A River of Time.

Game Master Havocprince

A Song of Ice and Fire alternate history.


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The smiles have died, though none yet know it.


The procession of returning nobles from the tournament at Harrenhal was in mixed spirits. Some had seen their fortunes raised, others had their schemes dashed like waves against a cliff. House Naelareon and House Karstark share the Kingsroad, the heat of the day making for a long trek back to their homes. And in the distance, there is the hint of a cold wind blowing... a tinge to the air that wasn't there before.

The heads of Karstark and Naelareon have convened for talks, discussions of trade and treaty, and those junior members are freed up from such boring affairs to do as they will... all under the watchful eyes of the guards.


Aaralyn Karstark

Aaralyn sat in the chair that had been put out for her before at lunch, and while everything else was being put away and her father was speaking with Lord Naelareon, the young Karstark was having her hand maiden braid her hair again. The cold wind had attacked her and loosened her hair a fair deal. So as Tele went back setting her hair in order, Aaralyn spoke with the the maid. "I hope this doesn't take long." She said, obviously other things on her mind. "Do you think Rickard spoke to father like I asked? He's always been closer to father than I have and maybe he'll really listen to him." Aaralyn said as she began to let her mind wander.

Unlike she had been at the tournament, Aaralyn was not dressed too nicely. The gown she had worn at the tournament was a lovely black gown that had silver sunburst around the neckline, upon the large sleeves at the bottom, and a belt of linked sunbursts to match. The front to some might have been a tat too low but it had been pinned together with a songbird pin to give an illusion of a more conservative look. But now she was dressed in a very plane though finely made, black gown with a tunic over it that had a beaded sunburst across the torso. The edges had been trimmed in white fur and it was obviously a dress made for the cooler weather of the North to which the Karstarks where from and likely to return to. "Maybe we'll get to the town and head for Raventree." Aaralyn said as a soft grin played upon her lips. "Wouldn't that be nice, if father plans it as a surprise?"


"Oh, has someone taken a liking to the young lord Blackwood? A lovely match I would wager, if you have to marry a southern lord you could do worse M'Lady." Tele remarks as she performs her duties, working a technique halfway between a braided crown and a fishtail braid. "Though, if you ask me, that younger lord over there is a quite lovely example of manly nature. The way he handled that axe during the melee... shame he lost his footing."


Aaralyn Karstark

Aaralyn, mostly to humor her friend braiding her hair, turned slightly to look in the direction of Lothar Naelareon. He had handled himself well in the melee true enough, but he seemed far more common to her than her dear Tytos. But it did make her wonder if Tytos could beat the man in single combat, of course in her mind he could but the world of ones fantasy hardly worked out in the real world. "He put on a good enough show os true. But I don't believe he compairs to Tytos. As far as I've found Tytos is much more like the men of our North, well at least as close as one can get in this south. In the end however the younger lord is just that, the younger, father would never marry me off to a second. No, as I am the only Karstark daughter I will get a first, my husband will one day be the lord of his house and I his lady. I will accept no other." Aaralyn made perfectly clear.


With the Lords of Karstark and Naelareon:

Maester Anders fiddles with his chain as he often does when measuring his words. The cold metal reminds him of his teachings and helps steel his resolve. When the lords turn to the young Maester to hear his arguments, Anders stands and speaks with clarity and eloquence: ”We have extolled the advantages of establishing a long-term trade agreement between House Naelareon and House Karstark – trading through the Bay of Crabs in the summer and avoiding the toll at the Twins in the winter will assuredly allow you fresh goods at a fair price. Bet let’s be honest: Blackwood is by far a richer and more powerful house, and, if your desire is to fill your coffers, you would do well to marry your fair daughter to Tytos.”

Lord Naelareon cannot but wonder why his Maester would praise Blackwood thus, but he lets the young man continue. There is merit in honesty, Anders reminds himself, wondering if his words will do more harm than good.

”But I do not think that coin alone makes for good and sound alliances. Peace and prosperity. Is that not what we all aspire to for ourselves and for our children? The bitter border dispute between Houses Blackwood and Bracken now pits Lord Tywin against King Aerys. I cannot presume to offer advice, but I can offer a fair warning: if you forge an alliance with Blackwood, you could very well be calling upon yourself the King’s wrath.”

”I grew up in Raventree hall. Lord Blackwood is known to be an honourable man, and Tytos is his father’s son,” Maester Anders continues with heart and sincerity. ”But they are cruel and unforgiving men. These last few days, I have come to know and respect your daughter. She is a good and fair young woman who will undoubtedly make you proud, come what may. But…”

He hesitates. This may be crossing the line, but the truth must be spoken.

”She will know no happiness in Raventree hall,” he warns Lord Karstark, speaking in earnest.


Initiative 4d6 , Combat Defense 11 , Health 12 | Intrigue Defense 7 , Composure 12

Among the functionaries and servants, Lothar Naelareon is getting pleasantly merry. He has eaten well, and he was given a bottle of Dornish Red by an enthused onlooker after that last match.

A few nicks to the arms and face were well worth it!, he muses to himself in a pleased mood. His tall, muscled frame is well-used to axe-work and his red-tinged skin the outdoors. His red-blonde hair is wild and barely controllable. And rumour has it that he himself is not much different.

He is not shy about drinking the wine, nor sharing it with his older brother.

"So, Darne, what did you make of it all?", he says, offering his brother a cup of the Red.


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Darne sighed as he watched their servants began the uprooting and readying the caravan to move once again.

When his brother offered him a bit of the wine, he graciously held out his cup. He took a sit and looked skyward. He had wished that they had gone by boat. While they wouldn't have had as much freedom, they certainly wouldn't have had as uncomfortable a time.

He took a sip and raised a brow at what Lothar had asked "Oh, I suppose it was a bit grand affair than what I had expected. But then the king himself had shown, so I suppose it was to be expected to be quite extravagant. You did a good showing considering you've not had the pleasure of being knighted yet and given more...formal training. I'm sure that's upset a least a few of the other Houses." he said chuckling.

"Honestly though, I thought it was all rather exhausting. Watching your tone and language all the time and the putting on of airs and pageantry. But, gods, the food was perhaps worth it. I'm a bit worried though given that Father and the Maester are off scheming." he said as a bit of an afterthought.


Combat: Initiative 3d6, Defense 9, Armor 1, Health 6 | Intrigue: Initiative 2d6, Defense 8, Composure 15

Having already packed up his sparse gear and saddled his rounsey, Josian stands a couple dozen yards from the gradually decamping procession, methodically shooting rotten apples off a nearby tree. Still brooding over his mistakes at the tourney's archery competition, he makes an effort to correct his technique after each shot.

His quiver expended, Josian strolls past the tree to retrieve his arrows from the grass. As he turns back, a small brown shape approaching across the sky catches his gaze. The inklings of a smile begin to twist his lips. As the shape descends, it resolves into a golden eagle carrying a dead hare in its talons. Oh, Branch, Josian laughs to himself, was the decapitation really necessary?

Branch's wings flare out at the last minute and she drops down to perch on one of the apple tree's branches. Josian walks over to ruffle the lighter feathers of her neck, and she snaps at his hand playfully. Fully grinning now, he heads back to the caravan, leaving Branch to tear into her headless lunch with gusto and eventually catch up.


Initiative 4d6 , Combat Defense 11 , Health 12 | Intrigue Defense 7 , Composure 12

Lothar quaffs a good half cup of his wine in response.

"If those airs and graces helped sword and axe strike true, then they might be worth the air spent!" , he chuckles, as he reaches for the draining bottle.

"The food was something else, by the Seven. I imagine it cost the Hall quite a few dragons to have the pleasure of the King's presence.As for the scheming, that cannot be helped it seems, in our lordly position."


Maester Anders:
Lord Naelareon sits back as his Maester lays out his case for him. Words can be the most powerful of weapons, much better than taking by force. He could not buy legitimacy, but his Maester could speak it into existence as if a magic of old.

The canny old Lord Karstark leans forward in counterpoint to Lord Naelareon, his white beard flowing forward as he moves like a fog. "And what do you suggest I do young Maester, as if I did not already guess at your game?"

Aaralyn:
"Oh, easy for you to say... you have marriage prospects. I will probably find myself with some oafish blacksmith or huntsman, waiting my looks and thoughts on a man who only cares about how many sons I can bare him." There is no levity in Tele's speech, just cold resignation to her lot in life.

Josian:
A stern looking man grasps you by the shoulder and sneers in your face, personal boundaries is not this man's forte. "You will do lad, you don't appear to be doing anything of import. Here now, help carry this table to the Lord's pavilion. They are in need of it." Without even a please the man goes to lift one side of a low oak table, as you carry it in to the pavilion you see the Lord's discussing matters of import. You may look busy and eavesdrop in on the Maesters conversation.

Darne and Lothar, the two young ladies of the Karstark sit off a crossed the field from you. The handmaid keeps making sideways glances at the two of you in a less than subtle way as she speaks. You can ignore it and continue conversing, just giving you all the information.


Aaralyn Karstark

Aaralyn feels a bit of guilt twist in her heart as her handmaiden goes about working on her hair. Taking a moment she stops the maid by reaching back and placing her hands atop Tele's hands. "I won't let that happen Tele, you are and have been my friend and handmaiden. The least I can do is try to ensure a fair match for you. If father is so sure to sell me off to a southern house I will ensure you come with me. I can't promise a Lord of course, but we could try for one of the Southerners knights. Would that make you happy Tele?" Aaralyn asked as she turn a bit to try and look at her handmaiden "They won't be like northern men, but they might make you happy... and yes they'll still care about how many sons you can bare them but that is all men, both high and low." She tried to explain. Her mother had told her quiet a bit after she flowered, trying to do her duty as a mother to prepare her daughter for what was ahead of her on the path. While Aaralyn didn't understand it all at the time, she had taken most of it to heart.


Combat: Initiative 3d6, Defense 9, Armor 1, Health 6 | Intrigue: Initiative 2d6, Defense 8, Composure 15

Josian tenses for a moment, stifling his anger at the man's presumption. Better to go along with it for now, he tells himself reluctantly. Upon realizing that the lords are having some kind of significant meeting, Josian takes an improbably long time ensuring that the table is perfectly lined up with the rest of the pavilion's furniture as he listens to their conversation.


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Darne chuckled at his brother's opinion and when he started to hold out his cup for refill, the handmaid's side glances caught his attention. He paused and held up a hand quickly to stop from getting his glass refilled for the moment.

He confirmed his suspicions and smirked slightly. "Dear brother, I think there might be a young lady over there attempting to get your attention. Perhaps you made an impression upon her with your ability in the field?" he said teasing the man some.

"Come, it'd be rude not to make the young ladies acquaintance when they seek our attention." he said standing up. He waved over one of the servants and made sure to get one of their best wines to bring with them as a gift.

Once he roused his brother to follow along and with a bottle of a nice sweeter wine, he made his way over towards the Lady and her handmaid. He bowed politely as he came within proper distance "I don't believe we've had the pleasure. I am Darne Naelareon, heir to House Naelareon, and this is my charming younger brother Lothar. It seems our Houses are traveling along the road together. I felt it remiss not to offer some hospitality to two beautiful young ladies while we have time and such fine conditions. I hope I'm not too forward in offering a bottle of sweeter wine from our House's stocks. I'm sure it'll sour in comparison to your company." he said in as polite and genuine a tone as he could.

Persuasion (Seduce?): 4d6 + 1d6 ⇒ (1, 3, 6, 6) + (5) = 21

Reroll: 1d6 ⇒ 1

Reroll: 1d6 ⇒ 6

Alright, so I'm not doing the Intrigue to try and get anything out of the situation, just mostly to A.) Make sure I'm doing things correctly and B.) Use the system a little to showcase Darne's strengths? That said, Aaralyn has Dutiful as one of her Benefits which causes me to have a -1D for my check bringing me down to 4D in Persuasion. Now, Darne has a Benefit called Favored of Nobles which gives him a bonus die to persuasions on anyone with a status of 4 or higher. Finally, Darne also has a Benefit called Attractive which allows a number of 1s to be rerolled equal to half his ranks in Persuasion. I rolled a 1 in the opening volley along with a 1 in my reroll...I believe I get to reroll them both so I've done so. If all that is correct....Darne shocking managed to almost get a perfect score for his efforts and ended up with a rather impressive 23. I of course did this intrigue based on the idea that we are both Indifferent or perhaps Amiable and seeking Friendship.


With the Lords of Karstark and Naelareon:

Maester Anders smiles pleasantly. ”I propose a formal alliance between your houses, which would be cemented by a marriage between your daughter and Lord Naelareon’s son,” he answers plainly.

”I fear that summer will be short lived and the winter roses will soon wilt,” he continues, alluding to Rhaegar’s gift to Lyanna Stark. ”A storm is coming, and I can think of no better man to navigate dangerous waters than Lord Naelareon.”


Aaralyn Karstark

As the dear Naelareon brothers made their way over to Aaralyn and her handmaiden, the lady slowly turned and raised an eyebrow at her handmaiden with a look of 'This is your doing isn't it?'. Which she quickly came to because of how much Tele spoke of Lothar.

"Quiet a lovely gift." Aaralyn said as a small smile graced her lips. "You have my thanks for such. I am Aaralyn Karstark, first born daughter of House Karstark. This here is my handmaiden Tele." She greeted them with a soft tone. "A gift is best shared no? Will you and your brother join us for a drink?" She asked.

Persuasion(Charm): 5d6 + 1d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 4, 3, 4) + (3) = 21 19


Initiative 4d6 , Combat Defense 11 , Health 12 | Intrigue Defense 7 , Composure 12

Lothar follows his brother, his easy mood starting to evaporate. Annoyance grows, over frustration at not immediately knowing easy charm.

He offers a short bow and terse words, while gripping his cup hard.

"A pleasure. I am Lothar Naelareon."

He looks upon Aaralyn and Tele with a cauldron of curiosity, trepidation, longing, and annoyance, standing about as comfortably.

Persuasion, Intimidate: 3d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 6) = 14 11


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Darne bit his tongue at the rather...poor introduction by his brother. he gave light tap on his brother's shin with the heel of his boot. He chuckled "Forgive my brother, he sometimes has a hard time releasing his his warrior spirit. I assure you, he's quite charming once he lowers his guard a bit." he said clapping the man on the back.

He bowed his head at Aaralyn "We would be delighted to spend a bit of time sharing wine and company." he said smiling politely.


Aaralyn Karstark

"Oh I do not think we will hold it against him, honestly he remind me of Rickard." Aaralyn teased them with a smile on her face. "Though I would be careful around northern men, a warrior spirit is welcome but if show poorly well... I am sure you get the idea." She explained.

Shifting in her seat to look at Tele again she asked "Tele would you be kind enough to get a few cups for us? I'm sure they haven't packed everything yet as father and brother as still speaking."


The Lord's tent:
Lord Karstark gives the Maester a wry smile, sighing a bit as if talking to a small pup that suddenly grew fangs. "You want Aaralyn to marry the eldest. You're after legitimacy then, and here I thought you were holding out for better terms. She has not been promised anyone, yet, but there have been interested parties. Now, most of them have been from the Freys, but the Hornwoods have a serious offer." As he speaks, a lone crow flutters in. It sits upon the pole behind Lord Naelareon and looks at the gowings on intently.

Aaralyn and the boys:
Tele clucks her tongue as she wanders off to find glasses, stopping just long enough to quip back at Lothar. "I will be more than happy to get some glasses, though it seems the younger lord could learn his brother's manners with ladies. A strong arm does not excuse a weak character. Convince: 5d6 ⇒ (5, 1, 6, 1, 1) = 14 12 total.


Initiative 4d6 , Combat Defense 11 , Health 12 | Intrigue Defense 7 , Composure 12

Lothar does his best to make his smile less forced.

"I offer my apologies, Lady Aaralyn, Tele. I am still learning how best to comport myself around lords and ladies. Among those I am comfortable with, I speak with greater ease.", he says, glancing at his brother.

At Tele's quip, there is a flash of annoyance, but he seizes it into quietude.

"I shall endeavour to show my better character, Tele."

Persuasion: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 6) = 9


Combat: Initiative 3d6, Defense 9, Armor 1, Health 6 | Intrigue: Initiative 2d6, Defense 8, Composure 15

As he continues to listen to the lords' discussion, Josian glances curiously at the crow. A raven might enter to deliver a message, but a crow... definitely odd. He studies it carefully and mentally reviews his knowledge of avian behavior, trying to think of a reason for its presence.

Not sure what ability I should test.


Josian:
The crow stares at you intently, cocking its head to the side as it tries to bore its vision into your very soul. You don't like this crow, and it does not like you. In fact, you get the distinct feeling this crow does not want you here at all.

And about the time you start trying to decide what to do about the dark bird in the corner, one of the servants breaks your line of sight. Her flowing dress and oh so proper hair seem to flutter like the birds black wings... and in the next moment you have lost sight of the bird...

She has apparently been speaking to you the whole time. "...and I said I would find some glasses for the little lordlings, but now I don't know were those have been place. Would you help me kindly?"


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Persuasion (Charm: 5d6 + 2d6 + 1 ⇒ (1, 2, 2, 2, 4) + (5, 5) + 1 = 22

Reroll: 1d6 ⇒ 3 20? So that'd be another 7 damage? Her current defense was 15 and I bet it by five which gives me another degree of success.

Darne smiles at his brother and then turns back to Lady Karstark. "If memory serves me, your family hails from the North? Lovely country but a bit rough in the winter. Could you tell me about it? I've only experienced the place through a small window of time and I didn't really get a chance to spend time experiencing the culture and the lands. I'm sure you've gotten to travel quite a bit of the lands." he offered trying to keep the conversation on familiar grounds and close to the heart for the young woman.


The Lord's tent:

”Get rid of that crow,” Maester Anders whispers discreetly to a servant before focusing his attention away from the troublesome bird and decidedly on Lord Karstark.

”I can imagine no better boon for House Naelareon than legitimacy,” Maester Anders addresses the lord in earnest. ”As for the others who are interested in your daughter’s hand, we would not wish to speak ill of potential allies. With so many sons and daughters, Lord Frey has made many friends, and we would wish to be among them. As for your neighbours, the Hornwoods, we do not know them, but I am certain that they are fair and noble Northerners.”

”Perhaps you would wish to speak with Lord Naelareon’s son to ascertain for yourself his worth? I am confident that you will find no better suitor. And maybe consult with your daughter who surely has her own thoughts on the matter?”


Aaralyn Karstark

"You remember correctly. The Karstarks are from Karhold. It is very far north. One of the houses closest to the Wall. As for the country well... it does have its own charm. A blanket of freshly fallen snow as far as the eye can see with nothing to disturb it... they way it covers the trees and ground is a frightfully beautiful sight." Aaralyn said as she seemed to look off into the open air, almost as if her silver eyes where seeing such a thing. "And even the sea adds to the land with sheets of ice. Making one unsure of where the sea begins and the land ends." Though she swiftly shook herseld out of it to answer his question a bit more. "I have not get to see as much as I would have liked. Winters can make traveling difficult and with so few roads in the north it is even more so. We often travel by ship if we can. Karhold is on the edge of the sea and we can take the white knife up to Winterfell." She explained.

"Now in exchange, tell me of the Riverlands?" She asked. "Do your rivers freeze over in winter?"

Persuasion(Convince): 5d6 + 1d6 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (1, 1, 1, 1, 2) + (6) + 2 + 1 = 15

Re-rolls: 3d6 ⇒ (1, 2, 5) = 8

Total is 16 against Darne's 12 give a 4 left. So that is one success. 1x4 is 4. 4-3 is 1. So one point.


For book keeping purposes, Tele scored a 6 damage single success hit on Lothar's composure.


Combat: Initiative 3d6, Defense 9, Armor 1, Health 6 | Intrigue: Initiative 2d6, Defense 8, Composure 15

Spoiler:
Josian returns the crow's gaze with mounting concern. Could that be another.... I never thought there were more, but- Josian's train of though is interrupted by the servant.

"Oh, uh, I'm afraid I don't know. I should be getting back out to pack," he replies before hurriedly ducking out of the tent. Assuming he gets away without any trouble, Josian furtively rushes back to the apple tree where Branch is perched. He sits down with his back against the trunk, facing away from the camp. Closing his eyes, he pretends to be napping as he prepares his mind to enter Branch.


Maester:
Lord Karstark looks over at his fellow Lord. "Well, your Maester is well spoken enough, if you send for your boy I will meet with him and give you a decision." Lord Havish gestures to a servant to fetch his son.

Josian:
You hurry forth to yonder scrub, no apple tree greets you but you find something shaded enough with a rock to put your back to. Your mind reaches out to find your old friend napping, digesting its meal and enjoying the warmth of the day.

You have third eye and third eye open listed as warg and warg dreams I believe.

The budding romance, and the third wheel:
As you are trading exploratory dialogue, Tele comes hurrying back without glasses in hands and in a fluster... quite uncommon for the woman. "Oh come quick my lady, there is something going on with your lord father." and no sooner does she manage to grab your arm than a young boy comes loping his lanky hide along to implore his lords Naelareon come at their father's behest... if it pleases m'lords.


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Persuasion Charm: 5d6 + 2d6 ⇒ (1, 6, 5, 3, 4) + (5, 5) = 29

Reroll: 1d6 ⇒ 4 That will be 25 vs DC 15 for 3 degrees of success. 26 counting the Amiable disposition. Fifteen damage, twelve of course after DR.

Darne raises a brow at the interruption. This was a bit...unorthodox as far as he had seen for a handmaiden to interrupt a conversion like this between two nobles, but soon it was revealed why. He raised a brow and looked at his brother as well and jerked his head towards their father's side.

Darne stood up and walked over to Lady Aaralyn Karstark "It seems we are to go the same direction, it'd be rude of me not to escort you." he said before offering his arm. "Besides, it would give me time as well to answer your question. It'd only be fair after all."

Once she took his arm or if she chose just to walk along side, he matched her pace as best he could. "Hmm, what is there to say about the the Riverlands. It's perhaps one of the most beautiful lands. The rains keep the grounds fertile and heavy with growth. But there is enough time for the sun to be enjoyed. The winters are nothing compared to what you endure.We get our snow and freezing temperatures but I assure you they are mild and more beautiful than they are cruel. You may know, our Lord was not always a Nobleman, we were merchants most of my life and we still are quite good at it. It's afforded me experiences I don't believe even most nobles have had the pleasure to enjoy, traveling the whole of Westeros, for instance. Perhaps one day I can show you the beauty, though you may find it fails in comparison to the sight you find in the mirror." he offered as conversation as they walked.

He felt a bit embarrassed at times with some of the pleasantries and compliments he had to offer, but at least there was some truth to his words in this instance. She was a rather attractive and young noblewoman.


Aaralyn Karstark

Aaralyn, being respectful at the very least to a new found friend, took the arm offered and with her other hand grasped the handle of the wine that had been gifted earlier. It was now hers after all. "Would be unkind for me to allow you to appear rude as you've given no act to suggest such." She stated as they made their was to the tent their fathers had taken up talks in.

"I would believe every Lord and Lady of their respected lands would say how beautiful they are... but how many speak the truth?" Aaralyn asked as a bit of a jest. "The land has been very nice sight and to be honest this is the first time I've traveled below the Neck. The Twins where an inspiring sight... the Freys, much the opposite." She told Darne with a slight laugh. Though when he brought up showing her the Seven Kingdoms and their beauty, Aaralyn could only blush. "That is bold talk." She said. "Even with such pretty words."


Combat: Initiative 3d6, Defense 9, Armor 1, Health 6 | Intrigue: Initiative 2d6, Defense 8, Composure 15

Spoiler:
Yeah, that's what they're called in my copy of the rules. Different editions, I guess?

Josian gently prods Branch's consciousness until she awakens, then slips his own mind inside her. As his body slumps into unconsciousness, he takes off from his perch and climbs rapidly until he is circling above the camp. He checks the sky around for the crow, then turns his attention back to the tents below if he doesn't spot it. Once he has located the pavilion hosting the lords' meeting, he gradually descends to a fairly low altitude and watches intently for the crow to emerge.

Awareness (Notice): 4d6 + 2d6 ⇒ (1, 3, 1, 4) + (1, 1) = 11 -1 -1 = 9


Josian:
You circle high above, delighting in the updraft from the camp. Coming around for a pass you notice a murder of crows gathering around the camp, and every one of them is now intently passing glances from your sleeping true form and your borrowed wings. And then, as quickly as you see it, the crows disperse and begin to act like a simple flock of hungry birds.


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Darne smiled glad to see she seemed to be warming up to him a bit. "It is possible to happen. My family traded with your lands as merchants before we became nobles from what I remember, and we showed good relations at Harrenhal. Taking the Kingsroad together is evident of us at least being amiable towards one another." he said as they walked.


Aaralyn Karstark

"Yes but, it matters little about how close our families are." Aaralyn began. "No Lord would allow his daughter to travel with another family to just see the sights. Now if you where suggesting that to my brother that would be a different story." She explained with a shrug. "I honestly doubt I'll get to see much more of the lands than I have at the moment. At least till I'm married and leave to stay at my husband's Hall."

The comment made Aaralyn's mind turn back to Tytos and the dance at Harrenhal. If her father married her off to the Blackwood heir she wouldn't get to see more of the world. She's remain at Raventree Hall for the rest of her days... though she would likely get to see Riverrun. She had asked on the way down if they could go and see Riverrun, but it was a bit out of the way for them so she doubted they would take the road west before returning home.


Initiative 4d6 , Combat Defense 11 , Health 12 | Intrigue Defense 7 , Composure 12

When the lanky lad had arrived to ask the brothers Naelareon to their father's side, Lothar nodded and followed along, if still feeling - a great deal.

He listens to the conversation between his brother and the Lady Karstark, and then asks:

"Lady Karstark, what of the fighting men of the North? And have you seen much of the fighting prowess of those in the Riverlands?"


Aaralyn Karstark

"The men of the North and strong and proud." Aaralyn answered as she looked back to Lothar. "We don't have tournament like the ones down south, they're more like melees to be honest. We also don't have knights and most Northern men scoff at the idea." She explained. "In the North men are warriors, and the best are praised but that is about it."


Those hurrying to their destiny.:
Tele clucks her tongue at the banter."Southern lords wouldn't know their way around a real battle to save their lives." and then she thinks better of it right before entering the pavilion of her betters. With a slight smile she glances over at Lothar. "Saving yourself of course M'Lord. Right strong arm you have."

Every who is not currently an eagle high above.:
After a time spent discussing crops and trade routes, the younger parties darken the entrance to their Lord's discourse. Lord Karstark smiles as Aaralyn enters, smiling even deeper as the sons of Lord Naelareon come in as well. He takes a moment, looking the lads up and down... the air is held with a pregnant silence just waiting to give birth to some kind of mischief... and suddenly the man bursts wide with a smile. Standing up he comes a crossed to place a hand on Lothar's shoulder, laughing uproariously he clasps the man to his chest."Why didn't you tell me your son was the one who put that Umber lad on his arse? Why, any man would be happy to take such a lad as a son... you could have saved us all the Maester's long speech if you had but said..."...Lord Naelareon nearly chokes as he spits out his current mouthful of cider...


Aaralyn Karstark

Aaralyn couldn't help but give a small giggle as she gave Tele a side glance. The look saying enough of 'Oh it would seem I'm not the only one who took a liking to someone'

Aaralyn cleared her throat as she let go of Darne and pushed her father away from Lothar gently. "Father, Lothar is Lord Naelareon's second son." She explained. "This," She moved her hand to point at the Naelareon brother that escorted her here. "is Lord Naelareon's first son and heir, Darne Naelareon." She explained. However after a moment something click in Aaralyn's mind and she gave her father a death glare. "Dear father, you haven't been talking about whom I might marry without even including me? You wouldn't be so cruel would you?" She asked. "After all, it wouldn't be you waking up next to the one chosen every morning would it." Her tone seemed calm but her silver eyes seemed to rip into her father with every word.


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Composure Test: 3d6 ⇒ (2, 6, 5) = 13

Darne walked into the tent and let the young lady go. But her father's words hurt to some degree. It was always a difficult thing to deal with when your brother was a formitible and larger man than you were, giving others the idea that he was the older sibling.

But, Darne was well practiced in this particular situation. He walked up and clapped his brother on the other shoulder "Why didn't you tell me, dear Brother. Had I known you were getting married, I would have been pouring the wine for you this morning." he said laughing off the slight accidental insult.

He looked at the Lord of House Karstark and grinned. "I apologize that I am not quite the warrior young Lothar is. I admit the man does strike an imposing figure." he said chuckling. "But, I assure you I have my own strengths."

Persuasion (Convince): 5d6 + 2d6 ⇒ (4, 3, 3, 4, 5) + (2, 6) = 27 In case it matters, 22

He holds out his hand in greeting "It is a pleasure to formally meet you Lord Karstark. As your daughter has stated, I am Darne Naelareon." he said bowing his head slightly before the man.


Combat: Initiative 3d6, Defense 9, Armor 1, Health 6 | Intrigue: Initiative 2d6, Defense 8, Composure 15

Spoiler:
Josian freezes in consternation when he sees the crows' behavior, completely forgetting his current body and altitude. He begins to drop, then jolts back into awareness and swoops up, breathing rapidly. It is another one! And they know about me! All of those crows at once....

His concentration rapidly deteriorating, Josian flees back to his own form. He staggers to his feet and paces around for a moment as his adrenaline recedes, mentally replaying his glimpse of the crows' coordinated action. Once his head has cleared somewhat Josian begins to walk back to the caravan, scanning they sky to make sure that Branch is all right.


Initiative 4d6 , Combat Defense 11 , Health 12 | Intrigue Defense 7 , Composure 12

Lothar nods at the North lady's comments.

To Aaralyn:

"I am no Ser either. As Darne keeps telling me, titles have their uses. I see less in them than most."

And grins at Tele's.

"I think you will find the prowess of Rivermen is considerable, good Tele."

Persuasion (seduction): 4d6 ⇒ (1, 3, 4, 4) = 12

4

********

In the hall, at the elder Karstark's words, Lothar feels terror and excitement as he never before has.

And can say nothing.

After Darne and Aaralyn speak and wield words, he calms somewhat.

Darne, you lucky sod. Though battles await him that I would never win myself! Time to cover his back for now.

Showing clear deference to Darne's position, Lothar approaches.

"Lord Karstark, I am Lothar Naelareon."

He offers his hand, but little expression.


Josian:
Branch wheels overhead, scanning the horizon for something you can not see. The wind feels a little colder to you as you walk back.

In the tent of lords:
Lord Karstark looks from his young daughter to the older son of Lord Naelareon... and blinks a bit. "Well... good for you lad... I am sure you will um... I mean, ahem." He straightens up and coughs. "What we are trying to say is, you will get to know each other. And you will be married in three months time, as long as you can handle a northern woman."

He takes a second to look back at Lothar while waiting for a response from the newly betrothed. "Sorry Lad."

Maester's eyes only:
Now would be the time to step in and smooth things over.

Lothar's eyes only:
Tele does not seem too convinced by your manly charms. It will take more than a little banter to get her to break.


Aaralyn Karstark

Aaralyn blinked at her father in disbelief. They had never been close, that is true. After all a daughter isn't worth much and he already had his son and heir. Her father was still her father however, and she expected him to treat her as more than stock to be sold.

"And my word is meaningless to you is it father?" Aaralyn finally asked when her courage had gathered again. "Or is there something else you're neglecting to say in your... state of surprise?"


Seeing the situation evolving from humorous to awkward to potentially disastrous, Maester Anders intervenes as best he can. "Undoubtedly, we shall long remember this case of mistaken identities!" he interjects with a smile. Best to not pretend that it didn't happen, and move on...

He nods to the servants to serve more wine.

"Indeed, Lothar proved his valour at Harrenhal, and we all are proud of his accomplishments," the Maester continues, giving credit where credit is due. "But you will find in Darne an able man with the heart and mind of a natural born leader. Warriors will often follow the strong, but strength alone cannot ensure the prosperity of a House."

"And never did a man's skill with the blade ensure a happy household," he suggests to Lady Aaralyn. "Perhaps you would allow your suitor these few months to demonstrate his kindness and sincerity? In my opinion, you will find no better man in the Riverlands..."


Combat Initiative 3d6 Defense 13 Health 9 Intrigue Initiative 3d6 Defense 9 Composure 9

Darne tensed up a bit at the awkwardness Lord Karstark offered. He blinked a few times and looked away from the scene. Then the situation only got a bit more awkward as the young lady showed her surprise at the announcement.

He took the time to look over at his father and the Maester with a rather serious and angry glance for not informing him privately.

Persuasion (Intimidate): 5d6 + 1d6 ⇒ (1, 4, 5, 1, 2) + (4) = 17
Rerolls: 2d6 ⇒ (4, 3) = 7 20 Base, this is more for flavor and show of intensity.

He coughed politely and relaxed his face before turning towards their guests. "I'm sure the Lords thought about this very carefully." he said politely. He reached out and grabbed the wine from the nearest servant and took a sip. "It seems I might very well be able to show you the Riverlands after all, Lady Karstark. Still, the company could be worse for the next few months, couldn't it?" he said looking around the room and raising his glass. "A toast, to the prosperity of House Karstark and House Naelareon."


Persuasion: 3d6 ⇒ (6, 4, 3) = 13 I figure that I should roll some dice as well!


Initiative 4d6 , Combat Defense 11 , Health 12 | Intrigue Defense 7 , Composure 12

Lothar nods at Lord Karstark.

The less said by me, the better.

When Darne calls a toast, Lothar does not hesitate to join in.

His thoughts however are elsewhere.

It looks like Tele will be staying...


Aaralyn Karstark

Aaralyn stared down the Maester for a good few moment before looking to Darne. "That is true, you could be a Frey." She stated, a follow up from her words from outside. "That choice would have made me put a dagger between my ribs." Aaralyn said as she glanced to her father again.

"You have three months." Aaralyn then told him as she gave the jug of sweet wine to Tele to hold so that she might get her own cup of wine. "And since you have been pleasant so far allow me to return a bit in kind. I had all intentions of having my brother speak upon my behalf to father of marrying me to Tytos Blackwood. I see now relying upon my brother was a fool's move. But I am nothing if not dutiful! Should you impresse me enough to believe we'd have at least a friendly life together I will be your bride and contently serve as your wife. Fail at this task, and by the Old Gods and the New my answer will be no. The Kingdoms allow a woman her choice of marriage even if her father does not." with that she collected a glass of wine, drawing a long drink from it before finishing with. "You're off to a good start at the very least."


In the lord's tent:
Lord Naelareon steps forward to smooth over the current tension. "Yes, a toast to a bright future. May we find peace and prosperity going forward."

Later, as Aaralyn finds a moment of alone time.:
You find a minute to breathe, as the last of the tents is packed away, the air carries a cold chill barely perceptible but still there. As you look out on a slow flowing creek, your father steps up behind you and coughs slightly to get your attention. His eyes look angry, angrier than you have ever seen them before. Maybe the cold in the air is the feel of a heart hardening over, maybe it is the chill anger of a a Karstark ready for a long battle.

"You will marry." Before you can argue he raises a hand to stop your tongue, something in that look forces you down for a moment, taken by the shock of being the target of that glare. "There are things happening now, things that are shaping whether there will exist a House Karstark in the future. Stark is making moves, our king has gone mad... his appearance at the tourney has erased any doubt on that. The Lions and the Dragons have had a falling out, and that damn child prince has managed to insult every power in the realm with one gift to Lyanna. You will marry, and you will marry into a house that may have a chance to save our necks if everything comes down on us. You have a choice, but your choices are not as open as you seem to think."

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