Today was the day Nathan was returning to Iver Hall. Astrid had had the large bed to herself, drowning in the coldness of his side. But it was almost pleasant. She had had time to think, and usually, it would ease her and offer an opportunity for rational thinking. Only this time, for hours on end, she had silently brewed in her chair in the living room. She'd stared menacingly at the fireplace, and in between her plotting, she had galloped Caesar around the estate with ferocity. Some of the threts of her violin bow had snapped from her violent playing, several packets of expensive cigarettes had been smoked despite healers orders, and the cask of priceless brandy had been opened for her to divulge. And not only that, knowing that it would infuriate Nathan to madness if he knew, she had insisted Jodie and Simon share in her plight too.

Snakes seemed to be making Iver Hall their home too. There were a number of them that found comfort in wrapping themselves around the banister of the staircase, others that enjoyed the dimness of the drawing room, and a few larger species that found homes in the gardens. The servants were certainly in for a shock. As promised, Zwei had been tasked to guarding the nursery, coiling herself around the cot and keeping guard. All watchdogs were forbidden from entering, and Astrid now only permitted the kingdom entry and guard duties of her daughter.

Astrid had the majority of her clothing moved to a guest room where she had set up arrangements for Fafnir, Nim, and Ivy to inhabit. Astrid fully intended the larger of the snakes, Fafnir, to sleep in the same bed, ensuring Nathan did not attempt to try his charms. She doubted he would attempt it, regardless.

Right now, she was seated in a large arm chair, one let crossed over the other. She had already fed, bathed, and put Ingrid down to sleep for the night, and Astrid fully intended for Nathan not to disturb her. Knowing he was coming, she had dinner early; she would not dine with him. And now, she held a quill in hand, scribbling over contracts for the new establishment she had her eye on. These terms were far too strict for her intended use...Perhaps a little bit of persuasion was required.

Played By: Vyreia
When Nathan entered Iver Hall he could almost feel an extra chill in the end. Word had already been sent that all Watchdogs had been ordered out of the main home, switching places with the Kingdom.

It irritated Nathan... but for now he let it go. What did she hope to accomplish? What message was she trying to send? Well... he would not receive it. The Kingdom? Watchdogs? what was the difference? They were all under their orders jointly in theory...

Nathan took note of the snakes. They were every where!

He went first to his room, showered, changed clothing, and then... went in search of Astrid. He had to speak to her sooner or later.

When Nathan entered the room his eyes fell on her at once. Closing the door gently behind him he turned to her and said, "You are still here then? Haven't run home to your mothers? That is good to see. Have you forgiven me then?"

He knew she hadn't, but it was a way to start a conversation.
"I am home. Sweden is where my family lives, but this is where I shall remain." She said blandly, scoring out another line of the terms and conditions.

"You are a perceptive man, dear. You know very well that I have forgiven nothing, merely had time to process my anger in a more constructive way. For example, I have already thought up multiple methods of relieving stress, what new creatures I want to bring to the rings, how I will play mind games with Ramazanov, what I would like to try next with our York toy. Time away from you seems to allow me to flourish. Interesting."

Played By: Vyreia
"Yes, well... I dismissed our York toy," said Nathan casually, taking a few steps into the room, pausing just long enough before adding, "Her brother objected you see? And so I explained that her presents was no longer requited."

Nathan looked directly into Astrids eye as he said in a very sardonic tone, "What... a... pity..."
Astrid froze, but the tip of her quill began to press hard into the parchment. The job snapped, and the sound caused Astrid to come back to reality. She carefully brought her eyes up, staring at her husband.

"My, my, Darling. You surely have outplayed yourself this time. Perhaps I shall put you in contact with a well known publisher to get your new book off the ground; 'how to make your wife despise you in ten days or less' will be a cult classic, I'm sure. Take care to put on the blurb how important those little quips and sarcastic smirks are. Wouldn't have the same affect without them."

She placed her things to the side, folding her hands in her lap, tilting her head to the side. Despite how he towered over her, she looked at him with domineering eyes, as though she was a mantis ready to strike.

"You do yourself a disservice, Nathan. My York toy was perhaps going to be your only method of slipping yourself between my legs. What. A. Pity."

Played By: Vyreia
Nathan inhaled deeply through his nose, clenched his teeth, then relaxed. Finally he said, "Regardless... it was at the request of my second that we stop playing with her. The poor man was terribly distraught and felt beyond betrayed. What's done is done. We can always find a new toy."

Looking Astrid up and down slowly then he said, "Truth be told... I would rather slip between your legs on my own and not through the use of Hera Cleary... Or any other girl. Surely you are not so revolted at the very thought of my touch that we need a third party present to keep you pleased.."
So it was Cicerons fault! That little shit just wanted to ruin her fun and take over her authority! First the vow, and now this! And certainly didn't want a new toy; hera had been perfect.

She looked at coolly. "Am I not so revolted?" She pursed her lips. "Allow me to make this clear. Without Hera, the only time I will allow you to touch me is for the couple of days a month when I am at my peak to conceive. That is all. Other than that, it bares no interest to me."

Played By: Vyreia
“Really?” Said Nathan, folding his armsand looking down his nose at her. “It has no interest for you? Other then to get impregnated? You who doesn’t like to go more than a few nights with out it? You will be punishing yourself as much as me.”

Turning away from her he stalk away toward the fire place, then turning back to her quickly he said, “What is your aim? To make me plead with you to see reason? To give in and give you whatever you want regarding Dorian. Or to drive me into a state of uncontrolable rage? Surely you have an end goal. What is it?”
"None of the above." She spoke, looking down at her nails as though uninterested. "I aim to get a hold of myself. I lasted a long time without sex everyday and I will cope again. But I have noticed myself getting weaker as I think more for you than myself. So, my aim, my darling, is to detach myself from an emotionally strung marriage. I am tired of the drama, which I knew was highly likely with falling in love. I have learnt my lesson, and so..."

She shrugged, looking up to him. And then, she made a motion with her hand, as though charading pulling out a talon out of her flesh before she flicked it aside.

Played By: Vyreia
"and so I get to come along on your little sexless ride?" Nathan glared at her a minute, then said,

"You are being ridiculous. When have you thought more for me than yourself? As far as I have seen everything has been about catering to you and your feelings. If anyone should be concerned about love taking over his reason it is I, not you! If you had some love in you you wouldn't have threatened divorce to force my hand against my own son! In fact, had you not played that hand you might very well have gotten your wish. But it was your complete lack of any ability to show love or restraint when it came to getting your way that caused me to fly into a protective rage."
"No love in me. No love in me! How dare-" she cut herself off as she stood abruptly, picking up an ornate crystal glass ashtray and throwing it violently against the wall. Her eyes raged at him.

"I expressed time and time again how I despise that woman. I cried like a meek little maid over the child being yours! I bit my tongue as you showered her with money and fortune and fame! I gave you a child after eighteen fucking hours of hell and am willing to do so again!" She began to pace toward him. "I threatened divorce out of desperation to have your complete and utter devotion that you claim to have for me! But then I saw how uncontrollable the rage had you, how the dark mistress pulled you in, and I yielded! I got on my damned knees! I kissed you! I revoked my threat and was willing to compromise and you was the one to change your mind!"

As she approached, her tone lowered and became more gruff.

"And I return to find you have convinced everyone around me that I am not to be trusted with my own daughter. You turned my stewards against me. You used an imperious on the one person you knew would follow me to the grave. I do not even want to look at you, let alone have you in my bed - I would gladly continue the rest of my life as a spinster if it meant I would rid myself of your barbed hooks. It is your complete lack of sympathy that has brought me here. You want to see a lack of love? Just you watch."

Played By: Vyreia
Nathan almost backed up a step as she approached him.


But he held his chin up and looked down at her in silence, waiting for her to finish. And when she did?

"I appreciate everything you have put up with," said Nathan calmly. "Believe it or not I do. You act as though I have done nothing to prove my own devotion to you. At this point I do not know what I can do to fix this for you. I would be willing to do anything to make it up to you... but I will not be forced into a vow. You can take my word for it and trust me. What is the worth of our marriage if there is no trust Astrid?"
Are part of Astrid wanted to hit him, another wanted to submit and be done with it. She didn't want to be fighting tooth and nail with her husband but...

"Right now? Your word is as good as mud." She retorted icely. "I don't trust York. I don't trust Ramazanov. And I certainly don't trust Viola. You want me to put so much faith in your words when they are so warped by others that I despise either by choice or influence."

She lifted her chin, shaking her head.

"I have had enough of this torment. Things will remain this way until I figure out what to do...because it certainly isn't what I have been doing up until this point." And with that, she turned away.

Played By: Vyreia
Nathan looked back at her a moment in silence. She wanted him to rant and rave and prove her right! To make this choice oh so easy and oh so justified!

He would not give her the pleasure...

He then said calmly,

"And when will you be requesting my presents in your bed chambers my lady?"

If she was going to be cold and calculated about it so would he!
Astrid kept herself turned away. She bit her lip. The most annoying part of all of this was the timing...


It ruined the illusion. But...She needed a son more than anything...at least she planned to make this as bland as she could to make him understand. Although would he? What was the point? She knew very well she couldn't keep that up for months to only be bedded a couple of days in some vanilla fashion! If it was going to be so sparce she knew her body would crave far more! Damn him!

She caught herself in the mirror, and then closed her eyes for a moment. Everything hurt.

Played By: Vyreia