(♚) unbowed. unbent. unbroken.

All one x one role-plays go here.
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76heart
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(♚) unbowed. unbent. unbroken.

Post by 76heart » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:33 am

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━━━━━━━━━i    n        t    h    e━━
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━━i    n        t    h    e━━━━━━━━━
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a wolf and a bird,
a dragon and a snake,
what kind of tangled
story will they make?



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ahhh here is yet another
one x one between myself
and the magnificent iris <3
please do not post unless
you are one of us, thank you!

will also very likely contain
lots of spoilers and mature
themes

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━t                      h                    e━━━━━
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━━━━━━o  f    t  h  i  n  g  s━━━

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76heart
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Posts: 312
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:19 pm
Location: winterfell

(♔) lady stark

Post by 76heart » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:21 am

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━━━━━━━━━━the  way  you━
━━━see  the  world━━━━━━
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━━━━you  may  have━━━━━━
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━━━━━but youknow you're
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lady elyana stark of winterfell, second heir
to winterfell, is the only daughter and first
born child to rickar and adrielle stark. she
is twenty-four years young, and five foot
four. she was born in a harsh winter, and
for years she was an only child. during that
time she was taught to strategize, and
that knowledge has stayed with her. when
her brother aidin- now seventeen- was
born, the idea of yana being the next in
line was pushed aside, and her lessens
switched to more ladylike things. she
learned how to dance, and was taught to
carry herself with queenly poise. she is
thoughtful and well composed, though her
mask can sometimes be cracked. elyana is
kind hearted, trusting, and as dangerous
as a wolf if her home and family are
threatened. along with aidin she has a
direwolf named talimere, given to her by
a bannerman when the mother died.


















Image
gif © rightful owners
face claim © adelaide kane
song © something wild -
lindsey stirling
character © 76heart

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76heart
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Posts: 312
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:19 pm
Location: winterfell

(♚) a dragon alone in the world

Post by 76heart » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:24 am

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━━how we're here━━━━━━━
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━━━━b  u  t    s  t  r  a  i  g  h  t
━through  the━━━━━━━━━━
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vahaemarys galitheos is one of the last in the
targaryen line, but does not know that. he is
thirty years young, and five feet, elven inches
in height. vahae's father was a merchant in
lhazar, and that was where he was born and
raised for much of his early life with both
parents and grandfather. when his father
passed, his mother took up his trade with the
help of vahae, who was eager to travel and
and sell wears to new people. he still had his
schooling during that time, and enjoyed
reading the history books he was given while
they moved to the next town in the free
cities. by the time his remaining family
sailed to dorne, he was more of a scholar
than the merchant his father wanted him to
be. vahaemarys has always been quiet and
docile. he is intelligent although still a bit
innocent, and if a problem can be solved
without bloodshed, he pursues that route.















Image
gif © rightful owners
face claim © harry lloyd
song © walk through the fire -
zayde wølf ft ruelle
character © 76heart

Iris
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Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 12:50 pm

| Ashvi Sand |

Post by Iris » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:34 pm

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i. Ashvi Sandxxxx ii. Female xxxxiii. Twenty-two years old xxxxiv. 5'9

As her name suggests, Ashvi Sand is a bastard. Her father is Prince Nymor Martell, the head of House Martell. Nymor is still a relatively young man, in his upper thirties, and happily married with heirs of his own now, but Ashvi came before all of that. Ashvi was conceived by a teenage Nymor and his favored Pentoshi prostitute, a fact that would be furiously hidden in most houses in Westeros, but if there was ever a place to be a highborn bastard, it was Dorne. Ashvi was welcomed with open arms and doted upon endlessly by her family, and even when Nymor married a few years later, Ashvi was never shunned. Her stepmother gave Nymor two sons, and while she was never much of a mother to Ashvi, she never resented her and as Ashvi aged, even became a close friend to her.

Ashvi's lifestyle is heavily rooted in heathenism. She has the tendency to do exactly whatever pleases her without much fear for how it will be perceived. Her clothing tends to be extremely intricate and revealing, even if she dresses only to please herself. The twenty two year old drinks heavily, enjoying the fine wine of Dorne regularly. She spends much of her days lounging about, engaging in witty banter with those she knows. Ashvi has a great love for the arts, particularly poetry, and spends much of her time reading or writing it. She also loves dancing in a sultry Dornish fashion, and absolutely adores snakes. She's a self indulgent Dornish smartass, but a fiercely loyal one who is far more dangerous than she appears.

Iris
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Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 12:50 pm

| Jasper Arryn |

Post by Iris » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:57 pm

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i. Lord Jasper Arrynxxxx ii. Male xxxxiii. Twenty-five years old xxxxiv. 6'1

Jasper is the first and only son of Robert Arryn, Lord of the Vale. Jasper was the favored child from the moment he was born, born to parents who were both ecstatic and relieved, for their own reasons to be sure. He was groomed to become the Lord of the Vale from the moment such lessons could begin; he was taught how to lead, made to train tirelessly with the knights of the vale ever since he was old enough to pick up a stick. Jasper ended up being the last child his parents would have, and while the eldest six of his seven sisters were far older than him, married off to vassal houses before he was born or when he was a young child, Jasper was always close to his full-blooded sister who was only a year older than him. Of course she ended up getting married off to a noble house as well, but Jasper remained close to the vassal house she was married off to.

Jasper is very much a product of his upbringing. He was taught to train tirelessly, so he became quite a talented swordsman. He was rarely granted the opportunity to leave the Vale, so he knows the land quite well. Jasper was also raised by people who believed his birth to be nothing short of miraculous, and was rarely told 'no', so he has a bit of a problem with seeing a picture bigger than himself. Nobody ever even once claimed that Jasper lacked confidence, given that it practically oozes off of him. He's cocky and carefree, perhaps not the best combination for someone in his position poised to lead the Vale once his elderly father finally passes away, but it works for him until it won't.

Iris
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Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 12:50 pm

Crowned In Glory | I

Post by Iris » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:39 pm

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There was a clear and remarkable irony in life, in the decisions individuals made and how those decisions would escalate and evolve to maneuver the twists and turns of their fate. In theory, one action, the quickest decision made by even the most inconsequential man, had the potential to spark something so great that it inspired songs to be written and repeated for centuries beyond the lifetime of the man, the melody of the tune so simple or so beautiful - either way repeated so endlessly- that it would be therefor imprinted in the minds of children throughout the realms for generations. The same man, even so inconsequential as to be the son of a whore or herder, baring a bastard's name or no name at all, could equally have the potential to do something so horrid that it would be considered unspeakable to some- something that could ruin or take a life, or something far worse, darker than most thought it tolerable to even allow their minds to linger. Certainly, most men lived and died without ever visiting either extreme, without making a name for themselves, leaving the world in much the same condition it was in on the day they were born. Still, the potential was there. The potential to make that impression, to change incalculable lives in a positive or negative way, was there for every man and woman, no matter how much the path they were on might vary. Even then, sitting there in that moment without a clue as to how his decisions might effect the lives of those who were surrounding him now, and of those he hadn't yet met, Jasper knew the theory to be true. He saw it as fact, as something that had been drilled in to his memory since he was just a small child. It all came around, every sentiment that was repeated over and over with only slight variation intended to truly highlight the importance of the lesson.

It was something that was stressed by his father, a man who would with ease point to the words of House Arryn. 'As High as Honor', the ancient words were, as the Lord of the Vale so often felt it necessary to remind his son. Every man was a variable that could change the lives of those around him, but some had a clearer, more profound opportunity to the point that it was all but inevitable. As the son of Robert Arryn, Jasper was one of those men by his very birth. He may have been his father's eighth child, but he was still an Arryn, and in his father's eyes, undoubtedly the most important of the eight. He was thought to be the most important due to his sex, which after seven disappointments, finally broke from the pattern of girls, making him not only his father's youngest child, a statistic that would undoubtedly lower his standing in any other circumstance, but his father's only son. So, despite all of the odds, he was the most celebrated, and he was the heir. In some number of years, in all likelihood much sooner rather than later, Jasper would carry the title of his father, the titles that had been handed down to the men of his family for what seemed like countless generations. He would be Lord of the Eyrie, Defender of the Vale, and Warden of the East. With those titles would come great power and responsibility, far greater even than his name alone would bring in his youth as a young Lord of the Vale. So, his father would point to those family words, the ones their house was known for, reminding Jasper of his importance and place within the family to uphold them. Of course, for the old Lord, a man who had struggled for decades to produce an heir or his own, the most frequently stressed point was how it would one day be Jasper's duty to be matched with a highborn wife of his own to further the Arryn line, to have sons that could go on to have sons of their own. That was the typical line, the gist of which Jasper could easily recite at any time without thought, the incessant reminders etched in to his memory.

It was his duty, his most honorable way to effect others in the region and respect the legacy of the great house he was born to. Yet, in that moment, at twenty five years of age and a great distance from home, Jasper was set to fulfill his duty to his family in any entirely different manner. It was said to be the wedding of the generation. Of course, the youngest of eight children, Jasper was hardly unaccustomed to the affairs and was even less inclined to volunteer to freely attend yet another, but this was said to be different. It would be a double wedding, uniting three houses in one extravagant showing of unity and strength. The ties between the three great houses of Baratheon, Stark, and Lannister would be strengthened, connected through the unity of blood and oath. Truthfully, it wasn't something that the young Lord would give much of a care about, if it hadn't been for the magnetude of the entire affair, and just how it pertained to his own house. Damon Lannister was the Prince of the Seven Kingdoms, the future King, and given that his wedding was one of the two to be held, that wedding alone was enough to make those who held invitations feel obliged to attend. The other groom, however, was Lord Borys Baratheon- of lesser standing, of course, but still the Lord of the Stormlands in his own right, marrying a Stark girl. Oddly enough, perhaps, it was actually their role in the grand wedding that had led Jasper so far from home. His father, for all of his strength, was an aging man. He had years left, certainly, but his health was not that which would easily accommodate such a trip down further south in Westeros as was requested. Such a state would be forgivable, if not easily understandable, when it came to the royal wedding. Yet, for the other, it was a bit different. Robert Arryn had something of an understanding, if not even a friendship with House Baratheon, with Borys in particular, so the aging man refused to snub such an invitation from him. From a Lannister, even a Lannister Prince, then certainly, but not a friend. So, with his own age considered, it was only natural that if he couldn't perseonally attend, that he would send his beloved heir in his place.

Upon hearing the decision, Jasper had hardly been thrilled. While an invitation to such an affair may have sounded like a blessing, a once in a lifetime privilege to be witnessed to most, Jasper found little appeal in it. It didn't even sound just as miserable as every other wedding he had ever been to, it would be a wedding held in King's Landing. Jasper had never been to the capital city of Westeros before, but had heard the stories. The men he grew up besides, knights who with few exceptions found themselves more free to leave the Vale than Jasper had ever been, had countless tales of time spent there. They recalled that the beauty of the Vale was lost there, that it was madness and backstabbing and filth. They said the streets there smelled of excrement, the pathways 'covered in a good few layers of shit that the loathsome bastards toss from the windows'. The taverns were said to be filled with as many whores as the brothels, and while Jasper hardly objected to the pleasures of women, even the finest establishments were said to be well used by every lord, knight, and man of ample means who visited the rancid city, leaving disease and disgust in their wake. Even further than the filth, it was the home of the Lannisters, the royal family loathed by many, with Jasper feeling no less animosity at the very name. It would be filled with pompous and meeting of minds and backstabbing, and Jasper loathed the idea of being anywhere near the toxic court. Yet, it was his duty, and so he went. Not yet to King's Landing, thank the Gods, but rather to Storm's End, to a meeting of nobles where the festivities would begin before heading further on to King's Landing for the actual ceremony. In truth, it was Storm's End that Jasper clung to during the weeks of anticipation before he was sent off down south to represent his house. Jasper had never left the Vale before, and was incredibly pleased with the idea of the small group of him and a few of his father's bannermen having the freedom of the open King's Road, traveling down on horseback. Well, looking forward to that, and the tournament that would be held. If he was going to have to go to King's Landing, he'd at least covet the chance to show off a bit and hit something.

The trip to Storm's End was more fun than Jasper could have anticipated, just him on his beloved gelding Lhazar, accompanied by knights he had been around since he was just a boy. The group made the most of their trip, having more fun than they probably ever should have, before finally arriving in Storm's End. Even given their fun, they arrived rather early- not earlier than most of the nobles who had arrived for the planning and celebrations, of course, but earlier than the Northerners, who the celebrations could hardly start without. For the next three days Jasper drank and acquainted himself with the other nobles, most of whom he had never met before, while spending the moments that he could with his horse and those who's company he actually enjoyed. Unfortunately, though perhaps predictably, the Lord of Storm's End wasn't among that group. Still, the days went on, with news coming on the third day after Jasper's own arrival that the Starks were finally approaching. It came in the middle of the day- a day which didn't see clear skies, though in fairness Jasper hadn't seen a clear sky in the region yet since his arrival. Rather, light grey clouds hung in the sky, keeping the humid seaside castle cool but not uncomfortable to the Vale native. It was known that the party was expected within a day or two, but it wasn't until less than an hour before their arrival, during a time when the highborn were mostly gathered at a long wooden table with ale in their hands and laughter echoing through the air that an announcement had been made, a man unfamiliar to the future Lord of the Eyrie coming in to the great room and bowing to the hosting Lord. The man seemed breathless, his cheeks pink and hair astray. "My Lord," the man approached frantically, bowing his head to those at the table in addition to his Lord, "the Northern banners are approaching."

Jasper's brows raised slowly, raising the cup to his lips once more as he allowed the familiar liquid to flow in to his mouth. He hadn't been drinking long, and as such was hardly inebriated, but was likely just as calmed by the alcohol as he would have liked to be in such a familiar and redundant event. Still, his eyes, which were primarily blue with the odd deviation of brown on the upper portion of his left iris in particular, shifted to the man who was at the head of the table. The Lord still had a smirk on his features from a lewd joke made by some older Lord of House Lonmouth, a man who's name had escaped Jasper entirely due to a lack of interest in ever learning it. "Are they?" He asked the man, raising his brows before turning to look at the rest of the table, raising his own ale. "Well then, my Lords, let us go greet my bride," he proposed, the words eliciting a few cheers and laughs from the table before they began to rise, not quite all at once as there was little hurry, all in attendance knowing there was plenty of time to gather, but rising all the same. Jasper decided to stay to finish his drink before getting up, making his way through the halls he was still just gaining a sense of familiarity with.

It wasn't a long trek from the room to the court where the Starks would be greeted, Jasper quickly locking eyes with a familiar face as he made it outside. It was Lord Arrel Egen, a man only a few years Jasper's senior. Arrel had been under his father's care in the form of a foster as a youth, a typical practice for highborns in the region. The two had been friends since they were children- close friends, and after another friend left to make his way to the capital nearly a decade ago, one of the closest friends Jasper was still in regular contact with. Of course, Jasper didn't see Arrel as much as he once did either, given that the man was now a Lord in his own right, as well as a father and a husband. Yet, oddly enough, the marriage only drew them closer- helped in part, undoubtedly, by the fact that the man was married to Alssa Arryn, Jasper's most beloved sister. Beginning to make his way over to the man, he stopped quickly as he nearly walked in front of another increasingly familiar face. It was a woman, followed shortly by her ladies who Jasper was far less familiar. Perhaps if they were better looking he would have made more of an effort to familiarize himself with him, but alas, they weren't. "Lady Baratheon," he greeted the dark haired woman, bowing his head with a small smile. She was the sister of the hosting Lord, and even more than that, the intended bride of the infamously atrocious Prince, making her the future Queen of Westeros. Again, that might have driven Jasper to try to bed her first, particularly before her future husband ever laid eyes on her, but her very nature had snuffed that possibility out upon their first meeting. Sure, she was pretty enough, though rumored to be outshined by the beauty of the other bride in the upcoming nuptials, but her very nature was vexing to the young Lord. Vexing, but not quite as bad as her brother. While Jasper didn't personally have any problems with him, he had seen enough to think the man was an asshole.

The woman stopped to give a smile, greeting him with a sort of familiarity the two didn't exactly develop. "My Lord," she greeted, her voice warm. With a call from a Septa, she apologized quietly before departing off to go to the woman, presumably to get in line with the others who had gathered. Jasper gave a nod to her ladies as they followed, a smirk clinging to his lips as he carried on to Arrel after they left.

In true form, the man greeted him with a bit of skepticism that came from years of familiarity. "You aren't truly considering that, are you? Lord Arryn would have your ass, if Borys didn't have your head first. I'm sure even that fuck would figure it out." The words amused Jasper more than they perhaps should have objectively, but no less than they ever would. The smirk growing on his features, the other man's brows raised. "Have you...?" He led.

"Calm yourself, Egen," Jasper grinned, grabbing him around the shoulder before leaning in close. "Not my type," he teased, chuckling as he let go of the man to stand beside him in the developing line instead.

"Apologies. I was under the impression that anything with tits was your type," his friend muttered, though after a shared glance, even he had a smirk on his face.

"Still off about the Old Inn?" Jasper questioned, his grin growing at the thought. The Old Inn had been a destination that they and the other Arryn bannermen who had traveled with them had visited on the way to Storm's End. For Jasper it had been quite the night, his appearance, wealth, and title ensuring he had no need to worry about spending the night alone. Arrel, on the other hand, was a true and honorable husband to his beautiful young wife, who he was away from for the longest period of time so far in their marriage. The envy and frustration had been palpable, much to Jasper's amusement.

"Right, as I have no other experiences to go off of," Arrel scoffed, looking ahead before glancing over to his friend. "I haven't seen any in near a month, bastard," he reminded the other man, causing Jasper to laugh. Of course, Jasper couldn't feel any sympathy for him. If Jasper had to think that his childhood friend shared a bed with his sister, fathering Jasper's niece and nephew, then Arrel could deal with knowledge of Jasper's experiences.

"My dear sister will be thrilled to hear it," Jasper assured him.

"More thrilled than you might imagine," Arrel teased, causing Jasper to raise a brow and look at the other man. Before he could tease or make any joked at the man expense, however, his attention was promptly redirected by the sound of the hooves of horses beating against the ground. Jasper's eyes shifted, though certainly not forgetting where the conversation had ceased no matter how much he might have preferred to. Instead, he focused on the sight of Stark banners as they approached, his own posture straightening as he watched the white fabric with the dark mark of a wolf flow in the air as it was held by a man on horseback. His eyes remained on the banners for a moment before finally shifting to beyond the bannerman, to those who were arriving.

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76heart
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Location: winterfell

(♛) 001

Post by 76heart » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:23 am

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━━━━━━━━ r e m e m b e r s ━━━
xxxCarriages. Cramped, uncomfortable things, she had no warmth for them, no fondness, it was nothing but the opposite. She wanted to be outside, free, with the wind blowing through her hair and the sharpness of the winter air biting and nipping at her skin, not cooped up in a mobile box pulled by horses like some poor beautiful bird trapped in a cage. She was a Stark of Wintefell, a winter wolf, not a girl made of fragile porcelain, she could run free like the wolves, she didn't need to be trapped in a cage, with her wings cut and broken. No one seemed to realized that she wasn't going to shatter at the slightest touch. It felt as if everyone had forgotten that the moment Aidin had been born, and proved himself to be healthy with a true shot at life- her family's second miracle-, and she was no longer needed to fill the place of a male heir. Before her brother had been born, even though she wore a dress, and hadn't yet been allowed to handle a sword, she had been taught no differently than they would have taught a son. After years of trying, and countless attempts that had ended in heartbreak, loss, and failure, her parents had finally gotten her, their firstborn, an heir, and they were going to raise her as such, not at all caring that she was a daughter, a girl, rather than a son, and how improper it was seen for a lady to do the tasks of a man. After all, why would they, when her mother's house was known to teach even the women to fight? Then Aidin came, years later, and with him, everything changed, and she was no longer seen as the only option they would ever have. They began to appear to care more about the rules the world had set for a young, highborn woman, and even now, she still missed the time before they did. Lessons of strategy turned to etiquette and poise, and what was the beginning of learning to use a sword, turned to dance. She didn't at all mind the change to dance, dancing was one of her favorite things, but the rest still managed to sting, and she missed watching her father stand at the war table, showing her all sorts of tactics and strategies and explaining each one in a way perfect for a young child. She had gotten more freedom with that change, more time to spend doing what she wished, but what was that worth to a young girl if she had nothing much to do? She wasn't allowed to leave Winterfell without the maester- who was almost always occupied with her brother- or someone else trusted accompanying her as a child, and once Aidin came into the world, no one would ever let her do anything that was deemed even slightly dangerous, and if she tried to do something, or to play in a way that was seen as improper, or unfit for a lady, it was stopped, and the only way she could ever really have some fun was if she snuck away, and she never enjoyed deceiving people who had done no wrong, and only wished for her safety. The two Deerhounds her family had had at the time, Sterling and Gaius, a sort of gift to her after Aidin had been quite proficient in helping her sneak away, but she still found no joy in that. She could have read, as she spent much of her time now, but when she was little, she couldn't sit still long enough to read them, and she had preferred others read them allowed to her, and finding time for that had proven rather difficult. She enjoyed that time now, at least, and most of it was spent with the people of Winterfell, playing with Talimere, or reading. She loved reading, and greatly valued all the time and careful work that was put into creating them, the only problem with that was that she finished books faster than new books could arrive, and it took awhile for new books to get to Winterfell more often than not, and eventually, no matter how much she loved the book, she would tire of the story. When that happened, she would usually spend her time out riding her horse beloved Durwin in the wolfswood, with Talimere running with her, though it wasn't terribly often that she was allowed to venture into the wolfswood alone for some true freedom, so she couldn't explore or just be alone in the forest for some time truly to herself, and she so wished that they would just trust she could take care of herself then, and go for a ride. At least she hadn't ever been forced to learn how to work a needle or sew, or do any sort of intricate needlework or knitting, she had that to be grateful for. She had always found that incredibly boring, and just an absolutely dredge to do and deal with. How was she to stop herself from stabbing her own hand if she made even the slightest slip? What if she dropped the ridiculous thing and lost the needle, and someone, or some creature got hurt? What if it was Talimere who stepped on it? She would never do anything to risk his health, she couldn't. There was no end to her love for him, the closest thing she would ever have to a child, the direwolf pup who had accepted her as one of his own, his person, his family, now that his first one, save for his brother Nim, was gone.
xxxShe held no resentment for her brother, or her parents for any of that of course; she knew they loved her and only wanted the best for her and their house, but it still hurt, and struck her deep, like a piece of her heart had been pricked by the very tip of a sword, and then numbed as it turned to ice, before it ever got the chance to heal. That was why the rare meetings she had with her eldest cousin meant so much to her. Her cousin Brenn, newly appointed Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, had always realized that she wasn't going to crack in the wind under the slightest pressure, and he never treated her any differently than he did anyone else she had seen him interact with. If anything, he seemed to show her more respect than he did most; he recognized her intelligence, and the value of her thoughts and opinions, and that meant the world to her, and she appreciated it so very much, especially when most seemed to dismiss what she felt about a majority of important topics. He heard her, and listened, when so few would. She supposed that he had begun to see that when he went to Castle Black, and saw all sorts of men from all walks of life, bastards of all kinds, criminals with crimes so minor and inconsequential, and men who had done unspeakable things, lords who had become disgraced, even a wildling, who she had recalled him mentioning once. In the Night's Watch, it didn't matter who they had been before, or what they had done, all that mattered was that they protect the Wall, and guarded the realms of men from the terrors that lay beyond. Brenn had understood that quicker than most, and she wouldn't be at all surprised if that was why he treated her as a valuable equal. Or perhaps, it wasn't even that at all, and it was just who he was, who he had always been, which wouldn't surprise her either; he had always been just and fair, with the true honor of a Stark. Either way, he saw something in her that most didn't, or something that most weren't willing to see for whatever petty reason they had that was undoubtedly rooted in horrible principles and preconceived notions, and she was so grateful to him for that, as she had been to the stable boy, now stable master, Tobyn, but everything she had ever had with him had been a mistake, and none of it should have ever happened. She had been too free with her heart, too willing to give it to the first boy who treated her no different than anyone else, like a person, not a titled lady, or some silly girl. Yana had never been in love with him as she once thought she had been, she had only ever been in love with what it felt like to be with someone, to be held in someone's strong arms and to hold them back in her own. Even if she had loved him in a way, it didn't matter now; he was married to another, and a father, and even if he still harbored feelings for her, she wasn't going to run back to him to continue what they had for the two years to continue what they had; she refused to hurt his family, and his daughter. At the time, she had hated her father's choice to marry him to the daughter of a man who baked bread for their family after he found Yana with him in the hayloft, nestled in his arms while they both slept when she was eighteen, and she once had every intention to disobey that and be with him still, but now she saw how wrong it had all been, and she wished nothing but the best, and the utmost safety for his family. Besides, she was getting married herself far too soon, and Winterfell would no longer be her home; Storm's End would be, so it was best she had endured that heartbreak earlier, and it had been swiftly ended then those six years ago, so the pain she felt now wouldn't be infinitely greater. That was the main thing she missed about life before Aidin's time, the promise that if she could marry who she chose, not someone chosen for her.

xxxElyana was brought out of her thoughts by the touch of her mother's hands on her own, as the woman reached over to still her shaking hands, and held them within hers. Adrielle's hands were warm, a contrast to her own, that she had always been told felt cold, despite how almost too warm she felt. "Yana, stop fiddling." Her tone was scolding, but kind and gentle as she chided how many times she had wrung her hands in the past few moments. She looked up, to her mother's eyes, to see the concern held within them behind the faint mother's sternness that had come with her words, and frowned, a look of distress and worry crossing her face as her brows knitted tougher. "What else do you expect me to do? I am to meet a man that I am set to marry who I hardly remember for the first time since I was a child. All I am is nervousness." Yana questioned, worry taking hold of her voice. Her mother's face softened, and the grip on her hands grew tighter, but before her mother even got the chance to respond, or do any more than part her mouth to begin her reply, Talimere had noticed their clasped hands, and sensed the distress coming from his Stark, and he had wriggled his nose under her arm, and then wiggled the rest of the way under and through, to sit on her dress covered lap, and deliver a comforting lick to her cheek, and part of her chin. Her mother pulled her hands back, to give Elyana a moment to hold the silver pup close. She wrapped her arms around him tightly, her hands tangling with his fur, but she could still feel them shaking. The direwolf pup placed his head upon her shoulder, and snuggled close. She buried her face in Talimere's soft fur for a moment, taking in the feel of the silver strands against her cheek and the scents of the flowers he had been bathed in before they left. Her mother hadn't allowed her to be the one to get the pup all presentable and ready; she had insisted that she make herself perfect and presentable instead, while someone else took care of washing the two young direwolves. Of course, without her or Aidin there, it had gone as well as anyone could expect it might; an absolute disaster. Things had been spilled, broken, torn, trampled by tiny puppy feet and the feet of servants chasing them around the room as they sought a way to escape and return to their Stark. She had been able to hear the ruckus they roused even within her room. They managed to complete the task in the end, but everyone looked worn and tired, and the two pups were filled with even more energy than before and were ready to run all through the castle. Unfortunately for them, they had to leave before they could get the chance to do so, and poor Talimere was stuck in the carriage with her while his brother got to run free alongside Aidin and his horse with all the men outside. He was like her, cooped up like a bird in a cage that wanted nothing more than to fly with the world. She was glad that he was with her though, despite her wishing that he could be out running freely; things were easier to bear with a friend by her side, and right now, she needed the strength he gave her. Slowly she looked up, quickly meeting the warm brown eyes of her mother, who was still watching her with great concern. She bit her lip, and let out a soft sigh, pulling the pup even closer. "What if he is horrid and cruel?" Yana asked softly, almost embarrassed to speak her fears aloud. "What if he is unkind?" All she remembered about Borys Baratheon from the one time they had met so long ago as children, was that he had gotten angry whenever he lost a game and she won, and how furious he had been when she refused to let him win. She doubted he had changed enough for that side of him to leave, and it had undoubtedly grown with him and taken a different form to suit who he was now, and she was not looking forward to finding out what it, and he, had become. She had a sinking feeling that he would only accept being right, and that only everyone else could be wrong. All she could see was a life of misery, and walking on glass poised and ready to shatter, more painful than the shells of eggs, around him if she did not want a worse outcome to occur, and she wanted nothing more for that to not be true, but all of her screamed to her that it was. "Yana, we would never have you marry someone who would harm you." Adrielle assured, her voice gentle, and quiet. But what if he hides from you that he would? Yana watched her mother with an expression that she couldn't name, one imploring, searching, and wanting nothing more than to trust and believe her words, even though she knew she couldn't. People could lie, and manipulate, and cheat, what was to stop Borys from acting like a true gentleman to her and around her family, until they were married, and her family left? She knew that her parents would never agree to a marriage if they saw any cruelty toward her within it, but they were not immune to someone's lies, and this had been planned for as long as she could remember, so unless they witnessed harm, she knew it was already set. This wedding was to be a grand one, the most important of all of their lifetimes, the century; it would be a wedding to unite all of the sides to Westeros. She would be marrying Borys, and his sister would be marrying the future king on the day, and even if he showed his true side before it, it would hurt her family greatly to say no, and pull her from it, and she never wanted such harm and shame to fall to her family. She was stuck in this, with no way out, and she had to go through with it. The Storm Lands would be her home, and Winterfell, it's weirwood trees and snow, would be nothing more than a memory, and that thought alone, broke her heart. Her face found it's hiding place in Talimere's fur once again, and she felt the small wolf shift and lick her cheek, giving her a little more courage to say what she needed. She stayed that way for a moment more, before finally looking up, the faintest hints of tears in her eyes. "What if when I look upon him, I feel nothing, no spark, nothing but coldness in my heart? Mother, I'm afraid." Elyana confessed, her voice barely above a whisper. Her mother's face softened instantly, and she leaned forward, to wrap her daughter in a hug. "Oh, Yana." Talimere wriggled out from between them with a high pitched huff, to save himself from being squished, and her mother held her closer when the pup was gone. "It will all be alright, you will be okay." Elyana moved her arms to hug her back, moving them under her arms, and resting her hands on the back of her shoulders. Her cheek rest on her mother's shoulder, and she could feel a tear fall as her mother held her tight. Her mother smelled of freshly fallen snow, and spring flowers, as she always had. She would miss that dearly; this already felt like a goodbye. They stayed like that for awhile a few more tears falling from her cheek, until her mother felt she was better, and pulled back to wipe the tears from her cheeks. The hand remained there, warm on her skin, and her mother's other hand found her own, and gave it a squeeze. There was a sad smile upon the older woman's lips, and her eyes were loving, and motherly. "You are a Stark of Winterfell, Elyana, never forget that. You know your father's words." She took a breath. "In the winter we must protect ourselves - look after one another." Her mother's smile grew, and the hand on her cheek slipped away to clasp her other, bringing their hands together once again. "You will never be alone in this, we are only ever a raven away. If anything should happen, we shall be there at your side, I promise." Adrielle held her gaze a moment longer, and then let her hands go, and leaned back. Elyana let out a shaky sigh, before moving closer to the window where Tali was, his paws resting on the wood of the window. Her head came to rest on wood of the window's side, eyes watching the trees and sprawling hills as they passed, and her hand came to gently stroke the direwolf's fur, his tail wagging the modern sen began. That brought a small smile to her lips, the first one she had had since they left.

xxxEventually, after what felt like forever, they arrived, and the moving green outside the doors, with a haze of storm, stilled, and were replaced by withered walls of gray stone. Her brown eyes fell from the window to her lap before anyone who breathed could come into view. She wasn't ready to see the faces of those standing to greet her, or the face of her husband-to-be; this all just felt too soon, and was just too much for her, and if she saw them, or him, it would make it all real, and she wasn't ready for it to be real just yet. Instead, her gaze found the gold fabric of her skirt, which had all of a sudden become incredible interesting, and safe. She had never been too fond of the color gold, but gold and black were the colors of House Baratheon, and it had seemed best that she wear the colors of the house she would soon be married to, over her favorites, or the colors of House Stark. She was still fond of the dress though, and she hoped that wearing it now wouldn't sour her liking for it, if she got the chance to wear it again. The skirt was simple, without any patterning, just some layers underneath to keep it from swishing around her legs as she walked, and some slight folds at the waist to bring it flush to her skin, where it turned to a corset or bodice of sorts, without any sleeves, hidden beneath the piece she wore above it. The top piece was black in color, with long sleeves that ended at her wrist. The neckline was fairly normal, as was the rest of the garment, but at the front, starting with the point at the bottom of her sternum, there was a shape of a very wide, upside down v missing from what would have otherwise been a normal circle around her waist. The piece was covered in intricate patterns, sewn with golden threads in the shapes of leaves, and swirls within small circles that reminded her stylized flowers, so much so that they almost completely covered the black. Sometimes the golden thread seemed to take on a certain climber or sheen, as if it had been made of real gold, but she knew the sun here was not bright enough for that, and that the lights within the halls wouldn't be bright enough either. It was one of her more convoluted dresses, but that was also a part of why she liked it, it wasn't simple, or like any other she had seen, and it was easy to put on by herself, which was always a good thing, as she didn't like others doing things for her that she could do herself. It felt wrong to have a servant dress her or bathe her, or do anything like that, it always had; she was perfectly capable of doing such things all on her own, and she wanted to do them by herself.
xxxShe let out a soft sigh, a gentle exhale of breath, and watched as a strand of her dark hair fell from her shoulder. For once, she hadn't really done anything with her hair, or weaved any string or beads into it. She had just left it alone, save for the front strands, which had been loosely pulled back, so they would not continuously fall in front of her eyes, whenever she moved or bowed her head. Even if she had had the time to weave something into or around a strand, she knew she wouldn't have; she did that for herself, not anyone else, and she did not want to give Borys any satisfaction at thinking she had done it for him. She didn't know him at all yet, and what she did know from her memories wasn't pleasant, and if he was still like that now, the colors she wore for him would already be enough, if not too much. Letting out another shaking sigh, she finally felt near ready to look out the door's window again, and after a moment of closing her eyes to prepare herself, she did.
xxxWhen she finally gathered the courage to look up, her eyes met those of a handsome stranger, and for a moment, it felt like her world had stopped. He was tall, with short dark hair, and some dark stubble gracing his chin, blue eyes, beautiful blue eyes with hints of gray. He was standing by another, whom he seemed to be at least somewhat friendly with, but her mind barely took notice of the other man, her attention was all on the man who's eyes hers had met. Was it too much to hope that he would be the man she was to marry? It was. She knew it was, his eyes were too different from the ones she remembered. Even though their color was the same, a gentle, and faintly storming blue like the sea, the look within them was different. His eyes held something much different than the faded ones of her memory. Faces changed, but eyes didn't; only what was held within them could differ and change, but their unique spark never left. Even if their light died, it's echo and memory, remained. The ones she remembered held an unkind fire, a fire that threatened to burn and kill, that lit up in design at the suffering it caused, but this man's eyes were different. They were cooler, like the skies before winter, with a kinder look to them, and a light that she couldn't describe. There was just something so different about them, and so special, so wonderful, and unique to anything she had before seen, but before she had the chance to figure out what it was that was held within them, a figure walked past her door, undoubtedly moving to open it, and she had to tear her eyes away, and prepare for exiting the carriage, and seeing the home that would soon be hers. She looked down again, back at the skirt, and brushed it off with her hand, smoothing the fabric, and then did the same with the top piece of her dress, and her front, doing her best to ignore the way her hand was shaking. She noticed that some of Talimere's fur wouldn't leave the top of her dress even after she brushed it away with her hand, and she hoped that Borys wouldn't throw a fit over a garment covered in a little fur, especially when it was just going to get covered in it again, as she moved to pick the pup up and hold him within her arms, so he was no longer scrabbling at the door to greet who would open it, and the figure she had seen could let them both out without a tiny direwolf puppy darting out. With him safely in her arms, the door opened, and the eyes she was greeted with, eyes so familiar and not unlike her own, caused her to let out a sigh of relief, and relax her shoulders. It was Aidin. Aidin was the one who opened the door to her carriage and offered her his hand to take as a support while she stepped down from the carriage, Talimere in her free arm, just as their father helped their mother out and down on the side opposite to them, and she was relieved that it was not some stranger, or her husband-to-be helping her out. She squeezed her bother's hand tightly, and he squeezed back, sensing she needed the comfort as she stepped down, warily looking out at her new surroundings. He didn't let go of her hand, and for that she was grateful for; right now she needed his strength, and the familiarity of her brother at her side, even if she knew that it wasn't going to last long, and soon she'd be alone, without anyone but Talimere to stand by her. At least she might have another to call a friend while she was here before the wedding, if her gauge of him had been right, and it wasn't long after both her feet were set firmly on the ground, that her eyes found the man again, the possible friend, and she felt her brother lean in to send her a whisper. "You know he's not the one you're going to marry, right?" He asked, quirking a brow at her, and trying to appear as if he was just whispering to her some normal thing. She didn't move, or shift her gaze; the only movement that came from her was a frown. "I know." Elyana whispered back in response. She felt his hand slowly slip from hers while he began to ever-so-slowly straighten, taking his sweet time as he opened his mouth to speak another whisper meant solely for her ears. There was a ghost of a smirk on his lips that she wished she had spotted before he spoke again. "Bet you wish it were him, though." He teased quietly, this time causing her to give more of a reaction, much to his pleasure. "Aidin!" Elyana hissed, almost scoldingly as an older sister would, her head turning sharply to glare at him as he swiftly stepped away, sending her a grin he hoped only she could see. Her eyes had widened and her mouth was parted in shock as she stared after him, wishing they were back at home in the halls of Winterfell so she could give chase. Unfortunately, they were not back in Winterfell, near the snow and her trees, and Talimere had used the moment of distraction to wriggle himself out of her arms without her noticing, and the bolt right over to the man from before. "Talimere!" Elyana called, the shout escaping her before she could stop it, as she immediately went after the wolf. He ignored her, and sat on one of the man's shoes, topping and wagging his tail eagerly, and raising a paw to paw at his leg. She knew that this was horribly improper, and that she had very likely just done something incredibly horrendous, but she couldn't quite bring herself to care when it involved her beloved direwolf. She also couldn't bring herself to care about getting the ends of her dress dirty; as a child she would roll in a puddle of mud with Sterling, why, when she didn't care in the slightest as a child, would she be offended at it as a woman grown? As long as she herself stayed clean, and none of it stained and maimed the hard work of the one who made the dress, she was more than fine. That didn't really matter though, at all, and went she stopped in front of the man, standing rather awkwardly, unable to bend down and retrieve Talimere because it would be much too close and even more improper than what she had already done, it wasn't even near the worries on her mind. She clasped her hands nervously in front of her, and felt her cheeks turn red as she met his eyes to give him an apology. "My Lord, I am so so sorry. I should have known better than to only hold him with one arm, he manages to wiggle out even with two, and my focus was.. regrettably elsewhere. I hope he hasn't hurt you, or damaged anything, and that you are alright." Elyana apologized, her voice truly sincere. She hoped that he would forgive her, and that she hadn't just committed some horrible, irreversible wrong. Her eyes searched his face hopefully, and she found them drawn to his hair. It looked recently cut, and well kept. It was a little longer than she had noticed before, and it seemed to hang just a bit above his eye, where- wait, was that? Was there a bit of brown in the upper corner of his left eye? She hadn't noticed that before, when she was watching him from a distance. It suited him, quite wonderfully. She liked it, a lot; it made his eyes very beautiful, and him, even more handsome.

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xxxDornish winds whipped his white hair lightly across his features, the strands tickling his skin and obscuring his view as the breeze blew his longer locks to his eyes. The wind in his hair wasn't at all a feeling he was unfamiliar with; he was used to it being blown around and tousled by a breeze quite often, though this was the first time it had happened while he was meant to be running his family's merchant stand, and he quite wished that the wind would stop blowing his hair in his face and making it even harder to see when he already had to quite frequently move his head to dodge the bright sun glaring down at him, or raise his hand to block it when he couldn't move his form away. At least the wind kept him cooler than he would have been without it, that was good at least; despite it being for the most part, all he had ever known, he had never been a fan of heat, or temperatures he deemed too warm. He also didn't like the way his hair would stick to the back of his neck with sweat on a particularly sweltering day, that was always the worst of it. If he burned in the sun, that would certainly have much of a head over that unpleasant feeling at most, but for some reason, he had been lucky enough to escape the burns of the sun. Being inside as often as he was was likely a significant factor in that, though he hadn't been able to be inside much in their brief time so far in Dorne, and nothing had happened, so he couldn't be sure. He had never seen his mother, or his grandfather with them either however, so perhaps it was just something within his genes, or from the long line of merchants that were more than used to the harshness of the sun on his father's side. Perhaps it was something he could ask his mother- if he prompted his grandfather, the old man would just laugh- about later, though he was almost certain that he was correct in his presumption that she wouldn't have an answer for that. He was the scholar of the family, the one who spent his days learning and reading all the books he could possibly find; if anyone were to know it in his small little family, it would be him, and no one else. His father could have known, his mother always told him that the man was wise, but Vahaemarys barely remembered the man, he had passed on into the darkness when he had been so small, so young, so he truly had no idea there either. He would just have to be content with the hope that someday he would learn why that was, and let it be for now, unless he happened to be lucky enough to stumble upon the information somewhere. At least until then, he had the newness of Dorne and it's wonders to content himself with, and the wonders of wherever his family would travel to next when they left here.
xxxDorne wasn't too terribly different to Essos or the Free Cities, or at least, out of all the seven kingdoms in Westerns, it was the closest to what he considered his home. Both were warm, almost blistering in heat at moments, and like the high temperatures they shared, the colors were warm, and bright like the sun. Dorne did have a major difference though, Dorne was open, and Dorne was free, it's people were free, but many in Essos were not. He had seen many wear chains, and collars, who had undoubtedly been through so much, more than he could ever even begin to imagine. There were masters in some cities, masters who held slaves, who bought from people who bartered in souls and sold to people who traded coin for lives, and he had been able to do nothing about it, nothing but watch and hope someday that that would change, and that that side of the world would soon change it's ways and no longer be like that, and instead have a world where everyone was free, and no one held such power over another. A life wasn't worth coins, it was priceless, something to never be bought or sold like a peace of cloth, and then used and mistreated like some dirty rag. He had witnessed the masters do some horrible things, not caring if their victim was a man, woman, or child. He had heard even worse things of the Dothraki, who lived not far from where he had been born. They stole people for slaves after burning and destroying their homes and killing their families, and hearing their screams in the distance as the hoard rode was a portent for that fate, an undeniable clue as to what would come. He was glad he had never seen them, or been near enough to hear them, he knew that was a life that he could not survive, and he never wanted to see his family killed in front of him, or worse, as he knew they would very likely do. He had seen some things in Dorne he had most certainly not wanted to see, things that inherently came with how open and accepting of things they seemed to be, but he would much rather see that than such suffering and hurt that he could do nothing about. He was a scholar, not a warrior, or a knight, or a king, just a simple scholar, and they wouldn't listen to change their way of life because he wished them to. He would have to find someone who they would listen to, or someone who could make them hear and see, and while he hoped, he doubted that he would ever find someone to do that. He wasn't of any importance here, he held no titles- other than a landless, foreign lord-, no lands, no anything; he was just a man who lived in the wagon and ship of his family as they traveled, and longed to study in the citadel with the maesters. That had been his dream ever since he had been a boy, but he knew it would never come to pass. His family needed him, and family came above all else. His grandfather had always told him that even when someone had nothing, they still had their family, their history, and the blood in their veins, and that was something that could never be taken from them. He always told him that as long as they had each other, they would be alright, and they would survive. Unfortunately, while his words were admirable, inspirational even, and nothing but good things, they also lead to him being stuck tending to their small stall as his grandfather rested, and his mother met with someone of importance for reasons she would not share with him, because their family needed money and food to survive, and if they wanted coin to get the food, they had to sell their wears and do their jobs as simple merchants, and he was presently the only one left to do that. It was thankfully rare that he was stuck tending it, but when he had to, it was never a pleasant thing. He never knew how to interact with people, or what to say, and if they began to argue or try and barter, he would always buckle under what they would say and agree to whatever they proposed, which just lead to upsets from both his remaining family members, and remarks from his grandfather that he should start growing a spine that wouldn't bend or break under the slightest will or pressure for anyone else. He had tried that, but it just wasn't who he was, and a merchant wasn't who he was either.

xxxLetting out a rather loud sigh, he leaned back in his seat, shifting, and squinting in an attempt to avoid the sun. How was it, that no matter where he seemed to go or how he moved to get away from it, that the sun still found a way to bear down upon him and nearly blind his eyes? The odd overhang that was over the stall to give him some shade didn't even block it out properly as it was meant to, it chased him from around the edges, glaring into his eyes when he leaned back far enough as to where he could see it again, and even when it was doing it's job, the sun's light was still reflected onto the jewels and many objects with a shiny surface on the table for display, with then in turn returned the light to his eyes in a painful glint that even hurt some times, and was especially difficult to block out when it came from all sorts of angles. The worse was this one small snake brooch with eyes made of rubies, positioned to face toward him so the elegant coils of it's molded body would catch the attention first, and then draw the eyes to the rubies, if the sun glinting off of them didn't catch the viewer's attention already. The placement of it, and the reasoning as to why still didn't quite make sense to him, but his grandfather had been quite firm on it for the entire time they had had it, and he knew better than to question why the old man thought something best that way. Maybe that was why no one had bought the thing yet. He had never liked that brooch; its ruby snake eyes felt like they were staring into his soul as one of them sparkled and glinted in the sun. There were other items with eyes of jewels fabled to be from lands far away, but those did not look as fearsome, as beady, or as hauntingly red. It was also rather difficult to be scared of frogs, or something that no longer walked the earth, like a dragon. Snakes had always been something he feared, and no matter how many times he tried pushing it away, or turning it around, it seemed to turn back, and follow him with its jeweled beady eyes. It unsettled him an embarrassingly high amount that his grandfather would surely laugh at if he ever found out the extent in which he feared it. He was sure the old man already knew, and that it likely played a hand in whatever reasons he had for it remaining oriented that way no matter where they traveled to and where they took it, but he wasn't going to ask if that was the case either, it would surely result in even worse ridicule. He just wished he could turn it around, and not be faced with it's own face, far too intricate and detailed in the carving, and too real with it's eyes that admittedly, didn't look real at all. No one would know he turned it, that he flipped it to face the other side, the side opposite, and way from him, by all accounts and reasons he should be able to do such a thing and not a soul who cared would know, but he still couldn't. He just knew that his grandfather would find out somehow, and that he'd never hear the end of it if he did. It would be so east to just lift it up, and turn it around. It was no bigger than the palm of his hand, and was surprisingly light; it wasn't a difficult thing to do, and easier still when it was so he wouldn't have to stare at it, but that wouldn't work. It still ended up staring back at him, and he knew that if he tried the guilt would just eat away at him, and if he was asked, he couldn't lie. He could say a customer had moved it, someone who had stopped to peruse their wears and spotted it, picking it up to take a closer look, only to return it when they learned the high price, but that just sounded silly, and he knew his grandfather wouldn't believe it. "Oh no Grandfather, I didn't move it to face away from me conveniently behind this very nice pot where I can't see it, someone browsing did, I wouldn't dare. Oh, you don't believe me? I never would, Grandfather, I swear it on my honor." Vahaemarys mused absentmindedly, shifting in his rather uncomfortable seat again to lean forward, and try and block out the things gaze with an elbow on the surface, and his chin on his hand. Why couldn't someone just buy it already? They had had it in their possession for so long, longer than anything else they were selling, why couldn't someone who was willing to pay it's price just pick it up and take it? It had taunted him on so many rides in their wagons and ship, we ever he was sent to make sure everything was still packed as it should be, and no bumps in the roads or waves crashing against the ship had damaged it. Why did it have to stay with him for so long? It was unique, one of a kind, without a twin or a brother, or sister, how was it that someone had not bought it already? Was some cruel trick being played on him? Was the ridiculous thing cursed? Was he cursed? Were the gods playing a game with him? No one would know if he just hid it behind something else, right? Why couldn't it just conveniently fall into the sea while they were loading things onto the ship? No, he didn't wish that at all, not really. Such a loss would cost his family greatly, and he didn't want them to lose something that would bring in white the bit of coin. His grandfather needed his wheeled chair, and the parts to it were not cheap to replace if broken, and when they could be even harder to find, he didn't want to cost his family like that. No, if he wished anything, he would wish that someone came and bought it from his family right now, so he'd never have to see it again. If he was lucky, perhaps they'd take some of the wine too, the smell was starting to get to him, and make him a bit light headed in the heat as it overwhelmed him, and began to turn pungent in a place already filled with a plethora of scents and smells that he was used to in a place of market, but he doubted anyone would show even an ounce of interest in the wine. Dorne was famed for it's wine, said to have the best there was, and if theirs was far superior, why would anyone from the land care to try something that would be any less? He had been lucky so far, in the few hours he had been stuck as the vendor to have very few people come over to browse, but he would take any number of social interactions at this point to just get that damn brooch off his hands and away from him, far far away. The wine would merely be a bonus, if they took that with it. He wanted to even throw it in for free, but that would be another cost to his family, and he couldn't do that; he already cost them enough with his mistakes and lack of spine. He'd just have to wait until someone came along and bought them honestly, hopefully along with that golden, coiling snake brooch that he swear moved to stare at him no matter where he was. Did it move just now? It looked more to the left than it had been before, he was sure it did. Had something moved it, or was he just driving himself mad, and insane? He was just seeing things and scaring himself, that was all that was, it had to be all that was, or else he feared he truly would go insane.

Iris
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Crowned In Glory | Gloria Regalia | II

Post by Iris » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:50 pm

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With the trip to represent the House of Arryn during the festivities and ceremony surrounding the wedding of a generation, Jasper had traveled outside of the Vale for the first time in his life, going further to the south than he had ever traveled before to reach the castle of Storm's End. In all likelihood, he knew, the Stormlands were to be the southernmost point he would ever travel, the furthest from his home in the Eyrie that he would ever stray. After all, it wasn't as if highborns had the tendency to be given leave to travel freely throughout Westeros. Men more so than women, of course, but even then it was usually limited to greeting old friends and matters of diplomacy that furthered the interest of their house during times of peace, and when peace was disturbed, they didn't often stray from their castles for matters unrelated to steel and bloodshed. Yes, despite the cause for the trip being one he dreaded with a sense of absolution, being so far south was a treat that he wouldn't be likely to be granted often, especially once his father would draw his last breath and leave Jasper as the head of their ancient house, the man in charge of the Vale. Yet, no matter how far he was from home, how far south he and his bannermen had traveled upon the King's Road to reach their destination, it didn't really occur to Jasper that for the brief time they had been there that he had been the most northern among the other members of great noble houses around him who so far hailed from the likes of the Stormlands, Westerlands, and the Reach. Of course he wasn't a northerner, not in any sense, but he at least was considered to be from a region more geographically northern than the rest in attendance, than those who had so far arrived in Storm's Ends for the festivities to follow.

As Jasper watched the bannermen for House Stark arrive, however, it was hard not to firmly lump himself as well as his own men in with the southerners, though the Vale was certainly a region all it's own that could not easily be compared or grouped in with outsiders. After all, with the notable exception of the Dornish, a people he had never once interacted with but had certainly heard many scandalous stories of, was there any other group of people within the Seven Kingdoms that had such a distinct feel to them that was so very different to the other regions of Westeros than that of the Northerners? Even just as his eyes focused on the bannermen as their horses slowed, the different nature of the people who had arrived was clear. There didn't appear to be any pageantry about it, about the men on their mounts, carrying the banner of their lords, the fabric of a grey direwolf on a white field floating in the air as the horse moved forward. The sight of the people seemed simple, raw, basic in the most unassuming of ways. It was the first time he had witnessed the Stark banners, the first time he would meet Northerners of noble birth, and yet it was obvious to him from first sight that what he heard of them seemed to be true. Not at a personal level, as had never had any vested interested in such a thing, but what he had heard of the north and the house that was presently arriving, even from a young age.

It would be hard to ever forget those childhood lessons- lessons which he gathered were likely given to all those of noble birth. It had bored him endlessly, really, at the time- the incessant rattling off of facts, the quizzing by Maester Vardis, a man who seemed impossibly old at the time to the young Lord and had long since died in the years that followed. Again and again the questions would be repeated, the man's wrinkly old discolored hand pointing patiently at spots of an intricate map of Westeros etched in to the floor of the library. Naturally, Jasper's younger self shared little of the Maester's patience, the young boy just itching to be outside, on horseback or with the Master-at-Arms, training with the older son of Knight of the Vale who he had so idolized at the time. Instead, for what seemed like eternity at the time, he was stuck inside the library, staring at the floor beside the old man. "House Egen," he could even now remember the irritation he felt as he recited the vassal house the Maester pointed to, the look of incredulity he must have had on his face as he looked up. "By Day or Night." It wasn't as obvious as it would later be when his father would take a ward from the house, but he had felt it painfully redundant all the same. "Sigil- a yellow sun, white crescent moon, and blue star on silver chief-" he could remember beginning once for what felt like the millionth time, only to be promptly cut off. "Silver star on blue chief, I believe you mean, little Lord," the gentle voice had amended. Even now, Jasper could remember how exaggeratedly he rolled his eyes at the amendment, wishing he could have jumped on any color star to get away from the damned library and back outside. Of course, that hardly had been the end of his lessons.

Much of the lessons consisted of the Vale, as that was his home, where he would spend his life and be given the responsibility over, accountable only to the crown when it came to the realm. Naturally, however, the Vale wasn't the only realm within the Seven Kingdoms, and as Lord of the Vale, he would one day be held responsible for the region's diplomacy. Again and again they would rehearse, stressing Jasper's familiarity with the geography and noble houses of Westeros. Repeatedly he would have to name the castles, the rivers, the region- then there were the houses that occupied them, their sigils, house words, as well as the names of the heads of their noble houses. House Arryn - the Eyrie, House Baratheon - Storm's End, House Lannister - Casterly Rock, House Tully - Riverrun, House Tyrell - Highgarden, House Martell - Sunspear, House Stark - Winterfell. Stags and roses and wolves and all of it, prompted by one motion at a time, drawn out as if to test his resolve more than his knowledge. On and on it would go, great houses and knighted houses alike, that damned map the bane of his existence during a time when he was too young to have many others. By the end of each lesson, Jasper would want nothing more than to take a blade and start hacking away at that infernal map. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately in hindsight, he had been at such a young age that the training swords he was given would have hardly been enough to mark up the wooden tables in the room, let alone made the slightest scratch at the surface of the floor.

Of course, as much as such lessons had annoyed him endlessly in his youth, they had proven incredibly useful, and never before more so than it was proving to be on this current trip. It was those lessons combined with anecdotes from his father, their bannermen and Lords who had visited the Eyrie through Jasper's life that he had been given glimpses of other regions, and through those glimpses gained a certain familiarity or base knowledge. As he witnessed the Stark's arrival, all that he had heard seemed to be true upon first glance. They seemed to lack all of the pageantry of the Vale, the elegance that they would boast of in their impregnable castle. There was no beauty in it, but rather a dullness, a harshness of their appearance that seemed to him to match his father's analysis that the Northerners were a bunch of grim bastards that hailed from a place few wanted to be. That wasn't a mark against it or them, not from Jasper at least. It certainly wouldn't be his first choice of the seven kingdom's to visit, but he had a feeling he'd sure as all of the hells rather visit that supposed frozen wasteland than King's Landing, where he would be all too soon, surrounded by fucking Lannisters. Yet, as his eyes remained settled on the sight of the northerners arriving, his thoughts filled with comparisons of the reality presented before him versus what he had always heard of them, he abruptly settled on something else entirely. She was beautiful. Not in the normal way- the way in which he would usually deem women to be attractive, which would have him flirting with the daughters of regional Lords and bedding women of reasonable charm in nearly every inn or tavern he had visited in his travels from the Eyrie to Wickenden and everywhere else along the High Road, and then far more recently, along the Kings Road.

No, to look upon her wasn't like that at all. even if a part of him already recognized who she must have been. She wasn't like that at all. There was a sort of brilliant beauty about her, a purity in appearance that seemed so easily misleading, as with that astounding purity of beauty, there was something harder, something fierce about the look of her that he couldn't quite comprehend. Perhaps it was the look of a woman who knew she was going in to the lion's den- or, perhaps more fitting, in to the forest among stags and other frightening beasts even before she was led to the lion's den, to become a divine meal to satisfy a beast who would likely look upon her no differently than a stallion to a broodmare. No, Jasper knew that wasn't it- it couldn't be it, as fitting as it might have been. No, there had to be something innate about it, something about her that couldn't have had anything to do with any man, couldn't have been a reflection upon her circumstance. No, even as their eyes locked for the first time, and she sat from within a carriage, Jasper could see a strength within the beautiful woman, something that couldn't be easily explained away or dismissed, and yet it only added to her beauty, enhancing it beyond reason or expectation, and Jasper found him hard pressed to tear his eyes away from her, only managing to do so once his line of sight was disrupted by a younger man walking between them, preparing to open the door.

The motion caused Jasper to advert his eyes, allowing them to flicker to the ground before darting to Arrel. The man didn't meet his gaze, his own attention elsewhere- truthfully, as his own should have been, and yet refused to be. Quickly, he found his eyes inevitably drifting over to the dark haired beauty once more, the faintest hint of a smile playing on the edges of his lips when he saw her again, the gorgeous northern lady appearing even more radiant once outside of the carriage. She wasn't just a blessed with a beautiful face, of that much he was immediately aware, and her dress held elegance of the sort he so rarely witnessed in strangers - it was the kind that immediately made him think of home, of the elegance of the Eyrie, and yet it was so very different, so distinct in nature that it didn't only capture his attention further, but also in his mind accentuated her own beauty further as well as created a great contrast between the dull looking Northmen he had originally bared witness to and her. As stunning as she was, however- and she was truly a sight to behold - that wasn't the only thing he was able to pay attention, his gaze over her allowing him to spot for the first time the animal that she carried in her arms.

It was a sweet looking little animal, Jasper had to admit, easily assuming it to be a young puppy of some sort of Northern breed of dog he was unfamiliar with. It wouldn't take much, honestly, for him to be unknowing of a certain breed, especially if it hailed from a different region, but even if it didn't. Jasper was more the type to spend his time admiring horses, especially his own beloved mount, rather than conventionally and commonly kept house pets. It wasn't that he disliked them, though he did suffer from more than his share of scratches, bites, and experiences getting spooked by hissing which seemed to be originating from the deepest fiery depths of the seven hells, but was instead from his sister Alssa's feline companion when they were young. No, it was just that it wasn't his general preference, not when his time with animals could instead be spent freely, feeling the air around him diverge as Lhazar's powerful body moved with a sense of purpose and yet no pomp at all. Yes, Jasper had a soft spot for horses, but that showed no distaste for smaller creatures- thankfully. Jasper's eyes moved away once more when he saw the woman speaking to the younger man, who he could have only assumed to be a relative given his appearance and the liberties he was taking in being so close to her. The Heir to Winterfell, perhaps? It would make the most sense, he knew, but even then he couldn't be sure.

Any such thoughts were soon off his mind, though, as only moments after his eyes left the pair, Jasper felt something at his legs. Immediately looking down, his brows furrowed in surprise and confusion alike when he saw that it was the little ball of fur he had witnessed in the northern beauty's arms just moments prior. Before he could do anything, his attention was redirected once more when he heard a woman's voice shouting out a name. Lifting his gaze, his brows shot up in surprise, but also amusement, at the sight of her running towards him. Oh, that must have been the dog's name. Still, the actions were completely out of order for such affairs, and yet that wasn't on Jasper's mind in the slightest in the moment- after all, why in the seven hells would he care if Borys' grand introduction was stalled or even ruined, for that matter? No, Borys wasn't on his mind at all as he watched her, the situation at hand capturing all of his attention. Jasper watched as she stopped in front of him, nervous apologies fumbling out of her lips.

Of course Jasper didn't mind, it was completely unnecessary- besides, offense was the furthest thing from his mind, while his thoughts were focused far more intently on the likes of how lovely the sight of her cheeks lighting in a blush was and how nice her accent was. It wasn't as harsh as he might have expected, and seemed to fit her wonderfully. Those thoughts alone would have been enough to bring a small smile to his lips, even if he hadn't been as amused as he was. The heir to the Vale took a moment to respond all the same, getting a bit too caught up in admiring her at first, but when he finally was of the mind to formulate a response, his eyes flickered down to the animal at his feet before looking back to the northern beauty in front of him. "Should the day come that he would harm me, my Lady, I believe the gods would find me in good spirits, and themselves in even better humor," he tried to assure her. His eyes lingered on her for a moment longer before he knelt, reaching down for the eager young animal. Once he had him in his grasp, he held the animal gently as he stood, his eyes remaining on the beautiful animal for a moment as he found himself letting his fingers settle in to his fur. As he did so, the animal moved upward quickly, licking at his face before Jasper had the chance to move him a bit further away. A quiet chuckle left the lord at the display. "He's quicker than I would have imagined," Jasper noted with no shortage of amusement, his eyes moving back to the lady in front of him. His eyes didn't leave her even as he took care in extending his reach towards the woman, offering the affectionate animal back to her. "I've never seen one like him in the Vale, let alone the Stormlands." Or one like her, for that matter, though that much he was willing to keep to himself for the moment.



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Children born of whores weren't generally known for having the world at their fingertips. Generally speaking, of course, with all other factors ignored or displaced, to be delivered from such a woman had the tendency to become a weight, a black stain that would tarnish the child in the eye of respectable society, narrowing any chance for change or social climbing. The children would be raised by their mothers and the other women employed at the brothel - all of them bastards, of course, for none of the whores would likely know the name of their child's father, let alone be married to him. Together, they would form a lowly accepted family that would be looked at in disgust by most societies, keeping primarily to themselves and their clients. Of course, all children - at least, those fortunate enough to be afforded the privilege, would eventually grow. For sons, poverty was generally the way of life, though some undoubtedly did a bit better for themselves than others. For the daughters, however, it would be rare to find an instance of the women not remaining in the brothels even in to adulthood. They would often be trained in the art of seduction from adolescence, used to satisfy the desires of men until one of the stream of men would leave her expecting his child, blissfully unaware of his own child's very existence. Inevitably, the cycle would repeat indefinitely.

Ashvi Sand was an incredibly fortunate exception to the tragic cycle. Like so many before her, she had been delivered in a setting of ill-repute. As she had been conceived, so she was brought in to the world- in the middle of the finest room of a bustling Pentoshi brothel. Her mother had been just the same as many other women there- born to a bedslave, albeit not from Pentos, but rather from Lys. Still, the woman had grown in a brothel all the same, learning the art of how to please men before being given to one when she was not yet even a woman in her own right. She had already been working for years by the time she made in to Pentos, and was just seventeen when she gave birth to her daughter. Nearly every part of her tragic tale was the same as that of so many women. and yet there was one monumental difference that didn't only change her own life, but would ensure the breaking of the cycle for her own beloved daughter. She held the heart of the Prince of Dorne. Unfortunately, Illyra didn't survive long after delivering their daughter in to the world, but that love she had cultivated during her time with the prince would only amplify the love the prince would have for his daughter. Things had changed drastically throughout the years- the prince and his bastard returning to Dorne while she was still being tended to by a wet nurse, his shift from the heir to House Martell to the head of it, his marriage, other children. So much had changed, but their bond never had, nor had Ashvi's place at her beloved father's side. She was the proud daughter of a whore, just as she was the beloved bastard of Prince Nymor Martell. She was loved, held love for those around her, and through her illegitimacy, held the freedom over her own autonomy that few women holding such privileged could ever hope to attain in the world they inhabited. Life for Ashvi was different than the lives of most, but it was the only one she had ever known, and she wouldn't have had it any other way.

Life was good for the young woman. It wasn't always so eventful, but that was certainly by choice. If it had been her wish, she would have had license to travel Dorne or beyond, wherever her heart might take her. She wouldn't have been judged or shamed by her family if she had chosen to take a new lover or two every night- hells, her father would have likely been more than happy to point her in the direction of the best whores he knew. Similarly, she could have married young to someone of considerable wealth or nobility to start a family of her own. Perhaps not in most of Westeros given their rigidness, granted, but certainly in Dorne or Essos who wished to carry favor with her father despite the illegitimacy of her own birth. She could have had excitement or lust or family, but that wasn't who Ashvi was, at least not who she was so far in life. No, not at all. Rather, while she had a world full of opportunities and liberties for her to claim laid out before her, Ashvi had a different sort of lifestyle based on her own whims, one than left her practically bathing in fine Dornish wine as she lived it. It wasn't often that Ashvi's day led her in places she hadn't planned outside of the walls of Sunspear of the Water Gardens, but even in a life so full of leisure and indulgences, she was still occasionally left surprised with where her days would lead her.

Ashvi hadn't planned to leave the castle walls on such an ordinary day, especially at such a conventionally reasonable hour- truly, she really hadn't. By all accounts, she should have been still sleeping, wrapped up in the comfort of her own bed- or, perhaps if she was feeling ambitious at an hour that could be seen as so unfathomably early for her, soaking in the luxury of the bathing pools with wine in hand. She shouldn't have been outside of the castle in any case, no matter what she was doing outside of them, but yet she was, and the strangeness of that reality certainly didn't elude her. She could have blamed any number of things for having her out and about, but in truth it all boiled down to two factors that she couldn't, and wouldn't, easily deny. It was a reaction that led her there, two separate causes and weaknesses that she had- one for a python, and the other for a beloved little prince. It started off early in the morning, or at least early in her morning, though in truth it was past midday for the rest of the world. The beloved large python, named Nym after both the first name of the current Prince of Dorne and the late Nymeria of the Rhoynar who had once married Lord Mors Martell to create House Nymeros Martell as it was today, hadn't eaten in over two months before finally accepting a large rabbit early in the afternoon, all but casting Ashvi out of her own chambers which she shared with the snake for concern over the lack of privacy causing Nym to regurgitate her meal. The two had been together for over a decade, the strikingly white python, then little more than a hatchling, having been a gift for Ashvi's eleventh birthday from her father. Ashvi knew her snake.

Still, more than happy to give her snake the privacy she would desire, Ashvi even then had little more than a typical day in mind for herself. That presumption lasted all of the time it took her to dress for the day, for as soon as she left her rooms and made it in to the halls of the castle, she came face to face with her father's paramour, a woman walking hand in hand with a little prince who's face lit up the moment he saw his older sister. "Good morning, little love." She had greeted, the quiet child bounding towards her. It was then that she was made aware of the pairs plans to go to the market, and with those deep brown eyes looking up at her, Asvhi became wet sand in the hands of her younger brother, there to mold as he saw fit in the moment. As it turned out, what he saw fit was her joining the pair on their little journey, and so after a detour for a bit of wine, the trio set off, trailed by four of their guards.

It was odd to be outside the walls of the castle at such an early hour, of course, but as the three made their way through the market, Ashvi had to admit that she didn't hate it. She was more sober than usual, perhaps, and lots of movement wasn't typically her thing, but Devron was happy, the air smelled of food and wine -two substances the bastard woman happened to be incredibly fond of-, and there was something about the Dornish heat radiating on her skin that always had a way of calling to her. Granted, much of her time out directly in the sun was at the Water Gardens rather than Sunspear, as that location, a gift from one of her ancestors to his bride, was by far her preferred of the Martell's homes, but the same rays that graced the Water Gardens graced Sunspear as well, and while her current endeavor didn't hold nearly the amount of comfort, she could still allow herself to enjoy the feeling. After all, with the clean sky above, it wasn't as if much of her skin went untouched by the sun as they walked through the market. Ashvi had never claimed to dress conservatively- she liked pretty things, and she liked to wear them as well. Gold was the color of her attire for the day, as it most often was. Gold was the beading that covered the material that cupped her breasts in intricate patterns, the material reaching to her shoulders, though leaving cleavage exposed. Gold, too, was the sheer fabric that hung from the material that covered her breasts, flowing loosely over her exposed abdomen with hues of bronze melting throughout. Again, gold was her skirt that reached to her waist, the same intricate pattern throughout. Even her sandals, the jewelry she wore which included a cuff on her upperarm, and a bracelet that wrapped around her wrist before peaking it's mouth in the shape of a snake's head- all of it, gold, though all of it combined left her body quite exposed, just as she preferred.

The pleasurable feeling of the sun's warmth on her exposed skin didn't easily leave Ashvi's thoughts, even as she watched Devron peak at stand after stand. Unlike her little brother, Ashvi didn't see much in the way that would interest her- until, of course, it did, and when it did, it intrigued her. It was the sight of the light hitting the rubies that caught her attention from stalls away, Ashvi's brows shooting up as she turned her head to take a look towards the sight. It was then that the light became of little consequence, as she spotted a man who certainly was worthy of note. It wasn't just that he was so obviously foreign, as it wasn't as if nobody from the other regions of Westeros or Essos ever visited Dorne. Rather, even by their standards, he was different. He was wonderfully handsome, with hair that was so light that it almost appeared white, reminding Ashvi nearly immediately of her beloved snake, but yet it was something all it's own, something gorgeous. Ashvi's eyes lingered on the man for a few moments before she felt a gentle tug at her skirt, bringing her attention back to Devron. "Go on, little love. Go with Vasa," Ashvi encouraged, running her fingers through the little boy's hair. The prince complied, though not without Vasa's attention being gained. Ashvi nodded in the direction of the stall.

The other woman followed her gaze, her eyes lingering for a moment before returning to Ashvi with a smirk. "Looking for a taste of the local vendors, are we?"

The question made Ashvi smirk in kind. "There's nothing local about that," she pointed out. "I will return," she assured before separating from them, one of the guards following close behind her as she made her way over to the stall. She took her time as usual, but still walked with purpose, knowing exactly where she wished to be. Once she reached the table, Ashvi stopped in front of it, her eyes lingering on the man for a moment. His hair, his handsome features- they were even lovelier up close. "Is that truly your hair?" She asked after a moment of staring, before finally adverting her eyes, scanning the table for the item that had originally captured her attention. To her delight, it wasn't just any rubies- the rubies were the eyes of a snake on a broach. Reaching forward, Ashvi lifted the broach to inspect it for a moment. It was beautiful, made especially beautiful by the creature it portrayed, that she would always have a soft spot for, and yet...Yet, her attention, at least for the moment, was drawn elsewhere. Her eyes flickered back to the man. "I haven't seen you before, have I?" She asked, tilting her head a bit as she gently set the brooch down on the table. She wondered what his accent would be like. It certainly wouldn't be Dornish like hers- or, at least, that wasn't likely. Where was he from? "Odd. Wine tends to be a realm in which I hold absolute familiarity," She informed him, a smirk reaching her lips at just how accurate the words were. "May I touch it?" She asked suddenly, her eyes moving over him once more. "Your hair, I mean," She amended with an amused smile. "I'm envious, it's gorgeous."


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(♛) 002

Post by 76heart » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:05 pm

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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.

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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.

Iris
Lovely Friend
Posts: 198
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Crowned In Glory | Gloria Regalia | III

Post by Iris » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:04 pm

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He may have been young, a man of only twenty five years, but Jasper had seen many women in his time. Even before he traveled outside of the Vale, he had seen them. Seen them in nearly every way, in every circumstance, with nearly any intention. Yet the sight of the woman in front of him, the sight of the beautiful blush that coated her cheeks and the wide smile that tugged at her lips unlike anything he had ever seen before. She was beautiful, no- she was gorgeous, a sight to behold, really, but she was more than that, and something about that part of her that he couldn't quite identify beyond a sort of strength that had no basis in physical prowess, but rather seemingly to the core of who she was, pulled him in and captivated just as much as her outer beauty- which was truly saying something, of course, given just how stunning she was. Her response to him after she took back the wold surprised him, a fact that he hardly kept hidden as his brows raised a bit, though the smile never left his lips. A direwolf- no wonder he hadn't recognized the look of the puppy, though truly it wasn't accurate to claim that to be the only cause of his ignorance, which would be to purposefully ignore how little time he actually spent around the creatures. But a direwolf? Of course he had heard the stories- his maester had loved to tell stories almost as much as he had liked to point at the map of Westeros. He liked to talk more than the Septa, a rare trait Jasper's father had assured him, though his father was of the opinion that all women spoke entirely too much, and for a man to speak even more than that was a loathsome trait. Yet Maester Vardis did, he loved to tell his stories, the topics of which happened to be incredibly wide ranging. Often he would talk about the Andals- the stories which led to the Arryns of the Vale being the oldest and purest line of Andal nobility, their lineage traced directly back to the northwestern Essos region Andalos. He would tell stories of King Robar II Royce and Ser Artys Arryn, the Falcon Knight, and the Battle of the Seven Stars. He would tell stories of the First Men in the region who did not accept Artys as their king, refusing to bend the knee to the Andals after he slain Robar in battle and was subsequently crowned the King of Mountain and Vale, and who for their refusal to bend the knee were forced in to the Mountains of the Moon, their descendants later to form the reviled Vale mountain clans who had spent the following centuries in extreme poverty outside the law and rule of the realm, sustained only by violent raids against the Andals who surrounded them as well as warring tribes that never seemed fully at peace among themselves.

Maester Vardis would talk proudly of the wars the Vale had historically fought under Arryn rule, from the triumphant battles in which they turned back slavers from Volantis, ironborn reapers, and pirates from the Stepstones and the Basilisk Isles to the War Across the Water which was fought and won against the Starks of Winterfell a thousand years ago after a thousand years of intermittent war. It was a worthless war, really, the sole prize being the tenuous control over the Three Sisters at the Bite, a group of islands so bothersome that they were said to be to the eastern shore of Westeros what the Iron Islands proved to be the the west. Those were the stories Jasper could appreciate in his youth, the stories of wars and battles won by the Vale while he was stuck in the library with the aging maester. Of course, not all tales of war were favorable. Just as he was told the stories of their victories, he was told of their defeats- mostly just one, though it was a defeat no man could be ashamed of, he was assured. The Knights of the Vale were formidable, among some of the most notoriously well-trained forces in Westeros even, and yet what was a man with a sword in his hand against the fiery breath of a dragon being controlled by two half-mad Valyrians with the goal of conquest? The Eyrie itself was made to be impossible to conquer, after all, notoriously claimed to be impregnable and it was true- no one army could get past the Bloody Gates, no matter how large they were, as at the entry of the gates they would have to enter two at a time, shoulder to shoulder, at the mercy of the Arryn soldiers that would stand above them on either side, so easily able to kill one after the other before they'd ever have the hope of bombarding the gates. It was a fortress to behold, really it was, and yet while no army could touch it, dragons could so easily fly above the gates and the mountains they were secured in.

Not all stories were stories of wars, though, or even the politics that he knew even back then at a young age he would one day be expected to know the basic parameters of. No, some were less practical, stories of dragons, a species long-since extinct, dominating the skies. He would hear stories of giants beyond the wall, men so large that they couldn't even mount the greatest of stallions, instead riding mammoths for distances that they couldn't use their long legs to reach. There would be white walkers and winters that lasted a hundred years which would blanket the north and even in the Vale leave the Arryns away from the Eyrie for generations, the great house instead living entire lifetimes in their winter seat to which Jasper had been born during the winter of his birth, the Gates of the Moon. There were stories of magic to the east, serpents to the south, lions ravaging the west, and creatures to the north- among them, direwolves. The creatures might as well have been lions or mammoths to Jasper, all foreign creatures he had never seen before, though not as outlandish to him as the other stories he had heard about from above the wall, the tales that he had found of some interest in his childhood only to quickly grow out of and dismiss instead as stories for old people and children, not to be believed as soon as he wanted to be considered a man. Of course, while he believed direwolves were real- after all, they were the sigil of House Stark and how outlandish were they really- he had been told that they were extinct south of the wall, his mental image of the creatures shaped in to that of great beasts that would live beside the wildlings of the north, which he always pictured with a clear likeness to the Vale's mountain clans. He would have pictured them in packs, hunting above thick blankets of snow. Never in his mind would he have pictured the small bundle of fur in the beautiful Stark's arms to be one of those creatures. He had to remind himself that the small puppy he saw was just that, a puppy, which sparked his curiosity as much as the revelation had originally surprised him. How big would he become when he was fully grown? Would he live up to the stories that were spread about the mighty beasts?

The sight of the direwolf suddenly struggling in her arms caused Jasper to chuckle, the sight of the two together already an endearing one to him, though his attention was soon directed elsewhere by the sound of her voice filling the air again. Jasper's eyes raised from the direwolf to meet her gaze, his smile softening at the words, giving her a small nod of understanding. Of course, if the opportunity was provided - and he was sure that it would be, as even if it wasn't readily available, he knew with startling certainty that he would make sure there was - the three would be seeing each other again, and Jasper looked forward to that more than he truly had any right to. Then, there was her name. Yana- it was a beautiful name, befitting her completely in his mind. Elyana Stark as a whole was a beautiful name, he thought, but there was something about the way the nickname sounded that he really enjoyed, that he wished to have the opportunity to speak, to feel how the name would sound from his own mouth just as much as he wished to hear her say it again. Besides, it was a more personal variation of her name, something that held more familiarity. He liked that about it, perhaps most of all, though it was difficult to determine already. His smile grew a bit larger at the introduction, and he opened his mouth to give a reply that wasn't immediately able to provide. He wasn't given the opportunity to introduce himself in kind, and though he had every intention, he was promptly interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat. His first thought had been Arrel, as it would have been quite something Arrel would be prone to do- the only person who wouldn't, he thought, had left for King's Landing years before, and while Jasper had a close bond with Arrel, he most certainly wasn't that outrageous bastard. Still, he would have normally immediately known Arrel's voice by the tone of it, but had been so distracted by the woman in front of him that he hadn't been able to immediately figure out that it wasn't him, and was in for a thoroughly unpleasant surprise when his gaze shifted to the man who had made it.

While seeing Arrel's face would have been a mild annoyance after such an interruption, he was instead gazing upon something far worse- the poorly masked irritation of Borys Baratheon. Now, he wouldn't have necessarily minded seeing the look in general- it would have amused Jasper in a way, or even better, offered up a welcome opportunity to go sparring with the man. It wouldn't have been something his father liked, even if it could claim to be just for fun, a friendly little match between two highborn men who had likely both been trained by a Master at Arms since early childhood, but it would hardly be rare for Jasper to do something his father would otherwise disapprove of. It was one of the perks of being the only male heir to a house that had yearned for one for decades. This wasn't that, however, and that much was immediately apparent. Jasper felt his smile, one that hadn't left his lips since the moment that Yana had approached him while running after her direwolf, finally slip from his features at the sight of him, two things immediately becoming apparent to him. First was the reminder that she wasn't just Yana, the wonderful woman he had just met, but she was more than that. He had pitied the girl that was to wed the Baratheon lord before he even met her, before he knew her beyond some random Stark girl of little consequence, but the sight of Borys standing right there with them was the sudden visual reminder of why the spectacular woman in front of him now was in the Stormlands, and Jasper didn't like it. He had no reason to have any opinion on the matter, no right to, but he did all the same. Even worse than that, perhaps, was the look on Borys' face, a look that told Jasper immediately that his thoughts of what a marriage to a man like Borys would be for the woman unfortunate enough to be his wife wasn't wrong. That would be bad enough alone to witness any girl walk in to, but Jasper was a realist rather than a naive optimist- it was the way the world worked, there was nothing to be done about it in any case. But this wasn't just any girl, and Jasper immediately bristled at the thinly veiled anger he saw in the vicinity of the wonderful northerner he had just met.

He knew it wasn't his place, but that had scarcely stopped Jasper before- of course, that was typically in the Vale, where he was the heir to the Eyrie, the future head of House Arryn. It didn't really matter to Jasper, though, and much for that same reason combined with the understanding that what a man like Borys could do to a woman that had displeased him, no matter any oaths he had made to her or from which house she originated, though he thought the likelihood of such an event before a marriage had taken place were minimal. Still, he wanted to do something to quell that anger in Borys for the moment, or at least redirect it so that Yana wouldn't be blamed for any imperfections in their first meeting. "Ah, forgive us, my lord," Jasper inserted himself in to the conversation easily, forcing the most charismatic smile he could muster in the moment despite his thorough displeasure with the entire situation at hand after Borys' interruption. "I troubled the lady for a moment of her time so that I could admire a rare northern beauty, and she was gracious to oblige," he lied easily, even easier than usual, as while that wasn't the exact reason they had still been talking, it was all too easy to say the words, to admire the beautiful new arrival as his eyes drifted once more to her. "We don't see any wolves in the Vale," Jasper clarified for the man, his eyes trailing back to Borys. Of course he hadn't been referring to the wolf, but it was an easy enough excuse to use in any case, and it certainly wasn't wrong. It seemed to Jasper as if Borys' irritation, a look in his eyes that had flared up at first, quelled a bit at the words, though there was something new that Jasper didn't quite recognize within them. "Ah, of course, Lord Arryn," Borys gave a nod that seemed a bit stiff for him, but that didn't stop Jasper from proceeding. "Jasper," the lord from the Vale was quick to correct. The Lord of the Stormlands' brows furrowed at the correction, though he said nothing, and Jasper didn't entirely mind that. His words weren't meant for the Lord of Storm's End, after all, which he hoped Yana knew.

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His accent certainly wasn't one that was native to Dorne, but she hadn't expected it to be- if anything, that would have been as large a surprise as seeing him in the market had been to begin with. Perhaps not quite so odd a sound as his physical appearance had been among the many others in the market, but still something unexpected all the same. She couldn't quite place it, though if it wasn't from Dorne that was to be expected- while they did see others from other regions of the world, Ashvi didn't tend to spend enough time with any of them to memorize their way of speaking, leading her to admittedly be quite terrible with accents. While the accent was foreign to her, the tone of his voice sounded nice, she quickly decided, and she enjoyed the sound of it. It wasn't something she could allow herself to focus on too much, though, not with the look of confusion being so evident on his face. His demeanor was as foreign as his appearance, it seemed, which only heightened her interest.


The question only amused her further, a smile tugging at her lips. "No reason at all," Fake hair wasn't at all common, but it wasn't as if she had never witnessed the false locks before. In fact, she had regular encounters with a woman who wore hair that wasn't natural to her body- Mellaria, a local whore of Sunspear who seemed to spend more time outsider of the brothel walls than within them, often finding her way in to Nymor's bed. Well, no more often that any of the attractive women who worked there, but Mellaria had a very distinct and memorable look about her that allowed her to so easily come to mind for Ashvi, even out of the seemingly endless procession of men and women that left the prince's bed chambers. She was a great beauty, after all, one of the greatest beauties Ashvi knew. Her flawless skin was a deep shade of dark umber, her figure full and eyes spectacularly bright- and her hair, her hair was the color of a muted gold, sourced from a material Ashvi had never bothered to inquire. Ashvi had wondered once or twice, admittedly only when her mind had little else to focus on and after it was already left under the haze of a night - or day, more likely - full of drinking wine, what it would have been like if Nymor would have put a child in to the beautiful whore. It wouldn't have been a worry at all, really, as she was sure her father would care for the child and that it would have a life as good as any his children had, and that it wouldn't be anything but positive for Mellaria either, who would have likely been offered a more permanent place within the walls of Sunspear, given more gold than she could have earned fucking a thousand noblemen.

Ashvi had let the thoughts run through her mind, picturing what a beautiful child the two of them would produce, how stunning it's dark skin would be against the golden-colored blankets Ashvi had seen both Devron and Dravor wrapped in during their infancy. Of course it was nothing more than a drunken musing, a curiosity caused by both opportunity and Mellaria's beauty. Nymor had laid with hundreds of women in his time, Ashvi knew, if not even more. Yet, he only had three children, his trueborn sons and heirs, and herself, his little Sand Snake, as he had so affectionately called her ever since she was just a little girl who liked to admire the small wild snakes that would slither about in the Water Gardens, before she had even a single snake of her own. She didn't know the odds of having just three after bedding so many women, but she was certain that the odds of him fathering another unexpected bastard were minuscule if it hadn't come to pass as of yet, and to not only father another child, but one with a specific woman, seemed to be an impossibility. That was fine, though, and the world was neither inherently better or worse off for it, though Ashvi did suspect it would have turned out for the better, and that the beautiful baby would have been showered with more love than a thousand average bastards.

"Of course not, I surely would have remembered." The words were something of a flirt by their very nature, of course, but that didn't make them any less true. If she had seen someone who looked like him, she was sure she wouldn't be quick to forget. Even if she had been drunk - seven hells, she had never been that drunk- it didn't matter how much she drank. Never in her life had there been an occasion where she had consumed so much alcohol that she had lost her senses to the point where she had no memory when she would later become sober. The Dornish bastard eyed the man in front of her, her amused smile never leaving. He certainly didn't have that typical Dornish way about him, from what she could tell about him so far, which made sense. "You're a sweet one, aren't you?" Something about him seemed to be gentle, an assumption she made within only moments of meeting him that could have been entirely unfounded, though she doubted it. Giving him a small smile once more, Ashvi placed a hand on an exposed are of the table to steady herself as she leaned forward, arm extended until her fingers found his hair. Her thin fingers were gentle against the silver locks, her index finger lightly wrapping a small section around it as her other fingers grazed his hair. "It's even soft to the touch," she pouted playfully, much in the same way she would when entertaining Devron. Begrudgingly, Ashvi gently released his hair from her grasp, pulling back so that her other hand lay against the table. She loved his hair, even down to the feel of it.

"I do wonder, my friend- we are friends now, are we not? I do so hope we are," she winked at him before shifting her weight slightly, palms remaining flat and steady against the table. "Tell me, dearest friend, from where must one come to have hair like that?" She asked, her eyes moving appreciatively over his locks. "You don't strike me as the Westerlands type," she claimed, thinking of the are of Westeros where fair hair was the most prevalent. It wasn't as if they had many from that region wandering to Dorne anyways. After all, even before the rebellion that had reshaped leadership in Westeros, and the conquest before that even, for thousands of years, the Westerlands the Westerlands had been ruled by House Lannister. In Ashvi's experience, though admittedly her view might have been a bit skewed as she hadn't left the boundaries of Dorne ever since arriving to her father's home lands as a child, nobody liked a Lannister. Again, even she knew that her view of them was a bit biased versus the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, as the Dornish had held a particular historical hatred of House Lannister after a war that ended centuries ago, started by the unexpected slaughter of men of relation by marriage to the ruling house. The hatred had never completely subsided, even if all parties involved were long dead, only to come back with fury after the fall of House Targaryen at the hand of House Lannister. There had been an understanding between the two ruling houses, after all, the product of a friendship between the Targaryens of Old Valyria and House Nymeros Martell that was forged centuries ago during the great conquest of Rhaemi Raelennis and Baelyx Targaryen, the founding members of House Targaryen of King's Landing as it was known today- or, as it was known, at least, for generations.

Certainly, the Targaryens had experienced a decline in power and sanity in the years since the friendship had been forged, but Dorne, while a region of the Seven Kingdoms, had entered in to the realm early and willingly rather than through conquest, and as such had always enjoyed more freedom and separation from the throne than the other kingdoms had. It showed in their culture, the way it was so unapologetically different from that of the kingdoms to it's north, it showed in the titles held by House Nymeros Martell, princesses and princes in their own right, a people who bent the knee but operated with a sense of general separation from the rest of Westeros. Likely a large cause of the bond between the houses continuing even as the Targaryens declined, the Martells had never been victimized by the madness of some of the Targaryen monarchs as some of the other houses had been. "Are you from Lys?" She asked, the only reasonable guess she could manage to come up with. While she wasn't completely knowledgeable about all of the Free Cities, Lys, along with Pentos, were ones she held quite a familiarity with. After all, she had been born in a Pentoshi brothel, and her mother had been from Lys. From what she knew of Lys, there existed people with hair that was said to be pale, though she had certainly never before seen them.

They were the descendants of Old Valyria, she had read- not of the mighty dragon lords that had once roamed the skies, but merchants and bastards and whores who's ancestors had been of lesser birth in the civilization. Her mother hadn't been of the blood of Valyria, Ashvi knew- or, at least, suspected. It was hard to know with any true certainty, of course, given that her mother had died long before Ashvi would have been of any mind to ask her of her parentage, not that she likely would have known anyway, given that her mother was the daughter of a whore who had likely been another whore- a family trade, as it was, a cycle only to end at Ashvi, thanks to her mother's charms and her father's heart. It wasn't something she could ask her father of, either, as from what she had been told their love affair had been one of passion, of romance true enough, but most often without clothes involved. He wouldn't know. It wasn't something she stressed over, or often put much thought in to though- her father had told her what her mother had looked like, and judging on her appearance alone, she hadn't been a descendant of common Valyrians. If she had, it was so many generations ago that it was hardly worth knowing at all, a drop in the gene pool, a drop of...something, anyways, spilled in a Lysene pillow house centuries ago if at all. While she doubted she had any claim to such a heritage, she thought the man in front of her seemed far more likely to have such blood- maybe he was the son of a Lysene whore too? Improbable, but entirely possible, she thought.

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