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 been declared on the Stepstones, 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.
[x] A new announcement is up, so be sure to read it and age up those characters! Happy new year!
[x] OTMs are now up! Congratulations to all our winners, Lu you have been wonderful and we of course can't forget Doran Prince of Sass Martell. Love you all and Happy New Year from the Staff xx
[x] The Soliloquy of Tyrosh has at last come to its fiery end! Mortal losses have been suffered and life-changing injuries endured, but Westeros prevails! All threads have been moved to The Free Cities forum for completion <3
[x] A new plot update will be following shortly! Get out your winter coats and start chopping some firewood, WINTER IS HERE.
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Age: 20
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Dec 19 2017, 01:51 PM

It was good to be home, and at peace. The vast majority of the Essosi forces were driven from Westeros or rotting somewhere in the Stormlands. Those that weren't were in small desperate bands so the forces of the Stormlands had returned to their homes to make for a more mobile response. That left Steffon back at Storm's End, resting for the first time in nearly a year, and anxious to put the war behind him. He'd lost too much, and gained nothing but grief. Elinor had been waiting for a year, and Steffon hadn't fucked anything but his hand since she'd been there. It was time, and time past for the two of them to be wed. Not that he was only interested in taking Elinor to bed. He wanted a life with her, it was just that bedding and babes were the two things that were most out of reach until he wrapped her in a Baratheon cloak.

But he wasn't the lord of Storm's End yet, nor would he be for some time if the gods were good, and that meant he needed his parents permission to wed, unless he bullied one of the septons into marrying them. But that wasn't the sort of marriage he wanted with Elinor. Something like that would have people whispering that she was pregnant, and given that Steffon intended to have a child as soon as possible, the rumors would never be allayed. Elinor deserved better than that.

His father was no real obstacle, but his mother had insisted on mourning, and pomp for the ceremony, so it was to her that Steffon knew he would have to appeal. He'd agreed to the breakfast for other reasons too. He'd been home for three years but it was still nice to be around his mother again, and it felt good to spend time alone with her without his father putting frowns on her face, or having the attention split between Joff and Argella. Steffon knew it was a childish impulse, but his siblings had never fostered away from home. He preferred thinking of it as making up for lost time.

The conversation over breakfast had been pleasant and warm, and Steffon took a hearty bite out of an apple as he steeled himself to change the tone. He wondered if his mother had put things off so long because she still thought of him as her baby.

"Mum, it's past time Elinor and I were wed. I hoped you'd help with the preparations," he finally said in a fair attempt at being offhand. Perhaps if he treated it as something that was already happening there would be less to fuss over. His mother was prone to fussing.
Dec 13 2017, 03:43 PM

Steffon was tired, and tense, and wracked with worry. He was leaving Storm's End soon with his father's fleet to join the King in his campaign across the narrow sea. He'd be leaving Elinor behind, and Argella right after her attempted kidnapping, and his mother too. They'd be gone for as long as the King commanded it, and he was still unwed. Mourning was over, and the war in his lands all but crushed and yet he hadn't been allowed to cloak Elinor in his family's colors and take her as his wife.

Instead he'd been spending all his days going over the supply lists and arms inventories with Joff and his father, trying to make sure the Stormlands would be prepared both to feed an army and to produce enough stores for the people to survive this winter. His father still drank most nights, despite all there was to do, and it was an evening like this which saw Steffon in his solar poring over pages and pages of projections for the needs of the campaign.

Viserys Targaryen was visiting as well, on some mission to assure the preparations no doubt. Robert was an able commander, but even Steffon knew that his father's habits of consumption would worry a liege who was relying on his army to be well managed. He had been a silent shadow for the planning process, largely keeping his nose out of it except to ask the occasional question. For that Steffon was grateful. His father was probably aware of the implications of the former prince's presence, and his temper was shorter than ever of late.

When the page announced Viserys' presence, Steffon stood from his desk rubbing sore eyes. He'd been spending far too many hours reading by candlelight of late.

"Ser Viserys. How can I help you?"
Dec 13 2017, 02:39 PM

Steffon is so tired he can barely keep his eyes open, but he can't mind. The Starks are visiting Storm's End and arrived three days in advance of when they were meant to. He was out enforcing his father's justice when they arrived, but a raven found him soon and Steffon has been riding at a steady pace since it found him yesterday midmorning. At least he thinks it was yesterday, based on the moon's position and the greyish gloam of the sky. The sun should be rising soon, he thinks. He can see Storm's End looming in a great black silhouette not far down the road. Perhaps he'll be able to rest for a few hours before breakfast. No one will be up yet, except maybe Stannis.

It's been years since he saw any Starks at all from among the brood he was fostered with, and the thought of seeing Ned and his children makes Steffon unspeakable happy. Even to see Elinor will be something. Perhaps age will have softened her irritating habits.

His preoccupation and exhaustion are why he almost misses the figure down in the field. The whole world is grey, and the woman is only a dot of dark hair and pale skin a shade or two outside the rest of it that catches his eye. She's climbing a fence, and Steffon wonders what a girl in skirts is doing out at this hour. Probably going back home after tumbling some village boy she's sweet on. He smiles to himself, thinking on how often he's been in her position, hiking home after a satisfying tumble in some farmer's hayloft with a buxom, laughing daughter. Steffon's ready to dismiss it when the figure lurches and nearly falls, and then Steffon is laughing to himself and turning his horse's head into the cabbage field, doing his best to keep the hooves between the neat rows.

"Ho there," he calls out, not wanting to startle or frighten the wench. "Wait a moment and I'll have you free," he says as he dismounts. The girl's gone and got herself caught on some part of the fence. The dress is awfully nice for a country girl's early morning trek across fields though. Or maybe it's only the light that makes the fabric look fine. Steffon stops short when the sound of vicious tearing reaches his ears. She's gone and torn her dress straight up the seam. That's an awful lot of leg. Then she turns and Steffon gapes. That can't be right.
Dec 9 2017, 01:34 AM
[dohtml]<div class="n-site-template">
<h1><storm>lord steffon baratheon</storm></h1>
<h2>20 years old. young buck. stormlands. pietro boselli.</h2>
<h3>lu. 26. mst. pm for deets.</h3>
<div class="maincontents scroll">


<div class="genhead">Mister I'll make a man</div>
<div class="gensmall">out of you</div>
He's a squalling, unusually large infant, and when the maester tells Robert Baratheon as he returns from the war that his son is nearly the size of babes two or three months older, the Lord Paramount makes sure everyone knows that Steffon Baratheon is destined for great things<p>

Steffon lives up to his size. There is never a time where he is small or thin for his age group. He grows fat on his mother's teat and then his wetnurse's and then strong as his limbs lengthen and strengthen. He walks early, and runs soon afterwards, and at Robert's behest it's not long before his son is running wild through Storm's End, waving a practice sword around as he leads his caregivers a merry chase. The older servants and Stannis say that Steffon is just like his father as a young boy, and they all mean different things when they say that. Some point to his size and strength, some point to his gregarious disposition, others note the passionate tempers he can work up to, and his disinterest in courtly pursuits. Regardless, it is many years between Baratheon the son stands apart from Baratheon the father, and even then a careless eye would be hard pressed to note the difference. <p>

The similarity is a subject of Robert Baratheon's pride, and the differences are the hard labor of the other people in Steffon's life. Robert was Steffon's first hero, and those are not so easy to grow apart from.

<div class="genhead">Tranquil as a forest</div>
<div class="gensmall">but on fire within</div>

It is Stannis, the serious middle brother who worries most about Steffon's character. Others concern themselves with his reputation and his happiness and his pursuits, but it is Steffon who fusses over the core. Robert had no poor example that lead him to drink and whoring- his closest influences were Ned Stark and Lord Arryn as a young man. Stannis worries over what Steffon will become with his father to take after. <p>

Stannis strives to be an example. He finds it difficult. He does not capture attention- not like Robert does with his booming voice and overt physicality, not like Renly does with his easy charm and affability. But where natural gifts do not lend themselves, he finds other ways. Stannis is explicit in his lessons, and demanding in his expectations. Steffon is a loving boy, and seeks approval especially from those who do not give it easily, so Stannis withholds. Swordplay and horsemanship earn only the briefest of nods from him, but behaving with kindness and honor will earn a reassuring hand on Steffon's shoulder or a warm smile from across the room.<p>

Stannis withholds because Steffon lights up to earn his uncle's approval, and Stannis knows it has to stay that way. If it doesn't, Steffon might end up like his father. Whatever else that might mean, Stannis knows he loves the boy, and feeling true and deep disapproval would cut him to the quick. He would rather make the boy question his love than not have any for him, no matter what Renly has to say about it. <p>

As he dies, he finds a moment to regret this, among much else.<p>

<div class="genhead">Once you find your center</div>
<div class="gensmall">you are sure to win</div>

If Stannis worried about Steffon's character, it was Renly who worried about his malleability. Steffon was a charming child and he fit himself to everyone's mold as it suited him. He liked to be liked, and while Renly knows he does too, even as a child he was worried and confused by the extent to which Steffon changed in company. For his father he was loud and boisterous and aggressive, for his uncle loud and serious and contemplative, for his mother loud and expressive and needy. He bends even to the will of his friends, though none but his family match his rank. <p>

Renly is easy in the knowledge that Steffon will be Lord Paramount, and unresentfully he decides to help his nephew. From the wisdom an extra six years confers, Renly does his best to teach Steffon that there is value to being liked, but there is more to knowing yourself. Renly never hides from who he is or what he wants, and he is vain enough to believe that he is right to do so. He has never seen someone happy who doesn't acknowledge what those things are. <p>

As he antagonizes his brothers in the process, Renly learns to frame his questions more generally. Does Steffon truly like to practice with his sword? Does he enjoy Stannis' lessons? Does he believe everything the Maester says? As Steffon and Renly grow together, so too do the questions. What do the gods really ask of us? To whom do we owe our allegiance? How do we best take care of those we love? <p>

Renly didn't start his effort at 12 knowing that he would be shaping the soul of a man, but by his death he understood. He did not regret his role in Steffon's life at all- if anything occurred to him as he died, it was only that he wished he had the courage to be more honest with his nephew.

<div class="genhead">you're a spineless pale pathetic lot</div>
<div class="gensmall">and you haven't got a clue</div>

Though his parents lost love for each other before Steffon can remember what it was like, and despite all similarity to his father he was still the apple of his mother's eye. Her firstborn, and pliable to Cersei's will for much of his boyhood, Steffon learned to laugh and to cry with equal freedom so long as he did it in his mother's care. <p>

Her own heart had been misused, and Cersei was young and hoped to keep Steffon's from being bruised the way she had by an indifferent father and dead mother. Whatever Robert did, she wouldn't let him poison her child, or turn him against her. With careful planning, Cersei made herself the core of Steffon's emotional life, teaching him both the words for what he felt and the way to express it. <p>

Cersei was safe for her son, of course. A mother should be a safe haven for her children. But others? Others could not be trusted with her sweet boy. Steffon learned which emotions were safe to show others and which belonged only to those who loved you, and he learned classes of love as well. A mother's love was always highest, and then a brothers and then a sisters and then an uncle perhaps, and then maybe, a father. Fathers always had expectations, and Cersei knew Robert was no exception. <p>

Steffon learned who he owed himself to, and who he didn't and why. Steffon learned which quarters the world would try him from, and he learned to gird himself against attacks. He learned not to care overmuch what others believed of him, so long as he remained steadfast and true to what was necessary and what was correct. Cersei couldn't do everything she wished she could for her son, but at least she could teach him the kind of world he lived in, and who could be trusted among the shadows and schemes.<p>

<div class="genhead">somehow i'll make a man</div>
<div class="gensmall">out of you</div>
Steffon Baratheon and Rickard Stark had been friends throughout their lives, and chose to send their sons to foster at the Eyrie together, so it hardly required thought to plan for Steffon to foster with the Starks. He would need to squire of course, but that could come later. Robert had always wanted to be blooded family with Ned Stark, and perhaps Steffon would find a brother among the ever growing Stark brood, or a wife. Robert did not dwell on that thought. In time, it would happen, in time, if a prince did not interfere. <p>

Steffon had heard his father's talk of the Starks and arrived in Winterfell eager to find a second family. It was a naive hope, but he found it all the same in a brood of children and grandchildren clustered just a few years younger than him. He ran in a milling pack half human half wolf, and though he certainly didn't find a wife between the age of eight and twelve, he did find a pest named Elinor, a Maester named Aemon, and stern discipline in store from his Stark mentors. Ned and Rickard taught him the use of his sword and the obligation it brough, while Aemon did his best to teach of the law and tradition that governed the seven realms. Though Steffon took easily enough to his weapon training, he was less receptive to Aemon's tutoring. The laws of Westeros by turns appalled and bored Steffon, and he quickly decided that the right things ought to be obvious, and that most laws were inflexible and wrong. <p>

Steffon was the eldest of the children at Winterfell, and already a loud and commanding presence he easily dubbed himself a defacto leader of the group of noble children. That said, Elinor was the nearest his age by a year, and spoiled by her father so that she was always underfoot if she wished to be. Though she was a slip of a thing standing next to Steffon, she had a wolf whose strength was the bane of Steffon's days. Though it did so gently, Night consistently prevented Steffon from teaching Elinor who she should and shouldn't throw mud at among a multitude of other sins, and though he hugged all the Stark children and kissed all their cheeks when he left to squire at Casterly Rock, it was only Elinor who was left with a wet stripe of spit on her cheek and tousled hair. <p>

<div class="genhead">This guy's got 'em scared to death</div>
<div class="gensmall">hope he doesn't see right through me</div>
Steffon began his training in earnest when he left the North for Casterly Rock to live with his uncle. He had met Jaime Lannister before, of course, but at ten it was strange to see a man who looked so much like his mother after two years apart from her. Put his uncle in a dress and grow his hair and he would be the same. Steffon looked hard for similarities in himself. Joff looked just like their mother, and thus like Jaime, but Steffon knew he shared his eyes and hair with his father, his smile with Renly, some tones of voice with Steffon, and his mouth with his mother, a little. But Jaime's mouth did not smile like Renly's, or curl in the secret pleased way his mother's did. Jaime was a stranger for all he looked like home.

But Steffon grew accustomed to it in time, and Jaime taught his nephew well, if with a careful distance between them. Between Steffon's sheer physicality and the finesse that marked Jaime Lannister as such a celebrated fighter, Steffon was dominating tournaments before he was even considered a man. By fifteen, his mother was anxious for his return to Storm's End (though she visited often enough that Steffon sometimes found it cloying) and his uncle began to receive endless ravens demanding that Steffon be knighted and sent home to his mother.

Whatever his reasoning, Jaime didn't see fit to obey his twin until Steffon was nearly seventeen. It was a proud day for Steffon, but one he felt was almost overdue. He was nearly as tall as his father, smaller only than Gregor Clegane among all the men of the Westerlands he had ever met. If he was stronger and faster and better than nearly everyone else- as he had been for years- why had it taken so long to earn his shield? The question vexed Steffon for some time as he waited, but as soon as his uncle's blade touched his shoulder the question was forgotten and supplanted by sheer joy.

<div class="genhead">We must be swift as the coursing river</div>
<div class="gensmall">to be a man</div>

His Grandfather Tywin was cold and domineering, and Steffon quickly learned to avoid and appease him where possible. Of all the Lannisters, Steffon found a friend most readily in Tyrion, who seemed to jump at the chance to play the carousing uncle. A twelve year old Steffon found Tyrion's breadth of knowledge overwhelming and sat at his uncle's knee to learn about the world- whether that meant how to manage a city or what brew to drink or how to tell if a whore was healthy or not, it didn't seem to matter. The whole world twined together in Tyrion's eyes and even if Steffon couldn't see the threads he could hear stories about them. <p>

Sometimes, through sheer force of will Tyrion managed to pique Steffon's interest in a book, and sometimes he could compel his nephew to write a tract defending his most childish positions. "What nonsense. Find real evidence to support that, and write an essay so I don't have to listen to you blabber about it all afternoon and then we'll see if I change my mind," he would say, and Steffon would take the bait more often than not. While he by no means became a scholar, he at least learned how to be critical, sometimes, when pushed. He had relied on instincts before, and in many ways still did, but when pressed by an intelligent friend could be made to rely on logic and facts for his argument. Stannis was surprised to find his nephew willing to do as much when he returned to Storm's End, and privately thought it was the greatest lesson he had learned in his time away. <p>

<div class="genhead">With all the force of a great typhoon</div>
<div class="gensmall">be a man</div>

Returning home after so many years away was the happiest day of Steffon's life. He'd visited or been visited by most of his family in the years he'd spent away from them, but to live every day with Argella's wry humor and Joffrey's nimble mind and Stannis's dry lessons and Renly's affability and his father's loud laughter and his mother's hugs lit Steffon up. He was at home again, and the true comfort of that sunk into bones- even the things he didn't like. <p>

With older and more learned eyes he saw the ways his parents interacted, and the way his mother treated his sister, the way his father treated his brother. He resolved to be everything to them, as much as he could be and spent his time making sure that everyone in his family knew he loved them, unequivocally. He was much as he always had been, but he was a good brother, a doting son, a capable heir as well. It brought him a sense of satisfaction he had been lacking and he wondered if that hadn't been what his Uncle waited for- confidence that Steffon would step into the roles he owed Storm's End. <p>

<div class="genhead">with all the strength</div>
<div class="gensmall">of a raging fire</div>
Barely a year after he returned home the Stark clan pays a visit to Storm's End. With them was Elinor Stark, the gangly, wolf-shadowed pest of his memory. Steffon was in another area of the Stormlands serving as his father's proxy in a local dispute when the Stark's arrive, but a raven had him pushing back home at a quick clip. It was on his return that he found Elinor Stark caught like a swallow on a thorn in the middle of a cabbage field. He hadn't know it was her when he dismounted to help the girl caught in a fence, but when she savagely tore her gown apart from the splinter it was stuck on, turned to him with a haughty look on her face and gave him a tongue-lashing to remember he knew who she was from the first word. <p>

At first he was stunned to look at her- this was not the nine year old sapling who had thrown herself into fights only to have her wolf drag the fight away from her. This was not the gangly, tripping, spitting little cat he'd spent so much time trying to escape. Six years had done her a world of good. As soon as his shock subsided Steffon had laughed and swept her up in a hug. Elinor. What a joy to see her again. <p>

Steffon hadn't recognized what was happening. He was no stranger to the joys a woman could bring- Tyrion had made sure of that, and the serving girls and farmer's daughters native to the Stormlands were not so different from those of the West. But he had never sought women out for companionship, or for laughter, or for a challenge. Elinor's wit had him barking with laughter at dinners where he should have been grave, and sharing thoughts about his family he had rarely expressed aloud, and shaking of surprise when she outshot him again and again at the practice range. He never thought to do more than hug her.<p>

Yet when she left, Elinor was all he could think about and he jabbered on about her to his whole family until Stannis begged silence from him and even Renly's easiness was tried. Robert Baratheon saw his own history repeated, but this time it seemed the Stark girl loved the Baratheon back. Every raven Steffon sent saw another return within a week. Robert sent his own missives, first to confirm with Ned, and then to ask Rickard's permission. At eighteen, Steffon was promised to Elinor. When his father told Steffon of the arrangement it took a moment for his mind to adjust. Little Elinor who he'd played with growing up, whose face he'd once scrubbed with mud was to be his wife? He read all her letters, thought long on her lips and her eyes and her smile and he decided that the idea suited him. <p>

<div class="genhead">heed my every order</div>
<div class="gensmall">and you might survive</div>
A year later, Elinor traveled South to prepare for a wedding. Steffon felt shy for the first time in his life when she arrived. Would she want a kiss? A declaration of love? Would she be angry to know that he'd bedded women before her, or disappointed that the betrothal had been his father's idea first? Would she behave differently now that he was to be her husband, or would she resent him for it? But after a moment of silence Elinor's arm's twitched open to invite the now ritual hug, and she whispered a cutting response about his Southron fashion choices in his ear and Steffon knew all would be well. He stopped his boyish pursuits of the common women at Storm's End, and remained faithful. He set a line in sand over which he would not cross, and though Elinor allowed him a kiss here and there in secluded corners she did not tempt him to overstep it. <p>

The wedding planning was underway when it all began. A foreign force landed and one by one Steffon's uncles died in the conflict. The war demanded all the attention Storm's End had to give, and Elinor did not press for dresses and cloaks, instead insisting that she should be on the field as well. The gods demanded time too, for mourning, and all thoughts of a wedding were placed on hold. Steffon did not object, though he wished to be wed. He wished even more for his father's brothers to be back. <p>

<div class="genhead">you're unsuited for </div>
<div class="gensmall">the rage of war</div>

And though she had witnessed death and what it meant to Steffon twice now, Elinor still insisted on fighting. She was trained for it, she insisted. She had a direwolf she was a Stark. Steffon refused, and grew angry with her, and threw her into her chambers and made the house guard swear oaths that she would be kept under lock and key until the fighting was over. Cersei nagged on his behalf, and Steffon even enlisted Joffrey and Argella, and strangely it was his sister who made the largest difference with his betrothed. It wasn't in Steffon's nature to hold a grudge, but at moments he resented that Elinor would not heed him. She should know, he felt, how it would be to lose her. <p>

He fights in his father's van, and threatens the lieutenants in Joffrey's units about the consequences should his brother come to harm. He pleads and begs and schemes to discourage Elinor. He mourns, and spends more time praying than he has in all the rest of his life. Steffon grows up, a little, and it doesn't come easily. <p>

<img src="" class="appimage">

Look, I'm just not that complicated, dude. I'm a knight, and my father's heir, and a brother, but so are like, dozens of other guys all over Westeros you know? I'm nothing special, which doesn't stop my mom from treating me like her favorite, except when it's Joff, which is stupid because Aggie is awesome too, but yanno, I think Mom is jealous that like, she isn't 'The Light of the West' anymore. Which is also dumb, because come on, she'd already had like, two kids by the time she was Aggie's age so I don't really know what she's all nostalgic about. Joff says Uncle Stannis told him once that Dad didn't sleep around until after Joff was born and that's why my parents are always like, dumb around each other but that literally makes no sense. Joff was the cutest fucking baby, like, I don't get it. Look at him, he's still adorable. Don't tell him I said that though, he rescued Aggie a few months ago and I finally caved and promised I'd start treating him like an adult. But it's still true.<p>

Anyway, it's like I said, there's nothing complicated about it. My life isn't different than any other noble guy except that, yanno, instead of being taught by some terrible hedgeknight and third rate maester, I grew up in Storm's End. Do you think Robert Baratheon was gonna raise a total wuss? No way, like, I was practicing with a sword and shield before I can remember. Like, I'm sure I was two and swinging some dumb stick around, but instead of my parents laughing about it I literally have my dad and Uncle Jaime in my family, in what universe was I gonna suck at fighting? And like, Storm's End is seat of the Stormlands, so our Maester is really smart. He taught me to read pretty young, but Dad didn't like me sitting around all the time and Mom was always talking about how talented Uncle Jaime was, so I just wanted to make them proud, you know? It's not like I'm stupid. I'm gonna have to rule the region someday, and that matters to me. But as soon as he started talking about legal precedent and shit, I kind of stopped caring. Some of that stuff is 300 years old! Why does anyone care what some dipshit 300 years ago wrote when he was trying to con the legal system into going his way? When I'm Lord Paramount I'm going to completely ignore that stuff when it doesn't make sense, and I'll rewrite laws if I have to. Old Maester Aemon up at Winterfell tried to get me interested in it too, but seriously, some of the stuff people thought was right back in the day is literally crazy. First night! Chopping people's hands off for stealing bread! No way, not worth learning about man. <p>

So yeah, I was learning a lot as a kid, but I feel like I got most of the important stuff from my parents and my uncles. Renly wasn't that much older than me, so he mostly was just better at charming people, but Stannis was all serious about honor and duty and stuff, which my Dad wasn't. I love my Dad, obviously, but he drinks so much fucking wine, and he always has. And he's really mean to my mom sometimes, which I hate. Like, I get it, it sucks that she doesn't love him anymore or whatever, but it's kind of crazy how many other women he sleeps with, and it's not like not loving someone is a crime. Nobody's parents actually love each other, I feel like he's just been a brat about if for 18 years straight. It's at a point where I just ask any girl I'm interested in, and I've lost out on like, a LOT of the women I could have slept with because he'd already had them. I mean!! That would be fucking weird, yanno? Anyway, Stannis is super faithful to his wife and I always kind of admired that. I mean, Selyse is a bitch, but Stannis put up with it anyway because he thought it was the right thing to do, and I want to be like that. So yeah, I try really hard, especially since, well... I try really hard to think about whether what I'm doing is honorable and right and if I think it is or isn't I don't worry too much about what other people say. I already know that I'm going to stop messing around with other women once I marry Elinor, and I'm sure Dad will think that's crazy, but that's not what's most important to me you know? And it might have been, if Stannis didn't always have such a huge stick up his ass. <p>

And then Mom, well, she's always like "Family is the most important thing, Steffon, you must always protect your family." And talking about how Granpa Tywin like, rebuild the Westerlands after his dad's mismanagement, and she's like "You're going to be very powerful one day, my boy, you must take your responsibility seriously." Stuff like that. Lots more about protecting my siblings and stuff, even when she was spitting mad at Aggie, she'd be all "Soon it will be your responsibility to save your sister from herself and good riddance!" But I mean, it makes sense! I'm the oldest, I'm going to have the most power out of any of them pretty much forever, and it would be genuinely awful of me not to like, take that seriously. It's been really hard lately, though. It's not Mom's fault, it's not like she was telling me to look out from my Dad and his brothers or anything. But when Stannis and Renly died. Man, I cried like a baby! What if I had been able to do something? What could I have done? So many thoughts like that, all the time, and then they just weren't there. They never will be again. I literally left a wet patch the size of my face on Mom's skirts the night after Renly died from all the crying I did. She told me, you know, that sometimes the gods decide and they were grown men and it was their responsibility to protect me and not the other way around, but still. And then there was the whole thing with Aggie being kidnapped, and honestly thank god Joff was around to handle that. And now Elinor is prancing around wanting to fight like dying isn't a real possibility, and I get that she has a direwolf and everything or whatever, but Night is a really nice dog and I don't want either of them getting killed. Seriously, she's driving me crazy. <p>

Anyway. Oh yeah, Elinor. I mean. Look, I'm excited we're getting married, but it's starting to get dumb. I'm 20! She's 18! It's time! I don't know why everyone keeps wanting to put it off. I've known her since I squired up north and yeah, we were dumb kids and definitely not in love when we were 10 or anything, but I've loved Elinor forever. She's like, an upgraded sister, kind of. She knows exactly who I am, and I know her really well even though she's always going all Ice Princess on people and pretending she doesn't have feelings. I pass gas around her constantly, and she knows I smell awful right after a joust and I don't have to worry that I'm not courtly enough for her or whatever just being myself. I'm important, I know that, but I'm still just a guy and I hate it when I have to pretend I'm stuck up and stuff to make someone else comfortable. I will, sometimes, but it's feels bad, almost like wearing too tight roughspun right against your skin. Plus she went from being kind of gangly and awkward to just. Wow. You've seen her, right? She's so beautiful, it's a little overwhelming sometimes, especially if I'm sleepy or worn out from training. Like. I'm going to marry her. That's so fucking cool.<p>

I wish she and Aggie would stop snipping at each other though. I don't know who started it and I don't care, and honestly I feel like Aggie's just jealous and worried I'm gonna start ignoring her or something. Which. Yanno, honestly when I can take Elinor to bed? I'm probably going to ignore pretty much everyone for like, a month. So there's no point getting weird about it. Anyway, they're both really smart, you know, and Elinor got to do a lot more things since she's from the North and Lord Rickard is a total pushover when she wants things and Aggie is always getting lectures from Mom and I feel like they're pretty similar, actually, and that's why they're always fighting. I get really mad about it sometimes, but Renly used to tell me not to get in the middle of it and he was usually right about people, so I try to keep that in mind. <p>
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