━━━━━━━━ ｒ ｅ ｍ ｅ ｍ ｂ ｅ ｒ ｓ ━━━
xxxCompared to everyone else there, and especially the man she was to marry, he was like a rose, while everyone else was dry winter branches, ones that couldn't even be used as kindling to bring forth a flickering flame because the tops of their boughs had been soaked through thoroughly by snow. He was a soaring eagle- no, a graceful falcon among feeble sparrows, a rare winter rose of blue amongst thousands of red. There was no one like him that she had ever seen before, no one that caught her gaze as he did, and made it feel as if she watched him for hours, staring into his beautiful blue eyes, when in truth it was only for the briefest of seconds. It felt like they were made for one another in some strange fate-tied way, though that thought was much too ahead of herself, and she didn't dare go that far, yet. Still, she couldn't deny she felt some tie, some draw to him like ones described in stories of love. There was some spark they seemed to share, and as she stood in front of him, it felt like the world had melted around them, leaving only him, her, and Talimere. There was no betrothal, no duty she had to fulfill even if it went against her own heart, just the three of them, and the butterflies stirring the the cage holding her heart. Whenever she read a book, and then finished reading, either the book itself or merely just for the moment, it always felt like no time had gone by at all, or that only a few minutes had passed, when in actuality hours had gone by. She would get so wrapped up in the world, or in her love of the story that the concept of time and her sense of it ceased to exist until the book was finally put down, and when she became aware of it again, it felt as if no time had passed. The very same happened when she played or spent time with Talimere. She became so engrossed in their time, so happily and blissfully distracted by his unrestrained joy as he chased after a stick or explored or snuggled up on her lap to leap up and give a loving, excited lick to her chin, that she never noticed hours had gone by, or that the world had turned dark by the time their play was over and finished for the moment, or day. She couldn't count on all of her fingers and toes the number of times she had been reading or playing with her pup and hadn't noticed day had turned to night, or morning to evening and then dusk. This was different though, it was opposite, the reverse. With him, the time wasn't flying by too quickly for her to notice, with him, time seemed to stop, and stretch out and slow to an eternity. She was aware of the time, not oblivious, because it felt like a beautiful forever that she never wanted to leave. Sometimes, when she was hurting mentally or physically, or she was at a loss for what to do, it felt like time had trickled to a slow, and almost halt, and that the seconds seemed to tick on for hours, but it wasn't at all like that with him either. Time wasn't frozen or slowed because she was miserable or bored, nor was it gone because she was doing something she loved and enjoyed. With him it was something different, something wonderful she had never felt before, something akin to nothing else she had ever experienced until this very moment, standing with him. Time didn't just melt away, the whole world around them just vanished into a blur until only they and Talimere were left, and it felt as if the moment would never end. She never wished for it to end, either, moments with him stretching out for the most beautiful eternities were ones she welcomed, and hoped would stay for awhile. He already brightened her time her so much, and filled it with a hope she hadn't had before; a hope that her time here would not be filled with a darkness that even clouded stormy skies could not hope to achieve, and that instead it would be filled with some joy and warming light, at least while he was here with her, and willing to provide it. He had not yet spoken a word to her and she already felt safe with him here, a safety that meant more to her than any words could ever hope to express, and for that, she was already so grateful, and thankful to him for. It was so much like the stories of love and trials she had read, a fairytale she had always dreamed of, but knew deep down she'd very unlikely ever even have a chance to achieve. The story of Zoroastarr Nymeros Martell and Ashara Jordayne especially felt like this moment right now; in the plays he wrote for his lady love Ashara, his wife and partner in everything, he would so often mention how she was his whole world, how everything else faded away into nothing and they were the only souls left alive on a desert plane with skies filled with sparkling stars that could never even hope to compare to the glittering light in her eyes, or the beautiful, dazzling brightness of her soul. It was the two of them against everything, a Dornish Prince and Princess, two vipers in love hiding in the sand, willing to do anything to bring the other happiness, or even the tiniest of smiles through a river of tears. The world was only them, hearts beating in time with only each other, and it had always been something she found so indescribably beautiful, a story that she had always loved that had a special place in her heart. The Prince would speak of how when they betrothal came to be and she finally arrived to meet him, he had planned to woo and dazzle her with cards that told of fates, and with music and plays and all sorts of stories and other things he had composed, just wishing for her to be happy, and feel comfortable with him in her new home, even if they never became anything beyond friends with a tie to each other that could never be broken, but then he saw her, and was in nothing but awe, not unlike she was with the man before her now. Zoroastarr described how he felt awestruck when they first met, and how when they spoke, his mind struggled to form a sentence of the words he had practiced and planned on before. She was just too beautiful, too outstanding, and there was something about her that words could never hope to accurately portray that had his heart feeling things it never had before, something just so magnificently wonderful, and right now, she felt that too. The man later went on to have the Water Gardens built just for her, simply because she missed her home and was beginning to feel the faintest tinge of homesickness, and even later still, when the Lannisters cruelly killed members of her family because her originally engagement was to them, he declared war upon them, because no one would hurt his love as long as he still drew breath. He loved her fiercely, and the same went for her fierce love for him, and their love and their story was something she had admired for years. Ashara loved dancing as well, which was one of Elyana's favorite things to do, so that only added to her love of it all. She felt what the woman had gone through in another way too; Yana was also sent far from home to marry a man she hardly knew, except the man she was to marry wouldn't be her prince, and he would not wage wars because someone had left a scar upon her heart that would never truly heal, or give her such a beautiful gift because she missed the familiarity of her home. It felt like the man before her would be that prince, the first feelings were so much the same as that story and so many others that ended in a love she wished to have, but even if they both wanted it, he could never be hers. She was to marry someone else, a man that wasn't him, and breaking that would cause a war and hurt her family, a result she did not want. Besides, they had only just met, and had yet to share a word, and she didn't even know if he hated her for not holding onto her direwolf puppy well enough and accidentally giving him access and means to run over to him. It didn't seem like he hated her though or at least, she so hoped that he didn't. Talimere would never mean to hurt anyone, and she didn't at all want to hurt the man before her who turned the rest of the world into an inconsequential nothing while he- and her beloved pup- alone remained.
xxxJust standing before him, and doing nothing more than the mere simple act of that, she could see something so monumentally special about him, something she couldn't describe with words. She couldn't help but wonder though, if perhaps she already knew him from somewhere, or rather, if she had learned of him, or his house and family during her extensive lessons on all of the houses in Westeros and their lords and ladies. Those were lessons she had always quite enjoyed, in part because they were among the few things within her lessons that hadn't changed or drastically shifted when Aidin was born, but more because they allowed her see and learn more of the world she lived in through them, parts of the world it was likely she could never get to see. Before she had left, she had been grilled particularly intensely on the subject, so she took a silent moment to try and recall all of the noises that had been mentioned to have a son around her age, though she came up with very few that also for him. She knew he wasn't a Baratheon at least; Borys had no brothers and she knew of no cousins that would match, and he certainly wasn't a Lannister with his beautiful dark hair as opposed to their fabled golden blonde. She knew several Northern houses had sons roughly her age, but she was certain if he was from the North she would know him, or at least of him, already. It was unlikely that he was from the Reach; his style was not at all like theirs- something she knew because a number of her dresses were made by a seamstress residing there, including the one she presently wore, though she had to admit that the one she wore wasn't quite in their style either-, it lacked the intricate and beautiful floral patterns she was used to from there, as well as their bright colors. Could he be from the Vale, then? That seemed like it would suit him quite well, honestly. They had not yet shared words beyond her hurried apology, but he already seemed to have a noble air to him, humbly regal in an odd way, and she had hope that he would respond with kindness, something that suited those from the Vale much more than a Baratheon's temperamental fury, of the way the Lannisters seemed to claim everyone's hate. She hadn't heard anything of the Tyrells to suggest they were unkind, they had in fact taken in a boy who they had freed from slavery which would suggest they were nothing but filled with good hearts, but she felt they were also very strategic, and intelligent, and hidden players of politics games, hiding their true potential behind their pretty petals, not letting anyone see how they could use their thorns, and that did not at all seem to fit the man before her. He felt more open, and honest, with a strong feel of honor, and the more she thought about it, it seemed like there was no doubt that he was from the Vale, which was something she was admittedly a bit happy, and more than a little curious about. What she knew of the Vale and it's ruling house the Arryns she was quite fond of, and all she had heard and seen of the Eyrie within books was utterly gorgeous, and made it out to be the most beautiful place in Westeros, a place she someday wished to see. Their words were, "As High As Honor", and she had always loved the sound of that. As much as she adored her family, and all of her ancestors for as far as they could be traced back, and as much as she loved the sigil and words of her house, she had to admit that, "Winter Is Coming", weren't exactly the best words. Winter would always return, and would always come again even if it took a generation to see and greet the world again, but when said so often it began to sound a bit pointless and strange, and just verging on incessant and a bit annoying. Winter of course could be referring to the Starks, and how they would come with a fury if their home, people, or family were threatened, but as of late they had for the most part kept to themselves, and done nothing to bring about anything that would cause such a fury, so it just made it a bit pointless. It was a main reason why she much preferred "The North Remembers", though truly, she didn't really mind either way. Regardless, though, the words of House Arryn were ones she liked, and she also quite liked their presence and dedication to honor. Her house was also one of honor, at least in it's current time with her father at it's head, still leading in the image of a recent ancestor who lead with honor and kindness in his heart, but they were not nearly as known for it as the Arryns were. From what she knew, they seemed to also keep themselves out of disputes, either naturally or by choice, and that had always been something she found admirable, along with everything else and she knew and felt fondly for regarding them. She loved their house sigil and colors too, and honestly they were a bit refreshing from the ones in the North, especially considering one northern banner cruelly contained a man that had been flayed, the one of the Boltons. Birds were such lovely creatures, but unfortunately rarer beings in the North due to the cold. That just made them all the more special, however, and she always took delight in seeing them whenever she did, and it was the same with their sigil, a simple white falcon on a background of dark blue. Her favorite color was a lightish purple tinged ever so faintly with gray- or maybe it was a deep rose red to match her favorite flower; the mantle of her most beloved color seemed to often switch between the two-, but blue was a color she loved as well, especially if it was in a shade marching the shadows of a winter rose, a flower she hadn't ever had the pleasure of seeing outside the worn pages of old books her eyes had combed and fingers had brushed a thousand times. Really, there was little, if anything she had learned about the family that she wasn't fond of, and something else that made them even more wonderful in her eyes than they already were was the fact their scenic seat contained a weirwood throne. For whatever reason, she had always adored the weirwood, or heart trees as many called them, of the North, and it made her far too happy that their influence still remained somewhere further south, even if it was one long since dead, after the rest were brutally cut down and burned. She imagined that it also made their throne room looked quite pretty, and it was another part of why she so hoped that she would be able to see it someday.
xxxAt the sight of a smile forming on his lips, she could feel her shoulders wanting to sag in relief, in relief that he didn't appear to be outwardly angry at the pup leaping from her arms and running to his feet. His smile wasn't cruel, in fact, it was a light one, one with what she assumed to be hints of amusement, and something else that she could not place, and it was a smile that made her want to begin to grin, too, though she didn't dare until she learned that all was alright. She was positively enchanted by him, and she did not wished to do anything that would upset him; he seemed far too lovely for her to wish for anything even remotely unpleasant to befall him, and she didn't want to lose her chance at getting to know him because she misread his smile, and took it as something much different than it actually was. It took a moment, but when he finally made a movement, a simple flicker of his enrapturing eyes down to the small direwolf pup at his feet before looking up at her, she watched anxiously, with bated breath, until he opened his mouth to speak, and she finally felt as if she could express her relief. His words were assuring, and so very kind, and she was sure that he could see the relief enter her form, and cause her to relax, and allow a wide smile to instantly form on her lips while her shoulders lowered with a weight they had been holding lifted from them by his words. She didn't even know what to say for a few moments, she was just so happy that he wasn't mad, that Talimere hadn't caused some war or terrible conflict that would kill thousands, and her mind was just too filled with joy to form any words that would allow her to speak. She was certain that her eyes were smiling along with her lips, if not even more brightly than they were; she was just so glad that this was fine, and that should Talimere ever mean him harm, that the gods would find him in good spirits, and they themselves in an even better humor. That was far more than she ever could have asked for, and the smile was a mere candle to the flame of joy and relief that she felt.
xxx"Thank you, that is, I-" Elyana blushed, the words still finding it difficult to find purchase in her mouth, and the rest of her still struggling to figure out what exactly to say. There weren't words to express her thanks, or how grateful she was that he was not calling for the silver pup's head, as she feared some other lord may have, and she hoped that he wouldn't mind her fumbling, followed by a pause she she composed herself and miraculously gathered her thoughts, and managed to formulate the words, and spoke again. "it is a true relief to hear that, and a welcome one at that." Elyana confessed, her words ending in a soft sigh that seemed to be heavier than it was. The welcome disbelief that he had reacted to well to the situation was beginning to fade, and it was much easier to think, and feel more than a little comfort as she took to looking to his blue eyes again, the beautiful eyes with a bit of brown in one, a feature different and rare, and even more enchanting on him. She couldn't help but feel her cheeks heat up again when she noticed his gaze had longed on her a moment longer before he bent down to pick up her beloved pup, reaching for him, and holding him gently as he stood. Talimere happily accepted the touch and action of being picked up- both things see assumed he had been wanting from the man when he ran over-, and she watched as the man's eyes remained on him, and his fingers settled into his soft fur. Of course, that sweet moment didn't last very long, and the young direwolf moved upward rather quickly to plant a loving lick from his wet tongue upon the man's unsuspecting face before he even had the chance to move away, and she couldn't help but let out a small laugh as her smile remained, a hand coming up to her mouth as if she were trying to hide the sound. She would have worried that the action might have upset him, if it weren't for the fact he had also chuckled quietly when she had laughed, and she felt relief fill her again with an assurance that all was okay. She gave a nod with an amused expression on her face as he commented amusedly about how he was quicker than he had imagined, and offered him another smile. His chuckle was a truly lovely sound, and she hoped that she would be blessed enough to hear it again. Everyone, including herself, seemed to realize the hard way that the small creature was surprisingly speedy, though she wouldn't have it any other way. His eyes had moved back to her then, and it didn't escape her notice that they remained on her, as hers remained on him, as he took clear care in extending his reach toward her, and offering her back the loving creature. It also didn't escape her notice that when she accepted him, and took the pup back into her arms, this time, holding him carefully with both, that their hands touched for the briefest of moments, and that when they did, a spark ran through her fingers and to her heart, catching her off guard for a moment and stealing her breath. She hoped she hid that well though, by pulling the pup closer to her in a hug, and brushing her cheek against his soft fur, before opening her mouth to give a reply. "He is very fast. I believe he quite enjoys darting about as if he were the quickest thing to exist." Elyana mused in response to his comment, laughter plain in her voice. Talimere gave a resounding bark of agreement- though really it was more of a puppy's yap- at that, his wagging tail lightly thumping against her chest, and Yana could help but smile even wider than she already was. Her dark brown gaze remained on the little pup for a moment more, a clear love and fondness within them, before his voice pulled her eyes back to him. She nodded again, though more thoughtfully this time. He made perfect sense; direwolves certainly wouldn't be in the Vale, or the Stormlands. She also realized that he had just confirmed her guess at him being from the Vale, though that would be a happiness she should likely save for later. "I would be very surprised if you had, they are rare even in the North. My brother and I only have them because one of our bannermen accidentally killed their mother, and gave them as a gift to us as they are the sigil of our house, the direwolf." Her voice couldn't help bit waver the tiniest of bits when he mentioned the fate of Talimere's mother, something that still troubled her. She had become his new mother, and her family his new pack and friends, but she couldn't help but feel sorrow for the creature that had brought her family's wolves into the world, who had likely met a painful death, unknowing if when she was gone if her pups would still be cared for, and kept safe. They had been found curled against her cold form, whimpering and nudging at her in attempts to get her to move, so she hoped that the wolf had at least found a peace in her final moments knowing her children were still by her side. Now was certainly not the time to feel sad about that though, and Talimere certainly didn't let her, for he wriggled in her arms, quickly drawing her attention, and it didn't take her long to figure out that he was trying to get back to the man. Her eyes widened, and she could feel him begin to push at her arms with a surprising strength that instantly prompted her to hold him tighter and let out a plea for him to wait a moment that was little more than a yelp. "Ah- Talimere, no-wait a moment-ah-" He took that moment to get free from her arms, and by some miracle- or rather, her quick reflexes at her being used to him trying such a thing-, she reached out just in time as he began his jump from her arms to bring him back to her against her form. He let out a huff in response, and she had to resist the urge to roll her eyes. "-ha! Got you. You don't need to leap back into his arms to see him again Tali, I'm sure we'll see him again very soon." Elyana looked up at the man questioningly through her lashes while the small wolf gently licked her cheek, apparently satisfied with her response, her hazel eyes hopeful, and imploring, and a bit playful. She so hoped that he understood her question, or offer, or whatever it was, that she hoped to see him again, and would very much like to spend more time with him if they got the chance, and that she was asking if he shared the same wish as she. Truly, she hoped that he did, and that this wouldn't be the last moment they shared, because he also had the intention to meet her again, and the hope that he would. He was even more wonderful than she had previously thought, given that he had so far been lovely with Talimere too, and nothing but kind, and that had her wishing even more that she would get to meet with him again. Her direwolf companion seemed to love him already too, and he clearly liked him if the fact he didn't once try to escape from his arms during the brief time the man held him was anything to go by, and that spoke volumes to her as well. She knew that she could be too trusting with people at times, opening her heart fully to all people she happened to meet, but Talimere had a better gauge with that than her, and she trusted him when he let her know there was something wrong. That made it even more relieving that he seemed to approve; she wasn't sure what she would do if another person here felt as if they had a heart of black. Thinking of that, that had her wanting to thank him again for his kindness, even though words wouldn't ever truly be able to express her gratitude towards him. He had turned her gloomy day, a day that felt as if it was a doom impending, into one of sunlight, and one of hope, and that meant the world to her. She straightened, and offered him a smile again, as the pup's tail continued to wag, his front paws hanging over her arms and his tongue lolling onto to the side as he too seemed to give the man some sort of smile. "I must thank you for your kindness again, though. It is truly a comfort to know that you will be here, and that means more than I can express with words. Also, please, call me Yana." Elyana told him, just loud enough for him to hear. Her eyes searched his handsome features, until they settled on his eyes, and it felt like the world was once again beginning to fade away.
xxxUnfortunately, though, the moment didn't get the opportunity to last for long, and that beautiful feeling was quickly ripped away, and replace by a feeling of fear settling deep within her spine. The sound of someone impatiently clearing their throat reached her ears, and her face immedetaly fell, as if a shadow had passed over her very soul, and she turned her head to see the one person she least wished to see. Those were the storming eyes that she remembered, the ones belonging to Borys Baratheon, her betrothed, and his gaze was tinged with an anger not well hidden. She swallowed, and gave the best curtsey she could while still holding the young direwolf pup, who had stilled, seeming to sense that something was plaguing her heart. His happy smile and cheerful demeanor had vanished with her own, and it almost felt like a cloud had come to hang directly and very purposely over their heads bring back the gloom that the handsome man had chased away. "My lord, it is a pleasure to see you again. I apologize if I have caused any trouble." She smiled at him, though it wasn't true; it was tightlipped, and fake, not like the free and unrestrained one she had shared with the man she had been joyfully speaking with a mere few moments ago. Hopefully the Baratheon she was to marry wouldn't notice the difference, or the way Talimere's fur began to bristle at the back of his neck. It was hard to even think of his name, to even make that real, it just made her feel sick, especially as she looked at him now, his form looming and bringing her some kind of fear. She didn't like how the raging fire in his eyes that had been in them when he was younger hadn't left them, and instead seemed to grow stronger. She felt like she would drown in the storms of his eyes if she got too close, or took a single misstep, and it was almost like the clearness, and the beautiful blue of the wonderful man's eyes would be the only way out of the storm if she fell in, the only things to lead her out and to the safety of loving arms, like two stars shining so brightly even the most ferocious storm clouds could not block them.
━━━━━━━━━━━━ｗｉｔｈ ｆ ｉ ｒ ｅ━━
xxxYears ago, so many years ago and so long ago that he could barely remember anything at all, he could recall sitting out with his father like this before he had died; under the shade of the canopy above as they manned their little shop together, his father in the big chair, and a very young Vahae on his knee. Of course, it wasn't in any place like Dorne, it had been in Essos, in his birth place of Lhazar by the great Dothraki Sea southeast of Vaes Dothrak, and the towns that neighbored the one he still saw as his home. Dorne was a beautiful land by the ocean of sun and sand and heat that could create a "fire" that impressed even the most powerful of dragons, Lhazar was hills and plateaus past where the mountains give way, with the only source of water for the basic agriculture it could give being from a river he couldn't even pronounce the name of when he was younger, the Skahazadhan. The Lhazareen were peaceful people who spent their lives and days farming and raising sheep as gentle shepherds. They were prime choices for slaves for the Dothraki because they couldn't put up a fight or at most, no little amount of resistance big enough to be of significance, they were just "lamb men" as the Dothraki liked to call them, whereas the Dornish were skilled fighters with a beautiful grace often mentioned in the books he so liked to read, with a colorful culture and a love of wine. The people in the land he grew up in were humble, meager, and modest. Their dress was drab, and incredibly simple from what he could remember, with something usually threadbare, though that could have also just been him, and due to the playing he did as a child. Either way though, the Lhazareen were a simple people who just wished to tend to the farms they could coax to life with little water and a land that did not wish to be fertile, and care for their sheep. They didn't care for wine or lavish things or extravagancies, or anything of the sort, all they wished to do was herd their sheep. He couldn't even remember them being avid traders either; though they had taken a great interest in his father's traveling merchant shop while they had remained there. His memory may have been skewed there too, though, and the people he thought were customers could have simply been old friends coming to speak with his father, glad that he had returned again after arriving first so long ago with his own father and deciding he wanted to call Lhazar his home. If he had been able to get a better grasp on their language perhaps he could have known or at least, figured it out now, but his parents had opted to teach him Valyrian instead, for the heritage of his mother and grandfather. All of it was foggy in truth, and neither his mother or grandfather wished to answer any questions he had about that part of his past. He had learned that years ago, and had stopped asking, instead turning to piles and piles of books in hopes he'd find his answer there. He never did; there was so little written on his place of birth that wasn't what he already knew, but he always learned something new about some place else, so it was welcome. Sometimes it would push him to remember more too, to fill in the blanks with something else, or the connections there, and he remembered something he had once forgotten, which was a welcome thing to a growing child who had little else to do than retread books he had already read or soft through old, disjointed memories while he waited for his family to come back in side from tending the stall so they could have dinner and he could bring a stop to the growling sounds in his stomach. Both Dorne and the Lhazareen had dark skin and darker hair if his memory served him right, though that also seemed to be about where the similarities ended. His first people didn't marry, which could fit the Dornish in a way, but he knew the reasons it would fit in Dorne weren't at all the reasons for it there. Dorne was very open about, well, everything, while not having marriages was just a part of the culture of the Lhazareen. He assumed it had something to do with their deity, the Great Shepherd, though he couldn't be sure, and he had no one to ask. He knew their worshipping of their god required the presences of the Godswives, what they called their priestesses, and that in that religion, all men were in the same flock, just a single one, which meant that the healers would cure the injuries of any man who came their way looking for aid. He liked that part of the religion quite a lot, in truth it was part of what made him want to someday become a maester who got to study at the citadel, though he didn't quite resonate with the rest of what he knew, especially with conquering enemies being part of the banner of being under the same flock. It was admirable, but he didn't like that kind of conflict, and he didn't want to feel obligated because of some deity that may not even exist to take up arms against another and conquer, ever. He'd much, much prefer to just take up the healing and leave everything else, and have some place quiet and peaceful to study with his books until the day he was lucky enough to reach the citadel. Nevertheless, even with how different his first home was to Dorne, it still made him think of those moments with his father, though admittedly he'd probably choose to be in the rolling hills of Lhazar to Dorne right now, anything to get away from that blasted piece of jewelry with that ruby-eyed snake. He really didn't like that golden thing, and he was almost certain that if his father was still here that he'd understand that and let him hide it or turn it around or something. His father had once bought something from another merchant station and given it out for free to a young child, why could his father not be around to do that here and to help him get rid of that thing? He didn't want his family to lose any sort of profit with that of course, and he knew that would happen then and that was the last thing he wished to cause, but sometimes he still liked to dream, or entertain the idea that it could be done. He knew how important their jobs as merchants were to his father and his father's family, and how important it became to his mother when the love of her life died and she was left alone to raise a young, confused son with her own father, and he didn't wish to harm or undermine that in any way. He wanted to help out wherever he could, but preferably not out front where he had to interact with people, and stare at that thing. Why could he not count numbers inside their moving home, why could he not count the coin they had earned to be sure it matched up with the numbers of items they had sold? Normally he didn't even have to do any of that, because they wanted him to be continuing his studies instead, even though he had already read and learned all they had to offer him for a session to study, but because they weren't here, and it was a prime time of the day where someone needed to be present, he was stuck being the one there, and he couldn't even close his eyes for longer than a blink because he feared if he did the golden snake garment might move, like things in the takes his grandfather used to tell him to scare him at night did as a child. Everything he and learned with age told him that that was nothing but silly and that things like that never happened, but the part of him that worried, the part of him that feared snakes and consequently that thing, wanted to say otherwise, and it was unfortunately the side that was winning against the other; logic could never beat an unreasonable fear born of an unreasonable worry, that was something he had learned the hard way with most of his usually rather irrational fears.
xxxAnyway, perhaps if his father were still here and by his side right now, he'd have been able to find some way to distract him from the ridiculous thing other than thinking and occupying himself simply with his own thoughts as he waited for someone to approach or for his parents to return because that clearly wasn't working whatsoever, and he was just boring himself or getting himself more worried about ridiculous things than anything else, or doing something even slightly productive. He could remember his father often sitting in chairs; most of his memories of the man during the time he was alive was him sitting in some sort of chair, with all visible to his son being his silhouette, as he watched from behind standing beside his mother and holding her hand, just simply watching the older man contemplate the earth or watch the world go by around him. His father was a man of solitude, one who enjoyed being alone and having time to think and sort things out mentally, but there were times where he would convince Vahaemarys' mother to let him go from his studies for awhile, and took him to join him at the stall for some company. His mother said he often did that to settle him when the boy had been worried- usually about being captured and enslaved by the Dothraki or getting something wrong on his grandfather's quizzes because he hated to disappoint- or in need of a distraction, but he liked to think his father would do that with him also because it was just fun. When his father did that he would sit Vahae on his knee, lean back, and begin watching the world, the people, and pointing things out. His father had always had an eye for little things, for the tiniest details that so few would notice, which is perhaps why he was such a skilled and well-known merchant. He would point out little birds to Vahae, a leaf that was shaped a bit oddly, or branches that formed some sort of shape if he leaned a certain way and squinted and leaned up to see it from his father's point of view. In Lhazar there had also been a lot of pointing out odd little antics of the sheep around, considering that was an animal there was an abundance of around there. A sheep that had a twig stuck in it's fleece, one that was eating grass away from the rest, or one that had strayed from the herd. He would point out ones playing, and every little lamb he saw because he knew seeing them would make Vahae smile, because most of the shepherds didn't want some lanky merchant's boy playing with the little lambs and scaring the rest of their flock as he ran and rolled down hills while they chased after him or some other odd little antic they imagined him to do, and he still appreciated that his father had taken note of that. When they began moving to other neighboring towns, making their way to the main ports of the Free Cities- which his father unfortunately never got to see again because he passed before he could-, he would point out something that had been left and discarded on the ground while they rode past it in their wagon, or an animal track or some kind of interesting mark left being from some other kind of creature that could breathe, human or otherwise. When they reached a town he would point out an interesting way someone had done their hair, or some pretty or unusual plant he thought would interest Vahae while he was learning about them, and then soon, they began wondering about the lives of those who passed together. Did that woman have a family to go home to? Did that man have a man or woman to call his own? Did that child have any brothers or sisters or friends to play with, why were they alone? Eventually that progressed to making up stories about the lives who walked by. That man was named Fish, he had a flock of sheep to return to back home in Lhazar that he missed dearly, and he had a daughter too, who made that pretty head bracelet upon his wrist, silly things like that that a young child would imagine. That woman had a husband named Fisk, a brother of Fish, and she was quite cross with him today, because he had forgotten to wish her a good morning before they both set out to work. His father was more creative with his stories than Vahae had ever been, and he missed that about him, probably more than most things he missed about the life he once knew. The things he could come up with now weren't too terribly different than what he had managed to come up with at five, six, or seven, things he had been very proud of at the time, and he knew that he would be no better with names now. The most creative thing he could come up with now was that someone had found some way to manipulate time and curse that snake jewelry to haunt him before he was even born, because it seemed to have some kind of agenda or something out for him with the way it kept finding his eyes to stare soullessly into, but that was exactly the thing he was trying to avoid thinking about, and exactly want he was trying to distracted himself from now. Letting out a heavy sigh, he gave a stretch of his arms for they had grown uncomfortable and tired, and then leaned back against the back of his chair, folding his arms across his chest in the most open way he could fold them in that pose. His mother used to lecture him about how it wasn't an open stance, but no one was coming his way right now, or even paying any mind to him, so he didn't feel as if it was the horrifically pressing issue his mother used to so often make it out to be. Their most noticeable item from a distance that didn't just blend in with the rest was wine, wine from Essos, while they were in Dorne, a place he knew was known for having wine that was said to be the best, why would the people of Dorne want to try a wine they knew would be inferior to his own? He was sure there was some odd logic to it that he wasn't getting because he had the mind and heart of a scholar, not a merchant, but either way, that wasn't going to be something he was going to figure out now, and all he could do was wait, and try to distract himself somehow.
xxxMaybe, just maybe, if he tried his fathers games again, even if it progressed no further than the wondering stage, it could help him get at least a little distracted and allow the time to feel as if it went by quicker until his family returned? He was doubtful, but he still had a fondness for the game, and there was no harm in trying, and nothing to lose, only something to gain in attempting it, so he supposed there was no reason why he shouldn't. Sighing again, he leaned to the left in his chair, and tried to spot something that his father would notice. There was a cloud vaguely shaped like a sheep in the distance, but then all of the clouds resembled sheep, white, fluffy blobs that did a lot of standing still or moving slowly. He supposed another one a bit closer could be a rabbit if he squinted and tilted his hea- no, it didn't, he couldn't even kidding himself into thinking it did. It just looked like a normal cloud to him, all of them did. He didn't like cloud gazing, he never had, so why had his gaze gone there now? All there was in Lhazar was hills and grass and blue sky and clouds, he wanted something different this time, something new to distract him from the jewelry piece that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He lowered his gaze back to the ground, a level area he was more comfortable and fond of that was new, and didn't remind him of a sight he had become far too used to seeing every single day he woke up and opened his eyes. Across from his stall in another vendor's, he could see an elderly woman selling pretty fabrics. Most were simple colors, but a few had beautiful and intricate embroidery upon them that he caught glimpses of as she lifted some up and refolded it, because it had previously possessed a wrinkle, and things had to be perfect. It even looked as if gold had been pressed into one, though he knew that was very unlikely; it was probably some kind of thread, or some odd dye that possessed the same qualities and shimmer. He didn't know what he'd use them for, but if he had some spare coin perhaps he'd purchase a piece of the fabric, maybe just to have something soft from Dorne for when they inevitably left and sailed for somewhere else, or made their way to the next town and location. A man walked passed, dressed finely in what he had come to notice was a bit fancier than the typical Dornish style, so did that mean the man a highborn? Most people appeared to be dressed as a highborn though, so he supposed that was an extremely moot point, although, that woman who had just entered his vision along with another woman and a child certainly dressed in a way that showed some sort of high status, and also in a way that made him quickly want to avert his eyes. He assumed that the majority of her skin was on display for the world to see, and while there was nothing wrong with that, he felt more than just a little impolite and improper to be seeing what he was seeing. Everything she wore was gold, he wasn't sure if it was true gold of just some gold and fabric that matched the color, as he hadn't looked long enough to see, but that was about as much as he had seen in the time he had noticed her and then instinctively looked away. Hesitantly, he looked again at the woman who had entered the market in gold, this time nothing much of the design on her outfit was made of what looked to be intricate beading, rather than some sort of embroidery or collection of hanging threads in a tassel without a loose end. The fabric looked to be sheer from where he was, and then he looked away again. He so wished to be respectful, to not seem as if he were leering or anything of the sort, and he was most certainly not used to anyone dressing the way she was. He outfit looked like a river of gold when she moved, it made it hard to look away, no matter how much he didn't want to look. She was attractive, quite beautiful really, more so than most, with long dark hair and tanned skin, he couldn't deny that, but that made him feel like an even bigger awkward and uncomfortable mess. He supposed that if she were dressed in that manner, she either wanted people to look, or didn't mind if they did, but he still wasn't comfortable with looking at any part of her other than her face. His mother had taught him to be respectful, to not stare, and he took that to heart, though now it felt like it had gone far behind that, and he was just incredibly unused to seeing people in such revealing garb. Hesitantly, he dared to take another peak. He noticed that she wore sandals, along with a cuff on her upper arm, and a bracelet that wound across her wrist like a... He swallowed. Like a snake, which it seemed to be. Why did she have to wear something with a snake on it, and bring about another piece of jewelry with a snake's head to haunt him? He wanted to look away again, but this time, he decided to focus on the other woman and the child that were with her. The other woman seemed to be examining something else, while the little boy jumped from stand to stand, taking a peak at each one. That gave him a smile; it reminded him of himself when he had been younger, and how curious and excited he had been the first time he had ever set foot into a marketplace. He had wanted to see everything, absolutely everything, and it seemed as if the little boy was the same. He couldn't help but wonder though, was the golden woman the mother of the boy? He doubted that was the case, and dismissed the thought quickly. The other woman looked more likely to be his mother, and while he wasn't sure exactly why, she felt like she was, and that the golden woman was more of a loving sister helping care for a brother much younger than she. She seemed to be quite good with him, though he didn't get too long to process that thought before he noticed she was looking his way, and he froze, swallowing as his eyes went wide, almost mirroring the way her dark brows had shot up, just with more terror.
xxxHer gaze lingered on him for a few moments, and he remained watching her with widened eyes like some scared animal, until it was broken, by the little boy giving a tug on her skirt which he was both thankful, and unthankful for, because if reminded him that there was more to her than her face. She said something to the boy, her fingers running through his hair affectionately, before the other woman's attention was gained, which only showed again that she seemed to be good with children, and seemed to help his theory that if one of them was the boy's mother, it would be the other woman. He found himself wide eyed and frozen again a moment later, however, when the other woman followed her gaze to him, and spoke something to the woman, to which she replied quickly to. She spoke something to another, and he finally noticed that guards had been accompanying them which definitely proved that she was of a higher birth or some importance. He wasn't sure if that had him feeling and less terribly awkward with the woman or not, probably more. He watched as one guard remained with her as she began walking in his direction, clearly coming over to where he was. She was coming over to where he was. She was coming over to where he was. Oh! He gulped, and straightened, trying to look somewhat like an attentive vendor that wasn't about to leap into some sort of panic because the pretty woman he could hardly look at was coming over to him and he already had no idea what to say to people he was completely comfortable with and could look in the eye. Once she reached the table, she stopped in front of it, and her eyes lingered on him again. He wasn't sure if he liked sitting in this chair, while she stood over him, because it made her gaze even more intense and probing, but there wasn't anything he could do about it now, especially because she had just asked him something, and he just blinked. Was his hair really that color? It was rare here, but his hair was natural, and he didn't know how anyone could dye their hair to such an almost white. "Is there a reason why it wouldn't be?" Vahaemarys asked slowly, confusion and caution clear in his voice as he watched her, meeting her gaze uncomfortably as she stared at him a moment, before turning her attention to their table of wares, and reaching for, and lifting up the dreaded broach with the snake. She picked up the snake jewelry, why did she have to pick it up and be interested in it? He didn't know who to look at now, the odd golden woman or the broach with ruby eyes that had suddenly just gotten even more piercing. Thankfully, she spoke to him again and drew his attention back to her, which he preferred to the snake. Her head was tilted as she asked if she had seen him before, and he hesitantly shook his head. "I don't believe you have?" Vahaemarys offered, his voice going up a bit toward the end. She was certainly not a normal person, that he knew at least. He blinked when she continued, and offered him a smirk, which just left him even more baffled than he already was. Wine? Was she talking about the wine his family had to sell, or calling him some sort of wine she was supposed to be familiar with? Was it a compliment? A.. flirt? A- what? He blinked yet again at her question, this time, fearing and hoping that he had misheard her, asking to touch something. "Pardon?" Vahaemarys gulped as he felt her eyes moving over him once more, and his eyes widened further than he thought they could when she clarified that she wished to touch his hair. She wanted to touch.... his hair? Why would she want to touch his hair? It wasn't special, or unique, everyone gained a light color when they grew old, and his mother and grandfather shared the color as well. Her amendment had an amused smile, and he wished he could mirror a genuine one she she confessed to being envious of his hair, and called it gorgeous. He cautiously straightened in his seat again. "T-thank you, I suppose... you could?" Vahaemarys replied, his words leaving him very slowly and sounded utterly and entirely confused. He hadn't met many people, but he had certainly never met anyone like her, nor had he ever met someone who wanted to touch his hair besides his mother, when he was little and his mother finally had enough of him refusing to comb it. That had been a painful few hours, and he had been careful to keep it well groomed and well kept, as he did with the rest of himself ever since. He quite liked his hair and was proud of the care he used with caring for it, but he hadn't ever expected anyone else to show a fondness for it, or whether he should be happy, or deeply concerned for his safety.