It is currently WINTER in WESTEROS during the year 303 AC. The new moon cycle marks a full twenty years since the Mad King was murdered, and his son King Rhaegar ascended the Iron Throne in his place. Though the year is fresh, war in the Narrow Sea has left the Free Cities of Volantis and Tyrosh in ashes, and the Long Night continues to beckon from the Northern fringes of the Seven Kingdoms. With the Queen Lyanna presumed dead, the citizens of the realms look only to each other for survival.
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Age: 18
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Jan 29 2018, 12:51 PM
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<h1><storm>lady thyella swann</group></h1>
<h2>18 years old. mistress of stonehelm. stormlands. raina hein.</h2>
<h3>shelbs. 25. cst. discord or PM.</h3>
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<div class="genhead">DARKER THAN THE OCEAN</div>
<div class="gensmall">deeper than the sea</div>
"Do you want to hear the story, or no?" She asked me, voice as vile as venom, the well-spoken articulation of her words meaning nothing compared to the finesse of the thin metal blade in her hand. The fragrant bathwater filled the domed privy she so loved, clouding the single window from the quiet tendrils of steam curling off of her bared knees and shoulders. Her breasts, soapy and bobbing amply against the surface of the water, glistened from the torchlight that illuminated the room, and not for the first time I found myself envious of them. I watched as she pressed the pad of her index finger against the dagger's pointed tip. "Yes, my lady... of course." I used the back of my hand to wipe away the tears that were staining my cheeks, standing near the brass tub. Thyella only smirked. "Then shut up and listen."
For a precious, rare and ultimate moment, I thought Thyella had been a normal girl. At first. Listening to her drone on about her childhood, notating with perfect memory the Septa who had nearly broken a knuckle with her rod, the headstrong filly her uncle had gifted her for her fifth name day, and how she always demanded to eat her desserts before supper, I thought her little less than any other normal girl. But then she began to speak about how the Septa no longer thought to whip her, for fear of the little girl who stood in her room at night, watching her sleep; hardly more than a dark apparition calculating all the ways to smother the old woman in her bed. Then she told me how the filly she'd been gifted was by all means a rebellious and disobedient mount, and when she had thrown a young Thyella for the last time, the untrained horse was dead in her stall within a fortnight. Something about soured buckets of grain and moldy bales of hay it was fed. I couldn't quite bring myself to believe that's all it was.
Listening to her made the tears stop, if only slowly. She seemed to enjoy talking about herself, or perhaps she simply hated the sound of my crying and sought to distract me from it. Was that kindness she was showing? She would be quick to remind me of my mistake in thinking the best of her, I knew. I had already watched Thyella once order one of her other handmaidens to strip naked, if only to send her out into the wet cold in search of the necklace she'd lost. We never found it, of course. I did, though. I found it, untouched, in her drawers where she kept the rest of her jewelry. She'd never lost it to begin with. I had to remind myself, and not for the first time, that Lady Thyella Swann was hardly normal. Even in telling me her life's story, I feared there was some greater game at play. She never did anything without a reason.
"Does it hurt?" She asked me, making me recall the apple-sized welt swelling against the rise of my cheek. I reached a hand to touch it, afraid of the pain, gasping even at the feel of my own fingers against the stricken flesh. I could see how Thyella's lips twitched with a smirk at the sight of me and my discomfort. Perhaps it excited her even more to know that the wound had been inflicted by none other than her own brother Thoros. The Black Swan.
<div class="genhead">YOU'VE GOT EVERYTHING</div>
<div class="gensmall">you got what i need</div>
Our lord's children were never far from each other. Not in age, nor in distance or hobby. She didn't have to tell me that, I knew that well enough on my own. We all did. As I drained a bit of water from her tub, only to add another boiling-hot basin, the sigh that came from her lips was gentle and relaxed and for another split and stupid moment I did not feel afraid of her. Even with that fine, nimble blade in her hand, I noticed the gooseflesh prickle across her knees and the tops of her breasts and I so badly wanted to believe Lady Thyella was, and could be, good. I was not so foolish to think the same of her brother, but perhaps that was what made my mistress more dangerous than he. When she went on about the games they used to play together, apparently always at the expense of another, I could not look her in the eye. "He always liked to make the other little girls cry," she said, laughing as prettily as a melody. All I could do was add her scents and oils into her bathwater. Harmless jests, she assured me.
What she <i>didn't</i> tell me was perhaps things I already knew. Did she know that I knew? Servants always talked, and I could remember when I was young how they talked about when they came upon Thyella and her brother, each of them hardly more than ten years old, with a knight's even younger daughter tied to a stall post inside the stables. The poor fool had been visiting his liege's castle and here was his innocent daughter, nearly stripped naked, the brunt of the Swann children's <i>harmless jests.</i> Even then, however, Thoros had been threatening enough to swear the servants to silence, but they had not released the girl at that moment. Supposedly it was another hour before she was untied and given back her clothes. I knew this all and the glitter in Thyella's eye told me she was well aware of it, too. I wondered if she was hoping I would dare ask. I wouldn't.
It was easy to see the woman I served never had many friends throughout her childhood. It was even easier to see that she preferred it that way, if not ensured it entirely. She ranted deeply about her love for her older brother, calling him not only her sibling, but her partner, her protector, even more of a father to her than their actual sire. There was no need for others in her life, she said. Thoros was everything she could want and more, and recanted he remained as such to this very day, as if she was making sure I did not think to question their lasting bond. The only thing that could make them closer, she told me, was if the gods had been smart enough to make them twins. It was here that I noticed she'd begun trailing the tip of her small blade across her knee, down to her thigh and beneath the water, where I watched her other hand slowly follow suit. The more she spoke about her brother, the more her lips would unhinge, her head would tilt back, and a soft moan would interrupt her words as if she <i>wanted</i> me to know she pleased herself at the thought of him.
"He is always so good to me."
<div class="genhead">TOUCH ME</div>
<div class="gensmall">you're electric</div>
I was beginning to realize, the more she spoke, that this was Thyella's way of threatening me. She had seen what Thoros did to my face, was she afraid I would act out against them for it, convene in some way to see them exposed? Then my mistress was even smarter than I imagined, and when she'd finally stopped touching herself and revealed her hands again, still armed with her fine little dagger, her intimidation was as sensual as it was frightening. I knew with the more she told me, the more I would never be able to make a stand against her. I wanted to flee the privy when her gaze found mine, aware that she could see every thought and whim and dream I ever had. Or, at least, that's what she wanted me to believe. And gods save me, I did. But I was trapped there, working her lambskin cloth into a lather for her, listening to the stories about her mother and father and hoping my hands did not falter in their work as she spoke. "I used this knife to do it," she pointed out with a smile, running her thumb along the slender blade.
Picturing a young Thyella carving a small hole through her parents' wall, it made me feel sick. Why in seven hells would a girl ever want to spy on her own mother and father? I cleared my face as best as I could as she talked about how she'd watch her father force himself upon the Lady of Stonehelm, drunk and sloppy and no less ugly, calling her a whore and a sodomite, made of all things unnatural. As I began to work my fingers through the thick, dark locks of my lady's hair, Thyella went on to describe all the times she watched her mother, recovered from her husband's outbursts, lay with women too many to count. And how it was here that a little Thyella, not even flowered yet, discovered the pleasure between her own legs. It took all I had not to retch.
She gave me no relief. Unlike her brother, my mistress enjoyed wounds one could not see, festering injuries far beneath just the surfacing swell of my welted cheek. I tried to hide my shaking fingers beneath the bathwater, finding the long line of her shin bones with the cloth, slowly working my way down to her ankles and the high arches of her slender feet. There was a cold stone in my throat I tried to swallow over and over again as she spoke. "It's where I found this," she finally said, drawing the tip of her dagger to the round, purpled swell of my cheekbone. "It was on the table with the others," her voice was so soft, like a song, like a lullaby, making her gentle threat all the more terrifying. Despite the heat of her bathwater, I froze like a Northern wind had just overcome me, suppressing the tremble of my spine and the pain of her pressed, pointed tip against my tender wound. "I didn't tell him, at first," she went on, describing the room her brother had brought her down into, showing her the tools their gaoler used in the torture of all the criminals brought to Stonehelm's dungeons.
"He found it later, of course," out of the corner of my eye I watched her shrug her narrow shoulders, the cut of her collarbone gleaming with moisture. "He gave me this with it." I nearly screamed when she grabbed my hand, wrenching it free of the soapy cloth and forcing it between her opened thighs. I closed my eyes and grit my teeth and prepared for the worst... only to slowly open them once more when I felt a long, needle-like ridge that she was making me trace along her inner thigh. A scar. <i>"Th-Thoros did?"</i> Gods, I hated it when I stuttered. "As a lesson," she replied, pushing my hand away as if something suddenly disgusted her. Perhaps I disgusted her. Still, she continued to smirk at me. "That I can never hide something from him." Her gaze pierced into me perhaps farther than any blade ever could. "No one can."
<div class="genhead">MOVE ME</div>
<div class="gensmall">take me from this place</div>
Fear. Pure, sheer and raw fear coursed through me. Lord Swann was as good as dead, struggling through his rattling lungs with all the strength he had left; not even enough to open his eyes or lift his head. And this was what we, the servants of Stonehelm, the ones who made the lives of House Swann even possible, were destined for upon his death? Thoros would have us tortured and executed for the simplest of offenses, while Thyella would choose to slowly bleed our minds for months before we willingly begged for release. Was this what would happen to us, once Lord Swann was finally dead and his children succeeded him? Thyella was already insistent on being addressed as the "Mistress of Stonehelm," not quite usurping her mother's title but not quite acknowledging it, either. Simply reminding her that she was always near, lurking loyally behind, preparing to seize what was hers at the first opportunity. If our lady was not present to receive a visitor, our mistress certainly would be. I was too nervous to ask if Lady Swann was afraid of her own daughter... too nervous perhaps because I already knew the answer.
"He used to say I reminded him of her," she spoke, tone still as lilted as a minstrel's. I had no choice but to find the lambskin cloth again and start massaging it once more into her legs. "But he always said it impatiently. As if he already decided I was not enough." She slipped the pad of her thumb yet again along the sharp edge of her dagger, and for a brief moment, I almost thought she sought to draw her own blood. "He was wrong, though." Her lips, plump and swollen from the humid air of the room, curved upwards into a smile that showed the unnaturally straight rows of her teeth. "My mother would never be strong enough to kill him." Was that the only difference between the Lady Swann and the Mistress Swann? That Thyella could slit a sleeping man's throat, her own father, whereas her mother would balk at such a concept?
I realized then that I almost <i>wanted</i> my mistress to kill him. By all accounts, he was a sordid, selfish and senile man, and perhaps his current lot in life was what he deserved. He had caused enough pain to both my Lady and her children. I almost wanted to believe that it was <i>his</i> fault for making Thoros and Thyella into the monsters they were. The Black Swans. But this was the poison seeping into my thoughts, I knew, at my mistress' own behest. Gods, was she truly some twisted form of the Stranger itself? Sowed from the fiery fields of the seventh circle of hell? I feared her now even more than I feared her violent brother, for physical wounds I could endure, festering injuries and broken bones we all could survive, but <i>this?</i> This was enough to make a lowly servant like myself feel like they were going mad, and all under the radiant light of Thyella Swann's flawless, malicious smile.
I nearly welcomed her sudden hand upon the back of my neck. Relished in the hot water filling my nose, clogging my throat and leaking into my lungs. Cherished the strain of my own body fighting against her, instinct driving me where my emotions failed me, wallowing in the cloying linger of my consciousness as it finally bent to her will. Her soap was in my eyes and on my tongue, and with my head pressed beneath the water between her legs, I could not even try to stop that damned blade from opening my throat. Perhaps my ghost could have watched her as she marinated in my own blood, letting it pump from my neck for just a bit longer before she shoved my corpse onto the floor. Perhaps I could have summoned the Seven themselves to smite her as my spirit witnessed her dunk her own head beneath the wine-red water, soaking her dark hair as I had done for her naught minutes before.
"Stupid cunt."
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