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It is currently WINTER in WESTEROS during the year 303 AC. The new moon cycle marks a full twenty years since the Mad King was murdered, and his son King Rhaegar ascended the Iron Throne in his place. Though the year is fresh, war in the Narrow Sea has left the Free Cities of Volantis and Tyrosh in ashes, and the Long Night continues to beckon from the Northern fringes of the Seven Kingdoms. With the Queen Lyanna presumed dead, the citizens of the realms look only to each other for survival.
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 wedding bells aren't ringing, cersei
STEFFON BARATHEON
 Posted: Dec 19 2017, 01:51 PM
Quote
is N/A
years old
STEFFON BARATHEON



It was good to be home, and at peace. The vast majority of the Essosi forces were driven from Westeros or rotting somewhere in the Stormlands. Those that weren't were in small desperate bands so the forces of the Stormlands had returned to their homes to make for a more mobile response. That left Steffon back at Storm's End, resting for the first time in nearly a year, and anxious to put the war behind him. He'd lost too much, and gained nothing but grief. Elinor had been waiting for a year, and Steffon hadn't fucked anything but his hand since she'd been there. It was time, and time past for the two of them to be wed. Not that he was only interested in taking Elinor to bed. He wanted a life with her, it was just that bedding and babes were the two things that were most out of reach until he wrapped her in a Baratheon cloak.

But he wasn't the lord of Storm's End yet, nor would he be for some time if the gods were good, and that meant he needed his parents permission to wed, unless he bullied one of the septons into marrying them. But that wasn't the sort of marriage he wanted with Elinor. Something like that would have people whispering that she was pregnant, and given that Steffon intended to have a child as soon as possible, the rumors would never be allayed. Elinor deserved better than that.

His father was no real obstacle, but his mother had insisted on mourning, and pomp for the ceremony, so it was to her that Steffon knew he would have to appeal. He'd agreed to the breakfast for other reasons too. He'd been home for three years but it was still nice to be around his mother again, and it felt good to spend time alone with her without his father putting frowns on her face, or having the attention split between Joff and Argella. Steffon knew it was a childish impulse, but his siblings had never fostered away from home. He preferred thinking of it as making up for lost time.

The conversation over breakfast had been pleasant and warm, and Steffon took a hearty bite out of an apple as he steeled himself to change the tone. He wondered if his mother had put things off so long because she still thought of him as her baby.

"Mum, it's past time Elinor and I were wed. I hoped you'd help with the preparations," he finally said in a fair attempt at being offhand. Perhaps if he treated it as something that was already happening there would be less to fuss over. His mother was prone to fussing.
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CERSEI BARATHEON
 Posted: Dec 19 2017, 04:51 PM
Quote
Ash is Offline
37 years old
STORMLANDS
House Baratheon
House Lannister
Storm's End
Lady


The wars were finally coming to an end, or so they said. Cersei was not so certain, though perhaps it was only a desire to protect her children from harm. Dear sweet boys. She had managed to keep Joffrey away from battle the first go around, but when the banners were called a second time she was not so successful. While she knew the Stormlands mourned the loss of Robert’s brothers Cersei could not help but be glad that it had been them and not her own sons who returned lifeless and mangled. Each time Steffon had left for battle she found herself unable to sleep for worrying, and every raven that arrived during his absence made her heart stop, even if only for the briefest of moments.

But he was home now, home and safe, and relatively unscathed. The same could not be said for his father; Robert’s arm had been badly broken in the most recent fray, but he seemed to be managing well enough. Surely with the amount of wine he drank the pain was hardly noticeable any longer. It might do him a bit of good to sit around for a time. Maybe he would even manage to meet with his advisors for a change - not that Cersei minded being left in charge from time to time. In truth she quite preferred it. Still, it would do well to have married a lord who cared about more than fighting, drinking, and fucking. But Steffon would learn from Robert’s mistakes, as he did from her own wisdom.

Pleased that he had agreed to break his fast with her, Cersei had ordered to have what might have amounted to a small feast brought to her solar - cheeses and fresh loaves of bread and pastries, along with varieties of fruit that had just arrived the day prior from the groves in the Reach. Though she might normally take a cup of sweet Arbor Gold with her morning meal, Cersei instead requested only tea be brewed and brought up for them. There were hardly any nerves to calm now that the fighting was through, after all.

Their meal had begun well enough; it pained Cersei that she had not seen more of her son as of late. Between fostering far from home and these cursed wars he felt so much more distant than Joffrey - even Argella, for the small wedge that had seemed to grow between them had little to do with physical proximity to one another. So much of the time he had spent at home was devoted to doting on that she-wolf Robert had offered his hand to. Cersei was beginning to think the wild northern woman might have a tighter grip on him than she, and it was an unsettling thought to say the least. She needed more time with her boy before he was married off. More time to ensure that he would be loyal to her above all other women in this world, most of all a Stark.

But Steffon seemed besotted with her, and he brought up his impending nuptials at the earliest opportunity. Exhaling, Cersei bowed her head a moment before reaching for her son’s handing and meeting his gaze. ”I know you are eager,” she said gently, wondering what tactic might best sway him to put off the wedding for a little longer. ”But your people look to you in times of hardship. It is not only for your uncles that the Stormlands mourn. So many wives have lost their husbands in this war, many maidens will not have the wedding day they once dreamed of and planned, as your dear Elinor will. Do you think it wise to flaunt your happiness at them while they still grieve their dead?”

She gave his hand a gentle squeeze, forcing a tight lipped smile before letting go and reaching for her cup of tea. ”Be patient, my love. We’ll see you wed soon enough.”
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STEFFON BARATHEON
 Posted: Dec 27 2017, 11:21 PM
Quote
is N/A
years old
STEFFON BARATHEON



Steffon did not fail to notice that his mother had forgone wine. She did not drink as much as his father did, but Steffon was not blind and did not think that Robert Baratheon was the only person in the world who sought solace in spirits. More often than not Steffon thought his mother had her reasons- and even when he couldn't perceive them she usually didn't rise to the tempers that his father did, so Steffon was more inclined to forgive her the fault. Still, he was glad to note the restraint, and hoped he wouldn't have to worry over such things with Argella, or Joffrey, or Elinor as time passed.

Steffon shifted uncomfortably as his mother let loose one of those exhales of hers. It usually meant she was keeping back some sharp word or other- Cersei didn't often make the sound at Argella, but whenever Robert vexed her, or she saw danger in her son's actions that huff would work it's way out. Steffon hated wondering what it was she really meant, and since she sometimes did it when nothing wrong was happening it was even worse to wonder if he was doing something hurtful, or something that only meant he was growing up. Steffon knew that it had been hard for his mother to think of him as a grown man after living apart from him for so long.

Cersei laid her hand over his, and Steffon smiled a bit and turned his own palm to return the squeeze. Even if he didn't like what she had to say Steffon never wanted to punish his mother for loving him. And the trouble was that Cersei was still against him, or at least against the marriage, and Steffon didn't like it. He hated quarreling with his parents, but it was worse with his mother than his father. Robert would only rant and rave and say brash things, Cersei would plan and scheme and sometimes cut Steffon to the quick with her words. Still, Steffon wanted what he wanted. He was twenty years old, tried in battle, heir to the Westerlands. He needed to be wed, and he needed progeny, and he needed a healthy outlet to replace those he'd so readily set aside when he thought it would be three months at most before he wed Argella.

"Mother, the King wedded Lyanna Stark a few months after his own wife and daughter died, and all but the pettiest souls are long since reconciled to the fact. By the time I hold Storm's End all will have forgotten any offense they might take, and everyone knows we have postponed the wedding out of respect for those fallen nearly a year. The war is over, and the heir to Storm's End needs a wife and children. I am nearly one and twenty, and you had borne father two babes by the time you were Elinor's age. It is time, and I want you to be happy for me now that it is."
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CERSEI BARATHEON
 Posted: Dec 28 2017, 05:54 PM
Quote
Ash is Offline
37 years old
STORMLANDS
House Baratheon
House Lannister
Storm's End
Lady


The way Steffon shifted in his seat was reminiscent of a little boy who was hoping to avoid being caught up to no good. Though it did not go unnoticed, Cersei made no move to acknowledge his discomfort. Her baby boy could hardly sit still through a meal and he was eagerly rushing to his marriage bed as if he were a already a man grown. As if allowing him to charge into battle hadn’t been difficult enough, now she was being forced to fully recognize that Steffon was no longer a little boy. What next, he would be claiming that he was no longer in need of her council? Certainly a likely scenario with the Lady Elinor at his side, whispering in his ear. The young Stark woman had made no secret of her mutual distaste, even if she had mostly practiced avoidance rather than meeting the lioness head on.

A brow quirked slightly at her son’s comment about Rhaegar’s marriage to Lyanna Stark, perhaps because Cersei knew herself to fall into the category Steffon had labeled as petty, something she did not appreciate in the slightest. ”They have accepted the King’s decision and moved on, yes. But that does not mean the choice to wed rather than mourn his deceased wife was not in poor taste. I would hope you hold yourself to higher standards,” she chided, taking a sip of her tea.

”You are not wrong,” she continued. ”However your father and I wed under different circumstances. He had already been named Lord of Storm’s End and was riding off to battle. Providing an heir was of the utmost importance. You, on the other hand, need not rush things. The fighting is over and you are home safe.” Of course, the same argument could have been made for a hasty wedding prior to the war, but she’d had different reasons to postpone then. A wedding would be such a happy event after the losses that accompanied battle. Besides, there was no time to plan and the heir to Storm’s End deserved a lavish affair, not a quick ceremony in the Sept before riding off into battle. Would he really want to leave his bride immediately following their wedding night?

When she’d heard of Steffon and Elinor’s quarrel Cersei had hoped that perhaps postponing the wedding might have succeeded in dissolving the match entirely, however now it appeared that such had not come to pass. Still, Elinor’s insistence on joining the men in battle and blatant defiance of Steffon’s wishes had made the lioness all the more loathe to begin the wedding planning. Gaze fixed on her son, Cersei’s fingers moved over the side of the cup she was holding, expression unchanged. ”Are you certain this is what you want?” she asked, her tone remaining serious. ”I know that you care for the Stark girl - and I also know she’s already disobeyed your wishes once. It takes more than affection to make a marriage successful. Perhaps someone more docile might be better suited…”
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STEFFON BARATHEON
 Posted: Jan 14 2018, 02:43 AM
Quote
is N/A
years old
STEFFON BARATHEON



His mother made a good point- as she often did- that the King's decision twenty odd years ago had not been a tasteful one. Still, Steffon frowned. He had observed proper mourning for his uncles, and his mother of all people would know how much he grieved their loss. He was open with his feelings but he knew it made some men uncomfortable to watch another man cry so he most often kept his emotions in hand until he was near Elinor, or Argella, or his mother. He didn't like the implication that he was dishonoring Stannis and Renly by wishing to wed, and he tried very hard not to take it personally, though he wasn't sure that he shouldn't.

"I do, of course I do and I'd be hurt if you didn't see the difference in my behavior, mum."

It didn't escape Steffon that there wasn't very much different about her own wedding and what might have been his. He hadn't insisted on a quick marriage when Elinor first came not because he cared so much about lavish ceremonies and expensive celebrations, but because if he died in the war he hoped Elinor wouldn't have to be lonely. If they did consummate the marriage she would never marry as well again afterwards. Still, his mother's objections had meant he could play at going along with her whims instead of having to explain himself to Elinor. After the war began. Well. Then real reasons to postpone presented themselves.

Steffon could not hide his surprise when his mother suggested that the match with Elinor might not be worth the trouble. And then suggested someone docile! Steffon could hardly believe it. He knew his mother was jealous at the idea of being replaced, but surely she had to know that a wife and a mother didn't occupy the same place in a man's heart. But if she did she'd never suggest someone pliable! Or did she think so little of herself that the thought of him marrying a woman with a similar temperament worried her? Steffon blinked owlishly. He hoped that's not how his mother felt.

"Call off the match," Steffon mused aloud. It was almost funny! "Mother, I've never known you to ignore the politics of a thing. Set aside the King's goodsister, insult Lord Stark and father's best friend? Not to mention make Elinor a lonely spinster. She's lived here a year, even if I hated her I wouldn't send her home." Well, he didn't think he would. Maybe if she were ugly and spiteful and stupid all at once, but Elinor was none of those things. Marriage required more than affection, she said. Joff once told him Stannis said the first few years of marriage between his parents had been happy. It was hard to imagine now that they might have been affectionate once. Perhaps that was what worried her.

"And besides, I don't hate her. I love her, mother, and when she disobeyed me she did it for reasons I respect, and we compromised once she understood the consequences. Besides, by the time you've planned the fete you wanted when she first got here she'll have been here long enough that rumors will spread if we aren't married. You needn't worry, mum. Even if I do fall out of love, I won't make myself or my family unhappy." The end of that sentiment, the part that said like Father did went unsaid, but Steffon hoped his mother would understand what he meant.

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CERSEI BARATHEON
 Posted: Feb 5 2018, 12:55 AM
Quote
Ash is Offline
37 years old
STORMLANDS
House Baratheon
House Lannister
Storm's End
Lady


It was a difficult thing for Cersei to admit someone other than herself was right, particularly when that someone was her son. In the past she had told him as much, but such a sentiment was never honest, merely uttered out of affection and to bolster his self-confidence.To genuinely concede was to accept that there may come a time when Steffon did not always require her council. And then what would she be? Cersei Lannister refused to be denigrated to that of a useless, aging lady of the house, appeased into thinking she was still running the show. Though it was a relief, at least, to know that Steffon was not as unintelligent as his father.

”I wish never to hurt you, my sweet boy,” she said, cupping his cheek. ”And I know that you mean no harm. How could you?” Her hand lingered a moment before she finally pulled it away, taking another sip of tea. It would appear her suggestion had struck a nerve however, and Steffon stared at her rather stupidly, a shocked expression on his face. Once upon a time he would have done anything to please her, but now it would appear Elinor held that place, in spite of her insolence demeanor. It was not so uncommon for a betrothal to be broken, though the fact that the Stark girl had spent so much time in their Keep would likely raise questions. ”How diplomatic of you,” Cersei replied, forcing a proud smile. “It would appear that I have raised you well; you are so kind to think of what ramifications this might have on her. I apologize if I misread the situation. Rumors are nasty things, after all. You do know that your happiness is all I want in this world, don’t you?”

Well, at least that was mostly true. Cersei did desire her children’s happiness above all else, she simply thought she knew better what it was that would make them happy. Elinor Stark might please him for the moment, but any pretty face with a firm body would be pleasing to a virile young man. Unfortunately such physical traits did not last forever, and it was Steffon’s future happiness that Cersei was more concerned with. Still, his tone was unwavering when he asserted his love for Elinor, and Cersei knew that her son would not be convinced. No matter. She would simply have to find some other way to rid them of the pesky little she-wolf.

Rising from her seat, Cersei moved to stand before her son, taking Steffon’s hands in her own. There was pity in his tone as he finished speaking, and the sound of it turned her stomach. Was that what he felt for her? That she had been made unhappy by her husband and was deserving of pity? It was almost humiliating, if only because Steffon truly believed her feelings could be hurt by Robert Baratheon’s indiscretions - as if Robert’s opinion of her had ever been held in high esteem. But she would not speak ill of her husband to their son, harsh words were better hurled at him directly. “I know that you won’t. You have grown to be such a good man, my love and I am proud of you for it.” Holding his gaze, Cersei resisted the urge to sigh her defeat, as it would be ever so unbecoming. ”Alright then. We can begin the preparations, if that is what will truly make you happy.”
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