Servants run off to grab who they can. This leaves Darne standing alone in a silent tomb, the only sounds are the pounding in his chest and the barely audible sobs of lady Tandi.
The Prince's room.
Tele lies where she is, mucus streaming down her face and shuddering sobs wracking her body. It is clear she has seen something that will haunt her for the rest of her days. Around this knot of pain and loss swirls a torrent of servants trying to find anything they could to appear busy and stay out from under foot.
Lothar is only met by the still silence of his parents room, as servants rush to see what can be done for his pain, and find their skills most lacking. And in the corner, a silently weeping Tandi sits against a wall, her world having died tonight with the last breath of her lord and lady.
The prince's chambers
The change begins to sink in by the moment. Darne and Aaralyn can both feel the weight of destiny as it bares down upon their shoulders. Nothing can be the same now. No matter how hard they try, prophesy has a funny way of doing what it will no matter the cost.
Aaralyn can at least take comfort in the look of peace that suffuses her dear cousins face now that she sleeps soundly. Darne, well... the knowledge that his lands will not be ravished for the death of the prince should come as a relief, though it feels a hollow one against the promise of yet more to come.
And as the right of the world sinks in... Tele near bowls over a servant as she clears the corner and collapses into a huffing heap on the floor. Tears streak her face, and her labored breathing speaks to the effort she has expended in her journey to her lady's side...
Only a few simple words can make their way past her constricted throat..
In the Chamber of the Prince.
The Maester is able to get the Prince to sleep, though his rest seems fitful at best and his cough seems the ragged hoarse cough that might hang in for the long term. Lyanna on the other hand sleeps the sleep of the truly gone, exhaustion have long since overtaken her.
Guards hop to carry out commands and Ser Selmy finally begins to relax as he nervously watches the Maester's ministrations.
In a Room of Darker Mood.
They are so still, it almost looks as if they had fallen asleep and were just dreaming. But the stench, the stench spoke of a different story entirely. Lothar's parents had passed within minutes of each other, and already the late stages of the disease had begun to take hold of them. A trickle of black filth hung from his mothers lip, and a stain of the same sickly color formed where his father's too still head lay in her lap.
In a croaking voice, left raspy by too long asleep and wheezing breaths, the Prince responds from his bed..."What is going on? I am awake and feel like I must have slept through all of summer til another winter... Oh, let them in already... it is their hall we are in." As you push past Ser Selmy the situation is brought into sharp focus. Prince Rhaegar, looking as if he is not long for the silent sister's care, weakly blinking as he tries to focus on you. Lyanna, her long vigil finally over, having passed out in a ball curled up with her head in the prince's hand. She had obviously cried herself to exhaustion, though you can not tell if it was from happiness or deranged breaking. Your guardsmen have all stopped and looked to Darne for his next command... and into this dead silence... Lothar comes barreling through the door hollering to find out what has happened.
The room all turn their gaze upon the late coming son...
Lothar and his one true love.
"To the wall with what is proper. If we wait much longer, our child will be able to witness for us." Her response was given with a wink and a giggle that told Lothar all was right with the world this night, though the pout she suddenly gave him disarmed him as easily as it always had. "Don't you go drinking yourself silly tonight, I want you awake enough to make sure the dear couple is not the only couple happily awake tonight" The months and the developing child had left Tele with more fire in her eyes and stripped the timidness from her voice. She was secure in her position and happy with every moment she could steal with her man.
The Prince's room.
The room was in disarray. Ser Selmy was hollering commands at guards rushing to and fro attempting to gather a collection of odds and ends. Though you may not know what exactly is going on, you know one thing. The Prince. He is awake.
And in another room of the castle, an old woman dies with only the comfort of her long suffering husband to witness... and he does lay down his head in her lap, letting out a sob of relief, and follows a few wheezing breaths later...
Lothar and his love.
Tele near glows in the light of the torches and the roaring hearth fire. The life inside her belly not yet marring the lines of her dress.
"They do seem happy. Now it is our time for happiness, when do you think you will make an honest woman of me?" She smiles as she teases Lothar.
Maester Anders in the hall.
The wine is poured, more than the maester would like. The bread is eaten, less then the maester had hoped. Good cheer was held by all that night thanks to his many efforts.
The happy couple.
The night passes fair peaceful, and what sleep the two had was blissful and over too soon.
The next morn...
Runners, runners at the bells. All and sundry awake to their yells. First a man runs screaming by every door, the prince the prince, something has happened to the prince. Soon though comes the running from the opposite hall, the lord and lady quick to their room, there is wrong that stalks the home.
Choices must be made. You can not save them all...
It is a beautiful ceremony,and all would agree that the joy of the couple was only eclipsed by the joy upon the elder Naelareon's face. The lady of the house had been to sick to make the journey, but Havish has made it a point to come and stand for the couple. Dear Nan wept openly with joy for the occasion.
Afterwards there was a great feast, though Havish Naelareon did not attend begging off for health reasons. All who attend danced and sang and smiled and rejoiced in the new union. No one suggested that they invade the happy couples peace when they finally left to the seclusion of their room. As the night wound down the house found themselves engrossed in their own wants and needs.
Bells in the Sept.
The time has come, the drama has been set in motion and all paths come rushing to this one point. This one day shall decide the fate of so many from the highest of nobles to the lowest child in the commons. Bells ring out, their joyous sounds signalling the events to come.
Prayers have been spoken, traditions followed, every step of the way choreographed and performed for the sake of appearance and fortune, for no one wanted to fail in the eyes of men or gods this day.
All and sundry are stuffed within the Sept, and all not important enough to be within stand bundle outside so that they may watch and get a glimpse of the procession and their new Lady of the Hall though the cold does nip and chill to the bone. Hard work indeed has been put to clearing the snow from the halls grounds, and for many this has been the first time they have stirred from the warmth of the hearth since the storms began to blow. Music stirs and rises as the wind upon this snow covered day, softly plucking pure notes into the chilled day as the weakly shining sun tries its best to warm those who have stood out in the cold for low these many hours.
The march upon the small Sept is quickly paced, though none dare run for fear of a slip, and the bride's face is still red from the air as she arrives upon the step where groom and septon stand. The warmth and softness of Darne's heavy cloak a blessing as it is laid a cross her shoulders, as much a gift of physical comfort as a blessing of signified protection for the young woman in this cold time. The septon looks from groom to bride and back before beginning. His wide face showing some glimmer of the joy he felt to perform the binding of two such as they upon this day.
"Within the sight of gods and men has this groom brought this bride under his protection. Though the storm does howl, and the snow does fall, he shall ever be their to provide warmth and comfort from the worst of winter, and cheer and companionship during the summers of their lives." The septon raises a ribbon, a small simple length of cloth dyed the colors of House Naelareon, and motions for the two to hold hands. "“We stand here in the sight of gods and men to witness the union of man and wife: one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever...”
On Honour and Prophecy.
Ser Dayne has quit the war of words, he is no match for you upon this field of battle.
All she can muster is a simple "Thank you." as she looks up to you with a sad smile.
A Knight's retort.
The steel in his voice makes you believe you have annoyed him.
"I don't love the man they want... The man I want to love is lies in a state close to death... If they wish to listen to me I will tell them everything they do not wish to hear." You barely recognize the girl you have spent much of your life with. Her melancholy is palpable.
A knight and a lady.
Lothar and Tele:
"It is..." she says as she chokes back a laugh,"... but that doesn't make it easy."
A Noble Wedding Day.
Lyanna sits in a chair brought for her long ago, her frame having long since left its mark upon the furniture's surface. Still she seems to find no rest in her watch and the lines of worry have given her a kind of dignified stature that only enhances the youthful beauty she already possessed. Her face says more than any words she could muster, no change, but still her hope remained. She would watch until her eyesight faded and her strength was no more.
"Each knight would answer you differently I would think, and that is the narrow path each of us must walk. For myself, my oath is to my Lord first. Why do you wonder about these things?"
Tele seems to calm a bit as you reassure her and help her to talk through her worries. "I wish it didn't have to be you putting your life in harm's way."
We can clean up the final conversations as need be, but I am pushing us ahead.
The final time before the wedding passes in a state of tense anticipation. No letter from King's Landing is forth coming. No letter is sent telling of a full recovery. The prince languishes in bed, having not stirred in all this time. Lyanna dutifully watches over him, taking care to feed and clean the man as needed. Maester Anders is skeptical of the prince ever waking.
All about is commotion now, as bride and groom prepare for vows before gods and man. The hold bustles with activities and noble and commoner alike are filled with excitement for the festivities. The winter cold had locked most in their homes while snow fell upon the land, thankfully not as deep nor as savage as it fell to the north, and much of the blanket of white is left unmarred by human feet.
Tele leaves with Lothar, worry plain on her face. "Lothar, what has befallen this hold? The prince shows, he is injured, and now the King's wrath may descend on this house. All in the span of a day, what are we to do?" The woman, so long the epitome of northern solemnity and stoicism, shudders with her words.
Lyanna reads slowly, mulling the words in her head as she imagines the reaction of the King. "It will have to work. I could not bare to see what the King may do to these lands if this finds him in the wrong mood."
Selmy gives a curt nod to Lord Naelareon as he leaves, a sign of some respect not due the lesser lord by a member of the King's guard. Unnoticed by all til now, Tele slowly makes her way beside Lothar, her whisper quiet movements carrying her lightly to the man of her scarred heart. "If my lord would allow me a moment..." She waits nervously for the men folk to acknowledge her. Her tiny form shaking slightly as she waits.
To our glorious King Aerys II Targaryen,
The gathered group.:
"The measure of a man is his control during trying times. You would do well to keep a tighter watch on your words." Though Selmy's words are gruff, he does not seem all too offended. You get the feeling that if he had been offended by your words you would not have lived long to regret them.
You pass the rest of your time in awkward silence, broken only by the wheezing breaths of the injured prince.
"For someone so learned, you are an idiot. You did what you thought was right and someone died, is it better to do the easy things that belittle the lives of everyone around instead? Your sister died because you fell in love, don't make mockery of her love as well. She knew what she was doing and chose what she did. Women are not just things to be acted upon, never in control of our own choices and I will ask you to remember that bit of knowledge if you can stuff it into your already full head." Lyanna glowers at Anders as she sits down to continue her watch over the injured prince.
Selmy listens to Aaralyn's words and mulls them over. "I do not believe their is much to be done here. For my part, Dayne and I will survive. We were ordered to protect the Prince against human foes, not against nature and the Stranger. For you, honesty will most likely be the best choice of weapons. Tell the King his son was injured by a stag while a hunt and that you marshaled all of your resources to preserve his life. Impress upon him that as always you will spare no expense to protect the life of a royal and see him delivered home. I do not know if that will save you, but it would be your best path to take."
After ten million years, I am back to finish this post.
"Yes, at the tournament. We talked before during the tournament." Lyanna says awkwardly, your story and the situation seem to have touched her deeply.
A Knight, a Warrior, a Lady and a Lord walk into a room.:
Selmy enters the room with the others. "What would you have of me here? I have no taste for politics and skulking in closed chambers."
Your attempts at discourse seem to hearten the lady, though your ministrations to the wounded prince do not stir the man.
Armed with axes and stubborn pride, you ignore your bruises and guard the door.
Darne and Aaralynn.:
The former Lord Naelareon shifts his position as he tries to pull air through gravely lungs. "The king is our friend and patron, we must do what we can to keep that relationship. Soften any part we played in his harm, and make it the cruel vagaries of fate. We can not afford to anger our lord, that may well end us."
Any more he would say on the matter is swallowed up by a fit of coughing.
Lyanna scrabbles aboard the carriage, and between her and the maester the prince is kept stable. Aaralyn is pleasantly surprised by how well behaved the prince's steed is. The group manages to get the prince into a bed back at the hall and the worst of the panic is put down. Once gotten into a bed and pulled out of his garments, it is clear the prince has a bruise swollen along the majority of his chest. Every now and then he coughs and wheezes more air into his lungs, but both the maester and the Lady Stark believe he will live.
The one question on every person's mind, how to inform the king...
The cry of horse and man mix as Lothar flies through the woods, the carriage not far behind. The sight when they arrive is one of blood and death. A stag lies dead and near it the prince lies bloody and still near to the Maester and Darne. Doubt hangs heavy as Lyanna rushes to aide the Maester, it does not even seem possible that the man who's continued life may hold your house's fate could be saved.
Lyanna grabs hold of the carriage and leans in to speak to Aaralyn "The I have read a few of the Maester's books on the healing arts, what I haven't gleaned from Walys' books I have picked up from the midwives... you need me Lyn, you know you do. Besides I can't let you have all the fun." Northen pride burns in the woman's eyes as she pleads with her friend.
Persuasion(Convince): 5d6 ⇒ (2, 6, 1, 5, 2) = 16 I'm assuming affectionate both ways, unless you want to say the stress puts you at amiable or friendly right now. 12 influence, minus your dr of course.
Guards hop to and people clear the way at the commanding presence of their soon to be lady of the hall. The added benefit of the younger brother to the lord does not go unnoticed. Carriage and horse are brought at once and the girls look to Aaralyn to see what she will decide to do next. A horse is offered to Lothar to replace his lost mount.
"We are ready." is the only statement a town-watchman makes as they wait for their next order.
And this is where we finally catch up to the time frame. Thank you all for your patience.
Tande agrees to come with, bristling with puffed up pride at the trust you place in her. "I have just the two in mind dear. And sure as the rain we will find you what you need." The party makes its way down to the market that forms around the road into town, finding no trouble as they search among the traders their for the wares they seek. Aaralyn is just beginning to haggle with a gentleman over the price of a few bolts of cloth when a commotion pulls her attention to a bruised and fatigued Lothar making his way into town and calling for the aid of the guards as loud as can be.
Ravens are not normally carried out into the field as they only know one destination each. your crow on the other hand might be persuaded to carry a message, but you have yet to fully explore the kind of control needed for such a trick.
Maester Anders stabilizes the prince's wounds, though he does no more than keep the man from bleeding out at this point. Moving him now without a carriage or some kind of cart would surely be a death sentence for the man, and soon after a death sentence for the house if the Maester's constant worries had anything to say about the situation.
Lothar, I will ask you to be patient as I catch Aaralyn's group up to speed. Maester, are you doing anything to specifically look after/maintain/improve the chances of the prince? Or to put another way, would you like a hard medical roll to try something to alleviate pressure on the lungs with the chance of making it worse or just stay the course and keep him from drowning on his own fluids with an easier roll?
"Do lead on dear cousin, and show us your realms wearable wares." Lyanna adopts the haughty airs of the exagerated caricature of southern nobility you imagined them to be as children for just a moment before her infectious laughter spilled forth. The three of you find it hard to not find fun in the idea.
I need an idea of your plans. House guard coming with? Any extra house maids or man servants to help carry things? Are you bringing actual coin with you yourself?
Lothar spurs his steed to action, racing hard towards the hall. Darne and the maester are left with the remainder to carry and protect the Prince. Hard worry and doubt begin to set in now that the initial shock has worn off.
You push your horse hard and fast, making good time along the trail. You see your destination within sight, though not close enough for your liking, when your steed suddenly lurches forward as its ankle twists and gives out in a small gopher hole you missed in your haste.
Agility Acrobatics test please, as you try not to break your own neck.
Tele seems happy to go wherever, Lyanna chooses this chance to tease you a bit about your new status. "Oh of course Lynnie, one should know those they will be overseeing. And such a grand lady you will be too, but how grand will you be if your subjects never see your northern beauty? Besides, how much trouble can four noble ladies find themselves in within your future lord husband's domains?" Tande gives Lyanna the dirtiest of looks, but holds the acid tongue in check for the nonce.
"Any would suffice as long as you make sure you get the cloth you want for a price you can accept. Oh I know, how about we make a trip of it? It would be ever so nice to get you out of the hall and into some fresh air, and get you some time among your future subjects as well. Oh please say you will my deary." Tande looks like the cat that caught the raven, having come up with what she assumes is a grand plan.
It is not good. He may live, or he may drown in his own blood before too long. It is in the Father's hands whether he makes it through a night, but if he does you hope you may nurse him to health without permanent impairment.
The stag falls dead and the maester rushes to assess the prince's wounds.
The maester rushes forward, taking stock of the damage to the prince's chest while Lothar and Darne stab forth at the beast of their lands. Boar spears meet in the middle of the creatures body and both men can feel the connection as it ripples back down the shafts of their weapons. The prince does not stir from where he lays.
As best you can tell, the man has had the air knocked from his lungs, any other real medical diagnosis would require you removing his shirt and coat. A trickle of blood runs down from the side of his mouth, possibly from blood welling up in his lungs or from his head contacting the ground. His eyes are open and attempting to focus...
The prince smiles, pulling back is string and taking aim... and noticing the large stag that had charged in their general direction. He looses an arrow and you watch as it sinks into the haunch of the stag, a dead shot in a lesser beast, but the shaft only slows the creature for a moment as it breaks off in the fleshy meat of the shoulder.
To his credit, the prince does not panic as three hundred pounds of venison rears up and kicks him full in the chest. As he crumples to the ground the deer stands over him and whips its head back and for, trying to keep the three of you in view.
Tande composes herself, keeping an air of excitement and mirth about her the whole time."Oh there are a few in and out of the hold, especially during the fairs. I believe their is a Myrish man currently in, they always do have the finest of cloths don't they?"
The older woman starts screaming, a noise like the northern wind blowing over broken walls. She runs up and throws arms over Tele, alternating between berating the woman for not telling her and planning out the woman's whole future from children to pets to furniture all in the same breath. Lyanna gives you a shrug, not knowing how to insert herself into the path of the living storm of excitement that was once the head of the house maids and lady in waiting.
By the time you calm Tande down and remind her of your presence she has plumb forgotten the rest of your words. After a quick reminder she happily tells you of the cloth merchants that come through on occasion, and how one could arrange such materials be brought to the hold for a price.
The air seems to part majestically as your arrow passes from your bow to its target. Against all your worry it finds its target and sinks in deeply. You have a split second to celebrate your victory before the small herd of deer startle as one of theirs slumps to the ground and begin to run... some directly towards your position.
"Oh does she now, the dear. Probably all lies to bolster me with the new Lady, more's the pity. Well, guess we have to get you sorted, but I won't have you horning in on Hilde's place you get me? She is still the Lady while she draws breath, and you ain't my boss till you marry that star crossed lout and produce some children of your own. You get me missy?" Tande gives a wink to Tele as she talks. An overly exaggerated and easily noticed wink and smirk, a caricature of the action one might say.
"Does and fawn do not interest me over much, though it does seem that your realm is full of them." As he speaks an older buck catches your eye as it moves its way from treeline to stream. "Now that one is more like it. Lord Naelareon, this is your land so I graciously give you the first shot." The prince makes an exaggerated hand gesture of magnanimity.
They are a fine collection of deer. Quietly they dip their necks to lap at the water. Cool stream provides satisfying drink to parched mouths. The wind turns and a few of the bucks raise their heads to track your movements as well.
Tele heads off to find the elder maid passing through the halls as if she had always been here. The ease of her navigation, and the candour she shows with the staff as she walks through reminds you that you have had no real time to learn the hall and its inhabitants. Tande is found at the center of a storm of activity, her harsh language and constant ramble being heard long before she is seen. As you make I contact, Tande smiles and says. "Took you long enough, was wondering when you would find the time."
"Many things can change between now and later plans. Let us hope things hold a different sway when the time comes. But, I will take your wise words to heart young maester."
As the prince speaks, a small group of deer wander out to the ford to drink and pay you no heed. A strange sight indeed to see these beasts with any wary behaviors.
"Oh I'm sure we could find Tande keeping the girls in line, that is what she tends to do. I think she feels more comfortable with them anyway. She has been running most of the household since the lady has been ill." Tele seems proud with herself over her ability to aid in the discussion. The flush it brings to her cheeks almost overpowers the sallowness that has crept into her face over the last few weeks.
"I will trust you know your business better than I. I hope that we can get my father to see sense when a large enough army stands upon his door, but we will have to burn that bridge when we come to it." Rhaegar sighs and looks out across the river and off towards the falls. "As to my intentions with the Stark girl... that would be complicated. If prophesy is to be believed I have no choice in the matter. Mayhaps when I take the throne I can keep the Dornish custom of the acknowledged mistress... that may be acceptable to my wife's family."
"Well, Tande might know how to get you cloth..." Tele helpfully pipes up.
The three of you discuss the lay of the land and decide where best to hunt. Hours later you find yourself at the ford of a river.. The prince stops you here and dismounts.
"So, now that we are well clear of the masses, why don't we discuss what we really came here for. How do you think best to aid me my friends?"
Lyanna looks to Tele, and Tele to you. A creeping realization finds it's way into your thoughts. None of you have ever really had to make purchase of cloth before. Oh, you had been introduced to the ideas of maintaining a holding, but northern lands you own the cloth that is gifted as part of tax, or is made upon your lands and within your holdings. You had never made a large purchase in your life, but how hard could it be really.
After a quick change of armament, the men are off. Making quick time from hall to the edge of town, the Naelareon men and their liege lord's heir make for the private seclusion of a small hunt.
Off in a wood, past the hustle and bustle of the hall. "Lovely day for a ride. Where do you suggest we go?"
The prince looks you up and down as he approaches. Compared to your battle ready garb he is clothed in elegant riding attire and sports a short bow designed to be fired from horse back. "Bear you say... If I had known we would be hunting bear I would have dressed for it. Very brave of you to want to face the beast at close enough range to need mail and melee. But no, today I prefer we hunt the deer of the forest, maybe a stag might grace us this day."
The prince takes your garbing as a good natured jest and waits as you send for bow and horse for the ride.
Night passes uneventfully. Aaralyn tries to catch up with Lyanna as well as learn what has happened with Tele that she managed to keep the relationship a secret this whole time, alas her divided attentions and the late hours work against her doing either. The next morning, Lyanna suggests Tele, Aaralyn and herself do acquire the materials and make a lovely wedding dress for Tele themselves.
Meanwhile, the menfolk have gathered for a private hunt. Eschewing retinue the prince and the two Naelareon brothers go forth into the nearby woods to hunt, one grumpy maester in tow.
”My father has developed the madness like Aerion before him, his time imprisoned in Duskendale broke him it would seem. We cannot allow the realm to fall to turmoil. After your wedding, I will head south to Dorne to gather aid there while you build inroads with the Stark and Tully. I know you do not have history with me, but it would seem fate has placed us together for a reason.”
In the hall things have quieted down. Tele moves close to Lothar, tears in her eyes. She kneels and places her head against his strong chest. ”I thought it was just the food… so much more food than I am used to, but my belly swells my love and I couldn’t find a chance to get you free. I was going to tell you today, but you have not left the Myrish ones side this whole day.”
Lyanna watches her friend, trying to gauge her mood. The surety of their lives changed by a single dream. Things were changing, and for once in her life Lyanna knew not what was right.
And through this all, the Maester is left with a feeling of dread, wishing he had not been so right.
"I think you are all forgetting something entirely. I am your Prince and my word is law. If I spread my protection over this union no house, no matter how great they may be, can do much to your happiness."
With that proclamation, Rhaegar stood and turned towards the hall. "Walk with me Lord Naelareon, we have much to discuss and not so much time to discuss it."
The prince walks a ways with you before finally sighing and turning to you. "Your betrothed has put us in a hard position. I had come here to discuss with your father the nature of your new house and its leanings within the political sphere... and now instead I have a another prophesy hanging over my head and an answer to more questions than I knew to ask. So, I will come round to what I need of you. If my father learns of your Lady's prophetic dreams and gleans their portents the seven kingdoms would not survive. I need allies, I hope I can count you among those allies. Together we must build a coalition of kingdoms and take the throne from my father before his deepening madness destroys us all. What say you?"
Everyone jumps to action; the maester clears the chamber of servants; Darne moves to smooth over wild emotions; Aaralyn moves to question her maidservant; Tele tries and fails to get to Lothar's side as the world explodes around her; Rhaegar trades glances with Lyanna, the gears of prophecy grind forward between them.
Tele stands stern and unfazed before her Lady. "He is the only man who I could ever love and has already promised to marry. We only hid it so as not to tarnish your upcoming wedding... but I can not hide any longer."