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In a World of Their Own

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Gunter had no idea what would happen with this new position he had been placed into but the last thing he’d ever expect was what was to come. He met Iago at the entrance of the northernmost fortress in Nohr. The foyer of the fortress as smaller then what was typical for its size. The room was lit by a single lantern by the door. The knight used the lantern’s flame to light his own. As he inspected his new surroundings it became more and more clear that the fortress had come to be neglected, as there was a layer of dust that carpeted the furniture and dirt hid in the corners.
“We were happy to know we could count on you to run this cess-pit for us” the advisor explained “You have nothing to keep you from doing your duty” the sorcerer explained. The expression on his face was sinister. He knew he had struck a chord with the older man by reminding him all too soon of the village’s demise. Taking a breath, he calmed himself before responding with a curt nod, he didn’t trust himself with more than that. The tour continued onward to the kitchen. It was to, was small, not fit for any more than three people to work comfortably. An empty room was connected to the kitchen via a short hall. It struck the knight as odd; everything about the place was odd as if an error was made in the initial blueprints. The pair worked their way up a set of stairs and down a hallway.
“This will be your office.” The mage’s voice snapped Gunter to attention. He peeked inside the office room. This was the only room as of yet that properly suited its’ purpose. There was a row of two chairs along the wall that the door was on. They were the audience to the desk that dominated everything around it, as if in command. Behind the desk stood a wall shelf filled with old books that likely contained documents. Off to the side sat a wood burning stove to provide heat in the depth of the winters Nohr was known for.
“I know you will probably see your room next however, what I have in store for you next is why you are here” Iago gloated. He truly was intolerable, the way he almost bragged. What was so important that the king had moved him to such an isolated area? The duo came to the turret of the building and began to climb up the spiral stair case. Curiosity ate at the knight the closer they came to their destination. Finally the goal was in sight, the highest room of the tower. The magician stopped before the door to open it. It was unlike the other doors that they had passed by. The iron door was heavy, a small slit allowed for one to see in. A wave of anxiety rolled over the paladin. The door opened and produced a squeal from disuse. From what he caught from his peripherals it was a warning to the inhabitant, whoever it was should stay out of sight.
“Come out, little rat!” the mage yelled. A small form trembled beneath an old bed frame. The sorcerer strode over to the bundle and ripped the blanket from the top of the bundle. The small figure was revealed to be a tiny girl with a mass of matted hair. Iago grinned maliciously down at the little girl and delivered a swift kick to her stomach. She wailed and writhed in pain. The paladin’s eyes widened in horror, this was a small child.
“I told you, come when you are called, wretch!” bellowed the advisor in fury. Gunter was appalled by the lack of regard that sadist had, while this was nothing new for him this was certainly an all time low. The general placed himself between the child and the monster in attempt to prevent any more harm to come to her.
“Please explain this new position I’ll be taking.” The older man inquired.
“There is little to explain, you babysit this wretch and ensure she kept in this fortress at all time no excuses, no exceptions. Do I make myself clear?!”The demon sneered. The retainer shook his head, although there was still much he didn’t fully understand. All would make itself clear in time, it had to. He couldn’t stand seeing a child like that, his parental instincts screamed to protect this girl. If anyone knew the how the king dealt with deviants it was him. A nod seemed to be enough to make the mage head for the door.
“Ah yes,” the mage turned to face the servant “here in case the reject forgets her place” Iago handed Gunter a whip. The knight could only nod and swallow down the ever-growing hate that grew.
The final stop was the sleep quarters as promised. As master of the house, the attendant was given the largest room in the fort. The bed within its walls was the most comfort he’d be given the entire month. Sleep failed to find him that night as his mind mulled over the day’s events. The girl, who was she? Why was she treated the same as a prisoner? It was clear the questions wouldn’t be answered.
The next day the king’s dog left for Krakenberg, which was a relief for the paladin. Not only was he gone from his side but he had no more chances to harm the little girl. He was all that she had now. Gunter vowed to protect this child and to love her as if she was his own. Nohrian life was harsh under King Garon’s rule but if she must be isolated, then maybe this would be a chance to change.

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It had been a week since Iago left Gunter to adjust to his newfound position. Days after the monster left, the staff arrived. They seemed to be all one mass, the uniforms all the same. They cooked and cleaned, as they should have. The role of leadership was not difficult for the veteran. He left his post, overlooking the servant's work, and wandered into his office. He released a long drawn-out sigh as he sunk into his chair. Had he really been holding onto it for that long? Details were swept out like the dust from his mind. The isolation never was so relieving.

His mind kept swirling with questions. The circumstances surrounding the girl made no sense. Why did she never speak? Why did she cower in fear when anyone entered her room? Why was she in this gods' forsaken place? Where was her mother? What happened to this child in the first place? All of them were questions Iago never bothered to answer, and they ate at Gunter's mind. He was grasping at straws.

Gunter gazed down at the whip. How was that going to solve anything? She was already terrified of anything that moved, let alone anything Iago could have ever had in store for her. No, punishing the child for circumstances she couldn't control was no way to go. He wracked his brain to try to come up with a solution. Then it came to him. While it was impossible to take the girl away from this wretched place, it was possible to use the whip in some way and better than Iago's way.

The veteran set himself to work. He tore the whip and stripped it of the barbs. He wound the leather around itself and tucked the ends in. After a couple of layers of repeated work, he had formed a simple ball. He was proud with the result.

Gunter nervously climbed up the stairs leading to the girl's door. Slowly Gunter opened the door and rolled the ball into the room. The toy tumbled over to the girl and stopped by her leg. The unexpected intrusion startled her, causing her to scoot beneath her bed. He recalled how he met the child in the same spot; perhaps that spot made her feel more secure. Slowly the redhead crept up to the ball and cautiously nudged it in the direction it came. The ball rolled for a small distance but fell short of its' destination.

"Will you get it or shall I?" Gunter asked gently. The girl looked up at the man with fear in her eyes. As the knight took a step forward she took three back to support the distance. The veteran sighed internally "this will not be as easy as I first thought." He reached the leather bundle and rolled it over to her again. The next time it rolled to her, she seemed less afraid but just as nervous. She looked at the knight carefully and rolled the ball back to him with more force than the last time. Gunter smiled as the plaything bounced into his lap.

"Good girl" he praised. The small redhead burst into tears. That was the absolute last thing the veteran expected or wanted for her. He went over to her and pulled her into an embrace to console the wailing child. Her entire frame shook from her sobs and hiccups. It had been awhile since the man had dealt with children of this age but that didn't prevent his parental instinct from kicking in. He rubbed her back gently and spoke to her slowly. The child's crying tired her out until she nodded off in the knight's arms.

Gunter carefully placed the child in bed and covered her with the thin cotton blanket she hid beneath before. Her reaction to his words bothered him. He intended to encourage, so why did his praise cause her to cry? Was she the kind of young child to cry at the smallest thing, or was it the first nice thing that someone had said to her all this time she had been here? Gunter didn't know the girl well enough to know the answer, but what this told him was that he needed to praise her more.

He quietly left the room and closed the door behind himself careful not to disturb the child.

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New map of continent  

I have been working on this au and wasn't happy with the cannon map so i remade it, hopefully this can stave you off for a bit. This map is still a bit of a work in progress