Blood of Dragons is the only author-approved MUSH based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Play the Game of Thrones and become a part of the history of the Seven Kingdoms:
Despite the summer season, the morning was brisk and cool - granted she anticipates that will change again once the sun has risen high above King’s Landing, but these were the sort of climes she was used to, and she takes a deep, appreciative breath of the bit of cold that laces the edges of the breeze. Having managed to escape her septa yet again (for she was growing rather adept at just disappearing), Jyana manages to find her way up the high garden of the Guest Tower, a place that is rapidly growing as a favorite spot of hers in the Red Keep.
She is seated upon a chair, the rest of her gown hidden, and a blanket thrown over her shoulders. She has a cup of some sort of beverage with her, which she is sipping with both hands as she admires the golden-red glow of the sun rising slowly on the horizon. There was still the morning mist, and the rays reflect off of that, and as she looks beyond the crenellations here, she can find peace, and recuperate from the rough evening before. Her hair at present isn’t artfully arranged, but loose instead, framing her face and tumbling in loose curls down her shoulders, disappearing under the faux neckline the blanket makes around her shoulders.
It seems she had just risen - but so early? Everyone else was still asleep, and certainly maidens liked their beauty sleep, however this one seems accustomed to the dawn, and a soldier’s hours.
Footsteps on the stairs add their sound to the other sounds present this morning, but compared to the constant bird calls from different directions of the castle, the steps of the youth who makes his way towards the top floor of the guest tower is surprisingly quiet. When his feet finishes the stairs, Tancred stops for a moment to breathe in the scent of fresh air found at this garden located so high above the ground, and maybe he needs the moment as well to simply allow his legs to relax from the climbing.
Then his eyes scan over the scene present before him and besides the few servants who always appear to be present no matter where one goes in the Red Keep, his eyes also quickly finds the the beauty resting on the bench. He hesitates for a few moments, but then seems to make a decision walking a bit closer to her.
“I bid you good morning, milady..” he offers her a polite bow and a smile, “.. I too had the thought that mayhap the sun would be visible from up here.”
Whatever she is thinking about falls on the wayside as a voice gently invades her senses. Jyana tilts her head up and cranes it to the side upon sight of… “...you were there, at the head table in the banquet last evening,” she remarks softly, blue-green eyes falling on the Baratheon heir. She certainly has a good memory, at the very least - it had been so crowded the night before it was almost impossible to keep everyone straight, but aye, she remembers him, beneath the Baratheon standard, her mother’s kin.
Setting her cup to the side, she stands up smoothly from the bench, turning to face him so she could drop him a graceful curtsey, and her smile, while quiet, is cheerful. “Good morning to you as well, ser, and it certainly is….once the mist clears up anyway.” She turns her head again slightly to regard the landscape. “I’m quite used to high places, and this one affords the best view of the sunrise in the morning, and the sunset at twilight.”
“Indeed I were there last evening, Lady Jyana,” Tancred replies, offering her a smile, “My lord father has wished for me to spend time in this fair city to make new acquaintances at the court and to learn from my Uncle Ser Sarmion.” He pauses for a moment to glance at the sun she describes and the landscape being graced with its light. “High places are fascinating,” he agrees, “.. One can watch birds in flight below, and watch grown men shrink to the size of ants far below.” A moment later he looks back at her, “Yet I must admit that it wasnt for the view of the sunrise that I made my way here, but to get a glance at the Red Keep from above, it is a masterpiece of engineering.” Then he smiles and quickly adds, “Had I however known that I would find a.. jewel.. outshining the sun up here, then I might have picked up my pace and made my way here the quicker.”
He is familiar with her name, Jyana can’t help but smile a touch wider at that. “Sarmion Stormbreaker is your uncle? I’ve met his sister during my stay here, your aunt, Lady Elanna. She is a very obliging woman.” She folds her hands behing her back and walks closer - for there was a yard or two between them and it seemed rude to her to carry on a conversation with such a distance, and thus she closes it. “I’ve known high places all my life,” she tells him agreeably. “I suppose that if I’ve not learned to enjoy it that living in the Eyrie would most certainly be a nightmare. But I’ve learned to love it - all the pleasures of flight, without having to actually engage in the dangerous sport of it.” At the last, she can’t help but laugh softly, and while a quick blush steals over her cheekbones, she does not hide her slight embarassment demurely. “The byname is famous here, it seems. You are very generous to mean it sincerely, Ser…?” She prompts, delicately, for a name.
Tancred offers her a polite smile, his face not showing any other reaction to her not knowing his name. “.. Tancred,” he replies, still smiling, “.. son of Lord Corwen Baratheon of Storm’s End.” His eyes rest on her for a few moments after he has spoken before he glances at some of the walls of the castle viewable from their direction. “I have been told much about the Eyrie, a masterpiece of engineering and architecture, it should be.. I should truly like to see it someday as the castle must be quite different from the Storm’s End I know, standing strong in my homeland.” He continues to study the walls and the buildings visible to them, “That man can build a castle like Storm’s End or the Red Keep is impressive, but building a castle on a mountain is without doubt an even more impressive achivement.” He looks back at her, smiling a little again.
“Ah, forgive me then, for not knowing who you were, m’lord,” Jyana apologizes softly. “I’ve…well. I’ve not known too many outside of the Eyrie, but by all rights I ought to be familiar with the Baratheons in the very least.” Her smile is somewhat hesitant. “My mother was half-Baratheon.” Past tense.
She turns slightly so she could walk towards a crenellation, resting a hand upon the hewn rock as she listens to what Tancred says. “And it is. It cannot be too wide.” She turns slightly back to him so she could gesture with her fingers. “The mountain is sloped this way. And the top this way.” She motions her other hand in a slightly sloped, yet perpendicular direction. “It is smaller than most main seats, and narrower, but also taller. It is a certain feat indeed, but Vale engineers do know their craft very well. And the inside is comprised of white marble, veined in blue. As you can surmise, the sky is a rampant theme.” She grins impishly at that.
“There is nothing to forgive, milady,” Tancred replies calmly, “One of our household knights at Storm’s End always mixed up the names of my brother and myself, especially when we were bashing at eachother with wooden swords.” He smiles and tilts his head a little to the side as she begins describing the architecture of the Eyrie, “So the Eyrie is the castle reaching for the sky.” he states with a hint of amusement in his voice, “Storm’s End is the castle build for withstanding a .. Storm.” However the next moment his face shows a calm expression again, with a hint of interest sparkling in his eyes, “The mountain is sloped? It must have been difficult to raise a castle without a leveled ground.. and bringing the stones to such a difficult position must have been as difficult as raising the Eyrie itself.”
“And beyond it. Literally,” Jyana states with a small laugh. “The Eyrie is situated above an area called Sky. Perhaps the engineers aren’t without a sense of humor.” She inclines her head a little bit at him, and she speaks up again, softly. “It seems to be you are very much interested in engineering and architecture. I’ve met someone recently who studies it. Perhaps one day I’ll introduce the two of you, if you’d be amenable to such a meeting.” She leans against the wall behind her, lifting her hands to blow the chill away from them momentarily, and rub her palms together. “And difficult indeed, but those who built the Eyrie managed a way around it. I would assume that the most logical way is to build it by levels, ‘create’ a flat ground so to speak by starting the foundation on the lowest point of the building area, then raise it up along. I think this may be also the reason why the Eyrie is so tall - it probably has a higher foundation than most strongholds.”
“It appears that you know your share of engineering as well, milady.. What you have told me so far has been very educating.” Tancred offers her a brief smile, “Indeed, I think you are correct that a castle build at such a position naturally has a higher foundation than most strongholds, and it probably would have taken if not twice, then thrice the time to build compared to most strongholds.” He then adress the question she asked him a little earlier, “I would be honored.. and delighted.. to meet your acquaintance who studies engineering, and indeed it was one of the subjects that I was most interested in during my education.” He suddently smiles at the thought, “.. actually I have build many miniature castles from wooden blocks, where my teacher spend much time describing all the mistakes I had made.”
She laughs softly and shakes her head. “Not really,” Jyana confesses cheerfully. “I’m only going by a purely logical assessment. When it comes to the finer points of engineering, I must defer to your knowledge on the matter, Ser Tancred. I would think that the only way to build a castle on uneven ground is to make a plateau that could serve as a foundation to erect one.” She lowers her hands, and when the breeze whips up to tangle at her hair, she lifts one to push her loose curls back from her face. “Indeed, I shall - one day perhaps when we are all in the same place. And that does sound fascinating…I’ve a wide variety of interest in many things, and I can always stand to learn more from those knowledgeable than me. My childhood….”
In this, her eyes look somewhat far away. “Has been spent learning of other things.”
Looking back at the handsome heir, she couldn’t help but laugh. “Your maester seems like a hard taskmaster, but I’ve no doubts that you’ve taken up his instruction with enthusiasm, judging by the way you were examining the walls earlier.”
“Or perhaps I just found childish entertainment in adding wooden blocks on top of eachother,” Tancred replies with an amused smile before his face grows more serious again, “Storm’s End is build to withstand the storms always hitting its walls, and like other castles is has been build to withstand a storm of human nature as well.. If we rely on walls for protection, then we must know what makes them strong and what makes them weak.” He cannot help smiling at Jyana again, his eyes capturing the motion of her hair as it is moved about her face by the wind, “.. and yes.. I really did like putting small wooden pieces on top of eachother.” He grins. “If I may be so bold to inquire, what ‘other things’ have you spend your childhood learning?”
“Anything and everything I could get my hands on,” Jyana remarks sollemnly, but the serious expression is broken with a smile that lights up her expression. “I was inflicted with a childhood illness for most of my early years, so in turn some of the more physical aspects of my instruction had been delayed. Indeed, I’ve not learned how to dance till only a few years ago.” She looks up slightly then, her aquamarine eyes wandering over to the sky above them. “I started my instruction early, however. I had a tendency to escape my quarters, and I didn’t realize it then, but I’d been so weak that I hurt myself often - so in a burst of insight, my tutor decided to start my instruction to keep me in place and occupied. So I started reading and writing at an early age, and a year after that, my musical instruction began. I was taught mathematics, and became an avid reader of history. The arts of healing was also a subject that I took to easily….however, I thought it more necessary than a sincere desire to learn it. I can’t….well, not so much as I can’t but I -would- not allow myself to be so dependent on another’s care for me, now that I am here and away from home. Especially with the sort of constitution I have.”
Tancred has fallen silent, now simply listening to the stream of words escaping the young woman in front of him, when she finally stops speaking he remains silent a few moment, looking at her and looking past her at the same time in such a way that one might wonder if he heard a word of what she said or had found himself preoccupied looking at that smile lighting up her face. “Uhm..” he finally murmurs, “I too was educated in history, healing and mathematics as well, where I especially had most interest in the latter.” He pauses for a moment again before he continues, “There is no shame, I think, in depending on others.. Do we not all depend upon our King, do the commoners not depend upon their lord and do a wife not depend upon her husband and the other way around?”
She laughs, and inclines her head slightly. “Me too,” Jyana tells him simply, in what he says about mathematics. If she had noticed the preoccupation on his face, she doesn’t call attention to it - but she knows at the very least that he is paying attention by his last few comments. She knows, at least, that he heard the last parts of what she had just said. “I never said there was any shame in it,” she remarks delicately. “But rather I would not allow myself to be completely dependent upon it simply because I believe a certain degree of self reliance is important in realizing one’s potential, and most importantly, one’s own limitations.”
“Ah.. in that I agree with you, milady.” Tancred replies solemnly, “It certainly makes a more interesting conversation if one enjoys a conversation with someone who has confidence in himself.. or herself.. instead of talking to one who adapts each of their replies to what they believe will suit you.” He offers her a thin smile, looking briefly at the sky, and the sun that has crept but a little higher above the horizon. “One should of course always guard the tounge from uttering words of insult and always strive to weight ones words with honour, because we are judged upon the words we speak as much as we are judged upon the actions we take.”
“Exactly.” Jyana smiles, and rocks back on her heels a little bit, her hand gathering up her hair so she could pull it on one side and she would have something to toy with. “But I suppose such things are highly dependent on how well a person knows himself. I think that if a person is less inclined as to be familiar with what his actual identity is, he would depend on the dominant conversationalist for much of his replies. While there is something to be said about the social chameleon…it is a different arena entirely if one is trying to speak sincerely.” She looks to be very much at ease, now, speaking to Tancred frankly, and with much enthusiasm, as evident by the spark in those striking eyes. And it is this gaze that falls on his profile as he turns slightly to watch the sun rise, studying his features with a sort of quiet, unobtrusive observance.
“We are…” she says softly. “Which is a pity, as actions are certainly more telling.” She turns around herself, folding her arms on the top of the wall and resting her chin upon them. “I was raised by men who do not mince their words, and let their actions speak for themselves.”
As she speaks, Tancred’s eyes widens a little at her description. He does however not reply at first and simply moves to stand next to her to glance at the horizon from their location at the wall. “There is a fine line between talking and acting.. at times one might need to act quickly without much time to discuss one’s actions..” He pauses again, his eyes gazing at the castle comming to life below them, “They most likely acted in a way they believed would be in the best interest of your house, milady.. Time will tell if they made the right decisions or not.”
He offers her a quick glance before his eyes glance down at the castle below, “Look how the sun makes the stones sparkle, the engineers must have considered this when they picked the stones.” He smiles a little, trying to change the topic.
“I don’t necessarily think,” Jyana begins in a quiet, contemplative tone - and while her face may reflect seriousness as befitting their conversation, it is serene as opposed to severe, softening her delicate features and reflected in the expression of her eyes. “That all of it is for the good of my House, but also borne from the circumstances they were raised by. My grandfather is a fighting man, and some would say, a knight and soldier without peer. My father has a bit of his sternness, and my cousin Jonothor was mentored by him. They are gifted with the steel of their minds and the quick edge of their blades, but not necessarily the silver on the tongues of most skilled diplomats and orators.”
She looks up at her taller companion when he joins her, lifting her head up a bit from the cushion of her arms. And when he points out the stones, she smiles, and turns her eyes upon them. “Minerals, perhaps,” she wonders. “Embedded upon them from the earth. It certainly is lovely.”
Tancred smiles a little, his normally calm and expressionless face shows a touch of happiness. “The war is won,” he states with a calm voice, “.. Though the war was needed to secure the realm, then it was no pleasant sight to watch the battlefields, nor was it pleasant to fight against the Dornishmen, though I must admit that my blood were boiling in my veins in the heat of the moment.. Strange how you feel most alive when you stare into the face of death.” His face looks expressionless again, “.. One feels alive in a different way a morning like this.”
Jyana doesn’t comment on Death, she who has danced with the Stranger so many times in childhood, on less honorable circumstances than winning the privilege in battle. Instead, she listens to him quietly, her hair rippling against the blanket wrapped around her and swirling around her face and shoulders at the breeze that whips against their high precipice. “I think it is important,” she speaks, her voice softer with a touch of reverence. “Especially for a soldier to remember that there should never be any joy to be had in killing. It is the presence of necessity that separates honor and murder.” She smiles a touch at what he says at last. “Would you enlighten me as to what the difference is? Feeling alive in battle, as opposed to feeling alive in a morning like this?”
“Ah..” Tancred murmurs in reply to her first statement, then deciding not to tell her about the joy of watching an opponent fall subsequent to the intense crossing of blades where life or death wasnt certain. Relief and joy was indeed what he felt at such moments. “Uhm.. Perhaps it is a bit difficult to explain, milady.. But I shall try.” He looks at her for a brief moment, offering her a polite smile, “In the heat of battle it is as if the blood is boiling, I felt like I could jump high in the air even when wearing my armor, when breathing my nostrils did not sense the stench of the battlefield, instead the air felt as if it was pure and fresh, and that every breath only was increasing my strength. It was like being in a haze but still everything was perfectly clear.. The noise.. everything made me feel alive.” He pauses for a moment while turning his eyes to look at the castle sparkling in the sunlight. “Now.. Feeling alive is like standing in a forest.. or on your mountain to make a comparison, and breathe in a scent you know well, look at something you know well.. and feel that life is slowly flowing through you, tickling your fingertips, ruffling your hair.. Its.. difficult to explain.. I am sure you know the feeling?” He turns his head to look at her.
Her expression, then, is silent - when Tancred prompts her as to whether or not she knows what he’s talking about, Jyana nods. “Perhaps you speak,” she remarks softly. “Of a moment where you feel that Time itself stops, and you have all the time in the world to just….breathe. Or to appreciate the minute details of the every day mundane that one tends to miss when on a rush. If that is the case, aye….I most certainly do. I’m certain that on some level, that one is more cognizant of the beauty of the world if one embraces the fact that he is alive and should enjoy it.” She searches his face for a moment, and she smiles tentatively. “Forgive me, m’lord, if my sentiments sound rather lofty. I was never exposed to battle. I’ve never even graced my eyes upon a tournament in my life.”
Tancred smiles a little, “Indeed, milady.. In a battle it is as if time itself stands still..” He pauses for a moment, pondering, before he continues, “The last thing I said about life slowly flowing through you.. that was not adressed to how it felt during battle, but how life feels a morning like this.. In an odd way, time also stands still now?” He tilts his head looking at her, “.. Especially with good company.. How long have we spoken by now, milady?” He asks with a faint smile on his lips.
“For a good while,” Jyana responds honestly by his prompting, with a laugh. “And with such a reminder, certainly I’ve to thank you for that…but I really should return to my bed before my septa finds me missing from it. I’ve been quite adept at escaping her for a good while now, and if I give her too much practice on how to find me, alas, my degree of unpredictability shall drop to nonexistent levels.” The smile she bestows upon him now is sweet, and, quite simply, mischievous. “I shall wake up and tell her that yes, I have slept well, no, I’ve not had breakfast, and that no, I did not sneak out of my room to the roof garden again and neither did I most -certainly- stay there to speak with Ser Tancred Baratheon unchaperoned.” She takes a step away from the wall and sighs. “It’s a beautiful morning - I loathe to leave it, but I must.”
Tancred cannot help laughing.. a thing he rarely does. “Very well, you certainly didnt speak with me then, milady.” His laughter turns into a smile and he steps back offering her a bow, “I would like to thank you for the nice conversation that never took place,” he tilts his head smiling at her when he straightens up again, “.. So just to be certain.. I did not walk up here to find a jewel shining in competition with the sun, and I did not end up having a nice conversation about castle engineering and life in general..” He looks at her, the smile still lingering on his lips.
Her laughter is as bright as her expression, Jyana’s head throwing back a bit as she takes a hop down onto the main landing, turning around in such a manner that her blanket and the skirt of her gown swirls around her ankles. “Indeed!” she exclaims, her hand coming up to wave a pointer finger back and forth, closing her eyes and nodding - a pale imitation, perhaps, of a lecturing septa. “You most certainly did not see Jyana Arryn up before dawn, and you most certainly did not speak to her about castles and engineering, and life in general and your enjoyment of the garden is merely attributed to the glint from the castle stones and the sun rising over the horizon.” She grins back at him, and drops into a sweeping curtsey. “Have a good day, Ser Tancred. Thank you very much for -not- keeping me company.” She turns around then, and takes several light steps for the doorway - in but a few seconds, she is gone yet again.
The Westeros network consists of several different sites, including a forum and a wiki, for all your A Song of Ice and Fire needs.