NOT Partners

(Basically all these posts are joint post between Cowlass and Jess unless stated otherwise)
June 18th, 2022

Jørgen sat on the park bench, looking at the garden. The various blooming flowers painted a beautiful picture as they merged with the resting sun. He still lacked his muse to paint the wonder of it all, and yet the colors of the burn into the orange sky. He gave in a deep breath, trying to take all the colors and wonders it brought inside of him. Just trying to find his inspiration he all but lost after that dreadful day in 2018. All of his wonder, his artistic ability burned away into dust. He wishes for more than anything, well almost more than anything to have his ability back. The nature of the garden simply called to him, to paint once more but at least, he sat there on the bench, no brush in hand to capture the beauty of it all.

Hera was in the garden, after…everything that had happened that night. She was overwhelmed. She didn’t want to be near anyone right now.
That was until she saw the Jarl, sitting on the bench, but she decided to not say anything.

He didn’t notice the new Emira, still focusing on painting a picture in his mind of the garden. Failing each time, even in his own mind he isn’t free of his imperfections. He gave a heavy sigh, failing himself once more.

Maybe conversation was what she needed, but conversation also brought her down. Oh well, she’ll try. “Painting a scene? That’s fun.” She tried to begin a conversation, walking up to the Jarl.

He forced a smile, putting on his joyful Jarl mask once more. “Well trying to, but atlas my mind fails me.” He turns his head towards Emira. His ever so charming face hides his mask of sadness.

She sat down next to him, admiring his face. “Tell me what’s bothering that pretty face of yours…” She looked deep into his eyes.

He brushed off her flirtatious comment, just assuming she’s being polite. “Ah, just trying to capture this garden in my mind. I think I’ll try to paint it later, perhaps.” He gives her a charming smile.

“You’ll think of something just as beautiful as yourself, I’m sure.” She smiled

So she isn’t just being polite, or is this just how she speaks to people perhaps? Best to test the waters, “Ah, but this garden simply pales in comparison to your own.” Okay perhaps that was testing the waters little to far.

She liked what she was hearing, but she only responded with a simple “maybe,” with a wink.

Ah, she was interested. Well at least this was cleared up for him, though he should double check again just to be sure. He shifted his attention back to the garden, “I wished I brought my tools with me, to fully capture the beauty of it all.”

“It seems like gardens play a big role in Valkyr culture, you seem very interested in how gardens work,” Hera tilted her head.

He gives a small chuckle, covering his mouth. “Ah, gardens are more of a family tradition than a Valkyr element. Most Valkyr prefer cities built blocking the skylines rather than grow a forest of flowers.”

“I see…” Hera leaned back, “Gardens are rather special here. A lot of saints had the love of gardening, and in our culture, it reflects that,” she looked into the distance, into the garden.

He tilted his head, “I don’t believe you ever had the chance to see Bjørn’s royal garden while you were in Vakrestrender. It was in the mouth of a volcano which does turn most people off to the subject.” He smiles, thinking about how many royals and nobles were scared off by something he grew up around and felt safe with.

“The volcanoes didn’t scare me…” Hera admitted. “It did scare the Grand Vizier, though, he was so paranoid!”

He once again bursts out laughing, just something about powerful people being scared of a dead volcano always brings a smile to his face albeit it is wrong to laugh at people’s misfortune. He covered his mouth, muffling his laugh. “My apologies, I shouldn’t have laughed at that.”

“No no! It’s okay, it’s funny! Did you see him just wearily walking around? I found it so funny!” Hera laughed with him.

“That I did, he wasn’t the first to be concerned about being so close to a dead volcano nor will he be the last.” He leans against the bench, still partly chuckling.

“Yeah, I get that…” She gazed into his eyes. “Can I…” She shook her head before she said the last word. “Nevermind, it’s a stupid thing to ask.”

He tilts his head at her, raising an eyebrow. “Something on your mind, Hera?”

“I…” She had to be direct, but she was scared. Would he even say yes. “Your lips…can I…can I kiss them?” Al’Illah, what did she just say?

He was taken back, sure they flirted a little bit back and forth but he didn’t think it would go too far. ‘Best let her down easy’ he thought to himself, at least he has experience in this regard. “Hera, you’re a very sweet girl but.”

“But what…?” Hera expected this answer, but she wanted him to flat out say it.

He thought for a moment, her eyes staring into his. He gives another one of his charming smiles, “You’re a very good friend, almost like my little sister.” Yeah, that line usually works on most people. “It was my fault for leading you on, I shouldn’t have and for that I take full responsibility.”

Yep. She knew it. “Oh it’s fine!” She smiled. “Sorry. It was stupid of me to ask in the first place.”

He ruffled her hair, now looking at how to get out of this awkward situation. Perhaps try to keep their friendship going while he’s at it. “It wasn’t stupid to ask, it’s always to ask first before one does something. Spirits be kind, you could be like…” He trails off, about to tell Hera a story about another time a person flirted with him and kissed him. Leaving to an extremely awkward moments later down the line. However, it’s best not gloat about that sort of thing when quite literally moments ago Hera was flirting and asked to kiss him.

She grinned at the gesture. She liked it when people ruffled her hair. It was cute. Just like him.

He turns to face the garden, arms at his side respectfully. It really is a very nice garden.

June 19th, 2022

It appears going to the library was an awful idea, awkward conversation with Queen Ulrika and Scheherazade left him a little bit anxious over his failure of understanding the social norms and the Staynish language. He’s supposed to be able to handle this, the ever-so famous Jarl of Vakrestrender. The smiling, joyful Jarl not to falter or misstep in the public eye. Yet, when the cameras are off, when the reporters are away. He is almost a different person, just for a moment at least. Until he’s able to place on his mask again in front of others, returning to the lighthearted Akuan Jarl everyone but a select few will ever see him as. Always keeping a smiling face and broken longing gaze, he takes a step outside of the building. Just wanting a moment to be alone with his thoughts and rethinking how much he truly knows the Staynish language.

He pressed his back against the wall, he’s back in the same garden where he had a somewhat awkward encounter with Emira. He digs through his jacket pocket, taking out his sketchbook. While he hit a wall with his art, he never stopped sketching. It provided him a silver of calmness by obsessively sketching anything and everything on to paper.

Why Hera was in that garden again was beyond her knowledge. This time she was sitting under a palm tree. Standard procedure. She was twirling a flower in her hand and zoning out. Today was tiring. Will tonight be as well?

Jørgen didn’t quite realize he was sketching the Emira under the palm tree. He was partly zoned out, only really focusing on the details when he started to sketch Hera’s face. Finally it drawn on him as he was sketching her, he was torn from finishing the sketch or stop sketching her and go speak with her instead of being some weirdo sketching her from the shade. It took longer than it should have for him to make his decision, snapping his sketchbook closed and placing it back into his jacket’s pocket.

He walked calmly towards Emira, speaking in a polite tone. “Evening, Hera. Nice weather we’re having.” Why did he make it so awkward? What kind of person asks about the weather besides middle aged fathers standing in line at a hardware store. He still pushes out a charming smile. “Care for a stroll around the garden?”

Hera looked up. Him again? Okay. Weird. “Evening! And yeah! Nice and cool out here,” she smiled. “And sure! I’d love that.” She stood up, flower still in her hand.

“It seems we keep running into each other in the garden.” He jokes, trying to lighten up the awkward feelings between the two. The pair started their stroll around the garden, side by side. He tried cracking a few more jokes but it fell flat for the most part. Giggle here, giggle there but they felt forced to him. He cleared his voice, giving a small cough. “Perhaps, we should clear the air. So things aren’t so awkward between us?”

“Mm…yeah, I’d like that, honestly,” Hera looked down. “I…don’t know why I feel like this…towards you, especially.” She wanted to be honest with him. Silence… “Did I just make things more awkward? Al’Illah…I’m sorry.”

He gives a soft smile, “You don’t need to apologize, we’re all living beings after all. Some weirdness is bound to happen.” He ruffled her hair a little bit. “What matters most is being open and honest with one another. Well that and how absolutely charming and wonderful I am.” He chuckles to himself, nearing a turn in the garden. A nearby pond reflecting the two royals as they walked by.

She loved when he ruffled her hair like that. But, playfully, she decided to give him a small nudge. Unfortunately, it was a bit on the stronger side as she felt Jørgen fall into the pond. “Shoot. Sorry!”

He was never the most acrobatic of people. Failing to catch himself before he could fall into the pond. His sketchbook flew out of his pocket, as if the spirits themselves wanted to embarrass him further. The page it opened was the sketch he was working on earlier of Hera under the palm tree. He tripped back first into the pond, which was much deeper than he first thought. Having been able to completely cover his expensive outfit in water. He pulled himself back up, still sitting in the water, saying in a joking tone “Well at least I cooled off now.” He tilts his head at Hera as he gives a charming smile. Not quite yet realizing his sketchbook was open right in front of Hera on the worst possible page for him.

Hera looked down at the sketch…it was her. What did that mean? She looked back at him as he got up, “Are you okay? You could get sick!”

He shrugs his shoulders, “With my luck, you’re probably right.” He jokes again. Standing up in the pond completely drenched in water. He held his arms wide open, “Hera, you look a little warm. Here let me cool you off.” He gives a mischievous tone, going in on Hera for a hug to get her covered in water as well.

Hera stepped back but eventually accepted the hug with laughter. True, some of the water transferred onto her dress but it was funny, at least to her.

He squeezes her tightly in the hug, making sure to get as much water as he can on Hera’s outfit. Then breaks off contact, “Guess that makes us a little bit even.” He smirks, then remembering that he had his sketchbook in his pocket. Quickly checking his pockets, finding them to be empty, muttering to himself “Where did it go? It’s not in the pond is it?”

Hera nodded her head to the direction of the sketchbook. “If you mean that…it’s here.”

“Oh thank you.” He claps his hands, turning around to face where his sketchbook layed. His eyes widened at the page. Quickly picking it up and closing it. Not wanting to put the book back in his still wet pockets, he held it close to him. “I-I can explain.” He spoke in an uneasy tone.

Hera giggled, “It’s alright. I’m flattered!” she put her hands behind her back.

‘Spirits be kind to me, just this time.’ He thought to himself. “Well you see, I um… Sketch things when I’m nervous or anxious…” He stumbles through his words. “I-I didn’t realize I was sketching you until…” Oh spirits, why did it have to be that page RIGHT after that talk. He didn’t even have a chance to say his own feelings on the matter. How does one let a person down easily right after such an unfortunate event the spirits decided to happen. “I didn’t realize I was sketching you until much later, I-I kinda get into my own head with these things.” He scratches the back of his head, praying to the spirits to just strike him down. Does he just flat and he doesn’t have the same feelings back to her? No, that would be far too awkward to do so now, there still is the rest of the coronation. Unless he left maybe? Well if he left now, no one would be able to keep Esta under control. Spirits why do they single him out to bully.

“Oh it’s okay! You draw well!” Hera smiled with a laugh. “You don’t like it?”

He gives an awkward shrug, “It’s not up to my standards.” He pats his sketchbook. Nothing has been up to his standard for four years now.

“I remember telling my sister to look back at the time she first picked up a guitar and compare it to how she plays currently. It boosts her motivation. You should do that, too.” She smiled.

He gives an awkward laugh, just brushing off her words. He isn’t exactly just an artist starting out, with quite a bit of his portfolio hanging in museums in several countries and half a dozen portraits he made for various royal families. He just lost his inspiration, none of his new art has ever reached his slightly extreme standards. Only ever seeing the light of the fireplace when he burns his failures. “I will keep that in mind.” He forces out an awkward smile.

Hera nodded. “Yep! I know you’re great. Might even ask you to paint my family and I for a price,” She offered.

“Perhaps if the inspiration takes hold of me.” He gives the same tired line again, every royal who requests his work. “I think I need a change of clothes. I must apologize for my rushed exit.” He gives a half body bow.

“Thanks to you, I think I also need one,” she laughed.

The following day

Hera had just finished having that heavily mediated conversation with Maryem. She retreated to a lonely corner of the room, head still the only thing above water. She dare not show herself like this, what would the other royals think?

With a slap the Jarl hit the water after a gentle nudging from Ingrid. He was always a decent swimmer. Though he is still quite worried about how his own body is seen, the surgery scars still more than visible on his chest. He just rested in the water, it being as nature to him as his art or his body.

She leaned back on the pool walls as she kept herself a float. She saw the Jarl, but after the encounters. She was sure he didn’t want to talk to her. Well, things are only an assumption.

Does he want to talk to her?

The ever-so friendly Jarl saw her as well. He waved his hand towards her, “Ah, Hera. This pool is much better than the pond!” He jokes to her, swimming closer towards her from the other end of the swimming pool.

“Oh, it is! Well, at least you chose to be in it…rather than me accidentally pushing you. Sorry for that, by the way.” She laughed.

“Ah, no harm done. At least you didn’t shove me into this.” He looks at where Ingrid was supposed to be. Then back at the pool where she jumped in. Giving a hearty laugh. “Could be worse I suppose, could have had my sketchbook with me this time.” He gives a smirk.

“Oh well,” She shrugged. “I’m just here…after a rather hot conversation with Priestess Kocharyan. You’re familiar with the name, yes? The leader of Askaraban.” Of course, politics, wasn’t a thing she’d discuss to him, but she really needed to get something off her chest.

He gives a knowing look, able to read her expression. “Anything you need to say, feel free to. My lips are seal, though I would suggest swimming to a less populated corner if it’s something concerning.”

“Thank you…” she smiled. “It’s just that…she’s not the best person to be around,” She sighed. “I don’t want to villainize her, but she’s not really cool.”

“I find most troubled people tend to be… not cool as you put it.” He gives her a comforting look. “What matters is how you handle it and keep calm in face of just anger.” Jørgen knows more than most about that subject. “They want you to get angry, so it feeds their own anger.”

She nodded. “I just don’t understand why she hates me. I don’t think I did anything wrong. I don’t even insult Askaraban. We disagree a lot, but I didn’t expect for it to turn into this…”

“You don’t need to do anything wrong, some people simply exist to be angry for all sorts of reasons. They simply want to direct that anger on someone other than themselves.” He rests his arm on the pool’s edge.

“She didn’t have to call me a harlot,” Hera shrugged. “Is it what I’m wearing? Antaram dared me to wear it…I don’t know why I still play these truth or dare games…” She sighed.

Jørgen finally got a look at her outfit. Giving it a shrug, “Honestly, I couldn’t say. Valkyr culture is quite different from Sayyed.” He wanted to get her mind off it, “What do you think the truth was? If it was a truth or dare game of course.” He gives a charming smile.

“I would be dead in Askaraban. In Sayyed? Not so,” she shrugged again. “Oh…my siblings and I were playing truth or dare. The truth was mostly taken by Hakim who was repeatedly asked similar questions relating to his almost non-existent love life. I heard the poor boy retreated to his room early…I hope he’s okay,” She looked down.

He gave a small laugh, “Forgive me for laughing but I remember asking questions like that when I was younger. I was always worried if I would ever get married or have a date to a festival.”

“It’s okay. It was mostly Antaram. In turn, we asked her if she’s been…disobedient. And now I have blackmail on her!” She laughed.

“Of course, if your siblings aren’t disobedient in some way. Are they really siblings.” He joins in the laughter, though he is much more forced about it. Memories of his brothers still freshed on his mind. Though he is able to powered through it, for the sake of Hera and not draining the life out of this conversation.

“I know right? Antaram is crazy. She’s got her own music career, too. To say I’m proud is an understatement,” She smiled. “But anyway. How’s your stay at Al Mahadiyya?”
Jørgen was secretly thankful that the conversation moved past the topic of family. Though he held firm in his charming smile. “Well, besides the brief trip to the pond. All in all, I would say your country, Sayyed is a lovely place. Though I do struggle a little bit with getting the sand out of my boots sometimes.” He gives another small laugh.

“I love Sayyed with all my heart. I grew up here, after all. I’ve been to every corner of the country, and there is not one place I hate. If you decide to come back here…perhaps I could show you around my mother’s home town of Haraman? Or the beautiful coastal city of Dimangala?” She offered with a sweet smile.

He gave a small sigh, he rarely has any free time. “I fear that that would have to be scheduled a year or two in advance. I’m required by tradition to host.” He thinks back to the list in his mind of nearly two dozen international events in Vakrestrender, all of which he is either hosting personally or needs to be at. For him to find even a moment of free time where he can go somewhere at his own will, required scheduling. His head of staff at his castle nearly shot him through the phone when he scheduled a state visit to Cryria. He gives a weak smile, “Well, quite a lot of things to be honest. My apologies in advance.”

“Oh! That’s alright.” Hera smiled at the Jarl. “I get it. Head of state things, y’know?” She chuckled.

“Thank you for being so understanding, Hera.” He gives a much stronger smile than the one he had before. “How are things for you with this lovely party? Exclude the prude of course.”

“Things are going great, thank you,” She began. “I’d like to credit my brother Hakim and the Grand Vizier for helping me bring this idea into fruition. How are you finding it? I’m thinking of more things to come through in the future.”

“Well outside of people having a habit of playing dunk the elf with me. It’s going swimmingly.” He says in a joking tone. “If you’re thinking about hosting more events, the best thing I can say to you is keep a florist and a handyman on staff at all times.” He gives a knowing look, “Actually keep a whole construction crew on staff. You never know when you need it until everything goes wrong.”

Hera laughed before nodding. “Ah, I see! Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind,” She smiled. “Anyhow…How’s today for you?” She wanted to keep the conversation going. She liked talking to him.

“Well I originally planned on staying inside to watch…” Jørgen stopped speaking for a moment. ‘Don’t say anime, don’t say anime.’ He thought to himself, “animation.” He finally spoke in a awkward tone.

“Animation? You mean those popular Valkyr genres of shows?” She tilted her head. Having been there before, Hera knew exactly what he was speaking of.

He gives an awkward smile, scratching the back of his neck. “Well it’s for a couple genres.” He gives a forced laugh, “Don’t tell Esta that we’re talking about it. I was uh, informed not to be her.”

“Oh?” She tilted her head.

“I may or not talk about it too often according to her.” He gives a sigh, Esta is 100% right. His Pideon feed has more anime and suggestions for it than it does any actual Jarl-Worthy content.

“If you want to talk about it, I’m here! I’m always willing to learn something new.” Yes, Hera quite literally just said that. She was willing to bore herself just to talk to him.

He gives an excited look, not even second guessing about being able to nerdout. Jumping right into it, "Okay so I was planning on watching the new episode of Akerø and the Moon. It’s a Romcom and slice of life, you know what slice of life is? Wait, you’ve been to Vakrestrender! Of course you do. Well I think so? " He stumbled few some bits, mostly due to his heavy accent.

“I think I do? It’s like shows with no definite plot? Like, it’s varies each episode?” She put a finger on her chin.

“Yeah!” He tried to give a joyful clap but he forgot he was still in the pool, the water muffling his clap. “So it’s about Akerø, a socially awkward party event organizer and his wife, the moon. Every night he goes outside to speak to her. However, everyone thinks he’s crazy because he’s talking to the moon and no one other than him can hear her.”

“It sounds like a religious Sayqidi tale, not going to lie. But, it’s interesting! I’ll see if I can give it a watch…if there are Staynish subtitles?” She said, full knowindg she may forget about it.

“It’s popular enough to have it. If you wish, I can put a call to the studio’s executive and have him put in Sayqidi translations in. Do you prefer subs or dubs?” He tilts his head, asking in a questioning tone.

“Subtitles? I prefer those. That’d be awesome, by the way. I imagine it’ll be very popular in Sayyed.”

“Then consider it done! It’s my duty to spread the superior Valkyr anime.” He gives a prideful look, smiling ear to ear.

“Cool! Thank you!” Hera grinned before looking down. “You know…it’s been a while since I’ve talked to someone like this. I…appreciate it.”

He puts his hand on her shoulder, “Anytime Hera, after all what are friends for but to provide a shoulder to cry on.” He takes back his hand, resting on the pool’s edge again.

‘He only sees you as a sister, Hera, nothing more,’ she told herself. She wanted something more, but she understood that he was not interested in her. But…there was a small part of her that won’t back down. Suddenly, she splashed a bit of water on him.

“So as I was sa-” The splash of water hit his face, entering his mouth and driving him to start coughing to get the pool’s water out. He turns to her with a bit of mischief in his eyes. Splashing her back.

Hera let out a small laugh as she reciprocated the splash, larger this time, swimming back a bit to give her more “””push room”””.

He followed suit, swimming back as well to splash her back. He was hoping to talk about anime more but this is nice as well. Even if it is a bit childish.

“Got you!!!” Hera laughed as she emerged from the water to give one big splash. After it was done, she looked down and almost immediately hid in the water once more.

The water slammed against him. He gave an overly dramatic faint of death. Clutching his heart and switching to floating on his back.

Hera burst into laughter. Whatever she was feeling she was loving it. “I knew I’d get ya!” She grinned widely.

He kept silent, a devious plan forming in his head. He waited until she got closer, just a little bit before he would strike.

“Hello? Al’Illah, are you okay?!” Her tone shifted from one of excitement to one of concern as she moved closer.

Finally she was close enough, rapidly switched into action. Sending a huge splash directly at the young Emira.

Hera let out a scream. “Al’Illah you almost gave me a heart attack!” She burst into laughter again. She loved playing with him. If only this moment didn’t have to end…

Hera was, to say the least, in need of some form of entertainment. Scrolling through social media wasn’t it. So, she sought out sapient interaction…more on the unconventional type.

She made her way to a room she knew well, the Jarl of Vakrestrender’s. She knocked on it a few times.

Jørgen was laying on his bed, watching Akerø and the Moon. Finally able to take a moment to himself, dressed in his pjs. The knock on the door startled him, he jolted upwards on the bed in a somewhat panic state. Simple knock can drive his heart to a blind panic, the anxiety-ridden boy have a sigh, calming himself down before he spoke “Come on in Esta.”

Esta was always a bit of a insomniatic, just like Jørgen was. Though she usually just woke up her girlfriend, sometimes she goes to him. Usually she doesn’t knock however unless he locks his door. Which we always did outside of his castle.

Hera opened the door and walked in. “Not who you were expecting?” She walked up to him.

Jørgen paused the anime, turning his attention to Hera. “Well, no but a pleasant surprise anyway.” He gives a charming smile, “What brings you here? Can’t sleep?”

“More on…I’m bored.” She chuckled, gesturing to the bed, “May I?”

“Absolutely. I could put on a different show or a movie if you like.” He gives the offer to Hera.

“It’s fine…I could watch what you’re watching,” She sat down next to him on his bed.

He gives a joyful clap. “I was really hoping you were going to say that!” He presses play on his tv. Returning his attention to the anime. Clinging on to his pillow, basically hugging it.

She watched with him. She found it interesting, but a bit mundane. Oh, if only life was like that. Eventually, she found her arm on the Jarl’s, near cuddling.

Jørgen didn’t find it strange or weird. Akuanists have always been a feely touchy bunch, always ready for a hug or a group cuddling session where they talk about each other’s positives and how much joy they bring to one another. He let go with one hand of his pillow to rest around Hera’s shoulder. Still focusing on the tear jerking anime before him.

“It’s so sweet…” Hera let out as she watched with him.

“It really is.” He says in a sappy voice, emotionally charged from the show. Small tears crawling down his cheek as a romantic anime ready to play the next episode. He clings onto both his pillow and Hera. They binged the series together, him virtually crying as every single emotional and heartfelt episode played. Every time the moon spoke to the main character, he cried. Every part where Akerø’s family was discouraging him from talking to his true love drew tears from him. The episode where Akerø’s dad died was especially hard on him, sobbing into Hera’s shoulder like an emotional elf he is.

Hera would be lying if she said she didn’t cry a bit. But it was Jørgen who was the real sobfest. She comforted him as he sobbed into her.

With tears in his eyes, “Such a good show…”

“Indeed it is…” She said, ruffling his white hair, fighting the urge to kiss it so bad.

He wipes his tears with his sleeve. Resting his head on Hera’s shoulder, giving a soft sniffle. “S-sorry I was a bit teary eyed with some bits.” He gives a weakly says, his tone rough with emotions.

“No, it’s okay, I get it,” She smiled. “Al’Illah, you’re so beautiful with your eyes sparkling with your tears…” she blurted out.

He gives a weak laugh, “You sound a little bit like Esta.” He gives her a gentle kiss on her cheek. A meaningless statement to an Akuanist.

Not being Akuanist, Hera understood it differently. So he was interested in her! She pulled his face closer to give him a peck on the cheek.

He looks at the credits, not really noticing Hera’s reaction to his Akuan greeting. Resting his head on top of hers. “What did you think about the show?” He asks, in a slightly uneasy tone, still shaken from the emotionally powerful anime.

“I…loved it! It was so great!” Hera grinned.

Jørgen smiled as well, for a completely different reason. He looks at the time, then looks back at Hera, “Well we could watch another show or movie. Then again it is pretty late, I don’t want you to stay up too late now.” He gives a concerned look to the Emira.

“I’ll be fine…I actually want to do something else now…” She inched closer to him.

He gives a questioning look to her. “Do you want to go get snacks or something?” He didn’t quite understand what Hera was suggesting at.

“I…want you.” Her fingers began to crawl up Jorgen.

“W-wait…” His mind started working again. “Hera… No.”

“Hm? What do you mean?”

He gives a sigh, “This isn’t right.”

“What isn’t right? I don’t get it.”

“Listen, you are adorable but…”

“But what?”

‘Sweet spirits, why did she have to ask but what?’ The elf thought to himself, “It’s just, is this really the right situation? You just became the Emira of Sayyed.” He tried to reason with her.

“You know the only person who would care is my family? The rest don’t.”

Maybe just her family would care about this, but how would she hold up against the whole Norgsphere ripping her to shreds, desiccating every part of her life and social media history. Jørgen is more than just a figure in Vakrestrender, but he’s important across the Urth. For all Akuanists, the Valkyr media influence, for LGTQ+ people in Norgsveldet. There isn’t a single piece of his life that isn’t ripped to shreds looking for dirt on the Jarl. He gives a uneasy sigh, “It’s… alot of things at play Hera.” He gently holds her chin, in a kind and soft fashion.

“I…” She removed herself from the Jarl’s hold. “I shouldn’t have come here. I’m sorry.” She stood up before making her way towards the door.

“Wait…” He says in a polite tone, trying to make sure his friendship with her stays intact.

“Hm?” She turned around.

He tries to speak, but it comes out in a depressing sigh. “It’s not if I don’t… have some feelings for you. I’m just worried about how…”

“Go on…”

“Have you seen how the media speaks about me? Not the Norgsveltian National News, but the more online, the right-wing side of things. I have spent most of my reign making sure people are not harmed by being near me, I don’t want their harsh words, their hatred starts to be directed towards you…”

“I…I’m…I’m sorry.” she sighed.

“Don’t be, I had a lovely time watching anime with you.” He gives a soft smile. “I understand if you want to leave now, but if you want to say. I be more than happy…”

Encouraged by his words. She sat back down next to him, saying nothing as she put her head on his shoulder.

He was relieved, giving her a small pat on the head. “Do you wanna pick the next thing to watch?”

“Yep! Can I show you a Sayqidi drama this time? You might have heard of it from the time you’ve been here.”

“Absolutely.” He says in a chipper tine, hands her the remote and resting his head on top of Hera’s head. It wasn’t anime, but if it made Hera happy, he would power through it.

Hera grinned and took the remote, looking for something for both of them to watch. It was a teen drama, featuring her own sister as one of the protagonists. “It just got released recently but everyone’s been talking about it. They say it’s relatable.” She leaned back.

Oh spirits, it’s a teen drama. What foul evil has he wrought into this world in order to be punished by watching child actors and 30-40 year olds dressed up freshmen in high school attempt to be dramatic. He can feel sanity tearing from his soul and cast a drift into the ocean of mediocrity cinema.

However he kept his charming smile up, refusing to let Hera see how he really felt about it. She seems to be quite happy picking this show out and it hasn’t even started yet. “Should I order some snacks?” Said in a kind tone, ruffling Hera’s hair.

“Absolutely!” She smiled, her eyes still glued to the screen.

He reached over onto the landline on the nightstand. Before dialing room service, he looked over towards Hera. “Want anything in particular?” He folded his legs, sitting criss crossed on the bed.

“Hm…I’ll have whatever you’d like.” She grinned.

“Popcorn it is then.” He gives a polite smile back to her. Dialing room service to order popcorn and boba tea. “It will be here in a few moments, shall we start the show?”

“We can watch anime again if you’d like!” She smiled.

He tilts his head, asking in a polite tone. “I thought you wanted to watch this show?”

“Oh, it’s fine…I’d like to watch what you want to watch,” she handed him the remote.

He simply rolls his eyes. “Nah, I’m interested in it now. You said it everyone is talking about it right? Might as well see why.” He gives a warm smile.

“It’s petty teen stuff, I don’t think it’s interesting to an oldie, right?” She teased.

He looked a little surprised. It’s not often people call him old, not even in Valkyr with its large kemonomimi population. “Huh, never been called that before. First time for everything I guess.” He shrugs his shoulders, “Though I guess if you really consider yourself that old.” He jokes back.

“To be completely fair, most of the population here are in their teenage years, so it technically is everyone,” She laughed. “But do you want to put on something?”

“Nah this is fine. I can totally hang ten with the youth.” He holds on to his back “Oh oh my back.” He gives a poorly performed old man voice.

Hera almost burst into laughter. “Alright then!” She faced the TV once more and continued with the drama.

The Elven Jarl kept his legs crossed, watching the probably silly show. Wait for the room service to arrive with the popcorn. “Is this in Staynish?” He asked politely, “If it is, could you see if they have it in Norgsveltian? I fear my Staynish isn’t the strongest.”

“Most Sayqidi dramas are in Staynish nowadays, so they’re international. But lemme check…” She scrolled through the subtitles and found a Norgsveltian subtitle option. “Oh here!” She turned it on. “You’re lucky to have it.”

He gave a sigh of relief, “Thank the spirits then. Most shows don’t have a Nys’tat’en sub but at least there is usually a Norgsveltian around.” He gives a smile, hearing a knocking at the door. He gets out of the bed, to answer it. “Popcorn and tea is here.” He says taking a large bowl in one and trying to hold the two cups in his other.

“Ooh!!!” Hera got on her knees and clapped her hands as she saw the large bowl of popcorn and the boba. “Thank you!” She smiled.

He returned to his seat, taking a sip of his boba tea and still didn’t quite like the flavor of it but he suppressed his reaction with a smile. “So, your sister is an actor on top of her royal duties?”

“To be quite honest, she doesn’t have much responsibilities unlike me and Hakim. She appears when she needs to appear, and that’s enough. She’s an actress, yes.” She responded, taking a sip of the boba tea.

“Interesting, quite different from where I’m from.” He tilts his head at the TV screen. Pushing away the thought of family again despite him being the one to bring it up. “I’ve been in a couple of films, mostly as a camo or a random background voice actor.”

“Ohh…I should watch those!” She giggled.

“Well, if you ever watch This Commoner Cannot Be This Cute, I’m the voice of the genetic male student #32.” He gives a laugh, “And a few other random bits, what can I say. I have a hard time saying no to people.”

“Oh, is it good? I should get to watching it!” Hera tilted her head.

“It is Vakrestrender most popular Vakrestrender show we have ever produced. Even the people in the Southern Coast enjoy it. It’s quite big in the more Norgsveltian speaking world.” He beams with pride at his people’s success with it.

“Oh, I should watch it, then!” She smiled.

“Without a doubt you should.” He reaches over to get a handful of popcorn.

“Yep! But anyway, back to the show?”

“Absolutely.” He gives her a ruffle of her hair again and returns his focus to the TV screen.

Hera leaned back and watched the show. It was, to her, enjoyable. The colors told the story, so did the costumes. Fashion played such an important role in all Sayqidi dramas. Each character had their own unique style. Zahra’s role was very 90s in its style, and she was one of the main cast.

Then they caught up to the scene where Zahra’s character, Aminah, broke up with her boyfriend. And boy was it a ride.

The show wasn’t completely awful. It had its own unique flair to it, an interesting style choice with characters having their own unique style which was similar to Valkyr style of animations. Catching to the part where her name broke up with her cousin? No, it was her boyfriend. Definitely her boyfriend, maybe? The subtitles went far too fast for him to read and understand. The Staynish spoken was far quicker than what he was used to.

He reached over to grab another handful of popcorn. Pull back he catches a glimpse of Hera staring intensely at the show. “I assume you are enjoying the show?” His face leaning forward to look at Hera.

“Oh, it’s good.” She leaned forward as she heard her sister call someone a “Good for nothing himbo”. “OH DAMN” She jumped back.

He leaned back laughing slightly at Hera’s reaction. Taking a sip from his boba tea. He didn’t quite understand what was going on or the term himbo was. Probably just some random Staynish insult that doesn’t translate well into Nys’tat’en or Norgsveltian. “Yeah good himbo!” He gave a cheer.

Hera couldn’t help but snicker at his reaction, but she kept silent as the scene ended and it transitioned into a scene where Aminah is gossiping with her friend in the bathroom.

He titled his head, at the scene trying to read the subtitles faster now. He just gave up all together to understand what’s going on and made up a story in his head with what is going on. Clearly this whole show was just an infomercial about… something. As long as he was a good friend, almost little sister was enjoying herself watching the show. He can enjoy the show as well.

She looked over to Jorgen and noticed that he probably didn’t understand what was going on. She paused the show and looked at him. “Are you okay?”

“Of course.” He gives a charming smile of a man who has no idea what is going on but still is enjoying himself. Taking another sip of his tea. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine…but I was just hoping if you understood what was going on.” She tilted her head.

“Not a word.” He smiles like an idiot. “I’m still enjoying myself though.” He reassures Hera.

“Oh…I’m sorry…” She looked down.

“It’s fine Hera, you don’t need to understand something to enjoy it.” He gives her a comforting look.

She smiled. “Would you like to continue the rest of the episode? It’s getting REAL good.”

“Of course I would.” He smiles back, “Though one thing, I hope you can explain one thing to me about this show.”

“Oh sure! What is it?”

“What’s a himbo?” He asks in a questioning tone, tilting his head to the side.

Her eyes widened. “Well it’s…uhm…”

Jørgen was busy packing his clothing back various suitcases and bags carefully. All of which are worth at least a few million krone each. Though he was careful never to wear something that would appear to attempt to outshine Hera on her special day of coronation or at the dance. He has some good sense not to, for lack of a better word, ‘flex’ during his time here.

He gave a sigh, packing his clothes away. He enjoyed his time here greatly but he is quite a busy Jarl, and already he has to organize several events in Vakrestrender, prepare himself to visit Cryria and to receive the Cryrian queen to Vakrestrender.

Hera stood behind the door, a bit saddened that he were to go soon. She stood there, awaiting for his response.

“Come in.” He said in a polite tone, gently folding a pair of pants into a suitcase.
She walked in, gently pushing the door open. “Hey…”

“Ah, Hera. I’m just packing up.” He gives her a charming smile.

“I could see that…” She chuckled. “I’m…gonna miss you.” She walked up to him.

“Well, you are always free to visit Vakrestrender. Well, when I am there at least.” He stops putting his clothes away, turning to face her. “Besides, you always have my Pideon and phone number.”

“I know but…” She sighed before looking at him. “Go on a date with me.”

He holds back a sigh, having this discussion again. He tries to play it off as a joke, hoping she would catch on and avoid awkwardness. “As a friend?” He smiles warmly.

“I mean it…” She looked down. “Go out with me…please.”

He couldn’t hold back his sigh, simply taking a seat at the edge of the bed. “Hera… We talked about this.”

“I know, and it makes me feel bad…” She stepped back.

Jørgen thought about it for a moment, “What about that one boy you spoke about before?” He snaps his fingers, trying to remember his name. “Esfandinar! That’s it, Esfandinar. I thought you were interested in him.” He tilts his head at her as he spoke.

“I…I mean, people say he’s a fuckboy…you’re not.” She crossed her arms.

He gave a small chuckle, covering his mouth. “I’m not quite sure how to respond to that to be honest. Though I’m sure it’s not as bad as he seems. If he is, well you can always come to me and I will sort him out.” He gives a joking tone, “Then again, you are Emira you can just I don’t know. Make his family work the fields or something.”

Hera nearly burst into laughter. He did not just say that. “Maybe. He’s nice, but I don’t know how much of that niceness is genuine.”

“Well, to see if someone is being genuinely nice or interested in you. Well, there’s a bit of a dirty trick myself and Esta play on people.” He thinks for a moment, “I will keep it clean but basically, flirt with him. Show a degree of interest in him and then have one of your friends do the same.” It’s not often Jørgen shows his more mischievous side of things. “Or bring him to Vakrestrender or let me speak to him in person somewhere. I have a good sense for sniffing these things out.” He spoke with experience given how many people would try to flirt with him, mostly to try to sink into his family trust.

“Oh I see where you’re going,” She giggled. “I’ll consider it,” She put a finger on her chin. “I’m still gonna miss you.”

He gives her a hug, “and I you. Look on the brightside, if you don’t have me around. Then we don’t have to compete to see who has the most elaborate and expensive outfits.”

“True…” She tightened the hug.

He breaks off the hug but Hera keeps hugging him. He gives her an awkward pat on the head. Her squeezing was slightly hurting him, “So… Uh…”

“Am I hurting you…?” She pulled away.

He reassured her with a smile, “Just a little bit.” He silently questioned why both Olav and Hera, when giving him a hug, always try to squeeze the life out of him. He rests his hands on his lap, “Could be a worst hug, the old man in Norgsveldet tries to see if he can crack my spine with just a hug anytime he sees me.” He gives a small laugh.

“I’m sorry…” She held her hands.

He ruffled her hair again, “It’s fine, I’m just made out of paper.”

She laughed. “Yeah…”

“If you want, I still have some time before my plane leaves. If you want to watch something.” He gestures to the remote.

“I’m sorry…but I have to go. I’m busy. I just wanted to check in.” She started to make her way to the door.

He simply shrugs his shoulders, a little disappointed but he understands how she’s feeling. “It was nice seeing you Hera, you look great in a crown.” He flashes her a smile, giving a small half body bow and returns to packing his clothing up.

She grinned. “Thank you…bye! Safe flight!” Hera waved before leaving the room.

He gave a wave to her, “I surely hope so it will be. Have a good reign.” He jokes, somewhat in an awkward tone.