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The Price of Blood

Tibera

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a part of The Price of Blood, by Scarlet Loup.

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Scarlet Loup holds sovereignty over Tibera, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

1,418 readers have been here.

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Tibera

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Minimap

Tibera is a part of The Price of Blood.

21 Characters Here

Ronan Ulfricson [35] "If you think anyone is sane you just don't know enough about them."
Ulfric Bjornson [32] "One man's oppression is another's benevolence."
Nicholas Brigham [31] Power does not corrupt people, people corrupt power
Christoph Edwards [28] "How do we begin to covet? We begin by coveting what we see every day."
Celia Ulfricdottir [25] "Nobody has the right to choose who you are going to be. That choice belongs to you."
Alistair Lannister [25] "By what right does the wolf judge the lion?"
Rosalie Lannister [25] "Such selfish prayers and I can't get enough..."
Renly Arryn [25] "Ideals are peaceful. History is violent."
Genevieve Hansdottir [22] "I'm not some weak little girl anymore"
Loras Edwards [22] "Power resides where men belive it resides."

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Guy Priestas Character Portrait: Simon Priestas
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Simon had gone to bed rather late for whatever reason. Guy had stayed downstairs dancing the night away with various women and eventually taking a break before resuming his dancing. How Guy was a wonderful dancer, yet horrible sympathizer was beyond Simon. Simon had sat back and enjoyed his book up until a women had asked him to dance for whatever reason and he was forced to stand and do a dance with her, then the next lady who asked, then the next one. Simon was almost positive the ladies had just mixed him and Guy up.

ImageNow Simon stood anxiously next to his horse, carefully adjusting the saddle while waiting for his brother to show up. Simon had been told by Guy what Ulfric said, yet he wasn't even here himself yet. Soon the hunt would begin and his brother hadn't even showed up to participate in activities with those who were staying behind. Groaning, Simon mounted his horse. The squire that stood nearby with Guy's horse looking around, not anxious, just curious as to where the noble had gotten.

Simon looked up to see his uncle and his cousin converse nearby before leaving. Ulfric called something to Celia that made Simon furrow his brow, confused as to why Ulfric would say something along those lines. Simon considered joining them, but figured it wouldn't be too good of an idea. He was still sure that Guy would come forth and show himself with a rumpled look to him and a large smile on his face. Everyone else had arrived it appeared. Guy was literally the last man to show up, if you thought a seventeen year old as a man. If a fifteen year old was a king, why not consider a seventeen year old a man?

"Guy, where are you?" Simon mutters under his breath as he turns his horse in a circle, trying to spot his brother from the castle in the distance. Perhaps he had just slept in too much and was still sleeping. That's what he'd been telling himself for the past hour as he had gone through the motions of preparing for the hunt without his brother. Simon did hope that their uncle didn't get mad at Guy. It had been rather clear.

Simon saw a familiar face in the crowd and smiled slightly upon seeing the squire assisting him during their stay at the castle approach. He didn't look too happy about his news. "Sir, your brother, he told me to tell you he will meet you in the woods," The squire states, bending over to catch his breath. Simon groaned softly again. What was Guy up to? He saw a few people getting ready to begin and followed them, hoping Guy would be true to his word, Simon took off on the hunt with a few others, bow in hand.

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Guy stood from his seat he had taken to stare at the partially blank canvas. The rain had fallen causing a spider web outside on his balcony to have drops of rain running along the strands. He had resigned himself to capture the beautiful image before it dried or the spider came to tear it down. He didn't know what he'd do if the spider showed up, perhaps kill it since he didn't like spiders.

ImageGuy was currently trying to figure out how to start. Should he paint the web starting with the droplets or the web itself? And how would he capture the web itself when it took him adjusting his view of the web in order to see the delicate strands. He sighed and decided it was time for a break. He had set everything up, so his break wasn't done after entirely nothing, just mostly nothing. He looked out the window, beyond the web to see the hunt commencing.

He didn't have any plans on joining his brother. Sure he had said he'd join, and his uncle had told him to join, but that didn't mean he wanted to, or would. Perhaps someone other than his brother and cousins would try to defend him. It wasn't like he was entirely alone in the world, just mostly, like his preparation of the painting. His brother would be mad, and possibly ignore Guy for a day or two, then he would forgive Guy and the two would love each other again and resume studying and practicing together in their spare time.

Guy resumed staring at the canvas before picking up the paintbrush nearby and gently beginning the work, deciding it best to begin with the web itself, then add the water droplets on as if they were gently placed there by himself, with his own fingers, not his paintbrush. Guy watched with a smile as his web began to take shape. He was pretty sure his shirt wouldn't ever be clean again thanks to him using it for a rag rather than an actual rag.

Guy looked at what he had so far and smiled. On the canvas sat a well put together web that didn't look exactly the way he wanted it to, but close enough. Nothing he ever painted looked exactly as he wanted it to, it just wasn't possible considering he couldn't capture every single aspect. He always saw the painting as incomplete yet everyone else who had seen his work, his brother and servants, thought they looked identical to the real life model. In Guy's eyes however, they looked like trash and he wished he could just dump each and everyone of them. He would have had it not been for his not wanting to waste the precious paint and canvas.

Guy slowly set his brush down and moved to lay on his bed before remembering his shirt and instead moving to lean against the door frame yet again. If he could, he'd trap his brother in here and let him read and study to his heat's content while Guy painted. He didn't really love anyone in a romantic way, and sometimes wished he did, but shook his head, pushing the hopeful thoughts away. He couldn't, not yet, not until his brother would finally find someone worth loving and love her and then, well, not consider any other ladies at all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir
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"That's a good question, Cori. Let me ask you: how would you react to someone holding a dagger up to your face rather than someone offering you a cup of tea? Undoubtedly, you would feel more comfortable with the person offering you tea. They have that warm smile and they look trustworthy, so you take the cup. However, when you drink from the cup, it is the last thing you ever do because it was poisoned. Now, was the person offering you the cup trustworthy or were they wearing a mask? What was their intention?"

It took a while for Corianna to process this. She then gathered that she meant that all of these people were hiding their true selves in order to look good in front of all the other kingdoms. "They were... Always going to kill you, even if it did not appear so." She said quietly and slowly, scrunching her eyebrows. Corianna then looked around at all the others in the room. Would it one day come down to killing each other? This was all very confusing for her.

After the ball she went to her room. It took her ages to fall asleep. She was still thinking about what Celia said. Was the Ostwall in danger? Was her father and siblings in danger? Was she? She had to count herself to sleep so her brain would slow down. "1...2...3...4...5" She continued quietly until she fell asleep. Corianna would ask her father soon.

*

When she awoke she got up and stared at her trunk. What would be suitable for horse riding? She wondered. After eventually picking something out, and quickly getting dressed before the servants came, she sat on her bed and fiddled with her fingers until Celia awoke and for the time being forgot about what she had learnt yesterday.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham
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๏ผกx๏ผฐ๏ผจ๏ผฏ๏ผฅ๏ผฎ๏ผฉ๏ผธ๏ผจ๏ผฅ๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผดx&x๏ผฃ๏ผก๏ผง๏ผฅ๏ผคx๏ผข๏ผฉ๏ผฒ๏ผคx๏ผฃ๏ผฏ๏ผฌ๏ผฌ๏ผก๏ผข๏ผฏ๏ผฒ๏ผก๏ผด๏ผฉ๏ผฏ๏ผฎ

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๏ผฎ๏ผฉ๏ผฃ๏ผจ๏ผฏ๏ผฌ๏ผก๏ผณx๏ผข๏ผฒ๏ผฉ๏ผง๏ผจ๏ผก๏ผญ
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Renly blushed minutely, it was a secret talent of his to find the best boltholes. There was no kid in the city who had a more natural affinity for scouting out places to be alone with one's thoughts or to hide away from the world. He soon located a dry patch of grass under a relatively young beech and settled down, sighing contentedly at the sights around him. "You'd think with all their capital, they'd spend it helping out the less fortunate and not on big, fancy dinner parties and lavish gardens..." Ren commented idly. "That's what I'd do if I were rich, you know. Drop every coin I had on cleaning up the slums...and then maybe I'd construct an elaborate garden of my own, but I'd place right in the town square for everyone to stroll through and enjoy on their days off." He explained wistfully. The idea of a public garden brought a faint smile to his lips, why was it the rich were always so greedy? Renly could do so much with so little...He glanced around the copse of trees, eyes chasing after the spattering of moonlight dancing through the branches. He wanted to commit this place to memory before he was made to go back 'home.' "What do you think? What would you do if you were suddenly given more money than you knew what to do with? What would you spend it on?" Ren met Nicholas' gaze, the kings eyes showing the years of his life; rings of aged brown like what hid in the trunks of the trees around them.

Nicholas swallowed, suddenly nervous that Renly knew his identity. He took a deep breath, letting out a small chuckle when he realized that Renly's question was purely innocent, "I honestly have no idea," He answered, his mind beginning to whir. He was king, he had the power to do everything Renly had suggested, and yet he hadn't. In truth, the thought had never crossed his mind. He didn't think himself to be selfish, but perhaps he was being so. Still, if he was to put Renly's ideas into action, there would be the small matter of convincing Christoph that it was a good idea. Somehow, Nicholas doubted that the elder man would be enamored with the idea. "I suppose that the people who rule should be as much a servant of the people, as the people are of the rulers. Not that everyone seems to see it that way." Nicholas rather gracelessly sat down by Renly, "Perhaps the world would be a better place if more of those in power thought like you Renly."

Nicholas had phrased it so elegantly that Renly was left stumbling over his words when he was suddenly paid yet another compliment. He cleared his throat in an awkward manner and nodded in response. "Thank you, and well spoken." He was trying to learn how to take a compliment now instead of just vehemently denying it, that was just good manners. He still could not fathom how he could be so deserving of praise though, he was just the little rat from the poorest district of the city. The bastard child, not this what Nicholas made him out to be.

Despite the nervous tension hanging about the pair, there was an effortless cadence growing there, their conversation falling more easily by the passing hour. Renly fervently wished the other boy wouldn't be so guarded with his opinions and would share more of himself, but for the time being, he was content to just enjoy their banter and their wishful thinking...that was, until the hour became late and the cold began to seep into their bones. By the time Renly bothered to glance up at the sky again and break their colloquy, the moon was already halfway across the black, making it's inexorable march away from the gathering dawn that would soon thread it's way outward overhead. He leapt up from the languid position his body had reached, sprawled on the grass, shock over taking him. "Is it that late already?!"" he softly cried, running a hand though his hair, mussing it up so that it stuck up at all sorts of odd angles. He hadn't anyone to answer to, no chamber maids or footmen that would be up waiting on his return, that would report back to a disapproving parent or maester, but still...He needed to be getting back.

Nicholas untied the strings of his mask, figuring there was no harm in Renly seeing his face. He dropped the mask into his lap as they spoke. Nicholas chose his words carefully, not wanting to let slip that he was a king. He was starting to realize that Renly was smart; smart and compassionate. It wouldn't take much for Renly to figure him out. He didn't want that just yet. He would tell Renly in good time, but for now, Nicholas was quite content to just talk to the boy as his equal, not as a social superior.

As their conversation continued, the air cooled until Nicholas could see his breath floating in the air. His nose was cold, no doubt beginning to turn red as well. Still, a little cold and dark was bearable. Nicholas was rather slower getting to his feet than Renly, reluctant to leave just yet, but it seemed that Renly was adamant. No doubt he would face some awkward questions about where he was from Christoph. He could deal with that in the morning."I suppose it is," he answered, looking up at the moon, rather surprised to see it so far across the sky. Nicholas looked back to Renly. The light of the moon shone just so that Renly's face was illuminated, a soft shadow falling across his eyes. He was...well Nicholas wasn't quite sure what the word was. "I suppose I'll see you around, then?" He asked shyly, worried that Renly might say 'no'.

Renly halted in his panic about the time only to panic further. His heart was a flutter with excitement and perhaps not for completely savory reasons. With a bit more than friendship weighing on his mind he nodded, doing his best to conceal the resulting gulp of air he took. "I'd like that." He felt a little light headed, like he was drowning but it wasn't altogether unpleasant. He wasn't sure if they should leave off with hand shake or just bid each other farewell, but before he really was aware of himself, he had leaned in and pecked the boy king on the cheek, softly and sweetly. As he pulled back, his eyes broadened as his mouth fell open. Had he really just done that? What if Nicholas was disgusted, repelled by his action? Would he take it up with the courts? Renly's king? Have him put out of the castle or worse stoned or flogged? He stood there locked in place, not sure what to do next, cursing his body for uncharacteristically having not been connected with his mind.

Nicholas could feel his cheeks warm as Renly placed a small kiss on his cheek. He felt a warmth grow in his chest, spreading through his veins. He knew enough to know that he wasn't supposed to feel like this if another boy kissed him, but this felt more right than kissing Priscilla. He looked up to Renly. Seeing the terror in his eyes, Nicholas felt he knew what had to happen, or at the very least what he wanted to happen. He raised a hand to Renly's cheek, gently lowering Renly's face towards his own, brushing their lips together in the softest of kisses. Hopefully Renly would be calmer now. Nicholas knew he certainly felt more comfortable, as if all the tension between them had vanished in the simple act, "Then I shall see you tomorrow, yes?" Nicholas asked, feeling a little bolder.

Renly just beamed, feeling Nicholas' breath hot against his face. He was dumbfounded, awestruck. He rested his forehead against the kings and replied with a faint, hushed "Yes." There was no word to describe the taste of moments when people began waltzing right into your heart, into your bloodstream. But whatever that word was, he could taste it now, in that kiss. This was romance budding; brand new and it was all very exhilarating. But poor Renly Arryn had no clue the surprise he had in store and that this little tryst was more than likely doomed from the start. He went to bed that night with the thought of meeting up with Nicholas the next day tracing the outlines of his dreams.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham
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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”€
๏ผฒ๏ผฅ๏ผฎ๏ผฌ๏ผนx๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผฒ๏ผน๏ผฎ
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"Little by little, the old world crumbled,
and not once did the king imagine that
some of the pieces might fall on him."

โ€• Jennifer Donnelly

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A chamber maid shook Ren roughly from pleasant dreams and wordlessly led him out of the castle. He stumbled into the mid morning chill, groggy from sleep, to find his horse saddled and the king already mounted. There was nothing to do but rub the sleep from his eyes, dress, and mount up. They had a hunt to set out on and the king waited for no man.

The royals set the pace, and driving his black destrier hard, Ren galloped along beside them, trying his best to keep up. He called out a question as they rode, but the wind blew his words away, and Ulfric did not hear him. After that Renly rode in silence. The sun, high in the sky, sent fingers of light through the pale white mist left behind by an earlier morning rain. He looked to his prince, who rode closely with his father and frowned, an uneasy feeling settling in in the pit of his stomach. Sometimes it seemed Ronan was as cold as a Northern winter and sharp as a slap from an old, angry drunkard, as hard as Ostwall armor and wicked as the jokes young boys used to whisper to each other during mass. The murky day seemed foreboding and Renly couldn't quite pinpoint why. He quelled his anxiety by keeping his head on a swivel, eyes searching for a familiar dark swatch of hair and a set of warm brown eyes. Would his Nicholas be out on the hunt, carrying some knight or king's pack supplies and spare weaponry like Ren? Or was he back at the castle all snug and warm, still tucked in his bed or perhaps having a late breakfast or an early lunch?

No matter how tired Renly was now, dragging on with this exercise deprived of a long sleep, he could not be made to regret his late night escapade to the garden. He was a romantic, and he was consumed with hope though little more had carried on save a night of conversation and a kiss between strangers. He was soon snapped out of his reverie and his search when the King and Prince pulled away from the group to set off on their own. He hesitated in his saddle, unsure if he should follow. If they wanted to be in each other confidences then he'd be in trouble for taking off after them; were they stalking after prey, they'd be furious he wasn't there to retrieve the kill. He mulled over his options carefully and opted to trail in their general direction within earshot but out of sight. If they called for him, he'd hear them; but if their voice never reached above a conversational volume, their exchange would remain secret.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Priscilla Edwards Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Tyrion Lannister Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre
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Nicholas rolled out of bed, his good mood dampened only by the fact they were going on a hunt today. If he saw Renly during the hunt, he would have a lot of explaining to do. Not that he didn't want to see Renly. He did, very much so. But he would just like to be prepared before he saw Renly again. And this, he reminded himself, is why being King was such a nuisance. You find a...

Nicholas sat up straight. What was Renly? They were certainly more than mere acquaintances, and yet 'friend' did not seem the right word for what they were. Nicholas fancied he could still feel the warmth of Renly's lips against his own. No, 'friend' was certainly the wrong word to use and yet Nicholas could not think of a suitable word to describe his relationship with Renly. 'Paramours' seemed too grand and romantic. He doubted a small kiss was enough to grant such a title. Anyway, when you were king and found a new companion, there was always the little voice wondering if they just wanted to get close for the power that came with being favoured by the king. If they didn't know he was a king, as was the case with Renly he assumed, then that doubt faded but there was the inevitability of being discovered.

Nicholas shook his head, clearing his thoughts, though thoughts of the taller boy lingered. He looked out the window and saw raindrops trickling down the glass. And they were still going to hunt in this? Perhaps it would clear up. That wouldn't be so bad. It would be a little muddy underfoot, but Raiden could cope with a little mud. Nicholas dressed himself and headed down to the stables to collect Raiden, collecting an apple from the bowl in his room before he left. If any of the people he saw on the way to the stables found it odd for the boy king to be so fine a mood, they didn't say. Nicholas found Raiden already saddled. He stroked Raiden's face before mounting the stallion. Riding out to the hunting tent, he found that the rain had indeed cleared. The scent of the damp grass was hanging in the air as Nicholas rode down to the hunting tent.

Reaching the tent, he dismounted, handing Raiden's reigns to a nearby servant. Seeing Christoph, he headed towards his advisor, curious as to the identity of the woman sat beside him. Nicholas couldn't recall seeing her before.

"I do hope someone puts me out of my misery if I'm ever that daft," He heard Christoph say.

"Well, that shouldn't be too long then Christoph," he laughed, taking a seat beside him as Tyrion passed by. While Christoph spoke to Tyrion, Nicholas let his eyes wander, searching for Renly. He was disappointed when he saw no sign of Renly, and Priscilla was notable by her absence, "Is Priscilla not joining us?" he asked Christoph.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson
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A silence had fallen between father and son as they rode through the trees at a brisk trot. Both knew why they were there, alone, but neither wanted to be the first to say something. It was Ronan who finally broke the silence with a cough followed by a few words. "Why are we out here? Alone?" Ulfric turned his upper body so that he faced Ronan for a moment. His lips parted, but they shut again as he faced forward.

"I thought we ought to spend time together," Ulfric lied. It rolled off his tongue with uncharacteristic ease. Ronan simply nodded, unsure whether he ought to believe the statement or not. Ten years ago, the first time he had been allowed to hunt with the adults, Ufric had taken the boy along with the others. Was he worried about their commotion scaring the game away, or was their something else he had in mind?

Ulfric's knees had been aching relentlessly for the past few hours, and now the mixture of low air pressure and riding made the ache nearly unbearable. He cleared his throat once. "I think we ought to dismount. The horses will spook anything around here."

"Agreed," Ronan replied, uncharacteristically soft spoken. His jaw tightened slightly as he adjusted his quiver and bow which were strung across his back. Both men dismounted in tandem, but Ulfric carried no weapons with him. In that moment, Ronan knew they were not simply out there to hunt. They walked a few paces before Ronan voiced his concerns. "Why are we really here, Father?"

He knew he could no longer hide from it, no longer pretend it was not happening. Ulfric turned to face his son, a expression of mixed disgust and disbelief plastered across his countenance. "How long have you loved her?"

His gut churned violently, but Ronan knew he couldn't reveal anything now. Not when he was this close. "Who, Father?" he replied, head tilting to the side to give him a boyish look despite his intimidating stature. He hardly had time to react before his father's hand connected with his cheek, causing Ronan's head to turn with the impact.

"You damn well know who I mean, boy," he snarled. "Do you think me blind? Daft?!" His face contorted with anger as he reached forward and gripped Ronan by the front of his doublet. "No son of mine would think this to be acceptable behavior. You are to rule a kingdom one day, and a king simply can not be as stupid as you are, boy." With a quick movement, Ulfric jerked him to the side and stormed past.

Ronan stood there for a moment, his hand to his reddening cheek, but as rage built within him, he reached into his quiver and pulled out not an arrow, but the tusk of a boar. He gripped it tightly by the base as he had when he pulled it from the trophy that hung over his room's fireplace last night. He would show him. He would show him who was weak, who was unfit to rule. He inhaled and then exhaled slowly before running up behind his father.

The King looked back to face the crunching of leaves and turned into the tip of the tusk. His breath caught as the boar's tusk cut through his flesh. Ronan gave it a sharp twist, tearing through tissue, and then he pulled it free. The pain that consumed his body was unlike any he had felt in battle. His gut seemed to burn as blood soaked through his doublet. The two stood for a moment in shock, Ulfric because he simply couldn't believe what had happened and Ronan because he couldn't believe he had done it. The dying King flung himself at Ronan, knocking the unprepared Prince to the forest floor as he grappled for the tusk.

For just a moment, Ulfric had the tusk in hand, and he brought it across Ronan's cheek, cutting the left side of his face. He was no match for his son, however, and the boy soon had the King on his back and the tusk through his chest. Red bubbled on Ulfric's lips, and he sputtered for air as his lungs filled with blood. "Do you wish to know the truth, old man?" he taunted, knowing the blood had filled his throat. "She carries my child, not yours." He smirked wickedly as he pulled the tusk again from his father's neck. "Are you proud of me, Father? I took the throne as you did, killed the King as you did."

Ulfric struggled feebly beneath his son, shaking his head slightly. He swallowed the blood that had gathered in his mouth, fighting to choke out final words. "...no son of mine.." he managed to rasp, but then the blood had filled his respiratory system again, literally drowning him in his own fluid as he continued to fight against Ronan. He knew it was futile, there was no winning this battle. In a last moment of strength, perhaps the last moment of strength he had felt in years, he spat upwards at Ronan, plastering blood to his face beside his already bleeding wound. And then he was still.




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Ronan, perched above his father and panting from the effort of holding down the man, simply knelt there for a moment. Ulfric Bjornson was no more. He was King. Genevieve was his Queen. He felt his cheek then, and his hand came away red from the blood. Good. It would look odd if he came away from this unscathed. He gathered his breath in his chest and, slowly, let lose a mournful cry.

They would come now, and so he mounted his horse, hoping to find them and lead them back to the body. The smirk fell from his face and was replaced by a look of panic and concern. As he rode, he noticed a shape moving towards him, and he pulled up on the reins once he recognized Renly. "Renly!" he cried, his entire body heaving now. "T-the King...h-he's...he's dead."

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Simon Priestas
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ImageSimon had followed along in the hunt, not really paying attention as he thought of his brother. Where was he? Sighing, Simon raised his bow as he saw a target and fired quickly and efficiently, taking down his target. A nearby boy ran to retrieve the prize though Simon hardly felt like celebrating. He was about to turn back and just go back to the tents when he heard a horrible sort of cry.

Simon moved towards the sound, seeing his cousin, Ronan, and his half cousin, Renly. Upon hearing Ronan's decree, Simon froze, ice taking over his veins. His uncle, dead? It wasn't possible, he was such a strong man of power, not even he could be felled, right? Simon shook his head as he stared at his cousin, finally noticing the blood on his face.

"No... You... Uncle..." Simon whispers looking towards where Ronan came from but not wanting to go see the horrible sight should Ronan be telling the truth. Why wouldn't he though? His father was dead. Simon felt something break in his chest, his second father, was gone. He had to tell Guy, no he couldn't tell Guy, it would break him.

Ronan looked as heartbroken as Simon felt. Simon let his bow drop in front of him in the saddle, not allowing himself to dismount for fear his legs wouldn't hold him. "That... How?" Simon manages through his stupor, wondering how this disaster could have come to be.

Simon breathed deeply, trying to recuperate. The breath was ragged and he felt more like he was breathing in glass rather than air. He looked to his cousin, finally realizing what this meant now. It was both good and bad he guessed. Good because it wouldn't be entirely chaotic with an heir, bad because Ulfric was dead, and Ronan didn't really like Guy.

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Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham
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ImageLucas woke with sunlight playing over his face in his room. He knew immediately he would be in trouble with someone. Nicholas probably wouldn't care all that much, but Lucas cared, greatly. He raced out of bed, pulling on his pants as he made his way to the door and throwing on his shirt as he was leaving the room. He was running down the hall of the barracks, slowly pulling article after article of clothing on while he tried to move quickly.

Where was his ward? Racing to Nicholas's room, Lucas knocked and upon hearing no answer, yanked the door open only to see the room empty. No, he was gone already. Racing down the stairs of the castle, Lucas nearly knocked a servant over.

He had gotten so caught up in last night with that girl. He hadn't been able to sleep, slept in, then missed being with Nicholas. Where was that boy king? Racing outside, he hoped the hunt hadn't already begun. He jumped onto his horse the stable boy had out having expected him for the hunt and took off only to see a set of tents. Perhaps Nicholas hadn't wanted to go. Lucas prayed the boy hadn't wanted to go as he raced for the larger tents.

He dismounted, passing the reins to a nearby squire without any explanation and ducking his head to look for Nicholas, smiling with relief as he saw the boy and the count. Straightening his appearance, Lucas walked in, hoping he appeared calmer than he felt, which was like chaos had narrowly been avoided. He hadn't even watched his ward last night. He could have been killed for his lack of completing his duty.

"There you are my king. Count," Lucas managed without gasping for air. He didn't like the formalities and was sure Nicholas wouldn't mind Lucas calling him just Nicholas in private, but out here, in front of everyone, well, the count could order his death should he want to.

Lucas wanted to collapse in relief but instead took up a spot by where Nicholas's seat was set. His friend would probably ask him about the girl last night, wondering how things went and where Lucas was this morning. He didn't want to face his friends questions, feeling guilty, but knew there wasn't going to be much of a choice. Besides, he kind of wanted to share his experience with the girl. He needed advice about handling relationships. Had he really just thought that?

So the hunt hadn't been attended by everyone and the count opted out as well as Nicholas, not an entire surprise, but surely a gratifying one.

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Simon Priestas
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๏ผฒ๏ผฅ๏ผฎ๏ผฌ๏ผนx๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผฒ๏ผน๏ผฎ
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"He shed a lake of blood and murdered a king
for a cold, lonely throne."
โ€• Jayne Castel

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No sooner had Renly heard the wail, he bolted in the king and prince's direction, slapping the reign's hard and driving his heels deep into his destrier's side. The second he made it into the trees, he dismounted with a skill and ease he didn't even know he possessed, and was on the ground and running before his horse even had a moment to catch it's breath. It was then, as he rounded the bend of an oak, the sight spilled out before him like some horrible farce of a stage play with Ulfric's name freshly written on the playbill in a spattering of blood instead of ink. Renly didn't know how to react, he felt as if he were falling over himself to read the act descriptionsโ€”but there was nothing there, nothing there but a facsimile of a son's face in pain and mourning hovering over the king. Ren's knees trembled and his body shook, wracked with shock. This was the man who offered him a home and a future, a man he didn't know too well, but one that had be unfailingly kind in his own stoic and quiet sort of way.

"Renly! T-the King...h-he's...he's dead." Ronan voiced, the sound of it hollowed and empty. The young ward stumbled over to the body instinctively, his legs catching on one another and tripping him up so that he just fell short of the corpse, face biting into a hard forest floor not softened by it's blanket of dampened leaves. He scrambled forward after that and pressed a trembling set of hands to the wound, hope still alight in his big blue eyes that had a sleepless night scrawled in bruises under them and were beginning to well up with tears.

Other shouts came in rolling waves, voices crying out like bands of seagulls squawking senselessly. He recognized Simon's somewhere a midst the white noise, Ulfric's nephew. He was asking the wrong questions, How? He should of been offering to help. Ren's clothes were now black and slick with blood as he still tried to keep pressure on the injury, and he began to wonder why it was him on his knees and not the king's son, Ronan. Did no one care about saving him? Renly was in denial, trying to save that which was already gone. A lost gust of wind offended the taciturn trees like the trembling premonition of the horrible future that prowled at their heels. Everything had changed. Renly should have followed after them, this was all his fault.

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Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Tyrion Lannister Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre
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Evelyne watched the skies as her horse walked forward at a relaxed pace, the scent of freshly soaked earth surrounding her, as she hummed an old song under her breath* it brought a sense of ease to her, as she shifted her eyes towards the various Lords that Christoph brought attention to, until her eyes landed on the elderly man he referred to now. She chuckled at his comment, before turning to him, "I'll make sure to see it happens." she teased gently, under her breath with a smirk, before Tyrion approached them. She watched Christoph and the Imp exchange words for a moment, before Nicholas Brigham approached.

Evelyne bowed her head as he upon herself and Christoph, before watching her Lord, and the King converse freely.

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(*For those curious, the tune was to that of Rains of Castamere, but with whatever the equivalent wording would be here in turn)

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Simon Priestas
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Dismounted now, Ronan watched the mournful Renly. It was difficult to stop from breaking out into a gleeful smile, difficult to maintain a face full of grief and mourning. Instead, Ronan settle for an expression of nothingness as if he had been broken by Ulfric's death. He hear another voice as he and Renly approached the corpse. Simon, he noted, hearing one of his younger cousin stammer and struggle for words to explain the situation. Ronan had not intended for either of the other men to follow him, but it certainly seem to be negatively affecting him. In fact, perhaps it would simply better his situation.

He wiped crocodile tears from his eyes as he stepped towards the fallen ward of his father. Renly would be his ward now, wouldn't he? A smart boy, most certainly, but he was too clever at times, and though Ronan himself had never been a stupid man, he couldn't help but be concerned that perhaps the young ward might prove to be more of a challenge than an asset. He was king now, however. Should the boy turn out to be too much of a burden, he would be cast out.

Simon's stammered question brought him to his senses once more. Ronan wiped the blood on his face as he wiped once more at tears he was still struggling to summon. The blood wiped across his face too, giving him the appearance of one of the ancient chieftains in modern Ostwall. He took a moment to gather a shuddering breath. "He wished to carry on our hunt by foot," he began softly. "I didn't...he didn't even..." Ronan gave himself a moment, lip beginning to quiver as he began to force himself to think of truly sad moments. Celia dying. Corianna dying. Genevieve dying. Freya dying. He wept wholeheartedly.

"T-the boar...he came up from...behind," Ronan started, the sobs truly causing his lower lip to quiver like a babe. In that moment, perhaps he would look weak, but in the long run, he would prove that he was not. He would make certain of that. "He hardly had time to react...and I tried to pull the v-vile thing from him, b-but...the damage had been d-done."

He slowly turned his attention back to Renly then, feebly and hopelessly attempting to staunch the bleeding with his hands. The front of the boy was drenched in the blood that had once coursed through Ulfric's body. Renly was making him look emotionless, fake...weak. Before he knew what he was doing, Ronan rushed forward and gripped the teenager by his shoulder. The sudden move would, most likely, catch Renly off guard and send him falling on to his back. "He is dead, damn it! Your sniveling won't bring him back!" Ronan cried as an ominous wind blew through the trees. Even through the treetops, it was easy to see that the storm was returning. Unlike his new ward, however, Ronan saw little symbolism in it. "We need to...his body must move." He spoke coldly, and the facade dissolved as a few raindrops pattered against his head.

Ronan wrapped his arms around Ulfric's chest and hefted his body upwards, hoping one of the others would seize his legs. When he tried to place the corpse over his own horse, the black stallion grew restless. He turned then to look at Ulfric's dun mare, who, when he draped the body across her back, accepted the burden knowingly, as if she could tell that she was weighed down for the last time by the man who had once ridden her into battle so many years ago.

One of Ronan's gloved hands seized the reins of the mare, and the other gathered up his stallion's reins as the sad procession made their way back towards the tents of the other nobles. As they walked past, some nobles who must have heard the cry from Ronan began to emerge from the woods, and they gasped or whispered amongst themselves, unable to process what they were seeing. Those from Ostwall began to weep or gaze after their king blankly. Those from the other kingdoms simply refused to believe in the death of Ulfric Bjornson, a man that the song writers claimed to be immortal. Occasionally, they stopped for Ronan to readjust the body as needed, but otherwise, the party went uninterrupted. Not by sound, nor movement, for a somber mood had fallen over what had once been a joyous occasion.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Priscilla Augusta Edwards
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ImageThe conversation between Christoph and Tyrion was short lived, consisting of only a greeting exchanged between the two. When it had transpired, the Count simply turned back to Evelyne as she returned his comment. His lips twitched upward in a smirk. "I appreciate it," he replied, crossing one leg over the other casually. She was quick, quicker than most of his women had been in the mental sense at least. Very few of his women ever joined him outside of his chambers, and the majority of the kingdoms' courtiers knew this, for they eyed Evelyne curiously as they walked by.

His attention turned to Nicholas then as the young King sat beside him, replying also to his remark. "You certainly received that wit and silver tongue of yours from your dear father, Gods rest his soul," the advisor shot back, though not necessarily maliciously, or at least not noticeably maliciously. Christoph toyed with a ring on his left index finger. "I believe she will be joining us soon. It is not like her to miss the festivities."

Lucas made the party one of four as he hurried up to the group. Christoph subtly inclined his head, and one might have thought he didn't hear the guard great him had he not then focused his gaze on the slightly disheveled captain of the guard. He wanted to tear the boy apart on the spot, call him out for leaving his king alone to possibly die, but he decided it wasn't worth the effort. After all, Nicholas had the final say, and the boy still cared for his guard. He was pulled out of his thoughts yet again by another voice.




Priscilla had woken quite early that morning when compared to an average day. She had dressed enthusiastically in light ink silk, adorning herself with pearls before pulling her hair up into an intricate style. In actuality, her hand maidens had done everything, for the girl was helpless when it came to putting an outfit together or braiding her hair. Still, when she left her room, she made sure she looked alluring.
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Priscilla confidently mounted her horse, a milky-colored mare, and she only nearly fell off twice as she moved at a walk towards the small camp where she knew her father would be. Her own guards helped her from the horse to avoid any mishaps. "I can do it myself!" she protested, but she took the hand of one of the guards nonetheless. She gathered up her skirts in her hands once she had dismounted and hurried towards where her father sat. "Father!" she called out as she threw her arms about Christoph's neck, breaking a sort of silence that hung about. She had just narrowly missed the rain that now fell quite steadily outside of the protection of the tents.

Christoph returned the hug with a single arm around her waist as he cleared his throat. She remembered then, at his cue, that she was to greet her King first. She turned quickly to face him, nearly tripping in the process. "Good morning, my King," she said softly, curtsying cautiously so that she didn't lose her footing. The look of temporary panic in Christoph's eyes showed that he was worried such a thing would happen. Priscilla sat herself on her father's knee like a child and glanced about, meeting the gaze of Evelyne for a moment before looking the strange woman over with a questioning look in her eyes.

Priscilla certainly wasn't blind to Christoph's sexual habits, but she also knew that he rarely brought any woman with him besides those that mothered his children. Though Priscilla and Loras were the only two to have survived childhood, there had been more children and therefore more women alongside her father. She wondered if that was why he had brought the exotic-looking woman with him. The young woman turned to face her father then, opening her mouth to speak, but she was cut off by a horrid screech from a few of the women of the court.

Christoph looked up then, noticing a few of the royal family of Ostwall ride back on their horses with an animal carcass draped over one of the horses...but where was Ulfric? He stood slowly, and Priscilla slid off of his knee for a moment, for she watched the figures walk through the rain too intently to notice that her father was moving until she nearly fell on to the ground. "Oh..." Christoph said softly, beginning to discern Ulfric's graying hair from the bear fur of his cloak. He had never been close to the man, but like many there, he too had heard the ballads that sung his praise. He too had heard the tales from the border where Ulfric slew countless men from Falor. Priscilla's brow furrowed lightly as she looked up at her father. "Father...?" she asked, tugging gently at his arm. He watched Ronan, lips pursing, wondering how he could make this benefit him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Simon Bjornson Character Portrait: Guy Priestas Character Portrait: Simon Priestas Character Portrait: Priscilla Augusta Edwards
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Simon stared at the sight in horror, feeling something like regret and guilt even though he had not killed his uncle. He listened to Ronan's story, not believing this was how his uncle died. He believed Ronan, but was in disbelieving that his might uncle would fall in such a way. "Ronan," Simon begins upon seeing his cousin growing colder by the second. He didn't like that he was speaking to Renly that way, he didn't like it when he spoke like that to anyone.


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Simon moved forward to help his cousin lift his deceased uncle, holding back the feeling he wanted to go crawl into bed and sleep forever. Simon grabbed the reins of his horse as they passed her, helping Ronan guide Ulfric's body on Ulfric's horse. Simon walked solemnly, his face devoid of any emotion. Where was his brother? Simon breathed deeply, not making eye contact with anyone as they moved forward. He hated it, he hated everything at that moment if he was going to be honest with himself.

"Ronan, have you seen Guy this morning?" Simon mutters under his breath, wanting to know if anyone had seen Guy at all. He knew Ronan and Guy had something against each other, but he had hoped the two might at least know each other's whereabouts on such a large day as a hunt.

Simon saw his uncle's arm fall off from where it had been on his chest causing Simon to turn away for a moment. The man who had taken him and his brother in, the one who had practically raised them, their father's brother, gone.

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Guy smiled as he stepped back, looking at the web with drops of dew hanging off it as if it was hanging in his window. Guy looked out to see storm clouds brewing and frowned, pulling his painting inside but keeping the windows open. He liked the humidity storms brought. He studied his painting again, frowning now as he saw that he hadn't caught the light, he had neglected the light! He'd have to start over. He sighed and tossed the half dry painting on his bed.

Guy heard a rush at the door then saw a servant barge in. "Prince Guy," He begins, out of breath and looking horrible. Guy instantly knew something was wrong, something had happened. Was the storm worse than he had figured it would be? "Is Simon alright?" He demanded, fearful his twin might have broken himself should he have gone on the hunt. Simon had figured his brother would have just stayed in bed, not go on the hunt without him. Now he wished he had gone. "No, sir, you're uncle..." The guard hesitated, as if he wasn't quite sure what to do.


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"Well?" Guy presses, moving to grab his vest. "You're uncle... you should come see him," The guard finishes. Guy nods, pulling on his boots and grabbing his cloak as well as Simon's. He had left it in Guy's room after their ride outside yesterday. Guy followed the guard, walking quickly. What could have happened to his uncle that had caused such behavior? He probably was just sick or had pulled something, wanting to have Guy around just so that he felt a little better.

Guy followed the guard until they were outside where the guard pointed to the tents. Guy saw his brother, his shoulders hunched, looking rather unhappy. Frowning, Guy accepted his horse from a nearby squire he looked relieved to be going back into the stables. Guy felt bad for making the kid stand outside for so long, but dismissed it as he mounted and rode towards his brother. He saw something on Ulfric's horse, perhaps his cloak. As Guy rode closer, he slowed, seeing people were crying or staring at Ulfric's cloak. "Simon... What's wrong?" Guy asks as he dismounts, approaching the small procession where he spotted Renly and Ronan as well. Simon's head sprung up, staring at Guy with something Guy had rarely seen from his brother.

"Where were you?" Simon asks, staring at his brother. Guy looks at his brother with surprise. "What do you mean? Simon what's wrong with uncle?" Guy asks as he walks forward, offering Simon his cloak.

Simon takes it only to throw it on the ground, furious at his brother. He needed an out, he couldn't let it out on Ronan or Renly and there was nobody else around that could take his anger but his brother, even if it was a little hard now. Simon looks around incredulously, then walks forward to grab his brother by the vest. "Don't you get it? How can you not see it? That's him, that's him right there, Guy. He's gone," Simon declares, pushing his brother towards Ulfric's body before turning and leaving, having a hard time taking the horror.

Guy looks at what he thought was Ulfric's cloak but catches sight of his uncle's pale hand. "Oh my God," He whispers, looking around and realizing what had happened. He wanted to fall on his knees, but withheld, staring at the body, then Ronan on the other side of the horse, then back at Ulfric.

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Lucas noticed the disapproval from the count and his friends. Lucas nearly ignored Christoph altogether had it not been for Priscilla coming over. He couldn't believe the girl was sitting with her father, in his lap. He couldn't remember the last time he had sat in his father's lap, he couldn't remember the last time he had talked to his father about something like that.

His attention was caught when he spot the king of Ostwall was shown to be dead. He moved closer to his ward, standing right behind him. They had been apart too long, he was afraid now more than ever that he wouldn't be able to keep Nicholas safe, especially when one of the strongest king through the world was found dead, killed.

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: Corianna Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Annabelle Waldorf Character Portrait: Loras Edwards Character Portrait: Cassandra Lannister Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister Character Portrait: Lorelle de Croismare Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Tyrion Lannister Character Portrait: Elanor Lannister Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Guy Priestas Character Portrait: Simon Priestas Character Portrait: Priscilla Augusta Edwards
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The King's hand brushed lightly against the scar that still graced his left cheek -- a bitter-sweet reminder of how he had come to stand here beside Genevieve. His coronation, given the lack of spiritual leaders in the widely-diverse Ostwall, was headed by one of the eldest chieftains within the kingdom's borders, a man of a staggering seventy-seven years. Ronan's hair and beard had grown out to appear more like his people, from whom he required approval. The thick fur of a bear, draped about his shoulders, only helped further that image and reflect the symbol of his father. The pelts seemed to weigh him down greatly. They most certainly were the reason beads of sweat had begun to form on his brow. Or perhaps they came from the worry that, somehow, they'd trace the murder back to him.

The death of Ostwall's monarch had brought the festivities to a screeching halt. Ulfric's burial had been a ceremonious one, and the kingdom had grieved for months, meaning the current coronation had been unable to occur until now, two months later. In the mean time, Ronan suddenly found himself in the shoes of a man he had only, until then, dreamed of becoming. He played the part well, and Genevieve had as well. It was only when they were behind closed doors that she lost her air of nearly-constant mourning. Even then, he had not permitted her to be joyful in public until far after he had announced his plans to wed her.

Ronan moved his hand to brush at his brow then, and as he looked up at the chieftain before him, he noticed Celia just a bit off, holding Volundr. His son. He could never acknowledge the boy as his own, for the kingdom believed he had been the child of Ulfric and Genevieve, but Ronan told himself that the young prince should rightfully bear the surname of Ronanson. It pained him that it should be otherwise.

The chieftain stumbled over his words, causing Ronan to look back at him. Ostwall, unlike the other two kingdoms, had never truly adopted the more traditional concept of coronation until Ronan had insisted upon modernizing the nation. The chieftain had little idea as to what he was doing, and the words on the page made little sense given the fact that he was just barely literate. His stammering ended soon, thankfully, and he moved on to the crowning of the royals. The crown that was placed upon his head was nothing more than a thick band of iron with ornate patterns carved into it. The real beauty and power laid in the heavy chain that was placed about his neck, further weighing him down.

It was a relic dating back to times before even Falor had been unified when the clans of the North would give the chain to the strongest chieftain in the land. Over time, the simple chain had been added to in terms of links and precious stones until it hung heavy enough that it was only used for ceremonies. This, of course, was one of them.

As Genevieve went through a similar ceremony, receiving a less burdensome crown and chain that he had had created, for up until this point, the consort of the king of Ostwall had no political say. Though he had most certainly received the approval of the others in his kingdom, he knew they hardly approved of this action. Nevertheless, he turned around to great his people, hand reaching for Genevieve's as he did so. The chieftain cleared his voice once more before speaking in his thickly accented voice.

"I present to you King Ronan Bjorn Ulfricson, first of his name, and his queen, Genevieve Hansdottir of Falor, first of her name."




The proceeding festivities were a welcome change for all in Ostwall, having been in a period of nearly perpetual mourning for two months. A mixture of traditional and foreign instruments played, inspiring many to leave the banquet table in order to dance. Ronan, a bit too drunk by then to gracefully find his footing, resolved to stay at the table where he held the one month old Volundr in his arms. The King brushed a finger along the boy's cheek, laughing as the young prince gripped it and inspected the calloused finger with fascination.

"It's wonderful, is it not?" he remarked, looking out on the crowd of nobles, local and foreign, who occupied the hall. "It's ours now." Ronan continued to look about, meeting the gaze of a few nobles who watched the pair closely, with judgement visible in their eyes even from at the royals' place at the table. He knew they spoke about him and Genevieve quite often. It was most certainly scandalous for anyone to marry their widowed stepmother, let alone just months after her husband's death, but there were no laws regarding marriage in Ostwall.

Propping the small child up in his lap, Ronan gripped his tankard of ale and sipped from it for a moment, positioning it afterwards so that it attempted to block out the gossiping nobles. It hardly helped, however, and he simply turned back to Genevieve with his arm once more around Volundr.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham
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cxc๏ผค๏ฝ‰๏ฝ“๏ฝ๏ฝ’๏ฝ ๏ฝ™๏ฝ๏ฝ• ๏ฝ—๏ฝ‰๏ฝ”๏ฝˆ ๏ฝ ๏ฝ“๏ฝ๏ฝ‰๏ฝŒ๏ฝ… & ๏ฝŒ๏ฝ…๏ฝ๏ฝ–๏ฝ… ๏ฝ™๏ฝ๏ฝ• ๏ฝŒ๏ฝ‰๏ฝ‹๏ฝ… ๏ฝ”๏ฝˆ๏ฝ…๏ฝ™ ๏ฝŒ๏ฝ…๏ฝ†๏ฝ” ๏ฝ๏ฝ… ๏ฝˆ๏ฝ…๏ฝ’๏ฝ…
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”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”
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โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”“
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โ‹ฏโ‹ฏโ‹ฏโ‹ฏแ–‡แ™“๏ฌกแ’ชแŽฉ แ—ฉแ–‡แ–‡เซช๏ฌกโ‹ฏโ‹ฏ
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โ”—โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”›

โ‹ฏโ‹ฏ๏ผค๏ผฉ๏ผณ๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผญโ‹ฏโ‹ฏโ‹ฏโ‹ฏ

โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”“
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โ”—โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”›
      It had been months since Ulfric's death and yet one question still fluttered around Renly's mind like a phantom mayfly, causing bouts of extreme uneasiness...where was the boar? A boar had killed Ulfric, but surely it would not have escaped Ronan...it can't have scurried off into the forest with a dead king now amidst his credentials...Surely Ronan would have.... Renly shook off those hasty thoughts with determination. It was not his place to question the story, to do so would be treason and as it stood, he was still a guest in the king's castle...the new king's. He tried to let his mind wander to pleasanter thoughts, like those of his dalliance with the handsome stranger at the masquerade. Coronations were a tedious affair, all stiff backs and solemn brows, and he found he'd of preferred to be back in his chambers pouring of the royal family history or studying all the texts the maester had left with him but alas, that was not an option, so he stood on ceremony and daydreamed about romance.

      It was a genuine miracle that Renly was still permitted to remain as a ward there. For whatever reason, he could tangibly feel Ronan's intense dislike for him almost immediately upon being brought to the castle by Ulfric. It wasn't as if he could've blamed the prince now king though, who wants a set of strange prying eyes set lose upon one's home? But as much as Renly didn't want to admit, being forced to leave this place now that Ulfric was dead would be tantamount to heartbreak. It too had become his home, the blocks of stone growing sentient to him with time, replacing all that he had lost in it's security...a family. "My darling," This citadel would say if it could speak. "youโ€™ve been looking so pale of late. Iโ€™ve seen you sweetening your mead with laudanum and waltzing with the ghost of your mother through all my empty rooms. How many nights has the moon drunk itโ€™s fill of your beauty and left the sun to mourn?

      Oh Renly, my son, your eyes have been attending more to books than bed rest as of late. I can hear your haunted footsteps wearing furrows in my floors, and your nervous arpeggios are keeping the servants awake. How many sleepless nights have we seen since your king was slain in the forest, I wonder?

      My child, come cast your candlelight on the portraits of your ruler's forebears, come admire my string of black pearls. I have no arms to hold you with, but all homes are made to be mothers, and all mothers know a bedtime story or two. Look, the history of my occupants is a rich one. Here is a once great king, thrown from his mare during the autumn hunt, and his lecherous cousin, stabbed through the eye by a scullery maid, and his poor little nephew, swallowed and drowned by the tarn on an Easter Sunday. Here is another grand monarch, a queen, mouth sharp as a guillotine and braids white as a captorโ€™s rope. Let me tell you of that terrible day when she found her daughter and son undone and gasping on the stable floors. I hid them in a oratory, away from her catechisms and screaming. I poured my dark into her heart for love of my children. I whispered damnation and despair to her from the eaves, and when her trembling hands closed around the hilt of her husbands dagger, my runners supped on her blood.

      You see, your treasonous thoughts are not alone in between my blocks of stone, I have mothered quite a harrowing brood. Paper my walls with all your secret sins and see how well I keep them, until my columns crumble and moss has grown over the name on your grave. After all, what is family for?"


      The idea of the castle comforting him was calming, like he wasn't alone or judged for his thoughts toward his new potentate. They, he and this stronghold, would both know the history of the family and how many secrets it harbored.
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”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”
๏ผด๏ฝ ๏ฝ—๏ฝ‰๏ฝ”๏ฝˆ๏ฝ…๏ฝ’ ๏ฝ‰๏ฝŽ ๏ฝ„๏ฝ…๏ฝŽ๏ฝ‰๏ฝ๏ฝŒ, ๏ฝ”๏ฝˆ๏ฝ… ๏ฝ‚๏ฝ‰๏ฝ”๏ฝ”๏ฝ…๏ฝ’๏ฝŽ๏ฝ…๏ฝ“๏ฝ“ ๏ฝ๏ฝ† ๏ฝ๏ฝŽ๏ฝ… ๏ฝ—๏ฝˆ๏ฝ'๏ฝ“ ๏ฝŒ๏ฝ…๏ฝ†๏ฝ” ๏ฝ๏ฝŒ๏ฝ๏ฝŽ๏ฝ….cxc

Setting

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Guy Priestas Character Portrait: Simon Priestas
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Guy and Simon had stood beside each other during the ceremony for Ronan. Both were even thinner than before. They stood close to Ronan but not very close because their title wasn't as high as some other people's titles. Guy and Simon had been rather surprised upon hearing that their cousin was going to wed their aunt after their uncle had just died. It was a rather strange outcome, but it had happened before.

Their child, or perhaps it was Ulfric's son, it was a ratehr confusing mess, was extremely close to Ronan. The twins liked him, but weren't sure about anything and often kept to themselves for the most part over the months of mourning.

The two stood side by side, looking up at their cousin, both with different feelings. They matched with their coronet they had been told to wear. They had both not wanted to really attend, not telling the other, but did knowing they had to.

Simon looked to Ronan, for the most part respectfully, but also somewhat unapprovingly, covering up the latter emotion extremely well. Guy, on the other hand, might as well have held a sword at Ronan's throat for all he was hiding his emotions. He knew his cousin knew he was not entirely trusting of him. He would have to talk with Ronan about his curiosity. There was just too many coincidences. Simon had been the one to teach him there was never such a thing as a coincidence.



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Upon arriving at the party, Simon looked around for his brother. Wondering where he might have gotten to. The two of them had tried avoiding the party but had yet again been told to attend by some advisers. Simon saw his brother sitting at the banquet table, sipping from a glass of wine as he watched people dance.

As he made his way over to his brother, he heard his cousin talking to his son. "It's ours now," He stated in a way that caught Simon's ear but not enough to really think about it more than that initial second. He continued his approach to Guy, leaning against his chair and picking at a lock of his brother's hair that rested inside the dreadful coronets both didn't like wearing.

Guy and Simon, though originally not talking to each other because of their anger and grief, were closer than ever now. The two had made up after Guy had gotten into a brawl in one of towns upon hearing some idiots complaining of how weak some of the royal family had been in response to the death. Simon had been looking for Guy so they could go to a meeting when he found his brother losing the fight. Simon had gone in to help his brother and the two had walked out relatively okay, but both knowing they couldn't fight like that had again.

"How're you doing?" Simon asked softly as he watched the dancing on the floor continue. Guy shrugged. He still didn't really want to do anything these days except stay in his room. Simon had found his brother wrecking his artwork the day before. They had really bad days on occasion and Guy had had one the day before. Nearly all of the artwork in his room had been destroyed. He had just about torn apart a beautiful painting of a spider web when Simon had caught him and wrestled it away.

Guy took another sip of his wine then set the glass on the counter. He ran his finger over the rim as if considering his words, then looked up at Simon. "Everything is so different. I don't like it. I feel like I can't walk down the hall without having to look over my shoulder for something to come get me. It's just really hard," Guy said simply. Between the two, Guy had more bad days and was taking everything worse than his brother.

"I know, and you know things always get better, slowly," Simon said softly, ruffling his brother's hair. They didn't like the sentimental feel, but it did make them feel better. "Why don't you find a beautiful girl to grab for a dance?" Simon asked his brother with a hint of mischief in his voice now. Guy smiled slightly, looking over the crowd. "I'm afraid no female can match my own beauty," Guy announces rather overdramatically. Simon rolls his eyes before taking up Guy's wine glass and sitting beside him, taking a sip for himself.

"Are you ready for the trip to the town tomorrow?" Simon asks, knowing Guy had been planning a trip to town for weeks to pick up supplies. Simon had feared his brother wouldn't go after his episode yesterday, but was relieved to see Guy give a strong nod, looking as if his thoughts were elsewhere even though he was listening at the same time.

"I think I'm going to retire, I'm rather drained," Guy admitted quietly, standing and looking down at his brother. Simon nodded, taking another sip of wine. "Alright then, see you in the morning after your trip to town," Simon said with a smile and a tiny wave. Guy returned the gesture, then moved to leave, hoping Ronan wouldn't ask to speak with him as he walked past the new king.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Priscilla Augusta Edwards
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Christoph, as per usual and to no one's surprise, had carefully placed Priscilla on one side of Nicholas and himself on the other at the start of the banquet. Other than these brief moments of familiarity, the coronation overall was an unusual scene for all involved. Ostwall hardly allowed outsiders into the kingdom, let alone the palace. In fact, many nobles would not see the royals save the decennial celebration. Very occasionally would the northern tribesmen migrate all the way to Falor's palace for a celebration. Perhaps a wedding or a coronation might be enough. Ulfric had been quite public, despite his conservative ways. His son was only more so.

Coronations were unheard of in Ostwall. Christoph was intelligent enough to know that. Already, the new King was proving himself to be different than his predecessors. He looked about slowly, clever eyes taking in as much as he could.

Priscilla, on the other hand, looked about in a more carefree manner. She hardly even noticed the strand of hair that had fallen lose from her intricate hairstyle until she looked back at Nicholas and it flew into her face. Hastily, she tucked it away and beamed at her future husband. "Do you suppose our wedding shall be an affair as grand as this?" she asked, her voice a bit too overexcited and bubbly. She looked about at the people dancing and nearly dared to ask Nicholas to dance with her, but she decided against it, resolving that her father might not want her to. Then she worried that perhaps he would want her to ask her future husband to dance with her, in which case she ought to say something.

Christoph cut Priscilla off just as she began to open her mouth. "I remember when Ulfric took the throne of Ostwall," he mused. "Only two years his senior, and now he's dead. So soon these monarchs die..." He looked to Nicholas then. "He's eight years your senior, this king, yet I must admit he has far more to learn than you ever did when your father died." He folded his hands and looked once more at Ronan, smiling down at the child in his lap. "What is your opinion of the new King of Ostwall?"

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir
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Relief washed over Genevieve the second the chain had been laid around her neck as all of the lies and hiding that had gone on for months washed away. Well, not everything. They couldnโ€™t just blatantly say an affair had been going on for much larger than before Ulfric died. But she could safely show her affection towards Ronan without being terrified of the consequences. Now the only real job was keeping up the charade of mourning long enough for it to seem natural to move on.

In some way she was sad, but it wasnโ€™t anywhere near as much as the others throughout the nation were. She resented him still, just for being forced into marriage with him, despite it leading to her meeting Ronan. It would have been much more pleasant if Ulfric had just died before she arrived and Ronan chose Genevieve when he became king, but she didnโ€™t bother to think that she would have probably resented Ronan for it too.




As the queen sat beside her new husband and child - the thought alone making a smile grace her features - she could only stare on lovingly, almost immobilized. The thought that Volundr wasnโ€™t Ronanโ€™s had never once crossed her mind, staying firmly in belief that he was without a doubt the father of their son.

She got pulled from her thoughts as she heard Ronan speak, lifting her head to smile and stare into his eyes. โ€œNo more worriesโ€ฆโ€ Genevieve mused gently, it was wishful thinking but she didnโ€™t want to think about the bad side right now. The only thing she wanted to focus on was her family - her perfect new family. A sharp pain hit her heart for a moment as her mind flashed to her childhood, and the image of her brotherโ€™s corpse burned into her head. She stared blankly, her eyes watering with tears involuntarily before she was torn from her memories by Volundr grabbing a strand of her hair.

Genevieve blinked rapidly, tears streaming down her face and smiling down at the baby. Frantically, she wiped her eyes and leaned her head on Ronanโ€™s shoulder, gripping his arm to try and bring herself back to reality. This was her life now. She didnโ€™t need to think about her old life, so why did it keep coming back?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Priscilla Augusta Edwards
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Lucas had been watching for the girl, yet he hadn't seen her again, not since that night he had asked her to dance. He sighed softly from where he stood in a small alcove behind where Nicholas sat. He would much rather prefer standing, or sitting, next to his friend and talking to him rather than pretending his only care was keeping him safe.



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Lucas stood, watching Priscilla and Christoph with contempt that was only visible to people who knew him really well, in other words, Nicholas. His gaze floated to the recently made king. He wasn't sure how he felt about the man. It was clear to Lucas that he wasn't all he seemed to be, and that his wife probably was already in love with him before his father died, either that or he took in a widow for his father, though Lucas couldn't help but doubt that.

Lucas had his hand lazily on his sword though he was more alert than any of the surrounding guards. He could appear lazy but be taunt as a horse during a gallop. Lucas watched the crowd, growing more and more tired of his task of watching the crowd than ever before. He wondered if Nicholas would be kind enough to come save him from his duty by going to bed. How wonderful that fantasy sounded.

Lucas thought back to a happier moment to distract himself. He was standing on the packed dirt that served as a training grounds for squires though Lucas was using it as a guard by the age of fourteen, a young and bored guard, but a guard nonetheless. He was training with an older guard, perhaps his current age. The older male was not going easy on small Lucas and Lucas would walk away with many bruises and cuts, yet he was easily holding his own against him. His task for the day, appearing like he was trying his hardest while throwing the match. His most recent teacher had wanted him to practice his hiding his abilities and it wasn't all that difficult.

The older fellow seemed to smile as his saw an opening Lucas had left open on purpose. He took the shot and Lucas pretended to nearly miss deflecting it before falling down and ending with the sword at his throat. It had been a great day since he had successfully completed the task in his mind. His master later chastised him for not being good enough, but the original pleasure of the memory held within Lucas's mind.

He turned his full attention on Nicholas again, finding that he couldn't help but continue to think of that girl from those many months ago either. He had been embarrassed about staring, yet had truly been happy to see her during the ball, and work the nerve up to talk to her after being abandoned by his ward. A strange situation yes, but still, it had worked and he had gotten to talk to the beauty that had captured his attention.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Priscilla Augusta Edwards
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Judging by the mood in the room, coronations were rare events in Ostwall, if they actually happened at all. Nicholas wasn't entirely sure what to expect; the last coronation he had been at was his own. Being a guest at a coronation was entirely different. He was not the focus of everyone's attention. That was something he was grateful for. What he was not grateful for was being sandwiched between Priscilla and Christoph, once again. He constantly wanted to look around the room to look for Renly. He hadn't seen Renly since the day Ulfric had died, and even then it had only been for a few seconds. He still wasn't sure if Renly had seen him. Nicholas had made his excuses and left as soon as he saw the boy coming. As much as he had wanted to stay, he didn't want Renly to know who he was. And there was the risk of giving themselves away. Christoph was the sort that always noticed more than he let on. Since then, opportunities to see Renly had been few and far between. His own stupidity astounded him sometimes.

"Do you suppose our wedding shall be an affair as grand as this?"

Nicholas looked to Priscilla, slightly at a loss for words. He knew they would be married. Short of one of them dying or some horrendous scandal being discovered, it was inevitable. Still, Priscilla's sudden question left him on the back foot. Acutely aware of Christoph sat beside him, Nicholas smiled, "It can be as grand as you like. Well, within reason." There was no point bankrupting the entire kingdom for a wedding he wasn't even sure he wanted.

"I remember when Ulfric took the throne of Ostwall. Only two years his senior, and now he's dead. So soon these monarchs die..." Nicholas turned his attention to Christoph "He's eight years your senior, this king, yet I must admit he has far more to learn than you ever did when your father died." Christoph looked across the room to Ronan, as did Nicholas. "What is your opinion of the new King of Ostwall?"

Nicholas thought for a moment, studying Ronan. He'd had few dealings with him, the two only seeing each other in passing. He seemed to be a capable warrior, whether that made him a capable king remained to be seen. And he didn't seem particularly broken up over his father's death. "He seems to be a decent sort, a capable warrior. Whether he's a good king remains to be seen. But I do think there's more to him than meets the eye." When he could, Nicholas would keep an eye on Ronan until he could be certain the new king could be trusted.

Priscilla seemed to be getting more agitated than usual. Nicholas gritted his teeth as he leaned over to Priscilla, determined to give the impression to all concerned that they were two young people who were very much in love with one another, "Would you like to dance, my lady?" he asked quiet enough that only Priscilla would be able to hear him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Guy Priestas
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His gaze wandered about the hall, for Ronan had never been one to focus on one thing for too long. Renly, a distracted look in his eyes, caught his gaze first. Oh, Renly. Poor Renly. He would not, could not say why he let the teenager stay in Ostwall's castle. Both young men had never been particularly fond of each other. Ronan had always resented his father's ward, for Ulfric had seemed to dote on the boy more than he had on Ronan.

Perhaps the King knew, deep down, that he could not dispose of Renly without having the concern of resentment from the people on his hands. Already, their loyalty was something he questioned daily. One slip up would, potentially, cost him the throne and even his life. He resolved to speak to Renly, for he wanted a mind such as his on his side rather than against his.

Genevieve's response pulled him out of his reverie. He gave a slight nod of the head, coupling it with a smile. No more worries. In his drunken state, he attempted to convince himself that there truly was nothing wrong. The paranoia within him, however, gnawed at the back of his mind, plaguing him even as he watched his wife and son attentively. His mood noticeably soured, marked by the look of disgust that befouled his expression.

Nevertheless, he managed to pull on a semi-satisfied smile as he adjusted the position of the baby in his arms. Genevieveโ€™s grip on his arm, which he matched with his hand placed over hers, seemed to calm him a bit more. But then he let himself gaze about the room again, meeting the gazes of the King of Falor and his advisor. Both men spoke to each other with their eyes still fixated on the newly-crowned monarch. Ronanโ€™s mind began to turn on him, creating twisted ideas of what they might be whispering to each other over their respective goblets of wine or ale. He forced himself to look back down at the child shortly before Nicholas turned his attention to his fiancรฉe.

It was truly unfortunate that Guy chose then to walk past Ronan, who caught a glimpse of his cousin on the edge of his peripheral vision. Having been coming to a boil for the past few minutes, Ronan found that his cousin would be the best victim to receive the extent of his drunken rage.

โ€Leaving so soon, dearest cousin?โ€ he called after Guy, his voice dripping with feigned civility. โ€I donโ€™t recall giving you permission to leave so early in the night.โ€ He passed Volundr to Genevieve before gripping the arms of his chair to push him to his feet quickly. The sensation of blood rushing away from his head causing a disorienting sense of lightheadedness that caused him to lean against the table for support. After a moment, he pushed himself off of the wooden table and continued moving towards Guy. โ€Did my...did my father teach you nothing of civility?โ€ His face had reverted once more to a twist of a grimace, antipathy radiating from him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Renly Arryn Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Guy Priestas
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Simon paused midsip upon hearing Ronan addressing Guy. It was rather clear to both twins that Ronan had had a few too many drinks and that this was anything but unintentional. This was an easy way to mess with Guy, calling him out and all. Guy froze midstride, nearly past his cousin. He took a deep breath, trying to keep his temper from reaching him. He moved his hands behind his back and clasped them, squeezing painfully hard to clear his mind from his own quickly rising temper.



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Guy faced his cousin, studying Ronan quickly. He was definitely not entirely sober, then again, neither was Guy. Two drunk cousins who didn't really like each other was not going to work very well in their favor, or Guy's favor since Ronan was the king now. "It has been a rather eventful day hasn't it, beloved cousin?"
Guy returned Ronan's fake voice with ease. Ronan may have more power, but Guy was easily... well, what was he? Sassy, he decided in his drunken state, Guy had more sass in his little finger than Ronan did in his whole body. The good kind that was, or at least, that's what Guy though considering his thoughts were slightly muddled. He wasn't drunk to the point he was stupid though, as he knew he was treading dangerous territory.

Simon watched his brother with his cousin and wanted to groan. The two of them were both hardheaded, and stupid when drunk. They did not need to be fighting, on Ronan's coronation day, in front of foreign dignitaries, at all. Simon moved forward, moving to stand by Ronan as he watched his brother, hoping he could communicate through eye contact that he needed to shut up. Right then. Immediately. "Cousin, perhaps here and now is not the ideal place or time to chastise Guy for his manners. We do have guests," Simon managed to speak under his breath, looking into Ronan's shoulder rather than at his brother.



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Guy was insulted by the way Ronan seemed to think his father was only his father. Guy managed to stay somewhat civilized in his response. "Dear cousin, 'tis all but a matter of habit. I am not quite accustomed to such procedures considering, well... this is all so new to all of us, the change in ruling that is," Guy managed, not really saying anything insulting, but making it sound bad considering his tone.

"Cousin, do not act rashly, you are both slightly drunk. Perhaps dealing with this in the morning would be a better idea," Simon practically begged to Ronan though he managed to make it sound more advising than pleading.

"Do I have your permission to leave now, cousin?" Guy asked, his voice coming out slightly mocking though he managed to cover up most of it. He didn't really want to get killed, or hurt, or tortured, but the more drunk you were, the braver you were, even if it was stupid bravery, not nearly close to the good type of sassy that had run through Guy's mind earlier.