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It is currently WINTER in WESTEROS during the year 303 AC. The new moon cycle marks a full twenty years since the Mad King was murdered, and his son King Rhaegar ascended the Iron Throne in his place. Though the year is fresh, war in the Narrow Sea has left the Free Cities of Volantis and Tyrosh in ashes, and the Long Night continues to beckon from the Northern fringes of the Seven Kingdoms. With the Queen Lyanna presumed dead, the citizens of the realms look only to each other for survival.
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Alias: LEN
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Age: 21
Sworn To: STARK
Born to: UMBER
Location: LAST HEARTH
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WYNONA UMBER

NORTH

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May 20 2018, 09:26 PM
No wall is impervious; some are too thin, others aged and cracked, while more still find themselves unsettled in their foundation. Only a fool would trust in the security of walls, Greatjon Umber had once voiced to a daring collective of his Grandchildren, hoping to ingrain within them a distrust of anything set to protect. Protection was never guaranteed by a wall or a blade, nor the man at one's back. It was not a form of paranoia either, Wynona had long since learned that caution and awareness had some benefit in life. Some may have been surprised by that point, for to look at the woman one would not assume her to be cautious in any light. Wynona was the type to kick off her shoes and dance in the middle of all hall when all others remained seated. She spoke boldly and without filter, seeming to care as little for social convention as a direwolf did a piece of lettuce. Yet beneath those impulsive choices rested a highly self-aware lass, who knew at the very least how to hide from her enemies. Well, the parts which needed to remain hidden that was.

The people of Winterfell did not seem to care about such things, either that or they were terribly inept. Wyn chose the former for two reasons, the first being a knowledge that the Lord and Lady Stark were not dumb, and the second being that they lived in a hold in which trust seemed to be a valued virtue. Wynona could not say the same for her own childhood experience. Not that any of that mattered in the moment. The walls had whispers and they had travelled to her ear far easier than they probably should have. Near a year in the massive corridors or Winterfell and the bright eyed woman had made more than a few friends, amongst several class divisions. Many found it easy for their tongues to loosen around a friendly smile, especially in a place where such things seemed to curl up and die almost as quickly as they appeared. Sometimes Lady Ice thought it was all far too easy, but then she remembered they all had to deal with her. That always brought a devilish smirk to her face.

The hours of the day had ticked by in an easy procession, from the time she spent embroidering and chatting with Wylla and Catelyn, to the moments she ducked off with a young Arriana and Jon to pelt each other with balls of fresh fallen snow. Her life was far from difficult, a far cry from the past she wished she could forget. Even with the knowledge of the morning's events she had no initial plans to intervene, Rickard Stark did not need to be accosted by another woman today.

It was only when evening meal had passed that Wynona invited herself to Rickard's study. She had not needed to peer behind her at the dinner table to know that his eyes had fallen on her form more than once, which was all she needed to assert herself into his evening. Her bare feet had padded lightly across the cold stone beneath, aided by one of Rickard's stewards so that she could remain largely undetected. The steward had a key to the locked room and more importantly knew that Wynona had no interest in reading or disturbing anything inside. In she slipped and there she waited.

He would come afterwards, of that she was certain. It was a private place where Lyarra would likely not chase after him, nor many others for that matter. He could work, drink, sit in silence. Or so he would believe. Moreover, it was removed from the more common place rooms of the holding. These days secrecy was more difficult than it once had been, yet there was a sort of enjoyment to be found in it she thought. Wynona fiddled with herself lightly, adjusting her 'clothing' into a more aesthetically pleasing position. Rickard, if anything, had taught her the value of patience. Even if she was absolutely terrible at holding to that ideal. When the door finally opened and a familiar form stood blocking the doorway, a sultry expression faded out onto the young woman's face. Hopefully it would work, she thought to herself. You see, Wynona Umber was almost entirely naked - except for the fur lined cape she had barely draped over her person, and the matching gloves which ran just below her elbow. Beneath the covering, over her fair neck, hung the latest gift from her beloved Rickard; a sapphire necklace with pieces nearly translucent as ice.

"I thought you might need a reminder of how beneficial your purchases have proven." Spoke the Umber girl, blonde hair loosely plaited down her back as she stared at Rickard Stark. Her gaze was absolutely unwavering, but as open as a book. Only time would tell if this choice had been the correct one or not, yet she was impulsive and that much he knew.

@RICKARD STARK

May 15 2018, 06:54 PM
[dohtml]<div class="n-site-template">
<h1><group>lady wynona umber</group></h1>
<h2>21 years old. lady ice. the north. elona lebedeva.</h2>
<h3>len. 23. gmt. pm/discord.</h3>
<div class="maincontents scroll">



<div class="gensmall">Walking out into the dark<br>
Cutting out a different path<br>
Led by your beating heart
</div>
<p>

Safety and security are luxuries meant for sweet southron girls in mild summer breezes, the kind with Knights of the Seven to defend their honour, because their honour is all they truly have to lose. They sit at their dining tables and refuse dessert to mind their figure, but may occasionally risk flirting with a sentry for the mere thrill alone. Your mother was one of those women, a third daughter of a minor Lord scrounged from the Westerlands, whose wheat coloured hair was the only thing your father wished she left you before her death. For there was a way in Last Hearth, instituted out of pure necessity, that found daughters hailing blades as early as sons.
<p>
Sometimes your Uncles acted as though Last Hearth stood at the end of the world, yet in truth it was not even the end of the Realm. The furthest North perhaps, enough that the wildlings who found their way beyond the wall could rape and pillage for a time, though from your understanding they near always lost their heads. Still, there were always wildlings and so there were always rules. Never leave the walls on your own, your Aunt would say, for there were fates far worse than death and the wildlings knew how to provide them.
<p>
It began in 270, when an Aunt you never met - daughter of your Great Uncle Mors - was kidnapped and never recovered. It was an action which had long since fallen from the minds of your kin, who valued themselves on their ability to protect. House Umber has always stood as the first barrier by the wall, tasked with limiting the strain of the free folk from the Kingdoms. What did it say if the Umbers could not even protect their own women? They did not set out to create warriors, convention stood regardless and women would not be sent to the front lines of conflict, but if ever the men fell the women would remain. What then?
<p>
There were five of you at first, girls of barely four taught two key skills: how to hide and where to stab. It was considered a practical skill, which were the only ones necessary so far North. Sewing and mending, not only cloth, but leather and mail as well. You could skin a buck, tan its flesh and turn the hide into whatever was needed. There was no time for a squeamish hesitation or heartfelt plea to the dead beast, you did as you were told, the harsh words striking cold during the frosty days. There was no reserve of people and everyone had to work, nobles and commoners alike. The cold doesn't care who it takes in the end, after all.


<div class="gensmall">All the people of the town<br>
Cast their eyes right to the ground<br>
In matters of the heart</div>
<p>
Warm words came when fires roared and drink filled the bellies of the men in your life. There were always so many men. Your Grandfather, the Greatjon, had two brothers and three sons. While each had possessed a wife at some point, most found themselves dead before too long and with heirs to spare and common women to warm their beds, there was little need for more wives. Aunt Alys was Northern born and hearty, with wide hips and curves which hid her bones; she served your Uncle Smalljon well, running Last Hearth with a stern hand that held no desire for daily frivolities. Aunt Erena was a touch softer, even if only when it came to the enjoyment of life. Neither found it necessary to teach you how to sit or hold a teacup, believing your worth as a woman came in your capabilities for work - not in pure flirtatious charm. The North had no need for southron tarts who complained of cold and callouses, they would say, eyes beating down on you all the while. None of their girls possessed wheat coloured hair or thin frames, facts which they never spoke aloud, but also didn't have to.
<p>
Some girls may dream of being handed a blade and taught to fight, as though that is the pinnacle of freedom. Yet there are also girls handed a blade and drilled relentlessly, because someday they may find themselves alone with no one but themselves to defend their lives. They long for the freedom of 'silly' things, like frilly coloured gowns made of something other than leather and fur, a simple dance to bright music, and a man who might actually enjoy her company. The snow is always whiter somewhere else, after all, leaving those fallible desires lurking in the base of your heart.
<p>
It had been fine to voice them once, when your mother had still been alive, she taught you the skill of a 'graceful walk' and actually did care about how you held a cup. While she may have only been present for four years of your childhood, she imparted enough of her lifestyle on you to make your father uncomfortable. Enough to entice you along a different path the moment such opportunities presented themselves. She died in childbed, as is the way of plenty of women you supposed. It was sad, but you cannot seem to recall the feelings themselves. Any memory you conjure of the woman now is a faded illusion, mashed into an idealistic fantasy that you found yourself clinging too during your more formative years. You imagine her as a bright flower emerging gingerly through the harsh snows, imagery reflected in your embroidery - a hobby you were only allowed to indulge in after the day was done. Your cousins used to mock you for it, the 'weak' daughter of a weaker woman, but harsh words have never been things that got to you.
<p>
If the North and your family taught you anything, it was that weakness was nothing but a lack of action. If you were weak of body, dedication could fix it. If you were weak of mind, education could expand you. Complaints were words of the lazy, who had no drive to press themselves towards a solution. For as difficult as something might be, life was never intended to be easy. Every good facet of life, safety, security, happiness, respect, all had to be earned. And so even while you dreamed of owning a frilly dress and sitting out in a garden for tea, you continued to work. You spent hours of the days with your cousins and Aunts learning how to prepare the various parts of the day's hunt, starting fires, and of the history of the North. Similarly you spent time with your brothers and father, learning as you grew not only how to wield a dagger, but a bow as well. It was a childhood of immense education, but the self realization? That came as you approached womanhood.
 
<div class="gensmall">The night was all you had<br>
You ran into the night<br> from all you had</div>
<p>

You were the youngest of your female relatives and one by one you watched as they all were matched and married off in turn. Wells, Whitehill, Karstark, and Cassel. One girl to each, but just as they left others appeared. For each female cousin you had two males to match them, your eldest brother was wed when you were two and ten while several of your cousins followed suit. One boy from each branch was sent to the wall, a service your family believed more than the other houses it seemed. Far closer to the problem meant it was far more difficult to deny. Yet you digress, the wall was never much of your concern then, nor is it now. What was your concern was your future, as you wondered what options awaited you. There were so many other houses your family might have chosen for you, a hundred knew places you could have gone, each of which was further south than our initial position.
<p>
Not that they picked any of those options.
<p>
No, it had been a deal between brothers, one which had existed under your nose since your birth. You would wed your cousin, Smalljon's eldest son, and become the Lady of Last Hearth. It all made sense then, why your father and Aunts were so harsh on you - they all knew what you were intended to be one day. Not that the women seemed to agree, you never were good enough for your Aunt Alys and you think sometimes she prefers a dead son to one wedded to you. Jon, your Jon that is, was as bold as his father. Heavy on the drink and loud on the jests, he never hesitated to comment on your ass in the presence of others. Uncouth, he made everything uncomfortable and you were supposed to accept it. Accept him as the man he was, work for your whole life, serve as his brood mare. There was going to be no escaping this future, you realized, which was the moment you stopped giving any sort of concern.
<p>
Why play nice when he didn't have to? Why smile pretty after a hard days work? Why even bother doing the bloody work at all? Exactly what could they do if you refused? You were four and ten the first time you stood in open rebellion to your family's wishes, when a new crop of men destined for the wall stopped at the Hearth after a nasty squall. One of them had been a bard, convicted of thievery, but with the voice of an angel. He only taught you one song in the night he spent at the Hearth, but you'll never forget the devilish look on his face when he stood in front of everyone after supper and called you out to join him. Or even the look on your father's face when you complied.
<p>
And life became far easier when you stopped bothering to care about your reception or trying to be who they wanted you to be. 'No' became easier to say each time it left your lips. You drank more than a woman should, kicked off your shoes and danced without care of the eyes which rested on you; in essence you personified that tart they all believed your mother to be. Consequences came in a form you likely should have suspected, when your drunken betrothed would slam you against the stone wall in the empty corridor. The rough violence in his actions always accompanied harsh words, as he demanded his future wife act better. He learned quickly, however, that you were not the type to take a harsh hand. Words? Those never hurt. Though Jon would regret each time he laid a hand on you, as he ended up crouched over from a knee to the groin or an elbow to the jaw. Your family had ensured you were capable of protecting yourself, even from shits like him.

<div class="gensmall">Found yourself a path<br> upon the ground<br>
You ran into the night <br>you can’t be found</div>
<p>
Jon Umber was many things, above all he was easily loved by those within the Hearth. Some praised his looks as he grew to match the size of his Grandfather, while others cheered for his ability to drink more than his father. Success for men in your world was defined by their ability to drink, kill, and fuck. Easy enough for them, you knew. your Jon was no monk and your eyes met on occasion when you passed by him with a servant in the cloisters. Not that you minded, better her than you. It was difficult then to envision your life and so you exists in a state of perpetual rebellion. Small acts that pissed off others, because it was the only semblance of power you could muster. Each night you found yourself praying to the Old Gods for something, anything, to change. In truth, you never thought they would answer.
<p>
Umbers are raised with many mantras, but one rests at the forefront of them all; a hatred of the wildlings. They are violent, immoral animals and nothing more. They run and kill for pleasure you are told, a dangerous folk. You encountered only a few in your life, enough to know that the warnings were true. Still, there was almost a sense of 'coming of age' when it concerned their kind. Were you truly an Umber if you hadn't come face to face with a wildling? Could you be a man unless you had killed one? Your Uncles, cousins, and brothers all thrived in the fight. They never left it to other men when news of raids broke out. You do not know the details of that one particular fight, though as far as everyone is aware you know no details at all. The men had been separated in the conflict, you knew that much. The faster ones returning home quickly, a few others taking refuge in the homes of commoners. The dead were left behind, to be collected the next morning, and the injured were only helped if they could be found. Jon had not been found.
<p>
By anyone who wished to help that was. Your Aunts were back in bed with their men, the bitter cold of the night driving them together in more ways than one. They didn't hear the calling, but you did. Sleeping never came easy on the nights men returned from the fight, it was far easier for a single maid to keep to herself. He was drunk, you could tell from his slurred calls. Most of the remaining men were still missing or asleep, it was one of the nights the women were left in charge. He was in through the main walls, but entrance into the Hearth was another story. The doors were already hatched shut and so you truly did nothing. Perhaps you might have, if he had chosen his words differently. You were almost his wife, he said to you, words were all that was left so he might as well have you. Maybe you would be less of a bitch if you were properly bedded, left knowing what it really meant to be a woman. You were silent as you stared at him during the ordeal, all while he tried to plead with you to unhatch the lower door. Standing on the balcony you remained resolute, doing as much to toss him down a flask of shine before you left him in the snow. Maybe that 'big cock' of his would be less impressive in the cold.
<p>
It had been dark, with the light glow only emitted from the few torches at your height. There was no way you could have seen the blood, and you know that. The next morning when they find your betrothed, cousin, future Lord (whatever you wished to dub him), he was silent. And he would remain so forever. His crimson blood painted the snow beneath him, but it wasn't enough to have killed him the Maester said. Likely he passed out from the drink and blood loss combined, underestimating how such a loss could impact his body, and froze. You wore black for seven days as your Aunt demanded, but you didn't shed a tear or mourn for the man you never wanted. In fact, when the nights came you thanked the Old Gods - who clearly saw more value in your prayers than his existence.

<div class="gensmall">Summer evening breezes blew<br>
Drawing voices deep from you<br>
Led by your beating heart</div>
<p>
Two years would pass with your life continuing in much the same manner as it had before Jon's death. Smalljon's second son became heir, though he was already wed and had no need for you, leaving your life with a slight twinge of freedom. Or at the least, potential for something else. Music became a large part of your life as you learned instruments as well as how to control your voice. Exuberant, perhaps, was a good word to describe you then. You had boundless energy and a fervency to your personality that refused to let up. You danced at night until your feet were sore, learned to sew your own frilly dresses, and dared your family to say anything about it.There was nothing they could do, you knew, their control was only as powerful as your willingness to listen.
<p>
With time the opposition ceased. Your Aunts bit their tongues and your Uncles gave up on trying to thwart your attempts to dance with whomever you could. The truth was, you were fun, and if the men could enjoy themselves after a hard day why not the women? You? You would come to learn their silence was not a conclusive decision, but your own father's influence. Day after day the bits your mother had left in you, which he begrudged, pecked at him more and more. You reminded him of her, the best parts of her, though he was thankful to see bits of himself in with you as well. He had come to a realization with his age you see, an understanding you didn't see until the day you left.
<p>
A pair of ornately decorated daggers was what he gifted to you, on the day you were set to leave to Winterfell with your Uncle Jon. He was being sent as a representative on behalf of your Grandfather to Winterfell, at the request of the Starks. It was acceptable and common to bring a companion, but as your father pointed out they would get more of your travel than of your Aunts. You could be bartered with, used for familial and political gain. You were single, yet a maid, beautiful and charming. Older perhaps, but worthy of a husband non the less. You agreed easily, longing to leave the home which served as more of a prison than anything else. And those daggers? Well, they were as beautiful and deadly as a slick translucent ice on a warm day. Inches thick and unwavering, yet sharp when hanging from above, cunning when masking waters below, and so much more.
<p>
Ice was not only harsh and cold, the North was not just a barren wasteland of frostbite and fear. Beauty did not mean a lack of strength or danger either, and your father knew that. You could care for yourself because you knew yourself. Whatever life you made would be one of your own choosing, and he had long since come to accept that simple fact. Fighting you never gained anyone any ground. The ride to Winterfell was largely silent, a calm look resting on your face the whole while. When they announced your arrival beside your Uncle, there were many faces directed at yours. Only one of those faces, however, would truly become important. It was the only one which would ultimately change your life into the one you truly wanted.


<div class="gensmall">What a year and what a night<br>
What terrifying final sights<br>
Put out your beating heart</div>
<p>
Love is not a term you understand. You know your father loves you and that your mother did, but you aren't ever quite sure if you've felt it yourself. Sometimes you wonder if you do, after he has fallen asleep and you find yourself staring at his unconscious form. He is so peaceful then, with the stern presentation of his nature all but gone in the quiet hours. Yet is it the man you love? He is a far cry from Jon; known for being a wise leader, yet unwavering from his ideals and opinions. He is hard, stubborn, and blunt, with expectations of those around him which seem impossible at times. Moreover, he is the same age as your Grandsire...he is your Lord. There was no thought of you climbing into his bed when you first arrived at Winterfell, though even from the first time you didn't expect to stay there long. You met him first for personal gain, after all. Your Uncle was pissed and in no place to accept a summons from the Lord and so you went yourself, in part hoping your charm and intelligence could sway the Lord towards you. You wanted help finding a life of your own choosing, and perhaps if he liked you well enough would allow you to stay as a companion for the women in his life. You could serve Lyarra or Elinor happily, you knew. So long as you didn't have to go back to the Hearth.
<p>
You were aware of his eyes after that, during afternoons in the hall or post dinner when you made a group of men laugh heartily. You would find your eyes dipping over to him, knowing his were on you just the same. You didn't know what he wanted, you suspected maybe he wanted you even for a night, but the game it unwittingly became was what you enjoyed the most. His attentions were like nothing you had ever experienced before and it built slowly, until the night he decided to take what he wanted. The night you let him. To this day you can't say what transpired between your Uncle and your Lord which allowed you to stay, but the man went back to the Hearth and left you behind. Is it the life you love? The knowledge that so long as Rickard wants you, you won't have to marry? That you can claim the gowns, jewels, and attentions without the work Lyarra has to put in? Or perhaps that you can do as you please for the most part. He indulges you more than he prohibits. A freedom you never had before.
<p>
Whichever the reason, the man or life, you won't give it up. And for a while its wonderful when she isn't around, when you can have him all to yourself. Of course she comes back eventually, not that you mind. Is it odd that you get a perverse pleasure out of it? That he not only chose you, but that he has kept you around for so long? You aren't some hussy he chose to distract himself with during a pregnancy, or a single night where he wants to forget himself. You are a set of arms he can fall into who won't judge him or pester him about his choices or failings. You don't expect more than you know he can give, and instead chose to be someone who can make his life easier. Brighter. One year and this is where you are, so much further away than you ever thought you would be.
<p>
The future was something which always hung over you, that you painfully ignored in hopes that it might change. Day by day was as far as your focus went, to the point where you stopped concerning yourself with the minor details of life. With even yourself. Your bleeding stopped last month and you still haven't realized, maybe you won't realize the next time either. Irregularity, after all, has always been a reality for you. Lyarra is back, it could be that stress adding on to you, a number of things. Regardless, you pay no mind and it holds no bars over you. You continue on in your little game of life, content with the rung you have perched yourself on. Your future has always been precarious, now bedding a man so old and in line for death is no different. Another thing you don't really see. Maybe it is a chosen ignorance, or a naivety due to your isolated upbringing. No one is perfect, least of all you, but at minimum you are interesting and for now that seems to be enough to earn you what you want. The question is, how long can you keep it?
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