He rode in with the storm.
Winds raging and lightning cracked above his head, cascading through the midday sky as he rode at breakneck speed.
The purpose was dire. Time was short. And the storm was the least of the worries of the young elven battle mage.
The castle loomed ahead, silhouetted against the grey clouds that spewed out the storm.
And at last he reached his destination with news the king would not want to hear. News of how the world was changing around them. News of dread. He felt the pit of his stomach twist at the thought of having to convey that news.
Mosrves slowed as he approached and dismounted, leaving his mount to the stable boy. And was rushed into the castle. But something was wrong.
The feeling hung in the air as he rushed from the entry to the main hall. And was greeted by Lersdar, the kings main counsellor.
"You will see the lady Ranyl," the counsellor said, his face drawn.
Mosrves nodded as he strode on, to the Lady. First daughter of the king. The princess of the house-landing. Why he would see her didn't even enter his mind. He was just so driven to deliver his news that all else paled.
Until he drew near. She was a half-breed, half elven and half dwarf. Most unlikely but stunning just the same. He had only caught rare glimpses of her before and always been intrigued.
He drew near and bowed, his chest tightening. "My lady," he said softly.
She cast her gaze towards him. He had heard rumours about her gaze. One glance and he felt his heart surge.
"They haven't told you have they?" she asked, her voice light and melodious.
She shook her head. "Bastards!" she spat. She shook her head and sighed. "The King is dead. And I am heir apparent. So, any news you had for the King now you tell me."
Mosrves felt his heart lunge again. She was now the head of the royal family, a half-breed! He was not concerned but knew how this would disrupt the kingdom.
"How?" he found himself asking, shocked by this turn of events.
"We caught a new steward who was responsible for the food," she said softly. "It was poison. Of course. And what news do you have for me?"
He shook his head. "My lady, I can not express my deep sympathy for you now." And now more than ever he dreaded this. "The enemy has launched its attack already. We can expect them soon."
She was not surprised by this news. She nodded solemnly. "What is your advice Battle Mage?"
Mosrves found his mouth moving. He was not expecting to offer his advice. He had of course spent the time returning with this dire news in his mind, turning it over again, contemplating.
"Thoughts?" she asked, watching him struggle with it. "Come now. Mosrves, we need you now more than ever. Surly you have thoughts on this matter."
"Counter attack by way of the side passage," he found himself saying. "It is the only way we will stand a chance. Pull back all forces and centre them at the sides."
She nodded and smiled at the full blood elf. "Very wise. Thank you. You are now my personal advisor. Tell that sack of refuse Lersdar that he is no longer needed here. After this is over, he will leave. If he survives. You will need new clothes. Tend to yourself. Everything in the armoury is at your disposal. And thank you Mosrves."
He stood there dumbfounded as she curtsied to him and left the chamber.
And still the storm howled outside.
The storm raged for two more days. All the preparations were made and Mosrves found himself at the new queens side as the troops aligned.
The battle lasted less time than it had taken for him to get back to the castle from Yerust. The storm brewed on as the last of the battle was fought.
"I don't like it," Ranyl said with a shake of her head. "It doesn't feel right. This was far too easy a win."
"I feel they might be preparing something else, that we hadn't known or planned," Mosrves agreed. "This storm still brews. Some other magic is afoot. I will cast spells to protect the castle my lady."
She scoffed at his insistence at formality. "Call me Ranyl please," she insisted. "We have to fight this as equals if we are to survive."
And that thought spurred in his head a plan. "That is it! They are planning on equalling our resistance with their overwhelming might. If we show no resistance, then they will put their guard down and leave themselves open to a full on assault! Brilliant my lady!"
She beamed at his exuberance. "Make it so!"
And the following day they played dead and the enemy walked directly into the trap. By noon, the enemy was decimated. Survivors were forced to flee and soon it was only castle Enmor as the victors.
Ranyl watched her servants and troops finish off the formalities. Later that night she would be crowned queen at last. And thoughts of her reign wore heavily on her.
"My Lady?" Mosrves asked, feeling the mood switch again.
"Will you do me the honour of being my king?" she asked quietly.
His mouth dropped to the floor. She had just asked for his hand in marriage, a sacred union that lasted for hundreds of years. Perhaps a few less with her mix blood. Regardless.
She looked to the tall blonde elf that she had fallen so in love with over such a short time. And watched as he struggled with this question. "You don't have to answer now of course," she whispered.
Suddenly Mosrves turned and picked her up around her waist, planting his lips on hers for a kiss that left them both breathless.
"Yes my lady" he replied, out of breath. "It would be my honour."
And that is how the Lady Ranyl and the Mage Mosrves became King and Queen.