Forum of Thrones: An Interactive Story



  • Ysilla

    Ysilla hesitated just for a moment, before she realized what a monumental mistake it would be to back off now. As such, she closed her eyes and leaned in, giving Jen a kiss on the mouth. Their lips locked briefly, almost hesitantly, before Jenelyne pulled away. “I...”, Ysilla began, before she noticed the soft smile that slowly formed on the other woman's face. For a second, they stared into each other's eyes, as Jen's smile widened. Then, she came closer, placing her arms on Ysilla's shoulders and giving her a long, passionate kiss. She sank against her shoulder and Ysilla moved a hand through her hair.

    “Oh, you gotta be kidding me”, the familiar voice of Allar sounded and as Ysilla glanced to the right, she saw him returning just in this moment, carrying two freshly killed rabbits. He rolled his eyes, as Jen chuckled. Ysilla managed a crooked smile, especially as she saw Theodan's sullen expression. “I'm gone for five minutes and...” He paused and shook his head.

    “Well, what am I supposed to say?”, her brother sighed. “For the record, I refuse to be aroused by this” She shot him a grin. “I know, I know”, she replied. “I'm stealing all the girls who are literally throwing themselves at you” This caused Theodan to narrow his eyes, though Jen laughed brightly at the comment. “Don't act like that happens regularly”, he protested, before he looked at Jen. “Because it doesn't, I swear”

    Allar, meanwhile, sat down on the other side of the campfire and while Theodan's expression made her smile, Allar's did quite the opposite, for he looked genuinely disappointed. That being said, any semblance of regret was gone the very moment Jenelyne wrapped her arms around her. They were both quiet, just holding each other and lying close by the fire, while Allar skinned the two rabbits and prepared their dinner. Out of all the ways this day could have gone, this was perhaps the last she expected. And yet, she felt good. Happy, almost as much as the day she saw Theodan again, after so many years.

    As expected, her brother recovered quickly from the blow this must have been for his ego. “Well, uh, what are we going to do next?”, he asked, frowning mildly as he realized the implications. Ysilla raised an eyebrow and Jen looked up, giving her a sly wink. “I mean tomorrow”, Theodan clarified quickly. “Before you two head off to, well, the tents I so carefully built up, we should probably discuss our next move” He shrugged. “Then you're free to do whatever you want to do”

    “You hear that?”, Jen chirped. “We got his blessings” She came yet a bit closer and Ysilla felt her heart beating faster. The nightly air was cold here in the mountains, but she was anything but freezing. And with Jen so close, it became genuinely hard to concentrate on Theodan's question. “What did you say?”, she asked her brother and he rolled his eyes. “Typical”, he growled.

    “We need to be careful tomorrow”, Allar replied in her stead, trying to avoid looking at anyone and focussing entirely on the rabbits, who he was still preparing. Water was boiling in the small pot over the fire and he seemed to force himself to look solely at it. “We're close to the border. This whole region can be treacherous. There's Reachmen, bandits, both and worse”

    Though Ysilla was listening, she found it increasingly hard to follow him. There was, for one, the fact that she started to grow a bit hungry, especially as the rabbit started to boil. Her last proper meal had been in Blackmont and while she doubted there was much meat on the poor animal, she had trust in Allar's skills as a cook. And then, of course, the beautiful woman in her arms. She wanted to hold her close, somewhere private, not thinking about the Reach, dragons or her mission.

    “You know...”, Jen whispered into her ear. “I'm not actually hungry. Those tents look mighty comfortable though” She glanced at her, giving her a clever wink, followed by a sweet smile that caused Ysilla's eyes to widen and heat rising up within her. “You mean...”, she spoke and it wasn't even a proper decision to make. She smiled into Theodan's and Allar's direction, as both women rose from the ground.

    “Well, that has been nice”, she said. “Nice evening. Good work on the tents, Theo” She stretched her back. “Though we gotta go. I'm, uh, my back is aching” Jen was quick to nod. “Yeah, mine too”, she agreed, as she placed her hand in Ysilla's. Allar narrowed his eyes, but did not look up, whereas Theodan seemed genuinely shocked for a moment. “Are you fucking...”, he began, before he shook his head. “Are you fucking serious? Ysilla, I'm in the middle of something right now”

    “And she'll be in the middle of something else in a moment”, Jen replied, her voice oozing sarcasm, although the statement was brazen enough to make even Ysilla blush. Theodan's eyes widened, as the two women walked past him. Ysilla could not hold back, as she patted her brother onto the shoulder. “Don't you worry, big brother”, she whispered with a smirk. “You can have my share of the rabbit” His glare was a most wonderful sight, though it was quickly replaced by something even sweeter, as Jenelyne jumped into her arms. Their lips met again, as Ysilla carried her into the tent.

    “And what about the guards?”, Theodan called. “Come on, that's not funny!” Ysilla pulled away from Jen, reluctantly, as she glanced over her shoulder one last time. “We'll take the second shift”, she offered. “Probably!” With this, she hastened to fully get into the tent, ignoring Theodan's protest.

    When she awoke, it was dark inside the tent. It was warm, almost unbearably hot to be honest, yet she still sighed in comfort, as she felt Jenelyne sleeping calmly right next to her. The happy smile on her face faded quickly, however, replaced by a frown as she realized that she hadn't woken up without reason. No bad dreams, certainly not, but... a noise?

    There it was again. Ysilla frowned at the noise outside her tent. Cold air came through the small gap, but there was a welcome warmth to her side and the heat was still just barely bearable. Just as her frown turned into a small smile again, she heard the noise again and this time, she understood what it was.

    “Ysilla!”, Theodan hissed in a low tone and she rolled her eyes. “For fucks sake, can't you just leave me alone for one night?”, she asked, as she spotted her brother's face through the gap. “And don't look, that's rude” Her brother shook his head. “Something's not right”, he warned her. "I got a bad feeling about this"

    Ysilla shot him a glare. “If that is your way of getting back at me for stealing a girl you had an eye on...”, she began, before she lowered her voice, to allow Jenelyne some rest. “Then I don't find this very funny” She had a faint hope that this was just one of his stupid jokes, but the look on his face ruined it immediately. When her brother was truly serious, she knew.

    “One moment”, she whispered and Theodan understood. Closing the gap again, he gave her some privacy as she got dressed, as carefully as possible, so that she wouldn't wake up Jen. Briefly, she looked at the beautiful woman, letting her eyes wander over her body, which was only half covered by the blanket. Gently, she made sure Jen would stay warm, as she tucked the blanket over her. Then, she finished dressing and went out to meet Theodan.

    Her brother was alone, near an almost burned down campfire. “So, it's our guard shift, I presume?”, she remarked, trying to sound as light-hearted as possible, as she noticed something that made her quite uncomfortable. Theodan was armed. It wasn't just that he had his sword lying next to him near the fire, no, he wore the scabbard on his belt, as if he was ready for a fight. “Where is Allar?”, she asked.

    Theodan sighed. “As I said, we have a problem”, he spoke. “Allar, well... he didn't take this very well. You know, you and Jenelyne. I think we both kinda hoped for a different outcome” He gave her a brief, supportive smile. “You like her, though, don't you?” Ysilla gave him a determined nod, slightly impatient, as she narrowed her eyes. “What happened to Allar?”, she asked.

    “As I said, he didn't take it very well”, Theodan repeated. “Barely spoke a word. While I stayed up to guard the camp, he just got up and left. Said she'd scout the area, but honestly, I think he just wanted to take a walk, get some fresh air and, well, get away from you two” He sighed. “That was hours ago. Not sure how long, but two, maybe three”

    “And you're waking me up just now?”, Ysilla hissed, a little bit too loud. Theodan raised an eyebrow. “Hey, you were busy”, he defended himself. “Besides, I didn't want to get you all concerned for nothing, in case he'd return by himself. I'm sure he's just out to take a walk, but, well, it's been hours. Not like Allar to stay away for so long, no matter how bad his mood is”

    A loud yawn sounded from behind Ysilla and she closed her eyes, knowing that Jen was leaving the tent behind her. The other woman wrapped an arm around her and gave her a kiss on the neck. “Morning”, she mumbled, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “Is it already time for our shift?” Still half asleep, it took her a moment to realize what was wrong, but Ysilla saw her dreamy smile disappearing in an instant. “Where is Allar?”, she asked, sounding notably alarmed.

    “He...”, Ysilla began, but thankfully, Theodan cut her off. “We don't know”, he admitted. “He went for a walk, but it's been some time. I didn't want to concern you, so I woke Ysilla first” Jen tensed up, clenching her fists, and Ysilla saw that her hands were shivering slightly. “How long?”, she asked and Theodan sighed. “Three hours”, he stated, to which the other woman gulped. “Where did he go?”, she asked. “Which direction? He wouldn't stay away for so long unless something happened”

    “We don't know that for sure”, Ysilla tried to calm her, but Jenelyne shook her head. “I know my brother”, she stated. “He's cautious. Would never stay away for so long. We must find him!” Ysilla gave her a nod. “And we will”, she promised her. As she placed a hand on Jen's back, she noticed just how tensed up the other woman was. “Which direction did he leave, Theodan?”

    Theodan pointed down the path ahead, the one that'd lead them into the Reach. “That way”, he said. “But... wait, what if he returns while we're all away? Shouldn't someone stay behind to tell him?” Jen hesitated for a moment, but she nodded reluctantly. “You got a point”, she admitted. “So, how about you stay behind? You'd just slow me down either way, no offence” Theodan crossed his arms. “Alright, that is probably for the better”, he agreed, before both looked at Ysilla.

    She knew, they'd expect a choice from her. Truth be told, she was nervous, extremely nervous that something had happened to Allar. She liked him, he was a decent man and she hoped he could make his peace with the fact that she liked his sister just a little bit more. And more than anything else, she wanted him to be fine, that he had just lost his way, or forgot the time while walking. She wasn't sure if she could, or should, leave her brother behind at the camp. Then again, Theodan was trained with the sword and the camp was well-hidden. If anything would happen to Jen though, if she'd go and search for Allar on her own... she sighed, as she once more had a hard choice to make.

    [Go with Jenelyne] [Stay with Theodan]


    Sadie turned away from her sister and Blane, instead fully focussing onto Nilanne, even if she hated the thought of her sister having anything to do with that sleazy idiot. “Speak then”, she confirmed, crossing her arms, as she tried not to think too much about what he would do. Her tone was a bit too icy and the woman raised an eyebrow. “You don't approve of Melanie and Blane?”, she remarked.

    “You bet I don't”, Sadie hissed, her angry words seemingly confusing Nilanne, as she tilted her head. “He is not as bad as you think he is”, she assured her. “I know you are concerned for your sister, we all are, but Blane is a decent man. I doubt he wants to play with her feelings. He's not like some of the others in the company”

    “I know men like him”, Sadie insisted. “More than enough. And I know my sister and what is best for her. The last thing she needs is... is someone like him, who is just out to seduce her. It'll go bad, maybe not right away, but eventually and it will hurt Melanie, wether he intends to or not” She shook her head. “That is not what you wanted to tell me, isn't it?”

    Nilanne's warm smile faded as quick as it came. “It is about Gyles”, she spoke and Sadie narrowed her eyes. “What is that piece of shit up to again?”, she asked and Nilanne took a step closer. “I didn't realize it at first”, she replied. “But he has a friend in a nearby village, one who was crucial for the... condition your sister is in”

    Sadie tensed up as she heard this. “His name is Yusuf, Gyles took me to one of their meetings once. A pompous guy, acting like he's a lord or something and he's got a bit of a temper”, the woman continued. “He's not from around here. Comes from Essos, I think, and he trades in potions and powders, which he creates by himself. Most of it doesn't do what he promises, but some of what he offers is highly addictive” She avoided Sadie's gaze and instead stared at her feet. “This is what Gyles gave to your sister”, she added. “I didn't make the connection at first, but then I overheard him and his mother the other night. He wants to visit Yusuf and I doubt it's just to catch up with a friend”

    “What can you tell me about him?”, she asked and Nilanne shrugged. “Not much”, she admitted. “I just met him once, briefly, and we didn't talk. I am honestly not sure he even knows what Gyles is doing, but I doubt he'd disapprove. He's shady and the fact that Gyles want to meet with him now, that's not a good sign” She shook her head. “He's not addicted to his own stuff and he once told me that the rest of Yusuf's supplies are worthless, so that can mean only one thing”

    “He wants to harm Melanie”, Sadie concluded and Nilanne nodded. “Quite possibly”, she agreed. “Your agreement with Leo effectively ended the comfortable life he had built for himself. Without his whores, he is nothing. And if I know anything about the man, then that he is the vengeful type. He knows he cannot harm you directly without risking Leo's wrath, but your sister? She's an addict and if he continues to supply her, it will kill her some day”

    Sadie frowned at the thought. “When I found her again, she was more dead than alive”, she whispered, knowing that the same could be said about her as well. “She must never get back to such a point” She placed her hand on the woman's shoulder. “Thank you for telling me about this”, she added. “I don't know what I would do if anything would happen to Melanie”

    Nilanne smiled in return, a hint of her true beauty reaching her harsh, stern face. “You're welcome”, she replied thinly. “The question is, what are we going to do about it? Even if he doesn't seek to harm your sister in particular, I cannot think of a single good thing that could come out of that man meeting his old business partner”

    “Frankly, I'd be fine with just killing him”, Sadie replied. “Gyles, I mean. But that would be more trouble than he's worth” She shook her head. “For one, I don't want to leave this all behind again. Don't know where I'd go from here. No, I'm afraid this is not an option” Nilanne smirked slightly. “But a pleasant thought”, she replied, as she looked past Sadie. “We'll talk later, alright? I think you're needed over there”

    As Sadie glanced over her shoulder, she saw Edward Lancaster and Rhogarn Snow approaching her. The former gave her a brief wave and she nodded at him. “But put some thought into this”, Nilanne added. “And be ready. We have to act as swift as possible” She lowered her gaze and rushed towards one of the buildings and Sadie noticed Gyles' creature, the hooded William Gering, staring at them from a distance. She had no doubt he couldn't hear them, but his intention was clear. Gyles was spying on her or on Nilanne, at least keeping an eye on whom they talked to. She frowned, realizing that this man would become a problem sooner or later, even more than he already was.

    “Hey Sadie!”, Edward greeted her and she smiled briefly. “How can I help you?”, she replied, as she greeted him and Rhogarn with a nod. “We wanted to check up on you”, the Northerner replied. “You settled in well in the castle?” She chuckled. “Believe it or not, it's not my first time in one of these”, she told him. “I've served at Nightsong, in the dornish marches” She glanced around the courtyard. “In fact, it's been almost as large as this castle here, though there weren't any tunnels beneath it”

    “Yeah, the tunnels”, Edward spoke and he frowned. “When Leo spoke about an agreement with the Lady Reyne, I didn't think he meant for our people to live down there like rats” Rhogarn shook his head. “We should be thankful there's room at all”, he disagreed. “Perhaps Lady Reyne is not as bad as you consider her to be”

    “As Leo does”, Edward corrected him. “I never even met the woman, I wouldn't dare to have an opinion on her. But I suppose you're right” He shrugged. “What do you think about her, Sadie?” Sadie tilted her head. “I think she's not too bad”, she admitted. “She did hear me out, even when she had no reason to. She changed her mind on Leo and you know he wasn't exactly helpful with that”

    Edward chuckled. “True”, he admitted. “Truth be told, it's a small miracle she didn't hang both of you, even Aklen had to admit this much” Sadie rolled her eyes. “I couldn't care less about what Aklen thinks”, she replied. “But yeah, I suppose I'm pretty great” They both exchanged a smile, as they headed down the courtyard. Even the stern Rhogarn had to smirk.

    “So, what is next for us?”, she asked and Rhogarn shrugged. “We are going to stay here for a bit”, he replied. “Which, I think is another thing we have you to thank for. A few weeks with a proper roof over our head, that'll do wonders for the moral” He straightened his back and sighed. “And a proper bed is always welcome once you reach a certain age”

    “Leo got a message, earlier today”, Edward revealed. “From an old flame, as far as I got it, though he didn't seem too happy” Sadie noticed how Rhogarn's expression soured. “Don't tell me Ira showed her mug again”, he growled and Edward nodded. “Yeah, that was her name”, he agreed. “Is she bad news?”

    “The worst kind”, Rhogarn growled. “I don't like noblemen, but I agree they are not all bad. Leo, he hates them. But Ira? She makes him look reasonable” He shook his head. “Even Leo realized that, back when they parted ways. Wasn't pretty when he kicked her out, but it was clear that she was heading down a dark path back then. Heard she got herself killed down in the Reach. A shame that wasn't true. You know what she wants this time?”

    Edward shook his head. “One of her men wants to meet with him. I believe Leo is thinking on it”, he spoke. Rhogarn frowned. “I gotta talk him out of that”, he spoke, before he sighed. “This evening. Doesn't have to be right now. What are you two doing later tonight?”

    “Nothing yet”, Sadie replied. “What's on your mind?” The older sellsword gave her a mild grin. “There is a tavern down in the lower levels of the castle. Wanted to invite you over”, he revealed. “First drink's on me” Edward's smile widened. “My friend, it is amazing how you always manage to say exactly what I want to hear”, he stated.

    In this moment, Sadie realized something. These two, they were friends, or at least on friendly terms with her. The closest thing she got to people on her side, perhaps with the exception of Leo and Wylie. Perhaps she should tell them about Nilanne's discovery and her suspicion, about how much she feared that Gyles could seek revenge. The only thing stopping her was that she feared they could act rashly. She didn't want to risk anything in this situation and while their help could be welcome, she was just as afraid that they could do more harm than good.

    [Tell them about your suspicion towards Gyles] [Don't tell them]

  • [Go with Jenelyne] Bad idea to let someone go off on their own, Theodan will be fine.

    [Don't tell them] Now why would Gyles do anything bad? He's an upstanding citizen, lol.

    Ysilla Ysilla hesitated just for a moment, before she realized what a monumental mistake it would be to back off now. As such, she closed

  • The Voting is closed!

    Ysilla is going to go with Jenelyne

    Sadie is going to tell Edward and Rhogarn about her suspicion towards Gyles

    It was not the most active voting, but there is a very clear tendency towards this outcome regardless. As such, you made a very important choice with the first one, as Ysilla's next part is going to show. I was originally going to expand her part beyond this choice and give you a different one, but I think this was the right decision, because the events of her next part likely require more space than usual.

    The next part will be out today. Currently, I am writing a Janae part and I believe it is very likely this will remain the only PoV for this part, though I might show Jaron's second PoV as well. We'll see. Last time we saw Janae, she, Harpy and Behara were assaulted by Haar, Abbas' drunken henchman. This time, it went badly for Haar, as Harpy stabbed and killed him in self defence. She stood up for this and admitted to it when confronted by Abbas, which Janae decided to confirm. Meanwhile, Jaron's part will show his time behind the Black Walls of Volantis, where he will accompany Lysara Rogare to a meeting with a Volantene noble.

  • edited March 2019


    Janae exchanged a glance with Harpy, before she took a step back. Reluctantly, she nodded. “It's true”, she confirmed. “Haar tried to attack us. Harpy killed him in self defence” Harpy smirked thinly, giving Janae a pleased nod. “You heard it”, Harpy spoke. “That swine got what he deserved. Is it all settled then?”

    Abbas narrowed his eyes. “Not quite”, he growled and Janae could see how he tensed up. “You murdered one of my guards. It doesn't matter what he did, you are my slave and you murdered one of my guards” He shook his head. “You, of all people, should have known better” He clenched his fists. “The question remains, what am I to do with you?”

    Harpy's smile faded. “You... he tried to force himself upon us. What was I supposed to do? Just let him have his way with me?”, she gasped and to Janae's horror, Abbas gave her a calm nod. “Obedience”, he hissed. “The sooner you give up on the idea that what you like or don't like has any sort of importance, the sooner you'll make a decent slave. How can I trust you not to gut your future master like you just did with Haar?” He gave her a glare and Janae saw how Harpy's confidence faded. “It doesn't matter if Haar was drunken degenerate, you had no right to kill him, or even just to stop him. The only one who can decide on that is me, your master”

    A vicious anger flared up in Harpy's eyes. “You wouldn't have stopped him had I told you about it”, she hissed and Abbas nodded nonchalantly. “Because I don't care”, he replied. “Haar was out of line, yes, but what you did was worse. A slave laying hand on a free man? In Yunkai you'd lose that hand and you'd deserve it” Harpy crossed her arms, now glaring with defiance. “We are not in Yunkai”, she spoke. “Besides, what are you going to do to your... prized trophy? You already told me whom you intend to sell me to. What could you do that Razdal zo Yunzak won't do regardless? Do you want to damage his goods?”

    For a moment, they glared at each other, before Abbas sighed. “No...”, he admitted. “No, I suppose this won't work. I want Razdal to have you, in all your splendor. No scars from lashing, no missing fingers...” For just one second, Janae had the hopes he would back off. Undoubtedly, Harpy was aiming towards this and it seemed her gambit might play off. He wouldn't harm her... would he?

    “The usual punishment won't work with you”, the slaver agreed. Janae knew him and she saw the confidence returning, as a wicked idea took root in his mind. He shrugged. “My, it seems like you have me backed into a corner. My unruly slave and there is nothing I can do to tame her”, he chirped in a mocking tone. “If only I had a decade of experience dealing with the likes of you” He gave Bakr a nod and before Harpy could react, the massive slaver had grabbed her from behind.

    “What...”, she merely managed to gasp, as Abbas pulled out a knife. “Abbas!”, Janae hissed, trying to rush closer, though the chains prevented her. As if he just now realized she was still there, he glanced at her briefly, before giving Ryder a nod. “Make sure she cannot intervene”, he spoke. “Knock her out if she is too strong”

    “Abbas, I don't like this”, Bakr protested, but it was a weak input, with neither backbone nor conviction behind it. The other slaver shook his head. “Of course you don't, but that is our deal”, he reminded him. “You get a generous share once we sell them, but the slaves are my property” He gave him a smile that would have been friendly under any other circumstance, but with everything going on right now, it was completely out of place. “Unless you wish to renegotiate”, he brought up and Bakr sighed. “Don't got the coin for that and you know it”, he mumbled, to which Abbas nodded. “It is settled then”, he replied. “Good talk, my friend, good talk”

    Abbas glanced at the wickedly sharp knife in his hands, before glaring at Harpy. “The arrogance”, he mumbled. “As if you are the first defiant captive, the first who thinks she's oh so clever” He rolled his eyes and his gaze fell upon Behara. It was in this moment that all three of them realized what he was going to do. “Oh no... no, no, please!”, Behara gasped and Janae roared with anger. Trying to push against Ryder's grip was like pushing against a stone wall. The man was larger than her, stronger and not bound by chains. “Easy now”, the mercenary mumbled. “Don't struggle, or this will get much worse”

    “Don't you dare!”, Harpy spat, but it was too late already. Bound by her chains, Behara was unable to crawl away, as Abbas leant over her. The girl struggled, but it was not enough to fight him off. “Please, I didn't do anything!”, Behara cried out, but it did not matter. Harpy tried to break free, jamming her elbow into Bakr's thick belly, which the man didn't even seem to notice and Ryder was wise enough to keep a firm grip on Janae's hands, else she would have clawed his eyes out right there.

    “Abbas, is that truly necessary?”, Bakr asked and Abbas gave him a nod, without even looking at him. Instead, he was still busy getting Behara to stop struggling. “See and learn, Bakr, see and learn”, he exclaimed. “There is a reason why I am the brains of our team and it is because I know exactly what to do when dealing with slaves such as these”

    She couldn't see Behara, with Abbas leaning over her, but this made it only worse, as the girl's panicked sobs turned into shrieks of pain. It was over quickly, as Abbas rose again, allowing the girl to break free, clutching her left hand. Blood was seeping from between her fingers and blood was running down Abbas' knife. In his free hand, he held a piece of flesh and Janae felt nausea threatening to overcome her, as she recognized half of a finger.

    Abbas gazed upon the gruesome piece in his hand, ignoring Janae's anger, Harpy's shock and Behara's crying. Then, he slowly approached Harpy. Every trace of defiance was gone from her face, now replaced by a hollow, horrified look, as she stared at his hand. “You still think you're clever?”, he asked. “That you have any right, my defiant slave?” He shook his head, as he pointed the knife at her, until the tip pushed slightly into her cheek. “No, I don't think so”, he stated. “No matter how smart you think you are, I'm smarter, I'm better and I got you right where I want you to be”

    He dropped the severed finger without wasting another thought at it. “Maybe you don't care what happens to you, but it's different for her, isn't it? So, next time you, any of you, tries to screw me over, tries to be defiant or to trick me, next time you think you're oh so fucking smart...”, he hissed, as he pulled the knife back. A thin drop of blood poured down Harpy's cheek. “Then I'll take her whole hand”

    At Abbas' sign, Bakr let go of Harpy, who sank to her knees. “I...”, she mumbled. “This is not what...” She cut herself off and Abbas shrugged. “This is your fault, my fair lady, yours alone”, he stated. “Keep that in mind, next time you consider doing anything that I have not explicitly allowed” He turned around, leaving Harpy and Behara, though Janae was not done with him yet.

    “I'm going to kill you for that”, she promised sharply and almost out the door, Abbas turned around one last time. He gave her a smile, smaller and less smug than she would have expected. “Careful what you say, Janae”, he replied coldly. “I might consider this undesirable behaviour” With this, at last, he left the room, closing and shutting the door behind him.

    The sun was already high in the sky as they approached the bridge. They had wrapped a blanket around Behara, but it changed little about her shivering. The girl was pale, cold sweat running down her forehead. Though her injured hand was freshly bandaged and it wasn't bleeding anymore, the shock still sat deep, not just in her.

    “Hey”, she said softly, trying to get the girl to show a reaction. Indeed, Behara looked up, her eyes red from the tears and the lack of sleep. And yet, Janae saw something she hadn't seen before. There was no sadness over her fate, but something much, much worse. Quickly, she looked down again.

    “Leave her be”, Harpy spoke. “Let her rest. For now. We...” She paused, as she lowered her head. “We're not going to get out of this one, are we?” Janae gulped, as she placed a hand on the younger woman's shoulder. “I didn't want this, Janae”, Harpy said. “I...” Janae cut her off. “I know”, she spoke. “You are not to blame” She spoke these last words in a whisper, so that Abbas wouldn't hear them and even then, she was afraid he somehow would. For the first time, she was actually afraid of the man she once loved.

    It was true that she didn't blame Harpy. She herself would have killed Haar if given the chance. And she wouldn't have thought of Abbas' cruelty either. There was nothing left of the man he used to be, not even a fragment. She knew, even his old self would have hated the man he was now. Perhaps it would have been kinder, had she killed him back then.

    “Janae”, Abbas spoke softly and the sound of his voice alone was enough to cause Behara to tense up. Harpy subtly pushed herself between the two, while Janae met his gaze with hatred. “What?”, she hissed and the slaver raised an eyebrow. “Just one thing”, he spoke. “Once we're in there, don't complain about me, to anyone. If I hear you do, then that would make me very unhappy” He gave her a wink, before he turned around again.

    “Who goes there!”, a deep voice came from the wooden wall that was built in front of the bridge. A man glanced over it, his skin tanned olive, with dark hair and a clean-shaven, smooth face, only a few details hinting at him being older than he seemed. He repeated his question in Low Valyrian, as Abbas brought the cart to a stop. “Abbas al'Yunkari”, he barked. “Your mistress knows me and I am certain she awaits me”

    The man narrowed his eyes. “I don't know you”, he replied. “But lay down your weapons and you may wait until she has time for you” His eyes darted from the two slavers to Ryder, to the three women on the cart. “Are you a slaver?”, he asked and Abbas nodded. “Even if you have a problem with this, I can assure you, your mistress hasn't”

    “Easy, Semsi”, another man called and a second later, he glanced over the wall. This time, it was an older man, in his forties at least, with an impressive build. Thick ropes of hair framed a weathered, tanned face, his beard was a well-kept goatee, framing his mouth. His left eye was hidden beneath an eyepatch, the other was a light brown and narrowed in displeasure. “The slaver”, he growled. “Open the gates. Lady Rowan wants to meet with this one... unfortunately”

    The wooden gates opened, as reluctantly as the one-eyed man who commanded them and the cart slowly drove through. The small fort behind was open to one side, though at the other end of the bridge, a second fort was constructed, just as sturdy as this one. On both sides of the wooden wall, long, two-story houses had been built and there were small watchtowers. It wasn't enough to keep an army out, but for these lordless lands, it was more than enough.

    “Salazar Redwind”, Abbas said, as he spread his arms. “You barely changed” The one-eyed man frowned. “Abbas”, he growled. “I see you're still the same” Abbas chuckled. “I've been thinking of you, my old friend”, he said. “I was hoping you'd left Rowan's service by now. Heard there's a lot of opportunity for a man like you over in Braavos”

    “And I was hoping you'd rot on the ground of the Narrow Sea by now”, Salazar replied, not the least bit subtle about his dislike to Abbas. It was refreshing, especially after meeting with Abbas' friend, this Goranero, just a few days ago. “You know Lady Rowan doesn't like it when you bring slaves over her bridge. You can ship them through Volantis, like any other of you self-righteous cocksuckers, but we're not some loophole so that you can avoid the elephants' slave tax”

    “True”, a higher, female voice agreed and Salazar stepped aside, revealing the young girl who had just left one of the huts. She was even younger than Janae expected, likely not more than fourteen years old and as short as girls her age were. And yet, there was something odd about her, so much unlike what Janae expected from a young girl. She was not much of a looker, with long, perfectly combed mousy brown hair and a thin face and the look in her dark, piercing eyes was strangely menacing. By her side walked a lean, tanned man with a notable facial scar and a blue-clad man from Yi Ti, who wore his dark hair in a ponytail.

    “Abbas”, she said. “I knew you'd keep your word. Brair wanted to hunt you down, but I kept telling him that no, surely a man of your reputation would return as quick as possible” She narrowed her eyes. “And yet you haven't learned a thing. Slaves, again? You know I charge three times as much as the Volantene do”

    “And I know the Volantene pay you handsomely for... redirecting the trade, Rowan”, Abbas replied, before he took a slight bow. “Lady Crios, I mean. How is the bridge doing? I love the work you've been putting into it” He smiled. “And of course, I will pay your price. Haven't I always? And when I cannot pay, I return. I like to keep you among my friends”

    Rowan nodded. “Of course”, she said. Somehow, this young girl was not the least bit afraid of Abbas, when even Janae was starting to get terrified of him. Perhaps having a dozen loyal sellswords around her helped, but she had the impression that Rowan wouldn't back down even when alone with the slaver. “Though I am afraid this time you won't like what I demand” She gazed at the three women. “What happened to her finger?”, she suddenly asked, making Behara tense up. Her good hand was still clenching the bandage that was wrapped around the injury and she slightly turned away from the sellswords, closer to Harpy and Janae.

    “An unfortunate accident”, Abbas said, lying through his teeth. “The girl, she's... not the brightest, you know. Cut herself while cooking dinner and it got infected. We had to remove it so that she can keep the rest of her hand” He glanced at Behara. “Isn't that true, girl?”, he said softly and she closed her eyes, frowning, before giving him a defeated nod. “Y-yes”, she stuttered. “I... I should have been more careful”

    Janae managed to swallow the anger, that vicious feeling in her throat and she saw how, just for a moment, Harpy nearly lost her composure. Thankfully, she didn't, for attacking Abbas, here in front of so many sellswords, it would be as good as suicide. Even then, though, it was clear that Rowan wasn't believing a word of what he said. “Is that so?”, she said slowly. “Very well. The price. I believe you owe me for the last time you crossed my bridge”

    Quickly, Abbas' sharp smile returned. “Straight to business, mylady, that is what I like so much about you”, he complimented her, to which she tilted her head. “You cannot pay with flattery”, she stated impatiently and the Ghiscari sighed. “Of course”, he replied. “Luckily, my contact in Oldtown left me a little something when he died. As a token of our gratitude. Bakr, please”

    The massive slaver came closer, one hand moving over his massive, bald head. “Lady Rowan, hello”, he said and unlike the cold expression she gave Bakr, the girl shot Bakr a wide, cheerful smile. “How are you doing, Bakr?”, she asked. “Still working with this man? You could do better, you know. A man of your build, I'd hire you in a heartbeat”

    Bakr chuckled, as if she had made a genuine joke and he grinned at Abbas. “She's hilarious”, he said. “Here, this is for you” With these words, he reached to his belt, where a small bag hung. He handed it over to her and she merely nodded, which caused the scarred man to her right to grab it. “Count this for me, Brair”, she said. “Then I'll decide if it is enough... for last time”

    “Last time?”, Abbas asked and Rowan blinked. “You bring another group of slaves over my bridge”, she clarified. “It's a separate incident, of course you'll have to pay twice” She shook her head. “You are a man of business, aren't you? The principle should be quite clear then”, she added, before her smile widened. “Or is that a problem?”

    There was innocence in her tone, yet Janae could see how gladly the one-eyed sellsword would be to hear that this was indeed a problem for Abbas. The slaver didn't do him the favour though, as he merely shook his head. “It's all good, mylady”, he confirmed. “Shall we continue this discussion inside and in private? Tell me what you expect and we can negotiate”

    “Very well”, Rowan said. “Abbas and Bakr, please follow me. Brair and Khar Shun, keep an eye on them at all times” She turned around, walking towards one of the houses. The slavers followed and then, the sellswords who had flanked her earlier. The man from Yi Ti hesitated a moment, seeming slightly confused, though the other, Brair, patted him onto the shoulder and mumbled something in the fast-paced, soft language of the Yi Tish. As soon as he had said these words, the man from Yi Ti nodded and hurried to follow.

    “Your master leaves you alone, hound”, Salazar stated and Ryder crossed his arms. Despite being surrounded by sellswords who were clearly less than happy to have him here, he was calm, oozing confidence and showing no fear. “He leaves me alone because he knows I can take care of myself”, he replied. “As you are welcome to find out”

    A moment passed, then another, before Salazar chuckled. “I like you, man”, he claimed. “You got guts, unlike the usual curs Abbas hires. And you seem like a capable swordsman. If you want a piece of advice, what talents you have are wasted with him” Ryder replied with a nod. “I know”, he agreed. “But he is my best bet to get to Slaver's Bay. I don't like him any more than you do, but he's good business. I'm sure you can emphasize”

    Salazar nodded. “Aye, that I can”, he agreed slowly. “Working for Lady Rowan isn't always easy either. She's got spirit, sure, but she's as fickle as a fourteen-year old. It's... frustrating to see how she allows even scum like your master to cross our bridge” This caused Ryder to grow visibly curious. “And how exactly does a man like you end up working for a child?”, he asked.

    This caused the sellsword to sigh. “That child is immensely rich”, he revealed. “Most of it inherited by her parents, of course, but she's got talent in getting even richer. And she's lucky that I respect my contract and her. More than half of the sellswords in these lands would have robbed her blind by now, but a man needs to have principles”

    For a moment, it seemed as if he was going to say more, but then, he placed a hand on the back of the clean-shaven man who had first greeted them at the wall. “Semsi, why don't you show our guest the tavern? It ain't much, we got no innkeeper and the ale is not the best, but how else is a man supposed to spend his time around here?”

    “What about the slaves?”, Ryder asked and Salazar shrugged. “What about them?”, he asked. “Where are they supposed to run? Across the bridge is the only way and there is a second garrison on the other end. Nah, they won't go anywhere” With this, he placed two fingers on his eyepatch. “Besides, I'll keep an eye on them”, he promised.

    Ryder gave him a nod, then turned to the other man. “Lead the way”, he spoke and off they went, leaving Janae, Harpy and Behara still sitting on the cart, chained together and surrounded by sellswords. The one-eyed man looked after the two. “Thought he'd never leave”, he mumbled, as he turned to them. “Can I get you something?”

    Behara did not reply, as she bit down onto her lower lip and avoided his stare. Harpy, however, looked up. “I don't think you can get us out of here, can you?”, she asked, to which Salazar smirked. His smile faded quickly, though. “Is he truly that bad?”, he asked. “Your master, I mean. I never trusted him, but Rowan... she's smart for her age, but she's still easily charmed by flattery and guile, even if she's good at hiding it”

    “Would it change anything?”, Harpy asked and Salazar shrugged. “Can't promise a thing, but I'd like to know how he truly is”, he explained. “He acts like a damn saint any time he's here, but there's something fundamentally off about him. The man is bad news and I'd like to convince Rowan of it. Problem is, my gut feeling alone won't be enough to make her see reason”

    He gave her an honest look and she liked what he said, but Janae hesitated. Abbas warned her about this, about saying anything that makes him look bad. What if this would fall back on her, or Behara? Even worse, what if this was all part of a test? She didn't think Abbas above such mind games. Though what if Salazar could help?

    [Tell Salazar the truth] [Lie to him and claim everything is fine]

  • InGen_Nate_KennyInGen_Nate_Kenny Moderator
    edited March 2019

    [Lie to him and claim everything is fine] - gives InGen an obviously really bad choice and expects him not to take it >:) -

    Rowan, that's a Reach house. This girl is interesting already. EDIT: Rip it's Rowan Crios, not Crios Rowan.

    Quickly, Abbas' sharp smile returned. “Straight to business, mylady, that is what I like so much about you”, he complimented her, to which she tilted her head. “You cannot pay with flattery”, she stated impatiently and the Ghiscari sighed. “Of course”, he replied. “Luckily, my contact in Oldtown left me a little something when he died. As a token of our gratitude. Bakr, please”

    It's been a while since he's been alluded to. RIP.

    Also, huh, that was really bad what happened to Behara. The poor girl. Temari ain't going to be pleased about that. That was very unfortunate.

    Janae Janae exchanged a glance with Harpy, before she took a step back. Reluctantly, she nodded. “It's true”, she confirmed. “Haar tried

    • gives InGen an obviously really bad choice and expects him not to take it >:) -

    Ah, but did I truly not expect this? And is this the bad choice, or would telling Salazar result in something even worse? Are there even good choices for Janae?

    Rowan, that's a Reach house. This girl is interesting already. EDIT: Rip it's Rowan Crios, not Crios Rowan.

    Yeah, I can see the confusion, especially as you are not the only one who made the connection. While Rowan is just her first name, I can confirm there will be an actual member of the house appearing at some point in the future.

    It's been a while since he's been alluded to. RIP.

    And it won't be the last mention of him and of several other characters who haven't been mentioned in a while. Especially when it comes to the Burned Man, he won't be forgotten as long as Jaron and Harpy are around and, by extension, even Abbas will remember him. He actually respected the man, in a very strange way, even if that didn't stop him from enslaving his adoptive daughter.

    Also, huh, that was really bad what happened to Behara. The poor girl. Temari ain't going to be pleased about that. That was very unfortunate.

    Extremely unfortunate, aye. It could have been avoided, had Janae taken the blame, because Abbas mostly wanted to make an example for Harpy, proving her that she cannot do whatever she likes just because he cannot dare to physically harm her. Behara is his leverage now. Janae however, he wouldn't have punished Behara, had she taken the blame for this.

    [Lie to him and claim everything is fine] - gives InGen an obviously really bad choice and expects him not to take it - Rowan, that's a

  • The Voting is closed!

    Janae is going to lie to Salazar

    Well, that was certainly the option I expected to win. Abbas made it very clear that he won't tolerate something like this, so even if Salazar can be trusted, which is a bit of a risk on its own, if the Ghiscari finds out, it'll have consequences. It is questionable if Salazar could have helped either way. The alternative choices at the end of the chapter might give you a bit more of an overview of what could have been here, but I'd say you chose as expected and you chose wisely.

    The next part will be out today. I realize I am very late this time. Unfortunately, I am having a bit of a problem with my computer, I suspect the power supply unit is slowly breaking down. Means it is repeatedly just shutting down and I can't get a new power supply unit before tomorrow. This is slowing me down a bit, although I hope to finish the part today. It will be a Samantha part. Last time we saw her, she and Sasha arrived at Southshield, where they intend to meet with Lord Serry. However, arriving there at night, the lighthouse and village are completely dark and even the castle is just barely illuminated. The captain of the ship they came with suspects Ironborn, offering to take the two to a different island to get help. Samantha however, opted to go to shore, where she and Sasha will check out the village first.

  • Samantha

    The village of Southshield was dark and quiet. Fog had come from the sea, filling the streets with eerie grey. To one side there was the lighthouse, covered in blackness, the flame extinguished. To the other, in the distance, the handful of torches illuminating the castle, the only dots of light, aside from the few stars that managed to break through the clouds. The moon itself was hiding, leaving Samantha and Sasha with perfect cover to approach the village.

    It was larger than most, almost a town, though without walls. Here on this island, there was no need for it, the natural bay it was located in being all the defence needed against attacks from the sea. And yet, Samantha feared that this was exactly what happened. But how could an Ironborn attack have happened without the other islands even noticing?

    As they came closer, she noticed that the village indeed looked deserted. A door hung open, shutters creaking with the wind. There was a small cart, just abandoned, in the middle of the street. But no people. Perhaps signs of a fight, but Samantha wasn't sure in the darkness. At the very least, she saw no blood.

    It was cold, especially so close to the sea and at night and Samantha shivered, as she wrapped herself in her cloak. Yet it was not just the cold. Something was off in this village. It was a large one, home to hundreds. This many people, they didn't just vanish. And attackers, wouldn't they have torched it to the ground? It's what the Ironborn tried to do in Raylansfair.

    “Where is everyone?”, Sasha hissed and her voice got carried far in the silent darkness. Samantha raised an eyebrow, tensing up as she glanced around, but she couldn't hear a thing. No, they were alone, or at least she was reasonably certain about it. As such, she shrugged. “You see signs of a fight?”, she asked in return.

    As they continued down the main street of the village, approaching the sept, Sasha reached for Samantha's shoulder. “There”, she whispered, pointing towards one of the houses. Samantha would have overlooked it at first, but with Sasha's hint, she spotted a deep gash over the side of the wooden wall. The door stood open, but as they came closer, it was clear that it wasn't just left open, the lock was outright broken.

    “Someone kicked this in”, Sasha spoke, as she moved her fingers over the gash. “And that was an axe, I'm sure of it, the kind forged to kill” Samantha glanced through the open window, yet in the darkness beyond, she could not see a thing. “You think it's worth checking out?”, she asked, but Sasha shook her head. “I've learned a thing or two about you Westerosi”, she replied. “When there's danger coming, you don't barricade your homes and stand your grounds, you don't run to the big castle and let others do the defending, no, many of you, they rather pray”

    They both gazed at the sept and Samantha gave her a nod. “That makes sense”, she agreed. “People seek shelter in septs, they always did” She sighed. “And it rarely does them any good. We'll find something there, but I don't know if I like the odds” Slowly, the two approached the building and as they got closer, Samantha's suspicion grew stronger. The doors to the sept, they didn't stand wide open, they were smashed to bits, by relentless, brutal force.

    And then she noticed the stench. It was horrid and all too familiar. Though they still approached the building, she already knew what they would find inside. Her stomach twisted and she frowned, as they climbed the three stairs leading up to the modestly sized building. Up close, not just the door was smashed, but the windows as well, at least one from the inside. People had gathered here and people had tried to get out. And few of them had made it.

    The floor of the sept was littered in corpses. Blood stained the stairs and the ground, making it clear that someone had made the effort to drag corpses from other parts of the village in here, throwing them onto the floor without much care, piling them atop each other. Though they were already starting to rot, it was not hard to determine the violent cause of death, even in the darkness. And some of the corpses were shockingly small. By now, every fragment of doubt had left her. Such brutality left only one possible culprit.

    “They plundered the whole sept”, Sasha remarked, trying her best not to look at the slaughtered people of Southshield. Instead, she stirred Samantha's attention towards the smashed chests and drawers, where the sept's treasures had once been hoarded. The septon himself had been decapitated and it was impossible to find out which of the disembodied heads belonged to him, yet his body, sporting a deep gash across his belly, were worm-infested entrails hung out, was nailed to the wall directly opposed to the door, still held up by a broken spear left in his chest.

    “Those fucking animals...”, Samantha mumbled, as she successfully suppressed the urge to throw up. There were things one never got used to and even after all she had been through, the sight of dozens of rotten corpses was still too much. She gulped, closed her eyes and turned away from the massacre, only in time for Sasha to gasp. “Sam!”, he friend yelled and she spun around.

    The moment she opened her eyes again, she saw Sasha taking a swing at the shadow that had snuck up behind them. In the darkness, she at first only spotted a tall figure. Sasha's attack was blocked, but it was not the sound of steel clashing against steel, more like leather stopping the arakh, as the figure parried with the sheath of its sword. Then, the very same sword was drawn, to parry Sasha's quick second strike.

    “Fuck...”, Samantha mumbled, as she placed her hand on the hatchets. Just one for now, which she carried with both hands, to place additional weight into the attack. The man, by now she was certain that he was, indeed, male, took a step back. Briefly, she saw a glimpse of his dark hair, as he went into the offence. “You shouldn't have come here”, he growled and swiftly took a strike at Sasha.

    She parried with ease and together with Samantha, she forced him to dodge their attack by taking another step back. Sasha was quick to follow, while Samantha took a moment to study their new opponent. In the darkness, she could barely make out his features, only that he was slightly bearded and a bit on the heavy side, yet nonetheless moving with the grace of a skilled fighter. He wore a tabard and a cloak, yet it was impossible to make out any details on it.

    Parrying Sasha's strike, he kicked her against the knee and while holding her arakh away with one hand, he grabbed her shoulder with the other, pushing her past him and causing her to tumble to the ground. With a low growl, he pointed his sword at Samantha, who wasted no time to attack him. It didn't matter whom he was, he attacked first and that made him the enemy.

    A remarkably skilled enemy he was, she had to admit it, as he parried her attack. He wasted no time to attack in return and this time, she dodged, while simultaneously taking a swing at his side. With a bit of luck, it'd only break his ribs instead of killing him. That way, he could answer their questions. Anyone here might be involved in the massacre they had just stumbled upon in the sept.

    The man foresaw her attack and instead of parrying or dodging it, he took a step towards her. Now capable of simply grabbing her weapon, he stopped her strike, even trying to yank the hatchet from her hands. Immediately realizing that she wouldn't let him disarm her this easily, he instead pointed the tip of his sword at her throat. His dark eyes glared at her, before he realized that Sasha had gotten back up behind him.

    With a roar, her friend tried to charge the man, who reacted quickly. Still holding Samantha at swordpoint, he spun around, forcing her to follow and getting a human shield between him and the other woman. Now at last, the moonlight illuminated his face. He was younger than Samantha expected, with slightly roundish face, even if his features themselves were sharp, with a strong jawline and a large nose. His dark brown hair was tied back and his beard full, yet cut short.

    What stood out was his tabard. It bore two sigils, though Samantha recognized only the smaller of them. It was a brown shield, with darker dots, on a field of white and blue lines. Before leaving Raylansfair, Vali had told her about the Shield Island houses and as such, she recognized House Hewett. “Wait!”, she gasped, realizing that this man was a defender of the Reach and not an enemy. “We are no Ironborn!”

    This caused Sasha to stop, though the man merely narrowed his eyes. “I know”, he confirmed with a low voice, almost a whisper. “You're too loud. A bit more and the entire fucking island would have heard you talk. You sounded mighty disappointed the Ironborn already plundered the sept” He let go of Samantha, who staggered away from him, though he grabbed his weapon with both hands and took on a defensive stance. “You are not the first looters I have to kill since I came here”

    “Looters?”, Sasha hissed and Samantha quickly raised her hands. “We're no looters”, she clarified. “Father be my witness, we are no looters!” The man gave her a grim smirk. “That's what the last batch claimed as well”, he replied. “Three boys, who crossed the gap from Greyshield in a small boat. It wasn't hard to make them sing a different song. I have not come here to defend Southshield from looters, but I will not stand by and let the rats take what is left of this village”

    “We're no rats”, Samantha urged him. “We haven't come to loot this village, we just tried to find out what happened to the people here” She gave Sasha a meaningful glare and reluctantly, the other woman lowered her weapon. “I'm Samantha, this is Sasha”, she introduced them. “And we have come to talk to Lord Serry. A friend of his sent us”

    “Not sure if that mouthy brat can be described as a friend...”, Sasha mumbled and the man narrowed his eyes. Finally, thankfully, he lowered his sword. “I believe you”, he spoke. “For now... don't try anything, or else I won't hesitate to kill you” He placed the sword back in its sheath and the women did the same, making it clear that neither had any intentions for violence for now.

    “I am Robert”, the man introduced himself. “Beesbury” He notably hesitated before mentioning his last name and Samantha raised an eyebrow. “That is... a noble house, am I right?” He gave her a nod. “My father is Lord Qyllon Beesbury, a vassal of House Hightower”, he explained. “Though I am not standing in his service at the moment”

    “So I noticed”, Samantha claimed. “That sigil belongs to House Hewett, doesn't it?” She grinned with pride at having recognized the sigil and Sasha rolled her eyes. Robert, however, confirmed it with a nod. “My allegiance belongs to House Oakheart, I manage the lands of their Orme vassals, until young Lord Joseth comes of age”, he confirmed. “Though a couple months ago, Lord Devrin sent me over, to help his friend, Hoster Hewett. That's what eventually led me here”

    Samantha tilted her head. “Quite a lot of names”, she spoke. “But Hewett is the Lord of Oakenshield, aye? I take it you know what happened here and he sent you to help?” Robert chuckled. “Something like this”, he confirmed. “First of all, the Ironborn happened here. Two longships. They are still in the bay, hidden near the cliffs, held only by a token force. Most of the Ironborn is still trying to loot the castle” His smirk faded and he sighed. “They came at night and without warning, roughly a week ago. It's been a blessing that Lord and Lady Serry have been at Oakenshield when it happened, but many weren't so lucky. I suppose almost half of their subjects are either dead or taken captive by the Ironborn, the rest hides in the hills or made it to the boats we sent to aid them”

    He sighed and went down onto one knee, before leaning back to sit on the lowest of the stairs that led up to the sept. On his sign, Samantha knelt down next to him, even if the gaping, dark hole behind him, where the sept's doors used to be, was distracting, as was the still present stench. By now, she almost managed to ignore it, but she suspected it would take days until she would have gotten it out of her nose again.

    “And you are... alone out here?”, Samantha asked, immediately realizing how suspicious this had to sound. Robert understandably took a moment to reply, before he nodded. “On the island, yes”, he confirmed. “Though we have men out on boats, what remains of Serry's guards and forces from the other Shield Islands. When it comes to this, they all stand together”

    Finally, Sasha knelt down as well, though her hand remained close to her arakh. “And what are you doing here all alone, if you already got an army? Just root the Ironborn out”, she mumbled, glancing at the sept behind Robert with something that came close to fear. It was indeed macabre, having the conversation right here and with the darkness and the light fog, Samantha found it hard not to be on guard. Yet Robert seemed trustworthy, else he would have hardly interrupted their fight. He didn't have the upper hand, but he would have been a difficult opponent, that much she had been able to see. The fact that he was now willing to talk spoke in his favour.

    “We can't do that, I'm afraid”, Robert spoke, shaking his head. “It's not my call, but Lord Serry's and he refused to order the attack. Apparently, his wife's handmaiden remained behind when the Ironborn attacked. Heleri Hewett, she's Lord Hoster's niece” Samantha raised an eyebrow. “Serry refused to order the attack? What about Hewett? Isn't he concerned with his niece's safety?”

    A grim smirk flashed across Robert's face, disappearing as quickly as it appeared. “He would be, though he is not present for this fight”, he revealed. “Lord Hoster has fallen ill not long ago. He is of frail health, so it tends to happen, but his wife is certain he will pull through” He straightened his back. “His wife, that is Lady Arianna. I'm here on her orders. Finding a way into the castle, freeing Heleri, sabotaging the gates to spare our forces a long siege, then light the signal”

    “Awfully lot for one man. How much of that did you accomplish already?”, Samantha asked, shooting him a sarcastic grin. Apparently, Robert didn't find her humour entertaining at all, as brief anger flashed up in his eyes. Then, he smirked coldly, before he shook his head. “I killed three looters and two patrolling Ironborn”, he admitted. “Have found a possible entrance into the castle and I found out who is behind the attack on Southshield”

    “Guess it's not a pleasant man”, Samantha deduced and Robert nodded. “Holgar the Red”, he revealed. “A crazed madman in and out of battle, from what I have heard. He sails for Harrion Harlaw, among the most infamous of Harren's lords. Old Lord Harlaw isn't getting out of his castle for that one, so he sent his most bloodthirsty hound instead” He shook his head. “I fear for Heleri's safety if that beast found her, but if we're lucky she managed to hide within the castle”

    “So... to sum it up...”, Samantha spoke. “We got us a crazy Ironborn, a damsel in distress and... did I hear great rewards?” This time, Robert actually gave her an honest grin. “You want to talk to Lord Serry? Well, does that sound like a reward?”, he replied, as he raised an eyebrow. “Why? You two want to offer your help?”

    “No”, Sasha was quick to reply, but Samantha leant forward. “Perhaps”, she disagreed. “You're right. We do want to speak to Lord Serry. Suppose saving the Hewett girl won't do us any bad for that” Robert nodded. “And Lady Arianna might even throw in a reward. That woman pays her debts, sometimes double”, he confirmed. “I don't think she has much fondness for her husband's niece, but they have the same name. The lady is loyal to her house above everything else”

    Samantha glanced at Sasha, whose resolve had softened slightly. “We're talking about a big reward here, aye?”, the woman asked and Samantha gave her a playful slap onto the upper arm. “We're in”, she confirmed. “Mostly because we have to talk to Lord Serry. What we're going to do is, we're not just going to ask for his aid, we save the girl and be heroes before we even meet him”

    Robert narrowed his eyes, just a little bit. “His help?”, he asked. “Doubt the man's going to be of much help for some time, with the state of his island. Hope it's nothing big you mean to ask of him” Sasha clenched her fists. “It's none of your business, Beesbury”, she replied and surprisingly, the man seemed to relax despite her hostile reply. Nonetheless, Samantha was quick to defuse the situation with a charming smile.

    Behind that, however, concern remained, as she knew that Robert had a point. They had come to ask Lord Serry's help against Maron Mullendore. What sort of help would he be able to give, now that his island was in ruin? And yet, Vali was confident that he was their best bet. Damn Vali, why did they ever listen to him? Why did anyone ever listen to that mouthy kid?

    “I'm sure we'll be able to make a deal with the lord”, she said. “But all the more reason to gain his favour. So, Heleri is the priority, am I right?” Robert nodded. “Absolutely. The Shield Island forces are ready for a siege if they must. Garibald Chester has brought siege equipment and Gerold Grimm has already arranged for supplies to be brought from Greyshield”, he confirmed, before he shrugged. “That being said, we all would prefer not to let it come to that. Heleri's life, however, cannot be replaced. Lady Serry was quite clear when she told us how important that girl is to her”

    “Then the gate, then the signal”, Samantha concluded and Robert gave her a nod. “You are right”, he agreed. “It is a lot for one person. I'm not a strong believer, never have been, but perhaps it's fate that you came here” He extended a hand. “You help me and I will make it worth your time”, he offered. “You'll help Lord Serry and Lady Hewett, but more importantly, you'll help me and trust me, I got friends in the right places. You won't regret this”

    Samantha only needed to think about it for a second, before she grabbed and shook Robert's hand. “I like making friends”, she chirped. “But we'll get back to that. I might be here for personal reasons, but I'm still a sellsword first and foremost. I'll pick you up on your promise, Beesbury” Robert nodded. “Fair enough”, he said. “So, the thing is, I wanted to save Heleri first, try to find her in the castle, make sure she's fine, or at least confirm that Holgar the Red butchered her like a swine and drank her blood, or whatever that degenerate is doing in his free time” He sighed. “But truth be told, it is a bit much. What if we can save Heleri and sabotage the gate at the same time?”

    “And then we light the signal”, Samantha said, to which Robert grinned. “The lighthouse”, he revealed. “I already prepared it all, dry wood and oil. All it takes is a spark and the Shield Island fleet will land on Southshield. Without the gates to protect them, the Ironborn have to retreat, or die fighting” He grimaced. “And by the bloody Stranger, I know which of these I prefer”

    “So, you want to do the saving, or the sabotaging?”, Sasha asked, her voice cold and clearly unhappy about this turn of events. Samantha knew her friend was not too keen on this whole trip to begin with. And this was not their fight, even if they could benefit from it. It was a risk, but Samantha had never shied away from danger.

    Robert shrugged. “Doesn't matter to me”, he stated. “I can do either. Was prepared to do both, mind you. But you just offered your help, so it's only fair that you get to choose” He looked at Samantha. “We'll travel to the castle together, but once inside, we'll split off. Do you want to save the girl, or ruin the gates?”

    [Save Heleri Hewett] [Sabotage the gate]

  • [Save Heleri Hewett] This girl would be related to Vali, so there's potential for some awkwardness/humor here.

    The village of Southshield was dark and quiet. Fog had come from the sea, filling the streets with eerie grey. To one side there was the lighthouse, covered in blackness, the flame extinguished. To the other, in the distance, the handful of torches illuminating the castle, the only dots of light, aside from the few stars that managed to break through the clouds. The moon itself was hiding, leaving Samantha and Sasha with perfect cover to approach the village.

    When I was reading this, it was dark, and mostly quiet, so I put on one of those ambient wind loops on YT to read the rest, very nice.

    The floor of the sept was littered in corpses. Blood stained the stairs and the ground, making it clear that someone had made the effort to drag corpses from other parts of the village in here, throwing them onto the floor without much care, piling them atop each other. Though they were already starting to rot, it was not hard to determine the violent cause of death, even in the darkness. And some of the corpses were shockingly small. By now, every fragment of doubt had left her. Such brutality left only one possible culprit.


    This Beesbury guy - I don't trust him. Holgar the Red sounds AWESOME. Very excited for what I consider to be one of my best characters being mentioned. Very, very, exciting stuff ahead.

    Samantha The village of Southshield was dark and quiet. Fog had come from the sea, filling the streets with eerie grey. To one side there

  • This girl would be related to Vali, so there's potential for some awkwardness/humor here.

    Aye, Heleri is Vali's cousin and they know each other quite well, so you are right, the potential is there.

    When I was reading this, it was dark, and mostly quiet, so I put on one of those ambient wind loops on YT to read the rest, very nice.

    Hm, this is very nice to hear! In this part, I really wanted to get an atmosphere and it seems I caused the intended reaction.

    This Beesbury guy - I don't trust him. Holgar the Red sounds AWESOME. Very excited for what I consider to be one of my best characters being mentioned. Very, very, exciting stuff ahead.

    Well, I mean, Robert is working for Devrin Oakheart, so it remains to be seen if he is involved in the man's less than pleasant acitivities, or if he is a trustworthy man who just happens to work for someone who is anything but. I am glad to hear this about Holgar though! Actually, he has been mentioned directly in one part before this and... well, he has been mentioned indirectly quite a couple times, but this will be pointed out more clearly quite soon. As for your character... oh yes, I am similarly excited! I think I got a good introduction in mind for her, a bit later in this chapter, but the long wait for her introduction shall not be in vain.

    [Save Heleri Hewett] This girl would be related to Vali, so there's potential for some awkwardness/humor here. The village of Southshi

  • The Voting is closed!

    Samantha is going to save Heleri Hewett

    Technically, we have a tie here, so I am going to count the first vote twice. This was InGen's, so Samantha is now going to try and save the girl. This will be anything but easy, but I look forward for her next part. In general, it took me her entire break during Chapter 2 to properly plan her storyline, but I am really excited for it and I hope you are going to enjoy it :)

    The next part will be out today. I was, once more, not at home for the last two days, so that really affected my activity. However, I have finished half of the part and should reasonably finish the rest today. It will be feature PoV's for Jaron and John, showing their adventures in Volantis. Jaron is heading towards the Black Walls, together with Lysara Rogare, to meet one of her families business partners. Meanwhile, John has met one of Aidan's contacts, a Norvoshi who goes by the name of Kovaggo Rednar. In exchange for information that could lead them to the slaver they have to hunt down for Lysara, Kovaggo demanded that John fights with literally an adult bear, who goes by the name of Beopin and who accompanies the Norvoshi. Despite having some objections to that, John decided to go through with it.

  • Jaron

    The Black Walls towered over Volantis. There was not a single building outside of them that reached higher and even the city walls didn't even come close to them, clearly displaying the importance the ancient Volantene rulers had placed on their own protection over that of the rest of the city.

    That being said, they were absolutely magnificent. Jaron had seen a higher building in the Hightower, back in Oldtown, but never before had he seen a construction of such a sheer size, as the walls surrounded an entire quarter of the massive city. There were buildings reaching even higher beyond them, where he spotted the roofs and towers of massive temples and palaces. Even the buildings leading up to the walls were grander than any mansion he had seen back in Westeros.

    The walls were made of black stone, fused together by means unknown to him. They were simply beyond the skills of Westerosi craftsmen and he suspected that the Dragonlords of Old Valyria had a hand in their construction. The style itself vaguely reminded him of what he had seen in Lys, but where he had been in utter awe at the spires he had seen on the island, the Black Walls were simply intimidating and the feeling of uneasiness grew the closer he came.

    “They are building a new temple to the Lord of Light”, Lysara remarked, as they passed a massive construction site not too far from the walls themselves. “And so close to the heart of Volantis” She shook her head. “The Old Blood plays a dangerous game, allowing these firebrands so close to their homes to please the street rats. My father told me stories of when they were confined to a tiny shrine, their worship not reaching farther than the farthest west of this ancient city. He preferred these days”

    “What, because he fears critics?”, Samuel remarked bluntly and Lysara almost stopped, as if he had punched her in the gut, though her stunned expression failed to completely hide the hint of a smile. “He would have ripped out your tongue for that, Westerosi”, she told him calmly, to which Samuel raised an eyebrow. “He would have been welcome to try”, he replied.

    To Jaron's surprise, the Lysene woman chuckled brightly. He himself stayed silent and glanced at the construction site. They had dug a huge pit there, not particularly deep, but wide, like a palace. The first walls were already constructed and the fiery heart of the Lord of Light was visible on them. Jaron didn't know much of this god, just that the poor and enslaved prayed to him as a god of fire and freedom. The way he saw it, there surely were less likeable gods, although he could see why R'hllor's message found little sympathy among the wealthy.

    “Once we are inside the Black Walls, I would prefer for you to stay quiet with such speech”, Lysara explained. “Many among the Old Blood can speak your language quite well and not all of them are as amused by your brazen tongue as I am” She gave Samuel a warning gaze and the sellsword shrugged. “Works for me”, he mumbled.

    “So, no talk about the slave god and his unwanted worship”, Arryn brought up. “Got it. Anything else we shouldn't discuss in front of your precious friends?” Lysara raised an eyebrow. “You?”, she asked. “It would be better if you don't open your mouth at all. Just focus on being my quiet, broody personal guard” She glanced at Jaron. “This one does it quite well”

    With this, they reached the walls themselves. As Jaron looked up, the black stone was all he could see, blocking out sun and sky. They were thick, even more than he expected, the opening less a gate and more a tunnel, wide enough for twenty man to march through right next to each other. There were massive gates, one on each end of the tunnel and one inbetween, but they stood open during the day, although dozens of men stood guard in front of it. They were lightly-armoured and had sun-kissed skin, with spears, shields and pointy helmets. An older, clean-shaven man with pale skin and purple eyes stood in front of them, right next to the first gate, his hands folded behind his crossed back.

    Lysara approached him and he greeted her in Low Valyrian. Jaron understood not a word of the following, fast-paced conversation, beyond Lysara apparently introducing herself and showing him a missive, which he studied carefully, before handing it back to her. The woman looked at her three companions, saying something else and the man narrowed his eyes. Then he nodded and stepped aside, taking a slight bow in front of Lysara as he allowed her to pass.

    “Stay close to me”, she warned them, as she began to walk. “And never take off on your own. They allow you behind these walls because you are with me, but should you leave my company, you will not leave this part of the city ever again” A thin smile formed on her face, as she turned to the tunnel and began to walk, with Jaron, Samuel and Arryn close behind her.

    The massive tunnel caused a feeling of uneasiness within Jaron. Though torches illuminated it, they had a strange effect on the black stone. In a way, it was as if it was swallowing the light and it remained nearly pitch black, even though the grey marble that covered the ground showed no such effect. The four shadows danced in the light of the torches, though they stayed away from the stone no matter how he turned. Footsteps travelled far within the tunnel, the echoes that resonated from the stone almost seeming like roars. And the air, it was equal parts drier and hotter than out on the streets.

    It came as a relief when they had finally passed through and Jaron took a deep breath as he stepped out into the street, finally in the part of the city they called Old Volantis. That being said, the sight was no less intimidating. The street opened widely in front of him, though the buildings on both sides stood closely to each other, allowing only narrow alleyways between them and glancing into one of it, he realized that this network of roads was almost labyrinthine in nature.

    The buildings were all constructed in the same style he had seen in Lys, ancient stone and marble, high arches and, in many cases, sturdy towers with large openings. Smaller walls surrounded every single premise, the only opening being thick, brazen gates. And though the style of the buildings behind them was the same exclusively, it wasn't hard for Jaron to see how they differed in function.

    Behind some walls, he spotted ancient groves, leading up to magnificent mansions, each of them a small fortress. Others seemed to be temples, the stonework covered with depictions of strange, foreign gods he had never even heard of. Their gates stood open and despite the humid heat of the midday sun, a few finely dressed Volantene had gathered there.

    They were like Lysara, tall, slender, with hair ranging from shades of silver to pale gold, as well as hauntingly purple eyes. And yet, even though they were the Old Blood, the unquestioned lords and ladies of Volantis, they were outnumbered, even within their Black Walls. Every single one of them was accompanied by slaves and guards, their features wildly differing, ranging from the pale-skinned and dark-haired people he commonly saw in Westeros to those with darker skin or stranger features or a mixture of both. And the majority of them wore an iron collar around their neck. It seemed to Jaron that even here, in the heart of Old Volantis, more people had reason to worship the Lord of Light than the gods of their masters. Perhaps it wasn't such a surprise that their temple was built so closely to the

    That being said, this part of Volantis was nothing short of magnificent. He never had a chance to see the spires of Lys up close, but this sight made more than up for it. Each mansion more grand than the ones that came before, their towers reaching into the sky, blocking out the sun even during this time of the day. Between them, leading away from the main street, a maze of smaller alleys, cast in eternal twilight. From the temples, priests sang praises in strange languages and dark bells echoed through the streets.

    “There we are”, Lysara spoke, as she stopped in front of a lavish estate. The walls were slightly less high than the surrounding ones, allowing him to better appreciate the mansion itself. A short path led through a garden, then up a handful of stairs and into a five-storied building, with a tower on each corner. However, the spires were more slender than the downright massive towers he had seen in other mansions and they lacked the large openings he saw on quite a lot of them.

    Once more, Lysara spoke something in her quick-paced native tongue and the two guards in front of the gate saluted. They wore helmets, though their eyes were uncovered, showing that they fully focussed on the woman, not even bothering to acknowledge her companions. Then, one of them opened the thin, brazen gate that kept them out. He reached for his belt, pulling out a small horn and as he blew it, the sound it made was higher and not even nearly as loud than what he was used to back home.

    While Lysara made them wait with a gesture of her hand, the door to the mansion got opened by two more guards. Out walked a slender, well-dressed person. Though slightly androgynous, Jaron recognized him as a man, as he came closer. Gorgeous and exotic, he had pale skin and narrow, upturned eyes, gleaming like those of a cat. His black hair was cut short and combed back, while his attire consisted of nothing less than what Jaron had seen in the Old Blood nobility during their way through the city. And yet, he clearly was not Valyrian, more similar to the few men from the strange nation of Yi Ti he had seen during his journey.

    “Ah, Lysara Rogare”, he greeted the woman, taking an elegant, graceful bow in front of her, though Jaron noticed it wasn't a particularly deep move. Lysara narrowed her eyes. “You know me?”, she asked, her tone sharp and commanding. The man looked up, giving her a charming smirk. “The lady awaited you ever since your father sent word”, he spoke in a friendly tone. “And why, we have met before, during Lady Bazaeya's journey to Lys, two years ago. I don't expect you to remember me, of course, but I recognized your beauty at once” Lysara seemed notably less thrilled to make the acquaintance. “And you are... her pet slave?”, she asked coldly, to which the man chuckled. “My name is Zixun”, he introduced himself. “Her favourite”

    Lysara rolled her eyes. “Great, she gives them names”, she mumbled beneath her breath. “I expect a personal meeting, not a conversation at the gates, not even with her favourite” Zixun straightened his back, his bright smile remaining. “Of course”, he agreed. “My lady will receive you at once. Just... whom shall I introduce? Lady Lysara Rogare and her... slaves? Servants?”

    Arryn took a sharp gasp, though apparently, Lysara's warning was still fresh enough for the sellsword to actually keep his mouth shut. Samuel remained quiet as well, though Jaron was certain he was displeased by the comment. Meanwhile, Lysara made no attempt to either confirm or deny Zixun's assumption, leading him to wonder if he should speak up to correct the man. Or perhaps, just staying silent as she advised them to would be for the best...

    [Nod] [Correct him]


    For a moment, he hesitated, quite uncertain what to reply. In all his years, this situation surely was among the stranger ones. Finally, he nodded towards the Norvoshi. “Alright”, he agreed, as he demonstratively clenched his fists. “If that's what it's gotta take, then to the hells with it, I'm going to fight your stinking bear”

    Kovaggo glanced at his clenched fists and confusion flashed over his face. Then, his eyes widened, as bright, roaring laughter came out of his throat. “Oh, was... how say... mistake!”, he exclaimed, as he shook his head. “No fighting” He clenched his fists and threw mocking punches at the air. “No fighting with fists” He paused for a second, as he patted the massive bear on its head. “Beopin is no fighter, he is great...” Once more he paused, seeking for the right word, before saying it in his native tongue.

    Aidan's grin widened, as he began to join in on the laugh. “Aye, that makes sense”, he confirmed. “My Norvoshi dialect might be a bit rusty, but their word for 'fight' actually has other meanings. I believe what my friend means to say is that he actually intends a contest” He gave John a cheeky wink. “Sorry for the confusion, mate”

    “A contest”, John growled and Kovaggo nodded. “Yes, contest!”, he confirmed. “I make business with Aidan if you win contest against Beopin” He waved his hands. “It is, how you say... drinking contest?” John heard a gasp next to him, as Temari nearly swallowed his own spit. “You gotta be fucking kidding me...”, he mumbled, as he narrowed his eye. “Come on, John, don't we have better things to do than getting wasted with a fucking bear? Like, saving my sister?”

    “And Janae”, John reminded him, before he glanced at Kovaggo, looking for any hint that this was just some sort of a joke. And yet, the Norvoshi seemed absolutely honest with his request. Yes, he even seemed eager to see John's reply. As such, the sellsword nodded, reluctantly. “If I win, he will tell you what we need to know?”, he asked. “Just saying, you better make absolutely sure that this will lead to something before I do something that is utterly ridiculous... mate”

    Aidan smirked, before he and Kovaggo began to talk. This time, their roles were reversed. Though John understood not a word of the strong Norvoshi dialect, almost a language of its own when compared to the other Low Valyrian dialects spoken throughout the Free Cities, he realized that Kovaggo was actually quite eloquent, a far cry from the awkward stutter and misunderstandings that resulted from his poor grasp on the Common Tongue. In return, Aidan was the one to actually have problems, repeatedly hesitating, stuttering and asking for clarification.

    Finally, the two men seemed to have come to an agreement. “I know man you seek”, Kovaggo confirmed. “I help you find him if you... amuse me” John rolled his eye. “Oh, by the Seven, I hope this is not just another misunderstanding”, he mumbled, before he patted onto his chest, glaring at the bear, which was almost as tall on its fours than he was on his two legs. “Yeah, what are you looking at, mutt?”, he growled. “I'm going to drink you under the table!”

    He let out a growl, which seemed to outright scare the animal, as Beopin let out a slight whimper, taking a step back and John could not tell if he had intimidated it or nearly provoked it into an attack. Only Kovaggo reassuringly tickling the bear behind its ears seemed to calm it down. He mumbled something in his native tongue, before giving John a wide smile. “It is deal!”, he proclaimed, as he pointed at one of the small tables in the corner of the large room. “Take seat. I will bring drinks”

    Aidan shrugged, as he approached the table, while Kovaggo headed back into his separated part of the room. Beopin remained in the centre, even sitting down and looking around. Meanwhile, Temari shot John a slight glare. “Are you sure this is the right thing to do?”, he hissed. “We can just cut that beast down and then take on the Norvoshi. Give me a few minutes with him and he'll beg to tell us all he knows” He shrugged. “Has the plus side that you don't have to do something utterly ridiculous”

    “And you think we'll just let that happen, Westerosi?”, the old Gill replied. His tone was calm, though he cracked his knuckles. “What do you think this would mean for Captain Storm's reputation?”, he replied. “You can either do things our way, or you can find another captain to bring you to Slaver's Bay”

    Temari sighed. “Alright, alright...”, he replied coldly. “Let's waste time then, humouring some stupid Norvoshi and his fucking bear” He threw a glare at Beopin, who was staring at something highly interesting between his massive paws. John was not sure if drinking with a bear was a good idea, even beyond how utterly ridiculous it was. No, what he was actually concerned of was that the bear might not react too kindly to alcohol. A creature of Beopin's size could easily wreck through the four of them if properly enraged and John knew enough men who grew vicious when drinking. Hells, he himself wasn't exactly a calm drinker.

    Kovaggo returned after a few moments, carrying two large bottles of clear liquid with him. “There we have it”, he said and as he approached the table, Beopin followed him. “Good Norvoshi drink!”, the man proclaimed, as he placed one bottle in front of John. The sellsword smelled it and he raised an eyebrow. He hadn't expected something of such strength, but he knew the Norvoshi and their fondness for stronger drinks than the wine that was so commonly enjoyed closer to the coast.

    “Good for health! Gives hair on chest and clear head of bad thoughts”, Kovaggo explained as if he was a salesman trying to sell a potential customer on his beverage. The fact that he felt the need to do this filled John with slight doubt. “You sure this is a good idea?”, he asked, glancing at the bear, which had sat down next to Kovaggo. “I mean, can he take it? Don't want to deal with a pissed off beast while I'm drunken on your cheap stuff”

    The Norvoshi seemed almost insulted by the implication. “No cheap!”, he replied. “Proper Norvoshi drink. And Beopin is proper Norvoshi bear, aye! Raised him like son, gave him drink whenever I could. He is strong bear, good bear! He is Beobear!” The bear growled, as if it wanted to agree and it looked downright eagerly at the bottle and the bowl, both of which Kovaggo placed in front of it.

    “Alright then...”, John mumbled, trying to ignore Temari's glare and Aidan's obvious amusement. It was a ridiculous thing, but truth be told, he had done worse in his life. At least the drink was free. Smelling the bottle, he raised an eyebrow. That was actually quite a stiff one. Reluctantly, he raised the bottle, silently toasting to the bear – by the gods, to the damn bear – before taking his first sip. And as expected, it had a horrid taste, just as he preferred it.

    Kovaggo poured some of it into the bowl and Beopin immediately began to drink, his tongue eagerly moving through the bowl. Of course he was spilling some of it, but he was a surprisingly fast drinker. Faster than John for certain, who rather wanted to focus on actually finishing the drink. It wasn't his first time in a drinking contest, even if it was the first time his opponent was not a human being. But the basic rules were the same. The one who just gulped down their drink never made it to the end.

    John took another sip, savouring the taste in his mouth for a moment, before taking a larger gulp. It did not take him long to adjust to it and though the bear was already at its third bowl, the bottle more than half empty, it was struggling miserably quite quickly. Meanwhile, John felt a tingling sensation in his fingertips, a warmth spreading through his entire body. A smirk formed on his face, as Beopin let out a groan. The bear sank onto the table, its massive head resting there.

    “Drunken already?”, the sellsword chuckled and Kovaggo shot him a thin smile. “Beo is fast drinker”, he said. “But seems he loses this one” He glanced at John's bottle, which the man steadily emptied. However, Beopin pushed himself up once again, after Kovaggo mumbled something at him, softly and in whispered Norvoshi. The animal gave John a long look, the look in his eyes almost human-like. Perhaps it was just the alcohol slowly getting to his mind, but John could swear that the bear was begging. And he could swear he felt pity on the poor, drunken creature. He glanced at the bottle, which only held a few gulps, then at Beopin, who was struggling to finish his last bowl. Perhaps... perhaps he didn't have to win? Perhaps the bear would be happy about it, as would his owner, no doubt about it...

    [Drink up] [Let the bear win]

  • [Nod] If only Jaron had a leather jacket and some shades, this would look much cooler. Don't piss off Lysara!

    [Drink up] Okay, I feel bad for picking this for 2 reasons: 1, this poor bear, 2, the fact that [Let the bear win] is a vote and I'm not doing it is a shame. "Let the Wookiee win" after all. Big-Lipped Alligator Moment for sure. But, we must win, we must get information. Maybe this Beopin is someone warging, or maybe it's just a real groovy bear.

    “Come on, John, don't we have better things to do than getting wasted with a fucking bear? Like, saving my sister?”

    Reluctantly, he raised the bottle, silently toasting to the bear – by the gods, to the damn bear – before taking his first sip.

    These belong in the pantheon of the greatest lines in the entire story.

    Jaron The Black Walls towered over Volantis. There was not a single building outside of them that reached higher and even the city walls

  • Okay, I feel bad for picking this for 2 reasons: 1, this poor bear, 2, the fact that [Let the bear win] is a vote and I'm not doing it is a shame. "Let the Wookiee win" after all. Big-Lipped Alligator Moment for sure. But, we must win, we must get information. Maybe this Beopin is someone warging, or maybe it's just a real groovy bear.

    Truth be told, I would have expected you to pick the [Let the Bear win] option, because it's about letting a bear win in a drinking contest. There won't be another choice quite like this, although I wouldn't rule out any future wacky choices. Sometimes, it's necessary. As for Beopin... maybe. A drunkard warging into a bear and continuing to drink. Then again, bears who are trained from the moment they are born can end up almost domesticated, which Beopin clearly is, so he doesn't necessarily have to be a warg.

    These belong in the pantheon of the greatest lines in the entire story.

    Hehe, I am glad to hear this ^^ Always a good thing to know that I got it right with some of these lines. Safe to say, I had a lot of fun writing John's part here.

    [Nod] If only Jaron had a leather jacket and some shades, this would look much cooler. Don't piss off Lysara! [Drink up] Okay, I feel bad

  • edited April 2019

    The Voting is closed!

    Jaron is going to nod

    John is going to drink up

    Apologies for the longer wait. My university semester started again and it is a bit of a busy one this time, with the last week being especially stressful. This is likely going to get better though once I settle in with the new schedule. It also means I have a huge backlog on parts to comment on, so I am going to do that asap :)

    The next part should be out today. It will be an Ellena part, showing the aftermath of Gregor Harlaw's arrival in Dragonstone. According to Noelle, he is hiding something, as she caught him in a lie as he spoke to Rhaenys. However, she does no longer trust herself to uncover the truth here, after her catastrophic error at the end of Book 1, so she instead wants Ellena to do this. Though she has her doubts about Noelle and is reluctant to help her in any way, she ultimately agreed to do this.

    Also, I am writing this here, because there might be a higher chance that the reader in question is seeing this here. I received a character from a new reader named Hiingh*, though I cannot find this account here on the site, nor on Creator's Haven. Hiingh*, if you are reading this, I have received your character Rickon, but there is a small problem with him, something ultimately minor, but I would like to clarify things before accepting the character into the waiting list. If you are reading this, I would be happy if you could contact me either directly here in the thread, or via PM, so that we can sort this out.

  • Ellena

    For a moment, Ellena expected even the stone dragons to turn their heads and stare at Gregor, as the Ironborn and his entourage made their way into the courtyard, alongside the queen and her retainers. Surely, their gaze couldn't have been as judgemental as Visenya's, who immediately narrowed her eyes, lowering her sword and interrupting the sparring match between her and the king.

    Aegon himself turned towards the newcomers. He raised an eyebrow, as he and Rhaenys locked eyes. The queen tilted her head, her smile widening as she spotted her husband. “We have guests”, she spoke and Gregor chuckled. “I hope to become more than a guest, my queen”, he replied, before he gave Aegon a nod. “My king” He paused a moment, glancing at his companion, the odd man he called Wimp. “Your grace? My king sounds more personal, I mean, maybe we should...?”

    Wimp shrugged. “I'd stick with King Aegon”, he replied and Gregor nodded. “King Aegon!”, he exclaimed, as he took a few steps towards the man. Though she had lowered her sword, Visenya watched his every move and the king's personal guard approached at the same pace as the Ironborn. “And who might you be?”, Aegon replied. “We haven't expected guests”

    “Much less guests who dress like vagrants”, Visenya hissed. Gregor placed a hand on his bare chest. “My queen, you have me mistaken”, he spoke. “I am a pirate, not a vagrant” He placed a hand on the handkerchief on his upper arm. “See? This right here, it's screaming pirate, not vagrant” He followed with a wink and as Rhaenys chuckled, Ellena could see Visenya's face darken. She glanced at Aegon, apparently just waiting for his command, but the king held her back.

    “A pirate”, he muttered tonelessly. “My statement still stands. I haven't expected a pirate either. Your kind should know that their days of lawless plunder are over just as soon as the days of the warring kingdoms of Westeros” He narrowed his eyes. “Speak then, pirate. Who are you and what leads you to my court?”

    Gregor gave him a polite nod. “Of course, King Aegon”, he spoke. “My name is Gregor of House Harlaw, firstborn son and heir of Harrion Harlaw. However, nowadays I am, as I have so freely admitted, a pirate and for the last few years, I have sailed the Summer Sea from Oldtown to Asshai”

    “He admits it freely because he knows I recognize him”, Daemon Velaryon hissed. “And he know I would use less flattering terms to describe this... cockroach” He crossed his arms, but Ellena still noticed his shaking. “If not for Queen Rhaenys wanting to hear him out, I would have executed this man on the spot and I advice you to do just that, nephew”

    “What?”, Gregor asked. “Killing me or listening to me? It's not quite clear what you're advising for” He shrugged. “Because if I get a say in it, I got a slight preference towards the latter” Daemon narrowed his eyes. “I say we send his head back to Merman's Rest”, he spoke. “That will send a lesson to his so-called king and every other pirate, that your rule will be a lawful one and that their...”

    “Not my king, Dickon”, Gregor replied, cutting the admiral off, while sounding almost bored. “Just some man I used to work for” He turned back to the king, who remained calm, while Visenya next to him seemed all too eager to follow her uncle's advice. “An Ironborn pirate”, he stated. “Who waltzes in here, demanding what exactly?”

    Gregor did a slight bow. “No demands, King Aegon, just an offer”, he spoke. “Word of your deeds has travelled far, even though I believe your legend is still just starting. Even in far Volantis, they tell of Valyria's last scion, the one who seeks to unite the seven kingdoms under one banner. Three dragons, three riders and boundless ambition”

    He spread his arms, looking around the courtyard. “I can respect that. More than that, I know that you will succeed. The lackwit kings, they look down upon you, but I have travelled the world and I have seen what dragons can do”, he spoke. “Roaming the seas as my own master was nice for as long as it lasted, but unlike my former comrades, I can see that times are changing. This coming war will write history, it will change this world forever. And I want to be on the winning side” He met Aegon's gaze, sternly and calmly. “Would that be yours?”

    For a moment, the two men stared at each other, before Aegon spoke up. “You have come to the right place then”, he confirmed. “It is true that I accept oaths of fealty from all those willing to bend the knee. That being said, my uncle brings up a concerning point. Why should I accept a notorious pirate as one of my subjects?”

    Gregor shrugged. “I thought the same rules you set for the kings apply to me”, he replied. “I am here, I want to bend the knee and serve your family. If you are willing to make such an offer to Harren Hoare, then why not me? I can assure you, a pirate I might be, but I'd say I'm alright, especially when you compare me to that man”

    Aegon nodded. “This is true”, he simply stated. “Very well then, Gregor Harlaw. What is your offer? What forces and resources do you bring to aid my war?” Gregor straightened his back. “Ah, now we're talking”, he exclaimed. “First of all, there's me, in all my glory. I'm the best damn captain you've ever seen. Ask Uncle Dickon over there how often I escaped him. I don't just know how to sail, but I know how to fight at sea. You need a strategist, someone to advice you when you send that precious fleet of yours into battle? Well, I'm your man”

    “The king already has a strategist at sea”, Daemon Velaryon spoke, as Visenya crossed her arms. “And how many ships to you bring to our cause?”, she asked, as Gregor gave her a polite smile. “One, Queen Visenya”, he stated, which caused the woman to smirk, as Daemon and some of his men lowered themselves to a snide chuckle.

    Gregor cut them off with a slight glare. “One ship”, he repeated. “One ship which managed to sneak past your entire fleet and land here at Dragonstone with none of your sailors, captains and so-called strategists even seeing me until it was too late. The Nagga is worth a dozen of your ships and its crew worth a thousand men. Together we braved the icy winds of the Shivering Sea, the poisoned shores of Sothoryos and sailed through the shadows of Asshai”

    He gave Velaryon a deep glare. “Anyone here who can make a similar boast?”, he asked. When none replied, he turned back to the king. “And I offer more than just my ship, crew and skill in naval combat. I am a Harlaw and I spent the first seventeen years of my life deep within the ranks of your strongest enemy. I bring counsel on how to advance against Harren Hoare and intel”

    “Outdated intel”, Visenya spoke. “For all we know, you could be a spy. Why did you leave your old king behind anyway?” Gregor sighed. “Wasn't so much the king, but more so my own father”, he explained, sounding way less boastful than just seconds before. “Harrion Harlaw is the cruellest man I know and unlike me, he will never bend his knee to you. He will fight you to his last breath. I don't just want to be on the side that wins this war, I want to be on the side that burns him alive” He shook his head. “I could tell you stories of what he did, but long story short, he is a crappy man and an even worse father”

    “I think we know the type”, Rhaenys mumbled, as she and Visenya exchanged a glance. Finally, the older queen rolled her eyes. “Fine”, she growled. “Let him prove his worth if he is so eager to join us” She sighed. “Gods know, we're not in the place to refuse your aid”, she added, before she raised a finger. “But I'll be watching you, Ironborn”

    Gregor smirked. “I wouldn't want it any other way, Queen Visenya”, he spoke, before he turned to Aegon. “Would that be the moment where I bend the knee?” The king took a deep breath, before he gave Gregor a nod. “Do it then, Gregor Harlaw”, he allowed. “I will give you the chance to prove your worth to our cause”

    Immediately, Gregor sunk down onto one knee. “Am I doing this right this way?”, he asked. “Been some time since I last did this” He loudly cleared his throat, before he folded his hands on top of his upper leg. “I, Gregor of House Harlaw bow before Aegon of House Targaryen. I swear fealty, pledge my ship and my crew to your cause. We'll fight for you from this day, to our last. On your command, we'll set sail. We'll, uh, slaughter your enemies and make them fear your name, we'll drag their screaming widows and orphans before you so that you can do with them as you like”

    He hesitated for a moment, looking up at the king. “And so on”, he added. “Was that alright?” Aegon nodded. “A bit unusual perhaps, but we'll work on the phrasing”, the king stated dryly. “I accept you in my service, Gregor Harlaw. I, Aegon of House Targaryen, first of my name, vow to ask no service of you that will bring you dishonour. You will always have a place at my hearth and food and drink at my table”

    Gregor's smirk widened into a grin. “Now, that is a word!”, he exclaimed. He glanced over his shoulder, shooting a smile at his companions. The woman, Serysha, rolled her eyes at his joy and he turned back to the king. “Alright then, what is next? You got any orders for us?”, he asked. “I'm eager to prove my worth”

    “I can tell”, Aegon replied. “But all in due time. First, my council will hear what you have to tell about Harren and his bannermen. Visenya is right, your information might be outdated, but maybe you bring something new to the table before we march to war” He glanced to his side. “Lord Rosby!”, he yelled and the older nobleman hurried forwards. “Your grace?”, he replied

    “Take fifty men and secure Captain Harlaw's ship. I want to know how much it can help us and how we can use it the best”, the king ordered and Rosby saluted. “Firewood”, Daemon Velaryon growled. “I can tell you that much, nephew. You should send me to the shore” Aegon shook his head. “No, uncle, I want you to be there when our new ally tells us what he know”, the king disagreed. “You are both seasoned sailors. Maybe you two can complete each other's knowledge”

    Daemon sneered. “Hardly”, he mumbled, though he did do nothing further, beyond a stern glare towards Gregor. “The council will join me at once”, Aegon proclaimed. “Captain Harlaw, you will tell us everything you know, then I will decide on how you can serve my house in the war. Meanwhile, your officers will be my guests”

    “Let me show you your rooms then”, Rhaenys offered and for a second, slight disappointment was visible on Gregor's face. Ellena had no doubt that Rhaenys and Aegon missed it, but she wasn't so certain with Visenya. “Wait, I'm going to tell you, but not her?”, Gregor asked. “The way I see it, all three of you should hear what I have to say”

    Aegon raised an eyebrow, before he nodded. “That is actually true”, he admitted. “Rhaenys, would you care to join us?” The younger queen hesitated for a moment, as the Ironborn gave her a wink. “I got a couple dashing stories to tell”, he claimed, to which she chuckled sweetly. “Well, if that's the case”, she spoke, as Ellena saw a chance to do what Noelle asked of her. “I can take over”, she offered. “Show them their rooms and everything. I think I know the castle well enough by now”

    Visenya narrowed her eyes, with Ellena feeling small and weak under her glare, though Rhaenys' smile had something encouraging in it. “I believe this is a wonderful idea”, the queen stated. “Give them proper rooms, make sure to safe one for their captain” She turned to Gregor, with the three Targaryens, Daemon, Laevon and the Ironborn captain approaching the keep.

    “Are you sure you want to do this?”, Hemys asked and Ellena nodded immediately. Forcing a smile, she looked at the older girl. “I want to prove myself”, she stated and Hemys raised an eyebrow. “Just keep in mind, those are dangerous people”, she warned her. “If you get caught, it'll be worse than trying to sneak into Ser Orys' room” Her tone was stern, yet there was concern within it, as she turned to follow her queen.

    Uncertain, Ellena looked at the two officers. Serysha's hands rested on her hips, as she defiantly looked around, meeting the gaze of everyone who dared to look into her direction, which meant a lot of people. Wimp meanwhile had his arms crossed, standing there in a slightly hunched position. He was the first to acknowledge Ellena, looking at her with a smile that was likely supposed to be friendly. With his posture, it seemed more odd than anything else, but not the slightest bit threatening.

    “So... you heard the queen...”, Ellena said. “I'm Ellena, her handmaiden, I'm going to lead you to your rooms now” Wimp nodded, while Serysha raised an eyebrow. “Great”, the woman replied and Ellena couldn't tell if there was sarcasm in her voice or not. “Lead the way then, girl. It's been a stressful week on sea and I yearn for a bed and a bath. Hope your rooms got both”

    “They have”, Ellena promised, as the three started to walk towards the keep, approaching a different entrance than the one taken by the king and his entourage. She carefully kept an eye on both, even if she was certain that the Ironborn weren't here with bad intentions. Frowning, as she remembered Marak, she had to admit that there wasn't much room for good intentions within their kind.

    “This went better than I thought”, Wimp spoke up and Serysha nodded grimly. “Well, Gregor still got his foolish head, so yeah”, she replied. “This could have gone a lot worse” Wimp nodded. “I was pretty certain we'd get all burned alive”, he stated. “Even made a bet with Lorren” Serysha chuckled. “Lorren ripped you off, Wimpy”, she told him. “Had we all died, he couldn't have paid you either way”

    Wimp opened his mouth as if to say something, before closing it again. “Oh...”, he mumbled and Ellena raised an eyebrow. “So, you both thought you'd die here?”, she asked. Serysha shook her head. “Well, not all of us”, she replied. “I would have gotten out of it. But I was pretty certain things wouldn't go this smoothly”

    “Gregor got a way with words”, Wimp interjected and the woman sighed. “One day his fool tongue will get him killed”, she prophesied. “I could have done without bowing to the king like some landlubber. Means we got duties now” She shivered at the thought, which gained Ellena's curiosity. “You're not all happy with this?”, she asked.

    Serysha stifled a smile, as they entered the keep. “No, girl, I think that much is clear”, she replied. “The crew is torn. We love Gregor, we'd follow him to the heart of Valyria if he commands it, but until now, everything he asked of us was something he personally wanted. He was the guy in charge. Now, he follows the king's orders and that means we follow the king's orders” She shook her head. “And if there's one thing I hate, it's bowing to more masters than necessary” She glanced at Ellena. “That doesn't mean I won't follow the king's orders, if Gregor wills it”, she clarified. “For as long as he decides to pursue this foolish dream of his, there will be no doubt about it”

    As Ellena lead them into the hallway that led to the guest quarters, she tilted her head. “He wants vengeance on his father, right?”, she asked and Serysha could not contain a loud chuckle. “First time I heard him mention that whoreson in a year”, she replied, before she shook her head. “But why do you care?” She narrowed her eyes. “You know, you got a lot to learn if you want to spy for your queen”

    Ellena froze, right in front of the room she meant to assign to Serysha. “Wh.. what?”, she stuttered and the woman laughed brightly. “A young girl like you, asking so many odd questions... had you asked me about our adventures, or where we come from, I would have bitten, but that? You want to know some pretty strange things. Our loyalty to Gregor, his oh so mysterious goals... I just wonder, are you spying for one of the queens, or for Velaryon?”

    “I don't think she's the Velaryon type”, Wimp brought up and Serysha nodded. “True”, she agreed. “Not enough Valyria in your veins. You come from Essos, right?” Still trying to downplay the fact that Serysha nearly caught her, Ellena had to nod. “Braavos”, she stated and the woman grinned. “Almost my neighbour then”, she replied cheerfully. “I'm from Myr, if the name didn't give it away. And Wimp here, he's Ironborn, even if he doesn't look the part. He's been with Gregor from the very beginning, so if you want to grill somebody about all of our fearless leader's dirty secrets, then he's your man”

    Wimp smiled a strange, friendly smile. Ellena was not quite certain if there was anything off about him or if he was just generally weird. Perhaps he was a lackwit? Yet why would Gregor have a lackwit as one of his closest companions? Either there was more to this man than what met the eye, or his captain was a better man than she assumed. “Yeah, you can ask me all you want”, he offered. “I know everything about Gregor”

    Serysha glanced at the door. “That my room?”, she asked and Ellena nodded. This caused the woman to yawn. “Great!”, she exclaimed. “Now, if you don't mind, I'll take a nap. Be a darling and show Wimp his room” She gave the girl a wink, before she entered her room, leaving her alone with the Ironborn.

    “So... you're Gregor's friend?”, she asked, catching herself at speaking a bit slower than necessary with him. Wimp didn't seem to mind. “Yeah, we go way back”, he revealed. “He's really a great man, a good leader and the best friend anyone could ever wish for. Not like his father. Harrion, he's a monster. Even the king isn't so bad compared to him” He paused, taking a deep breath. “Hoare, I mean”, he clarified, as the two walked to the next door. “Don't know much of your king, but I heard he burns people alive”

    Ellena sighed. “He's honestly not that bad”, she claimed and Wimp raised an eyebrow, as he placed a hand on the knob of his door. “We'll see about that”, he stated. “I'll follow Serysha's example then. A nap sounds wonderful. I haven't had a proper one in ages” He smiled gently, taking a slight bow before entering his room.

    As he closed the door, Ellena realized that she hadn't gotten much out of this talk. Worse, Serysha was clearly wary of her, assuming rightfully that she was spying for someone, even if she got the person wrong. Spying for Noelle... Ellena could still hardly believe she was actually doing this. But if the priestess was right for once, then this was important.

    And it wasn't as if she hadn't learn anything of value. There was one aspect she would focus on and it was Gregor's father. The way he put it in his talk to Aegon, revenge was a pretty big motive in him bending the knee, though Serysha claimed to haven't heard him speaking about the man in over a year. That was interesting, to say the least. Perhaps he had lied to Aegon? Or perhaps Serysha had lied to her...

    “Whoa, careful!”, a familiar voice called out and Ellena just barely stopped herself from bumping into Asher. The youth had his hands raised, though his usual cocky grin formed on his face. “Lost in thoughts, huh?”, he stated and she sighed. “Sorry, Asher”, she replied. “Didn't see you right there. What are you doing here either way?”

    Asher shrugged. “Just passing through”, he claimed. “It's not as if I have many duties now that Ser Orys left me behind” She bit down onto her lip, trying to not seem too guilty. “Mostly, I'm just bored”, he told her. “So, I'm wandering the castle, looking for anything interesting to do. You got anything for me?”

    Ellena hesitated, as she heard this. Serysha did not trust her and all things considered, Ellena just wasn't very good at getting someone to talk. But Asher? None of the Ironborn even knew him. Perhaps he could succeed where she failed. And she was certain that he would help, if only she would ask. But then again... last time she got involved with him, he got into serious trouble and she almost did as well. Could she risk something like this again?

    [Ask Asher for help] [Keep him out of it]

  • [Keep him out of it] I have a feeling Asher isn't someone we should trust. They don't rub me with that. Also, Gregor, ah, sad. And Wimp, what an interesting name. Very interesting.

    Ellena For a moment, Ellena expected even the stone dragons to turn their heads and stare at Gregor, as the Ironborn and his entourage ma

  • The Voting is closed!

    Ellena is going to ask Asher for help

    Yeah, this is probably a good idea. Asher certainly can help and given that he is bored and eager to prove his worth after Orys left him at Dragonstone, he might be happy to help, especially if there is a chance to dig up dirt on the newly arrived Ironborn. It will be seen if he manages to come up with something here.

    The next part will be out today. It will lead us back to Raylansfair, where Jenna's and Arthur's storylines will pick up again. Last time we saw Jenna, she met Saerya and her newest potential ally, the Gardener knight Kasyn Luck. Now, Kasyn has remained in the background, but he has found a lot of irregularities during his stay in Raylansfair. After the swift way Maron dealt with the Rock entourage, he has the understandable fear that he will be next, so he wants to leave Raylansfair. Saerya won his trust by basically admitting she is a spy and that they have a mutual enemy and she got Jenna on board with helping him escape. This time, however, Saerya believes it to be necessary to distract Petyr instead of just smuggling Kasyn out of the castle like they did with Leonard. He won't fall for the same trick twice. So, Jenna will distract Petyr, while Saerya will deal with the rest and hopefully find a way to help Kasyn out of his sticky situation. Arthur, meanwhile, had a conversation with Commander Daemion and Elias, the new recruit, who wanted to tell them about a meeting he had on the road. Turns out, Elias actually remains quiet about his encounter with Leonard and Kersea, but he did tell them about the Fang, whom he met a day later. This encounter disturbed him greatly and Arthur decided to spill the beans on Mullendore being responsible for unleashing this beast. I will try my best to release the part today, but if I don't manage to do that, you can count on it being out tomorrow.

    Also, I hope you all had a lovely easter celebration! Mine had its ups and downs, for reasons I don't want to burden you with before I know anything in particular, but all things considered, it could have been worse as well. I do hope yours has been better :)

  • Jenna

    She found Petyr alone in the Great Hall. The Lord of Raylansfair was sitting not on his throne, but on one of the benches, his head resting on one hand, as he was lost in thoughts, looking straight at the ground. The frown on his face was proof enough that they weren't pleasant thoughts. Carefully, Jenna approached him. “M... M'lord?”, she asked, hesitating a bit before she spoke up.

    “What?”, Petyr growled, before he glanced into her direction. He raised an eyebrow and despite his frown, a polite smile found a way onto his face, even if she was reasonably certain it was entirely forced. And it was in this moment that she realized she wasn't quite sure what to tell him. Keep him distracted, keep him talking, that was all that mattered, so that Saerya could help the Gardener knight out of the castle at the same time. “Ah, it's you... Jenna, isn't it?”, he added. “What can I do for you?”

    “If... if it's not a good moment, I can come back later”, she began and Petyr sighed. “If it's nothing too important, I suppose that would be for the better”, he said, once more forcing a smile, though she could see that he was not too convinced of his own words. She took a deep breath, momentarily closing her eyes, as she clenched her fists.

    “Actually, it might be important”, she spoke. “For me at least” This time, the lord chuckled dryly. “It is important for the servant”, he muttered. “Well, why not? Spit it out, girl” He sighed, before he leant back, giving her an encouraging nod. “Apologies, that was rude”, he stated firmly. “My father taught me to have an open ear to the needs of my subjects”

    That was an opening. A confident smile flashed over Jenna's face. “Thank you, m'lord”, she replied and Petyr smirked. “Mylord”, he corrected her. “I know it's how the peasants say it, but you work in my castle, you should have proper manners” Jenna gave him a nod. “Mylord”, she replied, which visibly pleased him. “Better”, he spoke. “Now, what is on your mind?”

    There was indeed one thing and she knew it would gain his attention. “It is about my father”, she spoke and her voice was stern and heavy, as she had to held back the sudden sadness from overwhelming her. “About... about what your man claims he did” She took a deep breath and though her hands shivered slightly, she knew she had his attention. And she knew, if he would end up believing her, Kasyn Luck would be the last thing on his mind.

    “I thought you knew nothing of it”, he stated calmly, folding his hands together, as he gave her an attentive look. She nodded in return. “Nothing specific”, she said. “Just that I don't believe your knight had reason to kill him” She blinked. “Even if he did something wrong, he deserved a fair trial”

    Petyr gave her a nod. “I believe the same”, he spoke, as he raised a finger. “If, and I repeat, only if Maron overstepped his position there, if he did not act in self defence as he claims, then I agree with you, he was acting out of line” He tilted his head. “But this is not what you want to tell me, isn't it? I am always here to listen if you need someone to talk to about this... incident, but I can tell there is more”

    “Yes”, Jenna confirmed and she could not resist a feeling of grim satisfaction, as she set her plan in motion. “I think about it, day and night. How my father died. Why he had to” Now, a few honest tears found their way into her eyes and she failed to hold them in. A sympathetic expression formed on Petyr's face. “I know what you mean”, he muttered, a strange vulnerability in his voice, though it was quickly replaced by his usual confidence.

    Jenna took a deep breath, as she stared right into his eyes. Leonard had told her that Petyr had, indeed, tried to poison his father before, he knew it from Lucas. That the old Lord Vyrwel had died now, had it been incidental, or could Petyr have anything to do with it? His sorrow seemed genuine, but did it absolve him of any guilt?

    “I don't know what my father did or didn't do to deserve all this”, she spoke. “But I know someone who does. Someone who hasn't told you the full truth” Immediately, the moment of weakness was gone, as Petyr tensed up. “And how the sudden change of heart?”, he asked, to which Jenna sighed. “As I said, I thought about this a lot”, she spoke. “About my father. The one I... tried not to think about at all is the one I mean” She narrowed her eyes. “My uncle, Alan”

    “Alan Harking...”, Petyr mumbled. “We briefly interrogated him, he claimed to know very little and that your father orchestrated all of it on his own. I have given him your father's farm as a reward” He smirked. “You want it back, that's what this is about, isn't it?” Jenna immediately shook her head. “I never cared for the bloody farm”, she claimed. “My brothers might feel differently, once they return from the dornish marches”

    “Your brothers fight the king's war?”, Petyr asked. “I wasn't aware of that. Of course your uncle failed to mention them at all. I will consult with Maester Eddard, but this alone will not change my decision” He gave her an encouraging smile. “What else do you have?”, he asked and there was a genuine interest in his voice.

    “My uncle worked closely with my father”, Jenna explained. “They kept me out of everything. I didn't even know the woman's name. But I know Alan planned this, he was involved all the way” Petyr raised an eyebrow. “And yet he would betray him?”, he remarked, to which Jenna nodded. “Out of greed”, she explained. “My uncle has taken everything from my father. My grandfather left both a sizeable inheritance, but Alan, he took everything, aside from the farm. We grew up in poverty. My mother die to it, many years ago and without her, my brothers had nothing better to do than to play war for the king”

    “And now you think he wants the farm”, Petyr deduced, to which Jenna nodded. “He knew all of it. I'm sure he tried to downplay his own involvement in this, but I know they often talked in secret, he and my father”, she hissed. It was perfect. Stirring Petyr's attention away from the Gardener knight who was about to flee his castle and towards her bastard of an uncle. It felt right.

    And she could see from his face that Petyr took the accusation serious. “There is indeed a lot of aspects we know little about”, he spoke. “We know whom your father sheltered, but not why. We know where the fugitives went, but not why. We know they planned something, but not what” He narrowed his eyes. “You're telling me your uncle kept this from us all along?”

    To this, Jenna gave him a nod. To her surprise, Petyr chuckled. “You must think yourself clever, Jenna Harking”, he spoke, his tone approving. Her grim satisfaction faded, replaced by brief panic and confusion. “What... what do you mean?”, she stuttered. To this, Petyr flashed her a grin. “For a second there, I would have believed you”, he admitted. “That... rarely happens. I am honestly impressed”

    Jenna's panic grew. “What... m'lord, I...”, she gasped and Petyr cut her off. “Mylord”, he spoke in a low, dangerous tone, though his smile remained, almost... pleased? “You heard me”, he stated. “You almost tricked me right there” He chuckled. “But don't get me wrong, I am not mad, not even displeased. I understand what you want. Your uncle betrayed your father, Maron killed him. The latter's reason is still up for debate. The former though... I have met Alan Harking and I recognize a selfish rat when I see one” He leant forward. “Your heart yearns for revenge, am I right?”, he asked, as he reached for her hand.

    She did not pull back, as he held it in his own. “Revenge for your father”, he spoke again. “I can understand that. I can... sympathize with that” He gave her an encouraging smile. “I will not investigate your uncle”, he spoke, to her disappointment, even if her fear slowly lessened, as she started to realize that he truly wasn't angry at her. “A rat he might be, but I doubt he hid anything when he confessed. It is also why I am so certain that you have nothing to do with it. Alan was pretty vocal about that fact, I think you should know this”

    Jenna narrowed her eyes. “It doesn't make me think more of him”, she clarified and he nodded. “Of course not”, he agreed. “He hurt your father. My half-brother did the same to mine and I will never forgive him for that” It was a lie, of course, but by the gods, he was a convincing liar. “But back to the topic at hand... I am impressed”, Petyr continued. “For a moment, I almost believed you and that doesn't happen very often. I met and debated with some of the most cunning men in this kingdom and yet you came closer to fooling me than any of them” His smile widened and it was decidedly charming. “You, a mere maid in my service. Carma Strad described you as timid and yet, you just lied to my face”

    As he spoke, Jenna blushed. “I'm sorry, mylord”, she mumbled, averting her gaze from his. Carma spoke about her? To him? Petyr shook his head. “Don't be”, he said. “It is as I said, I am impressed. Your intentions are understandable and not the slightest bit dangerous for me, so I will let it pass this time” He let go of her hand, raising a warning finger. “But this will be the only time I'll do this”, he clarified.

    Slowly, Jenna nodded. “Of course, mylord”, she told him. “I understand” Petyr's smile returned. “Now, considering that I am impressed... I believe such a talent for lying should not go to waste”, he stated. “I know, one of my men caused you a lot of pain. I cannot undo this and I understand you might have doubts against what I am about to offer”

    Jenna gulped. “Offer, mylord?”, she asked, noticing her voice was, indeed, sounding almost timid. “I would like to work for me”, he explained. “Not as a low servant. I can find dozens who can do just the same anytime I take a walk out in the streets. But I doubt I'll find any of them who can convincingly lie to me. Such talent should be nurtured”

    In this moment, Jenna noticed that she was tensed up. “You want me to work for you... as... as what exactly?”, she asked. Petyr shrugged. “First, I want to train you”, he offered. “Then, I believe someone of your talents can be of use to me. I mean, who would expect someone like you?” He reached for her hand again. “You have never been more than a servant for all your life. I understand if you would rather remain like this, but I can promise you, your life will never amount to anything if you refuse. You will continue to have a simple life, here in the castle. But if you continue to impress me, then I see something more for you, something better. I have ambitions, Jenna, and those who are of use to me while achieving them will be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams” He gently squeezed her hand. “Revenge could be yours, if you so desire”, he promised.

    [Accept his offer] [Reject his offer]


    Arthur sighed. “I might know whom you are talking of”, he spoke towards Elias, which Commander Stratford commented on with a surprised glare. “Speak, Nathamer”, he growled and Arthur took a deep breath. “This... creature you saw, I believe he is called 'The Fang'”, he explained. “I was there, last week, when he was unleashed” He looked Stratford right in the eye. “By Maron Mullendore”

    “Heard the name back in Oldtown”, Elias mumbled. “Was warned against ever getting in his way” Stratford showed no reaction at first, though his fists slowly clenched. “Continue”, he then said in a low tone and Arthur did just that. “The Fang is part of the Alley Cats”, he explained. “You know, Mullendore's thugs. Bug this one, he seemed... he seemed even more deranged than the rest of them. So much that even the Tom had doubts about unleashing him”

    “Which speaks volumes”, Daemion agreed. “But why would Maron Mullendore do this? Let loose such a beast on his own lands?” Arthur shook his head. “He isn't supposed to be on our lands and Elias met him on the road. Could be anywhere now, but he had instructions to leave Raylan lands”, he explained, before he cleared his throat. “Vyrwel lands”, he corrected himself.

    Daemion nodded. “And what were his instructions?”, he asked. “What could be important enough to justify unleashing such a dangerous man?” Arthur hesitated for a moment before he spoke up, glancing at Elias, unsure how much the new recruit was supposed to hear. But Daemion made no attempt to shoo the other man away, so he spoke freely. “To hunt down Leonard Constantine”, he revealed. “And the woman, the ones who have been with Richard Harking”

    “Harking...”, Daemion mumbled. “No wonder this all traces back to him. What happened at his farm was a mess. He's been a good man and Lord Vyrwel's man butchered him without a trial” He shook his head. “No matter what they claim he did, that wasn't right. Your father taught me that much” Arthur briefly bit down onto his lower lip. “He did”, he confirmed, knowing fully well that his father wouldn't have allowed this to happen. He would have spoken up in public and at worst, he would have gotten himself killed for that. Daemion was different. The new commander, he clearly disagreed with the way things were run right now, but he had never done a thing to prevent it.

    “Constantine has always been an honest man”, Daemion continued. “In fact, I've never seen someone so opposed to lying. And yet, they claim he did horrendous things. They even send a wild beast after him” He sighed. “Something about this seems fishy to me. Where did this... Fang go?” He glanced at Elias, who shrugged. “Oldtown, I guess”, he replied.

    “And you haven't met Constantine or the girl who is with him?”, the commander asked, to which Elias shook his head. “No, Ser!”, he claimed, before he shrugged. “I mean, I've been on the road for two weeks. Saw plenty folk, might have been among them. But I haven't spoken to anyone of that name” He placed a hand on his heart. “I swear it”

    Daemion commented on this with a grunt of approval. “If he has left our lands, alright. What happens beyond our borders is not my primary concern”, he spoke. “But if Ser Maron's plan backfires, if this beast causes any death among Raylansfair's people, then I will have a word with him. The city guard protects the city, against anyone who may threaten it”

    Arthur gulped. “I am not sure if that would be such a good idea”, he stated. “I don't know how Ser Maron will react if he hears this from you. He'll know I was the one to tell you” Daemion rolled his eyes. “Man up, Nathamer”, he barked. “You didn't have to tell me. Now, if the Fang stays away from our lands, I'll remain silent about this. But if he harms any of our people, you cannot expect me to remain quiet. You had to be aware of this before you spoke”

    “For what it's worth, I don't think he'll ever come back”, Elias argued. “I was under the impression he couldn't get away from Raylansfair fast enough. But once he reaches Oldtown... well, I doubt the city guard over there will be able to catch him. They are in a terrible condition. Their leader and his right hand man left the city, they are understaffed and overworked”

    “Their problem, not ours”, Daemion stated coldly. “Let's just pray it never becomes our problem” He shook his head. “Those are troubling news, from both of you. I'll have to think on this, but thank you for bringing this to my attention” Suddenly, his eyes narrowed. “Speaking of the Stranger...”, he growled. “You have a guest, Nathamer”

    As Arthur turned around, he saw probably the last person he wanted to see right now. Actually, the last two people. Standing at the gate that led to the city guard headquarters was Rodrik Grimthorn, the Sphynx, clad in his hooded robe and his mask. Behind him, leaning against the wall and looking decidedly bored, was his niece Lucia.

    The Sphynx came closer and immediately, Arthur noticed how many of the more seasoned guardsmen reached closer to their weapons. They eyed him carefully and in return, Lucia made no attempt to hide how she would react if any of them were to start anything. “Commander Stratford”, the Sphynx greeted him, which Stratford replied to with a silent glare. “And Captain Nathamer. I wanted to have a word with you”

    Arthur tensed up, ignoring Daemion's glare. “I'll leave you to it then... captain”, he spoke, as he placed a hand on Elias' shoulder, leading the new recruit away from them. Arthur crossed his arms. “What is it?”, he asked in a harsh tone. “I don't want you to visit me here” The Sphynx gave him a nod. “And I wouldn't do it, unless I had to”, he assured him, as he pointed at the gate. “Walk with me”

    “Where to?”, Arthur asked and he could swear the man was smiling beneath his mask. “To your home”, he replied and it took Arthur a lot of restraint to not push the Sphynx against the nearest wall. “What did you just say?”, he hissed, to which Lucia flashed him a cold grin. “Relax, watchdog”, she spoke in a mocking tone, as they walked through the gate, out onto the street. “Uncle made it very clear. We're allies now, aren't we?”

    “What did you just say?”, Arthur repeated towards the Sphynx, who glanced at him out of these deep, dark and inscrutable eyes. “I have found something”, he spoke. “And I believe your house is the best place to discuss it. It is large and stands alone, with no one around to listen to what I have to say, so I made the call”

    “You made the call”, Arthur said slowly and the Sphynx tilted his head. “Yes”, he merely replied. “But it is as Lucia said. We are allies, so you don't have to be afraid, not of me, nor her. I left Ryler with your sister, because he is a good kid and I think you trust him more than you trust my niece” Lucia rolled her eyes at his comment. “That would have been something”, she chuckled. “We could have braided each other's hair and talked about boys”

    Arthur sighed, though he gave her a brief, distrustful glance. As much as he was hesitant to fully trust the Sphynx, at least he was calm and in control. Lucia meanwhile, she was unhinged. No Wolfius, not even close, but still, he considered her dangerous. “And your brother?”, he asked, causing her to glare at him.

    “He's not my brother”, she hissed. “The Ryler I knew died a long time ago. Same happened to the Lucia he knew” Her gaze grew less severe for a moment, as she avoided his questioning stare. “Stop looking at me like that”, she mumbled. “I overreacted when I saw him again, alright. And don't you think the last word is spoken on that” She glared at her uncle as she said these words. “But we are on the same side, he and I, so you don't have to fear any further reactions”

    Arthur gave her a nod. “Glad to hear it”, he confirmed. “We don't have to like each other, but your uncle made a good argument for why we should work together” He glanced at Rodrik Grimthorn, who caught his gaze. “There might be another thing we have to discuss”, the masked man spoke and Arthur raised an eyebrow. “I'm not going to like this, am I?”, he asked.

    To this, Rodrik shook his head. “I don't know”, he admitted. “I give you the chance to choose what you like more. It is about your sister” This time, Arthur clenched his fists. “What about her?”, he growled. His tone and posture were supposed to make it clear how careful the Sphynx had to be with this topic.

    “She will be present during our conversation, of course”, he spoke. “Which means she will be involved. It is fine by me, she is your sister and therefore I am more inclined to trust her than, say, your commander” He folded his arms. “But she is still your sister, so you might have something against her involvement in our cause. So, if you want to discuss my findings and our next step without her presence, then you should arrange for her to leave the house while we have our meeting”

    This caused Arthur to pause. To be fair, he hadn't expected the Sphynx to actually care for what he wanted for Aditha. Perhaps the masked man didn't, but merely wanted to please an ally. One way or the other, it left the decision on his shoulders. Aditha was a grown woman, no longer the little girl he used to watch over. And she was lonely, ever since their father had died and he had to admit, he wasn't spending even nearly as much time with her as he should. But could he truly get her involved in this? Could she even help them?

    [Get Aditha involved] [Keep her out of it]

  • [Reject his offer] Uhhh, work with bad guy with incompetent Jenna, maybe screw over Saerya and friends? NOPE. Also, I'm not sure that this offer is going places we think.

    [Keep her out of it] Aditha sucks, she will just get in the way. She is not good.

    Also - Lucia is CRAZY. That is all.

    Jenna She found Petyr alone in the Great Hall. The Lord of Raylansfair was sitting not on his throne, but on one of the benches, his head

  • Uhhh, work with bad guy with incompetent Jenna, maybe screw over Saerya and friends? NOPE. Also, I'm not sure that this offer is going places we think.

    Well, it surely remains to be seen if Petyr's offer is a genuine one here. However, Jenna definitely has no intention of screwing over Saerya or any of the others. She'd use this to hopefully get more dirt on Petyr, but of course, it could backfire severely.

    Also - Lucia is CRAZY. That is all.

    Yes, yes she is. I wouldn't say she's Alysanne levels of crazy, but we have seen how unstable she is in the last chapter. This appearance was comparably more well-behaved of her, showing that she has a different side, but she definitely cannot be called sane. We'll learn more about her and how she ended up like this, but let's just say, she is a wildly different person in Ryler's memory.

    [Reject his offer] Uhhh, work with bad guy with incompetent Jenna, maybe screw over Saerya and friends? NOPE. Also, I'm not sure that this o

  • The Voting is closed!

    Jenna is going to accept Petyr's offer

    Arthur is going to keep Aditha out of this

    The first choice, I can say, will open up a whole lot of interesting possibilities for Jenna's storyline to go forward. There will be a notable shift in dynamic between her, Petyr and Saerya. That being said, you don't have to fear her betraying her current allies and friends anytime soon. Though she is accepting his offer, she definitely isn't on Petyr's side. Time will tell if he made a mistake here, by underestimating her, or if he possibly planned for exactly this to happen.

    The next part will be out today, quite soon actually. I was originally aiming at a release yesterday and made very good progress, but the new episode of Game of Thrones got in the way and no spoilers, but holy shit, did it get in the way :o

    But yeah, the part is done and will be out right now. It will bring us back to the Oldtown storylines, where Keat and Kersea both had a surprisingly and unintentionally similar choice, come to think of it. Keat met with an old acquaintance, a woman named Vivielia Sand, who is a talented lockpicker. Turns out, he used to be in a relationship with her younger sister Ursa, before briefly cheating on her with the youngest of the three sisters, Glorianna. After such a display of gentlemanly behaviour, the three sisters were so overjoyed to see Keat back that Vivielia was actually quite ready to kill him on the spot. She decided to hear him out, though, and Keat tried to win her support by telling her how much of a reward this job will offer. Meanwhile, Kersea had a quite similar choice. She met with an old acquaintance of Alysanne, a black market merchant named Vitihho, who supposedly can offer them shelter and support in Oldtown. Vitihho was less than thrilled about this, so Kersea also offered him coin in order to win his help.

  • Keat

    Knowing he had only one chance, Keat decided to use it well. He put on his most charming smile, which caused Ursa to glare at him, while Glorianna gave him a wink, followed by a cold smile. “Now, now, Viv...”, he began. “I wouldn't have come without an offer” He placed a hand on his chest. “I need your help. In return, you will be paid, quite generously, in solid coin”

    “Coin!”, Ursa spat. “You have the nerve to come here and offer us coin?” She crossed her arms, glancing at her older sister, while Vivielia narrowed her eyes. Keat gulped. Had he overestimated her greed? “How much?”, the woman hissed and Ursa shot her a surprised glare. “What? Viv!”, she spat, to which Vivielia shrugged. “I am just curious”, she replied. “So, how much?”

    There, he had her. Keat had to contain a grin, knowing that she would listen now. He opened his mouth to speak, before he realized he wasn't quite sure how much she would get. “Uh...”, he spoke, noticing how Vivielia tensed up. “That... that is a pretty good question” He glanced at Erik. “So... how much is she going to get?”, he asked, before he gave Vivielia a wink, which she replied to with the coldest glare he had ever seen from her. “This is Erik. He's sort of calling the shots here”

    “Working for the guy calling the shots”, Erik mumbled and Glorianna's smile widened. “So, Hishi's paying well these days, eh?”, she asked, to which Keat and Erik both gave her a surprised, wide-eyed stare, followed by a brief moment in which Vivielia almost lost her cool. “How do you know that?”, she asked her younger sister, who flashed her a sweet smile in return. “I saw him while he was on guard duty”, she replied nonchalantly.

    “You did... what?”, Viv gasped, before she turned to Keat, blushing slightly, perhaps with anger, perhaps with embarrassment. “How. Much”, she pressed through clenched teeth. Erik walked up to Keat. “Two hundred golden hands”, he spoke up and Vivielia's eyes widened. “That...”, she spoke. “Is a lot” She narrowed her eyes again. “A suspiciously huge amount. Where's the catch?”

    “It might be a bit dangerous”, Keat spoke up again, knowing that this, just as well, would intrigue her. “I am looking for experts, to steal a very valuable object from a highly secure location” He noticed he sounded like a complete tool even before Glorianna chuckled. “A very valuable object from a highly secure location!”, she mocked him in a nasally voice. “Could you be any more vague, please?”

    Keat sighed, as he glanced around. He took a step forward and immediately, Vivielia placed a hand on the hilt of her dagger. “That's close enough”, she whispered. “Glori is right. You're awfully vague” Her glare caused Keat to gulp. “It's the Hightower”, he spoke and immediately, the three sisters exchanged glances with each other.

    “You want to break into the Hightower?”, Glorianna asked. “What do you want to steal from there?” Ursa merely shook her head. “Not a chance”, she hissed. “That sounds far too dangerous” She crossed her arms. “Besides, you can't be trusted” Glorianna used the chance to stick her tongue at Keat, while Vivielia remained silent, her eyes closed. “What do you want to steal?”, the oldest sister finally asked.

    “Viv...”, Ursa said in a low, careful tone, but the other woman cut her off by raising her hand. “I want to hear him out”, she said, as she opened her eyes again. “So, speak, Keat. You've always been good at babbling” Keat tried to give her a confident chuckle, though he was well aware that it came off as more pathetic than anything else. “Well, Viv...”, he said. “I hope that's not the only thing I'm good at” He smirked. “Yes, I want to break into the Hightower and for that I need the best crew in Oldtown”

    Vivielia glanced at his bandaged ear. “And how is that going for ya?”, she asked. “You got, what, some street thug, your random broad of the day and the only person in this world who isn't utterly disgusted of you?” Sarcastically, she raised an eyebrow, glancing from Erik, to Rose, to Samuel. “Big achievement”, she added. Keat rolled his eyes. “Ah, I got more”, he said. “I understand, you are hesitant, not just because of me, but because of the danger. You think my plan will fail”

    “Yeah”, Vivielia replied. “Can you blame me?” Keat shook his head. “No”, he confirmed. “But I can convince you” He spread his arms. “First of all, can you honestly tell me that any of my plans failed before?”, he asked, to which Vivielia bit down onto her lower lip. “Not the ones I've been involved in”, she admitted.

    “Another reason to get involved in this one”, Keat spoke. “Besides, it won't be just you and me. Glori is right, I work for Hishi in this one. You know she pays well” Vivielia raised an eyebrow in slight surprise. “I know he does”, she stated slowly. “If Hishi is involved, I got higher hopes, admittedly. There's worse people to work for”

    “So, you're in?”, Keat asked, to which Vivielia sighed. “Not so fast”, she spoke. “How many people will take part in this. You, these three and maybe me” Her mouth tightened. “Maybe” Keat could not contain a confident smile. She wouldn't reject him now, not after listening to him for so long. Truth be told, it went better than expected. He would have thought that by now, she would have carved him up.

    “Hishi wants me to recruit a guy named Nicola Sand. A fellow thief”, he revealed. “He has a trained monkey” Vivielia rolled her eyes. “And if you work with him, he has two”, she snarked. “Still, this won't be easy. I hope you keep that in mind” She glanced at Ursa. “If this goes south, you can hunt him down and do whatever you want with him”, she offered, which seemed to please the middle sister, though her worried expression remained.

    “Don't give me that look”, Vivielia sighed. “It's two hundred golden hands! If we get that much, we can leave Oldtown. Start over somewhere else, maybe Sunspear, or Merman's Rest!” Ursa gulped. “And if it doesn't work out?”, she asked, to which Vivielia placed a hand on her sister's shoulder. “Keat might be a piece of shit, but he's right with one thing”, she admitted. “His plans, they work”

    She turned back to the thief. “Don't you even dare thinking it's all good between us now”, she told him coldly. “Doubt it'll ever be. But if we do this and me and my sisters get filthy rich from it, then we're even” She raised an eyebrow. “How much do you get out of this” Keat sighed. “Nothing”, he admitted. “Hishi will conveniently forget my debt, that's all the pay I can hope for. Still, better than what Bannister would give me”

    “I always knew you'd be stupid enough to piss off that brute, alongside half of the city”, the dornishwoman spoke, before she extended her hand. “We got us a deal” After a moment of hesitation, Keat grabbed her hand and shook it. “Deal”, he confirmed.

    Vivielia held onto his hand for a moment longer. “Do not make me regret this”, she warned him, before she pushed him away. “Recruit your monkey man then! I'll be here whenever you need my help” She rolled her eyes. “Can't believe I just said that...”, she muttered. “And now, get the hell out of my sight before I change my mind”

    Keat nodded, before he immediately turned to follow her order, with his companions closely behind him. He only noticed how tensed up he was as soon as he stepped out into the streets again. “Oh my...”, he said, with shaky hands. “This went a bit better than I thought” This caused Erik to give him a surprised glare. “Wait a moment, you thought this would go worse?”, he spat. “That woman was ready to kill you!”

    Samuel chuckled. “Ah, that's just Viv”, he said. “I think she even tried to kill him once” Keat shook his head. “She claims it was an accident, but that was shortly after she found out about me and Ursa”, he replied and a dreamy smile formed on his face. “Ah, those were good times. She might seem a bit much at times, but I'm glad she's on our side. Hishi did well with sending me to get her, she'll be a real asset”

    “If you say so”, Erik replied. “I'm more shocked that a guy like you had something with both of her sisters” He seemed genuinely baffled. “I mean, no offence, but have you seen yourself? And have you seen them?” Keat flashed him a grin. “Oh, you bet I did”, he replied. “As I said, good times”

    “I mean, he is right”, Rose replied with a cheeky grin. “You're not quite the dashing hero” Keat glanced at her. “Hey, I did save your life, didn't I?”, he replied, to which she shrugged, a calm smile on her face. “By opening a door”, she reminded him. “Don't get me wrong, I owe you my life, but you're going around, making promises to that woman and I bet to the other guy” She raised a finger. “Never forget that I want my share as well. It's my map after all”

    “And you will”, Keat promised, as he glanced at Erik. “She will, right? I mean, we never really talked about this...” Rose rolled her eyes. “My hero...”, she mumbled, her voice oozing sarcasm. Erik was quick to nod. “Of course”, he assured them. “The same share as Vivielia and Nicola will get, alright?”

    Rose raised an eyebrow. “It's my map”, she reminded him. “If I don't like your offer, it'll remain my map” Her smile widened. “Twice their share”, she offered in return. “Four hundred golden hands. Don't tell me Hishi can't afford it. The map's likely worth even more than that in the right hands, but I don't want to spend the next two years trying to find the right buyer, without being killed over it”

    “Clever girl”, Samuel mumbled, while Erik looked visibly unhappy. “Alright... alright, I can't actually make those negotiations”, he admitted. “Joshawa can and Hishi for certain, maybe Lanford as well. I'd say your offer sounds reasonable, but I'm really just a grunt” Rose narrowed her eyes. “Then we'll go and meet them right now”, she spoke. “Hishi sounds the most promising. Bring me to him... her?”

    “Aye, will do”, Erik agreed, as he looked at Keat and Samuel. “You two wanna come with us? You can tell Hishi what you got so far. One mouthy girl with a map and a seriously scary woman who wants to kill you for sleeping with both of her sisters” He chuckled. “I bet Hishi will be overjoyed”

    “Or we can go on and find Nicola Sand already”, Samuel offered. “I'd rather not waste any time. We have to go and report to Hishi either way at some point, so why not when we have gathered your team?” Keat thought about this for a moment. “Where would we go and find Nicola?”, he asked and Erik glanced down the street. “Hishi's contacts found him just yesterday. Illusive bugger”, he revealed. “Down at the docks, he has rented a small room at the Fogwolf's Head. It's a shabby inn, but the people there know how to keep a secret”

    “Apparently not good enough”, Samuel remarked and Erik flashed him a grin. “Listen, it's your decision. Either come with us, report to Hishi and see that Rose gets what she wants for that blasted map, or go and find our acrobat and his monkey”, the man replied.

    [Go with Erik and Rose] [Find Nicola Sand]


    “Listen, I... I can offer you coin”, she spoke, immediately noticing a shift in Vitihho's behaviour. He still seemed cold and distant, but she had the feeling that she at least got him to listen. Or maybe she just appealed to something most people she had ever met would listen to. “Now you're making sense, girl”, he growled. “What do you need?”

    Kersea sighed. “We'll be in Oldtown for a bit”, she spoke. “For as long as we stay here, we need supplies and a safe shelter” Vitihho narrowed his eyes. “From whom?”, he spoke, as Kersea leant back in her chair. “Butterfly's men”, she told him. “Some of them might know me and the rest will sure as well hunt us down if they learn who we are and what we want”

    For a second, a cold, grim smile flashed over the older man's bearded face. “Butterfly's gone”, he revealed. “His men are scattered. Hishi and Tavner clean them up as we speak. The Solvers are gone” Kersea and Leonard exchanged a glance and she allowed herself a brief, hopeful smile. The knight did not reciprocate it. “They just clean up all of Butterfly's old associates?”, he asked.

    To this, Vitihho nodded. “That information is free”, he assured them. “Like talking about it. Butterfly's dead. Last thing I heard, the Burned Man carved him up at the docks, half a year ago. Solvers took revenge, killed the cripple, but they still lost”

    Kersea's smile faded at once. “And Maron Mullendore?”, she asked, to which Vitihho raised an eyebrow. “What about?”, he spoke, his voice careful, but he failed to hide a hint of curiosity. Once more, she exchanged a look with the knight. “You got no idea...”, Leonard mumbled. “I don't know who died at the docks half a year ago, but it wasn't the real Butterfly”

    For a man of his brutish appearance, Vitihho's mind was quite sharp, as he immediately realized the implication. And though he kept his stoic expression, she noticed how his eyes widened barely. “Mullendore?”, he growled. “This is bad. Hishi hunts down Butterfly's men, but Mullendore still has many friends in this city” He shook his head. “They will never believe you”

    “But you do?”, Kersea asked, to which Vitihho gave her a silent nod. “I know liars”, he spoke. “You're not” He leant back in his chair. “Everyone knows Mullendore is scum. Everyone but the people in charge”, he mumbled. “Butterfly though? Man's worse than even I thought” Kersea raised an eyebrow at that. “You made business with Butterfly”, she reminded him. “I made business with everyone”, Vitihho replied. “Burned Man, Butterfly, Hishi, Blacksails... just names for me. It's why I'm still around and so many of them aren't”

    “But you have to be more careful than before”, Leonard spoke, as he leant forwards. “You're hiding from someone” Vitihho gave him a long, stern glare, before he nodded. “I'm neutral”, he spoke. “Some don't like that” He took a deep breath. “You got coin, I can help you out”, he agreed. “How much do you have”

    Kersea gulped, as she and Leonard exchanged another glance. The knight shook his head and she replied in his stead. “Not much”, she admitted. “But we can get more if you give us shelter. We can work, if this is what we have to do” Leonard raised an eyebrow. “Within reasonable demands”, he added, making it clear that their respective definition of 'reasonable demands' differed wildly.

    Vitihho did not quite smile, but the expression he gave them just now was the closest she had seen from him so far. “Odd couple working for me”, he mumbled. “A knight and Butterfly's wayward killer” He nodded, slowly and carefully. “Yes, we can help each other”, he agreed, before he looked Kersea straight in the eye. “You do something for me, I do something for you”

    “Thank you”, Kersea replied, giving him a small nod, which he did not reciprocate. “I'm doing this for Alysanne”, he clarified. “We weren't friends, but I owed her. If she cared for you, then this is how I repay her” He raised a finger. “By giving you a chance”, he added. “Nothing more. Prove your worth, I will help”

    “What do we have to do?”, Leonard asked with a cold voice. Vitihho looked from him to Kersea. “Before I tell you, you tell me what you want here”, he demanded. “Need to know if I can help at all” Leonard seemed surprised by the other man's request, but Kersea considered it reasonable, better than what she expected. After all, if Vitihho couldn't help them at all, why should they even work for him to begin with?

    “We need to speak with Archmaester Quent”, she revealed. “In private” Vitihho nodded. “I know Quent”, he confirmed. “Good man. Doesn't take sides. Grown more paranoid lately, but I can arrange something. More?” Kersea nodded. “We're here to get dirt on Mullendore”, she explained. “Anything that helps us in bringing him down. You said it yourself, everyone knows he is scum, everyone but the people in charge” She narrowed her eyes. “This means we need to show them”

    “Good goal”, Vitihho complimented her. “Naive, but good” He thought about her words for a moment. “Mullendore is Butterfly”, he then said. “Means Butterfly is still around. Not going to piss off that guy” He shook his head, while Leonard narrowed his eyes. “So, you're not going to help us?”, he asked.

    Once more, Vitihho shook his head. “Never said that”, he clarified. “I won't piss off that guy. But I know a few people who can help. I'll introduce you” As he heard this, a small, pleased smile formed on Leonard's face. “Fair enough”, he agreed. “My point still stands. We'll help you, but only if you don't ask too much. I won't steal for you, I won't lie for you, I won't kill innocents” This time, Kersea was certain that there was a dry smirk beneath Vitihho's beard. “This is Oldtown”, he growled. “Nobody here is innocent”

    This time, Leonard actually nodded. “Can't argue against that”, he sighed. “Gods, I hate this fucking city. Alright, spit it out. What do we need to do to get your help” For a second, Kersea spotted anger in Vitihho's gaze, but it wasn't directed at her, nor Leonard. “You don't need to steal”, he promised. “You need to reclaim something”

    He paused, closing his eyes and Kersea noticed that he seemed highly uncomfortable all of a sudden. “A pendant. Small, old, made of iron, not worth much. Got a symbol on it, looking like this” He placed his hand on the table and Kersea spotted a thin iron ring on the ring finger of his left hand, a symbol etched into it. It was a cross, surrounded by a star.

    “And how are we supposed to do that?”, Leonard asked. “Oldtown is rather large, if you haven't noticed” Vitihho shot him a glare. “I know who took it”, he revealed. “And where to find him. He knows me and what I'll do to him, so he flees whenever I approach” He sighed. “Nasty little fucker. Name's Roach and it fits. Lives down in the sewers, knows them better than anyone”

    “So, you want us to get your pendant back from this... Roach”, Kersea spoke and Vitihho gave her a nod. “Can't do it myself, but he doesn't know you're working for me”, he confirmed. “He's shy, but always curious. He will approach you eventually” He raised a finger. “But be careful. He's fast and deft. It's why he worked for me”

    “Got it”, Kersea confirmed. “We'll find Roach and your pendant. Any idea where to look first?” Vitihho glanced at the door. “The sewers”, he spoke. “He hides down there. You enter at Ragpycker's Wynd, turn south and follow the tunnel. You'll reach a large room eventually. It's where he has his lair”

    “He's actually living down in the sewers?”, Leonard asked, his voice oozing disgust. Vitihho nodded calmly. “He's Roach”, he replied, as if that was any sort of explanation at all. “You'll see” He gave each a long look. “You help me and we can do business. I won't directly screw Butterfly, but I will help you”, he promised, before he placed a hand on his heart. “I swear it”

    “Good enough for me”, Kersea spoke, though she could feel that Leonard felt less convinced. Clayton had dealt with Vitihho in the past and he had once called him an infuriatingly honest man. It was this statement which made her more than willing to trust him. Besides, they needed his help. “One more thing”, Vitihho spoke and Leonard immediately tensed up. “What?”, the knight hissed.

    “Roach worked for me”, the other man replied. “He stole from me... something very dear” Leonard narrowed his eyes. “I told you, I won't kill for you. Doesn't matter if they are innocent. At least I won't carve some petty thief open” Vitihho shook his head. “Not asking you to kill him”, he mumbled. “But he needs a lesson. Beat him up. Break some bones” Now he as well narrowed his eyes. “It's a warning. Don't want him dead, but don't want him to steal from me again”

    “And if we refuse?”, Leonard asked, glancing at Kersea, though she realized that he was unsure about it. Beating up a thief sounded surely better than killing him and it was a kinder fate than what he would get from other people. Perhaps even Leonard could get behind this. “I won't force you”, Vitihho promised. “I want the pendant back He sighed and for a second, he seemed much older than he truly was. “More than anything...”, he mumbled, before his iron gaze returned. “Beat him up and I'll throw in something extra”, he offered. “Your choice”

    [Agree to beat Roach up] [Refuse]

  • [Find Nicola Sand] No Rose, no problem. I want to meet this Jack Sparrow type. I mean, well, Jack Sparrow didn't actually have a monkey, it was Barbossa, but still. Definitely was a thief though.

    [Agree to beat Roach up] He didn't even have to offer a reward for me to want to do this. I hope the reward is nice, also Roach probably will rat us out if he can but it's worth it.

    Some other thoughts: It is quite amusing that both parts had that similar choice. But, unlike Liquid (the writer...), I say it is not a coincidence! It's more evidence, as I have proposed before, that Keat and Kersea's storylines will cross over. Kersea's part mentioned Hishi, Vitihho is neutral, Leonard knows the Hightower (sort of), Butterfly/Mullendore is an enemy to all, and how can he resist such a great heist/meeting of characters? Kersea and Keat? Leonard and uhhhh, Lanford?

    Also Roach. I was thinking about him a few weeks ago, wondering if he would ever reappear, and why, he has. This is the perfect character for such an ambitious crossover. Man, that was a long time ago, when he was last in the story, with our dear friend Ellena. And Quent, Quent soon!

    “Another reason to get involved in this one”, Keat spoke. “Besides, it won't be just you and me. Glori is right, I work for Hishi in this one. You know she pays well” Vivielia raised an eyebrow in slight surprise. “I know he does”, she stated slowly. “If Hishi is involved, I got higher hopes, admittedly. There's worse people to work for”

    Gender-bender! One of the story's greatest mysteries - still unsolved.

    Keat Knowing he had only one chance, Keat decided to use it well. He put on his most charming smile, which caused Ursa to glare at him, w

  • Some other thoughts: It is quite amusing that both parts had that similar choice. But, unlike Liquid (the writer...), I say it is not a coincidence! It's more evidence, as I have proposed before, that Keat and Kersea's storylines will cross over. Kersea's part mentioned Hishi, Vitihho is neutral, Leonard knows the Hightower (sort of), Butterfly/Mullendore is an enemy to all, and how can he resist such a great heist/meeting of characters? Kersea and Keat? Leonard and uhhhh, Lanford?

    Hehe, I like the idea. Surely, there would be potential for such a cross over. After all, Kersea and Leonard want to bring down Mullendore, which means they and Hishi share a goal. Keat works for Hishi and Vitihho mentioned he knows some people who might be willing to help. So, surely, this is not impossible, nor unthinkable. What I can say is, it's definitely been a coincidence that these two choices happened right at the same time, but that doesn't mean that such a team-up won't ever happen.

    Also Roach. I was thinking about him a few weeks ago, wondering if he would ever reappear, and why, he has. This is the perfect character for such an ambitious crossover. Man, that was a long time ago, when he was last in the story, with our dear friend Ellena. And Quent, Quent soon!

    Aye, both of them will reappear very soon! Roach sooner than Quent, that's for certain, but both will have a role to play in Book 2. And neither has been seen in years, Roach last appeared in Chapter 6, I think, while Quent hasn't been seen since Chapter 4. Think about it, last time he appeared in the story, Mullendore still seemed like a decent guy.

    Gender-bender! One of the story's greatest mysteries - still unsolved.

    It's probably going to stay a mystery as well. Hishi is definitely not genderless, but prefers not to reveal it. They simply enjoy the mystery and how it keeps people guessing, as seen with how everyone who dealt with them seems to have a theory of their own.

    [Find Nicola Sand] No Rose, no problem. I want to meet this Jack Sparrow type. I mean, well, Jack Sparrow didn't actually have a monkey, it

  • The Voting is closed!

    Keat is going to find Nicola Sand

    Kersea is going to agree to beat Roach up

    Yeah, I kinda saw these choices coming ^^ Keat's choice means less Hishi in this chapter, but it will speed things up a little bit, as we will soon, hopefully, see him recruiting his entire team. And I can say, after that we're getting to some really big stuff for him, I hope you'll enjoy it. Kersea meanwhile... well, beating up Roach is certainly not nice, but Vitihho is right with one thing: Beating a thief up is still a lot nicer than what the majority he could have stolen from would have done to him. So, it might even be a kind thing to teach him for the long run.

    The next part will be out today. I am currently writing a Kyra part and I might add a Garthon part as well. Last time we saw Kyra, she witnessed a confrontation between her second-in-command Gravven Drumm and a certain Drevyn Pyke, a soldier in service of another captain. Apparently, Drevyn carelessly insulted Gravven, although he wasn't exactly lying with what he said, which nearly caused a violent fight between them. Kyra decided to reprimand both, but decided against temporarily locking up either of them, so she essentially didn't take any sides in this. Meanwhile, Garthon is still at Raventree Hall, where he and Petyr Blackwood received their guests from House Piper. A discussion followed, in which Maurice brought up the possibility that Petyr declares himself king if the Riverlands go into open rebellion. After all, the last time the Riverlands had any chance at independence, it was a Blackwood who should have been king. Mariya Piper, Lord Piper's eldest daughter and the driving force behind his involvement in the rebellion, adviced against this, saying that they must stand united and that the only lord whom every Riverlander can somewhat agree on would be Edmyn Tully. And then there are Petyr's own doubts, as he has heard of Aegon Targaryen and he himself is wondering if he might not be the best option the Riverlanders have, not for independence, but for freedom from Harren's tyranny. Garthon himself, whom Petyr trusts a great deal by now, ended up advicing him to declare for Edmyn Tully, which is where we will continue next.

    Furthermore, there is one thing I need to say, which is Telltale-specific. It seems the consensus is that the site will go down, or at least become vastly worse in two days, on the 9th of May. Either it goes offline entirely, or something will happen to our accounts which will make a log-in impossible, that's what I heard in other thread. Regardless, this means it is very likely that the next part will be the last on the Telltale site. I promised I will update the story here for as long as possible, but more than ever, it is likely this won't be possible anymore in two days. If I'm wrong, great, I will continue to update on here until the inevitable happens. But if this is actully the end for Forum of Thrones on the Telltale forums, I want to use what is probably the last chance to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone who supported my writing on here for all these years. Of course, Forum of Thrones has spread out to a new home, but this wouldn't have happened if not for everything that happened here in the forums. I do not think there is another place where I could have built up such a following of wonderful readers, which is ultimately the reason why the story will survive at all. Writing the story here helped me through a lot of bad times and made the good times all the better. I gained friends all over the world, I had exciting talks and well, I simply gained so much from writing the story here on the forums. Though Forum of Thrones will live on, the end of the Telltale forums means the end of a big era for the story. And before it is over, I want to thank Telltale, not just for their games, but for these forums, which brought us together. I want to thank everyone for their support over the last years and going forward on FoT's new home. The story would likely end in two days if not for this overwhelming support. I want to tell the full story and it is humbling to know that there's still so many people who want to read it.

    So, here I am not sure how many this still concerns, since the majority already knows about it. But Forum of Thrones will not end. For the last few months, since learning of Telltale's end, the interactive story community from the Telltale forums has built up a new home. It is a more traditional forum, dedicated to creative work, where Forum of Thrones and other stories you might have read on here, as well as tons of original work, can be found. This place is called Creator's Haven. For the past few months, I have posted new FoT parts on here and on Creator's Haven at the same time and I have also started a new story on there, set in the fantasy setting of my favourite Pen and Paper RPG. A majority of the readers can be found there and many writers and readers of other stories. We got a Discord server, we got a big forum with sections for each story and it is basically the perfect new home for the story. If anyone reading this has not yet joined us there but would like to continue reading the story, I would like to invite you to check out the site, by following this link:

    The next part will be out later today and well, once more, if this is the final part on the Telltale site, then thank you for everything and I look forward for the things to come.

  • Kyra

    Kyra rolled her eyes. “There will be no fighting in my courtyard!”, she warned Gravven and Drevyn both. Her friend shot her a slightly confused glare. “Cap, he's insulted me”, he spoke, to which she gave him a nod. “Yeah, and you're not some brat who is bothered by a careless remark”, she told him. “You're better than that”

    Gravven gulped, before he looked at the ground to his feet. Instead, Kyra turned to Drevyn. “And you... I don't know you, but I hope you're better than that too. Next time, I won't stop Drumm either. I'm not his fucking wetnurse. So, next time, if either of you makes a mess in my courtyard, you're going to answer to me, have I made myself absolutely clear?”

    A moment passed, before Gravven nodded. “Aye, cap”, he mumbled, without even looking at her. He turned away, marching towards the barracks, and Kyra glared at Drevyn. “Yeah, sure”, he finally spoke, to her satisfaction. “And don't you forget it”, she hissed, before she turned back to her brother.

    Damon raised an eyebrow as she reached him. “The Kyra I knew would have been too afraid to face them”, he complimented her, to which she responded with a glare. “The Kyra you knew would have died while you were away”, she responded. For a moment, she saw how her brother frowned. Was it pain she spotted on his face? Perhaps he was still capable of feeling it and this made her almost regret her choice of words.

    “You know what happened wasn't my choice”, Damon spoke and his tone was softer than usual. She stopped as she had already passed him, closing her eyes and clenching her fists. “Mine neither”, she mumbled, as she briefly looked at her brother. “But I'm no longer the person you knew. Same goes for you”

    Damon hesitated for a second, before he sighed. “You're right”, he spoke, as they walked towards the Great Hall together. “Say, did I ever tell you about my journeys?” His sudden change of topic caught her by surprise, though she had to admit it was pleasant and she gave him a slight smile. The Damon she knew would have told her about what he had experienced beyond the Narrow Sea. “As a matter of fact, you haven't”, she replied.

    He placed an arm around her shoulder. “Perhaps I should change that”, he said and she flashed him a grin. “Perhaps you should”, she agreed. “What are your plans for the evening?” Damon shrugged. “You got an invitation from your prince”, he spoke, to which she briefly narrowed her eyes. “It's not like it's just me and him”, she corrected him. “He mentioned Stallhart, probably a couple others. You wanna join?”

    Damon sighed, though he had to suppress a smile. “Ah, I don't think it's a good idea for the Lord Captain to drink with his subordinates”, he brought up. “Stallhart needs to have respect for me. How could he if he drinks me under the table?” Kyra raised an eyebrow and Damon shrugged. “I mean, have you seen that man drink?”, he asked. “Believe it or not, in Asshai they teach you many things, but not how to chug ungodly amounts of ale”

    She laughed at this and for a second, she was almost ready to forget that his return had put her into the worst conflict of her life, torn between her brother and her king. “Besides, I don't think Harrick wants me there”, Damon spoke, to which she shrugged. “And I don't think he gets a say in this. And for you, it can't hurt to get to know him a bit better. He's not as bad as you think he is”

    Her brother shook his head. “He is the enemy, little sister. Sometimes, knowing your enemy gives you power, but that is not always the case”, he told her in a low tone. “But so be it. If it makes you happy, I'll be there” He gave her a hesitant smile and Kyra hoped that it was a genuine one, yearned for it. With Damon, it had never been easy to tell, but ever since he returned from his exile, it was almost impossible. There were moments where she got the opinion he was nothing but a cold schemer anymore, just for him to turn around just minutes later, almost the man she used to know.

    “Uh... my... mylady?”, a thin voice called out for her and she felt Damon's hand slightly clenching around her shoulder as they stopped. As she glanced to her side, she spotted the lanky, dark-haired Adrew Frey. Harren's squire in name only, she hadn't quite seen him being taught anything a squire should know. He made for a decent servant though and was perhaps the most persistent victim Harmund had in years. On top of that, he was painfully awkward. She was pretty certain he had never been with a woman and it showed, as he was barely able to talk to her, much less to look her in the eye while doing it.

    “The... the king requests your presence”, the boy stuttered and before Kyra could reply, Damon pushed himself between them. “What for?”, he snarled and his cold voice was enough to make Adrew shiver. “He... he didn't tell me...”, he replied, but Damon shook his head. “You're not some halfwit, boy”, he growled in return. “You're picking up more than the king thinks” He removed his arm from Kyra's shoulder and clenched his fists. “Now, before I send my sister there, you tell me what you know”

    Kyra narrowed her eyes. “You're not sending me anywhere, brother”, she reminded him. “If the king summons me, to the king I shall go” She attempted to go past Damon, who stopped her by slightly raising a hand. Adrew sighed. “I... believe he wants to discuss something”, he revealed. “A raven arrived, earlier today. Prince Harrick is there and a few of the captains”

    “And he didn't ask for my presence?”, Damon brought up, to which Adrew shook his head. “He explicitly didn't”, he replied. “Said it doesn't require your attention” Damon glanced over his shoulder and Kyra noticed the concern on his face. “Alright then”, he spoke, before he gave Kyra a slight smile. “Tonight still stands?”

    She nodded and responded with a similar expression. “It sure does”, she replied, before he allowed her to pass. “Lead the way then, boy”, she said. “You probably learned it already, our king doesn't like waiting” Adrew frowned, before he gave her a nod. Briefly, she had to wonder how bad it was for him. He was by no means the only Riverlander within the castle, but the most prominent, aside from Harmund's new bride. And where Harren was reasonable enough to recognize Adrew's worth as a hostage, most of the time, Harmund seemed to treat him with additional cruelty ever since he was forced to marry the Mallister girl. At the very least, he didn't seem to care much for Elaena, which was the best she could hope for in her situation.

    Quietly, Adrew led her across the courtyard and into the keep, through a smaller entrance. Kyra knew the way, could walk it blindly, but she let him do it, give him some sense of accomplishment for once. The goal was, of course, Harren's audience chamber, a room not quite as gargantuan as everything within the castle and unusually crowded as well.

    Two of her guards stood in front of the room, greeting her with a salute, as Adrew walked through the open door. “Lady Kyra Greyjoy”, he proclaimed. “I mean, Captain! Captain Kyra Greyjoy!” Kyra rolled her eyes, as she pushed herself past the boy. He tensed up as she placed a hand on her shoulder. “Close enough”, she whispered, before she looked around.

    The king was sitting on a smaller throne in the centre of the room, around him his sons, all four of them. She narrowed her eyes, knowing this was rarely a good thing. Harrick greeted her with a smile, though she earned herself a glare from Harmund and a look of pure fear from Harndon. Harlan meanwhile was still leaning on his crutches. She had seen him walking again, limping, more like, but Torvin's actions had fucked him up badly. It'd take months for him to recover in full.

    There were others, Iron Fleet captains and lords, whom she recognized. Close to Harren stood the dwarf, Reymand Orkwood, dressed in clothes too fine for him. His wife was nowhere to be seen, but even her presence wouldn't have stopped him from staring at her with shameless lust. Durren Stallhart was there, his arms crossed, giving her a polite nod, as well as Quellon Codd, who barely looked up. Kyra could tell he was worried.

    And then there was Simon Vessels, who seemed always displeased when seeing her, a feeling that was mutual. Ever since Rell returned to Harrenhal, she hadn't spoken a word with him, but she knew how worried Damon was that their alliance was over now. Worse, perhaps it already was, if Harren's new distrust against his Lord Captain was any indicator.

    “Ah, Captain Greyjoy”, one of the other captains greeted her. He was a tall man, though not quite reaching Stallhart's size, with a fairly impressive brown beard and short hair, neither of which showed a hint of the grey that was seen in his eyes. His smile was one of genuine respect and he placed his left hand on his heart as he gave her a bow, to which she noticed that he was missing his left index finger.

    “Ragnar Smyte, if I am not mistaken”, Kyra spoke. She knew every captain within the Iron Fleet by name, but that didn't mean she knew all of them well. Smyte wasn't among the most important ones, commanding only over a single ship and a crew of less than a hundred, but he was loyal and soft-spoken, good traits to have, and rare with many of her people.

    “You are not mistaken”, Ragnar confirmed and Kyra raised an eyebrow. “One of your men got into trouble with one of mine”, she told him. “The name's Drevyn Pyke” Ragnar sighed. “He's a good man, just doesn't know when to shut his mouth”, he replied. “Who was it this time” Kyra shrugged. “Gravven Drumm”, she told him and for a second, Ragnar raised an eyebrow. “Could have gone bad. You took action?”

    “I restrained neither of them. Let them get away with a warning, no harm done”, she explained. “Regardless, I don't want something like this in my courtyard. Next time Drevyn picks a fight, I'll beat him down myself” Ragnar nodded. “Don't be too hard on him”, he requested. “I'll have a word later. If he causes trouble, I'd prefer to deal with him myself”

    “I'll consider it”, Kyra offered, which caused him to give her another bow. “Thank you, mylady”, he said, as he stepped aside, allowing her to look directly at the king. Harren's expression was hard to read. Kyra was reasonably certain she could tell whenever he was angry, which didn't seem to be the case right now. But there was no expression of joy either and Harren was terrible at hiding whenever something good happened.

    “Captain, good to have you here!”, he greeted her, before he sent his squire away with a wave of his hand. “Boy, you can leave”, he spoke. Kyra took a deep bow in front of him. “Always your loyal servant”, she replied. “What is the occasion?” Harren shot her a dark grin, before he glanced at Harrick. The youngest prince held two sheets of paper in his hand.

    “Those are letters, which arrived earlier today”, he explained. “One from our contact at Raventree Hall, the other from Viveka Codd, Lord Quellon's castellan at Faronhall” He sighed. “And it seems we have a problem” Harren shook his head. “Would have been a problem had we not learned of it in time”, he mumbled. “Now, it's something we can easily snuff out”

    “The Faronhall letter, what do you have there?”, Kyra asked, looking at Harrick, who glanced at the sheet of paper. “Lady Viveka sends us a list of all the wares lost to the river in the last year”, he explained. “I won't bore you with numbers, but long story short, it is unacceptable. She writes that there are problems with a rebel in the area, an insurgent known as 'The Riverborn'”

    “Which explains why your niece waited for so long until sending the list”, Harren spoke towards Quellon Codd. The Lord of Faronhall sighed. “Your grace, Viveka is a loyal woman, I am sure she...”, he began, but Harmund cut him off. “She should have never been given the honour”, he replied sharply. “If she can't even deal with a single rebel cunt, then how can she be trusted with our northern border?”

    “Apparently, the Riverborn is a relatively recent occurrence”, Harrick explained. “He doesn't kill, but has caused significant damage in property, in structures and wares. Sunken boats, disappearing shipments” He shook his head. “It is supposed to be a peaceful region and a fruitful one, but thanks to that man, it's among the worst in the kingdom”

    “Which is unacceptable”, Harren confirmed. “This is why I have called for my captains. I intend to send troops to Faronhall, so that one of you might deal with what Quellon's niece failed to do. Bring me the head of the Riverborn and you will receive a favour” Before any of his captains was able to speak up, Harren raised a hand. “There's more though”

    Harrick nodded, as he reached for the second letter. “This one came from Raventree Hall”, he explained. “Apparently, House Blackwood is heading into open rebellion. Torvin Breaker's actions pushed us closer to civil war than ever before and Lord Blackwood, he is determined to declare independence. He has contacted Elmont Piper behind our back and by the time this letter was sent, the lord and his daughter have already left Pinkmaiden”

    “I warned you this would happen”, Harmund spoke. “Should have sent me to Pinkmaiden months ago and we wouldn't have this issue now” Harrick shot him a brief glare. “And Lord Piper wouldn't have his eldest daughter anymore, am I right?” Harmund shrugged. “I rarely kill them”, he replied coldly. “Only those who struggle too much” He chuckled. “But of course, I was ignored and now, Piper is brave enough to support Blackwood”

    “We don't know that yet”, Harrick brought up. “They are negotiating and we know how hard it can be for two Riverlords to agree on anything. At best, their talk makes it less likely they ever join forces. We might be in luck” Harren shook his head. “We won't”, he spoke, before he looked at Kyra. For a second, she could clearly see the amusement in his eyes, mixed with stark anger. “You're hiding information, my son”, he continued. “Why don't you tell Lady Greyjoy who arrived in Raventree Hall a few days before this letter was sent?”

    Harrick sighed and Kyra could see that he was reluctant to part with this information. “The Sons of the Trident got involved”, he revealed and Kyra tilted her head. “They might be able to convince the lords to work together”, she mumbled. “I can see why this is bad, but not why you wouldn't say so right away”

    Now, Harren chuckled audibly. “Because he is still hiding something”, he spoke. “Go on, tell Greyjoy what you told me. Who is with the Sons now?” Harrick turned his gaze away from Harren. “Survivors from Raylansfair”, he said and Kyra clenched her fists, as she felt her heartbeat fasten. “I thought there are no survivors, but Rell”, she replied. “We all thought that”, Harren agreed, as he shot Simon a sharp glare. “Your whelp has some explaining to do”, he barked. “Because if he is the only survivor, how come Garthon Breaker has been seen in Raventree Hall?”

    Immediately, Kyra tensed up. It couldn't be... “What?”, she replied, a bit too quickly and loudly. Harrick sighed, as he stared at the ground. “We cannot confirm it yet”, he argued. “Our contact is reliable, but he never met Garthon before. Could be an impostor, someone who picked up where the Breaker brothers left. We have no proof that it is truly him”

    “What he have proof for is that there is an open rebellion growing”, Harren interjected. “And Blackwood and Piper are leading it. I do not intend to ignore that” He clenched his armoured fist, slamming it down onto his throne. “They will pay a cruel price, so that none of these Fishlords will ever dare to speak up against me”, he declared. “As such, I need someone to hunt down every last man, woman and child living within Blackwood's castle. I want them flayed alive, their bodies nailed to the keep and pieces of their skin sent to every other castle within the Riverlands, to every last one of these stinking Fishlords, be they loyal or not. Then, the same shall happen to Piper” He narrowed his dark eyes. “Their traitor bloodlines shall end”, he growled. “And all shall see the price for treachery”

    “Well spoken, your grace”, Reymand complimented his king, who gave him nothing but a mild glare in return. “For this, I will also need my loyal captains”, he declared. “Two hundred men of my men will march on Raventree Hall, alongside any you wish to spare. I want you to take the castle by surprise and once you have it, well... you know what I want”

    “I will support you, my king”, Ragnar Smyte offered. “Thirty of my men, led by Drevyn Pyke” He looked at Kyra. “It'll give him something to fight and it'll mean he won't be around in Harrenhal to cause trouble” Simon stepped forward. “And a hundred of mine, your grace”, he offered, to which Harren gave him a nod. “But don't send your son”, he told him. “If Breaker turns out to be alive, then Rell has a lot to explain”

    A disgruntled expression formed on Simon's face. “Of course, your grace”, he mumbled. Harren glanced around, his eyes resting on Durren Stallhart for a second. The captain finally shook his head. “My men just returned from the Rock”, he explained. “They are tired. If it's alright, I would like to sit this one out. We have a war to the east and if you spare them now, each will fight with the fury of a dozen when the Dragon King comes for us”

    Harren narrowed his eyes and Kyra saw how his fist clenched. “Granted”, he growled. “Though I was hoping to have you at Raventree Hall. Someone who knows Breaker needs to be there” He glanced at Kyra and she sighed. “If your grace commands it”, she agreed and he gave her a small nod. “Good”, he replied. “I wouldn't ask this of you if it wouldn't be necessary. Could need you here in the days to come” He sighed and seemed genuinely reluctant to ask this of her. “But if you're okay with it, I will send you to Raventree Hall with the troops. Confirm Breaker's identity, or confirm it's just an impostor”

    Truth be told, Kyra was not okay with it. However, she was not in the position to refuse an order. On top of that... if Garthon was still alive, she had to be there. Smyte's men, or Vessels', they would kill him. Perhaps she was his only chance. “I volunteer to lead the troops”, Harrick spoke up, giving her a long, worried look.

    Harren chuckled at this. “You?”, he replied, as he shook his head. “No, I need you here. At Raventree Hall, we don't need mercy, we need to deliver a decisive strike. I've been too good on these people. Spared them the leash, spared them chaos and the wanton destruction so many of my captains love to spread. They bit the hand that feeds them one too many times”

    Harmund's grin widened. “It will be my honour”, he said and immediately, Harren's own smile faded. Kyra could see the conflict within his eyes. He probably would have chosen Harmund, had the prince not spoken up. Truth be told, Kyra knew him better than even his own sons did. Nothing was harder for Harren than to grant someone what they truly desired. And so, she presumed he changed his plans at once.

    “You think you'll lead them?”, he asked, before he shook his head. “No, you will head north, to Faronhall” Harmund's dark eyes widened. “What?”, he hissed. “You keep Harrick here because you need him, but I am supposed to be wasted in that sinkhole?” He bared his teeth, not a grin, but not quite a threatening expression either. “You can't be serious”

    Harren reached out, harshly grabbing his son by the forearm. “I need a man of your reputation there”, he growled. “Send a letter to Viveka Codd and maybe she'll already present you with the head of that Riverborn” He shrugged, as he noticed Quellon Codd's worried expression. “And if not, then maybe the people will talk once you deal with a few of them”

    “Your grace, Viveka has always been loyal to the family and to the crown”, Quellon argued. “My daughter is with her. Perhaps... perhaps if I can go with Prince Harmund...” Harren seemed to think about it for a moment. “Your presence could defuse the message I seek to send”, he told him. “I want your niece to be scared, I want her to know that my son will not tolerate failure” He sighed. “But you have been loyal to the crown”, he admitted. “Go with my son and maybe your niece will be more willing to cooperate”

    “You scared, huh?”, Harmund spoke in a mocking tone. “Perhaps you should be” He noticed his father's glare. “Perhaps not”, he added, before he straightened his back. “But if you don't want me to lead the siege of Raventree Hall, then who shall? Perhaps Greyjoy?” His tone made it clear that he considered her a ridiculous suggestion, but none of those present were laughing.

    “I need a man of your reputation in Faronhall”, Harren explained again. “But in Raventree Hall, I need a different reputation entirely. You can be reasoned with, you can be appeased, if at a terrible personal cost. They hate you, they fear you, but I don't want Blackwood and Piper to hate and fear, I just want them to die” He looked to his left and Kyra gulped audibly. “Harndon, my son”

    The thirdborn's eyes widened and a careful grin formed on his face. “Father...?”, he asked, his thin voice hiding a chuckle. “Can I help?” Harren gave him a nod. “When you were younger, I remember you tearing insects limb from limb”, he spoke and Harmund rolled his eyes. “The lackwit is still doing it”, he hissed. “You can't be serious. Him?”

    Harren ignored the complaint. Instead, he reached out and grabbed Harndon's hand, to the prince's surprise. And Kyra saw how anger flared up on Harrick's face. “You don't have many talents, but you've always been good at that”, the king told him. “Chaos. Destruction. I want to have a commander there who cannot be reasoned with” He glanced at Harmund. “Or distracted by a pretty face”, he added in a cold tone. “I want them to know exactly what they can expect of me” He shot Harndon a smile. “I want you to kill the Blackwoods, all of them, and their servants and their guards and guests and every peasant unfortunate enough to be in the way. Will you do this for me?”

    A wide, cheerful and utterly bloodthirsty grin formed on Harndon's face. “Yes”, he confirmed. “Oh yes, I will” He giggled and Harrick placed a hand on his shoulder, which was immediately enough to shut him up. “Father, Harndon is not ready for this”, he argued. “I know what you want to achieve, but Blackwood is not a fool. He knows Harndon cannot lead the siege”

    “Which is why I send Greyjoy with him”, the king replied, as he looked at Kyra. “Take Drumm with you and any other you deem useful. You two have been on enough raids. You will advice my son and aid him in the siege” He narrowed his eyes, as Harrick still spoke up. “Father, you know they have a history”, he growled, to which the king shook his head. “Damon Greyjoy and Harndon have a history”, he replied and just mentioning the name was enough for an expression of dark fear to flash over Harndon's face. “It's why I didn't want him with us today”

    “At least send me with them”, Harrick argued. “I can help” Harren raised an eyebrow. “I told you I need you here”, he disagreed, before he looked at Kyra. “But why don't we hear what Greyjoy has to say? Girl, you know my order, you know my wish. You will support Harndon and I think you can quite handle my halfwit of a son” He flashed her a grin as dark as his gaze. “Or do you think you can't do this?”, he asked. "Are you afraid of little Harndon?

    It was a question, but Kyra was not sure how serious it was. Harren was rarely willing to listen to complaints and he was indeed pretty clear about Harrick. She could even understand that he needed his youngest son when planning the war to the east. And she was not afraid of Harndon. But truth be told... she would feel better with Harrick by her side, when it came to Harndon. Not so much when it came to Garthon, but perhaps she could find a way to avoid a confrontation between them. The king had granted Stallhart and Codd their wishes. Perhaps he would do the same for her? Or perhaps she would just displease him by questioning his order.

    [Accept Harren's order] [Request to take Harrick with you]

  • [Request to take Harrick with you] If Kyra really feels it would be for the best, I see no harm in asking. Better us than someone else, I suppose.

    “Those are letters, which arrived earlier today”, he explained. “One from our contact at Raventree Hall, the other from Viveka Codd, Lord Quellon's castellan at Faronhall” He sighed. “And it seems we have a problem” Harren shook his head. “Would have been a problem had we not learned of it in time”, he mumbled. “Now, it's something we can easily snuff out”

    So there is a spy. And oh, Viveka. I wonder what this letter didn't mention.

    If this is the last part here, well. It's been a good ride. Thankfully, I have saved every page on the Wayback Machine, so we can always look back. Thanks for the run. Peace.

    Kyra Kyra rolled her eyes. “There will be no fighting in my courtyard!”, she warned Gravven and Drevyn both. Her friend shot her a slight

  • So there is a spy. And oh, Viveka. I wonder what this letter didn't mention.

    Aye, the spy is confirmed with this. Maurice brought it up in the last chapter already and this letter confirms his suspicion, even if I intentionally did not mention who sent it. As for Viveka's letter, it was pretty much just a detailed list of losses they had suffered thanks to the Riverborn. We will learn more about that one in the near future, but let's just say, she left out a detail or two as well.

    If this is the last part here, well. It's been a good ride. Thankfully, I have saved every page on the Wayback Machine, so we can always look back. Thanks for the run. Peace.

    And I would like to thank you for keeping the thread alive even after the migration to Creator's Haven, giving me a reason to come back and, especially, for saving all of it in the Wayback Machine. Losing the forums themselves is not easy for me, but losing this thread, the countless comments and the memories connected to them, that would have been painful. Thanks to you, this will not happen and I can still access it whenever I want to.

    Also, if today won't be the end for the forums (which I presume we will not know before tomorrow), then updates will, of course, continue as usual. That being said, if today won't be the end, I doubt we'll get any warning when this site actually shuts down for good, so I will try to save the current page in the Wayback Machine anytime I post a new part. I can say, I will honestly miss cross-posting the parts and I will miss the forums, so I deeply hope it won't end today, but I suppose we'll see.

    [Request to take Harrick with you] If Kyra really feels it would be for the best, I see no harm in asking. Better us than someone else, I su

  • Phew! Was afraid to not be able to catch up before the possible closure of the forums. I just felt like I had to vote one final time here on the forums.

    It's been such a journey here. To think we're not even halfway through yet, oh boy.

    I noticed the mention of a certain Tavner in the earlier part. Got me excited :grin: As for the voting.. [Request to take Harrick with you]

    So yeah, if this was the last part on the forums.. It's been an honour! :blush:

  • Phew! Was afraid to not be able to catch up before the possible closure of the forums. I just felt like I had to vote one final time here on the forums.

    Ah, welcome back, I am glad you managed to catch up in time! This is a happy occasion, even though I am quite saddened to realize that there might indeed not be another vote here in the forums. Creator's Haven lives on, the story lives on, but the Telltale forums will forever be a big part of it.

    It's been such a journey here. To think we're not even halfway through yet, oh boy.

    Yep, not even halfway through. Feels kinda crazy to realize it. My current goal is to be halfway through with the story by the end of the year, but we all know how realistic my writing goals are XD

    I noticed the mention of a certain Tavner in the earlier part. Got me excited :grin:

    Ah, it is goot to hear you are excited! There have been several mentions of him and his underlings and I think this is a good opportunity to reveal that we will see several of them in Chapter 4. It's been quite a long wait, but now I'm almost a the point where I can introduce them.

    So yeah, if this was the last part on the forums.. It's been an honour! :blush:

    Well, we cannot be sure if it is the last part. It's actually the 10th for me already and nothing happened, but I will not jinx us by claiming that everything is alright. If not today, then one of these days it will happen and we might get no warning for it. However, no matter when the forums will shut down, writing for you and the others here in the forums, it has been my honour! And it will continue to be for years to come :)

    captainivy1 posted: »

    Phew! Was afraid to not be able to catch up before the possible closure of the forums. I just felt like I had to vote one final time here on

  • Surprisingly, we are still here!

    The Voting is closed!

    Kyra is going to accept Harren's order

    That was a pretty decisive outcome and certainly not a bad idea. Harren is not the kind of ruler one should argue with, he is not in a particularly good mood and he made it clear that he needs Harrick by his side. So, it would have been unlikely either way, which might mean that not even trying to change his mind is a wise idea.

    Also, wow, I did not expect the forums to still be around right now and I am pleasantly surprised! When they were gone for a few days, I think we all thought it to be the end, but I am glad this is not the case. We can't be sure when it will happen, might be today, or tomorrow, or in a week, or in a month. I doubt we'll get a warning before that, but as long as the forums are still around, expect this thread to be updated alongside the Creator's Haven thread.

    The next part will be out right now. It was supposed to be out yesterday, but I got carried away with writing some background stuff for my other story (like, two full parts worth of background stuff, it's honestly a lot), so I did not finish the part in time. However, it is done now and will be posted right after this. It is the Garthon part I promised you last time (and if you need a recap, it is at the top of this very page), but like with Kyra's part, I realized it'd work a lot better as one full part. Without further ado, here it is.

  • Garthon

    For a moment, all eyes were on him, as Garthon took a deep breath. “I side with Lady Piper on this one”, he finally admitted, which caused wildly different reactions in those present. Mariya Piper herself gave him a genuinely sweet smile, while Maurice, in stark contrast, shot him a surprised and vicious glare. “I know Harren Hoare, probably better than any of you. The reason he is still in power is because he knows how to use your greatest weakness. Your houses have always been divided, torn by fights with the other Riverlords. Overcome your weakness and the king won't stand a chance”

    As Petyr gave him an intrigued look, Maurice slowly shook his head. “The king won't stand a chance either way. He is surrounded by enemies. Aegon Targaryen to the east, Loren Lannister to the west, the Riverlords all around him”, he growled. “I agree that bowing to the trout would be a quick way to unite most of the Riverlands under one banner, but I doubt this is necessary” He clenched his fists. “But Petyr, we must think for the long term. Harren will not be in power forever and when the day comes, wouldn't it be better to have plans for it? Do you truly want to become a vassal to Edmyn Tully?”

    To this, the Lord of Raventree Hall slowly shook his head. “There is no love lost between me and him”, he admitted. “We fought wars in the past” He looked at Elmont Piper. “But then again, so have we, mylord” Elmont nodded carefully. “And yet here we sit, discussing peace between our houses and a fight against the tyrant whom we all suffer under”, he replied, as he placed a hand on Mariya's back. “My daughter is right. Only through unity can we overcome the Ironborn”

    “It is easy to demand such things when you're not the one who has to make the sacrifice”, Maurice hissed. “But Petyr could be King of the Trident when this is all over. It's his birthright” Mariya raised an eyebrow. “Was”, she corrected him. “The last true Blackwood king ruled in the days after the fall of House Justman, but even then, not over much more than what House Blackwood rules over today”

    For a moment, the two glared at each other, before Mariya's expression softened. “You want a strong position for the house you serve. I can understand, yes, even respect that”, she admitted. “But that is just another reason to support Edmyn Tully” She narrowed her eyes, though her smile remained. “Think of it, mylord. When Harren is gone, what do you think is going to happen? Do you believe Aegon Targaryen will just leave us alone?”

    Maurice frowned. “He will, if he is weakened enough by fighting Harren's armies”, he brought up, to which Mariya immediately shook her head. She glanced at her father, who sighed. “We have received a visitor, shortly before you called for us”, he spoke. “Jon Mooton, the Lord of Maidenpool. He told us what happened in his battle against the dragonlord”

    Garthon noticed how the lord's hand was shaking slightly. “I trust Lord Jon. He is a man of honour and he never had a reputation for exaggerating things”, he explained. “And he told me that the army was annihilated on that day. Two thousand men and they stood no chance against a single dragon. And Aegon has three. I do not wish to share the fate of Grenn Mooton and Bryen Darklyn”

    “If we stand united, Targaryen will pick us off, one by one. There won't be an option, we'll become his vassals or we burn”, Mariya took over. “But if we stand united under one banner, maybe we can make demands. Maybe we can gain something from this, if not our freedom, then at least more rights than we have under Harren Hoare” She leant forward. “You claim we don't think far enough, when the opposite is the case”, she spoke calmly. “So now, Lord Blackwood, can we agree on whom to follow in the war to come?”

    Petyr hesitated for a moment, avoiding Maurice's glare, before he nodded. His adviser sighed. “Petyr, this is a mistake”, he told him, his voice oozing forced calmness. “Have I ever given you reason to doubt my advice?” As the lord shook his head, Maurice clenched his fists. “As such, I must tell you, you are wasting a chance to bring this house back to its old glory”, he urged him. “Lady Piper is right with one thing. We must stand united, if we want to negotiate properly with the dragonlord. But if you bow to Edmyn Tully, you're not strengthening your position, or that of the Riverlands, you're strengthening merely Edmyn's” He leant forward. “But if you make your intentions known now, you force the Riverlords to make a decision. Would they rather stand united under your leadership, or be divided and picked off one by one. While it's true that Edmyn is the most neutral choice, few hate you enough to absolutely refuse and those who do, well, we don't need them”

    Ethan Blackwood clenched his fists. “Father, he is bringing up a good point”, he spoke. “Why should it be Edmyn Tully? What has the trout done, aside from a single attempt on the king's life, one that ended in catastrophe” He gave Garthon a curious look. “It's been Tully's cowardice that resulted in the death of your brother”, he spoke. “I wonder, why would you support him?”

    Garthon clenched his fists and brief anger flared up in his eyes. This was enough for Ethan to realize he had hit a nerve and the young man backed off at once. “I mean no offence”, he stated calmly. “But you should see that Tully is hardly the only option, nor the best one. The man's a failure, whereas my father is brave and capable”

    The Lord of Raventree Hall bit down onto his lower lip and Garthon could see the conflict within his eyes. Seeking help, he met Garthon's gaze, who subtly shook his head. Then, Petyr sighed. “Have I ever given you reason to doubt my decision, Maurice?”, he asked in return and after a moment of silence, his adviser shook his head, his eye twitching wildly. “No, mylord”, he admitted, before he took a step back, in frustration. “I will accept your decision and pray that it is the right one”

    A pleased smile flashed across Mariya's face and her father sighed in relief. “It is settled then”, Elmont Piper concluded. “We will ride to Riverrun together, united under one cause” Sluggishly, he rose to his feet, though Lucas Lolliston had to help him with this. Limping towards Petyr, who had similarly stood up, they shook hands. “Under one cause”, Petyr agreed, to Maurice's and Ethan's chagrin.

    Elmont's smile was thin, but honest, as he placed an arm around the other lord's shoulder. “Petyr, I would like to seal our agreement the proper way”, he continued. “I have three beautiful daughters, while you are blessed with strong sons. Let our houses stand as one. I propose a marriage between your son and my daughter”

    This caused Ethan's bad mood to lighten immediately. Garthon spotted him giving a sly grin to the decidedly uninterested Mariya, though the young woman raised an eyebrow, carefully looking at her father and watching for his next words. “I'm afraid Ethan is betrothed already”, Maurice spoke up and this caused Ethan's smile to fade. “To Lyra Bracken. Looks like he won't get to marry your little girl”

    “I wasn't talking about Ethan”, Elmont clarified, as he raised a finger. “Nor am I talking about Mariya. She's the brightest of my children and I need her by my side in this war” Though she maintained an aura of calmness, Mariya briefly averted her eyes and let out a tiny sigh of relief. “My second daughter, Elyana, is fifteen years old, almost the age of your son, Raymon. She is a gentle woman, fond of song and laughter and she'll bring light into your halls”

    “Why, 'cause it's so dark in here?”, Ethan remarked dryly, though Petyr shut him up with a sharp glare. “Your offer doesn't come entirely surprising”, he admitted. “And it is true I seek a good woman for Raymon, now that Ethan is to marry Lyra Bracken” The comment caused Ethan to look visibly disappointed, even if Garthon suspected that he was less bitter about the whole situation now that Elmont clarified that he had no intentions of offering Mariya.

    “Very well. I will talk to Raymon and consider your offer. Perhaps we can agree on the details at Pinkmaiden?”, Petyr asked. “I would like to visit your home, together with my sons, so that Raymon can meet his intended before we finalize the deal. I believe at least some sympathy between the two is crucial for a good marriage”

    Mariya smiled kindly at his suggestion, while Elmont nodded slowly. “It would be my honour”, he confirmed and with this, it was settled. Garthon felt a strange pride, realizing that his advice had likely influenced Petyr. Now, House Blackwood and Piper would be united through marriage, a strong alliance of Riverlords would be formed and all of this was just another nail in Harren Hoare's coffin.

    They continued to talk for a short while, but nothing of importance was decided, merely when and how they would leave Raventree Hall and head to Riverrun, to meet up with Edmyn Tully and the other Riverlords. In the end, it was decided that they would leave within the next three weeks, with the Piper entourage staying as guests in Raventree Hall until then. And after the war, so the consensus, Petyr, Ethan and Raymont would visit Pinkmaiden, so that the youngest Blackwood son could meet the woman he was supposed to marry.

    After they were done, Petyr declared the meeting over, so that his guests could rest for a bit, after their long journey. Though once Garthon stepped out of the room, a voice called out for him. “A word, Ser”, Mariya Piper spoke, as she walked after him, with Lucas Lolliston by her side. Her father was limping past her, giving Garthon a polite nod, before following a servant who was supposed to bring him to his room.

    “Mylady”, Garthon replied, giving her a slight bow, to which she smiled. “I wanted to thank you”, she admitted. “I understand you have no stake in the future of the Riverlands, beyond the death of the king we both hate. As such, I am pleased to see that you nonetheless made Lord Petyr see reason”

    Garthon raised an eyebrow. “I doubt I had that much of a hand in it”, he argued, to which she chuckled. “You are underestimating yourself”, she told him, as she flashed him a beautiful smile. “It is clear that Petyr Blackwood thinks highly of you. So does my father and I start to see why” Garthon felt heat rushing up in his cheeks. “You're too kind, mylady”, he replied. “But I'm merely doing what I think is right”

    “If more Ironborn would do this, perhaps we wouldn't have to go to war”, the young woman told him. “And perhaps once this is over, if men like you lead the Ironborn, we can have peace” She was going to add something, before a voice from behind cut her off. “You think there'll be peace, girl?”, Maurice hissed. He had left the room, leaving Petyr and Ethan behind and though Garthon couldn't hear what they were saying, he heard Ethan's agitated voice. As much as Lord Piper and his daughter were pleased by this development, Garthon could see why not everyone in this castle was happy about Petyr's submission.

    “I hope it”, Mariya replied, her voice slightly colder. Lucas Lolliston crossed his arms and straightened his back, as he eyed the man carefully. Maurice's fists were clenched and his eye was twitching wildly. “And I say that it unlikely”, he spoke. “Once Harren is dead, perhaps someone worse will follow and the war will continue. Maybe Harmund, or one of the Ironborn lords. Qhorin Volmark has a claim, or maybe Damon Greyjoy or Harrion Harlaw will usurp power on the islands and none of them will stand back and accept the loss of these lands” He narrowed his eyes. “And thanks to you two, it seems all too likely that Edmyn Tully will lead us against them”, he growled. “Hardly the strong leader we need in this coming war. And we know nothing of Targaryen, aside from the fact that he already burned two Riverlords who opposed him”

    Mariya sighed. “Which is even more of a reason to stand united against him”, she argued, before she narrowed her eyes. “You are not a daft man, Maurice. Surely you understand that pushing Lord Blackwood's ambitions threatens to drive us all apart against Hoare and Targaryen” For a moment, they glared at each other and Garthon noticed that Maurice's eye was twitching more heavily than usual.

    “If it's alright, I want a word with Breaker”, he spoke. “Alone” Mariya nodded. “Alright”, she spoke, before she did the briefest of curtsies in front of Garthon. “Once again, thank you, Ser. Before we arrived, I was not sure what to expect of you, but you have given me hope for the meeting with Lord Tully” Garthon reciprocated the smile. “It's been my pleasure, mylady”, he replied, as Mariya and Lucas left, to follow one of the servants to their respective rooms.

    Maurice sighed. “That girl should know her place”, he spoke. “Too clever. When men speak, she should be silent” He clenched his fists. “Without her, Lord Elmont would have bent to Petyr's will. He's a weak man and I don't know how he raised such a stubborn girl. Judging by the looks, she might not even be his daughter after all”

    “She brought up some good points”, Garthon spoke. “I believe her approach is the best we have” Maurice chuckled coldly. “No offence, but you don't know shit about the Riverlands”, he growled. “And you don't have a stake in its future. Petyr listens to you and because of that, you should consider how much he just gave up because of your foolish advice. I'd appreciate if you'd leave the advising to me”

    “No offence taken”, Garthon pressed through his teeth and Maurice raised an eyebrow. “I mean you're no Riverlander”, he clarified. “Once this is over, you fuck right off to your islands, but we have to live in Targaryen's new kingdom, as vassals to a bloody Tully” Garthon shook his head. “I don't know if I'm returning to Pyke”, he clarified. “I like it here. And if the Riverlands are peaceful at last, then it's all the better”

    Maurice shook his head. “Oh, but there will be no peace”, he prophesied. “Targaryen will wage war, again and again and which kingdom do you think will border on most of his enemies all of a sudden?” He shrugged. “I think you are a smart man, but even then, you let your guard down too easily with the girl. The power of a pretty face, I presume”

    Garthon narrowed his eyes. “She's too young”, he claimed, to which Maurice laughed loudly. “Anyone ever told you you're the strangest Ironborn in these lands? 'Cause you're certainly the weirdest I've ever seen”, he roared. “I know men at Harrenhal who'd give a finger or two for the chance to take her”

    This caused Garthon to tilt his head. “You've been at Harrenhal, Maurice?”, he asked and the man frowned. “Years ago”, he replied. “I accompanied Lord Petyr. Made some contacts, the same who fed me the intel that saved Walder Blackwood's life back when the Ironborn came for him. Unfortunately, I know your people, Garthon”

    “We're not all like this”, Garthon claimed, before he took a deep breath. “But that is not why you wanted to talk to me, right? You sent Lady Piper away, so I presume it's about the spy” Maurice gave him a nod. “As I said, you are a sharp man”, he complimented him. “Maybe your advice could be better, but you have potential. Indeed, I want to talk about the spy. You made any progress with the Redloon girl?”

    Garthon shook his head. “I haven't seen anything strange about her yet”, he revealed. “Didn't get her to talk about Velmont, but aside from that, she seems like a decent person” He sighed. “I don't really know about her”, he admitted. “But I doubt she's the spy you're looking for”

    Maurice sighed. “I was hoping you could give me something about her, anything”, he admitted. “Because with this, it seems all too likely that Ser Torvin Hale is the man we're after. While you didn't find anything about Marie, I got quite something on Torvin” Garthon frowned. “So, it's Hale”, he spoke, deliberately avoiding to use his brother's name. “What do you got?”

    For once, the man seemed to be genuinely displeased with himself. “I should mention that I have a lot of respect for him. He might be an old fart now, maybe a traitor, but back in the day, he was a sight to behold. A warrior, like Petyr, like Walder. And he knew a man's worth. When all of Raventree Hall was willing to overlook me, he urged Petyr to give me a chance. One thing led to another and now me and the lord are lifelong friends”

    “So, you owe him a lot”, Garthon said, to which Maurice gulped. “And yet, for the good of this house, I will expose him, if he is actually the traitor”, he stated firmly. “I just hope, I pray to all the gods willing to listen, that I am mistaken here, that there's a good explanation for what I discovered”

    His hand reached into his pocket, before moving into Garthon's direction. “I believe Torvin is putting up an act”, he explained. “That he's slowly growing feeble and such, I don't buy it. So, I searched his quarters while he was on guard duty” He placed something in Garthon's hand. “This is what I found”

    Garthon glanced at the object Maurice had given him. It was a ring, tiny, but well-crafted, with a symbol on it. “The swallow used to be House Hale's sigil, back in the Stormlands”, Maurice explained. “But that's not all there is to it. Look closely” As Garthon narrowed his eyes, he recognized the symbols all around the rising swallow. “The sigil of House Hoare”, he spoke tonelessly.

    “I also found ashes on his table”, Maurice continued. “Considering how much time he spends at the ravenry, I presume he recently burned a letter and the ring was part of it. Perhaps a promise for future rewards, a reinstalled House Hale with Harren as their liege. One way or the other, he was damn careful to hide this one”

    “Sure, I wouldn't want anyone to see this in his case”, Garthon agreed. “Maybe the spy framed him?” Maurice shrugged. “Could be possible”, he admitted. “Hells, I hope that is the case. But if you haven't seen anything odd about the Redloon girl, then I fear Torvin is our only lead. Maybe someone has framed him, maybe not, but this ring was found in his room and he better gives us a good explanation for it”

    Garthon sighed. “A lot points at him, gotta admit”, he said. “Alright, if that's all you got, how do you want to approach this? If he's the spy, he's dangerous” Maurice shot him a grin. “We'll need more people before we bring this to Lord Petyr's attention, people of influence, who investigate this with us and confirm our words”, he stated. “You are still a newcomer and between me and Torvin, all things considered, he'd always trust his father in law more than me. But if we got someone to back us up? Someone the lord will listen to?”

    “Whom do you have in mind?”, Garthon asked and Maurice shrugged. “Ethan”, he replied. “He is the heir to Raventree Hall after all and the smartest Blackwood in three generations. If anyone can help us, it's him. He might even see something we're missing” Garthon tilted his head. “We're talking about his grandfather here”, he said. “You sure he can be impartial?”

    Maurice nodded decisively. “Ethan has never been much of a family man”, he replied. “Raymon, or Marian, they are weak. They'd never even consider their grandfather could be a traitor. But Ethan is smarter than that” Garthon was not quite convinced. He had seen how easily the boy was following Maurice's suggestion. And if he was mistaken and Hale was innocent...

    “What about Mariya?”, he asked and Maurice chuckled. “The Piper bitch?”, he asked. “What about her? You don't want her involved, trust me. She'll just twist your words, says something oh so clever and then we won't get the truth, just what she wants” He shook his head. “Nah, I'm not up for that. The meeting was enough to prove that we cannot trust her”, he added. “She's playing her own little game and if it's in her best interest, she'll screw us over. Ethan however, he'll want the real traitor to be found”

    Garthon crossed his arms. “Well, I do trust her”, he argued, to Maurice's amusement. “And she has the lord's ear” To this, the other man nodded. “Ethan as well”, he spoke. “And I stand by my words, we'll need a Blackwood on our side, not some brat from Pinkmaiden” He smiled carefully and thinly. “So, what do you say? Can we agree on Ethan?”

    [Seek Ethan's support] [Seek Mariya's support]

  • [Seek Ethan's support] He seems, I don’t know, like he would be interested in this?

    I am in Australia, WiFi is bad, but I’m glad the forums are back for more of this.

    “If more Ironborn would do this, perhaps we wouldn't have to go to war”, the young woman told him. “And perhaps once this is over, if men like you lead the Ironborn, we can have peace” She was going to add something, before a voice from behind cut her off. “You think there'll be peace, girl?”, Maurice hissed. He had left the room, leaving Petyr and Ethan behind and though Garthon couldn't hear what they were saying, he heard Ethan's agitated voice. As much as Lord Piper and his daughter were pleased by this development, Garthon could see why not everyone in this castle was happy about Petyr's submission.

    I think I know what she was going to say, but I don’t trust her very much. Something

    Garthon For a moment, all eyes were on him, as Garthon took a deep breath. “I side with Lady Piper on this one”, he finally admitted, whi

  • I am in Australia, WiFi is bad, but I’m glad the forums are back for more of this.

    Ah, hope you enjoy your stay! And yeah, I am certainly glad as well. While cross-posting takes slightly longer than just posting on Creator's Haven, the Telltale forums have been here for the story from its very beginning, the least I can do is to update until their end. And who knows, maybe the forums will be around until the story is over in a few years, how crazy would that be?

    I think I know what she was going to say, but I don’t trust her very much. Something

    I can reasonably reveal that something is off about this situation indeed. If Mariya is the one whom you should not trust remains to be seen, but the whole Raventree Hall situation will receive more spotlight in the next chapter.

    [Seek Ethan's support] He seems, I don’t know, like he would be interested in this? I am in Australia, WiFi is bad, but I’m glad the foru

  • The Voting is closed!

    Garthon is going to seek Ethan's support

    As much as I would have liked to give Mariya more spotlight, I will gladly take the opportunity to do the same with Ethan. I have no preference here and both characters will continue to be fairly important to Garthon's storyline to come. Now, he will spend more time with Lord Blackwood's son, which cannot be a bad thing either.

    The next part will be out right now! I actually like this when I close the voting just as I have finished the part, so I think I'll do that more frequently from now on, unless there's an important announcement to make. That way, I can be sure that the part will be out when I say it will be out instead of keeping you waiting for another day or two. Anyways, this next part will feature PoV's for Willfred and Raenna. We haven't seen Willfred in a while and he won't have too big of a storyline in this chapter, but in general, he'll get a lot to do in Book 2. Last time we saw him, he just woke up in Crakehall, where Jack had brought him after the events of the Chapter 2 finale. He was injured and exhausted, mentally and physically, and the first person he saw was Audrey Crakehall, Lord Quentyn's granddaughter. She informed him of what happened and then asked him if he would like visitors already, which he agreed to. Meanwhile, Raenna and companions were at the Nightfort, where Lord Commander Harrigon Hoare welcomed them to his castle. Together, they planned the next steps of their journey beyond the Wall, to find Lord Umber's brother Kory. While almost everyone was on board with the journey, Raenna noticed that Gared was not so certain anymore. He was concerned for Briar and Malina, who would stay behind, a concern Raenna quite shared, so she encouraged him to stay with them. The next part will be set a few days later.

    Also, for as long as the forums are still up, for anyone who is still reading and has not yet joined us in the new forums, I will post a link to Creator's Haven here. That way, you can continue reading even after these forums will eventually shut down, whenever that might be. So, if you haven't done it yet, check out this link and join us whenever you want:

  • Willfred

    Judging by the sun that fell through the small window, it had to be either the early morning or the late afternoon as the door to his room got opened again. Willfred had been dozing off constantly, only to wake up the very second he felt the void overcoming him once again. No dreams this time, no voices, nothing. It made him feel strangely alone.

    The first to enter the room was Jack. The one-eyed soldier was freshly dressed, in a garb undoubtedly not owned by him, considering it prominently sported the black, white and brown colours of House Crakehall. A small smile formed on his face. “Good to see you back with the living, Ser”, he greeted him.

    Willfred replied with a tired nod. “Good to be alive”, he confirmed. “Thanks to you, I heard” Jack sighed. “Not just”, he claimed. “I did the least, to be honest. Couldn't have done it without Ser Roger, and General Tallian and Prins” A frown formed on his face and Willfred gulped, as he remembered. Tallian, bleeding from the deep wound in his gut, still defending him to the last. To think Willfred considered him a coward... Prins, his head smashed open by that giant... and Roger...

    “Your man is too humble”, a familiar voice roared, as Quentyn Crakehall entered the room. The Lord of Crakehall had aged only further in the months since their last meeting, his beard long and unkempt, his face thin and the once mighty muscles on his body slowly growing weaker. And yet, Willfred hadn't forgotten about the skirmish, back when Crakehall escorted him to the border. The old man had single-handedly killed half a dozen on that day.

    “Eh, stop staring, boy!”, Crakehall roared, as a wide smile appeared on his face. “I know I've grown old. Had no luck with dying on the battlefield so far, though it seems we got that in common” He came closer and patted Willfred on the shoulder, hard, and the knight tried his best not to wince. “Heard what happened to Tallian and your uncle”, he mumbled. “Seven know I never liked the former and barely knew the letter, but they died with glory. That can be said of preciously few”

    Once more, Roger's face, as he let go of his horse, resigned to death, as he sunk to the ground. “There was nothing glorious about it, mylord”, Willfred mumbled weakly and Crakehall raised an eyebrow. “Well, it is good to see you again”, he then spoke. “Had you died in Raylansfair, well, we would've gotten more war than even I feel fine with. Might still do if the king's in a bad mood”

    Willfred frowned. “You think he'll declare war on the Reach?”, he asked and Lord Crakehall shrugged. “At least he'll demand the heads of Maron Mullendore and Petyr Vyrwel, in a time where Gardener has more important things on his mind than an overly ambitious bannerman. Loren is a patient man, but just this once, his fury might beat his logic”

    “And then we'll have war against the Reach and the Ironborn”, Willfred mumbled, to which Crakehall and Jack exchanged a brief glance. “The Ironborn are retreating”, the lord then told him. “King Loren and your father have broken through the siege of the Golden Tooth and saved the castle. The Ironborn have suffered heavy casualties and are now guarding their border against our counterattack”

    For as much pain as he was in, hearing this came as a relief to Willfred. “Father is alright?”, he asked and Quentyn gave him a nod. “Heard nothing that makes me think otherwise”, the lord told him. “And the rest of your family is save as well, if you're wondering. King Loren informed me there's been Ironborn activity on our northern shores, but apparently, they are no threat to the castles deeper inland”

    “Then I gotta go there as soon as possible”, Willfred replied, to which Crakehall shook his head. “Not right now”, he told him. “You and Jack here, you have witnessed what happened in Raylansfair first hand. I haven't told King Loren yet, instead I think it'll be better if you do that”

    Willfred sighed. “You want me to travel to the Golden Tooth?”, he asked and Crakehall gave him a nod. “After you have sufficiently recovered, yes”, he confirmed. “I know you hope to return home soon, but your account might be crucial for our king's decision. We have a mighty enemy to the west and then there's this declaration of war from the dragonlord” A smile flashed over his face. “I've never fought a dragon before, so I don't want to risk the chance on some needless skirmish with the Reach”

    To this, the knight gave him a long look. “So, you don't want this war?”, he asked, to which Crakehall shook his head. “I'm too old to fight in every bloody battle, boy”, he growled. “My next war, my next proper war, it will be my last. Either the Seven have mercy and grant me a proper death, or I'll be too old to lift a sword next time the king calls to arms. No, I got one more war left in my bones and I gotta pick it carefully” An impish smile flashed over his wrinkled face. “Don't tell Luthor or the children, it'd just upset them”

    “My lips are sealed”, Willfred replied. “But... mylord, the Golden Tooth lies on the other end of the Rock” Crakehall gave him a nod. “And you'll have your loyal soldier with you”, he said, as he gave Jack a pat onto the back. “Plus, I'll accompany you for part of the way, to Greenfield, to be precise. I intend for Audrey to meet Garmund Greenfield. She's in a certain age, maybe a marriage can be negotiated. After all, Garmund is the heir to his house and yet unmarried”

    To this, Willfred raised an eyebrow, remembering what little he knew of the other houses of his kingdom. Father had tried his best to teach him, but truth be told, he had never been a good student. “For good reason, if I remember correctly”, he spoke, hoping dearly that he remembered correctly. It was House Greenfield, right? By the Seven, he might be mixing it up with Sarsfield, or Garner. “He's quite... strange, isn't he?”

    “They call him the Green Demon”, Quentyn replied with a wide smile. “Honestly, with a name like that, he's just the man I want for my granddaughter. Audrey comes after her grandfather, so she'd be bored to death by some gentle sissy. And Garmund, he's supposed to be a strong fighter, serious and upright, that's how his grandfather described him to me in his letter. He wants Garmund to journey to Crakehall instead, but I don't shy away from a good journey, not while I still can”

    Once more, Willfred thought about what he knew. “His grandfather wrote the letter? Garan Greenfield?”, he asked. “The man's a hundred years old, isn't he?” Quentyn shook his head. “A little over ninety, the poor sod. As a young boy, I saw him winning the tourney at Lannisport, unhorsing Nygel Lannister and Rodrik Reyne, your great-grandfather. He's been a legend in my youth”

    “I only know of him because he's old”, Willfred replied honestly and Quentyn chuckled, though his smile faded. “The oldest man in Westeros, or so his family claims”, he confirmed. “He hasn't been able to leave his home in a decade. Can you imagine a worse fate?” He sighed. “Because I cannot. So, I want to make this journey while I still can and I want to meet the hero of my childhood while he still lives”

    “Greenfield it is then”, Willfred agreed. “And I'll deliver your message to the king” Lord Crakehall smiled at this. “Now, I'm sure you would like to rest”, he spoke, which Willfred could only nod at. “Before I let you sleep again, there's one more thing I need to ask” He glanced at Jack and the soldier seemed strangely nervous all of a sudden.

    “What is it?”, Willfred asked slowly and he didn't like the old man's tone. Quentyn sighed. “I'm sure it's nothing, but Jack here told me that you... well, he told me you spoke, occasionally, while you were unconscious”, he replied. Both looked at Jack, who shrugged. “Mumbling, more like”, he clarified. “Never heard that language in my life, but you were clearly saying something”

    “And Jack fears it might have to do with that funny box you picked up in Raylansfair”, Quentyn revealed, to which Willfred narrowed his eyes. “What about it?”, he growled, before a sudden hint of panic found its way onto his face. “You didn't open it, did you?”, he added and Jack shook his head, much to the knight's relief. “No, Ser”, he stated. “Doesn't mean I don't see how much it's affecting you. You've changed since you have that thing. Roger told me and Prins once”

    “Well, Roger shouldn't have”, Willfred barked immediately. “This is my business!” He cut himself off as he realized what he was doing, though it was too late to prevent a surprised reaction from Crakehall and one that bordered on outright horror from Jack. “Your uncle was worried for your well-being, Ser”, the loyal soldier told him. “So, if there is anything you would like to tell us, now's the time”

    Crakehall chuckled. “Don't know what box you found yourself there, but I can't say I ever heard of anything like it”, he spoke up. “And word on the streets has it I'm one day older than dirt” Though his smile was encouraging, Willfred hesitated. The voices, they had spoken to him, to him alone! He was not sure what they wanted from him, but surely they wouldn't want anyone to know about them. Was it wise to displease them?

    And would Crakehall and Jack even believe him? He himself knew exactly how crazy all of this sounded and he wouldn't believe it if not for the fact that he felt it, he dreamt of it! Then again, the old lord was half-mad already and Jack was the most loyal soldier he had ever met. Perhaps he could trust them with this knowledge. Perhaps they could even help him...

    [Tell them about the box] [Keep it for yourself]


    Raenna's first view down from the top of the world was hardly impressive. She had to walk up a winding set of stairs, cut directly into the massive wall of ice, for a straight hour until reaching the top of the Wall. Not meant for such a climate, she was uncomfortably cold despite wearing almost twice as much fur as the Northerners and it got only worse the higher she got.

    Perhaps worst of it all were the complaints coming from the Night's Watchman who accompanied her on the Lord Commander's order, a boy-faced recruit who couldn't stop staring at her. She wasn't sure what it was, either he had never seen a Valyrian in his life, or a woman. The entire way up the stairs, he told her how bad things were at the Nightfort, what a terrifying place it was, Mostly, he complained how they had to walk while Castle Black and the Shadow Tower already had an elevator, a complicated mechanism that would pull a platform up the wall, all the way to the top. Raenna had never seen an elevator in her life, but she had been to places that could have used one.

    And then, when she finally reached the top, she had to realize that, first, it was cloudy, preventing her from seeing anything of the frozen land beyond, aside from the steep drop where the wall ended. And second, she was not as alone as she had hoped. Four figures were standing there, clad in thick fur and she recognized them. While Gared Snow gave her merely a polite nod, Malina and Jorn flashed her a smile. And Briar broke free from the Karstark woman's hold and rushed towards Raenna.

    “I knew you'd come!”, she spoke and Gared raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps because I told you”, he replied and Briar briefly grinned at him, before she gave Raenna a long hug. It took the woman a second to reply in kind. “Good to see you, kid”, she mumbled. While Briar did not catch up to the concern in her voice, the same could not be said about her older companions. Malina raised an eyebrow, while Jorn and Gared clearly realized that something was bothering her.

    “So... today's the day”, the heir to Bear Island spoke and Raenna gave him a half-hearted nod. “I was hoping for a bit of a view before leaving”, she revealed and Jorn chuckled. “Same here”, he replied. “Turns out, Briar really wanted to see the edge of the world, so she talked us all into coming”

    “It's certainly not because we wanted to see it as well, oh no”, Malina joked, as she glanced at the clouds that hung especially low today. “Turns out, we got bad weather today. Might even snow later” She shrugged. “We waited for four days and that's the result”, she sighed. “Well, maybe it won't be our last chance to do so”

    The only one who didn't seem to be disappointed was Briar and seeing her so happy, it was admittedly hard to watch for Raenna. She had a lot of time to think over the past few days, while the Lord Commander and Dag Umber prepared for their trip beyond the Wall. And there were a lot of things she was not so sure of anymore.

    Thankfully, Harrigon Hoare had proven himself to stand by his word. The men he had chosen to guard Briar and Malina had done a splendid job. Even now, two of them stood nearby, hulking, silent brutes, but apparently loyal men, whom the Lord Commander trusted. But aside from that, Raenna wasn't so sure if she had made the right choices lately.

    Working with Terroma had once more brought her close to the only father she ever had, but she also had to see him die. Perhaps ignorance of his fate would have been kinder, for his dead gaze still haunted her dreams. Accepting Brandon's offer, working for his brother, it had opened the opportunity for a new life, but here she was, about to head into the most dangerous and inhospitable place in this world. None of her blood had ever been beyond the Wall and she was quite nervous for it.

    Perhaps for the first time in her life, Raenna was afraid for her life, not just for herself, but for how it'd affect Briar. Kersea was dead, after all, and as such, Raenna felt responsible for her friend's little sister. What if she herself would die beyond the Wall? Surely Malina would take care of the girl for the time being, but she was a Karstark and had more important duties to take care of than to tend to the needs of a single orphan.

    “Do you think we'll go back here?”, Briar asked and Raenna mustered a half-hearted smile. “Sure”, she spoke. “Once I'm back, maybe. How hard can it be, finding Lord Umber's brother and bringing him back to the Last Hearth” Again, Briar did not notice how thin her smile was. Jorn, however, clearly did and he narrowed his eyes. “There's one more thing”, he spoke. “Mylady, we need to talk”

    Raenna raised an eyebrow, as she separated from Briar. “Walk with me”, Jorn spoke and she complied, though she refused his offered arm. Together, they walked away from Malina, Gared and Briar, though Raenna made sure to keep all three in her sight. And she made absolutely sure not to look down.

    “What's on your mind?”, she asked carefully, as she glanced at Jorn. He had never struck her as a hard man, someone who would brave such a climate with ease and yet, while he wore a thick fur cloak, she knew that she herself would be freezing in his attire. Perhaps this son of Bear Island was more sturdy than he seemed.

    “You”, Jorn spoke and Raenna raised an eyebrow at this brazen comment. He immediately realized how this must have sounded, as he audibly cleared his throat. “Not...”, he clarified. “No. I'm sorry, I should have chosen my words more carefully” His embarrassment caused her to grin. “You think so?”, she jested. “Now, spit it out, Mormont. What is this about?”

    “I was being honest though”, he tried again. “I mean, I've watched you” She rolled her eyes. “Not much better”, she spoke and this time, his confident smile actually faded, replaced by a slightly embarrassed blush. “You seem concerned”, he finally revealed. Though it did explain a lot, this caused her to sigh. “You don't say...”, she mumbled. “More than usual”, Jorn spoke. “You seem scared” Raenna narrowed her eyes. “You know what I did before I started to serve your king?” Jorn raised an eyebrow. “Our king”, he corrected her. “And the answer is yes, Brandon told me”

    “Of course he did”, Raenna replied with slight anger in her voice. “Then you know I am not afraid of anything. I've faced death countless times” She tilted her head. “You are quite observant, aren't you?”, she asked sarcastically. “Then tell me, why should I be nervous? Why should I be afraid?”

    Jorn shrugged. “My younger brother would give you a whole list of things to be afraid of beyond the Wall”, he told her. “Cannibals, murderers, direwolves, shadowcats, bears as tall as a house, ice spiders, the Others, Grumkins, Snarks and, of course, the cold” He gave her a long, serious look. “But you're not afraid of any danger you have to face there”

    Raenna flashed him a smirk. “Clever”, she complimented him and he sighed. “You're afraid you'll never see Briar again”, he added and with this, he hit way too close to the truth. Raenna's smirk faded instantly. “I...”, she stuttered, but he cut her off. “Listen”, he told her. “You are afraid. Sooner or later, that means you will doubt yourself and I've heard enough of the place we're going to to know that doubt gets you killed and it gets others killed”

    To this, she clenched her fists. “Alright”, she admitted sharply. “Maybe I am afraid” Jorn raised an eyebrow. “Your death or hers?”, he asked and she sighed. “Hers”, she spoke. “I... can take care of myself. But she? Her sister was my best friend. I could not save her, so I want to protect Briar at least. She was with me this entire time. I... suppose I just slowly realize I cannot be there for her while I'm beyond the Wall”

    “That's what Lady Malina is there for, isn't she?”, Jorn remarked. “And Gared. You encouraged him to stay with the two. That has to be good for something” Raenna forced herself to smile. She had thought about this as well, of course. But she couldn't just stop worrying. And then, she actually made the mistake of looking off the edge of the wall. She remembered how it felt when she fell off the lighthouse, back in Raylansfair. It was like flying, for a second, and then, naked fear.

    Immediately, her eyes widened. “Seven Hells!”, she gasped, as she forced herself to turn away from the edge. “Seven Hells, we're high!” Jorn gave her a curious look, before he began to chuckle. “Don't tell me you're afraid of heights”, he teased her, to which she shot him a glare. “I'm not!”, she claimed weakly. “Seriously, Mormont, if you're telling anyone...!”

    He laughed loudly. “These lips are sealed, mylady”, he promised. “I doubt that will cause trouble during our journey” He placed a hand on her back and she tensed up briefly, before relaxing again. “Although Erik claims we have to head to the Frostfangs if we want to meet this wildling witch”

    She narrowed her eyes. “I try not to think about it too much”, she hissed, before she glanced back where Briar, Malina and Gared were standing. To her horror, the girl was sitting on Gared's shoulders, now taller than anyone else. For just a few moments, Briar was higher off the ground than anyone else in this world and the thought filled her with dread. The girl, meanwhile, was clearly enjoyed herself and her laughter brightened even this dark place.

    “Perhaps you should talk to Malina about this”, Jorn brought up and Raenna gulped. “What...?”, she asked, as she forced herself to look away from the scene and back at the man, who gave her a calm, serious look. She frowned. “No... No, I don't think I should do that”, she added, to which he raised an eyebrow. “Malina is a reasonable woman”, he replied. “I am sure she will understand why you're so concerned for the girl. And she'll be extra cautious with her”

    “It will insult her”, Raenna argued. “And I don't want to give her the impression I don't trust her with Briar” Jorn raised an eyebrow. “Do you trust her with the girl?”, he then asked and Raenna was genuinely not sure what to reply. She bit down onto her lower lip. “Then talk to her”, Jorn urged her again. “She will understand”

    [Talk to Malina] [Refuse to talk to her]

  • InGen_Nate_KennyInGen_Nate_Kenny Moderator
    edited May 2019

    [Keep it for yourself]
    My precious. How dares these filthy hobbits try to take it?

    [Refuse to talk to her] Malina bad, let’s keep everything to ourself. These choices are quite similar.

    “My lips are sealed”, Willfred replied.

    He laughed loudly. “These lips are sealed, mylady”, he promised.

    Coincidence? I think not!

    And then, she actually made the mistake of looking off the edge of the wall. She remembered how it felt when she fell off the lighthouse, back in Raylansfair. It was like flying, for a second, and then, naked fear.

    PTSD? Delicious. Reminds me of Clayton. I wonder how he’s doing.

    Also I like lighthouses I hope we can see another one. They’d make a great lair for some creepy villain. Very dark but light.

    Willfred Judging by the sun that fell through the small window, it had to be either the early morning or the late afternoon as the door t

  • Coincidence? I think not!

    That is actually this one Wolf Among us Line I just cannot get out of my head ^^ I recently replayed the entire game and now I have to actively try not to make too many references to it.

    PTSD? Delicious. Reminds me of Clayton. I wonder how he’s doing.

    It's probably not as strong as PTSD, but Raenna's fall has left its mark on her, as she is genuinely terrified of heights now. Perhaps climbing the Wall hasn't been the best idea then. As for Clayton... well, last time we saw him, he wasn't doing too well. What I can say is, no one has seen him since the lighthouse. He definitely didn't return to Mullendore's side and with only one arm, he definitely won't be too useful in his old line of work anymore. But we will get an update on him at some point, he's still out there and he hasn't forgotten.

    Also I like lighthouses I hope we can see another one. They’d make a great lair for some creepy villain. Very dark but light.

    Technically, the Hightower in Oldtown is a lighthouse and it will be featured a lot in this book. I imagine genuine lighthouses are rare in Westeros, but all larger coastal cities have something similar. Gulltown in the Vale most likely, and that location will be quite prominent for the Hawk's storyline, so I'd say it is quite likely you will see more lighthouses in Book 2.

    [Keep it for yourself] My precious. How dares these filthy hobbits try to take it? [Refuse to talk to her] Malina bad, let’s keep every

  • The Voting is closed!

    Willfred is going to tell them about the box

    Raenna is going to talk to Malina

    The first choice was a very important one. I think it's clear, this box has a weird effect on Willfred. He never told Roger, but even then, the man was not stupid and came to his own conclusions, so telling Jack and Lord Crakehall is definitely not the worst idea. Maybe one of them can help, as unlikely as it is. Or maybe they know someone who can help. But Willfred should not be left alone with that thing, this much is pretty much confirmed. Raenna's choice meanwhile won't have so tremendously huge effects, but there might be a consequence or two coming out of this. It's mostly the lack of a proper talk that would have affected things.

    The next part will be out right now! It is an Ysilla part and it is slightly longer than usual. Also, a lot of stuff is going to happen. Last time we saw Ysilla, she had just spent the night with Jenelyne, when her sleep was interrupted by Theodan. Turns out, Allar has not returned from his patrol and Theodan assumed it was because he was upset about Ysilla choosing Jen over him. Inevitably, Jen woke up and realized that her brother is missing, so she immediately decided to go after him. Ysilla decided to go with her, while Theodan remained back at the camp.

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