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A Crown of Thorns (NRFTW Revised)


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Author

AquilaTempestas

Title

A Crown of Thorns (No Rest for the Wicked revised)

Synopsis

Giovanni Sakai, former mafia boss, is elected prime minister of the Johto-Kanto region. His win comes at a time of economic turmoil and political unrest, but he's seen as the right person to lead his people throughout the global recession. Those who once hoarded wealth are now facing the possibility of bankruptcy and they must take desperate measures to maintain status. 

The Blackthorn cousins, Lance and Clair, find themselves drawn into a dangerous world of lies and secrecy their grandfather helped built, however their circumstances differ greatly. Clair, pampered from birth by a loving grandfather, is a criminal law graduate seeking to make her grandfather proud by upholding their values. Whilst Lance has strayed from the intended righteous path favouring a darker road much to the disappointment of their grandfather. 

After an unplanned attack, Clair and Lance must work together to uncover the truth about their family's dark history and set themselves free.

Character Submissions

Canon

Type of roleplay

Epic

Number of players needed

1. Claimed by @Ace of Spies

To join

Closed

Rules

  • no godmodding, bunnying etc
  • no killing other players
  • no killing NPCs unless prompted

Participant

Ace - Clair

...

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Prologue - Family Matters

“…One of Giovanni’s key election promises was to build a wall on the Johto-Kanto border to stop illegal immigrants from crossing over into our land. It’s part of his stance on tightening immigration laws to reduce crime rates.”

The television plays in the background. The anchors are discussing the results of the election campaign. 

"...And Giovanni would certainly be familiar with crime. He was the head of the mafia many years ago then turned a new leaf and became a man of politics," the woman, Gabby, says. "This campaign was all about the popularity vote and everyone loves a man with a dark and brooding background. Lusmine did try, but wanting to put more money into the space programme didn't help her win any votes. So, Archie, what do you think of this result? Have we done right entrusting our future to a former crime boss?"

Ty nods. "...There may be question marks around Giovanni's history, but he's not a man to be trifled with. He's got a strong hand and a sharp mind. Even as a mafia boss, he was trying to make lives better for the lower and middle class. He's the man who can lead us through these tough economic times. I don't care about his history - everyone deserves a second chance to make amends and there's no one else fitting for this job."

Gabby, then starts talking about celebrity gossip. Apparently, Diantha is releasing a new movie this weekend and it's expected to be a blockbuster hit. The news then returns to the general listing of daily crimes after the entertainment section. 

You currently live at home in your fancy mansion amongst the Blackthorn Mountains. The past few years have been gruelling - you've worked hard for four years studying to become a criminal lawyer. All your efforts have paid off at last - yesterday, you received the letter of acceptance into Giovanni's law firm, now run by his son, Silver. Less than 1% of law graduates receive an offer here. It's such a big event your grandfather has called for a celebration to mark this momentous occasion. He even invited your older cousin, Lance to attend because of your demands. You haven't seen Lance since your commenced your studies. Edward kicked him out years ago and sent him away to military training. Although you haven't seen Lance, you've contacted him through letters frequently. 

The doorbell rings. 

 

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Clair had been watching the television, but she'd be completely unable to answer a question on what had been discussed. She had just been staring at it, not processing any of it as anything other than white noise in the background.

She still couldn't believe it.

Everything since she had received her letter of acceptance yesterday had been a blur. Even Grandfather's reaction, heaping praise upon her, had fallen to the background and barely been registered by her. Normally she'd have been so thrilled to make him that proud.

4 years. 4 years of torture, perseverance, and stress. 4 years of wondering if she was going to fail and let down Grandfather. And yesterday, it had all paid off. Not just paid off... it had TAKEN off!

Giovanni's law firm. The best of the best. The elite of the elite. She could hardly believe she had gotten in. She still hadn't fully comprehended the fact that she had achieved her goal.

Luckily, the doorbell ringing snaps her out of her trance. She stands up, and walks towards the foyer where the front door awaited. Walking down one of the two curved stairwells that led to the entrance, she finally reaches the door.

With a quick breath, she opens it.

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Standing at the door is Lance. He looks like he's been sleeping under a bridge.

He greets you with a smile. "I've missed you, Clair." He pulls you into a hug then pulls back. "You look well. Been living the good life? Of course you have been. I wanted to congratulate you on the job. I always knew you could do it."

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Clair is snapped out of her stupor when she lays her eyes on her cousin for the first time in years. 

"Lance?" she mutters in shock. The sight of him at all would've normally had her grinning ear to ear, eager to reconnect, but she was so caught off guard by how terrible he looked.

When he pulls her into a hug, she doesn't hesitate to grip him tightly back, before releasing him.

"Thanks," she says in response to his praise, unable to resist preening under his praise. "I can still barely believe it."

She shakes her head.

"You look..."

She blinks, suddenly realizing they were still at the door.

"Oh, come on in. Welcome home!" she open the door fully for him, backing up and allowing him entry. 

"Grandfather will be pleased you've made it."

 

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Lance enters the building and closes the door behind him.

"Grandfather? Pleased? About me? You know he's never happy when it comes to me."

He makes his way over to the fridge and helps himself to some food and some water.

"How's the old man anyway? Does he need a walking stick yet?"

Now he sits down on the couch.

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Clair chuckled, following after him.

"True," she admits. "BUT, you did arrive on time today. As in, BEFORE the party. I think he'll be impressed."

She leans against the wall, watching him with a fond grin as he makes himself at home in the kitchen.

"Oh, he's... he's fine. Healthy, at least. He hasn't changed much. Lately his fix has been stressing to me "the importance of a good and prosperous marriage". I don't know if he's just stressed lately or what, but..."

She follows him to the couch, sitting down across from it.

"When he saw my acceptance letter, he lit up in ways I'm not sure I've seen since we were young. He might've grown ten years younger."

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He rolls his eyes.

"I couldn't be late for your celebration party. Anyone else and I wouldn't care to show up at all."

He then frowns.

"Marriage? Whose he trying to make you marry? Probably that asshole, Benga. Alder's grandson."

A pause then,

"Probably because the fate of our family name rests on you. I think he's given up on me. He sent me away for four years after all."

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Clair hesitates.

They both had very different viewpoints on their Grandfather, Edward Blackthorn. During their consistent exchange of letters, they had discussed a plethora of topics both light-hearted and deeply sensitive. She knew how Lance felt about their Grandfather, and it was true that Grandfather was very hard on Lance. 

Too hard, in her opinion. 

But she knew the old man cared for him, just as much as he cared for her. He just... struggled to show that with Lance.

She didn't want to start an argument by saying something like "you brought that on yourself" or "he only did what he thinks is best for you". She didn't even want to risk upsetting him by discussing how she felt about the incredible burden placed on her. 

Lance wasn't wrong. The fate of their family... the fate of the Blackthorn name rested entirely on Clair's shoulders, and she had been shouldering it for a long time.

She shook her head. Now wasn't the time for those thoughts.

"It was nice to see him like that, though..." she says softly, before smiling at Lance. "It really has been four years, hasn't it. I've missed you a ton. This house has felt empty without you breaking random shit."

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Lance sighs.

"Breaking random shit? I only did that once... Okay, maybe twice."

A pause then,

"I did miss you heaps. You certainly would've made better company than the fools I was around."

He stands up and looks at a family photo of you, himself and Edward. It was your first day at primary school. Lance looks at it for a few moments then turns away.

"Do you drink? I was thinking we could go to the local tavern or something. I'm sure you've been holed up in here for a long time, you've forgotten how to live."

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Clair smiles at him.

"Not often, but I'm opposed to it. Let me just grab my jacket..."

She doesn't take too long, returning to meet him at the front door with a small skip in her step. She couldn't completely hide her eagerness. 

"Let's go, then. Have to relearn how to live and all."

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He grins.

"Glad to hear it. You're a free person now. I suppose you're going to live closer to the law firm then?"

His smirk widens as he heads out the door.

"Are you still crushing on Gary Oak? You mentioned his name in one of our earlier letters."

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Clair follows him, grumbling to herself in embarrassment.

“I wasn’t “crushing” on him, I just said he was kind of cute. I was considering my options, okay? And I haven’t seen him in a few years anyways, but last time I saw him he was in relationships with two different girls at once. I don’t think they knew about each other.”

She snorts.

”What about you? You’ve never mentioned anyone. Anyone catch your eye?”

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"Considering your options?" He snickers again. "Some other guy has captured your eye? Or girl maybe?"

He pauses then then rubs the back of his neck, smirk fading.

"Course not. I was focused on my military training. Didn't have time for any of that."

He doesn't meet your eyes.

"Let's just... get to the tavern. I need some ale."

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Clair blinks.

”O…kay…”

That was rather odd. Lance usually would have a quick retort ready for her.

She pondered how much he had changed the entire ride, remaining silent.

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He doesn't talk much about the past four years. Whenever you've asked him about his years in the military, he speaks very little of it and always changes the topic.

He heads to the car, climbs into the driver's seat and waits for you to get in. Once you're inside, he starts the car and drives towards the tavern on the outskirts of the city.

The tavern is a small place situated at the top of a hill. It's a bit of a steep climb up but the views are nice - you can see the Blackthorn Mountains to the north and the city skyline to the south.

"We used to come here every now and then," Lance remarks as he heads inside. "A bit of a celebration for our hard work."

A few bikers enter the tavern. It's clearly not a place where the rich and upperclass go.

"...The tavern is owned by a guy called Ethan. He's all right. Likes to talk a lot though."

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Clair wasn’t overly comfortable. She had never been here before. She’d seen the building but never had any desire to go in.

”Alright. I’ll just… follow you.”

She tried her best not to look too nervous or uncomfortable.

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He grins at your reaction.

"Wow. You really have lived a sheltered life, haven't you? Just... don't make eye contact with anyone. If anyone gives you trouble, I'll deal with them."

He heads to a table in the back corner giving you both the best view of the bar. There are two girls and one boy working behind the counter.

One with short brown hair and the other with bright orange hair. The male is quite tall, has tanned skin and brown spiky hair. He always seems to be smiling at the ladies.

"That's Brock. The girls... Misty and Lyra. There's also Ash but he's just the janitor." His dark eyes focus on Lyra. 

 

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“Shuddup…” she says, following him and sitting down where she could comfortably see the whole thing.

She listened as he introduced the staff to her from a distance, and she nodded her head only to find Lance staring at one of them.

“What is it?” she asks.

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"What?" 

He looks at you and frowns.

"...I should've done my hair before leaving..." he murmurs, raking a hand through his hair.

He certainly seems a bit more unsettled.

Clearing his throat, he says, "...Do you know who is coming to the party tonight? Grandfather didn't tell me anything. He just said we're celebrating Clair's success. You need to be here. Don't be late. I assume there'll be a few of his favourite rich people friends there."

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Clair nods her head, looking between Lance and the server girls. Should’ve done his hair?

Was he… self-conscious?

His questions catches her off guard. 

“Uhm… I’m not entirely sure. It’s more than fair to say that all the usual suspects will be there. Family friends of his, etcetera…”

She grins.

”I was allowed to invite Karen, so that’s a plus.”

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Lance frowns.

"Karen? You're still friends with her?"

Lance dated Karen for three days many years ago giving into Karen's persistence.

Needless to say, Karen never wastes an opportunity to bring those three days up - three days of hell as Karen described.

"Does she have to come?"

One of the waitresses approaches the table. It's Misty. Lance looks almost disappointed.

 

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He sighs again. 

"I'll try."

Misty comes over and smiles at you both.

"Hello, Lance. Back again, I see. And this is...?" Misty turns to you.

"My cousin, Clair."

Misty smiles at you then turns back to Lance. "Oh yeah. I remember you mentioned one day when you were drunk. You kept asking for Clair."

"It had been a rough week. I wasn't in the best frame of mind then." Lance doesn't meet your eyes.

"We had to ban you for a month. You were a danger to everyone including yourself," Misty replies with a frown. She then sighs. "At least you paid us back for the damages done."

"I've been good since then. I'm clean now."

"Not sober though."

He shrugs. "It's a special event today. We're celebrating early. Clair's going to become the finest lawyer this region has ever seen." Now he looks at you. "Isn't that right?"

 

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Clair was pretty shocked to hear... ALL of this.

Lance got wasted and kept asking for her? He nearly trashed the place? He was BANNED and had to pay them back for damages?

...

What the hell had he been doing these last four years?!

She's unprepared when Lance turns the subject of the conversation to her.

"What? Oh. Yes, that's right. I just got taken on at the Silph Company," she explains to Misty. "Looking forward to making the world a better place."

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