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.