There are traditions in Stormwind that even a king - especially a king - cannot circumvent. One of those traditions says only a direct blood heir can inherit the crown and should the king die childless, that will trigger a series of trials to find the man most worthy of the crown.
Trials can take years; the last set, centuries ago now though Lothar can't remember the date, plunged them into civil war. Lothar understands King Llane won't allow that to happen to everything his family's built and he'll do what he has to do to keep their people safe. And so, that's how Anduin Lothar finds himself where he is now.
Where he is is the royal bedchamber, high up in the castle that looks out over the city. Where he is is balls deep inside Taria Wrynn. He tells himself she's his queen right now, but she'll always be his sister first.
"I can't father children," Llane told him.
It was a blunt statement, as if Llane had practiced it a dozen different ways and decided Lothar had always preferred a soldier's straightforwardness to the politics of a king.
Lothar leaned forward, both hands pressed flat to the king's map table. He understood what they were doing there - it's the one place of all places in the castle where privacy can be guaranteed. The one place apart from the place where the royal couple slept. What Llane had just said out loud was for his ears alone, and Lothar understood the implications.
He looked at Taria, and then he looked at Llane. "You've tried--"
"Of course we've tried," Taria said.
"You don't know what I was going to say."
"It doesn't matter. Whatever it was, we've tried it."
"Yes, we've talked to Medivh."
"And he said..."
Llane sighed. He set his hands at his hips. "He said the fault's with me," he said. "I'll be the last of my line."
"He had no suggestions?"
"No," Taria replied.
Lothar frowned. "None at all?"
"Then what is it?"
Llane smiled tightly. "It's why you're here," he said. He folded his hands together in front of him, his fingers laced, like he did what he wanted to look conciliatory, or at least unthreatening. "After all, we know you can father children." He glanced at Taria, then back at Lothar, and he opened out both hands to him, the way he did when he wanted it to seem that someone had a choice where in reality there was none. Lothar knew his gestures like he knew a sword in his hand or the weight of his armour.
"You can do what I can't," Llane said, and he gestured at Taria. And when Lothar laughed, she scowled.
"Oh, this has to be a joke," he said. "She's my sister, Llane."
"It's no joke," Llane said. "Would you rather I asked a stranger? Claim a stranger's child as mine? Give my kingdom to them? Trust them? Love them?" He took off his crown. He set it on the map, right next to Stormwind, and he looked at Lothar levelly. "Would you rather a stranger put his hands on her? Anduin, you're the only one I trust."
He didn't doubt Llane's passion for his kingdom. He didn't doubt what would happen if he denied him his request. But he knew that all of this was measured, a smooth manipulation to sway him to their side. He looked at them both, first the king with his crown on the table, then the queen who stood by glaring. He laughed. He smiled. He turned an exasperated circle with his fingers tugging at his hair.
"Tell me when," he said, and he watched them both breathe a sigh of relief.
He knew he'd been manoeuvred into place against every bit of his admittedly limited better judgement. But knowing it didn't mean the argument had any less weight with him.
"Tomorrow," Taria said. "At sunset."
"Meet me by the staircase," Llane added. "We'll go up together."
And, with that, Lothar clenched his jaw and he nodded and he turned and left the room. He didn't wait to be dismissed, but Llane didn't admonish him for it. As he strode away, he wondered how long that would last. Perhaps just as long as it took for him to impregnate his sister, and once laughter bubbled up again he had to slump against a wall and wait till it wore itself out. It was so fucking insane.
But if nothing else, Llane was right about one thing: he didn't want a stranger to touch her. If it had to be anyone but Llane, it would have to be him.
Taria's on her knees and forearms, her cheek pillowed on her hands. She said she thought it would be easier for him like that the first time, but he doesn't need to see her face to know it's her. And, knowing it's her, he can't pretend she's anyone else.
He'd say he almost didn't go but he knows he'd be lying. He's been called many things by many men in his life so far, and he'll admit a lot of them are true, but he's never been a liar. That night he sat in his room and he thought it over; the child might have his blue eyes and then where would they be? Maybe he's not a liar but he knows and they know, he'd lie for his family if it came to it. He's not even sure how strongly he'd object to it. And he wonders if that's they chose him.
That night, after their secret map room meeting, Lothar barely slept. He sat in his window seat with all the lights blown out and looked out over the city - he wasn't born there and neither was Taria, but they've both spent so long living there that when he thinks about home, the city's what he pictures. He has a bed in the city garrison's barracks and a room in the family's city house, but he chose to spend that night in the room Llane and Taria always keep ready for him in the castle.
He spent the next day with the garrison and he had to admit he saw the logic of only giving him a day: one day was only long enough to consider their side of it but not his own, if you knew how his mind worked like the two of them did. Then, that night, after supper, he met Llane by the stairs.
They didn't talk on their way up. Lothar would say there wasn't much for them to talk about but there would have been plenty if they'd chosen to say it. They went up; he went to the top of Medivh's tower once and the castle's doesn't compare, and he supposed he was grateful for that. When they got to the door they were heading for, he wasn't panting, but his heart was pounding.
Llane opened the door and stood aside to let him in. Inside, Taria was waiting. When the door was closed, she dropped her robe, and Lothar quickly looked away. Ridiculous, given what he was there for, but looking at her seemed like a step in the wrong direction.
"It's time," she said, and Lothar clenched his jaw. As he forced himself to look at her, she turned away and knelt down on the bed and all he could think about was another time when he'd stumbled home drink to their house in the city, four or so nights after coming home from some battle he's not sure he even remembers. He and Llane and Medivh were in Llane's father's service then; they stumbled in past midnight, or he and Llane stumbled and Medivh followed like an exasperated bodyguard. Llane and Taria were officially betrothed by then, but that didn't stop them fumbling together up against a wall while Medivh's magic lit the lamps and while they tried to be quiet...well, they were very drunk. When someone came to the head of the stairs to check on the noise, it was Taria. When she found them there, her husband-to-be pressing her brother to the wall, Lothar's hand shoved down Llane's trousers, she just sighed at the two of them, shook her head and told them, "Go to bed. Please. Before you wake the servants."
They went to bed and fell asleep before they could do anything else but in the morning, when he woke up still mostly clothed in bed alone, he went looking for Llane. He found him fucking his sister, and he'd be the last to disapprove but she saw him. She looked at him.
"Close the door, brother," she said, with a strain in her voice he'd never heard before, so he stepped back and basically slammed the door in front of him. He rested his forehead down against it with a loud-than-intended thunk, and closed his eyes and groaned. It wasn't that he minded the two of them together - they were going to be married, after all, and he loved them both. The problem was all he could see behind his eyelids was Llane's thick cock pushing into his sister, and he wasn't sure which of them he was jealous of: the one being fucked or the one doing the fucking. He could imagine both. Vividly, despite his hangover.
They were married a fortnight later and Lothar put it out of his mind, mostly with drink and fights and travel on the king's business. But, six nights ago, that night in the castle, he ran one fingertip between Taria's legs and felt how wet she was already, slick and shiny with it. He stripped quickly and he knelt down behind her. A couple of rough strokes and he was hard - it didn't take much because he'd had nothing else but that in his head all day. He spread her cunt with both hands. Then he pushed inside.
That time, they fucked while Llane watched and not the other way around.
Tonight's the seventh night. Llane said Medivh told them seven times would be enough: seven times in seven nights and Taria would conceive the child Llane couldn't give her and Lothar would give him the heir he couldn't give himself. It might sound like sense except for the fact he's fucking his sister.
The first time, all Llane did until the end was sit there, clothed, and watch as Lothar fucked her. Taria rubbed herself between her legs to make this thing that should never have happened at least feel good and when she came, the way she tensed and pushed back hard and fucked herself on the length of him made him come, too. He took a breath, not a very steady one, then pulled back out of her and, not very steadily, he left the bed. He passed Llane as he went for his clothes while he went for the bed and while he dressed, he watched him; Llane urged Taria onto her back and he spread her thighs out wide and Lothar could see his own come welling up from inside her, pearly and fucking obscene in the lamplight. Llane buried his face between her legs and when he sat up again, he'd licked her cunt clean. Lothar slipped out, knowing Llane's mouth probably tasted just like him.
The next time, when they were done, Llane was there before Lothar stood up. Lothar sat there naked at the edge of the bed and he watched Llane go down on his knees. He watched his king kneel on the floor and suck his softening, sensitive cock; Llane didn't seem to mind that he'd used up his erection inside Taria, maybe because when he was done teasing Lothar's slit with the tip of his tongue, he moved on to tease at Taria's again.
The third time, the third night, Llane pushed his trousers down around his knees and stroked himself as he watched them; when Taria came, so did Lothar; when Lothar came, so did Llane.
The fourth night, Llane stripped naked, too, and Lothar watched him watching them fucking, stroking himself, cock in hand. And the fifth night, when he came, he came against Lothar's chest. He was red-faced as Lothar watched him lick him clean.
The sixth night, when they were done, Lothar fed Llane his come from in Taria's cunt. He fingered her as she knelt there, knees spread, face down, wide open and dripping with him, and Llane sucked on his fingers before Lothar went back for more. Taria made herself come again while he had two fingers pushed up knuckle-deep inside her. Then while Lothar dressed, Llane licked her till she came again. And when he got back to his room, he was already halfway back to hard again. It hadn't been meant to be like this, but there it was.
Tonight, she's so wet she's almost dripping and now Llane uses it - he rubs her with his fingers now he's taken off his rings and it makes her clench tight around Lothar's cock. He pushes one finger inside, next to Lothar's cock, making them both groan with it. Then he uses it to slick between Lothar's cheeks. He feels Llane's fingertips circle the rim of his hole. He feels him test the tightness of the muscle with a steadily increasing pressure, but he doesn't really try to push inside. When he does that, it's his cock that penetrates him, while he clutches Lothar's hips so they both stay steady on their knees. When he starts to thrust, that makes Lothar thrust inside Taria and he reaches past her hip, between her thighs, rubs her with his slick fingers where he's never touched her before. She muffles a groan against her arms, her back arching hard, and squeezes tight around him and he can't help but spill himself inside her, exactly like he's meant to but never should have done. Llane presses his mouth against Lothar's shoulder and he does the same in him.
Llane pulls back. Lothar pulls back. But then Llane pushes him down, spreads his cheeks, tongues his hole, licks his come back out of him like that's some kind of benefit he gets from this. Taria turns and Lothar presses his mouth between his sister's thighs. He can taste himself, and her, feels her tremble, feels Llane's thumb push back inside him and his tongue start teasing him again. But soon - maybe too soon, maybe not soon enough - they all have to pull apart. This is the end of it, he thinks, or it should be, so he and Taria seal it with a kiss he's waited years for. Then he steps away to dress again.
"So, why did you choose me really?" Lothar asks, once he and Llane are dressed, and they're standing there outside the door. "Don't tell me I'm the only one you trust. It's flattering, your majesty, but I don't think it's true."
Llane rests both hands at Lothar's shoulders. He squeezes firmly. His thumbs rub at his collarbones, familiar as a fight.
"You're the one we both wanted," he says, and he slips one hand with its ringed fingers to the nape of Lothar's neck. When he kisses him, that's the truth he believes.
There are some traditions even kings can't break with. And there are some traditions that need a little help.
Somewhere, back in Karazhan, he hopes Medivh is laughing. As he makes his way back to his room, that's all that he can do himself.