A Song of Rock and Fire

Lanncaster Log 18

The door opened slowly with an ominous creak that seemed to last forever. Toten Lanncaster stepped through the door and closed it gently behind him. He stood, looking over at the bed. Lons looked toward him, a weak smile showing the deep creases age and happiness had put in his features. Toten searched, but couldn’t find anything to say, so he said the only thing he could.

“Lons…”

The former maester paused before responding, as he always did, as if intrigued by some deep passing thought.

“Toten.”

The lord of Rockfall moved closer and sat next to his friend, eyes taking in the blood stained bandages and bedding, the paleness of Lons’ skin. The wounds would have killed anyone else, far sooner. But not the Melee Maester. Not Toten’s friend. Tears welled of their own accord as the two sat for a moment in silence.

They didn’t need words. They knew what was in each other’s hearts and minds. Their friendship was deep.

“I heard you lamed a horse getting here,” Lons said finally, breaking their reverie.

“I’d have lamed a thousand if I’d had to,” Toten replied, fierce emotion in his voice.

Lons smiled again.

They talked for a time about a great deal of things. What had happened in the city, Natan, Saul, tournaments, life, and for awhile it was just as things had been for decades, two friends talking and enjoying the company of the other for as long as they had it.

Lons coughed, a wet sound deep in his chest. His eyes fluttered and he struggled weakly, his hand searching.

Toten took it, his strong grip holding tightly to Lons. The moment passed, but Toten could see that something had gone through the hand of the king.

“You know,” Toten began slowly as Lons settled his head back on his pillow. “I’ve never been a great storyteller. But I have been spending quite a bit of time with Robrik lately.” Lons’ smile returned, and managed to clear some of the pallor that had settled over it, though it was somehow sadder.

“Have I ever told you,” Toten began, though something seemed to be choking his speech here and there. “The story of the greatest maester, man, and best friend I’ve ever known?”

Lons’ smile widened and his hand tightened on Toten’s. “I don’t think I’ve heard that one, Toten,” he said, his voice small.

Toten nodded. “It all started with a boy just back from war, who only needed a friend, and a young maester, fresh from the citadel, who was there for him…”

Toten began speaking and the world melted away, replaced with vistas from the past, castles and woods and people. The experiences of two lives, bound in friendship and tested beyond any doubt. Tales of sadness and pain, of joy and happiness. Near thirty years of family. And a lifetime of love.

All through it, Toten guided them on a sea of memories, steering their course through all of their adventures and hardships, right up to the moment they still shared.

“And that man,” Toten said, wearing a proud smile. “The best friend I’ll ever have, is Lons Lanncaster.”

Lons reached to his side and pulled up an object. “I have…” he breathed. “One last thing for you, Toten.” He pressed his cane into Toten’s free hand.

Toten gripped it tightly and Lons let out a breath that should have been a chuckle. “There must always be a cane…in Rockfall…”

The former king opened his mouth but found it so hard to speak.

“I love you, Lons,” he managed quietly.

“As I love you, Toten,” he replied, barely more than a whisper.

Stonewing, who had been silent nearby, fluttered down to land between them. The raven touched his beak to their hands and looked sharply between them. It uttered one clear word, and flew from the window into the evening.

He wasn’t sure how long had passed, but Toten noticed a sudden stillness in the air, as gentle as someone closing a curtain.

Tears streamed down his cheeks and into his beard. Hard, silent sobs shook the former king’s shoulders, and still, he held Lons’ hand. His friend’s hand.

A hand squeezed his shoulder gently. Toten hadn’t heard the door open, but somehow knew it was Dany. He looked to her, not hiding his grief.

“He never lost it, you know,” the lord of Rockfall said, his voice raspy, gripping the weathered cane tightly in his fist. “He never lost it…”

The two remained, sharing in their grief, as Lons, ever on the quest for knowledge, went forward, undoubtedly, to learn about the next great adventure as the word Stonewing crowed hung proudly in the air.

“Friend.”

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Natan Lanncaster's Journal 10

I’ll see him go down for this. The high septon thinks that just because he doesn’t see eye to eye with the other faiths in town, that he can take action to put them down forever.

I won’t have it. So he thinks he came come after me? My wife?!

A snake could hardly sink so low.

If he was anyone but the high septon, I’d have made short work out of buying or negotiating my way right past him. But his office presents certain difficulties to the tactics I might usually employ.

So now I’ll do something so much more gratifying.

I’ll tear him down bit by bit. Until there is nothing left of him.

Then we’ll see what he has to say, how much forgiveness he clamors for.

His pettiness has already cost me an uncle.

I’ll be damned by the old gods and the new if I’m going to let that continue without doing anything about it.

I may not be the soldier that my father is, or know my way around his battlefields, but I am NOT going to let this country go without a fight!

My battlefield will be the halls of castles from here to Riverrun. My weapons will be sharp words and reason. And my armor will be the strength of my resolve.

I didn’t ask for any of this, but I will see it through to the end.

So if the high septon wants a fight…

I’ll give him one.

A fight he’ll never forget.

Or I’ll die trying.

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Et Tu, Robert?

Lons had fallen away from his faith during Tyene’s sickness. It wasn’t that he no longer had faith, but that there was so much else to do. In some ways, tending to Tyene WAS his form of prayer. With her gone, he’d redoubled his efforts at attending services. It’d been something to help him keep focused. He was getting older, and while he was by no means done with leaving his mark on the world, he had gotten a bit more introspective in his older age. The service ended beautifully, with some passages being read and a small sermon on the fire within every man, and the many forms it can take. A bit esoteric, but Lons certainly enjoyed the thought exercise. He spoke with Anallia as long as he could, although others wished to speak with her as well. He decided to come back later when it was less busy, and he and Anallia could truly discuss the sermon of the day. He had some intriguing thoughts on the matter, particularly with the Seven In Flesh weighing so heavily on the national mind and the madness that he had felt brewing. He’d seen some troubling visions for the future. His magic didn’t allow him to do much, but every so often, R’hllor blessed him with the gift of vision, showing him a future filled with the din of battle and the sweep of maddened passion across the land. He wasn’t sure exactly what it meant, but the Faith of the Seven seemed more than eager to fill that role for him, if the Great Sept was any indication.

As he walked outside of the temple, Grass by his side and a younger guard marching alongside him, he realized that there was something wrong. People scattered, running in fear of a mob that approached. They came dressed in cloaks, covered head to toe, wearing masks of various types. Even for someone who had faced the demons of the North, it was an intimidating sight. Everyone was in good spirits, and walking home from the service. Guard was down and no one expected anything. Tactically, it was brilliantly vicious and practical. Grass barely even saw it coming, though he drew his sword as quickly as he could once the group came down on them. There were about twelve men in total, wielding simple butcher’s knives. Grass leveled his blade at one attacker, but two more were on him in an instant. He swung around, tearing into one fighter and leaping on another with the ferocity of a mother bear protecting its’ cub. There were far too many men for even his skilled blade.

Lons had thought long and hard during the days sermon about his talks with Marwyn, before he’d lived his faith and had only known it in the histories and lectures of his Citadel years. All the talks about the difference between light and shadow, and that, they, like life and death themselves were just two different shades of color, like pink and maroon. He’d found, even in his visions that friends had never really gone. The wisdom that had been imparted still came out in the same, soft-spoken voices. The camaraderie came out with the same gleeful enthusiasm and humor. Friendships can withstand even the grave, he felt. And love, well, love burns eternal in the hearts of even the hardest men. Sometimes, you just had to dig deep enough to find it.

All that was in his mind as he watched one of his close friends fall, clutching his throat as blood sprayed the ground around them, was that he needed to act quickly. Even in death, Grass had been able to take down two of the assailants, proudly serving his post to the last breath. The other guard, green with inexperience fared no better than Grass, although he managed to take down one knife wielding fanatic before being fileted by two more of the butchers. Lons had just enough time to draw his sword cane. The weapon was heavy in his hand, unpracticed as he was at his age. He was old, there was no getting around that. He was old and had the experience to know he was in dire straits., which was a harrying combination.

Lons managed to keep one of them at bay, catching the attacker in the shoulder. The man growled and stumbled back, but three more filled the void. Lons was knocked to the ground, his whole body recoiling as his aging frame was battered against the hard packed dirt. The cane fell from his hand, landing just out of reach. He knew that the sword was his salvation in this moment. He reached for it, crawling towards it with all the strength he could muster as a few of the city watch jumped into the fray, taking a couple of the attackers down. Chaos flowed around him, raging through the city streets like a pack of rabit dogs. He managed an inch, then two. His hand batted the head of the cane, almost closing around it. Suddenly, a foot caught him in the ribs, knocking him onto his back and hopelessly out of reach of the sword. Three of the masked men stood around him, diving on him like a pack of wild dogs eager to disembowel. He stared up into their wild eyes, driven by some fanatical fervor that only they could fathom. Lons would have had his suspicions, but his body focused only on the fight for survival.

Blades rained down, piercing him a hundred fold like some barbaric pincushion. In futility, he raised his arms to defend himself, hoping to block some of the more vicious blows. He only succeeded in butchering his own arms in defense. He cried out at the pain, swiftly giving in to shock as his attackers left, as quickly as they had fallen on him. The guards were beating them back, chasing them through the streets. The moans of the wounded echoed through the streets, some R’hllor’s followers, others followers of the Seven. Some, had just chosen the wrong day to enjoy the freedoms their country offered. Lons glanced around, noting Grass body to his right and the cane that had followed him across half the world and back. Lons looked up into the mid morning sky, watching the serene white clouds floating swiftly by. He took a ragged breath and slowly slipped into the darkness of sleep, unsure if he’d ever wake again, knowing, with grim awareness that his body was slowly fading with every beat of his heart.

‘I hope I’ve done well, by R’hllor’s grace.’ he thought, ‘Perhaps I’ll see you sooner than we thought, Tyene.’ he said, thinking of his lover and confidant, lost so short of a time ago.

And with that, the world drifted to black. He was almost certain he could hear whispers in the wind. Others might have thought it to be the crowd around him, gathering reinforcements and maesters. But Lons knew better.

They were regrets, things left unsaid, promises that were failed, or promises that were kept. Everything that people took with them to the other realm never truly left.

Voices of friends, and the flame of his life came through the babble.

‘Two sides of the same coin, Lons’ Marwny’s disembodied voice echoed through his mind just he fell to sleep.

‘Two sides of the same coin.’

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Natan Lanncaster's Journal 9

This trip would have been quite a bit nicer if he hadn’t showed up.

I should have taken my chances with Jhakara in the desert. Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe I could just ride out and find her somewhere in the wastes. It would probably be a hell of a lot more fun.

Francois insists on riding with us every day, and he’s always so close and…touchy.

Just like in Essos…

“AND STAY OUT!” the innkeeper yelled, shoving the three into the street.

Natan picked himself up and brushed dust from his sleeves. “I’ll have you know you just kicked out a prince!” he hollered as the innkeeper slammed the door.

“A prrrrrrrince?” trilled a voice behind them. “I’ve always wanted to host a pretty prince.”

Natan turned to face the voice and was assaulted by a was of bright colors, an amalgam of strange and unnatural hues that whirled as a man pranced over to them.

“Did I hear correctly, you and your devilishly handsome partners are in need of lodging?” the man sang, his eyes playing over Natan and Toten.

“Uh, yes, actually, if you’re willing to have us,” Natan said with a small shrug at Toten and Arya. He put a hand forward. “Natan Lanncaster.”

“Francois,” the man said, bending low and planting a long kiss on Natan’s hand. “Francois Faggot. Please, follow me!” The man swirled and sashayed away.

“Really?” Toten said, arching an eyebrow at Natan.

“What? I mean, how bad could it be?”

“Oh, Nataaaaaaannnn!” Francois strode briskly out to the grounds of his manse, towards the pool around which the three companions were relaxing.

“Oh gods,” Natan said, quickly trying to find the tunic he’d taken off in the warm sun.

Francois sat laid back in the lounge that Natan was occupying, wiggling himself closer to the prince.

“Oh how lovely, I’d just heard that you were all doing some swimming and just had to come down and join you.” His eyes glanced down below Natan’s beltline. “And I see you’re wearing the special swimming suits I had purchased for you! The latest in fashion, you know.”

Natan squirmed and tried to cover the small fabric that barely preserved his modesty. “Well, seeing how it was the only option you presented to us, there wasn’t much choice…”

“I know, isn’t it excellent? Now go on, have a dip, I insist!” He tickled at Natan until he rose and then quickly pulled at the princes swimsuit, exposing his royal rear. Natan jumped away as quickly as if he’d been struck by lightning, while Francois quite literally rolled with a bubbling laughter, even as Arya chuckled slightly.

Natan waded into the water where Toten stood, submerged to his neck, eyes wide and never letting Francois out of his sight. Under the water he cupped himself protectively.

“I swear,” Natan muttered through gritted teeth. “We’re leaving here as soon as I can get something together, and that will be the last time I will ever see Francois Faggot again.”

Francois is relentless. At least the race will be over soon. The riders are expected to be in sometime tomorrow.

There will be a feast and festivities of course, and perhaps even some “fuck rights” for the winning horse. I’m sure it will be a good time as long as I can get Arry to occupy Francois for a time.

We’ve been on the road for awhile, and while we aren’t nearly as spent as the riders are sure to be, it will be nice to relax for a time, even if it ends up brief.

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Natan Lanncaster's Journal 8

By the gods old and new..

The worst has happened.

I am King Natan Lanncaster.

I don’t really remember all of it but Arry and Toten assure me that it did happen.

It’s strange, the high septon put the crown on me and it was like so many things faded away. Like things before were unimportant somehow, or had happened to someone far away. It was clear suddenly, everything that I have ahead of me. So many things, so many troubles, a King’s problems.

And I knew that I was ready for it. That I won’t, that I shouldn’t, that I don’t have the right to fear it. I looked at my father in the crowd, I looked at Uncle Lons and Aunt Dany, and everyone and realized that there isn’t any single man for the job. There’s only a man who has it, and does what he can with it.

I traveled far to be away from my fear, but for no reason.

But then, maybe I wouldn’t ever have been ready if I hadn’t…

A king must have a queen, and now I have mine. A beauty and a fighter and a wit. Anything and everything a man could hope for. And she’s mine.

All those years together at Rockfall and roaming around Essos. It didn’t even enter my mind, all those times she climbed into my sleeping roll with me, or I hers. Now we share a bed in the Red Keep, and yet our bond remains the same. I love her, and she is one of my oldest and best friends. There are times when all I do is sit and think of her.

I think I might understand why Father was so sad for so long when I was young, why even now there are times when his eyes are distant and haunted. It makes me afraid and sad and yet somehow still happy to to know that love can be that strong. I might not have been with her long, but I love Arya with all my heart. Forever.

The three weeks of tournaments has surprisingly been more fun than I thought it would be. Expensive, but fun. It reminds me of much of our time in Essos. I’ve taken more than my fair share of wagers in games of darts and other pub favorites.

It’s been great to watch Jhakara show some of my subjects what lies across the seas as well.

And Toten. Gods I don’t know who was out on those fields but if he hadn’t taken his helm off in front of me, I’d have thought he’d paid someone else to wear it for him. I don’t know if he knows it, but he’s changing. And it’s not entirely a bad thing.

But soon the festivities will be over and then it’s to work, ruling a kingdom after a short trip south to watch Jhakara do what Jhakara does best.

It seems like everything is finally coming together.

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Natan Lanncaster's Journal 7

I lost them.

I fucking LOST THEM!

I should have stayed with them, not run away like a coward. I could have helped, I could have taken some of Lugas’ bastards. Instead I came back to do what? File paperwork while they’re out there and need my help?

I’m going to be a king and where is all my power? I’ll tear Leo Lugas to the ground I swear it I’ll do whatever I have to do to make sure that he pays…

I promised them. I promised them and I failed…

Natan sat tied to the chair, blood trailing from the corner of his mouth and from a cut over one eye. Another blow split his lip. “Hold,” a voice said in Asshai from across the room. Three ham fisted men stepped back from Natan, unwrapping the bloody wrap around his hand.

“You think that you can just bed one of the elder council’s daughters, and that there wouldn’t be punishment?” the voice said as a man with a pinched face came into the light.

Natan spit blood from his mouth. “I think that you haven’t seen south of a woman’s belt since you were born. OOF!” A swing into his abdomen knocked the breath out of the young prince.

“So witty. I’ve been told the people of your country are funny. Perhaps I didn’t have time to catch all of the jokes while you were working your way from brothel to brothel.”

“Well I heard,” Natan managed, pausing to cough every few words. “That people from your country, are dumber than one legged man trying to win an ass kicking contest.” He grinned up at the muscled thug. “Pretty too.” Another punch rocked him back, eliciting a long groan from Natan.

“Hm. So be it, young prince. Let’s see where all your jokes and bravado get you in the afterlife. Kill him.”

The thugs advanced toward him but paused when there was a clatter outside.

There was a moment of silence before a large shattering saw a skylight overhead crash down into the room, a lithe female figure dropping in along with it. There was a wild yell and the door burst in off its hinges, an unconscious body falling over it as an armored man stepped over him. What followed was brief, but violent and bloody.

Toten and Arya cut the ropes holding Natan and hauled him to his feet, making a hasty retreat out into Asshai and back to the flat they had been renting.

“Thanks for coming after me,” Natan said as he dabbed at his cuts in the relative saftety of the flat.

“Natan,” Arya began. “Of course we were going to come get you.”

“Yeah, Toten said sheepishly. “Especially after you took the fall for me.”

Natan stood and embraced them both.

“I’ll always come for the both of you,” Natan said quietly. He looked at each of them. “I promise.”

A moment passed while they sat in the comfortable silence awarded by their friendship.

“I think,” Natan said, rising again. “That it might be time to leave Asshai. But first, I need a drink.”

Thank the gods old and new for Jhakara and Elia. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I had to do. I hate…hated…Leo Lugas. But it was with a heavy heart that I saddled Gabrella to put an end to that family for good.

But I made a promise.

And kings keep their promises

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Natan Lanncaster's Journal 6

I finally saw El today after almost six years.

It was everything I’d hoped it would be. And everything I hadn’t.

She said things that I never would have thought. Horrible things. But what’s worse is that she wasn’t wrong.

El was always the smart one, I know that. I just didn’t know that she could be cruel. She was right. I was gone too long. I forced her to have to be that way. She needed me, just like she used to…

“Oof!” Toten Wyl grunted as he hit the ground after a powerful shove from Arya. Natan rocked with laughter from his perch on the small wall, right up until a second shove landed him next to Toten.

“Who’s laughin’ now, you idiot?” Toten said as he stood up, rubbing his backside. “Very funny, Horseface,” he scowled up at Arya, who now occupied their spots, swigging from the bottle of wine the two boys had swiped from Rockfall’s kitchens.

The boys dusted themselves off and chased after Arya and the three of them tore into the castle, clattering around halls and through rooms until they rounded a corner near the great hall and ran straight into Elia, Tommen, and Lyene, almost sending all of them to the ground.

“Gods, Natan!” Elia yelled as they all untangled themselves. “What’s wrong with you!”

“Sorry, El. We were just fooling around.”

“Well you’re always fooling around, aren’t you? You could be using your time to do something useful.” Her eyes darted to the bottle that was now in Natan’s hand. “Instead of trying to be Robert Baratheon and taking these two down with you!” She stormed away, Lyene right at her side. Tommen paused for a moment, opening his mouth like he was about to speak, an apologetic look ok his face, until Elia called for him and he went off, leaving only a hurried “Sorry” behind him.

“What’s her problem?” Toten asked, snagging the bottle and taking a swig.

“Don’t worry about her,” Natan said, turning into the hall. “Come on, let’s go see what Uncle Lons is up to.”

Hours later, Natan opened the door to one of the highest rooms in an old tower. No one came there anymore. Except for Elia. She sat by the window, knees drawn up to her chest.

“Thought I might find you here,” Natan said as he sat next to her. She responded with silence.

“You want to talk about it? Or do you want me to start guessing?” he asked softly, so she knew he was being sincere.

He waited a long time for her response, but it was an easy silence.

“I was thinking about her a lot today,” Elia said quietly. Natan knew at once what she meant, but he let her talk. Elia went on, divulging her thoughts and problems, and bared her heart to him. He listened and talked to her, a brother to a sister, and they discussed things that they only talked bout with each other, far into the night…

I found her tonight, just like I always would. I knew as soon as I saw her that I had to. I could always tell then and it would seem six years hasn’t changed that. I don’t know if she knows how much she means to me. I don’t think she knows that our late night talks helped me as much as they did her.

There’s no way I could have taken the crown without talking with El first.

Her opinion is just as important to me as Father’s.

And neither six years or sixty will change that.

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The Tourney

Jhakara sat in the stands as Toten charged forward on his horse. It was a little sloppy, but Jhakara couldn’t seem to care. The fact that the man was out there was enough. An underdog amongst knights of higher caliber than he. Pass after pass was made. Lances broke and riders shifted but neither side budged. Jhakara could tell the damage each hit did, even in his metal dress. While the rest of the crowd waited for the event to be over and midnight closed in, Jhakara couldn’t be more excited. She was, quite literally, on the edge of her seat. This man may not be a war machine, but his spirit gave Jhakara all that she needed. Although, the prowess he was showing today certainly made him all the more attractive…

Jhakara sat next to Toten in his bed. He’d been there forever, or so it had seemed. Sometimes conscious, though often not and even less often in a coherent state thanks to the medications the Doktors had given him. But today, he seemed to be quite on the ball. Jhakara was glad to see him, that much she knew. Jhakara could sense some nervousness in him. They’d been around each other long enough to be able to pick up some semblance of understanding of how the other was feeling. Jhakara had to work hard at it, but she had made progress.

“Jhakara…” Toten started, his goofy exterior fading to the wayside as he turned into the Lord Toten she had come to know over the years. “I’ve been thinking, since I’m still around… that maybe it’s time to start saying the things I need to say and do the things I need to do.” Jhakara nodded, thinking of his mother and his bastards sons. “And, I guess… I just want to say this.” he said, taking Jhakara’s hands in his own.

“I really care for you, Jhakara. I love you.” he finally said after a few moments of hesitation. It seemed tough for the young man to open this much to someone. Jhakara could certainly relate to that. The Dothraki were never much for opening up, particularly about love. What love there was usually consisted of little more than rutting warriors taking whatever women they wished.

“Jhakara, I’m a Lord, so I don’t know what else will come of this. I have my duties and all that, but I care for you and, well… let’s enjoy it while we can.” he finished. Jhakara pondered for a moment and leaned forward, kissing Toten squarely on the lips. Relief seemed to sweep over him. “Jhakara thinks she loves you too, Toten.” she added, embracing the healing man lightly so as not to aggravate his injuries. “We will find a way, Toten.”

Jhakara spent the next hour or so with him before duty called her off. She didn’t understand much of the politics of Westeros, but apparently marrying someone without lands was not really heard of. It troubled Jhakara. She truly did love Toten, but he was a lord after all. He had his duty and was taking it seriously. She might be doomed to some strange shadow relationship. Jhakara was not one for subtlety when it came to who she cared for, especially if it meant allowing someone else to take them from her. She had no plans to allow that to happen. Perhaps this single combat would be the way. She sighed as she walked back to her chambers. She couldn’t make any rash decisions here. She didn’t know everything about Westeros. She’d have to turn to her friends for help. Life cut in and she didn’t get the chance to ask. There would be another chance, another time. Perhaps on the road again, away from all the distractions and politicking.

Toten and Jhakara would find a way. would find a way. Even if they were friends, Jhakara would still love him all the same. Perhaps Khal Natan would have some miracle of the tongue he could do. Jhakara decided to ask Toten some other time. as he took care of his duties, which were, at the moment, healing from his imprisonment.

Jhakara turned to the lady sitting next to her, and with all the passion of a young child struck with wonder and amazement, yelled “I fuck that man.” The maid, unsettled, smiled weakly. Toten’s lance unhorsed his opponent. Jhakara felt a heat flow over her that she hadn’t felt in years.

She leaned over again.

“Toten is going to get GOOD fuck tonight.”

The lady beside her had probably never felt more awkward, as her red face showed.

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Double Dragon
Move over, Bimmy and Jimmy.

The fires of the camp burned low as Jhakara prepared her equipment. The dragon armor gleamed in the low firelight, its’ surface not yet tarnished by heavy combat. Jhakara had hoped for a chance to prove herself, and here it seemed, she found it. She was ready for a fight. That much she knew. This “Lougas” family had tried to kill Khal Natan… and on top of that had two of her closest friends. She sat and busied herself with sharpening a blade as the orange sunset dimmed behind her, casting everything into shadow.

She’d felt bad leaving them in the forest, but they were blood-riders just as she was. Or “sworn swords”. Jhakara was getting used to the new words. It was good to know they were still alive, but Jhakara worried what else had been done to them. Death never seemed to be the worst outcome. Khal Natan said it was the only thing keeping the Lougas Khalassar alive, so they would not dare to harm them. Jhakara busied herself with sharpening some of her knives and rechecking her bowstring. Elia seemed to be busy with much of the same. Her mind drifted back to Essos again, where she’d first met Toten and Arya.

Some of the younger warriors who hadn’t quite learned their lesson about Jhakara decided they would try to take her. She’d nearly killed Toten that day. She turned to face one of the warriors who had grabbed her, swinging a right hook right for his temple. Toten was there, shouting at the man. Before she knew it, he’d placed himself between her punch.

“Hey, leave her alone!” he said, just as a burly Dothraki fist shut his mouth for him. It had given Jhakara all of the time she needed to bash the Dothraki off of Toten. At the time, all that had seemed important about his intervention seemed to be the precious time it had given her to strike down her assailants. In time, she came to find just how different Toten’s outlook was. Maybe it was all of Westeros that was different. In the Dothraki Sea, everything had been a battle. Sleeping, eating, even riding could be turned into a battle. Not that Jhakara minded fighting. It was what she was raised around. The warriors always seemed to take offense to her fighting alongside them. With the Dothraki, she’d had to fight to be anything but property. Here, it was different.

Toten was willing to pit himself against some astonishing odds to see that people weren’t wronged. What he lacked in fighting ability, he reaped in spirit. And that spirit could be waning any second now. She had found a kindred spirit in Arya as well. Their first few fights had proven that much. The bottom line was that House Lougas had taken her friends. As the light faded, Jhakara looked up to the castle looming on the mountainside behind her. It would be a tough climb, with the sheer rock wall. They’d have to drop onto the battlements from above them.

Yes, it was going to be tough.

But for Jhakara’s friends, she would do anything. Toten was a good man, far better than any of the Dothraki she’d known. He’d helped bring her around to coming to Westeros. He’d been by her side through everything, even the Dragon training. Even in Bonetown, when everyone else had forgotten her.

She didn’t have time to think of this now. Darkness was falling. Her and Ellia had a rescue mission to complete.

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Subtul-tee.
V. - When food and dishes go flying everywhere because you've done a good job.

Subltle-tee.

Jhakara thought as she staked out the kitchens. They had tried to poison Khal Natan once, but Jhakara would stop them this time. The cook looked restless, gazing around warily as he slipped out of the roo once he was sure no one was looking. Jhakara watched him slip out of sight, keeping most of her attention on the kitchen. Before long, the grinning man that Natan had described before showed up, preparing some of the dishes for dinner. Jhakara wanted to rush out and kill him. She even saw it happening. She would rush out, grab one of the pans and beat him upside the head with it before he even knew what had happened. She tensed up, nearly running out and blowing her cover.

Suddenly a voice in her head whispered to her. The voice of Khal Natan.

“’Subtultee.” she whispered from her hiding spot.

Quietly, she slipped back into the hall and was gone before anyone realized she had been there.

“Be like a ghost-demon. You are dragon.” she told herself as she followed the man to his tent. Once she was satisfied that was where he was staying, watching him slip into his tent for the time being, she slipped out herself to warn Natan.

Within minutes she was running through the main hall.

“TOTEN!” she bellowed, watching him raise the poisoned food towards his mouth.

Several dishes clattered to the floor in her wake as she rushed past a server.

She bowled Toten over in the process, knocking his food to the ground and succeeding in silencing the whole room, even for a momnet.

Subtul-tee. Right.

“It is poison!” she said, a bit louder than anticipated. Luckily, the clamor had already died down and people went back to their conversations and drinks. “The grinning man is in the servants tents. I saw him poison food.” Jhakara continued. This time with subtul-tee.

Khal Natan’s plan was foolproof, once he explained to Jhakara. She would sneak in and grab the tourney knights armor, and put it in the grinning man’s tent. Then the knight would confront the grinning man, and the problem would be solved. Jhakara wondered why she couldn’t just kill him herself, but this Westeros had new rules. And Khal Natan knew them well. Sneaking in was easy, considering the little girl the knight had hired as a body guard had fallen asleep. Bad bodyguards were called “Squires”. Lady Horse Face had taught her that word. She slipped the armor out of the tent, cut a slit into the assassins tent, and hid the stolen armor.

All had went well. Jhakara felt Shadow Man Raines would have been proud. When the knight came for his armor, Jhakara knew she had done her job well. Ser Micah’s sword entering the assassin’s body more times than she could count told her that they would not be having any problems from him.

And the best part was, the man didn’t even know he had killed an assassin! ‘Subtul-tee.’ Jhakara thought as they returned to the nights events.

Jhakara was learning much from Westeros.

And far more about being a warrior than she had expected.

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