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Children with Stars in their Veins (Chapter 34)

by mellifera


The sun came through the crystalline windows of the throne room and lit up the marble, enchanted floor in an array of colours. Prisms danced around the room, illuminating the flutes of the grand, glistening columns that stretched and twisted up to hold up the ceiling, with elaborately carved capitals. The ceiling mosaic was lit up in such a way that it looked like the night sky, sparkling with thousands of stars that shone their brilliant light back down like a gift.

Tucker hated the throne room.

Stop fidgeting with your cuffs.”

He ground his teeth together and pointed kept his gaze downwards, past the dais that elevated them above everyone else in the chamber. “Sorry,” he said through his teeth. He didn’t have to turn to feel the effects of his mother’s tearing gaze.

What was that?” Her tone was sharper than any of the weapons in their armoury.

Stop fidgeting. “I said, I’m sorry, mother,” he said, unlocking his jaw and lowering his tone politely. The tiny scraps of defiance left in him wailed. It felt like his chest was rattling. He wished he could crawl out of his own skin, wished he could sprout wings and take off and fly far, far away. His collar was too tight, and it was itchy. Every breath felt less than the one that came before.

I expect that you’ll be a perfect, charming young man with the Lady Sybille and her father arrive, won’t you?” The Queen’s voice was pressing. It wasn’t a request, it wasn’t a question.

He squirmed in his seat. Don’t call me that. I hate it when you call me that. “Of course, mother,” he said.

Though he knew he would find no comfort, he twisted in his throne—lowered ever so slightly below his parents’ thrones—and glanced towards his father. As if he were somewhere else entirely, the King kept his gaze forward, his face unyielding save for the slightest down twitch on his brow.

You married her. Say something, you coward. Do something useful for once.

The doors into the throne room parted like a split river, sending in near blinding sunlight into the chamber that lit up the floor and rippled like a pale ocean. Or what Tucker imagined the ocean would look like—as if he would ever see it. As if he would ever see anything beyond this horrible city.

He straightened in his seat, lest the Queen say something. The light illuminated two figures, though he could make out nothing about them as they entered. The door groaned shut, and for a moment, he could see the two, solemn jade chimeras that stood sentinel outside. And then they were gone. He blinked, trying to dismiss the light that had burned against his eyes.

The man leading the two strode forward with confidence, though still his shoulders were hunched, and his neck bent forward just so. As with any great person who strode through the doors of a room when his mother was present, this man was no exception. He was, otherwise, tall, with dark hair pulled back into a bun. His skin was light brown and weathered from sun exposure, and he led a young girl with a hand on her back.

Tucker didn’t want to look at her, but it was instinct that drew his eyes. The need to take in the new person.

She was small, smaller than he’d thought. She had a mess of tawny brown curls fluffier than most cats he’d seen, neatly plaited partially back. Her face was paled and smooth and, even from up on his throne, he could see all the paint covering her up. She wore a beautiful lavender dress and looked like she wanted to do nothing more than crumple to the floor. Her expression was hard and set however.

Lord Janvier,” the Queen said, both sitting tall and reclining in the throne, looking effortless and absolutely imperial. “And you must be Lady Sybille Janvier.”

The girl curtsied, dipping so low to the floor that her knees must be touching it. She looked remarkably composed, much more so than he felt.

It’s an honour, truly, Queen Juliette,” Lady Sybille said. She rose, and then dipped once again, facing his father this time. “And King Lysander.” And then, a final curtsy, she faced him. He fought not to squirm. “And Prince Tucker.”

He was going to be sick.

Tucker rose to his feet, legs shaking underneath him like it was his first time getting on an airship—he’d never been, only heard stories of the airsickness—and descended the dais. He stopped in front of Sybille.

Up close, she was not as small as once believed, but still nearly a head shorter than him. Her eyes were bright, bright grey. She watched him levelly, coolly. His heart stuttered at that gaze, and bite his tongue hard, until he had fought off the instinct to look away.

The honour is all mine, my lady,” he said, his tone light and cordial but his stomach anything but. He gently took her hand, steady if only for all the training he’d spent hours and hours and hours going over with his mother.

Which meant he was not the one shaking. He almost faltered as he felt the girl trembling, before he recovered and bent to press a kiss to the back of her hand.

She was just as terrified as he was. This was not a particularly good thing to have in common to build a marriage upon, but it was something.

As he began to pull away, her sleeve adjusted in such a way that he noticed two things. 1) Sybille had a pale dusting of freckles on her arm, and probably on her face when it wasn’t painted so. 2) There was a purple discolouration on her arm that wasn’t a birthmark.

He glanced up and met her gaze. There was a flash of terror across her face before she smoothed it out. He glanced towards Lord Janvier, but the man was still staring up at his mother.

I’ve been longing to meet you for a very long time, my prince,” Sybille said suddenly. Her fingers tightened on his, just for a moment. “I’ve heard of you, your thoughtfulness and intelligence, as well as your beauty. I see they were not wrong, though perhaps a bit diluted.” She bowed her head. “If you’ll permit me to say so, your highness.”

He let go of her hand. “You’re permitted,” he said, in a soft and much too quiet voice. He did not glance back at the Queen. He would hear about that later.

My darling princeling, take Lady Sybille out to our sculpture garden. I believe your father, Lord Janvier, and I have business to discuss,” the Queen said. “A lot of planning, I should say.”

He swallowed, hard, and his mouth tasted like iron. Planning for a wedding that won’t even come around until my trueblood ceremony. He offered his arm to Lady Sybille, straightening his spine like a string was attached to his spine, and keeping his posture as immaculate as drilled into him. “What do you say, my lady?”

Lady Sybille bit into the corner of her mother, almost imperceptibly, before she smiled sweetly and took his arm. “It would be my absolute pleasure, my prince.”

And so he was to spend an hour with the woman he was meant to spend the rest of his life with, and all he could focus on was no simply passing out.

word count:

1,259


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Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:58 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...



Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I love this so much! Your characters are so wonderful here!! You just about broke my heart when the narration mentioned the upcoming blood ceremony and I just. //sob HE DOESN'T DESERVE BAD THINGS, PLEASE BE KIND TO HIM.

Their anxiety was expressed so wonderfully, it really felt too real and relatable. And Tucker's personality really shone despite the similar anxiety levels, so that's a really good thing. Actually, watching him interact with his mother was awesome too. I can't help but wonder if the queen would have gotten along with her real son! How interesting that these two grew up with such a rocky relationship!

I'd have liked to see Lord Janvier's personality a bit better. I couldn't tell if he was pushing Lady Sybille forward, or if it was simply a loving and gentlemanly gesture guiding her forward.

but okay let's talk about THE PURPLE MARK THING ON HER ARM?? I really appreciate you sneaking a little nugget like this in as it gives the whole chapter so much more purpose. But I rEALLY want Tucker to ask about it 'cause hnnnnnng I feel like this is a fast-track to plot progression except the chapter's already over and I just. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT THEY SAY

But this could be foreshadowing to us, as readers, finding out very soon so I definitely look forward to that and how it all comes into play. And I felt really bad for her, too, 'cause she seemed really self-conscious about it and doesn't want to be asked. :( I hope she's okay. (I thought she had a previous segment, but I can't find the chapter to refresh my memory, so maybe I'm remembering wrong and this is knew in which case i AM VERY INTRIGUED AJSDFL;ASJF.)

but omg tucker is going to fail his blood ceremony T_T I don't think I'm ready to watch another failure //sob

Hnnnnnng anyway, I really just love the atmosphere of this whole chapter, you gave us such a juicy nugget in there that brings up even more questions in my head and keeps me reading further. I can't help but think these two are cute together so far, but we'll see eventually how their little chat went and if Tucker found anything out about her. and nervous for him and his blood ceremony and his engagement and oh gosh how is this not going to end in a disaster??




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Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:14 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

And I'm back for a new chapter in this novel.

First Impression: A nice little peak into yet another kingdom. I guess this will all come together eventually.

And getting right to it,

The sun came through the crystalline windows of the throne room and lit up the marble, enchanted floor in an array of colours. Prisms danced around the room, illuminating the flutes of the grand, glistening columns that stretched and twisted up to hold up the ceiling, with elaborately carved capitals. The ceiling mosaic was lit up in such a way that it looked like the night sky, sparkling with thousands of stars that shone their brilliant light back down like a gift.


Well that's a great establishing shot right there.

He ground his teeth together and pointed kept his gaze downwards, past the dais that elevated them above everyone else in the chamber. “Sorry,” he said through his teeth. He didn’t have to turn to feel the effects of his mother’s tearing gaze.

“What was that?” Her tone was sharper than any of the weapons in their armoury.

Stop fidgeting. “I said, I’m sorry, mother,” he said, unlocking his jaw and lowering his tone politely. The tiny scraps of defiance left in him wailed. It felt like his chest was rattling. He wished he could crawl out of his own skin, wished he could sprout wings and take off and fly far, far away. His collar was too tight, and it was itchy. Every breath felt less than the one that came before.


Well this is hard to watch. Looks like this prince drew the short straw when it came to royal families. The others seemed to have pretty good relationships with their parents.

Tucker rose to his feet, legs shaking underneath him like it was his first time getting on an airship—he’d never been, only heard stories of the airsickness—and descended the dais. He stopped in front of Sybille.


Interesting line to throw in there. The Prince of Heaven's keep has never been on airship.

As he began to pull away, her sleeve adjusted in such a way that he noticed two things. 1) Sybille had a pale dusting of freckles on her arm, and probably on her face when it wasn’t painted so. 2) There was a purple discolouration on her arm that wasn’t a birthmark.


Well that mark speaks volumes right there. This kingdom sounds like a bad place so far.

He swallowed, hard, and his mouth tasted like iron. Planning for a wedding that won’t even come around until my trueblood ceremony.


Well that ceremony might get very interesting wouldn't it?

Lady Sybille bit into the corner of her mother, almost imperceptibly, before she smiled sweetly and took his arm.


I think that should be mouth.

And so he was to spend an hour with the woman he was meant to spend the rest of his life with, and all he could focus on was no simply passing out.


The way that's phrased it does not make much sense. Maybe not passing out would be what you were going for or simply to avoid passing out.

And that's it for this one.

Overall: Some nice developments made for the kingdom side. This story is sizing up to be a good 50-60 chapters long by what I can see. And well the characters were introduced pretty well. Looking forward to the next chapter. Could you tag me for that one?

And as always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




mellifera says...


I think that should be mouth.


that DEFINITELY should be mouth ahaha

Could you tag me for that one?


absolutely! I'd be happy to :D as long as I don't forget

As always, thank you for your review (also congrats on all your reviews you've been doing incredible)!! <3




The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.
— George Orwell, 1984