THE St. Louis Speakeasy
It is currently Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:10 pm GMT

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 248 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Author Message

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:22 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
As realization dawned, the utter immensity of his predicament swept over him like an avalanche. He was a soldier, a commander of men, not some silver-tongued Southern diplomat. A Lannister, he thought with a stir of resentful despair, would already have threaded Braavos with a network of informers and spies, would know precisely what had become of the old maester, and would have devised the best means of twisting the situation to his advantage. Johann was far, far out of his depth. Like a fool, he'd forgotten he was no longer at Castle Black; here flight was an option.

He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. The flagstones' chill was seeping upward through his bare feet. What an blundering idiot he'd been. Even worse, he couldn't think of how he might've done things differently. He couldn't claim to have been fond of the old man, neither did he bear him ill will. What he'd needed, what they all needed, was time. And yet...

And yet, the compromises he would have needed to make to retain old Purlam, the secrets he would have been obliged to keep, the moral compromises that would have been required of him, were simply more than he could bear. He ducked out of the chamber and returned a moment later, this time with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. This time, he shut the door behind him.

"Your Grace... I cannot claim to understand what's happened here,. But perhaps I can begin to explain."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:10 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:03 pm GMT
Posts: 46267
Location: Probably a lab. Wishing I was in bed.
Custom Title: Hey kid.
At first it seemed as if he hadn't heard him. He kept his vigil in silence. The words settled and sunk into his skin, like ink blooming through wet parchment. It was strange. Their meaning was clear. They opened a thousand different passages, varied, fantastical realities Jetherys didn't know could exist. What did Stark know? What could he know? He was a stranger in their midst-- and more than that, a fiction, a ghost save for the fact he could reach out and touch him, could still feel the knot of muscle and jaw beneath his fingers. Or maybe everything he felt was conjured by the gloves that lay between his skin and Johann Stark's. Maybe Maester Purlam had cast a spell on the leather to give him a world to play, torture, beat himself with. Who knew - his room was now empty. Perhaps if he stepped forward and ran a finger down the scar that haunted him, Johann Stark would break apart like coloured smoke.

Only when the ink-like words reached his heart did he register them.

He turned his head and looked at Johann as if seeing him for the very first time. His body and face were very, very still; his eyes barely danced as they scoured the man's face.

Jetherys was used to the silence of this place. He knew the familiar echoes that would come from the corners of the walls, but barely pierced the cold air at the room's heart. Footsteps were eaten up, voices hushed, and the scratch of a quill barely moved beyond its inkwell. But he wasn't used to hearing silence within. His thoughts seemed to disappear, one by one, and he found that he was nothing for than a thin paper facade with a mouth and throat full of an emotion he called blood, because he had no other name to give it.

"You?"

He watched the clouds move across the night sky by watching the light and shadows interplay in that strange, unfamiliar face. A sliver of moonlight found that scar etched into his cheek like fresh stitches.

Scars ever meant for you.

He hated that face.




"Speak."

_________________
My incredibly sophisticated minions.


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:52 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
From the folds of the blanket, he produced the little clay pot. The object itself was so simple, so innocuous and quotidian, that at first its appearance would only deepen the perplexity that suffused the moment. A cannier man might have worried about the effect of the maester's disappearance on his own image. In the back of his mind, however, Johann Stark was troubled by one concern: how to relate the truth of the events without unnecessarily slandering the man who had vanished.

"He thought it was a kindness, what he'd done. What he was doing. These paints are not traditional, not to your family, not anywhere in Westeros. They are poison, Your Grace, but a slow poison, a palliative they say. Kinder than letting greyscale run its course."

His frown deepened, but his gaze remained level. "I told him to put the choice to you, Your Grace. 'Tell him or I will.' By the old gods and the new, I swear, I never expected the old man would run."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:40 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:03 pm GMT
Posts: 46267
Location: Probably a lab. Wishing I was in bed.
Custom Title: Hey kid.
Faced with something so innocent as his daily cream, Jetherys fought the urge to laugh and convince himself this was all some vivid and bizarre dream. Perhaps Stark would grow a pair of wings next, or the floor beneath them would turn into the waters of a lake.

But then the words kept coming.

It was as if someone was standing behind him, and was very gently tracing his spine with the tip of a splintered stake. Every now and then, with each - not traditional, not - word, each new - anywhere in - accusation, he felt that person press it between his ribs, make his lungs spasm.

Once, when he was a very small child, he was tugged through a marketplace. It was hotter, far hotter than any King's Landing summer. As the sea of people thronged about him he was jostled with the warmth of their bodies, the slick coldness of their sweat, the coarseness of their clothing scraping across his cheeks as the hand that held his pulled him steadily through the storm. Sometimes late at night he could still remember a pair of hands slipping beneath his arms to hoist him up onto a barrel, and give him a dusty mug of weak ale, and a fistful of sweet bread. Sipping and biting, smacking his lips and sucking crumbs off his fingers, he watched a little kiosk sell birds. They rattled and sang in their little cages, and made awkward, glittering attempts to fly with clipped wings. He thought nothing of it until a sparrow stole a little of his bread and soar away, triumphant, to perch on one of the cages. He watched the bird inside look up above at it. The two birds whistled and chirruped.

"Do you think it knew it should fly before its brother told it it should? Mister Fawl?"
"We have to leave soon, your Grace. Drink your water. Besides- what should a caged bird know of the sky. Think no more of it."



He took a couple of steps forward to look closer at the paste where it lay nestled in Stark's hand.

"You're speaking madness." His voice was quiet. "You're no Maester. You're a soldier and a turncoat. What do you know of oils and chalk?"

He reached out a hand to take it, snatch it from his palm and smear his cheek and mouth with it. But inches from him he froze, tormented by the lack of gloves they wore.

"What I suffer stems from old illness inflicted on me as a baby. You think some cosmesis--" His voice faltered as another spoke in his head.

I wasn't always this sick.

"You put him in a situation he could not defend himself from. You drove him to--"

I started the morning rituals when I turned thirteen. Kathmar Falmari said I was starting to look like a man. He threw a goblet at the wall. He was very drunk. It hit me. Maester said it was for the best I look...

"You swore your life to protect and serve me, and instead you manipulated my teacher, schemed behind my back to weaken me. You're nothing but a... I should have had you..."

Oh my gods.

His lips moved but sound didn't come out.

And slowly, his hand fell to his side.

_________________
My incredibly sophisticated minions.


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:11 pm GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
He waited patiently, his head halfway bowed, like some shaggy Northern pony weathering a snowstorm. How long had it been since last Johann Stark was spoken to thus? The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch was not answerable to any king. Those years of exile had accustomed him to issuing commands, not taking them; to speaking his mind forthright, without taking the time to weigh the delicate implications of every word. Now he was fully aware of the disadvantage he suffered. His position was precarious, one he could not afford to jeopardize, yet here he was, alone in the face of the boy-king's unsteady ranting, having just cost him his closest advisor.

He listening, unmoving. The king's words swept over him, then receded, then diminished into uncertain silence.

"Your Grace," he said at last. His voice was low and steady, and the sound of it pushed back the heavy, smothering silence of the marble halls as though it were nothing, as though it could be a simple matter to exist in this place as oneself, unaltered. After all, that was what Stark had always been, what he'd always done. "I'm no scholar. I'm not a clever man. I can't replace the maester, and I'm sorry for the loss of his counsel. But I will never lie to you."

The words hung in the air, but only for a moment or so before Stark seemed to take note of their surroundings. This place was a sad, gloomy echo of the Red Keep. "There was no guard at your door just now. I wonder if, for my own peace of mind, you might grant me permission to keep watch awhile."

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:21 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:03 pm GMT
Posts: 46267
Location: Probably a lab. Wishing I was in bed.
Custom Title: Hey kid.
"In your darkest night, there stood a shield and a sword. Will you have him?"

He felt, rather than heard, Johann Stark's speech. It was like Kathmar Falmari's in a way. They were voices filled with strength; able to effortlessly carry across a room and compel those around to listen. It was a King's voice, he thought suddenly. Falmari's a king of merchants, and Stark the King of mankind's will, built in black ice and called a Wall. Resilient. Uncaged. His own throat was treacherous in comparison, like an untuned violin that scraped and squeaked as his host played it. Gods knew he liked to.

His gaze rose from the pot in Johann's hand to meet his eyes. They were so dark, so impenetrable. No matter how close he got, he was sure he'd never be able to detect treachery in them, or shame, or disgust- any of the looks he had trained himself to seek. Those little traps hidden in men's looks.

But not his. Johann Stark was unknown - yet veryone seemed toknow his story, with its thousand variations. He'd overheard some of the guards eager to repaint it in their own words, their own languages even. The colours of the story were always black and red, snow white and crown gold - all in shades of tragedy.

Two truths suddenly seemed to steal into his mind. No one knew this man; no one left alive was capable of knowing who it was they invited over their doorstep or into their hearts. And no one ever would be.

The other came to him strangely bittersweet as Johann Stark's promise hung in the air between them.

His men must have loved him enough to die for him.

"I told Maester Purlam that I would take you into my service, for the sake of the scars you earned in my name. You may watch the door." His voice in turn was quiet, spoken only for them. Unconsciously his eyes alighted on the old cut and the moonlight that lay along its edges. "... But I've my own scars. And they tell me that everyone lies in the end."

He sounded tired. Exhausted from hate and the weight of the armour he wore beneath his skin. Behind him lay the chains the Maester had shed like snake skin in a last farewell.

"I'll have your sword arm. You can keep your words."

It struck him that they were alone. He met those dark eyes, and wondered whether Stark thought of it too; that the last time they had stood in a different castle, a different land. He couldn't remember it, though sometimes when fevers ran high he could swear he dreamt of smoke and the scent of burning roses. Another story only Johann Stark knew.

Just for a moment, he was filled with a sense of yearning, and in his grief half turned away from the sight of him.

_________________
My incredibly sophisticated minions.


Top
 Profile  
 

Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:26 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:59 am GMT
Posts: 56509
Location: proper tea is theft
Custom Title: Ahoy!
When he was a boy at Winterfell, Johann Stark had looked at his father and seen, in that wind-roughened man clad in dark furs, a monolithic being of indomitable strength and unshakable will. Only once he'd gone south had he realized that to him, the North was and always would be his father, in whose hard face he saw reflected all the winters that had carved it, as though it too were a part of this land. As though his roots ran so deep into its stony hills that the man himself could never fall so long as his feet stayed planted on northern earth. And while a part of him had believed his father would endure forever, another part had wondered whether this inner force was something you were born to; whether, like the title Lord of Winterfell, it was something he might one day come to inherit.

As such, he would never have admitted, even to himself in the privacy of his own thoughts, that he could be needled by so simple a thing as a wounded child's lack of faith. Even in the bleak exile of the Night's Watch, having sworn to forsake his name and everything it carried, never a moment had he ceased to be a Stark. To the men around him, that had meant something. In the freezing snows beyond the Mare, in the darkness and terror of the taiga below Demon's Ridge, he had survived and had held that name close like the embers of his ancestral hearth. Now, for the first time, he had come to a juncture where his name and his word meant nothing. And in spite of himself, he was rattled, feeling as though for the first time the yawning emptiness of all he had forsworn. Ten years since his loss, and for the first time its enormity crushed into his lungs, so that when he drew a breath he inhaled slowly like a man with cracked ribs who tries to ease the pain.

But wasn't that why he had come, after all? Because the scope of what he had lost would never compare with what had been taken from the boy before him--what they had all taken, Stark as much as any of them. And so when his king turned away, he merely bowed. "Sleep well, Your Grace."

Then he too turned away, ready to take up his sword and the soldier's anonymity it bestowed, the sword's edge as razor fine as the uneasy balance between a blessing and a curse.

_________________
Image
"Because studies have shown that dvorak's a genius" - Dass
"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


Top
 Profile  
 

Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Lion Rampant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:21 am GMT 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:03 pm GMT
Posts: 46267
Location: Probably a lab. Wishing I was in bed.
Custom Title: Hey kid.
...

Dear Princess Mariana the secund,

I hope you are well. I am good. Amelya gave me a cold and my head is all stufed like the little stufed tigre tiger that you gave my for my birfday she is called Amba and I love her very much. She is very nice. My nose is like a bery now.

Baba said you must stay in the city. I want to see you! Amelya and Baba and me mis you and want you to reed read to us. I am good at maths now. I can beet you I think becos Mama said I am beter than her monee men at maths. I miss you. Please come soon. I miss you lots and lots. Bring sugar plums please.

Much love and kisses,
Mari xxxxxxxxxxx (and a kiss from Amelya too) x


"She's a little vulture."
"She's sweet."
"She's got a sweet tooth. And plays you like a fiddle."
"Hah! As if you're immune from her charms."
"I'm not, I'm her willing slave. But I can at least point out that our sweet little girl is as conniving as her mother."
"You're such a cynic Raphael. She's six."
"She's getting an early start."

Glancing sidelong at him, she watched him sit on the balcony's edge and stare out to sea, squinting slightly against the setting sun. In his hand he held little Mariana's letter. All juice stains and grubby finger marks she couldn't help but kiss as if it had been her cheek. When was the last time she'd seen her? She couldn't remember now in this golden haze. It was as if she were watching from behind stained glass. It was a scene separate and serene, holy almost. She watched her brother move with a strange tenderness, something heavy and soft in her chest that breathed and moved like an animal sleeping. What was this? He turned sharply, springing up to his feet and grinning at her like an idiot.

"I've found another place for us to go. It's new, on the sea shore. 'A taste of the world.' It cycles by the month; food, music, dance, language all centred on a different city in-"

We'll never go, she knew privately as she watched him speak, and hold up Mari's little letter to the golden dusk. I'll travel to the capital by then. And you, you...

"It'll require some imagination to get past Luis' menagerie, but it's nothing we can't handle."

You, you... with the sun on your skin and the dusk in your eyes, you...

"Come with me."

You'll be dead.


She jerked upright panting, and snatched her hand away. For a moment of sleepy madness she stared at the hot wax as it congealed on her skin. She realised somewhere in the back of her mind that she must have tipped it over. They'd read Mari's letter at breakfast that morning, months ago. It must have been the fading candlelight that painted dusk on the backs of her eyelids and the inside of her dreams.

For a moment he had been alive. For a moment he had been so real that she could have reached out and smacked him for insulting her favourite niece. But he was dead. And the candle was spilling its contents across her mathematics homework. And the skin on the back of her hand was puckering red. She raised it to her mouth and sucked, the pain growing numb and Raphael's ghost fading the more she searched for it.


Three months and no word. Alsan had said it would be so. She hadn't really expected him to go through with it. Some part of her had imagined a note or two surreptitiously slipped to her, some indication that somewhere in the wild her lawful husband was still gamely surviving. The fact he didn't she found somewhat insulting. The thought that her father in law may not be receiving the same treatment even more so. She'd tracked her lion as far as High Heart, and then her husband had disappeared into waiting shadows. She'd felt proud of him, and hated him all at once.

She strolled through the herb gardens. It was early morning; dew made her hems damp. The clung to her ankles. It would be a lie to say that the castle was still sleeping. The servants had woken hours ago, long before daybreak to set the cogs of the capital in motion. Even now they were pressing, ironing, washing a hundred miles of laundry, scrubbing at windows, sleepily warming the coals in the washrooms for the luxury of hot baths. And who knew what other Lords and Ladies stirred in these, the hours of dawn.

She let thyme and rosemary trail through her pensive fingers as she wandered through the mist. The lonely cry of seagulls overhead; the steady low roar of the waves and their salty taste in the air.

No word, he had said, would be a good thing. For you, she had thought then, or for me? Surely he hadn't expected her to sit idly by - and if he had, then he had not been married to her long enough. Not that he knew her at all. His father had seen to that.

Her footsteps dragged to a pause before the mint and wort.

Had seen to her, yet not seen her; bought her and had not inspected the prize. What was there to see, three months on that a quick look at her flat stomach couldn't tell him? Yet barely a word, barely a look. She had expected the Lannister collar to be tighter and to have felt him twitch the leash by now. Mariana wondered what he waited for - or whether his thoughts were turned far to the North and the promise of his son and whatever it was he searched for at the end of the world, and not the summer girl he had married.

The viper.

_________________
My incredibly sophisticated minions.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 248 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group