SIFRP: Broken Thorns


She could not lift her arms. The rack had done its work, and she wished now that she had risked the elements rather than remain hidden with baseless hope. The Captain who oversaw her torture had been keen, and she focused on her throbbing black eye from where he had struck her, hoping to push out the pain of the rest–her healing back, dislocated arm, broken rib . . . and only the Seven knew what else.

The Seven . . . The unconscious Maester still hung against the wall beside her, and she could hear the screams of the woman whom she had falsely revealed to have been Danica. Where were the Seven? Well, besides the Stranger. He was the darkness that filled her blood-veiled eyes, and the bitterness that sprouted within the pain deep in her chest. She had cracked. Granted, it was either lies or information they already knew, but how long did she have? A day? Two days before they strung her up again and either slit her throat or cut out her tongue?

A wet, ragged sigh garbled up her throat as she leaned her damp, blood-matted head against the cold wall. Her red-stained fingers weakly traced wreaths of thorns against the stone on either side of her. She had embroidered, sewn and painted the pattern so many times she could have drawn it in the dark. A painful chuckle gripped her. She was drawing it in the dark.

Licking her parched lips with her dry tongue, she began to pray. Not out loud; not by any means. A single defiant glare had nearly been the end of her, but she prayed none the less.

To the Father: rain judgement upon their heads.

To the Mother: be with my sons, a-and bless the two who had tried to help me before.

To the Maiden: be with Sable . . . my love . . . whether he sees my false signature in time or not . . .

To the Crone: give my words wisdom so that no matter my fate these bastards will pay. Let the truth be known — not for my sake, but for Sable’s and the slain Paramount.

To the Warrior: grant me strength . . . nay, I should have been dead once already. Give Sable strength; give my sons strength. Please . . . PLEASE let Danica be alive and safe.

To the Smith: I — I am unsure what I could ask of you . . . but if you craft anything, forge Berstag a death worthy of his crimes.

To the Stranger: You may be tired of my company already, but as much as you have dealt to me, give back to these men ten-fold.

To the Old Gods: give me the grace to see this through. But . . . but if not, let my broken thorns make them bleed.

“Fear no fate,” she whispered, her heavy lids closing without protest. “Fear no fate.”

SIFRP: Consequences of Haste


Marisily rose from the bench as she saw Bergardi, the Lady Alisandre’s guest at the night’s feast striding down the hall back towards the palace. The Lady Regent was not with him.

“My lord?” she called out to him. He did not seem to hear. Hurrying forward a few paces, she called out again. “My lord!”

Bergardi glanced over his shoulder, having heard her call, but did not stay or hesitate on his course.

A knot twisted in her gut. I should not have sent Danica away. I should have thought to advise her not to drink so much. Running back into the gardens, Ris recalled the short time before when she noticed Alisandre slapping Bergardi. The Lady Regent was nowhere, but a guard paced over the spot, a frown creasing his brow.

“Sir, I –”

The guard jumped, startled. “Lady Thorne! Have you seen Lady Alisandre?”

The knot tightened. “No, sir. I was about to ask you the same thing. Has no one seen her?”

The guard’s frown deepened. “Lady Alisandre!” he started to call, turning away from Ris. Marisily pivoted and searched for the next guard. Finding him, she asked him to aid the first man in search for the Lady Regent. By the time she spoke with a fourth guard, more had joined in the search, a number of them pouring through the garden gates, all calling for the Lady.

“You,” said Ris, pointing to a strong looking soldier. “Come with me.” With a nod of approval from his superior, the guard followed. Scooping up her flowing crimson skirts, Marisily hurried through the maze and out to run down the hall Bergardi had disappeared down. All I have is my dagger, she thought sullenly, breaking into a run as she saw a man that matched the stature of Bergardi walk up the steps at the end of a courtyard. The one time I don’t have my bow. The ONE time.

“Is that him, my lady?” asked the guard who jogged alongside her.

“It looks like him,” she responded. She then broke into a run, the soldier actually struggling to keep up with her.

“My lord!” she called to the man ahead of her. The man glanced back and disappeared through the door.

A puzzled look crossed the faces of the guards at the doors at the sight of her fast approach but one motioned sharply to the door. “Go after him!”

Two guards disappeared through the door and the sound of a scuffle echoed out before the body of one dropped into the doorway, the clank of his armour echoing in the yard. Running up the steps, Marisily nearly skidded to a stop as blood pooled around the man’s body.

“He is dead, my lady,” said the guard that had accompanied her as he knelt and inspected the body. The sound of footsteps was heard from within and the young guard ran inside. Marisily’s breath caught as the scuffle that ensued beyond her sight ended rather swiftly.

Run, you fool! To Danica, your bow — What an idiot, only bringing one man with me . . .”  She stepped inside the door, hesitated, and walked further in, several bodies of guards lying on the floor.

“Lady Thorne,” said a man’s voice to her left.

It was Berstag. By the seven, you should have shot him that day! You had him in your sights! The Hunter gave you the perfect chance . . . ” Lord Tyrell, what is going on?” she asked as she moved towards him. Why in all of Westeros was she holding to the charade? She did not like the look in his eye and she stopped several paces away.

“You should leave, my lady,” said Berstag quietly, moving towards her as his hand drifted to his sword. “It is not safe here.”

Marisily frowned and nodded, retreating back to the door, though she kept an eye on the man as he followed her. The steel of his sword glinted as he began to draw, and Ris suddenly began rethinking every one of her choices in the past five minutes. A cry of pain sounded from back outside the door. Where else can I go?  She burst out the opening and she ran out onto the steps as the body of the last guard hit the stone floor below. A hand shot out from the side and she attempted to dodge her attacker, but a strong hand grabbed the soft folds of her skirt, keeping her from her flight. The cruel grin of the man she had orginally sought after peered down at her. Bergardi.

“Lady Marisily,” called Berstag from behind her.

With a strength only lent by her desperation, Marisily turned and wrenched her skirts out of Bergardi’s hold, the both of them looking to Berstag as he walked out of the open door. Bolting away, a sudden, hot pain unlike anything she’d ever felt before tore at the flesh of her shoulder and upper back. A cry of pain escaped her as she stumbled, barely able to keep her feet. Fear gripped her chest even as she felt the back of her dress soak with blood. Her blood. She could see the red splatters of her life fall to the stone beneath her feet even as she retreated down the steps.

“Get out,” she heard Berstag command even as she turned, willing – no – begging her feet to move faster.

How far had she managed to flee? Ten feet . . . ten paces? The yard seemed so much larger as she searched desperately for anything to aid in her self defense even as she felt herself grow weaker. A shield . . . a sword . . . anything! By the seven, does no bloody soldier carry a bow in this place?!

Marisily could sense Berstag as he drew nearer, but as she turned to face him, drawing her own pathetic dagger from a hidden pocket, she saw that he did not have his sword in his hand. She could have sworn he rushed at her as one might when attempting to save another. Phillip, Robert, Martin — my sons, forgive me. . . . Sable. A strong hand took her good shoulder and the other wrapped around her waist. A dagger plunged into her back and she felt herself fading in his grasp.

A wicked smile curved up her crimson lips, the blood spurting from her body merely adding scattered layers to her flowing gown. “Say hello to my husband for me.”

Berstag looked down at her. “You should not have gotten involved.”

With her last effort she attempted to stab up under his arm with her own dagger, but she knew she lacked the strength, as it only got tangled in the cloth of his tunic. I missed my target, and it has been my undoing. I missed them; all the clues and hints. I did not doubt enough. I did not suspect enough. No. No more regrets. You are a Thorne . . . Fear no fate. She fell back, wishing she’d have just a moment more of life as Berstag called out to the guards that ran for them. A small sigh crawled up her throat as she looked up at the Reach stars she knew so well, feeling weightless, before all light and life and pain faded from her.

So as we fall, do roses sprout,
And bodies littered all about,
Behold, must enemies shaken cry,
A Thorne may never die.
A Thorne shall never die.

SIFrp: A Night In Another Universe II

(Second installment of a game night encounter! Enjoy a bit of A Song of Ice and Fire role-play. And back up off me, I like playing archers XD )

Marisily watched Sable walk away, her eyes still red-rimmed from weeping. There he goes once again. Warrior protect him. She felt empty; lost. All she wanted was to lie with him. Just once more, she thought miserably. She wanted him to hold her and tell her . . . possibly lie to her . . . that everything was going to be all right.

Kloe had left without a word, and Sable would leave her soon for war as the Marshal of the Southern Reach. If that was not enough to weigh on her, Grandfather had been assassinated, and the heir to her father’s house had been slain. Of course Arthur would only die in a song-worthy manner. Syrax had been slain, her brother’s body the only one found not far from the dragon’s corpse. Ris had always been rather hasty, but she clung to the thought that her beloved brother had perished living up to the House words. Fear no fate.

Letting out a weary sigh, she turned back to face the target. “Danica, would you be able to move the target to the furthest reaches of the torch light?” she asked quietly.

“Certainly, M’lady.” Danica promptly moved the target just beyond the light, where only a phantom of the target could be seen.

Ris nocked an arrow and took aim. “The Lady Regent wrote highly of you,” she said in a distracted yet casual tone as she pulled back her bowstring. She recalled the message sent by her gracious hostess. Lady Marisily Thorne, Danica is my guarantee that a noble lady will not come to harm in my city, despite the times. She is taught to keep her eyes open and protect at all costs. There is a greater darkness coercing Highgarden than we have yet been able to speak of.”

“Lady Alisandre is quite benevolent.”

“She is indeed.” Marisily squinted at the shadowed target and fired. “Since I shall have the pleasure of your company while I am here, would you mind telling me a little about yourself?”

Danica did not bat an eye at the question as she stood calmly watching. Ris sensed an awareness around her companion that was refreshing and comforting. “I was born in Saath, along the Sarne. My father was killed by the Dothraki and my mother was taken. I wept by the sea for three days before a trading Braavosi brought me back to his home.”

Marisily’s arm faltered for a moment as she nocked another arrow. “I am sorry,” she said quietly as she took the shot. Loosing two more, she glanced over at her. “I have heard that Braavos is home to some of the best fighters,” she commented.

“Yes, my saviour was a brilliant swordsman with a sick mind to complement it. But then I was brought to Westeros, and to this home and family. Lady Alisandre is my new savior.”

Ris did not want to know more of the man’s ‘sick mind.’ She could only imagine, and she welcomed the twinge of anger that accompanied it. Shooting once more, she set the end of her bow down, holding it as one might a staff. “Thank you, Danica,” she said sincerely, “for being here — and for agreeing to protect me.”

“I take oaths very seriously,” replied the woman. She then nodded curtly. “Well-aimed, M’lady.”

Marisily studied her for a moment before nodding and turning back to face the target. “Is it safe to assume that you will be alongside me through most of my dealings and activities?” She pursed her lips in thought as she again took aim.

“I am your servant. I will be where you desire.” Danica hesitated for a moment before wondering, “Perhaps M’lady does not require a close attendance?”

“Because I am not accustomed to close attendance does not mean I do not need it,” Marisily said reluctantly. “After all that has happened . . .” Her voice trailing off, she lowered her bow and turned back to Danica. “I will need to get accustomed to being attended to,” she said matter-of-factly. She could not expect to find out friend from foe if she did not play a perfect courtier. “Do you have a nice dress? Preferably in a dark red?”

“I do. Though knowing the occasion might allow me to better tailor my selection.” Danica allowed the slightest smirk at her word choice. Nigh imperceptible.

The corner of Ris’s mouth twitched with a slight smile. I think we shall get along quite nicely. “Very well. If you need, I can fund the dress for you. In light of everything that is going on, my work is just beginning. We shall discuss a ‘tell’ I will give you when it is best for us not be together.” Her eyes narrowed as she rose up to her full height, pushing her sorrows aside. “From this point on, your presence is an extension of me and how I am to be perceived by the courtiers and whoever else might be watching.”

“Of course, M’lady,” nodded Danica courteously. “You possess a good sense of the court, as does Lady Alisandre. I suspect I shall enjoy attending you very much. You know — more than required.”

“I hope you are right,” sighed Ris, giving her own grateful nod. “The occasion may vary, so I will trust your judgement on having it be court appropriate, though maybe a tad more — well, more enriched than what the other servants wear. Comfort and convenience for you should also be kept in mind.” Flexing her free hand, she started to slowly walk to get a look at the target. “I want to keep them unsure about us — about me — till I find my niche in their game.”

Danica glanced at the target, new-found respect evident on her face and in her voice. “I’m beginning to doubt they have the slightest idea whom they’re dealing with.”

Marisily twisted her mouth to one side as she studied the target with a neutral expression. It was time for her to play her part. Sable would be away fighting with his words and his blade, trusting that she would hold strong on her own battlefront. The Stranger find her if she failed him. “If you would, pull out the middle grouping? Leave the stragglers on the edge.”

“Certainly.” Danica extracted the projectiles quickly, then turned back to Marisily for direction.

Nodding to her with a faint, confident smile, Marisily gestured to the target. “That is all they need see. The Lady and yourself being the exception.” Reaching over, she plucked out an arrow that protruded just outside the mark and studied the fletching with what might be a mix of sadness and determination. “We need to hit our targets with unwavering precision. They should never suspect that we miss on purpose.”

SIFrp: A Night In Another Universe

What is usually a Friday night with friends of Dungeons and Dragons has for the time been replaced by Westeros and A Song of Ice and Fire rp. I really enjoy the dice system and it’s a nice break from min-maxing a Fighter (Targeteer) Dread Pirate Half-elf.

So, meet Marisily Thorne of Red Lake in The Reach during the age of The Dance of Dragons. It’s just a quick write up, but I figured that I’d share.

__ __ __

It took Marisily a surprising amount of willpower to keep back an amused chuckle as she walked away from the campfire. She could hear the murmuring of jesting flowing back and forth between the men, directed mainly at the only one of the Briarguard who had plucked up enough courage to speak to her. They were good men, and she shared with them an equal concern for the welfare of the home they’d left behind.

To the side of their encampment Kloe practiced her shooting with a skill that both surprised and instilled pride. Nodding to her sister as she passed Marisily could not help but smile at the sight of the mangled target. Marksmanship brought a connection with Kloe that Marisily had rarely shared with others. Usually she would have joined the young Thorne, but not tonight. Tonight she needed silence and time to gather her scattered thoughts.

The closer she drew to her tent, the more her smile faded and a weight took hold within her. The news of The Blacks pressing north and Old Oak being surrounded renewed her sense of duty for her mission. But the rumors of dragons slaying thousands at a time made her feel sick. Slipping inside of her temporary shelter, Marisily clenched her fists, her eyes moving up the length of her bow. She was responsible for the lives of her men; for the life of her sister. She would do what she had to. What change did this bring to her husband’s vague instructions?

“Nothing,” she said firmly. She would take the cards The Seven dealt her and use them to their greatest advantage. Sable. She had never doubted him, and she would not start now. Until he told her differently she would stand for neutrality, and work to keep the wolves out of the Lady Regent’s garden. Marisily’s hands steadied and the pounding of her heart quieted. Sitting down on the seat of her saddle, the Lady Thorne pulled out a piece of parchment and quill, and began to write.

Dearest Robert and Phillip,

My sons . . . .