Recent Statuses

4 yrs ago
Recruiting for X-Men. Original characters wanted. Will be kicking off a new original plot line!!! Don't miss this!!…
5 yrs ago
Two more days to a year that I'm not supposed to be counting. The little Tom Hanks in my soul is marking days without you. Castaway on an island surrounded by an ocean of tears getting deeper daily.
5 yrs ago
Want a Slice of Life? Sol City is your ticket! Large, friendly group always room for more!…
5 yrs ago
November 10th, 2017 4:30 pm CST. You let go and I wasn't ready. I'm still not ready. I miss you.
5 yrs ago
Two months and a week. I miss you. This sucks. Is it bad that I pretend that you PCS'd and will be back before long? Then I remember you're gone and won't be back even if I wished it. And I do. Daily.


Ugh...I hate this part. So I'm super into Sailor Moon...which no one else is...and that's okay. I also really love Items, Escaflowne, Vampire Knight, Fushigi Yugi, Ah My Goddess, K Dramas, Chinese and Tiwanise Dramas as well. I torture people by making them read the TV.

Oh this is where I tell you I'm American...and I just lost a few people but oh well. Trust me if I could afford to live overseas I would. So yeah...that's me.

Most Recent Posts

Kings Landing

Collab with @Ruby & @Almalthia

The Flame of Lys started to straighten up her room. Leandra never let anyone else clean her room. She paid the girls to clean the other’s rooms that couldn’t afford it and kept a running tally for the girls so that they could pay her as they saw fit. There wasn’t much that needed cleaning besides her person and as she left her room she caught one of the girls. “Can you please run me a bath Mya?”

The slim girl nodded grinning. “The lordling sounded like he enjoyed himself.”

“Yes, more than once. Though if you ask me he was a bit selfish." Leandra smirked.

Mya blinked. “Really?”

Leandra shrugged. “Some are like that. When I come out weak kneed is when I’ll cut my prices if the man, or woman, returns." Mya laughed as Leandra waggled her eyebrows moving past her.

“Never seen you like that Lys." Mya commented with confusion.

“Exactly." Leandra looked over her shoulder and smiled as she walked to the stairs. Past the stairs was a common room where things that did not have to be hidden happened. Though that skirted propriety more often than not.

Unlocking and opening the front door Leandra leaned against the threshold and looked around. Kings Landing was the start of a massive city that, at times, she wanted to beat sense into those who decided to put a stick in the ass end of a drunk horse to mark the streets. The crowd had thankfully dispersed. Likely because the spectacle was over.

He was half awake when it moved. Just a click, when he went for the bottle at the top that said ‘pickled yams’ upon the neatly scrawled label. Was he drunk? Yes. Did he remember how drunk? No. ‘How drunk’ just happened to be Serenna of Duskendale drunk, and that had been at least a bottle and a nap ago. When he woke up, still drunk, all that mattered was singing with the Tyrell guardsmen out front to the sun above.

When was there sun? When was the sun? “WHAT IS THE SUN!?........why is there a fucking door here?”
He’d stared at it for time. How much time was to be debatable, but the point beyond contestation was the point of steel he held with the overhand grip within his right perfectly soft, supple, gloved hand. The bottle wasn’t a mistake, it was a confluence of fate and randomness, a true juxtaposition between what was and was could have been.

Did he always pick that bottle? Was it really random? Was anything random? Did any of them have a say in what happened in their life, were they simply mummer’s puppets on the ends of a string? The tip of the sword proved to him the door was real. Dust, cobwebs. “Why, hello…you have not been used in a very long time…”

The destination was infinite. A great expanse of the higher mysteries that echoed with the sole of his leather boots and the swish and swoosh of his dark green trousers as he walked through the hidden vaults between what he believed, and what he saw. These were the thoughts that kept Lord Bertrand of House Tyrell up through the night into the day and back past twilight, second star down.
“Are we reborn? Are we reborn into the same life? many times have I picked that bottle? How many times has it opened?”

His head tilted, eyes sharper, narrowed, in focus. There was only darkness, like a room with no door, no windows. On either side was stone, though of what luster, banding, layering, and grain size his other ungloved hand seemed to simply sputter at. There was no satiation of the underpinning unknown until he arrived at the threshold of light.

It was there, in that gentle glow of the ghastly guise that guided him that he saw it. Dangling, noiseless, entombed in dust but as tangible and functional as his own flesh and sinew ever were, in darkness or in light. The decision to take it, to feel it’s rusty ring, to yank upon it with the strength of equal parts fear and fearlessness…so it gave him the mirror of the sound that had begun the journey through what he could not, did not know, and where he was now.

The steel tip of that blade once more thrusted out, but to this end, it took more power than before. Wherein the scattered, dark, unvisited basement of the House Tyrell manse there was little but broken furniture and empty wooden barrels and a wall of shelves littered with bottles of various potent potions and picked parts, there was greater resistance here.

Here, at the end, or the beginning, were it up to fate.

Or up to him.

He stepped lightly, blade out, arm ready, mind stiffened for the great climax of conflict! HE WAS READY NOW! FOR THE BEAST, FOR THE BURDENSOME WRAITH!...but there was nothing here, he saw, blade ‘clanking’ about the stone floor of what…just a…
“It’s just another fucking basement.”

The basement door of the establishment erupted, and out of it like a man from the grave with heart and mind asunder Bertrand Tyrell entered the short hall that led to the common area of—

“—wait a fucking…I’ve been here before," he stated in confusion, puzzlement upon his fine, dark, sharp handsome features and parted mid-length dark brown hair. The very first person he saw, the tip of the blade came to point at, his eyes bubbling brown in intensity and the very hasty threat of violence. “YOU! Why does my door have your door…on the other side of the…with the chain…..”

The sword fell again, as he turned this way, that way, and back again, head cocked, “…what the fuck?”
The commotion of a muffled bellow in only semi-intelligible words turned Leandra's attention to her storeroom, cellar really. She went to investigate and a very, very intoxicated man stepped out brandishing a sword which was currently pointed at herself. He turned and Leandra shooed Mya back down the hall with a jerk of her head. “Good day my lord. Unfortunately I do not have any idea what you are talking about. Please put your weapon away and I would be happy to see what I can do to clear up your issue. After all, what chance can a young woman like myself, unarmed, and in no way martially educated have against a fine specimen of manhood even if you were to sheathe your sword?”

The slight accent made the words huskier than normal. Seductive to the ear. Her lips turned up at the corners ever so slightly as Leandra gracefully indicated with fluid gestures his sword, scabbard and person. She tilted her head and looked him up then down and tapped her cherry red lips waiting on him to put the sword away. She found that baiting men with honor separated them into two categories. Boring and dangerous or; interesting and dangerous. She had yet to see which one this man was.

The very idea of daylight, of just what state creation outside the walls were, seemed to give him a pause of confusion—if only for the precious few beats of a heart. Immediately thereafter, his eyes refocused and his head set in the direction of the woman who challenged him so publicly. Not him in the sense of the man that he was, but him in the sense of who he was, and the twist of irony and presupposition.
At her, this unnamed woman, his eyes narrowed, pride and love for the person some part of him hated more than any other bubbling to a surface, even as doubt and anger slithered beneath his skin, “The most dangerous woman in the Realm can’t swing a sword to save her life, do not play at that feint, for I will not succumb to it’s temptations.”

That secret, the one that burned through his veins like a sickness, that hollowed his heart whole, came to him as he carefully crossed the distance between them, blade still down by his side as he came closer, and closer, smelling like a drunken man recently doused in a fresh bath of rose water. Closer he came still, until there was not the possibility of anyone, or anything, else in all creation hearing what secret burst from him in that shaky whisper, “...they’re my little sister."

His hand became a steel trap upon her nearest upper arm, taking possession of her with the utmost of courtesy, “Apologies, nameless lady, but we must take this to the very center of the matter at hand," he said, even as his brown eyes scanned the room around, looking at the faces of uncertain women and a few men who looked poised, but ultimately did not chance the dice of destiny with her safety.

The cellar door closed behind him, as he ushered her firmly, but unroughly, down the stairs and to the same sort of shelf filled with dusty old bottles that was mirrored in the cellar of the fortified Tyrell Manse from which he had begun his journey through intoxication and mystery. He pointed, with the non-sword hand, at the open heavy door disguised as a shelf. “You’re lyingggggggggg," he said, his voice a sing-song of playfulness over an undertone of pure intensity, bordering on real anger. “The truth," he stated, in open demand, before his body forced out a deep breath, an exhale of intoxicants and a long blink of his eyes as his mind tripped from the haze only to find its feet again, to refocus on the woman, to come back to the purpose at play, and his read of the woman before him, thinking to add, “Please.”

The shaky whisper raised the hairs on Leandra’s neck. Danger sense was inherent in her profession if a fallen woman wanted to stay alive, and normally men do not like scars on their whores. The men that did were either Ironborn, Northmen or deadly, sometimes all three. This man, this man was either a guard or - hopefully not - part of Lady Vittoria’s family.

The odd way that he "escorted" her made Leandra think he truly just wanted some answers from her. The fortune that she thought to have smiled down on her by seeing the dragon and the argument. Finally having something to report other than the Faith and their grumbles. Which had been getting louder. Not something someone in her line of work could afford to ignore. The Faith were dangerous either before or after they had sated their worldly appetites and unless you were paying or fucking a guard then you stayed out of the way.

The fact that he had called Leandra a lady had raised her eyebrow and kept her silent. He really does not know or perhaps the drink impaired his vision in some way?

He did not force her unkindly through the tunnel that led to the Tyrell Manse revealing more of his drunkenness in the sing-song way he accused her of lying and demanded the truth from her. "Forgive my ignorance and impertinent questions but how are you gauging the truth? I do not wish to start off on the wrong foot and lose more than my morning."

“I’ll see the truth, as clearly as I see you dodging it." His head tilted, everything about the man’s body and face sharpened close enough to the degree of the sharpness of the short sword that he now raised into the air, towards her. “No more lies. No more half truth. I am Lord Bertrand of House Tyrell, future Lord Paramount of the Reach—you will answer my question, or your life will never be the same again, one way or another.”

His eyes darkened, his jaw set, and that blade never moved, tight and accurate as if it was an extension of his body, from mind to shoulder to forearm to hand to tip of that steel blade, it couldn’t have been more clear how comfortable and capable he was with the weapon. “...why is there a tunnel from my manse to your brothel, my Lady? What does my sister, Vittoria, have to do with it?”

He didn’t have to know, to know it in his bones. Vittoria was always ahead of him. Vittoria was always the one with the answer. She was always their father’s favorite.

Leandra dipped into a curtsey that would have done a court lady proud. “My apologies, Lord Bertrand of House Tyrell." She rose from her curtsey. “I find myself in a singular position of you having more information than I do. I did not know that the Lady in question had anything to do with it. I confess I had thought it was a smuggling tunnel or perhaps something more… salacious in nature. I have never personally been through the other door and thought we had secured it quite well. I stand corrected. I can only guess why it was originally created for if you notice I am not quite old enough to know the exact reason."
Bertrand Tyrell cocked his head to the side, and blinked at her in casual confusion, “…why would you apologize? You’re not the one holding the blade.”

And so it lowered, that steel, as he looked at her one last time. This woman who so clearly was part of a ‘we’ with his sister, he only nodded to, muttered an apology even as he moved past her, back into the tunnel of darkness, pulling the hidden door shut behind him, sadly, and leaving.

Perplexed by his sudden retreat, Leandra considered her position. As much as she was moved Leandra, The Flame of Lys, knew who buttered her bread. Lady Vittoria. She would die before that confidence was betrayed, even to the Maiden’s brother. She bit her lip and turned away, then back again. Walking into the darkness she made to open the door Bertrand had just closed.

Reaching for the door her hand stilled. Leandra was not going to give Vittoria away but she could at least assure the Lord Paramount of the Reach that the tunnel was not used for nefarious purposes. No. To answer more deeply will invite more questions. Prudence is the better part of valor in this case. Dropping her hand Leandra turned and walked away moving silently.

Shaking her head she headed for the upstairs so that Mya did not panic.

Queen Alyssa’s hands trembled, they covered her mouth, a valiant effort to stifle the sobs. Her body convulsed through the effort. She had been brought the news first, in private, while the other children kept their father company in his convalescence. Now the queen needed more strength than was left for her.

The gods were cruel.

Her husband’s collapse had been terrifying enough, only for a raven to arrive a day later with news of a vicious attack in the Westerlands. That Aenys had managed to begin recovery in spite of that had been a welcome reprieve from what had seemed certain tragedy. Visenya may have been a hard woman, but Alyssa credited her entirely with the fact that the king had avoided the Stranger’s cold grasp. Thank the gods, she had reiterated over and over, Aenys saved, her eldest children attacked but under the protection of House Lannister.

How could she tell her husband now? How could she tell the children? It did not feel real, no matter the gaping hole in her soul, the ache only a mother would understand.

A hand to her shoulder startled her. The maester, with pity in his eyes, wordlessly motioned to the door. The news had to be broken. There could be no further delay. Alyssa wiped at her face, a futile effort for the tears did not halt. She gripped the man’s arm with both hands, a heavy dread that deepened with every step that brought them to her husband’s chambers.

She paused at the door, no longer able to stop the grief from spilling over. A piercing wail broke free from the queen, shattering the silence of the corridor, halted the quiet murmurs she had barely noticed from within the room. The door opened, she was face-to-face with a maid whose look of pure confusion quickly turned to fear. Alyssa barely held herself upright as her eyes moved towards the bed where she could see her husband and children staring back at her.

The maester, one hand to the queen’s back to free himself of her grip, and the other to the maid to take his place, stepped fully into the room. “My King, with deepest regret I must inform you we have received word from Casterly Rock -" He was interrupted again by the sound of the queen falling to her knees. “Lady Rhaena is said to be recovering well, but Prince Aegon, he has succumbed to his wounds."

Aegon? What? Stunned, Melyssanthi was not processing exactly what the Maester was saying. "Aegon… you must be mistaken… Why would he be wounded?" The message started to sink in. "Who owes me a life?! So help me I will take a page from my grandfather's book. There will be fire and blood in the Westerlands."

Her temper burned within, making her vivid purple eyes dance with a fire that was born of rage. She looked down at her mother and snapped. "Get up. Your living children and husband need your strength." Turning to the Maester, Melyssanthi lashed him with her temper as well. "And you. Did you not think this would exasperate the King's condition. You who are supposed to be the greatest Maester in Oldtown. GET OUT BEFORE I DROP YOU FROM A HEIGHT INTO YOUR PRECIOUS FIRE IN OLDTOWN!" Melyssanthi bellowed with authority and a terrifyingly exquisite rage that heightened her color and deepened her breath.

Still in a beautiful rage Melyssanthi turned to the maid and in a less severe tone said. "Fetch my Aunt Visenya to me." She took a breath in and out. "Please. And be quick."

The maid left quickly, running, towards the Dowager Queen's rooms. Despite Melyssanthi's outburst, the Maester stayed firmly in the room, waiting for the king or queen to dismiss him. Alyssa stood, jarred to action by her daughter's words. It was Aenys she should go to, worried as she was about what this would do to him, what it would do to them. But her daughter needed her. Unsteadily she swooped onto her daughter, enveloped the girl in a surprisingly firm embrace. "My darling," she got out before sobs could overtake her again, "Rhaena will need you more than ever, do not be rash."

The king's gaze stayed on the maester though he struggled to see anything. He heard words, he heard cries and anguished yells, but none of it was cohesive. His son, dead? The little boy who had ridden wooden dragons? The sweet child who had trailed after his older sisters? The little leader who corralled his younger siblings? His heir who would have made as good a king as him, with time? "Impossible." He muttered it at first. Quietly, barely audible except to young Alyssane who had been curled up on his side. Her little face peered up to his, tears in her eyes though she too could not comprehend all that was said. "Impossible!" The king spoke again, louder this time, pain and fear in his voice. His fists tightened as he gripped the blankets laid over him, his knuckles whitened even against his paled skin. "IMPOSSIBLE!"

The treatments Visenya had worked on the King were effective, but taxing. She had delved into the knowledge saved from Valyria, both the mundane and the mystical, spoken the names and prayers of the ancient Gods into the flames and only just been rewarded with saving her ailing Nephew from the brink. She had rarely been shy in her council or criticism of Aenys and his reign, but he was still her blood. The son of the Dragon. She would have placed her own child on the throne in his place, but it was not the right of the Seven Starred barbarians to take him from her.

She had maintained the same chambers on Dragonstone for all of her long life. If any of her family had thought that the chance of title would have altered that they had been sadly mistaken, and none had voiced it. The chamber was the largest not reserved for the Lord of Dragonstone, high up in the spires. For all her reputation, the space was brightly decorated and well lit, the adornments were mostly in the style of the Free Hold, but there were a few scattering of trappings that originated from the peoples of Westeros and more exotic climes. The only truly ominous feature of the room was the vast reflective slab of Dragonglass, which she now stood before. She eyed her own reflection intently, pale violet eyes gazing back into themselves.

The Queen-That-Was regarded herself, clad in a gown that was part black metal, part red cloth, and allowed a slow breath to leave her form. She could feel the commotion rising through Dragonstone as if the citadel was an extension of herself.

"What now, old friend?" She spoke the words, gazing upwards as she seem to regard the place itself. "What more would they have of me?" The last words to leave her lips before she was interrupted were barely a whisper, a ghost of a sound. Then the maid entered her chamber, and the tidings she brought were desperate enough that even Visenya would not punish her for the break of decorum.

“Out." The next words Visenya spoke were to the whole room as she entered Aenys’ chamber, an unconditional and uncompromising command that came without panic as to the situation. When the Maester protested, something as to only being dismissed by the King or Queen themselves, the two of her footmen that followed simply dragged him from the room, the Dowager Queen having no time to settle the matter herself. She paused only once, a hand calloused with a lifetime of sword work placed with surprisingly gentle touch on the shoulder of the Queen, speaking softly; “Strength, Strength for your children." It was only a moment, her stride barely halted as she reached Aenys’ side. The emotional outburst of the King was rapidly turning into less deliberate convulsions, what little strength his form had from his last bout of illness being forced into the task of his own destruction.

The air cooled around Visenya, the vibrancy of her eyes rising as it did, perhaps a trick of the light, or the Sun dipping lower, the seabound air rushing about the chamber, or it could be more. There were few options left to her at such notice, but there wasn’t anything she would leave unturned here, willing the nephew she had always thought weak to find his last strength.

Relaxing a little as her Great Aunt entered the room and in the next moment defiance and rigidity stiffened Melyssanthi’s countenance as they were ordered out. She looked at her mother as the Dowager Queen spoke to her. All the pain, fear and rage boiled inside her and she stood rooted to the spot so that her mother had to drag her from the room. She did not fight her mother. She merely looked at her mother with all of her emotions playing across her face and as the door shut she shook with the force of them.

Shaking off her mother, Melyssanthi stood tall, her rage draped about her like a living breathing thing, her eyes bright with it. “I will hold her personally responsible if father dies. Just as I will hold all those who killed my brother personally responsible." Her voice was firm and confident as well as filled with an unquenchable anger.

Alyssa stood facing her second daughter, Visenya’s words pounding in the echoing void of her grief. Little Alysanne and Jaehaerys gripped her on either side, seeking her comfort and asking questions that she could not answer. Viserys behind her tried to be strong but his face was wet and red from crying. The queen stared at Melyssanthi and for one fleeting moment felt herself shatter. Her hand was raised before she knew what she was doing and the sound of her hand meeting her daughter’s cheek was sharp, vicious. “He is my son. I pray you never get a taste of my grief." Remorse quickly flooded her when she saw her daughter’s face clearly, the fresh redness of a handprint. “Come, we’ll go to the sept and pray." Pray that whatever it was Visenya had done to save her husband the first time, she would be successful again.

Within the bedchamber, Aenys found a moment of lucidity. His breath heavy and ragged, he felt as if a heavy stone had been placed on his chest. But he was able to focus on his aunt, to see her and to know that there was nothing she could do. Tears came to his eyes that he could no longer protect his family. “Aunt." He raised his arm, with frailty, towards her, beckoning her to his side.

The moment was shared between them, a brief flash of grief and rage as Visenya knew that their foes had succeeded. She had spent the last weeks caring over Aenys as if he was her own son, and even had she not relied on arts that perhaps only she could still master, she felt his strength flooding out of him as if it were her own. Only then did she allow the tension to flood out of her, giving up the fight in the same moment. The same weakness rushed into her, staggering as she took the step needed to bring herself fully to his side. Another fleeting reminder that soon even her supernatural ability to hold off the curse of time would come to an end. Just a few more years, there is still so much to do.

"Hush now, nephew, I am sure there are kinder souls to you than I that you would wish to share your last words with." For a rare moment, she took his hand in both of her's, stroking her fingers over the sickness-wracked heat baking from his skin. When she looked at him, a spattering of tears fell from her eyes, unable to ignore the likeness in his face.

So like Rhaenys, another who this land had taken from her. Perhaps no one else but the dying man before he could understand the ache her passing had left, the great chasm in their lives. How different, happier, they all could have been.

"Please, I need -" His lips were dry, his mouth struggled to form the words he needed to get out. Every syllable was a battle, and he felt the return of being a disappointment in comparison to his brother. He had always just been sufficient. A lark of destiny that he had been conceived first. But for his children, he could fight to at least ensure their future. The Stranger would have to wait just a little longer to claim him. Aegon gone, young Viserys would need a strong hand. "We named him for you. Protect him, make him a king like father was." Aenys fell back, sweat dripping down him, soaking the bed, from the effort and the sickness that ravaged him. His hand went weak in his aunt's embrace, but he kept his eyes on her, searching for her promise so that he could pass in peace.

"I will keep them all safe, Nephew, they will never harm your blood again." She did not mention that what he asked, in the way he meant it, was impossible. His second son was young, barely out of infancy, and for all that time seemed to rest only lightly on Visenya, she did not have the years left to forge a new King from such clay. She had tried, for so long, to guide her family. Even her beloved siblings had often ignored her council, while leaving the consequences of both their mercy and brevity for her to resolve. She leaned down, feeling more of her own strength returning to her with every passing moment as Aenys faded, the vitality she had worked into his recuperation left unspent by the failure of his heart for this final time. With another moment of tenderness that surprised even her, she placed a kiss to his cheek, pausing only to give her final words to the passing King, switching to the ancient words of their lost people as she did so, "The fires will dance with your mother's joy to see you once more."

As she pulled away, and her own tears fell on to the face of her departing Nephew, she spoke louder in Valyrian, enough that the sworn guards of the household pulled the doors reverently open, allowing the light to return to the chamber.

The slap jerked Melyssanthi’s head to the side. She'd never been struck before and she froze after her mother hit her. Slowly she turned her head and regarded her mother as if she were a stranger. Her mother's words rang in her ears and bounced around within her and faded into inconsequential noise. Of course she'd bury children. A husband. Friends. No one was immortal.

"You would not have a reason to if Dreamfyre had gone with them." Melyssanthi’s face was colder than the land of always winter. "You could have pushed for them to take her. You're the Queen and his wife. You alone had the right to press that decision. So while yes I may bury a child, husband, friends or lovers it will not be because I did not fight for their right to protect themselves to their fullest capabilities."

Melyssanthi stood firm and shook her head. "I shall wait here to receive word from Aunt Visenya."

The queen had been stopped fully at her daughter's defiance. The littlest ones began to wail, from confusion and anger and grief. It only served to enrage Alyssa further. The girl was selfish in her grief, so absorbed in herself she could see little else. And the queen, the mother, the wife, she could do little but stare open mouthed in shock. As if she had not been living lifetimes of regrets in the little time since news had arrived.

It was Viserys instead, who stepped around their mother, his hand scrubbing awkwardly at his face to clear it of tears and to steady his voice. "Do not speak to mother that way." His voice had yet to deepen, he still sounded like the boy that he was, barely out of playing with wooden swords instead of learning swordplay. And yet he knew that he was now heir. He feared that he was now king.

Looking down at her little brother, Melyssanthi's heart broke for him. He would never truly be king. Very quickly he would be something to represent a king but at his age would have a regent. Visenya and or Maegor would rule. Her mother was too soft. Rhaena would be remarried. Probably to their Uncle as was suggested earlier. She'd be stuck somewhere, gods knew where. Jaehaerys and Alyssane were young enough that they could be molded; maybe this let them fight for a place. That is if they weren’t all just killed. "Viserys. May you learn to listen and hear truths when they are spoken little brother." She looked at her mother. "Then when you are King you can make the right choices yourself."

Try as he might, the boy struggled to respond. He turned back towards his mother instead, seeking comfort from harsh truths or encouragement to act like a man. He floundered in both for the Queen had knelt to hug the two youngest to her. She sang to them softly, between gasps of trying to stifle sobs.

"The Seven Gods who made us all, are listening if we should call.
So close your eyes, you shall not fall, they see you, little children.
Just close your eyes, you shall not fall, they see you, little children.”

The doors swung open and Alyssa slowly lifted her head to look over the heads of Jaehaerys and Alyssane. She looked behind her to see Viserys with his head bowed, sniffling heavily. She looked to Melyssanthi, contempt and anger but a mother could see the grief it buried. Her heart ached for the loss of her son, her husband, her living children. Strength , Visenya had said, but where in seven hells was it to come from?

“Come, but quietly and gently, to see your father."

The King’s eyes remained open, his breath alternated between quiet wheezing and sudden, ragged gasps. He knew that his family surrounded him, but not all of them. His mother, he could barely recall her face, knew only the stories that had been told to him. She was nothing and everything. His father, would he be remembered the same? How could he be, he had done so little. Aenys’s eyes looked over those assembled. He wished he could stay, wished he could grow old and see his children have children. He wished that he had never sent Aegon and Rhaena away. Aenys’s strength faded, his mouth moved to form the name of his wife, the names of his children, but there was no sound except for the awful rasping breaths.

He closed his eyes, unsure of how much time had passed but so tired. He was so tired of everything, he wanted to see his mother like he sometimes did in his dreams. He wanted to fly on Quicksilver beside her on Meraxes. He wanted to see what he had only spoken of with maesters. He closed his eyes and felt a dozen hands on him, warmth, finally he was warm again. Aenys felt the warm sun on his face, land and sea whirl beneath him, and then nothing.

The white hot rage that burned like dragon fire sputtered and died as Melyssanthi viewed her Aunt's forlorn expression and she knew. The press of the Stranger was heavy and in a conciliatory gesture she paused and grasped her Aunt's hands. Grief threatened to suck her down into a bottomless abyss that she knew she would end up walking alone or it would swallow her whole. Her pause was brief but spoke volumes about her reigning herself in.

Moving to her father she watched as he struggled to breathe. Silent tears fell as Melyssanthi held his hand and gave him what comfort she could. She sang. Her voice was soft and unsteady at first as her broken emotions laid bare. Gaining strength her voice steadied and became stronger with each note.

She sang an old Valyrian lullaby that spoke of being the one that was called home. A home across swirling seas where you could feel the pulse of the land with the sun warm on your face. A place untouched by time where you wait for your loved ones with love and patience knowing that time has no meaning, that you would see them soon. She sent him off with the Stranger knowing that he was loved and missed but someday he'd see them just like he would be reunited with his parents.

The Sheath and Dagger was just starting its day as the commotion started. The Flame of Lys, Leandra, though she did not go by that; leaned out her window as the majestic beast passed by. That is not a dragon I recognize. Interesting. Vittoria will love this. Moving to dress to meet the day and see who flew in. Leandra had always been curious and just because it might be dangerous did not mean this was not the most thrilling thing that had happened recently. Because it was.

Pulling on what would be considered a conservative dress for her profession Leandra hummed under her breath. It was just a scattering of sweet notes that the young lordling in her bed currently had shared with her. Looking over at him and admiring the firm flesh on display Leandra sighed with regret. Why is it that the young ones always have to be woken up? Give me a nice firm middle aged man who knows his place and mine any day.

Leaning over the lordling Leandra trailed her soft pale hands over his back, her nails lightly trailing down his skin waking him. Upon waking up he attempted to pull her back into bed. "My apologies my lord but I have errands to run." Leandra smiled as she looped her arms around his neck and ran her fingers through his blonde hair. "Will I be late?" She purred, pressing herself against him and rubbing her body against his in an undulating motion. She was clothed while he was not as she kissed him. The lordling was not bad in bed but it was about him not her. She preferred older men but there was something to be said about youthful vigor when it was used decently well. She had had so many men and one thing about men is that an overwhelming majority of them liked to brag about their prowess. Both in and out of bed. So getting information from them was not hard. Filtering the information, now that was the challenge.

Pulling away from the lordling she replied with, "It was a dragon. Perhaps Maegor has returned?" The lordling sprang up as bare as the day he was born and Leandra hid a smile. He quickly dressed and ran out the door. The lordling had already paid handsomely for the pleasure he received the night prior. He'd whispered a little extra to her so she was pleased.

Watching from her window while combing the hair she was known for Leandra hummed softly. A pale head of hair caught her eye. Neither of the Princess would be without an escort nor would they be on this road at all. Interesting. Who-

Her thoughts were interrupted by a raised voice that came from that pale haired woman. For it was a woman and while the tones were not deep enough to be male they brought to mind smoke and shadows. Someone was getting the sharp end of that voice. Leandra’s eyes found the young girl and she shook her head. Foolish child. Leave the spying and following to those who excel at it.

Leandra could hear not but vague murmured tones as she watched the Valyrian woman stalk the girl like a predator. They spoke at length and the girl took on a mulish expression and Leandra wondered if the fool was worth saving. Thinking that another girl came up with an escort appearing to salvage the situation. It was the Harroway tikes. So a fool and a savior that happens to be of Valyrian descent. Now who could that be?

They were drawing quite a crowd especially when the Valyrian woman laughed. Leandra raised an eyebrow and swung the window open farther positioning herself on the sill firmly. Looking around she noticed a few of her informants and they took the hint to pay attention knowing that if they brought her good information they would be paid for it.

The Valyrian woman warned the Harroway guard with a sharp word then snarled at the foolish chit. Then things got really interesting as the Harroway guard decided that he was cut from the same cloth as the foolish chit. Valyrian steel sang as it was drawn and the promise of retribution hung in the air. Even from a distance the blade was beautiful.

Words floated up to Leandra "Bastard… Rivers…" feeling sympathy for the Rivers girl Leandra watched her wince. The loathing could be heard in the fool chit's voice as Leandra sighed. Just as suddenly the sword was put away and the conversation between the Valyrian women continued. I wish I had been down there at the time but someone will have heard most if not everything.

The crowd murmured and shifted as Leandra clearly heard "Whore of Harroway…Maegor's Whore…" and then shortly after the Valyrian woman walked off. Leaning out past the window Leandra captured the latch on the window and unabashedly watched the Valyrian woman walk away. Now this. This Vitta and the Rahls will love to hear about.


Stepping off the ship Hespaerys Rahl, referred to as Hes by his friends and family, rolled his shoulders and neck to get the kinks out. While he did not mind traveling by ship it was damned inconvenient when one was tall. His hair caught the sunlight and made the light blonde of his hair shine despite the fact that he desperately needed a real bath. He shuttered thinking about the state of his being. He wanted a bath and fast. The salt water bath was inadequate and left much to be desired. His dusty lavender gray eyes expressed his frustration with everything for but a brief moment in time then bored indifference slipped on like a second skin.

Hands on hips Hespaerys sauntered over to the side as he watched the complement of soldiers they came to Westeros with. Men and women made up the group and they numbered twenty eight. The plan was to divide into seven quads and find the woman the twins were supposed to talk to and see what all this fuss was about. Hespaerys looked at it as a reconnaissance mission but knowing his twin she'd get involved and he could not just abandon his sister, even if he wanted to sometimes. Lunaerys was a hoyden and he was not surprised that she taught his other sisters how to take years off a man's life just by getting into situations. Situations that he swore were what made his father's hair silvery white like his mother's.

As twenty nine other souls got off the ship Hespaerys looked for Lunaerys. Spotting her, Hespaerys moved over to her. “I am getting a room at the Rose Garden. I am getting a bath and I am getting food. Have everyone else find rooms and keep in touch.”

"Hah! Don't you ever think that you can take me on again Dev! I got your number, you swashbuckler!" Lunaerys Rahl, known by far too many names to count, laughed loudly after yelling after one of the crew of the ship that was slowly making its way into Port at Oldtown. Holding up an arm, Lunaerys makes a muscled pose and then picks up a large mug of ale and downed it in one go, throwing it at the head of the loser who had dared challenge her to a contest of strength. Her action received great cheers and laughs before a whistle suddenly was heard and the crew all began to run off to get ready to make Anchorage at the docks.

Lunaerys wiped her mouth and then wiped it on her sea-salt stained pants which were stiffened already at this point. Her dark hair was wild and needed a serious soak in some soap and regular water, but the bodacious and boisterous woman didn't seem to care. Instead, after wiping her hands she leaned down, secured three daggers back to her person and then made her way to the top deck just as the ropes were thrown to the dock workers to tie down.

It was then that she saw her brother and her grin widened. She pretended not to notice him, even as he spoke to her and then when he turned after the word 'touch' she suddenly dived at him and went for a tackle, which would also get him soaked in a mix of seawater, ale, and who knew all else that had soaked into her jacket and clothing. "Hah! Gotcha Hes. Gotta keep those eyes open!" She giggled and rolled off her twin and then spread her arms and legs to begin making a dirt angel.

Hespaerys vision went red for a moment as Lun tackled him. He winced as he squelched into his sister’s filthy jacket. “Oh Gods of Old have mercy! That sham of a jacket you have on is fit to walk away and you… you … I think I might be sick." For the first time in their trip Hespaerys looked green and like he might actually be sick. “Oh sometimes I hate you. Nix would never do this." He got us as she got off him and watched in horror as she made a shape in the dirt. With her whole body. He was horrified, stunned, and mortified. Swallowing he realized there was more saliva in his mouth than normal and his stomach turned as he watched her play in the dirt.

Gagging Hespserys turned away then turned back as people were starting to stare. “Get up!!" He hissed at his sister. “Diplomatic. You got the same education as me so I know you have the definition of the word rattling around in your brain.”

Giggling, Lunaerys finished making her dirt masterpiece and then rolled onto her stomach. She began to speak, each word seemingly taking longer to huff out as she unceremoniously began to stand. "Oh. Hes. I just. Know how. Much you. Missed. The land!" As she finished speaking she had made it upright again, and as Hes looked at their onlookers, Lun lunged for him again to bear hug him close to herself, AND the dust truly flew. "So I figured I'd get you some. Aren't I the best twin you could possibly have?" Lunaerys giggled again and then continued dusting the rest of the dirt off herself, waving and winking to various onlookers who of course were laughing as well. Luckily for Lun she didn't care and simply laughed with them, whether they were laughing at her or with her. "Now! What are you standing around here looking like that? Don't we have a Tyrell to find? Shouldn't be slacking on the job Hes."

You will not be meeting her like that. Nor will i be meeting her in my state of disarray. We shall clean ourselves up and find out if she is in town or if she is speaking to the Hightowers. Hopefully she is two birds with one stone." Hespaerys started off to find someone who could tell him where the Rose Garden lay. He got his answer only to have to stalk past his sister in the direction of the establishment.

Lun batted her eyes at the local who pointed them towards the Rose and blew a kiss of dust towards them and winked. She got a blushed and shy look back. But instead of having fun she was supposed to instead go and be legitimate. No fun really, and Lun simply placed a strong arm out towards her twin as he passed her and used his momentum to swing herself around, then using his other arm to keep Hes from falling. "By the Old gods we didn't sail all the way to Westeros to be boring. Besides, what kind of name is 'the rose.' Doesn't give me a lot of good vibes. I'd much rather it sound more intimidating, besides do you really want to go to a place that sounds pompous looking as you do? You look like you just rolled around in the dirt."

Gritting his teeth Hespaerys counted to ten. Then back down again. “Yes jorrāelagon mandia dear sister you are quite right. Except you forgot one thing. She is Tyrell. Which means…?" He left the question hanging over his shoulder as he walked toward the inn.

Lunaerys pretends to think for a moment. "Oh! Oh I know! Pick me! Please!" She began jumping up and down randomly, her daggers jostling and clinking gently. "Is it that she will absolutely be disgusted with how you look and so we should go shopping for new clothing before going to 'The Rose' which might conventionally be a more upper class tavern that wouldn't take well to your outfit? I mean really Hes, you should be ashamed of how dirty you are."

You love your sister. You love your sister. You. LOVE. Your. Sister. Seeing the inn come into view Hespaerys began to get the feeling that the inn was full. The people crawled over the place like ants on a mound that was disturbed convinced him that it was in truth full. Walking in Hespaerys went straight to the innkeep and asked where the nearest decent inn was. He was informed and pulled his sister over to one called The Lark and Spur where he ordered them three rooms. The last three rooms. He asked for a bath and food for all.

After bathing and eating Hespaerys felt much better. It was almost midday as Hespaerys quickly came down the stairs and went out the front door. Looking around he saw a crowd and looked over at his sister and pulled her with him. The disappeared into the crowd was smooth and fluid. His small smile as he was in his element and felt more like himself.

It took the children of Oldtown watching the pair of foreigners walk half a street before they both took notice, and overheard what they wanted. Cissy and Dake were the first to overhear, though Dake thought he was really first, but Cissy said she did. They ran to tell Big Bill. Big Bill was nearly ten, and he knew almost everyone in the northeast of the city, from walls to river, Big Bill liked to proudly say. Big Bill told Cissy and Dake about the knights coming into the city. He’d even been thrown a flower by the Ardent Maiden, herself.
When Cissy begged to see the flower, Big Bill just shrugged, and said it was just a dumb flower. Who kept that kind of thing? Of course, she threw a flower to Big Bill. Everyone knew Big Bill, from the river to the wall. Big Bill even knew where the knights stopped; Port Market Street, around a couple of inns. Some of the rest of the Knights went to the Rose Garden, thems Knights that had wives and kids. They could hear the kids playing in the courtyard even from outside the tall walls of the Rose Garden.
Not that they let kids like them into the Rose Garden, but Big Bill says he’d been invited into the Rose Garden once before. Walls called Big Bill a liar, once, but Big Bill punched Walls straight in the teeth, and Walls never called Big Bill a liar after that. Dake explained all of this to the two foreigners.

“For a coin or two, I could show you to the inn where they keep her, but you can’t get through to the inn without me. Big Bill says the Faith Miltent is stopping traffic, and Knights. There’s all them Knights protecting the Lady Vittoria." That’s how smooth talkin’ kind talked about ladies, an’ such, THE Lady Vittoria. “Anyways, I’m kinda busy, what with Big Bill giving me so much o’ his business, but I guess for a few coins I could show you how to get to her.”
Dake said, impatiently eyeing the pair as they walked through the market tents near the city, on the backside of the Citadel, along the Honeywine, far from Port Market Street, like they wasn’t even knowing where they was really going, anyway.
Nodding Hespaerys handed over a few pieces of copper. “This now and the same if you get us there quickly, unseen and in one piece." He told the boy his face was serious as if dealing with an adult who was running a shop. They’d expected that they would need to use the universal language of coin once in a while. Beckoning to Lunaerys to follow, he hoped his sister would take this seriously for once in her life.

Granted they could have tried to get past the throng on their own but Hespaerys found that pushing his way through people normally was like trying to roll a boulder out of the path when it was easier to go around and keep walking. Besides this afforded them the opportunity to see what this whole situation was like from the viewpoint of the small folk.

Dake gave a look like he’d seen this ol’ song and dance before, giving the coin a bite of his teeth, “Can’t be foolin’ me, Big Bill taught me the tricks…real enough. Sure, Dake can show you the fast way.”

Dake had been around the city more times than a stray cat. His mother worked at a tile maker’s shop, some old mean fool who didn’t like kids around the place, so he only saw his mother later, usually after the sun gone down. He spent his time with his friends, getting to know the city, trying to make a little coin here and there, he explained as they walked.

Through the market, skirting the edge of the Citadel and its walls hugging around the Honeywine. The more south you went, the wider the streets got, the different things started looking. Good news was, he told them, the southern, older part of the city had more merchants with real coin, and some nobility, too. And the City Watch, the blue cloaks, got a lot more serious around the Whispers.

That’s what they called them, but them high fancy folk called it Old Port. The rest of the city just called them Whispers, on account of the Honeywine widening into the Whispering Sound. He didn’t think that name was a good one, as the sound didn’t whisper anything, it was just the end of the river, so that was a dumb name. Maybe a Maester named it, he joked. Dake told them about Cissy, how her mum said she was related to the Hightowers, but not the Hightowers that lived in the tower, but one of the other Hightowers, like a bastard sister of one of them other Hightowers. Branches, they called it, but Big Bill said Cissy’s mum was full of it. Dake laughed at that, because Big Bill was funny.

After the fourth bridge, and sixth market, Dake led them down an alley. The alley seemed to get smaller, and smaller, as they went, until it was only wide enough for them to pass single file. Dake told them not to worry, he knew where to go. No one even knew about this short cut, he told them, as they passed through what had been an alehouse, before a fire had charred the place, leaving kids like him to knock holes through the walls to allow the short cut. No one knew about it, he said again, until they went out the other side and saw a blue cloak.

“Oh, uh…I’ll handle this.”

Dake went up and tugged at the cloak. Dake seemed to know the guard, a young, tall, lanky sort who leaned lazily on a spear.
“The Lieutenants have us surrounding the street. No one in or out.”

“Can’t be, Tin. My Lord an his Lady friend need to talk urgent with the Ardent Maiden. They got big business. Big secrets. They’re from Pentos. Big merchants, just LOOK at ‘em.”

Tin casually twisted his body as he leaned on his spear, taking a dull look at the pair behind him. The initial glance stretched into an up and down look of both, before he turned his half-helmed head to Dake. “Bill set you up to this, Dake?”

“It’s Big Bill, Tin, you know that. Everyone knows Bill, from the river to the walls.”

The guardsman snorted. “Yeah, know he’s a little shit…”

“C’mon, Tin, who helped you out last fortnight? Who warned you about the highwaymen at that tavern?”
Even with his back turned, the twins would be able to hear the twisted expression of irritation and defeat on Tin’s face through his tone, “Fine, yeah, I’ll lead them. But you ain’t going.”

“…I want to meet her, too, Tin…I didn’t get to see the march this morning. C’mon, Tin. Please." Dake looked back at the twins even after he lowered his voice, as if to convince himself they hadn’t heard him.

Tin stood up straight, and turned, again, to the twins, “Your names?”
The boy reminded Hespaerys of his younger brothers when they were that age. Following along he let the lad prattle on paying attention to what he was saying and not interrupting yet marking the side streets in his memory. When the boy talked about the Sound Hespaerys smiled and nodded. The boy had a point. Sometimes things were named for odd reasons that were just sentimental. He laughed at the joke the boy made. Not bad for a boy of eight.

When he got on to the part about Hightower by-blows Hespaery’s interest sharpened. It happened but he’d like to look into that information, if only to see if it panned out. Filing that away to examine later he hung back as he let the boy speak to the man in the blue cloak. The conversation was faintly amusing and it seems the boy was a little scamp. This Big Bill character didn’t seem like the greatest influence but perhaps Dake would realize that on his own.

Lifting a hand when Dake indicated them Hespaerys waited until the guard caved. “Hespaerys Rahl and Lunaerys Rahl. Pleasure to meet you Tin." He looked down at Dake and held out his hand to shake. “My honor doing business with you Dake. You can call me Hes. I will be staying at The Lark and Spur for a short while. If you hear anything good or if you need anything you come find me or leave a word and I will find you. Agreed?" He shook hands with Dake and passed him the coppers owed plus a few extra.

Dake stared at the hand for a moment, his face smudged with dirt on his left cheek, his lips a bit chewed on, his brown hair long enough to nearly have its ends stab into his eyes instead of just stop at his eyebrows. He shook the hand, though, or how it thought he ought to. Two hard shakes, a take of the coins, and a nod. “Thanks, mi Lord.”

Tin told them to follow close. They went down the little alley, until it crossed a larger alley. Here, at the alley crossing, there were smells and sounds coming from nearly every direction. Meat was being cooked, ale was being downed, bawdy songs were being sung, and the song of men talking at high volumes seemed to pass through every wall that surrounded them now. Along the way they passed no less than four other lines of blue cloaks of the Oldtown City Watch, their mail gray, their cloaks blue.

Where the bigger alley met a wide street, there was a wall of blue cloaks, and an officer among them, denoted by his heavier cloak and plate armor, sword on his hip instead of just a spear in his hand. Tin talked quietly to the officer, who eyed the pair of Volantese, and nodded. The officer took them the rest of the way into the street. Both sides of the street were men-at-arms, squires, pages, horses everywhere. Maesters walked in and out of buildings.

Eyes followed the twins and the officer of the Watch. But the excitement came from behind them, as the sound of wood cracking broke the otherwise even hum of noise on the street, giving way to the scream of a child; a boy. A boy in dirty clothes of gray and pale green tunic had fallen from a wooden beam on a second story above, now where a clothes line of white underlinens sat in the dusty cobblestone road.
“Get the rat!”

The Watch moved to intercept, but it was a Knight who got there first. A towering man, with arms and legs the size of small trees, and a chest like a boulder. His hair was dark, his eyes fierce, and his voice like a thunderclap. He took the ‘rat’ up with one hand, and it was then that Dake squirmed until he came face to face with the giant, plate armored man, holding him up like a sack of turnips. The man’s cloak was dark, red, the sigil of Tarly of Horn Hill upon it.

“Bad choice, boy.”

He panicked. “..I-i-i…juswannatedtoseeher, ser.”

Lord Dennet Tarly glared. “It’s Lord, boy," the plated man said, as he dropped him roughly. Copper coins went spilling out of the boy's pocket. Some of the knights and squires and pages sitting casually up and down the street laughed.

Others cried thief at the sight of the coins.

“You dropped these," came the voice from behind the big Knight. The boy stared. “Who is it you came to see?”

Dake scrambled to his feet, and stared at the big Knight, before daring to look past him, at the hand that held out his copper coins to him. “..I just wanted to see her..the Ardent Maiden. The Lady Vittoria.”

The laughter was warmer than a happy childhood’s summer day, the voice sweet as the scent of lavender and wild roses that seemed to fill the air. A young woman with shining auburn hair, and golden brown eyes, big, and round. The woman wore a silk gown, thick straps over her shoulders, a dramatic cut down her chest, but with a decorative lace in the style of roses that kept it from being improper, a lace cape flowing from her shoulders nearly down to the back of her thighs. “And who are you?”

“I’m..I’m Dake, mi Lady." He barely got out, taking the coins.

“Hello, Dake," she kept smiling, like this was her favorite part of everything she ever did, “it’s nice to meet you, I’m Lady Vittoria Tyrell.”

Dake’s eyes spread to the size of saucers. “For real life?!”

The sound of laughter filled the entire street, even as her tone seemed to soften all the more, “For real life, Dake. Where is your mother?”

The question caught him off-guard, but the boy who looked like he felt as if he might float away barely hesitated, “At Ol’ Orlo’s tile shop…she’s one of the tile painters. She comes home after the sun.”

“She must be a very hard working woman. Do you know the Sailor’s Sept, Dake?”

He blinked. “Of course, the Lady Vittoria. Everyone knows that. From the river to the walls.”

“Can you go there the day after tomorrow, for me? Ask for Septon Pater. It would mean a lot to me if you could help Pater out there, Dake. Please?”

“…of course, yes, of course, the Lady Vittoria." Dake grinned as he turned, saw the twins, and pointed right at the woman knelt down in front of him, beside the large Lord and Knight. “I found her for you, Lord Hes.”

Vittoria Tyrell’s brown eyes followed Dake to the pair of people she didn’t recognize. There was but a moment’s curiosity on her face, before the sweet look returned and she whispered somethings back and forth with Dake. The boy nodded, waved back to the twins, and followed the Watch officer as Vittoria asked the officer to, kindly, see the boy back to the perimeter. “Goodbye, Dake.”
Her eyes were back on the pair of unknowns as she walked towards them, towards the Last Cobblestone. Her smile was gone, but the softness was still on her expression. “Please, come in." She went past them, as the squire Talbert moved to open the door and she entered the main lower room of the large inn. It was there she stopped, and turned to face the guests.

Lord Dennet Tarly followed them both in, far more wary than Vittoria. But, then, Dennet hadn’t heard the whispers between her and Dake—and the boy had said the two were kind to him, so that made them worth her time.

“What can I do for you both?" She thought merchants, probably, as she forced her mind to slow down and her ears to listen.

Hespaerys saluted Dake as he pointed out the obvious and smiled, mouthing a thank you to him. The woman was striking. Father had not told them that. Though he preferred them shorter, nevertheless, he admitted she was attractive but he doubted that she had the following she had if she had just been attractive. The twins followed her and Hespaerys smiled. “Well Lady Tyrell I would like to commend you for your kindness to Dake. I do not know what I expected exactly when meeting you but I hope that was just a start to the kinds of things we shall see from you. We would like to ask you just a few questions and see if working together is worth your time and ours. Are you agreeable to that, my lady?”

Hespaerys found it odd that she had not asked who the twins were. Perhaps the guard had already told them. However he could have given a false name, not that he would. While the Rahl name held no overt sway in Westeros merchants knew of them as well as the network that fed his family information. They had run across a network deeply established here in Westeros and his father was curious to work with the head of that network. His mother was utterly thrilled that it was the woman before him and wanted her measure.

He had promised his mother he would get it. He never let her down. Never.
Kindness? She wanted to ask. She was partially educated by Septon Pater. She had seen him teach countless Dake’s to read by reciting the Seven-Pointed Star in Septs to the blind all over the city. Learn to count by helping him with inventory of grain and fruits and vegetables in Sept kitchens to feed both the Faith and those the Faith cared for. Learn to serve others by taking time to serve the sick in hospitals, clean Sept basements, and help the old Septons who had work to do, but bodies too old or frail to do it alone any longer.
Pater was the kindness. She was just the path leading Dake to such kindness. Instead, Vittoria gave a small smile at the polite words, and thanked the man for them. At the point of working together, Vittoria’s head tilted, just so, to the side, as curiosity came back to her, and her mind began guessing at the details. “What kind of work? I’m afraid I am little more than the High Marshall of the Armies of the Reach. Your accent seems…..Volantene?" She offered her best guess, having been there not too terribly long ago.
Hespaerys tipped his head in acknowledgement of his accent. “Volantene and Valyrian; my lady has a good ear." He raised a brow at her claim that she was no more than a High Marshall but let it go. Perhaps she does not want others to know. “My Lady Tyrell you move with an army at your back. Lethal shadows that would do anything in your name in Westeros you are a legend. We hear tales of the woman, the Rose; the Ardent Maiden of the Highgarden. What you have done is something not all women would be able to do in this backward land. A land that would have your menfolk count your breaths and quote the Seven at you if you so much as take more than your fair share of their air. Especially since you are a woman. It is impressive.”

Leaning in and lowering his voice Hespaerys whispered so that only Vittoria heard him. “Lady Tyrell I refuse to believe you are in any way dim-witted. Your family is the Westeros equivalent of Triarch in Volantis. I doubt they would breed stupid children. You listen to the… what is it here… small folk? Yes you listen to them. A noble should listen to those who feed him, else he could wind up poisoned.”
Vittoria’s eyes drifted past the foreigner, to Den Tarly. When he shrugged, she simply blinked, and looked back at the pair before her. “A Lady does not become High Marshall of the Reach without wits. I lack a dragon, and I’m no sister-wife of a Valyrian blooded conqueror, but I have spent a lot of time learning everything I could. I have also been incredibly fortunate. I listen to information…it doesn’t matter to me where that information comes from. Would that I had an informant that would tell me the true purpose of your visit…for example.”

She said, smiling.

“My family is tired of the merchants they are working with demanding more for less. We are seeing complacency and would be much better to cut the ties and look for a better avenue." Hespaerys smiled at Lady Tyrell and inclined his head. “We have gotten by without dragons since before the Doom. I believe we can make it just fine. Not that my mother has not tried to see if any of her children were interested in the Balaerys House. None of us were more than very good friends, much to her chagrin.”

Vittoria Tyrell, in a rare peek behind the armor, balked at those words. “Did they SEE Vhandyr Balaerys?" Though she took a moment to widen her eyes and shake her head, and her mind of such thoughts, the message before the end of the man’s words really caught her attention more. “My Lord Father reaches the city tomorrow, as well I am meeting Lord Hightower tonight, I can relay your interest to both and see to an arranged meeting?”

Hespaerys grinned and bowed his head to smother a low laugh. “Met him and know him quite well. His sister as well. And I would be very appreciative to have you relay our interest." Looking around Hespaerys tried to spot Lunaerys. “I do not see my little sister. I was sure that she would be over the moon to meet you.”

The Lady Lyra of House Rahl looked out over the inner-city of Volantis and sipped the wine that the Westerosi man Damon Harroway had brought as a gift. Having let it breathe had settled the flavor to a sweeter red that was not unpalatable but it was no Volantene red. Swirling it around in her mouth she held a few drops testing to see if it changed the feeling of her mouth or that it tasted odd. Finding neither happened and deeming the wine safe, Lyra swallowed and turned her attention to the maid that was in the room with her. Lyra’s knowledge of poisons and toxins had saved her family more than once and she passed this knowledge down to her children. She was proud of all of them for their diligence in education. “If you would please make sure that you bring up the fruit from the cold storage, some cheeses and cold meats would be excellent. Oh and that wonderful spiced sauce that we received from that Dornish merchant that practically robbed us and some of Cook's famous pocket bread. Thank you Myrna.”

The maid smiled as she bowed and left to fulfill Lyra’s request. Turning Lyra placed a carafe of the wine only about half full and another carafe of cool water. Hearing the door open she watched her husband, Darkin Rahl, and Damon enter the chamber. She marveled at how her husband had only grown more handsome the older they grew. His hair had lightened to a silver from the deep shadowy ebony that he once had. She thought it brought out more of his Valyrian heritage and the color suited him. Issa jorrāelagon. Lord Harroway. I have sent for refreshments and there is some wine that was gifted to us by our guest, as well as water.” She indicated elegantly her gown a beautiful lilac color that was light and airy perfect for the weather.

"What is wine but poor fare against your beauty?" The charming rogue bowed to the woman. His movements and words are graceful in the games of flirtatiousness that bordered on the edge of courtesy. In truth, he could see she cared for her husband, something his father's second wife and the wives of his sons lacked. Not one to turn down the offer Damon poured a second goblet and offered it to Darkin Rahl, before taking his own. Dressed in clothing that was fine, if holding the scent of sea heavy about it, Damon knew he was a striking figure. He enjoyed being so. Let Jon handle his priggish nature, Damon was a man of the sea.

"My Lord, My Lady. It is ever a joy to see good fortune and health has favored you both. Though perhaps it could be presumptuous of me to assume such? Tell me how Volantis fairs? I heard our exiled Prince came past on the Black Dread with an intent to burn that dread into the hearts of the Dothraki." He mused, "My dear sister's husband. A mighty man."

Striding through his manse, Darkin Rahl, the Patriarch of House Rahl and Triarch of Volantis turned just slightly as he reached a door and allowed a polite smile to cross his lips. His visitor, a charming rogue named Damon Harroway passed by him and spoke to Darkin’s wife, the ethereal Lady Lyra who still controlled and held his heart. The man's words did nothing to cause Darkin to feel jealousy or disdain. He simply accepted it and filed it away as a notation on Damon’s personality. One of the many notes the Triarch had on the pirate. He accepted the glass that was offered and politely gave a sip which he did enjoy but Darkin never liked to drink during or before business.

“Your words are welcome, Volantis is as profitable as it ever was and the Rahl family is thankful that that continues. But as with everything it still takes hard work and good decisions. I believe we have come to one of those decisions. As for the Prince, he and our Dragonlord are old friends and I’m certain that what they get up to will be for the good of Volantis in the long run. But we are in a position to talk about you. Please, remind me again of what it is you’re searching for and be plain.”

Darkin’s eyes found Lyra and silently communicated that he wished for her to take the lead. It was common, Darkin preferred to sit quietly and judge responses.

Smiling at the men Lyra launched head first into the conversation. “So Damon,” She focused her sharp edged charm on him using his first name with a cavalier attitude that was meant to flatter him with the intimacy. “Now that you’re here and enjoying our hospitality…” She with a look to the servants who discreetly appeared brought the requested vittles. She loved it when Mryna made her look magical, granted the servants were all trained to be light on their feet. Her children rarely got things past herself or their father, too many ears and eyes that moved as silent as cats. “Have we satisfied your curiosity and are you ready to discuss business?”

Indicating the provisions Lyra offered him bread and salt as an opening to denote and invoke the right of hospitality. “I recommend coating the pocket bread in the Dornish pepper sauce and adding cheese and some of the meat into it.”

Damon did as instructed with a chuckle. "Indeed we shall." A Knight of the Seven he was sworn to the faith, the son of the Lord of Harrenhal he was sworn to the King on the Iron Throne. Yet to many he was simply a trader and adventurer. To himself and others he was a terror whose words held the weight he wanted it to. Leaning back in the seat, the second son of Harroway, sighed in pleasure. Chasing the bite with wine. "Always you have the finest of choices, but I shall spare you my humble words and direct myself to business."

Business. It was so very simple. He wanted wealth, land, fame, power. Damon wanted more and higher than he had. "To business, I am looking to invest in land, titles, the like in Essos. There are two Uncles and at least two cousins set in Harrenhal. For a castle so large, it has been getting crowded." His smile was lopsided, and he hooked one leg over the other. Letting the wine swirl in his goblet. "Of course, I do not ask for charity. I have my trading fleet. A sister who could be offered in a marriage. Gods know, I'm the only one in the family who would look for a good husband for the poor woman. My ties… There are benefits." He raised the goblet to his lips, sipping at the wine now.

Inwardly Lyra smirked. “Titles are easily bought as well as land. Depending where you go you would possibly be welcome but you would be new. Which has its advantages and disadvantages. My recommendation is to marry into an old family.” She let him digest that bit of information as she pulled apart a piece of pocket bread dipping it in the Dornish pepper sauce. “I will warn you that no matter how much you are liked you will not truely be accepted. If my guess is right then you do not really care. Which my friend is lucky for you because we have the means to help you.”

Leaning in, Lyra reached for a slice of cheese and popped into her mouth enjoying the creamy texture and nutty flavor. “You mentioned a sister? We could sponsor her and introduce her and yourself into Essos society.” She looked over at her husband. Gevie mēre, what say you? That is quite a responsibility matchmaking between a Westerosi woman and Essos man. It could work. You would need to marry as well. Afterall family is more trusted than a stranger.”

Before Damon would be able to speak, Darkin would then cut in. "The offer is as follows. House Rahl accepts your ships into our shipping fleet, allowing them the same safe passage as afforded unto us. The profits go entirely to you on the condition that if we need to use your ships for our own products that profit is ours. None of your ships may partake in… Illegal activities while flying our flag or while carrying our cargo. After a time your ships will slowly integrate into ours as you find more and more success here. Let's say some ten years? You will be expected to support us in Westeros affairs and assist in alliances that we attempt there. In return, I offer the following. There is a stretch of land outside of Volantis towards the old Ghiscari lands. Close-by is our property, it would be simple for us to purchase it and then give it to you. The land, along with a hundred slaves, whatever household you wish to bring, whatever guards you wish to have will be yours to rule. House Rahl will take no profits from this land, it will be entirely yours. This will make you a property holder within Volantis and will give you the right to vote."

After a brief pause, Darkin continues gruffly as if an afterthought. "You are free to court and consider one of my daughters but it will be their choice in the end. Your sister if you wish to bring her will be given a similar choice in one of our sons but again. It will be their decision. If, however, you wish to move things further along and not start at the very bottom. My sister is a widower and might take you. Our arrangement with the ships and trade will remain but you will simply be family and your profits will be our profits."

As he finishes, Darkin discreetly shoots a rapid glance to Lyra and the corners of his mouth twitch. "Thoughts thus far?"

Damon listened to the opportunity. His face a polite mask of interest. It was not a overly bad idea, though he found it lacking in his favor. More reins to tug him about, the man thought with minor annoyance. But he had been ignoring such all his life. Why stop now? So long as he kept his less than legal affairs on the down low, possibly let the Ironborn men take the blame for what his little pirate fleet did… It was possible.

"Intergrate after ten years you say? I like my ships, Lord Rahl. I'm not of the mind to give them up, why not a joint interest? I keep my ships, while I aid you in your endeavors. I will even suggest you speak to the Arryns, the Lords of the Eryie have possible suitors for alliances.” He considered the option of the man's widowed sister. Perhaps she would suit for an Essosi wife. His own did not need to know, nor did the Faith. If in the end he managed to wed the Lady Vittoria Tyrell? Damon smiled. "It is the only part of the plan I see issue with. Though I could concede half my number to integrate with yours." If he got land out of it? All the better. If he married the woman? Well then, he would have to modify his plans. It would be no qualm. Though getting Elayne into position would be. Here she was a beauty and his sister. A pawn, despite Rahl's words. Elayne would do as she was bid.

Darkin's polite smile remained on his lips as Damon spoke and honestly only those used to dealing with the man would know just how offended and infuriated he was. The temptation to seize the man's ships himself crossed his mind and then perhaps to simply buy out his crew members and leave the westerosi with nothing but empty ship parts came to mind. But no, Darkin merely tilted his head and leaned forward. Ever so slightly.

"You Westerosi are all so confident. I admire this in you. Coming to a strange place so far away from home and making a living selling to such powerful people that you know nothing about. It takes courage and a will to survive. The docks can be such a dangerous place as well, but your crew I suppose is quite the seasoned bunch, they like to stay at the pig and whistle isn't that right? Usually drunk until about noon when you begin patrols up and down your property which I'd located in a few nondescript warehouses until you manage to sell it." Darkin's eyes were playful as he spoke then, still leaning forward and tilting his head. Not a single other movement was given.

"Lucky for you that you have such a good ally in the city. Someone who has sold your goods, funded some of your expeditions and considers you a friend. So much so that he offers you a very large piece of their plans. A way to earn a place and become a Lord. Even offered a shortcut to get there. What a good friend hm?" He chuckles a bit and shakes his head. "But, alas that ally can't abide by pirating, especially if they were to be funding so much. So, are you certain you wouldn't like a few more moments to consider the deal offered? The generous and exceptional deal given to such a good friend?"

Taking note of her husband’s disposition Lyra sat back and focused on Damon. His facial features, body language, his breathing and his eye movements would all tell a tale she was read to hear. She did not need a dragon to get the truth from a man. They shouted it loud and clear, if one listened. It was bold as brass that Damon thought he could go up against a House that had been playing the game for over a century.

Giving him the benefit of Westerosi arrogance she doubted he did his due diligence in researching just whom he was dealing with. She on the other hand had been more than busy looking into Westeros for most of this boy's life. She knew about the pirating and while they, Darkin and herself, had decided that was not to be turned over to Maegor or anyone else who would string the boy up; as of yet, they still held the information. Perhaps it was a youthful mistake since his crew were stupid enough to open their mouths to whores and tavern keepers in both Westeros and Essos. Damon really did need some friends.

Lyra had pointed out to Darkin prior to dealing with Damon that it was probably something done to toss in the eye of his father. Hearing him negotiating cinched that opinion. If he were younger they would not have been as harsh. Sadly indulged and neglected little boys still needed to know the harsh reality that no one was above the law.

Darkin was livid when she had revealed the pirating. They had lost ships to pirates, such was the way of the sea. While they both knew that, it still made it a blow since they were the ones that had to inform families that their loved ones had not survived. They always took in the sailors' families and provided for them. Some, like Myrna and her three children, stayed with the Rahls and others took their support for as long as their pride could stand. Lyra understood but she kept an eye on them still. Sometimes an otherwise rare opportunity presented itself to the families and at other times perhaps they came back from market with more than they anticipated; small little windfalls that made sure they were taken care of. Again Lyra thought of the fact that she did not need a dragon to make significant changes in lives. Let the dragon riders keep their beasts. Gods know if Cassie ever got a hold of an egg. The things that keep me up at night. Besides my husband.

Placing a piece of fruit in her mouth Lyra watched Damon casually. "We take care of friends and family who make rash hot headed decisions so that they can keep those hot heads. Especially our family." The intensity of her silver gray eyes with a touch of blue was so powerful it was like looking at a queen she-dragon. This woman knew that if he chose the wrong path that his fate would be sealed. She let him know it in that look. A look that brought with it a full conversation with a mother that was disappointed but gave you the opportunity to correct your mistakes, but with one option and one option alone.

The words were not lost on Damon. He did not even blink though there was a tightness in his jaw and hand. His confidence shifted before it was restored by his own force of will. So, his men apparently had talked? When he had given specific orders for them not to? To impress the wenches? Other sailors? Well, in the end it would not matter. Weighing his choices he knew the opportunity out weighed the petty game he played. It was time to be the good lad and come to heel. He was young. He had time.

"You just forgive me, it is ever the merchant to seek a better offer." He shrugged with nonchalance and to loosen stiff muscles. "Of course, refusal would leave me out of such a good bargain. What better option than to agree?" And what choice did he have? This would give him land, some good management of it and he would have the wealth needed to convince Lady Vittoria to marry him. Once done, he could take his three wives and enjoy life. Though, absently the man felt a pang of sorrow for Minisa's pale form. She had never recovered from the birth of his son. "I shall accept and pay court to your lovely sister, praying she will find my humble offerings acceptable." And if she was acceptable to him? She would come with Rahl family and Rahl money, she could look like a pig and still do. "A good woman can cool a young man's hot head." He amended with ease and gave a smile to that ice queen sitting across from him.

Damon had already made his mistake, Darkin no longer trusted him. And one didn't do business with someone you didn't trust, at least not real business. He would inform his sister of the slights the man made and make sure she kept a good eye on him. Damon could still be useful but he had lost his chance to ever be a true ally. His sister, or others? That was still up in the air.

"Glad to hear that you've reconsidered, as before you are welcome to stay here as a guest. Thank you for your time." It was a colder dismissal than usual, and Darkin made a mental note to make a few of the Damon's crew who talked disappear. They would be useful to his cause if Damon did decide to try something very stupid.

Dragonstone. With no Rhaena or Aegon. It is not fair. Princess Melyssanthi pouted in the garden. She sat amidst beautiful growing things and pouted.

Samantha and Alayne went with her and I am stuck here with the littles and Aunt Vinegar. Ugh I despise that woman. I wish her dragon would eat her! Melyssanthi looked around to make sure that her Aunt was not near her, convinced that even the thought was enough to summon the woman.

Relaxing when she did not see her Aunt she stood and felt a weight on her chest. Looking around cautiously, Melyssanthi turned her head and listened. Something is not right. Rising from sitting Melyssanthi made her way from the garden to mope to her older sister's room. It will not be her room once she gets back. Or not just her room. Will things be different? Will they still want me hanging around? Or will I be in the way? Melyssanthi walked slowly toward the Stone Drum, planning to flop in the center of Rhaena's bed. She sighed and wrapped her sleeves around her hands.

“I should return to King’s Landing tonight, love.” Aenys brought his cheek down against the top of Alyssa’s head to a soft murmur of annoyed agreement. “I fear that Melyssanthi is too beside herself, perhaps we should have let her go with-”

Alyssa pulled herself out from beneath her husband’s embrace. “No, you cannot give her permission to fly out to meet them. We have spoiled them long enough, they must each fulfill their own responsibilities now.” She chided her husband, her king, but it was with an ease that spoke of the mutual love and respect they held for one another. Besides, given the choice she too would have her way and command him to stay with her rather than return to his own duties in the capitol.

"You are a cruel mother, as I’m sure she will remind you of frequently.” Aenys returned with a laugh as he rolled over and stretched for the glass of wine beside the bed. The bottle had been a gift from his aunt. He frowned as he swallowed the last dredges of the glass. It was not a good wine, an opinion he would not share with the woman. “I should go find her, gather the rest of the children to see me off?” The girl had been beside herself, perhaps he could ease the pain a little before leaving.

Aenys wandered the halls that lead to the children’s suites. He sang out Melyssanthi’s name in a strong, sweet voice. “Melyssanthi, sweet dragon of mine…” He stumbled and paused, his voice echoed against the walls. Perhaps he had had more wine than he should have. He pressed a hand to his forehead and lightly shook his head. Foolish man, Alyssa will have words if you try flying off like this.

He turned a corner and saw his daughter, heading not for her room but Rhaena’s. Ah, poor child. I should send her off on Fyresong, I’ll be forgiven eventually. "There you are! Come, fly with me before I return to King’s Landing, I hate to leave seeing you with such unhappiness on your face.”

Hearing her name sung by the sweet tenor of her father King Aenys the Princess grinned her heart swelling with love. "Papa!" Turning to him with a warm, loving smile she embraced him with the enthusiasm she'd always expressed to her family. No matter how upset with them Melyssanthi was she always let them know she loved them, hence why she was so crushed when she'd been told she would not accompany her siblings on their tour.

Pulling back to see her father’s face after her unabashed display of affection Melyssanthi pouted. "Papa, you cannot make up for not letting me go by letting me win one race." She looked him in the eyes scowling with a twinkle in her eyes. "However, it will go a way to soften me up, but Silverwing will not appreciate it."

Aenys smiled down at his daughter, he had wrapped his arm about her to return the embrace. How lucky he was, the gods - whichever ones - had truly blessed him. Even if they tested him with Maegor’s folly and the Faith’s intractableness. His eyes shone bright, even as his wife’s words prickled in his mind. Melyssanthi would need to do her duty for their family soon enough as well. He and Alyssa had been wed with Rhaena already born by the time they were her age. Perhaps in the next year he would arrange a good match, a happy marriage to one of the sons of the great houses. She would love the Reach surely, or perhaps they would strengthen the bond with their cousins in the Stormlands.

Now, though, was not the time for that discussion. "Silverwing will show me her displeasure when I am halfway across the Bay, certainly. But that is for me to worry about.” He left his arm around her shoulder as he turned to guide them out of the Stone Drum. “A race around the island it is.”

Aenys led them out at a leisurely pace though it was not entirely just to enjoy time with his daughter. He had begun to sweat lightly, he felt off in a way he couldn't quite place. The king tried to ignore it, he had often been sickly growing up and memories of it triggered a panic from time to time. Surely that's all this was, mixed with discontent at having to leave his family. "We should be careful though. One of the men saw that wild dragon take flight again. He'll be a mighty one, perhaps even to rival Vhagar." He smiled, knowing how his children felt about his aunt's mount. "Perhaps when Aegon returns, he will manage to bond with him." It would be an especially good omen, if Aegon were to tame the wild one.

"Papa, you would never let Silverwing do such a thing." Melyssanthi slowed their pace even more when she noticed how pale her father was and that he'd begun to sweat. "Papa? Is something wrong?" She ignored the comment about Aegon being without a dragon. Others in her family, cousins on mothers side, did not have dragons. Her brother's lack of one did not mean he was weak, just different.

Her voice pitched low so that others could not hear, she turned in her father's embrace. Melyssanthi cast a worried eye over him. He really does not look well.A sense of dread fell over her as she felt that sense of something that was not right. Instead of hearing what was around her; her ears were full of a rushing sound that roared upon her. Then a mob so loud all shouting over another. Sounds of fighting then a soft murmur of anguish in her sister's voice as she said her brother's name. The sharp caw caw of a raven, far too loud, snapped her hearing back to where she was presently. "Papa…something is not right. Something is wrong. I am afraid."

Aenys stopped, his other arm raised and pressed to his chest at a sudden, piercing pain. In the haze of it, he attempted to look down and comfort his daughter that all was well, but he faltered before being able to utter a single reassuring syllable. He dropped, one knee catching him on the floor, but most of his weight now supported by the arm around his daughter. His pale lilac eyes widened with untempered fear. He sucked in a breath but felt no air.

He saw the look on her face, a fear mirroring his own. A groan of anguish passed his lips as his vision blurred and was filled with blackness. He slumped, his body falling away from Melyssanthi. A fleeting thought fluttered through his mind, a plea to the gods. Not yet.

Melyssanthi saw the look of pain that carved her father’s visage into something that terrified her. He twitched and his lips opened as he suddenly went slack, his weight nearly toppling them both. Melyssanthi could not hold him up but he did not have to crash to the floor. She knelt with him as he went down.

Tears coursed down Melyssanthi’s face with a shared fear. He groaned heartbreakingly and she began to sob. "NO!!! PAPA!!" She moved to arrest his fall; to hold him in the world with her as he fell to the floor slipping out of her hands like water.

Everything seemed to move like the last drop of honey on a spoon in winter. Melyssanthi watched as her father fell to the floor and she let out an anguished scream. The scream sounded like that of a mortality wounded dragon, those that heard it said it raised chill bumps and brought tears pouring forth. It was followed by the heart wrenching sobs of a daughter that very clearly loved her father. Echoing cries rose from where the dragons resided when on Dragonstone as if they too heard Melyssanthi’s heartbreak.

Sobbing Melyssanthi clutched at her father’s tunic, the only word between sobs was father in different languages falling into Valyrian and staying there until guards came around the corner. They froze weapons out only to put them away. Ser Raymont of the Kingsguard reached down for the girl. Sobbing Melyssanthi held on tighter to her father. As fast as a dragon she turned her tear stained face to the Kingsguard and the excruciatingly raw sorrow evident on her face as she screamed. "Renigon issa daor! Touch me not!"

© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet