The Wolf and the Dragon

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Artemis, May 31, 2016.

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  1. Tarserys Targaryen



    There was nothing glorious about the North. It reeked of unkempt wild and faint corruption. Snow replaced the grass of the South. Large trees loomed high above. The mud slippery from melted snow and moisture. Tarserys was sure, in that moment, that this was where men went to die. Sunlight offered no warmth and the chill cut deeper than any sword. If it weren’t for the tremendous gain he might acquire, fire upon the North. Let their Old Gods and Others take them, if these Northern folks truly believed in such fallacy.

    “Are you certain they remain unawares?” Lingering near a brazier, Tarserys resisted the urge to bathe his hands in the flame. “Everything is at risk. Everything we stand to gain.”

    Roan, a shaggy man of low birth, nodded. “I’ve taken care of everything,” he said. Roan spat onto the muddied ground. He said in hushed voice, “apologies milord. For appearances. I’ve a contact. She remains with us no longer. She was … used— The Wolf remains guarded. Hounded. About this time, she lights a candle in the tower, see? The Bolton bastard ain’t kind either. Not to Lady Stark.”

    Stories about Ramsey Bolton was hard not to hear of. House Bolton was known for it’s atrocious sigil. The Flayed Man. From Ser Logrim Maric, his Hand awaiting him at the coast, recounts, the Boltons were those not to be taken lightly. With the deaths that the Usurper’s forces took, prisoners met the flayed fate. Targaryn soldiers, loyalist soldiers, even some of his relatives met such ends. Current leadership weren’t any better. On his way to Winterfell, Tarserys witnessed many x-shaped crosses on his way here. The Usurper’s allies were the monsters. Not his father. Those whom remained loyal, Tyrells, Martell’s, and the smaller houses, would receive his benevolence. The houses that rode against his family would face wrath. That was his promise to his dead family. He hoped it so for Daenarys.

    Tarserys exhaled, his breath misting in the air. The northerner garbs were suppose to keep him warm. Shame to the merchant who told him so. “Then perhaps a Dragon is better than a butcher. You know what’s expected of you. I shall not have you die this day, Roan.” Touching the tip of a flame, Tarserys smiled from beneath the hood’s shade. “I take care of my own. Now go. Misfortune favors hesitation. We shall not be her victim.”

    Bolton men crawled about Winterfell like an infestation. No matter where one walked, the sound of metal clashing against metal, boots pounding into the mud was heard.

    Leaning against stone wall, Tarserys watched the abandoned tower that Roan spoke of. It was foolish to base his plan of whisking Lady Stark away by mere habits observed. Learning about one’s prey was everything. Routines and all. However, this was an activity he wagered wasn’t a typical one. Not if Lord Bolton’s cur was as cunning as many said he was. Underestimating any man was unbecoming, unwise. In his wait, Tarserys thought of other ways to accomplish his goals. If need be, infiltrating Winterfell as a servant wasn’t a far fetched notion.

    A good amount of time passed. Resigning to the fact that infiltration was the way, he stayed his ground as his eyes fell on the tiniest of flickers from the tower. When the passing patrol fell out of sight, he made haste. The north did not want him. It’s harrowing cold made that clear.

    Gently lowering a man to the ground, it was probably a kindness to put the wretched creature out of its misery. It was a man unmanned. Twitching like an afflicted from mental curse, Tarserys had no doubt he would’ve made a good stable hand. Too scrawny, too weak to be a soldier. Pity decided against driving a sword into the man. He instead choked the man until forced sleep took him. Whatever the case, he did not see Tarserys’s face. There would be no report to his master.

    Ascending the stone steps, not a soul between him and the door, Tarserys opened it.

    Beyond it, in a large billowing winter cloak, he was met with the sight of wonderful summer. Violet eyes roamed over fiery red hair. He could only assume this was the one he sought. Lady Stark of Winterfell. Daughter to the Wolf that clawed through the Dragon once before.

    Keeping his hood up, he held up a hand when he came into Lady Stark’s view. “I’m a friend. You were told if you needed help, you have but to light a candle in the old tower.” Tarserys looked towards the door. They were already here far too long. Roan was to cause a distraction to allow him and Lady Stark to slip out. “A friend told me of your . . . mistreatment. We shall get you to safety. The Lord knows nothing of this. We must leave now.”

    A great force caused Tarserys to fall against the stone wall. Even when plumes of fire erupted from the opposing side of Winterfell, Tarserys could feel the heat. Goose pimples formed all across his arms as he relished the heat. Striding forward, he reached out and pulled Lady Stark to her feet. “I asked for a distraction. There it is,” he said. “Know that a free Wolf, Lady Stark, incites fear. Kenneled invites abuse and disregard. Make your choice.”
     
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  2. Sansa Stark

    Sansa leapt to her feet when the stranger burst into her room. Her thoughts had been so far from the present, so stuck in the past with better days and times. She remembered Lady and her mother's voice, her father's embraces and the sound of Robb's laugh. It would have taken an explosion to pull her from her mind, the one place where Ramsay couldn't touch her.

    An explosion did the trick.

    Sansa was helped to her feet by the intruder, but her instinct was to pull back. She was wearing next to nothing, a dirty shift that exposed the bruises on her arms, neck and legs, and the cuts on her skin. Rats of Tully hair cascaded in what would have been beautiful curls down her back. She wasn't ready to leave. This could be trick, didn't Theon mention that he'd tried to leave once? It led to his mutilation. Sansa held her hands close to her frame and stared at the hooded man, tall and dangerous he seemed, but there was little choice in the matter. I could leave, she thought in haste. I could put the Boltons behind me, no matter where I end up. It couldn't get much worse than where she was, after all.

    A free wolf. Sansa had forgotten what it was like to be one--how many years had it been since she was free of some sort of captivity? It would mean everything to feel that way again.

    Sansa reached out and took his hand. "I trust you," she told him hastily. "But he'll come for me, we can't take long. I know a way out of the castle." Sansa squeezed his hand in reassurance and scrambled to her wardrobe. She grabbed a cloak and some riding boots, slipping them on without bothering to lace them up. She drew the cloak over her shoulders, knowing the winter's bite would be far too cold without proper garments, but she was a Stark of Winterfell. The cold would not kill her.

    "Protect me," she asked of him, hastening out of her prison door. She flashed him an anxious stare over her shoulder. "Please. I don't know who you are and I cannot promise much in terms of reward, but if you get me out of here alive the entire North will be grateful to you. None moreso than I." Blue eyes met his strange ones in urgency. "Do you know where the godswood is?"
     
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  3. Tarserys Targaryen




    Though she took his hand, Tarserys felt Lady Stark's hesitancy. It was sound. If what reports he heard from Roan were true, the adopted son of Lord Bolton enjoyed little cat and mouse games. Despicable was what it was. Justice was too good for a corrupted soul like his. Purgatory was more suitable. Excommunicated from the Gods promised paradise was more fitting. Tarserys prayed for this Ramsey's good health until he assumed the thrown. He would not be kind. A worser punishment than what his house as a whole would experience. A matter for a different time. He needed the wolf. He needed Lady Stark. The bruises on her frame weren't lost to him either. It pained him to witness it.

    Contrary to popular belief, not all Targaryens are monsters, are mad.

    Tarserys wanted to press the urgency of their situation, but he saw Lady Stark's look. An inner dialogue, a struggle unseen, was taking place within. He could certainly take her by force, but that would make things much more difficult for what came after. Creatures forced to serve were the first to rebel. There wasn't any need for such a feral creature in his company.

    Then she spoke. Tarserys smiled. "I'm honored." Giving her some privacy as she dressed, Tarserys stole a glance out the window. Soldiers were running towards the explosion. He worried for Roan. Good men were hard to find. "My people shall hold their attention. Arrangements have been made for flight off the coast. It's not far."

    Already at the door, Lady Stark wasted no time. Tarserys smiled. The fears of escorting a useless damsel subsided. Palming a borrowed sword, he missed his sharpest valyrian edge. He nodded to Lady Stark. "With my life." Thinking of his next words carefully, he said, "words I shall bear in mind. For now, we focus on leaving. I've heard of godswood. I do not know where it is here. Lead on, milady. I shall be your shadow until we get there."

    Following Lady Stark out of the prison door, he moved on ahead of her. His hand on the hilt of his sword as he quickly made his way down the stone steps, stepping over the creature he'd put to sleep. Looming in the shadow before the tower's door, he looked to Lady Stark. "A patrol is coming. After they part, we quickly cross," he said. "After that, I entrust our direction to you, Lady Stark."
     
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  4. Sansa Stark
    She would lead, then. Sansa knew Winterfell better than anyone else in the city, knew it better than the gods themselves. She could only hope the Boltons would not block their way. When she was given encouragement, Sansa trudged out into the open snowfall and a blooming night. Frost bit at her exposed skin, biting at her like the wolf of her sigil, but she paid it little mind. This pain was nothing compared to the things she'd endured. It was worth the agony if freedom was ahead of her. Checking behind her to make sure the stranger was following, Sansa pulled up her hood and rounded several corners, hoping no one would notice her. She crossed the courtyard toward the godswood where her father loved to meditate, cleaning his sword and speaking with her mother about the goings-on of the North. Sansa clutched the cloak tighter around her at the thought. Remembering how things used to be did little to keep her focused, but it brought the fire of motivation to carry her through.

    Sansa was about to make another turn when arms grabbed her from around the base of the Broken Tower. She nearly screamed until Theon's eyes stared out at her from the darkness, his grip on her quite strong despite his weakness. "What are you doing?" he asked, panicked. "You can't leave. He'll hunt us down. He'll do worse than kill us."

    "Shh," Sansa hushed. "We're being rescued, Theon, you don't need to worry." She gestured quickly to the stranger in the hood. "He's promised to help."

    "Could be a trap," he whimpered. "Can't trust him."

    "I can and I will." Sansa took Theon's hands in hers, begging him with her eyes. "Come with me."

    "Reek," he choked. "I'm Reek."

    "Theon please," she insisted. "I need you with me. We can go home, we can go anywhere, you don't have to stay here and suffer any long--"

    A booming, monstrous shout rang from Sansa's tower. "Sansa!" cried Ramsay. "Sansa Stark!"

    Sansa met Theon's eyes desperately. After a moment's hesitation, he nodded. "The godswood?"

    "Yes," she whipsered in reply. "Come on. We have to leave before he finds us." She snatched Theon's hand and led him and the hooded stranger toward the heart tree. Behind it was a hidden cellar door, buried under vine and rock and stone, one her and her siblings used to climb down and play in the tunnels beneath the castle. "Where is it," Sansa muttered under her breath, the threat of Ramsay's wrath causing her to shake. She turned to her rescuer. "P-Please, sir, can you help me? We're looking for a small door, just barely big enough for all of us to climb through."
     
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  5. Tarserys Targaryen




    Following the fresh tracks left in the snow by Lady Stark, Tarserys followed. His eyes roamed to and fro, seeking the first sign of danger. He wondered if the explosion took any soldiers of House Bolton. He wished for little conflict now, but upon his return, the less armed and trained souls the better. If all went to plan, Lady Stark would help raise the homegrown army he sorely needed.

    Amassing an army in the mountains proved quite the challenge. Not only did he have to navigate the Iron Throne's spies, but feeding and equipping said force was a war in of itself. In what used to be the controlled lands of old Valyria, however, were those still loyal to the great houses of old. Not having them was akin to fighting with a single, crippled hand. Daenarys was able to amass an army herself built off mercenaries and a slave army and other characters drawn to power. However, the body always killed of that which was foreign. Tarserys needed not only his forces awaiting him across the Narrow Sea, but sons of Westeros as well.

    Having slightly moved ahead of her to look about a corner, Tarserys heard a third pair of footsteps. He spun around. His sword half drawn. It was the man from before. The creature he gave sleep to instead of death. He regretted that decision now. Then Lady Stark spoke. She knew the man with some affection. Tarserys remained silent as they spoke. There would be no quarter given this time if this Theon denied Lady Stark her freedom.

    But was she running to freedom or did she rush towards yet another cage built by him? He remained silent.

    Another voice punctuated the air with unchecked ferocity. Anger. "Sansa! Sansa Stark!"

    "And the dead claw towards that which radiates life," Tarserys muttered, a saying he heard from his family maester back at Dragonstone. He hardened himself to the rush of nostalgia. "We must hurry. Theon was it not? Do not slow us down. Time is in dire shortage."

    Lady Stark took Theon's hand in hers as she continued moving. Tarserys did the same. Already the sounds that had moved to the flames were slowly filtering back. Soon enough, they came upon the godswood. Then to the heart tree.

    Standing watch while the two natives looked for whatever may lead to their freedom, Tarserys cursed in low whispers. He wasn't one to follow but to lead. He prayed that Lady Stark knew what she was doing. Anxiety twisted his insides. If only the traitor Jorah hadn't given into the temptations of promised glory from the enemy, his dragon would still be of the flame. He would kill Ser Mormont if fate had allowed their paths to cross again.

    "P-Please, sir, can you help me? We're looking for a small door, just barely big enough for all of us to climb through."

    Glad for the distraction, Tarserys set about the tree. Crossing to the opposite side that Lady Stark presently searched, his calloused hands prodded the Earth that grew about the tree. Moving to yet another part, the search continued. Then he saw. Out of the green and grey mosaic, his eyes fixed on a brown hue too dark to be of the tree. Prying away the foliage, Tarserys opened the revealed door. A dark tunnel rested within.

    "Found it! Lady Stark. Hurry." Shouting from soldiers not far joined the terrible cacophony of agonized cries and crackle from distance fire. "I shall take the rear. Quickly now!"
     
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  6. Sansa Stark
    Sansa didn't hesitate. She descended the ladder quickly and kept Theon's hand clutched in hers, scrambling around in the darkness. Neither of them had flint for a torch, but Sansa remembered the paths well enough from her time playing in them as a child. When Tarserys had closed the hatch, Sansa moved forward to lead them through the dark tunnels toward escape. The wolfswood wasn't much safer than Winterfell, with wandering direwolves and bitter colds with no flame, but anywhere was safer than at Ramsay's mercy. "Stay close," she muttered, heart pounding from the adrenaline coursing through her. "We're almost there."

    Sansa felt along the walls until dirt edges became meshed with metal and wood. She gasped and released Theon's hand to push open the door, but it was jammed. "Help me," she asked. Theon--or her savior, she was unsure in the dark--shoved against the door with her until it finally gave way. The three of them stepped out into the dark, snow-smothered wolfswood. The heart tree stood before them. It's face was melancholy, red tears dripping down carved features from centuries worth of sap. Sansa wanted to admire it, to stop and pray and beg the gods to keep her out of her husband's clutches, but there was simply no time. Sansa turned to Tarserys urgently.

    "Where is this safety you plan on bringing us to?" she asked. "We can't waste any time. I can take you there if you tell me, but Ramsay..." Her words wavered with fear. "He won't stop coming after me. Not ever."
     
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  7. Tarserys Targaryen




    The darkness awaited the trio. Tarserys felt uneasy, but there was little choice. Either brave the underground or experience first hand the handiwork of House Bolten.

    When the way was clear, Tarserys made for the ladder. Pulling the latch shut, it was too much to ask that the guards that searched for them wouldn't find it. The door was revealed to all. He had pulled away the vines and foliage which covered it. Gods permitting, the soldiers wouldn't think to look at the heart tree. Tarserys was sure that'd change in time. Even the dullest brute could spot a door. Ramsey would surely put two and two together. He was, after all, husband to Lady Stark. Tarserys was willing to bet the marriage wasn't at all harmonious. Bruises that he saw hinted at a darker dynamic.

    Footsteps, breathing, and voices far behind them was all Tarserys heard. Unable to adjust to the perfect dark, he gave himself over to his other senses. Lady Stark's breathing was his light house where his vision failed him. Theon's nearby presence was the line drawing him towards shore. Poetic at the worst times he thought to himself.

    "Help me."

    Finding an opening to the right of Theon, Tarserys's arms burned as he strained against the door. It must have been unused for ages. No matter how hard the combine three pushed against its weight, it stood its ground. Unwilling to yield, Tarserys gave another surge of effort. The door's hinges groaned as it swung open. Brilliant light met him. Winter never felt so wanting.

    Looking about the woods, nothing stirred. Presently. That could change. Hearing Lady Stark's words, his eyes shifted over to Theon, then back to her. "I mean to take you across shivering sea." Lowering his hood, the chill was instantaneous. "As you say, House Bolten - this Ramsey - will not stop. My people have kept me appraised. I have a ship waiting south of Karhold. East of the Dreadfort. From there, we make to Braavos. You have allies there, milady.

    "It may seem like you're running. Turning coward. It takes courage, bravery to know when to flee, to know when to fight." Turning back to the door at the base of the heart tree, Tarserys closed it. Crossing to a nearby tree, he took several large fallen branches and dragged them through the snow. He made to barricade the door from the outside. "There's a man - Roan - in my circle. He will be waiting for supplies and horses." Tarserys thought back to the map of the area he studied before the rescue attempt. "The river branching to Wolfswood eastern border. From there, we ride until we reach the ship."

    The barricade stood solid, Tarserys turned back to the woman who - to him - was the summer in the North. If not for mistreatment, he was sure Lady Stark would marvel some of the Targaryens of old. "Westeros still has affection for the Starks. They've just been hushed by the Iron Throne. Will you come with me, milady? You will return. You will liberate the North and make it yours again. You will have justice. Of that I assure you."
     
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  8. Sansa Stark
    Sansa believed him. She didn't know why, didn't know what stirred her heart at his words that Petyr Baelish had taught her to mistrust, but there was something in his stare that told her she could put faith in him. Not unlike Sandor Clegane, but must less monstrous. She nodded slowly. "I'll go with you," she said, "and Theon, too."

    "Reek," he muttered. "My name is Reek."

    But there was hope for him yet.



    Days passed on their voyage eastward. They were pursued relentlessly by Ramsay's hounds and his best fighters, but her strange protector did not allow her to be captured again. Three times he'd saved her life, but did not acknowledge her when she offered to wrap his wounds. She was good at that. She'd wrapped her own so many times, between Joffrey's beatings and Ramsay's nightly visits, but bringing up her knowledge only made her feel sad. Broken. Whatever her future was with the man who'd saved her, it had to be better than the life she was living. She missed the Eyrie and her days as Alayne Stone. Had she ever been happy as herself? As Sansa Stark, heir to Winterfell and her father's lands and titles? She hoped to know something of joy someday soon. It was so foreign to her now, and Sansa wondered if it ever truly existed to begin with.

    Tarserys was her savior's name. He'd told her briefly, over the few times they talked near campfire as Reek sat huddled in himself. Tarserys was a strange name indeed, but she did not ask its origin; it was clear the man had no wish to talk. At least, not until he was in familiar company. It wasn't something Sansa could blame him for.

    When the trio of unlikely companions reached the harbor mostly unscathed, Sansa was filled with more questions that ached to be answered. She was dirty from travel, bruised and still broken from Ramsay's claws digging into her flesh, but there was purpose underneath the sails of a ship that bore no colors. Sansa looked up at them and bit her lip.

    "Where are we going?" she asked, refusing to board the ship until she knew this man's intentions fully. Sea breezes blew through flyaway curls, fallen out from her braid. "Tarserys. That's not a Northern name. And who are your friends?" Theon stood by her, and she held his hand as if it were the last thing between her and damnation. Petyr would frown to see me like this. She straightened her shoulders. "Your secrecy is appreciated on my behalf, but I believe I am owed an explanation."
     
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  9. Tarserys Targaryen




    Tarserys could appreciate how much faith Lady Stark placed in him. If he were in her position and a stranger offered to ferry her away from Westeros, by the gods there'd be much to be wary of. A dose of deception was very much encircled about his intentions for the probable last of the Stark blood line, but surely it was kinder than the circumstance he found Lady Stark in.

    "We have a long journey. Let's go."


    The harbor was a most welcomed sight. To Tarserys, it was more than a fisherman's solace or the lurking grounds of hounding merchants. This was where his people waited to take him and his guest back over the Shivering Sea where his influence was much more felt. Ser Maric was to be waiting with a ship at the pier farthest away from prying eyes. Even if his coming was secretive, underestimating Westeros eyes was sure death.

    Arriving at the pier holding a ship with colorless sails, Tarserys recognized the towering brute of a man. A diagonal scar crossing his face was from battle when his family still reigned Westeros and the houses that were supposedly loyal. Many times over, Ser Maric told him that he was to die at his brother's side at the Battle of the Trident. Illness bedridden him and denied him the privilege. The illness, to Tarserys's recollection, was the only reason why this capable knight resided at his side. The knowledge gained over the years was invaluable. Tarserys owed his Hand much.

    The cloak did little to hide Ser Maric's overbearing frame as he met Tarserys at the pier's edge. "One more day, and a search would've commenced." Looking to Lady Stark, Ser Maric bowed slightly. "I understand we are to take you to safety, milady." Stepping closer to Tarserys, Maric spoke so only for Tarserys to hear in High Valyrian, "A raven from Roan never arrived."

    Tarserys frowned. He was fatigued from the road. The cold did little to anchor him to the North. He responded in a similar manner, "we'll speak of this later. Are we ready to take to sea?"

    Ser Maric nodded. "Been ready since we've arrived."

    "Good. Pass the word."

    "Where are we going? Tarserys. That's not a Northern name. And who are your friends? Your secrecy is appreciated on my behalf, but I believe I am owed an explanation."

    Indeed she was Tarserys thought. The truth of the lie. That was the part of the great Game of Thrones. Lies could further one's ambitions, but, if found out, could destroy a man. The truth was the highroad. It left no room for an attack on one's character. It preserved one's honor. However, honor seldom had room in the Game.

    "We sail for Braavos," he said. "The Iron Throne can still reach you there, but it'd be a great deal harder. You are correct in assuming I'm not of the North. These men are my comrades." Looking to the entrance of the pier, Tarserys didn't care for the looking eyes nor Maric's raised brow. "You will find out when we reach the Braavosian lands. Rest assured, milady. My intentions are hardly malicious. Surely not so malicious to trump your husband's care."

     
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