Bow Before The Sun

Quinn III

iPhone_pictures_270.jpgThe city remained in shock. The wedding had taken a horrible, tragic turn. The King had choked on his pigeon pie, and died gruesomely in the midst of his own feast. Rumors had even begun circulating that true cause of death had been poison. The Queen Regent certainly believed as much. Her brother, the King’s own Uncle, had been charged with the crime. A trial was to be held, but it appeared that the Gold Cloaks were taking no chances. Paranoia was palpable. Travelers were being accosted, goods confiscated and accusations laid.

Immediately following the King’s death, Cersei Lannister ordered the ballroom sealed. Uneasy moments followed for all who had at one point or another crossed the King’s ire. As it turned out, that was a majority of the guests. The Iron Throne was intent on uncovering the plot, and who was involved in the scheme. The rumor was that it was a Northern plot, and that Lady Sansa Lannister (formerly Stark) was undoubtedly Tyrion’s primary accomplice. Worse, it was said that an important Northern prisoner had escaped the capital, and was in the company of a minor Dornish house headed for the safety of the Red Mountains.

It took some time for the Gold Cloaks to restore order, and the Oakdown guests began to hear the rumblings regarding the escaped prisoner- undoubtedly Lord Devon Dent. Adrian Connington had suffered this sort of panic and paranoia twenty years before, and heard stories of the devastation that followed for his family in particular. He wasted no time, spiriting Elyana Oakdown to safety the moment the King began choking. He exchanged a knowing glance with Desmond Sand, who nodded in return. Whatever else might happen to the remaining members of House Oakdown, Elyana would be safe. Desmond grumbled at his other cousin’s fate. The so-called Ser Cransen Yronwood displayed all the qualities of what was wrong with knighthood. He was pompous enough, to be sure. But he lacked any real prowess. He watched dumbfounded as the chaos unfolded around him. Desmond and Andros both knew they should leave the capital, and quickly. With Charlotte already gone, and Elyana on her way, that left the family rivals with only two other family members to attend to. Daera would find little security with Ser Cransen it seemed, and Ser Quinn immediately found his way to his brother’s side. It was time to act. If the rumor of Devon’s escape was circulating this quickly, it may already be too late.

The question on both of their minds was clear. How had they been discovered? The prisoner who was standing in for Devon on his way to Frey and the Crossing would likely not have arrived. Only Walder Frey himself was likely to determine the ruse, if anyone would. The resemblance had been uncanny, but all knew that was the only risk. They all believed they would have time to leave the capital before anything could have been discovered. Now, it may be too late.

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The Highwayman I
The Crone's 22nd

Highwayman.jpgRia was watering the horses for the party. When two men approached, it was early. She assumed at first it was Lord Devon, or perhaps her employer Ser Bennyn. Their smell told her differently.

“Look it here. There’s a girl under this hair. Let’s have a look.”

Ria stepped back, wanting to handle this on her own, but realizing she may be in over her head. She had perhaps foolishly taken the horses a ways away from camp on an extended grazing, and was watering them before her return. A shout would rouse her company, but little else was likely to stir them.

“Don’t” Ria protested. Another man came up, tugging at her clothes. “Looks like she’s a girl under here as well. Tell ya what girl. Be nice to us, and do it nice and quiet. We’ll take your coin and leave you in peace. Make a noise, and we’ll spill your blood where you stand and take your gold anyway.”

Ria fought the urge to shout. Her eyes darted between the two brigands, and all of her practice at navigating the gossip of Redgate came back to her. She cleared her throat before answering the men.

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Quinn II
The Stranger's 1st

purple_wedding.jpgMargaery Tyrell was their new Queen. The ceremony in the Great Sept of Baelor was breathtaking. The High Septon presided over a simple ceremony surrounded by lavish people in lavish clothing. The most important nobles in the realm were present at the capacity service. Despite the thousands of guests that the Seven sided temple and center of the Faith could hold, far more curious folk were forced to wait for the tolling of the bells to signal the blessed event.

The wedding procession, led by both His Grace Joffrey Baratheon and Her Grace Margaery Baratheon, wound their way through the city and into the Red Keep where the wedding feast was to be held. Seventy-Seven dishes were planned for the dinner, while many minstrels entertained the privileged guests who attended. The Rains of Castamere, My Lady Wife, and A Rose of Gold were only a few of the songs that were sung. Fools performed for the guests, as did pyromancers and pipers, jugglers and dogs. Exotic dark skinned dancers from the Summer Isles performed, and captivated the guests. Wine and ale flowed freely, and for an afternoon the Seven Kingdoms seemed to come together to celebrate instead of destroy.

The Houses were seated together with their banners and guests. Prince Oberyn drank less than many of his guests anticipated. His eyes never left the table where the Lannisters sat. Ellaria tried to comfort him, and he dismissed her concerns with a disarming smile. Andros Oakdown sat with his brother Quinn, and his cousins Elyana and Daera. Next to Daera was her betrothed, Cransen Yronwood. Elyana sat with a knight by the name of Adrian Connington, whom she had been practically inseparable from during the course of the previous three weeks. Desmond Sand sat somewhat apart from the rest of the Oakdown family, talking with those from Godsgrace and Lemonwood.

Quinn finally felt as though he belonged. No longer Andros’ little brother, he was now a sworn knight of the Seven. He was sad that the family couldn’t all be together. Charlotte had excused herself on a task that Andros explained was critical and tied to Oakdown’s honor. While squiring with Ser Myles, all of his boyhood lessons of honor and virtue came back to him. Almost immediately after the ceremony, in a touching private moment, Ser Quinn sought out his older brother- heir to his house. There, he kneeled and held out his sword with outstretched arms. Andros proudly accepted the oath of fealty, and welcomed his brother as the newest sworn knight of Redgate. Now, he sat with his family as an equal. Each had their own part to play. Andros strove to carry on the legacy of his father and family. Daera and Elyana were both likely to be married soon, and tying Oakdown to other important families. Charlotte was carrying out some important task, sacrificing her invitation to the wedding of the ages, while Desmond stood and repeatedly met the fury from their shared enemies without flinching. This was a proud moment, and Ser Quinn Oakdown of Redgate was proud to be a part of it.

Similar scenes from across the Seven Kingdoms repeated at different tables. The Lannisters and Tyrells occupied a dozen tables just below the high table, where they were joined by Cleganes, Redwynes, Tarlys and Beeches. From the North and House Bolton, to Dorne and House Martell; from the Westerlands and Lannisters to the houses surrounding King’s Landing; families gathered to toast their King, and his new Queen. Lords and Ladies danced, drank, and feasted in a celebration all agreed would never be seen again in their lifetime.

Let the dangers of the Seven Kingdoms wait for one day. Today would be protected by the old gods and the new. The Dornish knight trusted in the Seven’s protection. He determined to enjoy the day and the memories that it would undoubtedly bring. For at least this one day, the realm would enjoy a day free from tragedy.

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Asaf VIII

The ghost’s eyes narrowed as he took in the scene. Scratch marks from the beast covered the walls, A trio of Lionesses finishing what was once a villager. A male had claimed the bed of the small sleeping area as its throne, probably some symbolism there if he cared for the nobles game, he thought. Signaling his man to back out with him he had the ghosts set small fires and torches in and around the building, all smoke and as little flame as possible. The lions wouldn’t stay in such a place, though they might come back. The ghosts took a few shots at the cats from a safe distance until the last one they had counted was out of sight. Dousing the fires and waiting for the smoke to clear Asaf ordered his men to form a perimeter while he searched the house more thoroughly.

There was little of note that he hadn’t found before, except for, yes, the bed was fake, and not well disguised either, a lever was reveled and a pull opened the way to a small tunnel; bones littered the ground and stood in a pile in a way that indicated a human had been using it to feed the lions. a small amount of supplies was off to the side, abandoned before the ghosts arrived, though not before the local troubles with the wildlife.

“Jonns, there’s some kind of tunnel hidden in there, I need you and the men to hold here for an hour or so while I see where it leads, If I’m not back yet, I want Emrin to take the supplies whoever was holed up in there left and return to the Keep, the rest of you.” He gave a sideways smirk, “You’re job is to save my sorry hide. Maybe I’ll even throw our next game of dice.”

“You never throw games Asaf, you just can’t bluff for shit.” Said the other man said with a chuckle and a pat on the arm, they’d do their jobs, he knew that with certainty.

The Tunnel was clearly the work of man, and Asaf found tracks made of the same foreign mud that he had noticed at every scene of the red mountains recent troubles. The tunnel seemed like it could go on for leagues, though thankfully in one direction so far. He noted the direction, thinking on who would go through the trouble of crafting such a tunnel through the mountain and why? He would have to come back and follow it to it’s source but making sure the information was known came first. Rafe was by the door when the scout finally emerged into the light, “Damn, and I was hoping you’d need a daring rescue.”

“From you? A daring distraction as you trip over your feet more like.” He joked, the found gear tucked away in his pack. When he returned he sent runners for the captains of the Redlanders and Gatekeepers, he left out the specifics for now but warned them that the ghosts found more evidence of someone moving against the house and that they should ensure they’re men were ready for any trouble that might come upon them.

His next stop was Maester Llewellyn, after knocking on the door and waiting he heard the scholar give him permission to enter, “Asaf, you look troubled, what is it?”

Asaf drew in a breathe before speaking, “The ghosts were investigating the recent lion troubles out by fools drop, what we discovered was, well I thought you should be told, and if possible a Raven sent to the commander and Lord Andros.” He then recounted his findings, the tunnel, the mud, the idea that someone drew the lions to that place deliberately. He also showed hm the equipment found, nothing stood out as important but one could never be certain. “And at the very least the scum will be disappointed if he returns expecting it. An annoyance only, but better than nothing.” After receiving the Measter’s promise to send out the messages Asaf thanked him and returned to his duties, at least now they knew exactly where to watch to clear out the animal problem, if not the cause. “All in do time.” he muttered to himself.

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Charlotte XI
Crone's 21st

“Are you excited to see your parents?” Charlotte asked Devon. They had slowed their pace a bit to allow the palfreys to pace themselves, and to give Devon a break. Not that she would say as much to him – he never complained, never asked to stop or rest or slow down. When she had tried in the beginning she invariably got the same answer: “I’m fine,” even when he fell off of his horse that first night on the road. She couldn’t help but be impressed, and she wasn’t the only one. There was precious little food to help him recover but even still his strength increased daily and she was beginning to be able to see the man of Ingvar’s stories. They avoided towns, and therefore inns, and she suspected some good food and sleep in an actual bed would be a great boon – to all of them, and they hadn’t endured what this man had for the last near 7 months.

“And the rest of your family, of course,” she continued. “I know Ingvar and Lady Christina were quite upset, Lord Tygor as well. They never gave up hope, though.” She had done her best to be kind but she remembered thinking their stubborn hope to be dangerously naiive and foolish; no one knew better than she how cruel fate could be. But maybe they had known something she didn’t because the object of their devotion was indeed alive and returning to them. She looked away, unable to stop the sudden flare of jealousy, anger at the universe that this family was spared while her own was not. It was irrational and shameful besides, and she ruthlessly squelched it.

He faced her while she spoke, listening attentively, but then looked to the distance. “More than you can possibly know,” he responded quietly. After a moment of silence he quickly turned back, grinning broadly. “A bit embarrassed, too. To be done in by something like a simple wedding-slash-murder-plot, they must be beside themselves! A Dent done in by so little.”

She couldn’t help but laugh, as he seemed to have intended. “I am quite sure they will understand and forgive you, my Lord.”

“Ohh, you haven’t met my parents. We’re barbarians, remember? I’ll probably be thrown in the training grounds and pitted against half the Thunder. Father would call this ‘a life lesson’. Mother will assure me I’m forgiven, hug me until my bones crack, cry-a lot-then beat me for making her worry. Now that I think about it, I might’ve been better off in the dungeons…”

Ahead of them, Ser Bennyn laughed. “Surely it won’t be that bad, my Lord.”

“I don’t know about that,” Ria joined in. “We’re not barbarians and my mother can produce quite the ruckus.”

“Same here,” Mars chuckled.

Despite the dire circumstances of their journey, Charlotte found she was enjoying herself. The lack of politics was refreshing, as was the conversation. She glanced at Alexander and, as usual, he was smiling, but silent. He never joined in the idle talk, and his companion simply didn’t talk. In fact, she was rather… wooden, no reactions at all. Charlotte had watched her closely the first few days but she stayed by Alexander and did as he bid. Alexander had shown himself willing to help, and thus far had been invaluable in helping Devon recover, but she couldn’t be too careful where Devon’s safety was concerned. Still, she much preferred this to that atrocity of a royal wedding and was grateful for the chance to escape it, especially for a cause as noble as reuniting a family. If her thinking was right they should meet up with Ingvar on the road within the next 2 days for the first of those reunions, if they could make good time. She spurred her horse to pick up the pace.

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Andros VIII
The Stranger's 1st

Dressed in his finest noble garb, Andros Oakdown found his smile easy to come by this morning. The hour was still fairly early, but he had already held more conversations with noble men and women this day than in a full average day of court back in Redgate. It was one of the things that he’d always enjoyed, and felt he was good at. SpeaKing came easily to him, especially when it was with people of a comparable status. He’d never had the opportunity to attend such a lavish event, and clearly no expense was spared in maKing this the most grandiose party the seven Kingdoms had ever seen. And it wasn’t even noon yet.

Andros had heard rumors of just how vile this young King was – and frankly, had many of them confirmed after the few brief conversations he’d had with the young Lord Dent. Regardless, however, as the heir to Redgate, Andros was tasked with ensuring the continued safety of his family and that involved not angering the most powerful man (or boy, rather) in Westeros.

As such, he had brought with him a royal wedding gift to present to the King: a finely adorned cloak made from the pelt of a Red Mountain lion. It seemed fitting that he would present the King with a cloak symbolic of his family’s proud sigil. Andros prayed that he would appreciate the gesture enough to perhaps tilt his bias away from house Oakdown, if ever questions arose about the fate of one Devon Dent.

For the time being, Andros was waiting for a proper time to approach the King and give him his gift. He sat at his table, keeping his eyes trained on the myriad nobles in attendance. He’d seen many familiar faces, but three times as many that he didn’t know. As a lord, he supposed it was his duty to learn the rest of that fraction. Among those that he had seen in attendance were two from close to home. He’d seen Desmond over at Prince Oberyn’s table, invited at the Prince’s personal request.

He couldn’t help but grimace inwardly. He would never in a thousand years invited his brutish cousin to join them at an event of this import – as he had demonstrated an inability to control himself in much lower risk scenarios. He would not like to risk him staining their name further in front of every important lord in the Seven Kingdoms.

Rolling his eyes away from his cousin, Andros also noted that Jeyne Fowler was in attendance, and with a lion in hand as well. He was of course aware that she and her betrothed were in King’s Landing – he’d seen Jennelyn only just the day prior, and was aware of the immediate goings-on, but did not realize that Jeyne would be representing House Fowler here at the King’s wedding.

Laughter from the King’s table broke Andros’s attention on Jeyne, drawing his eyes to the nobles of King’s Landing. It seemed that King Joffrey had been given a large tome of sorts, as well as a… Oh, wow. A Valyrian steel sword. Andros would recognize that sheen anywhere. He couldn’t help but have his brow furrow deeply in disapproval, however, when he realized what the cause of the laughter was. The tome that Joffrey had been gifted was currently laying in shreds along the dias, torn asunder by repeated strikes from this new sword. There was a certain type of disrespect that boy just showed that sword – one that would leave a stain on that blade’s history forever. A true shame.

Yet, as was his duty, Andros vigilantly spotted an opening. As the laughter died down and the King went to return to his seat, mirth still showing on his face, Andros stood to approach him, cloak in hand.

“Your Grace, a true pleasure to meet you at last. My name is Andros Oakdown, and I am the heir to Redgate. I have heard many a tale of your bravery, even up in the Red Mountains of Dorne. Your deeds travel far, truly.” Andros said, bowing with a bright smile.

Joffrey took a long drink from the wine glass in front of him, not seeming to pay much attention to Andros at first. After wiping his mouth, he said in a tone that seemed almost bored, “Yes yes, some minor lord from some mountain holdfast in the middle of the desert to our south. What have you brought me?”

Swallowing the first three retorts that jumped to the forefront of his mind, Andros said pleasantly “I have brought you a gift crafted by hand especially for you, your Grace.” Unfolding the cloak and letting it unfurl, Andros held the proud garment up for display. It was plain to see that a lot of time went into making this a beautiful garment. The head of the great beast formed the hood for the cloak, while the edges were trimmed beautifully in scarlet and gold. “This cloak was made from the fiercest lion to roam near my home in the Red Mountains. I suggested it personally, as only the fiercest and noblest animal should have the honor to give up it’s pelt for a King.”

Joffrey yawned and waved his hand, as if brushing aside the gift, “Yes, I suppose it is not unpleasant. You may take your seat, ser”

Andros choked on this next reply, smiling again, but bowing lower so the King could not see his grimace. When he rose again, however, only pleasantries remained. He left the cloak with the King, and made his way back to the table, praying he’d never have the misfortune of needing to speak with that boy again.

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Ingvar XX
Crone's 9 - 22 Heading to Goldway

They had been on the road for about two weeks now and had encountered no real problems. Ingvar’s greatest chore was raising a cup to “good king Joffrey” from time to time as they got closer to Goldway. The Dornish had no real feeling either way about the Lannister Bastard but as one got nearer to King’s Landing the Reachmen actually cheered him. Ingvar thought this might have more to do with the queen-to-be, Margaery, than Joffrey.

They did have an amusing encounter when a small group of bandits mistook them for traveling nobles and demanded they hand over their gold. When Rolf and Silas began making bets on who would kill the most the would be robbers realized their mistake. Faced with obviously trained fighters the bandits made the only intelligent decision they could, they ran like frightened children. One screamed apologies until he was gone from sight.

The weather wasn’t bad and they did manage to stay at a few inns along the way so the trip to this point was not unpleasant. He wished Asaf could have come with him but with the lion problem and the need for training and organization there was no way he could take one of the few competent commanders in Redgate.

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Wynafryd I
The Crone's 25th

Sail.pngThe wind was surprisingly cold. She tightened the cloak around her to keep her warm, but it was of little use. The spray from the Narrow Sea only furthered her misery. The ship had departed from White Harbor weeks before, and she was sick to death of it. She missed her grandfather, and even her younger sister. She was also afraid. Every Manderly who left the safety of White Harbor had not returned. Her father was a captive of the Iron Throne, and her Uncle was killed at the Red Wedding. Now, the family had to accept the shame that came with kneeling and pledging loyalty to the King instead of avenging their loved ones. Her sister wouldn’t understand. Her grandfather, Lord Wyman, was clear. She could not know. So it fell to her. House Manderly was forced to appear in all things as loyal subjects of the Iron Throne, and more importantly, to the new Warden of the North. Wynafryd would do her part, and she would do it well. Anything short of that would condemn her father to certain death.

The sails of the Sea Fox were full, and as she looked down over the side, she could see how quickly they were traveling. That was good. She needed to be sure that House Dent made their way safely to their destination, the sooner the better. If House Manderly were to see the Starks restored, they would need the help of House Dent. Lord Michael stood there, as he did every day, taking note of their progress. She could not blame him. He must have thought his son, Devon, lost at the Red Wedding the same as her Uncle Wendel. Instead, they traveled to a friendly House in Dorne filled with hope that they would see him once more. The journey was long, but in order to protect their secret mission, the Dents had to be brought aboard a commercial vessel. The Sea Fox would unload the majority of it’s cargo and passengers in King’s Landing. From there the journey would continue to Planky Town, and into the Summer Sea and the mouth of the Brimstone river.

When the Dent family arrived, they asked Wynafryd’s grandfather about passage to Dorne. No means were available to satisfy their urgent need. Instead, Lord Manderly contacted the Captain of the Sea Fox to make plans to take a shipment of silver to the capital. Once word of this new departure reached the city of White Harbor, many travelers booked passage to the capital for the Royal Wedding. House Manderly would be able to aid their friends from the Blade Mountains, and turn a profit as well. Lord Dent insisted on paying handsomely for the voyage, and Lord Manderly was not in a position to refuse. It would raise too many questions for them both. Now that the journey was underway? Wynafryd was to return the coin with White Harbor’s compliments, and she was not to take ‘no’ for an answer. She had spoken during the past couple of weeks to the family, particularly Lady Valencia. Wynafryd found her to be most kind. These were people that could be trusted. Her grandfather had assured her as much, and now she was able to see it for herself.

Wynafryd would need to be careful. The Dents must not be offended or dissuaded from friendly relations. More importantly, though, House Manderly must maintain the appearance of allegiance to King Joffrey for the safety of her father. There would be time for vengeance, but now it was time only for preparation and patience.

Lord Michael spied the young Manderly noblewoman, and the two exchanged a brief smile. Wynafryd wrapped her cloak tightly around her, and went below decks. The Lord of House Dent was an honorable man and he would be told soon, but she had been tasked to speak first with Lady Valencia. As she approached the quarters below, she was greeted warmly by Lady Dent, though she appeared unwell. The sea did not seem to be agreeing with her.

“Lady Manderly, what a pleasure. Won’t you join me for a moment?”

Wynafryd Manderly stepped inside, removing her hood. “I would be most grateful Lady Dent. I bring you word from my Lord grandfather, and a gift.”

The door shut, and Wynafryd broached the subject of a dangerous alliance. The Manderly’s wished to see the rightful family returned as Wardens of the North. And the Manderly’s wished to see vengeance. Vengeance for Devon Dent, Wylis and Wendel Manderly, Robb Stark, and many others. The risk would be great. The Manderlys and Dents had no history of allegiance previously. The Boltons ruling from the Dreadfort had divided the North, causing friends to become enemies, and enemies friends. It was time to learn of House Dent’s true allegiance. For Wynafryd and her family, the way was clear. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.

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Jeyne IV
The Stranger's 1st

The Wedding of His Grace Joffrey Baratheon to Lady Margaery Tyrell of Highgarden

Joffrey_and_his_sword.jpgThe Queen’s Ballroom and expansive balcony was decorated lavishly for the King’s Breakfast. The event was as grand as any that Jeyne had personally witnessed. And this was simply the breakfast before the wedding celebration began later. The breakfast was attended by most of the major lords of the seven kingdoms, and minor lords from allied houses. Dorne remained allied with the Iron Throne, and the fact that the King’s sister, Myrcella, was betrothed to Trystane Martell only solidified the alliance. As such, many Dornish houses were represented. Jeyne and her sister represented Skyreach and House Fowler, and were joined at their table by Ser Landon Lannister of Lannisport. She spotted Paxter Redwyne, and his bannermen, including the minor lord and heir of Breakwater Isle. Gaebral Beech was handsome enough, but his station prevented her pursuing a possible match with Jennelyn. That pompous Andros Oakdown was present, without his lady wife. How conventient for him. She didn’t want to think about the foolish liasions that he had likely already enjoyed with her sister. Between the two of them, they were likely to bring the Red Mountains to open war. Finally, she visibly glared at Desmond Sand. The Bastard of Redgate did not merit a place at the breakfast hosted by the Queen Regent for the King, but his close ties to Prince Oberyn allowed him to slither his way in nonetheless. The Prince, uncle to the ruling Prince of Dorne, sat drinking with his bastard paramour, Ellaria. The acceptance of nobility mingling with bastards was a Dornish custom that shamed her. She was looking forward to a proper home with her future Lannister husband.

Jeyne looked around the ballroom, spying lords and ladies from across the Seven Kingdoms. Even river lords and some northern lords were present. It was true. The War of the Five Kings must be all but over. Tyrion had wed Sansa Stark, and they sat at the high table with the King, his betrothed, Lord Mace Tyrell, the Queen Regent, Tywin Lannister and others she did not know.

As the lords presented their gifts one by one to King Joffrey, she took note of the generosity and efforts to curry favor. Prince Oberyn gave the King a golden brooch crafted in the shape of a Scorpion. Paxter Redwyne gave the King a model of a massive warship to be named King Joffrey’s Valor. The ship was being built on Breakwater Isle, making use of new craftsman and facilities. Tyrion gave the King a massive book of some kind, while the best gift was a freshly forged Valyrian Steel sword the King named Widow’s Wail. The King proceeded to test the Valyrian steel against his new book, and most of those in attendance sat in awkward silence. A few laughed and encouraged the King in his tantrum. Jeyne was troubled. She had heard rumors, whispered rumors, about this King. She dismissed them as propaganda. It was beginning to appear they were true.

As breakfast was finished, she walked to one of the windows to take in the breathtaking view of King’s Landing below. From here, she could not smell the filth. The city was as large as any in the world, and it was majestic from here. She would not trade the view for her view at home, but it was impressive all the same. She imagined the rest of the city- from other minor lords to the smallfolk were celebrating the historic day. Somewhere below was the King’s Rest, one of the finest Inns in the city where she and her betrothed were staying. Also out there was the Blood Orange, the Dornish inn hosting most of the Red Mountains lords. Each were hosting large breakfasts to mark the day, as all prepared to gather for the event.

Jeyne took the hand of Ser Landon, and the two descended the stairs to the city below. It was time she prepared for the day. There was much to be done.

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Adrian I
The Crone's 9th
iPhone_pictures_269.jpg

The streets were as crowded as he had ever seen them. A crowd this size surpassed any of the tournaments of the past few years- in fact, the last time anything close to this had taken place was King Robert’s wedding to Cersei Lannister. And the locals who lived through both said that King Joffrey’s wedding far surpassed even that. King’s Landing, the most populous city in the Seven Kingdoms, felt as though it had doubled in size. Only the wealthiest or well connected had rooms, and the seedier Inns became prime locales. A year’s profit was turned in a week. The finer Inn’s? They became almost impossible to set foot in, let alone find rooms. The Inn known for hosting the elite of Dornish society, the Blood Orange, was no exception.

Adrian made his way through the vendors lining the street, hoping to make coin off of the guests at the Inn, or others who had business there. He purchased a wrapped bundle of Dornish wildflowers, and muttered as he found the thorns on the stems. Of course the Dornish flowers were dangerous. Everything about Dorne was unnerving. He sucked the blood from a small cut on his hand, and wrapped the stems with a spare cloth.

The knight had admired Lady Elyana from afar. He tried to summon the nerve to approach her during the feast at Goldway, but the heir of the Iron Key proved to be determined. Adrian considered Robert Auros a friend, after a fashion. Theirs was a bond they inherited from their fathers. More than anything, however, they were rivals. Robert was stronger, more handsome, and more confident than Adrian Connington. Adrian fared well enough in the lists and ballrooms- it was only when Robert was present that he felt inadequate. They were in the same place rarely of late. As far as Ser Adrian was concerned, that was all to the good.

When he accepted the invitation for the Auros feast, Adrian assumed the dinner would be strictly political. He greeted his father’s old friend, Aemon Auros, as well as his two trueborn children, Robert and Jon Auros. Adrian and his younger brother, Mathwin, enjoyed the revelry. They shared their cups with Desmond Sand, the heir of Redgate, Andros Oakdown, and Lady Charlotte. They likewise shared the company of the Dornish knight, Ser Bennyn and others of Oakdown company. Throughout the festivities, including the rousing song The Oaken Dragon, he found himself enjoying the evening far more than he expected. But he could not take his eyes off of Elyana Oakdown. As the evening began, Elyana seemed enamored with the muscular Robert. By it’s end, she appeared cool. She excused herself for the evening, apparently battling a lingering illness. Robert refilled his wine, and joined Adrian at his table.

Adrian had been told since he was a young boy that he could trust the Auros family, but it never came easily. His family name put him in peril, especially in a haven of Baratheon loyalists. The talk had died down of course in recent years. He was only 5 years old when his father sent him away for his own safety. Eventually he was allowed to return, but Lorrance Connington was vigilant. His sympathies were with his exiled cousin, and true heir of the family, Jon Connington. Lorrance’s other cousin, Ronald, assumed the lordship of Griffin’s Roost and the Connington family after Jon was exiled. To punish the Connington family for their loyalty and friendship to the old Targaryen Dynasty, their lands were splintered. Griffin’s Roost was one tenth of it’s former size, and Lorrance Connington’s heirs received but another tenth. Both branches of the Connington family were little more than landed knights. It was years later that it was learned Jon drank himself to death in the Free Cities. The Connington name was but a shell of its former glory- from Hand of the King to a shamed minor knight in a single generation. Such was the fortunes of war.

Adrian was surprised to learn of Desmond’s knowledge of his family. The two drank well into the evening, even while there was some interest in a captive in the Key’s dungeons. The two kept the various other women company until Desmond excused himself and left the hall with a local Goldway girl. Adrian retired, and tried in vain to shake the thoughts of the Dornish beauty.

Adrian decided he would pay a visit to his new Dornish friends on his way back to the Stormlands. The Blood Orange was easy enough to find. The knight thought of acquiring a room in King’s Landing for the wedding. It was another opportunity to dispel any lingering fears regarding his loyalty to the Iron Throne. As the head of his house, it fell to him to maintain what little that remained. The crowds on the street told him the prospects of that were unlikely. Instead he intended to make the most of his second chance. He entered the Inn, and found his way to the rooms of House Oakdown. He rapped lightly on the door, and held his breath.

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