A lone figure staggered through an overgrown pathway, wandering past several rows of crumbling tombstones under the soft moonlight. The drunken man stumbled but caught his balance along the way, spitting out vile curses as he held onto a bottle of half consumed liquor. A pack of hungry wolves howled in the distance, but he paid them no mind while making his way towards the dilapidated monastery. The worn down steps creaked under his bulky weight and the front doors groaned as they were opened and closed.
Once inside the chapel, the Hound made his way towards a middle pew and sat down, staring up at the empty altar, framed by intricate stained glass. Ambient light illuminated the sermon podium, covered in dust and a mass of spiderwebs. It had been years since the old, but dutiful priest had given voice to the will of God and the purpose of man. But Sandor Clegane could still remember the kindly soul that had given a beaten young dog shelter and a chance at redemption.
Any time he needed to make a confession or even just seek solitude for the night, Father McCann welcomed him with open arms, no questions asked. The forgotten monastery, located far from the city, past the countryside and off a desolate road that virtually disappeared into the valley between the mountains, had been a lifeline to the Hound. No one would ever think to come searching for him here. It was beyond ridiculous. Clegane had only happened upon the area by chance, surprised to find Father McCann all alone and disconnected from the modern world.
As the last member of his brotherhood who was still alive, the priest was intrigued to have such a rare visitor, one he instantly deemed needing help or else why would God have brought Sandor to him? The Hound chuckled softly at the memory, before taking a swig from the bottle. The stubborn old bastard could give one hell of a sermon and he didn't care that Sandor was his only audience. In time, the two developed a deep friendship, with Clegane visiting often, bringing the priest supplies, food and helping with the upkeep of the place. For a while, the Hound knew what it was like to have and care for a parental figure, filling the hole in his heart which he carried from suffering the lack of such attentions as a child. But like everything in his life, the cruelties of the world crept in and eventually took away his contentment.
The Father had been invited to a luncheon to receive a lifetime award for his dedication to the faith by the head Cardinal of the city. Sandor had offered to escort his friend to and from the ceremony, but the priest had kindly refused with a laugh. "Never would I willingly enter your hellish beast on wheels my friend. I'll stick to the old ways." A day before the ceremony, the old man had traveled by foot to the main road and had taken a bus into the city, making the tedious pilgrimage without any complaints. Yet, Father McCann never made it to his hotel for the night, for fate had other intentions. The Hound's dear friend had been murdered right there at the bus station after his arrival, beaten and stabbed by a pair of thugs after the priest had interfered with their assault upon a homeless woman.
After that tragedy, Sandor raced against time, hunting the scumbags down before the cops closed in. If anyone was going to deliver justice for Father McCann, it was going to be him, not the useless court system. The empty liquor bottle rolled loudly across the floor as the Hound slumped over and stretched out along the uncomfortable bench, his drunken smirk cruel and unforgiving as he recalled the rage he unleashed upon those rapist-thieves. Their mangled broken bodies had been dumped outside the police station afterwards, their faces bloodied to a pulp, making identification difficult for the cops, but by some miracle the men were still alive to cough up their confessions. Not long after sentencing, one coward committed suicide and the other refused to ever leave solitary confinement, too afraid of the monster that had attacked them.
In his friend's honor, Sandor had bought all of the pristine land surrounding the monastery, protecting it from any development and keeping the old man's grave site undisturbed. Sometimes the Hound imagined himself fixing the place up and living a peaceful life out here alone. He could be lost and forgotten by time, just like Father McCann, but he wondered if that would truly give him any peace. As long as Alayne was out there in the world, singing like a little bird, Clegane would have no peace no matter where he went.
Oblivious to the plans being made by their men, the two girls spent the afternoon in Melly's dressing room, sorting through her wardrobe in order to temporarily outfit Arya. Normally, Ramsay had all of Arya's clothing meticulously chosen by elite personal shoppers before making the final decisions himself. For now, however, Gregor was allowing no visitors to enter, or even approach, his fortress. The cleaning staff, gardeners, even the chef who came in from town five days a week to prepare their dinners, all had been put on hold until he and Ramsay deemed it safe again.
Melly knew this was the best way to proceed. She'd been on edge since Sandor Clegane had breached the gates of their home and forced his way into the house. If she had to cook more often and clean the house for a little while, she didn't mind. Before she'd come into Ramsay's possession, she'd had to take care of these kinds of everyday things for herself. The house was so vast that she and Arya had spent the morning closing up all the rooms they thought could be done without. They'd covered furniture with sheets, closed the curtains and shut the doors on about half of the house, and by lunch time Melly felt satisfied that they could make do with what was left. The Master and guest suites and her sitting room upstairs, Gregor's office, the great room, library, kitchen, dining room, gym and spa were all left open for use. Everything else was shut away. The house felt smaller now, more intimate.
After lunch, Gregor and Ramsay had headed into the gym and the girls upstairs. They'd raided Melly's closets, spreading clothes, shoes and lingerie out all over the dressing room and master suite. She found that Arya had similar taste to her own, and being that they were roughly the same size and coloring, it wasn't difficult for Arya to choose several outfits. They'd tried on different combinations of clothing, modeling for each other's approval. "Here, put this one on." Melly passed over a handful of lace and ribbon to the other girl. She couldn't help but notice how lovely Arya was as she watched the girl slip into a sheer, black baby doll lingerie set with matching panties and garters. She could see why Ramsay had chosen this girl. He was nothing if not consistent. Again, she thought, they could have been sisters.
"What do you think?" Arya asked, twirling. Melly could see her pink nipples through the sheer fabric, her full breasts filling the demi cups out perfectly, spilling over just enough, but not too much.
Smiling, she answered, "You look good enough to eat, I think.”
“I would have to agree with that.” Ramsay leaned against the doorway to the bedroom, smirking as he watched his pretty pet dance around. His dark hair was still damp from the shower and the Bastard of Bolton was dressed in a casual but sophisticated manner. His deadly smile was cool and his pale eyes gleamed with the fading light of the sun filtering in through the windows, ready to venture out in the coming darkness.
Ramsay held out an open hand, respecting the domain of Gregor’s bedroom, while beckoning Arya to come into his embrace. He pulled the half-naked girl close, molding Arya’s feminine frame against his body, while he raised her chin to look straight into her eyes with his possessive gaze. “I’m going out to see the boys, but you’ll be staying here till I return.” Ramsay silenced any protest with a caress of his thumb over the pet’s parting lips, feeling a slight quiver of apprehension and seeing a pooling of tears in her eyes. “While I’m gone, Gregor will be in charge of you. You are to obey and follow his commands in all things, pet. Is that understood?"
With tears in her eyes, Arya watched as Ramsay turned and left her. His goodbye kisses and promises to return did nothing to soothe the burning ache that she felt any time they were apart. She had only just gotten him back, and their time together had been so fleeting that the thought of being without her Master, and now also without the familiar comfort of Skinner to look after her, was unbearable. She knew she was safe here, and she enjoyed the other girl's company, however, Gregor Clegane frightened her more than she cared to admit.
"I'm so sorry, Arya," Melly said softly, crossing the room to stand beside her at the doorway. "I know it must be hard to see him go so soon." Arya turned to face her and saw real sympathy in her green eyes as Melly lifted a hand to brush away the tears that had begun to spill down her cheeks. "No harm will come to you, I promise you. Your Master will return," she said, smiling softly.
Arya allowed Melly to lead her to the bed and gently guide her to sit down on the soft, yellow brocade comforter. The other girl settled herself beside Arya and pulled her close. Ramsay's pet allowed herself to settle into the girl's embrace, resting her head on Melly's shoulder, seeking the comfort she so desperately needed. She could feel the swell of full breasts meeting her own as she leaned in. Her hand rested on the swell of a gracefully curving hip and she realized suddenly that they were both clad in nothing more than a few scraps of silk and lace. She lifted her head and their gazes met. "Don't cry, little one..." Melly murmured, leaning forward ever so slightly to kiss the tears that glistened on Arya's cheeks. "Gregor and I will take care of you."