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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.
Posted: Mar 7 2018, 12:19 AM
What does a flame remember? If it remembers a little less than necessary – it goes out; if it remembers a little more than necessary – it, too, goes out. If only the flame could teach us all, while it still burns, to remember correctly. When the war was over, when the wounded and dying and the dead were returning home, when everyone began to count heartbeats and heads ... it had been difficult for Aelix to fathom the empty losses and broken souls he’d been force to stare down blankly. Nothing that these returning soldiers had witnessed could compare to the relative simplicity he’d dealt with while keeping those spoiled, obnoxious brats here at home from doing anything spectacularly stupid. Aelix spent the whole war wishing he could have done more for his people, more for the war effort, more to protect the ones they had all lost. Inaction will cost you the stars, they say. That which is important never changes. That which becomes important changes everything.
The weight of understanding that you are useless was like the weight of mountains, crushing his spirit. Carefully, that pain was exquisitely judged so that he may maintain the faintest spark of self-awareness, which was where the purest torture lived. That he would forever know who he was and what he should have been able to do to help his father, his siblings, his people; the prince felt pressed flat beneath the weight of his guilt. And then he decided to get back up. He straightened his back, of his own free will, no lectures were necessary this time. Aelix looked out from amethyst eyes, reached back into his memories, and clung to the ones that bound him to his family. Aelix knew now that he could speak, in his own voice, and not the voice he borrowed from his father or his siblings or from Barristan, when commanding the civilians to step down. In his lone control of the city, he’d finally learned what it meant to become his own man.
Now, his mind was his own. His voice was his own. Aelix might be the youngest prince, but he was, too, the Commander of the City Watch, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Somehow that legacy didn’t feel as though it was so much a burden. Finally, finally, Aelix and Andracarr had proven that they could serve King’s Landing and Westeros together in whatever capacity was needed. Granted, that blasted emerald dragon still strayed towards laconic stubbornness, but they were one. Together. The plain fact was that Aelix had become tired of who he had been. Which only partially explained the upheaval of his personality, a character that had, in truth, long ago worn he and everyone else down. There are too many unfortunate roads between the Aelix of now and the one he’d woven out of bleeding hearts and stars and sadness and hate, and there’s only so much respect he could wring out of any of it. The neutral observer could draw a fairly direct line from his successes to his self worth. But he lives in this skin of competition, knows its motivation. And nothing inspires a fierce competition quite like loneliness.
Time seemed to change, to slow unbearably, once he’d entered his brother’s room and shut the door behind him quietly. He saw his brother’s head propped against his pillows, but his eyes were closed; it seemed forever for Aelix to cross the room and take a seat in one of the chairs next to the bed. Regardless of what the maids, servants, or Maesters thought or said before he entered, he was here, and he would not be leaving. Aelix did not think his brother was conscious, so he gently grasped the wrist of his uninjured hand, afraid to cause any more damage, but he needed to reassure himself that his brother’s pulse was still beating beneath the skin. Even at rest, Valarr seemed to be smiling. It had always been so easy for his older brother. Between Matarys and Aelix, they could have frowning competitions. Visenya, too, he supposed. But never Valarr. Though, if he were being honest, Valarr was likely drugged to the gills on milk of the poppy and whatever else they’d given his elder brother to dull the pain. Sighing, he pulled away and crossed his arms over his breastplate to wait.
He’d come to Valarr’s room wearing the full City Watch regalia, as though daring anyone who came across him to turn him away. The heavy, gold-dyed wool of his cloak kept out the chill and covered an impressive set of armor, marked with the distinct three-headed dragon, several hidden dirks, and a long sword hanging on his hip. Overall, he felt completely ridiculous, especially considering all he was there to do was check in on his injured siblings one by one, but he absolutely refused to be sent away, even by those who meant well. If a show of force was necessary to get his way, than they would have it. No one was going to question the Commander of the City Watch when he was in full regalia. To his immense relief, at least the armor, boots, and gloves were all in black. Aelix didn’t think he’d ever live it down if he ran around the Red Keep looking shiny. He didn’t know how his uncle Viserys did it. All that bloody white, he shuddered inelegantly and then sighed.
It didn’t seem to be right anymore. The world, that is. Life. It was too big and too small, it itched the skin across his ribcage and it seems like there were so many pockets that he doesn’t know where to put his hands. Aelix thinks that it used to be different, that it all used to fit better before he stretched and grew, but he stops that thought there because he honestly can’t bring himself to care about it anymore. What’s done is done. All the same, he has inherited this life; it would be impolite to complain, and Aelix Targaryen likes to believe that has manners. The seventeen year-old prince, still not yet accustomed to thinking himself a man-grown, employs an impatient hand to push away silvery locks from his face. Aelix sat, solid and still and silent, pale and perfect, like all those who visibly bore Valyrian blood. He gazed at the wall blankly, like he always did when he was pretending not to be paying attention to everything around him. He’d wait here as long as he had to: either until his brother woke up, or he was chased out. Aelix knew he’d sit here all night if he had to. He’d gotten good at waiting. The prince waited out an entire war at home. He could wait a few more hours.
OOC:: I am sicker than a dog right now. I'm going to bed. I'll write more when I don't feel like I'm going to die.
Posted: Mar 7 2018, 12:46 PM
Carnage. The valiant hurrah of heroic men exposed in cowardice, their bravado exchanged for sheepish screams whilst becoming part of deeper tragedies. Once the bloodied remnants of a man might have stood with war glorified in his head, the idea of gold outweighing the price of murder. A time before barbaric acts became encouraged, long before kittens became lions before fast becoming ghosts. In his sleep Valarr Targaryen walked amongst them once more. Youthful faces shrunk beneath mud, mouths that might have once grinned at the prospect of battle trembled under a vail; their expressions obscured beneath blood and dirt. Some he might have recognised once, but unfortunate circumstances could alter the perception of a man, could disfigure his appearance without a single deformation. So instead he marched in silence, unacquainted with those that formed a path on either side, unfamiliar with the men he’d stood amongst — unable to distinguish them from those he’d stood against. Some appeared half-drowned, water falling in patient drops from their fingertips, strands of disgruntled hair plastering the skin. But he couldn’t smell the salt. Nor could he smell the overwhelming twang of iron, the after-aroma one might have after holding a handful of bronze for longer than a moment. Almost rustic but not quite.
No. It was a different kind of smell, one which probed a faint recollection somewhere in the back of his mind; buried beneath the subconscious and further still. The smell of ice, of frost, of winter-winds and promised blizzards. Some were convinced one couldn’t smell the cold, that it was a misconception. But it was unmistakable, like the delicate fragrance of coming rain. It irritated the senses, targeted the nerves before plundering beneath. But there was no vast blanket of white, no desolation of woodland smothered beneath snow-drifts. He’d seen such things. There was just the dead. The dead he continued to walk between.
Children… The visual made him pause, his head craning to overlook a small figure, crooked in posture but taller than a toddler. Devotion demanded he remain upon his path, that he continue through the corridor of maimed faces, but morbid curiousness pushed him from it. With his weight dropping he’d bring himself upon a knee, the fogged purple of his stare overcome with a distant haze studiously looking over the stranger again and again. With hair as silver as his own the pale boy would lift the peculiar blue of his eyes to meet the Prince, his strange purple lips compressed in a tight accusing line.
“She’ll take them. She’ll take them all Valarr. One dead man, two dead man, three dead man, four.”
It came in a faint almost song, the haunting hum ringing against the silence ricocheting against the soulless vessels lining either side.
“You should have burnt them.” With all his might the Prince desired to speak, to question, but despite his best effort the restriction of his tongue refused to yield and he found himself without speech. Without a breath at all. “Burnt them all. Burnt them all.” The laughter which followed threatened to churn his stomach, the sound so sweet - so sickening it might have once spurred the hairs upon his arms to rise. But instead he found himself reaching, reaching for the familiar curve of those sharp Valyrian cheeks. “Princes of Summerhall —“
Before another word could come a strange sensation disfigured the form stood at his feet. An overwhelming warmth apparent on his forearm — a warmth which dispelled the chill, casting the cold from his veins and in turn warding the mountainous dead from his dreams. With the fragments of thought disintegrating he’d find the artificial darkness chased from his vision permitting speckles of light to filter through his lids. A moment later light itself surrounded him and through a squint the kaleidoscope of colours created the outline of Aelix himself. Was he holding his wrist? The question brought an almost whimsical smile to smooth the outline of his mouth, the memories of his dreams forgotten under a verge of sudden amusement.
At first the youthful reflection of Rhaegar made no attempt to move, replicating sleep in which he’d perfected with practice. He’d become accustomed to faking his slumber, just to escape the forced conversation — those who’d felt morally inclined to sit at his bedside as if he might elope with the Stranger without a moments notice. Patience, or lack of, had once been his biggest downfall; now it seemed to be intent on engaging with him and so he’d embraced it. He waited. Waited a little longer. A little longer still. Once Aelix had sat himself back and folded his arms, appearing to Valarr as the most amusing sculpture he’d ever looked upon, the Prince would finally allow his teeth to creep forwards in his all too familiar grin. “It’s been awhile since you tried to hold my hand Lix.” The words came with a croak, a distinctive crack - the kind one might acquire when regaining a lost voice; gritted almost with a groggy dream-like undertone.
“What the bloody hell are you wearing?” Laughter. Not quite as musical as it once had been, but light and soft all the same. With his attention garnered he’d attempt to lift his head, the weight pulling on his skull defied as he’d lean it against the wooden board behind him. “How long have I been asleep? My little brother Commander of the City Watch? Impossible — you were 10 just two minutes ago.” With great fondness he’d make a great attempt to blink the blurriness from his vision, the Targaryen before him chasing the frost of his dreams from the bed. Valarr was kidding of course, the content in his expression and visible pride spoke enough — far more than his humour, “I think people keep coming to see if I’m dead. Did you come to see if I was dead or did you just miss me?” With his grin melting to a rather cattish smile he’d sink against his feathered cushions, doing all he could to ignore the nagging pain ravaging the underlay of his torso.
Posted: Mar 13 2018, 03:24 AM
“Holding your-“ Aelix repeated, slightly confused before he gave in to the sudden urge to roll his eyes. “No, brother, that is not what I was doing. Though I suppose, if you’re feeling particularly lonely right now, I’m sure I could pretend that you’re pretty enough to waste a couple moments to comfort you,” he quipped as best he could, glad that the conversation was, at the very least, starting as it usually did with Valarr: with Aelix vastly out of his depth. The younger had never had a good grasp at humor; too flat, too bold, always ill-timed. Still, he tried, even though he was fully aware he’d never be able to keep up with Valarr. Even a feeble attempt still had to count for something, right? The young commander also conveniently forgot to explain why he’d been holding his brother’s wrist, monitoring Valarr’s pulse. It went without saying that Aelix’s thoughts were dwelling on all those injuries, almost afraid that mentioning them would somehow make them worse.
It certainly hadn’t taken Valarr long to notice the rather bold choice in clothing Aelix had made when coming to visit. There was a faint blush that dusted his cheeks as he self-consciously picked at one of the loose, golden threads of his cloak, unable to hide his embarrassment behind those pale, valyrian features as he avoided eye-contact. “It is rather ridiculous, isn’t it?” he agreed with a sigh. Whenever he put on the uniform he ended up feeling like he was strutting around like a peacock. Or a Lannister. Neither were pleasant comparisons. “The Maesters have been very protective over all of you, and you know how awful I am at sneaking around places I shouldn’t go. I figured that a show of force would just shut them all up.” He glanced up to meet his brother’s gaze, the corner of his mouth lifted in a small, ironic grin. “It worked,” Aelix admitted needlessly, and resisted the urge to help his brother as he leaned back against the headboard; it wouldn’t just end with Aelix being mercilessly teased for worrying, but also for him likely doing something stupid like fluff his brother’s pillows. Ugh. No. No, thank you.
His laugh was self-deprecating as he shoved a gloved hand through his hair as he searched his mind for the right words. That’s all his life ever seemed to be: the never-ending search for the right words when all words the Gods had given him were the wrong ones. “I haven’t been ten for a while, brother. Besides ... I had to grow up sometime. It just took a big fucking war on the other side of the world to get me off my ass,” he swore, annoyed with himself and everything all at once, but the flash of anger faded as quickly as it had appeared and just left him tired. “As for being named Commander ... there was no one else,” he shrugged the thought away and avoided making eye contact again, glancing at everything and nothing all at once. “Everyone went off to fight, but someone had to stay behind to keep the "peace", and keep the idiots from doing anything more spectacularly stupid.” Aelix pulled off his black gloves and set them on his left knee to give himself something to do, but eventually returned his gaze to his brother once he’d given himself a moment to figure out what he wanted to say.
“I was good, Val,” he said, using one of those rare nickname’s for his siblings when Aelix was comfortable in his own skin. “Andy was, too. You should have seen it: you wouldn’t have recognized either of us, especially Andracarr,” he said softly, fondly thinking of his emerald dragon. “Even father said I made him proud once he came back, said the position suited me. And I think he’s right. Having a purpose, this purpose ... I can do this,” he declared with a sharp nod, for once absolutely certain. “Besides,” he began with a hint of a small grin on his face, another one of those rare real ones. “At least I’m not running around all in white right now. Can you imagine?” he continued, with an exaggerated shudder, as he said aloud the thoughts he’d had before his brother had woken. “Just think, Prince Aelix, wearing the White Cloak and out-shining poor uncle Viserys ... he’d never let me live it down. Seven hells, you’d never let me live it down,” he admitted with snort.
Aelix’s moment of amusement faded away into something softer, even as his gaze grew distant as he focused on something far away in his mind. “I knew you weren’t dead, you and the others. I’ve been checking in with the Maesters enough, but careful enough not to get underfoot, and of course I missed you, big brother,” he admitted, his shoulders tense. “You left. You were all gone. It was necessary, of course, and I have always understood that, but ... I kept having these terrible dreams. The dragons were all frozen and the direwolves were all burning. Everyone was dead, and I was still just ... alone.” Aelix glanced down at his hands, fisted against his knees as he debated with himself whether or not to continue. “This will be the first time everyone’s been in the same place together in a long time, but it’s only because you all got injured fighting a war, and because of that stupid, fucking trial over the Imp. I just ...” he glanced up uncertainly through the curtain of silvery hair. “I don’t know about you, but I keep getting the sense that this is just the beginning of something bigger. That things are about to get so, so much worse? That maybe we shouldn’t be taking our guards down, just because we think we’ve got our monster in a box.”
Aelix suddenly flinched back against his own words. “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry, Val. That’s not what I meant to say at all when I came here. I wanted to check on you, make sure you’ve been eating properly, not drinking too much wine, and following the Maesters orders. Fuck. I’m sorry.” The young prince stood and paced back and forth behind his chair, unwilling to leave the room or his brother, but not knowing how to repair the conversation. This is why silences were always better. The more Aelix tried, the more he failed. “I never seem to say what I’m supposed to. I came in with the express purpose of being benign, “Hi! I love you, I missed you, congratulations on your child, he’s gorgeous, get better,” and then run out to make my next visit. Not impress upon you my needless worries, especially now that everyone’s back here, at home, safe. Near.” He stopped pacing enough to place both hands against the back of the chair he’d previously occupied to watch his brother, wide-eyed and paler than usual as he chewed on the corner of his lip. “I should ... I should go. I’m glad I got to see you again, here, alive, before duty will inevitably call me away to secure the city for the upcoming trial. But I had to see you. Ignore everything else, if you can. Please? I’m really sorry.”
OOC:: Still sick, but this was mostly done, just needed a couple tweaks.
But - Oh my god. The antibiotics I am on make me slightly, uh, chatty. More so than usual. So I'm sorry. Since my lungs wont let me verbally explode irl, then Valarr gets the brunt of it. O_O I am so sorry. PM me if it's too much and I need to roll some crap back. Lol. Seriously. I apologize.
Posted: Mar 13 2018, 01:08 PM
Was it cruel to find amusement in the brief pass of confusion upon his brother’s face? Not at all. Valarr felt nothing but affection, the gentle smile creasing the corner of his mouth as mellow as the pleasant expression worn across his face. In youth he’d entertained himself with endearing teasing, though perhaps he’d overstepped a mark once or twice it was often in good humour and his manner of which to express his love. “Don’t make gestures you don’t intend to fulfil, or I’ll have you holding my hand until the sun falls from the Western ridge.” And that was no idle threat. The Silver Prince would have no qualms in embracing his brother, even in the form of such a meek gesture, in-fact it had brought him quiet comfort to have him close. Perhaps frequenting the companionship of the stranger, dangling on a string so close to his realm, had brought him a bitter-sweet realisation that he’d allowed the bond once shared between himself and his siblings to weaken; like brittled rope worn over-time. What had once been fierce now seemed a to burn as a single ember rather than a blaze.
Guilt conflicted him for the slightest of moments, the gentle flush of subtle red darkening his brother’s cheeks tempted him to retract the statement but instead he found himself laughing. The sound soft, almost over-coming the grit of his throat, the strain still apparent; a strange trinket gifted to him from the sea. An unpleasant reminder of those sinking moments, of water burning his insides, scalding his nose as if it had been fire. “Ridiculous to visit your brother, perhaps. In general not at all, it is rather becoming. You look almost as handsome as me. But not quite.” Hearing the method behind the madness of course lightened his spirt, the tale lifting his heart until it fell from his mouth in an applauding grin, “Bravo. If that didn’t work of course you could have just flown up to the window.” He might have motioned to the object of his idea but the thought of lifting his hand seemed more effort than it would be worth. He’d felt tired of late, plagued in sleep, uncomfortable in his moments awake. It was a two sided sword and when one end couldn’t quite reach the other tormented him.
It seemed a far more pleasing idea to imagine his brother at ten. To imagine himself so much younger, a lad with too much charm and not enough time. A time before complications had hindered his life, before his mother had disappeared, before Alea had caused his heart once devoted to a single soul to split. When nothing but his dreams brought him despair; and his unhatched egg. Now however he sat a different man, still capable of perfecting a smile but disintegrating behind it a little more each time it came. “War will do that — I can’t think of anyone better to be Commander.” And that was the truth, spoken with sincere conviction and brimmed with pride. Aelix had been without direction, or at least that was how Valarr had considered it, now with a purpose there’d be no stopping his capabilities. He’d thrive. Soar. The twin had no doubt about it and would argue against all that might dare to disagree. He didn’t have to witness his brother in the position to whole-heartedly believe he was the perfect man for the task. “You’ve had practice, you’ve stopped me doing spectacularly stupid things before. It would have been like old times.” With a familiar smirk he’d tilt his head, the expedition of his stare travelling from one corner to the other, as if to chase something he’d caught in the corner of his eye. Chasing ghosts.
Val. The sound of his name brought him back to the moment, with clear devotion he’d return his attention to his brother, the arch of his brow raising to urge Aelix on, a silent enquiry. “You’ll have to show me how to fly like you, I flew for the first time over there.. I don’t think I was very good.” Of course it had been quite circumstantial, a rescue attempt from his beloved white-blue beast. “I could have told you the position would suit you, but I bet you would have just thought I was making some joke at your expense.” Smoothing his mouth into a feline curve Val would find himself withholding a burst of laughter, the pain threatening his ribs demanding he control himself, the discomfort forcing him to wince. “We’ll leave the white wearing to Viserys, it’s a little too pure for us I think.” In truth he could quite imagine his youngest sibling adorning the white cloak, though it was not a fate he’d envision upon him. No. The cloak forbade true happiness, it brought honour but at a price not worth the payment, “I bet Andracarr looked quite formidable, he’ll be the talk of the town.”
As he considered the familiar creature casting his shadow across King’s Landing he almost didn’t notice the distance appearing in his brother’s stare, the sudden vacant cast separating his mind from sight. With polite patience he’d await its clearance, a look of concern touching the cut of his cheek. Once the words began to fall he’d reserve himself, a sudden intake of air bringing a chill to smother his chest. It took a whole minute to realise he’d held his breath, his brother’s words ringing with alarm between his temples like the incessant echo of a church bell. For a moment he’d been focused on the admission he’d been missed, he’d come close to commenting, stood on the verge of making some entertaining quip. But then he’d mentioned dreams. Mentioned the dead.
With great strain he’d straighten himself, the dormant muscles in his back aching under the awakening; the strain causing a cold sweat to gather upon the nape of his neck. “Dreams. Terrible dreams?” Ice. Fire. Direwolves. Dragons. Death. He’d seen such things too. He’d heard his mother’s voice forewarn him of his error, he could recall that child’s strange voice as if it screamed behind his head as clear as it had been in his sleep. Should have burnt them all. “Aelix.” The name came under the influence of a shudder, as if the stranger himself had placed a hand upon his shoulder the moment he’d spoke. “Lix I have them too. The dreams. I’ve seen—-“ With a further wince he’d catch himself before speaking, his heart demanding his mouth consider itself before speaking. “Don’t apologise, stop it, stop apologising.” With a rather controlled tone he’d compose himself, his hand lunging to reach for his brother but falling short as it recoiled to wrap defensively around his waist, the movement crippling whatever tenderness resided beneath. “Sit down would you and if it makes you feel better I haven’t been drinking wine.” With great effort he’d motion forwards, willing himself to sit a little taller, be a figure of consolation rather than weakness. “Please sit down. For Gods sake you’re not wrong, this isn’t finished.”
Despite his best attempt the Prince found himself forced to recoil back into the cushion, the overwhelming crippling sensation demanding he take the strain from his torso. If he’d had more time he’d have spent a moment sulking about his predicament, but instead his seriousness kept him present, forbidding himself from distraction. “I think there’s something else coming too. Something worse than Essos, something to do with mother — we brought the dead back.. We should have burnt them. Something keeps telling me we should have burnt them all.” Overcome with an incessant shiver he’d bite his inner-cheek, a habit he’d grown out of a long time ago, as if the North itself had cast a wind across his head. “There’s something coming and it’s coming from the North.. Or at least I think it is. I’ve seen things, people.. but they’re not quite people. Or not anymore. I don’t know.” Gritting his teeth he’d bite at the frustration, his mind casting itself to each dream he could recall, clambering to stick together bits and pieces for a bigger picture, for something a little clearer, “Oh.. and Aelix, I love you too.”
Posted: Mar 21 2018, 06:54 AM
“Do you understand what fear is?” his mother had once asked him in the garden. She’d been sitting on one of the stone benches while he investigated the new buds. Muna was quietly pacing up and down the rows of flowers.
He remembers his response, as someone else’s words rolled off his tongue: “Fear is slop for those with weak minds. I’m not afraid of anything.”
“Aelix. Come here. To me,” Lyanna ordered, and the young Prince obeys and stands in front of her, because heknows that tone. She places her hands on either side of his face and makes him look her in the eye. “Fear, terror, anger, hatred, love. These are all tools for you to use to remind yourself that you are still a living thing. Without any of this, you are just a dead man walking, an empty puppet to be used.”
She smooths his silver locks away from his face gently. Absently, he notes that her hands are cold in the summer heat. “Don’t let those teachers of yours rob you of the right to feel, Lix. You are a Prince. A Targaryen and a Stark. They are not, so they cannot understand, but you must not let them control you. You must not let them change you. Promise me that.”
“I promise,” he replied with the blind acceptance of a child.
Lyanna smiled, soft and gentle. One hand rested on his shoulder while the other returned to cupping his cheek. Her eyes were sad. “You were so little when you were born, I didn’t know if either of us would survive your birth. But I think that’s what I always wanted ... for you to stay little and safe. You were so quiet as a babe, the Maesters worried obsessively over the fact you would not cry out. And now ... now you are none of these things. You are bright and burning and angry and fearless, and that scares me more than anything else. You are not what you were born, but what you have it in yourself to be, you must remember. Do not let them define who you are.”
Aelix blinks up at her and doesn’t know how to respond. “Momma...”
Time passes, as it always does, but eventually she repeats the same question to him again. They were in the garden, of course, sitting on a soft blanket beneath one of the few trees near the far edge of the garden. A dozen or so books surrounded them and Muna was curled up beside the Queen, sleeping. She is pregnant again, but only just showing. Aelix rarely feels excited about anything, but the chance for more siblings pleases him all the same. Lyanna’s voice is quiet when she asks, out of nowhere: “Do you understand fear?”
“Yes,” the young Prince responds, unperturbed, looking over to her calmly; she often drags out old lessons to make sure he hasn’t forgotten. “It is meaning we still have life in us, and we wish to keep that life safe from harm. It is a feeling we get when we lose the ones we love. It’s the realization that we are still a living thing. I remember, I understand.” He’d said, beautifully; a much better answer than the one he’d said before.
Aelix does not understand the expression on her face: a mixture of pleased, sad, and drained. “Are you well, mother?”
She laughs softly, reaches over and taps him gently on the nose. “Soon, Lix,” she replied. “Yes. Thank you for remembering.”
Memories are little graves you dig for yourself, and while you wish, wish, wish, for time to turn back on itself, you never realize how far into the ground you are until it is too late, and you can’t climb your way out. The purpose of memory is to show you the tombs of your buried hopes, your dreams, and desires; memories are devices of torture, revealing all that you regret, everything you do not have, all that you have lost, why and how you hurt. The keenness of his memory had always been a source of pride for Aelix, and a source of grief. Even so, the memory of his mother is precious to him, despite the darkness tied to it. Aelix does not clearly understand how to covet, but he covets those memories, keeps them hidden away where no one can see. But the memory ... the memory of her disappearance will always stick out in his mind; an empty question with no answer. And he mourns again, still, always, and tries to remember the honorable side of grief.
Aelix twitches back awkwardly, physically shying away from the gentleness in his brother’s gaze as he teases him, as always unsure how to react when confronted with emotions he has trouble conveying himself. He pushes his hair back away from his face carelessly, the silver locks shifting into gold in the sunlight streaming in from the balcony. “I’ve never been one for hand-holding,” he says, even as he reaches out slowly, as if from a long way off, and presses his fingers into his brother’s wrist again, firmly, reassuring himself with thrum of Valarr’s pulse even as he looked at him – sitting up, awake, speaking. “But it’s not so terrible a fate, I suppose,” he says sardonically, before he withdraws and leans back into the wooden frame of his chair.
The rattle in his brother’s cough makes Aelix unhappy as he flattened his back into his seat, and he fights the urge to find one of the maesters haunting the halls, even though that would be completely counter-productive to the purpose of his visit – they were already bound to be angry when they realized he had used his rank to get past the guards outside the door. Quietly, he scoffs. “You have absolutely no idea how many guards there are, some of them my own; outside all your doors, in the halls, in the shadows. Father isn’t about to risk the lives of any of his children, or good-children, while in the halls our home, especially after you all miraculously survived what clearly must have been hell.” The younger prince looks towards the window as his brother mentions it and can’t help the incredulous way his brow arches. “The purpose of wandering in here looking ridiculous was to avoid unnecessary attention, though I’m aware that’s slightly impossible here. A large, green and white dragon would grab attention,” he replies flatly, amused, as his focus shifts once again to Valarr.
He paused for a steadying breath, unsure how to accept his brother’s praise, unsure how to react to the pride in his voice. As quickly as he’d turned his gaze towards the twin it shifted to stare at the wall behind Valarr’s head, painfully aware of the awkwardness he displayed. As much as he worked to make his family proud, he shied away from the weight of the attention it garnered from them, always feeling as though he fell short of their expectations, even as he was being praised. “I think getting in your way or finding a way to distract you and halting violent riots are two quite different things,” he replied wryly, sliding his eyes towards his brother. “You’re right, however. I would not have believed you, but I appreciate the sentiment all the same,” he says, tilting his head. “As for Viserys ... he made his choice, and he made a brave sacrifice to protect father and his, rather numerous, children.” His expression was contemplative as he thought of his uncle, forswearing his own happiness for the sake of his family. It was brave, but the idea made him sad.
Aelix couldn’t hold back the snort at the mention of Andracarr, and he could feel the warm slide of the dragon’s thoughts, as if the mere mention of the dragon caught the serpents attention; it likely did. “You know how Andy is. It’s one thing if there’s a reason for him to focus, he’ll behave beautifully then. Otherwise he’s just temperamental. If I tried to give a demonstration he’d likely just throw me off.” His voice was rich, and filled with quiet amusement. The Prince we well-aware of the reason for his dragon’s disposition; Andracarr was a mirror, reflecting back his own emotions. Thus far, as Aelix grew and grew out of his temper, so did Andy. He just hoped it continued. The dragon might not be chained down within the Dragon Pit anymore, but he was still not allowed to roam free for fear of what he would do uncontrolled. “Andracarr might have cowed the people into submission while you were all gone, but he’s not the only dragon residing within King’s Landing any longer, nor the largest,” he replied. “Besides, the only thing anyone can talk about now is the upcoming trial.”
And then he opened his mouth and said the absolute, wrong thing. What kept him rooted in place after the admission, Aelix could only guess. His knuckles were white against the back of the chair he gripped, panic making his blood rush in his ears – he nearly missed his brother’s own confession. Aelix’s gaze is sharp when, at first, he thinks Valarr is mocking him, but realizes almost immediately how the subject clearly affected his brother; this was not at all going how he planned. He obeys his brother’s command without comment, moving as if in one of his dreams, caught beneath torrents of white, and sits on the edge of the seat he had moments ago occupied. He leans down to pick up the gloves that he’d knocked to the ground in his rush to stand, trying to give himself something to do, and sets them back on his knees. Something to do with mother. Mother, mother, mother, he repeats in his head. “ Yeah,” he breaths his agreement, unable to form a full sentence.
The Prince looked up again, amethyst eyes clear but terribly far away. Chasing images backward along the frozen edge of his dreams. “Blue. There eyes are blue,” Aelix offers, subdued. It felt like a blade had been planted in his soul. “I never understand the words,” he admits. “It’s just ... noise, like children creating noises when playing together and inventing their own games, with heavy vowels and sharp nouns. They usually don’t talk to me though, or even acknowledge me,” he says unhappily. He doesn’t say that the voice he most often hears sounds like their mother, afraid that saying it aloud would make it true. “It’s just see a lot of the dead: blue-eye, pale, and impossible.” He felt heavy and burdened, beyond merely tired; leaden with the weight of his thoughts, slowed by them. He had thus far learned to live with the images, because he had no choice. At seventeen, he already defined himself by his griefs; he understood them as other men knew the shape of their own hands. His was a life not meant to be made whole.
I love you, too, he heard Valarr say, and, once again caught off-guard and confused by something his brother said, he ran through his rushed apology in his head more thoroughly. The moment his mind snagged on the admitted, I love you, I missed you, congratulations–, Aelix studiously shifted his gaze back to the ground. Emotions were always difficult to display or express properly when they weren’t anger or frustration, so when he admitted his feelings honestly ... he almost always stumbled into them completely by accident. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his brother, of course he loved him, as he did all his siblings, he just wasn’t as comfortable with sharing as much as he was showing. He just wished it didn’t have to be under these circumstances. It seemed all his admissions these days were by accident, he thought ruefully. “Maybe we shouldn’t tell anyone,” he finally says softly.
ooc: uh. yeah. so that happened. sorry? i swear i'm not crazy, once i started i just ... couldn't stop. please don't feel the need to respond in kind.