Hour of the Wolf

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    A Game of Thrones roleplay featuring Small Foxx and Sansa Stark.


    the War of Five Kings is ended, or so King's Landing would have you believe. Savaged by what
    the war has left behind, the Seven Kingdoms struggle to regain a part of themselves that once
    was. King Tommen sits upon the Iron Throne with Queen Cersei at his side, but the upcoming
    fall of House Lannister is foreseen by all. Will it come to pass? Tywin Lannister has heard some
    rather curious rumors on the wind, whispers of Petyr Baelish in the Vale along with a rather
    mysterious baseborn daughter. Inquiries have been sent and no concrete answers have returned,
    leaving him frustrated, desperate to know if Littlefinger had stolen Sansa Stark and betrayed
    the crown once and for all. House Stark is seemingly obliterated, but with the return of the
    rightful Queen in the North, gods only knew what chaos could ensue. He had to be sure.

    Living in the Eyrie under the alias "Alayne," Sansa has followed Littlefinger's instruction
    and remained attentive to his lessons, but as Tyrion Lannister had reportedly gone missing
    as a result of his failed execution, Sansa herself was now free to marry. It is no secret,
    Petyr's affections for the girl. Only recently had his desire turned to a more dangerous lust.
    Just when Tywin Lannister thought he had her location pinned and made plans to have her
    returned to the capital, Sansa fled after Petyr tried to force himself on her. She and her
    faithful handmaiden Alicina slipped away into the night, determined to reconquer the
    North some other way, some path that did not involve selling herself to win a kingdom.

    "The wolves will come again," it was said, and indeed it would be so, for winter is coming.








    For a larger version, click here.


    Sansa Stark is alive and well, fleeing the Vale with her handmaiden, Alicina. She hopes to reach the Wall and find her brother Jon Snow, and seek protection from him until she figures out what to do next in reclaiming her family's dominion over the North.

    Littlefinger is utterly obsessed with Sansa. He is enraged that she left, though his hold over the Vale is a strong one and he believes he will find her in due course. Remains one of the most dangerous people in Westeros.

    Tyrion fled King's Landing with Lord Varys. He is currently on a ship heading toward Essos, where Varys hopes to bring them both into the service of Daenerys Targaryen.

    Cersei, as scheming as ever, remains at her father's side. This roleplay is an AU where Tywin Lannister was NOT slain by his son, just severely injured. She continues to try to frame Margaery and put her behind bars, or better, her head on a spike.

    Daenerys rules at Meereen, though her reign is slipping. As time passes, the cities she has conquered slip back into slavery and renounce her as their queen. She struggles to keep hold on Slaver's Bay, though she is determined to continue trying for the sake of those she has freed.

    King Stannis remains in the company of the Red Priestess, Melisandre. He, his wife and daughter all are at the Wall, along with his army, in hopes to rally the North to his cause. He and the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch are working together--or so he believes.

    Recently voted as the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch by his peers, Jon has taken up all the responsibilities of the ancient order. He hosts Stannis Baratheon and tries not to get involved in the wars of Westeros as the order's law forbids, but the need for vengeance and justice is strong in him.

    Named the new Warden in the North, he rules his portion of the kingdoms with a ruthless hand. His bastard Ramsay has been given free reign to do as he will, including the rape, torture and murder of others. Together they are creating fear in the hearts of the Northmen, but also potential civil war.

    • Love Love x 1
  2. Alicina Marcel; The Maiden SmithAlicina was a girl from a simple family who craves adventure. She had thought that her adventure could be no greater than when she somehow ended up being handmaiden to Sansa Stark, a young woman just a few years younger than herself. She knew that all royal and noble families must have complex lives and endless drama but the reality had completely blown her previous notions out of the proverbial waters. From King's Landing to The Eyrie, loyal Alicina stayed at Sansa's side and did her bidding while doing her best to counsel her. For all her noble blood, Sansa was still just a girl. By no means did Alicina see her as weak. In fact, after all the trials and misfortunes that Sansa had survived, Ali could think of no stronger woman. Not even that cunt of a Queen Regent, Cersei. So when Sansa asked how she should respond to Lord Baelish's romantic and sexual advances, Alicina had only one word for her.


    And they did run, packing lightly and disappearing into the night. Sneaking out was no easy feat -- Not with Petyr scouring the halls for his object of affection. Luckily, Alicina had escaped trouble enough times that she got them out. Her heart was pounding in her ears the entire time and the only thing she could worry about was keeping Sansa safe. The excitable young woman was more than prepared to go down in a blaze of glory, fighting for the Lady she served. But Sansa was quick to point out that Alicina was no good to her dead or as a prisoner. The blonde held back her fighting spirit and went stealth mode instead. Making way through the Bloody Gates would have been their most difficult task, guards stationed everywhere. But Alicina quickly spread rumor of a feast to be prepared by order of Lady Sansa to surprise Lord Baelish to congratulate his new position -- Everyone was to attend. This had left few guards waiting for them as they hid in empty barrels being carried out by a wine peddler.

    No doubt Lord Baelish would be livid when he discovered the woman he desired as a child bride was missing. But they could worry about his wrath later. For now, Alicina tried to keep quiet as she hunkered down, knees pulled to her chest and forehead placed against them in silence. The bumping coming from the wooden wheels rolling over stones was enough to drive her mad, though it wasn't half as irritating as the uncomfortable dampness of her dress from the moist remnants of wine clinging to the wood. They'd have to bathe before entering any town -- No doubt men worse than Petyr Baelish would jump upon them whilst thinking them inebriated. Still, it was quite the adventure! She only wished more action was involved. And maybe some romance. She would settle for this though.

    She was surprised when the wagon came to a halt, the driver calling out to... Someone. Had they been betrayed? “Stay here!” Alicina whisper hissed as politely as she could to Sansa, the girl resting in the barrel adjacent to hers, before popping up from her own, tossing the lid aside. They were not quite that far from the Eyrie's Bloody Gates, which only begged one question. “Why in the world have we stopped?! I paid you well to get us far from here. Not to be dropped off at the front door!” Trying (and failing) to not trip over her dress, she tumbled from her barrel and landed square on her ass in her escape. “There's a man here!” The old driver looked back at Alicina as she approached, her eyes going wide. “Lady Sansa! You should come and see this!”

    Sandor Clegane; The Burned HoundArya Stark.

    That little cunt.

    The mountain of a man that they called "The Hound" found himself wishing for a quick death as he lay atop grass and stone, bleeding from a number of places. It wasn't the pain that made him long for death but, the humiliation. He had no doubt that word would travel fast of how some lumbering ox of a bitch, a woman, had defeated him in battle. Part of him wanted to die. Another part, the one ruling him now, clung to life with sharp claws with a thirst for vengeance. He'd not be bested by some woman. Not when combat was involved. But even if he did live and kill her... He would know that she beat him at least once. She beat him first. Some might say he ought to have respect for her skill with a blade.

    That was a load of horseshit.

    What was worse was that he had been reduced to begging a girl child to kill him. And she had denied him. The two might not have liked each other but he would admit that he had slowly grown fond of the spitfire little Stark girl. She was a tough survivor and he respected that even if he thought she was a fucking moron. He shouldn't have been surprised, though he was. She was constantly praying with her list of names, promising to kill each one. But when the time came for her to kill him she just left him like some poisoned animal on a bad hunt. He wondered how long it would be before he'd bleed out, his left ear now missing a chunk. It was nightfall now, hours had passed. Some would say it was a miracle he made it this far. Most would say that it was no surprise. Neither the Mountain nor the Hound died easily. It was a reputation known throughout all of Westeros, one that made two-sided fights quite rare for him. Maybe he had lost his touch in the absence of a worthy adversary. Didn't much matter to him. He was still pissed.

    He had drifted into a fitful sleep before he heard shouting, his eyes snapping open. He couldn't move enough to see what it was but there was a sudden flash of pale gold under the moonlight and an all-too-familiar feminine voice accompanying it. Groaning, he leaned his head back and growled, “What the fuck are you doing here, you little brat?” He eyed Alicina as she came closer, knowing Sansa Stark wasn't too far behind, his notion confirmed when the bubbly one called out for her. “Go. Away.” His voice was gruff, more than usual, and weak. He almost struggled to speak as much as he struggled to move. Sandor became increasingly aware of the dryness of his throat, no longer soothed by the warm and sticky blood that he had long since swallowed. Unable to even salivate, he glanced at the barrels and reached out as far as he could, wordlessly indicating that he needed something to quench his thirst.
    • Love Love x 2
  3. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellSansa had never been much of a gambler. Her life thus far had consisted of entangled chains dragging her ten different directions at once, of choices made for her, ripping her apart. Forever locked in the battle for her own destiny, countless men and women, kings and queens, lords and ladies and bad people alike had attempted to steal her away for their own personal gain. Robb's death brought nothing but more choices and more agony for the heir to Winterfell, and none of them were offered to her for approval. She was a token on a playing board, a little cyvasse piece to be moved accordingly for the sake of whatever player stole her hand.

    Littlefinger was the last straw, and Littlefinger was where it would end.

    His intentions were harmless at first. Marry Harry the Heir, gain the armies of the Vale and retake the North under the Stark banner. Take what was hers. Reconquer what was stolen from her dearly departed brother, and allow her son to sit upon Winterfell's high seat and another as Lord of the Vale. But like all things in her past experience, there was a price hidden in the shadows waiting to be claimed before her desires could ever be fulfilled.

    Sansa had never been much of a gambler, but Petyr Baelish was. His was a game she was unwilling to play.

    She sat in the back of the wagon after being released from the uncomfortable confines of a great wine barrel. A daughter of the North, she was built with the feminine figure of her mother yet she stood taller, her legs longer. Alicina was a tiny little thing that could slip in and out of a barrel unscathed, but Sansa was not so petite. Their paid savior had offered her freedom once they were out of sight of others that would seek harm, and the fresh air was a welcomed blessing on sensitive skin.

    Better than Littlefinger's kiss. Better than his hands or his breath, and better still than anything else he sought to offer me.

    Though she had never been one to tempt fate, perhaps escaping the safest place for her was a bit of a gamble in itself. Alicina had experience with weaponry, but two beautiful women alone on the road while Lannister soldiers still prowled about? It was more than dangerous. It was stupid. Not for the first time since she'd left, Sansa debated on whether or not she should have let Lord Baelish take what he wanted if it meant she could see home again. We'll never get to the Wall just the two of us. I'll be recognized, I'll be killed or worse. Alicina craved adventure, that much was true. But all Sansa wanted was to sit by the hearth in her room at Winterfell, to sing love songs and sew and dream of chivalrous knights in glittering armor. She wished things could return to the way they once were before death and despair fell so horrendously upon her House. But wishes were folly. Sansa knew that Winterfell, much like herself, was laid to waste and abandoned in ash and ruin. If I want to see home again, I will have to rebuild it from the rubble. I'll plant a seed where the soil's been poisoned.

    "Lady Sansa!" came the call after the wagon abruptly stopped. She clutched her cloak closer to her person and turned, eyeing the waving silhouette of Alicina in the distance. "You should come and see this!"

    See what? she almost asked, but the question was rather redundant. She allowed the wine merchant to help her off of the wagon and followed to where her dear friend was so insistently calling, snatching a flickering lantern from the bed of their makeshift carriage. "What are you doing, Ali? We can't just stop for anything, we have to make it to the..."

    The crimson sight stole her breath. Mangled and bloodied beneath a great willow tree rested the outline Sandor Clegane, dying. I would recognize that face anywhere.

    In a force of free will, Sansa pushed past the golden girl and knelt hastily at the side of her perishing knight, the man who came to her when the Blackwater was aflame, the one who forced a song from her throat and stole a kiss from her lips. Had he ever truly left her mind since then? I kept his cloak when he gave it to me and I prayed that the Mother would keep him safe. But look at him now! Even the gods had broken their promises to her.

    "It's you," she breathed, setting the light beside his massive form as her eyes scanned the agony in his face. "I can't believe...it's you, it truly is." Despite his beaten and broken body, Sansa couldn't help but smile. "I never thought I'd see you again after the Blackwater." There was fear in his eyes back then, but none now, even as he faced a most certain death.

    She would not allow that to happen.

    "Ali," Sansa spoke, lifting her gaze to the blonde at her back. "Quickly, get some of that wine and boil it over a fire, and get me some cloth. I think I can help him, I read a book about it--quickly!" Sansa removed the hood from her head to reveal thick auburn locks, once dyed brown to conceal her identity though the color had washed away in the bath. Fire caught the similarly-hued glow in her hair, making her seem like a part of the flame altogether, though she hoped in her heart that he knew there was nothing to fear from her. I am a dark fire, a soft one. No harm will come to you from me.

    "What happened?" Sansa inquired gently, placing a hesitant hand upon his unburned cheek. "Don't speak unless you're strong enough, though. We'll help you. Both of us."

    I owe you such a debt after all. Perhaps Tyrion had rubbed off on her more than she thought.
    • Love Love x 2
  4. Alicina Marcel; The Maiden Smith Tiny Alicina was quick to follow the commands of her Lady, dashing back to the wagon with the bothersome skirt of her dress hitched into her hands to prevent her from tripping. Again. She had all the grace, balance, and poise in the world when you placed a weapon in her hand or pulled her to the dance floor. However, once she got to rushing about with chores she seemed incapable of maintaining purchase with the solid grounds beneath her teeny feet so long as she was wearing a dress.

    But she was fleet of foot, grabbing her packed bag and rooting through it for the requested items. A cup and a cloth were produced, soon followed by needle and thread -- no doubt that the Hound would need some stitching work done. He looked like he was missing a bit of ear, though Ali doubted that they would have time to root around in the grass, turning over every boulder and pebble until they found it. She didn't have time to wonder whether or not his clearly victorious foe had taken it as trophy, busying herself with building a small fire.

    “I hardly mean to command, Lady Sansa, but it won't be far too long before The Lord Baelish discovers we won't be making an appearance tonight. I truly doubt he will find amusement in our ruse, as he was under such false pretenses that you would allow him to lay with you tonight.” She found herself constantly glancing over her shoulder as if expecting a Calvary with torches and blades to come for them soon, something that was more of a reality than most of her fantastical daydreams.

    “I'm no expert in men, but I don't really think that they like such false hope in the area of bedding.”
    She gave a light shrug as she stoked the fire, humming softly. With wine in a pot, she stared at it fiercely as if trying to will it to boil faster. Obviously, it did no such thing and she nearly gave herself a migraine after five minutes.

    When the liquid had finally begun to boil and bubble she quickly emptied half into a wooden cup that she consistently carried in her travels for no real reason. It came in handy for once and she was quite glad of it. The faelike girl traveled carefully back to Sansa, offering the cup. The cloth was slung over her shoulder and she found her bright hazel eyes darting back towards the Hound, unable to keep herself from staring.

    “You look like you've been mauled by a dire wolf. Or did you fall down that cliff? That wouldn't explain the missing ear though... Hmm. Did you fight your brother? Is he still about?” Her lips moved a mile a minute as she grilled him with questions, her curious nature shining through the dreary night, though her questions seemed to only make it even more dreary. She had learned, from a quick backhand from Joffery, that such a trait could get her into immense trouble. It didn't do anything except force her to not speak around the stupid boy, instead glaring at him while imagining that he was on fire.

    Sandor Clegane; The Burned HoundThe Hound's vision was blurry, a mixture of dried blood in his eyes and the fact that he was clinging onto life whilst slowly slipping towards the dark abyss of death that tugged at him so gently, welcoming him into the shadowy folds. Still, he saw all too clearly what came next. Sansa Stark, alive and well. His jaw tensed as she immediately dropped down, his heart aching at the tenderness that she dared show him that none other ever had. He remembered her more than he remembered most and it was only memories of her that he could think of in a fond manner.

    He recalled Blackwater as though it had only been yesterday, the feeling of her lips against his. He had hesitated for a fraction of a second in kissing her then, afraid that he would push away the one person who'd ever shown him care. But that small moment in which her soft lips pushed back against his was one he'd never forget, a memory he would always and forever treasure. He now felt terrible, recalling how he had earlier goaded Arya by insisting that he should have raped Sansa when the chance had so clearly presented itself.

    That day... He recalled the anger that flowed through him along with the confusion. Joffery didn't care what had happened to her. But I did. He had seen countless women raped before and he never cared. And yet, seeing those men splay her out, ready to take her... It unleashed a far more frightening beast in him than even he had ever seen. The idea of harm coming to Sansa was one he would not stand for and he had often berated himself for leaving her with those in King's Landing, having wished that he would have hoisted her over his shoulder and taken her with him.

    But that doesn't matter now because she is here.

    The fire's light danced across her and gave the young woman an ethereal glow that almost made him weep. But it wasn't that which brought unwanted tears to his eyes, but seeing his thick cloak wrapped about her tall frame. His outstretched hand now moved towards her as he forced himself through the pain, brushing his knuckles against her smooth flesh. As usual, he felt it was wrong of him to crave such innocence, undeserving of the compassion she bestowed upon him and the sunlight she brought just from standing near. Despite how selfish he could be, he fought to refuse himself such happiness.

    I'm no good for her.

    And yet, he knew he might die here. This could be his last moments with her -- though he wondered if he were already dead and he had somehow avoided whatever hell he had believed to await him -- and he allowed his head to tilt into the palm of her hand. The feel of her alone was enough to numb the pain. He would not speak, not just yet. He'd not have her see him both dying and in tears, lest she think lesser of the man who, even near death, clung to his machismo. She likely wouldn't understand, probably still thinking him no more than the Hound. A brute.

    His voice soon found its way past his lips as he stared hard at her.

    “I shoulda fucked you instead of just kissing you that day... 'Least then I could die knowin' what you feel like.” His voice was gruff and harsh, his words even more so. To the world, his words would be ill-mannered and offensive considering she was saving him. To Sandor, that was as romantic as it got. But so was that kiss. He had fucked many women all across Westeros but he had never kissed a single one.

    His moment with Sansa was interrupted by her handmaiden, a groan leaving him as she began firing off questions about what had happened to him. It was only then that he registered that the blonde had spoken earlier as well. Something about Lord Baelish bedding Sansa, or wanting to. He gave a beastly growl at the thought, consumed with jealousy that the little weasel might have gotten to her first. But it became clear soon enough that they were running. He sighed and moved his hand to point a finger at Alicina. “Shut up and help me into that wagon. We're leavin'.” Sansa would have to mend him on the go.

    He would not be the cause of the two young women being captured but he also wasn't leaving Sansa's side.

    Never again.
    #4 Small Foxx, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
    • Love Love x 2
  5. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellThe Hound's brash and offensive language came as no surprise to her. In life he was always a verbally abusive sort of man, using his words to shout the heinous things he dared not do himself. She did not expect his language to be any different when facing death. Since the last time she'd been around his foul mouth, her ears had heard plenty of worse things with even crueler intentions. He remembers me as a crying little bird, but now I am more eagle than anything. So much has changed. His words don't scare me anymore. Sansa retracted her hand and rested it on his armored chest, turning to glance at her blonde companion.

    "How am I supposed to move him?" she asked genuinely. Sandor Clegane was a man who stood at six-feet and eight-inches tall, a whole foot taller than herself, and his body was muscled like an ox while she was slender and feminine. There was no way she could help a man as wounded as he stand and walk across the small field, not to mention assist him into the back of a wagon.

    "I'll help," said the wine merchant in reply. "I'm bigger than the two a'ya put together. I can make room for 'im."

    "Thank you," Sansa replied in haste. "We need to be quick, I can't risk being found again. He'll send all the Knights of the Vale out for me when he finds out I'm gone."

    "'Course, miss. Anythin' to help a lady." The man went about making room for the Hound in the back of his cart, pushing aside barrels and ditching some entirely create space for the massive wounded brute. Sansa watched him for the briefest moment before turning back to Alicina, worry laced in her eyes.

    "We can't move him too far or he'll die," she spoke in concern, "and we can't risk staying in an inn either. We'll have to find a cave or something, somewhere near a town but not too close to risk being found. You can bring food for us until he's well enough to travel again. Can you do that?"

    Why do I care? her heart wanted to ask. This man was selfish and crude, committing dastardly crimes beyond count, or so the Lannisters would have her believe. He had offered no love songs like the men her dreams often did, wrote no poetry, saved no maiden from a tower. But he would have saved me, if I'd had the stomach to go with him. I care because he cared for me. I care because he stopped Joffrey from beating me, because he placed a kiss on my lips before anyone else ever did and he promised to protect me. I care because it is impossible not to.

    "A cave," she spoke again. "Or an abandoned shack, somewhere hidden. Just for a few days until he can walk again, and a few more until he can swing a sword. Have you ever been to the Wall, ser?" Sansa asked him with a nervous sigh, not entirely convinced he would live in the first place. "That's where we're headed. To my brother Jon, far away from here. Come with us. When you're better, you can keep me safe just like you promised. If you want, that is." She offered a sad little smile. "I should have gone with you then, but I can go with you now. After you're healed. When I know we'll be safer."

    Sansa was surprised to feel tears forming at the back of her eyes, and even more shocked at the proclamation deep in her mourning soul.

    If he dies, I'll never forgive myself.
    • Love Love x 2
  6. Alicina Marcel; The Maiden Smith Alicina was used to be told to shut up -- it was told to her several times on a daily basis -- but her eyes widened in disbelief at his request. “Are you delirious?! Do you not see how incredibly small I am?!” She was saved by the large peddler offering to help after she and Sansa both expressed how unfit they were to haul The Hound. She busied herself with dousing the fire and helping the older man make room for Sandor, ever watching the east for signs of trouble whilst wishing she had a blade with her. She was waiting in the back of the wagon when Sansa called out to her, prompting her to bob her head in approval.

    “Of course, Milady! But we best move soon; We won't make it far if one of the Mountain Clans catches us,” she called out. Alicina had met many a great warrior in her time, so many fearsome men. But she had only ever encountered those of the Mountain Clans once and she never wanted to see any of them again.

    “There are caves, if we follow along the mountain and head up the western-facing side. Palisade is not too far from them.” Ali cheerily withheld that she had been pick pocketing nobles and servants alike since joining Sansa's side, hiding her own small wealth. While she couldn't buy herself a home, she could certainly afford sustenance and at least two horses. For now, she promised the old man extra pay for the danger as well as for having to lug Sandor into the wagon.

    The danger present was great enough that Ali had managed well to not spout out more questions, not letting her mind wander too far from the task at hand. For the first time in a while, she was truly frightened of what lay ahead. She had never much mind the war torn land that she lived in. She was born in it to a family who did naught but provide weapons to fuel the armies.

    She had spent her days of youth constantly asking questions she shouldn't have, snooping around in places she shouldn't, and making friends of dangerous people. As annoying as she was, she was a likable little thing and it often played well to her advantage, carrying the charade of the naive girl with wonder filled eyes that none saw as a threat. She had learned from Tyrion Lannister that such a quality made her all the more dangerous a foe and she would be wise to capitalize on it if she wanted to survive.

    However, she was now in a way of danger that she had never been. Even when at King's Landing she had some form of safety, rescued by Tyrion and assigned to Lady Sansa. The Imp had seen to it that both of them remained safe. She had been hit and pushed around by Cersei and Joffery and some others but she could take that. But she feared what fate awaited both she and Sansa if the Knights of the Vale captured them and took them back to Petyr. She had no blade and no armor to fight them off. So she had to run.

    Sandor Clegane; The Burned Hound“Come with us. When you're better, you can keep me safe just like you promised. If you want, that is. I should have gone with you then, but I can go with you now. After you're healed. When I know we'll be safer.”

    Her words caused him to pause, his expression softening a considerable amount -- Though it must be quite hard to tell considering the amount of damage done to his face. She actually wanted him to go with them. She wants me to protect her, even seeing me defeated... It was as foreign as the compassion she continued to show him and he still couldn't truly process what it was in him that she saw that would cause her to care for him so much. Maybe she was just a stupid girl. Maybe she saw some semblance of light in the shroud of darkness that was he. Whatever it was that he wasn't seeing, she saw it.

    The hardened man could not deny her request, not when she showed regret of not having gone with him before. Not when she smiled in that sad, soft way that made him want to do or say something that might cheer her up. But he couldn't cheer her up. It was simply not his métier. Instead, Sandor simply grunted in approval and allowed the peddler to hoist him up. But the moment he stood would be the moment when it all came back. Pain took over his body though he did not cry out, the world rushing in and spinning around him. Sansa's face faded as darkness swallowed him once more.

    Rare as it was, his dream was... Peaceful.

    Pain was a thing of the past as he found himself staring into the eyes of Sansa Stark. There were no words spoken between the two as she helped him stand. Looking around, he noticed that he had no idea where they were. There were no signs, just trees and flowers and a stream. And Sansa. She danced with silent laughter, her fiery locks swaying about as she twirled and beckoned for him to join her. He tried to tell her that he was not a dancing man but she pulled him close anyways. She reached up, brushing her hand against his scarred face with a gentle smile. His breath hitched in his throat as she looked upon him with dazzling eyes, her lithe form pressing to his as she leaned up, coming closer and closer to his lips....

    But then his eyes opened.

    It was hard to make out where he was at first but the hard feeling beneath him told him that it was a cave, as Sansa had requested. Sandor blinked rapidly, his vision slowly coming back to him. There wasn't much to look at besides stone and a wood pile, a small fire not too far from his feet. He didn't register at first that the fire was merely a means of cooking, his body quickly recoiling from it and pressing against the wall behind him while he forced down bad memories like unwanted bile in ones throat. And he hated it. He hated the fear that ran through him in such situations, the way he cringed and cowered like some sniveling little cunt.

    Why would Sansa want me to protect her?

    He growled at himself while looking around once more, seeking out either the red or golden haired females that he was to accompany to the Wall. Unable to see either, he assumed that Alicina had made her way to Palisade for supplies and that Sansa could not be too far from the cave. He did not wish for her to linger outside for too long. It was night and Mountain Clans were in possession of steel now. He could not defend her just yet and she needn't draw attention to herself. Alicina... Irritating as the bitch was, he was sure she could handle herself.

    Sansa Stark is my only concern.
    • Love Love x 2
  7. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellThe bitter colds of an autumn night stung at her cheeks and neck, a sea breeze flooding past the open mouth of their sanctuary cave. She clutched the Hound's dirty old cloak closer around her gentle frame, sitting comfortably atop a boulder as the seawater lapped against the stony shore. The wind tousled her auburn locks this way and that and the moonlight cast downward from the heavens, a cold dusk promising nothing but more frigid kisses upon her face. She couldn't help but wonder what their chances for survival could possibly be now, hiding out in a cave whilst nursing a dying man back to life. We'll be considerably safer with him rather than without him, though. That much I know for certain. Sansa rubbed her arms and forced a sigh through pale pink lips, considering every alternative that this new development could bring before her, none of which providing much comfort in her current situation.

    But I must be brave, she thought. Brave like Father. Brave like Robb.

    When Sansa finally stood from the boulder and turned back toward their cave, the greyish eyes of Sandor Clegane locked on to her trembling form. He's awake. That in itself was a small mercy. Sansa crossed the threshold into their temporary refuge and let the warmth of a crackling fire soak through her clothes and into the nerves of freezing skin. She unclasped the soiled Kingsguard cloak, the one he had given to her a lifetime ago, and draped it gently over his wounded body. His muscles are massive, she thought, examining them as nonchalantly as she was able. So many scars, so much proof of his battle-ridden life. And now he has more of them. She hadn't the capacity to think of how attractive his strength was or how alluring his skills in combat. Her concern was primarily for his health and safety, so that she might live longer with an ounce less regret.

    Silence reigned between them for a moment. She could feel his cold gaze upon her, studying her, drinking her in as if she were an apparition of the Maiden herself come to bless them both with mercy. After some time, Sansa cleared her throat and lifted an aquamarine gaze to him.

    "How...how do you feel?" she inquired, taking a wooden cup in her hands and filling it with fresh water. "Alicina stitched you up and helped get any infection from your wounds. With luck, you'll recover." She sat with the cup in her hands a moment, looking down upon him with pity and a pinch of relief. "Here. Open your mouth, you need some water." Sansa leaned forward and slipped one hand around the back of his head to lift him, the other guiding the liquid to his lips.

    He is so helpless, she thought in despair. I hope he isn't ashamed to be so. When the Hound had drank his fill, Sansa placed the cup beside her and sat back politely on her knees, hands folded in her lap.

    "I...I hope you're comfortable." It was all she could think of to say.
    • Love Love x 2
  8. Alicina Marcel; The Maiden Smith With deep coffers and deeper charms, Alicina had managed to buy off one of Nashter's horses before bidding him farewell. She had stayed in the cave long enough to clean Sandor's wounds and stitch him, not willing to remove his lower armor and breeches to see if his legs needed tending.

    Her tanned face had flushed red at the thought while she finished up and assured Lady Sansa that she would make a swift return. She hadn't felt bad for buying the younger and stronger of Nashter's two steeds, assuring herself that she needed it more than he, for her life was endangered. Besides, he seemed to fully understand as well even if he did try to milk more coin from her before finally leaving. She prayed to the old gods to grant her protection as she rode on into the night and the early morning.

    The sun had barely begun to rise when she had rode into town, a cloak wrapped tightly around her petite figure as she sought out early risen vendors. She had with her saddlebags brimming with stolen coins and other trinkets she was prepared to trade. Her eyes were filled with wonder and intrigue as she slid from her steed, peering at wares.

    The apothecary was rather useful, filled will all sorts of herbs and such that she had no time to seek out and gather on the mountainside. It took extra pay to persuade the maester owning the shop to not question what she could possibly want with so much milk of poppy, irritating her to no end. Can't people just mind their own business?

    She knew they would also need fruits and vegetables, though not too many. She had to shop smartly and purchase that which wouldn't spoil too quickly. She could easily use what nature offered her to make traps so that she could provide them with meat.

    However, as she browsed weapons she drew much unwanted attention. She drew forth a steel blade, weighing it in her hand before slicing it through the air. “What does a l'il lady like yourself want with such a big sword?” A large man with dark brown hair and even darker brown eyes stared her down from across the way, pushing himself away from his roost against the Hanging Horse inn.

    He ravaged her with those soulless eyes, his hands rubbing together as though ready to feast upon a holiday boar. She felt uncomfortable but she didn't let it show. As much as she would have loved to test the blade's ability to cleanly sever a man's limb, she knew she had to play the innocent girl. T'was no difficult feat, looking up at him with a bright smile. “Oh! It's not for me! I aim to surprise my brother. Father died before he could give Ashen his first sword and now he's leaving for adventure. Can't travel these lands without a blade, right?”

    The man gave a deep chuckle, amused by her seemingly open and friendly nature. However, he wasn't the fool she took him to be. He moved closer, causing her to peek up at him with arched brows. “Well done, little dove. But your technique is a bit too flawless for you to play the role of the ignorant farm girl.” His words caused a frightened squeak to escape her as she stepped back a half a step. His eyes searched her for what secret she might be hiding, intrigued. What was this little thing doing swinging a sword like a knight, or less, a mercenary? He watched as she hummed, clearly looking for another lie to tell. At this, he laughed softly and placed a hand upon her shoulder. “It is no business of mine, truly. You simply make a man curious,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

    Sandor Clegane; The Burned HoundIt seemed to be that none of it had been a dream after all, nor had he been dead and in some form of heaven. Sansa Stark truly knelt before him, caring shining in her eyes that still confused him as he huddled under the cloak she returned to him. He wanted to shrug it off and push it back to her, tell her to keep it. But he couldn't. How do I deserve this?

    “How...how do you feel? Alicina stitched you up and helped get any infection from your wounds. With luck, you'll recover. Here. Open your mouth, you need some water.”

    Sandor continued to say nothing, only staring at her as he allowed her to give him water. It was cool going down his throat, relieving him of the feeling of having swallowed sandpaper as well as washing down the iron taste of blood in his mouth. He pushed the cup away after, looking down and pulling away his cloak to see that his armor and tunic were missing, replaced by bandages and stitches. “The l'il twit didn't do a half bad job,” he huffed as he inspected a bit more. The man leaned his head back, still staring at Sansa as yet another awkward silence ensued between the unlikely pair.

    “I...I hope you're comfortable.”

    Comfortable? He was drugged on what he assumed was milk of poppy, hiding in a cave with a girl he wanted to throw down and ravage with each passing moment, and he knew he'd have to deal with this girl who made him question himself far too often -- along with her irritatingly cheery and chatty handmaiden -- for longer than was comfortable.

    “I'm fine,” he grumbled.

    Because the truth was...he was fine. Though he wasn't a smiling man, Sansa's presence had an effect on him that made him want to smile. Though he never would. In truth, he did want to ravage her. He longed to reach out to this small bit of sunshine and run his fingers through her hair and kiss her far more passionately than she probably believed possible for a man who showed so very few emotions. But he couldn't allow himself such selfish joy. Even so, why torment himself? He knew he'd never allow himself to have Sansa even if she showed she wanted him. Why would he be such a fucking idiot and promise to protect her? Did he actually care for her?


    But why?

    Because she cares about me.

    But why?

    I... Don't know.

    He reached out and grabbed hold of her, still stronger than her even when he was dying. “What do you want from me, little bird? Why save me?” He stared at her hard before releasing her, looking back into the fire. “And y' best be telling me how you ended up in The Eyrie and why you're runnin' from there to The Wall.” Sandor did not ask. He never asked. He demanded answers without so much as looking at her, glaring at the flames that taunted him.

    He wasn't so foolish that he couldn't put bits and pieces together. Sandor assumed that Baelish had smuggled Sansa out of King's Landing. From what Alicina had mentioned earlier, the Hound could only guess that the bastard had intentions with Sansa that were no more noble than Sandor's own desires, causing her to flee. He had to admit that he was impressed she would do so on her own. Yes, she had Ali. But the Vale had their Knights and Baelish had his connections. It made him wonder what the man had done that was clearly so much more terrible than what the Lannisters had that she would flee. To The Wall. It made his blood boil with rage and jealousy that the man might have stolen a kiss or more. And he wanted him dead.
    • Love Love x 1
  9. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellWhen the Hound grabbed her, Sansa nearly jumped out of her skin as the grip of his calloused hands tightened. Her bones ached under the pressure and she nearly cried out from the pain, until he suddenly released and laid still once more.

    Little bird. He always used to call me that. The nickname had taken root deep in her soul and a little smile graced her lips to hear it spoken once again. She wasn't a little bird anymore, not in truth, though perhaps she was to him. Sandor Clegane was just as massive has he always was, her own physicality nearly half of the greatness of his. Yet still he calls me 'little bird'. Has he thought of me that way all this time?

    "How can you ask that?" Sansa sighed, a frown on her lips. "How could I not save you? How many times did you save my life in King's Landing, on how many occasions do I owe you for protecting me? I saved you because I was frightened of you when I never should have been. I was only thirteen when the Blackwater was set on fire. I'm fifteen now. A girl learns a lot in two years, especially when she has nothing left to lose." She placed her hands back in her lap after adjusting his cloak more closely around his giant body, to protect him from the cold. "I don't want anything from you. I just want you to live."

    Her eyes locked with his for perhaps a second too long, and she broke the contact shortly thereafter. She stood and walked across the stone cave floor, taking an apple in her hands and cutting it into little slices with the sharp edge of a knife. "Lord Baelish took me to the Eyrie after Joffrey was poisoned, dyed my hair brown and called me his bastard daughter Alayne. He married my aunt Lysa and pushed her out the Moon Door. He taught me about politics and warfare and the history of various battlers of Westeros, things that any ruler should learn. He wanted me to marry the heir to the Vale and retake the North under the Stark name, but..." She sighed, wrapping the apple slices up in a little rag so she could take them with her to sit at Sandor's side. "Petyr loved my mother. Her death, it brought back things for him, I think. He started getting obsessed with everything I did. Followed me everywhere, touched my hair and kissed me, pulled me into his lap so very often..." Sansa frowned, lowering herself at Sandor's side, sitting politely with her legs resting to her left. "He tried to take me into his bed after my husband had reportedly been killed. Tyrion. The Lannisters married me to Lord Tyrion if you didn't know. I denied Petyr what he wanted and fled with Alicina and now we're here, and for whatever my virtue is worth, it's still in tact." She gave an innocent frown. "Now all I have left is my brother Jon at the Wall, and the occasional word from my friend-husband across the Narrow Sea."

    And you, of course.

    Sansa took a piece of fruit from her bunched-up rag and took a small bite, casting her eyes out to the sea that swirled and lapped gracefully against the shore out of sight. She thought of what Lord Baelish would do when he found her missing in the morning, how Sweetrobin would take her absence. She thought of Tyrion whisked away on some ship traveling to Essos and Cersei fuming in the Red Keep with a field of dwarf heads at her feet.

    Most importantly, she thought of the night of the Blackwater, when the Hound had slept drunk in her bed and cried as she gave him a song. He is no different now than he was then, but I have certainly changed.

    "What about you, ser?" Sansa asked finally, taking another bite into the flesh of a forbidden fruit. "Why...uhm. Why are you here? Who did this to you?"
  10. Sandor Clegane; The Burned Hound“I was frightened of you when I never should have been.”

    “I don't want anything from you. I just want you to live.”

    As she told her tale, these words kept ringing in his mind. Between his anger at Baelish and his own self forcing back tears, his expression had contorted into something quite heinous that spelled danger for the first person to piss him off. He had known Baelish was a foul little man (as though Sandor had room to speak) but to manipulate a child for sexual intentions because you loved her dead mother? Especially after claiming that she should have been your daughter... Baelish violated Sansa's trust. In that, he violated Sandor.

    “For each time he has kissed you, each time he has touched you, each time he has so much as breathed the wrong way in your presence is a moment more that he will suffer before I cut his cock off and feed it to him.”

    Still. So. Very. Charming.

    Sandor's voice was a growl and the man who knew little restraint was trying so hard to show some now. Sansa wanted his protection and she would get it. He would slay each and every one of her past, present, and future enemies no matter what new enemies for him it would create. While his own intentions with Sansa were far less nobler than Baelish's -- where Baelish would likely be gentle and make love, Sandor wanted only to fuck her until she couldn't walk -- the fact was that Sansa didn't want it. He had known Sansa long enough to know it was always clear to see when she was uncomfortable. Baelish was a little weasel who thrived on reading people. Sandor knew that Baelish didn't care.

    Baelish was selfish with Sansa.

    He had been stewing silently in his rage, thinking of a million and one ways to kill Baelish, when he caught the rest of her words. He was a bit surprised that they had chosen Tyrion to wed her. But then again, he wasn't. They wanted to humiliate her while still keeping her under their thumb and in their family. She was leverage to be used against any Stark loyalists. Sandor wasn't worried for how Tyrion treated her. The Imp had always shown Sansa respect and he was among the more civilised and humane of the nobles in Westeros. No, Tyrion was no enemy and Sansa soon made it clear.

    “Why are you here? Who did this to you?”

    He knew such a question would come soon, too soon, and she wouldn't like his tale. He decided that he should give her to short version after snatching an apple slice from her, his teeth chomping down whilst he enjoyed the bittersweet flavor on his tongue. “I left King's Landing and stayed on my own a while. Not like I had anywhere or anyone to turn to. Got myself arrested by the brotherhood without banners. Your sister was with 'em, Arya. She still wanted me dead for that butcher's boy and called me as a murderer, demanding a trial. It was trial by combat and I won -- The little cunt they chose couldn't beat me even when I still recovered from a day of drinkin'. Not even with his stupid sword on fire.” Sandor shook his head and took another apple slice, devouring it just as quickly as the last.

    “I took your sister with me when I left. Was gonna ransom her back to your brother, Robb, and your mother. But we'd gotten there too late. They'd been betrayed already. I suppose that's for the better -- that we arrived so late. Arya still lives. Tried findin' some other relative of yours to give her to but all that remained was your aunt, Lysa. Had to wait a while, months, before we could get to the Eyrie. Come to find out she was dead. So we left. When we did, ran into this bitch with a Lannister gold blade. Said she worked for your mother and swore to protect Arya. Arya didn't want to go but the ox kept trying to take her. So I fought her. She took half m' ear and pushed me over the cliff.”

    He paused now, unhappy just hearing it, even more unhappy as it replayed in his mind. “Arya came later after Brienne, that ox, had gone. Then left me to die.”

    He looked at her once more, recalling the last time she had seen him in such a state: Blackwater. It seemed that her presence constantly stirred the same memory and he couldn't help but to smirk some. “You're still a little bird. Only difference is you're chirping your own songs now.”
    • Love Love x 1
  11. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellChirping my own songs. Yes, that was fitting. She gave a little smile at those words until the others soaked fully in, and her grin fell short in favor of a shocked gasp.

    "Arya?! You were with Arya!" Sansa sat up straighter, instantly more attentive. "She's alive, she--she's not hurt! She's out there now, I'm not alone, we're not alone!" Tears stung in agony at the back of her eyes like fire and she tried desperately to blink them away. "I-I'm sorry, I haven't heard a word of her since Joffrey took my father's head. I thought she had died or suffered some other fate, but she's alive, she really truly is." And she was with you. She couldn't help but laugh at the entire situation. It was all terribly ironic, wasn't it? She'd been so close to seeing Arya again but there was certainly no way to find her now, with only moonlight and the stars as her guide. There were no men or horses to look for her, no time or protection given to shout across the hilltops until the girl was located. It was simply enough to know she still drew breath. Sansa wiped a tear from her cheek, smiling joyfully to herself.

    "Thank you, ser. For looking out for her. I can't explain why she left you, but I suppose it doesn't matter now. You'll live, and we'll find her one way or another."

    I'd give anything to see her again.

    Taking a deep breath, Sansa released it and took another bite of the apple slice. "Mm. Everything tastes sweeter knowing she's alive. That someone, anyone besides Jon and I have survived." Her eyes flickered down toward the laying Sandor Clegane, her expression grateful and warm. She smoothed the hair from his face and lifted her lips in a gentle smile.

    He'll live. He has to.

    "You should get some rest," she stated at last, readjusting the cloak atop his wounded frame. "Alicina will be back soon, and in a few days we can head north until we reach the Wall. You can protect me like you wanted, and you'll be alive. Okay?" She swallowed the burning lump in her throat. "Rest now. I can keep watch. You need your sleep."

    I can keep you safe for one night, can't I? Even a little bird has talons.
    • Love Love x 1
  12. Alicina Marcel; The Maiden Smith Alicina had returned as quickly as she could, bringing the gift of medical supplies, food, and water. She could only roll her eyes when Sandor moaned at her for not getting something that would light a fire in his belly, informing him that they'd all need to be sober enough to handle trouble on their way to the Wall and if he was so desperate for a drink then he could go fetch it himself.

    “My duty is to Lady Sansa, my job to keep her safe and healthy, not to satiate your constant desire to remain inebriated,” she had told him before Sansa insisted that they cease their bickering. Ali had huffed before explaining that she could only afford one more horse, dodging Sansa's questions of how the tiny woman afforded even a single one as well as supplies. She was well aware that the noble girl would not take well to knowledge of her handmaiden's tendency to nick things that weren't quite hers. She had even been relieved when Sansa had volunteered to ride with Sandor until he could keep himself steady on a steed, though the blonde was sure that Sansa feared Sandor would push Ali or try to strangle her for verbally sparring with him.

    Their days on the road were long, their faces hidden beneath hoods as they traveled off of King's Road to avoid being sighted. All it would take was for one loud mouthed farmer to see before all of Westeros knew that Sansa Stark was headed north with the Hound. But their travels weren't boring, Alicina seeing fit to sing all the songs she knew and even a few she had made up on her own. She lightened the ever looming tension with stories of her adventures within the seven years she spent traveling Westeros, though Sandor continually goaded her and claimed that she was just lying.

    At some point in their travel, she decided that Sandor needed to do more than just swing his sword in the air if he were going to get well enough to protect Sansa by the time they reached the Wall...

    They had found a small area where their horses could graze near a stream, setting up a small camp away from prying eyes. Alicina set a tune to her lips, humming as she darted about. While dresses were lovely, she was glad to trade hers for a simple tunic and breeches, regaining her grace on foot. Even on the road and away from the criticizing gaze of nobility, she was ever loyal to Sansa. Hunting and fishing, cooking and setting camp. She assured Sansa that she needed only to tend to Sandor while her handmaiden did the rest, eager to lessen the younger female's already heavy enough burdens.

    With the scent of rabbit stew permeating the air, she again dodged Sansa's questions of where she had gotten the fresh vegetables, reluctant to admit she had stolen them from a farmer's wagon only days before. Instead, she fetched the blade she had bought, holding it in criticism. Ah, crafted by a novice. But it'll do. She swung it about before catching Sandor's gaze. “Right, then; get up.” She spoke in a haughty tone, taking position with her blade held in front of her. A glare touched her eyes as the man laughed at her from his sitting position, lifting a brow. “You are in no shape to be protecting anyone. You need to spar with someone to fully regain your strength,” she insisted with a furrowed brow. He only laughed more, shaking his head. “By you?” He questioned with a snort. While it was something she had gotten used to, it didn't make it any less offensive when others laughed at her insinuations of being talented with weapons. Even when she won a spar they would claim either luck, cheating, or simply say that they had gone easy on her because she was a girl.

    “Your place is at home in the kitchen! Few more days and your place will be in my bed with your legs spread!” Gungen, the son of Seagard's best leather smith chuckled as he sat with his mates, eyeing the blonde teen before him. She was a tiny thing, lithe yet not lacking the feminine curves that he craved. Even as her eyes blazed before him with sword in hand he could only see her as harmless. “And when you are my wife you would do well to make sure you take care of your appearance. You look like shit. Furthermore, you will end this nonsense charade of acting like a man. It is most unbecoming of such a pretty lass.” His berating only further served to fuel her fire but she stood her ground. Her normally pale golden curls were tinted brown and black from dirt and soot, her flesh a mixture of the colors tan and black and brown from working hard that day at the anvil.

    “I will not have my life dictated by you or any other man! I do not exist to serve, nor do I exist to look pretty. I have no concerns for what you or anyone else thinks of my appearance. I love smithing and brawling and fighting with blades! When I defeat you then I shall leave and prove to Westeros that women are more... Or at least that I am. I am more than just a pretty little breeding creature to cook and clean.”
    There was a passionate fire in her eyes as she spoke, Gungen's mates yelling for him to put her in his place. The large lad picked up his own sword, one she had crafted herself, and took a swing. She easily deflected it before moving in quickly and striking his ribs with her sword. She kicked at his knees, bringing him down on one before smacking the side of his head. She stood over him, triumphant with a victorious smirk. “Just because I have a cunt doesn't mean I'm lesser. Without women, men would be lost. Remember that, you sniveling little bastard.”

    Sandor Clegane; The Burned HoundTraveling had never been so sweet as it was now. With Alicina refusing to ride with him to ensure he stayed saddled, Sansa had volunteered.

    He hadn't thought much of it until the first night she had fallen asleep with her head resting against his chest. It was awkward at first, his sober mind incapable of fully comprehending the contact between them. After some time he was forced to move his arms around her to keep her from fall as well, eyes closed for a few moments as he reveled in the feeling of holding her close to him, his arms protective around her while Alicina sang softly ahead of them.

    His days had been filled with her voice and he often found himself telling her to shut up, lest he gag her with his cock. It didn't do much to deter her from speaking fairy tales of her life that forced him to roll her eyes.

    She claimed to have left home at thirteen to explore whilst escaping marriage to an ignorant brute. He doubted such a small and pretty girl so young survived so many years on her own just as much as he doubted her proclaimed ability with steel. Still, it passed the time and kept him from thinking too much about the way Sansa's more mature body pressed to his. She had grown in height and figure since he had last seen her and maturity had been kind, suiting her quite well.

    Sansa had been quiet for the most part, often interjecting to keep him from bickering too much with Alicina or to ask either of her companions about their lives before. He didn't find his own tales fit for a Lady to hear but he would sometimes oblige with the less gory details of his life while avoiding delving into things of a more personal nature. He was content to remain silent for the most part, stealing glances at Sansa whether she rode before him or sat in the glow of the fire. How amusing it was, that the fire he feared served to make her appear more glorious and regal than ever, continuously giving her an unearthly glow and complimenting her in ways he never could.

    They were two weeks from the Wall, pausing for the evening. He was able to ride on his own at this point, though he remained riding with Sansa, more so for her protection. He had spent his time off of the horse in the past days stretching his muscles and powering through the pain, willing himself to heal and gain strength for the sake of Sansa.

    But he now sat, content to let Alicina continue doing all the manual labor while he bit into an apple. His brown gaze met hers with humor glistening as she approached him with a sword he hadn't noticed she had. Like Sansa, he was curious as to how she afforded everything she would bring back from her excursions. Unlike Sansa, he was positive she was stealing it. He'd accuse her of fucking men for the items but she walked too straight for that.

    “Right, then; get up.” She spoke in a tone he didn't like, taking position with her blade held in front of her. So she knows how to hold a blade. So what. A glare touched her eyes as he laughed at her from his sitting position, thoroughly amused that she thought she could and needed to train him. “You are in no shape to be protecting anyone. You need to spar with someone to fully regain your strength,” she insisted with a furrowed brow. He only laughed more, shaking his head. “By you?” He questioned with a snort.

    Even so, he grabbed his own blade and stood, swinging quickly to knock the sword from her hands and end the conversation entirely. He was surprised when she strafed left and brought the flat of her blade against his side with a smirk. Irritated, he returned the smirk as he continued with their dance. She rarely swung at him, ducking and rolling, dodging and spinning just out of his reach. His muscles were sore as she flitted about with him chasing her for hours, the moon rising high to its apex as he tried to strike her, failing each time and getting smacks with her sword in response. He was left using his sword to hold himself up whilst on one knee, breathing raggedly as she hummed and declared them done for the night, eager to eat.
    • Love Love x 1
  13. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellIf it hadn't been for the obscene humor between Alicina and the Hound, Sansa wouldn't have progressed through their journey with hope. Not for a single inch. The plentiful distractions of their ridiculously rude bantering left her chuckling some hours and scorning through all the rest, though both of those options kept her away from the abyss that swallowed her subconscious. It had grown stronger over the years. For so long a time, Sansa had survived abuse of the very worst nature for one so young, humiliation and exploitation that resulted in forced marriage. Through all of that horrendous treatment, she'd clung to life for the sake of her deceased family. Robb had been brave. Her father was brave, her mother and brothers and Arya too. And all of them were gone. Traveling with her friend and her protector distracted Sansa from the ever-present reminder which taunted her constantly.

    I truly am alone.

    Was there any solid evidence she had that Jon Snow still lived? None of the small folk cared to talk about the Wall and Lord Baelish didn't think it important enough to keep her informed. The last she'd heard of her bastard brother, he'd returned from a dangerous encounter with the Wildlings, barely alive and pierced by three arrows. For days she'd waited for news and received none, though whether that was due to a fault in the Night's Watch or the Lannisters intending to keep her hopeless, she couldn't be sure. Either way, the negative tendencies of her young heart wondered if perhaps going to the Wall was yet another gamble she was far too eager to take.

    But what other option was there? Winterfell stood in ruins, burned to the ground by Robb's once-dearest friend. All of King's Landing wanted her head on a spike and the Eyrie was filled with perverts and greed. Maybe Westeros isn't safe for me at all anymore, she thought. Maybe I could try my luck in the Free Cities and pretend none of this ever happened. Deep in her heart, however, Sansa knew she could never live with herself should she abandon the land of her ancestors, a line eight-thousand years old. There was no other option to be had. If Jon has truly been lost, I will continue onward until I have nothing left. Until the gods see fit to take my life at last.

    Alicina and the Hound's curse-filled sparring pulled Sansa from her dark thoughts. She glanced up to them just as her brute of a protector knelt in exhaustion, to which she announced that the stew they'd been preparing had heated to a pleasant temperature. Is he still so weak? Poor Hound. I'll pray to the Mother again tonight. The three of them ate mostly in silence, Alicina and the Hound exchanging rude remarks back and forth, though Sansa remained rather quiet. She hadn't thought of anything to say and her heart was filled with sadness. When her handmaiden said her goodnights and crawled up in her bedroll for a peaceful slumber, Sansa remained curled up by the fire, buried under Sandor Clegane's cloak. Crickets chirped in the distance. Stars yielded overhead to the glow of an autumn moon, reflected white light mingled with firelight threading through hair of soft flame.

    It still smells like him, somehow. Like smoke and musk and sweat and blood, but there's a sweetness to it too. She blinked twice and watched the fire dance before sitting up in a fluid motion, glancing to the Hound as he prepared to keep watch.

    "Ser," she stated quietly, though she knew he'd told her he wasn't a knight and didn't want to be called one. "I...mm." What to say? Thoughts of the Blackwater's swirling emerald fires swam through her memory like the sweetest poison, along with the press of the Hound's knife to her slender throat, the sound of her hymn drifting forth. The pressure of his lips came next, rough and half-burned but tender all the same, the hair on his face scratching hers in a pleasurable tickle.

    Her inquiry came forth before she could stop it.

    "That night at the Blackwater, before you left." Sansa wrapped his cloak around herself and met his grey eyes. "Why...Why did you kiss me?"
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  14. Sandor Clegane; The Burned HoundIt seemed that whatever gods there were...they enjoyed making a fool of him his entire life. Not once was he beaten by a woman, but twice. At least with Brienne, if he were a lesser man, he could blame her sheer size. Alicina was petite and feminine in build and she was far from being a powerhouse. She probably couldn't even lift a log.

    And yet she had felled him without cutting him even once. She taunted him by dancing around and singing as they sparred, his pride taking a harsh blow. What made it worse was the fact that Lady Sansa was there. She could see his shame as he swung his blade in an attempt to lay a hit, missing every single time. She could see as her handmaiden made a fool of the one called Hound. Alicina was right... He was in no shape to protect Lady Sansa from her enemies if he couldn't even protect himself from a fae bitch.

    Silence befell the man when he ate, his back turned to the females as if it would hide the shame that festered deep within his very soul. Neither spoke to him for a while and he didn't mind. He didn't need their teasing or their comfort. Every now and again he would engage in verbal sparring picked up by Alicina. He didn't seem able to win that against her either because she was too damn cheery to take offense to his words and witty enough to have some smart comment to fire right back before he could even smirk at his own. Eventually they both shut up.

    I will become stronger. I will protect Sansa...

    He repeated the mantra over and over again in his mind, so focused on his thoughts that he didn't even taste the food that he spooned into his mouth and hadn't noticed even when it was gone until the sound of a howl in the distance tore through and brought him back down to reality. He sighed and tossed away his bowl before grabbing his sword, preparing to take watch after seeing that Alicina had fallen asleep.

    "That night at the Blackwater, before you left." Sansa wrapped his cloak around herself and met his grey eyes. "Why...Why did you kiss me?"

    He blinked slowly at first, a light expression of confusion on his face before being replaced by one of nonchalance. “Because I was leavin'.” It was hardly an elaborate explanation and he knew that it provided no assurance for her, that she would only continue to ask questions about it. He sighed and shook his head before glancing off in the distance, unable to look her in the eyes. “You're a beautiful woman, Sansa. Why wouldn't I?”

    Still not explanation enough. Just say it.

    Joffrey didn't treat you like he should have. Nobody did. They didn't care about you. I... I cared. I figured that your first kiss might as well be from someone who actually gives a fuck about you.” Feeling physically vulnerable was one thing – fighters always felt it at some point – but he didn't like feeling emotionally vulnerable. To be both simultaneously caused him to growl in frustration.
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  15. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellThere was shame in his downcast eyes, an undeniable force of self-loathing and incredible doubt. It destroyed her. Why, why was admitting something so pleasantly emotional such a detrimental thing for Sandor Clegane? Why can he not look me in the eyes? Sansa supposed it made sad sense, when one put together the traumatic pieces of his life and came to the conclusion that perhaps feelings warranted physical violence between he and his cursed brother. But pity struck Sansa's heart all the same, and honor as well, knowing he had spoken against his own personal taboo for her sake.

    His growl did not go unnoticed. She wasn't frightened of it. The Hound had warmed her heart with words of caring so rarely expressed from half-burned lips, or so she imagined, and Sansa was struck silent in fear she might say the wrong thing and only upset him further. He's as delicate as I used to be, she thought, or even more so. But he hides it well. Somehow, I can see through it all. His downcast expression made him look like a little boy that had just confessed to breaking the family heirloom. A kicked puppy, a wounded dog. Her heart swelled and the pit of her stomach rolled, and she prayed to the gods for some semblance of strength.

    Sansa scooted slowly down the great rock on which she sat, until she was at the Hound's giant side. She removed her hands from inside the bundle of cloak and gently took his great massive paws into hers, holding them loosely so he might recoil should he feel the need. Sky-colored eyes met those of dark clouds, and thunder rolled in their gaze. She let the silence course between them until she was certain he would not pull away, and then she spoke.

    "I'm...I'm glad you kissed me, ser," Sansa admitted against her better judgment. "You're right. You cared. You always did. That kiss gave me something to hold on to after you left. Something comforting. It was as if, no matter what happened, I could have that to fall back on, something Joffrey and the queen could never take away. The fact that a drunken, misunderstood brute thought of me before the entire city of King's Landing and the king he was sworn to protect." She squeezed his hands in gentle reassurance. "I wouldn't have survived if you hadn't cared, ser. That's the truth. So, I thank you, because now that you're alive I won't ever have to leave that feeling of protection again. Should you wish to stay, of course."

    Oh, how honest those words were. She would have kissed him again had Sansa a lack of better sense.
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  16. Sandor Clegane; The Burned Hound"I'm...I'm glad you kissed me, ser."

    "That kiss gave me something to hold on to after you left. Something comforting. It was as if, no matter what happened, I could have that to fall back on, something Joffrey and the queen could never take away. The fact that a drunken, misunderstood brute thought of me before the entire city of King's Landing and the king he was sworn to protect."

    "Now that you're alive I won't ever have to leave that feeling of protection again."

    Was he hearing her correctly? He stared long and hard at Sansa with an expression of bafflement. Perhaps the gods don't hate me that much... There was the faintest of smiles beginning to form on his lips as he looked down at his sword, gripping it tightly. For all this time he thought that perhaps Sansa would hate him for taking such a kiss from her. Not just a kiss -- Her first kiss. Sure, she had returned the kiss at the time. But he always figured that she was too scared to fight back. He had held a blade to her throat and forced her to sing for him. She was glad that he had kissed her and she held onto that memory as he had. It brought her comfort as it brought him, though in his mind it was unlikely that the comfort it brought her was quite as extreme as that which it brought to him. But that didn't matter.

    She wants....she wants me to stay. She wants me to protect her. She knows that I've been bested in battle by two women already and yet she still wishes for me to protect her. I....make her feel safe. She trusts me. She has fuckin' faith in me...

    Sandor Clegane was not a crying man. He would not shed a tear for the death of a child nor for any immense amount of beauty. He'd not cry when he stubbed his toe nor when a sword was run through him. But Sansa Stark, of all the people in the world, brought the drunken, misunderstood brute to tears. They trickled silently down the burned flesh of his face, hot and salty as they reached the crevice of his lips and leaked into his mouth.

    He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to push the hair from her face and lay her on the ground. He would kiss those sweet and plush lips of hers and make love to her beneath the night sky while the stars and the gods watched from above. He turned his gaze to her hands, so small, soft and delicate compared to his large and calloused ones. His thumbs rubbed gently across the tops of her hand as the wheels of his mind churned viciously with a number of thoughts.

    Not yet.

    The Hound brought her hands to his face, holding them against his eyes as he inhaled slowly until he brought them to his lips, placing a kiss to them whilst giving a squeeze. He released her hands and shifted into a kneeling position before her, his dark gaze sincere and filled with an emotion he could not name. Large hands held his sword out to her, the blade parallel to the ground. He lowered his head. "Lady Sansa... On this night, with the moon and the stars and the gods as our witnesses, I pledge myself to you. With blade and body, I will forever protect you. Even if it should cost my own life. No harm will come to you so long as I can prevent it. Should I fail, I will avenge you. I pledge to you my life and my honor, Sansa. For as long as you will have me, I will remain by your side. I am yours."
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  17. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellSansa sat with eyes wide open, her mouth agape in admitted shock. This was entirely uncharacteristic for Sandor, even less so for the Hound. He had once been a raging drunk, a man who cursed more often than not, vulgar language and harsh tones laced in every word that spilled from his mouth, even those aimed at her. He trapped her in the halls of King's Landing and confided in her the story of that wretched face, that scar he would carry for the rest of his long life. He'd pressed a knife to her throat and ordered her to "sing for her little life," but this was not the same man that committed all those sins. Something had changed. Perhaps the defeat of Brienne, the only woman to ever best him in battle. Maybe it was the return of Sansa herself, the girl of which nearly all his regrets surrounded. Sandor still wasn't healed properly and kneeling before her was a struggle, but he seemed confident enough to take a holy vow. Her heart swelled twice over, even moreso at the sight of his tears.

    "Lady Sansa... On this night, with the moon and the stars and the gods as our witnesses, I pledge myself to you. With blade and body, I will forever protect you. Even if it should cost my own life. No harm will come to you so long as I can prevent it. Should I fail, I will avenge you. I pledge to you my life and my honor, Sansa. For as long as you will have me, I will remain by your side. I am yours."

    "Mine," she repeated with a fond little smile. "For someone who hates knights, that was a very knightly thing to say." She reached forward and brushed the tears from his cheeks with soft thumbs, her throat threatening to catch fire with all the emotion she held back. "I accept your sword, Sandor Clegane. I don't want anyone else by my side as you are, as you have been. I have no doubt that you'll keep me safe just like you promised all those years ago. Especially when you're healed. Maybe we'd better tell Alicina that she'll be split in two if she tries to fight you again when you've regained your strength." Sansa chuckled, a sad little sound, her entire body itching to pull this massive, weeping man into her embrace and tell him everything would be alright. Could she? Would her morality and her predispositions allow her to break those barriers and bring him closer to her? Sandor had opened himself to her judgments and it seemed only fair that she do the same, in some shape, some form.

    And so she did.

    Sansa cupped his unburned cheek in her hand, pressing sweet lips to the great scar on his face. Her mouth lingered longer than they ought to and her heart begged to kiss him further, to wrap him in her arms and let him have every part of her that he dared cherish under the eyes of the gods. But I can't, Sansa had to remind herself. Alicina is sleeping just over there, and besides, I would only lead us to trouble. Instead of pledging herself to him in return for his vows, she kissed him again atop his wounded skin and pulled reluctantly away.

    "I should get some rest," Sansa stated with a grin. "Thank you, Sandor. For all you've done." She gathered his cloak closer about herself and moved back to where her bedroll had been set, curling up by the fire with a great and giddy smile.

    She felt safer that night, sleeping out in the open with the protection of an outlaw, than she had any other night in her life.
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  18. Alicina Marcel; The Maiden Smith The days following were just as much the same as the last, an endless cycle on repeat that all but drove Alicina stir crazy. Her only relief came from sparring with Sandor, taking pride in each time she beat him even though she knew she really shouldn't since he was weakened.

    However, she constantly promised him that she would one day defeat him when he had regained his true strength. Of course he merely laughed at her but she took her words to heart, making it quite a vow. She wore him out every day and night, having him pick up his sword each time they made camp or even stopped just to get supplies. When his body began to feel better she would have him walk while she and Sansa rode the horses. And he improved. Every day.

    { x x x }

    It took time but they had eventually found themselves looking at the Wall, the massive place looming in the distance. Alicina got a chill down her spine merely from looking at it, wondering how far it stretched and what truly lay beyond it. She had never been far enough North to ever have caught a glimpse of it before and she found herself simply marveling at it.

    She had heard about the Wall and the Night's Watch, reading plenty more. To think that she had finally made it all the way here made her feel quite accomplished. She had imagined during her childhood that she'd have great adventures one day but there had always been that part of her that thought realistically, telling her that her adventures would be grand only to herself and the descendants that she would spawn.

    Look at her now.

    She had broken out of her set role in life from the moment she was born. She was a scholar, a smith, a swordswoman, and an adventurer among many other things. She was handmaiden and best friend to the true Queen of the North and sparred with the greatest warrior in all of Westeros. Her adventure had yet to even reach its peak -- she wasn't even in her prime yet. Because of her loyalty to Sansa and the North, she knew that there would only be more adventure in the future. She wasn't sure what ran through Sansa's head on a daily basis but Alicina's own mind was constantly churning and she had spoken to Sandor in hushed whispers while Sansa slept, not wanting to worry their beloved ginger.

    In her many trips into the small towns, Alicina had discovered that word had gone out of Sansa being missing. She learned that Roose Bolton wished to marry her to his son, Ramsay, to secure the loyalty of the North. After Robb's untimely demise, he had been named Warden of the North but so many people already knew that he had betrayed the Starks, the House with whom their loyalty was true to. Alicina figured that Roose imagined he and his son could bully Sansa into being nothing more than a pawn. No Northerner would dare attack the Boltons if Sansa herself was a Bolton. She and Sandor had no doubt that Sansa certainly would not be leading a rebellion any time soon either.

    Now that they were so close, Alicinia had decided that it was safe to travel on King's Road. It was likely they'd run into Bolton soldiers but that didn't matter. If they couldn't outrun them, they would fight them.

    Being so near to reuniting Sansa with her brother seemed to have lifted Sansa's spirits and Alicina was glad, happily laughing with her, making jokes. “Oh, but Sansa! We are so close now, right? I could be your best friend and your sister-by-law! We could have a large wedding together and maybe even have our children born on the same day.” Alicina laughed loudly at the thought, gripping her reigns with a grin. She had never seen Jon in her life, of course, but it was amusing and rather delightful to think that she and Sansa could be sisters even if only through marriage. In truth, Sansa was as close to a sister as Ali had ever gotten, excluding the two of her brothers who enjoyed sharing their beds with men rather than women.

    Their laughter died down as the sound of galloping hooves thundered nearby, coming ever closer. Ali shot a look of worry towards Sandor but he only gave a nod. They weren't going to hide. They would fight. She grabbed hold of her sword as Sandor turned to Sansa, speaking in hushed tones as though telling her some secret.

    Sandor Clegane; The Burned HoundSandor could not fully describe the overwhelming joy that surged through him the night that he had pledged himself to Sansa and every moment after. He was filled with a sense of true purpose now and had even given a few genuine smiles in the days that followed.

    He was no knight, though he did sound like it -- as Sansa had pointed out -- but he would be anything that Sansa ever needed him to be. For a long time he couldn't understand what drew him to her so much. He had seen many beautiful women and exotic women, all more mature and well versed in the world than she. It eventually dawned on him though. It was her strength. As much as he would tease her about being fragile, she was stronger than any woman he'd ever known.

    Her life had been nothing but tragedy followed by more tragedy since the moment she arrived in King's Landing, her family dying all around her. Somehow, she managed to continue on. She shed her tears but she did whatever she needed to survive, singing her little songs. Her kindness towards him played a large part in her allure though it constantly confused him, so unused to such compassion.

    But he could certainly get used to it.

    As the days went by he would train with Alicina, eventually coming to the point of besting her in a four out of six round bout. He considered teaching her a thing or two whenever he was back up to par, but her constant yammering and teasing made him reconsider. Still, he silently appreciated her skill in the rare times he allowed himself to acknowledge her as more than an annoying walking pair of tits.

    She was, however, rather good at the things she did. Among those things was the art of picking up information without notice. Sandor was infuriated when he had learned that the Boltons would be out searching for Sansa, encouraging Alicina to gather more information about why the Boltons were helping Petyr. When Alicina brought back more information it only served to further send Sandor into a rage, his desire to protect Sansa from harm and manipulation now multiplied tenfold. He didn't like hiding things from Sansa but he knew she had so much on her plate already without having to worry about another mess. He and Alicina agreed to share the information with Stannis Baratheon after the girl got word of his arrival at the Wall.

    He knew how much it meant to Sansa to be reunited with Jon, especially since he was her only living relative that she knew the exact location of. She honestly didn't even know if he was still alive but she held hope. Sansa always had hope. For her sake, Sandor hoped that the bastard son of Winterfell was quite alive. He didn't know if he could handle seeing her experience another loss, watching her heart shatter more as her family grew smaller with each passing year. He wasn't a praying man, but he did pray to the gods as they got closer to the Wall, praying for Jon's health and Sansa's happiness.

    He also prayed to cross the paths of Boltons just so that he could kill them for daring to want to bring harm to Sansa. With the way things were going lately, he figured that maybe praying wasn't such a bad thing.

    At the sight of the Bolton flag, he tensed and looked to Alicina. The girl's hand had gone immediately to her sword just as his had. He turned to Sansa, looking her in the eye as he spoke under his breath. “They won't hurt you. But if they try to threaten your life to keep Alicina and I from fighting then they will hold a blade to your throat. Take this, stab whomever with it, and run. We won't let them catch you.” With that, he slid a blade into Sansa's hand for her to hide within the folds of cloak before turning to the men who had arrived already, demanding that they turn themselves over in the name of Roose Bolton, Warden of the North.

    There were only three of them, a good thing for Sandor and his female companions. They wouldn't send too many men out to look for a fifteen year old and her handmaiden, of course. When it dawned upon the young men exactly who they were dealing with they seemed to become hesitant, as many were. However, like so many fools who sought to please the Lords they worked for, they were quick to drop their fear to complete their mission.

    Alicina caught the one nearest her by surprise, tackling him to the ground from his horse and immediately shoving her sword into the part of his neck exposed by his armor. It surprised Sandor how quickly she could and would kill but he didn't have time to be impressed, dealing with the other two on his own until Ali joined it. It would seem that he and the blonde were at the disadvantage for being on the ground but they easily fended off the attacks by working together. It was hard to get in a vital shot while the horses moved about but Sandor soon had dragged both men down from their horses and killed one of them while the other tried to escape. Sandor turned to see a horse rearing up, the world going black as it came down and pain rained over him.
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  19. Sansa Stark; Daughter of WinterfellSansa shrieked and hid as Sandor had instructed her, keeping the knife clutched close for safekeeping. She would not leave without them. No matter the danger, she would ensure the safety of her companions with all she was capable of. She could not allow herself to breathe another moment in knowing she'd left her dearest friend and sworn protector behind to meet the grave, and besides, she hadn't the slightest clue how long she would last without them. She needed them, body and soul. Sansa drew in a breath as it appeared the battle had been won, but a horse reared like Death itself and struck the massive Sandor Clegane down to the ground.

    Sansa screamed.

    "Sandor!" she cried out, fleeing from her hiding spot and crouching by his side. Alicina would protect her enough--Sansa's protector was her main concern. She lifted his bleeding head from the ground and examined it desperately. Only a light brush, she noticed, sighing in instant relief. Nothing too horrible, he should recover fine. He is lucky, so lucky. Sansa couldn't resist a sob from bursting forth from her lips, cradling his head against her chest and kissing the top of his head. Whether he was conscious or not didn't matter. You're not leaving me so soon.

    "Alicina!" she called, turning to find the little blonde. "Alicina, he's hurt! Please, get the medical supplies!" There had to be a place for them to take shelter for the night, away from the eventual stench of Bolton dead. Sansa frantically scanned the surroundings until her eyes fell upon a rotted shack that would certainly serve the purpose of a place to hide. Alicina must have noticed it too, for she gave Sansa a little nod before the two of them scrambled to change location.

    By the grace of whatever gods watched over them, the three settled into the ramshackle shelter, the horses grazing just outside. Alicina had built a fire and Sansa sat up on her knees, gliding her fingers through Sandor's dark hair in a gentle motion. His head rested in her lap, eyes closed, but she looked down at him constantly and hardly said a word to Alicina since she had finished wrapping his head wound.

    Please wake up, Sansa thought desperately. Please, come back to me. You must be stronger this time.

    No more getting hurt. I can't bear it.
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  20. Sandor Clegane; The Burned HoundSansa's voice was a comfort to him and he longed to wake and see her face. However, the large man couldn't find the energy to do so. He eventually found himself completely blacked out once more, rocked by the steady motion of a moving horse.

    When he had finally come to once more he could barely open his eyes. He could see Sansa's brilliant scarlet locks by light of a flickering fire. The feel of her cradling him against her body, her delicate digits gliding through the tangled bird's nest that was identified as his hair, was a luxury that he craved.

    He feared that if he moved or uttered a single word that she'd feel embarrassed and release him. Instead, he focused on her until he felt a sharp sting on his face. He drew in a breath quickly and cursed, his eyes immediately opening. He yanked himself into an upright position and glared at Alicina. The blonde looked at him with wide eyes, her person surrounded by basic medical supplies.

    “Well, you're awake. That's a good sign,” she squeaked in a meek tone, clearly taken aback by his sudden movement.

    Sandor's body leaned back into Sansa's lap once more. He chanced only a single glance at her worried face before his eyes closed again. It was a strange thing to see that she was so worried about him and he didn't think that he would ever, in a hundred years, learn why she seemed to care so much for him. He could only assume that she cared to keep him alive only for her own protection.

    He couldn't fathom the idea that she actually cared for him as a person, as a friend, the way she cared for Alicina. He had done so few kind things for her and even when he was kind to her he was still prickly and gruff about it. While it was true that he pledged himself to her and showed her a sense of vulnerability within him, he couldn't fully believe that she could ever see him as anything more than her Hound -- and certainly not in a loving sort of way.

    He managed to remain still as Alicina muttered to herself while continuing to bandage him, the weariness of his face increasing each time she touched his visage. He was glad that she was willing to tend to his wounds.

    “Few more days,” he muttered with a dry mouth that tasted of iron. “and you'll see your brother again.”
    #20 Small Foxx, Jun 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
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