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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.

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Tibera

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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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Character Portrait: Loras Edwards Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards
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Even Christophโ€™s ability to mask emotions could not mask his surprise in that moment. The surprise did not stem from disbelief. Rather, it stemmed from a shock at the suddenness of Lorasโ€™s words. No, Loras had never skirted around the truth, but to admit such an affection for the Queen in public was, at the very least, treasonous. Oh, the Lannisters would be on him in an instant if they knew the truth.

Of course, Christoph worried little, for he knew his son had inherited his intelligence. Loras would not act rashly. He made a soft sound that could be taken either as a vocal corroboration of his surprise or as approval. He knew that in this environment he couldnโ€™t actually say anything that swayed either way. The walls practically had ears.

"The lion is not to be underestimated," he replied, nodding slowly. "Many, however, underestimate the power of the fox. A small beast, yes, but powerful in terms of the mind." He tapped the side of his head as if to assert his point. "But let the fools underestimate the fox, for when he puts his mind to it, he will find that brains easily overcome brawn."
Christoph could have embraced the boy then and there, his pride swelled. Instead, he merely placed a hand on the young man's shoulder, gripping it in a manner that seemed to convey support. This gave him the opportunity to get himself a bit closer to Loras's height.

"We shall find a way to communicate. Secretly. Gods forbid word of this reaches the ears of others." He kept his voice hushed, pitched just above the music, as he spoke into his son's ear. In a moment, he was flat on his feet again. Christoph sipped from the wine once more as he looked about the ball. "Enjoy yourself tonight. You are far too young to worry yourself too much. At the same time, he was glad Loras watched so closely over Rosalie. Through her, they had a way to hopefully claim Seabel's throne which would easily be second best to claiming Falor's throne. He cast a glance over his shoulder at his son before disappearing into the crowd once more, likely returning to the floor to dance.

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

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Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister Character Portrait: Loras Edwards Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister
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The crinkles by Rosalie's eyes became visible as she smiled at her husbands laughter. It was a small chuckle in which eventually had turned into a chorus of laughter from the two. "I'm nobody, just a swordsman who thinks you're the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. A swordsman who selfishly requests a dance." Alistair managed to say once he seemed to have collected himself. Suddenly, he pulled her closer until his chest touched upon the front of her bosom, until Rosalie could easily make out the dashes of chestnut brown specks around his irises. She flustered just looking at them. "Well, this beautiful woman thinks not of selfishness if she would've wanted nothing more than to grant the swordsman dance."

At that, the two said nothing more as they pivoted across the dance floor in unison as music filled through the room; melodious and romantic all at once. Other dancer's walked onto the dance floor in pairs to join, but Rosalie paid no attention to them. It was Alistair who she gazed at. A man who she loved since the very first day she laid eyes on him, he, unlike Loras, held something that would forever be cherished. He loved her in a way no other has ever been loved; every kiss, every touch was...remarkable. He knew her by heart as she knew him. The two were, infact, inseparable whenever it came to each other. It's one of the littlest things that keeps there love for each other growing, and as Rosalie leaned her head against his chest and closed her eyes she felt tat very love growing stronger and stronger. Her heart was thumping faster than the steadying beat of the music for a second before the song had came to a stop at the same time she rose her head to meet eyes with him, and they watched his lips as they began moving to collide with hers. "I.." he was stammering, yet Rosalie waited for that wall to be broken. The wall that was bordering up their love. She wanted him to say, he wanted to say it, but instead he told her something else that was not what was expected.

"Thank you." At that he kissed her hand, bowed, and left without another word. She stood there alone as she stared before him like a fool until he got lost into the crowd. She didn't stop him and she certainly wasn't going to run after him as it was the second time he'd blown her off without given a reason to.

She released her mask and gawked at the elaborate piece glimmering and glistening in the light, and a wave of disgust waved over her. A disgust that a mask like that could ever so conceal a person's true identity, true expression in comparison to her husband. And looking around the room, everyone was strangers. Not a soul in the room was true because they were being hidden in disguise.

Lifting the hems of her dress, she eased her way through the horde, bumping, pushing, weaving her way away from false faces that surrounded around her. They were suffocating her and Rosalie was screaming for air. She headed for the grand staircase, taking one look at the collection of people dancing until her eyes met onto one person who hadn't been dancing, no, instead he was looking at her. She didn't know who was behind the mask, though somewhere in her chest told her that she knew that person, had seen them somewhere at least. However, she took one good look and left for her chamber.

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Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards
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Evelyne paced around the luxurious bedchamber of her Employer and Lord Edwards. She scanned the room, taking in the beautiful craftsmanship of every piece of furniture, every painting, every stitch in every piece in every stitch of fine cloth seemed to be perfectly placed, with purpose. It reminded her of Christoph. Every move he made was deliberate and thought through.

She sat on the edge of the bed, sighing quietly, her dusty rose colored silk dress loosely hung from her shoulders, her head leaning back, arms extended behind her, letting her lean back in thought. Christoph had chosen to bring her here of all of the whores from his pleasure house. Perhaps she had done something to anger him? But she couldn't have. None of the Lords whom had come to her for company had left with anything less than a wide grin on t heir faces. She frowned and bit her lip in thought, awaiting her Lords return

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Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Priscilla Edwards
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He had always been good at leaving unnoticed. As much as he enjoyed being in the midst of the action and seeing it first hand, Christoph also despised being in such close quarters with so many people. Christoph moved with ease through the people though, weaving in and out and still managing to get a sip of his wine in every once and a while. The beverage had begun to go to his head, he could tell. It only added to his unease at the moment, for he knew he needed his wits during the celebration. Change was coming, and he wanted to be one step ahead of it.

A passing servant received the empty goblet as Christoph placed it on his tray. With that, he moved toward the staircase. Rosalie was there already, looking back at the crowd. "Good evening, Your Majesty," he said as he walked by, bowing his head to her before mounting the stairs.He wished he could have said something in that moment to convince her that his son was the better match for her. Something, anything. He couldn't though, and he knew it. Christoph could plot all he wanted to, but in the end, Loras had to figure this one out.

As he moved down the hall, his thoughts turned to Priscilla. Of course he adored the girl, she was his daughter. He wished she were as cunning as he and Loras, but it did not detract from his love for her. But Nicholas's apprehension was nearly tangible. An awkward air hung about the two. While Christoph had never been an expert in relationships, having never settled in one for too long, he knew those matters would have to be taken into his own hands. He would manage.

Christoph was still half-lost in his thoughts when he opened the door and then locked it behind him. Not to keep Evelyne in, but rather to keep others out. He would stand no chance against an opponent at night. From the rug near the hearth, his dogs looked up, ears pricked intently, before they settled back down once more. His eyes fell on Evelyne then, for he had almost forgotten she would be here.

"I do hope you were not too bored up here, by yourself," he said, pulling the mask off before placing it on top of the dresser. "Politics takes precedence, of course." He was half tempted to pour some of the spiced wine he had brought with him, but he thought it unwise given his current state. Instead, he began to pull the rings from his fingers and remove the outfit he wore over a more plain shirt and breeches.

Christoph then turned back to her and took a few steps in her direction until he stood just in front of her. He reached out and cupped her jaw in a hand so that he could easily tilt her head back to look up at him. His other hand took up a stray strand of hair that he then tucked behind her ear. "You possess a unique sort of beauty, Evelyne," he remarked. "Very rarely do I find a woman with such an exotic look about her." He moved his hands then so that they braced against the duvet, allowing him to lean down and press his lips, which had curled into a smirk, against hers. Soon, his hands cupped her face rather than rested on the bed as he moved his head so as to better kiss her.

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Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards
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Upon the sound of the bedchamber door opening, Evelyne's head shot up, her eyes following him as he walked to the hearth, before he looked at her. "I do hope you were not too bored up here, by yourself, Politics takes precedence, of course." She shook her head, shrugging and waving off the comment, "I kept myself entertained with the books, and your pups." she smiled gently, sitting up straight, watching him disrobe partially.


As he began to approach her, and hold her face in his hand, she bit her lip, eyes holding his gaze as she refused to back down from him look. Upon hearing the words of his compliment, she smiled softly, "My mother wasn't from around Falor." she said quietly, before leaning into his lips, resting her hand on his shoulder, before swiftly flipping him back onto the bed, to that he sat where she was, and she stood but a foot in front of him, a devilish smirk on her face as she slowly, teasingly opening the front of her robe, "Tell me my Lord, why, of all the girls from your pleasure house that you could have brought, you chose to bring me?
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"Well, that most certainly explains it," he murmured. Christoph, of course, had not been expecting her next move, and a breath shuddered out of him in response as he watched her strip. He smirked at her question and beckoned her over with a flick of his finger. Christoph leaned so that his lips brushed against her ear. "Because I refuse to settle for anything less than perfect." He placed a hand on either of her hips, drawing her closer to him once more, back toward the bed, as their lips locked once more.

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Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Renly Arryn
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Nicholas found himself caught in some idle chit-chat with a group of nobles about how simply wonderful the entire ball was. Nicholas nodded at the right times in the conversation, although only half his attention was on the conversation. The other half was focused on keeping track of the boy in the black mask. Something about the way he stood back from the rest of the crowd piqued his curiosity. If the boy was boring, he would not have been invited. Perhaps he was something of a wallflower.

Nicholas drained the last of his wine, placing the goblet absent-mindedly on the table behind him. He made his excuses to his new acquaintances and left the questionable pleasure of their company. He slipped through the groups of nobles who congregated at the edge of the dance floor, all thought of Priscilla and Christoph long gone. He wasn't even sure they were still here. At last he came to be near the boy. At closer proximity, he could see that the mask he wore was bare of any ornaments. Perhaps he didn't believe in being ostentatious, or maybe he didn't want to draw attention to himself. Without his name, Nicholas couldn't be sure. Still, he seemed to be ill at ease. Nicholas stood next to him. He was a little taller than Nicholas, so the boy king had to tilt his head slightly to look at his face. He was a handsome boy behind the mask, "They get dull after a while with when there's no one you know, don't they?" He asked the boy. When he had the boy's attention, Nicholas took a moment to take in his features. His eyes were vibrantly blue behind his dark mask, "Nicholas," He introduced himself.

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Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Annabelle Waldorf Character Portrait: Lucas Navigne Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham
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"There you are, miss, I hope I haven't worried you too much with my absence."

Celia turned to find Annabelle standing next to her and smiled softly with a shake of her head as if to say she was fine. She turned her attention back to Nicholas as he excused himself and walked away. Then, she faced the King's bodyguard as he asked Annabelle to dance. Celia knew enough about body language to tell that he was nervous and that Annabelle was the focal point of that anxiety. The Princess turned to her lady-in-waiting. "You should enjoy yourself," she whispered before walking away and leaving her to her own decision.

She gracefully took another glass of wine off of a servant's platter and made her way over to her family's table, where Cori was seated. With a small sigh, she sat down next to her sister. Her eyes roamed the ballroom, longing for a quiet night in her room more and more. She half-wished she could just run away from Seabel altogether and return to her home. "What is it about masques that makes people so happy, Corianna?" she questioned her younger sister; she knew she didn't like being treated like a child, so she didn't bother trying to dumb it down. She turned to Cori with an imploring look as if she'd just asked for the secret to eternal youth. "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."

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Character Portrait: Rosalie Lannister Character Portrait: Loras Edwards Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards
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Alistair could not escape the ballroom fat enough. Sandor and Brienne struggled to keep up with him. His jaw was tensed and his fists were clenched. He'd come so close, so close to her after so long but his damn guilt plagued him, the truth of what he'd done like a crimson sin he wished he could just hide his eyes from. He'd lost Rosalie and instead of fighting for her he'd ensure she'd never want him again. He'd whored and drank but it was this last transgression that haunted him the most. A transgression of not just the flesh but of the mind and possibly the heart. Lorelle was her lady in waiting, the one person in her service who should have her trust and even that Alistair had sullied. He hated himself, a part of him hated her.

"Your Grace, is everything alright?"

Brinne had asked, jogging up to his side as the exited the ball room and made for the stairwell leading to the kitchens.

"I need a drink."

Alistair growled as he threw open the door to the kitchens, startling a few of the staff as he headed for the bottles of wine.

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His father left him, Loras standing alone on the outskirts of the party. The words his father had spoken to him, echoing in his mind. "The lion is not to be underestimated,". Which lion however, that was what Loras was considering. There was the proud and noble fierce lion. Then there was the older, cunning and merciless lion. Lastly there was of course the younger, stunted and grotesque but dangerously intelligent. Loras weighed his threats and chose a target. He knew his own strength and what he could bring to bear against his enemies and there was only once who he felt could match his guile. As if it was a sign he saw Rosalie darting from the ball. Alistair had hurt her, again. Loras was well versed in knowing what she looked like after her cruel husbands treatment of her. She was his to save, so he had lions to slay, one at a time, starting from the bottom up. With a wicked grin Loras Edwards turned and left the hall. This night shall be the night that the good people of Seabel shall sleep soundly no more.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Lorelle de Croismare
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The night was indenieably busy for Lorelle and her trainees. She was in the kitchen nearly shouting out for people to attend to there stations, "Madame Gillan, come, serve these here cocktails to the guests. Siward, I need more wine. Angus, is thou mad? Fly thee! Shoo, they're waiting for our attendance." With one small brush at her white apron and adjusting the cap that sat upon her head, she grabbed for the wine platter, then stepped out into the grand hall where music came blaring in sharp chords that brought her heart thumping wildly. The other servants came to join her, all platters and smiles as they came to accompany their guests. Lorelle smiled to herself. Everything was working smoothly. The guests were enjoying themselves, the servants made sure that there platters were empty, and Lorelle was staring before them making note to the guests satisfaction. Her eyes scanned through bodies swaying in unison until her eyes landed onto a man who grabbed the shirt of one of the servants and lifted him at least three feet in the air- ready to pounce on him. She rushed over, and from what she could see the servant had spilled red wine on the man's suit."Oh, my," she gasped. "Come, let me get that cleaned up." she urged for the man to let go of her trainee, but he just shrugged her off.

"I'm not going any where until this here peasant learns his lesson." He spat out as he brough his fist midst the air, preparing to hurt the young boy. What she was about to witness made her stomach lurch, almost brought her to her knees. The boy couldn't at least have been thirteen years of age, and seeing him about to become beaten by a man twice that age was provoking. "Stop, I say!" Lorelle yelled. Everyone within a three-standing radius turned to look at her, even the man. She continued, "I am sure that this young boy didn't mean to do it. He is just a child, and we all know children are quite the clumsy ones."

The man seemed to ponder at that; gazing back and forth to Lorelle and the young boy nearly petrified in his grip. "I suppose," he released his grip, and the young boy hurried over behind Lorelle gown. "But keep that...thing away from me. Understood?"

"His name is Seyton."

The man only huffed, then stalked away. Lorelle turned toward Seyton and ran her fingers through his hair. "You are done for today. Why not rest for the morrow?"

He nodded. "Thank you, Madame Croismare." At that, he handed her his plater and hurried away. Lorelle watched as he disappered into the crowd before she headed for the kitchen to return Seyton's platter until she seen King Alistair fummbling around for something as half the staff stared after him, frightened. "What in God's name-" A nearby cook cut her off.

"Oh, Madame Croismare tis' a surprise. I do know what has happened. The king just came barging in looking for wine I suppose. He looks rather upset."He whispered as his eyes lingered onto the King's body. And Lorelle knew that the cook was right. The King did seem a bit shaken, if not angry

"Alright, everyone back to you stations." she ordered, and no body failed to follow. Then, she moved quickly toward the King. She cleared her throat. "Is everything alright, my lord? Why aren't you with my Miss? Perhaps you'd like a French Bordeux?" she said, offering the drink.

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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.

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Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Renly Arryn
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"I was quiet, but I was not blind."
โ€• Jane Austen

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Just because Renly didn't say much didn't mean people wouldn't occasionally take notice of him. It was oft actually the quiet ones who drew the most attention, so out of place at these festive affairs. There was a constant whirlwind of motion and sound all around, and then there was the silent observer, the eye of the storm.

Ren tried in vain not to jump when the voice startled him out of his idle state, for men were not supposed to be caught unawares-or if the were, they were supposed to at least put on an intrepid face about it. He gave the handsome stranger a sheepish smile and a shrug of the shoulders in response, vehemently trying not to gawk. "I uh, I don't really know anyone here...Well, save for my king and his children, but we aren't really social with one another, yah know?" His newfound compartiot for the evening was not too much shorter than Ren himself, and undoubtedly the best of what royalty had to offer. Soft, sweeping, dark hair, chiselled cheekbones, and long, eyelashes framing molten brown eyes that had to have drawn in more than a few freewheeling madiens over the years...but then again, he was still young-or seemed to be at any rate-so perhaps not. "I'm Renly, uh Renly Arryn, but you can just call me Ren. I'm not really of any import so you don't have to be formal or anything." He rubbed the short hairs on the back of his neck self consciously and rocked back and forth on his heels, having a bit of difficulty remaining still now. "So what brings you this way? Do you not know anyone either? I guess the dessert table is the natural place for us stag gentlemen to congregate." He chuckled, swirling the wine in his glass around leisurely, not meeting Nicolas' gaze. He had never been introduced to the adolescent king, so poor Renly hadn't a clue to whom he was really speaking. He wasn't one to assume that the noblest of all sovereignty would just wander over and strike up a conversation, so he was left with the impression of a low status, not unlike his own. He welcomed the chance to converse with someone like himself who felt a little more than out of place here amongst giants of the realm, even if the boy was a bit intimidating being quite handsome and all.

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Characters Present

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

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Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Lorelle de Croismare
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The lion was hungry. He stalked the kitchens, his jaws ready for the meal to come, his icy blue eyes spotting his quarry. The gazelle and the zebra and the warthogs all scurried out of his path, wisely choosing not to risk catching his gaze. The lion sniffed the air and found his watering hole. Bottles upon bottles of Arbor reds, Dornish golds, imported Northern Mead and everything in between. The lion thirsted something fierce for the meeting with his lioness had left an uncomfortable feeling in the heart of the great king of beasts. The great lion sniffed the air and smelled the sweet scent of a nomadic female, looking to gain entry into his pride.

"Is everything alright, my lord?"

Lorelle spoke, her voice soft as silk and twice as comforting. Alistair turned, his eyes hungry as ever as he wrapped his hand around her waist and pulled her close.

"I'm not your damned lord."

He said, his voice a husky whisper heavy with desire. He almost kissed her right then and there. He wanted her, he burned for the warmth of her touch and the peace of her unaccusing eyes. She only ever looked at him with affection. Never fear or distrust or hate but love always and for that Lorelle Persephone de Croismare was the only respite he had in his world so dark and full of terrors. He nearly pressed his lips to hers, in full view of the rest of the staff when she spoke again, her hand on his chest halting him.

"Why aren't you with my Miss? Perhaps you'd like a French Bordeux?"

Word of the wine was lost in her mention of his wife. Alistair pushed himself away from her with a snarl, anger sparking in his heart and his mind. He stepped away from her and clenched his jaw, his eyes seeing Rosalie in the gold of the Dornish wine before him.

"Your lady..."

He growled as he picked up the wine and looked into the golden liquid before he hurled the bottled, shattering it against the wall. One of the nearby kitchen servants gasped in shock and Alistair wheeled on the lot of them.

"Get out or I'll take all your heads and replace you within the hour."

He snarled viciously. The kitchen was empty within seconds leaving Lorelle and Alistair alone. He turned back and found her watching him. She didn't fear him like the others, she knew him better than that. Despite his reputation, despite the beast he was supposed to be she knew he'd never hurt her or any other woman for that matter. Alistair had never so much as struck a woman before let alone take their heads as he would threaten. Yet she stared at him all the same, knowing how his emotions ruled him and made him act out.

"What? Don't look at me like that."

He asked, somewhat apologetically as he went back to grab some red wine from the cupboard and filled himself a goblet.

"I'm tired Lorelle. I'm so very tired."

He began before he took a long, much needed drink.

"Tired of the throne. Tired of that crown, all those damned courtiers, the false friends, the liars, thieves, whores, all of it. It's funny almost. The way we all look down at the denizens of poorer districts and see them as so far beneath us. We nobility are supposed to be better but here we are. Cheating and scheming and lying and fighting and fucking just like all the rest of them. The only difference between us and the common people is our names and the power we think they hold."

Alistair downed his drink and poured himself another before turning to look at Lorelle in the firelight of the kitchens hearth. She was beautiful and alluring. Her hair had the kiss of red in her copper curls, worn long around her face the way he liked it. Rosalie so often wore her hair up and he hated that. Lorelle liked it down and Alistair loved running his fingers through her long copper locks as he stole a kiss. Her skin, smooth and pristine as porcelain and her eyes blue and green. She would make a fine Lannister Alistair often thought during their private time together. Alistair approached her slowly, his eyes softened but just as passionate as ever.

"Let's leave this place Lorelle. You and me, tonight. Damn them all. Let them have their game of thrones, we can leave the board and let them all rot together."

He asked, despite the ridiculousness of his words he meant it. His head giving way to his heart for once he just wanted to get away and find love with this woman who understood him so. He pulled her in and eyed her lips, hungry for a kiss and for her answer.

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Character Portrait: Alistair Lannister Character Portrait: Lorelle de Croismare
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"Your lady..."
Lorelle overheard a grisly snarling sound that seemed to be coming deep in Alistair's chest. He snatched up the wine glass with one hand, balanced it in that hand for a moment, and threw it with blinding speed, shattering it against the wall, which collided and shattered into tiny bits of crystal.

And he was in front of her again, standing two feet away, still as a stone. He waited, but she still couldn't speak. She stood without moving, amused at his beastly temptation to scare off others. However, she'd never seen him so competely freed of that carefully cultivated facade. He'd never been less human...or more beautiful. Face stern, eyes wide, she stood like a bird locked in the eyes of a snake.

His lovely eyes seemed to glow with rash excitement. Then, as the seconds passed, they dimmed. His expression slowly folded into a mask of sadness. "What? Don't look at me like that." She watched his jaw set as he said that, and his eyes darted to her face and away so quickly that she wasn't sure if she only imagined it. Then, as if nothing had happened, he began moving around the kitchen with deliberately unhurried movements; opening and closing cupboards as he went until he found a goblet and poured himself red wine. "I'm tired Lorelle," he said formally, his back turned toward her. "I'm so very tired."

He waited, but she still couldn't speak. So, he continued. "Tired of the throne. Tired of that crown, all those damned courtiers, the false friends, the liars, thieves, whores, all of it. It's funny almost. The way we all look down at the denizens of poorer districts and see them as so far beneath us. We nobility are supposed to be better but here we are. Cheating and scheming and lying and fighting and fucking just like all the rest of them. The only difference between us and the common people is our names and the power we think they hold." He looked back at her and smiled, but his face was ashamed. At that, they stood silently, looking into each other's eyes-trying to read each other's thoughts.

He broke the silence first.

"Let's leave this place Lorelle. You and me, tonight. Damn them all. Let them have their game of thrones, we can leave the board and let them all rot together." he urged on with ever word, he took a step closer, his eyes never left her lips, until he stood in front of her, their noses partically touching. He reached a hand out, and brushed at her cheek; the other pulling her close against his chest with every staggering breath. He lifted her eyes; his expression was wistfu, pleading.

She thought for a moment, unsure what to think. She opened her mouth to say something and shut it almost instantly. Did he mean for the two of us to run away-together? And leave the country and, and... "And what about..?" She asked to break the silence.

They both knew who she was referring to, and it was wrong to even question it. She looked away, he waited, but she wasn't going to finish.


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Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Renly Arryn
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"I'm Renly, uh Renly Arryn, but you can just call me Ren. I'm not really of any import so you don't have to be formal or anything."

Renly Arryn... The name wasn't immediately familiar to Nicholas. Normally he would ask Christoph if he recognised the name. "Everyone is of some importance Renly, whether they realise it or not," Nicholas replied, taking another glass of wine. But he had spent the larger part of the evening avoiding his future father-in-law, and he was now nowhere to be found. If he had gone, then the likelihood was that Priscilla had also gone as well. Nicholas relaxed slightly at the thought, he wouldn't have to keep his guard up for the rest of the night.

"So what brings you this way? Do you not know anyone either? I guess the dessert table is the natural place for us stag gentlemen to congregate."

"No one but my sister," he answered. It wasn't an entire lie, more an omitted truth. For some reason, Nicholas didn't want Renly to know he was a king just yet. It was nice to speak to speak to someone as an equal, someone who had no ulterior motive. Somehow, Nicholas didn't think 'oh and my personal guard, adviser and fiancee are here too' would go down too well with, well anyone, not just Renly. He wasn't quite sure how well known the news of his engagement was beyond Falor, but he was quite content to keep the arrangement as quiet as possible. "But we don't really run in the same circles," he continued after a pause.

Nicholas took a moment to study Renly's face. From what he could see behind the mask, Renly was a handsome man. His eyes would already have been a striking blue, but the darkness of his mask made them stand out even more. Nicholas fancied that he would be able to recognise Renly without the mask. Few people had eyes like Renly's. If a girl had been in possession of such eyes, she would have been 'captivating'. Not that Renly wasn't captivating, as far as Nicholas was concerned, he very much was, "Though I find it hard to believe that you're a stag."

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Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Renly Arryn
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"Words deserted him immediately.
He could only speak when he was
not asked to."
โ€• E.M. Forster, Maurice

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Renly rather liked that notion, that everyone held some manner of importance whether they were titled or nameless. Such a comment spoke leagues about his drinking companion and his ideals. That wasn't a welcome statement amongst all the guests there that evening, therefore a bold one to make to a stranger regardless of his status. It brought a slight, closed lip, smile to his face; one that he hid behind his now emptied cup.

He could sense a bit of awkwardness clinging to the conversation though, like something else were left unsaid. Perhaps this Nicholas was simply not a social butterfly either, and found idle pleasantries rather difficult. Renly waved off the covert king's hesitation without much thought, and offered up a reply. "At times I wished I had a sibling, but I suppose most only children do...Where as most actual siblings can't wait to be rid of each other." Renly laughed before he blanched, suddenly realizing his implication. "Not that you and your sister-I mean I'm sure she's great and you two are thick as thieves!" He rambled, nerves getting the better of him. Luckily, this Nicholas didn't seem to pay any mind. If he was insulted, he didn't voice so just yet.

Ren set his glass down on the table top, feeling slightly dizzy-the wine having gone to his head. He really never drank so much, but he'd been nursing more than a few goblets to give himself something to do. Now that he had someone to occupy his time though, it was becoming a bit of a problem. His cheeks were flushed red and his composure wasn't the greatest. He prayed Nicholas wouldn't take note of what a light weight he was. Most of his stay had been spent in a drink, so he wondered at how he still could have built up no tolerance.

The boy kings next comment quickly pulled him from his imaginings, and had he not already been of a rubicund visage, it would have been all too easy to tell that Renly was blushing. "I-uh.." He found himself unsure how to respond to that compliment. He brought his hands to his temples and held up each index finger, to imitate a little set of antlers, before comically wiggling those fingers around. "I'm definitely a stag, no herd for this deer....you?" He queried, suddenly hopeful his answer would be much of the same.

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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?"

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Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Corianna Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Guy Bjornson
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Corianna was about to respond when Ulfric spoke. "Aye, but at these gatherings, people often replace those masks they wear everyday with ones that are more truthful."

"I don't quite understand. Are you saying everybody is hiding who they really are? Why would they do that?"

Aha! So they were actually interested in the truth of the world. Corianna might as well learn now what it meant to be royalty. "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?"
Celia was surprised she had so much, but she couldn't only tutor Corianna in skills like riding and archery. She needed to learn the politics of the world as well, no matter how young she was.

Before Corianna could respond, Celia's cousin walked up. She didn't know which one it was and frankly, she didn't care much. "Hello uncle, if I could just steal a moment, I wanted to ask you about the hunt tomorrow. Do we need to go?"

She blinked at him and looked to her father as he answered, "It would be rude to not attend, Guy. It is a sacrifice I am certain you and Simon can make for the day."

A hunt? Well, that sounded fun. Once again, she longed for home. There, she could hunt to her heart's content. Here, it was improper. Ah well. She was teaching Corianna to ride tomorrow anyways.

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Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Renly Arryn
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Nicholas watched as Renly raised his hands to his temples, imitating antlers, ready to catch him if he stumbled. While he was fairly certain Renly wasn't drunk, the taller boy was definitely tipsy. A small laugh escaped Nicholas at Renly's stag impression."I'm definitely a stag, no herd for this deer....you?" Renly asked him.

Nicholas took a sip from his wine, giving himself a moment to think, "No," he answered, "No does flock to me. Not of their own accord at least."He imitated Renly's impression of a stag, albeit one handed. Again, it was not a total lie. He was sure that neither himself nor Priscilla would have approached the other of their own accord. They rarely spoke as it was. Were it not for Christoph forcing them together, Nicholas doubted he would ever say a word to the girl beyond a polite 'hello' at social gatherings. He'd probably think her pleasant enough if that was the case. It wasn't that he held any intense dislikes for the girl, he just found her boring after a while. "I'm sure it won't be long before you find a 'herd' Renly," He smiled at Renly, letting his lingering thoughts remain un-vocalised. There must have been many girls who thought that Renly was handsome, surely there were men here too who could acknowledge it. He didn't take himself too seriously, that much was obvious and rare. It might just be Nicholas who thought so, but Renly was a good match for most women.

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Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Renly Arryn
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"A garden to walk in & immensity to dream in
--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet
& above him the stars."
โ€•Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

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Renly shrugged, doubtful of both the notion that he'd find his significant other and of the idea that Nicholas couldn't attract a certain amount of attention. He chose to remain silent on the matter though, it was obvious that such a statement would be perceived as flattery or not without intent and he wasn't sure which was worse. He huffed out a sigh as he watched another ungainly couple twirl past them on the dance floor, the inclination to take a walk and get some fresh air suddenly striking his fancy. "Say...you wouldn't want to get out of here would you? I could use a break from all this frivolity. I hear this place has a pretty elaborate garden or something, good place for a stroll..." He apprehensively propositioned. In truth, Renly didn't want to admit that he selfishly preferred to keep this stranger all to himself, the thought of sharing his company with the rest of the party goers souring his buzz.

With an expectant expression, Renly turned heel then and led the way out of doors, hoping his companion would soon follow. All he could do was make the offer, and pray he'd be taken up on it and avoid embarrassment. Outside of the ballroom, the muffled sound of laughter and music could still be heard but also effortlessly ignored. It was much easier to clear one's mind when free of the cast of royal drunkards and excitable socialites he found. Locating this mysterious foretold place of sanctuary was a bit more difficult than Ren had originally imagined, but after a few times turned around, he managed to discover the object of his search just outside the main castle entrance and to the left.

A copse of cypress pines flanked him on one side, with a thicket of peaceful beeches standing guard on the other, casting a lake of clawed shadows onto the grass. He could only imagine how it'd appear in autumn, the fiery brilliance of their leaves would be a sight: scorching-oranges, burning-browns and molten-reds soon to drift to the ground as silently and carelessly as an ash cloud, settling in to their eternal rest...

Just now though, in the dead of night, there was stained glass clarity to the moonbeams. Lipstick-pink peonies adorned the fringes of the garden and honeysuckles festooned the hedges with their ladylike perfume. The aroma of geosmin percolated through the air. The blackbird was the main player in the midnight chorus, his song as clear and fresh as the garden he would more than likely later raid. Warbling wrens and caroling chaffinches joined him, creating an orchestra of sound. It cascaded into the open spaces, ghosting through the nooks of the castle corners. He looked over at Nicholas and beamed. "Much better...Sorry, I'm not that big on crowds, really..."

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Character Portrait: Nicholas Brigham Character Portrait: Renly Arryn
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Nicholas took a half-step back as a couple danced a little to closely to the edge of the crowd. "Say...you wouldn't want to get out of here would you? I could use a break from all this frivolity. I hear this place has a pretty elaborate garden or something, good place for a stroll..." Renly offered.

Nicholas vaguely remembered the gardens from his childhood. As a child, he had often run among the flowers and climbed the trees. More than a few scraped knees and bruises had been his reward, along with a few hours of just being a child and not a prince. They had been good times. Their rarity had made them all the more precious. "That's a sound idea Renly," was the tame reply Nicholas gave. He would very much like to be alone with Renly, to be able to talk more openly to him without worrying about what gossiping courtiers might hear, to see what Renly was like when he was more comfortable. He followed Renly to the gardens, staying back while Renly took in the grounds. Even ten years later, the grounds still held some wonder for Nicholas. He was quite content to follow Renly as he wandered the gardens, apparently searching for something in particular.

When Renly had found what he was looking for, Nicholas followed him to a copse of pines and beech trees. The flowers grew a little more wildly here, freely intermingling with the trees and each other, with no real pattern to the formation. In the pale moonlight, the flowers were fragrant, a delicate note on the crisp and clean air. Perhaps botany might be Priscilla's strong point. Surely there had to be something that took her fancy. Renly turned to him, beaming. Even with half his face covered, Nicholas fancied he could see Renly's entire face light up, "Much better...Sorry, I'm not that big on crowds, really..."

"Nothing to apologise for Renly,"Nicholas returned Renly's grin, "Such social gatherings are not my idea of fun either. I much prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings." Nicholas looked around the copse, "You know, I don't think I've ever been to this part of the grounds before. You have a good eye Renly."

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Celia Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Evelyne Spyre Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Christoph Edwards Character Portrait: Tyrion Lannister Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir
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The hunt had been delayed following a rain storm that had lasted far longer than anyone had truly expected. The sky, however, had reverted to a light blue and the sun had begun to show itself a little after noon. The only sign that remained of said rainfall was the softness of the ground beneath the hooves of horses and the feet of nobles. Now, however, the sky was once more graying. Though there was still a substantial number of royals and nobles atop horses, preparing for the hunt, others had chosen to stay beneath tents that had been pitched over ornate carpets.

One such noble was Christoph. He had had every intention to join the hunt that day, but frankly, he cared little for riding about in such dismal conditions. Instead, he had merely ridden his horse out to the site of the tents to avoid wetting his shoes as most nobles chose to. Behind him, his dogs had trailed, and presently, they sat by his feet and watched the unknown people milling about under the tents. Christoph had taken a seat, as had quite a few of the nobles who were not busy mounting horses.

To his left sat Evelyne, for he truly hadn't wanted to leave anyone in his room without the dogs there to guard his belongings. Besides, she was entertaining company to keep in the midst of what was often dull conversation. Occasionally, he would whisper hushed remarks about the various nobles in her ear. Currently, he noticed a man who far too old to walk, let alone ride a horse, attempting to mount a well-bred stallion. Christoph's lips twitched as he leaned toward Evelyne. "I do hope someone puts me out of my misery if I'm ever that daft," he remarked.

He looked about for another victim, and his eyes fell upon Tyrion, the Imp. He stopped himself, however, before saying anything to Evelyne, for as much as he wished to say something about him, he knew Tyrion was a good ally to keep. "How are you on this fine day, Lord Tyrion?" he asked, cocking his head subtly. "Will you be joining the hunt?"








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Alongside the other nobles, Ronan finished adjusting the saddle on his ebony warhorse. The stallion fidgeted beneath unfamiliar saddlebags that, in turn, hit against his flanks with more fervor. He gripped the saddle and lifted himself on to the horse just as a rain drop fell on to the crown of his head. The rain, however, had never bothered him much either way. There was still a dull throb in his shoulder, and it brought about a wince as he yanked himself upwards. Once he had settled on the saddle, he gathered up the reins and looked about.

Ulfric, a little ways off, hefted himself into the saddle of his dun mare. She was much older than most of the horses gathered about, but she was a loyal mount. He'd ridden her for years now, since he had taken the throne, and not once had she failed him. As he settled himself on the saddle, he looked about and met Ronan's gaze. They would have to speak, for now Ulfric found it difficult to tell what was true anymore.

Clicking his tongue once, he walked his horse towards Ronan and then stopped so that their horses were only a few inches apart. "I was wondering if perhaps you would be willing to split from the group with me and hunt on our own," he said, reciting the line he had practiced that morning. "It'll be difficult to hunt with so many in the party."

Ronan blinked for a moment, then two, as he tried to determine how to proceed. That wasn't how it was supposed to happen. Nevertheless, he would work with it. He had to. "Of course, father," he replied, nodding to Ulfric. His father turned the mare around and began to move her past the camp and towards the woods. With a final glance over his shoulder, he caught Celia's gaze. "Look out for you sister, Celia," he called before kicking his horse into a canter.

Ronan looked toward his sister simply because Ulfric had mentioned her, but then he looked to Genevieve. For a moment, he simply watched her, waiting for something and then he nodded once to her before following Ulfric at a similar pace.