(♚) unbowed. unbent. unbroken.

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76heart
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(♛) 003

Post by 76heart » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:02 am

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xxxHow had she been so lucky, to be blessed to meet him upon her arrival? To get to speak with him, and see some hope and light through the darkness and dread that shrouded her like a storm cloud hovering above only her head, before she even had to see the man she was to unfortunately marry, her betrothed? For so long she had dreamed of meeting someone like him, and now she finally had, even if they could never be anything more than friends, should anything come of this meeting. That would have placed an ache in her heart if she wasn't just truly happy to know him, and for now, just having met him would be enough to sustain her, and brighten her day. She had never needed much to be happy, and right now, just knowing him left her more than enough joy to last a very long time, and she doubted that even Borys would be able to snuff it out. How was it that he was even capable of doing such a wondrous, magnificent thing, though? She had never met someone like him, never met someone that could do this to her and evoke such feelings from her. Not even Tobyn had been able to do that, the man she once thought she had loved, but had only loved the fragmented illusion of what she had with him. He hadn't stirred something deep within her, something within her chest that she couldn't explain; her heart had been still when they met, not racing like a horse, or a bird clamoring to be freed from it's prison of a cage, and she had been shy around him at first, warming up slowly, not instantly feeling some powerful thread between them. With Tobyn, it had been slow, no where near instant, and she had just loved that he treated her as another being, that he did not diminish her thoughts or anything else because she was a woman, and the respect and attention he gave her when it felt like no one understood how she was hurting. She had loved that about him, not him, and it was all so different with the man before her. He had instantly been kind, had instantly soothed the worry that had overcome her with just a few simple words, and when they had touched, she felt a spark, a kind of spark she had never felt with the stable boy, or the man she was to marry. It was something she had never experienced before, something she didn't have the words to explain, but the effect he had on her had her whole body, her whole being, and both her heart and her mind singing to know him more, to not let him go and say goodbye just yet. Everything sung in unison, and she wanted nothing more than to hear it's song, and know more of him, and perhaps even come to understand why he had such an effect on her. It didn't seem to be an effect that would often occur, no one ever mentioned it fondly happening to themselves. It only ever seemed to be spoken of in wondrous stories, especially those of love, or like the one's of her parents, though theirs certainly hadn't begun that way, even though theirs arrived there quickly. At first, her mother had thought her father was too gentle, too soft, while he had been head over heels for her, even if for a long while he had been hesitant to admit it. They had both been so young at the time, and when her mother had been fostered by her father's family when her own mother- Elyana's grandmother- fell ill, her father had been a typical young boy, annoyingly teasing and prideful, but also a little boy in want he knew to be love who stumbled over his words, and his feet, and bent over backwards to please the one he felt for, and her mother, had not been particularly roused by him in any way shape or form. Her mother may be gentle, and appear like the perfect lady, but she could be stubborn, and oh so strong willed- which now that she though about it, was probably the origin and source of where her own stubbornness came from-, and not at all one to sit on the side lines, especially in her youth, so a boy, who having the word ascribed to him could not be more unfitting, had not at all left her impressed, at first. It wasn't long before both of them began seeing through their first impressions of the other though, and how wrong they had been, and their true feelings began as they grew up together, and spent years upon years by each other's side, until they learned they were to marry, and happily stayed by each other's side forevermore, and through all the hardships they had faced, which as she grew, learned more of how many they were, and the toll they had truly taken on them both, especially when it came to having her, and Aidin. That had taken a toll on them she was unable to understand, or imagine, and she doubted she ever would be able to, as those were many trials she would never herself face. She was certain that their love had always been there, though, laying somewhere dormant for it to be discovered by them both when they were ready. Elyana believed that love like what she saw her parents possess had to have some tie to destiny, or fate, especially in this world where love second to alliances, and the power forged through them. That was why it was a feeling so few claimed to know; only a rare few, especially if they had any kind of power, ever got the chance to find it. She was learning that first hand now, and she had once before when she thought she had been in love, and she could only hope that fate would have some twist in store for her now. She didn't want to end up in a marriage without love, without happiness or light and joy, and she didn't need to spend any moments with Borys to know that was all she would ever have with him; she wanted something that was real, something true, that made her heart race and her lips turn upward into a smile at all the brilliant light within her world, and something filled with feelings like the ones the handsome man was stirring within her. She still didn't know what they were, but they were special, and had managed to clear the Stormlands of the storm clouds hovering above her shoulders just waiting for the moment to rip open and pour down upon her, and that meant everything to her right now. There was no way to measure, or express how much he and the things he had done meant to her, even if her time of knowing him had only just begun. She wanted to say it was just simple, but there was no way she could when it wasn't to her; it was so much more than that, and to her, it's meaning and influence was beautifully immeasurable, and the only thing her mind, and her heart wished to focus on.

xxxWhen she took back her pup, and told the man who had handed her to him what he was, she could tell that he was surprised; nearly everyone who learned of it was, but unlike the others, the smile didn't leave his lips, and that had her own remaining, if not remaining even slightly stronger. His smile was so very beautiful, and she would hate to see it fade, especially over something of her own doing, or the doing of the creature she loved so very much. Elyana wished she could have focused on that, and the many other thoughts and things swarming throughout her mind surrounding the man before her, but unfortunately, Talimere chose that moment to try and attempt to worm and wiggle his way out of her grasp to get back to the man, and she lost her chance to do so, at least for the time being. She didn't doubt that the thoughts would find her again much later when she was alone, and he, the easily best part of her day, would most certainly found his back back into her head. She didn't have much chance to be certain of that either though, because the sound of the man chuckling at the actions of the little wolf stole her attention, and her heart gave a flutter that was anything but small at the sound, a sound that was beautiful like his smile, and very akin to music to her ears. It wasn't music she could dance to, but it was music she could lose herself within and listen to for hours; a song she never wished to end. Brown eyes quickly shot upward, looking up at the sound through flailing puppy paws, and she found herself unable to keep herself from sending him a smile in response to the admittedly very comforting, and soothing sound of his laugh. It was familiar in an odd way, and a sound, much like his voice, she felt as if she could listen to for ages without ever noticing the passed time. It would have completely distracted her now she was sure, if she didn't presently have a direwolf pup trying to escape from her arms and return to the man she too wanted to be around more. As Talimere quieted, and she finished speaking, she noticed that his eyes had raised from the silver wolf to meet her own, and she couldn't help but feel the dusting of a blush rising to her likely already reddened cheeks at the sight of it. His smile softened, and he gave her a nod of understanding, which she felt herself positively light up at. A new happiness spread through her, a comforting warmth, and she could hardly contain her smile, or joy for that matter, at learning that he understood what her words had met, and that he wanted the same. He wanted to see her again too, and she couldn't be happier; that bright even more light into her world to chase the dark storming clouds away, and it gave her something to look forward to, a hope, amongst the dread she felt for the plans she was aware of. She didn't want to marry Borys, she wanted to spend more time with this wonderful man, but she didn't have a choice, and it was unlikely she ever would because she had been born a woman in power, just seen as a pawn in some man's game. She would do her best to steal moments with the man whenever she could regardless of all of that though, and him wanting the same made a world of difference to her, a world of hope, even if they were only able to find moments to catch glimpses of each other and share gazes from across the room as a sea of people stood between them. At least, maybe she would be able to hear him speak her name, and speak his, before their duties tore them apart, which seemed like a hopeful possibility, as she watched his smile grow a tiny bit more as she told him her name. Did that mean he liked it? She had never cared what anyone thought of her name before; it was just that, her name, a mix of two after her ancestors Maryana and Elayna, that she had always felt honored to be named after, and she had always found that it suited her, but with him she found herself unable to not care. She barely knew him, and already she cared and so valued what he thought, especially of her and the somewhat calmed and sated creature in her arms, and if he didn't like her name, she knew that would sting, because she wanted him to like every piece to who she was, something she didn't at all feel with Borys. If anything, with that man, she wished him to do nothing more than tolerate her, to posses no desire for her and leave her to her own devices unless for some godforsaken reason he needed her, and she didn't know if it was good or not, but she would much prefer to care about the handsome man's opinion, than with Borys had none at all. The latter didn't seem at all a happy way to live, and she so hoped that that dark and glooming fate wouldn't be one she was designed to living. Thankfully though, if the smile was anything to go by, and the lack of any kind of unpleasant reaction after learning it was any sort of indication, he did like her name, and when he opened his mouth to reply, she waited in anticipation for his response, to hear his reply, to hear him speak her name, and if she was lucky, learn his. Of course, he never got to, and she never got the pleasure of hearing what he had to say, because the chance was ripped away from them both, by a displeased clear of a throat, and turning to see who had made it. Storming gray eyes of barely veiled anger were not a greeting she ever wanted to see, not when she had already bared witness to the man's beautiful blue.
xxxJust like her own, at the sight of Borys Baratheon seething with poorly concealed irritation, she saw Jasper's warming smile fall, and felt herself fill with a sadness she couldn't quite explain. A sadness at both the loss of such a beautiful grin on an even more glorious face, and at the reminder of why she was here, and more specifically, who she was hear for. She had been dreading it for so long, anxiously anticipating it for weeks, with no need of reminder, but she had momentarily forgotten because of the wonderful man she had met, and now the reminded she hadn't needed had come unwelcome and unannounced, forcing her to see it, and realize that the hope she had here, in the presence of him, would not last when he was gone from her side, and she was with only the man who sent a pang of fear running down her spine. The clouds were again closing in, and the other man's light was the only thing keeping them away, keeping them from breaking open and raining hell down upon her. She swallowed, and opened her mouth to give another reply, another apology, a safeguard in case it wasn't enough for him to just have the first, but before she had the chance to, Jasper spoke for her, inserting himself into their exchange with skilled ease, and she quickly turned her head, dark eyes landing on him with a mix of surprise written in them and her expression, and a gratitude hidden within her gaze that she hoped he would notice. Instead of speaking now that he had, she raised a hand to nestle further into Talimere's fur, stopping a growl she could feel building in his throat, and tempering his displeasure at the presence of Borys, at least for the moment. Her fear felt as if it was just melting a way now that he had spoken up, and a tiny quirk of her smile returned as she listened to his soothing voice, and the excuse he had to give. He forced a charismatic smile onto his features- one she like the sight of but wasn't nearly as handsome or becoming as the way a genuine one sat perfectly upon his lips-, and explained, in an easy lie, how he had troubled her for a moment to admire a 'rare northern beauty', and how she had been so gracious to oblige. She felt her heart skip at that, and a blush begin to dust her cheeks again, though she quickly raised a hand to hide it, acting as if she was wiping a strand of hair out of her eyes, and tucking it carefully into place, in hopes that it would help the blush escape the Baratheon's notice. To him, she knew the man meant Talimere, but was there a hidden meaning to his words, one only meant for her, that she was the northern beauty? She caught his gaze drifting to back to her, and she hoped that was a sign that her hope was true. She listened as he clarified for the man, hoping that that was another sign he had meant her with his faltering comment and that she wasn't misreading this completely, and watched almost sadly has his eyes trailed back to the man, leaving her, and making her feel empty at the lack of them on her form. Borys' eyes seemed to calm at bit at the man's words, their kind and selfless purpose to quell that clearly doing their job, but something new appeared within his eyes too, something new that she couldn't pin down, and that left her feeling most uneasy. Borys spoke, responding to the man with a nod that seemed stiff, and unknowingly giving her at least part of the man's name. It was the first time she had heard him speak since they were children, and though she wanted to shiver at the sound, she couldn't, because his words had brought something great. He was an Arryn, she knew that for certain now, the house ruling the stunning and truly beautiful land of the Vale under their much less stunning and truly beautiful king, and even though she didn't have his name, she had something firm to call him. Lord Arryn. It suited him, for sure, and he deserved to have something so regal sounding put to him. Perhaps Aidin would know his first, and she could ask him when they next had a moment alone. To her joy and surprise though, she wouldn't have to, because the Arryn Lord uttered it himself, and she couldn't help but smile as she felt herself fill with happiness again at knowing it. Jasper. His name is Jasper Arryn. Oh Tali, I wish I could share my excitement with you now. It was a name she hadn't heard before, but so perfect, and so beautiful. Jasper, like the opaque quartz. It suited him; while all other jaspers were common shades of red, yellow, brown, or green, he was the rarest shade of blue, like the colors of his house, and the beautiful blue of his eyes. There was no way that name couldn't fit him, with how wonderful he was, and how she had never met anyone like him. He was truly a blue winter rose amongst thousands of red, or rather, a perfect, blue colored polished jasper, amongst thousands of rough, uncut red. Jasper. His name was Jasper, of House Arryn. Lord Jasper, of House Arryn. She liked it, a lot. Though of course, she doubted that there could be something so closely associated with him that she couldn't love. In another world perhaps they may have had a chance, or he would be the one she was engaged to instead, in a world where Borys, and forced engagements didn't exist, and they were free to be with whom they choose. They weren't in another world though, and for now she would have to be content with knowing him, and of his kindness, and his beautiful blue eyes, with a corner of brown in one, while she wanted to hate that Borys had played an unknowing part in her learning the handsome man's name, but being unable to, because she could never hate anything that had to do with him. She could feel the smile faintly return even stronger to her lips at the distinct feeling that his correction had been for her, rather than for her husband-to-be. She could even feel it grow a little more as Borys' brows furrowed at his correction, but it didn't last, because before another moment had passed, he stiffly offered his arm out to her, and she knew what that meant. It was a signal that they were to leave, without Jasper, and she had no choice but to accept. She freed an arm from her pup and hesitantly reached for his, the action carrying more weight with it than it was ever meant to have. He said no words to her as she began to walk, and she followed, though she slowed ever so slightly as she passed the handsome Arryn man. "Thank you, Jasper." Elyana whispered, leaning close to his ear as she delicately brushed passed. Your kindness is not something I'll ever be quick to forget. Oh how she wished that she could say those words.

xxxThere were too many unfamiliar people within the room, and it had grown to be much too much for her nearly the moment all the festivities with the feast began, especially when there was only one person she wanted to see. There was only one man she wished to speak with out of all the people there, and she was too scared to search him out or approach him, lest Borys Baratheon catch wind of it even though he was not presently here anymore, through someone's gossiped or whispered drunken words, and bring his fury down upon the man she already knew she deeply cared for, despite knowing nothing more than his name, the name of his house, and that he was a good man, and so terribly, wonderfully kind. Everything this day had so far been a blur that passed uncomfortably quickly from one thing to the next, and Jasper had been the only clear thing about it, and the only true good thing to happen throughout it to begin with. If Talimere hadn't been taken to her room by a bannerman while her betrothed dragged her to the main hall for the fist of the festivities he had planned, perhaps this all would have been a little more bearable, and a less confusing blur of things that only managed to fill her with more dread, but alas, that hadn't happened, and she was stuck here alone, without anyone to call a friend as she struggled to sort through the memories that were little more than the fuzzy memories of a dream she woke from starting to fade. First there had been a feast, during which she had barely so much as even looked at her meal while she tried to tune out the sound of Borys voice and his ramblings- mostly boasting and very proud and prideful statements about himself and his truthfully not at all impressive accomplishments-, which had thankfully not been a difficult task to do because he hardly even glanced her way. She had spent her time searching the crowd for Jasper instead from her raised position at the table Borys sat at by his side, and then admiring and examining the stonework of the room and the way the light from candles and chandeliers danced upon them with their orange glow as the flames from them flickered. They had reminded her of the shadows trees blowing in the wind with their leaves dancing and rustling in the breeze cast upon the walls of Winterfell, and it only served to bring feelings of missing home, so she had stopped, and finally deigned to look at her plate, containing a meal looking most unappealing, that she had a very difficult time not pushing away and forcing a few bites of down her throat. After that had ended, the dancing and mingling began, and hours later, it still had not ended, and several souls were still going strong as drink flowed freely between them, and she watched from the side when no one was dragging her out to meet someone or speak. She couldn't count the number of strangers she had spoken to, and if asked she couldn't even remember what any of them had said. All she wanted was to see Jasper, to hear his voice again, and she was too tired and overwhelmed to put up with anyone who wasn't him now that the day had gone on so long. Normally she would always make time for those who wished to converse, especially if it was a child, but there were no children present here, and every smile and pleasant word sent her way carried a tinge of falsity, of disingenuous pretenses and intent, and she couldn't bother to give some opulent sycophant her full attention and focus when she was already so heavily drowning in everything of the day. She hadn't even gotten the chance to see her quarters yet, and truthfully, she wasn't even sure if she was ready to yet, or if she ever would be. The thought of calling this castle a home made her sick, and she didn't wish to think of it as one, nor was she ready to think of it as one, even as a temporary place of rest. Borys was just as she had feared he'd be, even worse than she remembered, and her parents were blind to it, she didn't feel safe within the same walls as him, or that she'd manage to get any semblance of rest. Seeing her chambers would make this all frighteningly real, more real than it already was, and she didn't want to go see them yet, and bring that reality upon herself. There was still time left in this night for her to enjoy, and savor, and be away from it, and she did not want to head toward it until none of that precious time was left, and certainly not before she caught a glimpse of Jasper again.

xxxLetting out a tired sigh, she watched as her parents began making their way toward her from across the hall, with Aidin trailing some distance behind like a puppy worn from hours of play that could barely walk. She didn't even need to hear want they had to say to know what they were coming to her for; they were coming to bid her goodnight and wish her well, she could see that in their tired expressions and faded eyes even from where she stood far away. Normally she would join them, but she wasn't ready to just yet. She wanted to see Jasper again first, and she wanted to put off returning to her rooms and seeing the reality of this- and the damage she had an inkling Talimere had already done to it, likely the chair legs or pillows, if no one had bothered to give him some kind of toy- for as long as she possibly could.
xxxAs her parents stopped before her, and Aidin paused a few paces away, she could tell by the looks in their eyes and their expressions that they already knew she knew where they were headed, and that it was unlikely she'd be joining them. Her mother gently clasped her hands around both of her own, rubbing her thumb lightly over her knuckles and the backs of her hand. "Will you be joining us?" She asked softly, hopeful she was wrong, but already knowing the answer. Yana shook her head sadly, and furrowed her brows apologetically as she tilted her head. Her father let out a soft sigh, but kept his expressions clear of the worry she knew was there. "Goodnight mother, father. Rest well." Elyana breathed, watching as her mother eyed her with concern, but said nothing, which in that moment Yana was truly grateful for, she was much too worn and tired for a lecture on why she should slip off to bed. Her mother brought her hands to her lips and pressed a motherly goodnight kiss to them, before giving them a squeeze and letting them go. "Same to you, Elyana. Take care of yourself." Her father replied, voice tender and soft, without it's usual firmness. "I will, I promise." Elyana murmured softly, as her father pulled her close, and gave her his goodbye with a kiss gently pressed to her forehead, before he brushed the hair from her face, and stepped away with her mother, and out of the great hall, leaving her alone with Aidin, who quickly linked her arm with his in a gesture of comfort, which she too was grateful for. She tightened her grip on his arm, and watched as their parents walked away. Aidin waited a moment, and then turned to her with a mischievous glint in eyes that she didn't like, and responded to with a tired and expectant raise of her brow. "So, you got a moment to talk with him. Did you, perchance, learn his name?" Aidin asked, to which she immediately gave a scolding reply, resisting the urge to remove her arm from his and fold it with her other. "Aidin!" He let out an even wider grin than the one he gave her earlier, and she could already tell that this battle had been lost, and he had won it. "Yana, we could all see you speaking with him, and I know your smile, you wouldn't be smiling like that at Borys. You learned it, didn't you?" She let out a heavy sigh, conceding. "Jasper, his name is Jasper." She wanted to keep his full name, Jasper Arryn, a secret to herself, for the moment. She didn't want to give away all the magic she felt around him, just yet. Aidin nodded thoughtfully, refraining from giving another tease to her surprise, and when she turned, she noticed for the first time how tired he was. His normally proud and playful shoulders sagged, and his eyes looked weary, and dark with the desire to rest. His hair was slightly out of place, and unkempt, and her hand gently slipped out from his arm, to rest lightly on his cheek, and gently tuck the loose strands back into place, in the way a good elder sister would do. His fight had gone out in that moment; his day had been long, and he should go and rest. "You're tired, Aidin. Go sleep. I'm sure Nim is missing you." Elyana told him, running her hand through his hair to smooth the rest of his short locks out. He frowned, and she could see the strong desire to protest rising through him, and out of his lips. "But what about you? I don't want to leave you alone in this den of lions and stags." She smiled tiredly, and let her hand fall to his, giving it a tight squeeze. Through all of his moments of being a little pest, he truly was a good brother, one who genuinely cared and wished for her to be happy, and she would never trade him for anyone else in the world. He had changed everything for her in a way she wasn't fond of, but that would never stop her from loving him, or her seeing him as her baby brother who was finally growing up. "I'll be fine, I promise. I can handle myself on my own for a little while longer. I'm to be marrying the Lord of Storm's End, none of the men here would dare touch me, and some of our most loyal men are still around, I will be safe. Go Aidin, go sleep. You need the rest, you've already had a long day." Elyana assured, holding his gaze while she spoke so she was certain he knew that she would truly be alright. He let out a heavy sigh, one of relief, and tremendous weight. He seemed to let a lot go with that sigh, and she hoped that it would help him rest peacefully. He was so young and already had so much in his shoulders, a tremendous weight and responsibilities he couldn't yet comprehend, and he didn't need to bear her burdens on his shoulders too. "Thank you." He pulled her close for a moment, allowing her lips to press lightly against his temple in a sisterly goodnight kiss, and then pulled away, and followed in their parents' footsteps. Once he was out of sight, she let out a sigh that mirrored his, and weaved her way through the remaining people to a wall with few around it and none looking pointedly in it's direction. When she reached it, she turned and leaned her back against it, and swept a hand through her dark hair, clearly worn and drained, and in need of a break from people she didn't know, or a rest. She wasn't ready to return to her chambers though, she still wasn't, and she doubted that she would be for awhile longer. She wanted to hold off going to her room for as long as she could, or at least until she got to speak with Jasper again, if the world, or gods were kind enough to grant her that chance again. He made her feel safe her, and welcome, even though it was not his seat to welcome her too, and that meant the world to her. She just wished to speak with him more, to get to know him better, and spend more time in his presence. She hadn't seen him leave- something she had been keeping an eye out for so she would be sure to notice-, so if she hadn't missed him, and he was still here, was it too much to hope that he would find her here, and they would get their chance to speak again then?

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xxxNo matter how much he racked his memories and his brain, he could not ever remember meeting a woman like her, that at least he could be certain of. The only thing he drag up that even vaguely reminded him of her were a few of the deities those of the Summer Isles worshiped he had read about in books, which they worshipped to very different degrees than any other religion he had ever read about. Most would call the acts of it sinful and barbaric, and horribly lewd he was sure, but he doubted that those of Dorne would given how, well, er.. open they were with freeness of.... bodies? No, that wasn't the right word it was ahh, mm, love... making? That was it. The Summer Islanders had a score of deities, most of them were probably not even mentioned in the books regarding them or the people and islands he had managed to obtain, but their favorites were their god and goddess of love, fertility, and beauty being the most favored among them, which he imagined would match quite well with those of Dorne, given well, uh, all of that. Where with Dorne it seemed more of just an openness and acceptance and general love and fondness of it, it was more of a holy skill and almost sacred act to the Summer Islanders, and that was where it seemed to begin to differ. In the Summer Isles, everyone was required to serve for a time in their temples of love, and those who became most skilled in serving and honoring their gods and goddesses in that manner were the ones who became respected priests and priestesses. That had always confused him a little, as it seemed their priests and priestesses were more abstinent with the act that got them the position, but then he and also been able to obtain very little on their practices with that, so he had not idea if that was truly the case, and it was likely he was just missing a very big piece of information to answer the puzzle to that. To another similarity the two places shared though, the profession of coin in exchange for a time of pleasure was a highly respected one, practiced even by some high-borns- at least in the Summer Isles, it was practiced by them, he couldn't for certain say if it was too in Dorne-, and while he wished to avoid the act and anything associated with it if he at all possibly could, he was glad the profession was getting respect, all worked deserved that, unless it was twisted and harmful or cruel.
xxxHe wasn't entirely sure why had had read so much about both places given how awkward he felt about some very central pieces to them, but then reading about things was very different to thinking about them in depth, and given his discomfort with the subject, thinking about it was something he tended to try and avoid. Vahaemarys was thinking about it now though, and it wasn't exactly early enough as to where he could stop; he had already begun thinking down that rabbit hole, and now he would have to finish it until the thoughts were gone and he hopefully felt a bit more comfortable in the woman's presence, even if his cheeks turned redder than the wine his family sold and the wine that flowed freely throughout the Dornish and the lands ruled by the Redwyne with his purely innocent and well intending attempts to look nowhere but the woman's beautifully featured face out of desire to be respectful and polite and his less than ideal thoughts. Why did such a comparison have to come to his mind? Why did that now have to be the only thing he could think about? It was truly meant to be a complimentary comparison, one to a goddess because see truly had the beauty and the dress of one, but the more he thought about it, and the more jarbled and complicated his thoughts became, he began to fear that it would be anything but a compliment to her, even though it was unlikely that she would ever learn he had even began to think about such a comparison with high praise to her, because he doubted that he would ever share it with anyone, and he had a feeling that he would be doing his best to forget it had ever even happened by the time the hour was done. Anyway, though, she was truly rather radiant, and her garments did feel like they would belong to a most beautiful goddess, a queen above them all, even if he could not bring himself to look at anything but her face for more than a mere fraction of a moment, and that was the compliment he had been intending to give to her without her ever knowing with his thoughts, before they spiraled out of his intentions and took on a life of their own as they usually did. Hopefully though, if she ever did happen to glean that that path and trail of thoughts had crossed through her mind, she would understand what he had meant, and not become terribly offended at his thoughts instead. The two lands truly were similar in many ways, in beauty and acceptance and an air that never seemed confrontational, and he hoped if it came to light, that she would see where he was coming from with that. Along with all of that, the two lands also shared descendants of the Rhoynar, with the Summer Isles being a stop that didn't work out for most- with those who it did work out for remaining on the Isle of Woman-, and Dorne being the one that finally did, with the joining of their leader, and the Martell ruler of Dorne, to create House Nymeros Martell. Most still simply called it the house of Martell, but he could recall a prince who was anything but austere named Zoroastarr who preferred to use it in full. Hopefully that would help too, although now he was beginning to wonder if she was descended from that prince and his wife Ashara. She certainly looked the part, and felt very similar to the prince in his reported nonchalant unserious ways, but then that was a description that suited many, so that wasn't nearly enough for him to form an educated, decent guess. Her dress though, that was certainly a sign of highness of some kind; no commoner he knew could afford that. His family possessed a fairly decent amount of wealth, and they had many ways to obtain similar beautiful likely very expensive things for a price much cheaper, but even with that, he doubted that his family would even have enough to ask for it to be made. Of course, he also knew next to nothing about fashion, so that could be completely wrong as well, and the extravagance he had glimpsed coming off it in elegant regal ways was throwing off the little knowledge he had on it. His mother was the only one in the family who knew anything about clothing, and she was the one who took care of that for himself, herself, and his grandfather, so he only knee the things she had mentioned, and the little confusing threads of pieces he had picked up over the years.

xxxRelief filled him as she voiced her reply, though with the way she seemed to grin with a tinge of amusement at his question had him doubting if that relief was entirely safe, or smart to feel. "Ahh, good." Vahaemarys glanced down, eyeing his hands while his mind and thoughts drifted to his hair. Was it commonplace here for men and woman to wear hair unnatural to their own? Did many have their own hair stolen in the night, or did many simply wish to be rid of their own natural locks? He and never read about that being common in Dorne, or anywhere for that matter, but then many things were also kept out of books, and he'd not be surprised if that was one of the things that was omitted. Of course, it was also entirely more likely that it just wasn't something done in the land the woman before him was from, and she had just been asking because the color of his hair was rare and unusual, and not one naturally seen on most. In Essos it seemed to be less rare and out of place, but in Westeros, the color seemed to be reserved to those of Targaryen descent, which as far as he knew, he was most certainly not. He knew he had Valyrian ancestry, given his surname and his family's appearance, but he couldn't be a Targaryen. The Targaryens had cruelly met their end at the hand of the Lannisters, they were all dead and gone, their era and their dragons lost to time, fading for a new one to take their place of madness and insanity. There were none left, and if his family was part of that family, and the last of his lineage, he had a feeling that he would know that already, and have been raised accordingly to be poised to retake it giving their ambitious conquering nature, but he had not been, and he doubted that his mother and grandfather would keep such a tremendous secret from him well into his adulthood and the start of his thirties, or at least, he hoped they would have the decency to not do something like that to him. To his hair again though, dying it was something he knew of being done, and something his mother had tried doing once when he was little and they were first going somewhere without his father, but that plan had fallen through when the dye spilled and instead dyed his favorite white shirt a most ugly, rancid looking dirty brown. He had been more than glad that dye hadn't befallen his white locks, locks he couldn't help but be proud of; if it had, he was certain it would just look like someone had dumped a sheep's droppings onto his head and throughout mixed it in. His mother saw that after it spilled on his beloved shirt too, so thankfully she hadn't tried it again, which he was thankful for; he liked his hair silvery white, and would prefer to not wake up one day to see it a different color. As far as he knew though, dying hair was not common, but not entirely uncommon either, and with their being no dye he knew of that could accurately and properly turn his hair to the light shade it was, he imagined that is where the hair being truly his question had come from in her mind, which made him a little less fearful of her oddness.
xxxHis gaze returned to her quickly when the sound of her speaking reached his ears again, and he frowned at her words. Was she.. flirting with him? He knew next to nothing so but the ways of romance, but he didn't know so little that he was oblivious to the ways of a flirt at the very nature of it's core, and he had a rather large inkling that the nature of her words, confessing that he would be someone she would have remembered, was one of being flirtatious. He had never been flirted with before, so it all felt very odd if it in fact was a flirt that she was sending his way, but he wasn't entirely opposed to it either; it wasn't an unwelcome feeling, and truthfully he was beginning to warm up to her, and the unusual things she was saying. Only slightly warming up to her and her words though, only very slightly. They were still all a bit much and too outrageous for him to feel comfortable with just yet. He could feel her eyeing him as he thought, amusement still clearly present within her, which he hoped was amusement out of joyous, and curious nature at him, rather than at the expense of his suffering and uncomfortableness, and that seemed to be another small confirmation that her earlier words had indeed been a flirt; most didn't tend to eye another with amusement if there wasn't some kind of thing there. He didn't feel any thing tonight and he could get that off of her, so truly, he had no idea what she meant exactly by that and what exactly she thought or felt about him and was wanting, and that had him feeling uneasy all over again. What was she thinking about, and what exactly what she seeing in him that drew her to him and lead her to ask such questions? She spoke again soon after that, though, asking- likely rhetorically- if he was a 'sweet one', and he felt his frown deepen. "Sweet?" Vahaemarys questioned, curious as to what exactly that meant. He didn't have much time to even ponder that for himself, however, because she gave him a small smile once more, catching him off guard and ceasing his thoughts entirely for the moment, and he watched as she placed a hand on an exposed area of the old table to steady herself, before leaning in. He had to resist the urge to lean away from her extending hand as she reached it out, and her touch; he had allowed her to this after all. She'd just be touching her hair. This would be fine. This was fine. He was fine. He was- he stiffened, her fingers finally reaching his silver locks, her touch surprisingly gentle, so gentle he could barely feel the tug on his hair from where her index finger wrapped around a small section, and the rest of her fingers grazed his hair. It was almost.... nice in a way? Soothing? Comforting? It reminded him of the way his mother used to stroke his hair after he woke up with tears streaming down his cheeks and sweat making his hair stick to his forehead after a particularly frightening nightmare, usually one filled with blood and fire. It was a feeling he found himself surprisingly enjoying white a lot, one he feared he could lose himself within, like he often did with a good book, so long as it wasn't about bubbles or boils or other assortments of unpleasant things that made his stomach turn, and the rest of him feel ill. Vahae blinked when she spoke again, almost startled by the sound of her voice after easing himself into the comforting touch of her fingers lightly combing through his hair. He turned his head slightly to meet her eyes, and noticed she finished her words with a playful pout, after she had complimented his hair, saying it was even soft to the touch. He couldn't help but faintly blush. "Thank you, I am.. glad you find it to be so?" Vahaemarys replied, his words lilting upward into more of a question, than a genuine reply of thanks, which his mother would have certainly reprimanded him for had she been near. It was hard to process, or find the words for, even mentally for his thoughts, but he was admittedly pleased that she found his hair to be soft. He spent a lot of time, and probably much too much effort into his hair, and making sure it shown like true silver, and remained soft, and clean, and well combed and tamed. It was gratifying and most pleasing to hear that his efforts with it had paid off, especially if it had done so in the eyes of one he personally found very worthy of admiring. A moment later he felt her begrudgingly release his hair from her grasp, and he watched with mild disappointment in his eyes as she pulled it back, and placed it to rest with the other on the table.
xxxBefore he could properly miss the absence of her fingers in her hair, something he hadn't at all expected to enjoy or be comfortable with in the slightest, she spoke up again, asking something new that was somehow more surprising to him than anything else she had asked him or said so far, and she finished doing so with a wink that had him give a startled blink, while his eyes widened to the size of round, confused, and surprised saucers. The wink was something he couldn't even properly comprehend, like the assumed flirt she had given earlier, but her question was a bit more easy for him to sort through, although it too left him baffled and no less than extremely yet still somewhat mildly confused. Friends? She hoped they were friends? She wanted to be friends? That was certainly sudden, and something very odd, though perhaps that was just now it was done in Dorne, and most meetings progressed from mildly concerning acquaintance to friendship so quickly. She shifted her wright ever so slight to before continuing, laying her palms flat upon the table that by now was probably about as hold as him. The woman was asking him where he was from to have hair like that, but before he could properly register that, he had to at least begin the comprehension of what she had begun it with. Dearest friend? That was an exaggeration, wasn't it? Just a usual pleasantry one used to make someone more willing to share? He doubted that was her purpose or intent with it though; she didn't strike him as the manipulative type, but he also didn't know her well enough to be certain she wasn't that type either. She wanted to know where he was from though, which was something he could answer. It was much easier than anything else she had asked, and something familiar he was rather used to answering out of the very few questions from strangers he had received. None had ever been as odd as her though, even if now it was starting to become a good kind of odd. "I'm-" Vahaemarys began, but before he could reply, because he took too long thinking, he was interrupted by her continuing on, saying she didn't think he was the Westerlands type. Well, she wasn't wrong in that, he certainly wasn't at all from the Westerlands, and he doubted that he had much, if any family that had ever settled a foot within it. His skin was fair and pale like it's inhabitants- probably a bit too pale from the lack of time he spent in the sun and his poor tolerance to it's heat-, but that was about where the resemblance of being from there found it's end; silver hair and violet eyes had not ever originated from such a place, at least, to his knowledge. He could have missed a passage in a book saying they had, though he doubted it; with his readings, he was nothing if not thorough. Her voice reached his ears again, asking if he was from Lys, and once more he found his eyes widened, and his thoughts returning to a stuttering mess. Lys? Was she insinuating that he had been a worker of pleasure, or a child of one in such a profession? Did he give off some feel or impression he was from there? That was something he had certainly never thought himself to be reminiscent of. There was nothing wrong with someone who did lead such a life, at least in his eyes, as long as they were a willing and happy participant in it, and not forced into it against their own wishes or will, but it certainly wasn't a life for him, or a place he ever imagined himself going anywhere near, nor was it a place he could ever even picture his mother passing by idly in the street; to her it was vulnerability, and a loss of power, and neither were things she tended to allow to come to reality. Such things made him uncomfortable, and uneasy; he had no idea what to do or say or how to react, and because of that, he just preferred to avoid them and anything close to them in general, which, clearly was not working too well in Dorne, where they were very open, and apparently and evidently, quite forward too. Finally, at least, he was able to find his words, although he wasn't entirely sure if they were the best ones. "Lys? No I'm-" Vahaemarys coughed, straightening in his seat, and brushing down his tunic, in an attempt to look prouder, or more dignified, or both, or at least something less awkward and frightened like he was feeling. "I'm from Lhazar, which is um, well, a bit far from Lys." Vahaemarys answered, his voice turning somewhat sheepish toward the end, though still containing more confidence than any of his previous answers had before. The topic was a familiar one, something he knew well, and at least even though the strength in his voice had faded, he knew this better, geography, and his homeland, as opposed to reasons why some unfamiliar woman would wish to touch his hair. With the little confidence he had left remaining, he surprised himself in turning his focus back to her, and asking a question of his own, a part of him that knew how to speak in a conversation finally taking hold. "I suppose that you are from Dorne though, ah, yes? A princess perhaps?" He hoped that that wasn't too forward with his question, or taken or perceived as a flirt due to his asking if she was a princess at the end, he was just digging for some information to figure out more of who she was, or some kind of name, or clue as to why she was so intriguingly unusual, and different compared to all other souls he had had the pleasure, or sometimes displeasure of meeting. With her it was certainly leaning more on the pleasure side than displeasure, and before they stopped talking, even though it had already been a confusing ride of surprises and emotions for him, he genuinely wished to know at least a little more about her before it was done, and something told him that he would be sad if he didn't.

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Iris
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Crowned In Glory | Gloria Regalia | IV

Post by Iris » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:26 am

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Though he had been so fortunate as to witness the beauty of many in his life so far, even if he was only thus far a young man of twenty-five who before the journey that brought him to Storm's End had never strayed from the familiarity of the Vale, nothing could compare to the woman who stood before him. It wasn't even something he had to consider, a question that plagued his mind for even a moment. Hers was a beauty unlike any he had ever been granted the privilege - and, to be certain, that was precisely what it was, a privilege- of witnessing, a sight both unmistakable and unforgettable. Yet, as passive and fortuitous, as unrelenting it was, there were moments that he found as his gaze settled upon her that her beauty shined through the brightest, like a flower at the peak of it's bloom, though he knew in his heart that hers wasn't one that would ever wilt. There were moments that the beautiful sight would glisten more than others, surely, though even in the crevices of his imagination even the faintest suspicion that she could possibly lay claim to an appearance that wasn't stunning and leagues above the rest couldn't be found. Instead, it was as if he was already witnessing different angles, different nuances of the most beautiful rose- for certainly, that was what she was, as no matter how vast the garden may have been, no matter the number of beautiful flora to be gazed upon, she shone so seemingly effortlessly through the rest, and when she did, the moment he laid eyes on hers, he knew none could compare. None could even compete. The sight of her smile as they had spoke before their interruption had to have been the most beautiful angle, he was certain, like bright rays of sunlight illuminating the most pristine petals, the light seeping through to the other side, giving just a small glimpse of what lay beyond. Then there was the sight of her blush, blood rushing to her cheeks to illuminate her beautiful features- that had to be his second favorite, and it was one he instantly adored, even if he only was able to witness it so briefly that time as she moved her hand so quickly in a way which obstructed view from her face. Still, he was able to witness it- both the stunning sight alone as well as the visual promise that she likely knew the true meaning behind his words, one that judging by her actions she hadn't likely taken offense to or disliked in their entirety.

Unfortunately, far too similarly to the rest of their conversation, both sights were gone entirely too soon, torn from him as quickly as they had been shown to him. It was a thought that would have been bad enough alone, but was so quickly compounded upon as Jasper watched Borys extend his arm out to Yana, leaving Jasper to watch as she extended her own and took it, the motion once more offering a frigid reminder of the Stark's purpose at Storm's End. She was there for the beginning of the celebrations- the wedding celebrations, the celebrations of her wedding, to the Lord of Storm's End. Once more the thought weighed at him for a reason he couldn't yet quite explain even to himself, like a weight in the pit of his stomach as he saw the two together in front of him, or like ice running through his veins, freezing his blood that would run so hot and leave in its stead something he didn't quite recognize, a feeling more unpleasant than he could possibly describe, or even truly understand in that moment for it was something he knew he had absolutely no right to feel, he truly did, and yet it was still so awful and foreign to him that it was unprecedented in nature for him to experience. He had never experienced such a thing with any woman before- any person before, even, and yet the frigid weight was felt by him all the same. Then, suddenly, a small wave of warmth washed over him, bringing him from his own thoughts as she came so close to him, the sound of her voice thanking him in his ear as she moved past him. The feeling was still there, but it was lessened considerably in that moment even as he watched the two walk away together, three thoughts so quickly echoing in his mind already in that moment: first, that Yana Stark was absolutely enchanting, second, he hated the thought of her being anywhere near Borys, and third, he loved the way his name sounded as it fell from her lips.

Jasper's eyes didn't easily leave her even as she walked away with the Baratheon, and when they did, his thoughts didn't leave her with his gaze. The woman continued to linger in his thoughts even as minutes had come to pass and the group that had received her began to slowly make their way inside the castle once more for the beginning of celebrations. It wasn't until Jasper found himself walking beside Arrel within the empty corridors that he even truly noticed the man once more, as well as the look he was receiving from him. He knew that look. It was the same look he had received at the Old Inn so recently on his way to Storm’s End as he found himself charming a local brunette while the other man looked on disapprovingly, the same look he could so clearly remember seeing his sister sending his way when he had found himself getting a bit too close to the daughter of the Head of House Tyrell during her short stay in the Vale, the same look he had seen on an old Septa’s face as he innocently charmed a young redhead who’s name he had long forgotten, if he had ever bothered to learn it to begin with, during a trip to Gulltown. It was a look people loved to give -himself no exception if he was to be honest, though certainly not in the name of the same cause as them. It was a look of judgement, of unabashed disapproval, something Jasper could usually understand, but not nearly as much when it came to two consenting adults choosing to share their bodies, and certainly not in a situation like he found himself in at the moment. He had done far worse, after all, and yet found it so often to be the case- that the most disapproving of looks came from the interactions that were most innocent, when charms and flirtation were the limits of an exchange. Those who found themselves present during the most scandalous of moments when wine flowed freely and women came and went with ease and a sense of detachment had far less judgement of such moments, and so rarely ever had that look upon their face. Of course, this was no different in that it followed the pattern completely, and yet it was different all the same because of her, and the most unique and unassuming of circumstance.

“Something on your mind?” Jasper asked his friend, raising a brow. The man didn't look as if he was going to answer at first, his lips pressing together in a hard line, but when he did, he didn't hold back, even if he was speaking in a hushed tone likely to keep the conversation between the two of them rather than echoing throughout the halls. “It would have been better of you to try your hand at bedding his sister. His intended, really?” Oddly enough, during the entire duration of their short introduction to one another, the thought hadn't even occurred to Jasper. It truly was odd for him, as that was usually one of the very first things on his mind whenever he spotted a beautiful woman, and she was the most beautiful he had ever seen. Yet, even odder, Jasper found himself bristling a bit at the mere accusation. “I didn’t-" He began to deny the accusation, only to be promptly cut off. “Oh, of course you did. You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t. Tell me, though, how does that work in your mind, when you think of it? You bed a great beauty, fine, and then- and then what exactly? Pray tell, what happens then?” He gave Jasper a pointed look. “We’re stuck with the damn Baratheons until King’s Landing, and if he were to discover that the son of Lord Robert Arryn bedded the woman promised to him-" Jasper's eyes narrowed at the words. “Egen,” he began, his voice louder in irritation than he had meant it to be, so he paused for a moment before he continued, to allow himself a chance to regain his composure with the man and take another approach.

Finally, he managed, though if only barely. “We introduced ourselves. If that’s your way to seduce a woman, I pity my sister. You could have done well with a few more years first, though I doubt that would have proved much help.” It was a way of teasing him that Jasper knew he would never outgrow, that would always be his default when necessary. After all, even after all of the years they had known each other and how they had grown together in those years from boys to be men in their own right, Jasper could still so easily remember a time when they were younger. Back to a time when, and even before, Jasper found himself drinking and frequenting inns and the women in the towns surrounding them with an old friend who would later seem lost to him, even if he would never truly be lost to him, as even with brothers by law, Arrel included, he had been the closest friend Jasper had ever had the pleasure to have- so close that, bloodlines be damned, he had been a brother in Jasper's mind in all the ways he would have been had they been birthed from the same woman or sired from the same lord father, and that was the type of bond that didn't diminish over time- even if Nate, the outrageous bastard himself, had left the Vale and wound up in the service of the Lannisters nearly a decade ago.

Still, before that, they had had the best of times together- and, all the while, still in the care of Jasper's own father, Arrel hadn't taken part in the same antics. It wasn't as if he wasn't of age, he had been plenty old enough- hells, he was three years Jasper's senior, not that that had ever counted for much. It wasn't even as if Arrel had spoken of his love for Alssa so early on, and that it was his affection for her that kept him from behaving as they had either, nor was it her love for him that sparked a sense of devotion- Alssa had held interest in an older knight for years before she agreed with their father's blessing to marry Arrel as they grew in to adults. Rather, Jasper could only figure, it had been a timid nature, a fear of speaking to women as Jasper and Nate had at the time. Jasper couldn't entirely blame Arrel for that, though- if the gods had been so unkind to Jasper as they had been to Arrel during their teenage years, Jasper didn't know if he would have had the nerve either. Of course, that were probably being a bit too forgiving- Jasper may never have been plagued by such an unfortunate phase of growth, but even if he had been so awkward, tripping over his own large feet as his voice seemed to crack in one long and horrendous fit which seemed to last not for weeks or months but rather years as it had for Arrel, Jasper would have still been the heir to the Eyrie, and if Jasper knew women- a subject he could never claim not to have an incredibly intimate understanding of, that title alone would have welcomed him between the eager thighs of countless beautiful women throughout his lifetime. For that reason alone, Jasper knew he would never be able to relate with what he saw as such a dull youth Arrel had spent, and that the teasing would likely never cease even if only for that reason alone, even if it weren't for Jasper's own nature making it all too desirable to resist the temptation all together.

My wife clearly inherited all the good discerning sense your mother had to give, Gods be good,” Arrel made the claim, one that under normal circumstances Jasper wouldn't have been able to resist smiling at. He couldn't deny it, not in general at least, nor would he ever want to. He loved his sister, and while he rarely encountered anyone with an unkind word to say about her in his presence at least, hearing her praises even at his own expense was well worth it. Of course, Arrel couldn't leave it at that. “The Stark on the other hand-" Any pleasant distraction that Jasper may have felt through the compliment to his sister quickly ceased, his gaze snapping up to his old friend once more. “Leave it be.” The words came off as more of a warning than Jasper would ever have planned or even expected them to, but he offered no apology for them, nor did he feel even the slightest urge to give one. Thankfully, they seemed to provide Arrel with the motive to finally drop it, though in truth he said little at all within the following hours as the welcoming celebrations finally began.

Jasper wasn't yet certain that he had ever attended a meal that had seemed to stretch on for so long, and he had once spent a month with Alssa and Arrel in their home just shortly after his other sister Aianna's husband had died, leaving Arrel, his younger brother, the lord of their family's seat. Now that had been a month full of riveting conversation at the table, the dining hall all but silent save for Aianna's nonsensical and grief-ridden mutterings that ranged from detailing how the ambitious sinners at the table would be going straight to the deepest of the seven hells upon their death and how it was the Mother who would somehow be sending them there to the flames while her deceased daughter Astris would be dancing above them with the Crone to tales of how two of her three dead sons would be brought back to her with her husband, and that they would get on well with Alssa and Arrel's son and daughter, their younger cousins. Those had been meals that had seemed to drag on for eternity, and yet to be seated at a table in the dining halls of Storm's End, listening to Borys' voice boom throughout the space while he watched Yana beside him- that was an entirely different sort of eternity, one that he cared little for and was redeemed only by the fact that he could at least still see her, though the circumstances in which he saw her didn't again leave his mind easily, nor did the faintest hint of the feeling he had experienced earlier. It was one he attempted to cure with alcohol not long after the feast had ended and the mingling had truly began, but he stopped himself short of drinking too much- as much as the night would allow, anyways. At least as the night went on he heard less of Borys, other voices easily drowning his out if he was still speaking which Jasper had little doubt of, and though he didn't see Yana more as the night progressed, bodies moving freely about the room, she didn't leave his thoughts. Even as a few other noblemen caught his attention, conversation between the men and a few women pressing on through out the night, his thoughts didn't leave her, and it would take a lie to even claim that his eyes didn't often raise, scanning the surrounding faces for another glimpse of her, only to be routinely left without the sight he sought more than all others.

As the night began to come to an end for some, and Jasper was left to watch as the hall began to thin of it's occupants, he began to resign himself to the fact that he must have missed her for the night- that she had left already, and that he would have to wait until the next day, when he would hopefully see her once more. With that assumption, he readied himself to leave the hall, bidding goodnight to those who he had spent his time talking with for the past hours. Of course he wouldn't be going directly to the room he was staying in- that was something he rarely made a habit of doing, even on similar nights when he went to bed alone and without company. He had something of a routine of checking the stables most nights before he went to bed, even if only briefly some nights, to check on his beloved horse. It was then, improbably, as he had stood from the table and began to make his way across the hall towards the exit that offered the quickest route to the stables that he knew of so far in his short stay in the damned castle, that his eyes landed on the woman he had been looking to see for what now seemed to be the entirety of the night. She looked exhausted, leaning against a wall, so clearly and visibly worn from the day in ways she hadn't been the last time he had seen her, and yet she was just as beautiful, the sight of her more welcome than it had any right to be. He could already feel a smile pulling at his lips once again, his destination changing in an instant without any thought or hesitation. "My-" he quickly caught himself as he began a formal address as he finally reached near her. "Yana," he corrected quickly with a small bow of his head, preferring the familiarity of the name she had given him to use.

Naturally, after he spoke, the order of the words wasn't lost on him, and he couldn't help but notice his smile seemed to tug further at the corners of his lips. Of course she wasn't his, he barely had even met her and even if he had had the honor to know her for years she would have still been her own, though if she was said to be anyone's she was to be Borys' by law and before the gods soon enough. Yet still, the smile remained even if it did soften. It would have been nearly impossible to lose it in it's entirety, after all, given his present company. "I do hope the night has been kind to you," he began, his eyes flickering over her. She truly did look exhausted, and perhaps that was due to an evening that she thoroughly enjoyed- it truly could have been for all he knew, and yet if only from spending time around Borys himself, he could only seriously doubt that to be the case, unless Borys found a way to be charming with women while unable to prove tolerable among men. He doubted it, but again, it was a possibility. It just wasn't one that Jasper gave any credence to. "I know it can be a bit...burdensome," he continued, his hand steadying gently against the wall and eyes moving pointedly towards the rest of the room before quickly returning to her, the only sight in the room truly worth seeing in his mind. "It does get better...or so I am told." Of course, that was mostly just from what he had heard from his father, a man who had apparently seen little negative to be said of the lord of the castle they were staying in, so he wasn't exactly confident in his father's opinion on such matters. After another moment of admiring her, another thought finally hit him, one that he was both truly curious over and thought may be of a more light-hearted nature. His smile grew once more, his body leaning ever so slightly forward. "Forgive me, is your direwolf still here? I hadn't seen him running about." After Yana, that ball of fur had been the second thing his eyes had been searching for most that evening, memories of their meeting flashing in his mind throughout the night.

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The ways the man reacted to her wasn't lost on Ashvi, at least not completely or in the way that she thought would have made her oblivious, and yet she didn't mind them. Perhaps it wasn't the normal way a man might be thought to act in his current position, though that presumption was all together not entirely all inclusive, and his reactions to her certainly weren't that, but Ashvi found herself intrigued by that difference, by the way he acted towards her. It was strange, she thought, and yet she found herself so quickly growing fond of that peculiarity. After all, had it not been his strangeness, the way he had stood out so clearly from the others in attendance that had brought her to be drawn to him, to seek him out without delay the moment her eyes had landed on him? His hair was undoubtedly gorgeous, certainly, but it was also his peculiarity, his seemingly sweet and foreign way about him, that kept her interest piqued even beyond what his hair alone could have managed- which, was truly saying something, as she already adored his beautiful locks. How could she not, after all, with how stunning and soft they were, as if silver had somehow been turned to silk, the gods allowing each thread of the softest metal to be woven in to strands to be adorned by the man. Yes, it was safe to say the young woman was quite fond.

He wasn't from Lys, but the answer he provided instead confused her all the same. He was from Lhazar. Oddly enough, the name was unfamiliar to her, though that wasn't entirely surprising of a place outside of Westeros or the Free Cities when it came to her, but still the name echoed once more in her mind, in his voice, his foreign accent rather than her own Dornish one. Lhazar. Unfortunately, she wasn't given the chance to reply and voice her confusion, though she certainly didn't mind when she heard him speak once, as he soon continued to asking of her origins and title, the words as endearing to her as they were amusing.

“A princess?” She repeated the word, a broad amused smile once more returning to her lips. So he didn't know who she was. Really, she knew, it was a completely fair guess. He was a foreigner, not likely to be knowledgeable in the nobility of Dorne, or who held their place among the ranks. They were in Sunspear, just two people among others in a market within the limits of the city that lay against one of the walls that protected the historic seat of House Martell. Ashvi certainly never went out of her way to hide the wealth of the family she belonged to, to avoid wearing the jewel-adorned or golden gifts her father had given her throughout the years, or to dress in a less ostentatious manner. Even beyond that - though, she knew, there hadn't been the need for anything beyond it as all points held their own merit- it wasn't even as if he was that far off. Her mother may have been a common whore from Essos, but her father was the Prince of Dorne, the head of House Martell, accountable currently only to House Lannister as they rule the Seven Kingdoms, on the rare occasion the ruling house bothered to bring Dorne closer to the fold. In another life, one that was so distinctly so different from her own, perhaps she could have been. Perhaps her mother would have survived the strain of delivering a child, would have made it aboard that boat to Dorne with her father all those years ago instead of dying in the bed of a brothel as so many women had before her, and so many were doomed to do again, whether from violence or childbirth or the pox, or whatever other disease that some man from abroad would bring with him from a foreign land, delivering a death sentence through the exchange of a few coins and an ill-fated fuck.

Perhaps in that world her mother would have convinced her father to legitimize her when she was young, before Ashvi could be old enough to make it clear that she had no interest in such things, and that she would rather have her freedom and her own autonomy than a title that she thought she could not possibly care less about receiving. Princesses had rules, they had responsibilities and expectations thrust upon them even as children- princes too, even her own father who cared so little for such things and yet could not escape some nevertheless, as evidenced by his marriage to the Lady Veela Qorgyles. Veela was lovely, Ashvi thought, and she thought of her fondly and as a friend and stable presence in her life and family, and Veela was loved, certainly, but not in any sort of passionate way that Ashvi knew her father capable. She was cared for, and loved as the mother of his sons, Ashvi's beloved little brothers Dravor and Devron. Yet, while there was a care and friendship which culminated in deep respect and a sort of very Dornish sense of loyalty between Veela and Nymor, they hadn't married for love. It hadn't developed, either, as Ashvi knew her father felt no romantic passion for his wife, not in the way he spoke of feeling for Ashvi's own mother, or Vasa, his beloved paramour. Yet, he married Veela all the same, because duty to his house and his people had all but required a highborn wife for him, and the Qorgyles had seemed the smartest match to his mother at the time, who had been able to easily convince her husband the same when he was then alive and the head of their house before Nymor. Even Nymor had been plagued with such responsibilities because he was a prince, and Ashvi knew that she too would have had certain responsibilities and expectations put upon her if not by her father then by her grandparents when she was just a young child, even more so that thw average noble as she was the oldest of Nymor's children and as such legitimacy wouldn't only have brought about the title of princess for her, but would have likewise made her the heir to House Martell. Ashvi quite preferred her existence as it was, thankful for her own illegitimacy for much of her life, but even she had to admit that it was a fair guess. Fair, and close, but yet not nearly accurate. “So you are a sweet one,” She confirmed her own earlier words with a hum of approval, a brow quirking as her thin fingers drummed quietly but in quick succession against the table that seperated them, allowing the question to linger in the air for a moment longer before clarifying- or, at least, offering what she thought could prove to be some sort or sense of clarity. “I am no princess."

Her eyes flickered over him. "I am...Ashvi," she introduced herself casually. "Just Ashvi, a grain of sand among tens of thousands here in Dorne,” she claimed, the words not meant to be self-deprecating, but rather an over simplification of her lineage- if anything, there was even pride in what she was, confidence in her status, though it similarly wasn't a boast, nor was it an attempt for some claim at the respect given to the Martells in Dorne, prompting in part the absence of that particular piece of information. She had always found such attempts, such desperate need for recognition or reverence from strangers to be hilariously pathetic, of little more use than to provide a good laugh over wine.

Ashvi's gaze remained on him for a moment as an idea occurred to her.“Have you visited the Old Palace in your time here?” She asked suddenly, her eyes moving from the man to toss a glance behind them, over the closest wall that obstructed them, to the tops of the two ever-visible towers that hung up high in the sky above them, all that was visible of the historic seat of House Martell from where they were standing. “I may not be a princess, but I am quite familiar." An understatement, of course, given that she had lived in the main Martell residence since she was just a little girl, most of her days spent there. "It is beautiful, they say, you know. Not quite so beautiful as to compare to the Water Gardens, perhaps…” Her voice trailed off, thinking of the other House Martell property. She loved the Old Palace, for certain, but she looked forward to her next stay in the Water Gardens- to be able to hear nothing but the sound of gentle water spraying in the fountains as she drank her wine and felt the heat of the sun across her skin, enveloping her inevitably mostly exposed skin as she lay back and enjoy the comfort. Granted, Ashvi never found difficulty in making herself comfortable no matter where she went and could likely do just that in any noble estate, but some settings simply provided a better ambiance for such indulgences, and Ashvi could think of none better than the Water Gardens. “Still, I think it certainly worth a visit, if you find yourself unfamiliar. Should you like to visit, I would love to hear more of Lhazar. I am afraid I’ve never heard of it or ever met the…” Her head tilted and brows furrowed in confusion as she realized that she didn't even know what the people there would be called. “The...Lhazarees?" No, that didn't sound right. "Lhazarish, Lhazary, ah...Lhazareen?” That one sounded like it might have had the most promise of being accurate, but truly she was clueless and knew it, and knew there was just as great a chance that she had guessed correctly as there was that she had just provided four nonexistent names, a butchering of any valid name that was used for the natives of the place of his origin. At that, Ashvi simply raised her hands at her sides and gave a casual shrug of her shoulders.

As her eyes trailed back down to the table, her hand reached for the beautiful broach. “Either way, I will be purchasing this.” The words weren’t meant for the man she had been speaking to, however, at least not entirely. Instead, it was a notice to the guard who had followed her over. After all, with her wardrobe, it was hardly as if she had the room or excess of cloth to spare to carry her own coin. Instead, that was something she left to the guards, who never seemed to mind- not that they would have mentioned if they did, of course, but she knew most of them in a more personal way than just her role as the bastard daughter of their prince. After all, how many times had they shared wine, or had she spoken with them of personal matters, or had she seen them with Nymor's favored women, or even exiting the brothels of their own accord? At that, the guard took a bag from beneath his leather, looking to the man behind the table expectantly to hear the price. Ashvi paid little mind to the exchange, however, instead allowing her eyes to finally move back to where she had left Vasa and Devron. She didn't see them immediately, but after a moment spotted Vasa chase after the boy as he giggled, racing towards another table. The sight brought a smile back to her face- it was one that remained as her eyes moved back to the man at the opposite side of the table.

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76heart
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(♛) 004

Post by 76heart » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:39 am

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xxxHow was it that the evening felt as if it had dragged on far longer than it ever should have been capable of lingering? Had it truly been as long as it seemed to have been, or had it just felt like a most unpleasant eternity dragging on impossibly long because she was away from the one man in all the Seven Kingdoms that she truly wanted to spend time with, and largely beside the one she wanted to see the least, who's presence felt as if it still lingered like a plague upon the walls that surrounded her? Could such things even make time feel as if it ticked by so painfully slow? She would be surprised if they couldn't; Borys made everything feel slower, at least to her, and not in the good way it did when she was with Jasper. The slow with him was like a beautiful freeze, where the world faded around them until it was just the two of them, and Talimere, and nothing else mattered. Time ceased to exist, it stood still and felt like seconds and an eternity all at once, and always too short. There were no worries, no engagements or things that pulled them apart, just the two of them, and his gorgeous eyes, and the wonderful feelings he brought with him. It was a wonderful feeling, one of the stories of beautiful love in her books, and it was one that never lasted long enough. She would never have enough time to spend with Jasper, to hear his voice, his laughter, to see his smiles, and gaze into his eyes. It was beautiful, and she wanted so much to feel that with him again, to speak with him, and watch the rest of the world melt away until he was all she saw, all that she knew, and all that she felt. With Borys however, the time could never be short enough. It was aching, agonizingly slow, and as if she had to hold her breath until he was no longer in her sight. She felt like she needed to walk as if she were on thin ice whenever she was near him in fear of angering him and risking those she cared for. The rest of the world didn't fade away with him, she was painfully aware of all of it, every nook, ever cranny, every sound, every breath. It was overwhelming, not freeing or blissful, or a world she wanted to spend forever in. It was like a nightmare that never ended, a trap that continued with each opened door, repeating over and over again. It felt as if it would never end, and when it at last did she came out of it drained, and exhausted. Jasper didn't do that, she doubted that he ever could, the feelings he brought with him were far too wonderful for that. Had he been by her side instead, she knew that this night would have been immensely better, one that brought her laughter and smiles, but he wasn't, and she had been left to brave it alone and be painfully aware of every gaze upon her from unwelcome eyes and each word said by her ear frim equally unwelcome mouths. How did others manage this, how did they get through it to the other side? None of this had been enjoyable, it felt like an irritating itch of impatience because she wanted nothing but to get to the one person she wanted to see. How did no one else seem to feel this way? How was no one else picking at their food and hoping the night would just end so they could return to something they actually enjoyed? Surely there had to be at least one other who found it be as dragging and impossibly long as she? She was used to feasts in Winterfell, and gatherings, and she knew she would have to get used to them hear as well, but the ones of her home were different. She had her family, and she knew most everyone who attended. They were familiar, some even starts of friends, and if she was overwhelmed she could slip away any time and return when she was ready. She was surrounded by those who would love her, and keep her safe, and she truly enjoyed those moments, and the stories she would hear them tell as booming voices echoed throughout the hall that were followed shortly after by booming voices. She loved seeing the smiles, and meeting those she could. So many had such wonderful stories, and she especially loved meeting the ones who had been elsewhere in the world, and to the places she wished to see. It wasn't like that here, though, and she doubted that it ever would be. The walls felt cold, and unwelcoming, and not like a home, not like the warmth she felt within the walls at Winterfell. She knew no one here, only those who had come with her family, and they would not remain when she was married. Borys would never let her leave if it all become too overwhelming and she needed to step away; she already knew that he would want others to see that she was his, and to parade her around like some prize. She could never settle, or feel safe there, she would always be watching, with nothing to do and no one to speak with, no friends besides a little wolf that probably wouldn't even be allowed to attend. If she had a friend, perhaps that would make it better, but she doubted that she would be able to find one here. Elyana knew that some were made for this sort of thing, and that they enjoyed these environments and the games of court, or at least pretended to, but she was not one of them, at least not hear. She enjoyed meeting others, and watching them mingle, and she had been raised to navigate such things and knew how to with grace, but that was not what was in her heart. She preferred books and dancing and spending time outside with Durwin or Talimere, not faked smiles and scheming minds behind cool eyes and practiced facades. She didn't have the patience to put up with them when there was only one person, one man share cared to see, Jasper, and she had not been able to find him yet. Perhaps dancing could make things better, as it was truly something she loved to do, but the one person she wished to do it with had not come to ask her yet, and was otherwise nowhere to be found that she could see. She let out a heavy breath, feeling the cold of the stone seep into back as she laid her head back to rest against it, looking towards the ceiling, wishing there were stars above her instead of roof in between. Jasper was nowhere to be found, and until she saw him, she knew that there was nothing that could make this night better, and turn it from lasting agonizingly slowly, to a world that melted completely away with only the two of them in it, where they could do whatever they pleased.

xxxAs she stood there, waiting for her prince to come find her and whisk her away, it finally struck her, truly struck her, as to what this all was for, and why she was here. It was for her wedding- a wedding she did not want with a man she wanted nothing more than to never be near and be oceans away from-, and to celebrate it, before she was to truly be married. She had known this, it had been something she had known for years, but she was starting to truly realize what that all meant now, and the weight of it all and all that came with it, and it both scared her, and made her want to run. It made her want to run straight to Jasper Arryn and away from all of this. What was she doing? She couldn't be doing this, this hoping to be with another man, a man who was not her intended, to see him, to speak with him, to get to know him, each and every part of him and every inch there was to know, and yet she was, and yet she didn't care. She truly didn't, and see knew that should have scared her, but it didn't. She knew exactly where this would lead, where this would get her, but she was more than willing to take that risk for Jasper. It was all worth it if she got to see him again, and hear his voice, and feel the safety she felt when he was near. She shouldn't be hoping that, shouldn't be wanting that, longing for that, she knew that, but that wasn't going to stop her, when it should have done just that. There was just something about Jasper, something inexplainable that drew her to him and had her never wanting to leave, and deep down she knew she would throw away everything for that, so long as her family, and her Talimere and Jasper would have no ill befall them, either by whispered words or the harshness of a sword. It was ridiculous, she was being so utterly ridiculous, and so unlike herself, she would normally never even think of doing such a thing, but she was, and more than anything she wanted to see him again. She knew she could say this was just her searching for some final freedom and adventure before she lost that forever and had to be faithful to her betrothed, her husband, as a man might, but she knew that wasn't it. It would never be that when it came to Jasper, there was more to it, so much more, and he was so much more. What was she doing, truly? What was she hoping would happen? That the engagement she was tied to would be thrown away? She knew that would never happen, that it never could, so why was she hoping that it could be so very much? She was going to be married, she couldn't be so friendly with and so eager to spend time with a man who was not the one she was to marry; she knew that was something Borys would never allow, so why was she? Borys wasn't a man who liked to share what was his, and she was going to be his in every way whether she wished it or not- a thought that left her feeling terrified and ill-, which meant she couldn't seek out Jasper, or find him to be the most handsome man she had ever seen and ever would see, or long to feel his touch again, a touch she so truly missed. She didn't know how she was to survive this, though, if she didn't spend what time she could with him. Her world was dismal and gray, a darkness with no hope, no light, just apprehension and fear and dread, and he brought light to it, a beautiful light that chased all of the darkness away, and she didn't know how she was going to get through this if she wasn't able to bask in that light a little while longer. She could be happy for the rest of her days for just having met him, but they would have no misery if she could know him as a friend, or more, even if it was only for a moment. She just wanted to be by Jasper's side, to learn all there was to know about him and his beautiful eyes of blue with a corner and smattering of brown. He made her feel safe, and hopeful for the first time in so long, and he brought a true smile to her face whenever so much as the thought of him crossed her mind, and she hoped that she could do the same, or similar for him. He was just special, so very special, and everything that Borys wasn't, and she was scared to lose that, so very scared, but she was even more afraid of the possibility that he wouldn't feel the same. If he did not share those feelings, that would of course be alright, and she would take no offense because she wished for nothing but his happiness, for him to find something, or someone that made him smile, but she so hoped that he did. She hoped that she made him smile like he without fail already placed a grin upon her face, a grin that was very needed and that meant the world when she didn't know how often she would be able to feel that true joyous smile pulling at her lips once he left. She hoped that she gave him a hope, something to look forward to here, and that like he was for her, she could be a light in the darkness for him and chase some of the gloom away from this awful place while their time here together was shared. She just hoped that she could be a good thing for him, a happy memory for him to cling to even as all others faded away, because she knew he would be that for her. There was no way she could ever forget him, and no person who could fill the memory of his presence, or the place he unknowingly had in her heart. He was just too magnificent, and she hoped that she would never have to say a permanent goodbye, if he also wished for the same. None of that would matter soon, though, because before the moon's end she was going to be married, and then she could never see Jasper, the most wonderful and delightful man she had ever and would ever know, again. It wouldn't matter that he made her smile or cleared the storms within the halls of Storm's End with his brightness, nor that she wished to spend her time by his side, because she would be married to Borys, and she would belong to him through marriage before the eyes of the gods all too soon. Borys wouldn't let her see him again, he wouldn't let her care for him or hold a fondness for him in her heart that would never be there for the one who was meant to be her husband. It couldn't be, none of this could, but she wanted nothing more for it to be, for her time with Jasper to be more than a few dearly treasured moments stolen together when they were young, to be more than a memory to look back to with tear filled eyes, to be more than just stolen moments, and a friendship that never got to bloom. What had she gotten herself into? What was she doing? What was she thinking? She felt a bit begin to form in her stomach, one that gnawed at her, and filled her with sorrow and guilt and a longing to see the one person she shouldn't. This wasn't like her at all, or perhaps it was and she just didn't want to admit it and accept that she had set herself up for a broken heart, and entered something that she could never come back from. Now that she had known Jasper, even if only for a moment, she could never forget that moment, and how it made her feel, and how he hadn't once left her thoughts since. This was wrong. This was so very wrong, but how could it be wrong, when Borys scared her and Jasper felt so right? How could it be wrong when one made her fear, and the other made it smile? When one was darkness, the other light? When one made her feel as if she wanted nothing more than to run into the safety of the arms of the other? When see feared what was to come with Borys, and hoped for it with Jasper? Why was it wrong to want for her happiness? Why was it wrong for her to want to be with someone who made her smile whenever the thought of them crossed her mind or their name fell from her lips? Why was it wrong for her to want that with Jasper instead?

xxxThe moment his beautiful, soothing voice reached her ears, she knew there was no way the features of her face hadn't lit up, that her eyes hadn't regained the spark that had faded from them the moment their ways first had to part. His voice effortlessly ceased her thoughts and chased away the troubling turn they had taken like a lantern's light pushing through the fog, leaving her with a lightness, a hope free of worry. He had come to find her, he had wanted to see her again. An immense weight felt as if it had been lifted from her shoulders at knowing his presence was near, leaving a lightness filling her in it's wake, and lifting the clouds of tiredness and worry within her as she turned to see his smile. She no longer felt so exhausted and drained, or worried for what was to come and the troubling thoughts that had been in her head before they left at the sound of him, instead she felt excited, and happy, so very happy to see him again, and even more eager for the time they'd now get to share, with no possessive stag in sight to cut it short. He brought the feeling of safety with him again, the feeling of comfort and home, as well as the increased fluttering of her heart she didn't think had stopped since the moment she first caught his eyes. He made her feel as if everything would be alright, that she would be okay, and that she didn't have to so strongly dread what was to come, because he would be there, at least for part of it, and as long as she had him, she would be okay. She couldn't help her own smile growing as he corrected himself quickly with a bow of his head, changing from the title she had heard a thousand times before to the name she had only heard spoken from a few, and out of those few, he was undoubtedly the most special to ever utter it, something she knew would never change no matter how many more may say it. He was just too magnificent, too one of a kind, to ever be replaced in that. The way he spoke her name also sent pleasant shivers down her spine, like dotted snowflakes falling upon her cheeks amidst the freshly falling snow, in a way she had never felt before, and in a way no other could ever hope to replicated. Even so, she knew she wouldn't have minded hearing him say the title he had started with. If she ever had to be someone's lady, to be theirs, if she had the choice, she would much rather be Jasper's than be Borys'. She didn't even need to take a moment to think to know that she would not mind being his, not in the slightest. Something told her that Jasper wouldn't see her as something to possess or to own, or even as a prize to win, as she knew Borys did, and that instead he would see her as her own being, her own heart and mind, and that should she ever be his she would become his willingly, of her own choice and accord, and that if she did he would be hers too. Or, at least she hoped he would be like that, and that she had not read him wrong, or seen some false act of kindness and charming as a truth it would never be. Regardless, though, he had greatly lifted her spirits, and was undoubtedly the best part of this less than wonderful evening, and hearing him speak her most familiar name was no small factor in that. The evening had been dreary and dark, and he was what made it turn to light, and allowed the sun to peak through as he scared away all the darkness around her and within her own mind. "Jasper." Elyana returned as she straightened and turned fully toward him, greeting him only moments after her own name had left his lips. She liked saying his name, nearly as much as she liked hearing him say hers. It felt better than any other upon her tongue, and she hoped that she would have the chance to say it many times more.
xxxShe watched as his smile grew, and felt her own do the same when she saw it soften, yet still remain. Yana hoped she had something to do with his smile, or that it at least meant he enjoyed her company as much as she enjoyed his. He spoke again, expressing his hope that the night had been kind to her, and noticed how his eyes flickered over her form. She could feel the blush returning to her cheeks again- and hoped that the exhaustion she knew was clear on her form did not put him off in any way-, though this time she did not try and hide it or look away; she was too wrapped up in the warmth his presence gave her, and the beautiful blue in his eyes that had her feeling even safer and happier to be with him the more she stared into their fathomless depths. He was just so wonderfully different from anyone else she knew. His words were genuine, the hope he expressed true, something she had found to be a rarity outside of those close to her over the years. She knew they were just that, because he said them differently than others would; they were pleasantries, but they weren't just pleasantries, and there was desire for her answer carried with them, along with a care that today she had only heard her own family possess. She gave a nod when he continued, saying he knew how it could be burdensome, and tore her eyes away from his handsome face only to watch his hand steady against the wall for a support, before they promptly returned to his features as he pointedly looked to the room, and then back to her. It was more of a relief than she could ever express with words to know that he understood the burden it could be, even if he didn't at all seem to be as worn as she had felt before she was delighted with his presence again. When he spoke once more, she couldn't help but find herself smile even further. He was right in that, it had gotten better, because he had entered her life once again. To anyone else, she wouldn't have so readily agreed, but even within their short time of knowing one another, he had already shown her that he did, because he lit her and her spirits up whenever he was near. "Yes, I believe that I've just found that it does get better," She smiled, practically beaming up at him, nearly glowing, voice gentle, but sure. "much better." Elyana leaned toward him ever so slightly as she finished, her eyes never once leaving his. Her gaze was filled with a mixture of fondness and affection, and a gratitude that could never be measured. She hoped that he knew it was him who had made her night pick up, that it hadn't been a certain Baratheon or anyone or any thing else, and that she was trying to tell him exactly that. "It has not been the kindest night, but now it's beginning to feel as if it could be one of the best." Elyana confessed, eyes searching his own. He was still watching her, his blue eyes focused on no one else but her, and then a moment passed, and she watched as his smile grew. His body leaned forward the smallest amount, and she found that hers did too, mirroring his as it moved and coming closer to him in turned. She couldn't hide the way her face lit up as he asked about Tali, or the fondness that crept in her gaze as he finished his words. He cared about her wolf, her beloved son and most treasured friend, enough to ask where he was. Most wouldn't do that, most wouldn't ask about one of the things she cared about most in her life, and she was reminded again of why he most certainly wasn't most, and why he set her heart fluttering like a thousand butterflies. That question meant more to her than she could ever say, and that he had cared enough to ask meant even more. "Unfortunately, Talimere had to be taken to my chambers. Truthfully, I'm not sure what to expect when I finally see them, I'm sure he has done some... redecorating." Yana began honestly, amusement beginning to creep into her words, as well as her brown eyes. "I would have loved for him to be here with me, but alas, if he had been, I fear that he may have bitten our ever merciful host's hand, or scurried off across the top of the table and the plates upon it with a stolen sausage, after finally being caught meticulously snatching them when no one was watching." She searched his eyes, hoping that he would find the amusement in his words as well, and the feelings towards their host agreeable. She didn't care or bother to hide her distaste for her husband-to-be from Jasper as she would have for anyone else; she had a feeling that the distaste was very much shared between them. When Borys had approached them earlier, he hadn't exactly looked pleased about it either, and she was more than glad to have found someone who also didn't seem to have a pleasant taste left in their mouth when they thought of that man. She certainly did not want to be thinking if him right now though, especially with Jasper in her presence, and so slowly, she took a step from the wall, and closer to him, eyes falling, and then looking up to his again. She wanted to be closer, but she didn't dare risk it, a step closer had already felt far too bold and she was about to get even bolder. "Hopefully you'll be able to see him again tomorrow, if that's something you would like, that is?" Elyana asked, somewhat offering a way they could meet again, if he wished the same. She would love for him to be with Talimere more, and she knew that her little pup would certainly love to get the chance to play with him. She would also love to see his smile if he gave one upon seeing the little silver direwolf again, and any laughter of his that may come with it. After another moment of thought though, and imagining the sweet sight in her mind, another thought hit her, and her focus returned fully to him again, brow creased in concern. "Oh! Now it is my turn for you to ask for you to forgive me, how has the night faired for you?" Elyana searched his face, eyes running along each handsome feature for any sign that his night had not gone well. "I do hope the day has been kinder to you." Elyana confessed, her voice softer and more filled with concern than she had thought it would be. No sooner than she had finished speaking however, the song the musicians had been playing ended, and a new one began a few moments later, drawing her attention away from him. This song was slower, and made for dancing, and a part of her itched to go and dance, the part of her that found dancing to be her form of flight, and one of her greatest joys. Yana turned back to him quickly though, and returned to searching for signs that he was okay. A very, very large part of her hoped that he would ask her to dance, but only after she was assured that he was alright, because his welfare was far more important than a dance, no matter how much she wished to feel his touch upon her skin, and be so close that she could feel his breath tickling her cheek, and the warmth that radiated off him.

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xxxSurely, she had to think he was odd, right? Would she even care if she did? She certainly wasn't the most normal herself, and while he was still unsure if it was in a good or bad way, he was much more certain of it being a good different, regardless of how it unnerved him and left him unsure of how to act around her. Would she think that about him though? His social skills right now were certainly coming of rather abysmal, and something about her left him incapable of thinking, and retaining the composure he normally strived to have. She just caught him so very off guard and he didn't know what to do and how to act or how to think and it was all because of her and her own unusualness and oddities. It was also partly due to the fact he could look nowhere but her face due to her rather exposed dress, but he was still trying to keep that off his mind so he didn't give off the wrong impression and cause her to think he was some lewd nave trying to give her the illusion of decency before making a move. That certainly wasn't at all what he wanted to come across, and he also hoped that he was not offending her by trying to keep his eyes so focused on her face, or at the very least her shoulders and above. He knew that wasn't at all the way most would react to her, and he wasn't sure if she preferred those reactions to his, but regardless he hoped that she didn't mind it. He wanted to be nothing but respectful, and he was still struggling to figure out how to act around her, and really how to function when she kept surprising him with some new thing each time she opened her admittedly beautiful lips and spoke. He knew he was a rather easy person to catch off guard, what with being so wary and unused to most things others saw as normal, but she seemed to be able to catch him off guard more than normal, and in ways he normally wasn't. She was beautiful, and so very confusing and intriguing in a way that left him slightly scared and very unsure but also curious in a good way, and he wasn't sure how to feel about that. He wanted to know more about her, and perhaps get answers as to why she confused and intrigued him so, but he was also unsure. She certainly seemed to have some odd interest in him, at least, though he couldn't for the life of him at all imagine why. He wasn't that interesting, or different to others, and he was most definitely acting stranger than he should have around her. How was that holding her interest so? It couldn't just be his hair which she had asked to touch, that he had to admit he missed the feeling of, so what was it? If she found him strange, why hadn't she left already to occupy her time with someone more worthy who was less odd? His oddness was one that would have scared him if he had faced it, so why had she not left? Why was she still here and finding him an interesting partner to seek conversation with? Did she have nothing better to do? Was she simply bored and his strangeness providing entertainment? He truly had no idea, but he couldn't exactly say he was sad that she was still speaking to him, or that he wished her to be gone. She was most intriguing and he wasn't sure if he was ready to say goodbye to that yet, although he could certainly happily say goodbye to the startling moments she kept hitting him with. No one had ever asked to feel his hair before, or asked if he was a sweet one- whatever that meant- or if he was from Lys, no one until her, this strange unnamed woman garbed in glittering gold that just barely seemed to cover the normal places one would want to cover skin. It was refreshing in some odd yet confounding way he couldn't quite explain and didn't entirely understand, a way that surprised him and left him confused and intrigued. She was unexpected, and it was almost exhilarating in a terrifying way. He wasn't used to things being out of place or routines not bring the same or someone like her coming into his life and shaking up everything he thought he knew. He had never been spontaneous or desired to be, he was someone who worked on schedules and method and time and didn't tend to do things without thinking them through completely and of each possible outcome there could be for each choice. He was a scholar, he was just with his books and trusted in their familiarity and that he could always know what to expect with with them; the softness of their pages, the hard and careful binding, and the years someone put into transferring the work onto the page. She however was so different, not a normality, or part of a routine or schedule he knew to follow. It was different, but he couldn't at all say he hated it, or that he didn't like it. He wasn't sure how to feel about it, but he didn't hate it, and it was part of what made her so wonderfully intriguing. There was something beautiful and almost fun about not at all being able to expect anything with her, or predict anything she was about to do or say next, and it was odd. He was someone who played it safe, who was cautious, and took the clear and easy way out, and she seemed to be the absolute opposite of that. It figured that the one day he tore his nose out of his books and took to tending their modest stand for the day that he would be met with something he least expected, her. Perhaps this was the way of the world telling him that he was boring and needed to do more and live a little on the side of fun rather than safety, but he doubted that he was even important enough for the world to send him such a message. He was a merchants son who had never done anything too spectacular or of great note, and his dream was to become a Maester and study at the citadel and read each and every book that laid inside and learn all the secrets and tales they had to hold. He was no prince or king or adventurous sort. She was however, in the best of ways, and if anyone was deserving of such a sign, it would be her, rather than him. He was still finding his way in talking to her, and slowly getting used to her oddness, he was no where near ready to be thrown into a world of uncertainty and with no plans. He was content here with his books and the absolute bore it was to watch his family's shop, and speaking with her more and seeing what else she had to say. He didn't need any more excitement than that, or any new surprises other than what she provided him with by just naturally being herself. He was content with the taste of what it was like to tread on a line of uncertainty, and he was already scared enough of that and struggling far too hard to process that. He didn't need anymore. He just wanted to know more of her, and to stop being startled and concerned by everything she said. He was more than content with just that.

xxxOnce more, when she spoke again, she pulled him from his thoughts, but this time, she sent him right back into them, right back into a mess and tangle of worry. She had repeated his question, the words he had just asked. Oh no. Oh no. Had he said something terribly wrong by assuming she was possibly one? Her lips were filled with a broad amused smile that had returned with his words, but would that change? Would she turn around and act as if he had scorned her and her mother and any children she may have should she ever have any if that was a wish she happened to possess? Was her smile one of amusement that was twisted and not innocent? Was it one to hide her offense? Had he said some thing terrible or so incredibly wrong without knowing? He had meant it well, truly he had, but he had no idea if that was how she had taken it. Was something that had been meant to be a complimentary yet plausible guess given the detail and intricacy of what she wore, going to be what was finally too odd about him for her and cause her to leave? Her outfit was grand and ostentatious, and she carried herself in a way he had always thought a princess would carry herself, would she be able to see that if he had said something terribly wrong? Would she have mercy on him if he had? His gaze snapped up and to her, halting his thoughts like a wave crashing harshly without warning upon a boat horribly lost at sea, when he heard her giving a him of approval, giving a confirmation of her earlier question, one he still didn't exactly know the meaning of. He gave a nervous smile in reply, and watched as her brow quirked, and then quickly turned his gaze to where her fingers drummed quietly and in quick succession upon the table between them. He swallowed, not liking the way she was letting the question linger or the nervous, apprehensive anticipation that was filling him as he searched for an answer to the question he feared he had offended her with. Being called a sweet one seemed to be a confirmation that he had not displeased her, but he couldn't be entirely sure until she gave him a true answer to his question, and thankfully he didn't have to wait much longer, though unfortunately, it had him swallowing nervously again with a new sort of fear he hadn't previously had. Not.. a princess? She wasn't a princess? If she wasn't a princess, how was she able to dress so extravagantly then and walk with guards near and escorting her? He knew nobles could attain similar wealth to a ruling family second only to the Lannisters who ruled over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, but would they be able to attain enough for a very revealing garment of gold? He hadn't seen enough of those in Westeros to have any idea of that- and oh gods, a thief would be able to earn enough for it, of that was certain. Was she a thief then? She had to be, if she wasn't a princess of Dorne then it was the only other option that made any sort of sense to him. If she were a thief, then that would make her odd behavior make some kind of sense. Was she trying to catch him off guard to steal something while he wasn't looking? Had asking to touch his hair all been a ploy to pull his eyes from his family's wears while she reached forward to ever so gently stroke a lock? His eyes quickly glanced down, searching the table to see if anything was so much as a hair out of place. Everything was there, and he looked up slowly to her again, hoping to hide the panic in his eyes. If she was indeed a thief, would she know that he had just figured him out? Would she kill him right there on the street? Had that been why she had separated from the child she was with before, so she could spill blood without scarring the innocent child who deserved to see nothing of that dark side of the world? Was his last day on this earth going to be spent fearing a silly snake broach with eyes that were all too unsettling, and being baffled by this strange Dornish woman who was about to make it his last day? No, he was definitely, most definitely getting ahead of himself and his worries with that fear. He couldn't discount the possibility of her being a thief just yet, but a murderer seemed quite unlikely. He didn't doubt that she was more than capable of, well, murder, but he had hope she wouldn't be capable of that with him- oh, had she just spoken? His eyes flickered to her features again with focus, his racing thoughts of having to fend a thief from his family's stall or from his life taking a lesser place in the forefront of his mind for a brief moment. Ashvi? So that was her name. It suited her, he had to admit, and it was definitely a beautiful name as well. A beautiful name did not make her innocent from being a thief however, and he swallowed as she continued, saying she was a grain of sand amongst thousands in Dorne. He knew Sand was the surname for bastards here, did that mean she was one? Could she be a bastard of some important noble, or the Dornish, prince, then? Could that be the explanation for why she was not a princess, she was merely not legitimized, either by choice or by her father's or mother's? The way she had said it certainly held the air of a thief, though. It was vague, and cryptic, in a beautiful way of words that would leave him wondering for hours, and exactly how he imagined a thief to speak, or at least, a particularly cunning, clever, and intelligent thief who knew exactly how to catch someone off guard and speak the right honeyed and silken words to get what they desired. It was also not a clear or direct answer, one that could have an answer easily gathered but still not directly spoken to give a sense of anonymity or to hide her identity, which certainly did not have him any less fearful that she was instead a thief. He felt even more nervous when he noticed her gaze remained on him, and he was about to swallow, before she spoke again, once again catching him entirely off guard with a subject that was so completely different. The Old Palace? Had he been there? What an odd question, though it wasn't exactly odd considering it came from her, and she was most interestingly unusual. "No, I-" Vahae began, before realizing she was not done and stopping, instead taking to watching the way her dark eyes moved to the two towers. The towers were all they could see of the ancestral home to House Martell from where they stood, and he had to admit they were quite beautiful, and most impressive. The architecture was ancient, and they reached high into the sky, challenging the sun, and undoubtedly also the moon when it became night. There was a wall obstructing the view of the rest of the old castle, but he was content to see the towers. They were built with walls the color of sand, setting it apart from all the other Westerosi castles he had read about, and the sight of them, and the color, were truly quite beautiful and suited perfectly to Dorne. He knew the tallest was called the Spear Tower, and that it happened to be the tallest point in the town, and that the other was the Tower of the Sun, where he had read the Prince of Dorne's throne room was located. The view from them had to be most magnificent. He didn't think he had ever been that high. Would it be how birds felt, to be within them?
xxxIt took him a moment longer than it should have to realize that she was speaking again, and upon registering her words, he gulped. She was no princess, but she was quite familiar? Such familiarity with the palace could certainly lend to his thief suspicions and fears. She was certainly no servant, or any other position that could explain the familiarity of such a place, so what could she be? Vahae watched Ashvi as she spoke again, and tilted his head as she trailed off, seemingly into thought or a daydream. He could certainty agree that the Old Palace was beautiful, and from what little he had heard of the Water Gardens, that was even more so. He would like to see them one day, and see what an old prince of Dorne had build for his beloved as a gift to her not long after their wedding. It truly had to be nothing short of breathtaking, a physical representation to show for their love even after they were long gone, and everything he had heard of them seemed to support that. The gardens there were said to be beautifully lush and full and green, and the water like crystal from the sea, with the architecture just as detailed and beautiful. He heard there were fountains there, with a great deal of space to rest in the sun and bask in it's heat. That sounded uncomfortable, but also incredibly pleasant, and he couldn't deny that he wished to experience something similar one day, perhaps while reading a book. He doubted he ever would though, for it was a private place of leisure for the Martell family, and he doubted he'd ever have any reason for them to invite him there, and he certainly wasn't going to break in like some thief. Oh, right. She could be a thief. Was she asking him there to rob him blind and then kill him? No, he was getting ahead of himself again, he doubted that she had any malicious intent toward him to that degree, if she held any at all. He blinked when she spoke again, and his head tilted further. Once again she had surprised him, in a good, not so terrifying way. She wanted to hear more of the people of the land where he had been born? That was something he wouldn't mind telling her, and it didn't feel like something a thief would ask. He was also more than happy to supply what knowledge he could whenever he was asked. He was not surprised she had not heard of his birth place though, or it's people. They were often overshadowed in Essos by the Free Cities, and the Dothraki, and the mystery of what lay beyond. The Lhazareen were simple sheep people, not noticeable enough to draw attention to those who lived in extravagance unless they sought it out, and they would likely rarely even know that was something they could search out. He watched as her brows furrowed and her own head tilted to the side, and he couldn't help but smile when she attempted to figure out what his people were called and he realized why she had trailed off. It was a good attempt, truly, but still very wrong, and he found himself begin to grow amused with a larger, genuine smile as she continued, finally getting it right after a couple more guesses. She raised her hands at her sides and shrugged her shoulders casually, a gesture that only furthered his amusement. "Lhazareen, or Lamb Men, as they're called by the Dothraki." Vahaemarys affirmed, nodding with a smile, and slowly beginning to forget his worries that she was a thief. She wasn't acting like one now, and the curiosity or casualness she moved and spoke with didn't seem to be like something someone who was in a profession that required stealth and a habit of looking over one's shoulder and being nothing but careful in every possibly way would posses. Her eyes trailed back to the table, her hand reaching for the broach, and he followed her gaze as she did, only to find himself even more surprised than he had been with really anything she had said previously. The words hadn't been entirely for him, but they greatly surprised him nonetheless. She wanted to buy something, and she wanted to buy that of all things? Oh, how wonderful. How incredibly lovely and magnificent and lucky and fortunate for him. Of course it would be his luck that the woman who intrigued him so would be the one to finally rid him of that accursed thing. It would look nice on her though, if she ever chose to wear it, and he was just incredibly grateful to finally have it out of his hair, and a definite confirmation that she was no thief, because he doubted that a thief would pay honestly with coin. She was certainly something. "Oh, uh thank you." If her buying something hadn't assured him that she wasn't a thief, the guards certainly affirmed that. Vahae watched warily and carefully as the guard unearthed a bag from beneath his leather, and then came to him, expectantly waiting to hear the price. Vahae told him, and placed the coin carefully in a bag of his own, and then stood, turning his attention back to her now that the translation was complete, and the cursed snake was hers. She seemed to be watching something, the boy again from the looks, and carefully cleared his throat to catch her attention. "Ashvi, ah, I have not visited the Old Palace yet, I've only been to the nearest docks, and here." Vahaemarys swallowed, awkwardly standing as he struggled to figure out how to continue, and say what he wanted to now that he knew she was not a rouge ready to pounce. Should he just answer her previous question he hadn't found the chance to answer yet? Or would it be better to say it differently? He took a breath. Well, here goes. "If the offer is still open I would not mind going with you, though I can't leave this unattended. My family have, well, gone to meet with someone, I'm the only one left to tend it. I do not know when they will be back." Vahaemarys told her, attempting to stand straighter to at least look more sure of himself and his words than he sounded, or felt. "This is my family's livelihood and our way of life, I cannot risk it." He hoped that she would understand and that she would not be cross with him, or anything of the sort. He wanted to go with her now, and to learn more about her and tell her of Lhazar, but he didn't know how he could unless she figured some solution out. His duty was first to his family, and no matter how much he wanted to see the beautiful Old Palace, he could not abandon them and shirk this duty, and risk leaving his mother and grandfather robbed and homeless in a foreign land on the streets. It would be a shame to have to say goodbye to Ashvi and her curiosities, but he knew that he may very well have to, and he would just have to come to terms with that, and the oddness of already missing her presence and her strangeness that he completely did not understand.


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Iris
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Crowned In Glory | Gloria Regalia | V

Post by Iris » Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:28 am

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Though their time together thus far had been brief- far too brief, cut short far too soon- there wasn’t a single doubt in Jasper’s mind that Yana was the most captivating person he had ever been blessed to meet. It wasn’t just her beauty, which truly did radiate so steadfastly off of her person in every moment that his eyes rested upon her and which he held no doubt was beyond rival for none could hope to compare, nor the strength he had felt from her the moment his eyes had found her when she was still within the carriage arriving through the gates of Storm’s End, a quality she had truthfully given no cause for him to observe and yet seemed so clear and admirable to him all the same. It wasn’t even a simple matter of the allure of her brightness, the kindness and the unmistakable grace within her unable to disguise itself for even a moment of their brief exchange. It was all of it, all of who she so clearly was, everything that presented itself so beautifully for him to see as well as the depths even beyond such perfection waiting to be discovered, something he knew would be nothing short of a pleasure to understand and behold.

From the moment they had met earlier in the day, the Stark girl hadn’t left his mind, leaving him completely captivated, and now that he found her once more in to the night, nothing had changed. His eyes were settled upon her as he approached her, his focus hers and hers alone. With that, it wasn’t hard to notice the way her posture changed as they met once more. Her body still made plain her exhaustion, even as she straightened and turned herself towards him, but her face had brightened her beautiful features back to what he so clearly remembered, a smile forming on her lips that he had no doubt made his own brighten in turn. It was impossible to avoid- not when he had found her again, so late in to the evening when he had been all but certain that she had retired to her new chambers for the night without him getting the chance to see her once more, with them being free of her loathsome intended, and most importantly, the smile that she wore, a sign of not only beauty, but of happiness at some level that she so clearly deserved.

The sound of his name leaving her lips was as welcome the second time as it had been the first, and it was one he was certain he would never tire of or value less, no matter how few or how many times he would be able to hear it during whatever length of time they would be able to spend in each other’s company during the wedding celebrations. How easy it was to disregard that while in her presence, that they were meeting over the celebrations of her impending wedding to the Lord of Storm’s End, but it was one that was far too simple for him to push aside when he was in her company, disregarding such implications for the length of time that he was with her as his attention was focused on the present, on her. The reality, the implications of what the future held, were of little consequence, or at the very least, little priority in the moment. As her cheeks brightened, Jasper could all but feel his concern for those truths, the all but inevitable future itself, fading impossibly further as he admired the northern beauty before him.

His gaze ever steady, he watched as she nodded in response to his words, listening as she claimed that the night had gotten better- much better. He was glad to hear that it had, truly he was, though his attention was more devoted to the implication of the words, the clear suggestion that it had just picked up, that his presence could have caused it to, even if the day itself hadn’t seemed to be one of dreams, the sort that she would have deserved to have but she, like so many infamous highborn brides before her, wasn’t granted upon the welcome to what was to be her new home. “I do hope your days continue to improve.” The words, spoken softly through the smile that scarcely seemed to leave his face in her presence, had more possible meanings than even he could comprehend in the moment, none of them wrong. He wished her nothing but happiness, knew she deserved nothing less. Whether that was through the rest of her days in Storm’s End through circumstances improving for her in her life within the castle or her marriage, or whether it would start even sooner, if his presence would truly continue to improve them, if they would find cause or opportunity to greet each other often as he hoped they would, or through any other possibility which would grant her happiness and make her days more pleasurable.

Oddly enough, he didn’t even notice as her body shifted every so slightly in turn to his own movements. Instead, his attention was on her face, the way her features lit up even beyond the radiance they had already shown. As she spoke, Jasper could feel his smile quickly stretching, a small laugh escaping his wide stretched lips as she spoke, the scenes she painted with her words vivid in his mind. Her distaste towards their host, her future husband, was plainly clear in her words, no effort to hide them made. Such a marriage was not one he would wish for her, it was far beneath the woman who so clearly deserved nothing but the utmost devotion so often wrote about and so rarely observed, and yet while he knew that and took no joy in that it insofar did not seem to be the nature of what she had arrived to, the words still brought him no shortage of amusement. There was a part of him he wouldn’t so soon admit to himself that was pleased beyond reason to hear her apparent distaste, that the man hadn’t somehow falsified some way to charm himself in to her good graces with a mirage, and then there was that image; the image of the little wolf that had so eagerly bound towards him earlier, a little ball of fur and tongue with a wagging tail, causing such chaos and destruction, biting down on a sausage or wooden furnishing or best of all, even their wonderful host’s hand. It was a beautiful picture she painted, really, and he was equally as amused at the visual as he was impressed at the lady’s humor. There truly seemed to be no end to the depths of the captivating woman’s charm. “What tragedy that would be to befall this joyous event, hm? One can hardly imagine.” The thought of the young wolf drawing the blood of the lord with what he only imagined to be little needle teeth remained clear in his mind, and even as his face relaxed and smile softened, a smirk was quick to naturally form in its place.

Though, truthfully and with humor aside, Jasper couldn’t understand how the Lord of Storm’s End could ever find fault in his circumstances. He knew from his time around the man that he could, of that he had little doubt, but Jasper couldn’t understand how the Baratheon would be able to find a cause for upset given the state of his life and the privilege he had so clearly been given in having the honor to call Yana his intended, and soon, to be able to call her his wife before both the gods- the Faith of the Seven that he knew Baratheons to near exclusively follow and the Old Gods that were the faith of the North, and the laws of men that held the realms of Westeros together.

Jasper knew that one day, and he couldn’t imagine that day to be terribly far away, his own father would arrange a marriage of his own in an attempt to ensure a timely heir and secure viable bonds to another noble house- likely another Great House of Westeros, if Jasper was to guess, given that he knew such options did exist. Which house it would be, however, he couldn’t be certain. Perhaps it would be to one of the Tyrell girls- he knew the family from the Reach had twin daughters not far from his own age that were yet to be wed- he had even met one, not so long ago, who even from her own account was the heart of the family, the excitement, a grand contrast from her own sister, the ‘plain bore’, she had been sure to express in the little time they had shared before the conversation had moved in a more personal direction. If not one of them, perhaps it would be one of the Frey girls; he knew little of them, barring the fact that he was certain he had heard somewhere that there were many, though he hadn’t been of the mind to pay attention to such news. They could have been nieces or bastards or even just a castle full of true born daughters gifted to ever fertile parents. Jasper would have been none the wiser in any case, as though his interest had so easily been captured by women through the years, the Freys weren’t generally known to be among the most attractive group in Westeros. He thought a match from among them was unlikely, and he had always hoped to the Seven for it to never be the case, but there were always others, the worst among them, perhaps even a Greyjoy if his father suffered a health crisis which debilitated his mind and demolished his standards and sense, or the most politically advantageous, a Lannister princess, should he ever want an insufferable golden lioness to make his life resemble the deepest of the seven hells for the rest of his days.

It didn’t matter who he would marry. Whoever would one day become his wife in the eyes of the Gods and the laws of men to hold the Vale beside him would be nothing like Yana, he knew, for no beauty or spirit could ever compare to the woman who stood before him. For Borys Baratheon to have such a woman promised to him would be as unpleasant to contemplate for the heir of the Eyrie as it was clear that the man had no claim to displeasure, that he should consider himself fortunate, and if that were to mean destroyed furnishings or even an evening so briefly disrupted by the rare creature that so clearly gave light and happiness to the extraordinary woman that he found himself betrothed to, a source of which it gave Jasper absolutely no pleasure in anticipating she would very much need if she were to marry Borys, then he should be thankful for such a small price for such fortune the gods had sought fit to bestow upon him for such a match. Of course, it was Borys Baratheon. To be grateful for such mercies didn’t seem to be a part of his nature.

His gaze was intent on her, his pulse raising ever so slightly as he watched her take another step closer, the space between them growing that much smaller. Jasper felt his brows raise a bit at her suggestion, perhaps not entirely as taken aback as anyone who had known her and the pup for such a brief period of time should have been, but drawn in by it all the same. “I’ll be sure to try to find him,” he agreed readily, hoping that the intent behind his words was as clear as some of the other implications had been. He knew already that he would be searching for her again the following day, just as he had been throughout the evening. Torn from his thoughts as she spoke again, his brows quickly furrowed as she began, speaking of forgiveness. As she continued, however, a smile was quick to find its way to his features once more as he gazed down at her. How had his night faired?

He watched as her eyes flickered away, only to quickly return to him. “In truth?” He asked, his tone almost playful. “I can not recall a more blessed evening,” he answered easily and without hesitation, his eyes pointedly tearing from her beautiful features long enough to scan her form in a show of exactly why his words held so true. While his time since their last meeting had not in truth been the most pleasurable, he already knew he had never found himself in better company than when he was with her, and would gladly claim his days in Storm’s End to be among his best if only due to her presence. No sooner than his eyes returned to hers, however, did he realize the sound of the slow tempo that had begun to so naturally fill the hall. How long it had been playing, he couldn’t be sure, as he was under no illusions regarding where his focus had been ceaselessly devoted since the moment he had spotted the Stark girl. Still, as quickly as his eyes moved to find the source of the sound, it began to occur to him that perhaps that was what had so briefly seemed to capture Yana’s attention. His eyes only remained removed from her for the moment that he took to locate the instruments, and then make note of the few tired or drunken bodies moving to them, before quickly returning to her, an ever welcome sight.

His gaze content upon her once more, Jasper watched her for a brief moment, his head tilting ever so slightly to the side before he took a step forward, nearly closing the gap between them. “Speaking of,” he began, forward with his head almost bowing to her, ever aware of the distance between them as he nearly met her dark locks, his voice softened, though lacked none of his ever present confidence. “Would you honor me with a dance?” It was bold, perhaps, maybe even too bold to get so close, especially when neither her family nor her intended were there with them and yet other eyes were, but Jasper felt no hesitation, no regret for acting in such a way. It was just a dance, a chance to prolong their time together, if she accepted. With that, he raised an open hand, an offer for her to close the distance and to join him, even if only for the duration of the song.

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Despite her confusion, it didn’t take long for Ashvi to receive an answer that satisfied it. “Ah,” she gave a nod at the explanation. Yes, that sounded about right. Still foreign to her ears of course, but it was the title that flowed the best, that felt the clearest in the air between them. “The ‘Lamb Men’?” Her brows raised at the title, her curiosity oddly piqued as to however they received that name by the Dothraki, a people who’s existence she was far more familiar with than their Lhazareen counterparts. Was it their demeanor, that they acted like little lambs in Essos, harmless and to be herded about by the Dothraki warriors? It would certainly explain why she had never heard of them if that was the case; those who claimed no wealth and conquered no peoples hardly made a habit of making news of themselves lest they were tales of tragedy. Such reasoning certainly wouldn’t have been in opposition to the gentle seeming man in front of her. That wasn’t to say he was easily swayed, of course, or something as demeaning as that she found him changeable as livestock. No, rather, it was the way about him. A gentle or curious seeming soul, with apparent sweetness that was so peculiar and yet remained as alluring as the beautiful locks that framed his foreign features. If it was a way of his people, a demeanor shared by those who shared his blood, his cultural identity, she could certainly see how it could come across so to the Dothraki. Of course, there were other possibilities. It could have been a name inspired by religion, were their gods not resembling the original mold of humanity like some foreign gods, or even different in a way like the predominant religions of Westeros, but rather like the religion of the Dothraki, who she vaguely remembered hearing of worshipping a horse god. Or, it could have even been far simpler than all of that. Perhaps they just liked lambs.

It was a question that sparked curiosity in her, not unlike nearly everything else about the foreign man. “How intriguing,” she hummed under her breath, her shoulders shrugging lightly. It would be another inquiry to make, should he agree and provide the opportunity for it to be made. Regardless, it only took a moment for one thought to lead easily and with typical abruptness to another. “Surely you know, the Dornish favor ourselves the ‘Goat Men’,” she mentioned casually, though she couldn’t care to hold back the smirk that twitched at her lips at the thought, nor the more laid back amusement that naturally coated every syllable. “Not entirely self titled.”

Perhaps it was meant to be derogatory. No, in fact, a part of Ashvi knew that was exactly what it was meant to be, the purpose of the words from the time they were spoken. Perhaps it was meant to inspire hurt or rage or insult, as that was precisely what it was meant to be, and yet Ashvi could never find herself feeling such a way when they were spoken. That wasn’t her. Instead, she found nothing short of hilarity in it, something to amuse herself with, usually causing her humor behind whatever wine glass she inevitably had in her hand on the exceedingly rare occasion she would hear it. The words had a different meaning, she was sure, than the curious title of ‘Lamb Men’ given to the Lhazareen by the Dothraki, regardless of whatever story there was behind that. When a dornishman was compared to a goat, it was almost always used in a sexual sense. A term on its own, though not always without context, the context usually including the words ‘olive oil’ or ‘sweet reds’, spewed from the mouth of some drunken foreigner instructing the man to use them as lubricant to fuck the live stock, or claiming that they already did. It was usually effective as an insult, even Ashvi had to admit, as in the few times she had heard it used so directly, the foreigner had swiftly been shown just how quick the tempers of some in Dorne could be, even if hers was not. Once a particularly misfortunate man had even used a similar phrase on her father. That had been a spectacle, though part of her continued to wonder if the man had managed to survive the blood lost to the Prince’s blade. Only a small part, of course; the rest of her was far more focused on the entertainment value that night had provided, even years later and through the common fog of wine tainted memories.

Her eyes raising from Devron, they were quick to settle on the man in front of her once more, attention quick to return to him as the sound of his throat clearing rumbled through the air. Then, her name, so foreign in his accent but lovely to hear regardless. Her brows raised again as she listened to him speak. It wasn’t all together that surprising that he hadn’t visited the Old Palace yet, but that he had only visited the docks and the markets certainly was of note. It wasn’t as if Dorne was a land full of sprawling cities like other regions, but there was still an interest for her in how little he had experienced the land she knew to be home, and what that familiarity of home would be to him. It was something that could be discussed, of course, if he accepted her invitation, but his demeanor was foreign to her. As much is it interested her, which was to no small degree, it left her without any way to know how he would respond as they stood in a quiet lull, her eyes unabashedly examining his features. Finally, after a moment, he spoke, and Ashvi couldn’t care to hide the amusement from her features, especially when he explained the reasoning behind his apprehension or cautiousness in joining her in the Old Palace even if he did wish to accept her invitation.

That is your concern?” She asked, a hand moving to rest flat against the surface of the table once more as an amused smile found its way to her lips. It wasn’t that she was amused at him, necessarily, as it was hardly an unreasonable concern. It was one that she wouldn’t have thought of, to be certain, but Ashvi hardly had lived a life that forced her to consider such things. That wasn’t to say she didn’t have to make decisions with the well-being of her family in mind, as their welfare was one of the few things she did take seriously in life above all others, but that manifested differently. The concerns she had been faced with had never been of thieves or goods, as being the bastard daughter of the Prince of Dorne certainly had its advantages. Her concern had never been of gold, but rather of poison. Different lives required different concerns, and though she knew little of the man in front of her, yet to even learn so much as his name, she could only let herself imagine that the two of them had led very different lives. If not for the natural concern he had over leaving the market, or his foreign homeland, then the way in which his eyes seemed so notably settled securely on her face without even casually shifting to any other area of her largely exposed skin. Their lives had to be different, and not just vaguely. “Of course,” she nodded.

“I would never rescind such an invitation.” Well, she most certainly would and undoubtedly had, but not with him. She had never cared much for hosting her own guests as a general rule, usually too content with sleeping or Devron or her snakes and wine to care to bother or become emotionally vested either way, but he intrigued her too much to willfully backtrack on that or neglect to at least attempt to find a solution. Her gaze remained on him as she thought for a moment, the thumb of her hand that continued to hold the broach rubbing absently against the metal surface. It took a brief moment of reflection, but an idea was quick to occur to her. “I understand that is not a risk you can take, but what if you did not need to take it?” She mused, studying his face for a moment before nodding her head in the direction of the guard beside her. “I could have your table watched under guard until you return,” she offered, watching his face to attempt to gauge his reaction to it. “It would be left untouched, I assure you.” While theft wasn’t something that she had a habit of considering, she was exceedingly confident that no one would bother his possessions while a palace guard was armed and tasked to watch over it. “Would that soothe you, my dearest friend?” She set the broach back down on the table so that she could press both palms flat against the table once more, shifting her weight as she leaned forward a bit

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