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Ulfric Bjornson

"One man's oppression is another's benevolence."

0 · 930 views · located in Tibera

a character in “The Price of Blood”, as played by Scarlet Loup

Description

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โ€œHow does one draw the line between dictator and monarch? The truth, my friend, is you do not.โ€




The Basics




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|| Full Name ||
Ulfric Albrecht Bjornson

|| Nicknames ||
Ulfric the Bold or the Kingslayer for the violent way he usurped the throne. His harsh ways and brutish mannerisms have given him the nickname of "The Bear".

|| Gender ||
Male

|| Age ||
Forty-five

|| Rank/Title ||
King of Ostwall

|| Sexual Orientation ||
Heterosexual

|| Kingdom/Alliance ||
Ostwall




What's on the Outside




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|| Hair Color ||
Ulfric still retains the brown that his hair has always been, but it is obvious that it has begun to go gray with age.

|| Eye Color ||
His eyes are a light emerald.

|| Height ||
Six feet

|| Weight ||
One hundred and eighty pounds

|| Scars ||
Ulfric has far too many scars to remember where they are come from. Many are from swords and spears in war, but he also has a few from working as a child. His hands remain calloused from years of rough labor.

|| Description ||
One does not have to know Ulfric to tell that he was, and still is, a man of massive strength. At six feet and one hundred, eighty pounds, he is not a force to be reckoned with or taken lightly. Rather, many look toward him with fear in their eyes or respect, or perhaps a mixture of the two. Nevertheless, like all men, his hair has begun to lighten in color as gray finds its way into his once-chestnut hair. His beard too is streaked with the gray of age. However, both this and the wrinkles he has acquired hardly faze Ulfric. Rather, he views them as a way to show how long he has lived and fought. They mark a harsh life full of struggle. Instead, Ulfric is bothered by his hindered mobility in age which causes his joints to ache in Ostwall's cold weather. He refuses to dress in the rich golds and reds of the nobility in Falor. Instead, Ulfric dresses in more practical, slightly over-sized cloaks and coats of various furs in varying browns and grays.




What's on the Inside



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Personality:
{Distant, Reminiscent, Brutish, Instinctive, Ignorant}

To say Ulfric is a barbarian is harsh, to say the least. He often tries to sophisticate himself through intellectual pursuits or games of mental strength. In reality, however, he is no more than an emotionally strong peasant. Ulfric lacks the education and refinement of the other leaders of the land, but he pretends that he is one of them even though the gap between Falor and Ostwall has always been unbreachable. His distances himself from others not because he is a morose being but because he has always preferred solitude given the years of it he spent in Ostwall's army. Often, one can see the reminiscence on his face, for he usually appears to be lost in his thoughts. He is a paranoid man, though, and has therefore kept his kingdom under quite a strict rule.

He speaks without refinement or deep thought over his words. Really, it is only due to his advisers and his son that he has managed to remain in power for such a long period of time. Because of this, he often gives off the impression of being barbaric or crude. This, however, can simply be attested to his upbringing without a formal education. Having grown up in and experienced a world where quick reactions are the difference between life and death, he is often an instinctive man. Overall, his actions tend to turn most against him, but he certainly is not an evil man. Instead, he is better described as naive or ignorant. He realizes that times have changed and he has far more power than he once had, but he also finds it difficult changing his way, much like teaching an old dog new tricks.


Hobbies:
  • Hunting, especially for large game
  • Sparring
  • Games of Strategy, though he is not very good at them.
Habits:
  • Tends to rest his head on the heel of his hand when he thinks, pressing his knuckles into his lips
  • Often hums tunes he has heard over the course of his life to himself
Oddities:
  • He's quite the alcoholic, but Ulfric also does know when to regulate himself in public.
  • As he ages, his old injuries have come back to haunt him. He often moves in a bit of a limp because of the physical pain.
Likes/Loves:
  • Beer
  • The Forest
  • Solitude
  • His Family
  • Physical Combat
Dislikes/Hates:
  • Sailing
  • Strangers
  • Politics
  • Being Beaten
  • Pretending to Be Refined




What's Done Is Done




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Biography
|| Place Of Origin ||
Ostwall

|| History ||
Unlike the other monarchs of the land, Ulfric was not born to his title. In fact, his family owned nothing more than a measly hut along the sea. He was the eldest child in his family, and he would be followed by two more brothers and a sister. His low birth meant he lacked a proper education. Instead, he occupied himself with fishing and later farming when his family could finally afford to purchase animals. The life of a farmer would never satisfy him, however. Once his brothers were fully capable of running the farm alongside their father, Bjorn, Ulfric set out to join Ostwall's army.

It was a lonely existence, and it was a harsh one. Nevertheless, Ulfric's harsh upbringing allowed him to adapt to the army well. As Falor pushed against Ostwall, he fought ruthlessly to hold them back. His performance in battle earned him the nickname of "The Bear" and promotion upon promotion until he found himself wealthy enough to purchase better land for his family. When he finally acquired his own coat of arms, he obviously chose the bear as his house's animal. Time would pass, and he would take a wife, Freya Tyrdottir. He was twenty-two when his only son, Ronan, was born. In that year, he would also choose to rise up against the current king.

Having gained the trust of his fellow soldiers, Ulfric was able to successfully orchestrate the rebellion right under the king's nose. Rebellion, perhaps, is the wrong word to use, for it had been tradition for the old king to be overthrown when he was no longer approved of. Then again, the current king's family had possessed the throne for roughly fifty years by then, half of the entire time Ostwall existed. On what seemed to be a random day, Ulfric and his men simply entered the throne room where he approached the king and unsheathed his sword. The guards simply turned their heads as Ulfric swung his blade around and sliced through flesh and bone. It was, more or less, an unprovoked act. Later, he would claim that the past king had been corrupt, but no one truly knew. To many, the new king was ruthless and barbaric. He was nicknamed "Ulfric the Bold" and, more crudely, "Ulfric the Kingslayer". The names failed to affect him. Celia was born shortly after he assumed the throne.

Due to having to fight to secure his position, Ulfric was a distant father to his children. Still, he tried to show as much love as he cold to them. After the untimely death of his wife, Ulfric remarried to the far younger Genevieve. He certainly can tell that she does not love him, and he does not love her as he loved Freya. He attempts to treat her well too, for she is also carrying his child. While not a perfect leader, Ulfric certainly is not the worst King Ostwall has had. He has managed to negotiate peace with Seabel for the time being, but perhaps that is only due to the civil war. Oblivious as ever, he is blind to the fact that his son has been planning his murder for years. Despite his ignorance, he has always been a paranoid man, and he is careful to keep a tight hold on his people and, more generally, his kingdom.

|| Happiest Memory ||
Marrying Freya or rising from poverty

|| Saddest Memory ||
Losing Freya




Face Claim: Sean Bean

So begins...

Ulfric Bjornson's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson

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There was a time, years before, when the Western Palace had been used simply as a retreat for the royal family of Falor or, of course, to host the decennial celebrations. Those who had attended the festivities before would have fondly recalled the way both families, despite almost constant border skirmishes, seemed to unify into one. One family melded into the other, and for just a few days, it was impossible to differentiate them from each other. This year, of course, there was the problem of dealing with the addition of a new family, the one that now permanently resided in the Western Palace. Of course, it did not help that tensions between Seabel and Falor had not simmered down in the past two years. Today marked the first full day of the festivities.

There was a joust on the palace grounds now among the younger members of the royal families now, and Ronan trotted his horse into ready position. Beneath his armored legs, the flanks of his ebony stallion heaved as the horse tossed his head impatiently. The young prince also moved about restlessly on the saddle, shifting his lance in his hand before lowering his helmet once more. Across the field, his opponent gripped the reins of his horse once more. Ronan had never been a skillful jouster, his preference lying in horse racing rather than arena sports, but he had insisted upon competing. Internally, he was quite grateful that they had paired his up with a young knight at the palace. Ronan, of course, was no knight. In fact, the concept of knighthood had failed to reach Ostwall.

His breastplate glistened subtly as the depiction of a bear paw emblazoned across his chest caught the sun. In an instant, the two figures rushed at each other with their lances extended, shields raised. Hooves pounded against the ground. Ronan leaned forward in his saddle.

His opponent's lance caught the shoulder of his armor, unprotected due to his misplaced shield, and the force was enough to unsteady Ronan, who tumbled from the back of the stallion and into the dust. For a moment, he lay in the settling dust, but as it began to cover the holes in the helmet for his eyes and mouth, Ronan coughed and sat upward. His shoulder screamed in pain, and he almost cried out, too. Instead, he merely clambered to his feet and clutched his shoulder. A few servants ran to him in place of a squire, but he waved them away in a hurried manner, nearly striking one.

The helmet only managed to cover the redness of his face, a mixture of little embarrassment and much anger, until he removed it to take his seat in the stands once more. In between his hurried exit from the field and his entrance into the stand, he stopped only once to remove the remaining armor. The gazes of the others seemed to bore holes through him as he quickly sat down in his seat. Despite Ulfric's request to place Genevieve on his right and his children on his left, Ronan took Genevieve's right.

He looked toward his father, perhaps daring the man to state his disappointment. The elder man, however, was far more intrigued by the next round. Ronan's mouth tightened, and he looked forward. Ronan's hand, meanwhile, brushed very subtly against Genevieve's dress. "Damn horse screwed up the entire thing," he said. "That beast can't do a damn thing correctly." He finally looked toward her for a moment. As they made eye contact, his mouth loosened again. The redness faded from his countenance as he gazed upon hers.

It had grown unbearable, in just a day, to have to watch her from afar. Privacy was just about impossible to achieve with a schedule full of public dinners and public activities. Seeking to preserve the moment, he tried to grab for her hand to give it a quick, reassuring squeeze. He was quite unsure, however, who was being reassured.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Annabelle Waldorf

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Celia found these tournaments quite... boring? Perhaps that was the correct term? That was most likely why she had a book on her lap and her eyes were fixed on it rather than the competitions. In fact, she ignored the scene completely until her brother's joust came up. She glanced up, watching as he was thrown off his horse and she sighed. She loved Ronan, she really did, but she had to question why he participated in competitions he knew he was going to lose. He sat down next to Genevieve, not that Celia was surprised. In her mind, she reprimanded him; he should be more careful. After all, rumors were a courtesans favorite tool and it was not the best idea to give them something to talk about. Even so, it was not her place to mention this to him, should it arise more suspicion. "Damn horse screwed up the entire thing. That beast can't do a damn thing correctly," Ronan complained and she looked at her elder brother.

"Blaming the horse may not be the best course of action, dear brother. Nobody enjoys the company of a sore loser, especially one that blames a beast trained by said loser."

At least, Celia assumed in her mind that's what others thought. She didn't blame her hawk when she failed to hit her target with an arrow. It was her own folly that had caused the misplaced arrow, not Careen's. However, she knew that her brother's pride prevented him from viewing the world in this way. Celia stood up, noting that it was nearly time for her own competition, making her the first woman to participate in the archery tournament. First, she had to get out of this blasted dress; she never understood how other women could wear layers of cloth so easily. "Shall we go, Annabelle?" she addressed her Lady-In-Waiting, who sat directly behind her. She then turned to her younger sister. "Wanna come with me to get ready, Cori?"

She spoke so quietly that only people that knew her could hear her soft tone. To everyone else, she looked like nothing more than a young woman moving her lips without a sound escaping them. Celia bent down so she was level with her father. "I'm going now, Papa."

Without waiting for his answer, Celia navigated through the crowds and disappeared out of the arena. She breathed in the less foul air and walked towards the castle to change before the her own event began.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir

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Corianna had been intently watching and imagining her sitting on the back of a horse jousting. She was dressed in armour with the colours Ostwall and you couldn't tell she was a girl. Her horse was a black and strong. Brandishing a shield she charged, but she lost. In her vivid day dream she was just falling off her horse about to hit the ground when she heard her sisters voice."Wanna come with me to get ready, Cori?" "Sure" She replies slowly, shaking off her daydream.Oh how she wanted to compete in the tournaments. But apparently none of her skills fitted and she was too young. She hated when people sad that. That she was too young.

"Bye papa!" she said cheerfully, giving him a hug as she went to walk away. Even though her father had been distant throughout her childhood, he had never done anything to make her question her love for him. After the death of her mother she began to grow even closer to him.

Grabbing on to her sisters arm while the weaved through the crowd"Can you teach he how to ride a horse Celia?" She asks her sister. Cori scolds her self for never thinking about it before. She could be a great rider now if she had started earlier. She could be practising jousting right now.

Her sigh was barely distinguishable from her heavy breathing, Cori was sweltering in all the clothes her servants had placed on her. "Miss you must look presentable" She certainly didn't feel presentable. She felt like her face was red and she was sweating everywhere. She would much rather be in lighter clothes, or armour.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Annabelle Waldorf Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister

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Alistair watched as Prince Ronan Ulfricson was knocked to the dirt. A dark smirk touched his lips as he watched anger grip the prince and rage threaten. Ronan clambered to his feet and stamped off to change out of his armor and rejoin his father, mother in law and sisters. Ulfrics son was ruled by his mood, a fact Alistair would remember. Alistair had heard that the prince of Ostwall was someone of special skill and distinction, someone to watch. Watching him unhorsed in the first bout of the day was amusing to say the least. The King of Ostwall barely seemed to register his sons failure in front of the whole realm. Odd to Alistair who could only think of how his own father would have reacted. Anger, disappointment and disgust would have hung heavy on Tywin Lannisters face if the roles were reversed. Unfortunately Alistair would not be riding in the days lists, not that he hadn't wanted to. In fact he had been half way into his armor when his wife had found him. She said he should be with the other royals, as he was hosting the celebration it was his place. They had argued and she had won, like she did in so many things. The whole affair left a bitter taste in his mouth, a taste that needed washing out. Alistair reached with his free hand to grab his wine goblet and sipped the rich Arbor Red, savoring the fine vintage. His other hand was imprisoned in his wifes grasp. She had always insisted on these public displays of affection, no doubt to show the world a unified regency. Her very touch caused a storm to brew within the King.

A part of him hungered for it, yearned for her closeness. He needed her, he wanted her like a drowning man needed a breath of air. Another part, a darker part, hated it. He couldn't trust it anymore, he'd swam to the surface and found the air tainted and foul. His eyes flicked over to look upon the face of his wife. Her eyes blue turning to green like pools of cool island water that he could dive right into and stay there forever. Her long blonde hair kissed by the sun more radiant than all the gold in Casterly Rock. He watched as the breeze caressed her locks giving him a fleeting glimpse of some of the few light brown strands that seemed to hide in her sea of golden hair. She was still more beautiful than any other woman he'd ever set eyes on. Yet the person she was, the person who held all that beauty scorned him, sullied him as that damned crown sullied him. So often he'd heard them whisper, how he wasn't fit to rule, how he sullied the crown and the cloak given to him on his coronation. That's where they were all wrong. He didn't sully the crown and the cloak, the crown and the cloak sullied him. They called him king, or Your Grace or any of the other countless tedious titles attributed to him now but he knew what they all thought. He knew what they all really called him. Of all the things they titled him behind his back it was Oath Breaker he hated the most yet in a way it was also his favorite, it had a nice ring to it. They wanted a ruler, they could look to his wife, let her bother with it for he washed his hands of the whole damned lot of them.

"Well... That was anti climactic."

Came his brothers voice at his right. Alistair smirked as Tyrion leaned back in his seat, his short, stunted legs dangling off the edge of the seat as he drank deeply of his wine. Alistair took the opportunity to slip his hand away from his wife, pretending merely to lean closer to his brother but in truth he was grateful to merely free himself of her touch and the feelings it brought.

"To say the least, good thing I didn't place a bet on him."

Alistair joked. Tyrion chuckled in his cup before setting it down.

"Speak for yourself, brother."

Alistair gave his little brother a knowing look.

"You didn't."

"I did and I regret it."

Tyrion replied before the victor who unseated Prince Ronan rode out around the tourney field to chivalrously tip his lance toward his king and queen. It was only then that he removed his helm to reveal who had bested the son of King Ulfric Bjornson with a single blow.






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Loras removed his helm of shining steel, polished like a mirror. He set it at his side, his eyes on the beauty that was the queen of Seabel. Long, golden hair, porcelain skin and eyes both green and blue. Her most attractive feature was that she was his. Alistair Lannister, the King of Seabel and Lion of Casterly Rock. Loras sat there atop his white Destrier and watched as Alistair spoke with that freakish little imp of a brother. Beside the brothers was the father, Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock. The whole pride of lions were in attendance to watch Loras unseat a prince. The whole thing made Loras smile but the smile was cleverly disguised as one of flirtation and admiration as he let his eyes hold the queen and her gaze for he knew what it did to her. His gaze flicked to his own father who sat beside the king of Falor, a respectful nod before a final glance at her majesty before he rode off down the field.

So much excitement in the world all culminating on this celebration. Every noble of worth and regent from all three kingdoms were in attendance, so many opportunists for a clever man to exploit. Loras Edwards was a clever man, a clever man who in time would cast a very large shadow. First came his hunt, once the lion pelt was he would rise and take what was rightfully his. Loras rounded the corner and damned near rode straight into a mountain. A man easily eight foot and then some tall, covered head to toe in thick black castle forged steel armor. Ser Gregor Clegane, The Mountain That Rides was seated atop a war horse that dwarfed most others, black as night. Loras was careful to steer his white pony clear around the dangerous eldest Clegane brother. Gods help whoever he rides against.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Annabelle Waldorf

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There was a weight in her stomach. It was nothing to be worried about, she had been assured, but that didn't help much when Ronan got hit right in front of her. Genevieve had thankfully been able to repress her reaction to just a small gasp as she jumped in her seat. It couldn't have been much damage though, she thought. She glanced over to her... husband. She hated the thought, but for now she could do nothing about it. Ulfric hardly seemed fazed by what had happened though, so she did her best to calm herself.

Her eyes followed him the whole time he walked up, her eyes lighting up as he chose to sit beside her despite what he had been told. The girl grinned and her cheeks lifted, her nose scrunching up as she forced herself to not hold tightly to him. She nodded in agreement to his complaints as he sat beside her, frowning with concern as she reached to touch his shoulder, leaving her hand hovering hesitantly above it while Ronanโ€™s gaze challenged his father. โ€œAre you alright?โ€ She murmured gently, letting out a small laugh at Celiaโ€™s remark and turning to wish her well as she left with all of the group but Ulfric and Ronan.

This was torturous. Why couldnโ€™t the old man just find something more important to do? Or she could find something that could conveniently distract herself and Ronan from the festivities. Perhaps examining his wounds would be a proper excuse? Genevieve rose an eyebrow, touching his shoulder gently as he gripped her hand. โ€œYou should go make sure you arenโ€™t hurt, Ronan.โ€ She said, making it sound like more of an order than a suggestion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Cassandra Lannister Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister

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She left, and she took his daughter with her. Try as he might Alistair couldn't feign indifference. He was constantly at war with himself when Rosalie was around. He hated her presence, he hated the way she looked at him and the sound of her voice yet there was not a more beautiful sound in all the world than when she spoke, no feeling more grand then when her eyes were upon him, no drug in all the known world could compete with the euphoria of nearly being close to her. She took her leave and Alistair flashed her a quick glance. A look of sorrow, love, regret and shame all wrapped up in a shroud uncaring. He reached and took hold of his daughters hand as she passed him, holding her for a moment.

"Goodbye sweetheart, I will see you later."

He said before gently kissing his little girls hand as any knight would kiss the hand of any lady. He wanted to kiss his wife goodbye too, he wanted to bid her a fond farewell and tell her how the field would be lack of sunlight for loss of her presence. He said nothing and they left.

Tyrion on the other hand was silent, slouching in his seat pretending not to exist as the queen and the princess left and Ser Gregor Clegane took up his position.

"You two seem happy."

He said sarcastically. Alistair flashed his little brother a glare and downed his cup before signalling his cup bearer for another.

"Much has changed since my last visit to the capitol brother, you and your lady wife seem to barely tolerate each other these days."

"We do barely tolerate each other."

Alistair replied ruefully as his cup bearer refilled his cup and was dismissed quickly. Tyrion was not a man of strong body, capable of any physical skill but what he was capable of was thinking. Tyrion Lannister was one of the smartest most cunning people in all the kingdoms and he'd found his next riddle incomprehensibly intriguing.

"Has anything happened? You two have a fight?"

He asked. Alistair chuckled in his cup.

"Of course, we fight every day. It's about the only thing we do together anymore."

"How curious. I remember Rosalie from her days as a princess at the capitol. She was a darling girl, always courteous, kind and loving."

Alistair grimaced at his brothers words, they pained him for they brought up the bitter memory of what he'd lost and who he'd lost. His sword hand clenched into a fist as he drank his whole cup dry in one go and signaled for his cup bearer once more, at least the wine was strong. Once his cup was fill he was about to down the whole thing again when he felt a strong hand clutching his shoulder.

"Do you intend to get drunk at the first day of the festivities in front of every noble, king and person of import in the kingdoms?"

His father's voice cut like a knife and both brothers fell silent. Tywin Lannister glared at both his sons before leaning back in his chair with a scowl.

"Lannisters don't act like fools, drunken or otherwise."

Silent and angry from the reprimand by his father Alistair watched the poor, unlucky sod whose job it was to challenge The Mountain. A young lad of barley twenty years, a knight only recently risen to the rank whose name he couldn't even remember.

"I pity the man who must face that mountain of a man, and I pity that horse that must sit beneath him."

Alistair's brother, Tyrion smiled at Count Cristoph Edwards words as he turned in his seat to look at the older man and royal adviser of the young king of Falor.

"Pity is good my dear lord but think of the possibilities such a contest can have. Should this boy, under matched as he is, win against The Mountain That Rides his tale would be sung from Ostwall to Falor and back. He'd have a literal banquet of women lining up for a taste of the cock of he slew The Mountain, a course in each village and dessert to boot."

A few of the nearby lords who heard Tyrion chuckled at his bawdy words while his father sighed under his breath. Alistair never took his eyes off the boy who was practically shaking in his armor.

"He is going to die today."

Alistair said darkly as the match began. Ser Gregor charged, his monstrous war horse, black as the pit of hell came thundering down the field. The boy, to his credit didn't turn his mount around and ride off in a fright but raced toward his opponent and whatever fate lay in store for him. The crowd fell silent before the moment of impact. Ser Gregor's lance struck first, reflecting off the boy's shield, going up under the chin of his helmet and snapping off after sinking deep into the boy's throat. A gasp shot out from the stands as the boy fell from his horse, blood spurting from his neck and his body convulsing violently. Several aids rushed out to tend to the boy but no sooner had they reached him had he fallen still as the grave. A stunned silence washed over all in attendance like a dense fog, none knowing quite what to say.

Alistair just sighed sipped his wine, his mood was mired as it so often was these days and his fathers presence wasn't helping. At least he had his brother, his daughter and the single combat competition to look forward to. His wife wouldn't talk him out of that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Loras Edwards Character Portrait: Cassandra Lannister Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister

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Loras couldn't help but allow a soft smile to touch his lips as his eyes never left the blue green orbs of his lady, the Queen. The way she flustered when he was around, the way she shooed off her daughter as if the child would learn everything with a glance, it was charming in it's own way. Loras cared little for what the girl thought, she was a child and even if she got an idea of what was going on she was after all, just a child and children do have such active imaginations. Yet as the princess pranced through the flowers Loras had his eye on a rose of his own. His hands were carefully folded behind his back, it gave him a professional posture should someone be looking yet allowed him to be as close to her as he wanted. He could smell the sweetness of her perfume, see the dimples created by her smile and hear her shuddering breath as she fidgeted under his gaze.

"Apologize? I wouldn't dream of it. You never need to say you're sorry My Queen. Not to me."

He leaned in. His eyes on her lips and his hand reaching out from behind his back. He could see her body stiffen, knowing she shouldn't welcome this closeness but doing nothing to stop him. He held himself a hairs breath from her, he could almost taste her lips. He would take her there and then if he could. The two of them in the flower garden, naked as they made love in the meadow with the sun shining above them, what a sight it would have been. When she looked as if she was keen to fall into him he leaned back with a rose in his free hand, plucked from the bush behind her. He smirked, holding the flower in front of him, twirling it in his finger tips.

"A rose for a Rose."

He said smoothly, his voice soft as silk as he offered her the gift.

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The tourney field was torn well and good by the end of the final match. They'd all nearly forgotten about the dead boy, slain by Ser Gregor Clegane. Alistair sat in his seat, his leg had fallen asleep the better part of an hour ago and his only real enjoyment, his brother, had wandered off. So there he sat with his father on his right speaking seldom and only when need be. Alistair had half a mind to leap onto the nearest horse and ride off into the night, leaving behind the whole damned lot of them. He sat in his seat, his fingers restlessly picking at the arm of his chair. As the final match came to a close and the lists were closed the field was quickly cleared and prepared for the Archery Competition. The wooden fence divider was torn down and dissembled to make room for the archery butts. Large multicolored targets were painted on the hay butts. They were placed several paces apart so the shooters wouldn't cross their lines of fire. Twelve targets in all for twelve different competitors.

Arching an eyebrow Alistair figured it best to at least attempt some form of small talk with some of the other royals. He turned to the King of Ostwall who had barely spoken all morning.

"I hear your daughter is quite the marksman, Your Grace."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir

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To a man who had spent his entire life fighting, merely watching others pretend to fight would seem, at the least, mundane. But really, Ulfric believed they were nothing more than a mockery of real battle. Obviously, that was what they were intended for, but while the others watched in excitement, Ulfric spent his time sampling the various beverages that were being passed about. His overall lack of interest, therefore, resulted in his lack of interest when Ronan returned. He had certainly seen the young man fall from his warhorse, but had he cared? Certainly not.

He bit back a remark he nearly made in response to Ronan's comment about his horse. It wasn't worth it, though. Tensions were already running to high. Ulfric simply downed the ale in his goblet. Perhaps it appeared that he was absorbed in the match. Instead, he was absorbed in his thoughts. He heard Celia speak then, however, and smirked to himself as he heard her response. If only she had been a male. She would have been a worthy heir, one to finally modernize Ostwall.

"Of course, of course," he replied, nodding as she leaned in front of him. There was more he could have said. He could have wished her luck. Told her he loved her. He didn't though, for he was a man of very few words. His other daughter flung herself into his arms, and he pressed a kiss into her temple. Sweet Corianna, also a woman trapped in a man's world. "You look out for your sister," he called, unsure whether either heard and also unsure which was looking out for the other.

He kept himself out of the exchange between the Lannisters and Christoph Edwards. He didn't even know what he would say if asked to join. Instead, he finally looked toward his wife and his son. She had certainly grown to love him, and he was glad to see that. The boy had been torn apart with Freya's death. Even his daughters seemed to accept the young woman as a mother.

Ulfric was pulled from his thoughts by a sudden gasp to his side as blood began to spray in the field. It had happened so quickly that the king hadn't even had the chance to react or cover his wife's eyes as he ought to do. Instead, Ronan suddenly stood and pulled Genevieve up beside him. "That certainly isn't a sight for one so fair as yourself," the prince said to her as they walked past. Ulfric paid them no mind. Instead, Alistair began to speak to him, and he turned his attention to the younger king. "Oh, yes. She's always had quite a love for it. Don't know where she gets it from, of course. I've never been good with the bow." A passing servant filled his goblet, and he sipped from it thoughtfully before adding his own remark"I'm surprised to see you here rather than out on the field. Has the crown mellowed you?"




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Almost as soon as they had disappeared out of sight, Ronan drew his arms about her and planted a heated kiss on her lips. His hands, rather than holding her hand, now cupped her face as he pushed her lightly into the wall behind her. His shoulder throbbed horribly, but he continued to kiss her until they both felt obligated to pull away for breath. "I want nothing more than to take you back to my chambers," he breathed, drinking in her scent as he pressed his forehead to hers.

"It's absolutely maddening to have to sit beside you without being able to profess my love to you." Again, he kissed her passionately. "We'll have time together at the masquerade though. Father dislikes dancing." His arms wrapped around her waist for a moment, holding her close to his body.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson

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Genevieve gasped, barely even catching a glimpse of the gory scene before she was tugged off. She played it up even more, covering her eyes and looking as if she would faint as Ronan lead her away. The girl watched as her husband didn't bother to comment on his sons actions, sighing with relief to herself. She knew that he was completely oblivious to their relationship, but she still worried often. She was torn from her thoughts quickly as she felt the familiar warmth of Ronan's lips and his rough hands on her cheeks. The queen smiled into his lips, wrapping her slender arms tightly around his strong neck and giving a quiet breathy moan. His words made her flush scarlet as she squirmed between him and the wall, she wanted to mention that they really should go make sure his shoulder wasn't injured too badly but knew he would brush it off anyway.

Genevieve listened bashfully to his words of love, happily returning his kisses as they came. "Believe me, I suffer as much as you do. I wish for nothing more than to just show my feelings for you without fear of being caught..." She rested her head on his shoulder as he held her. "Ronan, please we should make sure your shoulder isn't badly wounded." She frowned and pulled her head back, gently touching his shoulder. "At least let me see how bad it is.." She pouted her lips and lifted her eyebrows pitifully, knowing that she could easily get her way by toying with him, even though he was fully aware she was doing it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Loras Edwards Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister Character Portrait: Tyrion Lannister

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"Oh, yes. She's always had quite a love for it. Don't know where she gets it from, of course. I've never been good with the bow."

Alistair chuckled as he drained the last of his cups contents, a single smooth gulp.

"I've never had a hand for the craft either. Not a talent for a proper swordsman I'd wager. Fiddling with those tiny arrow shafts and fitting them on that damned string..."

Alistair paused, shaking his head as if in dismissal of the entire art of bowmanship as a passing servant arrived with fresh drinks. Once his cup was once again filled with wine he continued.

"Its too much. Give me a good, clean death any day. A longsword cuts through bone nicely. Or lance through the heart. Be over before you know it."

He said snapping his fingers as if to empathize his point. There was something about the older man that Alistair liked. Quiet and brooding sure but he had a soldiers quality to him. Not one of those preening peacocks from court or the flowery knights bogged down in vows they didn't even uphold. No, Ulfric was a soldier, a warrior. Even his lack of interest in the games endeared the man to Alistair who cared little for watching men fail at something he excelled at.

"I'm surprised to see you here rather than out on the field. Has the crown mellowed you?"

At that Jaimie chuckled sardonically. How the crown has changed him. Mellow may not have been the word Alistair had used but Ulfric was right enough except it wasn't the crown that changed him.

"Ah... If only it was. No Ulfric, it wasn't the crown that mellowed me... It was marriage."

He said with a knowing smile as he leaned on the arm rest of his chair so he may speak with Ulfric more candidly.

"The vows they make you take. I feel like I was being knighted all over again. See you and yours from Ostwall have the right of it. No need of hollow vows and promises of honor you're not going to keep some gods you don't even believe in for a swordsman to kill a man. No, we were trained to do a job and we just do it. Damn the rest. The politicians bicker and squabble and you and I will just keep on killing and eventually, they'll give us a crown."

Alistair offered the king of Ostwall his cup in toast to their united distaste of the hypocrisy of the players of this game of thrones.

"To our crowns, may their weight bend our necks. After all... It's only for life."

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"Because I know you."

He replied matter of factly. Her beauty riled him up to a point where he was willing to risk getting caught. At times he didn't even care. If someone saw them he'd kill them. He'd kill a prying bread merchant, a courtier, The Hound, The damned King himself. She was his Queen and he wanted her.

"I know your right pinky always sticks up when you're drinking something. I know you're adorably ticklish, especially when I kiss your neck. I know you have a captivating habit of biting your lower lip, a habit I think I'm beginning to pick up myself."

He said, silent promises hanging heavy in his words.

"Tonight, while your husband drinks I would visit you and...

"Is that the fabled Knight of Flowers?"

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Loras paused, nearly growling in frustration as the voice reached his ears. He took a slow, steadying breath and turned around to face, well look down upon The Imp Tyrion Lannister, brother of the king. The dwarf was always smarter than Loras was comfortable with. Not the sword wielding fool Alistair was. No, Tyrion was cunning therefore Tyrion was dangerous. He seemed to see everything and know things he shouldn't, having him here was troublesome to say the least. Loras had already devised several ways to ensure the imp has an accident before he had arrived in the city with his father.

"Lord Tyrion, it's an honor."

Tyrion cocked his head curiously as he looked up at Loras with a mischievous smile.

"Lord? Has my father died and no one told me?"

Ser Loras smirked at the Tyrion's sharpness. The term was meant as a slight disguised as a compliment. Everyone knew Tyrion would never inherit Casterly Rock since his father hated him so.

"A harmless courtesy merely out of respect, my lord."

"The respect is do to you good Ser, unseating the Prince of Ostwall with such ease. At least Prince Ronan fared better than that second fellow. The Mountain ran his lance through the boys neck, bloody business. One must be careful during exciting times like these. Never know when the next lance will come, eh?"

Loras listened to the dwarfs words and realized his hatred for Tyrion may very well rival the hatred he had for his brother. Loras clenched his jaw and allowed a mock smile to touch his lips as he nodded in agreement.

"Quite."

Tyrion smiled innocently walking around Loras to greet the queen with arms wide open to embrace her lovingly. Due to his small stature it looked as though she was hugging a small, gangley child.

"Darling step sister! You are as radiant as ever. The gods themselves are no doubt jealous of your beauty."

Stepping back to take in his step sister Tyrion looked up at her happily. It had always bother Loras how close Rosalie had been with him. They were good friends and Tyrion accepted her into the family instantly. He would certainly be an obstacle to overcome in the coming days.

"How I've missed you Rosie. You've spoiled me for the violin by the way, have I told you? The finest musicians in Casterly Rock are children with sticks in comparison to your skill. You must play for me while I'm here, I beg of you...

Tyrion pasued and turned around as if quite befuddled. He looked up at Loras looking rather surprised to see him.

"Are you still here? Oh, apologies. You can go."

Tyrion said casually. Loras wanted to take his head then and there. With a mock bow Loras took his leave fantasying about all the ways he could kill the little imp.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Annabelle Waldorf Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne

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Lucas never wanted to watch the tournament from the side, but he knew if he didn't and competed, well... Nicholas was likely to be a larger target. At least up in the box for nobility, by his friend's throne, he could watch his friend with little to no fear someone would hurt him without going through Lucas first. He stood on the king's right side, between him and the count Edwards.

Lucas had been to focused on searching the best ways to kill a fifteen year old king when he heard the conversation finally. "I pity the man who must face that mountain of a man, and I pity that horse that must sit beneath him." The advisor right next to him seemed to be as he always was, bringing others down when he can without seeming to.

Another man by the Seabel king spoke up, "Pity is good my dear lord but think of the possibilities such a contest can have. Should this boy, under matched as he is, win against The Mountain That Rides his tale would be sung from Ostwall to Falor and back. He'd have a literal banquet of women lining up for a taste of the cock of he slew The Mountain, a course in each village and dessert to boot."

It took great power not to roll Lucas's eyes. The fool hadn't been ready for such a competition. Lucas would have to compete next year. He couldn't have done jousting or the swordplay without fear of something happening, and he was perhaps the worst archer in the land even though he trained all year. Then the king of Seabel himself spoke up, "He is going to die today."

Lucas refrained from shaking his head. As true as it seemed, he hoped it wouldn't happen. Just as the thought went through his head, the boy went down and it was obvious should he not yet be dead, he would be momentarily. Lucas took a deep breath, the sight of blood making his stomach twist. Lucas' hand rested on the hilt of his sword as he stood there, growing more and more less concerned.

His eyes moved throughout the tournament, finding some surprising things without really finding interest in them. He didn't want to say anything, but he certainly didn't want to stay entirely silent. It was obvious this tournament should have a competition to enter so young boys such as this weren't killed. Sure there were the rare occasions, but that didn't mean it was still okay. Lucas would have leaned back in his saddle, or pushed the lance away with his own when his life was at risk, for it was nothing but a tournament.

As the archers came out, he wasn't surprised to see a female among the men. As his gaze drifted away, it caught on girl reading. She was near the princess of Ostwall and he looked away quickly. He could not get distracted, yet there she was drawing his attention away again. He found himself leaning forward between the seats to look until he caught himself. What was he doing? He was old enough not to get distracted by someone, especially a girl. He also knew he didn't want the heartbreak again. Perhaps he could talk with... No. He would not. If he did, he'd be doomed to thinking of her all the time. And yet...

He hoped nobody had noticed him leaning forward though he was nearly positive it would not go unnoticed. He just hoped the count didn't see it. The prince would just tease him, but the count... That might be bad...

Lucas hadn't talked much through the tournament, but that was because he hadn't been talked to. He also kind of didn't want to, unless it was to that girl... Lucas took a deep breath and shook his head. He wondered if the nobility around knew him or of him, possibly since he was younger than Loras who was the captain of the guards for Seabel...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson

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As she rested her head against his shoulder, he gently kissed at her exposed neck. Oh, he could have stayed there for ages with her. Someone, however, was bound to come across them eventually. There was simply no privacy here. It was as if the walls themselves had eyes. "One day, my love," he cooed. "When my father is no longer, when I have taken the throne, you and I shall rule, and we shall be able to love each other as we ought to be able to."

When she pulled away, he gave a soft sound of protest. "It's just bruised, nothing more," he replied. Still, he found it difficult to completely ignore her. Ronan unbuttoned his doublet carefully before pushing the loose-fitting undershirt aside. "See?" he said softly, smiling back at her. "Hardly can be called a wound." He rebuttoned the doublet. "Perhaps it would be appreciated if you came to check on my shoulder after the masquerade. No one will be able to bother us." Still smirking, he placed one more kiss against her lips.







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A smile tugged at his mouth as Alistair replied. Oh, how he had longed for someone to understand the truth behind war. Ronan tried, sometimes, to understand what Ulfric had been through. There simply wasn't a way for one to understand if they had never been through it themselves. To watch one's friends perish before their eyes, to feel the blood pump through your body. It was a sensation that simply could not be explained. "You are most certainly a man after my own heart, Alistair Lannister," he remarked.

"I certainly respect those who can wield a bow, but nothing is better than a sword in one's hand." He laughed to himself and shook his head almost in tandem with Alistair. He shook it, however, as if shaking off the memories that seemed to haunt his every thought.

"Amen to that. The bowman needs not run into the fray. Instead, he stands about on a peek while his comrades fall. And who returns as a hero? Certainly not the dead swordsmen."

He listened, suddenly growing solemn, as the king explained his predicament. "Neither method seems too fair. The politicians are slimy creatures, those who can not be trusted. Us warriors...well, what do we know about ruling a nation?" At least, he mused, Alistair had noble connections. Still, he wouldn't allow that to influence his opinion of the man. They may have come from different walks of life, but Alistair was not a bad man. Through war, all different sorts of men were united.

He raised his own, refilled goblet then. "To our crowns,"
he agreed before drinking to said toast. It was then that he looked down on to the field to see Celia competing. A smile crossed his face as it smacked the bullseye at 500 yards. Ulfric had to set his goblet down so that he could clap for her.

When he finally picked his goblet up again, he looked far more somber, and his brow wrinkled in, perhaps, concern before he looked toward Alistair again. "These lords around us, they do not understand what war is, what it does to a man. It is as if we are different animals entirely, and I often feel that ours is the dying species, Alistair."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Annabelle Waldorf Character Portrait: Loras Edwards Character Portrait: Cassandra Lannister Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister Character Portrait: Priscilla Edwards Character Portrait: Lorelle de Croismare Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Tyrion Lannister Character Portrait: Elanor Lannister

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OOC: "Here ye here ye! Come one come all. The good ole' Royal family Lannister of Tibera has put forth their 4th annual Masquerade ball at dusk. So, ladies and gents grab your masks and prepare to see identities be revealed.."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Cassandra Lannister Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister Character Portrait: Tyrion Lannister

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"You wound me, dearest sister in law. Must I need a reason to visit my beloved family?"

Tyrion asked with mock offense and a playful smile as he wrapped his arm around the shoulders of his niece and gave her a warm hug. He chuckled before looking into the face of the little girl who looked so different from the child he'd last seen.

"My how you've grown Cassie, you'll be taller than me in no time though admittedly it wouldn't be that much of an accomplishment given my vertical deficiency."

He joked before sitting back with a sigh as he rubbed his sore legs. He had only been half lying about needing the rest as his stunted legs did ache something fierce after the long journey from Casterly Rock. His eyes slowly rose to his sister in law whose face was a perfect mask of innocence. How he wished it was not a mask at all but Tyrion had learned a long time ago everyone had masks, fitting they would be having a masquerade ball tonight. Yet there was still a lingering fear and a doubt in his mind. That look Loras gave her, the urgency she felt at bidding him farewell once he left. While it was no bad thing to be kind and courteous to those who are sworn to protect you something about the long goodbye trouble Tyrion greatly.

Looking back at his niece he smiled softly and leaned in as if to tell her a secret.

"Have I ever told you about the day your parents were married?"

Cassandra seemed to perk up excitedly at the mention of her parents wedding, the sweet girl always loved her uncles tales especially ones about love and happiness. She had such a gentle heart yet at the mention of her wedding day he could feel Rosalie's eyes on him.

"It was in Casterly Rock, and all the lords and ladies, knights and heroes of the realm were in attendance. It was a grand affair Cassie, if you could've seen it but alas you were not yet born, but a dream of two loving future parents. Extravagant, was used to describe it I think, but then what good is the word extravagant if not to describe a wedding? My father, your grandfather paid for the entire affair. There were lions carved of solid gold, rare birds imported from all over to lend their songs to the occasion, and banners of crimson and gold. And the food, oh the food! There was lamprey pie and honey cakes, duck sausage and candied almonds, every kind of custard imaginable, venison, hare stew, pigeon pie and lemon cakes and more than my memory can give justice too, I'm afraid. Then there were juggles, and singers, a fire eater from Pentos, silk dancers from Volantis and there was even a dancing bear!"

He said emphasizing the dancing bear, knowing how his niece would love that part. Yet as he continued his eyes slowly began to drift from his niece to his sister in law, his eyes looking into hers keenly.

"Yet for all the wealth and beauty none of it compared to the love of your parents. Your mother and father loved each other so very much and on that day they out shined the sun. Rarely did their hands separate, their fingers seemed permanently entangled. Constantly they whispered to each other sweetly, telling private jokes only they knew the punch lines to. Truth be told even when the toasts were made I doubt they ever heard them for they only had eyes and ears for each other."

Tyrion put his hands softly on his nieces shoulders and ushered her to turn and look at her mother.

"You learn well from your mother now, darling niece. When you grow up and find a love of your own you settle for nothing but the true love your mother has found in your father. A love that is strong, passionate and resilient. A love that burns brightly and even during the coldest winters, when the night seems to last for generations one need only stoke that flame to feel its warmth once again."

Tyrion let his words linger for both his niece and sister in law to hear, all the while his intelligent gaze locked on Rosalie. After a moment he sighed and slid off the bench to hop down to the floor.

"Ah, but alas. I fear I've taken up far too much of both of your time and you lovely ladies have a ball to prepare for. I bid you both farewell, and I shall see you tonight."

Tyrion kissed the hands of both Cassandra and Rosalie before turning to leave, pausing when he'd only taken a step or so away.

"Oh and Cassie, before you go to the ball, come to my room. I have a gift for you."

With that Tyrion left his niece and his sister in law in the garden, hope hung heavy in his heart that she'd heard his words and that he was wrong to fear in the first place.

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A cheer went up in the crowd as Ulfric's daughter hit the bullseye at five hundred yards, an admirable feet and not one Alistair could remember ever being accomplished before. He clapped along side her father who beamed with pride. Once the applause had subsided Alistair turned to Ulfric who seemed to somber somewhat, looking into his goblet and the wine red as blood.

"These lords around us, they do not understand what war is, what it does to a man. It is as if we are different animals entirely, and I often feel that ours is the dying species, Alistair."

Alistair couldn't help but allow a half chuckle to escape his lips. It was almost tragic how right Ulfric was. Kings ruled at the edge of a sword, and when swords mattered it was soldiers who were called upon yet to the nobles and bickering lords, soldiers were oafish brutes with clubs. Ironic that it was soldiers that ended up earning the glory the song writes love to doddle about. Alistair looked at Ulfric with renewed appreciation and respect for the man who he was quickly garnering a great liking for.

"Well said."

With the archery competition coming to a close the days festivities were over, making way for the nights entertainment and the masquerade ball. Alistair dreaded the damned ball, he was never one for fancy parties and would rather prefer drinking with a few close friends rather than a entire hall full of people he didn't even like. As the benches began to clear Alistair and Ulfric rose and Alistair shook the king of Ostwall's hand one last time before departing.

"Ulfric, you and your family will be my guests at my table tonight. Perhaps with you to swap war stories with I wont want to pitch myself off one of the towers by the end of the night. Don't leave me alone with these people, eh?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson

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Ulfric looked truly and utterly out of place in the midst of the masquerade. Following some unspoken custom, he had made it his priority to dance with Genevieve for the first song. Unfortunately, he had never been a talented dancer. He moved about in a cumbrous way, most likely stepping once of twice on her trip and perhaps tripping over them more than that. In reality, he hadn't paid attention to the dance. Even though he was not a fan of the dances, he certainly was not that crude. No. Instead, he pondered his life for a moment. It seemed to him that he had grown more philosophical as the years went on. Perhaps that was what happened to one who had a kingdom to preside over, who had to make severe decisions.

His conversation with Alistair seemed to come back to haunt him. For a moment, he felt much like a caged bear, trained and dressed to entertain the wealthy humans who stood around him. He was a warrior, not a king. His eyes darted about behind his mask, and it caused him to nearly lead Genevieve into a nearby couple. The song ended then, however, and he quickly blinked his eyes as if focusing them. Lightly, he gripped her hand in his and raised the pale flesh to his lips. "If you will pardon me now, my love..." he said, cutting himself off slowly. "Sitting down all day made my legs a bit stiff. I'll be at our table if you...want to dance again." He almost didn't dare offer to dance again, but that was a loving thing to do, no?

Occasionally, it pained him to be unable to provide for Genevieve the way he had hoped he had provided for Freya. Still, she seemed happy enough. She seemed to have found a friend in each of his children, a thing he had certainly worried about when she first arrived. In fact, he had highly doubted she would be as friendly with any of them, especially Ronan, as she was now. But Ronan was an enigma, and Ulfric knew there was little point in analyzing it. He smiled quickly at Genevieve, but it was easy to tell it was partially forced.

He retreated to the head table where Alistair had promised to place him and his family. He was the only soul at the table until a servant gave him a goblet of wine. He would have certainly preferred ale or beer, something to remind him of home in the midst of the festivities. Still, the wine was good enough. Anything to ease his anxiety.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir

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Corianna fiddles with the fabric on her dress. She was dressed in a black and white dress with a black mask and felt thoroughly ridiculous. Her hair was pulled up so tight that it hurt her head and her dress barely gave her room to breathe. She wished she had the guts to tell her servants to respect her wishes more because her dresses today had not impressed her at all.

She had no idea what to do. Her place at parties was usually sitting next to her mother and watching the dancers and looking "like a princess". But now that was not an option. So she just watches the dancers for a while. They looked so elegant. She wanted to dance, But who would dance with a thirteen year old? Maybe her brother, but he would most probably be busy. An exasperated sigh escapes her mouth. This was not how she wanted to spend her evening.

She watches her father dance with Genevieve. Corianna didn't dislike her, but did not like her. She would never consider Genevieve anything like her mother. Corianna was polite enough to her and she planned to stay that way, even if she was carrying her new sibling. That was exciting for her, but she always wondered if her father thought it strange that he was with someone nearlly the same age as his daughter, but that was none of her business so she dare not ask.

Slowly she made her way over to her families table and sat her self down carefully.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir

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Since his father had taken the opportunity to dance first with Genevieve, Ronan was left alone. Or, at least, he had been left alone until he came across Corianna. It had been quite some time since he'd had a chance to speak with his younger sister. A smile crossed his features as he approached her and crouched slightly. "May I have this dance, my lady?" She almost didn't manage to get a response out before he took her hand and led her out on to the floor behind him. Quickly, Ronan adjusted his mask. There was a height difference of about ten inches between the two siblings, but once they began to dance together, it was easily disregarded. His gaze moved about for a bit before he finally looked back at Cori.

"You look like Mother tonight," he remarked, smiling down at her. "You'll soon have every man in Ostwall, and perhaps further, vying for your hand." He laughed to himself before spinning her about. "But you probably won't want to have anything to do with them." They spun together now, and he lifted her briefly off of the floor so that the spin moved more smoothly.

The song slowly came to an end, and Ronan kissed her hand properly before they parted. Looking up now, he could see Ulfric doing the same to Genevieve. The older man then turned and moved toward the table, leaving her available for a dance."Stay out of trouble, Cori," he called over his shoulder as he left her. "And do leave some room in your busy schedule for another dance with your big brother."

He approached Genevieve from behind and leaned over her shoulder slowly. The urge to kiss at her neck nearly overwhelmed him, for the perfume she had applied earlier that evening was intoxicating. Ronan couldn't, of course. Not here at least. "Care to dance?" he asked, pitching his voice just above the music. When she turned to face him, he was already prepared to take her hand in his while placing his other hand on her waist.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham

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"Love is essential, but
gregariousness is optional."

โ€• Susan Cain

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
The air was alive with chatter and laughter, and casual conversations and introductions were forgotten on the spot between enthusiastic maidens who never really knew each other's names. Laughter was easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups changed more swiftly, swelled with new arrivals, dissolving and forming in the same breath. The fruits they nibbled on were so ripe they exploded in your mouthโ€”melons, peaches, fireplums, most had never tasted such sweetness. Tables lining the stone walls were laden down, practically bursting with food and summerwines so expensive and so good that one could get drunk just breathing the air. Everyone was fat and drunk and rich, well everyone that was someone. People that lived worlds apart from Renly Arryn.

A nobody like Ren had to learn to notice things, to read the truth that people hid behind their eyes, and he didn't miss a beat now. His King was observing all the courtesies, but there was tightness in him that Renly had seldom seen before. Ulfirc said little, looking out over the hall with hooded eyes, seeing nothing. Perhaps balls, galas, and masquerades were not enjoyable affairs to him; they certainly weren't for Renly. Ren hovered around the desert table awkwardly now, a wine goblet in hand, trying his best to look occupied, swaying in time to the music. He wasn't sure why he bothered, it wasn't as if anyone was going to approach him...unless they mistook him for someone important. With that thought, he lowered his mask, which was plain and black--lacking any ornament, so everyone could ascertain for themselves, that there were other people more worth their time. Not that he was antisocial...he was just not in his element, more rather ill at ease among swirls and eddies of people he didn't know.

The royals in attendance were great disappointments to him. The castle servants back in Ostwall spoke of this group often: the peerless nobility, the fiercest warriors of the realm, giants among princes. Ren saw only fat men, red-faced under their beards, sweating through their silks. They waltzed like they were half in their cups; old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles; holding each other tortuously, fashionably, and keeping in the corners. Their partners weren't much better. The women had their hair so tightly pinned, and dresses so far cinched, that he wondered at how they could move at all, let alone dance. He didn't find it attractive, but judging by the hungry look on the gentlemen's faces, everyone else must have.

Renly chuckled openly as one couple just barely avoided collision with another, drunken apologies murmured as they spun away to a less cluttered part of the dance floor. In truth, He had two left feet, so he couldn't judge. Ren had never been a dancer, his limbs were too long and spindly and tripped him up at every available opportunity.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson

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Genevieve smiled through the entire disastrous dance with her husband, properly - although reluctantly- playing her part for Ronan despite how much she just wanted the bloody deed to be done. But she knew there was still plenty of waiting and acting to still be done. She was thankful for her eyes beneath her mask feigning happiness, even though she knew Ulfric wasn't smart enough to be able to tell her faux emotions from the real. As Ulfric excused himself and walked off, she waved with a smile and sighed in disappointment once he had left. She lifted her head to peer over the crowd, searching for Ronan until she felt a calming warmth behind her. Her face lit up with joy and she giggled at his query, turning and instantly being pulled into the next dance.

"Of course." She purred, placing a hand lightly on his shoulder as if it wer almost hovering, staring at him beneath hooded eyes. "You look so handsome tonight." She stated playfully, making it still sound like something a mother would say to her some from an outside view. It was so much more relaxing to be close to Ronan, it took much more effort than it should to remain calm without him near. But, when she was with him all of her problems seemed to melt away. It was funny though, because when she was with him she actually had more trouble than ever. There was the danger of being caught, and of their plans falling through, and others catching on to their romance. Genevieve pushed the thoughts from her mind, moving her hand to the meeting of Ronan's neck and his shoulder, running her thumb along his jaw slowly.

"Don't you think that we should make sure your shoulder isn't hurt too badly?" She inquired, lifting an eyebrow as she placed her hand back over it and frowned with concern.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson

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"And you look absolutely gorgeous," he replied, not worrying to change the pitch of his voice. He doubted anyone would be listening either way. What had first drawn him to her, he could not say. Perhaps he would never be able to say. But he loved her, and that certainly was enough for him. If he had a calming effect on her, then she utterly placated him. Around her, he was, put simply, not himself. He was loving, perhaps, and he showed a side of him that easily would not have existed without her presence.

Ronan leaned slightly into her touch, a smile beginning to spread across his lips as he did so. He could have kissed her in that moment, taken her in his arms and embraced her not as a mother but as a lover. Society, however, dictated that one ought not to do such things to a married woman. More importantly, a woman married to oneโ€™s father. Society, however, had no jurisdiction behind closed doors. At least in his mind it did not.

โ€Itโ€™s feeling a bit better...but perhaps we truly should look at it,โ€ he said, trying to fight back a smirk but ultimately failing. Quickly, he gripped her hand and started to weave through the crowd toward the hall. Others would walk through the hallways though. In all honesty, the only place they could truly be alone would be his room.

The walk there was perhaps the longest one of his life. In reality, it took perhaps a minute or so. When they were finally behind closed doors, he pulled her up against himself quickly, eagerly. Emotion washed over him as he kissed her heatedly, far more so than he had earlier that day, for now they were alone. One arm wrapped around her waist, and the other snaked up her back, cradling her head. He paused for a bit, leaning his forehead against hers.

"I would murder that fool right now to be able to kiss you like this in public," he breathed. A soft chuckle escaped through his lips afterwards. It certainly wasn't a lie. In fact, he'd been quickly growing more and more sick of his father. He only needed to find a perfect moment to strike. In the mean time, however, he kissed her again with the smirk still on his lips.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir

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Ulfric looked up slowly from the goblet of ale he was nursing. He couldn't remember how many this made, but it didn't matter now. Either way, he knew how to hold his alcohol. These parties tended to upset him, sending him into what could be called a temporary depression. These days, however, this depression tended to drag out. He thought back to his conversation with Alistair. All of these fake kings. Fake nobles. They failed to understand what true leadership took. With experience in combat, how is one supposed to know how to truly lead others? They simply don't.

No, he had never been a benevolent leader, but that's not what Ostwall had needed. Ostwall needed a figure to hold together various clans of nearly-wild men. In that respect, hopefully, he would be viewed as a success.

Thinking of Alistair caused him to wonder where the King of Seabel had gotten to. Years at these gatherings had told him that Alistair would simply be lurking about on the sides, without a want to dance. Ulfric had assumed the younger monarch would have joined him by now, having made him a guest at his own table, but he was nowhere to be seen until he looked toward the throng of dancers again. A sense of betrayal struck him then. Alistair had claimed to be one of Ulfric's "kind", the warriors who had been made into kings. But he danced with an elegance that Ulfric had never known.

At the same time, however, he could remember dancing with Freya back when she had lived. He could remember the smiles and exchanged laughs as he trampled over her feet. Perhaps Alistair was still a warrior. Perhaps he still had some fight left in him. Ulfric certainly hoped so. This realm could not survive on just one warrior monarch.

Another coupled caught his eye this time: Ronan and Genevieve. Whereas she had not so much as smiled when she danced with Ulfric, Genevieve now beamed up at Ronan in a way quite similar to how Freya had beamed up at Ulfric. His jaw tightened. No. He clasped his hands together before him and pressed his lips against the knuckles. It couldn't be. But it only made sense. It explained the long periods of time they had spent in the gardens, the nights she had left him to wander about. But he was not angry at her. He couldn't be when he failed to provide for her what she deserved: a husband her age. No, it was Ronan's fault.

But Celia joined them then, and he was torn from his thoughts as he listened to his daughters talk amongst themselves. Celia's wisdom was something that, even almost twenty years after her birth, continued to shock him. It was something he had never possessed, had never been able to possess, and it gave him hope. Again, he wished he could name her his successor, for Ronan certainly did not possess her skill.

"Aye," he said softly, entering their conversation without being asked to. "But at these gatherings, people often replace those masks they wear everyday with ones that are more truthful."
He was surprised at this remark, but perhaps it did contain some truth, for people often believed the presence of a physical mask provided them protection from their actions, however despicable they were.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson

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Genevieve didn't even bother to see if the old man was watching as Ronan pulled her off so the two could be alone together. She couldn't prevent herself from giggling uncontrollably as they neared his room, enthusiastically wrapping her arms around him and returning the passionate kiss. As his arms snaked around her body, she quickly took the opportunity to toss her mask aside and let her hair down, the curls falling down around her shoulders. A small sigh of happiness escaped her as the two sat in one anotherโ€™s embrace.

Ronan spoke, but it was clear to see from the outside he didnโ€™t want to think of such things now and so he pushed them aside by using Genevieveโ€™s lips as the perfect distraction. It would be stupid to say that Genevieve didnโ€™t want to focus just on her lover right now either, but if they could strategize, why not try and give him some small advice? Reluctantly, she pushed Ronan back for a moment. โ€œWhy not just kill him as soon as we can then..?โ€ She murmured, her brow knitting. โ€œIsnโ€™t there a hunt tomorrow?โ€ Her face returned back to its devilishly innocent state as she smiled. โ€œDonโ€™t you think that there would be some father-son time where youโ€™d be apart from the others?โ€ Genevieve quirked an eyebrow, prompting him as she slowly ran her fingers along the neck of his shirt.

โ€œIf we can get him out of the way thenโ€ฆโ€ She began, kissing his jaw and slipping his mask off. โ€œWhy wait?โ€ Her cat like eyes gleamed mischievously as she stepped forward, moving both of them closer to the bed. โ€œHm?โ€

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Simon Bjornson Character Portrait: Guy Bjornson

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Simon had been standing outside Guy's guest room door for nearly half of an hour before his brother opened the door. "What, decided to hand sew your own outfit?" Simon asked, annoyed that his brother wouldn't let him in and wouldn't tell him why. "Of coure not, I was rather busy with my mask thank you very much. It was too drab and plain. That and I had to finish something," Guy says simply with a shrug.

Simon nodded as he caught a glimpse of a canvas leaning against a bookshelf in Guy's room. He adjusted his own mask to make the strings go over his ear since it seemed to keep slipping slightly out of place. "Did you bring a book?" Guy asked as he caught a glimpse of the book in Simon's hands. Guy shook his head, wondering about his brother. He really had fallen in love with reading hadn't he? Even though the two had only been reading for a year or so, they were pretty advanced with it. "Parties are boring and you know that," Simon says as the two walk towards the sound of a ball. "I still don't get why we have to come. Just because we have a title doesn't mean anything. You know that. We hardly act like Ronan ever, so why do we have to be lumped in with his same title? Not including the heir to the throne and all..." Guy drawled. He loved and hated parties.

Simon shrugged. In all honesty, he was glad for the title, it allowed him to see the inner workings of diplomacy and allowed for the highest education possible. "Just try not to get slapped tonight, you've been known to do that," Simon muttered under his breath to Guy as they entered the ball only to have a few people that they recognized from the tournament this morning leave. "What's the fun in that?" Guy asked with a smile as the two made their way into the throng.

Guy followed Simon as Simon searched for a rather secluded place to sit and read. Guy hated that his brother wasn't one for a party, but only their uncle could force Simon to dance, well, perhaps Ronan too, but other than that, nobody else, besides maybe a neighboring king, but that doesn't matter. "Don't go back to the rooms before telling me, I'd join you," Guy says before looking around. He spotted a lady that was staring at the dancers and was about to move in to invite her to a dance when Simon asked, "Are you wanting to go on the hunt tomorrow?" Guy shrugged, he really didn't want to, he would much rather lock himself in his room though he knew that might not go over well with the others.

"Let's talk to uncle and ask if we can get out of that, I know you aren't too keen on killing animals," Guy says softly before moving to accept a flute of champagne. He took tiny sips, not wanting to drink a lot. Guy left his brother in search of their uncle and saw him with Celia. "Hello uncle, if I could just steal a moment, I wanted to ask you about the hunt tomorrow. Do we need to go?" Guy asked knowing his uncle would understand the "we" as Guy and Simon, it wasn't hard to figure it out since the two were always around each other.

Simon sat in a corner on a column's base, a book in his hand. He wasn't really paying attention to the world around him as he sat in the shadows, entirely focused on his book.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Guy Priestas Character Portrait: Simon Priestas

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Her hair, now cascading down her shoulders, was far easier for him to weave his fingers through. As one hand continued to stay wrapped about her waist, he ran his other hand's fingers through her golden hair. Ronan's lips seemed to subconsciously yearn for her as she pushed him back for a moment, for they remained slightly puckered.

She was, quite honestly, quite brilliant. Yes, he was intelligent, but Genevieve had a certain cat-like slyness about her that Ronan often failed to possess. But he was convincing, a man who could easily talk his way out of the deepest pits. And that was why they would easily be able to kill Ulfric.

"It's perfect," he breathed, grinning like a small child might grin having been presented with a long-awaited gift. And to Ronan, that was precisely what it was. He had awaited this moment for too long now. Two years, perhaps, Ulfric had lived alongside the man who plotted his murder. And the old man thought nothing of it. "It's exactly what we've waited for, my darling." She may have felt the quick jerk of a laugh he gave while kissing his jaw.

There was a moment where he merely looked down at her, absolutely captivated by the moment. By her beauty. By her plan. By the justice that he would serve. It was a long-awaited justice, one he knew would be incomparably sweet to him. In the next moment, he had picked her up in his arms and swung her about for a heartbeat in a loving embrace.

And then he released her on the bed and followed her down on to the plush covers, his lips connecting with hers once more as the ignorant old fool went about his business without, as far as Ronan knew, any knowledge of what was going on behind the closed doors of the bedroom.








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The fool was once more lost in his thoughts, far too overwhelmed by what he had seen or what he had thought he had seen. He could only pray to the Gods that it was the latter. He needed someone to turn to. Freya. But she was dead, and she would remain dead. He had never been close enough with his children to confide in them, something he slowly, in this moment, began to regret.

But there was a voice to his side, and once more he was pulled out of his reverie. He had forgotten about the hunt, quite honestly. It was a welcome escape from the formality of the rest of the celebration. And it would provide a moment, he prayed, to confront Ronan about his concerns. "It would be rude to not attend, Guy," he replied. "It is a sacrifice I am certain you and Simon can make for the day."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir

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Corianna was getting lost in yet another of daydream, this one more extravagant than usual. Everybody appeared to be dancing in their underwear. She smiled to herself when her sister walked over, she looked oh so graceful."What is it about masques that makes people so happy, Corianna?Is it something about the atmosphere of mystery and intrigue? After all, even with a mask, everyone knows whom you truly are because we wear masks in our lives everyday." She opened her mouth to reply, "I.." but then her father joined in. "Aye," he said softly "But at these gatherings, people often replace those masks they wear everyday with ones that are more truthful."

She became confused, what did they mean by masks? With a bit of thought she figured that they were implying that everybody was faking who they truly were. But why? She never quite understood the politics between the kingdoms, and she preferred to stay out of it. Sure she knew that there was tension but did this go deeper than she thought. She fidgeted with her fingers "I don't quite understand. Are you saying everybody is hiding who they really are? Why would they do that?"