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Henry v. Keiper

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Dec 13, 2003
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This AAR is going to be using the Game of Thrones mod, which can be found at the subforum here. For the longest time, I had felt inspired to write an AAR of this mod, but had hesitated. Partially this was because I'm still reading through the books (currently on the third one); plus, I didn't want people to think I was jumping on a bandwagon, as the CK2 AAR forum tends to have periods of GoT AAR booms. In the past, I had tried a few families that I might have pursued into an AAR, but would usually just let it go. Finally, I decided to just dive in, get to writing, and just have fun.

The starting point for this story will be "The Crowned Stag," which takes place immediately after Robert's Rebellion but long before the events of the first book. I chose this to avoid any worry about spoilers for my readers, as well as to permit the world to go as far away from the original sequence of events as possible. So...unless you absolutely positively don't want to know anything about the books before reading them...this AAR should be pretty much spoiler-free. Granted, I can't speak for anyone who might respond to this thread and be stupid and stinky.

The focus of this AAR will be on a house that I have made up and created in the game using the Ruler Designer DLC. In the first post, there will be some explanation as to how this house came about, although I will ask my readers for a little leeway on the plausibility. :D I will be starting with a county, and will plan on working my way up to at least Lord Paramount and, if possible, the Iron Throne itself. As such, this will be a bit more freer in the sequence of events than my Nerevarine AAR, where everything was centered around a single narrative.

As for those following my Nerevarine AAR, fear not – I am NOT abandoning that! I intend to continue updating it and seeing it through to the end. However, as I said, I've felt inspired to do a GoT mod AAR, and this will permit me to explore other worlds and storylines.



Part I: Lord Lorys of Lockport (June 2, 284 AL - May 21, 306 AL)
Chapter 1: Lorys
Chapter 2: Dermot
Chapter 3: Eglantine
Chapter 4: Lysana
Chapter 5: Lorys
Chapter 6: Jorda
Chapter 7: Lysana
Chapter 8: Eglantine
Chapter 9: Dermot
Chapter 10: Lorys
Chapter 11: Lysana
Chapter 12: Lorys
Chapter 13: Bryen
Chapter 14: Lorys
Chapter 15: Andren
Chapter 16: Lorys
Chapter 17: Bartimos
Chapter 18: Eglantine
Chapter 19: Andren
Chapter 20: Lester
Chapter 21: Lorys
Chapter 22: Andren
Chapter 23: Bartimos
Chapter 24: Eglantine
Chapter 25: Andren

Part II: Lord Andren of Lockport (May 21, 306 AL - )
Chapter 1: Bartimos
Chapter 2: Andren
Chapter 3: Clifford
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Part 1: Lord Lorys of Lockport

Chapter 1: Lorys

It was the middle of 284 AL. It had been a year after the conflict that had been dubbed "Robert's Rebellion," and Westoros is once again at peace, with the Seven Kingdoms united under the reign of King Robert Baratheon.

To the north, the Wall was held under the command of Lord Commander Jantos Qorgyle of the Night's Watch. The Wildlings were divided and kept to themselves, with no threat from the north. Legends told of strange creatures of the winter, beings who could raise the dead to fight for them, and who could only be destroyed by fire. Others spoke of giants and strange beasts, though no one had seen such things for hundreds upon hundreds of years.


After the rebellion, Storm's End, and indeed all of the Stormlands, had been given to his youngest brother, Renly (much to the chagrin of the older brother Stannis). He was still a boy of six, though dashing and refined in his own right, in a way that reminded many of the younger Robert.


In the southern regions of the Stormlands, where Cape Wrath lies along the Sea of Dorne, was the region of Red Watch, ruled for many years by the House Swann. The current lord was Gulian, the elderly knight who did little but sit in Stonehelm and eat or lounge about on his soft cushions.


Finally, in the city of Lockport was ruled by one Lord Lorys, of the House Threedrop. The previous lord had died during the siege of Storm's End, for reasons no one was quite certain of: some say he died of starvation before the arrival of the Onion Knight and his relief; others suggested it may have been a disease he contracted from a whore. Whatever the reason, he had left Lockport without an heir. Lorys was a capable commander and a fine warrior, who was said to have feared no man. He had led a team of horsemen across the hills of Westoros, leading raiding attacks behind loyalist lines. For his service during the Rebellion, displaying great courage that was noticed by the Usurper, he was awarded by Lord Gulian (at the behest of King Robert) the seat in Herston Hall. He had likewise been granted a family name, and took the name "Threedrop," based off of his standard: a white banner with three drops of blood. The choice of banner had come from Lorys' claim that it had been he who had slain Ser Jonothor Darry, one of Aerys the Mad's Kingsguard at the Battle of the Trident: after pulling his sword from the knight, three single drops of blood fell upon his white cloak.


When Lorys took the seat, many were unsure of what to expect, and many eyed this hedge knight turned lord with suspicion. Some worried that he would remove all on the small council and replace them with political allies, or sellswords from his former ranks. Lorys knew they would think that, of course. He was also aware that, for a long time, few would trust his reign until he had gathered a few turns under his belt. Therefore, he committed no change to the small council, and preserved everyone in their original positions. It wasn't until the first small council session that he took his time examining everyone and studying what they were like.

The castellon at Herston Hall was Steffon, a lowborn with capable enough skills for his position. He was stubborn in his ways, while at the same time concerned that one of the other councilers might present themselves more recommendable for the position.


The master of laws was Jeren Herston. He was a knight, though his girth had kept him from fighting capably, and he had long forsaken his "ser." For Lorys, it was a pity, as he knew Jeren to have been a brave man, and a skilled combatant. Now, he did little than argue in debates and fight with books, even if it was capable enough.


The master at arms was the swordsman Arrec, a man who intrigued Lorys immensely. He had unfortunately been born with a hairlip, with skin missing before his front teeth; as a result, he lifted his lower lip in an attempt to hide it, resulting in a permanent sneer on his face. The deformation had given him a nasty personality, causing him hate other people by nature and only tolerating them because it was required to exist in the world. He had a mouth that he wasn't afraid to use even during the session, causing the septon to blush horribly. All the same, Lorys could read between the lines: beneath that foul half-lip of his, Arrec had a well read mind, and a sense of law and honor. Although he was known to stand behind the lines and command far from the front lines, he was perhaps the most intelligent commander in Herston Hall, and Lorys was happy to have him.


The master of coin was another lowborn named Manfred. He said little and got irritated easily, and was only tolerable at his required skills. Lorys made a mental note to plan to replace him.


The master of whisperers was a miserable smallfolk named Tommen, who was even worse for his position than Manfred was.


The local septon was a man named Clifford. He was not overly intelligent – in fact, Lorys wondered if he knew more about the Seven than this septon did. He was a nice enough gentleman, and didn't seem to be a hypocrite like many were.


Finally, there was Herston Hall's maester, Dermot. By the metals on his chain, one could tell he was skilled in diplomacy, intrigue, and economics. Early on in the council meeting, Lorys could feel a connection with the man, who spoke bluntly but with worthy advice. The new lord especially knew he would get along with the maester when a serving girl brought in cool water for everyone and, as she walked out with an absent-minded sway of her hips, had her bottom become the intense focus of Dermot's eyes. Clifford noticed and sneered a bit, but Lorys couldn't do much but smile.


After the meeting was held, Lorys drew Dermot aside and asked him to prepare a list of suitable brides in the realm, and have it ready after supper. That night, Lorys ascended the steps of Herson Hall towards the maester's loft, which had the usual packs upon packs of books, with ravens in the rafters, dropping their filth onto the floor below. Lorys had stepped through mud and blood, and stepping through the filth of ravens did little to disgust him. Dermot was near his balcony, at his lens tube. Lorys had seen maesters use them before to observe the skies and the stars, often to calculate the next winter, or study the weather patterns, but Dermot's was tilted at a lower angle, looking downward.

"And what are you doing?" Lorys asked.

Dermot turned and smirked. Without any shame, he moved aside, waving his hand towards the eyepiece. Lorys moved over and peeked through the tube. What he saw on the other end were many of the serving girls bathing in an otherwise isolated part of the rocks along the Dornish Sea. They were happily cleaning themselves and playfully splashing water at one another, never realizing that they were being watched by objectifying eyes some distance away.

"They go there every night," Dermot explained, "it makes for an enjoyable end to my evening. And they are too far away to see what I do."

Lorys nodded, not showing any disdain for his maester's dusk practices. "Do you have the list I asked you to prepare?"

"Yes I do," Dermot said. He walked over to the table, his brown maester robes trailing behind him as he lifted up a sheet of paper. It was covered with three long lists, made up entirely of scribbled names and houses, with a raven dropping here and there. "Here, m'lord, are a list of names, houses, and the like, that I have gathered from the most recent information concerning the recent courts of the Stormlands and her neighbors."


"Very good," Lorys said, smiling as he sat down, "Now, let us think a moment...I am going to need someone who is young...and someone who is very skilled..."

"Well, there are many like that," Dermot said, "I suppose the only clarification would be, do you want a woman who fills her corset or fills her skirt?"

"There are chambermaids and tavern whores for that," Lorys replied, "my only other concern would be someone of noble birth, who will not be a complete dunderhead."

Dermot nodded, "Well, many of the ones I found who were the best candidates were in the Reach, but-"

"That will be no good," Lorys interrupted, waving a finger.

"Oh?" Dermot said, lowering the paper and glancing over at his lord.

Lorys nodded, folding his hands over his lap, "Tell me something, Dermot - let's say I'm doing something I cannot do alone. We'll use a theoretic example: I'm attempting to overthrow Stonehelm. I'm outnumbered, but I need an ally. A marriage will grant my that alliance. And so, thanks to the woman I share a bed and sometimes my seed with, my ally raises his banners. How far do you think it will take someone from the deepest regions of the Reach to get here before Herston Hall is set to flames?"

Dermot laughed, "Seven Hells, you are right. We'd have our pants down quicker than a desperate septon in King's Landing!"

Lorys shared the laugh, "Exactly. I'd prefer someone right here, in the Stormlands – someone capable of raising armies to come to my bidding should I ever need them."

Dermot nodded, pursing his lips as he glanced down the scribblings. Another dropping fell on the sheet, but it didn't seem to bother him.

"There is...one girl," Dermot said, "she's got a name uglier than the hair between a Wildling wench's legs, but she comes from the stock of House Massey, in the region of Massey's Hook."

Lorys rolled his eyes. Why half the lords in Westoros named their lands after their family names boggled him. Perhaps it helped with the memorization of both geography and politics? It said much about the intelligence of your average lord. "What is her name?"

"Eglantine," Dermot replied, "Eglantine Massey. I've seen her mother – I wouldn't bed her unless I took her from behind, but the daughter inherited some of the father's softer features."

Lorys nodded, "And Massey is a Stormlander lord – I'd have an ally in the region's politics."


"And something warm to heat your loins during the coming winter."

"Oh, are we going to have a winter?"

Dermat shrugged, "So the maester in Storm's End supposes. I intercepted one of his more profoundly stupid ravens who thought this was the Citadel." He pointed up to the rafters, where a single raven could be seen separate from the others, facing the wall. The bird was banging his head against the stone repeatedly, and cawing "Owe!" after each time.

The lord couldn't help but laugh at that, slapping his thigh. "And here I thought all ravens were intelligent and crafty!"

"I have a feeling Lord Renly may have taught him that on purpose," Dermot said, "the boy has a mischevous side."

"No matter," Lorys said, standing up, "thank you for that Dermot, you've proven your worth. Far more than many others in this estate. Would you arrange for the offer to Lord Massey?"

Dermot bowed slightly, a raven dropping falling not too far from where he was, "As you wish, m'lord."

"Good, good," Lorys said. He motioned towards the lens tube, saying, "I'll leave you to your study of the many moons...just do not make too much noise as you do."

Dermot gave his lordship a knowing smile, and the knight-turned-lord headed down the steps, deciding to retire for the night. It had been a productive day, and he hoped to make it a productive next few years.
A custom made house intresting. good luck with this. If i get to writing a second AAR I'll take a leaf from this and use your humor its very funny :)
I'll be keeping an eye on this one. Interesting start, and good use of humor.
You have been very kind and supportive of my first few weeks on this forum, and of my AARs, the least I could do is return the favor.

I am very much looking forward to what Lord Lorys has coming in his future. :)
This looks like an interesting AAR and I gotta say I love that maester

Thanks! And really? I was trying to write him as something of a scumbag...but I guess the most evil characters tend to be the favorites in these GoT mod AARs.

A custom made house intresting. good luck with this. If i get to writing a second AAR I'll take a leaf from this and use your humor its very funny :)

Heh heh, didn't realize how funny I had written it :D Can't complain when people enjoy it though, or say it's inspiring.

You have been very kind and supportive of my first few weeks on this forum, and of my AARs, the least I could do is return the favor.

I am very much looking forward to what Lord Lorys has coming in his future. :)

Glad I've come across that way! But don't think it makes you have any kind of obligation - I don't do things with the expectation of "OK, now you owe me!"
Another Henry v. Keiper tale for me to keep an eye on. Admittedly I've never really gotten into the AGOT setting much before, but this and The Littlest Cub have me mighty tempted for me to actually dust off and finish my copy of the book.

I'm going to have to echo the sentiment of a few of the others and say that, while Dermot is evidently something of a dirty old man, he doesn't quite strike me as evil in an obvious fashion. (Then again, those are certainly the villains you never see coming.) He certainly also appears to be a practiced schemer... but then, we all play Crusader Kings; I'm sure we can't help but feel a little sympathy for the schemers of the bunch :p
I didn't think the maester wasn't that scummy I just thought he was a huge perv

I'm going to have to echo the sentiment of a few of the others and say that, while Dermot is evidently something of a dirty old man, he doesn't quite strike me as evil in an obvious fashion. (Then again, those are certainly the villains you never see coming.) He certainly also appears to be a practiced schemer... but then, we all play Crusader Kings; I'm sure we can't help but feel a little sympathy for the schemers of the bunch :p

Well OK, maybe I need to clarify my earlier words: by "scumbag" I don't mean pure evil, aka the next Hitler, I just meant he wasn't a terribly moral character. But if people enjoy him as a character to read about, I won't complain. And considering the kind of stuff that happens in the GoT universe...on a regular basis...I guess he's not so bad. So...forget what I said :p

Another Henry v. Keiper tale for me to keep an eye on. Admittedly I've never really gotten into the AGOT setting much before, but this and The Littlest Cub have me mighty tempted for me to actually dust off and finish my copy of the book.

Funny story: long before the HBO series, when everyone and their mom came to know about GoT, I actually read the first book, and really enjoyed it. This was back when there were only three books, and I assumed it was just a trilogy. Then the fourth one came out, and bad flashbacks of Robert Jordan came to me, so I put the book series aside. Then, when I started to read some of the GoT AARs, I remembered how much I enjoyed George R.R. Martin's world, and after I read that he was going to stop at seven books, I decided to get back into it. Haven't regretted it since :)
Chapter 2: Dermot

Lord Maric was more than happy to marry off his Eglantine, who was fourteen years of age, his fourth youngest child, and his second daughter. He knew Lorys for his courage in battle, and he saw the advantage in having his own alliance with another Stormland noble. His wife, the Lady Malora, despised the idea, as she did not like Lorys' less than moral habits, as well as some of the rumors about his escapes with wenches during the war, but in the end she had little say in the matter – besides, she too wanted a secured alliance, since the House Massey had none at that moment. Much of this had gone on behind the scenes, though Dermot heard wind of it by the maester in Massey's Hook, whom he suspected to be friendlier to the lady than he was the lord. In the end, a raven arrived with news that the marriage proposal was accepted, and Eglantine was on her way to Herston Hall.

Lorys assigned Eglantine as Dermot's ward, which the maester greatly appreciated once she arrived. She was a young woman indeed, with smooth skin, dark hair, a lovely face, and fine garments that were no doubt the best her family had to offer. When the maester saw her under the banners of House Massey – the familiar triple spiral of red, green, and blue on white, it only heightened her beauty. Suddenly, he felt very, very, very jealous for the lord.


Much of this jealousy was tamed by the time teaching began underway. Dermot did not tutor her in his study, but in a private room in the hall, in a more comfortable setting for the both of us. He made her sit on a simple stool and jot down notes upon a pad that would rest on her lap. This was entirely purposeful on his part: when she hunched over to write, her neckline would dip, and Dermot (who always stood, of course) would get a chance to view just how much of a woman she had become. She never seemed to notice (at least he hoped not), and he always made sure to quickly look away when she glanced up.

Lord Lorys desired a celebratory wedding feast for the marriage, in order to impress this court of his that was still viewing the knight-turned-lord with suspicion. Manfred, as was expected, could do little in the way of finding funds for the wedding, and was deathly nervous about the costs. Dermot suggested hounding Lord Maric for a dowry, which resulted in more than enough funds for a fire-eater, a lively group of musicians, and more than enough food for the guests. The only one who did not like this was, once again, Manfred, who felt like Dermot was interfering with his position. Dermot told him frankly, "Would you rather I let you ruin our treasury in the bum? Because then our dear knight-turned-lord would send you to a gaoler, and he could ruin you in the bum." That finally shut Manfred's mouth.


Among the guests were Eglantine's entire direct family, including Maric's brother and castellan, Ser Humfrey. That was to be expected, of course. There was, however, one very surprising guest...

"King Robert?" Lorys asked, his voice soaking with a stunned emotion.

Dermot nodded, holding up a sheet of paper, "As I said." The maester held in his hand a note sent from one of the ravens at the Red Keep: the king who sat on the Iron Throne – the Usurper, as many in less friendly halls called him – was coming to Herston Hall.

In a moment, Lorys' eyes shifted from shock to glee, and his mouth followed suit as his lips curled into a grin, "Excellent. I have not seen him since the war, and when I was granted this patch of land. And besides...it will say something to those who still deny me that the king himself is coming to visit."

"I agree," Dermot said, "although you know that goatbugger Manfred will not like the idea of paying for fine accomodations for royalty."

"Bother him," Lorys said, waving his hand, "I will put him in a dress and pass him off as a wench if I need to earn a few more coins."

"What if he should like that?" Dermot had quipped.

Lorys merely shrugged and gave his maester a smirk, "Then we'll all be happy."


The king arrived a day before the wedding, accompanied by some gold cloaks of the famed city watch of King's Landing, as well as two members of his kingsguard (who they were, Dermot did not know – although neither of them wore the gold armor of the infamous Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister). Dermot was present when Lorys greeted the king, and one would have forgotten they were king and lord for a moment as the two embraced in a hug.

"It is good to see a friendly face again!" Robert declared. "I mean a warrior's face, that is. Not some grubby politician. Pah! Words, words, words – a sword means what it says."

Dermot had heard that Robert was a brave, handsome fellow...but that might have been true at once point. This Robert, standing before him, was beginning to pack weight around his midsection, and even his face looked out of shape. A stubble had begun to grow on his cheeks, which was a tactic Dermot knew all too well: a beard to hide the encroaching fat. Even Lorys appeared a bit dumbstruck at how much the king had changed in so little a time.

"How goes your own marriage?" Lorys asked, as the two men began to make their way into Herston Hall.

Robert rolled his eyes, "Let us not speak of such things. Let us only hope you find a better wench for your marriage bed than I did for mine."

That comment surprised Dermot. He had heard that Cersei Lannister, the king's wife, was one of the most beautiful women among all the seven kingdoms, and with a form of a goddess to boot. He had longed to see her – he heard she had breasts that would make the strongest knight in the realm curl into a fetal position and beg for milk. Why couldn't he tutor a ward like that? Instead, he had to settle for the meager eye candy that Eglantine offered him.

The two men talked by themselves for most of the day, and Dermot worried himself with preparing for the wedding. The rest of the guests arrived, and the ceremony went as planned. The couple was married before the septon, and then the feast began. There was much drinking and revelry, and the musicians and entertainers captivated and amazed.

Then, of course, came the bedding. This, Dermot had been eagerly waiting for. He was among the many men who swarmed about Eglantine, dragging her through the halls to the lord's bedchamber, tearing her garments off bit by bit as they went. The maester intentionally reached up and grabbed a section of her dress from the front, with the hopes of discovering how nice her chest would feel as well as look. He couldn't help but notice even the King of the Iron Throne himself seemed to grab a little too eagerly around Erglantine's buttocks.

After the two were left alone in their room, the company of men and women departed back to the dining hall for laughs and drink. The fire-eaters had long left, and most of the musicians were exhausted; those who could only grant the ears of those present a soft ballad or a slow tune. Dermot was there, seated beside the king, along with Lord Maric, Matthos the Master of the city of Lockport, and Ser Jarman Massey, Eglantine's older brother. The kingsguard had been dismissed for that night, to be stationed at Robert's room. Robert was red faced by then, clearly drunk from the wine, though Dermot could not find him at fault – most in the room were.


"Gods, I would accept a fate in the seven hells for a night with her!" Robert said, rather bluntly.

It came out far too easily, no doubt thanks to the wine. Dermot could not blame him, though – he had thought the same thing many times during his studies. The only difference was, of course, Dermot knew when to keep his mouth shut. Especially with the girl's father sitting across the table. The maester suddenly realized that Lord Maric was staring at the king rather blankly. What his eyes and lips could not speak, his flesh did: it began to turn red, not only in the cheeks from wine, from the neck up to the forehead. It not lighten in hue, and the king did not lighten his frankness.

"That rump of hers was softer than any wench's I've felt," Robert continued, laughing and smacking the maester on the back so hard Dermot lost his breath and nearly dunked his beard into his goblet. "Gods, I should reinstate first night. The queen would kill me for it, but – pah! When has she ever-"

"Shut up."

Those words were said from across the table. They weren't said with any particular tinge of bitterness, but nonetheless when they were spoken, it was as if everyone within hearing space went mute. Matthos, Jarman, and Dermot all turned towards the source of the voice: it was Lord Maric. Robert was the last to turn his head towards the Massey lord, but the first to respond:

"What did you say to me?"

"I told you to shut your gob about my daughter," Lord Maric said. His eyes were calm, but his fingers were gripping the goblet tightly, as if threatening to break it in half. No doubt this was what he wanted to do with the king's neck.

"I'll do no such thing," the king said matter-of-factly, "to the seven hells with your daughter – if Lorrie has any sense, he's taking her in the rump right-"

It happened before anyone could stop it. Maric threw the remaining contents of his goblet right into the king's face. Every action in the room froze. The musicians stopped playing, gazing wide-eyed at the scene, frightened and unsure. Servants paused in midstep, gazing at the table with uneasiness. Jarmen and Matthos stared at the king, who was now wet in the face from the splashed wine, much of which was dripping down into his expensive, exquisite clothes.

Dermot could do little more than plant his face into his palms and think, And here it comes...

Robert rose up, threatening to kill Maric on the spot. He reached for where his sword would normally be, but, not finding it, called for one from his personal guards which weren't there. Some of the hall's guards came in, taking the king and escorting him away from the scene, thinking that he was in some danger and seeking to distance himself from it. Maric was shouting likewise at the king, saying that he did not deserve the throne, and various other insults – including one that sounded oddly like House Massey could do better. Matthos and Jarman had leaped up, grabbing the lord by the arms, dragging him away. Jarman was turning every now and then and bowing to the king, begging forgiveness and promising that it was all a mistake. Just as quickly as it had begun, quiet returned to the room.

Dermot looked about awkwardly, seeing the musicians and servants all staring at him. He suddenly realized he was the only person of any importance in the room. Turning to the musicians, he said:

"Well, keep playing. We gave you the coins, didn't we?"

Play they did, albeit nervously, and with their notes a little more off than they had been before. The servants went back to their work, although one of the serving girls made for Dermot, a sad look on her face. She was one of the more plump ones, though in Dermot's mind she had meat in all the right places. He didn't remember her name – not that he cared.

"Is m'lord Massey going to be alright?" she asked.

Dermot shrugged, but said nothing else. His eyes were fixated on the neckline of her bodice.

"Is there anything I can do to help Maester Dermot?" she asked, smiling nervously.

The maester thought a moment, then smiled, "Yes, well actually..." He motioned over the tabletop. "M'Lord Massey spilled a lot of wine here – some of it didn't get on the king. Would you clean it up?"

"Oh, yes sir!" She took a handkerchef from her skirt and bent over the table to clean up the mess.

"Thank you," Dermot said, grinning. He let out a happy sigh as he sipped his wine, leaning on the table and enjoying the view. Suddenly, the night had gotten a whole lot better.
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I've seen my share of awkward moments at weddings and heard tales about even more, but damn. I was expecting good King Robert to make a fool of himself somehow, but I wasn't expecting things to escalate quite like that. Maybe it's just the alcohol that's to blame, but I don't suspect Lord Massey is really the forgiving type.
Nice chapter. Robert is already becoming the man we know from canon. I don't think I've ever seen him turn out competent in an AAR.
I've seen my share of awkward moments at weddings and heard tales about even more, but damn. I was expecting good King Robert to make a fool of himself somehow, but I wasn't expecting things to escalate quite like that. Maybe it's just the alcohol that's to blame, but I don't suspect Lord Massey is really the forgiving type.

Things escalate a bit more, don't worry.

Nice chapter. Robert is already becoming the man we know from canon. I don't think I've ever seen him turn out competent in an AAR.

Well, I'm sure if I made Robert a kind, calm, rational, clear-thinking gentleman with a habit of looking at life through metaphysical presuppositions...I'd have a lot of GoT fans tearing out their hair.

Great story so far, especially this one pervert maester. :D

Thanks. And wow, everyone loves Dermot :p
Chapter 3: Eglantine

The septa had been warning her most of her life that her life would change after her blossoming. She would be marriagable, the septa had said, and everything she had been taught would have to be heeded. Eglantine was unsure what etiquettes would and would not be prudent in every single situation, however, and that frightened her all the more when she was told she was to be married. She was competant in most things, but she did not think of herself as "book smart," and she couldn't understand what value she would have in this arrangement. Surely there were other girls in the Stormlands – let alone in the seven kingdoms – who were better qualified than she was.


When she arrived at Herston Hall, she found it to be just as lovely as her home, if not more so. The shore along the Sea of Dorne seemed to be much sweeter than Massey's Hook, where the storms from the east battered against the land, as if upset they still could not destroy Storm's End (at least, if the legends were to be believed). When she was first introduced to Lorys, she initially found herself blushing, for he came at her from the practice in the yard, wearing his armor. She could tell he was broad of shoulders, and probably well muscled. All of that changed when he took off his helm, and she saw, on his face, terrible, cracked, gray skin, going from his cheeks to his neck – the dreaded remains of an affliction of grayscale. She let out a gasp, but quickly remembered her courtesies, bowing and introducing herself according to the customs her septa had taught her. After that, and before the wedding, she rarely saw him except for a few occasions.

In the meantime, she was placed into the care of the maester: some bald man named Dermot, with a large, full, bushy beard. He initially seemed like a very nice man, and permitted her to relax in her studies with a stool rather than a desk. However, over time she began to feel uneasy with him, as he always seemed to look at her strangely. She wasn't sure what it was, but it always made her uncomfortable. He even seemed to be glancing away whenever she looked up at him, as if he were afraid of her, or something she might say. Soon she began to fear his company, and was happy when the wedding day came, which meant her lessons would come to a stop.

The wedding was a lovely event, with entertainers and musicians and dance and joy. Eglantine found herself laughing and clapping and feeling almost like a little child again. She had completely forgotten about the bedding tradition before it was announced. Here, things went terribly for her. She found men – most of whom were repulsive – grabbing at her, carrying her, and tearing at her clothes. She felt one hand grab at her dress and tear at it, and he very nearly revealed her breast before she covered it with a shred of her chemise. Another hand from some unknown guest grabbed at her bottom, causing her to let out a squeal, for she had never been touched there – let alone had she been touched by any man before this night. By the time they had tossed her into her room, she was near naked, shivering, and feeling the least attractive she had felt in a while. The event had only caused her to feel like some common wench rather than a lady of nobility: these men had pawed at her and torn her clothes off as if her dignity meant nothing. Yes, she had heard of the bedding practices before, it was another thing entirely to experience it firsthand.


Her first night was even worse. Her new husband showed no mercy to her, but planted her on the bed and took her from behind, robbing her of her maidenhead even when she screamed and told him it hurt. It was the worst pain she had ever felt in her life, and she could do little than clutch the pillow and cry into it. He continued to go, despite her cries, until he had finally finished inside her. After that, he was asleep in minutes. If Eglantine had felt terrible before, she felt wretched now: her loins ached, and she could feel the warmth of the blood trickle down her thighs; her husband, who was supposed to love and protect her, was snoring beside her, already asleep as if he had no further use for her. She lay far away from him on her side of the bed, curled up into a fetal position, and cried herself to sleep. As she drifted off, all she could think in her mind was whether or not the noble lords and knights of song and legends had made love to their maidens in this same manner – how many of those princesses had gone to bed crying just like she was?

The next day, she became distressed even more when she heard that a fight had broken out between the king and her father. There were various stories whispered by the servants in the hall: some say that her father had pulled out a sword and threatened to usurp the kingdom himself; some said that the king was preparing to go to her room and reinstate "first night," and her father had fought him to protect her (she liked that one); others said that both men had simply been drinking too much, and insults had flown. Even if one of these were true, or some truth was found in all of them, it did not bode well. She knew the Baratheon king was infamous for his temper and his militant attitude towards insubordination, and it sounded like her father, for whatever reason, had committed such.

For his own part, the king was seeking to leave that very next day. Gazing out a window in a stairway, Eglantine eavesdropped and listened as her new husband spoke with Robert. She heard Lorys say that Maric had already left with most of his family, and the king had his apologies. Ser Jarman, her brother, was still there, but Lorys reminded Robert that he was protected as a guest, and besides, Jarmen had attempted to stop his father, and had personally apologized to the king for his actions. The king, for his part, seemed to be suffering from the excessive drinking he had made the night before, and did not even seem to remember half the details. He made some vague threat that, when he returned to King's Landing, he would see that this was resolved.

A sickness came over Eglantine's belly, and she suddenly realized that she desperately needed someone to speak to about this. Her main concern was for her father's safety, and she wanted some reassurance that he would be safe. Her brother would know, surely? She had to find him, and find him fast. She needed this assurance – she needed something to tend to her nerves. She quickly asked some of the hall's servants for his whereabouts, and discovered he was in the dining hall. He was there, alone, and drinking from a wineskin, his eyes almost as red as his face.

"Jarman?" Eglantine asked in a low voice, taking a few uncertain steps towards her brother.

Jarman glanced over, giving a half smile as a chuckle escaped his lips, "If it isn't the new bride...hello sister..." He lifted the wineskin to his lips, letting some of it drip down the sides of his face, into his beard, before gulping what he had and wiping his mouth.

Eglantine found herself fidgeting with her hands, taking slow, methodical steps towards him. That feeling in her belly was getting worse and worse. "Is...i-is father going to be alright?"

"Oh, he will be fine," Jarman replied, leaning forward and rubbing his face, "embarrassing a man with seven kingdoms at his command...oh yes, he'll be just fine...pray the Stag doesn't hire a Bolton to come south and flay him."

Eglantine bit her lip, and she had to push back tears. A pain had shot through her like a knife in the chest. It took a several seconds before she could feel herself keep from crying, and wipe away what little tears had died attempting to come out. "W-what happened?"

"You don't know?" Jarman said, raising an eyebrow and looking at her incredulously. "You are now the high lady of this mighty hall, and you don't know?"

Eglantine shook her head. Even from the distance, she could smell the wine from Jarman's breath. She didn't like this one bit.

"It was because of you, dear sister – blood of my blood, as they used to say. Because the king started talking about all the nice things he'd do to this little lady, and our intelligent father decided to tell him to 'shut his gob.'"

A mixture of emotions fell over Eglantine. The thought of Robert even thinking about doing those things frightened her, and filled her with revulsion. She had heard some women say that he had once been an attractive, appealing man, but now...but besides that, she felt some joy and love that her father had defended her honor, even if it meant the expense of his life.

"And one thing led to another, and our father wasted perfectly good wine as well as relationships with the throne," Jarman continued, laughing softly. "Stupid, stupid, father. All this...for his worst child."

Eglantine blinked, "W-what?"

"Do I need to spell it out for you?" Jarman asked, turning and sticking out his neck to peer right at Eglantine. The gaze in his eye frightened her immediately, causing her to back away – this was no longer the brother she had grown up with. There was something in his expression: the wine had brought out something lurking deep within his heart. "Do I really need to clarify it for you? You are the expendable one. You are neither intelligent nor useful, and your looks are plain at best. Father and mother needed an alliance, Lord Lorys needed a wife, and you made both parties happy. Otherwise, you're nothing. You're not worth defending. You're definitely not worth possibly losing our holdings over. You are worth nothing more than a pledge for peace in exchange for you granting a man a few romps in the bed. Father is most likely going to die, and it will all be because of you...and it will be a total waste..."

Each word had been like a new stabbing into Eglantine's belly. She felt like she was about to throw up. When it appeared like Jarman was about to speak again, she turned and fled. He shouted something, but she covered her ears and tried to blot out the words. She ran through the halls, past servants, past courtiers, past council members, without saying a word or making eye contact. Her dress was flowing behind her madly like a flag, and her hair flowing behind her like tassels in the wind. She fled the hall, towards the local septum, and fell onto the floor once she had entered. On her belly, with her legs bent and off to the side, and her face in her arms, she began to weep. Never before, in all her life, had she felt so alone, and so unloved, and so worthless. Worst yet, there was asbolutely no one she knew to comfort her. She could only rely on the gods, and pray that they would be merciful to her.

The only mercy she found was that her husband seemed to not be interested in her the nights following the wedding. She had taken notice that he seemed more interested in many of the serving girls about the hall, and seemed to be spending much time with the strange, creepy maester up in his tower. They ate together and continued to share a bed together, but only sparingly did he ever make love to her, and usually when he wanted to do so. It was always from behind, but thankfully it did not hurt as much as it did before, and she had attempted to find ways to enjoy it...though she rarely could. Her only true consolation was that, when she was taken from behind, she didn't have to see the grayscale scars on his face.

Finally came one day when she was told that she would have to prepare for a journey to the west, towards the regional capitol of Stonehelm. She was given a fine dress by her husband, although the neckline was far too low for her liking. In her mind, she had begun to wonder if she was merely a trophy and object for Lorys to show off to others. Even that strange maester seemed particularly enthused by her dress, and paid attention to her even more than usual. She could do little but tug at her neckline, covering up what she could and attempting to remain as noble and dignified as her septa had taught her.


The event at Stonehelm was the marriage between Ser Donnel Swann and Lady Mina Mullendore. Donnel was the heir of Gulian Swann, the Lord of Red Watch and Lorys' superior. Eglantine was quite surprised that he had not wed yet, as he was nearing three decades of living, while his bride had already crossed that. The marriage ceremony itself was not as elaborate as the one in Herston Hall, but it seemed jovial enough. Eglantine kept to herself, sitting with her hands folded over her lap and attempting to look as regal as she could.

During the feast, Eglantine felt nauseous to herself – perhaps based on something she ate – and she had to be excused for a moment. She went into the hallway, and it was there that she was greeted by the maester of Stonehelm. He was significantly less creepy than her own maester, though at this moment he appeared to look very sad. When his eyes caught sight of her, his movement entered a slow pace, and he clutched a sheet of paper in his hands.

"What is it?" she asked him, feeling her heart begin to beat, unsure of what to expect.

"Lady Eglantine," he began, his mouth opening and closing as if unsure what words to pick, "Lady Eglantine...I regret to inform you that I have just received word that your father was arrested by the king's men..."


Eglantine gasped and covered her mouth. Her heart seemed to be beating so hard that it threatened to break through her rib cage. She stared at the maester with wide eyes, frozen in time. It was as if she was waiting for the maester to reveal that this was all a cruel joke, or he might look at the paper again to realize he had misread something. Nothing of this sort happened – the maester only looked at her with a sadder and sadder expression.

"What was it for? Why would the king do such a thing?" Eglantine finally asked.

"For conspiracies against the throne," the maester replied. "It appears your father plotted to overthrow King Robert."

"No, no..." Eglantine muttered. The maester attempted to pat her on the shoulder, but she simply turned and ran. She didn't know where to go at first – it had simply been a reaction. Maybe if she ran away from the maester, her mind had thought, she could run away from the truth, and it would never catch up to her – and then it wouldn't be true any more. Then she realized it was a childish idea, and she was not a child any more. I am a lady, and the wife of a lord, her common sense told her. She had to act like one. She had to stop worrying and being afraid, and be a woman, just as her mother acted, and all Massey women before her.

All the same, she couldn't stand to see anyone at the moment, and retired to her room. No one sent for her or looked for her, which did hurt, but she had far greater worries. Eventually her husband came in, clearly drunk and in good spirits. She knew what was about to happen. She could feel him get into the bed with her, already naked, and begin to run his hands along her belly. It was then that she remembered that the king and Lorys were friends, and had fought in the rebellion together. Could it be...?

"The king arrested my father," Eglantine said curtly.

"Y'hm?" came Lorys' drunken reply. It sounded like he had intended to say, "Yes?", but had given up halfway.

Eglantine sat up, covering her body from the neck down with the bedsheets, "The king arrested my father."

Lorys rolled his eyes, "Your father threw wine in the king's face." He tried to pull the sheets down from her, but she held her grip and tried another angle:

"If something happens to my father, what will become of the alliance between our houses?"

Lorys chuckled, taking one of her arms and kissing up to her shoulders. She could smell the wine from his breath as he said, "If your brothers still live, our alliance is still good."

That grayscale flesh rubbed against her smooth skin, sending shivers up her spine and nearly making her throw up. She could feel her eyes water as desperation overtook her. The sheets were lowered, revealing herself to him. It was then that an idea came across her mind. As one of the lord's hands went for her breasts, she suddenly swatted at it and cried out:


Lorys blinked, "W-what?"

"I said no," Eglantine replied, "not while my father is in prison."

"Oh come off it," growled Lorys, trying to kiss her shoulder and pull her towards him. "I was made cupbearer tonight...let's celebrate..."

Despite his efforts, she easily eluded his drunken grasp and went to the edge of the bed, as if threatening to get up and leave, "No. You'll not even touch me, so far as my father is in danger. I want him freed."

Lorys let out a sigh, as if he was about to pass out from this little bit of fighting. It was then that Eglantine saw a small chink in this knight's armor, and a smile came across her face. Lorys was obviously a fiend and fond of what he could do in bed...but he was no rapist. He was not going to force himself on his wife, but he still needed the pleasure he so earnestly desired.

"Very well," he said at last, groaning in his words, "I will send the ravens out tomorrow...you have my word..." Thinking he had settled the dispute, he reached out for Eglantine's body – and received another slap on the hand.

"I want them sent out now."

"Very well, very well..." He got up and stumbled to the door, opening it a crack and peeking out to call for a servant. Eglantine heard him give a message for Dermot, ordering that ravens fly to King's Landing to ask for mercy on Lord Massey's behalf. It was said in slurred speech, and it took a while for Lorys to gather his thoughts, but that was what was done.

When the door shut and Lorys came back to bed, he begged for Eglantine to relent and live up to her promises. That she did, and with a big smile on her face as she turned around, lifting up her rump and resting her head on her folded arms, which lay on the pillows. As she felt her husband ease his desires, she whispered in a tone too quiet for him to hear:

"I am a lady...I am the wife of a lord..."
Any correlation between the choice of 'blossoming' and the name Eglantine, or purely coincidence?

Yeah, man, you caught that? That's how awesome of a writer I am.

Actually no, it was coincidence...I didn't even realize what "Eglantine" meant until you just told me...