Description: Upon hearing of the World Warrior tournament announced by Krauser, Rose is quick to point out that this would be the perfect opportunity for her dear brother to show the world what he can do.
Rose had awoken this morning in the same fashion as she always did, swathed in the lap of the finest luxuries. She had let out a soft yawn as her eyes fluttered open to greet the gentle light of the rising sun, its golden rays bathing her in a soft and muted red tint as it passed through the thin privacy curtain of supple silk that hung like a shroud over her fancy bed. On any other morning she would have been content to lie there for several more minutes, nestled cozily in the thick downy embrace of the expensive blankets to allow her mind the luxury of taking its time to rouse itself for her the day's events. Today, however, she was far too excited to simply laze around.
The maids had been caught somewhat off-guard by her change of routine and hurried to keep up as she hopped from the large cushions and made her way towards the palatial bathing room. She'd enjoyed a nice long soak in hot rose-scented waters and had emerged engergized and clean. Rose waited patiently through the somewhat lengthy process of having her hair done up properly and her make-up applied with the sort of care that a sculpter might apply to their greatest work of art, each of her servants an expert at their jobs for she would accept none but the finest in her employ. She fussed for several minutes over the particulars - which shade of blush to use, how much eyeshadow was just the right amount, whether her lips had enough color - but after all was said and done the young heirress had left her quarters with a smile.
The sound of a soft piano music filled the parlour, a drifting but happy waltz intermingling with the deep thrum of the Black Noah's mighty engines and the soft rumbling purr of the small panther which lies curled against her feet. Thin slender fingers almost as pale and twice as delicate as the polished ivory keys dance with nimble grace through the rolling notes of the song, recreating one of Chopin's more whimsical pieces with expert skill. Rose had wiled away most of the morning with practice as she awaited the arrival of her dear brother though the remains of an excellent breakfast of exotic fruits, jams, and cheeses still sit upon the counter of the small bar with plenty left over to satisfy her sibling's hunger should he desire.
Rose closes her eyes as she plays, allowing the chords to sweep her up in their emotional tune as she smiles brightly. She has no need to look at the sheets of music for she knows many of these songs by wrote at this point, her charmed lifestyle granting her more than enough free time to spend devoting herself to the mastery of this particular hobby. Today her playing has a purpose beyond personal satisfaction, however, for this is the day that she shall encourage her brother to show the world the fruits of his long days of training.
What better way to greet such a momentous day?
For Adelheid, today was a day like any other. He awoke, early, laying in the comfort of his own luxurious four post bed. Unlike his darling sister, he does not waste the time of enjoying the comfort of his downy bedding any longer. He rises to greet the day, just as the sun crests the distant horizon over the water, in shades of orange creme and his beloved rose, nude on the balcony of his suite. The fresh ocean air, the scent of saltwater in his nostrils and clinging to his hair, all serves to push the last vestiges of the haze of sleep from his mind, rousing him to alertness.
After that, it is to the shower, where he is accompanied by a manservant who immediately wraps a towel around the young man's waist as he strides out from it, still steaming from the scalding hot water. A robe is offered, and draped over his shoulders like one might place the royal cape upon the shoulders of a king. Soon thereafter, he is dressed. A fine tailored suit today. Ash grey, with a wine colored shirt and silky, silver tie. Perfect, with a vest that clings to his athletic form like a second skin, and creases so sharp that they could cut through steel down each leg of his slacks.
This is where Adel always had problems. And then... the boredom. What else is there to do here? What else is there to learn or experience? He has only one comfort on this floating home, adrift in the middle of the vastness of the sea. His beloved. His sister. His Rose.
And so, as she plays, Adel enters, careful that the hard clapping of his soles on marble flooring don't overpower the sound of her music. He doesn't interrupt her. He doesn't dare. He simply turns his crimson eyes on her with a look of utter admiration as she works her magic on the keys. He is a creature of taste and refinement, but Rose? To him, Rose is a creature of talent and intelligence that he could not compare to. He, alas, has only inherited their father's prowess and acumen for business.
Striding to the bar in his silence, he will claim a stool for himself, turning in it to face Rose as she plays. He plucks up a grape, lifting it to his soft, pliant lips to bite half of it off, savoring it while he waits for Rose's song to finish.
The delicately playful notes continue to waft through the wide parlour in greeting to the second master of this luxurious floating castle as Adelheid strides into the room with all the dignity and refinement of a fairytale prince. His princess shows no signs that she has detected his arrival, lost in the art of her music, save for perhaps the faint uptick of one corner of her soft pink lips. She continues her carefully planned serenade for several minutes more, her talented hands never seeming to tire as they coax the lilting melody from the instrument's taut wires, until at last it comes to an end with a subtle but masterful crescendo.
Rose's eyes finally drift open and she turns to bathe her brother in the luxurious warmth of her brilliant smile. Rising from the bench, she strides to the center of the room and then curtsies, her gloved hands lifting the puffy folds of her long crimson dress in the ancient form of greeting as if she were taking a well-deserved bow before a stadium packed to the brim with spectators. Ofcourse, there is but one person here rather than thousands, but she considers his presence worth for more than any number of the low-born peasants who attend her recitals.
"Did you like it, brother? I played it just for you."
The young woman's bright red eyes sparkle with affection as she poses him the question, knowing full well the answer she will receive yet longing to hear it all the same. There are but two people in the entire world whose approval she would ever openly seek with such passion. Her father had long since earned her love with his affection and doting but it is her older brother in particular with whom she has a particularly special bond. They are but two pieces of a whole, two halves of the same soul splint asunder by some cruel twist of fate and it is for him and him alone that she would surrender everything to please.
A small dark shape saunters along behind her, the sleek form of the baby panther gifted to her by their father trailing in her wake like a particularly deep shadow. Gwan stretches lazily at Rose's feet, his powerful claws raking at the carpet, and then turns to peer at his owner's twin as if he too was curious.
When Rose finally opens her eyes, Adel feels as if the sun has risen on him once again. Subtly, and instinctually, his posture straightens, his bearing instantly becoming more noble under her gaze as if he were a flower blossoming under the radiance of her warm smile. With his languid grace, he slides from his stool to his feet, so that he might bring his hands together in soft applause as she curtsies before him.
"It was beautiful, dear Rose," he says, his voice dulcet in quality, almost a purr that spills forth from his lips warm and sweet as molten honey, though containing just enough of a masculine gravel to it to give it an edge. The auditory equivalent of mead. "I will never grow tired of hearing you play. You always know just what it is that my heart needs to hear."
He approaches his sister, his world, with open and outstretched arms. His hands, delicate looking things, elegantly sculpted of porcelain and tipped with long nails that look like chipped glass, come to rest on her upper arms, just below her shoulders. His grip is gentle. Immeasurably so, as if he believed that she were made of fragile and priceless china, rather than the hardier stuff of flesh and bone. The smile that graces his delicate features is tender and intimate, and a smile only reserved for her. For she is his muse. The first part of all of his joy and all of his sorrow. His happiness begins and ends in her smile. Twin souls, entwined and perfectly made to complement one another. Adelheid respects their father from the bottom of his heart, but that respect is with little affection. It is a relationship born of traditional concepts of duty and honor to one's parents. He yearns to make his father proud. It's only Rose that he cherishes.
"What would you like to do today, sister? Perhaps we could take a skiff out and explore a nearby island?"
The embrace of her brother is accepted with a quiet sort of eagerness, allowing him to touch her delicate skin safe in the knowledge that his soft hands would do nothing to marr its pristine surface nor cause her any sort of discomfort. No one else save their father was allowed this special privelage of touching her with such open familiarity but even the strong and powerful presence that he provides cannot compare to the feeling of comfort that she experiences in Adelheid's gentle grip.
"Ofcourse, dear Adelheid. For I know you as well as I know myself."
She responds to his praise with a mirror of his loving tone. Where the young man's voice is warm and thick while retaining the faint gruffness of masculine power, hers is a lilting and elegant birdsong that flows with the same pleasant whimsy as the music which she had played, matching in every way the aristocratic beauty of the features which she had inherited from their mother.
Rose releases the hems of her dress so that she may rest her hands lightly upon her brother's waist in a manner more befitting a pair of young lovers than members of the same blood. She gazes up into her brother's face with a look of innocent happiness and her smile widens slightly upon hearing the question which she has waited to answer ever since being informed of the recent developments in the wider world only the day before.
"No. Not today, brother. Today heralds something far more grand than the pedestrian adventures with which we have wiled away our time of late. Today... will be your grand debut on the world's stage!"
"You know me, perhaps, better than I know myself," he agrees. And he, of course, knows her just as intimately. He knows that Rose is as delicate as her namesake, and just as pleasing to the senses. He knows that she needs to find in him a source of comfort and reassurance. Without it, she would surely wilt under the weight of a world not good enough for the likes of her.
When her hands find his waist, there is a small, involuntary shudder of the lithesome flesh under his clothing. Without a thought for what it might look like, the Prince of War steps in closer, until their bodies meet. His satin touch sweeps down the length of her arm with one hand, coming to rest atop her own, while its counterpart rises to cup her lovely chin between the delicate crook of his finger, with his padded thumb resting just below her bottom lip. As she look up into his face with that heart shattering smile, he is left with no other recourse than to simply return it as he stares adoringly into her eyes.
"My debut?" He posits, one of his thin, arched brows hefting upwards, and his adulation for her supplanted with the immediate sense of curiosity. Intrigued, curiosity. While Adelheid truly held no desire at all to be known to the world, he could see that this was an idea that Rose had lent some considerable thought to. Or, rather, that she was passionate about. How could he deny her? "How will we achieve this, sweet Rose?"
As before, Rose offers no resistance to the tender touch of her brother's hands nor to the bold advance as he draws himself close to her. She tilts her head slightly to the side and closes her eyes as his fingers brush her chin, savoring the intimacy of the moment as her heart thrills with the excitement that only his gentle touch can bring. Rather than answer him right away, she simply smiles like a kitten that has been lavished with attention. Eventually, her pretty lids flutter apart once more and she elaborates.
"The answer is quite simple, my brother."
Turning away from him, the young girl pulls herself gently from Adelheid's grip and stalks over to a small table, the frilly folds of her dress swishing back and forth as she goes. Upon the table lies what appears to be a small piece of rectangular glass, its edges protected by a thin rim of hard plastic. She scoops it up with one hand and with the other begins to tap her gloved finger upon its surface which begins to glow with a shimmering light a few moments later. The device, an elaborately fancy holographic display unit, chirps in time with her quick pokes until at last she finds what she is looking for and sashays back over.
"Here, you see? The master of Strolheim Castle has put out a call for the world's strongest warriors to face him in battle. He has decreed himself the greatest fighter and would challenge those who deem it otherwise."
Rose holds the display out for him to take so that he might watch Krauser's arrogant missive for himself, moving to clasp onto his arm so that she might peer at the video herself by his side. She has watched it several times already, excited by the prospect of such a prestigious venue through which her brother's wonderful star might shine for the rest of the world to see. Naturally, she does not need the approval of the masses to have appreciation for his talents but a little gloating over what other people don't have never hurts.
"All you need is to acquire one of these invitations and then you can show everyone that the Bernsteins are the true power to be feared in this world!"
The way that Rose responds to his touch is always a delight for the Bernstein heir. He finds delight in every flicker of content he can conjure forth from her. He finds it intoxicating, in a way. A thrill that makes his blood run hot and cold at once, and makes the pit of his stomach feel as light as air. That same excitement comes to him as he watches her move, walking away from him as she does. Everything about her is simply so elegant and perfect. She truly should have the world bowing at her feet.
Pulled from his silent enjoyment of her sheer presence, Adel's curiosity returns as she toys with the holographic display. When she returns to him, he looks down at the images of Krauser and his announcement. His youthful countenace shifts in expression, taking from a scowl of thoughtful inquisitiveness to an amused smirk. Even as she clutches his arm, which he dutifully offers up to her, he almost has to scoff at the proclaimations. When the recorded announcement has finished, Adelheid lowers the device to his side. Turning his face, he carefully rests his forehead to his sister's temple.
"Hmph. Surely father will put the old fool back in his place," he says, his voice soft, nearly a whisper. The kind of voice reserved for intimate moments between those who would share such things. "But, it would certainly give me a chance to test myself against other strong fighters, and offer an opportunity for our father to be proud."
His blood-hued eyes open, and he lifts his head from her, leaning back ever so slightly so he can peer down at the woman for whom he would give the world. Or burn it to ash. "So then, dear sister, should we respond with our own message? Or should we simply arrive at Strolheim to present ourselves?"
Rose watches the shift in demeanor on her brother's face as he in turn takes in the video, smiling at the open display of disregard for Krauser's baseless claim to the title of world's strongest warrior. His reaction is precisely as she had hoped, an obvious pique of interest at the prospect of being able to test his strength against someone other than their father or the various instructors that are retained in his employ. He had proven himself countless times against the latter and with constant effort had quickly began to close the gap with the former in terms of raw skill.
Rugal retains his crown quite handily, however, in part because he is simply more ruthless than his son, a trait which he had taught Rose to hold in high regard. She had adopted his cutthroat approach to life quite readily though living a life of princess-like luxury had afforded her few opportunities to display her darker side save for the occassional bouts of fencing practice. Adelheid, unfortunately, had taken a somewhat more noble approach to life. While she would never openly insinuate that this is some sort of personal failing of his, she has never passed up an opportunity to try and impress upon him the merits of using his power for personal gain.
"Naturally, our dear father will not sit idle in the face of such an affront," she coos, leaning her head against his. "But as you say, it is the perfect chance to show him just how much you have improved and let the world know that our legacy remains strong."
Her head tilts up to regard him once more as he withdraws and she leans into his arm pulling it tightly against her bosom as if afraid he might draw away from her despite the very idea being completely absurd. Her brother would do anything to make her happy and doted upon her even more than their father ever had. Some might call her spoiled, and they would be right, but she cares little for the opinions of others. Adelheid would break his own back if it would make her happy and she revels in the knowledge that her dear brother thinks so highly of her needs.
"Well, it was quite rude of him not to send you an invitation... but to answer such a sleight with one of our own would make us little better than him. No, brother, we shall play Krauser's little game by the rules. Let us seek out one of these guardians and procure for you a proper ticket to the games so that we may show him how true nobility behaves. It should prove an entertaining prelude to the main act."
When she leans in against him, Adelheid cannot suppress the shudder that runs down his spine. The closeness of her allows him to immerse himself in the succulent aroma of her. Her warmth and softness against his arms sends tiny shockwaves of pleasure that spark from each neuron, lighting a bonfire in his mind that makes him want to melt. A soft, barely perceptible sigh escapes his lips.
"Then we'll seek out one of his cronies," Adel agrees, looking down at the holographic display in his hand one last time, before he places it on the nearby table andturns to face her. Slender, willowy digits seek out and entwine with her own, raising her hand out to one side. His other arm encircles her waist, drawing her in so close so that once again, he might revel in her proximity, and he leaves his hand resting against the curve of her lower back. His eyes meet hers, vibrant and alight with a fiery intensity. It's hard to say if it is borne by her, or by the prospect of the struggles to come, but right now, it is a gaze that pierces right to her core. "We should seek out the Spaniard and challenge him. Then, the world will come to realize that there is more to the legacy of Rugal Bernstein than just the man himself. The world will come to know the true power of 'R'. But, for now, my dearest..."
He leans his head in, so that the warm, smoothness of his cheek can brush against her own. His soft, full lips nearly graze her flesh as he speaks directly into her ear in that quiet, low voice, his breath playing against her flesh like a warm breeze, "For now, let us dance. I still have your song ringing in my ears."
Rose smiles as she allows her hand to be taken, knowing full well the intent behind the gesture and quite approving of it. There is little that she enjoys quite as much as playing the piano, creating the magic of music with her own hands, but dancing is a pretty close second. The subtle intricacies of the movements, the constant weave of give and take as two people act in perfect concert with the one another to create an elaborate choreography of passionate motion provides an experience unlike any other. She had insisted that her brother learn how to dance when they were young and now she reaped the fruit of those efforts through the elegant form of her brother's skill.
"Just so, brother," she whispers back, allowing her slender gloved arm to slide down and encircle his waist with a gentle embrace as she draws herself close to him, her long coils of silky blonde hair brushing against his skin as he leans down to speak into her ear.
"You will show them all your strength... and I will be there by your side to see the looks of dismay upon their faces when they realize their folly in challenging us!"
Log created on 06:56:00 01/11/2018 by Rose Bernstein, and last modified on 12:55:56 01/11/2018.