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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Age: 21
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Steffon Baratheon


My Content
Mar 14 2018, 11:40 PM
The sweat dripped from his forehead, sword in hand helped him feel steady, yet his weakness still rattled his movements. His father looked from in front of him, clasping him on the shoulder in pride. Steffon knew it would be time, but it was hard to believe it would ever be as good as before the war. His blue eyes drifted down, from his father's warm face, to his leg that had been brutalized. He gave a nod, the admittance of defeat of a burning wound for the day. It ached with every movement, the cut that had been at the base of the thigh having managed to even scrape the bone beneath the muscle. He was lucky to have had a leg attached, luckier to avoid infection on the journey home, and luckiest at the progress he had managed in such a small amount of time - but none of that made it any easiest.

He had been a promising knight, a glory building behind his name to rival his peers and the shadows of histories. He had time to regain that promise, to build anew with it. He knew this, but it still stung. He breathed heavily, "How about another cup instead of another round?" His eyes shifting beneath his heavy brow as he shrugged his father's hand from it's proud grip. "My ego is as bruised as the leg beneath this armor," He managed a chuckle, "I hear a cask is good for that. " It was not broken at least, that was something he acquired from both his parents, their ego and their will to mend it.

He led the way before his father could answer, doubting an objection was likely to come from the larger Baratheon. He set his sword next to the post of the yard, it was nothing special, not like his own. This own was worn, with a fading leather grip on its handle and a blade so chiseled with time it was a wonder it stayed balanced. His was a grand thing in comparison, with its gold filigree and ruby hilt, and yet it was plain in most regards for a fine knight's weapon. From the yard they walked a few paces, into the mending and changing room of the warriors that trained there. He reached for the pitcher in the corner, pouring the glasses for them tall with the sweet aroma of the red liquid, something that promised a relief from the heat of the yard in the chilled air outside.

He took his first sip, leaning against a small table about the height just above his thighs, his finger tapping the side. "To be true, my ego is taking more than just a hit in battle. How did you deal with mother icing you out when you were young?" He asked, boldly, frustration releasing in his tone and haste, "That is all I seem to be dealing with in Elinor's presence, do you know if she was this way while we were gone to everyone, or is it really just me she hates so much right now?" In truth, it wouldn't have mattered. It she had given this attitude to either of his siblings or mother they would have handled it with a remark of their own. And gossip was less tolerated in the keep of his mother, she had fought to keep whispers from her walls to protect her interests.

His brows furrowed, knitting together in the middle, "How long did you have to deal with it from mother? I can't imagine what she will be like if she weds with this fury of hers building. And I can barely get her to be in the seat next to me, the same room as me," He vented, not as though all hope was lost, but as a confused son looking for some kind of help.

Mar 14 2018, 11:16 PM
It was the pit in his heart, the one that formed when his uncle was even mentioned in relation to those terrible events, that ached in that moment the King announced his jury. He thought of Tyrion, with his short curling hair and impish smile, the one that had cracked jests and smirked nothing but kindness in his direction. He was the man that had given him his first cup, and who had run after skirts and expected all men to do the same. He, he had displayed so much goodness in tiny ways, but those ways stood taller than his stature even. So still, it was a surprise to him to hear his uncle murmured of this treason, especially the less it stayed a hushed. He thought it perhaps not impossible, but unlikely. The little man had always showed him to be a good one, and he was family, that's what you hoped for then, right?

Steffon had arrived in the Capitol only days before, barely settled in, and hardly in the way of things. He stood in the courtroom, crowded in with the other High Lords and their ladies. Many of them had their face in stern lined mouths, displeased with there even being a trial. Others, seemed to twist their eyes to narrow, as if the sentence had already been passed. He stood in the mix of them all, his father to his right and his mother beyond him, her hand clutched Robert's arm. Hands tight around his large forearm, trying to him her rush of power. She would sit on the jury, she who had always hated her little brother, she who was always hard to hide her disdain for his mention of a name in his family household. She once chided his Maester in his inclusion of your uncle, as if there was no room for him among Steffon's memories.

The young buck stood with his chest squared, emulating the stoic nature of his passed grandfather, gracing his peers with a pragmatic expression of indifference. His nostrils wanted nothing more than to flare, to call in objection the inclusion of his mother's judgement, but how could he do such a thing? It would embarrass the Lady of the Stormlands, his own mother, and insult the King for his decision. He didn't think he could stand by and hope the gods would ring true in their justice and prove him innocent if he were, they were never easy beings for something like that,

As the announcement wrapped up, and the King returned to the complaints of the people and giving his thoughts to the smallfolk, Steffon's father sighed It was no secret that Robert had never enjoyed this aspect of ruling, perhaps, his son had often thought, he might actually be glad he had lost the almost war to skip out on this duty. Had he challenge the King, truly, for Lyanna Stark's hand, there was no telling who would had won to claim the woman and the throne. As a well tutored student of war and history, Steffon thought it would have been an even match, and as a son, he thought he might have won. What a shamble that would have made of the realm.

His mother had released her excited grip, disbanding from her husband and began her graceful exit from the room. Steffon followed the red ripples of her skirts across the floor, "Mother," He called from behind her, gently. He offered her his arm as an escort, "I know its near midday, where wine and food will surely begin to set up on the tables lining the great hall, but would you mind a walk with your son?" He asked, as evenly in tone as he could muster, hoping he might feign a normal agenda while in the presence of so many others.
Mar 9 2018, 08:25 PM
The thought was something he never would have imagined. He, Steffon Baratheon, was nervous to speak with a girl. To be fair, it wasn't just any girl. It was the one that had stolen his heart at such a young age, the one he pined over and pleaded for the hand of, only to gain it and turn it away from his own palm. 'She's never going to even hear me out,' Elinor, for all her patience, had little listened to him over the two weeks journey to the Red Keep. In truth, he felt she had barely tolerated to be near him.

To say her ability to reserve herself around him caused him anxiety would be an under-statement. The she-wolf had found a way of making his heart beat faster even from not glancing his direction, something he thought impossible of any woman or man. And he, as best as he did try, could not seem to overcome it. He couldn't shake the dissatisfaction.

Once, they had been so close. As children, they had played beside each other. Practiced in the yards of Winterfell and prayed and bathed in the Godswoods, they had chased Robb around with wooden swords and balled snow to throw at the youngest of her siblings. As young adults, they had flirted and courted, dancing through the courts of the Capitol with all the grace the realm had to offer. In the recent year, they had made promises to one another, proclaimed their deep affections and hopes for their union. And now, now he felt as though he stood atop a mound of dirt, stripped of the seeds and nutrients, where nothing would grow.

His father had assured him that with time, she would come around. The fight that lodged this wedge between them was small, and by his accounts, ought to have happened sooner than later least he want a warrior bride or lamed responsibility. Each time Steffon thought of the fight in Essos, the rounds of the hills they trampled soldiers on, with men wounded and blood abundant, he knew he had made the right choice. Had he let her go, she would be gone, and not for her lack of ability, but for the draw of war. The gods would have punished him worse than the leg that supported him now, aching with every step.

Yet still, he couldn't believe he was nervous to approach her. Never had he been, even as a boy so love-sicken he wrote a sonnet for her, one properly discarded into the hearth once some clarity was granted. "Elinor," He called to her backside,she stood some paces in front of her. Steffon took a breath, a small chuckle releasing from his mouth, "May I have a private word?" His words felt as if they echoed on the decorated walls of the welcoming feast. While the event was not a joyous one, the King had spared no expense at gathering the lords and ladies of his kingdom, rewarding them for their loyalty and service. The sconces on the walls illuminated the fine hall, casting their gentle light on the details of each person's attire and accessories. Steffon's own tunic, a solid velvet blue, appeared as dark as the sea at midnight. A color that might have matched his eyes if the clouds of the storm gods had ever clouded them, or so his mother had said when she presented it to him. A fine thing, with silver threads creating patterns at the boarders, lending shape to his muscular build.

He placed his hand out, tapping the back of her elbow, "I have something I'd like you to consider." His voice trailed, giving a small pause, "Nothing for me, of course," He felt the need to declare, as if it might help persuade her to at least hear him out,"But for the better of the realm...?"

His mouth drew another pause, opened slightly and edging, "Well, alright, I don't know if that's true. But, will you come with me? I'd rather not discuss this with as many eyes and ears tuned to us." His eyes looked to the left, his head nodding just gently enough to sway the hair attached, to the direction of the courtyard entrance.
Feb 26 2018, 01:19 PM
[dohtml]<div class="n-site-template">
<h1><group>lord steffon baratheon</group></h1>
<h2>21 years old. the young buck. stormlands. jon kortajarena.</h2>
<h3>yeah, yeah, you know. 24. central. discord @laurielea.</h3>
<div class="maincontents scroll">

<div class="genhead">speckles and spots</div>
<div class="gensmall">are what you're born with</div>
<p>You are named for a Baratheon before you, bold and gregarious was the first of your name. In his youth he was formidable, a man knighted early and deserving of his spurs; He won tourneys, he fought wars, alongside the great men that earned his friendship and loyalty he swung his sword for joy and triumph. In his youth, he was ambitious using the mingled blood of your storm gods and that of ruling Targaryens to find his footing in the world – he was a warrior, a friend of the King, a member of his council, and the Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. In his youth, he was a lover of life and enjoyed all it presented to him. In his youth, Steffon Baratheon, first of his name, set the tone of your life a generation before you were born.
<p>You are born of great men. Your mother has tried, as well as entrusted your Maester, to teach you of your bloodlines; to show you that you are more than the man that spit your seed and the man you were named after. Your mother wants you to know where your pride comes from, the Maester told you when you questioned these lessons. And you should be proud, he said, for your family is full of strength, vigor, and wit. She shows you that you are the grandson of Tywin Lannister, a man that stood as hand of the King before yours. He is a commanding presence, and a cold somewhat callous individual. You have heard about all the grand victories he possesses under his belt, the heavy weights that sit on his shoulders with an unyielding strength. And you admire him, you wonder how he can be the man he is. How you could be a man like him. And he has a certain warmth to you, one your mother didn't expect but takes immense joy in. She holds her head higher beside him when you are near, as if her pride might burst through her chest at his approval. Your father has even noticed it, and laughed, leaving it at that. He thinks you remind him of the man you were named after, Tywin's closest friend and comrade. And this makes you beam, as it seems his approval is hard to come by.
<p>You learned this yourself as a boy during your first hunt, one you are at his side for during a visit to Lannisport. Though you had managed to shoot a rabbit down through some luck, you cannot skin it. You cannot even bring yourself to strip it as he shows you. And his disappointment in what you might be willing to do for the family begins, as he puts it, you will not even feed them then. But it was his wife, your grandmother Ashara that soothed your heart with kinder words. Your mother likes her well enough, but speaks more of her true mother, the woman that bore her. She tells you stories of her childhood, of a rambunctious woman who captured your grandfather's heart when no one else could. She shows you that you are the nephew of Stannis Baratheon, a man you will grow beside your entire life. A hard man, who you never truly see smile, but admire for his strong sense of just – man with an iron first, the defiant shape and will of Storm's End made into flesh. She shows you that you are the nephew of Renly Baratheon, a boy similar enough in your own age that you look to him more as a brother. You have trained beside him in Storm's End at your father's request, introduced to your first blade younger than planned when you plucked it from his hand. He has always been an optimistic boy, one who carries a charismatic soul. You look from him to Stannis, to your father, and wonder how they could be so different.
<p>And your Maester tells you of your other uncle, Tyrion, though your mother would rather he didn't. You don't understand her disdain, and she is horrible at her attempts to hide it in front of you, and knew you would have to wait for the time when you can be with him to decide. Briefly, you have met him throughout your life, but never long enough. He likes your sister more than you though, or that's how you feel as he showered her with books and barely gives you a word. He did give you your first taste of wine, when you were young and he was already well into his cups. You walked outside, found him pissing off the cliff side balcony of Storm's End; when you asked what he was doing, your uncle responded bluntly, though amused in tone, as he often spoke like. You laughed, asked how he could be making water again, you'd seen him leave for the privy only an hour before. Tyrion sighed, I blame the wine and it's cask, and shrugged. He made another comment about how the cask was bigger than him, likely spurred by a conversation at the table you hadn't paid mind to. But he offered you some, said you were tall enough now – you stood four inches taller than him, and you realized his humor. You love his wit, you are not always as sharp as it, but you admire it. It was this night, you wondered how such a big personality, such a large mind and a hearty appetite for indulgence could fit a man of his size. And this is the lasting impression you have, the first, and what you think of as the last, two things your uncle Tyrion gave you.
<p>And finally, your mother shows you that you are the nephew of Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer as your history volumes tell you, not that she ever said as much. He is a man worth looking towards, one treasured for his sacrifice and renown for his talent with a longsword. Your uncle is all that a golden lion should be, a warrior with a roar, and your mother wants you to find yours. And for all the great men you have before you, you are perhaps most like your uncle Jaime. And for this, your mother has always showed you a certain preference that you, among others, have never understood. You are brave, you are courageous, you would do anything for those you love, you are brash and you are arrogant. You even share his smile – and unfortunately, you have shown your whimsical nature of morality.

<div class="genhead">velvet and felts</div>
<div class="gensmall">are how you begin to grow</div>

<p>Because of your great family history, you will be a great man. This is why while Argella was playing in the sands of Shipbreaker Bay, you were training, you were studying. While your father lifted her into the air, while he spun her around, he kept a certain distance from you. He was not the most proficient Lord Paramount, and seemed disinterested in more than assisting in grooming you to be. He left this task to your Maester, to Stannis, and piped in only when necessary. But he was there to take you for a ride around the lands that would be your own one day, and he was there to swing a wooden sword in fun with you, to tell you stories of his father and his father's father and he was there to parade you around to all his visitors. And for most of your childhood, you felt as if your father ignored you in favor of his little princess. And you cried into the arms of your mother, who told you to thicken your skin, to show your father that you would be all he needed, all he desired, in a son and heir.

<p>And despite your jealousy of your sister. She is your best friend. It was beside Argella that you climbed the crags, that you stripped off your clothes and waded into the bitter waves, that you skipped stones, that you shared lemon cakes, that you did everything beside. When your brother was born, with curls of gold, your parents relationship changed. You were too young to understand the strain, and perhaps you still are... But you have always loved Joff, with his green eyes and huge lopsided grin and he has always clung to you; Stannis once said it reminded him of when Robert would return home in their youth, how Renly would rush to his side. He has never been shy about his resentment, having been the one to raise their little brother and still be shown less favor. Even once Joff was developing, once he was grown enough to scamper after you and tug at your sleeve, you tugged on Argella's. And it was when Joff was picked on by another boy in the keep, the baker's son, that you began learning what it is to be a protector. All of nine, you raised your fist to the boy that towered over you, that could fit you and then some inside his trousers, that had a scowl to match your uncle Stannis' worst days. You were not victorious, but you defended, and Joffery cheered for you – as well as ran to get your mother when it became obvious you were not going to win. And down came Cersei Baratheon, her claws extended for her wounded cub, reprimanding not only the boy but his father. Embarrassing you without meaning to, when she asked if you were alright, you turned your cheek from her. Come here, she said, let me see. And you answered no, stubborn and hurt and curious. You demand an explanation, why was the boy cruel to your brother and why did you rush to help, why did you lose, why did she win. Your mother, in all her wisdom, shared with you something she learned from her father: sometimes you will be a protector, and sometimes you will be a predator. Everyone is capable of both, everyone is both. You wonder how you will ever know when to be one, and when to be the other. And you hope that perhaps if you can understand this, that you will please the man that taught her this. That you will find a way to do for you family as he wants you to. That like both of your grandfathers, you want to prove you would do anything for your blood.
<p>When were almost to your twelve name day, your father surprised you. He beamed, never had you seen him so excited or giddy. Not even when he was throwing a tourney, which was often enough being that you couldn't remember a year in your nearly twelve years without one. You were to foster in Winterfell for a short time. Still you look back on it with love, as it might have been your happiest year. The trip was long. Longer than you ever thought possible, but it was not your first to the North. Your father's oldest, closest friend was Lord Eddard Stark, and because of this you had trekked with him to Winterfell twice before. Once as a young boy for the celebration of the young Lady Arriana's birth, and again when the Stark couple declined an invitation to a tourney for your own sister's seventh name day – and your father brought the tournament to them. Loud, and deliberate, as he always was, but welcomed. He had clasped Eddard on the back, mocked his refusal and opened the icy gates to a party like they hadn't seen in over a decade.
<p> Upon your first visit North you had met Robb. You had liked him, not only for being named for your father, but you imagined he might have been much like him – which you would learn was not quite the case. And here, you were thrilled to see him again, wondering if you two would grow to be as close as your fathers. Not only were you taken with Robb, but you formed quick relationships with all of the Stark children. There was something in how many there were, and how different each of them were, that you loved. At home, it was you, Argella, and Joff. And you were all different, but some times you felt the same. You knew their ins and outs, but here the young children of Brandon and Eddard Stark were mysteries. You sat by the hearth with gentle Sansa, who worked on her embroidery while you repeated the stories of the Storm Gods your father told you; and the stories your Uncle Tyrion retold to your sister, the ones that your mother mocks him for acting out with Jaime as children. And you listened to her, and her musing brother Artos, about the North; about the world Beyond-the-Wall that Old Nan had told them about. And in the training yard, where you learned your bow skills really were nothing special next to the children of the North, as Elinor, Jon and Arriana, all exceed your ability to aim. You laughed once, and told them that it was a shame your sister's talent did not lie with their own, her only weapon was her words. You don't imagine these girls would have gotten along for long, but you hope to one day see it happen. And while Winterfell was cold in comparison to Storm's End, you felt very warm there. You enjoyed every moment, and not once wished to leave, and was curious on if it was the place or the people. If the generation of Starks you were beginning to know, to unwrap the mystery of, wanted to leave. You knew they sought their own adventure, but was it here in the North or to the South?
<p>It pleases you when you are older to see them at court, though you don't know why, and you fell as if surely they want to return. You were almost fourteen, home in Storm's End, about to become a squire to a famous knight, when you told your father how you liked the Stark girl, he laughed. Like your father, he said, somehow proud. And told you not to tell your mother. You knew the story of your mother having been your father's consolation, how he had once been betrothed to, and once in love with, Lyanna Stark – Now, she stands your revered Queen and not your mother. You have met her once, a brief introduction the last time your father brought you to court. It has always pained him in some way or another, you always thought his pride was damaged, but sometimes you think it might be more than that. Sometimes, your father is a complicated man.
<p> Again, you bring it up to him in passing some months later. Soon you'll be a man grown, soon he will be looking for a match for you. And you think you could be happy with the Northern girl, and he asks you, what do you know? You shrug to him, and say enough. Maybe if she had more of her mother in her, maybe if she had her maiden name, things would be different. He asks how many girls you've bedded; you feel awkward, shy in answering and your voice withers. Two, you tell him honestly, and your father laughs. He tells you to sow your oats and worry about who you might marry in the many years to come. His father had never been in a hurry to wed him, and he was not concerned with it for you. So at eighteen, you'll still be unspoken for, and he'll be hoping your only love is glory.

<div class="genhead">sparring and spurs</div>
<div class="gensmall">are to strength the antlers</div>
<p>You leave to become a squire, and it is no surprise you will do so under your uncle Jaime. Though he was stripped of his white cloak, he was not stripped of his talent, his sword, or his knighthood. So again you left Storm's End, not half a year after returning, to claim a new home. This time you went west, to Lannisport. You enjoyed your time there well enough, but it was harder. You did not dance with the children of the keep, or exchange stories, or leisurely hunt through the woods, or play in snow... It was nothing like your experiences in Winterfell. You uncle was hard on you, you spent many days in the practice yard honing your skills under his guiding longsword. He pushed you as hard as he might have pushed his son, but at times you felt it was harder. Like he had more to prove with you. Maybe to the world, you aren't sure and will likely never feel comfortably asking him about it. There were times you had the opportunity to train alongside, and against, your cousin Tybolt. He offered a challenge at every pommel. But you were determined. You wanted this, you wanted to be a knight. You wanted to be a knight for your Northern girl, and you wanted to be one for your father, for your uncle and grandfathers.
<p>And as exhausting as your time under Jaime's eye was, it was more difficult when Tywin stepped into assist. He was brutal. He might never have picked up a sword against you, but he cut you with words. Words that stung with an expectation of more than you thought you could give – he wanted to undo the lack of preparation your father had given you, he sought to educate and harden you; to show you how to discipline, how to be just and how to navigate court to suit your needs... Well, to suit the family's needs. You might not carry the name of a Lannister, he said, but you carry the reputation of it all the same.
<p>You feel for your cousin, for though his grandfather's nature is natural to him, you know he must be pushed harder than you are. You wonder how he does it. How he can be like the man you so wished to emulate parts of as a child, the same one you can't fathom how to now. How he can do strategics like he does, how looking at the map of Westeros doesn't bore him entirely, how he can entertain thoughts of a political marriage instead of a passionate one, and how he seems more his grandfather's son than his own father's. And though you've been told over and over again how like your father and his father you are in some regards – you wonder how you seem more like Jaime than he is, you wonder if you should have been born with claws instead of hooves. But for all his pressure, it is under your Tywin's hands that you begin to truly understand what it is your mother had told you when you were a young boy. When you were fighting to defend your brother, how to be a protector and a predator; while you thought you caught a grasp on being a protector, it is through cunning techniques that you realize your grandfather is a predator. It is not his sword, but his actual hands. And you know your sister has inherited this, you have seen Tybolt display it too, and know that you have it in you. There isn't a measure to it, but you can feel it gaining as time goes by. You want to be logical, to be resourceful and show ingenuity. And as you study the history of your grandfather closer, you think you could do as he did.
<p> You would never be cold, and you would never have the foresight to calculate moves more than a few steps ahead, but you were bright enough and would do what had to be done. You displayed this in a game, made up as a challenge for to overcome, where you bribed the man you were against. He was to take a fall, to surrender his token to you. And though it wasn't very honorable, it was resourceful and you received a queer praise. It had not felt entirely right, but what ever did under such scrutiny?

<p> Your father was never prouder than your first true tourney. But you were never more embarrassed. And your grandfather was never more angry. You had grown up competing in your father's celebrations, he held a tourney at every soiree, and often without cause. You spent many afternoons practicing with your sword, and trying to use a weapon that mimicked your father's own mighty war hammer; you were never very skilled at swinging it down on your pretend foes. And it was in this tourney that your father placed you in, that he announced to you and everyone else how you would win with the use of your little hammer, one you affectionately called Vex because of your secret displeasure in using it. It was here that you first tasted defeat in such a competition. You had soared during the first round, everyone applauding your talent; marking how you were the son of a vanguard leader during the last war and the nephew of the youngest member of the King's guard in history. You were meant to soar about everyone, and everyone was seeing you meet that expectation – until the melee you faced the masked Brienne in. Brienne the Beauty, you had heard her called, and in truth once called her at a gathering once. Your friends had done it, and your sister had snickered and repeated it to you, as if she wished she had thought of it herself. You had felt a pit in your stomach as you laughed with them, trying to fit with them instead of doing as your uncle Renly did. You caught him later speaking to her gently, as if he wished he could sooth the sting of her victory against you.
<p> When your grandfather heard that you lost to someone in the third round, when he heard you lost to a woman, he was furious. It was perhaps the only time your father and grandfather had ever agreed on anything. All the praise you had worked for forgotten. From Lannisport he sent a bird, a piece of parchment with disappointing words etched hard into it by a quill. You will not even win for them, his words rang inside your head as you read it as if it were Tywin Lannister speaking to you in the same room. You lost to a girl who cannot even win a husband, your chest swelled with a breath of criticism. Your father came to you the next day, cooled from the loss and congratulated you on your performance. He clasped you on the shoulders and applauded your effort.You begged that the next tourney, should he signed you up, to place you with a longsword. And while he said he was excited that you would willingly try again, that you would act to recover the face lost, he wished you would try again with a hammer. To practice harder with it, but you shook your head, said it was his to have, that you couldn't make your mark with it. And what a mark you want to make.
<p>Despite your maternal grandfather's constant battering and frequent disappointment, you are knighted at eighteen. Your uncle is the one to give you your spurs, and rightfully deserved according to him. He is proud, your father is proud, as is your mother and brother and uncles. For now they ignore all your downfalls, all that has disappointed them, and you are free; they rejoice in your boldness, they praise your sensibility and even your hardhead, they praise your new found love of tactics and even humor you by laughing at your jokes. Your grandfather is gratified that he managed to undo some of the mess your father left you to face unprepared in adulthood. You mother is thrilled that you have come so far, that you shadowed her brother so well and bridged the families. Your sister, though indifferent on many things that are not directed towards her – sometimes down right dismissive of them, calls you valiant. And sweet Joff looks to you in awe, a way that you feel like he has never before. You must set a good example for him, better now than ever. Your father is proud that you are not afraid to challenge anyone. You have been bucking, earning your grand antlers, since you screamed your way out of your mothers womb. Your antlers were hard to grown, hard to win, hard to hold – but now they are sharpening, and you hope they will never be mounted.

<p> And then they began their trial, turned to points by the trusted thrusts of your own hands, and cut by the mold of war. War you never thought would come so soon in your life, but that you jumped at the chance to prove yourself with. War that you volunteered for with the cheer of your father and the pride of your mother. You made ready to rush home, to rush to the battle in the Stormlands. The girl you've admired for so long, a warrior in her own right demanding she does as well. She lifted her head in stride, her companion wolf at her heels, and ducked beneath your arm. No matter how you embraced her, how you pleaded with her, her blue eyes frosted with determination to see her own justice found. Elinor, you called to the back her head, watching the leathers shift on her backside as she walked away with nothing more than a hand gesture to stop. Her hair had been a mess, tresses riveted from her will, her anger, her frustration. You couldn't say you blamed her. You definitely couldn't tame her, you knew your hope of her withdrawal from the battlefield was nothing more than a foolish hope. You lamented on how many of those you've had in your life from a few horses down two weeks later, after countless tense interactions with your betrothed.

<p>She lived, you lived, almost all of you did by the counts of family and friends. But some were close, your she-wolf one of them. You were livid, had you not been there at the right moment, her life would have been ripped from her, from you. And the passion and fury of your father ignited, I will not loose you to the ill-weapon luck of war, you had hissed it almost. A demand rising in you that otherwise wouldn't have come, but a call for Essos was on the horizon, another battle to be fought. And it would not be the one in which you lost her, you emphasized it with your fist on the large oak table of the formal dining hall at remark from your father. Your mothers face twisting her brow high as you excused yourself. The what-ifs racing inside your head. He may have been joyous, praising his son for his glories and rescue, but you, you were angry you had even had to. What had she said when you asked her to remain in the safety of King's Landing? That she could take care of herself, and you hadn't doubted her, you still don't, you just think the Gods seek to intervene.

<p>At the call of the banners, you told your family to stay, that you would go and they could remain. Your father laughed, rose his hammer to you, snatched it from the desk and called to the Storm Gods for their winds to guide you, waters to mend you, and thunder to fuel you. And clashed it against the stones that held his weight, how could he sit there while you went out for the King? His banner men called, he would not go back to King's Landing and mourn more deaths destined to ruin the age of history's greatest men, he would be a cause of them in another city. He would be one a great man again, like his son, you, were trying to be. And thus, your father found your side in the fight. Perhaps, this was always where the gods intended you to form a real relationship with this man.

<p>And returned to the Stormlands, you wonder how the men before handled the blood and fury of war. You were so eager for it, found yourself quite talented in it, and yet, a part of you wished it would end. You missed the life that was before it all, the way of things. This is a feeling that stabs with longing in your chest as Elinor reserves herself with you. She came to greet you at the gate, but kept her distant steps. She did not even come forward as the men rushed to help you descend from your mount, gingerly, nursing the wound that almost claimed your leg half a world away. She spoke, but it was empty, musing the few writings you had managed. You know she still reels, the demands you had promised never to make of her made. They way you and your father had with women, you wondered if it would be lucky if you were ever married happily together. Perhaps she would carry this to her grave, as your own mother seems to do with your father, from something he said so long ago that crossed her heart so dearly. It was her distance - your wounded ego and lame leg, that led you to begin noticing another.

<p>Weeks later, you climb upon your mount for King's Landing. Your family in tow and your betrothed somewhere near by, moving through the lands to witness the trial of your uncle. A man accused of terrible acts, and claimed for the realm's justice by the actions of you and the men that had gone to war. What a trying time for your young life, a world marred by war, a family torn apart, a love that once shined in your every hope in shams. Your thoughts are preoccupied throughout the march to King's Landing, for with your mother to stand in the jury, your uncle doesn't stand a chance even if a thousand men pleaded for his innocence.

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'You are your own hero, His father's words echoed in his ear, he had never been a humble man. 'You,' he had said once, when he was a boy, tapping his chest where the heart beat beneath, 'Well, and me.' The young Baratheon had thought of them often throughout his way of war. They continued to repeat inside his mind as he returned, and now on the road to King's Landing. He thought of them now, with the memory of every sword's sweep. His father had fueled him, knowing his hammer was near and that he believed he pounded the thunder of the Storm God into the earth with every strike.

Here, he knew that hammer sat strung across the great stag's back some horses in front of him. The image of the battlefield played behind every lid's close. His blink in step with the hooves of the palfrey beneath him. Steffon recalled the man that had almost taken his leg, that had almost stripped him of his knightly abilities, half a world away. The man had been quick to move, dancing across the earth like his feet had traced the dirt and mapped the rocks his entire life. His blade had been short and lean, his other hand clenched around the handle of a smaller dagger. He had been so swift, it was still a wonder to Steffon how he had managed the speed. And how he had avoided it until he faltered. When the riverbed's slick slime had his leg jut ahead of him, right into the steel of his counterpart.

His leg burned with each jolt of his mount. The thin skin that had healed over the wound threatening to tear. The men had suggested a litter or recurring breaks at the gates of Storm's End, but what how would he look if he took those comforts? Instead, Steffon had turned his mouth into a stern line and pulled himself into the saddle. The buck's hands tightened over the reins, gloves crinkling at the friction. He had lasted a fortnight, he would last another day or two to the entrance of King's Landing. Another glimpse of his eyes brought an image of Elinor, clad in armor and bow, her direworld furious beside her. Her blue eyes aiming true, and string taut, with a sword overhead striking. A reaction from her wolf, preoccupied with those in front of her, not quite quick enough to defend her from behind. This was a nightmare he suffered from, the imaginings of her death. A lame leg, he could deal with, especially with the Maesters hope of a full recovery with time, if she was gone?

He sought her, some down in the line up, her gaze still avoiding him. He knew if he called to her, she might come, but what would she offer to him but a few words? Their exchanges had been lousy, at best, since his return. And the stress of what the Red Keep had to promise, offered little hope for more any time soon. But still, he called to her with as much hope as he could muster, "Elinor."

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