12.10.11

Mountain - Part 12 - Preparations

The next several days were a whirlwind of activity, yet passed excruciatingly slowly for Melicent. Wedding preparations were fully underway. Melicent thanked the Old Gods and the New that her mother was feeling well enough to take things in hand, with the help of Septa Rohanne, Maester Alaric and Ronal the Steward. Her little sister Jeyne & her cousins Sarra & Emma were a great help, being involved in planning the wedding was something they thoroughly enjoyed. Even Nella grudgingly pitched in to help.
Melicent had always thought that planning her wedding would be a thrilling experience, but now she found she couldn't concentrate on the task. She just wanted the day to arrive. Each day, they all gathered in the sitting room to sew. The wedding gown needed to be cut, sewn and embellished. Gowns for the younger girls and Lady Sylva needed to be selected and altered. Menus needed planning, guest lists needed to be prepared, armour needed to be polished until it shone.

When the House Karstark Maiden's Cloak was retrieved from their trunks, Melicent was momentarily brought back to Karhold and the cold North. The cloak was very heavy, made of gleaming black fur, bear perhaps, or even direwolf, no one really knew anymore. It was trimmed with white ermine, flecked with black, and adorned with a beautifully embroidered white and silver sunburst. After much searching and cursing, Ronal was able to locate the House Clegane bride's Cloak.  Melicent would not see the Clegane Cloak until Lord Gregor draped it over her shoulders on the wedding day. Lady Sylva and Septa Rohanne had inspected it however, and found it to be a but musty, but satisfactory over all. “Nothing a good airing won't cure.” The Septa said.

Melicent wandered from task to task in a fog. Her needlework, which was normally nearly flawless, was not as neat as it could have been, and she found herself pulling out many stitches. The wedding gown was to be lovely, heavy silk in a warm white over a pale yellow underdress, the neck, sleeves and hem embroidered with intricate designs in deep yellow, black, and silver, mingling the colors of House Clegane and House Karstark. She eventually made enough mistakes that the Septa sent her away, charging her with supervising the flower gathering. She instructed servants to collect as many white and yellow flowers as they could find, then stole away out onto the castle wall, Laoch at her heels. The day was fine, the sun high in the sky, black and yellow banners streaming in a gentle wind.

She continued along the wall, passing silent sentries in black and yellow, curious to see what lay on the other side of the castle. She knew that her mother and the Septa would most likely be angry if they knew she'd wandered off, but she was willing to take the risk, as she needed time to herself. Time to think and escape from her family and the preparations for the wedding. She wished that Lord Gregor would return. Her last encounter with him had been confusing. She was not sure how to think of him or how to behave when he returned. He had been kind to her, but he was easily angered. She knew she must tread carefully where her husband to be was concerned.

She was not sure how long she'd walked, having been lost inside her head, but after a while the wall widened, and she could see a glint of the sun on water ahead of her. A little further and, she saw a lake below, sunlight glimmering on the slowly moving water. In the center of the lake was an island, and Melicent knew this must be the God's Eye. The Gods Eye was named for the lone island, which, from above, made the lake resemble a large eye. The view from the top of Harrenhal's high wall was spectacular. She could see the entire lake, sparking blue, and beyond the countryside sprawled for miles, lush fields, green orchards in tiny villages, sheep grazing on the gently rolling hillsides. This was beautiful country, but it made her heart ache for Karhold, it's view of the Shivering Sea and its surrounding forested lands. She wished she could go riding and explore the country, outside the castle walls, but she knew her father would never allow it, even with a company of men to protect her. All she wanted was to be alone.

The dog lay down and rested his huge head on her foot, which made her smile. She crouched down to stoke his soft grey head. “I want to be alone, but for you, my sweetling.” He looked up at her with serious brown eyes. “You're the only one who understands me, aren't you?” She rubbed his soft ears and he closed his eyes, leaning into her hand. Suddenly he began a deep rumble. Melicent heard the sound of heavy footsteps and she straightened up to see who approached. One of the Clegane Guardsmen appeared around the crenelation and bowed his head. LaÖch growled and rose to stand between her and the guardsman.

“Its alright dog, I won't come any closer,” he chuckled. He was older than Melicent, rugged and hard looking, but he gave Melicenty a crooked smile. “My Lady, you are being searched for.” he said.

“Searched for? By whom?” she asked with a sigh.

"By Ser Arys Dayne, m'Lady." he said, smiling in a way that seemed slightly apologetic. "He comes this way, and... erm... I thought you might not like to be surprised."

Melicent nodded, "Thank you Ser ... I'm sorry I do not know your name ..."

"Cregan,  my Lady. Not a knight, just a soldier. I watch this section of Wall with Reglas. If you need assistance, my Lady, call out and we'll hear you. We're just around that bend there." he said, pointing back in the direction that he had come.

She nodded. "You have my thanks, Cregan." She gave him a strained smile. It wouldn't do to forget her courtesies. Cregan bowed, turned and returned to his post. She sighed and gathered herself to face Arys. While she stood and waited, she took the dog's chain from around her waist and fastened it to his collar. She had brought the chain along in case he'd wanted to run too far ahead on the Wall, as she didn't want him to startle any of the guards. She needn't have worried, as he kept at heel for all of their walk. Now however, she decided to clip his leash on, as she knew he frightened Arys. She slipped the end of the chain over an iron spike and leaned down to scratch
Laoch's ears. He looked up at her with serious brown eyes. "It’s only for a minute darling." she told him.

Once again she heard footsteps approaching, but these steps sounded faster that Cregan's had. Urgent. She turned her gaze back out over the land, her back to the approaching Knight, and steeled herself for what she knew was to come.
LaÖch gave a soft growl deep in his throat and she knew Arys was behind her.

"Melicent, I have combed the castle & grounds searching for you." Ser Arys Dayne said, sounding annoyed and perhaps something more.

"I am here, Ser." She said without turning.

"I am speaking to you,
Melicent." he said sharply.

"I hear you, Arys." She still did not turn.

Dayne took a step toward her and the dog darted forward, stopping short when he reached the end of his tether. The Knight took a quick step back when the dog moved, but when he saw the animal was restrained, he laughed. Moving toward
Melicent, he grasped her arm hard and pulled her around to face him. She drew in a breath, sharply but did not cry out. "Let me go Arys, you're hurting me." The dog growled & lunged, hitting the end of his chain, straining toward them, but his chain held fast.

He laughed again, but there was no humor in his face. "And you think you have not hurt me? Do you think of nobody but yourself?" He twisted her arm hard & she gasped and pushed against him. He was a large man, and strong, his grip was like iron. She struggled and he shoved her up against the Wall. "I've heard what you did. So you're to be Lady of Harrenhal... Lady Clegane." he spat. "You're no better than a whore, selling yourself to a Lord for a title and a few soldiers. You'd rather marry that... monster... and be a Lady than marry me, a Dayne, a true Knight."

She laughed now, bitterly. "You are no true Knight, Ser."  He slapped her then, hard. Tears sprang to her eyes and she stopped struggling.  "Lord Clegane will kill you for this." she said coldly.

He smiled again, "You think he cares for you, little whore? I assure you that you are no more to him than one of the bitches in his kennel. How does that make you feel Lady Clegane? To him, you're nothing but a cunt to fuck & produce little dogs for him. And if you die trying, he won't mourn you, he'll find another cunt. You're disposable, Lady
Melicent."

"He... will... kill... you..." she repeated through clenched teeth, knowing it was true. "And I will not speak a word to save you!" she spat, surprising herself with her venomous words.

His eyes widened then, as if he'd just seen something for the first time. "Oh.... you care for him. Oh, I see it now..." He took her chin in his hand roughly & forced her to look up at him, his normally handsome features were distorted, twisted with rage. "He's had you already, has he? And now you fancy yourself in love with him. You've given to him what you refused to give to me, you little BITCH! "

He hit her again, she felt blood on her cheek. He slammed her harder against the wall & tugged at her skirts. "No... " she tried to cry out, to call for Cregan, but his big hand covered her mouth. She tried to fight him, but he rammed his fist into her stomach and the breath left her lungs. She struggled, but her vision was blurred and her strength was no match for his. She heard growling and snarling and she prayed that
Laoch would break free. Arys's hand was under her skirts, between her thighs, groping her, touching her. His hand was cold. She was crying...

And suddenly, he was gone and she was falling, sliding down the wall & hitting the ground hard. Someone was leaning over her, picking her up, supporting her as she tried to find her legs. There was noise, a commotion, a dog...
Laoch? Someone was shouting. She tried hard to focus. Cregan was there, he was picking Arys up off of the ground, slamming him against the wall... "How do you like it, Ser?" Cregan growled and punched the Dornishman with a mailed fist. She heard something crack & Arys screamed. Cregan hit him again, this time in the stomach, & he fell. She staggered and the other man held her up, she clutched at his tunic and he lifted her off her feet, carrying her away from the sound of Cregan's boot connecting with Arys's ribs. Laoch continued to bark ferociously, snarling & snapping, lunging, and Arys Dayne screamed again & again.

She turned her face into the soldier's chest and closed her eyes. Neither of them spoke on the trip back to the King's Pyre Tower. She found she was crying, silently and she could not seem to stop. She knew they'd reached the opening to her apartments when she heard Luthor's voice call out, "My Lady! What in Seven Hells happened to her?"

"Which is her chamber?" her companion asked in return. "Open the door." Luthor must have complied, as within a few moments, she was being placed gently in her bed. Mynne rushed in and cried out when she saw
Melicent on the bed, the two big soldiers standing over her, one in yellow, one in black.

"Mynne, Fetch Maester Alaric, there's a good girl." Luthor barked & she ran off, sobbing. "What happened to her, by the Gods man, who did this?" he yelled at the Clegane guardsman.

Melicent watched them as though through a fog as the soldier explained to Luthor how he & Cregan heard the dog barking and had rushed to investigate. He must be Reglas, she thought. He was big like Cregan, but younger & less heavily built. He had a handsome face and a quiet manner. There was blood on the front of his tunic. As he talked, he crossed the room and found the jug & basin. He poured water into the basin, carrying it carefully back to her bedside. He then found a clean cloth and dipped a corner into the basin. "May I, my Lady?" he asked and she nodded. He gently dabbed at her cheeks, and under her nose. The cloth came away red, so he dipped another corner into the water and continued.

"Thank you, Ser." she said shyly, and he nodded. She gave him a very small smile and he looked away, shyly. He was well spoken for a soldier, and she wondered where he'd come from.

"I have three sisters, my Lady." he replied, as though that should explain everything.

Just then the door burst open and her father stormed in, followed by Maester Alaric, her mother and Septa Rohanne. Her mother took one look at her & burst into tears. The Septa helped her to a chair. Her father looked at her disheveled state, the bloody cloth, the two soldiers and roared, "Girl, are you alright? Somebody tell me what in Seven Hells is going on here!"

"I'm alright, Father." she tried to smile, but somehow, seeing her father made her feel very small and her eyes once again filled with tears. 

Reglas put down the cloth and stepped away from the bed, as the Maester hurried over to take his place. As the Maester examined her, she listened to Reglas tell the tale once again. When he was done her father sat down heavily in a nearby chair. "Where is he now?" he asked Reglas.

"He was still on the Wall when I left, my Lord," he said. "If he is still alive, I'd assume he'd have been brought to the dungeons. Cregan is a dangerous man, but I doubt he'd kill the Snake outright. He'll know my Lord Clegane will want to be the one to have that privilege. Will you want to question him, my Lord? Shall I go and find out where they've put him?"

Lord Tomard sighed and nodded. "Yes, find out where he is and return. I will be waiting in my solar. I will want to question him, but not yet. Let him wait... let him sweat. I shall send a raven to Lord Clegane, he will wish to be informed immediately." He ran a hand through his thick silver hair. Reglas nodded and turned to go.

Melicent watched him leave the chamber as the Maester fussed over her. Her father turned toward the bed. "Are you sure you are well, my dear? He didn't ... that is, you're sure you're... Bloody Hell, you're sure that you're still a maiden?" Lord Tomard looked distinctly uncomfortable."

"No! He didn't! Of course I'm sure! Father!" She couldn't help but smile a little, feeling especially fond of her father.

The door opened & Nella entered.
Melicent braced herself for an explosion, but her sister was surprisingly calm upon hearing about the events concerning Ser Arys Dayne. "What will happen to him now?" Nella asked Lord Tomard. "Will there be a trial?"

"Lord Gregor is justice here, I have no jurisdiction. Gregor has a dim view of those who touch his property. It is more likely there will be trial by combat, or perhaps, knowing Gregor, no trial at all. The boy will not live, that is certain."

Nella nodded, "I am glad of it." and
Melicent couldn't help but feel the same.

Mynne fetched quill, ink and parchment for Lord Tomard, who wrote out a message, then left for his solar to await Reglas' return. The Maester, after coercing her to drink a cup of dreamwine, took the message and left to send a raven to Lord Gregor. Nella sat quietly in a chair by the window, as Lady Sylva and the Septa fussed over
Melicent. She wished they would all go and leave her. Suddenly she remembered poor LaÖch, chained up on the wall. Nella agreed to go and retrieve him, after being instructed to first visit the kitchens for some scraps of meat and perhaps a bone to calm him.

Melicent felt her eyes get heavy as the dreamwine began to take effect. She heard her mother and Septa Rohanne leaving quietly, and then all went dark. 

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5 comments:

  1. when will you finish the story? i cant wait!!!

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  2. oké hound girl!! i'll wait ... but you're work is awesome,it's hard to!!

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  3. real life has been way too busy lately :P wish i could just write!!

    don't give up on me, more is on the way :)

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  4. So Arys Dayne is dark-skinned when most of the canon Daynes are pale-skinned. Hello Unfortunate Implications.

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    1. Yes, good catch! So many reasons why Arys isn't the Dayne he wants so much to be. Third son, doesn't fit in, sent off to foster, all these things putting the Sword of the Morning further and further out of his reach. You almost could feel a little sorry for him, if he wasn't such a jerk.

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