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(☄) change our stars

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 9:28 pm
by 76heart
two dragons alone in the world,
a terrible thing
which path will they take when they at last take wing?
two vipers writing fate in the sand,
drawing cards with their hands

gotta finish this poem too ahhHh

do we have self control issues? maybe. but do we care? fuck no

probably biggest mature content warning
we got dorne darlings and mad valyrians bewareeee

takes place in the past of our other lovely got darlings

someone please stop me I need to stop amusing myself with these comments

[☄] rhaemi

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 9:30 pm
by 76heart

━━━━━━━she   expected━━━
━━from her reach,so she━
━━━━━on, it gets so━━━━━
rhaemi raelennis is a young woman at the
age of twenty-three, and stands at five feet,
two inches. she is the only child of vhaehra
and aerydor raelennis- two dragonlords of
the valyrian freehold, and sorcerers tasked
with keeping the volcanoes at bay-, for her
father died in a tragic accident upon his
dragon before they could have another. like
her parents, she is a skilled firemage, though
she has yet to join them in their task, and
instead her time is spent walking throughout
the city, or riding on the back of her dragon
rhaenya, who hatched the very same day she
was born. she is incredibly close to her
dragon, though recently, it has become to
dangerous for them to fly, and they have
been stuck together on the ground. for as
long as she can remember, her dreams have
been filed with visions, visions and
foretellings of things yet to come that haunt
her sleep. the only one that had ever been
clear enough to predict had been a dream of
her father falling from his dragon, and it was
the next day that her father fell, when she
was only six. his dragon died not long after,
his heart too filled with grief to carry on.
now, after gradually becoming clearer and
more intense as the years went by, the
visions haunt her waking hours too, filled
with images of a man and a world consumed
in flame, and a future to come, causing her
to faint throughout the day when they
happen. they have begun to make her wary,
and afraid, and have started to chip away at
her innocence, and her soft heart. she is still
kind, and does not wish to see anyone
suffering or in pain, but the fire in her blood
is beginning to show, and she has become
fiery and stubborn, and unwilling to back
down as she learns to think on her feet.

gif © rightful owners
face claim © emilia clarke
song © paradise - coldplay
character © 76heart

(☀) zo martell

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 9:32 pm
by 76heart

━━━━━━━━━━━but    y  o  u━━━━
━━f    r    o    m       my     hands━━━
━━━━━━━━━and      i ' m      the━
zoroastarr martell is a young man at the age of
thirty, and the height of five feet, ten inches. he
is the fourth son, but first legitimate heir of
maron martell. before he and his- also
legitimate- younger brother were born, their
father spent his days traveling much of the
known world, and fathered three bastard sons
with three woman he fell in love with along the
way. his travels only ended because he nearly
lost his life, and would have, if his closest friend
hadn't given his life to save him, and allow him
to return home with his life, but little ability to
walk. when he married, and had his first heir,
he named him after the summer islander who
saved his life, and now zo strives to live up to
the memory of his namesake every day. unlike
the man he is named after however, zo is a man
of the arts, and enjoys directing and acting in
plays, and picking up artistic hobbies wherever
he can. most recently, he has fallen in love
with cards that tell fortunes and test fates, and
spends much of his days learning their
meanings and using them to flirt with people
in the streets. he is also quite fond learning
what goes on with the people of dorne, and
has constructed a gossip ring to hear of it all.
zo also has a falcon named gossamer, who he
allows to fly freely, and pays a young man to
tail him so he knows he's safe. zo is closest to
his brothers elio and ricasso, and loves doing
things to put a smile on people's faces.

gifs © rightful owners
face claim © gregg chillin
song © run with the giants
- sam tinnesz
character © 76heart

Baelyx Targaryen-- give me every excuse to burn

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 9:33 pm
by Iris

i. Baelyx Targaryenxxxxx ii. Malexxxxxiii. Twenty-sixxxxxxiv. 6'1xxxxxv. House Targaryen


The thirdborn child of Valyrian dragonlord Aelyx Targaryen and his sister and wife, Daenys Targaryen, Baelyx led a life of great privilege from the moment of his birth. For much of his upbringing he was the 'baby' of the family, doted on endlessly as such especially by his grandmother, and as his older siblings were so much older that they wed each other when he was only an infant, it held true for years. His siblings eventually went on to have a single child born alive, a daughter brought in to the world when Baelyx was thirteen, who was assigned within hours of her birth to be Baelyx's wife when she came of age. When he was fifteen, his grandmother died, leaving to him Syrax, the equally massive and willful she-dragon his grandfather had once rode, the largest dragon within his family. That gift caused disputes between Baelyx and his older brother, but Baelyx had always been the favored one- by both their deceased grandparents, and by Syrax, who Baelyx had spent a great deal of time with during his youth. Despite the disputes and tension, peace was kept in the house, thanks in no small part to Aelyx keeping the two separated until the elder man's resentments would begin to fade, though never to dissipate wholly in to oblivion. In the following years, Baelyx spent much of his time with Syrax, easily spending more time in the air then he did on the ground. He would make frequent trips between Valyria and Lys, visiting the beautiful city for both family-related business and his own personal pleasure, and would spend his time at home with Syrax and his young strong-willed niece, the beloved child who was meant to one day become his wife, though that certainly wasn't reflected in the current nature of their relationship. His constant flights and travels between the two cities excluded, life seemed to be headed in a rather predictable direction for the young man- until, of course, he began to be plagued by visions that would uproot everything he thought he knew of his existence.


Ashara Jordayne-- restless soul in the desert sand

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 9:35 pm
by Iris

i. Lady Ashara Jordaynexxxxx ii. Femalexxxxxiii. Twenty-threexxxxxiv. 5'5xxxxxv. House Jordayne


Born at the Tor, Ashara was the fourth and final trueborn child of Lord Trebor Jordayne and his wife Lady Myria Manwoody, though Lord Trebor fathered more than his share of bastards through the years. All included, Ashara would go on to have eight siblings, and yet of all of them, she was the only daughter. Her mother died of natural causes when Ashara was still just a child, and though her father had many lovers through the years and even settled on a paramour, he never remarried. Raised by not only her father, but in part by her brothers and a revolving selection of her father's lovers, Ashara may have been motherless but was certainly never unloved. Ashara had a happy childhood, but with the amount of men in her family and their way of juggling lovers, she was was never sheltered from the more traditionally scandalous aspects of the world. While Ashara certainly never burned through lovers like the men in her family so often did, the passion of Dorne always existed within her. It was a part of who she was, in everything that she did- passionate, full of emotion with the ability to both love and hate in equal measure and with a sense of absolution that could echo through the very essence of her soul. Ashara had a great adoration for her home as well, and for Dorne as a whole, often found outside even in the long summers, splashing about in the waters of the Sea of Dorne outside her family's home or in the gardens within the gates of Tor, or even just dancing barefoot late in to the evening under the moonlit sky. Always under the impression that she would one day be forced to leave her beautiful Dorne as she had been promised to a Lannister heir since her youth, Ashara was not only surprised but elated when arrangements were made for her to marry a Prince of Dorne instead. As an early wedding present, Ashara's closest brother gave her a young cockatoo from Essos, who she would name Rayne.


Let's Go Up in Flames | I

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:02 am
by Iris
Nothing felt right anymore. It wasn't as it once was, nothing could possibly be, and yet it was all the same around him- at least, until it wasn't. Home- that was the same, or at least it looked the same as he put one foot in front of the other, boots beating in quick succession against the hard ground beneath him. Topless towers clung to the sky around him, the sounds of dragons in abundance, though admittedly somewhat in the distance, filling the thickly-scented air. It looked the same, truly it did, and it felt the same in that sense and that sense alone, as everything else, everything that surrounded him and everything that he had seen, none of it felt right, not anymore, not since Lys. Of course, that couldn't have been it. It was nonsensical, truly, even he knew that- especially him, given that it was so ridiculous that he hadn't shared his experience with others than he knew, so his own judgement was all that he had been left to rely on. It was that judgement that had left him in the foreign city for nearly a month after it had all changed, attempting to push it all back and behind him in an attempt to dismiss the whole thing as a trick of his mind until it became so surreal, so incessant that he couldn't possibly push himself to ignore it anymore. It had taken him over in his entirety, capturing him so completely that everything outside of it seemed wrong, like when it came it crashed over him like a wave in the ocean, its water surrounding him and forcing him under its surface, though his eyes remained open, allowing him to watch the world as it distorted his view of it. It made it seem foreign, and then it was gone, only to return, in the most nonsensical pattern that he couldn't even hope to come to understand on his own. He knew that now, he understood that much at least. It was nonsensical, but it wasn't leaving him, and if he wished to obtain any reprieve, he needed help in understanding it. He needed the sort of help that he could in the moment believe could come from no where else but home, least of all where it started, in the city of trade and pleasure called Lys.

That wasn't to discount what Baelyx thought of the city. Oh, no, it was quite the opposite. There was little that he thought couldn't be accomplished in the city in which he held such significant familiarity. It was a place he had been traveling to for years- first at the request of his father, to represent House Targaryen in their business affairs in the region as the place was teeming with merchants. It was a city of heavy trade, after all- though, in true fashion, the pleasure didn't take long to follow. That was what kept him passionate about the city, after all. At seventeen he wasn't any more interested in accounts than he was nine years later, recently having reached twenty-six years of age, but the wine and the abundance of beautiful women and the ambiance of the extravagant and renowned pillow houses made for a different story entirely. Those were the things he loved, what he spent his free time on when he was there. The city offered so much in the way of freedom and pleasure- trip after trip, year after year, until finally it didn't. It was the first time the beauty of the city could not offer an escape, for when he was within it's boundaries, he was haunted by images so macabre that they had no natural place in such an environment. Gone were the palm trees, the clear water, and inviting sight of the bare form of beautiful women.

Gone, even, were the famed beautiful sunsets of the port city, the bright hues of red so vibrant as a field of dense poppies deep in bloom throughout a legendary field that had no natural place in this world mixing with the likeness of fresh raspberries and apricots that transcended the most gifted artist's palette, fading in to the horizon in a sea of smoky mauve. He had loved to watch those unfathomable sunsets for years, his violet eyes taking in the natural beauty of the spectacle often whenever he was afforded a presence in the practical paradise. Yet, for the first time, he couldn't take pleasure in such a sight, for as beauty surrounded him, it similarly evaded him. It was within reach, yet may as well have been so far from his grasp as to have sunk to the deepest depths of the ocean. As the beauty faded, a sort of darkness had grown to envelope him. No longer could he see the beauty, only the images that plagued him so mercilessly. The first -or, at least, the first he could not simply explain away or easily ignore- had been just fragments. Partially, even in a literal sense. Ragged rocks, all possessing the dark shade of obsidian, seemed to rain down from the sky, fragments of a whole he could not see, from an elevation he could not possibly assess, as all he could do was peer down from the sky to watch the devastation of the rocks slamming against unfamiliar buildings, making roofs one with the dirt that once lay beneath their dwellings. Flame and bright burst of red would assault his senses, grim scenes of lives ruined, bodies charred in the dirt filling his mind. It was as if it was a bad dream, a nightmare that he couldn't wake up from. The only problem was that he wasn't sleeping at all. He was wide awake.

The scenes continued to haunt him, one after another after the first. The ruin and the flames and the charred bodies- body after body, all foreign to him, and all dead- all except for one, a glimpse of a woman of Valyrian descent who's face he couldn't hope to recognize. They weren't continuous, never ending in the way that he would never return to the present after he'd seen them, but they were reoccurring, and even when he tried to focus on something else, he couldn't. The scenes disrupted even the smallest or most serene of moments, like when he was staring at a sunset, capturing his thoughts and leaving his mind so far away that he would gaze at the sky without blinking until his eyes were sore and throbbing. When he was lying in bed alone at night, when he was eating, when he was between the legs of a beautiful woman- always, even when the images didn't surround him, were they on his mind. After a month of the images, of being unable to push them from his mind, Baelyx had finally forced himself to return home to Valyria- to the one place he could find answers.

Mere hours had passed since he had returned to the freehold, since he had climbed off of his mount and descended from the willful she-dragon Syrax and landed once more on to the ground. Surely, there was much to do upon his arrival- or, at least, much that would have been expected. He had been gone for months, a third of a year at least, after all. He would have been expected to make his first priority to see his family- his mother and father both, at the very least, if not his siblings, or far more agreeably, his niece and intended, Vhaela. Admittedly, that wasn't his first priority upon arrival, but he had made something of an effort- a visit with his mother, at least, for as mentally there as he could possibly be. His father hadn't been home in the family estate, instead to be found elsewhere with Baelyx's older brother, though he was assured the two would be arriving back home by evening. Baelyx hadn't had the time or the patience to wait for such a reunion before he went out, though in truth the idea of Aerylor's imminent arrival would have hardly been one to push Baelyx to stay later. If he was already losing his mind, having to deal with his brother's incessant aggravations certainly wasn't going to help his cause. With that push to leave sooner to delay that inevitable reunion, Baelyx made quick work of bathing after sharing a meal with his mother, cleansing himself of what he could from his travels before leaving once more.

And so he set off, navigating the familiar streets at a quick pace, trying to focus on remembering exactly which turns to take to reach his destination. It would have been difficult enough by normal standards- after all, it wasn't as if he frequented the path he was taking, having never visited the seer a day in his life before. He hadn't been in the city for months, and his mind struggled to remain focused in the same sense that it had since Lys, yet even more now that everything seemed a foreign and unnatural haze through distraction and confusion. Running a hand through his light locks, his violet eyes raised from the ground to scan the buildings on each side of the railing-less narrow pathway. His concentration at the task at hand had him focusing - as much as he could focus- on the buildings, his head in the sky to such an extent that he began to pay little attention to the ground. It was a dangerous endeavor anywhere, but especially in Valyria, where to fall could cost far more than a bit of skin on one's knee.

It was for that reason and so many others that he should have been paying attention, but he wasn't, and so when he felt his body collide with that of another to such an extent that it put even him off balance, he couldn't have had any idea who was at fault. That didn't matter though, and blame was the furthest thing from his mind as he instinctively grabbed for the other person, his vision a quick flash of silver as it lowered, his arms reaching for the other in kind until they were both steady and free from an incredibly unfortunate fall. It was then, as his eyes fell upon a face he had seen glimpses of but knew he never met, that he found a sort of comforting recognition that could have nearly left him in awe. It was her, the girl from the glimpses that dominated his thoughts among the fire and ruin. The silver hair and violet eyes of any Valyrian, but the beauty that surpassed so many, the kind that was both unforgettable and impossible to mistake for another. It was her; impossible, and yet there she before him, quite literally in his grasp. His eyes widened at the realization, brows furrowing. "I know you." It wasn't a question, but rather a declaration upon his realization. What the odds were, he couldn't know, but he just knew it to be fact- there, in that moment and in his arms, was the woman he had seen. What that meant for his sanity, he couldn't be sure in that very moment, but it was her.

(☄) 001

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:52 am
by 76heart
━b  l  o  o  d     of━━━━━━━━━━━
xxxFor as long she had been alive, she had been plagued by dreams, but not just any dreams. Dreams of futures, of visions, of a destiny, or some fate some force wished her to see. At first, as a child they were just nightmares, unclear visions of some kind of destruction that frightened her in her sleep, and caused her to cry out for her parents when she awoke, crying, with tears streaming down from her violet eyes from the horrible sense of fear and horror that came with the fragments of her dreams. The cycle repeated every night, every single night she slept until eventually, it just became so normal that they no longer frightened her, no longer filled her with this horrible, unreasonable, sense of dread that took hold of ever fiber of her being, every vein and bone in her body. It had been a a fear that went to her very bones, until she became numb to it; though she didn't think it ever left, she was certain that it had remained as strong as ever, and that she had become so used to it she no longer felt it's stinging, powerful fearful hold. That feeling of dread was beginning to return now, though for much different reasons than it had terrified a young child who knew nothing that was going on.
xxxAll she had ever known were those dreams, until one night, she dreamt of something different, something much worse; oh her father falling off of his loyal dragon, falling ultimately to his death. The very next day that dream came true, and her father was dead, and his dragon followed his fate not long after, too filled with grief to continue on. She still didn't know why she had been shown that dream, that future, why she had been forced to see her father die and learn it came true the next day, and that unknown hurt and scared her too. Had she been shown it to stop it? To worn her father and make sure he never set out with his dragon that day? Was she meant to have stopped him, but failed, because she hadn't known it was going to be real? Or was it inevitable, something she could not have changed no matter how hard she tried, that had just been used to show her the her visions were real, and not scary recurring dreams that had never left? Either way, it told her that her dreams were more than just nightmares; they were real, they were going to happen, and she didn't know when. She just knew that became ever more certain to her as she grew, and they became more and more vivid and clear, until they began to take over her waking days as well, washing over her as she walked and road her dragon, and causing her to fall into an unconscious sleep while the images played before her no different than a dream as she slept. They had gotten so prominent that she could not ride her dragon Rhaenya until they were gone, lest she meet the same fate as her father and her dragon and mother had to feel the same devastation and heartbreaking hurt for a second time. At least Rhaenya and her mother had never been in her dreams, never appeared as charred bodies amongst ruins of the place she called home, or crushed forms amidst the rubble, and she hoped that meant they were safe from whatever dreaded, horrid event was to come that she could only describe as a doom. There was one person in the dreams though, one person who had always been there, and she had no idea what he meant. The man that had always appeared in them, a man she had never seen before or met, had become even more prominent with them, more insistent and tied with her and her fate than he ever had been before, especially when the visions befell her during the day, and she woke with her face and form on a cold stone floor that chilled her to the bone almost as much as the visions did. She didn't know who she was, and yet his image, minus the unclear features of his face, had become as familiar as her own, or the memories of her father, which she knew she would never be able to forget. It was unnatural, unheard of; one did not just dream for years about someone they never knew, something no one experienced, or should experience, except for her. Such a thing wasn't a normality, it was nothing but abnormal, but for her, it was all she had ever known as a normal. Unlike the rest of the world, she had never known peaceful dreams of meadows with sheep, or magical ones of dragons and majesty, all she had ever known was dreams of terror, of doom, of death. She knew only of dreams where the wold she knew died, and was left blanketed in a layer of fine, pitch black ash, and hardened lava; the magma that had burned it all, and killed even the dragons who ruled the sky, uncontested. Rhaemi knew of toppled towers, of shattered windows, and buildings half sinking into the streams of lava that flowed through the Freehold like a lake's trickling stream. Dreams of her father falling from his dragon's back in the sky, and plummeting to the ground below where she knew he would shatter. That dream had only come to her once, but she had never forgotten a single piece of it, and something told her that she never would, as was the same with the rest of her terrible dreams. She could recall each one as vividly as if they were the most pivotal moments in her life, as if she relived them each and every waking moment of every single day that passed her by, and perhaps that was because that was what they would be to her someday; a memory she could never forgot, because it caused everything to change. That was all she knew, that and the man who's face she could not see. It was so terribly and utterly, truly odd, but it was also the only thing she knew, and that was part of why she had finally decided that enough was enough, and she had to figure out why she was receiving these visions, for what purpose were they being shown to her, or where they were coming from, if their source had a place. If she didn't do that now, she feared that something much worse would come to pass.

xxxAsking around had been difficult, but eventually she learned of a place she could go to for answers, of a seer who could help her find what she sought to seek. Several people had spoken of an old haggard woman most Valyryians avoided who lived on an old darkened street few dared to venture down, and they mentioned she was skilled in magics, particularity arts of divination. Of course, none of them had ever seen her, it was all rumor, and she didn't even know if the woman was in fact a woman and not a man or something else entirely, or if she existed at all and wasn't just a hidden gossip that spread due to the vanity of their tongues. The Valyrians were a people quite proud of themselves, and even more vain; she wouldn't at all be surprised if someone had started such a tale to feel better about themselves, and bring down another, even if that other didn't exist. She had to hope above all else, and above hope itself, that the seer was real though, and that they did exist, and could possibly help. No one had offered another answer, or a different solution that could lead her down the right path or course, and she didn't dare tell any of her plight, lest they deem her mad too, and hurt her family's already tattered- from the death of her father- reputation, so this was the only hope she had, her only chance to get this right. She couldn't afford for this trail to be false, for it to be no more than a smear; so much weighed and depended on her visions ceasing, now that they had joined her into the day, and she had moments where she fell and crashed to the floor without anyone to catch her when the visions chose to strike her. She couldn't even ride her beloved dragon, her dragon Rhaenya who had hatched the day she was born and had been with her for each second and moment of her life, and that was tearing her heart in two. She couldn't risk being in flight with her blue beast, and being hit with a sight that overtook her and caused her to faint, she couldn't risk taking that chance and falling to her death as her father had, and hurting her mother, and her dragon once again. Rhaenya hadn't been directly hurt by her father's death as she herself had, but through their bond, and the part of Rhaemi's soul that lay in her, she had been hurt, devastatingly hurt, and she could not allow that to happen again in an even worse way that involved her directly. She could not let those she loved be hurt again, this was her only chance, with little to know hope of her ever gaining another, and she didn't know what she'd do if it failed. If this didn't work, Rhaemi didn't know want to do. What could she do? Ask the same people she and before again, the few that had even been willing to speak with her, let alone help? Spend weeks searching for more? Spend every day from the moment this plan failed asking everyone she passed? None of that was practical, none of it would work, and asking the people she had already asked was just stupid. They had already told her the little they knew, questioning them further would lead to yielding nothing but their impatience, annoyance, and displeasure. If this didn't work her opportunity would be gone. Asking had already been hard enough the first time, she couldn't go through that again, there was already too much weighing heavy on her shoulders, and part of her knew no others would help. Unlike those in other places, the Valyrians didn't even need to keep up decently pleasant relations with others for the purpose of a marriage or an alliance between the two, those in Valyria married their sisters, or their brothers, or their cousins, or anyone else in their family if they had none; they had no need for those pretenses, not unless they wanted them, and she and found most cared for them not. Her family was one of the twoscore dragonlords that ruled Valyria, one of the forty houses skilled enough in sorcery to claim such a right, she knew first hand what those of the Freehold could be like. She saw how greedy they could be, how they wished to expand and conquer and gain more land and influence and rule, and wage wars as warlords and kings from the back of their mighty dragons that sent terror into the hearts of many. After her father died, and she began to be groomed to take his place while her mother held even more closely her duty as a firemage to quell the fourteen volcanoes flames, she saw even more often how some took great pleasure in the fear they wrought upon so many souls as they rode their dragon above and let it reap it's flame unto the earth, and how others took pleasure in the destruction their dragons could bring. She had seen the dangerous glint in eyes, a glint that made her fear; she knew how nearly all of them were. They did what pleased them, not what made others happy. Why would someone who lead with greed, help save or better the life of another or provide any succor when it gave no benefit to them, when they could just further their own? They wouldn't help her, not when she had nothing to give, and she did not want to go through the process of finding the few kind souls who would, all over again. Talking with others had never been a skill of hers, or a strong suit. She wasn't a socialite as many Valyrians seemed to be; she spent her days with her dragon, or in her home, while her mother was away, and she was left alone. When her father had been alive, she had spent much of her time with him, listening to his stories when he wasn't gone with her mother, doing his duty as a firemage, and dragonlord. She hadn't grown up with friends her age to play with, nor found them when she grew older. She and grown on her own, done things on her own, and learned most of what she knew on her own. She hadn't spent her days with others; it was hard to when any one of the people she met could be one of the charred or broken bodies in her dreams, and while now that seemed to be a mistake, it was not something she could change, and it made asking for aid all the more difficult. Perhaps if she had been a natural with conversation this would be different, and she'd feel as if she had more chances because she'd be able to talk them out, or persuade out some more, but she wasn't a natural with it, and with some, she knew no matter how skilled a conversationalist one may be, there was nothing they could say or do to sway them.

xxxTrailing her fingers along the smooth, blackened stone, she let out a small breath. The streets were so unfamiliar here, ones she had never even come close to traveling down before. She was not... used to traveling the streets of the city, especially the ones lined with lava at the very base of all the towers. It was rare, especially as of late that she left her home to begin with, and while she personally found the city quite beautiful, she wasn't the fondest of wandering the lowest streets, and straying from the towers, or her view of them where their highest points were just about level with her. It was hard to explain, but she felt safer higher up than she did on the ground. She had just always been like that, and perhaps it was due to the blood of the dragon in her veins, or the part of Rhaenya's soul within her. The ground felt more vulnerable for the mighty beasts, a place they were not meant to be, and she noticed that her dragon always felt uneasy when they were night somewhere high up, nearly touching the sky. The world where creatures flew was their domain, not the one where they walked, and it felt like the world that touched the sky was hers, not the one where grass grew from the earth, and lava spouted from cracks in it's cage. Nevertheless, she couldn't deny that the city was still beautiful from down here, if not more so from this angle, where everything towered above her, and she could feel the searing heat of the earth's fire kissing her skin from where it bubbled close by. The stone was oddly cool against her skin as she continued to trail it along the surface of the towers and other structures she passed by, almost like an ocean smoothed stone that had cooled quickly after it had been taken from being consumed by embers. Sometimes she wished she could have seen the construction of the city, the way the smiths used dragon fire and magic in harmony to meld the stone to their will, like a potter with a lump of hard, earth brown clay, they had to wet with water to soften and mold. To the builders of the city, the fire was the water used to wet the clay, and the magic was the hands of the potter to shape it. It must have been such a special time to be alive, a time where one got to see the birth of the most magnificent city known to all their kind, and the start of an era of riding dragons, where dragon-riders formed the first ever bonds with the fire breathing beasts. That was something she had always wished to see, something she wished she could have gotten to experience first hand, or at least in end dreams, but no, instead she received dreams of a doom in their future, a doom she so wished to not be true. She didn't want to see the city she loved so much, the sight of it that comforted her each night before she went to sleep, to burn, and find itself covered and consumed in the hottest flames. Just the image of that made her flinch, and she could not help but pause and glance back at the lava below her, only a few feet away. It glowed the brighter orange she had ever seen, and it looked thick and slow, but even deadlier than dragon fire. A dragon's fire would not burn or mar her skin, but she knew anything born from magma would bring her death; not even the dragons could survive it. That was something she and always wondered about, too. Why would the architects of the city, and those who hoed that title now, keep something that could kill them and their beloved dragons, so open, and so easy to fall into? She just needed to trip, to make a single misstep, and then she fall in, and sink into it, where the flesh would melt from her bones. Rhaemi grimaced, wincing, and forced her gaze to turn away, up toward the towers her hand was upon. They were tall, majestic, some with windows of colored glass, from colors ranging from a gentle sea foam, to a burning orange, to blue. They reached high into the sky, standing as tall as where the dragons flew, with a beautiful architecture she wished she knew how to describe. The towers were topless, with more detail to be noticed each time one looked, each one different, and yet very much the same. Upon some were statues made of stone of Valyrian Sphinxes, usually in a male and female pair, gazing down upon the world below through eyes of garnet that glittered menacingly. There was one high above on the tower her hand was softly pressed against, and she tried leaning up to see it better, in an attempt to see more of it's carefully sculpted features, which she probably should not have done, for in that moment where her focus on the area around her was lost, a body collided with her own, and the next thing she knew she was bring grabbed, and her arms grabbed back, and the moment their skin touched, her vision was consumed by a flash, a flash of the man that was all too familiar, but this time, with his face. Her body wanted to gasp, but she couldn't, she was frozen, and as the flash faded and her vision cleared, all she could do was move her eyes, in complete and utter shock, as she realized the man before her was the one from her dreams. It was impossible, and yet here he was, the man who had been haunting her for as long as she could remember, his features clear and finally revealed. She was speechless, she didn't even know what to think. His eyes were violet, like her own, and his hair was shoulder length and light, just a bit more golden than the silver white color of her hair. He was handsome, more handsome than she could have ever even dreamed of imagining, and more handsome than anyone she had ever seen before, but all of that barely processed through her mind. She couldn't believe that this had happened, that he had found her, or she had found him, and she knew who he was at last. She couldn't even describe to herself what it was like to know who he was after all the years she had seen glimpses of him in her dreams, to see his attractive face, it was all just a mess of feelings that hit her all at once that all cried and screamed and struggled to be heard while she couldn't get past the simple fact that this was happening, that this was real, and it wasn't some dream. She had finally found him, that mystery had finally been solved, and she could almost cry from relief at that. She barely registered that his eyes had widened, or that he had spoken, that he had emitted three simple words- I know you, a statement, and not a question. She knew him too. He was the man in her visions, the man she had been seeing behind the closed lids of her eyes ever since she had been a young child. Finally, after she blinked, and her mouth opened with a tremble, she could feel her mouth working again. "It's, it's you!" Rhaemi exclaimed, the words coming out in a hurried, very rushed and surprised breath. "You're the man I've been seeing for as long as I can remember." Rhaemi almost felt like collapsing, it was all so much, so quickly, so overwhelming, but he still held onto her, and kept her standing. She took a moment to gather her thoughts, to breathe, to process what had just happened all so very quickly, and then her eyes widened again. The lava, they were so close to it, and when they collided, he had saved her from falling in. He had just saved her life. "And you saved me! From falling into the lava just now, I- thank you. Are you alright?" Her gaze was searching his features now, looking for any signs of harm, or pain upon his expression. All she could see was a single strand out of place, a strand she had to resist the urge to tuck back in place. She also now noticed the feeling of his hands and arms upon his skin, where he had grabbed her, likely instinctually, and where she had grabbed him in return, and that sent a shiver down her spine. He had pulled her closer, and steadied them, and she was so eternally grateful for that. If he hadn't done that, now they could- and very likely would- both be dead. He had saved her, he had saved both of them, and now she finally had a chance for answers, just as soon as she knew he was alright, and unharmed. Over the years she had come to grow a fondness for the man in her dreams, and now that she knew who he was, that fondness was there tenfold, and she didn't want him to come to any harm. Her grip on him loosened, and she let out another breath, trying to steady the hammering of her heart. So much had just happened, and yet for the first time in so many years, she felt some odd sort of peace of mind.

━━━━not  broken, bowed,━━
━nor   bent━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
xxxEverything was perfect. Everything was completely, utterly, unfathomably, magnificently, perfect, and there was nothing in the entire world that could ever hope to change that. Well, of course there were some things that could and would change that, but truthfully, right now, he couldn't even begin to care about a single one of them not when everything in his life was going so wonderfully perfect, and he never, ever wanted to let that feeling go or lose it for even a single second. His whole family was here, his aunts- the two living mothers of his half brothers Ricasso and Elio- were here, his beloved falcon Gossamer was near by in places he could see, the boy he paid to watch the bird whom he was very close friends with was near, and by the time the sun rose in the middle of the sky the next day, he would meet the woman he was to marry in a few days time, Ashara Jordayne. He couldn't wait to see her, to hear her voice, and learn what she loved. He was just ecstatic to meet her, and didn't want to wait the hours until morning to see her undoubtedly beautiful smile. He had heard some scattered rumors of her beauty, though he didn't care for what others thought of that; he knew that she was going to be gorgeous, like the sun's glistening reflection upon the ocean as it set, both inside and out, and he needed no one else to tell him that. Zo also already knew that he would love her, no matter how she turned out to be. He had always believed that a marriage, or any relationship should be of love or both parties being equally agreeable in what they were to do, and because she was going to be his wife, he was going to love her. He didn't mind if she never felt that for him, but he did not want her to feel as if the marriage she was forced into was nothing but empty and hollow and void of affection. Previously, she had been set to marry a Lannister, a member of a house no one in Westeros, or anywhere else in the world it seemed, seemed to like, and he imagined that she had probably feared a marriage like that with her Lannister betrothed, and he never wanted her to feel that here. From his understanding, that engagement had lasted for most of her life, up until recently, when her family called them off, and arranged for her to marry him. While marriage had never been something he necessarily wanted, he had been happy about the news, and he hoped that she had been too. If nothing else, she would get to remain in Dorne, and keep that familiarity close to her and her heart, but he so hoped that she would find much more in that. He had written a play to be held when she arrived, just for her, and he had been practicing with his fortune and future telling cards even more than he had been before in preparation for her arrival, in hopes him telling her fortune and fates would woo her, or if nothing else, give her a laugh or a smile. He wanted to practice them more now, or at least neaten up his deck, but his limbs had begun to grow tired, and his eyelids had started to droop, and he wanted to put his focus in staving off the tendrils of sleep. He didn't want to sleep, he didn't wish to fall into slumber, he was too excited to meet her, and he didn't want to miss a moment of it at all, or risk being late because he slept in too long, because he had stayed out rather late with Elio drinking and talking, as well as making sure his brother knew his part in the play. It was pertinent that Elio didn't mess his role up, that he played his part well; he refused to let the play he had crafted for his soon to be lady love to go down in flames, as most creative things the man touched had a tendency to do. He had wanted to go over it even further, but his brother had gone to sleep, and reluctantly Zo had returned to his room after helping the man into bed. He was beginning to feel it's affects more heavily with each moment that went by, but he refused to.. let.... it... take.. him........
xxxThe next thing he knew, he was suddenly thrust awake by the smack of freezing ice water being tossed upon his unsuspecting skin, along with the sounds of startled spluttering, and a cold, burning sensation in one of his nostrils upon accidentally inhaling some of the chilling liquid. Evidently, he had succumbed to sleep without planning or wanting to, and he had slept in, and someone had taken it upon themselves to wake him up. Rather clumsily, he pushed a few of his blankets aside, thankful that even if his lower half wasn't clothed, he wouldn't care if the older woman woman saw him in all his glory; she was like another mother to him, she had seen it all before. Raising a hand to wipe the water from his face, and especially his eyes so he could open them to see who had so rudely awoken him, he blinked a few times, adjusting to the light, and immediately raised his hand again upon noticing the sun was shining directly into his face. He frowned, peering through his fingers until he spotted the figure who had thrown the water upon his face, bucket still in hand. It was Ragniqe, his eldest brother Ricasso's mother, a stern, and no-nonsense woman born in New Ghis. "Ragniqe?" Zoroastarr asked blearily, blinking as he shifted to somewhat sit up, while still remain vaguely reclining upon his many colorful pillows. "Up." The woman said simply, her tone unamused, and voice still thickly accented. "Niqe, what was that for? You could have just called." Zoroastarr grumbled, raising both of his hands to his eyes to rub the sleep further out of them with the heels of his palms as he spoke, before pushing his fingers through his messily tousled hair to see the damage that the water had been done to it. The feeling of it dripping down his spine wasn't very pleasurable either, with how freezing it was. He was grateful that the water had woken him up with a snap, but he wished that his locks had remained unharmed, and that the mythical man who brought sleep dust to his eyes hadn't made them so sleepy that not even the ice water could wake them. "I tried that, and you did not hear me, so I got the bucket. Zoroastarr, if you were my son, you-" He winced, his shoulders tensing, hurrying to cut her off before she could continue. "I know, I know! I'd be without a part of me that I quite value." Zo knew the threat was empty, that she would never mean such a thing or bring him harm, but it was still terribly effective in it's own way, perhaps as a purely verbal lashing of sorts. Ragniqe softened then, ever so slightly, and he thought he saw the ghost of a smile upon her lips. He shifted again, so he was now sitting up fully, and used a dry portion of the blanket to wipe the water from his face, and pat down his hair so it would hopefully stop dripping down his back. "You'll be meeting your future wife soon, someone has arrived announcing they are nearly here, you should hurry to get ready, you don't have much time. Even you don't have enough charm to be late for that. I shall leave you to get ready." Ragniqe turned with a dip of her head, her graying dark locks that fell in curls moving in a way that looked like bouncing with the movement, but much too faint for that. It was something he had noticed ever since he had been small when she came to visit, though he noticed it much less now. Hesitantly, though, as she began making her way toward the door, he called out, suddenly overcome with a feeling of nervousness he was most unused to. "Wait!" She paused, turning back to him, and raising and almost knowing brow. "Do you, do you think she- Ashara," He already liked the way her name tasted in his mouth. "will be.. pleased with me? Will she be happy being with me?" He felt like a small child again for asking, some anxious little boy who worried about everything because so much weighed upon his shoulders and depended on him, but in that moment, he couldn't help but ask. He hadn't met her, but he already cared so very much for his betrothed, and he wanted her to be comfortable and happy at his side, and in his home. He knew it was no small thing to move from her home forever, and go to that of a man she had never met before, to live in until the rest of her days, and he did not wish for her to feel like it was a prison, or anything but a new home. He wanted her to feel safe here in Sunspear, and even if she didn't ever grow to love him, he still wanted her to be able to see him at the very least as a friend, as a companion she was happy to spend time with. He just didn't want her to be miserable with him, like he had seen some marriages turn out to be. He searched the older woman's face as she paused to think, before giving a slow nod. "Zo, I think she would be a fool not to love you." With that, she turned and finished the final few steps toward the door, leaving him alone in his room to get dressed in a hurry and meet the rest of his family who he could only assume were already waiting outside.

xxxWith a sigh, he threw the covers off of him, and swung his legs over the side of the bed, to begin the process of getting dressed. It only took him a few long strides to cross the room to his dresser, where he quickly slipped off his breeches, and shimmied into rather tight fitting, dark brown leather pants. His knee-high dark black boots with a roll wrapped in leather straps that allowed some red to peak through from beneath followed right after, and then he took to rifling through the drawer to find the particular shirt he wanted, his favorite one. He had made sure all of his clothing had been cleaned in preparation for this day, which made his prized shirt a little harder to find, because things had gotten jumbled around. Thankfully, it only took him another moment to find it, and he pulled it on, adjusting the sleeves on his arms after he tucked the bottom into the hem of his trousers. The shirt was very loose and blousy, with large billowy sleeves and a very, very low and wide v-neck, that always left the laces untied on, with today being no exception. It was probably a little big on him, but that was just the way he liked it; he liked feeling some of the wind and sunlight on the large exposed portion of his chest, and it had just naturally been what he found to be his style. Most of his shirts in that style were white, but this one was special; it was a darker, blue turquoise in color, with darker patterns dotting it's surface, almost like a map of the stars of the sea, like the ones his father treasured. He found it to be his nicest shirt, and he hoped that his lady would like it as well. Over the shirt he slipped on his favorite jacket- which he also considered to be his most prized possession-; a mish mash of different fabrics and colors ranging from maroon and wine to the shades of seaweed and other reds and yellows the color of straw. Each sleeve was different, both ending a little after his elbows, with the start of them at the shoulder the same, a roll of red covered in a dark leather, followed by what he could best describe as the thick ends of the coverings of tents and coverings to protect those beneath from the sun. The right had an imitation of dragon scales, colored blue but worn down to a rusted orange as the leather's paint wore off, with an admittedly rather crudely sewn after so many repairs over the years he had worn it connection to a folded wrapped leathery piece of yellow, that then lead to the final section of a good few inches with thick, heavy woven crisscrosses of leather and what he could only describe as knitted stripes. The left had a poof of multicolored vertically striped fabric where the dragon scales were, that lead directly into a green version of the tent ends at the start of each sleeve. The rest of the jacket was quilted at the top, into several stripes of wine and darker wine colored leather, with a final longer stripe that had been sewn onto the bottom by Elio's mother as he grew older, with the opening at the front and around his neck lined in an orange patchwork that reminded him of the leaves of trees before a long winter now that it had become so worn, lined on the inside by a thin strip of golden fabric, dotted with beads. He had worn it ever since he had been a child, and while now it was worn, with shoddy repairs of thick looping threads done by himself, and the final end piece of the left sleeve missing while the woven piece on the right was begging to fall off, he still loved it as much as he always had, and hoped that his bride to be would love it too. It wasn't the newest, or most slightly thing, but he adored it, and he thought it suited him well, and matched who he was; with it's thick threads being the network of gossip he had founded, and the rest of it being his creations, or his other creative endeavors. He adjusted the sleeves of his shirt through the arms of his jacket, and then straightened, smoothing his clothing out, and moving back to the side of his still partially soaking bed to pick up his thankfully untouched and unharmed deck of precious fate-telling cards. Normally, he'd have his sword's sheath around his hips and his sword within it, but today he didn't wish to give off that image, or carry it's weight around with him. He was a lover, and artist, not a fighter, that was what Elio was, and he wanted to greet his bride with warmth, and nothing but that, not the coldness of a warrior's sword. Besides, he had always thought that space to be best suited for a pocket for his cards, the very same cards that he hoped to impress and woo Ashara with today.
xxxAfter a final few once overs, and a few more passes of his fingers through his mildly shaggy curly hair in an attempt to sort it out, he deemed himself presentable for her, and stepped out of his room, and made his way into the courtyard, where the rest of his family was waiting. Qoren sent him a scowl as he walked to where they stood in an anticipation, sliding in gracefully between Ricasso and Qyle, his oldest brother, and his youngest, while his parents merely just looked relieved, which he was grateful for. He had already been rudely awakened by a bucket of ice water, he did not need a lecture on how he was nearly late, or had nearly missed the most important day of his life, which would stand until at least his wedding, when that day became the first, and their meeting the second. His parents stood on the other side of his younger brother, a few paces away, with his father still in his wheelchair, and his mother's arm lovingly on his shoulder. The mother's of his half-bastard-brothers stood near to them, as if they were no less a part of the family than he. While his father no longer participated in that openness of Dorne because he had found the only one he would ever need within Zo's mother and also because of the injury he had faced in his final travel where his life had been saved by his closest friend, the man Zo was named for, he knew that his father still deeply loved the three mothers of his other sons, and that his wife had come to love them too, albiet in a different way, as a sister, and dear friend, rather than a love. He had always loved that about his family; he had been incredibly lucky to have four mothers growing up, not just one, and it was something he was determined to never take for granted, because after Qoren lost his mother years and years ago to an illness they hadn't been able to fix, he realized that some didn't even have one. Of course, that had to be the moment that he noticed Elio leaning behind Ricasso from the other side of him, with a glint in his eye Zoroastarr most certainly did not trust, because it was one he too often wore himself, and he knew what it meant. "Interesting morning, hmm?" Elio asked, smirking. Zo sighed, and turned his gaze forward, hoping to catch a glimpse of his bride-to-be and those coming with her, arriving. Unfortunately, he saw nothing. "I hope you remember, dear brother, that that awakening has more often been given to you. I'm not the one who always sleeps in." Zoroastarr quipped, refusing to look his brother in the eye and give him the satisfaction of winning this. He heard his brother let out a snort, while Qoren, his middle half-bastard brother, looked pained at their conversation, and just their presences in general. Ricasso just kept his composure, and Qyle tried to nervously do the same, while the rest of their family didn't even seem to notice. "The three times that happened to you within the past moon say otherwise, brother." Fine, Elio could win this time, he'd be winning soon, because soon he'd be meeting his future wife. He folded his arms across his chest, and looked to the point where he knew her and her party would begin to appear.

Let's Go Up in Flames | Let's Be The Last Ones Standing | II

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:33 am
by Iris
Prior to his last trip to Lys, before the images that had no place within him claimed a place within his mind, Baelyx had never seriously thought of himself as mad. He wouldn't have been surprised if he learned that the thought had never once crossed his mind, though it wasn't something he could claim with any true and honest certainty. Not only was it not the sort of thing he had spent his time considering, it wasn't the sort of thing he would have ever truly considered for himself. That wasn't to say that he had never thought madness afflicted members of his family, of course. He couldn't remember the amount of times he had thought that his elder brother was plagued by some sort of madness or idiocy in his childhood, if he would have ever even considered there to truly be a difference when he was younger regardless. Nearly twenty years Baelyx's senior, Aerylor had always acted in such a strange way that Baelyx's young mind hadn't been able to completely comprehend it at first, not understanding until he was nearly ten or so that it wasn't madness or idiocy, at least in theory, that had caused Aerylor to behave towards him as he had. Rather, the actions had been caused by an admittedly founded jealousy routed in outcries of favoritism, always leading to a sort of hostility that Baelyx hadn't been able to discount as madness until he more clearly understood it, though even now, after more than a quarter of a century of hostility between the brothers, Baelyx still thought of his brother as plagued by idiocy, even if madness had been 'officially' ruled out. Then there was his sister, and even as a man now Baelyx still questioned her sanity, though in a far less clinical manner than most would, instead just deeming the older woman to be little more than an insane bitch at times- most often, whenever he was caught in the vicinity of her. Still, despite the likely normal questions he may have faced through the years over his own family's mental well-being, Baelyx had never questioned his own sanity. At least, not before Lys. Since the images had began to flash within his mind, taking over this mind while he was awake just as often as when he tried to rest, madness had been a thought that had occurred to him incessantly. It was too nonsensical to not all be madness, to be some odd joke his mind was playing on him, to give him nightmares from which he couldn't awake, sentencing him to be stuck with them no matter the time of day or the place which he stood or laid his head. Even when he considered that it could be more, that is was something he just simply couldn't understand and needed help to find the answers to or at the very least make it stop, it was still all madness, even if he wasn't the one who was mad, which within itself seemed a hopelessly optimistic outlook the longer the macabre images continued to visit him. Yet, as he gazed down upon the ethereal beauty he was holding on to, something changed.

He couldn't be sure what, exactly, that was. He knew what caused it, of course, but how could he be certain of what the nature of that change was when he wasn't even certain of the context behind it? Thankfully, for a moment, that didn't quite matter. It didn't because it couldn't, because it was impossible in that precise moment for any thought to prevail over his first. It was her. He knew it was. There was no question about it, no hesitancy as he made the claim. He knew her, even if he had never met her, and he knew that for certain. He had seen her face before, had witnessed glimpses of it repeatedly. Never before had he met her, he knew without question that hers would be a face that she would have remembered, never to forget it or the moment he had seen her. Baelyx had been many things in his life, but one to forget a pretty face had yet to be one, and her beauty was one to be elevated above the rest. It wasn't just unforgettable, though it certainly was. It was remarkable, something that he was certain couldn't be forgotten regardless of context or even the focus of one who witnessed it. That alone would have made him certain of his judgement. He knew her, and yet never before had his eyes laid upon her. Rather, she was the woman from the scenes that ruled over his mind now. She was the beauty among the carnage, a sight to behold among the chaos and collapse, a constant, a reprieve among the destruction. It was her. Whatever that meant in the grand scheme of things, what that meant of the images that he saw, of the state of his own sanity as a whole, none of that could be considered in that first moment of recognition. He knew her, she was there, and she was real.

Then, there was more. It was her, that much he knew, and yet as she spoke, her words surprised him more than perhaps they should have. They offered a sense of affirmation, a sense of relief that mixed with incredulity and left his heart pounding and his mind racing through all of it, and yet there was confusion that hit him all the same and washed over the rest like a wave crashing ashore, taking back all that it wished to claim even if only for a time. It wasn't just her, the girl he had seen in the scenes, but it was her- the girl who had seen him too? The possibility that the girl was real, the idea of putting a name or a voice or even the reality of a real, living and breathing person hadn't even crossed his mind in the context of the images, hadn't been a possibility that he had even considered even if perhaps it should have been one of the most obvious. Truthfully, he had had more pressing concerns, or at least they had seemed it at the time, but the information that she provided only compounded with the feeling of actually seeing her in the flesh, making him question that train of thought now. As his mind tried so absorb her words, he found himself distracted and confusing himself, overwhelmed still by the newness of it all, of that new reality. He hadn't just seen her, she had seen him as well. For as long as she could remember? How long had she been seeing him, then? It certainly sounded as if it was far longer than he could recall seeing her face, a length of time that he could only recall spanning so far as Lys. How that was possible, he didn't know, but it was hardly as if he was well informed about much of his circumstances.

The woman spoke again before he managed to find himself or the words to collect and express to her, and while she was still such a mystery to him, the words were a confusing comfort to such an extent that he nearly could have laughed at himself- and he would have, he was sure, had the circumstances differed. They seemed kind and genuine, the beautiful woman expressing gratitude and asking if he was alright. Yes, he saved her from falling in to the lava- right after his carelessness, his state of being so completely and utterly distracted as he had been for what seemed to be so long now, had caused her to nearly fall in to it- assuming, of course, that it was his fault. Or would she have fallen in at all, had it not been for his reaching out to her, or would she have caught herself and steadied her footing on the path rather than plummeting down in to the lava that flowed below them as freely as water ebbed to the ocean following high tide? He didn't know for sure, nor did he know whether it was his fault, or if the two of them had somehow managed to simultaneously collide with one another, though he supposed that it didn't really matter in the end, at that moment of time. It couldn't have mattered less, really. He would still blame himself for being so careless when he should have known better- and, even in his current state, he really should have known better. It was common sense in Valyria, something to be taught to young children, even. In that respect, he could even remember himself taking part of such lessons, even if he had been too young to remember when he himself had been chastised for it. He could so clearly remember Vhaela bounding forward as she was just a young child and he a teenager, calling after the young girl who would move excitedly down the narrow paths, becoming all but a streak of blonde hair, pale skin, and excited laughter. He could remember warning her to be careful when he had finally caught up to her, could so clearly remember the exaggerative sigh she gave as she pouted at the small speech she was given, though it didn't seem to last for much longer when he had lifted her small form to his side, carrying her with him to a nearby shop that sold sweets, a welcome detour on their way to their destination of the day- to an outing with her father, his brother. Given the anticipated company, wine would have been favorable for Baelyx, but given what his present company had been and the way her face had lit up as she took a bite in to their favorite exotic sweet treat, one flavored of both honey and pomegranate, it had been well worth that concession.

Was he alright? Well, he hadn't fallen in to the lava, but there was certainly more than one aspect to a state of being. Was he alright? Probably not, he likely hadn't been able to call himself alright since the images had forced their way in to his mind, but that felt to him to be another matter entirely, one that had no place in the current conversation, though in truth likely had the most prominent and pressing place. With that final question, he found himself forcing himself to find his voice once more, to put the thoughts and questions aside if only for a moment to answer her. It took him a moment, his brows furrowed as his gaze continued to be settled on her, his grasp on her not loosening quite yet. Finally, he found them, if only in a sense. "I...I'm, yes, I am, I'm..." It wasn't like him to be lost for words, and yet in the moment, he found himself struggling, though he knew he should have perhaps been grateful to find any words at all.

Baelyx trailed off, his eyes studying her beautiful features for another moment. Even beyond the shock and confusion, there was a familiarity there within her he realized suddenly, one that went beyond the obvious recognition that had hit him the moment he had laid eyes on her. There was something inherently solitary about the scenes that had filled his mind for weeks. Admittedly, he had been in a city where he knew no one in any sort of personal way- business dealings didn't qualify, they weren't real in any sense other then monetary, and didn't inspire the best and most solid of friendships. They weren't personal, little inherent trust beyond the trust required for the exchange, or intimacy demanded of the act- neither did his connections brought about by the flesh, not really. It was intimacy in a physical sense, and personal in that way, but not inherently in any way that Baelyx thought actually mattered. Certainly days spent in pillow houses were honest- a transaction, the joining of bodies and exchanging of coin, the flowing of ample wine and beauty, and he had loved those days and found more pleasure and entertainment in Lys than he had ever sought out in Valyria. It wasn't anything against Lys. He loved the city and would have extended his trip, remaining there for months longer under some farce if he could have, if his life didn't belong in Valyria, if the scenes that flashed in his head hadn't consumed all that he was and all that he had enjoyed in such a maddeningly thorough way. It was nothing against the city, no fault of its own, as he was sure there was more there to be found for others that he had yet to find there for himself, or had ever even been open to finding.

Yet, beyond all of that, the isolation he had felt had went beyond the city, he knew. It was rooted in the images, the things he saw that he had never witnessed, that were as horrific as any stories he had ever even heard tales of. They were what brought that feeling, and yet there she was, and it suddenly wasn't as if the isolation was exclusive, as if he was drifting away in his own thoughts and madness. She was there, and she was real, quite literally within his grasp. She was with him in that, and there was a familiarity there, a connection that bound the two from those images alone. The thought gave him a moment to calm himself, if only slightly, and to bring himself back in to the moment. With that, Baelyx found himself again, at least in a way that was more grounded than he had been. Blinking down at her, Baelyx found himself reassessing, loosening his grasp on her after what must have been at least a minute of staring, unable to muster together a simple complete sentence towards her in his shock and confusion. Still, he didn't let her go completely, his hold on her simply looser, more relaxed than it had been when a body potentially tumbling in to the lava below had seemed a likely alternative. Finally, he felt some sort of control again, though he truly couldn't understand how he was able to find any composure, though any explanation other than the woman before him was unfathomable. "I..." He swallowed. "You've seen me, too? Have you you know what it is that you have seen?" He asked, his voice lowering ever so slightly as he spoke to her, the drop in volume not even a conscious choice so much as it was likely a subconscious decision routed out of his newfound habit to keep such thoughts private and from others- regardless of the reality, something he still wasn't even close to being certain of, he knew enough to know how insane it sounded. "I've seen you for a fortnight, at least, I didn't think you were actually... let alone would I meet you, and I just returned today, to go search for answers with the..." He stopped short of finishing the thought for a moment once more, all of the thoughts going through his mind sporadic even as he had regained some level of composure- at least, compared to the level he had sunk to even just moments prior, when stringing words in to simple phrases had been all but too difficult a challenge. "A seer," he finally finished after a moment, his eyes steadying on the woman in front of him once more, his expression becoming calmer and almost gentler, even if every bit of confusion remained within him.

It was funny, almost, how quickly life could change, how circumstances could twist the lives of those effected through decisions made. For years -so long that she could barely remember a time before- Ashara was set to be married to a Lannister, a boy she had never met, off in the Westerlands. It wasn't a thought she had always loathed, though had come to both fear and dread as time had went on, as word of the reputation of the family and nature of their home and environment had reached her. Life was different north of Dorne, and the people were different, and the Lannisters, she would go on to hear, represented little more than some of the worst of that reality. The thoughts and worries that she had carried since she was just a child, a young girl being appraised by advisers of the King of the Rock as if she were livestock, uncomfortably evaluated by those strange blonde men years before she would even have her first bleed, and had left her so completely for a time, had only grown as whispers of that reality had reached her. Dark brown eyes holding steady at the sand ahead of her as she felt the graceful sand steed beneath her, an older mare with a body as dark as the darkest night and a mane and tail of a barely lighter shade, Ashara couldn't help but let her mind wander, her thoughts so easily clinging to the joy that she had felt in the moment she heard her father say those words- the ones that told her she would never be shipped off to Casterly Rock, that she would never have to leave Dorne or meet the Lannisters, never have to leave and go so far away from the place she loved and her family who she adored more than anything. Everything changed so quickly after that, of course, but Ashara certainly hadn't complained about it. It wasn't long before another match was made, one that sparked excitement and glee within her- a sense of excitement that hadn't left her, but had soon been joined by nervousness that weighed at her like an anvil in the pit of her stomach. It only grew to feel heavier within her as her journey began, the young woman escorted by three of her brothers and their bannerman to reaches of Dorne further from the Tor than she had ever ventured, and grew to such a weight as the days, and then the hours, waned until she would first meet her future husband, the Prince of Dorne, that her mind could not escape it.

"A bit of an odd name our Prince has, don't you think?" It wasn't the very first time that the thought had occurred to her, of course, but it was one that seemed ever-pressing, and considering she was only minutes away from meeting the man, from realizing her fate, it seemed as good a time as any to bring it up. Certainly not a tactic to bring her mind elsewhere, but her nerves were weighing heavier as the moments went on. It wasn't often that Ashara found herself nervous, and yet she was, the damned feeling seemingly always connected to the union of herself and some man she was meant to marry for one reason or another, and the pressing feeling felt so completely unlike her, so very against her nature. She wanted to settle it in any way she could, and in the moment, the best and admittedly only way seemed to present itself as talking. "I've never given it much thought before, but now... I do wonder what has sparked such a peculiar name," her eyes flickered to her brother beside her, her gaze settling on him for a moment before looking back to the sand that stretched out in front of them. No response was given, but it didn't deter her from speaking again after only a moment of silence was shared between them. "Does he have any children?" She inquired, her eyes flickering once more from the desert in front of her to the man at her side. "I wouldn't mind, not really," she claimed of the possibility of her future husband having bastards. "It would just be lovely to know in advance, yes?"

"None that I am aware of, 'Shara," he finally spoke, his tone a bit crisp at the sentiment. Of course, Ashara should have known better. While some of her brothers had fathered bastards already, she knew Olyvar had a bit of a sensitivity on the subject- a sensitivity that, she had been told, had stemmed from watching their mother's sadness at the affairs their father had had, and the bastards that had been born from such unions while his wife had still been living. "Hm," she nodded in acknowledgement. She remained quiet for a moment before another thought occurred to her- a thought that might have seemed a bit naive given the nature of highborn marriages, but clung to her mind all the same once it entered once more. Her eyes raised back to the older man. "Is he handsome?" She asked her brother, her words sudden. She watched as his eyes seemed to stay purposefully locked on the path ahead of him. "I wouldn't be the best judge of it." Ashara scrunched up her nose slightly at the disappointing response. Just her luck- she had asked one of her only brothers who claimed to have no interest in men- neither a ravenous hunger for them or a passing curiosity. Then, of course, another thought entered her mind. "Does Garrison think he's handsome?" The thought alone lifted the Dornish woman's spirits if only for a moment, a mischievous smile forming on her features as she watched her ever-serious brother turn his head to her. "He's the Prince." It was fair enough, really. By nearly any standard, his bloodline and title alone would make his attractive to just about anyone. Still, she wondered what he would look like. It wasn't the first time she had wondered, but as the inevitable meeting neared, it seemed like a more pressing question than ever. Would he be unsightly? She had asked Anders before, though only once, but her closest brother had never before laid eyes on the prince. Quite like her, he didn't spend much time away from The Tor.

Her smile was slow to slip from her lips, but did all the same as her mind continued to wonder in the lull of the conversation that followed. Of course, as her nerves refused to settle, it wasn't long before Ashara found herself speaking to her brother once more. "Would you gather he likes birds?" She asked. "I hope he likes Rayne," Ashara added after a moment of contemplation. She really did hope that he would. Rayne had been an early wedding present from Anders, a beautiful and affectionate young cockatoo from Essos that her brother gave her with the claim that even when he was to leave, even if she wasn't to immediately bond with her husband, she would never be alone. He was certainly right. "Rayne will love him, I know he will." She reflected. The claim seemed to capture Olyvar's attention. "Oh, you know it, do you?" There was something teasing about the tone, as if she was naive to think so, but Ashara didn't hesitate. She might not have been certain about much, but she had to believe she at least knew Rayne. She had to believe at least that much, and not her nerves nor her brother's condescension could change that. "Why yes, Oly. I do know. Have you known Rayne to ever dislike another soul?" Her dark brown eyes watched her brother. "What are the odds that he will loathe our Prince? No, he will love him fiercely. It is fate, dear brother-- Rayne will love him, I know it." She gave a decisive nod at her own words. The parrot's only grievance that she had discovered in her time with him was when he was left alone, a state that she did her best to leave him in as rarely as she possibly could. Rayne just loved to be around people, loved to give affection to the friendly people he came in to contact with, and to receive it in return. The only things that even seemed to come close to that for him were sweet fruits. While her words were true enough, another thought made her falter for a moment, bringing her back to her most pressing concern- not just of how her bird would be received, but what the prince would think of her, and the nature of her future marriage. "All that remains to be seen is if he will be loved in kind."

Her eyes drifted down at the thought, her worries beginning to gnaw at her with a renewed ferocity, interrupted only briefly as Olyvar's voice filled the air once more. "You worry too much for that bird." Her eyes lifted at the thought, her brows furrowing. "Do I?" She asked. "Often I think I do not worry enough." Her brother's posture straightened. "Rayne will survive the trip to Sunspear, I assure you." The words were dismissive, spoken with nearly the same tone that she had heard him use to speak to children, but that didn't bother her in the moment. That was just Olyvar, and she had far more weighing on her than her second oldest brother's opinion. With that, it seemed as if he was finished with the conversation and the way it was heading. The older man took off, pulling gently on the reigns and quickening his pace, leaving Ashara to watch as her brother moved away from her, his pace slowing to match that of a small group of bannermen ahead of them. A soft sigh escaped her as she watched them, her eyes remaining settled on the men until a noise suddenly sounded off next to her, her attention grabbed by the sound of a familiar voice next to her. "We're almost there now, it will not take long now."

Her eyes moved to the man who had settled the pace of his mount beside her, wondering briefly how she had neglected to notice Anders approaching. How lost in her thoughts must she have been? It took her a moment to reflect upon the words, her brows furrowing at the reality of them as she felt her nerves begin to weigh in her stomach, even heavier than before. She was excited, she was, and yet that fear- the fear of the unknown, of what her husband might think of her, and of being moved to a new home to spend the rest of her days away from her family and The Tor nagged at her. She resented the worries, of course she did, but she still couldn't shake them no matter how much she tried. They only grew and found a way to expand the more time she was allowed to focus on them, the more her thoughts dwelled on the moments that were ticking down, that the answers she so wanted were given to her and she would be stuck with whatever reality they would present her with. She was excited, of course she was, but without distraction, the worries of being away from The Tor permanently and being introduced to a prince who might find her to be a nuisance or unattractive or anything that he might have been fearing or wishing she wasn't, only grew. Yet, in an effort to try to starve those worries once more rather than feed them like kindling to a flame, Ashara made no mention of them again. Instead, she gave a nod before her eyes returned to the sand in front of her once more. As her eyes raised, within moments, she realized just how right Anders had been. As they reached the peak of a dune, the largest yet on their journey from the port from which they had anchored, Ashara saw what lay ahead. It was the largest and most spectacular settlement she had ever seen- miles away, she would have guessed, but still sprawling in the distance. There was a city unlike any she had ever witnessed, granted she hadn't seen any other true cities with the questionable exception of Planky Town, but still beautiful to her eyes all the same. The city had great walls surrounding it, allowing only the buildings of a certain elevation to be visible even at her elevation, but it wasn't the city or the walls that her eyes rested upon for long, but rather the towers of the Old Palace, two great towers that she had heard of before- standing remarkably tall and in a beautiful Rhoynish fashion. It was only their outlines that she could make out at such a distance, and yet they stunned her all the same, her eyes wide as she took in the beautiful sight. For a moment, she was finally able to keep her mind off her worries.

Then, she heard her brother once more. "Beautiful, is it not? Now that I have seen it, I'll have to bring myself to visit you more often." The teasing words brought her back to reality, her eyes moving back to him. Yet, she wasn't given a chance to speak. "It is so far away, though, I can hardly see. Perhaps we could...hurry this along?" The mischievous expression on her brother's face quickly brought a smile to Ashara's. "When you say 'hurry this along', you don't mean...?" His grin only grew. "Afraid you can not make it, 'Shara?"

It was perhaps the last thing they should have been doing in the moment, and yet her mind was miraculously no longer in the moment, the challenge and promise of good fun freeing her if only briefly. Within moments, the two siblings had set off, their sand steeds racing abruptly passed their older brother and their bannermen, taking off in a straight line towards the large Threefold Gates. The race was close, their mounts all but equal, but it was exhilarating all the same as they neared the wall, the gates being lifted one after another in time that they didn't have to slow. Neither knew the city, and yet the path presented by the Threefold Gates being lifted made the task simple, allowing them to avoid the labyrinth of small paths and winding alleys that were visible once within the walls of the city, instead enabling them to stick to the clearest, widest path that followed straight through the defensive walls that wound even within the city, making a clear route to the Old Palace that was still visible even despite the walls and buildings, given the height of the seat of House Martell, and the sight of those gorgeous towers hanging above the city. The pair was full of laughter as they raced through the unfamiliar city, only slowing when they reached the final gate and moved in to the courtyard. "I told you I would win!" The teasing proclamation of there being a winner of their race was made before Ashara had even been able to focus on her surroundings, but they made her laugh even harder. "Seven hells!" She was quick to refute the ridiculous claim, though her laughter didn't calm as her hand went affectionately to her mare. Ashara may not have followed the faith of the seven, but Anders certainly did, making it a phrase he would often use, and therefor one she would often use against him.

It was only then that Ashara looked up from her mare and from Anders, her eyes widening a bit and her laughter dying as they settled on the group presumably awaiting their arrival. The royal house, House Martell. Her eyes moved about the people there, almost instinctively attempting to find her future husband, but it wasn't that simple. There were a few young men present, and an older man, along with multiple older women. It was a familiarly complex arrangement by the look of it, and yet it was foreign to her, and she couldn't tell in a moment who each member of the group was as not a single face among them was familiar to her. Thankfully, she quickly noticed, none of them were unsightly, so if her future husband was among them, he wouldn't be. Yet the thought brought her nerves back, the question of whether or not he would find her suitable in her mind once more. She was oblivious to Anders moving, a man moving to take her mare, and the sound of their bannermen finally arriving behind them, as she watched the group, her hand lifting to run through her long wind-whipped curls. Her eyes moved over the others, making quick judgements. One looked harsh, she thought, or at least not not harsh, and she instantly found herself hoping that he wouldn't be the Prince. There were a few other men standing as well, but as her eyes scanned further, there was one that quickly captured her attention. Perhaps it was because he was incredibly handsome, or that she thought the texture of his curly hair was just as inviting as his lovely facial features, or perhaps even that jacket- a sort of garment that she had never seen before, at least in design. The sight of the odd looking piece brought a small smile to her lips that she didn't even realize was there in the moment, though truthfully, in the moment, she didn't realize much of anything- not just what was taking place around her, but even her own actions, and that she was staring.

Her eyes didn't leave him until she heard her brother calling her name from beside her, causing her gaze to shift toward the lean man. She offered her hand when she noticed him reaching towards her, though her attention still wasn't completely his alone, which left the following dismount with unusually little grace to speak of, the young woman tripping over herself as her feet met the ground, all but falling in to her brother who was quick to catch her. The slip up had her brother chuckling as he looked over her before his head lowered so he could talk lowly in to her ear. "You may wish to make an...adjustment, love," he advised quietly, his eyes moving flickering downward for direction. "An..oh! Thank you." It took her a moment to realize what he was referring to, but once she glanced down, the meaning behind his words was made all too clear and she looked at him with gratitude. As she had collided in to him, her plum dress had shifted. It was all too easy for such a thing to happen, the fabric over her breasts separate and covering each individually, held in place to each other and to the skirt of the dress only by thread and thin silver, leaving the flesh between the three parts exposed. Ashara felt him wrap an arm around her back, furthering her privacy. Thankfully she was facing away from the royal family, the malfunction only visible to her brother- while having a breast partially exposed was hardly how she would want to meet her husband and his family, to be exposed in front of Anders was nothing. How many times had they bathed together as children, had she walked in on him with women and men alike, or had they stripped down out of more binding clothes to feel the waves against their flesh in the sea? Far too many to care what parts of her he saw, and yet she felt her cheeks warming a bit all the same given where they were- and, more importantly, who they were near. As her hand moved between them to quickly and discretely adjust the fabric and make sure she was covered once more, she heard him speaking lowly in her ear once more. "I always say every encounter is made better by at least a bit of nudity," he teased. "Yes, you certainly do," Ashara couldn't help the small smile that returned to her lips as she looked up at him once more. "A rule to live by," he winked.

The words only widened her smile, though it disappeared in a moment as she was brought back to reality by the sound of Olyvar's voice. She turned to the sound, her eyes widening as she listened to him formally introduce himself to the Prince- the man who she had taken notice of as she and Anders had arrived moments before, the handsome one with the lovely hair and unusual jacket. She blinked at the realization. He was the one she was to marry? After introducing himself, she saw Olyvar give a less than impressed look in hers and Anders' direction. "I apologize for my siblings," he added stiffly. "They can be a bit...eccentric." Clearly, he wasn't happy with the entrance they had made, and Ashara would guess that he likewise wasn't thrilled with having to catch up to them. Ashara's cheeks darkened further as her eyes moved from Olyvar to the Prince once more. "I don't believe he's pleased," she heard Anders speak quietly of their brother in her ear once more, but she didn't respond or look away from the prince, her nerves from before the race finally beginning to hit her once more. What if he didn't find her agreeable, if he didn't like her? She could feel her heart pounding in her chest, the worries beginning to weigh in her once more, freezing her in place until Olyvar's hardly subtle and most displeased expression finally caught her attention once more, and she was pulled back to the present by the way his eyes moved pointedly and impatiently from her to the prince. Oh, of course. Ashara finally glanced back up to Anders, who gave her a small nod with another wink, the encouragement a send off as she moved forward, away from Anders and towards the Martells. Ashara's eyes moved from Olyvar to the prince once again, and once they were on him, remained there until she stood before him. "Prince Zoroastarr," she curtsied, the name sounding different from her lips than she thought they would have. She still found the name peculiar, but standing so close as she was now, even as nervous as she was, she decided that she liked it. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you," she greeted him, her gaze remaining steady on him.

(☄) 002

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:05 am
by 76heart
━b  l  o  o  d     of━━━━━━━━━━━
xxxMadness. It was a curious thing, something that could so greatly vary, yet stay rooted the same, even if those roots had been placed from different causes, and in different ways. It had, when she had been younger, too unknowing of the world to truly understand the weight of the dreams, when they were only nightmares to scare her from seeking solace in the blackness of sleep, been something she felt lay in the eyes of the beholder. After all, one could seem raving mad to everyone else, to the world, even, but to themselves, what was perceived as madness made perfect sense, and to them was nothing but clarity. Though, she had supposed that wasn't even what madness was, or perhaps that was what made someone mad. Now though, she knew differently, and while perhaps that was true, something told her that a beholder didn't have to find one to be mad for the madness to take root in their veins and begin to devour them whole until it was nothing left, just a husk of what they once were with wild madness rooting deep inside, or a practiced insanity hidden behind a carefully placed mask that only few could see behind. There wasn't much she knew definitively about madness and what she felt about it besides that, as she wasn't sure if she had ever met someone with insanity creeping within their mind, and in the stories she was read before each night in bed, the ones who had lost their mind were always the ones painted as villains, never as heroes, and she had never much paid any mind to the ones who wished to burn them all. She had always held a fondness for the heroes instead, who without fail were always distinctly void of madness, with their mind clear, and filled with just and true intent. When all she had known was the love of two parents, and the feeling of silken sheets pulled up under her chin while being tucked in for the stories of gallant knights from far off lands and dragons and epics of Valyria before bed, she had wanted the be like those heroes, but now that she had grown older, and seen more of the world, and learned of it's hurts and evils, and seen so much of the terrors in her head, she only wanted she be good. She just wanted to have a good heart, and a sound mind of sane clarity, if she hadn't lost hers already, which with her dreams, could be a very strong possibility, even if the thought sent her stomach churning into knots at the fear of becoming what she never wanted to be. She wished she could eliminate that thought from being a possibility, but for so, so many reasons that swarmed her mind the instant it came up, with her dreams being the most prominent, terrifying one, she knew that she never could. If it hadn't caught up with her already, she was certain that madness could already be beginning it's slow, crawling creep into her bones, and if she said that she had never thought about being mad herself, or her own family's supposed or possible madness, then she would be lying to both herself and the world. She had thought about it many times, far more than she would ever care to admit, even to herself, though not admitting it to herself was something she couldn't do. Those thoughts had been on her mind ever since she had been a little girl, the only one to have dreams of nothing but fire and ruin. How couldn't that be madness? A child, so young, so innocent, so unaware of all the despicable horrors of the world, dreaming of desrtuction of the most grim and grotesque kind, of everyone she knew and everyone she didn't, and her own home, consumed by fire and death. What could that be if not a madness burned into her fate through her blood? A mark of insanity placed upon her by whoever weaved her thread of life and time? There was no way there wasn't something wrong with her, or something that was different, and even if it wasn't madness, it wasn't normal. It couldn't be normal. While fire and blood were normalities in Valyria- as normal within the stronghold as the ashen stone of their tower walls and lava lining the streets-, with dragon fire erupting from dragon's mounts and blood of the dragon running through her veins, the manner in which they came to be in her dreams was not. Valyria was not supposed to be confused by fire and ash, nor charred, still burning lifeless bodies beside gurgling pools of blood and lava, and children were not supposed to dream of such things every single night and wake up crying each night they did, and dreams were not supposed to take her during the day time after they had grown so much worse throughout the years, with a faceless man's presence growing ever stronger. It had reached a point where her fear of her own possible insanity had become more than just a small baseless worry of a child wondering if they were normal. A fear of nightmares had become a fear of reality and she was too scared to let it continue unchecked for another day, and she could no longer sit without it being addressed. They were now more than just dreams, so much more; they took her in the day, and haunted her during the night, and she had to speak with someone, she had to figure out why. She had to, she just had to, before she truly lost her mind and ever bit of sanity she may have left wondering, especially now that the faceless man had been revealed to her, and she discovered that for years she had been dreaming of a man she had never met, of a man who's existence she did not know. If anything, that was an even bigger sign of madness having crept into her bones, an almost damning piece of evidence to that, but at least, even if it was nothing but a sign to her insanity, she was no longer alone, and right now, she cared about that far more than she cared about madness, no matter how much she feared having lost her own mind.

xxxAt last, after so long, she had someone to share in it with. For the first time for as long as she could remember she was not alone. She had been alone so very long, so long that she could never have imagined truly sharing this with someone, so long that the hope that she one day could had never been anything but a hope she knew would never be anything more, and yet, it had, and now before her was the man in her dreams, his handsome face revealed, and his touch so comforting, so reassuring, so soft. She had felt the embrace of her mother, of her father, and felt their love in the strength of the arms around her, and she felt safe with them, and loved, and protected, but never before had she felt the relief, or the true peace, that she now felt with him, at the knowledge that she was no longer in this alone. Her mind was still swarming, still burning with so many questions, but amidst their whirling there was a feeling of relief, true, utter relief, that she had never felt before. There was no feeling that could ever compare to that, no touch or promise or string of reassuring words that could ease the mounting fears she had had since she was a but a girl, no anything, that could make her feel as she did now, so relieved, so comforted, and so not alone. Of that, if she could be certain of nothing else for as long as she drew breath and until she was nothing but yellowed bones in the ground with the rest of her returned to the earth to bring about new life, she was certain of that, and she knew that would never change. She had never felt this before, and she was sure that she would never feel anything like this again, and it was all because of him, because he shared in the torments she had always known. Had he been having them for as long as he could remember, too? Had they been plaguing him since he was but a small boy? Had he known their horrors for his whole life? Had he seen the flames engulfing everyone he loved and everyone he knew ever since he had been a child? Were the monstrous horrors and broken cities littered with corpses of ash that had become as familiar to her as her own hands if not more so, the same ones that he had seen? Did he know the sight of smoldering stone and blackened air as well as he knew the back of his own hands, or the sound of his voice? Was he scared of them too? Did he fear he had also gone mad? Was she not alone in fearing she had lost her sanity, or clarity of mind, the moment the dreams became too real and persistent to deny? If he had seen her before, in his dreams, that had to mean he had the dreams as she, didn't it? That had to mean that she was no longer so painfully scared and alone with what she saw? Could they share in this together now, these horrible nightmares, these fears, these pains? Would he even want to share them with her? Would he even find her tolerable to be around? Would he find her to be a disappointment, a let down from the woman he had seen in his dreams, or would she be a salvation to him, as he had been to her, or had he found that already with another? Had he been all alone in this too? Had he too had no one to bear this burden, these terrible dreams and fears of losing his mind in the very worst of ways, all by himself? Had he shared them with anyone, or found another who had them too? She doubted that he had, if another person existed who had them as she did, she was sure she'd have found them by now, but then, she had also never found him, and really, neither of them had even found each other, they collided. He didn't seem to react as if he had already found these answers before though, as if he had already found another in his dreams; he seemed just as shocked and stunned and a mix of things she could not put words to or explain as she was, and he had been the only other loving soul to appear to her dreams. That had to mean it was only them, right? That he had never found someone to share what he had seen with as well? That he had also been alone? He too dreamed of a figure he had never before met or seen ever before, had he ever thought he was mad, that he was losing his sanity, losing his mind? Had he ever feared that, or stayed awake for as many days as he could while fighting of exhaustion to escape the terrors of the dreams? Did they scare him as they terrified her? Or had he never even felt such fears, or worried about what the night terrors that ruled his mind meant? She felt her breath catch in her throat, a new terrible thought, a twisting, turning, churning, winding, weaving, horrible worry taking hold that set her heart beating faster with a fear she was sure she would never be able to hide from her face, from him. Had she gotten too carried away with her hope? Did he even have the dreams? Had that even been where he saw her from? She was part of one of the dragonlord families, surely he could have seen her through that, without her seeing him? But the way he spoke knowing her didn't sound as if he recognized her from a place he had been, it sounded as if he had recognized her from someplace that wasn't real, the place of his dreams. That had to mean something, right? That had to mean she hadn't gotten so ahead of herself with her thoughts that she had wrongly assumed he was like her and that she wasn't alone, right? She didn't know, now she truly didn't. She wasn't sure if she was alone or if she had him to share in it, and all she could do was hope that he did, because now that she had had that hope, if it turned out she was wrong, and he had never had such dreams, she was certain that it would break her, and that she'd never be the same again, that she'd never be able to continue on as she had been, if she could continue on at all. For so long she had carried this burden, these nightmares, this fear, all on her own, and now that she had found someone else who knew them, who had carried it as well, she didn't want that to be taken away, especially by a wrong assumption. She just had to hope she wasn't wrong, and that he too knew the horrible dreams, it was all she could do, and while looking into his violet eyes, eyes that mirrored the unexplainable feelings reflected in her own that only they knew, she hoped more than anything, she hoped with all that she was, that the hope he shared in her dreams and knew of the suffering she had endured for so long, was true.

xxxThankfully, before her horrible racing and frantic thoughts of fear and worry could continue any further, he began to speak, answering the question she had asked only moments ago- even though it felt as if an eternity had passed since the words of hope that he was alright had slipped through her lips-, and drawing her attention, caution a temporary halt in her racing thoughts as her violet eyes returned to his face and she felt herself calming once again. They had never met before, but he was familiar, a figure she had known as long as she would know a good friend, and seeing his face, truly focusing on him and seeing him again eased her, and helped to center her and her thoughts. She felt safe with him, like she never had to worry about a thing, and as she searched his features, she could feel at least a few of her swarming worries melting away like steel bring formed, still there, but changing, into something better, into things that were not rooted in fear. His brow was furrowed, as if he had been thinking hard before speaking and finally finding his words. It didn't sound as if he had managed to completely found them, though, as he spoke a word, a slow word at a time. He was struggling to get them out, but regardless, she felt a weight leave her shoulders at the words. He was alright. He hadn't been hurt. She let out a sigh of relief, a breath she hadn't known she and been holding. More fluent, or fluid words could come later; they were hardly coming to her too truthfully. What mattered now was that he had been unharmed. "I- Ah, I'm glad. Good. I'm very glad you're alright." Rhaemi breathed, giving a small, sharp nod, eyes flitting from his features to his own purple eyes as he searched hers upon trailing off. Hopefully he wouldn't care too much that she couldn't really find her words either. It was easier than it had been when she last spoke, but presently her focus was on being glad that he hadn't been hurt in their collision. Even though this was the first time they were meeting, she already cared for him, she already found herself wishing that no harm ever came to him and that he would never know the feeling of pain. He felt like someone she and known forever, yet had known only for a moment all the same, and yet, even with the shortness of which they had known each other, his presence felt as comforting as the few she had known for years. He felt like the safety she had felt on Rhaenya's back before the dreams had begun taking her during the day, he felt like the freeness of those flights, of the comfort they brought in ways absolutely nothing else could bring. She wasn't sure if it was because she was almost certain that he shared in her dreams and that he knew of them too, or if it was because he had been in them for so long that he had almost become a friend within them, the one light amidst the rubble, a smile amidst the tears, a sun in the rain, or if it was something else entirely, but she didn't care too figure out what exactly it was now, all she cared about was that he hadn't been hurt, and that he was okay, at least physically. If his dreams were anything like her own then she could say nothing for if he was okay in any other way, she knew she wasn't, but she was starting to feel more okay than she could ever remember having felt, now that she had met him, and she hoped that if he had experienced what she had, she was helping him to feel better in that way too.
xxxHe blinked down at her, and then his grip loosened, the touch bringing her attention back to reality once again. Her eyes shot to his, a moment of worry that his hands would slip away, that she would no longer feel their warmth, but she quickly found that that worry was unfounded. Though his grip had loosened, it remained, just looser and more relaxed than it had been before, and she was so glad that he hadn't let her go. His hands were warm upon her skin where they had gripped her so she hadn't fallen into the lava that lined the streets to a death most painful sand gruesome, and she wasn't ready to say goodbye to that warmth just yet. It was so very comforting, like a blanket if safety wrapped around her, and she was scared that if he let go he would walk away and she'd never see him again or get answers to her dreams. He grounded her, his touch the thing that centered her, like an anchor from a ship, a very handsome, unparalleled, soothing anchor wrapped in the softness of moss. He started again, and then swallowed, stopping. It seemed like words were still a struggle for him too. He continued quickly though, finding his voice even as it lowered ever so slightly, like a whispered secret, and she could feel herself lighting up, filling her with a hope. He had seen her before? He had seen her, he had, that meant he had the dreams too. She had been right. She wasn't alone, Rhaemi had found someone to share this with, someone that she could share the burden with, someone else who knew what it was like, someone who wouldn't call her insane if she found the courage to mention them too. She gave a nod as an answer, and an even larger one at his next question, when he asked if she knew what she had seen. She knew to all too well, and from the sound of how he had begun that question, he knew it too, and she was more than eager to answer. "Yes, I-" She swallowed, hurried words coming up jumbled and tangled within her throat, rushing out the moment after the last word had left his lips, before she had even thought of exactly what to say. "I have seen you. Many times, in so, so many dreams. You were the only thing besides me that was ever alive. Your face was always blurred but it was you, there is no doubt. Now that I see your face it's..." Rhaemi began, trailing off as she focused on the memories, on the images of him in her dreams, and before she could stop herself or even realize what she was doing, she gently reached a hand up to touch his face, fingertips lightly gracing his skin as they pushed a strand of curled hair back into place, as if she were testing to see if he was real, or just an illusion, a trick of her mind, another cruel vision to torture her. It was like she was in some sort of trance as her eyes gazed at his features, and her hand moved to lightly cup the side of his face, his hair almost silky as it brushed the tips of her fingers. It would have tickled a bit if she weren't so focused on him, and the images of old memories, once blurred but now complete, now perfectly clear and displaying his features in the place of where a faceless man used to be. "all so clear." Rhaemi finished, her words coming out with a breath, her eyes almost watching him in wonder as she searched his features, before she realized what she was doing, and it stopped, whatever trance had taken over her leaving and snapping her harshly back into reality. She blushed instantly, going quite red- more red than she should have been able to turn-, eyes widening, and hand recoiling quickly as if it had just been burned as she looked down in embarrassment to compose herself again and prepare herself for the risk of having lost him with that touch. She let out a breath, a shaky one as her heart began to beat quickly again, and tentatively looked up after a few moments, only slightly calmer. "Sorry, it's just, I just- I'm still grasping that you're here, before me, in front of me, very much alive and not a dream." Rhaemi confessed, looking into his eyes for a moment, before glancing away and then tentatively looking back. She breathed again, inhaling heavily as she looked down and then exhaled. Okay, she was okay. She was calmer, but gods was she so sorry. She just hoped that he would not be upset. Slowly, she looked back up, eyes earnest, and apologetic, filled with all the hope she had that he wasn't going to leave. It was just so much, so so much, and he was finally a good thing about it, and she didn't want to lose him so soon. Hopefully if she returned to actually answering what he had asked it would help things. "All I know of what I've seen is that you're the only one there, or, the only one alive at least. It's a land- Valyria burning, it's always been burning, things have never not been on flames, and they have only grown more vivid and persistent with time. I didn't used to faint when they happened, because until recently they would not visit me in the day." Rhaemi answered, her gaze clouding over with thought as she spoke, the words hard to say and yet easy all the same as she recalled them, and uttered them to someone for the very first time. It felt good to say them at last, really good, and it too gave her relief, even as she worried that she had just ruined it all. She knew how insane her words sounded too, but at least she didn't worry that they would chance him away, because he already knew them, and even if they had both lost their minds, he would understand the insanity of hers. He continued then, telling her how long he had been seeing her, and that he had only just returned today to search for answers, just as she had been doing before their paths crossed and he saved her. A fortnight? He had been having them since then? Had that been when the visions became particularly persistent, when they began plaguing her in the day? Had that been when they started? She couldn't quite remember with the thousands of thoughts swarming in her head, and he didn't really give her enough time to recall it, after he stopped and then continued again before she had the chance to find the thoughts and memories she needed to determine it. A seer? He was going to see a seer too? She perked up, noticeably straightening. Was he going to see the same one she was presently headed to? They were clearly somehow linked, if he had them too, maybe he would wish to go together? She hoped he would, she had been alone in this for so long, and now that she wasn't, she didn't want to be alone in it ever again. It was an agony that had been with her so long it had become an almost friend. Now that she had met him, she didn't want to see him go. "A seer? The one spoken of near by?" Rhaemi asked, far more hopeful than she had wanted to sound, and noticing then that his eyes had become calmer, almost gentler. The sight eased her more than she knew she needed to be eased, and she let out a soft breath, her worries easing, violet eyes never once leaving his. "I was headed to see a seer as well perhaps it would be wise if we went together?" Rhaemi suggested, offering, and hoping far more than she had any right to that he would accept, eyes searching his expression almost urgently. Even though his expression had eased, he still seemed to be filled with confusion, and she was sure that she looked much the same; she knew she felt it, that she had felt it for about as long as she could remember. If she hadn't messed things up by touching his face, she so hoped that he would join her in finding the seer, in finding the answers she so desperately sought. She wasn't even sure if the seer could even give her, or him any answers, and if none could be given, she wasn't sure if she wanted to handle that devastation alone. Rhaemi wanted to face that with him, so she could at least have him to fall back on if it failed. She would understand if he wished for their paths to part and never cross again, she very well knew that she had almost certainly crossed a line, but she couldn't stop herself from hoping that he would want their paths to remain entwined, that he would want to go see the seer with her. They had just met but it felt like they had already known each other for so long, and she wanted to get to know him, to see him smile and learn what he liked and what he disliked and all there was to know. She wanted to figure out this puzzle with him, to solve it together so she was no longer alone and so that she had least had someone to share it with if it was an ailment that could never be fixed. She just hoped more than anything that he would agree, and that he knew she was sorry, and that this at the very least would not be the last time they met. He was a solace, a light in a place where there had only been darkness for so, so very long, and she didn't want to say goodbye. She didn't know if she could take him saying goodbye so soon after she had finally found him and a key to figuring out her horrible visions, her terrible dreams. She just wanted him to stay.

━━━━not  broken, bowed,━━
━nor   bent━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
xxxHad he always been this impatient? This utterly and completely incapable of waiting for longer than the merest fragment of a second that lasted far too long? Or was it time that had changed, that had slowed down to an excruciating pace before undoubtedly one of the most important moments of his live? He was about to meet his wife, the woman he was to love and cherish and call his princess until the end of his days, until the last breath left his body and his bones turned to dust beneath the earth, or even after that happened, if they were so lucky to have their souls still lingering entwined together even after their bodies were long gone, wherever they went after embracing the coldness of death. He didn't have time for waiting right now, he didn't have time to linger in this boring in between, he didn't want to wait for the start of the rest of his life. Zo knew that when he met her, they'd have all the time in the world to spend together and learn and grow side by side- if she so wished, because he'd never force her to join him in anything if that were not equally her desire to do so, too-, but he wanted that to start now. He wanted to meet her now, to assure her if she had any worries now, so that she need not spend another moment in torment fearing he would not like her or that his touch would be cruel. He didn't have time for patience, now was not it's time. It was pesky, annoying, irritating, itching away at his skin and making him feel as if he had to do something that moment, to get away from where he was or else he'd explode as the feeling continued to build. He didn't want patience now, he didn't want to wait, and yet now the seconds felt longer than they ever had before. Why did time choose now to feel so slow? Why did it have to torture him so? Why couldn't time slip by, like a breeze, and bring his love to him? It wasn't even a question that he would love her, he just knew he would. He would not be like the husbands with a heart that burned coldly for their wife, the ones who only deigned to look their way when they wished to fuck or form an heir. That was something he refused to be. It didn't matter how she looked, what she wore, how she liked to dress, or what she liked to spend her days doing and who she wished to spend them with or who she was in any sort or kind of regard, he was going to love her, his future bride, he would love her no matter what. It was something he knew in bones, knew more than he had ever known anything in his life- including his own name, which he had drunkenly forgotten at least twice amidst a tryst-, and he absolutely could not wait to meet her, to let her know he already loved her, and for the first day of the rest of their lives to begin.

xxxNot loving her was not a choice he would ever have, which was something he was more than happy about, but would his bride-to-be love him in turn? It would not wound him if she did not, but he would be lying if he said it wouldn’t be most spectacular if she shared the love he had for her. It wouldn’t matter if she did not, though, he would love her all the same and would not at all be hurt if she chose to give her love to another and spend her days with them. She was free to do whatever she wished and be with whoever she pleased, and he had no qualms if that whoever was not, or would never, be him. He would also completely understand if he just did not possess the parts she desired. Should that be the case, he would happily be her cover, a shield, so that she may be with whoever she wished regardless of what was dangling or not between their legs without drawing the scornful eye of those up North where they did not embrace such loves with warmth and open arms as they did in Dorne. He would happily instead be a brother, or a friend instead of a husband or a lover, or anything else she wished him to be. He would protect her, and keep her safe, and make sure her name could never be tarnished by some foul gossipmongering talebearer's word, so that she may love her days happy and free with no sorrow touching upon them. He understood that one loved who they loved, and that it was no choice; it was who they were, and that was something to be embraced, and not shunned. He himself did not care what his partner was, or feel a desire for any person in particular; all that mattered to him was that they too wished to spend time with him in such a way. He knew what that was like well, and he would wholly understand if she was like that too, or possessed a preference, or desire for only one, or something else entirely, and he would make that known to her as soon as he could so that need never be a worry that crossed her mind. She would never receive any sort of judgement from him regarding that or anything else, and he hoped she would know that soon, so that it didn't ever have to be a worry she faced while around him. That was the last thing he ever wanted, the last thing he ever wished. She was to be his princess, his equal, and he would do his best to ensure that no such judgements ever fell upon her, and if any ever did, he would happily take the blame for her and find a way to spin it onto himself. He knew the world of gossip well, he enjoyed being a part of it's world and hearing the things his gossipers brought back to him, but he did not enjoy it when the rumors turned foul and cruel and had the potential to ruin an innocents life, and he was determined to never let those fall upon his bride-to-be, his lady Ashara, should she ever choose to love someone other than him, be it man or woman or both.
xxxEven if she happened to love him in return, he would also never force her to be his partner in making an heir if she didn’t wish to be his other half in that; they were lucky to be in Dorne, where he could father a bastard with another and name them prince or princess, and even if they weren’t, he gave not a fuck for what another would say. He would never force another in those ways or put any sort of pressure upon agreeing; such an act took two, and in his eyes, it should not happen if both did not say a yes that was not forced and filled only with the true desire to share in such an act. If she didn’t want to have a child he would not make her bring one into the world. If she wanted a child, but not with him, he would understand that too, and take no offense, and that would also be okay. Even if the rest of the world cared, he would not. It was her body, and her choice, and he wanted her to do what made her happy. A man could do that all he wished, and he saw no reason why a woman could not do the same. There would always be an end to any power, always another to usurp a throne, or a king or queen with no family to take their place, and what did purity of blood matter then? He would care for the child, his or not, and unconditionally love them as he was going to love her, and that, and her happiness were all that mattered. He would be there for the child in however she wished him to be, and he would respect if she wished him to not be present at all. She would be the mother of the child if she ever wished to have one, she would be the one to carry it and bring it into the world and he would listen if she told him she wanted him to have no part in their life, especially if it wasn't his. This marriage was not her choice, and he wanted to give her as much choice as she could possibly have within it, and he would be content to watch the child grow from afar, and understand if she carried any resentment toward him that wouldn't have her wanting him near. Even without a child, he would understand if that resentment was there; he knew he'd be extremely pissed and displeased if he was sold off like sheep or cattle or a pretty necklace with gorgeous, twinkling inlaid jewels in the market from a land across the sea as daughters so often seemed to be in this world the moment they grew old enough to be wed. That resentment, or anger, or whatever it may be, was more than beyond justified in his eyes and he would absolutely understand if she felt that. The practice was unfair and often cruel in his eyes, and not one he enjoyed seeing. He had seen the happiness, and the wonder of marrying for love and the good that came with it through his parents, even through Ricasso and his own future bride, and even the woman that had given the world his niece. Such a wonderful sweet girl with nothing but kindness and love in her hear would never have been born had love not been allowed to happen, and Zo knew that he wouldn't have been born either, and that neither would Qyle have been, had his parents not married for a love. He understood why marriages were arranged that way, because humans were greedy creatures, but he had never liked it, and he was truly sorry that the woman who was to be his wife was a victim of that, and that was why he was ever more determined to give her the best life he could, and the promise that he would love her and there would never be a coldness for her in his heart if she would accept nothing else. Where she had no choice he wanted to give her one. He was being sold off in a way too, but he also partly had choice, so it could not at all be the same. She had been engaged to a Lannister boy for far too long, and now that it had been broken she was handed to the next person who could grant her family good fortune and power or whatever they were hoping to achieve from the marriage, and unless he was missing a great piece to the story, she had had no choice in any of it. He knew little of why the engagement had been broken off by her family, but he was sure being so quickly moved to him had to have her feeling at least a little like some sort of tool. Those in Dorne had more freedom in love and marriage, but she had not been engaged to someone in Dorne until her family's eyes had shifted to him, so he was unsure if she had ever gotten to feel that freedom. Truly though, he would understand if this was something that she just hated him for, if she wanted absolutely nothing to do with him and if seeing his face sent her into a place of resentment and rage. He would not blame her, or take any offense and he would do his very best to respect her boundaries and be there only when she wished him to be. If she needed time that would be okay room and he would be there when she was ready with open arms, mind, and heart, and an array of tasty delicacies and trinkets from far off places to enjoy in hopes it would give her a smile. If she was homesick he would do all he could to make her feel at home, even if she resented him and would not want his gifts. He just wanted to make this as good for her as he possibly could, and give her a joy and a happiness she may not have gotten to have if she had been sent to marry another. Every outcome, every possibility, he was prepared for, and ready and willing to do all he could. He had accepted and come to terms with all those many possibilities awhile ago, and none would change his unconditional and devoted love for her, nothing ever could.

xxxStill, he couldn’t help but worry about what she would think of him, and if she would be miserable in their marriage because she disliked him so. He knew she had been previously engaged to a Lannister, had she met him? Fallen for him, grown feelings for him? Would she find him to be a disappointment, a downgrade in comparison? He knew the engagement had been broken do to something the lion family had said or done, but had that been her choice? Had she wished it to end, and it's breaking had happened to go in her favor, or had the ending gone against her own wishes? Would she still wish to be wed to him, for his kiss, for his tongue, for his touch? Would she forever resent him for keeping her from that? Would she try and do all she could to get back to the Lannister boy? He had no high opinion of the lions, but had had no idea if hers was different, or if she had known them in a way that he could never understand. Did her parents simply wish to aim for a different thing with the marriage, had the Lannisters pulled out part of their favors and changed the deal or something like that, without any concern for Ashara and what she may have felt for her previous betrothed? Or did she hate him as much as the world seemed to despise the lions? Would she welcome a marriage to him if that was the case, or could she still be resentful for being forced into a marriage that she in no circumstances did want? Would she care for him too? Would she be miserable? He didn't need her to care for him return, or even like him for that matter, but Zo never wanted her to be miserable with him, and if she was then he would do all he could to make that right and at least ease a fraction of that misery. She would not deserve that sorrow at all, and he wanted nothing more than to ease it if she possessed it, but would he even want him to ease it? Would she let him? Would she even want the love he so unconditionally gave? He would never ask anything of her, or force her into doing anything she didn't want to, but he still feared that she would be unhappy at his side or as his wife. He would build her a new city if she wished to be away from him, and begin to lay down the brick and mortar with his own two hands, there is nothing he wouldn't do, but what if that wasn't enough? What if she would still be unhappy, still angry and hurt? What could he do then? Would there be anything he could do to ease it? That was something he feared, a worry that had been sitting with him since his father told him he was to marry her. If she resented him, or the situation, or carried hurt and sorrow, he would completely understand it, but he still hoped that she at least would not feel that for him, and that she could at least find some joy in his presence. Was that selfish? Was that cruel of him to ask, to hope? Was it bad to wish? He didn't know, he had no idea, and he was scared that the one scenario he feared would be the one they were stuck with until their deaths. He didn't know what to do if a life with him would make her most unhappy, even if they were cities apart. He had solutions for most everything else, plans for what to do and what to be for nearly everything, except for that, because if he did all he could, and she was still unhappy, there would be nothing left. Would she even find his jokes enjoyable, his efforts to make her smile charming or at the very least endearing or sweet? Would they even give her a grin? He didn't know, and he could feel his impatience beginning to rise again, and naw at him like a dog to a bone. He had to stop thinking about what would happen if she didn't like him, it was just making him nervous, and he didn't want those nerves to in turn affect her and make things worse or bring her any sort of discomfort. He hoped more than anything that she would love him too, that she would want to be with him as he did her, but he knew that would likely not come to pass. Perhaps though, right now it was best to think about the possibility he hoped for most, rather than the one he feared. If she loved him, and their marriage was a happy choice, would she enjoy his stories? Would she enjoy the harmless gossip he collected and his beloved hawk when he chose to be home? Would his bride-to-be enjoy his creative and artistic ventures? Would she enjoy his plays, or at least appreciate them? He had always held a fondness for performers, for story tellers who told their stories through both body and by word in costume and sometimes even with others around, doing the same. He had loved them ever since he had been a boy and a traveling band of actors and bards visited, sewing tales of Valyra and the Summer Isles and legends of Direwolves and the Children of the Forest up north and the dragons and magic of fire to the east, and telling them through dances and beautiful colors of every fabric woven into the most gorgeous costumes he had ever seen with words as soft and smooth and as beautiful as silk. He had wanted to be like them, to create stories like that as they did from the moment they performed for his family at the castle, and he had written one for his betrothed to watch with him after they dined that he so hoped she would like. He would not at all blame her if she didn't like the play or share in those tastes or feel the same about stories and creative things as he did, as everyone had different tastes and different pleasures, but he still greatly hoped that she would, and that if nothing else, they could find joy and solace and laughter within them together and share in the smiles. He wanted to create things with her, stories, plays, tales, songs, music, dances, whatever she desired. He wanted to bring to reality things she had only thought possible in her dreams, things she had never thought could exist outside then. Zo wanted to make her dreams come true and shower her in stories he crafted just for her, so she could know the extent of his love in a way words alone could never express, so he could make her smile and bring her joy. He would give his hobbies and creative pleasures all up for her if they brought her misery and she asked, but like he hoped that she would love him back, he hoped that that would never come to pass, and even though he was still worried, he was most eager to see if she liked all that he had prepared for her to give her a welcome that had her feeling welcomed and like this castle could be a new home.

xxxAll of a sudden, a commotion broke out at the entrance, and Thomos burst through very clearly heavily panting and out of breath. Zoroastarr's thoughts ceased almost immediately, and he straightened, watching the boy lean against a wall as he struggled to catch his breath, gasping for the air his lungs begged for. He was a good kid, sweet, and very loyal. He had come to Dorne as an orphan bastard from a city along the west coast along with a traveling merchant, or rather, he had snuck aboard a merchants ship in a barrel filled with some spice, and hadn't been discovered until he reached Sunspear. The merchant caused quite a ruckus when he discovered to get the boy taken away and punished, but Zo had been there at the time, and stopped the guards who had started attending to the mess of a scene it had become. He was just a kid, a little boy who had lost his family and had no where to go and hadn't known what else to do. A stowaway, yes, but not a thief, and not at all deserving of punishment. Zo had just gotten a baby bird a few days prior, and he needed someone to follow it when it grew large enough to fly so he knew it would always be safe, because Zo would never keep a creature from it's freedom or flight, and so Thomos came under his service and care and became a friend. He got a room in the castle, and quickly proved to be a quick learner and an eager helper, and he more than proved his loyalty as the years went on. He had been nothing but faithful to Goss and to Zo, and had more than earned his keep and the coin he was given. There were few he trusted as much as he trusted Thomos, and he had long ago decided that should anything happen to him, the boy would be the one to get his treasured hawk. He was also to deliver a single rotting fish to Qoren with a letter he had written during a very drunken morning where he felt like he was about to die and had been fully convinced he was about to, but that was an entirely different story of no importance right now as the boy finally caught his breath enough to continue waking and ran to him, bowing and then straightening again. "The Lady Ash..ara is.." He let out a cough. "racing here with... someone. They'll be.. here soon." Thomos let out another cough, this one sounding particularity harsh, and Zo quickly placed a hand on his back, helping to steady him and noticing how the boy seemed like he was about to faint. He frowned, worried that he was overworking the boy, but gave a nod, and pulled him closer for a moment in an odd side hug. "Thank you Thomos, now go inside and get some rest before you pass out. I'll have someone leave you a hefty plate in your room after we dine." He gave the boy a gentle pat on the back, and a guiding push toward the door, and Thomos looked back with a tired- a very, very tired-, grateful smile. Zo watched him return inside, eyes narrowed in concern until he slipped safely in and he had faith the boy could make it to his room, and then turned to his brother with a mischievous smile, finally processing want the boy was said now that he wasn't scared the poor kid was going to faint in his arms at any moment. His lady was near, she was close, he was going to meet her soon and he was beyond excited for that, and even more excited at the fact she was not just peacefully riding there as everyone else would, no, instead of that she was racing. He could already tell she was going to have a most beautiful spirit, and he could not wait to be the one racing her if she wanted to challenge him. He just couldn't wait, and he was sure he was doing a horrible job of containing any of his excitement, especially as he leaned in conspiratorially toward Ricasso, his grin as wide as it could go, and his eyes shining. "I bet you five gold pieces that it is my bride who wins." Zoroastarr proposed, glancing at the entrance and then back to his older quite boring yet tolerable and sometimes fun brother, who looked none too pleased at the words that had just left his mouth. "Whyever would I make a bet with you dear brother, when all of our coin goes to the same pocket? Yours." Ricasso asked, arms crossed, and expression unamused and dry as he turned to face him. Zo scoffed, giving a dramatic sigh at his half-brother's ridiculousness. "Oh come on, if I lose you'll have five more pieces to spend on your newsest venture." Zo watched as Ricasso fixed him with a glare that would have greatly unsettled him if he wasn't in the mood to be a pestering bastard and taking great joy in this exchange while he waited for the love of his life to arrive. "She's not some whore, she is to be my wife!" Ricasso hissed, eyes fiery, yet cold as ice all the same. Zo grinned, holding his hands up on a mock surrender as he leaned back. He tried to hide his smile, but that only made it bigger. "Woah now, no shame if she were, it's a respectable business, one we all love here, and I might even go into it myself were I not a soon to be married prince, though I must admit, fortune telling calls to me more." Zoroastarr set his has hands down, and watched as his older brother snorted at the end of his statement, raising an incredulous brow at him in question, likely in disbelief and wondering at how his brother could be such an idiot. "You, and your cards, a fortune teller?" Ricasso asked, only causing Zo to grin even wider. He had fallen right into his trap. Qoren once told him that he had a shit eating grin- though he was too much of a pride to use those words exactly-, and he was certain that was what he wore now, far too pleased with his own antics. He reached into a pocket, quickly pulling his deck out and fanning them out in front of Ricasso. "Oh, you mean these cards?" Zo smirked, waggling his eyebrows, far too proud of himself. "Why don't you draw one and see how good a fortune teller I am? Five more pieces says you get the fool." Zoraostarr teased, moving the cards even closer. Ricasso only let out a disappointed sigh, and stepped away, walking over to stand on the other side of their father, Qyle following close behind like a duckling with it's mother. Zo frowned, giving an exaggerated pout. "Oh dear brothers, you wound me! Where is your sense of fun?" Zoraostarr called, feigning deep hurt and even deeper offense, with Elio bursting out with a laugh near his side, no longer able to hold it in. He was about to quip back at a very amused Elio, but before he had the chance, his lady and another man, presumably her brother, rushed in through the final gate and into the courtyard of the Old Palace, it's two old Rhoynish towers standing tall to greet them.

xxxGods, she was beautiful, nay, breathtaking. His breath had been stolen from him the moment she came racing in. Her hair was long and whipped by the wind, and her smile brighter and more beautiful than the sun. She hadn't won, but he cared not about that; he cared only for the sound of her beautiful laughter as her hand went affectionately to her horse, a gorgeous mare, though not nearly as gorgeous as it's rider. Her laughter was like the most beautiful music, a song he never wished to end. It made him smile, this not not a smirk, nor a grin, just a smile. A blissful smile. She was like a goddess, and he knew the great love he already held for her could only increase, and he had hopes that she would like him return. He felt a pang of sadness as her laughter faded, but quickly perked up as he noticed her attention had turned in the direction of himself, and his family. Would she be able to tell which one was him? Would she prefer one of his brothers to be her betrothed and find him a disappointment she she learned it was him? He hoped not. He would support her with one of his brothers if she wished to be with one, save for Ricasso who had already found his love and Qyle who was too young, but now that he had seen her, and her smile, and heard her laughter, he truly hoped that she would want him, that he would be all see had hoped. He hardly noticed the man she had entered with moving, or someone coming to take her beautiful sand steed, nor the bannerman that had finally caught up to them or were beginning to arrive; he was too utterly mesmerized by her to pay them any mind, too entranced. He watched as she lifted a hand to run through her long and tousled curls, and he heard himself let out a soft sigh. Every part of her was beautiful, and as his eyes trailed down the length of her hair, he finally noticed her dress, and how it looked very nice on her. It fit her figure well, and did not completely cover her skin which was something he would never be caught complaining about. The color of her dress was a deep plum, a gorgeous color that he thought suited her so very well. The fabric was a bit shimmery in the sunlight, almost like a peak with the way it caught the sun in a dull but noticeable shine on top of the surface. The fabric was folded, back and forth, almost like bellows in forges to stoke and feed the flames, but much prettier, and more meticulously done. It was quite pretty. The skirt ended at her waist, where it was met by an unfolded band of fabric about the width of three of his fingers when turned on their side that sat tightly against her skin, with a small cut out at the front where it wasn't sewn to it like the rest. He couldn't see it too well from where he was, but it looked like some silver casings covering strings fed underneath it as an attachment to the rest of the dress to hold it up and all in place. The pattern the strings and silver were done in reminded him of constellations, like one had been drawn out upon her skin. It's shape looked a bit like a star, but it also reminded him a bit of a crab, with the way they crossed in the center like the markings on a crab's shell and it's outline was a bit like the shape of a crushed house. There was also some silver coming up from the top of the shape, between the fabric covering her breast that looked a bit like eye stalks, but that was probably just him not seeing it up close enough, and he was greatly looking forward to seeing the dress and the rest of her up close soon. The fabric covering her chest had a line of the silver seemingly seen into it's center, with another silver piece on each of her shoulders, and came off to the sides of her arms, hanging until her elbows. From this angle he couldn't see if that fabric carried to covering her back as well, or if that too was covered in constellations of thread and silver. Either option would still be gorgeous, and she would still be just as beautiful in the dress, and he would still adore the way it was held together and it's intricate style. The way the silver caught the sun was beautiful, like her smile, but no where near close to begin able to compare to the beauty of her smile. He doubted anything could compare to that, and he nearly frowned when the man who had entered with her crossed his vision and drew his attention away from her, and to what they were presently doing.
xxxHer gaze still seemed to be cast in his direction, and he watched as she only seemed to half pay attention to what she was offering her hand to as the man reached toward her to help her dismount. He lurched forward a step instinctually when the dismount took an ungrateful turn when she tripped over herself as her feet hit the ground and fell into her brother, who thankfully caught her before she could fall. He blushed a deep red, and stepped back, absentmindedly running a nonchalant hand through his hair to try and hide his embarrassment and leaning forward to catch her when she was such a distance away. Hopefully she wouldn't find that too stupid if she had seen. The man didn't let her go just yet though, and they seemed to share an exchange before he wrapped around her back, blocking her further from view. He frowned, and tilted his head. What was that about? Had something happened? Had she been hurt? Was there something else going on? He watched curiously, far more intrigued than he should have been until the realization of what had likely dawned on him and he found himself turning red again. Oh. She had dismounted ungracefully, and with a dress that had the fabric over her besets separate from the rest and covering each one individually and only attached to the skirt through threads and thin silver to leave the flesh between the three pieces exposed, that had to have caused something to shift. Or at least, that's what he was assuming had happened, as he truly had no other idea as to why the man would remain in front of her and then further cover her after a presumably hushed exchange. If that is what happened, he hoped that she wasn't too embarrassed; accidents like that happened, and he didn't mind that at all. The man, or, brother who had shielded her though; Zo decided that he liked him. That was good of him to do, and he had come racing in with her so clearly he shared in her good spirit. They seemed to be close, and he was glad that she had someone like that to watch out for her. He knew that if he had been in that situation instead of her just now, none of his brothers would have come to his aid, and he'd have been left free to fix it without any cover. He wanted to grimace at the thought of that, but before he could, a new voice reached his ears, and he realized someone was formally introducing themselves to him. His name was Olyvar, or at least he thought it was anyway, it could have been something slightly different, his gaze was still on his lady and he hadn't exactly been paying attention to what he was saying. Reluctantly, he tore his gaze away from her and her brother, and to the new man, giving him his full attention as he finished introducing himself, and then gave an unimpressed look in the direction of his love and the brother he had decided he liked. That had him frowning, and noticeably bristling as he went on to apologize for his siblings stiffly. Zo didn't like this brother. He was too much like Qoren, and he did not want anyone displeased at his bride-to-be having fun and enjoying herself regardless of blood relation or not. He had found her entrance to be spectacular, and the thought of it had his smile returning to his face, even as the man continued to say that his siblings could be a bit eccentric, clearly not at all happy with how they had entered. Zo forced a smile at the man, and waved the apology off with a purposeful gesture of his hand. "Why apologize for eccentricities? They're what makes life interesting, don't you think?" Zoroastarr asked, gesturing again with open arms, and raising his voice so she was sure to clearly hear, smirking, and eyes flickering to Ashara where she stood in the distance, a genuine smile tugging at his lips as his gaze settled on her once more. He wanted her to know that he had loved her entrance, and that he did not agree with this wet rag in the slightest. He noticed that she seemed to be frozen in place for a moment, before she snapped out of it, and looked up to the brother at her side, who he had been most right in assuming to be a brother. He gave her a small nod and a wink which had Zo tilting his head curiously, until he turned his attention back to Ashara, and watched as her gaze turned to the wet blanket before they settled on him, and remained on him until she stood before him and he found his breath once again stolen. Fuck every goddess to exist, none could hope to compare to her, she was even more beautiful and breath taking up close. She curtsied, and he felt his heart skip a beat as she spoke his name. It sounded different than he had expected it to, but her voice was just as beautiful as she was, and he loved the way his name sounded coming from her lips. He hoped that he would be able to hear it again and again and again, and he smiled as she continued, saying it was a pleasure to finally meet him. He wasn't sure if she meant it, or if it was just a formality or a mix of both, but he certainly knew that it was truly a great pleasure to meet her at last, and he could not hide his smile as he bowed, gently taking her hand in his while his other, still holding his precious deck of cards went behind his back, ready to be pulled out the moment he needed them. He was such to keep his touch gentle against her hand as he brought it to his lips, pressing a featherlight kiss to her skin while his eyes never left her own. "The pleasure is mine, Lady Ashara," Zo murmured, still entranced by her. "and please, call me Zo, I am already yours." He smiled, eyes twinkling, sending her a wink meant for her and her alone while moving to stand. He reluctantly let her hand fall from his and back to her side and straightened fully, letting out a soft sigh, before his smile took on a mischievous glint and soon turned into a smirk as he took a step back and knelt on a knee before her, the hand behind his back whipping out from behind him, his deck now clearly in view. "Now, my lady, before your welcome begins, would you like to pick a card and test your fate, and see what the stars have in store?" Zoraostarr asked, his smirk growing, and eyes searching her beautiful features. He could practically hear the internal groans of his brothers behind him, and the undoubtedly amused grin of his father, but he didn't care about them, right now all he cared about was her, and giving her a smile. His eyes remained on hers as he then carefully fanned out the cards, holding them so they were faced down before her and splayed out for her to choose. He had no idea if she'd be eager to play this game with him, or if she'd bite, but he hoped it would at least bring her a smile, and he was more than curious to see which card she would happen to draw. A hidden part of him hoped it would be the card of The Lovers, so there was more hope that this marriage could be one of love and not only arrangement but truly any card she drew would be perfect, though not nearly as perfect as her and her gorgeous, gentle features and entrancing dark eyes and magnificent laugh and her smile that shown brighter than the sun.

Let's Go Up in Flames | Let's Be The Last Ones Standing | III

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:40 am
by Iris
I. Image
Nothing about the last period of time could be considered normal. In a sea of unanswered questions, of 'ifs' and 'maybes' and realities, the nature of which he couldn't even have hoped to be certain after what seemed like a brief dip in the waters of eternity or infinity, even, nothing seemed certain, and that uncertainty which he would have once perhaps thrived in under different circumstances, ones that held far less levity, now discluded any sense of normalcy for him as it seemed to threaten everything that he was, his very being down to his mind, that was grasping for what lay beyond the raging sea of uncertainties. Yet, even despite the uncertainties and how hard and persistently they lashed at him like unrelenting waves washing over him with such ferocity that it had him struggling for footing, and even despite the confusion that seeing her had brought upon him, there was something more to it than that, than the questions that had haunted him and seized his mind since the moment the cursed images had began to make themselves known to him. There was that connection that they shared, the unmistakable connection originally even if not exclusively brought about by the images that had plagued them both, and it was undeniable, a sense of comfort that he felt as his mind calmed, and almost a sense of home that went far beyond that which he had felt when he had returned to the Valyrian Freehold, to his mother and the family estate which he had known his entire life. It was knowing that she existed, that she had seen him as he had seen her, and that she was there presently before him in the flesh in what certainly couldn't have been another false image plaguing his mind, though if it had been he knew he would be thankful for the reprieve of violent images of doom and death with the vision of her in their stead, were it not for the disappointment that would have surely washed over him if such a realization had come to light. Fortunately, he gave little merit to such a possibility in the moment, instead trusting in himself and her and the belief that he could not have possibly reached such a level madness that he couldn't discern the images from the reality he found himself in. No- she was there, she was standing in front of him, her extraordinary gaze locked on his own even as he stumbled upon his words to respond to her, and even after he had finally managed a coherent thought.

Once he had managed to do that much at least, to gather his thoughts and calm himself before her -or, more accurately, both due and in spite of her presence- enough to answer her questions and speak of his intentions of seeing the seer, his eyes remained settled on her beautiful features, brows furrowing but gaze steady upon her as she began to answer his words quickly, hardly a moment seeming to pass after he finished speaking before she began to respond in turn. So it was true, she had seen him as he had seen her. It seemed like such a clear impossibility, something that couldn't have possibly been true, and yet he believed it fully no matter how difficult everything that was happening was to comprehend. He believed it, and he believed her and the moment, despite the nonsensical nature of everything that surrounded it. She had seen him- and not just briefly, or in a fleeting manner that held little more than ambiguity in such that the rest had for him at least, but like him, it was clear and consistent enough that she knew it was him with seemingly the same level of certainty that he had possessed when his eyes had first landed on her. That certainty within itself would have been welcome to him, something that could only add to all that the moment was and all that seeing her had already become and meant to not only his state of mind but himself in an impossibly more personal way, and yet within a moment the thought of that had already left his mind, or at the very least had been buried as another one even more pressing in the moment barreled to the forefront. Baelyx listened as she trailed off, wishing to hear more not only for answers, oddly enough, but just to hear her voice within itself as well, and yet he couldn't find it within himself to be disappointed when she stopped, as he watched her raise a hand and soon felt her gentle touch against his cheek. Somehow, in the moment, that simple action seemed better than all the answers he was seeking could have possibly been.

Her touch was like that of a flame, one that lapped at his flesh with grace as if it was coming home to the blood of Valyria that ran through both of their veins. Or, conversely, perhaps even like the infamous call that was founded within the old fabled tales of sirens north of Sothoryos, creatures that were said to wait in the cold depths among the sharks and the jagged rocks of the Basilisk Isles, moving to the surface and calling to men and women, slavers, pirates, and whores alike, in the ships above with the most enchanting of songs that were said to be impossible to resist, tempting with comfort and unnatural familiarity to their bloody ruin. They weren't tales that he was intimately familiar with in the broadest sense, not like the ones he had been raised with as a child listening to his grandmother tell tales of dragons and their history that tied in with their gods, the likes of which even now, years after his grandmother had died and as a man grown, he could likely recite with ease from memory- yet, he was still familiar enough with them, having met more than a few unusual characters during his times in Lys. Pillow houses had the tendency to draw them out, he figured, and only the drunkest or most unusual men yet tended to want to speak and tell tales around the perimeters of such establishments, especially when they realized he wasn't only a Valyrian, but a member of a house of dragon lords. Naturally he would have preferred the former to the latter, the thought of a flame drawing near a comforting one, especially given the alternative, the potential to feed in to how completely nonsensical everything else had seemed of late. Somehow he knew that the flame immediately seemed more appropriate, that there was nothing deceptively dangerous about it or about her intentions toward him. It wasn't something he had to think about, it was something he knew he could trust, that he could immediately take comfort in. In fact, it was nothing but that, but positive and comforting, the simple touch calming him more than he could have ever anticipated it ever would. He could feel himself leaning in to her touch ever so slightly, nearly allowing his eyes to close so he could focus on nothing more than the feeling of her skin on his, the warmth of her against him as she so easily grounded him, calming him from what he had been.

Unfortunately, as quickly as her welcome touch had graced him, it was gone, withdrawing from him with the delicate ease of a hand dropping from his cheek, and in its absence he felt an immediate sense of longing for it to return, knowing without need for a second thought that he wanted to feel her touch once more. Baelyx straightened a bit at that, the disappointment he felt not insignificant, though he truly couldn't have complained just because it ended so soon when he had no right to so desperately wish for it to return to him once more. Still, even beyond that, he found himself quickly confused once more- not by the situation at hand, as she had somehow managed to calm his mind from what it had been only moments before for the time being at least, but rather at her own reaction. "You needn't apologize," He was quick to dispel after she apologized, though he couldn't for the life of him understand what it was that she could possibly have to apologize for, or why her face had gone so red in what seemed to be a blush- though, in that, he couldn't claim to mind, as it so beautifully lit up her gorgeous features. Still, he was certain the confusion must have been more than somewhat visible on his own features. Regardless, she had soon moved on to answering his previous questions, and he attempted to adjust his focus to what she was now speaking of, though the desire for her touch to return was ever prevalent despite what his priorities should have been, or even what he was certain they were, and it made it more difficult than it should have been given the words that she was conveying. Still, his brows shot up as he listened, eyes widening ever so slightly. What she was describing sounded far more sorted out than what he had been able to interpret from the scenes that had been playing out in his own head, but yet they sounded the same. How was that even possible? Though, to be fair, it seemed a bit late to start counting impossibilities once more. "You were the only life I saw beyond the destruction," Baelyx admitted as he echoed the sentiment. She was the only other person he had seen living throughout all of the scenes that had came to him, the only one who had survived them.

She had heard of the seer too? Had she visited them already, been given any of the answers that he himself had been so desperate to be obtain as he made his way through the streets of Valyria for the first time in months? He gave a nod to her question, and his own unspoken question was answered before he even needed to voice it. She hadn't seen the seer yet, but she had been planning to. What the odds were, he didn't know, but he couldn't have possibly found it within himself to care less about. "I- yes, that does sound...wise," He wasted no time in agreeing with another decisive nod, echoing the word she had used. It did sound wise, of course, though for Baelyx it went beyond that in a way that was both far more simple and complicated in nature: he wasn't ready to say goodbye to her yet, not after just finding her. True, it wasn't as if he had been looking for her, or had even known that she was real and existed outside of the realm of his imagination. Yet, that didn't matter. He had met her now, and nothing could change things back to what they were before he had met her, before he had realized the stunning and vision was an ethereal reality, that she was there and she was with him in whatever was happening. Nothing could change that or make him forget, and he wouldn't have wanted to if it had been a possibility. "I was told the seer wasn't far from here- it was said to be just down the alley here, I believe?" His words were framed as a question, not because he was uncertain of what he thought to be true, but because he had never been to the seer before, had never had the need nor the urge to seek one out before the violent images of death and destruction and begun to fill his mind. For all he knew, he could have been wrong. For as much as he knew, he could have been going in the completely wrong direction and had only bumped in to the only person who he could have possibly needed to find more that the seer even if he hadn't known that before he found her, as some strange act of fate. Unlikely, he knew, but what about their current situation was normal enough to judge by such typical parameters? Even if not, they could have intended to go to different seers, though again, while he knew little of the seers of Valyria, he sincerely doubted it to be the case.

"Oh," his brows furrowed, the edges of his lips pulling ever so slightly upward as a realization suddenly hit him, "I'm Baelyx." Part of him knew that such an informal introduction after such a close encounter with another Valyrian that didn't so much as include the name of his house might have been odd under normal circumstances, but that part of him was the buried deep down and all but disregarded in the moment. Besides, it was hardly as if they were meeting under normal circumstances. They had both seen each other before they had ever laid eyes on one another, images of the other appearing to them before they had even had the chance to meet, both of them plagued with the same macabre images that had no place in their minds. Even beyond anything else, those conditions alone were enough to form a sort of intimate familiarity in his mind, one that existed regardless of whether or not it truthfully had any right to. With that, Baelyx reluctantly released his hold on her, one that he still hadn't relinquished in it's entirety since they had collided, though as he gazed down at her, he was quick to offer her his hand. "Perhaps it might also be wise to avoid either of us falling to our deaths before we arrive?" It was an excuse, of course, to obtain the contact he so wished to return to- even he wasn't in such a state of mind that he could manage to convince himself that it was anything other than that, and he wouldn't claim it to be, even in part evidenced by the corners of his lips pulling up ever so slightly. It wouldn't be quite the same as the moment they had had only moments ago even if she did accept his offer, Baelyx knew, and yet he still craved her touch in any capacity he could have it all the same.

To see his handsome features from afar was one matter, an impressive one to be certain even through the nerves and worries that could distract from such a thing, but to be in such close proximity to the prince was something else all together. It wasn't just that he was handsome, a word that on it's own accord didn't mean much when spoken of by the young woman in such a circumstance, as she had gone to Sunspear with little knowledge of the prince's appearance aside from his approximate age and his sex, and such a description as handsome could be so easily seen as a comparative observation- the reality of finding her betrothed to not be hideously unattractive, as he so easily could have been. No, handsome didn't seem to cover it, didn't seem to be a kind enough description of him to accurately give justice to the reality that was clear to her in that moment as she stood so close to the man, her prince and future husband one in the same. From his skin to his facial hair to his comely features and his hair- that hair, with curls so like her own, and yet different in such a way that made her eyes appreciate it even more, the smallest part of her mind beckoning her to touch it, to run her fingers through those beautiful locks, though that longing was quickly and decisively shut down and locked away from becoming a reality in the moment by her worries that still persisted even as she admired him while she curtsied before him. Even his chest was inviting, something that she was certain she had never before had the thought to admire on a man or woman in such a way, and yet found herself noticing in the moment, in such proximity. It wasn't as if it was unreasonable to notice, she was certain, it couldn't have been- not with someone who looked like him, not with the way his wonderfully unusual clothing left an area of his chest exposed. It may not have been unreasonable to notice such a thing, but it was unusual for her, or at least to notice it with such approval. No, more than simple approval; rather, it was with a sense of longing that was altogether unfamiliar to her. Yet, again, that foreign longing was all but disregarded, shoved to her depths- or, well, the depths of her mind, at least for the time being, though it certainly teased upon depths of an entirely different sort.

Her thoughts quickly became an entanglement of worries and admiration and the battle to suppress them especially as she watched that beautiful smile of his, but all of that entanglement, that internal conflict, ceased at a moments notice as he bowed before her. She watched as he took her hand, his touch so gentle and yet so warm, and felt her breath suddenly captured from her in the moment as his lips pressed against her skin, bringing forth that foreign longing that she had shoved to her depths to the forefront of her thoughts, to her senses, as her eyes remained locked on his. She could feel her cheeks warming already, with an odd sense of disappointment flashing through her even if only for the briefest of moments as his lips left her skin. She couldn't help but to already miss the feeling, to know already that she wished to feel it again, to feel his lips pressed against her skin once more. The thought only made her cheeks warmer, surely brightening them even as she caught her breath again. It wasn't a matter of embarrassment that brought a blush to her features, but something else altogether. His response didn't bring forth the first time she had heard his voice- she had heard it at a distance only moments before, as he spoke to Olyvar, but it was different. It was different as in the moment he had been speaking to her brother, replying to his words in a way that Ashara couldn't have known the truth of in the moment, especially as her nerves had overwhelmed her so completely then. Yet, to hear his lovely voice speak now so closely to her, she couldn't for a moment question his intent or do anything but admire him so completely, his claim of already being hers bringing an immediate bright smile to her face, so quickly obliterating her largest of worries- the one that had nagged at her for so long, the one questioning whether he would like her or if he would be disappointed immediately upon meeting her. He certainly didn't seem to show contempt towards her- if anything, his very being, everything that so brilliantly radiated from him, was nothing but positively welcoming, exhibiting a sort of kindness that she found to be beyond question. If possible, she was sure her cheeks would have brightened even more when she saw him wink up at her, the sight one that only deepened the longing he had sparked within her, her pulse quickening. Had she ever met anyone like him? With even the smallest fraction of the warmth that he seemed- no, clearly, possessed? She knew immediately and without a single doubt that she hadn't, that she couldn't have, as no one else could have, as there was certainly nobody else like him in not only Dorne or Westeros as a whole, but in the entirety of the world. There couldn't have been, there truly couldn't, and of that she was certain. Prince Zoroastarr was so brilliantly unique in that, she was convinced; no, not Prince Zoroastarr, she corrected herself, but rather Zo, the beautiful nickname that he had introduced himself as, a unique and wonderful name that alone would have brought a smile to her face just thinking of it if a smile hadn't already been there, pulling at her lips as her gaze remained steady on him. Her Zo.

Quite like the sight of him winking at her, the sight of his beautiful smile turning in to a smirk did something to her senses once more, though in a  similar fashion, her thoughts were quickly shifted. Her brows quickly furrowed as she watched him take a step back, only to raise in surprise and absolute delight when she saw him get down on one knee and fan out a deck of cards before her, speaking of fate. Her smile grew it that, she could feel her lips pulling wide at her features, a hand raising until the tips of her fingers pressed lightly against her lips, though certainly not enough to hide her delight. "Cards of fate?" She questioned, her eyes moving from the cards that he had presented to his gaze once more. "How fascinating," she lauded with wide eyes, enchanted by the sight of them, quite like she was with the rest of him. To her, it really was. She could remember hearing something of such a practice before, of course, but only ever once when a visitor who had set anchor at the docks near the Tor spoke drunkenly with her brother Garrison of his travels further north in Westeros. She could still so clearly remember the older man, not entirely because she had found much amusement in walking in to the gardens at their family home only to witness such an exchange- a largely bearded middle aged merchant or trader of some sort, practically seated upon her brothers lap as the two of them drank and told stories together in a moment of friendship- if, of course, friendship was what such a thing could be demoted to. They weren't alone, of course- it was Garrison, so naturally there were whores that had joined them, giggling away at the drunken tales before one noticed her and warmly invited her to join them. Ashara had sat with the group for what had to have been hours after the sun had set, the bright moonlight washing over them, listening to the tales. Most of them were incoherent as the night had went on, but she remembered one story that the merchant had to tell of a fabled woman near Oldtown who lived in a cabin outside of the city limits, requiring not coin but rather the most peculiar of items to tell stories of fates, to show cards that aided in her journey of finding such answers. Of course, she also most distinctly remembered him claiming that the woman using other items to tell such tales- rocks and teeth and even the hollow bones of birds, the one aspect of the story that sounded all together too unpleasant to Ashara, especially to think back on it after she had been gifted Rayne, a beautiful bird that knew nothing but affection. Otherwise, though, she looked back upon the night fondly, even when the conclusion of it led to her leaving the group for the night when Garrison drunkenly incited a foursome with the whores and the merchant up against one of the fountains she loved so much. Of course, even with that considered, that still wasn't the most precarious position she had ever found one of her siblings in. That particular milestone was still claimed easily by Garrison, but that had been a surprise of a different sort entirely, when she had been but a young teenager who had stumbled in to a room with him on all fours accompanied by two men she had known for years as sons of their father's bannermen, all of them so lost in their own pleasure that they hadn't even noticed her enter. She wasn't one to judge such a thing, of course, and shouldn't have been surprised as she had witnessed sexual encounters before she had even been able to read, but that particular one had been more than even she could have expected to accidentally witness, the thought of it still something that amused her far more than it should have even after more than a decade had since passed.

Still, while she had heard of cards that told of fates before, even if in such a limited context, she knew none of the intricacies of the practice, let alone having ever actually seen the cards themselves. She found their introduction to be fascinating, though not nearly as fascinating as the so incredibly charming man who held them, or the manner in which they had been presented. Even in the moment, part of her wondered if they were something that truly fascinated Zo, if they held his interest, and what else it was that held his interest. It was something she so quickly found herself curious of, wanting to know more about the absolutely enchanting man in front of her- more of what his touch felt like, what he enjoyed doing, what pleased him in all regards and made him happy. Those thoughts could be easily pushed aside for the briefest of moments, though, and so easily were as she watched him, her eyes flickering down to the cards once more before returning to his gaze, then back to the cards. She slowly raised a hand, eyeing the back of the cards carefully before raising her gaze back to his, her head tilted ever so slightly as she watched him, her smile softening but never leaving her features for even a moment as she quirked a brow. After a moment, her fingers reached forward, gently taking one of the cards that he had fanned out before her. It was only when she had the card in hand that she begrudgingly moved her eyes from him to look at what she had drawn. She didn't know what to expect, what could possibly be on the card. Would it be something easily understood, or something cryptic, or something else all together? She had no idea, nothing to possibly base any expectations off of, but for whatever it was, for whatever reason, she didn't question the nature of it. It was connected to Zo, her absolutely enchanting husband-to-be, and in her mind, that made it completely free of question or doubt. Still, she was free of expectations in any other regard, and so when she moved the card so that she could glance at the side that had remained hidden from her view, she shouldn't have been surprised. She shouldn't have been, and yet she was all the same, her eyes widening and face lighting up once more in delight. Ashara would never claim to be a fortune teller; she hadn't even laid eyes on such cards until the moment he showed her, and yet the image that met her eyes didn't seem cryptic at all. Of course there was always the chance that it was more cryptic than it appeared, that she completely misunderstood the meaning of the beautiful and intricately designed image of two characters so intimately together, the label below the image even referring to them as 'The Lovers'. It was entirely possible that she was wrong, and yet she wouldn't even reflect upon that possibility, giving absolutely no credence to it. She also didn't pay attention to the possibility that it could have just been a charming display by her husband-to-be with no chance for a different outcome than the card she had drawn rather than by chance or a force greater than them at all. She of course preferred the latter option, but would have felt absolutely no disappointment had the former proven to be true. She felt her lips pull further in to an even wider smile as her eyes took another fleeting moment to appreciate the card before her eyes flickered back up to Zo."I know little of fate, but I believe it is kind, no?" She asked, her eyes flickering down to the card. "As you are mine," her fingers gently flipped the card so that it could be visible to the man as well as she beamed warmly at him while anticipating his reaction and whether or not he would be pleased with the card as she had been, "so am I yours."