Recent Statuses

2 yrs ago
Current Lets change this status for once. Still always down for potter stories, but branching out! Started a new year with a new writing journey. Should be interesting.
5 yrs ago
I'm sort of an addict for Harry Potter. If you ever want to do an RP... I will be down almost 99% of the time. :D
7 yrs ago
RIP Alan Rickman, best actor for the best character.


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Location:Home -> School -> Carnival.
Interacting With: Marco Costello, Maria Costello @LostDestiny


The house was on fire, barely seen through the smog but on fire nonetheless. Screams could be heard from all around, some Landon knew but many were just unknown. He stood in the hallway of his old house in England surrounded by police, his mother, his father, and his brothers. Even Marco was here standing beside him, the boy who currently owned Landon's heart. Women and men ran through the entrance, panic from all around, some being chased by figures shrouded in darkness. None of these people's features could be made out and Landon felt terror in his heart, but also determination. He needed to protect his family! He rushed forward and shouted an order to get out of the house, with himself forming the wedge point towards the floor. It was hard to move but the group crashed into the opening. But the doorway was locked and wouldn't open. Terrible cries of "Help! We're trapped! LANDON!” Landon did what he could, pounding at the doorway and kicking at it, but it refused to give in. Giving it up as futile, Landon maneuvered his family and friends behind himself, facing the incoming flames alone. Boiling temperatures assaulted his skin, and he let out a yell before unconsciously moving backward. He turned to expect to see everyone else still trying to get out but all he saw was a single mask-clad man holding a pistol. With a deep voice filled with malice and hate the man spoke. ” You failed Landon, everyone is dead because of you. You couldn't save your parents. You won't be able to save anyone. You. Are. Pathetic." A loud gunshot rings out followed by screaming, the same that Landon had heard all those years ago. The screams of his parents.

Landon awoke with a start, chest heaving and eyes wild. He glanced around his room and jumped up as if he had just been scalded. The walls, filled with various posters, didn’t seem to have any answers, and other than his breathing, all was quiet. Instantly, Landon controlled his breathing so he didn't end up having a panic attack and used the techniques his therapist has taught him to calm himself down. He gave an exhausted sigh and slumped back onto his bed, sprawling across it and staring up at the ceiling. His eyes closed and his breathing slowly settled down before he shook his head and groaned, wishing he knew the time. It didn’t really matter, but he was trying to get a number on how much sleep he has gotten over the weekend. With the start of school came the nightmares. Doctor Winslow, his therapist, had told him that it was the stress of a new year mingling with his fears of someone else he cared about getting hurt. This of course made sense, but Landon wished that said nightmares would be more considerate and at least let him get a few hours of sleep in. Now functioning normally, for the most part, Landon clicked his phone and groaned when he saw how early it was. It couldn't be helped though, and Landon knew that he would be unable to get back to sleep even if he tried. So, instead, the soon-to-be Senior stood and dressed in some workout clothes and silently made his way through his home. It had taken Landon some time to actually be able to call it that, his Aunt and Uncle's house had been seen as nothing more than a cheap replacement, a sick joke that the world had played on him. Even more so when his mother's belongings were shipped there and his Uncle placed some of them around. But Landon had come far, and now as he tiptoed into the kitchen and spotted the cookie jar from his early childhood he just gave a soft smile. He patted the top of the jar and then left through the kitchen door, which was the most silent exit. He locked it back behind him and then turned and quickly sighed.

It was morning, that time when you can just tell that night is ending and yet the darkness clung to the existence, trying to remain for as long as possible before the sun eradicated it. But, inevitably the light would come and the birds knew it as they began to softly chirp and wake up in preparation for another long day. Landon began to stretch, yawning as he did so. A morning run was exactly what he needed. He started off in a jog around the house and then after that circle, he entered the sidewalks properly. The world was slowly coming to life, and Landon let a smile across his face. It was his favorite time of day, the time when the world became aware once again and the animals started getting restless after a long night of quiet and relative stillness. Cars lazily drifted by him, a far cry from the constant roar that would come in a few short hours. Early birds, or perhaps some people like him struggled to get sleep sometimes and needed a morning drive. All in all, the morning was a time of serenity and peace, life just going about things as normal and if Landon was forced to pick a time out of the day to last forever it would be now. He passed by the spires of the local cathedral and headed for his now usual running spot. It was a road consisting of two different hills with a flat spot in between.

Before he knew it he had run five ‘laps’, consisting of going down and back up the hill and his breathing was becoming heavier and heavier. He could keep going, but for a simple exercise, he didn’t need to exhaust himself as he knew the rest of the day was going to be quite long. He started walking to pace himself and replayed the last decisions of the day to re-plan themselves out. Homeroom, assembly, and then festival with football meeting after school and then interview for the lifeguard position. All in all, it was a full day and by the end, he would -definitely- need a soak in the bath to relax. He shook his head and finished his walking lap, grabbing his discarded shirt and wiping off his face and neck. He placed the now-soaked shirt around his neck and made his way back towards his house, the exercise working well to make his morning better.

It was still early but Landon must have been out for longer than he thought as the kitchen door was unlocked and standing in the middle of the room was his Aunt Claire who was moving about getting things ready to start breakfast. She turned as she heard the door open and gave a wide smile. "Well, good morning. Scrambled ok?" She didn't comment further, no 'why were you up so early', or 'are you ok?' And Landon loved her for it.

"Scrambled is fine. Thanks, Aunt Claire." He gave her a quick hug and a return smile and then chuckled as she pretended to hold her nose and point at his sweaty shirt. "Yeah, yeah I'm gonna shower. Gotta get in there before the terrible two wake up." Claire chuckled again and continued her work. Landon moved past her and took the stairs back up to his room, making sure not like to make too much noise. His little brothers could be and usually were a handful and Landon had no desire to hear them incessantly knocking upon the door and yelling to be let in. He entered his room, put together a quick outfit, jumped into the bathroom, and started the usual morning routine. Shower, teeth, hair, moisturize, the works.

The timing was perfect, as the second Landon exited the now steamy bathroom he could see Astor leaving his room. "Morning Astor, want scrambled eggs? Aunt Claire is making them." Landon got a single bleary nod in return which Landon smirked at and couldn't resist tousling the already tousled bedhead. "Cya downstairs, and no fighting with Korbin." Landon then entered his room again, threw his workout clothes in the hamper, and grabbed his backpack, along with his other school items. Once he was content he wasn't going to forget anything, Landon closed his door and headed back downstairs where the smells of food were now prominent. At the table in the kitchen sat his Uncle already munching on some toast and bacon while opposite him, Claire was finishing up Landon's own plate. "Morning Uncle Wyatt, and thank you, Aunt Claire. Er, Astor said he wanted his eggs scrambled as well. I didn't see Korbin but I would assume the same." He smiled as he sat down and took a deep smell of his breakfast. Claire was a great cook and knew exactly how he liked his food. Astor came in some ten minutes later, Korbin following some fifteen after that. Landon was glad he would get to see both brothers before he left. Usually, he didn't mind, but since it was the first day it was different. "Morning Kor, got everything good to go for the new year?" The boy looked over at him and rolled his eyes but nodded.

"Yes Landon, and yes I brushed my teeth before you ask." He was sitting down when Claire called behind her.

"And did you and Astor pick up your dirty towels from the bathroom floor, and actually replace your toothbrush in the cup?" Her voice was amused, not nagging and Korbin instantly looked like a cat who swallowed a canary.

"Oh. Absolutely Aunt Claire. Though I think I did forget... Something, I'll be right back!" Landon simply chuckled and stood with his plate, moving past his Aunt and hugging her side as he placed his plate in the dishwasher.

"Alright, I'm off for school. Going to get there a bit early and see if any of the team is hanging out before the carnival. I'll see you all later. Oh, I probably will be later than usual. I'm going to go down to the beach and see about doing some Lifeguarding there. Marco is also going to see if he can transfer there. Anyway, love ya." He gave a quick wave and then ran out of the same kitchen door he left out earlier, but this time he made his way to his car. The mustang fastback was Landon's pride and joy, a car he worked on with his Uncle when he was a Freshman. Placing his backpack in the seat behind him, and then hopping in the driver's seat, Landon started the car up, found a decent station, and then smiling, pulled out and drove the memorized route to school.

It didn't take long. Traffic had yet to truly pick up to usual levels and after three years, Landon knew all the various shortcuts and detours. Sooner than he expected Landon was pulling into the School senior lot and claimed, as a perk of bringing early, a nice close parking spot.

The rest of the Morning went by fast. Homeroom was simple, and Landon made sure to note down important information. The assembly was well... An assembly, and while Landon respected the staff of the school he figured that some of them could benefit from some public speaking seminars or at least some about keeping teens engaged. Regardless, after the assembly, Landon was torn on where to go next. The carnival certainly, but as the captain of the football team, he figured he should stop by their booth briefly and at least check in. Nodding, Landon headed to the Lacrosse field. As he went he pulled out his phone and sent a quick text to Marco. [b][color=DEA2FF]"Morning! I'm going to stop by the football team's booth and then find you. Don't start overeating without me!"[/b][/color] Smirking as the text was sent, Landon spent some time finding the team's booth and waved at the coach who was placing out some papers.

"Morning coach, did you want me to man the booth? Or did we get some underclassmen to hold the reigns?" The coach looked up and smiled a bit as he saw Landon and shook his head.

"You're fine to enjoy the carnival, Landon. But thanks for checking in. I and the other coaches are going to man it this year. Going to talk business as we do and make it a meeting at the same time. Just stop by my office later today, I want to discuss the offense. Anyway, enjoy yourself, Miland. I still hate this will be your last year, but I can tell you that plenty of scouts have told me they plan to be at our games for you. I know it's some pressure added, but you can handle it. You're a great player Miland and a great student." Landon was silent for a moment, processing everything his coach told him, and then just forced a smile.

"Thanks, coach, I'll continue doing my best. I'll see you later." He rushed off quickly, wanting to be out of that situation as fast as possible. This year was going to be interesting... He made his way back into the mass of seniors and started looking around for red hair. He briefly saw a flash of red near a corn dog vendor. But it was just Jeremiah. Landon glanced down at his phone and then felt someone run into him. He barely managed to hold onto his phone, and he turned to see who had collided with him. "Oh, er. Are you alright?" It was a smaller boy, one that could in no way be a Senior.

"Yeah, sorry. I'm supposed to be at the band booth, but I wasn't paying attention, and I'm late since my first-period teacher didn't believe me." The boy looked up at who he had hit and his face grew scarlet. "Oh, you're Landon Miland. The captain of the football team, oh please don't have your team members stick me in a tuba case again."

Landon raised his eyebrows and shook his head. "Er, I am Landon yeah, but why would I- wait? Again?" The boy nodded and shrugged.

"Yeah, last year, the seniors." He trailed off.

With a sigh, and shake of his head, Landon just pointed. "We're not that team anymore. If you have any issues with anyone on the team bullying you, you come straight to me. I'll handle it. Now you better head off." Landon shook his head again in disbelief, not believing his previous teammates could do something like that. He looked around, trying to figure out where he was now in the carnival, and smirked widely as he saw Marco and Maria standing near a pretzel vendor. Landon maneuvered his way over and tried to sneak up on them. "Aha! Found you!"

Location: Tanith's House -> School -> Lacrosse Field

Interactions: None, Mentions: @Her Hiraeth, Tanith

Wha?! Was that the sun? Oh, right. Riley Revels, a seventeen-year-old senior and musical savant, suddenly shot up and blurrily looked around. Absently, and blindly, he began searching for his phone which was lost somewhere in the tousled blankets and sheets. "Ughhrghh." Came the unintelligent sounds of a teenager first waking up, and finally, a hand made contact with the phone, and with a press of a button Riley's eyes widened as the time was brought up in the blocky white text. "Fuuuck." And with that exclamation, the relatively slow wake-up became a dead sprint. Riley jumped out of the borrowed bed and made his way over to the drawer that his clothes were on. He grabbed something simple before rushing into the bathroom and starting a shower. As the water was warming Riley randomly started one of his Playlists and blasted it.

The shower was quick, and Riley was ready in record time. He came downstairs, eyes searching for Tanith, and frowned when he didn't see her, or any sign that she was there. "Tan? Tanith? I thought you were making breakfast?!" He chuckled to himself and shrugged as he grabbed a bowl and some cereal and then proceeded to speed eat while looking over some of his compositions. "You owe me breakfast Tan." He mumbled through a half-full mouth. When he was finished he made sure to wash his bowl and spoon then put everything back exactly where it came from, grabbed his keys, and then ran out to his car.

Traffic. Was. Terrible. Riley, having run slightly late despite his rushing, got stuck on the way. So, he made the most of it. If he was going to be late, it might as well be worth it.

He ended up being fifteen minutes late. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as it could've been but still. He was late. He quickly parked in the Senior lot and then made his way to a particular security posting. "Alan? Hey! My favorite Security Officer. Have a good summer?" Alan, who was looking down at a schedule smirked and then looked up.

"Mr. Revels, already filling up those tardies?" There was mirth in his eyes though as the man eyed the cinnamon roll and large coffee that had suddenly been placed before him. "Bribery eh? I guess some things never change." He trailed off and then made a gesture to move on in with his head. "Straight to the band room, and if you're caught I know nothing." And with that, the guard chuckled again and began unwrapping the sticky sweet treat.

"Thanks, Alan!" Riley called as he sprinted into the school grounds proper. He waited for the first bell and then snuck into the band room, going through the instrument hall to avoid being spotted, and then entering the office where the band staff did their work. Finally relaxing, Riley brought out his composition and began doing what he did, and loved best. Creating music. His current orchestration was a reimagining of the How to Train your Dragon music.

He was just finishing up the final edits to the overture when he heard someone entering the room and looked up to see one of the staff peering at him with surprise. "Day one? Really? You know you can't do this every day right?" Riley gave a nod and held up his work.

"I just HAD to finish this overture, it wouldn't go away in my head." The staff member took a single glance at the work and couldn't help the impressed look that came over his face.

"Just don't make it a habit Riley. Free periods, lunch, before school, and AFTER school is already plenty of time. Now, I suggest you move yourself to the auditorium for the assembly currently being held."

"Assembly? Ohhh crap, right. I'm on it. Thank you!" He called again over his shoulder. He gave a wave to the Choral and Orchestra directors and then ran to the auditorium. He slid himself into the very back row of seats and once again shook his head. Late at the start meant a butterfly effect of trying to catch back up.

But an opportunity to do just that was about to present itself. As the Principal began to wrap up his speech, Riley slipped out and went ahead and made his way down to the Lacrosse field.

He waited just a moment so it wasn't too obvious he had come early and then grabbed a few snacks and a drink before climbing up into the bleachers and started claiming territory. He spread out his work, making sure it was secure and wouldn't blow away in any wind. He also made sure to save a spot for Tanith and anyone else that wanted to spend their time listening to various bits of music over and over with only slight variations.

Finally. He could relax.
What is the technology level in the game? I didn't see it mentioned anywhere.
This is very interesting and I have my eye on it.
Mycah Arryn

"Welcome home My Lord, I must congratulate you on your successful campaign against the Mountain Clans. Please, take your time and I will have a full briefing on what you have missed within the Great Hall when you are ready." Mycah Arryn, the acting Lord of the Eyrie looked down at his dirty armor and then to Maester Trenten with a short chuckle.

"I will in fact take you up on that offer Maester. I will wash, and then make my way to the Great Hall. Please have the kitchens ready for my meal and that of my Knights and men. They have fought well for the Vale and deserve a rest." He looked over his shoulder to his Captain who instantly began giving orders. The Maester gave a short nod and then turned to walk back into the Gates of the Moon.

Free from attention for the brief moment, Mycah takes the moment to inhale deeply, the crisp mountain air, a chill hinting at the winter to come, filling his lungs. He held the breath and then let it out, shaking his head and walking into the Gates of the Moon and maneuvering directly to his chambers. He was confident his Captain and Officers would handle the men and send them off after they had eaten, and also confident that the stable hands would take care of his friend.

Upon entering the chambers, Mycah was happy to see servants already finishing filling his bath and preparing a set of clothing more suited for comfort. He gave a nod of appreciation and busied himself with removing his armor while he waited, though he did have to call in a page to help him with a few of the pieces, for as flexible as he was he still struggled with them.

He sent everyone away once the bath was ready and his armor was off and then finished stripping and then sunk into the warm water. By the seven is was nice to actually sit and relax again. The campaign against the Mountain men had lasted for longer than he would have liked. And while he could blame many factors, at the end of the day he should have adapted faster. In the end, it was a total victory and without very many losses either. And if he was being honest with himself, he was glad that his battles kept him from having to go South. He preferred his home and disliked the peacock Knights who preened and pranced about in tournaments.

Mycah took longer than needed in the water. Not even caring when the water got cold, simply relaxing his sore and bruised body. War, no matter what size always took its toll. Mycah frowned as he remembered the names of those he had lost. That was the hardest part of war, making decisions that meant the deaths of the troops that trusted him to serve them. To get them home to their families.

The youngest Arryn gave a sigh and shook his head. It was no use thinking like that, he had done his best to bring as many troops home as he could, and that would simply have to be enough. He stood then, and dressed silently now that his thoughts had turned against him, finishing his sky blue garments off with his sword which he strapped to his belt. Now ready to play Lord, he left his room and gave his gratitude to the servants outside that were waiting to clean things up inside. He was feeling quite refreshed and while he despised handling court matters he was decent at it and was prepared.

The Great Hall of the Gates of the Moon weren't far from his chambers, and as he got closer he could smell the food being prepared which made his mouth water. He had pushed the campaign host hard on the last day to finish their journey so that the men could be released the following morning to return to their respective homes and Houses. As such, Mycah was starving and his stomach let him know that fact as the smells continued to assault his senses. He stepped around the entrance and smiled widely as he saw Maester Trenten, and Arrold Mortimer sitting at the high table waiting. The smile grew even widen when he noted a serving boy go dashing to the kitchens to let them know that he had arrived. Good, food must be ready.

"Maester, Seneschal it is truly good to see you both. I apologize for the delay, I was taking advantage of the privacy and chance of some relaxation. And I won't hear any of the 'it's fine my Lord' your time is as important as mine in the running of the Vale while my family is away. Now, please get me up to speed with things."

The following hours were long and a different sort of exhausting. Mycah was used to the exhaustion of battle or strategy meetings but this was different, almost mind numbing administration tasks. And it was finally ove-. "My Lord, one final thing." For the love of the stranger. He raised an eyebrow and nodded to Trenten to continue. "Honestly I should have probably led with this, but we received a letter from the North this morning. I have not opened it as I knew that you expected to arrive today. I have it here." The Maester reached into his robes and pulled out a scroll that had the familiar Stark sigil on the seal. Mycah instantly was curious and accepted the letter, breaking the seal and reading quickly.

"It seems that the Starks are having Skagosi troubles and have asked for our aid." Mycah frowned, as the last of the Arryns at the Eyrie he knew that if he left to take support to the North then the Vale would be managed by the Castellan. This fact also seemed to be acknowledged by the two men with him.

"Well, my Lord our families are long time allies. Perhaps we can have one of our bannermen bring up a force to send. I could prepare a few rav-."

"Maester, you know that if our troops leave the Vale that I will be leading them. The true question is if we should or not. As the Starks themselves say, Winter is coming and I would rather not be stuck in the North when it arrives. However, as you say they are steadfast allies." Mycah was thoughtful, his eyes shining as his mind worked. Finally he nodded, and looked over to Trenten. "I will take our force here to the North, dropping off some and taking on others until we arrive at Gulltown. There we will board the ships and head to the North, I would expect perhaps a thousand men but no more than that. I may change my mind at Gulltown but either way. We will send aid."

The Maester nodded and smiled softly, perhaps in pride before standing. "Then, I shall send word to the Houses on your route, to Gulltown, and to the Starks." Mycah nodded, already mentally going over the possible routes to take to support the North. It wouldn't be quick, but let it not be said that the Arryns forsook their friends. The Knights of the Vale would go north and do what they could to help. "Seneschal, while I am away and until my father returns, the Eyrie and the Gates of the Moon will be yours. I am also entrusting the Vale to yourself and Trenten, and naming Lord Royce to acting protector."

The elderly man nodded and smiled. "As you say My Lord. We will keep good care as always. I don't expect any problems, but I do wish you safety." Mycah chuckled and stood.

"I think I'm going to need more patience than safety in the North. And lots of fur cloaks." He stretched and then went off back towards him room for some well deserved rest. On the morrow another campaign would begin…

A Mummer’s Farce & A Reunion Part I

Leaving behind the Wolves and the Grapes had been easy, Ashton cared little for petty squabbling and even less for politics overall. He could stomach it, sure, and was even starting to get used to it but it remained a fact for the young man that if he could be anywhere else? He would. And to his great excitement he had upon his arm the most beautiful woman in Summerhall OR its grounds.

He escorted her dutifully to the entrance, eyes that were used to watching minute movements of his opponents now watching Gwen. She was upset, that much was certain and Ashton couldn't really blame her. He shuddered to think what could have been if the Hightower clan had suddenly all walked in to retrieve him. Not that such a thing would ever occur. For one, Ash wasn't that important, and secondly his father had a rule that no more than three of the immediate family, along with their own families, could be in a location at one time.

Finally Ashton simply looked over to Gwen, pulling her gently to the side and away from the people entering. "I'm very sorry that this happened, and if I can do anything that would help I would do it in a heartbeat." He offered a genuine smile to her, not one of pity or reassurance, more one of understanding and support. "Perhaps I can take you to the Stark camp myself, that way I can have the honor of your company a bit longer and you can have a companion." He did NOT add 'that's not of your vast family' to the end of that phrase out loud but did think it. It was so strange…

Clearing her throat softly Gwen swallowed and smiled wobbly at Ashton. She didn’t want to take her temper out on him. He barely knew her and he was being so wonderful. Clearing her throat yet again Gwen nodded. “Yes. That would be wonderful. Yes please."

Squeezing Ashton’s arm Gwen wanted to lean her head on his shoulder. But that would be too personal. Far too personal, but it seemed right. Still no matter how right it seemed she was not ready to have more people stare at her for more reasons.

With a nod, Ashton mentally made a map through tent city to where the Starks had made camp. He giggled softly as he thought about going through the backs of those tents again, and navigating the ropes where he had met Gwen earlier. But no, that wouldn't do, he was officially escorting a Lady now, and he was going to do it correctly. He smiled brightly at her and then set off on a comfortable pace towards the Starks.

"Guess I'm not the only one that has family drama. I mean I suppose it could be seen as a positive AND negative at the same time. At least they obviously care, perhaps a bit more than you would want, or well anyone would want, but yeah. Could be worse!", he winked at her and stepped closer to her to sort of playfully nudge her. "Either way, it's behind us. Literally in this case and now we can just enjoy the fresh night air."

Blinking away the tears as her frustration and anger faded Gwen gave Ashton a true smile. “The sun must always shine in your world Ashton. Are you sure you’re Westrosi? Seems more like you’re a fable. You must be that prince that catches a maiden’s eye and runs off with her heart." A teasing smile flashed dimples at Ashton. Gwen giggles quietly, stepping closer and winding her arm more closely with Ashton’s arm.

Raising an eyebrow and furrowing the other, Ashton looked at her and just shook his head. "I am certainly not a Prince, though I do hope to make a decent Knight. From my observations that in of itself is becoming more and more rare. But it's impossible to stay angry or upset when I'm near you, so I guess you just make it easy for me. I'm not usually this cheery unless I'm watching the sunset, I have this really nice spot on a hill close to the Castle that I found one day while exploring." He gives a shrug and when Gwen stepped closer he beamed even brighter if that was possible and his cheeks turned a bit more crimson.

Gwen noted the blush and the grin. “You should smile more. It makes you even more handsome."

Ashton can't help but turn even more red, now resembling the hit red wax the Maesters use to seal various messages. "Well thank you, so long as you're at my side I foresee a lot of smiling in my future.”

Sighing Gwen pouted teasingly. “Too bad this tournament is merely a blink. Truly I wouldn’t mind this mild weather at Winterfell and the company is sublime." Ashton was so attentive and sweet. Gwen was reminded of the old bard tales of knights and their lady loves. Impulsively she leaned up and placed a kiss on his cheek, her lips lingering there.

And then her lips connected with his cheek and his entire world stood still. It was nothing, not really, sure it was a sweet thing to do but in the grand scheme of things it was a simple action. And yet, Ashton's brain had shut down; all systems offline. He stood rooted to the spot and blabbering like some sort of fish that found itself unable to get back to the water and now couldn't breathe. His cheeks were fiery red and his arm clenched unconsciously around Gwen's own. When his mouth did some blabbing it opened and shut twice with no words coming out. Abandoning such things, he simply gave her the widest smile she would have seen yet on the Hightower lad and then leaned down to place his forehead on her own and look her straight in the eyes. "Well, that was something." His words were breathy, but at least he didn't have stinky breath.

Perhaps it had been some luck of the Maiden for her to have stumbled upon the blissful pair, perhaps another god entirely. Her own mind, however, was on other matters. Matters of survival and utter importance. Having slipped from a distracted escort and into the city of tents after being escorted by the handsome Ser Ryon, Alysanne Lothston was just as ready to get thoroughly drunk as she was to get a knife in the ribs. Courtesy of Danelle. Had her sister seen her and, if she had, had she known whom Alysanne was? That was a name she had not thought of herself as, in many years. Alysanne Lothston, buried and forgotten in the mires of trouble that ran around Alys Rivers. Her lips left their thinned grimace as she paused in the shadow of a tent to watch the two young love-birds kiss. Nobles, she thought, by their cloth.

“I’d say." She agreed with the young man, he had the look of a Reachman about him. Her? It was hard to say. Desperation, recent tears and now this? Forbidden love most likely. An interesting tidbit and one she would have to pass on to buyers sooner or later, but for now? Best that no one else sees and that tidbit loses its value. Leaning against a barrel, the woman small though she was gave the two a stern look, though a smile played about her lips. “Unwise too, but perhaps an explanation might sway me from raising a fuss over such a lady being taken advantage of?"

Gwen groaned softly, laying her head on Ashton’s shoulder. “And of course..." She looked at the girl who could practically be a shorter version of Gwen herself. Taking in the slight little female Gwen couldn’t help but smirk. She felt that this little one would be a bigger spitfire than even her. It was obvious that she was a redhead and couldn’t be too much younger than Gwen herself. However the way she spoke was someone who knew how much trouble she could indeed make. “He earned it. He did cheer me up and he couldn’t be sweeter even if he was covered in honey."

Ashton normally would've jumped when a random person speaks without him realizing their presence. He startled easily when he got distracted but he was so enraptured he simply frowned and looked at the newcomer. He smirked as Gwen spoke her piece and then added on. "Nor would I ever take advantage of anyone, least of all her. I would say well met but if I'm being totally honest, I was not quite ready to give up my free time with the Lady here, if there ever truly was a free moment. I am Ashton Hightower, and you are?"

Alys had to smile at the fondness she saw between the two. So he had been a Reachman, and a Hightower at that. The Lady, for lady the girl must be, was yet unknown. Still there were manners to be had and Alys considered the best option. “I am Lady Rohanne Webber of Coldmoat." She stated with all the formality of one of rank. It would be easy enough to pass for the woman in these shadows and with her own red hair much similar to the young girl’s. It was best to keep an eye out for those nobles you might take the appearance of, Alys thought with wry amusement. “And you are Lady…?" She gave the woman a pointed look.

Gwen smiled at the pointed look. “Gwendolyn Carmyne of Redfield. We are headed to the Stark camp if you’d like to join us, Lady Rohanne. I’d love to know how Coldmoat got it’s name." The Reach household was one that she had read about since it was close to the Riverlands in the northern section of the Reach. Gwen wondered if the Lady had grown up there or married in. Gwen tapped her nails in a four count on Ashton’s arm absently.

Something tickled her memories. Gwen’s eyes lit up. “Oh Coldmoat is the Osgrey’s. Ashton the Osgrey line crosses the Hightower line. Why you might be distant cousins!! You have to come with us Lady Rohanne. How could you not recognise each other?"

Of all the schemes to have hit a snag! Hightower, of course. She was mentally kicking herself and hid it with a cold smile. “No. Though for not recognizing a Hightower, I for one blame the lack of lighting." There was an answer easy enough to explain the mistake. Shadows could make mistakes. She could not afford one, not right now. Alysanne ran a hand over her braid, playing with it as she had heard the Lady Rohanne played with hers. “Though I dare say, I may be married but it is not a match desired on my part." If it had been, Alys would eat her boots and Dannel’s. Now she had to slip away. She had what she came for, the names of the two love birds and she need not linger. More subtle measures could find out if they were promised to one another or no. “Lady Gwendolyn, a pleasure I must say. Though I fear I will have to decline your invitation. I need to return to my husband," What had been the fool man’s name? She knew there had been talk of it. “Lord Uffling, actually." She curled her lip slightly, an artful display of distaste she thought.

"Lady Rohanne, I must say you look very much different than when I saw you in Oldtown previously but I suppose we all grow differently. As for declining our offer I must insist you take it. I will speak with your husband and let him know how you helped a son of Hightower. In fact, I'm sure my brother and Aunt would like to thank you and him themselves. Perhaps breakfast tomorrow morning? I can set it up very easily, and of course Gwen you are invited as well." He smiles brightly at the girl still close to him. He fully felt like he had been channeling his older brother Leo at that moment and Ashton felt proud himself, perhaps he really was learning.

“Having children tends to change a woman." She stated simply, praying it would be the case. “Though I shall take you up on breakfast should I find myself able to tomorrow, I must decline tonight. It already grows late for me." She shrugged and considered if they would seek out the woman tomorrow. Perhaps, and perhaps not. Drink and lust could make a mind wander and forget and with any luck it would be so here.

Gwen grinned, catching on to the game. “Of course I’d be happy to break my fast with you both. Ashton you might be getting ready for the tournament tomorrow or helping your Lord Dayne. I’m sure the Sword of the Morning will need some assistance and you’d be far too busy to escort Lady Rohanne and her husband. Lord… I dare say I have forgotten his first name. No matter, I will come to your camp on the morrow. Uffling you said right?" Gwen nodded.

“Yes it is decided I will come and get you tomorrow. Besides, I'd love to meet your family Ashton." Gwen had caught the suspicion in Ashton’s questions and Lady Rohanne was being rather dodgy. Dodgy people reminded her of the fact that Ashe was in the dark somewhere like a slinky little lizard just waiting for the right moment to jump out and snark at them or scare someone to death. Well maybe half death.

Alysanne was less than pleased by that, but there was no help for it. Smiling, she chuckled and was about to say it was not necessary when thunder crashed through the camp.

“Little Cousin!" Bennifer was as loud and obvious as a bull. Gwen, willing or not, would find herself plucked from Ashton and whirled about in a giant’s embrace before she was set down on the side far from both the strange woman and Ashton without a by your leave. Grinning, the man hardly looked like a grim Northman. Hair that had slightly darkened from blonde with age, the large man looked between the three. The Lady Rohanne stiffened from where she leaned against a barrel, her blue eyes narrowed as Bennifer, one of the last people she wanted to meet, took stock of the situation. “Ah, cousin. I saw what happened in the tent and would have come sooner had I not been making sure Roger did not pinch too many a bottom. Come introduce me!" He patted the Carmyne lady on the back with a hand the size of a dinner plate.

“Benni!!" Gwen shrieked as Bennifer twirled her around. “I haven’t seen you since Auntie Mya’s wedding." She hugged him quickly, making a face by scrunching up her nose cutely. “Roger. Is he still as ugly as a duck’s butt? No, I take that back, ducks are adorable."

Gwen giggled and indicated Lady Rohanne. “This is my new friend Lady Rohanne Webber of Coldmoat. We’ll be breaking our fast on the morrow with her. If I can pull her away from her husband and children. May-hap we can take them as well? We shall see. So exciting!"

Blushing slightly, Gwen reached out and put a hand on Ashton’s upper arm. ”Lord Ashton Hightower, may I introduce you to my cousin by marriage. Lord Bennifer Blackwood Heir of Raventree Hall. Though no doubt I couldn’t ask for a better one so I think he might have arranged it because I was too adorable to be left alone." She smirked at Bennifer. “You’re words not mine Benni."

The large man nodded, his eyes narrowing at the Lady of Coldmoat. “A pleasure to both. Though might you have been in the Vale over the past few years, fair Rohanne?"

“You flatter me, My Lord." Alysanne nodded, her eyes cold as she gave a small incline of her head towards the man. “I have not had the opportunity." Taking a step back, she made her motion to leave clear as day and knew if that giant tried to stop her, family or no, she would stab him where it hurt. “I have felt unwell of late, so I take my leave. My Lords, My Lady." Taking the dismissal for what it was, Bennifer sketched a bow towards the familiar, yet not woman before turning her gaze towards the two who had been crossing social morays mere minutes before. Allowing the smaller woman to slip into the shadows to Alys’s grateful delight.

“Ugly? He grew up looking well enough, though Mother’s death put a marr on the boy." The giant shook his head and gave Ashton a searching look. Weighing him as other opponents had been measured on the field of battle. “The Squire to the Sword of Morning, a pleasure." He slapped the man’s shoulder and grinned. “Perhaps you shall be knighted on the morrow! Tell me cousin, do you mean to give him your favor? Make him your Florian?"

Ashton watched the Lady Rohanne closely, and as such totally missed yet another large person come up towards them and quite literally sweep Gwen up off of her feet. Now with her in the air and moved out of his reach, he couldn't help but narrow his eyes at the person. When Gwen did introductions he did relax, if but a bit. Somehow, yet another relative of Gwen coming to check on her. But at least Gwen seemed to be content with this one.

"Lady Rohanne, if you would let me know the answer to the question my father asked you via Raven? No doubt you and your Lord husband discussed it, as it was quite serious and my father can get a bit paranoid when replies take too long." Ash had watched as Rohanne had attempted to leave and of course stopped that. He had a few questions, the first of which being why the girl was being so shady.

He turned then to Gwen, still keeping Rohanne in his sight, as he was introduced and gave a nod of respect to Bennifer along with a flashing smile and tilt of his head. He could tell Bennifer was sizing him up. It was a look that Ash himself had used many times before to many other people. "Pleasure is all mine Lord Blackwood. If you'll permit Gwen to return to my side, I have given my promise of an escort to the Stark encampment and intend to keep my word."

Alys was going to scream. “Surely that can be discussed over breakfast with my Lord husband?" Whose name she could not for the life of her place! Alys was going to set herself to shrieking obscenities. There was no reason for sighting Danelle, her oh-so-beloved sister, to make her lose her wits! Now she was to pick up the pieces and be the shadow that slipped with this conversation with none the wiser, but they would be wiser! Toying with the notion of killing the three, she dismissed it as foolishness. Something she had used up over the last few hours. “Let us speak of that in private, if we are to speak of it at all. Lest I take insult at your suggestion of tardy replies!" She growled, alone she could get this youngling to be silent and see reason. “Your lady is in good hands and will find herself busy enough on the morrow." She gestured to a dip between two carts. Shadowed and well devoid of people. She was going to have to indebt herself and it galled Alysanne.

"I have but one thing then till the morrow. When you visited Oldtown and the Hightower, what color doublet did I wear? You mentioned it quite fondly and stated how much you loved it, and I told you I got it from a merchant stopping in from Volantis. Do you remember?"

Rolling her eyes, the small woman seized the squire by the arm and said in a voice that dripped with absolute irritation. “Green. You were in love with the red and black gown I found, as I recall." She drawled, her tone dipping as she hissed in words said only for Ashton’s ears alone. “Ser Ry and Lady Dy were most fond of my current gown." Her voice jerked upwards slightly to more normal tones. “Squire." A demand in waiting.

Ashton narrowed his eyes even further then as he was seized. He would jerk his arm away with a training yard twist and then placed his hand on the hilt of Vigilance. "Wrong, black with gold trim. Now reveal your true identity and stop with this mummers farce before I have the guards come and take you."

The unfolding drama between Ashton and Rohanne made Gwen tilt her head. She didn’t particularly care for the way that the two were hissing at each other. It felt rather familiar and a bit hostile. Gwen looked at Bennifer then at the two arguing heatedly. Rohanne put her hands on Ashton and Gwen sucked in a breath.

Recognising the feeling of jealousy hot in her belly and much stronger than she ever had prior to this moment. Like dragonfire it burned in her. “Allow me to point out Lady Rohanne that if he takes this to a guard that this could be dealt with by Prince Maekar who has seen fit to enact swift merciless punishments these past few days. As the Heir to Redfield I suggest you provide irrefutable proof for Lord Ashton as to your identity. I will vouch for you if you speak truly. I’m sure that Lord Ashton and I would be willing to overlook a jest and let you be on your way. Come now, the proof or the truth." Gwen’s temper made her snap out a fact of which she didn’t want to spread around.

There was a glare as the woman drew herself up to her diminutive height. Short though she was, as the languid air of Rohanne drifted from her. The woman sighed, not in defeat but exasperation. “I see, shame. I thought we’d have a nice lovely time of lying to each other and each be on our way. I hardly wanted to watch the two of you frisk like fools down a side alley." She cocked her head, hands on hips. “That being said, I shall have to mention this to Ryon. The man seems to be one who would find this amusing as the seven hells." There was a wicked grin on her face as she decided cock and sure was going to get her out of this. Plus? It was all true. “Ser Ryon." She corrected herself with a sigh. “Handsome man, would love to go riding with him." She mused more to herself than the other three.

Bennifer looked between the pair, who were far too familiar with each other, and the strange woman. Woman, who was awfully familiar yet not. But it could have been the ale. Probably was the ale, he had drunk a lot. Deciding that two youngsters on the edge of temper versus someone who was probably a lover of the Sword of Morning, the giant shrugged. “I heard Ser Ryon is a man of… appetites." He turned his question on, not the woman, but the Squire Ashton. “Some women, do not like to have their affairs in the view of the public eye." He advised. “And some young people should not have theirs aired so openly." He noted the familiarity between the Hightower and his cousin and gave Gwen a pointed look.

Alys inclined her head to her cousin, though she doubted he knew such. “Young people are so incredibly jumpy."

“They can be when they have something to hide." Bennifer agreed, “I have younger brothers."

“My sympathies, Ser. Are you as of yet unmarried?" Hating herself, Alys forced herself to keep that lascivious smile and glance at the man, handsome yet utterly unattractive to her, up and down.

Bennifer grinned, “Aye and with a young son!" Turning his beaming eyes on Gwen, he looked like a moon eyed fool. “Benjicot Blackwood! Just born a month before we left Raventree! Olyria, my wife from the Frey’s, is well and the lad is so small. Would I not have come except for Aunt Melissa being willing to look after them." For a man of his size, Bennifer looked distinctly worried and sighed. “I still worry, not being there. The lad is just so… small." The man looked like he might actually start wringing his hands like a worried midwife.

Glad that Bennifer was distracted, the woman sighed and shrugged slightly. “I’m a bastard and friend to your knight master. Alys Flowers. From the Bushy’s. Though beforehand, I was in Starfall. Before your time, boy. Your lovely knight master was of… interest and a great riding partner. Simply ask him when you see him next. My Ser knight, and brother, is here to compete and I decided to come and call on an old… friend. My deepest apologies for the misunderstanding. I simply did not want to have you two think to start trouble with me in case I did come upon you so unawares. Some nobles get far more… sharp and heavy handed when they think you know their secrets." Giving a sigh, Alys shrugged and winced. She had felt that heavy hand from other men and could well recall it to her own ends.

The more the girl talked, the less Ashton was alarmed. By the end he sighed and relaxed fully, shaking his head and eyeing her up and down. "Look, I don't know what kind of 'relationship' you have with my Knight and frankly… I don't want to know anything, ever. I'm glad that you ended up telling at least a better lie and one I can't prove. I did not wish to accost you so harshly but what you did was against the laws of the realm and had to be addressed. I may not be a Knight but as a noble I still have that right."

He ignores the back and forth between her and Bennifer. He didn't need any other people how to live his life, he got plenty of that from his father and that man did it enough for the whole realm. "I will say… I didn't know Ryon had such young… Friends, and I'll be sure to mention I told you hello. Now, if you'll excuse Gwen and myself, I have an escort to finish and then a Knight to serve. I wish you both a good evening."

“Oh, do mention me. It’s a shame he was too busy tonight. Perhaps he’ll call on me tomorrow." Alys giggled, and sauntered off. Slipping into the shadows and cursing herself a fool. She would have to have Dannel send the boy flying a few times and scramble his skull a bit so he would forget her.

"Right… perhaps he will." Ashton rolled his eyes and moved back to Gwen's side.

Gwen’s eyebrows climbed at the suggestions tossed around about the Sword of the Morning. This woman was laying to on thicker than a novice mason. And if she wasn’t then the debauchery that Ser Ryon practiced was never intended for her ears. In fact she was sure the word friend was used with no less than three different inflections used each different than the last.

Gwen’s head snapped up at Bennifer’s comment about Ashton and herself. Narrowed eyes hopefully conveyed the message of ‘Not a subject we need to harp on…’. In reality it did convey that message, the males in her family typically ignored it.

Gritting her teeth at the fact that Alys and Ashton basically circled each other growling and finally settling down as they both realized that it wasn’t worth it. Gwen picked her nails as the little Flower verbally sparred with Ashton. Was what she noted true? That they seemed to have some sparks between the two?

Narrowing her eyes Gwen studied the girl. She couldn’t be much older than Gwen’s own eight and ten. The little Flower could give Ashton things that Gwen couldn’t. If there was one thing that Gwen knew meant as much as her life it was her virtue. Smallfolk had it easy in the department of choosing your own spouse. A noble maid that was no longer a maid wasn’t worth anything.

These thoughts, and lack of attention, turned Gwen’s thoughts to Arystide. Confusing was one way to explain that man. Handsome, no, beautiful. But he was confusing to her. She wasn’t sure if he did or didn’t want her. Or if he wanted her for more than someone to warm his bed. Him telling her that she needed to protect herself from everyone himself included,

Gwen blinked as the motion of the Flower girl walking away brought her back. Ashton got a little high handed and she raised an eyebrow at him as she took his arm again. She also reached out and did the same to Bennifer on her other arm. “Shall we?"

Of course Bennifer would be coming. Ashton gave a small smile and nodded to Gwen and took a moment to fully calm down. That situation could have been handled far better but it was a learning opportunity and Ash was certain that he would replay the events many times over.

"Of course let's continue if you wish. I apologize for my temper. Blatant disregard for the rules and posing as someone else for some reason just makes me angry. Illogical as my brother would say. Would you like to visit anywhere else?"

The giant grinned down at Gwendolyn and chuckled. “Feisty as ever, though..." He cocked a brow at the Hightower and gave the young Lady a skeptical look. “Should I skin some wolves for you tonight or tomorrow?" There was a grin on the man’s face but a wicked gleam of delight at showing those Starks where true might lay.

“Illogical? Perhaps. Foolhardy more like. And the Prince doesn’t seem to be in a mood to suffer fools. More like you saved the woman." Gwen shook her head. “No where else. It seems I have pushed the boundaries of House Stark tempers. Best to let things cool before I press my luck again."

Gwen raised her eyebrow at Bennifer leaning away from him slightly, in turn leaning more toward Ashton, her unbound hair sliding over his arm. “The wolves need me down here more than I need them. I may have been in the North for most of my life but I was born in the South. You can take the girl out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the girl."

Nodding Gwen tipped her head and her silky long hair shifted over Ashton’s arm softly, teasingly. “I would never deprive you of matching your prowess against another. How are you going to get better if you are not shown how to lose? I make no promises since the last time I saw you were a mere Squire. If you fancy skinning a wolf I’ll not stop you Benni."

Ashton laughed then, a full laugh that Gwen may have only heard once before. He smirked over to Bennifer and shook his head rapidly while holding onto Gwen. "No need to skin any wolves for me. I'm quite capable of skinning them myself if the need arises. But I don't think it will, but I will happily take your friendship. Perhaps we can spar and teach each other some things at some point."

The lad had a new respect for the Blackwood, and could see why Gwen liked him. When the ladies hair brushed across his skin though he blushed again and tried not to cough. All the other symptoms were present though. Rapid heartbeat, wide eyes, beads of sweat suddenly on his forehead. This girl could stop his heart and Ashton would only thank her for it.

"Er. Right, to the Stark encampment then."

“Ale and mead!" Bennifer grinned and clapped Ashton on the shoulder. “Though if you two don’t mind, I’ll see you there. Lest I find people speaking ill of my little cousin’s virtue with her suitor! Ha! Father and Lady Melissa will be delighted!" The giant guffawed and chuckled. “Boy, do you mean to make an honest Lady of my cousin? Or shall I have to use your pretty, red face for target practice?"

Gwen almost stumbled over her own feet. Surely he isn’t speaking of marriage already?! Yes he is!! She didn’t know Ashton’s mind on it. Most men his age… she had never asked his age. See we don’t know each other well enough for him to even entertain the idea. He can’t be thinking that far ahead he barely knows me. Even the word suitor would be stretched at this point. Surely not…

Her mind went a mile a minute and Gwen swatted Bennifer playfully to hide her insecurity. “Benni! Really you know that is the easiest way to drive a potential off. Having the males in the family interrogate them sends them packing. Besides being as wonderful as Lord Ashton has been I am sure that he is very popular with his easy manner and sweet chivalry. He likely has many admirers no matter where he goes. I just happen to be the damsel in distress at present."

She would be wrong. Not only did Ashton not have anyone else, he had NEVER had anyone else. Not one single time other than attending various girls that his parents forced him to dance with or talk to in the Hightower. Until Gwen, Ashton was terrified of being even close to a girl. But of course they couldn't know that, he really liked Gwen and the thought of her knowing just how much of a loser he was was not an option. He glanced at Bennifer and then down at the ground as they walked, taking his time to answer. He heard Gwen, but he was distracted and didn't quite catch everything.

And then he counted to three so he wouldn't overthink things and stopped abruptly. "I have never connected with another person other than my twin in my entire life like you. And while my honor dictates that I tell you that we hardly know each other, the thought of getting to know you brings a smile to my face and sets my heart beating faster than I knew possible. What comes in the future I know not, but if you would be willing I'd like to explore it together. In whatever way makes the most sense."

Nodding in agreement to the words of the squire, Bennifer nodded sagely. “I shall speak to Lord and Lady Stark alongside my Lord Father. Surely they will see reason that Gwendolyn is betrothed to such a charitable young man. Though it would go better if you got yourself knighted at this tournament and better still if you found yourself crowning her Queen of Love and Beauty. Though do not think I would go easy on you for that honor!" The large man laughed again and patted Gwen on the head, gently for all his size. “There you go, little cousin. All sorted! If you change your mind, I shall speak to mine aunt and see if a knife cannot be spareds to drive a knife between the young squire’s ribs if he displeases you." And to the giant? So it was, even if he had to impress on this young man that Gwendolyn had connections though slightly distant they might be. It would behoove him to treat the Lady Carmyne well, very well.

It was a hard thing to not shriek in equal parts frustration and happiness. Gwen cleared her throat. “I think that getting to know you would be a wonderful adventure Ashton. I, unlike Bennifer here, know that there are more than one side to speak to. You can’t just betroth someone instantly. Benni and Ashton is far too sweet to displease me." She had diverted her attention to Bennifer to speak to him and looked back at Ashton.

His bright blue eyes shone with emotion that made Gwen blush. Excitement and worry shot through her. She blushed and studied his tunic rather than meet his eyes and blush all the harder. “I… your family will have to approve of the match. My family would have to approve and I think Uncle Bran might be an obstacle. Possibly. Just don’t want to move so fast that I get dizzy." Gwen looked back up into Ashton’s eye and her mouth opened then closed. The emotion that was there rendered her enthralled by him. “I… uhhh..."

Ashton jumped in quickly as Gwen's words left her. Bennifer was more or less entirely ignored. His words meant nothing, the well meaning threats meant nothing. The only person that mattered was the girl before him. He nodded a few times. "I know, and I don't want to get close and then have either of our families decline. But the thought of not at least trying hurts itself. My brother, Aunt, and sister are coming tomorrow morning. I will set up a meeting with them tomorrow evening, after the first day of games. If we can get them on board I think my father will be convinced. And then I will make my way to whoever can make such a decision for you and speak my intentions plainly."

He took her hands in his own and smiled brightly to her, still staring directly at her. "If we want this we have to fight for it, and I'm not afraid of doing just that if you're not. But as you said, if this is going too fast. I understand, I get it. Whatever you want to do, however you want to do it. I'm yours."

The smile that Gwen graced Ashton with was that smile she got from her grandfather. The famous one that grew a beauty from the North to a River Lord. Her dimples deepened and her eyes sparkled. “Mine? I rather like that."

“Just make sure you don’t get your cock and balls lopped off in the melee!" Bennifer bellowed in delighted laughter. “Come, let us drink to the good news!"






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