems you won't be traveling alone Declain," Alaisynn stated with a bit of enthusiasm. "Your aunt Rhaeyne stayed the night and decided she'd travel back home with you this morning. Apparently, she hadn't gotten much sleep?" Laisey chuckled softly, shaking her head with a light grin. "I'm sure your uncle Draivian might've had a hand in that, though. He decided to surprise us all with his presence, though far too late. At any rate, he'll be joining you on your trip to Stormwind City as well." Declain nodded his assent to her words and smiled. His mother clapped her hands softly with approval then leaned into her son and hugged him tightly. "At least this way, you'll have the chance to better acquaint with your aunt and uncle before you even arrive at their office. Maybe this works out even better, right?"
Before Declain could respond in kind to his mother, Draike had called out to the two of them from beside the carriage. "Beloved! Declain! It's time now. Come, say your goodbyes. The coachman leaves in mere minutes now!" Alaisynn swallowed hard and nodded, her lips pursed into a slight frown. She linked her arm with Declain's and walked with him down the stairway of the Keep to the cobblestone paths leading outside of the gates. Laisy gave a nervous laugh as they approached the carriage door, turning to face her youngest born son as she summoned all of her emotional courage to smile and look happy for Declain's benefit. "I knew all last night that the morning would come, my youngest heart. I dreaded this moment and I've prepared for it the best I could. But the fact is, my baby bird is leaving the nest now." Her voice cracked a little as she spoke, tears welling up in her eyes for as valiantly as she fought within herself to stay them. Alaisynn took Declain's hands into hers and kissed them softly, then pulled him into a tight embrace. She hugged him for several long moments, softly sobbing into his neck. Declain held her tightly and remained silent, pressing soft kisses to the crown of her head. "I love you so much, Declain. But I know in my heart that this is right. That this is your destiny now, and you need to reach out and fulfill it." Laisey sighed softly and buried her face into his chest as she hugged him even more tightly. She sniffed sharply and reluctantly let him go, blinking sadly into Declain's eyes. "Elune guide your path, my youngest heart. Make sure to return home and visit, when you can. Please..." Declain nodded and forced a smile across his lips. "I will Mom, I promise. The first chance I get, I'll make sure to come back and visit."
Draike smiled and wrapped an arm around his beloved wife, extending his free hand to his son. "You be careful out there, Declain. And don't give your aunt and uncle too much trouble, alright? I know you'll do us proud, my son. You're a Steele man, it's your legacy and a fine one, as you already know." Declain shook his father's hand firmly then nodded. "I will Dad. I'm gonna be a huge help to Uncle Draivian, and I'll take great care of Aunt Rhaeyne, as well! I'll do our family proud, I promise! Please make sure to take good care of Grandpapa, okay? I'm not a child anymore, I understand how the cycle of Nature works." Declain's emerald eyes shimmered softly with a deep concern as they met with his father's then his mother's. Draike nodded then gestured to the door of the carriage, opening it slowly. "We certainly will, my son. But don't you worry about that right now. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and find your happiness. Do us proud, Declain!" Draivian and Rhaeyne, already seated inside the carriage, shifted slowly in their seats to make room and listened patiently as they'd said their farewells. Before Declain could finally climb inside, Alaisynn grabbed him once more and held him closely, giving him one final kiss on the forehead for the road. She placed a hand sadly on the open window of the door and glanced over at Draivian and Rhaeyne. "Take care of my little boy, Rhaeyne! And have a safe journey, okay? Draivian... a pleasure to see you, as always. Perhaps next time you'll be able to stay longer."
Rhaeyne glanced up briefly from the book she'd been reading and regarded her sister with a polite smile. "He'll be fine, Laisey. I promise. You could always come visit us as well, if you'd like." Draike grinned and laughed heartily. "If she did, I doubt I'd ever see her again until Declain came back home!" They all shared a brief laugh to break the emotional tension, then Draike placed a hand gently on Alaisynn's shoulder and slowly pulled her backward against him. "They need to leave now, my Beloved. Let's see them off then we'll go take a walk through your gardens, how does that sound?" Alaisynn nodded with a warm smile, entwining her arm in Draike's and nuzzling her cheek to his shoulder as the coachman snapped his reins and the carriage began to slowly move. Draike and Alaisynn stood patiently and silently watched as the carriage shrunk smaller and smaller into the distance until it was completely out of view, lost amid the bustle of the city's morning activity.
Declain was also silent as the carriage pulled further and further away from Steelhaven Keep and down the main roadways of the city. For as long as he possibly could, Declain watched his parents watching him as they moved farther away until they could no longer be seen, and finally, even Steelhaven Keep was like a faraway tiny speck. Declain Steele would fondly remember his childhood and upbringing at the Keep, among his beloved and cherished family. But now, it was truly his time. His time to shine and make a proper man of himself. His time to take his life by the horns and fight it hard into submission, just as any true Steele man would!
~ Fin ~
((Quite a story, and a great introduction to Declain! I found myself rather curious about Steelhaven, and the people who founded it, and kept trying to guess it's location. :-) For me, anytime a story leaves me curious about learning more, it's a very good sign! Overall, you really did a heck of a job building a living, breathing background for this character - so bravo!))