The morning sun was piercing into the red stone and into the room, the wind gently blowing through the window, as the girl that was now firmly a woman breathed out, looking into the infinity of the horizon.
Lady Alerie Tyrell, daughter of Lord Willas Tyrell, sat with her betrothed within the quarters that they had come to in King's Landing, a room ornately furnished and home to her, given she was in an official capacity here as a guest of the Princess, alongside her father to return to here and be here for the nameday. The past year had been tumulous, no doubt, and her plan had yielded limited return, not the exact thing she was looking for, but something of note did come of it. That was something for another day, however, as she wanted to unwind and enjoy herself.
Gently brushing a stray lock of hair into her bun, she gently adjusted the lace tie on her dress's back, taking a sip of Arbor from the table, as she looked into the mirror, and saw what she saw. The Rose of Highgarden. The Lady of Thorns. And the woman who would unite House Lannister and House Tyrell. A wry smile cracked across her cherry red lips, her golden-brown eyes looking into the depths of herself.
What she saw was a youthful face with fiery dark red hair, a golden dress with green interwoven patterns of roses and fleur-de-lises that wrapped to her slender and gentile form, and her hair brushed in the manner that many would expect of a Lady in King's Landing, Aleire applied her face with a light powder, finalising her little makup routine, before standing up once more, and looking across to Ser Tommen Lannister, Tom for short. He was still quite the magnificence that she had found, far more...well, lionhearted than even some of the Targaryens. He did not ride a dragon, but what he lacked in a firebreathing beast, he made up for with talent in a sword and a charm that gave Alerie a rush, a challenge, a....well, partnership. He may have been a Lannister, but he was nothing like his father, a tall and powerful figure that had only found sparring with. And she loved him for it, despite the advances of others, it was the right thing to be with him, here and now.
"How do I look, my little lion man?" Alerie's grin spread, as she offered her long, thin and green-gold nailed hand, looking to Tom.
"We need to get going, my love. Lest we be late. My brother is fighting in the melee, and I imagine I should also introduce you to my sister."
Tom smirked, sheathing the ornate blade he had been polishing back into its elegant scabbard. The sun glinted off of his golden hair and his green eyes, flecked with gold, mirrored his betrothed's painted nails. He was close to his lady's age but was tall and broad-shouldered, with sleek musculature and a leonine grace, evidenced by the way he crossed the room to slide his hand under hers and raise it to his lips for a kiss.
"Perfect, Alerie. Absolutely perfect. My golden rose." He chuckled then and stood to grasp her hand firmly and twirl her around before wrapping his arm around her waist and pressing her back to his chest, "But surely I cannot be called a 'little' lion any longer."
Tom smiled and kissed Alerie before saying, "Oh I'm sure Ellion is doing just fine without us. He's never lonely." He smirked once more at that and said, "Ah yes, your sister. She's to be wed as well isn't she? To your dear childhood friend. I suppose I should offer my condolences." There was little love lost between the Young Lion and the Black Fox, and the rivalry between the two had only magnified after Lord Alester beat Tom in a bout.
"Just promise me we'll keep my interactions with that man to a minimum. It's bad enough he's invited to our wedding."
Alerie nodded, holding his hand as tightly as he held hers.
"Don't worry. I hate the prick as well." Alerie was rarely cursive, as she shook her head, knowing she did agree with Tom, deep down, albeit it was a little excessive. "Childhood friend" was a force for show, and both of them knew as well as each other that they didn't like each other. Alerie knew that he was made of stern stuff, and he was cunning, but almost too much for his own good. Beyond Tom, she just didn't like Alester, and didn't entirely trust him to an entire degree.
"Welll, maybe hate is a strong word but....these thing happen because they need to. His family are dead from the wars of past, so he's just a bitter apple to be the lone survivor of it all, and the only reason he's the way he is. Nothing more, nothing less. Just focus on us, and the good we have. We're rekindling the western Kingdoms, undoing the mistakes of the past. Not living in bitterness. Besides...Alys is a lovely girl. I think you'll get on well with her. She falls head over heels for any brave Knight." Alerie chuckled, as she shook her head.
"And well, I suppose you aren't little now....but still." Alerie hugged him, looking out of the window, then back into his eyes.
Tommen looked back into Alerie's golden gaze and said, "I'm sure she is lovely. But nobody can compare to you. You outshine them all." He traced her cheekbone delicately and kissed her again, deeply. Any other moment, it would have been the kind of kiss that would have led to something more. But there were people to meet and things to do.
The kiss eventually ended and Tom rested his forehead against Alerie's, "You've made me the happiest man in the kingdoms. I love you, Alerie. Our wedding can't come soon enough. They celebrate my sister's child nameday, but soon they will do so for ours. The first of many. Strong, brave, cunning, fair, and ambitious. The heirs to the West, and you as the Lady of Casterly Rock." Tom held Alerie close again and his gaze turned to the window, to the sea under the light of the sun, and even further past. To the future. First the wedding. Then the children. Then his lordhood. Then the world.
Alerie giggled with delight, as she nodded.
"Aye, and they will tell the tales of the Rose and the Lion." She smiled, as she looked back at his warm face, nodding.
"Anyway...shall we go?"
Tom smiled back at her and nodded. The two walked out of the chamber, hands held tightly, as they walked out to greet the rest of the court. Together.
Ser Ellion Tyrell, or the Bravethorn wouldn't be himself if he didn't have a sword in his hand, and his plate armour over his athletic form, the Tyrell standing in the tourney field, gently spinning the longsword in his hand, a trick he'd learned in the campaign out in the Stepstones, albeit he was yet to get good. His brown hair billowed in the wind, his green-golden eyes much like his sister's, but that was where the comparisons ended.
The armour he wore was as beautiful as ever, if not a little more scratched, and Ellion had become a martial presence to witness. If the image of a tourneyman had once been the staple of the second son, it was now of someone who was weathered, worn by war. His talent with a blade had become greater and he had become far more serious at times, a little matured even, given what he'd felt and seen. A few serious wounds put right to that, as he had fought well and proven his place in that war as a valuable soldier, to the least. His face had a couple of minor scars and bruises, but if anything, it took away from his childish presence into one of a young man's, and reinforced a steely grit and detirmination that lay beneath, the sword that he wielded tight in his gauntleted right hand, picking up the helm in his left. With a gentle slide, he put the sword on a wooden post and gently secured his helm, before picking it up once more and twirling it in his hand again.
The Bravethorn was a well-earned name, his fighting prowess in the Stepstones mostly unknown, apart from those who fought with him. It had grown exponentionally from there, and there was no denying that he had a proven record now, he was a fighter and not to be messed with. After all, his raiding on The Skull itself was remarkable, ravaging through beacons before joining the rest of the party in the harbour, followed by the naval war that followed after. Ellion was not the man at the front, but he was in the picture, and he did not back down from a fight, remembering the time fondly. It was bloody, brutal, and horrifying, the things that he saw and the things that he witnessed happening to people, it was lucky not to have killed him, but his talent had grown from it. Upon return, it had been a rather boring year, but training, sparring, jousting, screwing and drinking had filled his time. Ellion Tyrell had been a rogue, seen the world beyond home and his rose gardens and tourney fields.
He had been rough when he was out in the Stepstones, his well-looked after long curls and beautiful face could be covered by grit, a long beard and sea salt to leave a man scruffy and almost unrecognizable, putting him in the same vein as any commoner with the abillity to fight. Ellion Tyrell was not a man of understated nature- he clearly wanted to succeed, and whilst understanding he wasn't the sharpest tool at politics and scheming, his mind was set on war, strategy, killing people with a pointy implement he happened to be talented with and the spoils of it that came afterward.
So a tourney felt like a comfortable prospect, one to unwind, and perhaps even prove a little to himself. Looking across to the group, he had his own thoughts, all of which felt mingling and strange.
To Ellion at least, Alerie was a girl with unrelenting ambition, and could have pulled strings to do deeds that no man of honor could easily conconct. She wasn't suspicious, not at least to what he knew, she was kind and charitable, the kind of girl that looked out for people and did the best to be a good lady in waiting, thorny but gentle. She had settled into life here well, and her courting of Tom had made the two of the Bravethorn and the Young Lion good friends, the fact that Ellion was pretty much able to square up to anyone but her still the case now. She still made him blush, and there was definitely a connection between the two of them, almost like best friends, and yet like protectors of one another. Made each other laugh, and while she often played with his mind, and his hair and his sense of duty, he would always know she was a doting social butterfly and catching herself in the web of King's Landing, and could find something on that. Sometimes. It was strange, because she contrasted to his youngest, Alys.
A girl that he remembered as shy, quiet, had now grown under Alester, perhaps a little more courting and wifely, polite and tame. She acted the way she had to, not the way that would be out of touch or out of order, she was simply who she was, and aware of her position. Willas had loved her very much, almost quite similarly to Merlin's brother. What Merlin was to the Bravethorn altogether was stranger, given that the two hadn't seen each other in a very long time, and while trusting each other, it felt awkward, being so diametrically different. Merlin was a stout man, large enough to hold himself together in a fight but he wasn't a warrior, he wasn't a charmer, he was an administrator and a paper-pusher in Highgarden, who ran things in an orderly fashion and looked after his family. His children were growing up so fast, little Leo, Margaery and Merion all beautiful and typically Tyrell-like, with Leo already left for Oldtown and Merion being taught how to fight.
It was a beautiful thing indeed to know, and the family was going to be strong, given it's branches and strength in numbers. There was a certain unity from within, perhaps alomst halfway between the Northern reliance in a family, to the Lannister need to protect it against anyone else, almost no matter the cost. Somewhere in that, House Tyrell struck a balance. And that was still the case, very much now. Seeing Alys with Alester was just a part of that balance, Alerie with Tommen, and himself being now cast as a whitecloak, it felt a little strange and difficult to fathom. This was what any young boy would have dreamed of, the whitecloak, the nobility, the honour of the position, to serve loyally and to be respected as someone worthy of praise, or else.The Kingsguard and Queensguard were now respected, not like they were when Willas had told him of the corruption and the disdain that had led to it's collapse, of Knights unworthy in service; they were now led and formed as intended by their Targaryen creators, rightly in their place again.
And to Ellion, sitting here in the beautiful silvery, green-imbued plate, he had to think that it was a life of honor and service he would accept. Gallavanting around would have to stop, and while he knew he had it was on him, he would keep his honour, not be a man of two words. It was a part of his oath, a part of his service. And he would do that right, if he was going to. Be nothing, or be honest. Right now, he still felt like he was inbetween that, between Viserys and his wife. Which was rather funny, given that it had ironed over the awkwardness of the events of last year with some good, perhaps.
Stepping up to the field, he clashed with his opponent, catching a hard attack from the other Knight, as he parried and kicked back, turning the blade aback, Ellion rushing the man with pure aggression and yet a certain precision, landing numerous blows against his armour, smashing the plate hard and winding the man. The fight was a good one, not the best you'd ever see, but it lasted well and Ellion seemed to be always on the upper hand, reading his opponent like a book. It was drawn out more than he wanted, but it was ended quick, Ellion twirling as he took the counter, wearing him out while he retained his strength.
The other man was tiring fast, as Ellion did not stop his onslaught, the noise of metal on metal hard as he hit the man hard in the arm, before slamming the blade into plate once more. The man crumpled, as Ellion pushed the visor up on his own visor, looking down at the man, putting it to his neckbrace, the blade against his neck, cold steel with a lukewarm ending on his throat.
The man gargled, as Ellion heard the word.
"I yield....fuck me, you're a right bastard in this arena." The man replied, with a distinctly Riverman accent, as Ellion shook his head.
"If you're the best that your House can give, you try a war." Ellion was stonefaced for a moment, before chuckling, pulling the blade back as he gave him a hand, to the sound of the audience cheering. He patted the Knight on the back, nodding, knowing the spectacle had been witnessed by the crowds, peasant and landed, watching what the Tyrell could do in an arena.
There was a mighty cheer, with many Reachmen nobles clapping for Willas Tyrell's younger son. Several other young knights and ladies of King Aegon's court did the same, including those known to the world as the Prince's Men, those friends and companions of Aemon the Snow Prince and the children of King Aegon's comrades and allies in the wars of past. Most enthusiastic was Princess Shaena, Aegon and Daenerys' second daughter, who had taken quite a liking to the knight in shining armor and had even given Ellion her favor, a silken scarf that looked like a wreath of gossamer-like flame.
But even more than Ellion's noble peers, the smallfolk roared their approval for Ellion Bravethorn as loud as a shrieking army. The young Tyrell knight had already won much favor by winning the joust at the last great tourney, and his legend had only grown in the wake of the Stepstones campaign. His dashing good looks, his charming manner, and his handsome silver armor coupled with his skill made Ellion Tyrell a favorite of the commons.
The King and Queen sat at the royal box with the rest of their family. Daenerys with her newest grandson on her lap, a strong child with hair of silver-gold and lilac eyes. Aegon cooed as his hatchling, a beautiful dragon with golden scales named Sunfyre the Second, flapped its tiny wings and licked Aegon's face. She grinned at Ellion while even her stoic husband cracked a smile, the great direwolf Ghost at his side. The Queen-to-be Myrcella, also favored Ellion with a white smile as well as the Princesses Daenora, Rhaenys, and the Prince Jaeherys.
Only Viserys, the Prince of Summerhall, seemed less than impressed though he clapped. Ellion and Viserys had always had something of a friendly rivalry ever since the Bravethorn had beaten the Merry Prince in a tilt and it had only continued after Viserys saved Ellion's life in the Stepstones. Some even whispered that the two had shared the Prince's wife, who was the free-spirited daughter of House Baratheon. The Crown Prince and the Bold Dragon were absent however, they themselves preparing to compete as well.
Ellion raised his blade to the cheers as he faced the audience, before turning to the King and Queen, looking on with a steely look, as he took three steps, and knelt, bowing his head.
King Aegon the Sixth, the White Wolf, known to his friends as Jon, stood and said, "A fine display of swordsmanship, Ser Ellion. Bravethorn is more than an apt name for you, and my decision to name you as Master-at-arms of the Red Keep has only been valdiated by this most recent of your feats of which there are many. I must also congratulate Ser Malrik Towers, who also fought bravely and skillfully. With such fine young knights as you serving the realm, the people of Westeros can surely sleep well. I wish you good fortune in the duels to come Ser Ellion. And you may have need of it, with my sons competing as well." Jon smiled softly again and there was a wave of lighthearted laughter, "You do your House great honor today, ser. Go forth with your head held high."
Ellion nodded, as he stood, smiling.
"Thank you, my King. I shall fight honorably and nobly. I shall serve the realm as best as my bones shall allow me." Ellion beamed, as he kept his blade by his side, yet before he left, he gently took the scarf and colours on his plate out, Shaena's scarf, peeling the fabric out with his hands, gently pulling it loose. Looking towards the crowd, he threw the cloth scarf out, with the noise of the crowd aiming to pick it up as they screamed, Ellion grinning as he walked toward the exit of the tourney field, feeling only a teeny bit full of himself. Helmet off and in his left hand, he headed back towards the Knights' Tent, for some mead and a seat. Ellion Tyrell had proven his worth in that fight, and he knew that while it was one of many, it was thankful to know at least that didn't run the risk of killing him.
In the Knight's tent were a variety of puissant warriors of the kingdom, many of them Prince's Men like Ser Jaime of Tarth the Sapphire Knight; Ser Robb Baratheon the Stormbull; Ser Red Randyll Tarly, and many others. They all came cheering and clapping Ellion on the back, and a tankard of mead was thrust into his hands by Ser Petyr the Pup. From the press emerged Prince Aemon with his draconic helm under his arm and Blackfyre resting at his side. The sunlight glinted off of his black scaled steel, contrasting starkly with his fair skin and silver hair. Aemon had a scar now, one running across his eye to match his father's, a blow incurred during the climactic naval battle between the royalist forces and the separatists at Torturer's Deep. By his side was the young Prince Rhaegar, champion of the last grand melee and the wielder of Dark Sister.
Aemon reached out his gaunleted arm to grasp Ellion's and smiled, "A fine bout, Ellion. Keep up these displays and that white cloak may very well be a reality. Father would most like prefer that to the alternative." He clapped his brother on the back affectionately. There had been an opening in the Kingsguard since the death of one of the White Brothers at Hellgate Hall, fighting by King Aegon's side against the Vulture King. And it was widely known that the youngest dragon prince desired a cloak. But it was also widely known that the King was displeased by the notion and wished for Rhaegar to marry. Aegon had yet to name a new sworn brother, and there was much speculation on who would be asked to take up the cloak, but many believed the Bravethorn would be named.
The Snow Prince continued, "Either way, I would be my honor to cross blades on the field if the tourney goes as such. You would make more than a worthy opponent ser."
Ellion chuckled, nodding.
"Thank you, Aemon. I gave him a hiding. Nothing like a good spar. And I shall need to think about it." Ellion humbly replied, as he knew Aemon had a good point to make, about the cloak. Yet it made him feel strange, to live up to that duty. Indeed, he'd been more sexually active than usual, minus the diseases that usually followed, luckily enough, and giving that up...felt weird. It was a family responsibility and even Alerie had asked him to think about it, yet to him, he didn't know. He felt conflicted, and part of him felt like he was a warrior of glory, not just a servant to King Jon. That was his confusion about it all, but he took it on the chin, burying the concern in his mind.
"I would be most honored to fight you sometime, Aemon. Test our steel." Ellion replied fevently, as he sipped down mead, chuckling as he the others were preparing themselves for their own fights, or other affairs in and around the tourney field. Taking a seat, he breathed out, taking a moment to get back his composure.
"Word that I would like some Tears of Lys right now." The sarcastic comment of Seran the Seastar was heard in a raspy voice, as he patted his armor, and did some test movements on it. He still could not get used to the knightly fare. On top of that, his sister had convinced him to take part on the tourney on a dare. Well, there were a lot of deadbeat knights to make the bulk of the show and eat dirt. Better than a sword in the guts, that was it. He was wearing a scheme reminiscent of the Targaryens, but not completely similar.
"Ser, chin up." said a voice to the left, clad in a blackened armor, whose only highlights were a Fox surrounded by blue flowers, as well as a fox pelt draped around the shoulders. The tall, gaunt figure of Alester Florent shifted. "It would do no good should my opponent appear craven and unskilled."
"I know my limits." Seran sighed as he put his helmet on, obscuring his Valyrian effeminate features.
"Limits exist to be surpassed, ser." said the knight, and patted him to go outside, growing tired of waiting.
Ellion saw the two Knights, the blackened plate either a Targaryen, or Alester Florent, the man marrying his sister. He headed on over, watched as the two chatted, as he leant on the wooden post by their side, watching them prepare.
"Have yourself a good one, Ser Alester. If I was a betting man, I'd put my dragons on you. Although, Seran, you could prove me wrong. The man's a tough nail." Ellion commented, looking to them both.
"Thank you, ser." said Alester, in a dry, almost mechanical tone, before Seran let a good sigh. "All men must die." He said in response to Ellion's words. Both figures walked into the middle of the plaza, as the criers announced both knights. Seran the Seastar, versus the Fox Lord. And the fray started slowly in intensity, both opponents sizing eachother with thrusts and parries at first, but picking up pace faster as the hums of people died out. Eventually, it was revealed that as nimble as the Seastar was, his sword arm was not as talented as the Fox Lord.
Alester Florent decided he had enough of playing around, and switched to the offensive, confident on having assessed his opponent's skill. Seran began to lose ground almost immediately, as the attack became more furious and relentless. And then something happened, which made the crowds gasp. Seran's lack of skill also amounted to suiting up in armor, as his garb began to fall to pieces, making one hell of a ruckus as the strikes went by.
"You're done for." the Florent Lord announced.
But, as the Fox lord aimed to disarm Seran something happened. The discarded pieces scrambled up his footwork, and had he not been fast enough, his shield would not have parried the strike towards his face. He cursed under his breath. So that was his objective all along!? The Fox Lord quickly switched to the defensive, as an emboldened and light Seran began striking back, his thrusts mean and vicious, and his attacks not limited to the sword. His sword arm also kept changing. His footwork was even a form of offense, trying to trip the now clumsier footlord as he became a lightning bolt of silver hair,lean meat and stylish trousers. He even japed.
"Feeling the heat my lord? Tis nothing compared to Mereen!" The Seastar mocked as the audience gasped at the sheer audacity and recklessness of Seran. For while he had lost his armor, the Fox Lord had not even managed to drive a single scratch on him. He kept diving in and running in circles around the hampered knight. Indeed, a full plate was not the best cloth in the blistering heat...
The Fox Lord however, gripped his sword and smiled. "Well..limits exist to be surpassed. Good show, Seastar..." He muttered under his breath as he inhaled, and switched to full offensive. The armored knight's speed burst was surprising, as he sprang forth towards Seran, who could barely dodge in time. This furious speed was the real deal, the one that had allowed the Fox Lord to break free from pikes and footmen, and capture the foes in the war. Eventually, the silver-haired combatant's sword flew out of his hand, and flew a feet feet away.
"Yield..." Seran said, his eyes wide. There was simply no chance. This kingdom was full of monsters.
The Fox Lord panted, before being declared victor, and patting the dragonseed in the shoulder amicably. "Tricky one, mayhaps you should be a mummer, ser." He said before heading back for the so much needed refreshment, before he fell due to the impeding heatstroke.
"I am told that all the time, my lord." Seran said, as he began to gracefully pick up the bits and pieces of his armor. There were some japes and laughs as he collected the pieces, but cheers aswell. And then someone started "Sea Star!". And everyone followed. Much to the Fox Lord's chagrin, Seran got the most most outstanding ovation, even if half of it was japes and laughter.
Alester just groaned as he sat in a seat, chugging ale like water, his brow crowned by pearls of sweat. "...trust the people to love the fools." He muttered under his breath, as Seran entered, with his armor in pieces.
"I swear to the Lady I can hear my sister's laughter from here." Seran said, a nervous smile in his face. "Sers.." He added, while excusing himself to fix his armor.
In the audience, Alerie and Tom watched on, as the audience ooed and ahhed, watching the spectacle that were the two fights. And the rather comedic ending that was the last one, as Alys and Willas cheered for Alester, lower down in the stands before they made their way up to the Tyrell box.
"That was quite something....what a strange way to fight." Alerie commented, looking to tom, wondering if there was anything he had to say.
Tom shook his head with a grin, "The Seastar is a strange man. And a dangerous one, if this duel is anything to go by, as well as the fact he survived the Stepstones when more notable warriors did not. But he's also a fool to be sure. Though I must admit it's quite amusing to see them cheer the fool more than they cheer our dear Lord Alester."
The Young Lion drank some wine and said, "Perhaps I should enter the lists. I could get my second shot at Lord Alester. And it would be he who is humbled. What do you think, my love? Uncle Jaime is sitting out this tourney. And I believe the realm should see what a Lannister can do."
"Hmm...I think you could give it a go. Try your hand at it. I'll be calling your name." Alerie giggled, smiling at him as she nodded, looking on at the empty field, before then back at Tom.
"But don't let it be the wine that steers you. Go show them your teeth." She giggled further, kissing him on the cheek gently, as she sat back against his shoulder for a moment.
Tommen grinned and kissed her back, "I'm unlike my father in that regard. I have teeth and claws aplenty. And Lord Alester and all these others will know it. I shall ask father to bear Brightroar in the field today. The realm will see the future Lord Lannister with our familial sword. I will make you proud, Alerie, I swear it. As soon as I'm finished greeting my future in-laws."
Sitting in their box above the commoners was pleasant, as the Tyrell's father and younger sister approached, late to the tourney but here nonetheless to join. Alys had grown since Alerie remembered her last, as she ran up hugging her, Alys around the same sort of height unlike Alerie's taller spouse. Her brown hair was almost characteristically Tyrell, a light and sunkissed colour, with a fair face and a plain green dress, as she smiled. Her green eyes, and her soft voice made her a rather understated girl, shy and polite, just nice to be with and a comforting presence. She didn't seem to have Alerie's fire or ambition, her scheming and driven inteligence, she was content and had simpler things on her mind, yet was by no means a silly girl.
"Alys, it's good to see you!" With a sisterly kiss, Alerie smiled, looking back to Tom.
"This is Alys, my sister. Alys, this is Tommen Lannister, my betrothed lion." She said, Alys shy to talk, as she put out her hand, a smile on her face, breaking her silence. Willas stood to the side, letting the young love sort it out, standing by Tommen, cane in hand.
"Pleasure to meet you, Ser Tommen. My sister told me about you in dispatches...wow, it is an honour."
Tommen rose to greet her, his head held high and his posture perfect. He looked every inch the handsome and dashing southron knight and he bowed his head to kiss Alys' hand, "The pleasure and honor is all mine, Lady Alys. Hopefully your fair sister has only had good things to say about me like she has of you. I see that beauty and grace run strongly in your family. One day soon, I myself will call you sister, and joyfully. It is my wish that you too can think of me as a brother."
Alys smiled, red in her rosy cheeks, as she nodded respectfully.
"Thank you, Ser Tommen. Indeed she has, glad to make your aquaintance." Alys replied, as Willas looked over, particularly toward Tommen.
"My future son in law. Enjoying the melee?" Willas asked, polite in his tone, almost similarly respecful to his youngest, albeit with a little more respect given back. The man was still on the small council, and whilst his brown hair had been shortening, it was still there and with only a few grey hairs. Safe to say, it must have been the wine keeping his body going, as his leg wasn't getting any better.
Tom bowed his head to his future goodfather and said, "Indeed I am, Lord Willas. But soon enough I intend to enjoy it up close and personal. My uncle's golden armor, his lion helm, and our family sword will be mine to wield. Mayhaps, I might even cross blades with Ellion. He is one of the finest knights I know, and I would be honored to test my mettle against him."
The young Lannister's expression was one of confidence, exuding strength. He truly was the best of both the Kingslayer and the Imp. A grandson that Tywin Lannister would have been proud of. And hopefully, a goodson that Lord Willas would approve of.
And indeed, Willas respected him for it. Willing to be brave as a lion, yet not stupid and thickheaded in the process. If he would see him become Lord one day, it was no doubt he would be excellent at the job, and in Willas's mind, it seemed sensible to keep the two families together. The past had been the past, and the marriage, whilst incredibly contreverisal, would at least give both parties a little control over each other's respective standings for a better good, not of conflict but of co-operation. He was sometimes cocky, but understood well that a man like that, so young and so capable, would of course be cocky. His own son was just that too, Ellion Tyrell a man that Willas wasn't always understanding of, but proud nonetheless, a man who had his rough edges but brought honour and fame to the name Tyrell. There had been none since perhaps Loras, and even Ellion's talent was surpassing that now, given the wars that had raged in the past few months, and no doubt something would change in the coming years to make him a little more mature, more understanding and less....well, reckless. As for Tom, Willas thought, there was always Alerie to keep him in bay and no doubt she would be wise to make sure he didn't push too many buttons, and the same for her. A symbiosis, not a rivalry was what would make the Kingdoms of the Rock and the Kingdom of the Reach a formidable alliance.
"Indeed, your exploits I've heard are making you known. You'll prove yourself a masterful Lord of the Westerlands, and the burdens and responsibilities will be one that you shall handle well if you keep this course, with my daughter by your side. You know, if I wasn't such a cripple, I'd have kept going with this tourney business. I was never too good with a sword, you know, but on a horse with a lance, I always felt a connection with it all. Just don't let it cut you down in your prime, my son." Willas spoke wisely and with a certain caution, as he looked out to the tent in the distant, another melee beginning between another pair of Knights.
"I think you should go ask him, Tommen. I think me, Alerie and Alys shall carry on watching." Willas added, looking to Alerie, who nodded.
"Let me come with you for a moment, Tom. I know it's not a Lady's place to be, but I think my brother hasn't seen me for a little while since I left for home."
Tom smiled at Willas and nodded, "I shall heed your words, goodfather. I intend to live a long, fruitful life, with Alerie by my side. We have a great future ahead of us I am sure." As they spoke, the Hand of the King, Tom's father Tyrion happened to make his appearance. The short, squat Lord Lannister was silver-haired now but his eyes were just as bright and lively as they had been in his youth. At his side was his lady wife, Jeyne Westerling, who had once been Robb Stark's Queen in the North.
Tom went to embrace his mother and shook his father's hand. Tyrion grinned and said, "Ah, Willas. Good to see you. The lady Alerie, charmed as always. And you must be Alys. Hard to believe that so many fine flowers can sprout from such a modest pot but then one could say the same of this lion and his cubs." He laughed at that and said, "Have you met my wife yet? The lady Jeyne, one of the only women who could love such a man that I am."
Lady Jeyne curtseyed to Willas and smiled at the younger Tyrell ladies. Her other children, the younger cubs of the Lannister pride were with her, including the golden twins Tywin and Tygett and the fair young Joanna. Perhaps most impressively, was Tom's uncle Jaime and his wife Brienne of Tarth, both legendary fighters.
After a round of introductions and some pleasentries, Tom said, "Father, I have decided to join the games today. I know my cousin Martyn is competing today, but I believe it is only right that the son of the Lion Lord should compete himself. The realm must see the Lannister name in all its glory."
Tyrion and Jaime traded a knowing look and Jaime said, "We figured you would say such a thing, dear nephew. I had my old armor set up in a pavillion on the field. With Brightroar nearby. It's all yours today Tom. Consider it an early wedding gift."
For once the young Lannister was at a loss for words, but only for a moment. Then he smiled and grasped his uncle's hand tightly then hugged his father, "Thank you uncle, father. I shall make you both proud today."
Tyrion smiled, "You always have son. Now go, let us old folk talk of boring things while you youths make history."
Tom took Alerie's hand and turned to Alys, "Do you wish to join us, my future goodsister? Have you ever seen a duel from up close?"
Alys nodded, as she was a little overwhelmed. Tyrion, Jamie and Tommen Lannister in front of her...this felt strange, to be in such highly known company.
"No, not like this...of course, I'd like to see that." She replied, almost a little shyed as Alerie took Tom's hand, nodding.
"Well, sounds like you have yourself a treat to take a look at. I imagine you'll look rather fetching in Ser Jaime's armour. You and Ellion, the gold and silver of this realm." Alerie added, chuckling, as Willas nodded, as he looked to the others of the group, looking on.
"Aye, I think us old people should do boring talk. You three should get going, Tom, you should join Ellion and get yourself into the lists before they keep going." Willas replied, as they headed back towards their box, while Alerie, Alys and Tom headed to the Knights' tent.
The young Tyrells and Lannisters scampered off, Tom and Alerie leading their siblings down to the Knight's tent as Tyrion and Jeyne found a seat, beckoning Willas to join them as did Jaime and Brienne. Tyrion poured everyone some of his signature wine from his own private vineyard, the Imp's Delight, and Tyrion raised a cup, "To young roses and lions. May they bloom and grow better than us."
They drank and Tyrion said, "Have you given any further thought to where you'd like the ceremony to be held, my lord? Casterly Rock and Lannisport would hold revels that the West hasn't seen in decades. And I'm sure the same could be said of Highgarden. But we could always have it in King's Landing as well, seeing as we are both members of the Small Council, and with close friendships to the royal family. That way, both of our houses can share in the glory."
Willas nodded, as he took a seat, sipping the Imp's Delight, remembering the last time at a tourney they had sat and drank his wine, similarly to how it was now.
"Such an affair of this scale is a splendid one, and many would want to see it. I agree that King's Landing would be a splendid location, for all the Kingdoms to see, and a forging of our partnership. We will provide for it to be lavish, and soon, I imagine. An event that will be a show of our Houses resilience, and our hope to the future." He added, Willas sipping down a little more wine, relatively optimistic for a coinman.
"We rode out the storm I think, Lord Tyrion. Last time I sat here in the stands watching my son fight, we were debating the future of the realm's stability. The wars in the Stepstones, and in Dorne. And here we are, still standing. I don't mean to make a negative charm, but things may be rather good, for the now." Willas noted, as he sipped a little wine, a little changing in his thought.
"Although, that does lead one to think....surely something else has to replace it. Beyond an inserrection in our lands, Essos is a cauldron with an ember only required to light the wildfire. That doesn't bode well if the tigers rise and the elephants are drowned out."
Tyrion nodded, "I shall take it up with Jon and Daenerys then. We can begin planning, and have the ceremony officially begin within the month while the crowds are still in the city. A season of revels and festivals too delight all the country."
"But you are right indeed. In no small part due to my brother here and others like him, we have prevailed. But the Reynes and the Gardeners and their ilk still lurk in the realm. They say another King Beyond the Wall rises, that the Black Kraken licks his wounds to strike once more, and that the Archon seeks to make a New Valyrian Empire. For now his sights are set on consolidating his power. But Essos has already begun to bleed and will only keep doing so as Dothraki clash in the grass sea and the Three Daughters war with Braavos. Should the Bay of Dragons be threatened, we would be motivated to act."
Tyrion frowned, "And besides all of that, I fear other conflicts stir. We all may smile and wave, but I know that old hatreds die hard. And there are many of them that have been simmering for decades. All over the realm. Between the faithful and the foreigners. The Northmen and the wildlings. Between my people and everyone else. Jon and Daenerys have kept us from trouble. But one wrong move and this can all turn into another war. Especially with the children of the Black Dragon about." Tyrion was referring to the the false Aegon's children, who were themselves dragon riders and legitimate princes and princesses of the realm all of them.
"I know Jon and Daenerys wanted to let bygones be bygones and accept the Blackfyres back into the family. But the rivalry between the Crown Prince and Prince Matarys is fast turning into true hatred. If it hasn't already. If we're not careful, we could see dragons dance once more. We must keep on the lookout, Willas."
Willas nodded, just only thinking this could be a nightmare, if left untapped.
"We'll need to mull things over, one way or another. War amongst dragon riders could be hellish. The nature of any war is always destructive, but when the farmlands burn, the flames of those dragons will kill far more than the flames touch." He commented, shaking his head.
"I think we both know we are with the King and Queen, irrespective of what happens. But we need to make sure our own Kingdoms are able to be prepared, whatever the outcome. Diplomacy will be critical to stop any potential outbreaks of war. Enemies of our Kingdoms would want war for their own benefits, and that simply cannot happen. There are plenty, it doesn't take a Master of Whispers to figure that out. Whatever rivalry there is, doing the right thing by our Kingdoms, and the realm will need to be resolved. And who can say what that means."
Tyrion drank, mullings his words in silence and Jaime spoke up to broke the tension, "That is true my lord. And we must remain vigilant. But I believe we are more than capable for the task. Despite everything the future is bright. We have only to look at our children for proof of that." His voice turned hard, "And any who would seek to harm them will be corrected swiftly."
"Aye, indeed. My daughters and sons, it felt like only so recently they were so young, so innocent. And here they are. Almost all married off, apart from Ellion. I hear they are thinking of considering him for the new position of a Whitecloak. I do wonder if my boy will adapt, but he's got the talent and honour for it." Willas replied, as he looked on at his short friend, someone he trusted and knew he would have trust in return. He had his flaws, and his trouble sometimes, Tyrion wasn't always of perfect judgement
Tyrion smiled, "My oldest are both going to be married as well. Soon enough all my cubs will be. Same for Jaime here. Soon all we'll have to do is talk in meetings and drink. Not that we don't mostly do that already."
"As for Ellion, he would a fine White Knight. Another Knight of Flowers. And I'm sure the King would prefer to name Ellion, rather than Prince Rhegar. Perhaps we could bring it up with the King and Queen later tonight."
"I can live with that. Watching our Kingdoms carry on as they do. Drinking wine, and keeping the peace." Willas nodded, sipping his wine as they discussed Ellion.
"That would be excellent. I know that while he's undecided, I'd rather let him have the chance. It may never come again, and he's proven himself a masterful warrior. There's no shortage of warfighters in the Reach so while he could be involved as a leader of men, he'd serve the King and Queen far better. Martyn, Garlan's son is already a budding soldier. So no loss there." Willan thought, musing it over.
"He'd miss the other elements of it. The tourneys, the jousting, the travelling, the adventures. Even as his father, I know that's what he enjoys. As any man his age would. From a young age, that was how he became the swordsman he is, how he learned and it still stays with him. He's still finding out what he can do and while he would serve excellently, an exemplary Whitecloak, I hope it's with his heart that he will take it. In this system I may tell him to do as I command, but even I respect that a man of his kind wouldn't hesitate to burn everything behind him if he wanted his own freedoms." Willas added, a little complicated, as he sipped wine to think it over better.
"To put it this way, if your son was told that he'd be named as a Kingsguard and he wanted to joust for the next decade of his life, because that was what he did and would get better than anyone else in the realm, the choice is going to be conflicting. Perhaps not to some, but you may see why." Willas was uncertain, it wasn't often he wasn't this unclear, or unsure, but he was honest in saying that, and he knew it was the truth.
Jaime replied, "Oh I understand very well, my lord. I was in the same position myself. A young man, high on glory and fame, and with a whole life of adventure ahead of me. And then the white cloak. But for your son, it needn't be a burden. He can still ride in tourney. He can still fight. He can still adventure. But it would be at the side of the Princes."
Tyrion smirked, "And he could still wench. But you are right. It is his choice. But I do believe he has the makings of a great Kingsguard knight in him. But then again, so does Rhaegar."
Willas nodded, the nod turning to a shake almost, as he ummed and arghed, knowing Jaime had been one before, and spoke from experience.
"Under the King's banner.. I see. I suppose you still left your mark, Ser Jaime. Served honorably and with noble convictions, to make choices no man would. The book that records their name will have yours as a notable one. I respect that. My son would need to be of the same stock. To be chivalrous, to hold that nobility means to do right, and that's something I know he has to understand."
Jaime smiled, "I believe your son is of the same stock. He has great potential. Raw skill and drive that could be honed into something truly magnificent. I'd be honored to train him if nothing else."
Willas nodded approvingly, taking approval to that suggestion. Perhaps it would be something that would interest his son; and it felt strange, given that even Willas could see the similarities between his own son and Loras, and the conflicts that had been between Jaime and the Tyrell.
"That is a proposition I find most interesting, Ser Jaime. He'd appreciate that. He may need something to straighten him out, a mentor. He's never really had anything apart from his uncle, and he outstripped him quite fast. I know he looks up to your experience, from what he told me of the Stepstones." Willas remarked,
Jaime seemed to think the same as Willas, "I remember your brother. He was one of the finest young knights I ever saw. He reminded me quite a bit of myself. And your son reminds me of him. I couldn't help Loras, but I can help steer Ellion down a path to avoid making the same mistakes I did. It's up to him ultimately, and there's not much I can teach him with regards to fundamentals. But knighthood is more than learning to fight. And there are tricks you learn fighting with only one hand after all."
"Poor Loras. I did love my brother, deeply. He did himself no favours but found himself in the wrong place, with the wrong people. But it is in the past. There can be no regrets, and we cannot curse the things we didn't do or did. I imagine Ellion will like that. He's got the right senses, he was Knighted with good reason, and he has his chivalry and his values. Yet he will need that guiding vision, Jaime. Give that to him and he will serve loyally." Willas replied, as he looked across at Jaime's hand, a still reminder that Jaime Lannister fought very differently to many of those in Westeros, given it was the device that allowed him to be so renowned as a fighter in the past.
"Perhaps then it shall happen, Tyrion. Rhaegar would serve well, but I agree, he may not take the position as well, not be...as appopropriate. Anyway, I imagine they'll be starting soon. I think you'll agree with my Tyrion, but I think we need more wine, and scratchings of pork. The mind can let go for now at least. We've worked hard for that."
Tyrion grinned, "We are both agreed then. More wine! And the beautiful Jeyne can regale us with some of her talent with the high harp if she is so inclined." And so the group settled in, wine and appetizers passed around as Jeyne Westerling strung her harp and sang beautifully while the old acquantinces remembered bygone days and departed loved ones.
Willas nodded, as they continued to chat, before being interupted by the arrival of another pair of Tyrells, two that Willas had been awaiting. Garlan and Merlin Tyrell, his brother and son respectively, the two people that were almost mired in the affairs of the Reach, yet the opportunity to visit the rest of the family was not one they would pass up.
Garlan was still the same as he was after the campaign in the Stepstones, a couple of scars running down his arm from a cut he recived in fighting, but nonetheless, he still retained his baldening look and stern appearance. The original "gallant" Tyrell was not a man often leaving the Reach, given his commitments to the Knights of the Green Hand, a number of their number arriving around the stands, faceless almost in their armour as Garlan walked up the stand, followed by Merlin. The man was similarly unchanged to the year, a stalwart and respectable Steward, not a brave and couragous looking Knight like his younger brother, but just what you would appear to see of a Tyrell of his kind.
Both noticed Tyrion and the others, Jeyne and Jaime here too, as Garlan respectfully nodded to the latter.
"Garlan, Merlin! Good to see you both. Long journey from home?" Willas asked, as Garlan nodded, chuckling.
"Never gets any shorter. Good to see you again." Garlan replied heartily, as he sat down by his side, hugging his older brother, chuckling.
"You're still a man of duty, serving here, doing the Crown's business."
"And you still have a knack for fighting. We really don't change." Willas replied, as he poured his brother a cup of wine, passing it to him, pouring another for Merlin.
"And yourself Merlin, how are you?"
"Things are fine. The Kingdom isn't as stable as anyone would like, and it does me no end. There's Gardener militias popping up and they aren't easy to subdue." Merlin replied, straight to buisness, as Willas sighed.
"A problem we do face indeed. Get a cup of Arbor down you, lad. For now, we need to enjoy this. Tyrion, I assume you've met my brother, Garlan. This is my son, Merlin. Future Lord of Highgarden." Willas said, announcing him to Tyrion and the group.
Tyrion nodded, inclining his head, "Indeed, I have. We met many years past, when my nephew sat on the Iron Throne. He was one of the only ones to speak for me when I was accused of his murder." Tyrion's mouth seemed to curl in a smirk at that. It had been a long-running tale that the Queen of Thorns had been the one to lay King Joffrey low, and that Tyrion and Sansa had been framed for it. The truth of the matter was of course not widely known, but it would not have been impossible for Tyrion to know it. But if he did, he did not show it and seemed more than happy to see Garlan.
"It is good to meet you once more Lord Commander. And with my new wife, the fair Lady Jeyne. You of course know my equally pretty brother and Lady Brienne." Jaime smiled and nodded at Garlan while Brienne bowed her head and Jeyne curtseyed. Tyrion stuck out his hand to shake Garlan's and then Merlin's, "We've finally gotten you out of Highgarden eh? Just like your father. He didn't come to the capital until he was a man either. You just missed my own children. And your sisters. They went to rub shoulders with all the knights. Someday, you must meet your future goodbrother, who will also be your colleague as Lord of the West."
Garlan and Merlin shook Tyrion's hand, the former nodding in agreement. It was a strange time, a weird one almost that he had been so vouchful for Tyrion, and he got on well with him, much like his brother did. It had been a long time ago, but it was still something he remembered doing, and had a lot of respect for the vertically-challenged Lannister Lord, someone who had done nothing wrong and had become caught up in a very messy affair indeed.
"Pleasure to meet you, Lady Jeyne." Garlan nodded, courteous in his response.
"I shall have to meet Tom, Lord Tyrion. I've heard nothing but adoration from my sister. Says the world about him, and that he's been sparring all day with Ellion." Merlin said, ever gregarious in a new crowd, as they all took a seat, overlooking the ground.
"Speaking of which, I assume he's out there?" Merlin asked, predominantly to Willas, who nodded.
"He's doing well. Seems like he's finally channeled that rebellious nature into something, at last." Willas said, Garlan looking over.
"I told you he'd get himself together. He's young, pretty and good with a blade. I told him it'd keep him on the straight and narrow. It'll be interesting to see him fight." Garlan replied, Merlin catching the conversation tail.
"Well....how much is what we'll have to see, of course. Feels like I haven't seen him in years. Always at a tourney, or here." The steward mused, as Willas sipped at his wine, nodding to them both.
"Alerie and Alys are with him too, looking at all the Knights. They'll come back soon. And then we can chat about things. Unless Garlan, you want to fight?"
"I don't do melees. It's....not my scene. You don't want to see an old man dicing a blade with a bunch of youngsters. Let them show themselves for the world." Garlan dryly commented, chuckling.
"Anyway, it'd just be awkward to show up some young Knight who wants to please some maiden. That's how these things can be." Garlan chuckled, as Merlin nodded, sipping the Arbor himself.
"Aye, I recall it from my time. It's a chance to prove a little. And they are doing just that." Willas commented, as he looked across to Jamie, Jeyne and Tyrion, nodding.
"It's good to have us all here. Rare that we get the chance, in such troubled times." Willas added, as the other Tyrells settled down, to watch the fighting ahead.
Jaime and Brienne both agreed with the Tyrell brothers. The Lady of Tarth said, "Those in our generation are more than capable of fighting. You and I both know that Garlan, from our time together in the Red Mountains. But these events are for the children of summer as our children are. These days are theirs, let that be so. It is their time to win glory and renown. The Young Lion, the Bravethorn, the Sapphire Knight. These are the names that must grow now. And I am more than happy to watch them do so."
The Kingslayer smiled ruefully, "My wife has the right of it, as she often does. And I find I have much less taste for tourneys in my older condition." Jaime lifted his golden hand for a moment and smirked. Tyrion said, "Well, I for one am much used to being a spectator. It has much of its own rewards. My lords Tyrell, why don't I conduct you to the royal box? I can introduce to some notables of the court, even the King and Queen themselves. I'm sure they would be gladened. I believe once upon a time, the young Merlin had taken a bit of a shine to the Princess Daenora if I recall correctly. You might want to see her as well."
Willas nodded, sipping a little wine as he listened, looking to Merlin and Garlan respectively.
"That sounds like a good idea. We'll come on up." Willas nodded, finishing his cup and standing, his weakened leg still able to hold him as he took his cane, pivoting his weight gently onto it as he followed Tyrion and Jaime up, Merlin and Garlan following behind.
"It's been a while since I saw Daenora, I recall. If Evelyn was here, she'd love all of this. She's still at home with the children." Merlin said, Willas nodding.
"How are they? They're little rascals, but turning out well." Wilas asked, as Merlin agreed, knowing it was nice to disclose.
"Merion is a good lad, he's wise, not like Leo but a good fighter and a good scholar nonetheless. He'll do us proud. Says he looks up to Ellion a lot." Willas chuckled in reply, as did Garlan, knowing while Ellion was a role-model, his uncle was...well, questionable.
"He's maybe got the right idea of some of what his uncle does. But as for the rest, perhaps not." Garlan mused, as they followed on, going up the steps to the Royal Box.
Alerie, Alys and Tom wondered into the tent, the bustling sight of Knights and other men-at-arms that were hovering and moving about, as they headed towards the smell of gentle flowers, Ellion wiping his face with a wet cloth, breathing through as he saw his squire finish with his sword. Duncan was older now, almost 15 years of age, and a brave man indeed. He'd killed a man after he sent him, on his own to home to run a message for Ellion, killing a Gardener archer with his blade. Duncan had the sword cut to prove it, and the man's message too. An impressive piece of work, for a squire- Ellion now letting him run errands to help him out. Duncan was a boy of chivalry, a Knight to be and the Tyrell Knight was no doubt going to be able to Knight him sometime into the future, when he was of age and ready for it. He had his mettle proven and would no doubt be willing to learn how to joust and grit his teeth for war and tourneys.
Ellion chuckled, seeing Tom and the two Tyrell girls that were his sisters wonder over. The Tyrell itching his gentle stubble, light in colour from it's shortness, wrapping like a lion's mane around his chin. The metal glinted in the sunlight, the intricacy the same as it had been when he first recieved
"Didn't expect you to come visit, sisters. Tom, it's good to see you. Glad to see you and Alerie together.." He stood, his plate lusterous and well fitting, a Tyrell scarf wrapped around his upper torso, where Shaena's had been. He had to say, Alys was doing well for herself, and she seemed rather opened up now she had become betrothed to Alester.
"You look very fancy. I hear my betrothed has been allowed to use a suit of armour that might be just more shiny than you. From a certain Lannister." Alerie knew that she was pushing his buttons, as Ellion shook his head, looking to Tom.
"No way...Jamie left you his?" Ellion replied, a little amused yet curious, as he knew it was the only armour she could have been describing.
Tom nodded, smiling proudly, as already his squire whom was one of his second cousins already began wheeling out the iconic armor on its stand. The Kingslayer's golden armor was legendary and as they began fitting it onto Tommen's crimson leather tunic, they saw it fit him well. Nearby was a golden lion-helm with a roaring maw where the visor normally would be. A great-cloak made of a lion skin waited to be drapped onto the armor and Tom's squire brought forth the final touch. The sword.
The young future Lord Lannister drew Brightroar from its sheath and he held the Valyrian steel greatsword in both hands, which remained steady despite the fact that Tom almost lost his composure at the sight of his ancestral blade. He had dreamed of holding it in his hands ever since he was a boy. Now his wish had come true. Tom twirled it in his arms experimentally and already it began to feel like an extension of his body.
He sheathed it again and smiled at Alerie, "Truly I am the luckiest man in the Kingdoms. This sword will be ours son's one day, my love. And his son's after him. And on and on, for all time." Tom grinned and turned to Ellion, "And if we're lucky, this sword will test itself against one of the finest knights in the nation."
Ellion shook his head.
"You're such a lucky bastard." He chuckled, observing the blade that Tom twirled, adjusting the scarf that he'd wrapped ,around his arm and across his upper chest, as he stood, the greatsword large in his hands and the Valyrian steel impressive to the sight.
"That thing will go through bone like butter. It's a heck of a thing to wield it. But I think you're here with my two sisters because you want to...well, that armour isn't going to remain without new scratches of it's own, if I am correct in saying?" Ellion added, as he stood, walking over towards a bucket by the rest of his things, pulling out a bright red rose. Sticking it's stalk against the cloth, he pierced it through and plushed it on his shoulder, the armour itself smelling fine, not of sweat even despite his last bout, but of a strange rose-oil that seemed to emminate. If a stereotype was real of the Bravethorn, it was that indeed, he was elegant indeed as he brushed his curly hair aside with one hand, finishing his own preperation as he took his helm. He was only two years older than Tom, but the experience of war and his
"You are such a Lannister." Ellion sarkily remarked, as Alerie giggled, shaking his head.
"And you smell like a Tyrell's farts from a mile away, Ellion!" Alerie chuckled, as Alys gently joined in, albeit a little quieter.
"What are we but the emodyment of what the Lords and Ladies, smallfolk and scholars, Maesters and monks all wish to see." Ellion poetically replied, standing side by side with Tom, nodding, taking a good look around. He was going to say something stupid, beyond his moment of intelectual thought.
"We're what our houses stand for. It's publicity. Armour that functions, but makes our Great Houses what they are, the physical embodiment, if I recall what my father said when he gave this to me. No Great House would want it's finest elite to smell of pigshit and leather, would they. Though...no, that might be the Starks!" Ellion laughed, aware of his remark, and being careful not to be too loud.
"It fits you well, Tom. Like your uncle. You'll do him proud. Now, how say I show you how to swing that big bloody sword out on the field? Clearly, everyone seems to want us to both have at each other. Just like that spar, only with a few hundred watching your every move." Ellion remarked, brushing another stray bit of curled hair to his back, a distinct Ellion-Tyrell esque grin on his face.
Tom grinned right back at the slightly older knight, whom he considered a friend. Their families may have had a rivalry, but Tom had always gotten on well with Ellion, and of course his sister. Tom unbuckled Brightroar from it's strap around his back and handed it to the Tyrell, "Here, Ellion. You can know how it feels to wield a proper lordly blade. But I would be honored to receive some pointers from the Master-at-arms himself."
Ellion chuckled, taking the blade and spinning it in his hand, holding it high above his head, looking along the blade.
"By the Seven....." He chuckled, the blade heavier, which had it's own pros and cons. He didn't like such a heavy longsword, not unless he was using a shield in combination, for a tourney that wasn't right and hence his current choice of blade.
And enough of that thought, he added. Holding the pommel tight, he looked back at Tom with a gaze.
"It's a wonderful thing. I've heard things about Valyrian Steel. The Reach has a few, but they don't get use often. Not like this one did." Ellion commented, as he looked to Tom, nodding.
"A blade like this will go through anything like it's nothing. But if you get complacent, it'll take one enemy with good steel that it won't go through. Don't swing it aimlessly trusting it, don't treat it any different to a normal blade. For all you know, and all I know, this is just like any other sword. Just that this one cuts a little more." Ellion added, as he took it in both hands, passing it with care to Tom.
Tom took it back and tested it a bit more, nodding, "Oh I don't intend to use this weapon as a crutch. No, we should work together. As man and blade should. And I plan to do so for a long, long time. I'll hold this until they call me the Old Lion."
"Aye, I think I'll try and be an old man. But it seems dull. Drinking wine all day. I prefer the thrill of the chase, don't you?"
Tom smirked at that, "Oh I do. But half of the chase is contemplation and observation. Planning, before you leap in for the kill. Perhaps the older I get, the more I will have to think. But I will still bite just as lethally when I leap."
Ellion chuckled, nodding, almost rekindling his outpost raids in the Stepstones.
"Aye, patience is useful. Usually lets you figure out just how many you can kill before they even realise you're on your own."
Meanwhile, as the lads talked swords, Alys had veered off, through the Knights' Tent and towards Alester, victorious from his bout, as she walked on over.
"Well done, my fox, you gave it to him! That man was a fool...so don't listen to the crowd. You fought well." Alys was reassuring, almost like a gentle breeze of cool air, as she sat by his side, resting her hand on his warm armour, the black absorbing the heat. Tyrell women always had a charming influence, always, but perhaps that was true of just about any Lady of the Reach.
"My father thought you did well too. He knows you've got talent, he knows when he sees it." She added, pecking him on the forehead, chuckling.
"You know, it's not going to be long now. I overheard my parents talking about my sister's wedding, made me think, you know....we might need to think about where we hold it."
"Fool, my Lady?" Alester sighed, as he used a cloth to dry his sweat, his helmet down and his expression a frown. "One could say that, but it is actually true that should it had been a battlefield instead of a bout, that man would have had the upper hand. Seastar is dangerous like the last person who bore that namesake." He shrugged. "And he is probably way prettier than half of the ladies of King's landing to boot."
"HEY!" The voice of Seastar could be heard half across the tent, but only before the laughter of several knights muffled him.
The Florent Lord shrugged. "Perhaps this was a poor choice of armor, my usual battlefield fare might do me little good. Regardless, you're a balm to sore eyes, my lady." Alester said corteously as he put an arm over the waist of his fiancee. "Lavish? Hm. I must admit lavish is not my usual fare...but It could not hurt for such an ocassion. I trust your tastes in that regard."
Alys cooed, shrugging.
"Hmm...well, I suppose Highgarden would be as good a place as any. Perhaps...you can pick a place for our time afterwards. Before we come back to the world of Lordships, perhaps." Alys mentioned, as she wrapped up close, rubbing her finger along his cheek.
"You're the Lord of Brightwater Keep, Alester. You may as well for such an occasion. It'll boost your prestige a little among the other Lords. From what I recall my mother said, at least." She added, as she took the cloth from his hands, gently wiping the dirt from his brow, before looking across to Alerie, Tom and Ellion.
Alester pondered for a bit."Alys, you're the loveliest flower. Don't let others tell you otherwise. And should I win, as unlikely that may be, you shall be Queen of Beauty. That much is to be expected." Alester said, as he looked at her, and then the people who...did not relish their company as much.
"If you win, Alester. I mean...I believe in your talent, but Ellion is capable, as is Tom, and Aemon. I've heard they're all highly tipped." She replied, smiling.
"But I appreciate the gesture. You're always my lionhearted King, Alester." She hugged him, giggling, as she shook her head, just thinking that ever since this betrothal had come through, she'd grown to love him, even despite his strangeness sometimes, she had opened her up and she felt at ease with him, totally calm and more able to talk.
"So, who are you up against next? I think Ellion and Tom are going to have a bout soon."
"One of the squires I knighted last month. Jon. He apparently is a teenager smitten in love and wants to win some fair maiden's heart by challenging his Lord. " Alester sighed."Well, I will congratulate him in his bravery, and then beat some sense into him." He announced, rolling his eyes.
"Well, don't beat him into a pulp. I'm sure he'll know why they know your talent with a blade." She replied, smiling, letting him make the choice on this one, as this wasn't a Lady's place to be.
Alester raised an eyebrow at Alys, but before he could reply, a servant boy approached him and whispered something in his ear. His frown deepened as he thanked the boy and then rubbed his temple, facing Alys again. "He forfeited. Apparently someone made him see sense. One less contender I guess." He paused as he looked at the trio of people who made him the most uncomfortable, barring Garlan Tyrell. "Hm, seems like your sister's Lannister finally got some interesting equipment on his own. Do you want to go there and see it?" He added, getting up from his seat.
Alys nodded, smiling, knowing full well what it was.
"It's a beautiful suit of armour. It's just like my sister always said, boys and their costumes." She shot him a smile, keeping her hand against his steel gauntlet, as they walked on over.
Ellion and Alerie turned to see Alys and Alester, the black-coloured plate distinctive of Alester, as the pair looked on at the betrothed couple.
"Alester, good to see you again. You fought well in that last bout. Irrespective of whatever happened out there, you held your own." Ellion commented, as Alerie nodded ,taking in Alys before looking to Alester.
"Indeed, though it was quite funny when all of Seran's armour decided not to be worn. A little bizzare. But the tourney and these festivities would be nothing without the strange, of course." Alerie chuckled, as Ellion gave out a hand, to shake the hand of his future brother in law.
Alester hesitated, as he looked at them both, his tense factions offering a corteous but fake as a wooden Dragon smile. Well, he had to try before his fiancee, right? He took Ellion's hand, perhaps squeezing a little too hard. "You're too kind. Using brute force to prevail can hardly be called of fighting well." He paused, as he eyed both of them. "Still, my next opponent seems to have forfeited because of such, so there is that." He added, before withdrawing his hand.
"So, I shall see a bout between the offspring of Lords Paramount now, I gather?" Alester announced as he looked at Alys, and then both siblings.
"Perhaps you shall, Lord Alester. A little show doesn't go amiss for the commoners." Ellion replied, chuckling, as Alys nodded.
"That'll be exiting. The Young Lion and the Bravethorn. I imagine it'll be a fine bout indeed." Alys commented, breaking a little tension, as she smiled to Tom and Alester.
Tom to his credit didn't seem visually displeased by Alester and stuck out his own hand to shake the Fox Lord's, "I have to congratulate you as well. But hopefully your next opponent is a bit more traditional. This whole business is about demonstrating skill to the realm after all and you are a worthy knight indeed. Of that there is no question. I hope that once you can call me brother, we can put any past arguments behind us."
The lion lordling clapped Ellion's back, "It would be a fine contest, but we shall see how the lots are drawn. But any man here would be a fine opponent as well. Ser Robb. Ser Petyr. And my goodbrothers of course. Aemon and Rhaegar are both skilled. And Viserys may even choose to stir himself."
Aemon laughed, "If I know my brother, he'll enter the competition soon enough. Especially the jousts. Riding was always his passion. Jahaerys might even surprise us and join as well. In that case, I'll have stiff competition if I intend to crown Myrcella the Queen of Love and Beauty."
The Prince of Dragonstone looked at all of the knights gathered, his companions and friends, and said, "Gentlemen, may the best knight win. But whatever happens, it is my honor to compete next to such puissant and chivalrous men and women."
Alester extended his hand mechanically, in the same polite manner as he did with Ellion. He didn't squeeze the Lannister's hand as hard though. "It cannot be helped if my opponents forfeit before facing me." He said, doing his best to ignore the jab of the Lannister cub, there were illustrious invitees in front of him and a exchange of wits might not be the best idea. His eyes drifted to the Crown Prince. "My thanks, my Prince. Likewise." He added, with a formulaic nod.
Ellion looked across, nodding, a smirk on his face as he knew this would be a little fun, indeed, to prove himself here and showcase what he learnt, win or lose, it would be an experience and he had what it took to play with those who were undoubtedly more experienced and had a far greater tally of stories to tell than Ellion.
Alester Florent, the Fox may have been a Lord from a noble house, and marrying his sister, a smart man, but Ellion didn't like him for how he did these things, or just spoke. It felt strange, it felt like he couldn't trust the man, perhaps from youth. They were good friends, until Ellion showed him why....well, you don't duel a talented swordsman for honour, that of his sister, and he recalled that it had been a fight that Alester had never been able to get over. Perhaps he had a chip on his shoulder, and even Ellion could tell that it was what drove his sister the same way. One of the few things he agreed upon with her, in fact, and it almost drove Alerie to become the political and scheming animal she now was.
"Aye. Let this be an honorable fight." Ellion replied, with his gentle smirk still on his face, as he nodded to Aemon and Tom.
After meeting with the other two, Ellion headed back to a seat, and began checking over his blade, as well as a few straps on his armour, aware that the draw was going to commence shortly.
Mirren entered the room wordlessly, though not silently. Her armor clanked with an audible racket, and the large sword hung across her back bumped against the doorframe.
She stepped up to him, raising an eyebrow. "Your father has sent me in to say hello, good sir." She declared with mock severity and formality. "I see thou art preparing for yet another bout in the field?"
Turning his head, Ellion smiled, seeing Mirren Sand, the mercenary that had been in House Tyrell's service, come to visit. To say that the two were chums was legitimate, given her talent with a sword. A good foil to him, and whilst she had been away for a long time.
"Mirren! It's good to have you back." Standing up, Ellion left the sword by his side, as he walked up, hugging her and sharing a soft kiss, strongly embracing her through the plate, as he looked at her sword.
"They...seven hells, they managed to craft the blade? That's a fine piece." Ellion was aware of the Trident from dispatches sent by Garlan to him, and Ellion had met Mirren in King's Landing before she had sailed to the east, to have the barbaric weapon reforged. It was an impressive two-hander, a brutal weapon in the right hands, no doubt.
Mirren grinned, "Aye, that they did. Arrived on the ship back from Qohor yesterday evening, in fact. Swore me to 13 oathes of secrecy about how they went about it, but they managed it alright." She returned the embrace, and stepped back, undoing the clasp holding the blade in place at her back. "Sharp as a razor, hard as a coffin nail. Like the hells below decided they needed a counter to the Valyrians and their steel." She nodded, handing the blade over to him, "Your family decided to finance that expedition, I figure I owe it to you to let you take a look for yourself, at the very least."
Ellion weighted it in his hand, looking along it's surface, something strange, almost mystical about it, it felt hellish and imbued with some weird spirit. Like that of what he saw in the Stepstones.
"It's a....heck of a thing." He simply remarked, nodding as he looked to Mirren, smiling.
"Feels almost...well, I can't describe it. I'm glad you got it, Mirren." He added, offering it back to her.
"It'll serve you well. Has it got a name?" Ellion questioned, knowing she'd perhaps give a sarcastic response and he was risking that, but he would ask anyway.
"I'm no great shakes at naming, I'm afraid if I did give the blade a name it'd be something awful." She confessed, raising an eyebrow. "That, and I don't think a blade deserves a name until it's done something of note. Give me another Bezel to kill, then we'll talk naming conventions of sharpened metal. That, and this piece feels almost sinister - might be bad luck to give it some ominous name. Perhaps it needs a more peaceful name, hmm?" She winked, "When nations war with each other, they say you let slip the dogs of war. What say we name this blade the puppy of peace?"
She grinned, "So, for which fair maiden are you fighting with the hope of ravishing today, hmm?"
Ellion chuckled, shaking his head, knowing full well Mirren knew how to make him laugh, a similar sort of sarcasm running through both of them.
"Ha, and what a name that would be. A humilating way to die. Perhaps you are right, it shall earn it's name." He replied, as he looked out to the field, before back at Mirren once more.
"You know, I'm not sure. I think there may be a girl in the crowd who may catch my eye. Or one of the Targaryen daughters. Who knows what the Bravethorn might do." He was rather simple to suggest it and a little fiery in his reply given he'd just done the universally-accepted, ultra-twattish thing of refering on his own nickname in the third person, though he had more on his mind, brushing his brown locks away from his face. It was mostly sarcasm, perhaps he already knew his stature, and didn't entirely deny that it was what it was now, something much bigger than the Tyrell himself.
"As for ravishing, though....I don't think there's a fair maiden quite as exiting as you." Ellion giggled, almost playing with her, as he stood tall, grabbing another wooden stool, dragging it over to let her sit by his side,before he took a seat of his own.
"What about you? You'll have to name a fair...man, if you win?"
Mirren raised an eyebrow, "I'm hardly in opposition to ravishing a fair maiden myself, though one of the downsides of maidens is they do tend to lack for experience, an unfortunate side effect, I must say. Not much desireable in a ragdoll who knows nothing, to be frank." She grinned, "Though I must say, I'd be more inclined to name a barrel of some aged Arbor Gold, myself."
Ellion chuckled, nodding.
"Aye....I agree. A girl who knows how to make you feel special....they usually know what they're doing." Ellion laughed, as he looked across, nodding to her comment on Arbor.
"They brought quite a bit of the wine. If you're in the melee, I'd save on the courage." He commented, the hustle and bustle of the tent now picking up as one of the fights was over, and another couple of Knights headed out.
"So now you're back...I suppose my father would like you to continue in his personal guard, and the family. That and other work they need of you. I find that strange, a girl of your talent just standing by people and killing anyone that tries to kill them. You're a far more venomous woman, more capable. Strong enough to make you more than a passive fighter, I am amazed you don't go on jousting tilts or fighting more. Still, I suppose me and you can catch up a little. Spar a bit, and indulge in this dirty capital of a city we have."
"No wine until after I give a few hedge knights some good bruises to nurse tomorrow." She shot back, "After that, well, I guess we'll have to wait and see. Maybe some wine will saunter up after the next bout, blushing and asking my name? Who knows." She slung her arm through the loop on the sword again, giving herself a shake to readjust everything. "As far as jousting goes, it's never been my forte. Give me a sword or a bow any day, but I'll leave the jousting for the highborn lads with little else to do but ride and ride - both horses and whores. I'll take a good tussle in the dirty any day. As far as why I've not been prolific..." she trailed off, folding her arms. "I haven't been in Westeros for a year, and before that for several more. There's been precious little opportunity, truth be told. This is the first in Westeros I'll be partaking in, matter of fact."
"Hmm....and you wonder why I'm so good at both. It'll be a tough tourney, Aemon is a good jouster, as is Viserys. There are others that are talented, but I think I have what it takes, so long as I stay true. " Ellion cooed, nodding in agreement.
"Then perhaps you'll get a chance. A few opportunities to...shall we say, refresh your skills. I'm sure you can do that." Ellion added, as he thought of the very idea of Mirren on a horse, alike how Garlan told the story to him of her slaying that beast in the Red Mountains, was not one to be underestimated. She had to have some talent, at the very least to take on someone who wasn't seemingly very mortal.
"You'll build up your talent, Mirren. Many know you as the person that danced with the devil and survived. I couldn't do such a thing, nor imagine it. And I've fought beasts."
Mirren grinned, "The trick is not to underestimate them. It was a hard fight, no doubt about it. Were I a man, it might have been easier, but then I might have overestimated my own skill against his." She shook her head, "I don't know what stories have been spread around, but that fucker left me bedridden for a whole season. He kept moving after I cut his tendons, and nearly killed me with a dagger in his neck."
She shuddered, "It was like fighting a man with thrice the strengthof a smith, and thrice the agility of a runner. If you want me opinion, I won only because he underestimated me, as many others did him. But if nothing else, random hedge knights and plucky highborn sons are a much more comfortable foe these days."
Ellion nodded, listening intently.
"Seven Hells." He only had that to say, as he chuckled at her last comment.
"Garlan had good faith in you. My father does. As do I, Mirren. You speak from wisdom. And well...it got you a rather fine blade. One like no other." Ellion added, chuckling as he listened to what she had to say.
She nodded, "If nothing else, I've learned not to overestimate myself. I can't often rely on naught but brute force, and it's worked well so far." She grinned, tapping the handle of the sword. "Indeed. It's..." She trailed off for a moment, at a loss for words. "It's definitely unique."
After a moment, she shrugged, "Still, 'tis good to see you again. Perhaps we'll meet down there in the melee, it's about time I got to see your proper sword in action."
Ellion giggled at her little innendo, sighing as he leaned back against the barrel by the side of his stool.
"Aye, that'd be good. I think I need to get going soon, Mirren. You too. They'll call the lists soon. And hey, if we end up paired together by random chance, don't go easy on me just because my dad pays your coin." Ellion chuckled, shrugging his shoulders, clearing the air even as awkward as it was.
Mirren nodded, "It's a deal, then."