shelbs
oswin

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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ELINOR STARK

NORTH

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Feb 17 2018, 06:04 PM


Murmurs, twisted expressions and slithering whispers forcing her cheeks into an embarrassing hot flush. That’s what King’s Landing had to offer her. ‘She looks so much like her sister.’ It was a phrase she’d heard a thousand times, features of a Stark, hair like burnt timbre with hints of coal. They both had their father’s stern cheeks, the delicate brow-bone of their mother, the bow-like arch of their mouth stolen from their grandmother. Of course Elinor was a reflection of the Queen in her youth, before time and childbirth had worn her. But the youngest child of Rickard Stark didn’t quite have the same warm appeal Lyanna had been capable of providing, she appeared far colder with an expression of disinterest to compliment the unamused flat-line of her mouth. She’d found wonder once in the place of Dragon Kings and summer sun, the grandeur of it all had been something she’d observed in visiting, something she’d marvelled at in contended silence; it would have been a crime to permit herself to admit it was all rather impressive. But now it made her feel solemn, as if each thought was sobered with the reminder of the Lost Queen. Everywhere else she could forget, the thought could be tied into a small knot and thrown beneath the weight of another thought, stored somewhere in the recess of her mind behind war, behind Steffon and Argella, hunting and riding.

Now each step felt haunted, as if an echo chased her, a strange hollow chime no ear but hers could hear. Somewhere within the red stone her sister had bid her farewells, left in a whirlwind of obliviousness to her demise. It seemed rather strange to be back, back without her guidance, without her snark and cheekiness. It didn’t quite seem as inviting. Steffon had told her not to be so foolish and in his own strange sentimental manner had assured her it was apprehension rather than displeasure towards her attendance. She hadn’t wanted to leave, perhaps it was due to the fact in her imagination she’d considered the next time she’d depart the Stormlands it would be to return North, to see those faces that she was beginning to forget. Did Rob have a freckle beneath his left ear or had she imagined that? What did Art’s voice sound like? For in her thoughts it had become monotone, as if she’d become incapable of recollecting it and so replaced it with something easier to manipulate. Even when she tried, closed her eyes and thought with such tremendous concentration it made her heart quicken, she couldn’t recall the smell of the great-hall, couldn’t hear the chorus of wolves singing into the vast expanse of the North.

There was a chance of course it was the wolf upon her heel which coaxed people to look with their noses twisted and their shoulders hunched in displeasure. Another wolf in the keep. Wasn’t one bad enough? Two had been repulsive to begin with. Now two again. The South, despite having a Wolf Queen, hadn’t all managed to adjust to the idea of an animal at court. It was a place of wealth, of high-standing and benevolence; a wild creature that wasn’t a man just seemed to lower the tone. The thought of course still made Elinor scoff in amusement. They’d irritated her in her youth and even now with a greater understanding of politics she’d still much rather sit in the muck with Night than at the high-table with a boar and a wider selection of pigs. What she did find comfort in of course was her nieces and her nephews, some more than others - because in truth everyone has a preference. War it seemed had taken them too, her nephews hostages of healing wounds, her nieces drowning in their own problems, she’d have asked perhaps if she’d found the desire to care. But seeking and asking had seemed like such an effort, so instead she’d wavered, loitered in a manner, avoiding conversations, avoiding the gatherings in favour of being present but distant.

The trial would be a monumental stain on the writings of Westeros, it would be something memorable, something people would discus in hushed tones like a dirty little secret. In truth it was something she didn’t have time for, it wasn’t to do with the disappearance of her sister, it didn’t offer her closure or a sense of relief in knowing. It was just another unfolding chapter of Lannister theatrics. Another engagement she’d been roped into attending due to the nature of her betrothal. She wasn’t needed. It wouldn’t have surprised her at all if she wasn’t wanted. After-all who wanted a living reminder of their missing Queen drifting around the halls of the Red Keep like a spectre returned to taunt the guilt ridden. Maybe that was the reason she’d found herself poised alone in a room she perhaps wasn’t meant to be in with a wolf flattened at her feet and a bottle of wine tucked against her palm; something that was becoming quite the little habit.

Dec 13 2017, 01:45 PM
Thistles intertwined with bramble twigs split beneath the weight of each stealth-ridden step. The frost had begun to settle imbedding each fallen leave against the mud until it imprinted pattern after pattern upon a desolate stretch of amber mist. It wasn’t as beautiful as it had once been, the bluebells had withered beneath the hostile change in climate and in turn had suffocated the purple haze until branches coiled in their place. Still the furs propelled towards the skies, the thickets too twisting and expanding, thriving despite the condoning chill of a coming wind. The air had turned thick, mimicking the cloud that swallowed the pale-blue in a dull expanse of darkening greys. But that didn’t hinder the movement, sleek muscle rolling beneath a pelt as black as coal, as thick as the midnight hour without the aid of fractured stars and a bashful moon. She couldn’t recall the time she’d spent within the mind of the mammoth, couldn’t guess the length she’d trodden in search of nothing of note. It was a method of distraction, there was nothing able to propel her into a state of blissful ease like the mind of her second-soul.

But when all appeared still in a decomposing landscape a single sound caused a pause in movement, a brief and instinctual hesitation to consider the noise. It took less than a heartbeat to turn with decisive precision and skulk towards the sound. It was the scent that manifested itself first. The tang of iron, the odour of soiled fabric oozing against a stale stream of sweat. Then the figure, a man stumbling through a thorn laced thicket, the spikes extending to reach with keen malice towards the flesh. There was no doubt the deserter before her was a man unaccustomed to the cold, a man far-parted from Westeros, brought she assumed across the ocean to fight in the battles that had ceased in recent times. One that escaped. One that ran. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter what tales trod within his footfalls, what sorrow had fallen from his heart to be scarred into the Stormlands with the blood of a thousand more. Night, or more so Elinor, launched towards the stumbling figure to be met with an expression of fright maimed into a face splintered from combat. An expression of impassioned terror, so much so that the man’s heart palpitations rang clear within her ears. A thunderous drum banging again and again beneath the sheer horror of his scream.

Shock perhaps knocked him still for he made no attempt to run, no attempt to dodge the teeth which latched about his calf and punctured the skin with no effort at all. The sound was perhaps more gruesome than the blood, the distinct crunch of bone splintering beneath pressure. The sharp solemn snap. He wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon. That’s when the beast recoiled, mouth wet with a crimson beard as the liquid stained the surface; illuminating the green of a condemning stare. That’s where she’d make them both wait for her. With the scene putting her in a state of content and herself in a position of clear control she’d return to the form she dwelled most often in, the whites of her ice-blue eyes returning as she’d settle back into her mind. It made her nauseas at first, the taste of blood almost apparent against her tongue as she’d click the appendage against the crook of her teeth. It was easier to leave than to return. With a slight wobble as the unbalance cohered her senses she’d bring herself back upon her feet, leaning a portion of weight upon her bow as she’d settle her being, resigning to the restraints of mortal binds. Just as she’d gathered her wits and taken a glance about the woodland around her to assess the direction she’d taken as her companion, a single blow sent her hurdling back against the earth.

It was a sharp sort of pain, the kind that throbbed and ached in a dull persistent pound. She didn’t have time to scorn herself though, for within the second a fist came towards her face, the strike she twisted from in naught but reflex. She wasn’t thinking when she avoided the second strike towards her throat and reached up to poke at the man’s sockets with her outstretched fingertips. Was it wrong that the panic exhilarated her? That she felt nothing but excitement in the sudden fear pouring into her senses? It was an irreplaceable thrill, the kind she dreamt of in her quiet thoughts. Whoever was upon her was stronger, she couldn’t make him out beyond blurred fragments as the pair twisted into the dirt, the dust billowing upwards to knot into her hair and smear across her face. She was about to call for Night to abandon his watchful post, to leave the wounded prisoner and finish whatever fool grabbed at her throat. But it wasn’t needed, for before she could form the words the attacker was hauled from his position atop her and thrust into the earth.
Nov 15 2017, 11:41 AM

“That dress is wonderful! Oh twirl again Elizabeth!”

Victoria, the name which accompanied the shrill squeal of girlish delight, had mounted herself upon the edge of her chair in astonishment, her mouth hung aghast in childish wonder. The other, a girl of perhaps sixteen, Elinor hadn’t found herself able to care, pandered to the request with another spin.

“Do you think Ser James will like it?”
Washed in faded blue with tangents of gold frequenting each seam the girl stood a paler shade of white than the frost of Winterfell. She’d come from the Riverlands, or perhaps the Reach, maybe somewhere in the middle and hadn’t stopped speaking since the moment she’d arrived. There was to be a celebration before the call of war roused the men from their houses and summoned the knights to ride. Of course eligible bachelorettes had been shooed from their strongholds, as was the custom when gatherings of potential husbands congregated in a single convenient location. Cersei had, before she’d been able to disagree, introduced the pair to the Stark girl and since that unwanted greeting she’d been unable to escape them.

“Perhaps, but I’d worry less about the dress and more about your face.” Without even looking up from the goblet filled to the brim with blood-red wine, Elinor made her comment with a natural disregard for feeling or thought. “What an awful thing to say! Elizabeth don’t you listen, what would a Northerner know about pretty dresses anyway.” There was a sneer working itself upon the blonde girl’s lips, a judgemental scowl which burnt against Elinor’s face with such scorn that it would perhaps have caused a lesser opponent to recoil. But not the Wolf. “What I do know is unless your father has more gold than the Lannisters you’re neither pretty enough, nor are your figures fine enough to get the slightest bit of attention. I do hope you can buy your knight.. or perhaps a stablehand might take an interest. Oh, and that dress looks like you’re wearing a hand painted potato sack — with less filling.” With a complimenting scoff the girl would raise from her slouched seat, the lean muscle of her outstretched legs contracting as she’d broaden the smirk gallivanting across her mouth in sheer delight, “Do excuse me.”

It didn’t matter to the Northern girl that a frantic wheeze of panic had spilt from the other’s mouth, nor did she hold a sentiment of regard for the sudden sob which chased her heel from the room, nothing mattered but the prompt appearance of Night trailing in the wake of her footsteps. People had protested against his attendance, especially with visitors gathering in the corridors and wandering back and fourth. But Elinor had planted her heels just as firm as Cersei, which had in turn left Steffon unable to refuse her, as long as the Direwolf wasn’t taken to the main hall of course. So in her own compromise she turned from the inviting smell of roasted meat, ignored the call of promised tales from traveling men and instead - after collecting an armful of flagons from the cellar - disappeared into one of Robert’s war rooms. It was her favourite, something between the mounted boar's head protruding from the wall and the stone-carved map of Westeros appealed to her in a sense she couldn’t quite describe. Perhaps in the same way a beautiful dress might appeal to a little girl. With a jump of athletic ease the girl would haul herself upon the stone, in several steps she crossed the continent before seating herself atop Winterfell with another swig from her drink. “This might be the closest we get to home in a long time Night.” The idea caused her lips to twist, the motion fluent before a soft almost sweet sounding laugh pushed through her teeth, a sound so often stifled most wouldn’t be able to tell it belonged to her; for it was often hidden as to not be misconstrued as weakness.

Oct 19 2017, 12:43 PM


Young Elinor - approx 12 (both direwolves age 4 were attending the hunt)



“This isn’t a good idea, Elinor, this isn’t going to end well.”

Stood with his chest furrowed beneath a coat of auburn fur, Robb reminded her with drastic likeness of her father. The seriousness in his expression lacked however for with great care one could catch the slightest smirk tugging at his mouth; just in the smallest corner. Both were no higher than the window ledge, Robb managed to reach a little taller than his aunt but Elinor wouldn’t admit to it and Robb wasn’t the kind to antagonise her with insinuating it. The morning had been kind with the clouds tender in their white fluff, cushioned like cotton atop a land of endless ice; it was too fine to waste. “They didn’t take us with them, it’s their own fault. We should have been invited.” Of course Robb had been invited, the hunt had departed with the break of dawn and he’d wormed himself from the invitation to save himself the grief of a sudden temper tantrum when Elinor discovered she hadn’t been asked at all. “You can’t expect to be invited when they’ve got guests, you’re a girl, you—“ Before he could speak another word a hand lifted to fling a boot with an acute aim hurdling towards his head, “Shut up. One day they’ll follow me into battle, then we’ll see who they invite onto hunts— now give me that back.”

Motioning towards the boot she’d wait for him to, with great reluctance, return it before clambering into the leather with an unbalanced hop. Without another word and before Robb could offer another sentiment of protest, the she-pup was clambering against the window with her finger-tips wrapping about the iced ledge. Peering back into the room she’d offer a taunting smile, the kind which engraved into her cheeks and popped under the wriggle of her brows, “Come on, don’t be a Southern Softy.” That was all it took, not that she imagined he was ever going to leave the room and retire to something entirely boring and senseless, he always agreed under duress. Before her feet even touched the earth, the girl dubbed Princess with favour of her father was prepared to run; run with the wildness of a tireless child. “Come on Robb! I’ll race ya!” Where a child might have laughed, Elinor smirked, taking it as a self proclaimed competition rather than a joyous game.

Both hurdled through the flakes, used to the weight of the pelts and furs draped against their shoulders, used to the branches which twisted in their path and the ditches which threatened to swallow them in one misstep. Leaps and bounds carried them, the cold air thrashing against her lungs with each deep breath spurring her on. It was a familiar chill, the kind which didn’t cause her teeth to chatter or her lips to darken, it hummed against her heart. She wasn’t certain how long they’d been playing between the pines, she’d lost track of which trunks she’d climbed or the sticks that had become valiant swords or axes in their games. She’d lost track of all, the downfall which blindsided them to the sudden darkness. She hadn’t noticed the split-second in which the wind howled, the ice-dust unsettled lifting into whirls raising from the earth. Neither had noticed the coming blizzard until it was upon them, barrelling down with such force her legs weakened and the snot blistering beneath her nose began to freeze.


Think. Think. Think. Her father’s voice thundered in her head, her brother’s meticulous rants called to her through her disregarded memories. Each muttering something or other that she couldn’t quite comprehend. So instead of wasting another moment she managed a word, a single word through the cold knotting her lips together in a painful bind, “Trench.” They’d already built one, it had been a hideout for their ‘ambush’, packed with twigs and pine needles, filled with shrubs of various descriptions. It was within the trench the pair melted together, jittering through the cold, waiting out the storm with their skin blistering beneath the might of the merciless wind. No one could reach them, not in this, it would be a hopeless errand. They’d have to wait and wait they did, patient and freezing when the air cleared and the thunder of multiple hooves bellowed through the flurries accompanied with a chorus of howls.

Aug 2 2017, 09:55 AM
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I would have sent word sooner but the battles extended longer than I imagined. We succeeded in winning, though I am not sure what has been won; but those we faced have perished and that is what counts I suppose. I attended Matarys wedding, though I do not have much to speak of on that matter. It wasn’t extravagant, some said it paled in comparison to that of those earlier wed. I preferred it, less noise, less snakes disguised as sheep. I feel that there’s an air of desperation beginning to radiate, an impatience on the wind that is becoming more volatile from lack of confrontation. I fear Aegon’s capture is nothing more than a distraction, but I see no advantage in voicing the thought, I presume that more than I have considered it as being such.
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More often than not I consider returning home, it’s as if the cold is coming and I feel the need to embrace it in a place I am familiar with. Night is restless, I am restless. But then perhaps I’d be more use here when the climate turns and those accustomed to sun begin to freeze. My mind is wandering, though I give pursuit I struggle to catch the thoughts and collect them. I think too often of battle and less of the future.
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I’d continue to write but I must go, I’ve promised Night we’d track deserters, I picked up their scent upon the morn and have waited until dusk to chase. Tell Robb I think of him often if he lingers close.
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Your Girl,



<div style="width: 280px; font-family: 'Mr Bedfort', cursive; font-size: 35px; color: #000000; line-height: 90%; letter-spacing: 1px; text-align:right;">E. Stark</div>
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