The Duchess Gambit


AU. Inspired by Ellen Kushner’s Riverside universe.

Stories of a young Duchess Lucy Heartfilia and her relationships with the people of Crocus: from her fellow nobles in the Hill, the scholars and foreign traders in the Middle City, and the cunning thieves and swordsmen in the streets of Magnolia.


This is a series of stories set in the same universe but not necessarily in chronological order. There will be a recurring plotline, but expect each installation to be more like a snippet in a long course of events. Main pairing will be Natsu/Lucy/Loke in a poly romantic relationship and Freed/Laxus/Mira as a poly queerplatonic relationship. Implied romantic Freed/Laxus and Mira/Cana. A lot of my usual character dynamics have been switched up.

The stories can be read in any order, most of them can be stand-alone.
For optimal dramatic effect + reveals, it’s best to read them in the order they were published.

But in case you want to read them chronologically, which is great too, the chronological timeline so far is: House Dreyar > The Duke’s Wife > Young Dragons > Stella and Salamander > Convocation > Song of the Rain

Series is marked as complete as author has been committed to other fandoms and personal projects. It’s more of a hiatus. There are two more stories from the original plans, but they won’t be coming anytime soon. ^^;;
– A Sword for Iris
– Magnolia’s Get

ART, MOODBOARDS & EXTRAS can be found at my #ft-riverside-au tag on Tumblr.

There are 6 works in this series.

Stella and Salamander

07 Apr 2017

A trading ship arrives in the Kingdom of Fiore, in the capital city of Crocus.

Natsu makes his way through Magnolia, the most dangerous part of the city. He roams the cobbled stone streets to look for adventure, but instead finds himself escorting a mysterious lady interested in tales about his native land.

Words: 10,887

House Dreyar

19 Aug 2017

“This is Freed.” was how the Duke introduced the young man to her. “I am not fond of sharing him, but I will do so with you. Feel special yet?”

Duke Dreyar invited her to come over for a cup of afternoon tea, and then promptly left her with his secretary. And there she was – Lucy Heartfilia, all sixteen years of her noble education, good manners, social graces and prestigious upbringing already cemented into her being… and she still did not quite know how to handle the man before her.

(A look into the beginnings of the friendship between Lucy and Laxus.)

Teen (13+)
Words: 14,089


28 Jan 2018

It’s a gathering of all the nobles on the Hill, and the two most anticipated guests were late.

First was Duchess Heartfilia – always the center of attention and talk of the City – she was said to be bringing the City’s finest swordsman for the night’s entertainment.

Second was an Ambassador from the Alvarez Empire – fresh from his sea voyage – and he was reported to be the younger brother of the Emperor himself.

Teen (13+)
Words: 14,317

The Duke’s Wife

01 Jul 2018

On her first visit to Dreyar Manor, there were three things that Lady Mirajane Strauss was certain of.

First and foremost was the fact that her actions that day were a shameless breach of noble pleasantries that would surely prompt whispers among her family’s peers. Second, was her parents knew that it was so, they did not care – or maybe they did, but they were willing to risk it. They had willingly sent – ordered – their eldest daughter to enter the lion’s den and be devoured whole. The third and last, was that she came anyway. She was hesitant and terrified, but she was also resolute.

Her parents may have sent her for the Mad Duke, but Lady Mirajane made herself go for a chance to meet the swordsman with the beautiful long hair and deep blue eyes.

(From Lady Strauss to Duchess Dreyar – how exactly did that happen?)

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 3
Words: 35,155

Young Dragons

10 Dec 2018

“Oh, you’re such men. Stop being so militant for a minute, would you? Natsu needs a purpose and you think soldier, overseer, political leverage – when he can just be himself. An Imperial Prince and a representative of the Emperor’s court.”

“Prince and representative?” Igneel raises an eyebrow at the woman. “Empress, aren’t we in this predicament in the first place because he’s so bad at diplomacy and table manners he punched a guest?”

(How Prince Natsu Dragonil of the Alvarez Empire is chosen to be Royal Ambassador to Fiore Kingdom, and how his entourage came to be)

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 4
Words: 47,032

Song of the Rain

12 Jul 2020

He looked different, he knew that. His hair was longer, body bulkier, skin scarred from battles and sun-tanned from the desert, face and ears pierced with iron. He was dressed in Empire robes.

He looked very far from that young guard-in-training she used to pass by everyday…

“You know my lullaby.” Lady Juvia said. Land, her voice was still as soft and delicate as he remembered, and when she spoke in dialect- “You speak my tongue.”

(Gajeel Redfox finally faces the last remaining reminder of an oath he took, and a purpose he had once thought would be his for the rest of his life.)

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 4
Words: 26,018
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