Disclaimer: not mine

I published a new book! The Crown of Tannenley by Liza Clarke – available on amazon, kobo, smashwords and a few others in paperback and ebook. It's a fantasy novella, feel free to check it out. My first book, The Night Woods was actually based off my FFXV fic by the same name.

Chapter 19

Noctis collapsed on the couch, mind spinning. He…he swallowed, running his hands through his hair. It was just…all so much! And Prom hadn't known, that was obvious. How could Harry lie to them all for so long? He was the Mystic's nephew! Not by blood but still…two thousand years…but Harry hadn't lived them, had been forced from Eos and only allowed back once his prophesised duty was done, thinking everyone he knew and loved was dead. Except apparently Gilgamesh, the First Shield, was somehow still kicking, sort of.

And now he knew what being the Chosen King entailed…and he didn't want it. He never had but would do his duty for his people. But to kill Harry's dad and die in the process? Why? It seemed so pointless. He didn't want to fight his many times great-uncle. Harry had spoken some of what he knew of Ardyn's condition, he had watched his father healing people of the Scourge by taking it into his own body, had watched as he began succumbing to it. Noctis wasn't sure he could have done that. And then Ardyn had been accused of killing his own son when Harry had been whisked away back to his birth world, he'd lost his strongest support and had everyone turn on him. No wonder he'd gone mad. But he didn't seem mad now, influenced yes, but not actually insane.

He felt lost and confused. What would happen now?


Prompto sat on his bed, staring blindly at the wall covered in photos, so many of him and Harry. He eventually moved, picking up the one he kept beside his bed, tracing fingers over the glass covered image of the two of them at the same bar where he'd ended up adopted as a teen, Harry's arm around his shoulders, the two of them grinning at the camera even as Prompto played with his brand-new courting braid. He'd meant it, he didn't want to remove it. He loved Harry so much…he just…

He flopped back on the bed to stare up at the ceiling, able to hear the quiet sounds of others moving about the building, the insulation sucked. The building had had improvements made over the years though, the power and hot water were now constant and he had a feeling Royal funds had ensured the Prince would have at least that if he refused to move.

He'd felt so comfortable the last few years, more sure of himself and his place then he ever had and now… Harry loved him, despite knowing his origins and he wondered if his dad would know anything more about what was in Prompto's head since he was the Chancellor. Yes, Harry was shielding it, but it would be better if they knew what it was for and what it could do to him. Harry was obviously powerful, trained in magics not seen on Eos, but he wasn't immortal and…and if anything happened to him the shielding would be gone. The thought that the Empire could get into his head and make him hurt Noct or anyone…he felt sick.

He could still feel Harry's magic, curled inside him, binding them in the Oath…Harry's Oath of faithfulness, love, and loyalty. He couldn't sweat truthfulness since he was in the King's confidence and Prompto wasn't going to be cleared for a lot of what Harry did, he'd admitted he could try and make it truthfulness between just them, but it would have been very risky. Riskier than what he'd sworn which had been dangerous enough for a royal.

Could he get passed all the lies and secrets? Harry was right, they hadn't set a date yet, but it was expected they marry within a certain time of the braid being given. He buried his face in his pillow, sleep, he needed sleep.


Harry was glad the apartment had been left furnished when Noct moved back to the Citadel. It made the perfect place for his Dad to stay, further away from the Crystal as well as Regis and Noctis. It was also an acceptable level of luxury for a visiting dignitary, and they would have to go over what the Empire was planning at some stage.

He finished making dinner and put it out at the table, a cloud of steam preceding his Dad from the master bedroom, making Harry grin. Dad had always loved the little luxuries. "Food's ready," he called.

"Impressive," his Dad looked over the table, and Harry shrugged.

"It's much easier these days, the foods and ingredients are closer to what I knew as a kid when I was learning." Figuring out cooking when he lived with Dad had been interesting, the kitchen staff hadn't minded his hanging around thankfully. And camp cooking was very different again, he'd missed it over the years on Earth.

They sat down to eat, Harry not at all happy with how Ardyn picked at the food. He reached out and rested his hand over his, sending soothing, healing magic into him, focusing on his digestive track…interesting and not healthy. The look he got was half amused half resigned, but his Dad didn't resist.


Ardyn sat opposite his son, allowing the soothing magic to move through his body. He had to admit, the apartments bathroom was much nicer than his own back in Gralea. Everything there was so cold and industrial feeling, even in the Keep. And the hot water did not last nearly as long, it had been glorious to just stand there and soak up the hot water. There'd been a tub but not tonight when he knew Harry was cooking.

He could sense the lingering impression of young Noctis' magic, it was interesting that he had been allowed to live outside of the Citadel while attending school. Giving him some freedom without too much risk, Harry eventually travelling with them was the equivalent he supposed. Noctis' magic was cold and clear…gentle feeling. Not what he'd expected from his prophesised killer.

He was surprised to find he actually felt hungry when Harry's magic pulled back again. He very rarely felt hunger or any physical need really, likely an adaptation from the centuries locked away. He took a mouthful and swallowed with difficulty. It…it tasted good, not like ash or blood like food usually did if he tried to eat.

Away from the Citadel and Crystal, the daemons were quitter…wary of Harry too. If Harry could change then he would love to see what he now looked like, surely larger. But he doubted his son would do so within the city.

"Dad?" Harry stirred at his soup.


"I'm sorry I left you," he murmured.

Ardyn was the one to reach out this time, taking Harry's smaller hand in his. His son was a man grown now, finally, but he was still shorter, built lightly like most of their line. His son had grown into a fine man, he wished he hadn't missed the last…how long had Harry said it'd been for him? Six years? He was glad that Harry hadn't live the last two thousand years, that he hadn't been cursed to immortality by Bahamut as well, despite not being his son by blood. He wouldn't have put it passed the Draconian to do that if Harry had still been present.

"You didn't leave, you were taken against your will," he stated firmly, feeling familiar anger burn that something had dared to take his child.

How would things have been different if Harry had remained? If they had not believed him a child-killer…kin-slayer. Harry and Aera had been the only ones who could sooth him, but that had been before the daemons had truly manifested within him. He took a deep breath, there was no point thinking of what if's.

"Come on Dad," Harry's voice reached him and he realised they weren't at the table anymore but on the couch, his son curled into him like he had as a child.

Ardyn wrapped his arms around his son, basking in his presence. For the first time in forever, he was afraid. If he hurt his son…but Harry could defend himself, the daemons feared his other form.


Regis finished dressing for the day, he had not slept well last night after all of the revelations. The Council was already demanding answers, answers he couldn't give. Harry would return with his father soon, there was much to discuss. He prayed the man would choose his son over the Empire and tell them what Iedolas had planned. And perhaps, if Harry was correct about spies, Ardyn would know of them.

He was purposely trying not to think of the prophecy or Astrals at the moment, he had too much else to handle. There had to be some way around it but that would have to be for the future. The thought of his son dying…of making Harry truly an orphan…there had to be some way around it all. Perhaps he should send someone for Lunafreya, surely the Oracle would have some ideas and with the Empire up to something, it would be better to get her out of their hands.

He took a breath and took up his cane, leaving his rooms to find Cor and Clarice waiting, happy to hear they'd decided to lock the Council down until they knew more. It was tempting to lock the entire Citadel down, what if the spy got word back to the Empire that something hadn't quite gone to plan? Though, they could probably cover it as needing longer diplomatic discussion?


Harry spotted Prompto as he left the elevator and hesitated.

"I promise not to start any wars little one, go, see your fiancé."

"Technically we're courting," Harry mumbled, trying not to blush or anything at his Dad's words. "You sure?"

"Run along," Ardyn smiled at him, and Harry nodded.

He walked towards Prompto, seeing the signs of bad night sleep, feeling guilty. Prompto shifted nervously, offering a half smile, but he didn't pull away when Harry reached for his hand. He lifted his other to cup Prompto's cheek, stroking pale skin gently. "You okay?" he asked softly, and Prompto shrugged. "Come on, Dad's promised to be on his best behaviour."

Harry led Prompto away from the meeting, they weren't really needed at the moment and someone would call if they were. He opened the door to one of the sitting rooms, locking it behind them, and moved to the couch. Prompto sat down beside him and then Harry eased him to lie with his head on his lap, stroking his hair.

"Try and get some sleep Prom," he murmured.

"What was it like?" he asked softly, gradually relaxing.

"What?" Harry asked gently.

"Past," Prompto mumbled.

So, Harry began telling stories of his life back before anyone had become king. He only stopped when he felt Prompto go limp, breathing deep and even. Wanting to hear about it was a good thing, right?


Noctis sat at the table, Ignis and Gladio flanking him, not surprised when Ardyn entered alone, not after Prompto had hung back. His best friend had been pale and tired, he obviously hadn't slept well, but Noct doubted any of them had, though his Dad and Ignis hid it very well.

Finding out his cousin was the Mystic's nephew, adopted or not, well… he could definitely understand why Prom was struggling. But he also knew they were in love, as embarrassing as it could be to see, it was obvious in the small, gentle touches, the looks…he really hoped they could work things out. He didn't want Prompto's heart to be broken, or Harry's. He still loved his cousin, even with the lies and secrets. He…he could understand why he'd done it, he just wished he'd trusted them enough to tell them, it'd been years after all.

"Will you tell us why you came here, Ardyn?" his Dad asked.


Ardyn closed his eyes, he could simply tell them what he'd been sent to say, push a false peace…and his son would never forgive him. He had made his home here in Insomnia, he cared for Regis and Noctis…Prompto…likely many others. It looked like he was switching sides, could be fun, might even cause more chaos. Ah… Glauca, he wondered where the good Captain (or General) was at the moment.

"Very well," he agreed, opening his eyes. "I was sent with an offer of peace, on the condition that Noctis and Princess Lunafreya are wed. I assume you see the truth?"

"A way for Imperial forces into the city," the Marshal answered.

"Indeed. And at the signing of the treaty, betrayal. General Glauca will reveal his true identity even as the Crystal is taken and the Wall falls. With that, the imperial forces will land and come night the daemons will be unleashed."

"And who is General Glauca's true identity?" Regis asked. He was right to be concerned, after all he had failed to defeat him all those years ago, the odds he could fight him to a standstill now were very slim.

"Captain Titus Drautos of the Kingsglaive."


Harry's hand froze in his hair and Prompto felt the magic linking him to Noct shift slightly, opening his eyes to find Harry staring back in the direction of the conference room.

"What?" he asked, trying to shake off the sleep he'd apparently fallen into at some point.

"Regis and Noctis are both…very angry, but Dad…he's maybe amused?"

"We should go." He reluctantly sat up and then stood, turning to offer Harry a hand, getting a smile. They quickly left the room and headed down the hall, not running so as to not alarm anyone else.

Prompto opened the door for Harry, as was proper, getting a fond eye roll, and then they were inside. Okay…they'd definitely missed something important. He didn't think he'd ever seen Cor so visibly angry.

"What is it?" Harry asked, drawing attention to them, even as he moved to his father, which made sense, if he got upset then Harry could help calm him down.

Prompto was torn between following Harry and going to Noct, who motioned for him to go with Harry. And part of him wondered, what would change when they married, could he still be Noctis' Crownsguard if married to the person who was Noct's heir, at least till he had his own kids. Would Harry be given his own Guard cause surely the secret would come out now? He still loved Harry, still wanted to marry him someday, and that helped him keep calm as he sat beside Harry, entwining their fingers under the table.

He shivered as the King explained. Drautos…he'd met the man maybe three times, usually because he was with Nyx when the man wanted him, and he'd never felt comfortable around him… "He knows," Prompto whispered, terrified.

"Prom?" Harry turned to face him.

"Drautos…he looks at me like…he knows…" he was not going to panic, he wasn't….

"Likely," Harry's Dad agreed. "The resemblance is quite obvious to anyone who has met the man and Drautos has many times."

"Wait…what are you talking about?" Noctis looked at them in confusion, and Prompto flinched.

He should have told Noct after he told Harry…and it helped him understand why Harry had kept so many secrets. He squeezed Harry's hand, unable to say anything.

"Do you want me to tell them?" Cor asked carefully, and no, Prompto didn't, but it had to come out now. Better they hear it from Cor then Drautos, so he managed a nod, and Harry drew him into his arms.


Cor hated to see the boy he had saved and wanted to raise the way he was. He had thought there were no secrets between the two, finding out the truth and realising Prompto hadn't known…but Harry had sworn some sort of Oath and Prompto still wore the courting braid, so it wasn't something he thought they couldn't overcome. He was glad Prompto had agreed to telling Noctis now, because if it, and it likely would, came to a fight to handle Dra…Glauca then there was no way he wouldn't use the knowledge of Prompto's origins to try and sow discord.

And so, he took the Prince and his other two Retainers aside and told them of his mission to Niflheim and the living evidence he had returned with.


Gladio turned to look at the blond hidden against Harry's chest; he was…he felt sick. He'd always thought MT's were machines! How many jokes had Prompto heard over the years about the kids who hadn't been as lucky as him? He guessed it explained the kids' skill with firearms. "So, who does he look like that Imperials pick up on it?" he couldn't help asking.

"Verstael Besithia," the Chancellor…Prince?...Harry's father answered. "Chief scientist in charge of the program, a man so vain that he used his own genetics to clone the children he then turned into MT's."

Yeah…that was vain…and very, very sick.

"Hope he fixed them a bit to deal with the baldness," he muttered as he remembered seeing a picture of the man once.

Ignis made a sort of funning choking noise before hitting him. "Gladio," he snapped.


Prompto turned to look at him, blue eyes wide.

"No offence blondie, but baldness wouldn't suite you."

Prompto's jaw dropped and then he laughed, sort of hysterically, but he wasn't crying or panicking. He'd been cleared by Cor and others, likely gone through way too many medical exams when he arrived, then background checks when he befriended Noctis. So what if he was a clone? He was still Prompto Ulric-Peverell and one of them.