A Song of Rock and Fire

Lanncaster Log 7

Natan Lanncaster’s Journal

My son has returned from war. When last I saw him, there were stars in his eyes, his young face eager and unblemished, my brother Whalen at his side.

Now he comes back to me. The stars turned to ice, his face bandaged heavily, my brother lifeless.

The first two weeks, Toten said no words, save for the screams that rang from his chambers during the night. Then they removed the bandage. His scar is grievous and will never fade or disappear, as some wounds are wont to do. It beggars belief that he didn’t lose his eye, let alone his life. I’ve never been a religious man, but I’ve thanked the Seven for that every day since his return.

I feared he had lost himself, that the kraken had dragged him down into the depths. He eyed the men training in the yard each day, but never stepped forward to join them when scant months ago he could not be torn away.

I woke one night to rid the stiffness from my leg. I stopped at the terrace and saw my son in the yard, a sword clutched in his hand. He had set a training bag across from him, though larger than any usually were. At the top a bucket sat upended, and in the moonlight I saw he had painted a crude kraken on it.

Toten looked at it for a long time in silence. I might have mistaken him for stone had his sword not been shaking. Finally he flew at the target, the sword crashing into it, again and again as Toten yelled wordlessly into the night until the target was nothing but ribbons. He put everything away and I returned to my chambers with Toten none the wiser.

The next morning Toten worked in the yard with the other men as usual, but his eyes had none of their old spark. Only a harsh determination. Focus. The battle changed my son. Gone was the boy who yearned for battle. What remains is a man who wants no battle, but will be ready for it when it comes.

I never wanted to fight either. I marched with Robert and Ned because I had to. I wanted to protect my closest friends. But I never hungered for battle like Robert. Sometimes I can still hear the bells of Stoney Sept, or the rush of the trident. I can always feel the arrow as if it were still embedded in my leg, just as I know Toten will always feel the bite of the kraken’s axe.

He rarely leaves the yard now. He hasn’t for weeks. Today he even knocked down Robrik. Soon I’ll give him Shatterstone. One of the only relics our family has from its days in the west. I have no more use of it. It deserves a man who can wield it well. And justly.

And I have no doubt that it will lead him to all his victories…

Lovely Lena 1

The rabbit bolted and she had it within the first five seconds. Her teeth were latched around its head and with a quick shake its neck was broken. The smell of its blood was intoxicating, like the smells of a full course meal boiled down into one glorious liquid.

As she gnawed on the rabbit’s body she would take quick glances around her. The courtyard gardens at Highgarden were much as she remembered them, though were now cast in the grays and blacks of Shepard’s vision. All around, the Highgarden soldiers patrolled in their long green cloaks, smelling of stale ale, old sweat, metal, and a hundred other scents,

Before long she finished with the rabbit and dug a small hole to bury the remains. When she had first started to have the hound dreams she wasn’t sure if they were even real, but they were similar enough to the green dreams to make her wonder. So, in the dreams she had started to dig holes during her nightly excursions as Shepard the hound. In the morning she would prowl the grounds as Lena Tyrell until she found the holes, and proved to herself that the dreams were indeed truth through another set of eyes.

Climbing the eastern tower steps were much easier with sight and four legs, and before long Lena was looking upon herself sitting in a chair next to Willas who was reading out of “The Fields of Fire, a History of House Targaryn”. Little did her Lord husband know she had snuck off into Shepard’s skin with her blindfold covering her closed eyes.

Willas looked much as he did the day they were wed. Tall, but not as robust as his younger brothers. Handsome, but in a cleaner more average way than the Knight of Flowers or the Kingslayer. He was not a man to set a girl’s heart afire with passion, but he filled hers with a love deeper than a young girl can imagine. Willas was not the kind of man to ride into a burning building or slay a dragon for you, but he was the kind of man who would stand next to you for all time without a thought of wavering. He was the man she loved and that was all he needed to be.

“Lena, are you asleep?” her Lord husband suddenly asked.

“Of course not, you were talking about the Young Dragon I believe?” she said quickly after shifting back into her own body, back into the darkness. She could hear the slight change in Shepard’s breathing as he regained control of himself and padded off to his floor born bed. She could hear the slight pause in Willas’ voice and knew his face must have been priceless. “Oh, and your handkerchief is sliding out of your pocket, best stow it better my love,” she said with a smile.

Willas started to say something as she heard him shift his hand to the cloth in question, that she had seen easily through Shepard’s eyes. When Willas found the handkerchief was indeed falling out all he could do was stammer and stutter as Lena wore her most mischievous smile. Teasing Willas was almost as fun as teasing Toten, and ten times as easy.

- – -

Lena hovered somewhere between consciousness and the void in Willas’ arms. Their love making had been fierce and both were still trapped in the afterglow one can only find with those they love. Willas could not run, or ride a horse, or fight in war, but he remained unhindered in what Lena considered the more important aspects of a man’s life.

Without warning Lena was in the dark void of one of the green dreams. She was falling through nothingness naked, and could see naught but blackness around her until little points of light started to shimmer into existence around her. The day of her wedding her sight was robbed from her, but she did not mourn her loss. Two eyes were closed that day, but a third of infinite sight was opened. As the bits of light swirled around her she felt the heaviness in her chest that came with the dreams that were destined to occur.

Suddenly she came to a stop on a hard metal ground and the pieces of light flared around her as if in a swirling wind. The brightest light found itself upon her belly and spread out into a beautiful white rose. She knew immediately that Willas’ seed must have quickened within her this very night.

The dream wavered and she was pulled away into another. Her mind swirled with the feeling of dizziness that comes with a dream that is unknown, a dream that may or may not be. Gabby sat in a field of darkness with black shapes surrounding her. The dark figures brandished black blades of shadow and hate. As they swirled around her a great lion appeared, ripping and tearing through the black shadows. Before the mighty beast the shadows were banished and light bloomed in the field around Gabby. The lion’s mane was white, its front right paw gold.

Lena woke with a start, several hours had passed in the night. She felt for and donned her robe as she whistled Shepard to her side. She no longer needed a leash for him to guide her, she felt his presence now and could move freely by gingerly touching him with her mind. Before she left she felt for and kissed Willas on the brow, then she was heading down to the dungeons.

At the door down to the dark cells one of the jailers stopped her briefly before allowing her to pass, once he realized who he had stopped. The jailer was one of Margaery’s, as was most of the inner house servants, Margaery had a way with the small folk about the castle. Lena had found most of her little mice among the soldiers and field workers. Which of the two women had the better spies was of little matter as they all belonged to Olenna.

The Queen of Thornes had invited Lena to her and Margaery’s weekly luncheon of tea and biscuits shortly after her marriage to Willas. Lena had quickly discovered that the tea party was not a weekly gathering of pleasure, it was training. Lena and Margaery were made to play a game of Olenna’s choosing each week. In the beginning it involved finding a false rumor the Queen of Thorns had planted among the servants and rooting out the truth. Later it involved Lena and Margaery trying to hide secrets from one another, and Olenna, by passing information to those they trusted among the castle, the goal being for the girls to discover the secret keeper of the other’s information. Often, many false secrets and lines of intrigue were used to further the deceptions. Lena had done poorly at first, but quickly caught up to Margaery after a few months time for her to finding her own little mice.

Every week the three women would sit down and Olenna would decide a winner. There were often draws and neither girl would win too often in a row. It had caused a split between Margaery, always expecting to be the best, and Lena, who had learned far more quickly than even she would have imagined. Lena’s father could play the game quite well it was said, he just chose not to. In Highgarden there was little else but the game.

In her first month Lena was tasked with rooting out the little birds around the castle. The number of people bought by Littlefinger or tweeting to Varys was astounding. Even more astounding was the number of Lords and Ladys that had a presence in the castle. Lord Tywin had quite a few throughout the kitchens (a scary thought) and the stable boy was certainly reporting to agents of Konrad Lugus and his son. Even the Red Viper had one of Lena’s handmaidens in his employ. Lena especially liked to tell that girl of the bedroom escapades of her and Willas, embellished of course. Lena liked the idea of working Oberyn up from afar over his friend Willas and his beautiful blind wife. Men were so easy to control. By now Lena had a steady supply of lies going out all over the seven kingdoms mixed with just enough truth to make the Lords keep their spies in place. Toten may battle on the field to keep her safe, but Lena battled daily in her own home to return the protection to him.

Finally, Lena found herself sitting on a stool one of the jailers had placed for her across from the small cell. Shepard sat patiently beside her.

From the direction of the cell came the voice of the Kingslayer, “What do you want?”

“I came here to talk good Ser. Just to talk.”

“And why should I talk to you at such an early hour? I need my beauty sleep after all.”

“Because, I think you still have some greatness left in you Ser Jamie and I want to find it.”

He snorted, “No longer. I was great once, but your oafish brother took the best part of me.”

“No,” she said calmly, “you were a monster once, and my brother took the worst of you. Let’s find out if you are an oath breaker without a sword, or if you are something more.”

They talked until dawn and would meet such weekly from then on. Jamie in his cell and Lena on her stool.

Captain Maester Lons, MD, Ph.D
What is this I don't even

The large merchant ship cut through the water like a dying zebra, but the pirate ship was quicker and more agile, slipping across the large waves with ease. It aimed to cut them off, which, barring no other action. The Captain was steadfast in his resolve that he and his 3 guards could hold off a 20 man boarding team of pirates hell bent on capturing them, and if not skilled in swordplay, had enough straight brutality to match. The Maester knew the captain was a fool, but expected a bit more tactical prowess from the man. Quickly setting to work, he found a crate of swords in the cargo bay and set Tyene to work on undoing the slaves. Maybe they would stand a chance… he wondered as he watched the first slave Tyene set free charge towards the captain. The man was no saint, in fact, he was one of the more brutal slave owners he’d seen so far. He seemed to be constantly beating his slaves, whether they did right or wrong. The slave set to choking the life out of the captain as his guards tried to pull the hulking man off of him. A sudden wave sent the melee tumbling off the ship, and Lons swore he had seen the slave choking the man all the way into the water. “They’ve made their beds” the Maester thought, his mind focused on only survival. “Row harder!” he yelled, as the boat lurched forward just as the intercepting vessel cut them off. The stalwart trading ship crushed through the lightweight hull of the speedy craft, splintering its’ prow and leaving it quickly sinking into the waves. Grappling hooks shot over the gunwales, roping their ship in close, as much out of desperation as malice. Lons hobbled to the deck, determined to repel the boarders before they even got aboard. He slashed at one of the ropes, sending several lightly armored soldiers to their demise. As he did so, two others bared down on him as they stood up with the well honed balance of an experienced sailor. Maester Lons kicked a cleaning bucket over towards them, desperate to stall for time. The soap did it’s job, leaving them prone in a heap as they got up ready to beat all of the knowledge out of him. Just as they began to press the attack, several of the slaves ran up, clumsily wielding swords. “We only know how to row!” they spoke. “Just stick them with the pointy end!” he yelled back. The pair looked at each other and shrugged before screaming with the bound up rage of a hundred warriors, If only their swordplay was as effective as their display. Still, one of the intruders was defeated, although the brave slave dove off the ship with him. The other slave continued hacking away at his enemy, the pirate utterly at a loss for how to defend against such a random attack. Two more slaves armed with spears rushed to the deck and joined the fight as Lons ordered the swordsman to cut the rest of the ropes. The spearmen rushed in, their spears cutting through leather like paper. One of the slaves even tossed his spear overboard before glancing around embarassed. The wreckage of the pirate vessel slipped under the waves as the last of the ropes was cut away. They’d repelled the attack, against all odds. Maester Lons set Tyene to freeing the rest of the oarsmen and got a few of the other crewmen to replace the dead rowers. He disappeared into the cabin, searching for a more passable piece of Captains attire. He donned the coat and put the hat upon his head, looking like some culmination of Jack Sparrow and Edward Teach, although more frail and wimpy. Tyene couldn’t hold in her laughter. “Very nice Lons,” she said, still giggling intermittently. “Your orders,” she said in an exaggerated fashion “Captain.” Lons smiled, finally glad to set something right, even if it wasn’t going to change the world. It was at least a start.

Lanncaster Log 6

Toten sat astride Boulder, his plate gleaming in the morning sun, his helm cradled under his arm. He stood on a rise, watching as the twenty six thousand men assembled in the fields below. He looked to his left and could just make out the tops of Highgarden over the small hill between his forces and the Lannisters.

“My lord.”

Toten turned as Willem Rains, captain of his dragons, emerged from the trees. “It’s time, Lord Toten. Tyrell is planning to move shortly.”

Toten nodded as the man melted back into the shadows of the canopy and urged Boulder down the hill. He rode past the men. Some called out to him and he rose his arm in salute. More fussed about, anxious over what was to come. At the front of the lines he found Oberyn, lightly armored as was his wont, spear in hand. He nodded as Toten trotted by. Mace Tyrell sat astride a massive horse, looking smug as he looked over the troops.

“Ok, men!” Tyrell boomed in a lazy voice. “This is it!”

Toten put his heels to Boulder and drew Shatterstone. “HEAR ME! HEAR!” he roared, cutting off the lord of Highgarden from sending the men running for the hills. Men straightened their backs and lifted their chins as Toten rode down the line, the sun gleaming off of his sword. Toten knew he must speak honorably and true. His father had told him that. That the wrong words could lose a battle before it had even begun. Natan Lanncaster had not sat a horse since before the Greyjoy rebellion, but he rode with Toten that morning, his voice carrying over the thousands.

“We ride now! We ride with honor and duty! The singers will write of this day! The day when roses and rocks and sand marched together to bring down lions!” Men banged their swords on shields and cheered as Toten rode, Shatterstone held high, his shadowcat cloak flying behind him. “They will hear our army!” he roared. “And they will know that we are UNBENT! UNBOWED! And UNBROKEN!” The dornish cheered and clattered the spears on shields. He turned and rode back down the line. “That we are GROWING STRONG!” The reach men raised their swords and yelled. Toten rode back to the center between Mace and Oberyn. “And though we may be cast out, we will never be, CAST DOWN!” The entire host roared and the earth shook as the thousands yelled for battle and for Toten Lanncaster. Toten donned his helm and spun his horse. “ROCKFALL!” he yelled, putting heel to Boulder and charging forward. Twenty six thousand men charged after him.

The field was a tangle of the dead and dying. The screams of man and horse alike filled Toten’s ears as he rode forward, his cavalry and the Kingslayers colliding in a clash of steel. He heard the whistling of a hail of arrows and the scream of a horse and felt the crash of the ground rushing up to meet him. The air was thick with the smell of blood.

Toten picked up Shatterstone and hauled himself to his feet. He turned and saw Boulder strewn across the ground, blood running from an arrow lodged deep in his chest. Toten knelt next to one of his oldest friends, hand on the black horses mane, matted with blood. Boulder lifted his head to look at Toten one last time and then fell back, the life gone from him. Toten stood and looked across the field. Few were standing.

Tyger Wyl walked towards him, bloodied but alive. He raised an arm but his words were cut off by a yell and a gasp as a sword forced its way through his chest. He fell to the ground, the Kingslayer standing behind him. Fury overcame Toten as he stalked toward Jamie. He ripped off his helm and threw it to the ground, pointing Shatterstone at his foe. “You face me, Kingslayer. And this time you won’t get the chance to run.”

Jamie’s helm fell to the ground and he charged at Toten, sword battering against shield, nicking through. Toten twisted his shield and turned Jamie’s sword, striking back and matching the Kingslayer blow for blow, his valyrian steel biting deep into Jamie’s shield.

They parted briefly, both breathing heavy before crashing together again, each sword turned away. Jamie rushed at Toten, trying to push him back but the lord of Rockfall dropped to a knee and cut the Kingslayers leg as he rushed past.

Soldiers gathered around the two warriors, mostly Rockfall men but a few Lannisters had set aside their fights, shouting and cursing as they watched Toten and Jamie battle. None made a move to interfere as the steel clashed and shields chipped.

The Kingslayer advanced on Toten, his sword flashing like few in Westeros had ever seen. Toten backed away from his blows, catching them on his shield again and again. “Enough,” he growled. Toten twisted his wrist and stepped toward Jamie, turning his sword and bringing Shatterstone slashing in at him. Suddenly it was the Kingslayer on the defensive as blow after blow pushed Jamie farther to the edge, using all his skill just to keep up with Toten. Shatterstone ripped Jamie’s shield away and pushed further as he was barely able to parry Toten’s attacks. Toten swept his sword and knocked Jamie’s aside and then swung down, the valyrian steel easily severing the Kingslayer’s right hand.

Jamie fell screaming as blood poured from the stump of his arm. Toten stood over him and said: “And now you’ll know that a rock will always beat a lion,” as the Kingslayer fell into blackness.

The men were chanting something around them and he turned to look. “Titan! Titan! Toten the Titan!” He looked past them at the thousands of corpses in the field. The crows would feast tonight. Toten nodded at his men, putting on a strong face for them, but unable to look past all the bodies. A titan I may be. But what is a titan without men to build him high?

The Captain of the Rock 1
A Man's Thoughts

Lady Lanncaster’s silver hair fell down the sides of her face as she leaned over the small records book her and Jance were reviewing. She quickly tied her hair up with itself, instead of with pin or cloth, and continued their conversation.

“Bilim is a good man, but it will be good to have you back on the ledgers. I’m not sure this is even written in a known language,” she said smiling as she looked up at him with her deep purple eyes.

She was beautiful and half the men were in love with her, Jance included, but they respected her and Lord Toten too much to let it become anything more than passing fancy and late night dreaming. Jance smiled back, “Well my lady, I will do my very best to square everything away. Winter is coming, so I’d been mostly focusing on the food stores before. . .well, you know.” He still had trouble thinking about it.

Jance had been sure that Renly was going to have him killed that day, but the gods had been with him and his life was spared, though his honor and dignity were drug through the dirt on the long ride north in the Stormlands, tied up with the very men he had fought to keep out of Rockfall the day before. Jance was not sorry ‘King’ Renly had met a bad end.

When Jance had been brought out to be whipped he had expected one hundred lashes and had received one. The lashes the men took filled Jance with pride knowing they cared for their lost Captain so, but the lashes Ser Robrik took filled him with humility, for the knight in all his eccentricities was one of the most honorable men in the Seven Kingdoms, and he did not lightly give his respect to the undeserving. The man had trained Jance since boyhood next to his Lord and it seemed the old man cared as much for Jance as he for him. The lash Lady Gabriella took filled him with duty. The second that leather bit into her back Jance had sworn his life to her, and Jance Morgan was not a man to waver in his duty.

“That’s good Jance, keep up what you have been doing. This castle is as safe in your hands as it is in Toten’s,” she said ignoring his stumbling. She had a way about her where she would ignore the embarrassing mishaps people so often made and make them feel like they never happened at all. She had shown the ability not a few hours before when Ser Loras pulled steel screaming of killing and she had made a very real threat towards him, then the very next thing out of her mouth were words of friendship and care. It was a quality many great leaders had throughout history. Though the woman was more than just a fine leader.

Robrik had told Jance of what happened in the Vale, and frankly the stories frightened him. This small woman had in her the ability to slay many men twice her size in the span of a heartbeat. She was dangerous and wonderful and frightening and beautiful. She was a woman you respected, not because of her position, but because she demanded it.

“Well Jance, I have much to do, so I’ll leave you to it.” She said heading for the door. “Oh, one other thing,” she said grabbing his arm lightly, causing his heart to beat faster at her touch, “watch the new maester. I mislike the man. If he becomes too much trouble, perhaps he can find himself away from Rockfall, one way or another.” The way she said it as she walked out of the room gave Jance a chill. Lord Toten was a lucky man, but just the same Jance didn’t envy him.

The next day Jance watched his Lady ride off toward Highgarden as he stayed behind in Rockfall with his duty. Jance was used to being left behind. Lord Toten had quickly surpassed him in martial prowess in their early teens. Lady Lena had left for her new husband and crushed what remained of his boyhood heart. Even Lord Natan had left him, though through no fault of his, gods rest him. Jance was always left behind. Though, instead of sorrow it filled the young man with purpose. His Lord’s castle was his to guard. His Lord and Lady’s children were his to protect, along with all the servants and small folk and men. Jance was the rock in the river for Rockfall, and everyone was much the better because of it.

As he walked back toward the main hall he passed by the stables and thought back to the wedding they had had almost two years ago. The Dornish with their dark skin and hot food and strangeness had turned the castle upside down in so many ways, but Jance had been the most changed. The night before the wedding Arianne Martell had found Jance near the stables in the night and before long the two were locked in passion. Jance remembered being horrified and aroused all at the same time, her dark breasts pressed against his skin and her warm mouth over his. He kept saying they couldn’t because she was a highborn lady and Arianne had just laughed about how she had fucked many men of far less status that Jance Morgan, but few with such robust good looks. The Dornish were a very different people, but the taste of Arianne Martell had been on his lips for many days after their tryst in the stables, and he still thought fondly of her.

Jance wondered what Arianne was doing right then, hoping that she was somewhere pleasant and good.

Many leagues away in Sunspear Arianne Martell was preparing to sail for Rockfall in order to have a very important discussion with Jance Morgan. She hoped he was wise enough to know that sometimes a man must go against his duty to keep those he loves safe.

Lanncaster Log 5

Natan Lanncaster’s Journal

We’ve turned the army south, to meet Robert at Stony Sept, rushing to lead the men since Robert was injured. We made camp at High Heart last night. It’s as good of a position as one could ever hope for, easily defensible and if the weather is clear you can see clear to Riverrun. I think most commanders tend to shy away because of the stories of the hauntings there.

I should have heeded those warnings.

I dare not speak of it to any others lest they think I’ve gone mad, but I’ll speak it here. I was sitting on a stump in my tent looking over the maps when suddenly she was at my arm. I nearly called for guards but my tongue failed me. Perhaps I needed to hear. Perhaps it was some spell the dwarf witch cast upon me.

She asked me for some wine and as I poured she spoke of dreams. She spoke my name and asked if she should share. I could only nod. She said she dreamt of a proud stag battered and alone, brought low by a lion while a wolf turned his back. She dreamt that my leg turned to stone. And she dreamt that a small stone broke from a rock, and as it tumbled, it grew into a boulder than would never break.

I had turned my head when I heard a howl in the distance and when I turned back, the witch was gone. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. I must have gone over her words a thousand times. None of it made sense. And yet somehow it all rings of truth. I’m sure I gave the men a fright with how I looked in the morn.

Robert in his cups once told me that he would rather I take the Iron Throne when all the fighting was done. I told him it looked like an uncomfortable chair and my rump wouldn’t be well suited for it. He only laughed and called for more wine.

We only stayed on the hill for a day, but I feel as if I carried a heavy burden down. I only hope that my shoulders can bear the load…

Lanncaster Log 4

Toten walked into his tent and put a hand to his injured shoulder. The Lannister sword had cut deep and true, and Toten itched around it as his skin slowly healed.

He sat at a table near the weak glow of a brazier, wishing that Lons were with him. “He’d have some advice,” Toten muttered to himself. “And probably would have fixed the damned wound already.” His thoughts drifted across Westros to where Lons might be now. Toten hoped he’d fare well. Essos was a large and strange place, or so the stories told.

He stoked the flames, brightening the tent. The dwarf witch’s words from a few nights past haunting him. Toten had tried to dismiss them but his meeting with Oberyn had brought them screaming back to the forefront of his attention.

“Jon Arryn said he would have chosen your father to be king,” the Red Viper had said. “A man who people loved, who his enemies feared, who didn’t want the power bestowed upon him.”

Toten had nearly spilled his wine across the table upon hearing that, caught unaware by Oberyn’s tone and subject. He’d never known that other men had thought so highly of his father. His whole life, Natan had never given any indication that he had come close to a throne.

And that dwarf saw me wearing a crown… Toten sighed. I never asked for any of this. So much seems to be asked of me of late but there is no one I truly trust left to counsel me. At every turn I find myself having to send Gabby off, and now Lons seems to be gone for good, lost from me.

Toten rose and walked to his bed as the brazier slowly dimmed into shadowy embers, the wind outside flapping the sides of the tent. He pulled his father’s journal from a pack next to the bed and returned to the brazier. He opened it and as he read Toten remembered his father’s steady voice and strong face, hoping that there was one person who might still have some wisdom for him…

A Woman's Weapon

The Maester lay in bed recuperating from Tyene’s poisoning. He wasn’t sure what to think about much of anything at this point. He’d known Tyene was a dangerous woman, but did not expect her to go as far as she had for her lusts. Was it wrong of him to withdraw from her? All for a chain? He wasn’t truly sure anymore. Still, rape was not a valid way of getting your lover back to your side. He would have to be more careful in the future, regardless of what decision he made.

“Ow!” Tyene exclaimed dropping one of her needles to the floor, the glass vial shattering with it’s venomous payload. “Um, Lons…” she stammered, her hand quickly beginning to shake as the poison took hold. “I’ve poisoned myself with Wolfsbane. I’m going to be unconcious soon. I could really use your help.” She barely managed to utter the last sentence before collapsing to the floor. Maester Lons quickly rushed over to her, already running through antidotes to the poison.
Black Frost and Ground Thistle.
Why even save her?
Giant’s Fire and Charcoal.
It wasn’t a matter of lust. It wasn’t a matter of revenge. Despite Tyene’s actions, she had still helped get him from Westeros. Perhaps it was partially his fault, for leading her on. Marwyns words still stung him deeply though. A singleminded pursuit of knowledge while forgoing a chance at love? Why couldn’t a man have both?
He worked skillfully as he forced the poison out of her finger, trying to ensure it did not begin to necrotize. He cut away some of the dead tissue to ensure it would not spread and helped to hold back the fever that began to overtake her.

Despite it all, he still cared, gods damnit.

All through the night, he stood vigil, ensuring that the poison had been removed.
The citadel and Marwyn were leagues away. Tyene, like it or not, was all the Maester had. Marwyn couldn’t save him. A chain wouldn’t get him by. The closest thing to a friend or ally he would have for quite some time would be Tyene.

Tyene came to, albeit groggily. “Lons…” she whispered in a weak voice that betrayed her usual display of strength and more manliness than most men. She reached out and grabbed his hand. He returned the grasp reassuringly and Tyene quickly lost consciousness again as she fought against the brutal poison. Lons sat with her hand in his for some time and contemplated the road ahead. It was dark and unclear and the path began to disappear, until it was only an expanse before him. A blank slate of possibiliities stretched out to infinity. Once in Qarth, he could worry about redemption, for now, he’d…they’d just have to take each day as it arrived.

Father Lons
The Septon Westeros Deserves

Captain Grabo hung looked at the Maester turned Septon with a singleminded tenacity that he’d never seen before. The man seemed to hang on to the Maester’s every thought. “Well, you see, my child.” the Maester spoke, cobbling together a deep metaphysical rendering of a passage from the Seven Pointed Star together. “The lantern that Crone shines lights our way, even on the darkest of paths. Without it, we are naught but blind men stumbling in a direwolves den.” The Captain was overrun with emotion, sobbing “OH! Yes! Thank you so much Septon! We must have a sermon later! Seven know the crew needs it! I can whip them if you like!” Maester Lons found the man insufferable, but his free voyage to Lys was worth the groveling of this Priest-Captain. “That won’t be necessary, my friend, I assure you. The seven are merciful, and you should try to be as well.” Maester Lons idly ran through poisons that would render the man unconcious, lest the Maester have to perform a surgery on his own jugular. Nightshade and wormroot, Juniper berries, mixed with a solution of Milk of the Poppy and Wolfsbane. “Oh!,” the captain exclaimed “That reminds me! I have grievous sins to confess to you, Septon. Would you be so merciful to an old sinning wretch like myself and hear my affronts to the Seven?” The Maester held his complexion, but inside, he groaned at the mere thought of it. Well, maybe it wouldn’t be too bad, he was an old sea captain, he had to have some affronts to attest to, the Maester told himself. “Anything for a child of the faith.”

“I only gave the beggar one copper when I had two! Oh, the shame!”
“I used 6 colors in my artwork instead of seven! How could I anger the gods with such travesties?”
“And perhaps the most grievous of all my sins, I once LOOKED AT A WOMAN!”

Several times, the captain lay in a sobbing heap on the ground like the poor wretch he was.
“The soft hearts of women…” Maester Lons thought. Tyene shared a look with him that nearly caused him to burst out in laughter, but he managed to hold it in, showing nothing but a face of calm absolution.
“No, wait, how could I forget the most grievous of my sins?! I ate dinner and didn’t share it with the rats in my cabin! Oh, Seven, be merciful on this poor soul!”
Never before had Maester Lons wanted to throttle a man. He even found himself counting down the seconds it would take before the Captain lost consciousness. It would take approximately ten seconds.

“I kissed my grandmother goodbye once!”
“I ate a sweetroll!”
“I once said ‘No, Thank You.’ to someone offering me a drink!.”
“I had impure thoughts about my wife!”

Approximately 2 hours later, the Maester sat, or nearly slept, propped up on his elbow and doing his best to feign interest in the man’s “horrid” confessions. “What is my penance Septon?” The Maester wracked his brain for punishments. A vow of silence would be a good start. “Say 8 Prayers of the Smith and think on your sins, my son. The Seven will forgive you.” he said, with an exaggerated bow. “Oh thank you!” the captain said jubilantlyand ran out of the room leaving the Maester and Tyene to themselves. Maester Lons stood up, slowly and went to the liquor cabinet. Tyene was already there and pouring the strongest drinks she could find. “To the seven.” she said, raising her glass high. “To the merciful seven.” Lons responded, welcoming the stiff alcohol.

His breathing became labored as he sat and talked with Tyene. Curious, he thought and quickly ran through possible causes in his mind. Nightshade stuck out to him. Strangely, Tyene had mentioned it sometime ago. He tried to focus on the conversation as the world became hazy, his senses dulled with the effect of the drug and a numbing sensation overwhelmed him. Just as he was world’s away from Westeros, his mind was world’s away from his body. “Thrrrs smmmmtin innn meee drnnnk.” he managed to slur out. “I know, Lons.” Tyene spoke. "I put it there. " Tyene smiled. “I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, but it’s Nightshade. It’s a paralytic used for battlefield amputations and other traumatic surgeries. You’ll be fine, but it’ll be some time before you can feel, let alone move again.” The Maester’s mind raced, trying to determine why Tyene would poison him. The answer came as he crashed to the floor soon after Tyene kicked the chair out from under him. “You think you’re so coy, giving me what I want and then yanking it away?” she said as she straddled the Maester’s helpless body. “Well, if I can’t have it. I’ll just have to take it, won’t I?” she said with a laugh. “The soft hearts of women…” the Maester thought as he was forced to submit to Tyene’s devious ploy. The maester tried to focus his mind on something else, which wasn’t exceedingly difficult considering his entire body was paralyzed and numb. “It is how we overcome darkness that determines the worth of a man, not his triumphs in battle or his keenly sharpened mental prowess. It is by surmounting the bloodying obstacles of life with the tenacity of the most ferocious beast, tearing through every wall. Only then will we rise nobly on the other side to be stronger than and steel blade or barricade.” The quote gave the man solace even as he sailed towards unknown dangers and adventure. The ship rocked on the calm seas, expertly plotting its course to Lys.

Lanncaster Log 3
A direct follow up to the previous

Natan Lanncaster moved stiffly across his chambers, his journal in one hand, his cane firmly held in the other, clicking across the floor with each step. He stopped at his favorite spot at the window seat and lowered himself into it, rubbing the stiffness from his injured leg. The sun was peeking out from behind the gray clouds, filling the yard below with light as the people of the castle went about their business. Natan picked up the quill he’d left at the window and began to write.

It’s been almost two months since I’ve returned from the north, my leg shattered. It hurts every day. I’m lucky I escaped with it still attached, the maester wanted to take the whole thing off, but I wouldn’t have it. I forced myself to stay awake for the entire time, just to make sure he didn’t try it. Now, as the pain throbs constantly, I wonder if I made the right decision.

Still, it’s good to be home. Toten has grown more than I thought possible in such a short time. He keeps asking when he’ll get to go off to war too. I smile and tell him when he’s older but I pray to the gods old and new that he never has to experience the things I’ve seen. That doesn’t seem to keep him from chasing young Jance Morgan around with a stick shouting on about single combat. Where he got that from I can’t say. Probably from Robrik and the men. And Lena, always with her nose in a book, she has no mind for the stuff of highborn ladies, though I can’t fault her that.

And yet it is my children who will reap the consequences of Robert and Ned and my decisions. Of our battles. The more I think of it, the more I hope they never have to worry about the troubles of the north or the actions of kings.

But men do not always get their wishes, I know. So I will teach them as best I can. Teach them to be proud and honorable. To be wise and choose their friends carefully. To be wary. And to follow their instincts above all.

That is war enough for any man.

Natan closed the journal and set it on his desk, his cane clacking loudly as he limped down the hall and to the yard to find his children.


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