Lyanna hated him. She hated Vikiel's dashing smile, the way the tall man carried himself and the way they seemed to bounce back and forth from calculated interaction to another. As soon as the blonde laid eyes on him, Lyanna teased and complimented the man as if she was appeasing to the Goddess. With each accidental brush by, nothing had made him stutter. That was to be expected. The Dragonheart's Keep was a dangerous place. Lyanna had caught herself several times getting startled from a gentle breeze and closing the large window of her chambers. That was shortly before the King of House Astor had died, leaving the center of the realm vulnerable to attack or exploitation. Peasants and nobles insulted the House Astor, calling them the House of Asses behind closed doors and whispered lips. The King belonged to the arrogant family, whom had usurped the throne after another assassination of the late King before him. House Astor had been close to the Dragonheart's Keep for years as the Hand of the King, an entrusted advisor. Amassing large amounts of wealth and military support, they were a force to be reckoned with. Nonetheless, every noble realized the one on the throne was never the true ruler of the realm. To rule the realm, there was an element of subtlety involved. Subtlety, timing and the exact amount of luck. Shortly after the King Astor met his demise, children and their incompetent families had taken prime positions to the throne. One boy, by the name of Zachary Astor, was only 15 when he came to power. Selfish aunts swayed his 'decisions' while Zachary remained timid and soft. Privately, she thought that the only day he was able to properly rule would be the same day an assassin held a knife to his neck. There was one thing she was willing to admit about the poor boy. Unlike the others, he was intelligent in addition to being perceptive. On the other hand, Lyanna couldn't stand the others. The Astor siblings grew spoiled with the security of power and riches. Meanwhile the woman of House Gildenmere had remained unapproachable most of her childhood for her own safety. Every bite of dinner and boasting with their forced acquaintances made Lyanna's blood boil. However, there was one deadly positive and a negative to his death. Royal connections were one thing, but House Mallodar was another. Through what seemed like an endless amount of charm and empty promises on both the Mallodar's and Gildenmere's sides, they had earned their position as the closest thing to being on a royal court. Being in the court, as they called it, was a frightening experience. She was given her own chambers, her own handmaidens and was free to roam the Keep as much as she could. By the Gods, the woman even enjoyed her own bath and vanity. Despite the exceptional treatment, due to her own paranoia, Lyanna made sure that every letter she had written to her family was coded and delivered in the night in her own room. Vikiel's chambers were only five doors down and across. He was close enough that she swore she was able hear his breathing as he slept. While untrue, Vikiel sent tingles down her spine, both in intrigue and fear. The man's confidence drew her to him, yet incite feelings of fear every instance they locked eyes. His deep-set hazel to her own icy violet. Soon, another instance of this connection would occur again in an awe-inducing turn of events. Many years of plotting had come to this. Henry had been the most spoiled of the young children. Many evenings ago, the House Gildenmere had ordered an assassination on the young boy. To that, she responded with, "Gladly." Good riddance, the young woman had thought to himself. That was one less Ass with any guarantee for the throne. If Lyanna played her cards right, the chance of prosperity would soon increase. That midnight, there she was. The Dragonheart's Keep possessed a strange shortcut that led to the young boy's chambers. Through the overgrown garden and into another stairway, his room was in a tower. Secluded, it meant with high risk meant high rewards. The guards had did not guard the gardens at night for obvious reasons. On top of that, no one would think to check the gardens for enemies, nor would any enemies desire entering the gardens. The Astors never bothered to tend to the flora, leaving many large rose bushes and trees to conceal any shadows. It resembled a forest in its own right, even more so as Lyanna made her way deep through the trees. Her heart raced as she concealed her graceful form within the beautiful flowers, her senses sensitive to the slightest of disturbances. Suddenly, Lyanna heard a rustle through the leaves. Her hand reached for the dagger as she stepped forward. It was foolish to dress in her usual getup of gold and silk. The woman opted for a dark, hooded robe, a masquerade mask to cover her sharp features and a flowing white linen dress for movement. On her waist tied a burlap sack with various weapons and poison. Without any fear present, she walked in the direction of the noise.