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yourstruly-sephie · 9 days ago
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𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐑𝐓𝐄𝐄𝐍
𝐃 𝐫 𝐚 𝐠 𝐨 𝐧 𝐃 𝐫 𝐞 𝐚 𝐦 𝐬
𝟐𝟕𝟖 𝐀𝐂 | 𝐆𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐧’𝐬 𝐑𝐨𝐨𝐬𝐭
Air. Air. I need to breathe. Were the words that ran through Nyrella's mind as she hit the surface of the stagnant lake. The impact was painful–burned even, despite her entire body fully submerged in the cool waters. Her breath ripped from her lungs, and quickly swelled up with a choke full of the bitter liquid. She tried her best to hold the remaining air in her mouth, but it was close to nothing. Her eyes jutted open to see the surface feets away from her, reflecting the world she was desperate to breathe again.
She clawed her hands through the water, using her legs to kick herself up to the illuminating light, but she only found herself sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness. Her eyes burned with no choice but to close them. Her ears popped at the pressure of the depth causing them to ring painfully in irritation. She was desperate, desperate for the surface.
It was this desperation that made her panic boil over. With everything she's got, she frantically pushes and kicks  through the water, reaching her hands as far as they can reach. The remaining air in her mouth slowly escaped through the corners of her lips with every stroke. As if the lake were alive, it did not want to let her go. The water grew heavier with every resistance she made. The water gripped around her limbs, pulling her into the confines of the deep.
Her chest felt like caving-in, pulsating painfully with the rhythm of her heartbeat, that seemed only to get louder and louder as she sank. She wanted to scream. Do anything to get out. But as she opened her eyes again, she was farther away from the surface than when she first opened them. The hope in her mind of escape dwindled like the breath in her lungs.
Then, she thought about them. The people she cared about, who were waiting at the surface of the lake. She wondered if they knew she was drowning, and fighting to resurface and be with them once again. She wanted to feel their warmth, not the cold embrace of the desolate lake. She prayed with every being of her soul that they realized something was wrong. But, they could not see her, hear her, or anything else. She was in too deep.
There was only one thing she could do...wait.
Nyrella instinctively wrapped her hands around her throat, trying desperately to hold her breath for longer. Her body craved the sweet savor of oxygen. It was enticing, alluring like the song of sirens in fairytales and myths. She knew better not to listen to her grieving mind, denying the prospects, but she was hanging on a loose thread. She wanted a breath, to taste her own version of ambrosia, the nectar of the gods.
And she did. Her hands became limp as she took a deep, deep breath. Yet, there was no satisfaction. The hunger for oxygen did not curb as she continued to inhale large amounts of water. She felt the liquid burn her throat all the way to her lungs. The feeling of water filling her lungs was a heavy pain like pushing a rock up a steep mountain. In the end, the weight of water pressed inside her hurt badly.
As she inhaled more and more, her mind became muddled with vertigo. Her senses could not tell the difference between the feeling of the slow moving water or the freeness of the surface. Slowly, her mind became less of her own and leaned more to the darkness. She soon became calm—mind and body. She was cathartic, an out of body experience as she felt her soul slowly ascend her body, all in the while she sank to the depths of the lake's darkness.
She was too weak to fight anymore, opting to take comfort with the calm of her mind. With the little strength she had, she tilted her head back to the surface above. She felt her tears mold with the water and the pit of her stomach was deeper than this hole she was in. Hope made everything worse. She took another inhale of water to drown the worst of her thoughts. She welcomed the calmness because it was a step before death.
Her vision started to spot with black dots, then she started to hear them. Voices were calling out to her. It was soothing, their voices gentle and captivating. They were telling her to sleep, to close her eyes and find them in the comfort of darkness. And if she listened closely, she could hear the voices of the people she loved most, the ones above the surface.
Nyrella took another inhale, blacking out. Her body floated through the water, her limbs at a natural rest, and her face at peace. Yet, she was not entirely gone. In her mind, she was still alive, barely holding on to a strip of consciousness. She had found herself locked in a dream.
She stood at the shores of her birth place, Dragonstone. Dark clouds surrounded the island, the noise of thunder ringing throughout with a loud clash. She willed herself to move forward, feeling the crunch of sand underneath her boots. As she walked further and further, she could smell something burning, smoke and ash filled her nostrils. Fire, she said to herself. She walked a little fast, a jog in her steps. As she turned the corner of the beach, she found herself stopping abruptly. Her mouth gaped open, eyes bulging open, and breathlessly in shock.
Standing in the middle of the beach was a dragon, a dragon with three heads. The huge beast was staying still, its three heads looking down at a woman in front of them. A woman shared the same silver-blonde hair of the Valyrians. Nyrella took meek steps towards the figures. She observed as the woman reached her hand out to affectionately caress the heads of the frightening creature. A dragon rider, Nyrella whispered to herself but it reached the ears of the Valyrian woman and her dragon. The figures turned towards Nyrella, their demeanors changed to expressions that told her to come no further, a warning. Nyrella froze, holding her breath.
The heads of the dragon rose higher, their nostrils flaring and their sharp teeth making an appearance. The woman walked in front of the dragon, standing tall and mighty, she walked a couple of feet towards Nyrella. She stopped a good distance away, leaving enough buffer for the women to see and hear one another.
"Where am I?" Nyrella asked the woman.
The dragon rider scoffed, "you know where you are."
"Dragonstone, but why?" Nyrella furrowed her brows together.
The woman took another step forward. She extended her closed hands forward. Nyrella focused her attention on the woman's hand, curious of what she was to reveal. "Be careful what you wish for," she wanted Nyrella.
As she lifted her top hand, Nyrella was hit with disgust. In the woman's hand, she held glittering rubies swimming a puddle of melted gold and the deepest shade of red blood. The molten gold and blood dripped through the gaps of the woman's hand, landing on the dry sand. "The dragon must have three heads," the woman told her.
Nyrella took a step back as the items in the woman's hand turned into a black goo. Her head snapped towards the three-head dragon, their heads leaning forward as their mouths opened wide. Then, she looked back at the woman, who wore sad eyes like she was mourning someone's death. Her lips parted, "Dracarys."
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
"Come on, Nyrella," Arthur gritted his teeth as his arms pushed down on her chest. He had lost track of time as he pressed her chest, praying to the Seven for her to awake from the slumber of darkness. A few seconds felt like an eternity.
"Arthur..." Richard reached out to touch the Kingsguard's shoulder, but Arthur turned his body away from his friend.
"Don't you say it Richard!" he yelled at his friend as he stayed in tune, compressing Nyrella's chest.
"She's gone, Arthur, stop it now," Richard told his friend. "It's been minutes, there is no–"
"No! She's still here, she is still–"
Rhaegar laid his hand on Arthur's hands, stopping his friend, "Arthur. She's gone. She does not have a heartbeat anymore."
Arthur looked into the Prince's eyes, finding truth in his friend's gaze. It was everything Arthur was afraid of. At that moment, he felt the string holding his hope snap apart. Arthur fell back on the ball of his feet, a stream of hot tears escaped his violet eyes. He scanned over Nyrella's still cold body. There was no life in her, no rising chest nor heartbeat. He hated the silence. He wanted nothing more than to fill the void with the sound of her laughter. He wanted to hear her sing songs and lullabies. He wanted to hear her say his name. He wanted her back.
She took her limp hand in his, rubbing his thumb over her skin. "I'm so sorry Nyrella," his voice meek and his words wavered, "I failed you." His tears fell on her cold skin, sliding down to the stony pebbles that she laid on. He held onto her tightly, not having the will, the strength to let go. Not yet.
Suddenly, Arthur felt a squeeze from her hand. Then, a gasp.
"Nyrella! She's awake! Help her! Nyrella!" Everyone was shouting over each other.
Nyrella snapped open, a heap of water escaped her mouth. "Nyrella! You're okay! Cough it all up!" Arthur assured her as he continued to hold her to her side. Arthur quickly turned her to her side, patting her back with his open palm. She was coughing the water from her lungs along with the bits of contents from her stomach.
Nyrella took a long deep breath of air, she laid back on the pebbled shore. Rhaegar rushed to embrace his sister, holding her close to his chest. He found himself sobbing again. Nyrella was disoriented, lost in the situation. Arthur observed as she blinked her eyes a few times, adjusting to the brightness of the surface. She then found his gaze, "Arthur, I'm cold."
Immediately hearing Nyrella's words, Rhaegar let go of his embrace. He looked towards the other people in his company, giving them commands and directions to get help. In the meanwhile, Arthur grabbed a blanket close by, laying it on top of Nyrella's shivering body.
"You're going to be okay," Arthur told her as he cupped her face. "I've got you," he squeezed her hand.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
Days had passed since the day Nyrella almost drowned at the lake. Everyone was not the same ever since, filling the castle of Griffin's Roost with guilt, sorrow, and regret. There was not anything anyone could do to remedy the awful feeling that loomed over them. The thought of losing the Princess, their friend, was a dreadful thought that had a heart wrenching feeling in the chest. Everyone present at the lake that day felt responsible for causing such a disaster to happen in the first place.
Rhaegar, Jon, and Arthur were spending their time in one of the many drawing rooms of the castle. There was a silence among the three men as they did their best to fill the void conversation with tasks. The Dragon Prince has his head in an old book, so old that the binding threatened to come apart with every page turn. Arthur was attending to his great sword, Dawn, polishing the milky blade with a cloth, keeping the beautiful steel shining brighter than the stars at night. Jon stood in front of the glass window, looking out into the distance of the ocean, his mind spacing out as he thought of nothing yet everything. The three men were like this for sometime now.
Then, a young servant boy came into the room, striding over to the light-haired Prince. He handed Rhaegar a wrapped scroll that had a wax sigil of a stag. Rhaegar thanked the servant boy as he quickly departed. The Prince opened the letter, reading over the fine print of the contents inside.
"What does it say?" Jon questioned as he turned around to face the Dragon Prince.
Rhaegar shook his head, letting out a deep sigh, "It is from Robert Baratheon."
"What does he want?" The taste of disgust is ever so present on Jon's tongue.
"He asks for Nyrella's health on behalf of his father. He wishes to know if there are any accommodations needed for when we arrive at Storm's End in a fortnight. He hopes for a fast recovery for my sister," he explained the contents of the scroll.
Arthur sheathed Dawn away, striding over to Rhaegar's side and snatching the parchment for himself. "Dearest cousin?" The Kingsguard read with confusion.
"He called you 'dearest cousin?'" Jon turned around to show the nasty expression molded on his handsome features.
"You are related to the Baratheons?" Arthur asked Rhaegar.
"Through Rhaelle Targaryen. My grandfather, Jaehaerys' younger sister. Don't let the affectionate title fool you, Robert is only taunting," Rhaegar got up from his seat, walking towards the table of wine. "I was never fond of him and his lifestyle," he added on as he gripped the handle of the flask.
"I heard he fathered a bastard up in the Vale with a common woman, and now that he has eyes to betrothed himself to a northern lady. If I was one of the Seven, I would not have him reproduce offspring. Having one Robert Baratheon is toture enough," Jon crossed his arms over his chest.
"Must be death for you then when you stay at Storm's End," Rhaegar told the redhead, pointing his chalice at him before drinking the sweet wine.
Arthur set the parchment down, "why wouldn't Lord Steffon write himself?"
"Because Lord Steffon wants a betrothal between Robert and Nyrella," Jon responded.
"What?" Arthur turned to Rhaegar with confusion, "you never told me this?"
The Heir of Dragonstone set his chalice down on the table, he shrugged his shoulders, "It's never going to happen. Lord Steffon could try as he might, I am not letting a man like Robert near my sister."
"And is there anyone else that has been trying for her hand," Arthur blurted out.
"Of course," Rhaegar answered. "It won't stop until she is married or at least betrothed, but it seems difficult to wish for something to come hastily. My sister has not expressed any interest in who she wants to marry."
Arthur tilted his head slightly at Rhaegar. "What about Myles?"
"What about Myles?" Rhaegar questioned.
"What about me?" Myles said as he heard his name almost immediately when he walked into the room. The three men turned to the knight with wide eyes, surprised at him in the drawing room.
Rhaegar smiled at his former squire, "Good to see you, Myles. How is Nyrella? Is she faring well with her fever?"
Myles made his way to a nearby chair, "The maester said that her fever is going down, and predicts in a few days she will be let out of bed. But other than that, Nyrella is asking for you three. She wants you all to visit her."
Jon pursed his lips, "Are you sure she said all three of us? She must've only said Rhaegar and Arthur."
The Knight of Maidenpool shook his head in disagreement, "she said to all three, and she wants the visit now if it is possible."
"She is not angry with you Jon," Arthur spoke directly to the redhead, his tone gentle and assuring. "She does not hold what happened against you."
"I think I shall pass the opportunity," Jon sighed, swiping his hand over his hand. "I need to meet up with my steward to talk about the budgetary." With that, Jon nodded towards his friend, striding across the room and out into the hallway of the castle.
Rhaegar watched the lord go, knowing that feeling he must be going through. It would be a lie if Rhaegar said he did not feel the same. There were moments during his days and nights, thinking about what he could have done differently on that fateful day at the lake. It was a guilt that twisted and turned deep inside his stomach, aching terribly.
"Now you two must go," Myles licked his dry lips, he tried wearing a light smile to the duo, "her only request is that she is not left alone."
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
The atmosphere inside Nyrella's temporary compartments was a dull one. The curtains were drawn closed, emitting little sparse light that managed to pierce through the fabric. There were many concoctions and medical instruments laying around the room, sitting on chairs or nearby the vanity and nightstand. And at the center of all was a sickly Nyrella, buried under large amounts of blankets and a wet cloth over her forehead.
Rhaegar slipped to her side, intertwining his hands with her's. A ghostly tight lipped smile formed as he tried to find the strength to speak, "You look better than the other day."
Nyrella smiled back weakly, but a series of coughs trailed after. She covered her mouth with her arm, coughing out the contents in her lungs. Rhaegar grabbed the nearby bucket, pushing it towards his sister's side. Nyrella mumbled her gratitude, spitting the greenish yellow phlegm into the bottom of the container. Once she was done, Rhaegar returned the bucket to its original place.
"That is what the Maester said," she coughed into her arm again. "But I still have a fever and the occasional shivers."
"You will get better," Rhaegar tightened his hold on her hand. "You have the blood of the dragon in you," he told her as he rubbed his thumb over her hand.
"They say that us Targaryens do not get sick," Nyrella piqued into a teasing grin, "but I could count on my finger the Targaryens that have."
"That is because they did not have dragons," Rhaegar explained.
Nyrella hummed, "does that mean my fate is sealed?"
"No, it is not sweet sister," Rhaegar extended his hand to stroke the side of her face, "you are strong, and you will not be a name etched on a stone. I won't allow it."
Nyrella found comfort in her brother's words. She turned her head to the right, where a silent Kingsguard stood. "Why are you so far away, ser? Are you afraid I'll get you sick?"
Arthur bowed his head at Nyrella, taking a step forward, "I do not want to intrude your conversation with your brother."
"Intruding? Never. If I wanted to talk to Rhaegar alone, I would have only asked for him, but I asked for you and..."
"Jon extends his apologies," Arthur spoke, "He had other engagements to attend to."
The princess hummed, turning her head back to look at her brother, "that is not the only reason he did not come is it? I have not seen him since we came back to Griffin's Roost, and I do not blame him for what happened, all I want is—"
"Take a breath, Ny," Rhaegar interrupted. "You might not blame him, but he blames himself." Rhaegar took another deep exhale, "you really scared us. We thought...we thought you were gone. I saw you take your last breath, and ..."
Nyrella squeezed Rhaegar's hand, forcing him to look into her eyes, "I thought so too, but... I—not until I— I had a dream, Rhaegar. A dragon dream."
Dragon dreams were not an uncommon thing for members with the blood of the dragon. Many Targaryens and some Blackfyres alike were given this gift, or some would say, curse, through generations and generations. It is their blood, their ties to Old Valyria, and bond to their dragons that gave them the ability to have prophetic dreams that were known for their vibrancy, violence, and dragons. These dreams were not like other dreams. Dragon dreams foretold the future and destiny. Daenys the Dreamer was the most famous Targaryen for her dreams. She foretold the doom of Valyria through her powerful prophetic dreams of dragons falling from the sky and the fourteen volcanoes erupting lava and smoke. It was through her dreams that saved the Targaryens and gave them a new purpose in the far lands of Westeros. Many Targaryens seeked their dreams to imitate the same glory as Daenys, but dreams are never a straight answer. Many Targaryens are struck with misfortune and tragedy with their dreams, more than glory.
"Tell me about it," Rhaegar urged, eager to hear the dream. From a young age, Rhaegar had frequent dragon dreams that often led him to his fascination with reading and spending time alone with books. He never had guessed Nyrella would have the ability to dream.
"I was on the shores of Dragonstone. I saw this woman with a three-headed dragon by her side. She had hair like ours and she was a dragon rider because I felt her connection to the dragon. Then, she turned to me, showing me her palm..." Nyrella swallowed the stone in her throat, she cannot forget the gory imagine of the woman's hand.
"What was on the palm of her hand?" Rhaegar snapped Nyrella out of her spacing stare.
"Rubies swimming in a puddle of molten gold and blood," she told him. She flicked her eyes deep into Rhaegar's indigo irises, "'The dragon must have three heads,' she warned me."
Rhaegar came to a halting quiet.
"Then, the dragon burned me with its fire. That is when I woke up," she told him. "I haven't been able to keep it out of my mind. The fire, the items in her hand, the woman... it all felt so real. Do you think...it is possible that dragons could exist again?"
"Dragons have not existed for years, Ny. It is not possible they could exist now," Rhaegar answered.
"But our great grandfather had a dream about dragons—"
"And Aegon died, along with his heir and his Lord Commander in Summerhall," Rhaegar blurted out. "Dreams are not easy to foretell."
"Then what does it tell, brother," she responded with a steady expression, no joy present on her face. She could not help but feel slighted by her brother. He treats her like a child and she hates it.
Rhaegar let go of Nyrella's hand, standing up from the bed. "You should not worry about your dream. We shall not speak of it again," said with a forceful tone. He turned around to leave the room, but Nyrella was not done with him.
"I forgot to tell you," Nyrella spoke up, "before I felt the flames, I saw a red star paint the sky."
Rhaegar stopped, processing the new information. Nyrella desperately wanted him to turn around and face her. She knew he was hiding something from her, and all she wanted was for him to tell her. She needed the answer to the dreams that had been on her mind for days since she woke from the lake's slumber. But, Rhaegar continued towards the exit and his figure disappeared behind the door.
Nyrella buried her head deeper into the feather pillows, she felt a surge of insignificant cover her mind. Her chest was heavy, and a round of coughs escaped her throat, meekly covering her mouth with the back of her hand. She also felt weak. The remnants of the lake were still with her, affecting her health and relationships with the people around her. She could not stand up without vomiting blood and her food, and she could not have a decent conversation with someone without them looking at her as if she was a fragile little thing and them having to walk around with eggshells. She wanted what she had before her drowning.
"Are you okay princess?" Arthur took a step forward, his voice filled with concern as he noticed Nyrella's coughing episode took longer to decline.
Nyrella extended her other hand, shaking it towards the Kingsguard, a signal for him not to come closer. Then, she grabbed the bucket next to her bedside, turning her body to spit the nasty contents from her coughing. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, taking a desperate breath.
"I should call the maester to—"
"No, please. I don't need any more coddling from the maester. I am very well, ser," she told him as she laid back on bed.
Arthur nodded. He could tell by the tone of Nyrella's voice that she was frustrated, and he did not want to add on to her mood or worse be at the end of it.
Nyrella shifted her focus to Arthur again, "why didn't you leave with Rhaegar?"
"Because I heard you didn't like being alone," Arthur responded truthfully. He knew he could have followed Rhaegar out of the room, but even before coming to see Nyrella, he knew he could not leave her so easily. The words that Myles said earlier about how Nyrella did not want to be alone, striked something in Arthur. He understood why.
For the first time in a long while, Nyrella smiled for real. "Thank you, Arthur," she told him. Staring into his violet eyes, she understood that he knew her reason. Being alone in the middle of the lake drowning, unlocked a fear she never had before, a fear of being alone in death. She never wanted to feel that again.
"Thank you for everything," she continued. "I never thanked you for saving my life. If it weren't for you, I would be as good as dead. I owe you a debt for which I cannot pay even with how much gold dragons I can offer. Thank you for not giving up on me, I-I—"
"You are welcome Nyrella," Arthur assured. He took another step forward, closing the distance between them. Nyrella extended her hand towards him, which Arthur gladly took in his.
Arthur fought the emotions that dared to escape his well-crafted facade. The last time he touched her hand, she was cold like ice, a mark of someone who has passed. But now, feeling her warmth against his skin, it overwhelmed him with relief.
"Are you okay Arthur?" Nyrella questioned, pulling her hand away from him. Arthur exhaled, cherishing her touch for a second more. "You seem sadder most days," Nyrella tried to find his eyes, but he kept his gaze averted.
"I am all right, just tired," he lied through his teeth, an aching smile forming on his bow-shaped lips.
Nyrella hummed, burying her head deeper into the comfort of her pillows, the sleep was creeping onto her eyes, "Maybe when I am recovered we can spend the day at the gardens, just us two, like old times—happier times."
Arthur nodded, "I look forward to that day. I will have to ask your brother's permission."
"Nonsense," declared Nyrella. Her eyes flickered with playfulness, "you could always go secretly to meet me."
He chuckled at the proposition, "like old times? I don't think I can, that is more your play."
"It does not hurt to try, ser," Nyrella jested.
"Nyrella," Arthur started, "do you believe in what you saw in your dream?" He questioned, changing back to the topic that made Rhaegar leave.
The princess thought for a second before nodding slowly. She still did not know how to interrupt her dragon dreams, but it felt too important to plainly ignore it like her brother had told her. She knew he had dragon dreams as well, especially when they were younger. Yet, he never told her what they were. "Truly. Do you know anything about it?" Nyrella cleared her parched throat.
"This is the first time I've heard such a dream and I am not suitable to give my judgement...but the maesters might," he offered. "They have documents about your family and maybe about their dreams."
"A maester's retelling can never be the whole truth," Nyrella remarked.
"But it can help you to the truth," Arthur shined an optimistic light, "you must try."
Nyrella licked her lips, pondering at Arthur's words. She weighed her choices. It would be a long journey to find the answers she was looking for and there is a certainty that she might not even come to a conclusion, but she could never know unless she tried. "Why are you helping me?"
"Because..." Arthur paused, hesitating on the words he would say next. "Because it's my duty." Another lie straight from his noble mouth. He did not have the strength to say what he truly wanted to say to her.
Nyrella slightly nodded her head, trying hard for the smile on her face to not falter. She should have known it would be his answer. It was never her expectation to hear anything more than that, but it felt like a stab in her chest and she did not understand why.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
Arthur's index slid on the spines of the old worn-out covers that belonged to the tattered books. He quickly read each name quickly as he went, in search of something that he needed. It has been quite awhile since he found himself in the company of so many books surrounded with dust and the smell of aging parchment. In his hands, he carried a few books that weighed heavier than he expected and some of them looked to have never been touched since their creation.
"Arthur, the maester gave me all the scrolls in the archive that mentions the Targaryens," Jon said as he approached his Dornish friend with a handful of browning parchment. Arthur turned towards the lord, extending his hand out to read what he found.
"I wouldn't read about that one," Jon tried to warn Arthur, but the Kingsguard already was reading the contents inside the scroll.
"This is a receipt of how many barrels of summer wine Prince Daeron bought," Arthur turned to Jon with a raised brow.
Jon shrugged, "I warned you. Not all of these scrolls are as important as some."
Arthur shook his head, giving the scroll back into Jon's hands, "a hundred barrels for one person." He walked past the redhead towards a nearby table.
"But he didn't die from alcoholism which is a feat I dare say so," Jon grinned as he turned to see Arthur place the books he carried on the wooden surface. Jon followed after him, taking a seat on the chair and spreading the scrolls around.
"You don't think of doing the same, do you?" Arthur raised a brow at Jon, who was grinning like a madman. He fully knew the answer to his own question which made him shake his head in disappointment.
Jon rolled his eyes, spreading his arm wide, "Come on Arthur, life is too short to only have a small amount of wine. Live a little, I know you didn't spend the golden dragons you won. Might as well treat yourself now before we depart back to King's Landing soon."
"There are better things spent than wine," Arthur told his friend.
"Whatever you say but my opinion stays the same," Jon responded, taking the nearest scroll in front of him and reading the contents.
Arthur chuckled lightly. There were moments when Jon could be irritating, annoying, and plainly a handful to be around, but other than that Jon was a good honest person, loyal to his friends. Arthur appreciates that Jon accompanied him to the library to help his search to uncover the answers to Nyrella's dragon dreams. The lord did not hesitate in his answer. Even though he does not have the will to visit Nyrella, there is no doubt he will do anything to help or support her. He cares very much about her.
"You know..." Jon interrupted the quiet that had befallen them. Arthur hummed, signaling that he was listening. "Prophetic dreams are rare. Only a few Targaryens are gifted with premonition. I find it interesting that Rhaegar and Nyrella have it."
Arthur looked at Jon with furrowed brows, "Rhaegar and Nyrella?"
"Yes, they both have these so-called dragon dreams. Well, Rhaegar has them more than Nyrella," Jon stated, unscrolling another piece of old parchment.
"Rhaegar, also, has these dreams?" Arthur was careful to ask. He closed the book he was reading to listen to what Jon had to say.
Jon hummed, "Obviously. I am surprised you didn't ask him. He mentioned once that he read about this prophecy about a prince that was promised."
"The Prince that was promised," Arthur repeated the words.
"That is all I know. I didn't care to listen more, I figured it was some Targaryen nonsense," Jon shrugged and discarded the parchment in his hands.
Arthur's mind started to turn. He had no idea Rhaegar had these dreams, and from his understanding, Rhaegar has been exposed to prophecies earlier than Nyrella. It made sense to Arthur why he asked why he did yesterday towards hearing Nyrella's retelling what she experienced in her dream. But, he still did not have the answer as to why he told Nyrella that her dreams were insignificant. Arthur would think Rhaegar would be supportive...unless he was hiding something.
"What are you two doing here?" The familiar rich tones of Rhaegar's voice echoed through the room, every syllable bouncing off the walls.
Arthur and Jon stopped what they were doing, snapping their attention to the Dragon Prince, who was approaching them with a curious expression. There was no time for the duo to hide their findings. Arthur would need to confront him directly.
When Rhaegar reached his friends, his gaze was immediately scanning over the text of leather bound covers and the scattered parchment all over the table. "Studying my family history? I hope it is not about Nyrella's dream," Rhaegar asked as he picked up one of the many scrolls. He looked over between his two friends, wanting his question to be answered.
Arthur clenched his hand, "It is. We are helping her find answers to what she saw—"
"You heard me clearly, Arthur," Rhaegar interrupted, setting the scroll down, "There is a reason why I told her to never speak of it. It is for her own good."
"Yes but—"
"There are no buts," Rhaegar sternly said. "You are doing a chivalrous action to help, but I feel you are letting your affection for my sister lead your decisions."
Arthur tightened his fist, "you are wrong about that. I am not making decisions based on my affections for your sister."
"Then what is it? Duty?" The Dragon Prince challenged. "We both know duty is not your answer. I know it is difficult to let go of your feelings to my sister, but —"
"I am well aware of what you are going to say. You do not have to repeat them to me for they live in my mind always," Arthur told him.
Rhaegar nodded, swallowing the dryness in his throat. He could see the torture in Arthur's eyes and the built up pain he has from hiding away his feelings. But there was nothing Rhaegar could do. "As a friend, I cannot tell you about what I know about dragon dreams, but I will tell you that it would be better for Nyrella not to know. She has duties as a princess to fulfill."
"Like marrying her off," Arthur answered bitterly.
"As I said before. She has not shown interest in anyone during her tour, so I decided to arrange a gathering of suitor's for her when we arrive at Storm's End," Rhaegar announced.
"What about Myles," the Kingsguard blurted out. There was a mild snap when Myles' name came out of his mouth that did not go unnoticed by his friends.
Jon tilted his head, "Myles Mooton?"
"And what about him?" Rhaegar questioned.
"She has shown interest in him," Arthur answered, clutching his jaw.
Rhaegar hummed before letting out an exhausting sigh, "and if she did. I would not allow it."
"What?" Arthur was taken aback by Rhaegar's directness. This was not the answer he expected from Rhaegar, clearly the opposite of what he thought. "Why? Myles is a strong candidate for your sister's hand."
Rhaegar licked his chapped lips, "do you remember when Nyrella and I had an argument a few years ago during Viserys' name day?"
The Kingsguard nodded slowly, not entirely sure of where this conversation was heading.
"I was angry and I said a horrible thing to her," Rhaegar recounted the day they stood on the beach and saw her tear-stained cheeks, "I hurt her most by telling her who in their right minds would marry her if they knew she cannot provide an heir. She is..." Arthur did not connect what Rhaegar was implying.
"She is infertile. The very reason my father did not wed us and the reason I cannot marry her to Myles. Myles wants a family, and I would be taking that choice from him if I allowed it," Rhaegar spoke solemnly.
Arthur could not believe what he was hearing. "So you would let her marry someone else? Do you know the consequences of what would happen if they found out? What would they do to your sister?"
"They won't find out," Rhaegar assured. "I will make sure of it."
"This is unfair to Nyrella," Arthur said. He felt bad for being bitter towards Myles and Nyrella. He wanted nothing more than to unhear the information Rhaegar gave to him because witnessing someone tearing two people apart without their knowledge felt painful to witness. Myles and Nyrella never had a chance in the beginning because their lives were already set up for them without their consent.
"It is, but this is how the game is played."
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yourstruly-sephie · 27 days ago
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𝐍𝐲𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚’𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐭: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐓𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞
𝘽𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚. “It was white gown made with the fine fabric of organza. It moved delicately through the air as she twirled. The perfect attire that would not pull her down as she played in the waters of the lake.” - 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙖𝙙𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙖𝙠𝙚
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yourstruly-sephie · 27 days ago
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𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐓𝐖𝐄𝐋𝐕𝐄
𝐓 𝐡 𝐞 𝐋 𝐚 𝐝 𝐲 𝐨 𝐟 𝐭 𝐡 𝐞 𝐋 𝐚 𝐤 𝐞
𝟐𝟕𝟖 𝐀𝐂 | 𝐆𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐧’𝐬 𝐑𝐨𝐨𝐬𝐭
Nyrella wrapped her arms around her delicate frame as she stood in front of the giant window. The window was built of glass—polished and clear to see the alluring view of tidal waves crashing against the cliffs, where the castle stood. It was still dark outside, a mere two hours before dawn arrived. The sky was pitch black when she came, but as time flew by, the sky slowly colored itself a shade lighter. It was currently a dark gray along with a cluster of dark clouds illuminated by the moon's gleam. The ocean's surface glistened under the soft light as it moved, yet it was the only thing the bare eyes could spot. The ocean was not blue and crystal as they are in the daytime, but was endless and void—dark enough to eat any piercing light.
There was a cold chill that breezed through the empty drawing room. Nyrella hugged herself a little tighter, pulling the fabric of her thin shawl to cover like a blanket. It was not like her to wake up at such a time, but she could not sleep. She tried to, yet she constantly thrashing around the entire night, trying to find a comfort position on the soft mattress and silk sheets. There was no hope of sleeping now, so she decided to stay awake, waiting for her other company to do so as well. It would be hours before they did—most of them are not morning people.
"Ny? What are you doing here?" A tired voice croaked behind her. Nyrella jumped slightly in her place, turning sharply on her heels to spot the sudden intruder to her peaceful lone time.
Rhaegar was in his small clothes. His long elegant silver-blonde hair was disheveled like a crow's nest. He held a candle holder with his right hand, holding the warm light of the fire in front of him. He looked worn out, even though he was the first to turn in for the night. He always looked tired.
"You scared me," Nyrella said as she laid a hand over her heart. She felt another chill through the room, clinging to the thin shawl for warmth.
Rhaegar took the opportunity to stride forward, rubbing his eye with his other hand. "Couldn't sleep?" He asked her as he stopped in front of her.
She hummed a response. Close up, Nyrella noticed how dark and purple his eye bags were by the candle's light. It was worse than prior days. "You should go back to sleep, Reg. You have a long day ahead," she laid her hand on his elbow, rubbing soft circles.
"And you don't?" Rhaegar amused. His lips twitched upwards at the corners.
"All I will be doing is staying in the castle walls without any company, while you and the others go out to hunt for a few days," Nyrella remarked.
Rhaegar hummed, "Right. The Hunt." He had forgotten momentarily that later on the day, he and the rest of his companions would leave for a hunting trip. It was Jon's idea—a somewhat idea of a getaway. "Why don't you accompany us then?"
Nyrella straightened up, a puzzled expression written over her features. "Me? I thought I was not allowed to go?"
"There are some dangers that come along with hunting, but it is a valuable experience. You've been practicing your archery and sword lessons, right?" Rhaegar said as he shifted his stance.
"Yes, I have," the Targaryen princess confirmed. She did not miss a day, despite being on the road and keeping it a secret from everyone. She had let Barristan in on her training, and he became a great mentor to improve on her skills. She was better than she started.
"Then, you are prepared," Rhaegar answered. "These walls might protect you, but you will be safer under my watch along with Arthur, Jon, Barristan, Richard, and Myles."
"Like I need any man to be safe," she rolled her eyes. "Will the others be okay if I go? I do not want to intrude on the bonding experience."
"They cannot turn you away, that is for sure. They will not mind it, especially Myles."
Nyrella did not expect to blush this early on the day. She tilted her head lowly, hiding her face from Rhaegar's gaze. "Well, Jon, he will make a fuss," she shifted the focus of the conversation.
Rhaegar sighed, "that he will as always, but you will just need to ignore him until he eventually stops complaining."
"Why now?"
"Now what?" Rhaegar tilted his head.
"Why are you letting me go? You never let me come with you or the others? What made you change your mind? Me practicing archery and sword fighting is not the only reason, is it?" Nyrella tried to make sense of everything.
"There is not another reason," he responded, but Nyrella could tell he was holding something back from her.
She slowly nodded her head to signal her understanding. "I should begin packing then if I am to join the hunt. You should go back to sleep as well, you still look tired."
"I will," Rhaegar returned the smile, "you should go first. I want to stay here for a moment."
Nyrella hesitated to leave. "Are you well Reg? I've noticed you've been more exhausted." And distant. She noticed many changes in her brother's behavior since she arrived in Summerhall. Of course, he was melancholic in his birth place, but it remained still, even when they left the burned castle. It was the way he looked into the distance with a void expression as if he was in deep thought along with a frown to pair. Or how unexpectedly, he would remove himself to be alone. He worried her.
"I'm fine, Ny, really. All I need is rest," was Rhaegar's answer. Yet, it did not feel like the truth, far from it. He was good at lying and hiding things, but he could not hide or lie to her this time. She noticed, and his denial confirmed it.
She had two choices: confront him now or wait. "Okay," she smiled at him, "please don't stay up for too long." She decided on the latter. Somewhere deep inside her, she felt this was not the best time to force him to reveal what was bothering him. It felt too important for a passing conversation. It felt important. She would have to wait for the perfect time to talk to Rhaegar again.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
"I cannot believe he let you go with us," Jon came to Nyrella's side, huffing a puff of air to the side of her face. Nyrella rolled her eyes, ignoring his childish attitude. She continued to tighten the straps of the leather bags on her horse's saddle.
"Rhaegar and I talked about you making a fuss," she shook her head in disappointment. "You could have at least proven me wrong," she pulled the last strap securely, before turning to face the redhead.
"I am not making a fuss," he crossed his arms over his chest and squinted towards Nyrella's direction. "I am genuinely curious because this—"
"Was meant to be a bonding experience among men," Nyrella finished his sentence, "yeah, yeah, I know. I heard you tattletaling to Richard over the by the stables. Not very discreet I should add on, and not very nice."
"Sneaky, you are..." Jon continued to talk.
Nyrella sighed, trying to conceal her irritation from her friend. She turned back to her horse's side, trying to distract herself from Jon's gambling and rambling. She tried her best to ignore him. Then, from the corner of her eyes, she spotted a glimpse of silver striding from her right.
"Arthur," she rotated to the Kingsguard, shining a smile to him. Her sudden acknowledgment made the Dornishman cease in his tracks and interrupted Jon.
"Princess Nyrella," Arthur bowed his head. "Is there anything I can do for you?" He stood tall once again as he asked the question. Under the peaking light that jutted through the dense cloud, Arthur looked every inch of the knight he was. The sunlight bounced off his silver armor, almost coloring the steel, gold. His dominant hand laid comfortably on the hilt of Dawn, and in his other, the standard helm of the Kingsguard. There was not any other knight that could outshine Arthur, not even the Prince of Dragonstone.
"Not at all, ser," Nyrella responded. "I want to ask if you are well? Have you finished packing for the hunt?"
Arthur approached the duo. He nodded towards Jon's direction, acknowledging his friend's presence. He, then, caught Nyrella's gaze. A tightness in his chest formed. "I am well. Thank you for asking. I just finished packing, and I am on my way to the garrison to meet your brother."
"Why is Rhaegar in the garrison?" Jon furrowed his brows in curiosity
"Safety measures. He wants them on alert, if anything were to happen during our departure to the woods."
"That is very like my brother," Nyrella chuckled. "But, I am certain nothing will happen while we are hunting. Everyone in the party are capable hunters, not to mention capable swordsmen."
Arthur hummed, nodding his head, "to assure you, Princess. It is a tedious procedure that your brother must follow."
"And is wearing your heavy armor procedure as well? You are too overdressed for the occasion," her tone was playfully dangerous. If Arthur was not careful to tread waters, he would fall harder for her. It took all his strength to shake her allure.
"Kingsguard procedure. I must be on the ready constantly to do my duty to protect and defend you and Rhaegar," Arthur stated bluntly.
Nyrella nodded, her smile faltering slightly. She expected him to return her playfulness. "Of course," she said meekly. "Will you be riding with Jon and I to the hunting grounds?" There was hope in her eyes.
Arthur averted his gaze, looking behind Nyrella, where the castle's gate was. "Unfortunately not," he answered with the same tone he kept throughout the conversation, "I will be riding with Rhaegar and Barristan."
"Oh," disappointedly laced in her response. She rubbed her arm awkwardly, feeling embarrassed.
"I suppose Myles would gladly ride with you," Arthur suddenly followed, yet his eyes were still averted. He swallowed the hard lump in his throat. It felt like treason for him to say such a thing.
Nyrella tilted her head back to look up at him. She blinked a few times, confused by the suggestion, "Ser Myles?"
"Yes," he clarified. "I believe he would be honored to be by your side through the journey."
"I don't under—"
"Thank you Arthur," Jon intruded in the conversation, feeling a thick tension rising around them. He laid a hand on Nyrella's shoulder, "you should go to Myles and ask for his answer?"
Nyrella was hesitant to move from her spot, but Jon willed her to go. With enough persuasion from the redhead, Nyrella took her leave towards the stables, bidding the gentleman in her presence a farewell. The men watched Nyrella's figure walk into a distance, then disappear around a corner. A silence fell over Jon and Arthur, but the dense air was gone.
"Spiteful of you to consider Myles," Jon amused, raising a brow at his dark-haired friend, who carried a solemn expression.
"I was not—"
"Do not deny it Arthur. I know you well. Why did you lie to her?" Arthur snapped his eyes to Jon.
"How—"
"You don't lie often, but when you do, it's unnatural. But I'm not talking about that, why did you lie to her? You clearly wanted to and—"
"Because I have to," Arthur took the chance to cut off his friend midway. He took a pause, exhaling deeply and his hand combed through his hair, disheveling it in the process. "I did not want to lie to her, but I have to," he repeated.
He closed his eyes, taking a deep inhale. "I have to let her go, Jon. She is not mine, and she never will. So it is best if I distance myself away from her."
Jon chuckled, "An amusing joke, Arthur."
But the Kingsguard did not make a move to laugh or show any emotion of amusement. His expression was stone and serious. Jon, cleared his throat, "maybe not," he muttered lowly under his breath.
"I shall go now," Arthur turned to leave but Jon grabbed his arm, stopping him from going to the garrison.
"I apologize, I did not mean to jest," Jon mended, "you cannot give up on her so easily, not for Myles or anyone that is."
Arthur shook his head, "Giving man hope is a dangerous thing." With that, Arthur pivoted on the balls of his feet and walked away with the heartbreaking tightness in his chest.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
The entourage was a small one, consisting of the Prince of Dragonstone and the Lord of Griffin's Roost. Next, the Knight of Maidenpool and a squire of House Lonmouth. Then, accompanied by two deadly Kingsguards. Finally, the one and only princess of the Seven Kingdoms. All seven individuals were on the road towards the nearby forest that was owned for centuries by the head of House Connington.
At the head of the group, Nyrella rode on her horse with Jon on her left and Richard on her right. Myles had turned the offer down to ride by her side since Rhaegar had asked him first and he could not break a promise to the heir. There was a considerable gap between her and the rest of the riding party. The Princess was a free rider, experienced through her months of traveling throughout the lands her family had conquered eons ago. The feeling of wind in her hair, and kisses of the cool air were feelings she loved so much. Jon and Richard tried their best to catch up to her, but as they drew closer Nyrella galloped faster on her steed.
The hunting grounds were not faraway as Jon had said an hour ago, predicting it would be another hour or two for them to arrive at the destination. It fascinated Nyrella at how quickly the environment changed as she continued to journey south. Griffin's Roost was a castle perched on a huge cliff that overlooked misty waters of Shipbreaker Bay. It reminded her of Casterly Rock, but she did not mention the bit to Jon, fearing it would offend him to be compared to the Lannisters he despised so much. However, unlike the gold and emerald castle of the lions, Griffin's Roost was surrounded by stone, sharp ridges, and mountains.
Yet, just south, everything stone and cold turned warm and filled with forest green. Lands were more forgiving and fertile, a place where life could grow and breathe. As Nyrella came to a trot with her steed, the tree leaves along the dirt road were falling over her and landed randomly close to her—sometimes on her. Her eyes were focused above her, extending an arm to catch a falling leaf that came her way. At first she was only grabbing the empty air, however, somehow the leaf changed direction and fell elegantly on the palm of her soft hands. She smiled, bringing the specked leaf of green, brown, and yellow closer to her face.
"Caught yourself dinner?" Jon jested as he trotted by her side. She could tell he had to gallop a distance to catch up to her because he was a mixture of scents—drenched sweat and natural odor.
"No, even better," Nyrella ignored his mocking. She held up the leaf that was around the same size as her hand. She grinned at him, "A token for my first hunting trip."
"You've got to be mad if that is to be your token to remember," Jon gawked at her with wide eyes.
Nyrella didn't care what he thought. The Goddess of the Winds, one of Valyria's many gods, had gifted this to her and she will treasure it. "I'd rather have this than some bloody boar pelt," she told the redhead.
"A mad woman you are," Jon sighed. Then, suddenly, another pair of trotting hooves came their way. Their eyes shifted behind them to see the Lonmouth squire sweating profusely as he eased to a stop on Nyrella's left.
"You alright Richard?" Nyrella questioned with a slight raise in her brow. "A good run isn't it not?" She poked fun at him.
The squire blushed a deeper red than he already was. "Yes of course, a great distance to gallop. I do not know how you did it so easily Nyrella." He huffed out a big exhale, trying to steady his breathing.
Nyrella laugh echoed through the trees, which made Richard blush further and made him want to hid behind the thick fringe of his dark hair. "Maybe I am part horse," she amused.
"That explains well why you laugh like one too," Jon commented at the sidelines. Nyrella's mouth dropped at the insult. She turned to her, the red-haired lord, and swatted her hand at him.
"Rude, you are!" She continued to hit him on the arm, but Jon only laughed louder.
"Easy now horse girl, easy," Jon held his hands in surrender. Nyrella retracted her hand, glaring at Jon with a distaste.
Their fun ceased when a series of hooves came galloping their way. All heads turned to the rest of the riding part behind them, and they all had the same confused expression. Rhaegar was at the head of the group, slowly stopping his dark stallion a couple of feet away from Nyrella's own steed. Nyrella gripped her reins in one hand, signaling for her horse to turn and face her brother's. "Is everything alright Reg?" Nyrella was worried something would happen for all of them to be here in such a hurry.
"We heard a scream," Rhaegar explained with worry in his eyes, "we came as fast as we could. Did anything happen?"
"A false warning," Jon called out to the Dragon Prince, "it was only your sister's snorting."
Nyrella turned a shade pinker, "shut up Jon." She looked at her friend, glaring at him with anger.
"You had us worried Nyrella," Myles cut through the conversation, "Rhaegar over here thought you were being mauled by a mountain lion."
The fair-haired princess looked over at Myles, who was smirking as usual. His smile reminded her of someone else's smile, but she could not put a finger on who. She scrunched her nose at the knight, sticking her tongue out, "there are no lions here, ser. Neither wolves nor snakes. There are only elk, deers, and stags in these woods. A safe place I consider."
"I would not be so sure dear sister," Rhaegar responded as he steadied his horse, "Stags are dangerous. They are known to kill many, daring to come close to them."
Somehow that sent shivers all over Nyrella's body or maybe it was the wind, trying to frighten her. "A stag cannot kill a dragon—nothing can kill a dragon." Her words felt like a promise.
Rhaegar smiled at his sister, "big words to say. Come on now, let us all continue moving along our journey." He slightly pressed the side of his horse, signaling the steed to move forward. Nyrella gave him a way to move past her, then once he did, she turned and followed after him.
This time, Rhaegar was ahead of the group, while Jon, Nyrella, and Richard rode behind him. Then, the two Kingsguard and Myles make up the rear of the entourage. Yet, there we're still a huge gap between each of the riders, but no one had the energy to close the distance. Except for Myles. He nudged his horse forward, falling into step with Ser Arthur's horse. The Knight of Maidenpool wanted to talk to someone to fill the boredom of the journey.
"How do you find the Stormlands, Arthur?" Myles questioned his Dornish friend with a small smile. Arthur was not in the slightest mood to be in conversation, especially with Myles.
"The region is different from places I've known and been to," Arthur answered truthfully, "I am not used to the storms."
"Get used to it," Myles chuckled, "when we arrive at Storm's End, the storms there are deadlier than the ones at Griffin's Roost."
"You've been to Storm's End?"
"Once," Myles recalled, "it was the first time I met Nyrella. It was her seventh nameday celebration held by her great aunt, Rhaelle Targaryen, before she died the following year."
This was new to Arthur's ears. He turned to Myles with curiosity filled eyes. He wanted to hear more of this story. "You've known Nyrella for that long? A decade?"
"In passing, yes. She is the princess of the Seven Kingdoms, which means she does not concern herself with the members of vassal houses and her circle was limited during her youth. I was lucky enough to be Rhaegar's squire to know more about her than her titles. I will never forget the day when I saw her at the tourney. I was ten namedays, and struck by her Valyrian beauty and poise. Barristan could tell you more about it. He received her favor." Myles told what he could with a mellow expression as his gaze looked into the past.
"I wish I could have been there to witness her younger self," Arthur responded, a tinge of sadness in his answer. Everyone, except for him, had known Nyrella and had stories about her, which he wished he could have had his own memories.
"You are not missing much," Myles assured Arthur. His eyes landed on Nyrella's back, a fond smile widened on his thin lips, "she is the same as she was."
"I am not following," Arthur questioned, leaning closer, eager to hear Myles' answer. If he was not careful, he would have slipped off his saddle and landed on the hard ground.
"The Nyrella you know now was the Nyrella in the past and will be the Nyrella in the future. People do change overtime, but the person they truly are on the inside will remain the same." Arthur listened to the passion in Myles's answer. He observed how the knight's eyes never left Nyrella's back, fearing if he looked away the vision of her would disappear with the wind. Myles' eyes sparkled brightly when he spoke her name or heard it from someone else's mouth.
Arthud should have never talked to Myles. In fact, he regretted it, because just by looking at the knight, Arthur knew that Myles was also in love with Nyrella. It broke Arthur because he never had the chance. Myles was free to express his love to Nyrella, and he was not tied to his duties and honor, the way Arthur was. Myles has the chance to be with Nyrella, to marry her, to have children, and to make her happy.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
Dusk was setting fast from the faraway horizon. Through the dense forest, thick with tall trees and shrouded with their greenery, the vast skies were colored with the most vibrant colors of oranges, red, pinks, and the lingering hints of periwinkle blue. The experience of witnessing a sunset in the forest was a different feeling filled with enchanting mystery and the calm deposition.
As the others made camp in a small clearing inside the heart of the forest, Nyrella and Jon were entrusted to gather wood for the fire tonight. Jon offered to carry the scrapes of wood that Nyrella could forge around their surroundings.
"Are you sure you do not want my help?" Nyrella turned to look at the red-haired lord. "I could take some—" she reached out, but Jon swerved her hand.
"I am alright Nyrella," he assured her as he took a step ahead of her. "Just keep up and look for more wood, we are going to need lots if you want to stay warm the whole night or do not want wild lions stalking you at night."
Nyrella jogged to keep up with Jon's long strides. It was easier to overtake Jon on horseback than on foot. "There is not much usable wood around here," she said as she picked up a twig on the floor, "we should go further into the forest."
Jon knew these woods like the back of his hand. He spent a considerable amount of his childhood hunting these grounds with his father. "Maybe we could get as far as the lake," he twisted to turn to the fair-haired maiden.
"There is a lake?" Nyrella piqued in curiosity. "I have never seen a lake before, well not a lake in the middle of a forest."
"Come on, I'll show you," he fastened his pace, and Nyrella had no choice but to continue her jog.
"Is it a big lake? Can we fish in it? You think there are mermaids?" Nyrella blurted out many questions after questions.
"Childish you are Nyrella," the redhead responded amusingly. "You almost eight- and-ten namedays and you believe there are mermaids in the lake?"
"Well are there?" she asked with a pitch in her voice. It sounded like hope.
Jon shook his head, "The lake is big and even deeper. There are no fish in the lake, along with your mermaid friends."
Nyrella saw a big piece of wood in the distance, she quickly jogged to the log before Jon could stride over. She lifted the heavy wood with both hands, "this weighs a ton." She walked over to Jon, and placed the block in the piles of wood in his arms.
The pair continued to walk further into the forest. "Maybe we all could spend the day tomorrow at the lake," Nyrella made the consideration, "we all would need a bath after hours of hunting."
"Perhaps, you will have to tell your brother," Jon replied, stepping over a small stream.
Nyrella lifted her gown, and jumped over the water. "Rhaegar is smart enough not to disagree with me, and everyone would appreciate it, especially Myles. He talks about the lakes in Maidenpool filled with all types of fish such as red salmon."
"You spent too much time with Myles and even more time talking about him," Jon acknowledged with a slight distaste.
Nyrella blushed a crimson, "is there anything wrong with Myles? You two are friends."
"Don't mistake my distaste as dislike for Myles. I think of him as a great friend, it is all in good jest. But, I do not think he is handsome enough for me to talk about romantically as you do."
She blushed even redder, "I-I think he is handsome."
"More handsome than Arthur?" Jon turned around to face her, stopping in his tracks and looking straight into her eyes.
Nyrella stopped as well. "I cannot answer that."
"It is a simple answer: yes or no," Jon explained to her, "so tell me. Who do you think is more handsome, The Knight of Maidenpool or The Sword of the Morning?"
A silence befallen between them. Jon's clear and crystal azure eyes bore into her like blue fire—cold that it felt like it burned hotter than regular fire. Nyrella shook her head, averting her gaze from him. She continued the walk, passing her redhead friend. "I cannot say," she muttered.
"That is my problem with you, Nyrella," Jon blurted out. Nyrella stopped in her tracks again, turning to her friend, who already was looking at her.
Nyrella tilted her head slightly, not catching his words correctly, "I beg your pardon?"
"You heard me," Jon said, "you are not able to make decisions. You have feelings for Myles, that I can see and feel, but you also have feelings for Arthur, which I know for a long time. But, you cannot choose which one to give your heart to. Do you know the gravity of the consequences?"
Nyrella did not appreciate the sudden attack from Jon. "And you are mad at me because I simply cannot choose?"
Jon sighed, "I am not mad at you Nyrella. Frustrated is all. It would be nice to know how you feel about them."
"You said it all. I do have feelings for Myles since the day I merged paths with him to Summerhall. For Arthur... he has a spot in my heart, always. Maybe the reason why I cannot choose is because I fear of losing them."
" It is not fair to string them into believing. At some point you will have to choose," Jon revealed to her the hard truth she knew all along.
"Why does it matter if I choose one over the other? If I chose Myles, a part of my heart beats for Arthur. If I chose Arthur, I cannot have him as I want to. He is bound by his vows, and I cannot take that away from him. No one benefits from this. And... do I really have a say on who I get to be with? I don't, not at all in a man's world. So call me selfish all you want Jon, but let me have this sliver of freedom until someone decides to take it away." Nyrella exploded, overwhelmed by emotions. It was unfair for Jon to criticize her.
"I am not picking an argument with you," Jon tried to calm the situation down, seeing how worked up Nyrella was, "I am only looking out for them."
"They do not even see me the way I see them," she said, feeling the surge of tears brim her lavender eyes.
"Nyrella—"
"Just stop, Jon," Nyrella spoke up, "This conversation leads to nothing but an argument. I'm going back to camp, and you can find more woods."
Nyrella embraced herself tightly. She was not in the mood to continue into the forest and see the lake. Jon ruined the happiness and tranquility she felt. Now her mind was running thoughts of both men—Myles and Arthur. Second guessing if she was selfish to have feelings for both of them. Was she?
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
The next day, nothing changed. Emotions boiled over, but no one dared to approach the thick tension that loomed over the group. Nyrella stayed away from Jon, and vice versa. Arthur put a distance between himself, Nyrella, and Myles. All the while, the rest of the hunting party tried their best to keep the peace, fearing something bad might happen. Rhaegar was on the edge, observing with a careful eye as he shifted between the different people. He did not imagine this to happen, and he had not one clue as to what happened.
With everything going on, the first day of hunting was unsuccessful. All of them came back to the camp ground without a big game, only a few rabbits for tonight's dinner. The sun was still at its highest, and the humidity was pleasant enough.
"Don't hold," Myles advised Nyrella as she was practicing her archery form.
Nyrella rolled her eyes playfully, "I know. It was the first lesson I've learned." She disengaged her bow, and showed Myles the scar on hand.
Myles took her hand in his, observing the faint scar across the palm of her hand. He dragged his index finger along the line, "When did you get this?" He looked up to meet her eyes. There was slight sadness and worry in them.
Nyrell took her hand back, and smiled assuredly at him, "It was my second day of archery. I didn't know better and I held on, until I felt the string dug through my hand. When I released, I also hit Rhaegar right at the arm. But afterwards, Arthur tended to my wound, and now I have this faint scar."
She remembered that day fondly. Rhaegar was furious at her, Jon was laughing like a mad man, and Arthur... he was sweet to her. He noticed first how her palm was dripping with blood, and how he wrapped the cloth bandage gently around her hand. He did his best not to hurt her while he did, and he reassured her through the entire time.
Then, a sudden clap through the air, made her snap from the memory. Nyrella and Myles turned to the middle of the camp, to where Rhaegar was standing on top of a wood block. "I think we should all go to the lake," he announced with a wide smile. Nyrella looked around, seeing that everyone was looking at the Prince with confused expressions.
"There might be fish there for us tonight," Rhaegar added to his statement. There are no fish in the lake, Nyrella rolled her eyes.
"I would not mind spending the rest of the day at a lake," Myles replied to Rhaegar. He then turned to Nyrella, "what about you?"
Nyrella shrugged her shoulders, "I guess it would be nice."
"Great!" Myles shouted out with glee, which made everything turn to him. "We should go to the lake," he agreed with Rhaegar.
Rhaegar clapped his hands again, not waiting for anyone else to disagree with him. "Alright. Arthur, Barristan, and I will go first to make sure the spot is clear. Jon," the Prince turned to point at the redhead, "you led the rest down." With that Rhaegar jumped down from the wood block, and went to grab his things.
Nyrella excused herself from Myles, walking towards the direction of her brother. "Let me go with you," she blurted out, not wasting a second longer.
Rhaegar pivoted on his heels to face his sister, "No. you at going with Jon," he stated sternly.
"Why can't I go with you?" She crossed her arms over her chest, slightly irritated with Rhaegar's stubbornness.
Rhaegar shook his head, strapping his sword around his hips, "because I know something happened between you and Jon. You two need to settle your differences."
Nyrella let out an exasperated breath, "You cannot force us to get along so easily. It is unfair."
The Dragon Prince secured the strap of his sword's sheath, "Talk to him and make amends." And with that Rhaegar walked away from Nyrella without another word. She clicked her tongue in annoyance as she watched him greet Barristan a few feet away.
"Are you okay Nyrella?" A deep voice spoke behind her.
Nyrella spun around quickly, "Arthur." The annoyance was gone when she saw the Kingsgaurd, a small smile brightened her face. "I am all good. I see you have discarded your heavy armor."
Arthur lowered his head as he chuckled, "Rhaegar advised me not to before he announced we are to go."
"So you knew that he would do this? I mean with Jon and I?" Nyrella questioned.
Arthur hummed guilty, "yes, but I advised him not to. But there is nothing I could do to change your brother's mind, even if I could. I hope you are not angry with me."
Nyrella shook her head, "No, it is not your doing. I—"
"Arthur! We must make haste!" Barristan's voice boomed, interrupting Nyrella completely.
"I shall take my leave then," Nyrella smiled brilliantly like the Dornish sun at Arthur. "Don't drown," she told him lastly, then she left walking to her tent.
Arthur's gaze trailed after her, a hint of a smile graced his face. "I won't," he muttered to himself, letting the wind take his words up to the seven heavens.
In an hour's time, the camp was left with four people. Richard was checking through their materials before their departure to the lake. Jon was sulking in front of the ashes of the previous night's fire. Myles was chattering with Richard about his journey to his knighthood. All in the while, Nyrella was in her own tent, changing into one of her lighter dresses. It was white gown made with the fine fabric of organza. It moved delicately through the air as she twirled. The perfect attire that would not pull her down as she played in the waters of the lake.
As she came out of the tent, all three men snapped their focus on her. They were waiting for her. "Are you ready Nyrella?" Myles came beside her with a kind smile.
She returned the smile, nodding in agreement, "I'm—"
"Let's go," Jon cut off Nyrella as he got up from where he sat. He did not blink an eye at Nyrella and Myles, walking west into the forest.
Myles, Richard, and Nyrella took a minute to themselves to watch the redhead stalk into the thick trees. "Is he alright?" The knight asked Nyrella as they started to follow Jon was a good distance between them.
Her lavender eyes scanned the way Jon's shoulder slumped, "I hardly know."
"Is everything alright with you two?" Myles questioned shifting his eyes between the Valyrian princess and the Lord of Griffin's Roost.
"Is it obvious? Rhaegar advises me to talk to him, make amends as if it was easy," she sighed exhaustingly.
"You should let him come to you first," Myles offered, "there needs to be two people in order to make amends. You are willing, but is he? He has to show you that he is in the wrong as well."
Nyrella didn't think of it that way. "You think he will approach me?"
"He will. Jon is from the Stormlands, so it wounds his pride to apologize first," Myles gave hope to Nyrella. He nudged her side playfully, wanting to see that bright smile of her's.
The four of them continued to walk through the forest for a half an hour.
For half an hour, the four of them walk deeper into the forest. Slowly, the blue skies turned slightly darker, transforming into warmer colors of dusk. The forest trees and the wildlife sang a white noise that needed a careful ear to listen to their calls. The scent of the earth became the regular perfume that coated the group's aroma. The forest was a shelter from a busy world they were used to. A moment to be one with nature.
Just then Jon came to a sudden stop, which made the others stop as well. Nyrella peeked over Myles' shoulder, her brows knitted in confusion. She thought her eyes were deceiving her because instead of a view of lake waters, she saw a view of nothing—air. All four of them were standing on a cliff.
"Where is the lake?" Richard rested his hand on top of his hip, trying from the long walk. Jon came closer to the cliff, his eye pointing to the bottom.
"There's your lake," he answered. Then, he waved down below, "Rhaegar, Arthur, Barristan! Up here!"
Nyrella walked to the edge of the cliff, but Myles grabbed her arm. She snapped her head towards him, and he gave her a worried look, "careful now, I don't want you falling."
She rolled her eyes at him, ignoring the warning in his voice. She peered over the edge, spotting clearly three figures down below. Rhaegar was knee-deep in the lake, Barristan sat on a boulder, and Arthur was standing by the dry side, where the lake water meets land. She waved at them like what Jon did, "We'll be down there soon enough!"
She saw Rhaegar cup his hands around his mouth, "The water is great! But be careful up there!"
Nyrella nodded, but she knew he could not see her from where she was standing. She took a step back from the edge of the cliff, until she was beside Myles again. She looked at Jon, "we should go down now."
However, Jon raised his brow. "This is the way down," he answered with great certainty.
Richard, Myles, and Nyrella became quiet faster than the flicker of light. They were taken aback, not quite sure they heard Jon clearly or if he said it was a jest. Yet, the longer they observed the redhead, the farther their stomachs sank.
"You are fun now, Jon. Come on let us go down now," Myles tried to make light of the situation.
"Then go ahead," he gestured to the cliff, "be me guest to go first." There was a glint of mischief in his eyes, his innocent smile hiding his amusing grin.
"You must be teasing us," Nyrella felt her heart thunder with anxiousness, "we cannot possibly jump that far down."
Jon crossed his arms across his chest, he raised his brow, "it is only a fifty foot drop and the lake is more than fifteen feet deep. It is safe to jump."
Nyrella blinked. This was crazy talk, she thought to herself. She took another step back from the cliff, fearing that she might slip. She could not believe that Jon wanted them to jump into the lake.
"So who is going first?" Jon asked as he took his oversized tunic off. His azure eyes flickered between the three other people, who wore fearful faces.
"I'll go," Richard volunteered. Nyrella watched as the squire took his tunic off with a quick pull. He eargered himself to the every edge of the cliff, his toes dangling in the air. Nyrella held her breath for him. She wanted to tell him not to jump, to prevent him from going. But she was too late.
In the matter of a blink, Richard's figure was gone from her sight. She made a run to the edge, leaning her head over to see him free falling through the air, and in a count of three, his body hit the dark waters of the lake with a huge splash that echoed through the forest. In a painful few seconds, Richard's head reemerged from the water, a shout erupting through his chest. Nyrella exhaled the breath she held. Everyone around her rejoiced in excitement, all the while Richard swam to the lakefront.
"Your turn Nyrella," Jon said.
Nyrella huffed a breath, shaking her head in absolute disagreement, " I am not going to jump. There has to be a way other than this."
"It will be over in a blink of an eye," Jon continued to push, "unless you are too much of a coward."
"A coward?" Nyrella was fuming with fury. She was not angry at Jon for how he talked to her yesterday, but now she had a good enough reason to be angry with now. She did not like the way he pressed her buttons. "I am not a coward," she stood her ground.
Jon grinned, "then prove it."
Her mind was scrambling with many thoughts, overwhelming her senses. She turned back to the cliff, inching closer to the edge like how Richard did it. Her legs felt weak and shook uncontrollably. Nyrella looked over the cliff, observing the great distance she would need to fall before hitting the surface of the cool water.
"Be careful Nyrella," Myles suddenly warned. Nyrella was spooked by his words, slowly turning to him with all the color from her face gone.
"You scared me," her voice was shaky and in a higher pitch than before.
Myles gave her an apologetic look, "sorry."
Nyrella apologized, and turned back to the cliff. Her body and mind screamed for her to stop, to not jump, to go find a safer route down. "I-I cannot go. I cannot jump," she found her voice.
She whipped her head to look at the remaining people up there with her. Myles wore a sympathetic expression, while Jon's cockiness was still present, but if she cared to look closer, there was a glint of guilt that flashed over his blue eyes.
However, just as she went to take a step towards the duo, the grip of her bare foot slipped on a patch of damp moss in front of her. In an instance, she lost her footing and the center of her balance. Her arms were spread open, moving frantically to find her balance again. She heard the pounding of her desperate heart loudly through her ears like thundering drums of doom. A scream escaped her mouth as she reached her arms forward trying to grab the air. "Myles! Jon!" she yelled frantically to them. But, she was too late like when she was too late to call for Richard to stop.
Nyrella plummeted. The sight and calls of her friends were gone, left behind as she fell towards the water below her. She was screaming, but she could not hear herself. She tried to grasp the air, but the more she fought back, the faster she fell. The rapid wind dried out her eyes as life flashed before her eyes. She took her last breath as the world closed in on her.
Arthur watched in horror as Nyrella's body hit the surface of the water with a terrible splash. Unlike Richard's jump, a dead silence echoed through the walls of the forest. As the water ceased back together and the seconds passed dreadfully, there was no sign of Nyrella.
"Ny!" Rhaegar started to shout. "Ny! Ny! Ny!" his voice cracked with anxiety. Then, everyone followed, screaming her name with desperation. The shouting of Myles and Jon were heard from above yelling for Nyrella's name as well. But Arthur, he did not stay and yell for Nyrella.
Without another thought, he ran to the lakefront. His friends were shouting, calling for his name, but he did not look back at them. Their cries fell on deaf ears. Arthur plummeted into the cold, dark waters. He ripped through the water, swimming to the place where he saw Nyrella's body hit the water. The water stung his eyes, fighting to keep them open to search for any signs of her. Every second he was underwater, he felt his heart sink deeper. Arthur was far from the surface of the water, and sooner or later he would need to go up for air. But he could not leave. He had to find her.
He fought through the burning sensation of his eyes and the pressure that built up and pressed on his chest. His head started to feel faint from the lack of breath he had in his lungs. Everything was going against him. However, he continued to persevere. Suddenly, at the corner of his eye. He saw the glimpse of silver hair floating below him. There she was. Nyrella floating deeper and deeper into the depth of the lakes' clutches. Arthur immediately swam to her in a few strokes. He wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her securly against his body. Then, he swam back up to the surface of the water.
Arthur was gasping for air when he came back up. He blinked away the water from his eyes, and he looked at the unconscious Nyrella in his arms. "Nyrella, please, listen to me," he spoke to her as he lightly shook her. But to no avail, she was limp in his arms. Arthur cursed underneath his breath. He positioned himself behind Nyrella, placing her arms underneath her underarms. He cradled her body close to his, backstroking back to dry land.
Rhaegar and Barristan met them at the lakefront. The Dragon Prince helped Arthur pull Nyrella's unresponsive body to shore. Rhaegar wiped the wet hair from Nyrella's face, "Nyrella! Stay with us! Please wake up! Please!" he was cupping her face as tears ran down from his face.
"We need to revive her," Arthur commanded as he pushed Rhaegar out of the way. He placed his ear to her chest, hearing a faint heartbeat. The Kingsguard did not waste a moment to catch his own breath. He pushed Nyrella to her side as he used his open palm to clap her upper body. However, she was not breathing or ejecting water from her lungs.
"Damn it," Arthur cursed to himself. He laid Nyrella on her back, and he started to compress her chest repeatedly.
"Come on Nyrella," he said to her unconscious figure. "Please, please, stay with us," his voice cracked as he continued to perform chest compressions.
Her body was cold and pale. No color left on her face. Nyrella did not move. She was still like the surface of the lake's water.
"Nyrella, please, please stay with me," he continued. The hot tears brimming at the edge of his violet eyes. It broke him to see her like this.
"Please, I beg you, Nyrella, please," he pleaded. "I can't lose you."
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐄𝐋𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐍
𝐖 𝐡 𝐞 𝐫 𝐞 𝐭 𝐡 𝐞 𝐋 𝐢 𝐥 𝐚 𝐜 𝐬 𝐆 𝐫 𝐨 𝐰
𝟐𝟕𝟖 𝐀𝐂 | 𝐒𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥
"We better put up camp soon. It looks like it's going to be heavy rain tonight," Jon squinted his eyes, hovering his free hand on his eyebrows to shade his eyes from the sun's bright glare. His other hand held onto the reins of his horse, keeping his pace steady.
Arthur was the spectacle of Jon's inquiry, looking up to the sky to see for himself, "It looks clear to me. Not a single cloud in the sky." He averted his eyes to look at Jon with a quizzical brow.
"You do not know the ever changing weather of the Stormlands like I do. You are but a foreigner on the lands I grew up on," Jon countered, puffing up his chest proudly.
"We are approaching the Dornish Marches," the Kingsguard pointed into the distance, "weather is much more fair than east from here."
"I don't appreciate your input," the redhead held a soured expression. He did not want to admit that Arthur's words did hold its weight. They were inching closer to the Dornish Marches and a day or two away from their destination—Summerhall.
Arthur shooked his head and softly chuckled, "alright, let us make a bet then? A gold dragon?"
Jon's lips twitched into a devilish grin liking Arthur's offer, "Ten gold dragons and bragging rights."
"Deal," Arthur did not hesitate to answer. The two friends extended their dominant hand towards each other and shook on their agreement.
"I hope you have your coin ready because you are buying a barrel of sweet Dornish wine," gloated Jon as he brought his hand back around his horse's reins. He looked off into the distance, imagining his time in the ruined castle drinking the red liquor while he lived his best life. "What about you, Arthur? What would you do with the coin?"
The latter thought for a second. There was not much he could do with ten golden dragons in his disposal. Of course, the amount of coins was a lot but there was not anything at the current moment he needed to purchase. Being a Kingsguard meant that all of his necessities and accommodations were given to him by the Crown, along with a steady pay. Furthermore, he did not indulge himself in materialistic things. "Maybe I'll put the coin in good use by buying you a friend," Arthur amused, laughing freely into the cool air brought by the nearby high mountains.
Jon side-eyed his dark-haired friend. "Laugh all you want right now because you won't be when it starts pouring," he grumbled.
Another pair of quick hooves pounding on the dirt road approached the lord and Kingsguard. "You two sound like you are making this trip more pleasant," Rhaegar said as he fell into sync with his companions' horses.
"We made a bet, ten golden dragons, on whether it is going to rain or not," Arthur filled the Dragon Prince in on the conversation.
Rhaegar hummed, looking up into the sky. "Rain? It hardly rains at Dornish Marches," he concluded.
Arthur stifled another laugh, while Jon was red in the face. "You two are unbelievable," he shook his head in disbelief.
"Where have you been this past hour?" Arthur threw the question towards Rhaegar. He had to lean forward to see his friend on Jon's right.
Rhaegar shrugged. The cool winds pushed his shoulder-length silver-gold hair behind him. He held a neutral expression with a tinge of tiredness around his vibrant eyes. "A rider came to deliver a few messages to the maester. Some were intended for me," he answered.
"Nyrella wrote to you?" Jon piqued up. Arthur, too, was curious. The three of them had not received any ravens or any form of messages from Nyrella in over a month. The last time they heard from her, she was in Highgarden and planned to travel to the Citadel. However, the trio had no clue and it started to worry them.
"Nothing," Rhaegar sighed, shaking his head in disappointment, "written messages were from the Small Council."
"She should have written to you by now," Arthur frowned. He has not seen from Nyrella for over half a year and the only sort of communication they had was through ravens. Yet, even that, she was inconsistent with her replies. He wondered most of his days if she was doing fine in her royal progress.
Jon scoffed, "She should have written to all of us by now," he corrected Arthur. "Sure, she might still be holding a grudge against Rhaegar, but why would she extend her lack of response to us," Jon pointed to himself and Arthur, "At this point I have no idea what is happening in that head of her's."
There was a pause that followed Jon's small rant.
"New acquaintances, I presume," Rhaegar pursed his lips. "The last few letters she sent me, entailed of how she is in the company of a few high born ladies and a few knights."
"You never told us this?" Jon furrowed his eyebrows, giving his fair-haired Prince a confused expression. Arthur nodded in agreement.
Rhaegar blew a breath, rubbing his hand behind his neck, "I did not think much of it. She only mentioned it in passing—barely a sentence."
"You think she found herself a husband?" Jon laughed at his own amusement, but Rhaegar and Arthur did not join him. His laugh quickly died down, feeling embarrassed.
"If she did...she would have written to us," Arthur uttered. He tried to cover the dejection in his voice by giving a small smile to his companions. He felt a ping of sadness strike his chest at the thought of Nyrella. There was nothing wrong with her finding someone during her royal progress, in fact that was why she was sent away in the first place. Yet, he cannot bear knowing that the woman he loves is set to marry someone else other than himself.
Rhaegar and Jon shared a look—a guilty one. "She would," Jon smiled back at Arthur, "let us not give up hope. For what it's worth, she might write to us when we arrive at Summerhall. She has not forgotten about us, especially you, Arthur."
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
Summerhall was hauntingly beautiful with its crumbling stone walls, the streaks of black ashes, and the wildlife that has ever so devoured the castle overtime. The Targaryen summer castle used to be the getaway home for the royal family until the tragic fire on the day Prince Rhaegar was born. The memories of the walls brought a great sense of melancholy to the current Prince of Dragonstone, for he had lost many on the day of his birth. Every year on the fateful day of his name day, the ghosts of Summerhall call to him like a siren's melody.
Rhaegar and his entourage arrived at the ruined castle a few days before his name day. The days were used to set up tents and the small tournaments that would happen on the incoming days. A few noble houses were more than happy to send help on building the establishment and providing various needs for the Prince. Soon enough, the empty terrority of the once Targaryen stronghold became a vision of its past. The surrounding areas were lively, filled with boisterous laughter and the clanks of chalices.
Jon and Rhaegar have visited Summerhall many times. Especially for the Dragon Prince, he knows the in's and out's of the place like the back of his hand. The two took the pleasure of showing their dear friend, Arthur, around the area and retelling embarrassing stories from their formative years. The Dornishman was not so sure about spending time in Summerhall due to the surrounding mummery. Yet, he quickly overcame the poignancy of the ghostly castle due to Rhaegar and Jon's sentimentality. The trio spent the best few days compared to their times in the suffocating atmosphere of King's Landing.
"How long do we plan to stay here?" Arthur inquired as he extended his arm to reach for an apple by a nearby branch.
Jon took a bite of his apple, munching the fruit with thought. He sat on the base of the big tree with Rhaegar, who strummed the strings of his harp softly. "A week at most. Lord Steffon is holding his grand tourney in a month's time," Jon answered before taking another bite.
Arthur picked the reddest apple he could find. He observed the fruit, twirling it in his hands like a ball, "A month? Wouldn't that give us more time to stay here for longer? Maybe another week or so?"
"Has Summerhall really grown on you that fast?" Jon let out a breathy chuckle. Arthur rolled his eyes, throwing his apple at Jon, which the latter caught surprisingly.
"It's a nice thought," Rhaegar included himself in the conversation. "But, Jon thought it would be best if we stayed in Griffin's Roost for a while before leaving for Storm's End."
Arthur raised his right brow, "Griffin's Roost?" The Kingsguard never thought of visiting Jon's stronghold while in the Stormlands, but now that it was brought to his attention, he was interested to go.
"My thoughts exactly," Rhaegar mistook Arthur's interest for displeasement.
Jon turned to Rhaegar with an offensive expression, his mouth left gapping, "Do you have a problem visiting Griffin's Roost?"
Rhaegar plucked a string of his harp, not fazed by Jon's wild gaze. He shrugged his shoulders, "There's not much to do there."
"The only reason I even offered is because it is the start of hunting season and there are an abundance of elk during this time," Jon side-eyed the Prince, then took a bite into the apple Arthur had thrown him.
"I was never fond of hunting. A cruelty to animals," Rhaegar professed, plucking another string.
Jon rolled his eyes, "Yet you eat them."
"What is Griffin's Roost like?" Arthur inquired, trying to imagine the castle. He wondered if Jon's ancestral home was as lavish as what Summerhall used to be before the fire.
"You will have to see the place for yourself," Jon pointed at Arthur with a cheek grin, "Griffin's Roost is a sight for sore eyes compared to Storm's End, that I can say."
In the distance, the trio heard an incoming pair of footsteps running towards them. They all turned to see another one of their friends, Richard Lonmouth. He currently served as Rhaegar's squire and a close friend to the trio. Richard was a man of great stature, standing at the same height as Arthur, if not taller. He has strong brows along with a strong nose that had a slight bump on the middle. He was blessed with a full-head of beautiful dark curls that brought softness to his prominent features. He did not smile much as his face rested more towards a frown.
"Come to join us? There's enough apples to go around if you're hungry," Jon said cheerfully to the squire as Richard reached the trio and tried to catch his breath.
"What brought you here Ric? Please take a seat and rest," Rhaegar gestured to the vacant space next to Jon.
Richard placed a hand on his chest as he took deep breaths and exhales. He waved off Rhaegar's offer, "I am more than happy to join you all here but—," he took another breath, "—but I must relay an important message."
Arthur hastily grabbed his pouch of water nearby, and handed it to the squire. Richard thanked the Kingsguard before taking a hefty amount of water, some of the cool liquid ran down his throat.
"Is it the Small Council again?" Jon inquired as he was pretending to vomit. "Even on getaways, they seem to want to ruin to find on purpose."
Richard stopped drinking, giving the ouch back to Arthur. He shook his head rapidly, "No, no, not the Small Council."
"Then who?" Arthur tilted his head in anticipation.
Richard looked at Rhaegar with a small smile, "Nyrella. She arrived just now."
It took the trio no time to pick themselves up and quickly speed through the open field towards the direction where Richard pointed out that led to Nyrella's wheelhouse. Their hearts raced, feeling an electricity of suspense rush throughout their entire bodies. Onlookers gave the three gentlemen worried looks as they passed them in a great hurry, wondering what could cause such a frenzy among them.
"Do you both think she changed?" Jon asked tiredly. He was out of breath, and saying anything as he ran was harder than he thought.
Arthur refrained from saying anything. Jon's question was a question he feared for sometime now. Months of traveling from place to place, changes a person. This was certainly true, especially for him. Arthur was not the same person he was when he lived in Starfall. And it would be impossible for Nyrella to have stayed the same as she was in King's Landing. He did not fear that his feelings would lessen if she did change. Change was good, it was improvement, and he will not be the one to stop personal growth. Yet, what he really feared was that her feelings for him had changed. Just the thought of losing her love, agonized him.
"I cannot say," Rhaegar answered, wiping the sweat off his forehead, "she is still a young girl learning and maturing."
"And does that scare you?" Jon replied with another question. Arthur looked at Rhaegar, eager to know his response.
Rhaegar smiled, "Whether she has changed or not. Nyrella...she will always be what she always has been to me—my sister. And the same should be said for you two, whatever shape or form she means to you." He glanced at Arthur since his words were more targeted towards him than Jon.
Arthur absorbed Rhaegar's answer. He averted his eyes from the duo, hoping they would not notice his troubled expression. Even with the reassuring words, there was a part of him, almost, like déjà vu or intuition that something was different, and he did not know whether he liked the feeling or not.
Then, at the corner of their eyes, they spotted the wheelhouse at the center of the road that led towards the tents. A small group of armored men and nicely dressed ladies were huddled by the door of the wooden wheelhouse, most likely in conversation. But as they got closer, they instantly saw a distinguishable silhouette and loose silver hair that swayed with the light breeze—Nyrella. Her back faced the trio as she divulged in conversation with others. She looked the same as when she left.
"Ny!" Rhaegar shouted, catching her attention along with the people in her company. They all turned wide-eyes as they saw the Prince of Dragonstone running towards them.
"Reg!" Her voice mimicked the volume of his. She took a few steps away towards him, extending her arms out. Then in the spur of the moment, Rhaegar closed the distance between them and embraced his sister with a bone crushing force. He easily picked her up from the ground and spinned her around.
"You can let me go now!" A giggle wasp Ed her lips as she tapped his back to gesture that she had enough.
Rhaegar spun her one more time before setting her back down on the ground. His hands were on her shoulder to help steady herself. He smiled big, showing his pearl teeth, "I've missed you terribly. I thought you were not coming since I did not receive any letters or ravens from you. You made me worry that something happened to you and—"
Nyrella giggled again at his rambling. "I'm alright, Rhaegar," she interrupted him as she put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "I did not write to you because I wanted to come here as a surprise. I'm sorry if I made you worried."
He chuckled, "Well, I am glad you are here now. I had my worries that you were still angry with me or forgot about my name day."
A delicate smile formed on heart-shaped lips, "I am not angry with you nor would I forget about your name day."
Rhaegar sighed in relief, taking a second to take her in fully. "You look really well, Ny, almost glowing. I hope your trip was good and smooth. I see you brought company with you," he glanced at the group, who were seeking glances at him.
"Thank you, Reg," she smiled brighter, "The journey was better than expected. I made an acquaintance with—"
"Nyrella! You tart!" Jon shouted as he cuffed off Nyrella by hugging her behind and lifting her up. Nyrella squealed in shock as Jon spun her around like Rhaegar did.
"Jon! Put me down!" Nyrella yelled, feeling a sense of nausea come over her from the circular motion. Jon heeded, placing Nyrella back where she stood. Nyrella was disoriented and nearly lost her footing if not for Rhaegar holding her shoulders.
"I feel utterly betrayed you never sent me a raven to inform me of your sneaky plans," Jon ruffled her hair, which made Nyrella glare at him.
Nyrella brushed out the tangles of her hair as she rolled her eyes, "If I told you, you would not keep the secret to yourself. You would tell Rhaegar the instant you see him."
Jon squinted his eyes, "I would not," he grumbled.
Rhaegar patted his friend's back, "We both know it's true." The comment made Jon roll his eyes, and slightly push Rhaegar.
As Jon and Rhaegar interacted with themselves, Nyrella stayed quiet, admiring the two. Yet, within this silence, she felt another person's stare on the side of her body. Instinctively, she slowly turned to see who it was. Nyrella found herself staring into violet irises, one she has not seen for months.
"Arthur," she uttered. This caught the attention of Rhaegar and Jon. They directed their attention to the Kingsguard, who was awkwardly standing behind them and with a distance to.
Jon strode toward the Kingsguard, wrapping his arm around his shoulders, "Sword of the Morning over here, missed you the most out of all of us." The redhead displayed a playful grin, knowing exactly what he was hinting at, but Arthur nudged his ribs, clearly not impressed. Arthur looked at Nyrella, anxious for her reply.
However, Nyrella let out a hearty chuckle. Her face spread into a delightful smile, radiating confidence and red tint over her cheeks. Arthur concluded it was the bright sunlight that caused her flush. "I could say the same thing. Arthur is the only one among you three, that I left on good terms with," he watched her gaze fall on him, and her smile got bigger.
"How are you Nyrella?" Arthur managed to speak up.
"I'm very well, Ser, and you? I hope I did not leave you with much trouble," she glanced between the lord and prince.
Arthur nodded, biting the inside of his cheek, resisting a huge smile, "I could barely keep them away from causing trouble, but I am well as you are."
"That's good to hear..." she averted her eyes as she hid a blush, "and even better that I can see you for myself. I have been waiting for this day since I left."
"Are you—"
"Arthur! Rhaegar! Jon!" Another voice shouted through the air, cutting Arthur off from his question. All four of them turned to see the incoming person.
The stranger was a man dressed only in a loose fitted tunic with exaggerated sleeves. He stood shorter than the three men he called out to, yet his build was not something to overlook. His dirty blonde hair gleamed under the exposure of daylight, and he had complimenting honey brown eyes. His face was well-structured which is evident by his strong jaw. As he walked to the small group, he held himself with a confidence many men would be jealous of and swoon many ladies.
"Myles Mooton," Rhaegar went to embrace the knight. "It has been awhile. How are you?" the Prince said as he pulled away and patted the knight on his back.
"Never better. It looks like you all are well and settled in Summerhall nicely," Myles responded with a wide grin.
"Am guessing you are part of the surprise?" Jon raised a brow, matching the energy around.
"I guess you can say that," the blonde chuckled.
"It's good to see you, Myles. I hope your trip here was as pleasant as Nyrella's," Arthur greeted the Knight of Maidenpool.
Myles' shifted his focus on the Silver Princess, his grin pulled wider than it already was. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, leaning his head against her's. The sudden intimacy made Arthur, Rhaegar, and Jon freeze on their spot. A mixture of confusion and shock floods their entire expression. Their eyes darted rapidly between Myles and Nyrella. Arthur clenched his jaw as he watched all of this unfolding in front of him.
"Oh, you do not have to worry Arthur, my trip down here was pleasant...thanks to Nyrella," he displayed a playful smirk at the maiden in his arms.
Nyrella rolled her eyes, nudging his side. It caused Myles to exhale a breath but it didn't do much to wipe his smirk. "Myles and I intercepted each other on the way here. Since we were acquainted, I offered him to travel with me. He is a great companion to talk to," Nyrella cleared up the air.
"More like argue," Myles corrected.
"More like you love to argue," Nyrella corrected, grinning.
Arthur's grip around Dawn's hilt was tighter than before. Suddenly, his senses were heightened, picking up every tiny detail between Myles and Nyrella's interaction. He stiffened up, tense, and alert as he witnessed the way Nyrella chuckled at Myles' charm or the way he looked at her and vice versa. Something about them two made his blood boil for no reason. He felt irritated and annoyed, clenching his jaw tighter, almost to the point of gritting his teeth.
"It is nice to see that my sister and former squire are well acquainted," Rhaegar clapped his hands together which broke the awkward atmosphere from going into a silence.
"A random and weird acquaintance," Jon pointed out between the pair, "back in King's Landing, you two never even held a proper conversation."
"No truer words than yours Jon," Myles responded. "I'm surprised as well."
Nyrella smiled at all of them, "I think it's a sign from the gods that we are all meant to be great friends."
The pain in Arthur's chest came back again, but this time it was worse than before. He thought it would go away once he was with Nyrella, fully believing his worries would be gone. Yet, it was too good to be true. Nyrella did change. She changed for the better. She was more confident, lovelier, and happier. He could not wish anything more for her. However, her growth meant that there was a possibility that she outgrew her feelings for him. It was evident by the way she acted with Myles. It was the same way she acted with him before she left King's Landing. It was painful to witness.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
The next morning came quickly, which meant that Rhaegar's name day would be in a day's time. Nyrella along with a group of high-born ladies from the Reach scurried off to the wild fields to pick flowers. They intend to use their pickings as decorations to embellish the scenery for the feast tomorrow night. Their sweet laughter filled the warm humid air, while they swayed around with their bare feet digging into the cool earth.
Under Rhaegar's command, Arthur and Barristan were responsible for supervising and protecting the young maidens. They were invited by Nyrella to join flower picking, but they politely declined to stay under the shade of the tree and observe the surroundings for any danger. While the two Kingsguards did their given duties, the rest of the high-born men and knights were out hunting for tomorrow's festivities.
"It's good to hear that your experience while on the royal progress went well," Arthur turned to the older Kingsgaurd with an acknowledging nod.
Barristan was looking out in the distance, taking a deep breath, "It is refreshing to see familiar faces after so long in the company of a new lord every fortnight or so." He met Arthur's gaze, extending his hand to pat the younger's shoulder, "I look forward to the day, I go back to King's Landing and see our sworn-brothers once again."
Arthur could see a slight sadness in the latter's eyes. It did not occur to him that being away and on the road constantly with little company was indeed lonely at times. "Hopefully soon, you are able to be back home," Arthur reassured with a small smile.
"That is too optimistic," Barristan chuckled, then his gaze shifted to the field on his left, where the maidens were. "But, I do not think Nyrella has the intention to choose a lord to marry anytime soon," he said as he found the fair-haired princess chattering with a lady from a small house of the Reach.
The Dayne mirrored Barristan's actions. He felt his chest constricted every time he saw her. His lips deflated into a frown, "How has she fared?"
"She was scared and angry at first. It's a given how she left things in King's Landing. Yet, she came to love her royal progress because she traveled and met new people. She is a natural in her role and a way of making people fall in love with her. And I suppose, she wants to keep it that way for as long as she can. She once told me that she can do more good on the road than back home."
"She has been busy," Arthur remarked, "There is no doubt she has stolen many people's hearts." Like she did with mine.
Barristan nodded with a tug on his lips, "The people stole her heart. While on the royal progress, she always made time to visit the smaller towns and the common folk. She listened to them, and whatever she could provide, she gave it to them freely."
In a different perspective, in the middle of the overgrown field of grass and wildflowers, Nyrella was focused on the task at hand. She observed the many flowers, debating which ones were complementary to the other decorations for tomorrow's feast. Nyrella glanced at her wooden basket, realizing that many of her plucked flowers were warmer in colors—shades of oranges and yellows. She frowned at the lack of variation.
"Maybe another color would make an interesting piece for the arrangements?" She mumbled to herself, but one of her company heard her.
"But the yellow and orange flowers complimented the theme so well," her eyes glanced at her own basket that looked exactly like Nyrella's, "I would not know another that would suit the palette well enough to be pretty."
Nyrella hummed, "I appreciate the thought, Isydore." She looked back at her basket, reaching inside to feel the soft petals assailant her skin.
"What do you think they are talking about?" Lady Isydore of House Florent inquired as she leaned closer. The Dragon princess furrowed her eyebrows, confused by the sudden question of the maiden, who had beautiful dark wavy hair and a curious glint in her eyes.
"Who are you talking about?" Nyrella glanced to see across the field if Isydore was hinting at the other Reach maidens.
However, Lsydore shook her head in disagreement. She signaled Nyrella to look left with her eyes, which Nyrella followed. "Ser Barristan and Ser Arthur. What do you think they are talking about? I saw them looking towards our way a few times," the dark-haired girl giggled.
Nyrella squinted her eyes at the armored duo. She observed them for a minute, trying to read lips and conjure the words that formed. "I have no clue. It must be simple conversation," she brushed off, focusing back on Lsydore.
"Maybe they are talking about the tourney Lord Steffon is having. I do hope they compete. I never saw them compete before but I heard they are both accomplished," Lsydore said enthusiastically with big eyes.
Nyrella let out a breathy chuckle, "With renowned names like theirs, there is no doubt they will compete in the tourney."
"I heard from a few ladies..." The Florent girl leaned closer, her voice nearing a whisper, "that Ser Myles Mooton is planning to compete in the joust. His intentions are to win, so he could name you the queen of love and beauty."
Nyrella blinked her eyes and stared at the girl with shock and confusion, "I am not hearing things am I?"
"It is only rumors. Are you not pleased in the slightest? I assumed you held a fondness for Ser Myles and—"
"I do not mind," Nyrella interrupts, "It shocked me that is all. I hold Myles with my highest regards. I am fond of him and admire him greatly. I would not mind if that is his intention to win but..."
"But?" Lsydore tilted her head in anticipation.
"It would not be fair if he were to crown me queen of love and beauty. I have been crowned already in a grandiose tourney, I do not need a second. It is only fair for another lady, more deserving than I am, to be crowned," Nyrella responded as she plucked another flower from the ground, but she held it in her hand to observe it.
Lsydore nodded in agreement. She couldn't agree more, she wanted to be crowned queen of love and beauty but she never got the opportunity since she has never been to a big tourney. Lord Steffon's tourney will be her first. "Princess Nyrella, if you do not mind. Who crowned you queen of love and beauty? Was it Prince Rhaegar?" Lsydore asked. If she could ask the gods, she would want Rhaegar to crown her.
A smile emerged on her lush lips, "No. Not Rhaegar. It was Ser Arthur." Nyrella smiled wider as she said his name. A flood of memories from Casterly Rock rushed in as if Visery's tourney happened yesterday. She remembered how happy she felt when he crowned her the honor—a dream come true.
"Ser Arthur," Lsydore repeated the Kingsguard's name. She looked over Nyrella's shoulder to see the Dornish knight. "You are truly lucky. Ser Arthur is very handsome and chivalrous," a grin formed on her pouty lips.
Nyrella hummed as she nodded her head slowly. She continued to pick flowers in front of her, not really in the mood to talk about Arthur with another person.
"It is too bad that he is in the Kingsguard," Lsydore scrunched her nose. "He is a maiden's fantasy," she continued to eye him, "If he did not take his vows, I would not hesitate to ask my father if I could marry him. Yet, I have no doubt many other ladies have the same thought. I would much prefer to have Ser Arthur crown me than Ser Myles becau—"
"That is enough, Lsydore," there was a warning in Nyrella's voice and her face was stern.
Lsydore was silent immediately, a flush of embarrassment present on her high cheekbones. Nyrella cleared her throat, cutting through the awkwardness, "You should join the other. There are not many flowers here to pick."
Lsydore understood, nodding her head, "Are you not joining us?"
"No." Nyrella held her basket in front of her, she looked down at the warm toned petals, "I will go somewhere else to find flowers for the arrangements."
"Of course, your Grace. I shall leave you to it then," the Florent girl smiled before turning and walking away towards the other Reach ladies.
Nyrella let out a breath she has been holding. She loosened her tight grip around the handle of her wooden basket. She watched Lsydore walk away along with Nyrella's irritation. However, as her irritation washed away, a slight guilt came in. She felt bad for snapping at the Florent girl, and she didn't mean to ruin the nice conversation they had. She did not know what came over her, yet she did not stay on thought for long.
Barristan was the first to notice the Dragon Princess walking towards his direction. His right brow piqued up, wondering many reasons as to why Nyrella decided to depart away from her maiden friends. The older Kingsguard nudged Arthur's side before slightly leaning closer, "Turn around. Nyrella is coming."
The younger Kingsguard looked at Barristan with a quizzical brow, pivoting on the heels of his feet to face the direction Barristan was signaling to. That is when his violet irises landed on Nyrella. Her head was down, looking at her feet as she walked while her basket of flowers swung at her side. "Nyrella," he called out, "Is something wrong?" He inquired as he took a step closer.
Nyrella snapped her head to look at the two Kingsguard, a smile spread across her face. She quickly took the remaining steps until she was under the tree's shade and could see their faces clearly. "No, everything is fine. The ladies are having a swell time," she answered Arthur as she caught his gaze.
"And are you not having a swell time?" Barristan asked, while looking between her and the other noble ladies.
Nyrella had no intention of losing her eye contact with Arthur's. His gaze was comforting and warm like home. "I am, but I came here to ask Arthur if he could walk with me," she looked up at the Dornishman with hope, praying he would take her offer.
"I am more than glad too," Arthur answered, "allow me." He looked down at her basket as his hand reached for the handle and held it comfortably in his dominant hand. Then he offered his other arm for her to take, and Nyrella linked their arms together.
"We won't be gone for too long, Barristan," Nyrella assured the older man.
"I am more than capable of handling your company, Nyrella," Barristan answered with amusement.
They bid each other their goodbyes and departed. Barristan spent a minute observing Nyrella and Arthur walking away, the smiles in his eyes frowned for them. It was recently made known to him of Arthur's affection for the Dragon Princess. He understands Arthur's situation, empathized with the feeling he must be feeling but does not want to admit it. For how young Arthur is, he swore his vows too young to realize what he was giving away. And it was too late for him to take them back. Barristan wished the best of them and to make the right decisions.
"How do you like Summerhall?" Nyrella asked as she lifted the skirt of her gown to take a big step over the tall grass. She wore an ivory gown embellished in gold details. The gown had no sleeves that exposed her arms and a deep neckline that showed the majority of her collarbone and bust. In between the pleating of the skirt are woven pink lace to accentuate the ivory color. The temperatures of the Dornish Marches were hotter than the warm nice weather of King's Landing. No matter what she wore, she was glistening in the humid air and her silver hair stuck to her body.
"It is not what I imagined," Arthur glanced at Nyrella as she let out a chuckle.
"Not ghostly enough for you?" Her voice was filled with teasing.
It was Arthur's turn to chuckle a hearty laugh, "It's rather a disappointment. I expected to see the occasional ghost, but I saw none the few days."
"Oh what a shame really," Nyrella wiggles her index finger at him. "I would have paid a golden dragon to see you scared."
"Are you scared of ghosts?" Arthur inquired.
Nyrella shook her head, "No. They are my friends." She paused, taking a fresh breath, "and as morbid as it sounds, they are family."
He saw her take a glance on her left, where the blackened summer castle stood. There was a melancholy in the tone of her response, it was similar to how Rhaegar spoke. It was hard to not be saddened by the tragic story of Aegon V; his son and heir, Prince Duncan; and fellow Kingsguard Ser Duncan. On the same note, Targaryens are cursed with tragedy. Arthur only hoped to the New Gods and the Old that the Dragon siblings do follow the same fate. He would not allow it.
"Do you sometimes wish the tragedy did not happen?" Arthur questioned as he helped Nyrella walk over tall grasses.
"Sometimes," she uttered. "I like to imagine and wonder if I would be happier to be around more family. I would pay anything to get to know them or see them once. It is a sad thing for a Targaryen to be alone, hence our sigil," she pointed to Arthur's breast armor, "there always has to be more than one head. But, if events did not play out as they did, I would not be here talking to you."
"A silver lining," Arthur responded, taking the time to look at her.
"I hope so," Nyrella smiled at him.
On the corner of Arthur's eyes, he spotted a blur of color. He stopped in his tracks to retrace his towards the spot. Nyrella stopped as well, clocking a brow up. "Is there something wrong?" She asked worriedly as Arthur surveyed their surroundings.
"Over there," Arthur pointed to the distance. Nyrella followed his finger with her eyes. "Hopefully you have more room for more flowers," Arthur lifted up the wooden basket.
"Lilacs," Nyrella piqued up as she saw the giant bush of purple flowers hiding behind part of a crumbling wall. "How did you notice them?"
Arthur shrugged his shoulders, "I saw them while we were walking."
"You never fail to amaze me," she placed a hand on her hip as she wore a grin.
"Come on," he said as he extended his arm towards her, "Pick some. I know they are your favorites."
"They are..." her voice trailed, while her gaze looked between the bushes of flowers and Arthur. A toothy grin ever present on her face, "I'll race you!" Then, she made a break towards the bushes, not giving another moment for Arthur to respond.
Arthur's gaze followed her as she ran. He was still standing in the pathway of overgrown grass and weeds. His mouth was slightly gapping at the unfair start of the race. He decided to let her win for now, and walk to the bushes so the flowers in the basket do not fly away.
Nyrella reached the lilac bushes out of breath. She looks back at Arthur, waving her hands in the air, "Come on Arthur! Run!"
The Kingsguard held out a basket for Nyrella to see, "You've already won!"
Nyrella rolled her eyes at him playfully. She turned back around to face the many clusters of her favorite flowers. Her hands started to pick and choose the prettiest ones. They were what she needed to compliment the oranges and yellows of the wild flowers she plucked in the fields.
"You know, a warning would be appreciated," the deep rich tone of Arthur's voice commented as he came beside her. Nyrella heard rustling, signaling that he was picking the flowers too.
"And if I did, you would have won," she countered, turning to face him with a hand on her waist and a handful of lilacs with her mother.
Arthur chuckled as he shook his head. He pulled a smaller cluster of lilacs that were a similar tone to Nyrella's eyes. He turned his body to mirror her's. His hand extended towards the side of her face, gently pushing the front strand of her hair behind her ear. "We have to see about that," Arthur then carefully slipped the small clusters of flowers behind her ear, "rematch?"
Nyrella stayed frozen on her spot. "Re-rematch?"
"Don't tell me you're scared of a rematch?" Arthur teased her, his deep voice filled with amusement.
The Dragon Princess averted her face away from Arthur, "No, I'm not." A fury of heat rose up to her cheeks, coloring her crimson like the rubies. But you make me nervous, and that's unfair, she wanted to tell him.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
On the day of Rhaegar's ten-and-nine name day, Nyrella made sure everything was perfect and how she imagined it to be. She made Jon and Arthur take the reins of the day time activities for Rhaegar's amusement, while she and the other ladies curated the night event—the feast. The gathering would be a small function and exclusively made for only the closest friends of her brother's to enjoy a night of drinking and food.
Nyrella had the largest tent on the camp decorated to the brim for the feast. She wanted it to feel like one of the dining halls in the Red Keep. There were candlelights perched around the tent, luminating a soft glow of warmth. Green leafy garlands with silk ribbons interwoven were hung around the wide space. At the center was a long table with a handful of seats for the guests. Gold plates and chalices were placed on the table, alongside embellishments of yellow and orange flowers with hints of lilacs in vases and tall showy candelabras holding five candles at once. A plethora of dished foods were scattered around the table, including massive pitchers of wine with intricate designs of dancing dragons. The ambience felt familiar, cozy, and like home.
"Nyrella out did herself this time," Jon commented as he was the first one to enter the tent. Rhaegar, Arthur, and many others followed him in. All their eyes were scanning around the heavily decorated surroundings. Some of their mouths were gapping open, impressed that a few maidens were able to accomplish such a task in the matter of hours.
"Who can blame her?" Richard responded to Jon as he picked up a card on one of the plates, "she even wrote our names on cards."
Jon scurried off to find his seat, which was next to Rhaegar's, "She knows me so well." A grin plastered on her face as he slid into his chair. The other guests gradually found their seats as well, situating themselves comfortably while still mesmerized by their surroundings.
Rhaegar was the last person to take his seat, which was located at the end of table between Jon and Arthur. His right hand slid over the wooden chair, glancing at the handwritten paper of his name. "Where is my dearest sister?" He looked up to meet with everyone's eyes. They all looked at one another, shrugging their shoulders.
"Do you know where she is, Arthur?" Rhaegar turned to his closest friend.
The Kingsguard shook his head, "I have not seen her since this morning."
"I last saw her with the other ladies, but that was a few hours ago," Myles spoke up which caused Arthur and Rhaegar to look at him. "I suppose they are not joining us tonight," he assumed.
Rhaegar hummed as he took his seat, "It is uncharacteristic for her to not join."
"Well, I do not care in the slight if she did or not," Jon gave his thought freely, "I have been waiting for hours to eat and that ham is looking ever so devoura—OW!" Jon grimaced as he felt someone kick him from under the table. He glared across the table at Arthur, who was glaring back at him.
All of a sudden, the sound of whiplash made the attendees of the feast jump slightly in their seats. Their eyes flickered to the entrance with alertness. "You all did not plan to start without us, did you?" Nyrella let herself inside the warm tent, while two other ladies and a band of minstrels followed her inside.
"No, we weren't," Rhaegar smiled at his sister, while he kicked Jon under the table as well. Jon shushed his pain, glaring at the Prince as he did with Arthur. "I don't see a seat for you," Rhaegar realized as he searched for another seat in front of Barristan.
"That is good to hear you did not start without me," Nyrella sauntered at the other end of the table. She picked up a nearby pitcher with one hand on the handle while the other supported the bottom. "And I do not have a seat because I will be your cupbearer for tonight, along with my other ladies."
"Cupbearer? Why not ask one of the servants?" Jon inquired as he reached over the table to get a slab of ham.
A breathy chuckle escaped her mouth. She went over to Barristan's side, and poured wine in his chalice, "I do not mind fulfilling a servant's work..."
Once the chalice was filled, she moved in between Arthur and Richard. She tilted the pitcher to pour wine into the squire's chalice, "...not forgetting to mention, men cannot resist a beautiful maiden to serve them wine. Am I speaking the truth, Richard?"
The squire flickered his eyes at Nyrella, when she said his name. She wore a cheeky smirk and she leaned closer to him. "I-It certainly helps," he swallowed, averting his eyes to the cup of wine.
"Does it now, Richard?" Rhaegar further interrogated his squire.
That is when Richard realized what he said. His eyes widen, shaking his head and his hand in opposition, "No, no, no, I-I did not mean it in that way I—"
"Easy with him, Rhaegar," Nyrella told off her brother. She turned to Arthur, smiling down at him, "Wine?"
"Please," Arthur muttered in response. His gaze fell on her face as she focused on pouring the dark liquid in his chalice, trying not to spill any on the tablecloth.
"It is nothing more than a tease Richard," Rhaegar lifted his wine filled chalice at his squire. "But, stay clear of Ny's charms because she will have you tangled around her fingers."
"I heard that," Nyrella glared at Rhaegar.
"I am only warning my squire," Rhaegar chuckled as he raised both hands in the air, not wanting to get lectured by his sister.
Nyrella rolled her eyes, and continued to focus on pouring wine into Arthur's cup. "Would you like me to pour some more," she asked as she filled a third of his chalice.
"Just a little more," Arthur responded. He did not need the extra wine, but he did not want Nyrella to leave just yet. If he could, he wanted her to stay by his side the whole night.
Nyrella did as she was told. She poured wine until it filled the chalice halfway up, "That is enough for now. I cannot have you drunk on your first drink, can I? Summon me, if you need a refill. I am more than happy to pour you another." She gave him a smile before swiftly walking away to meet up with the other ladies.
His eyes trailed after her. His gaze swayed with her body as she moved. Her long silver hair cascaded down her back with some strands braided. The deep plum-colored gown she wore made her complexion under the candlelight bright like a moonstone. The silk fabric draped her figure loosely, yet hugged the surface of her curves perfectly. Then, as she turned to talk, her rouge lips formed into a delicate smile and her lavender eyes flicked in delight.
But, Arthur was not the only one eyeing the fair-haired maiden. "Nyrella," Myles called out to her. Arthur darted between the pair. A bubble of irritation inflated in him.
Nyrella excused herself from the other ladies, and strolled towards the former squire, turned knight. Myles smiled up at the Princess, gleaming with a toothy smile. "Do you need me to pour you another cup of wine, Ser?" Nyrella reached for the pitcher, but Myles blocked her.
"No actually. I wanted to know if you could entertain us?" Myles raised a brow.
"How so?" She tilted her head at him.
Myles got up from his seat to face the crowd of his friends, "Gentlemen!" He grabbed everyone's attention, "How would you like Nyrella to sing for us?" He gestured his hands to her.
"Oh, please, no, no, I cannot sing," Nyrella smiled awkwardly at Myles and the rest of the men. She was not expecting for Myles to put her on the spot.
"But the night is lonely without entertainment, especially for a name day," he answered her.
Rhaegar put his fork down, chewing the food in his mouth to a finish. He downed the contents with a slip of his wine. Then, his attention was on his sister, "Just this once, Ny. If you may?"
When Nyrella looked into Rhaegar's eyes, there was a sadness that mystified his indigo irises. She almost forgot that this night was the same night nineteen long years ago that Summerhall was burned down and members of their family perished. It was a melancholy that followed her brother until now, and it showed more than ever. There was no way she could deny him a smile, even if it were to last a mere seconds. She nodded at him, "any request?"
"Jenny's song," Rhaegar answered within a heartbeat.
"A woeful request," Myles commented to his sire.
Nyrella laid her hand on Myles' shoulder, "A request is a request." Myles nodded and sat back down. Nyrella took one last look of her brother before situating herself at the opposite end of the table.
Arthur shifted in his seat to face her direction. He watched as she signaled to the minstrels on her right. In a matter of moments, the somber tune of strings filled the warm air. Despite the tent lit up with the warmth of the candle's flame, a shiver of coolness breezes through the space making everyone's hair stand on their skin.
" 'High in the halls of the kings who are gone
Jenny would dance with her ghosts
The ones she had lost and the ones she had found
And the ones who had loved her the most' "
Arthur had only heard Jenny's song once before while he passed by a group of minstrels back in Starfall. The song was too sad to listen to a second time, but here he was listening to Nyrella singing to it. She sang openly in her chest, annunciating every word with depth to compliment the sorrow.
" 'The ones who'd been gone for so very long
She couldn't remember their names
They spun her around on the damp old stones
Spun away all her sorrow and pain' "
Nyrella swayed her body to the rhythm, feeling herself get lost within the story of Jenny and her ghosts. She imagined herself dancing in the empty halls of the decaying stone walls with the full moon at its highest.
" 'And she never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave' "
Everyone was enraptured, their eyes either on Nyrella's even rocking or closed, listening and humming to themselves.
" 'They danced through the day
And into the night through the snow that swept through the hall
From winter to summer then winter again
'Til the walls did crumble and fall ' "
Despite being a babe on the day of the Summerhall tragedy, Rhaegar had a deep interpersonal connection with the events like a remembrance of the reason why he was here, seated down and listening to his sister sing. He was flesh and blood—alive. But at what cost? He was still, calm and quiet, yet his spirits were haunted.
" 'And she never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
And she never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave
Never wanted to leave, never wanted to leave' "
Nyrella took her last breath to sing the final part of the song. When she did, a roar of applause cut through the dense air, replacing the sorrow with hope of happiness. Nyrella was taken aback, but she waved to the crowd, muttering her gratitude.
Myles got up on his seat, giving Nyrella a standing ovation. He strolled by her side, pulling her into a tight embrace. Arthur swallowed the tightness in his throat, continuing to applaud.
The pair pulled away from each other, looking into their eyes with visions of one another. They smiled fondly, showing a tint of redness on the apples of their cheeks. As they stared in each other's faces, Arthur averted his eyes. He pushed down his feelings, knowing that he could never have that, not when he is a Kingsguard and she a Princess. He averted his gaze, acknowledging it was selfish to expect her to only be within his arms and comfort.
Rhaegar glanced between Myles and Nyrella to Arthur. He had a feeling of what was going on. It saddened him. He was responsible for paining his closest friend, preventing him from expressing his love for his sister. He was also responsible for sending Nyrella away, pushing her further away from Arthur and into the arms of another. He thought it was for the best, and he still did... but at what cost?
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐍𝐲𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚’𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐭: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧
𝙉𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝘼𝙛𝙛𝙖𝙞𝙧𝙨. “His gaze swayed with her body as she moved. Her long silver hair cascaded down her back with some strands braided. The deep plum-colored gown she wore made her complexion under the candlelight bright like a moonstone. The silk fabric draped her figure loosely, yet hugged the surface of her curves perfectly.” - 𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙞𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙨 𝙂𝙧𝙤𝙬
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐍𝐲𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚’𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐭: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧
𝙎𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙣 𝙄𝙣𝙛𝙡𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚. “She wore an ivory gown embellished in gold details. The gown had no sleeves that exposed her arms and a deep neckline that showed the majority of her collarbone and bust. In between the pleating of the skirt are woven pink lace to accentuate the ivory color.” - 𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙞𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙨 𝙂𝙧𝙤𝙬
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐒𝐈𝐃𝐄 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐀𝐂𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐒
𝙃𝙤𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙇𝙤𝙣𝙢𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝. Ser Richard portrayed by Tamino Amir. Tall. Dark. Handsome. Scholar. Knight. Romantic at Heart. A Loyal Friend.𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙇𝙤𝙣𝙢𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝.
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐒𝐈𝐃𝐄 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐀𝐂𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐒
𝙃𝙤𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙈𝙤𝙤𝙩𝙤𝙣. Ser Myles portrayed by Xavier Samuel. Dirty Blonde. Charming Smile. Battle Ready. Adventurous. Strong. Determined. Dependable. Fierce Companion. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙆𝙣𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙈𝙖𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙥𝙤𝙤𝙡.
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐍𝐲𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚’𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐭: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐓𝐞𝐧
𝘾𝙤𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙡 𝙒𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙨. “She wore a dark navy gown made mostly of fine silk. The sides of her bodice were ruched, while the front pulled together to create a bow at her collarbone. The sleeves of the gown were sheer, exposing her shoulders and part of her back. The skirt started from her natural waist and ended to the ground, dragging slightly at the ground. She wished she brought a shawl to warm her against the cold temperatures.” - 𝘼 𝘿𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙛𝙪𝙡 𝙀𝙣𝙙
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐓𝐄𝐍
𝐀 𝐃 𝐫 𝐞 𝐚 𝐝 𝐟 𝐮 𝐥 𝐄 𝐧 𝐝
𝟐𝟕𝟕 𝐀𝐂 | 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠’𝐬 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠
Locked within Maegor's Holdfast, Rhaella stood outside her balcony. It was another regular day in her quarters. The sun was out, not too many clouds in the sky, and everything was calm and quiet. This is what all her mornings looked like, but reliving the exact same days over and over again became somewhat a prison to her. One that her brother-husband had cursed her to live out for the remainder of her life.
In her arms, she held a sleeping Viserys. She softly swayed her arms back and forth like the motion of the Blackwater. Viserys was an easy baby to put to sleep, and he did not make much of a fuss. He slept soundly with his small hands holding onto each other. Rhaella smiled fondly at her baby, her small bundle of joy.
Yet, the time she spent with Viserys made her reminiscent of when her other two children were the same age. Rhaegar was a darling for Rhaella. He was a true dragon the moment he was born. He was curious, studious, and caring—the perfect Prince. Then, there was her dearest Nyrella, the moon to her stars. Nyrella was a miracle. Rhaella adored her since she was conceived because throughout her pregnancy, Nyrella would kick from time to time to let her know she was there.
But, her relationship with her eldest two became distant since Aerys started to fall deeper into madness. Her brother-husband made it impossible for her to watch and interact with Rhaegar and Nyrella. She only had a few moments with them from time to time, but she wanted more... she wanted to witness all the moments with them.
Rhaella laid her youngest dragon carefully in the soft silk fabrics of the crib. Viserys moved slightly, but did not wake. Her warm finger grazed softly at her baby's cheek, watching the Prince nuzz to her warmth. Her indigo eyes shined lovingly at how peaceful and beautiful he slept.
Without breaking her attention from Viserys, she spoke to her handmaiden, who stood quiet at the bedpost. "Is Ser Gerold on duty?" There was a firmness to her voice, but there was still a gentleness to her tone.
The handmaiden shook her head, staring at the ground, "No, your Grace. Ser Gerold informed me that he changed his shift to accompany Prince Rhaegar."
"Then who is outside guarding?" The Queen moved away from the crib towards the table of refreshments. She poured herself some sweet Arbor wine.
"Ser Jonothor and Ser Arthur, your Grace," the handmaiden responded quickly.
"Ser Arthur," the Queen's voice trailed, testing the name on her tongue. Rhaella sips her chalice of wine in deep thought. She did not know much of the Kingsguard except that he is a close confidant to her son and spends a fair amount of time with her daughter.
"Bring him in," she commanded. The young handmaiden nodded to her Queen, and hastily did as she was told.
On the other side, Arthur and Jonothor made small talk with one another about their mornings. For Arthur, his morning was unexpected. He planned to accompany Jon and Nyrella at the gardens, but was suddenly called by Ser Barristan that his post had changed. And here he was standing guard outside the Queen's quarters with Jonothor, who had woken up with a terrible headache.
Suddenly, the door opened to one of the Queen's handmaidens. Arthur and Jonothor tilted their heads to greet the girl, and she returned the gesture. "S-Ser Arthur, her Grace asked for you," the young maiden told the Kingsguard.
Arthur glanced at his sworn brother, but Jonothor shrugged, just as confused as he was. The girl opened the door wider for him to come through, and he muttered his gratitude.
His armor clashed against itself as he walked inside the heavily decorated quarters. It was extravagant and filled with riches, but not too bold to the eyes. He wondered if the Queen took the motifs from Old Valyria. Arthur took a few steps before stopping completely. He saw the sleeping Viserys in his crib, and did not want to disturb his sleep with his loud armor or heavy steps.
The Queen was seated down next to the table. Her eyes were already on the Kingsguard. Arthur bowed his head, "Your Grace."
"I heard you are well acquainted with my daughter. Could you tell me where she is at this moment?" Rhaella took another sip of her wine.
"At the gardens, your Grace. She is in the company of Jon Connington," Arthur spoke clearly.
The Queen hummed. "By the alcove that overlooks the sea?"
Arthur slightly tilted his head but he continued to answer the Queen, "Yes, it is where she spends most of her time drawing or painting."
There is a sad but admiring smile plastering over Rhaella. "She still spends her time over there," she muttered to herself. "Can you do me a favor, Ser Athur," she spoke to him again.
"Of course, your Grace," Arthur firmly nodded.
Rhaella stood up from her seat, placing the half-empty chalice of sweet red wine on the table top. "Escort me to the gardens, I want to see my daughter," she commanded.
"Your Grace-"
"I know the consequences, Ser Arthur."
Arthur took a breath. "Of course, your Grace." The Kingsgaurd could not protest further. The Queen had already made up her mind, and it would be futile to change it.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
In the Red Keep's many gardens, specifically hidden away in a secret alcove, Nyrella was not sketching away like she does, but reading a book. Jon peered over the small table, observing how his company's attention was glued permanently on the pages on her lap. She had not made any attempt to make conversation with him, and it made Jon quite bored and annoyed.
"Do you prefer lemon tarts or honey tarts?" Jon asked as he lifted both tarts, one in each hand.
Nyrella hummed. No response.
"Rhaegar said that he plans to go to Summerhall," Jon said further as he placed the trays back on the platter.
Nyrella hummed again, giving no answer.
"You are insufferable and a very bad friend," Jon directed towards her.
Yet, no answer, only a hum.
Having enough of her ignoring him, Jon stood up from his seat and took a few steps in front of Nyrella. He leaned his body forward and tilted his head slightly to capture what she was reading. But, the words were not making any sense to him. So, he snatched the book from her lap.
Nyrella shot up to look at Jon with bewildered eyes. "Rude! Give me back my book!" She protested as she stood up to get the book from the redhead.
Jon raised the book above his head, while he read the cover of the book. He placed his other hand in front of Nyrella, blocking her away. "A History of House Dayne," he read out loud.
Nyrella twisted his arm making Jon wince in pain. This gave her enough time to jump and snatch the book in her arm again. However the damage was done. Jon was roaring with laughter, doubling over as he clutched his stomach. He found everything funny which irritated Nyrella immensely at times.
"What a romantic you are!" Jon bellowed in between his laughs. A few tears escaped his eyes and his face was turning a shade brighter than his hair.
"Be quiet, Jon," she snapped at him, "Someone will hear you." Nyrella was embarrassed to say the least. She hid the book behind her back, and gave Jon an unamused expression.
"This made my day so much better," Jon said as he wiped the tears from his eyes. He was calming down from his fit of laughs. "You like him so much that you'll even read about his family's history, when you hate reading," Jon said humorously, thinking himself funny.
"I don't like him," Nyrella grumbled underneath her breath.
"Nyrella, you little tart, are such a blatant liar," Jon grinned widely.
Nyrella rolled her eyes, and sat back down. She grabbed a tart from the platter, and took a bite. "Is it obvious?" She mumbled with a mouthful.
Jon joined her from across the table, "Being a horrible liar or your feelings towards the Sword of the Morning?"
"You know what I'm talking about," her voice became quieter.
"Ah, Arthur, yes. Well, I'm not blind to it nor is Rhaegar. And I don't know about Barristan though. But, your secret is well kept, which is surprising since the Court are vicious serpents."
Nyrella exhaled with relief. Her body slumped over the table with her head burrowed in her arms. "I'm desperate for him," her confession was muffled.
Jon hummed, "Clearly, but I'm quite offended you chose Arthur and not me. I'm a tenfold handsomer than he is, and a better swordsman."
Nyrella lifter her head up with knitted brows, "you're joking right?"
"And you keep offending me," Jon pinched the bridge of his nose.
"You don't even like me in that way nor others of my sex," Nyrella laid her chin on her arms.
Jon rolls his eyes, "But that doesn't mean I can't flirt or practice my charm on you."
Nyrella scoffed as she grabbed another tart from the platter. "You can always practice with your silver prince," she smirked, taking a bite.
Jon grabbed a random tart and threw the pastry at Nyrella's head. There was a soft thump before rolling down to the ground. Nyrella quickly sat up, gasping at his audacity. Her finger traveled to the spot the dessert hit her, feeling the crumbly remnants on her hair.
"I do not regret calling you insufferable and a very bad friend," Jon glared.
Nyrella chuckled, "I forget you're childish sometimes. I was only joking, and your secret is safe with me." She zipped and locked her lips, then threw the invisible key behind her.
She looks down at her lap. Gently, she runs her fingers across the old worn-out cover of the book. Her fingers lingered on top of House Dayne's sigil that was embedded on the center. A thought loomed in her mind—if things were different, would she have the chance to marry Arthur? It was a question she asked herself from time to time, but she hardly had the answer to. She was not even confident he returned the feelings.
"I wouldn't continue reading yet," Jon suddenly whispered her way, but was loud enough for her to hear. She gave him a questionable expression, then he pointed to the right with his head, "Arthur is coming this way with your mother."
Nyrella quickly turned her head. Indeed two figures she was not expecting to see this afternoon were steady making their way towards her and Jon. A wave of anxious feeling suddenly washed over her. "Seven hells," she cursed underneath her breath.
She threw the old book towards Jon, which hit his face. He groaned in pain as he held the book, "What was that for!" He whisper-yelled at Nyrella.
"Hush," Nyrella pressed a finger in front of her lips, "I can't be seen with that book."
"Now you're being the ridiculous one," Jon continued to whisper-yell, "you take it!"
"No, Jon, you take it!" Nyrella pushed her hands out blocking his attempt to give it to her.
"Nyrella, stop being difficult, take it!"
"For the Seven Heavens Jon!"
"No, you have —"
"Nyrella, Lord Jon," a feminine voice interrupted their bickering. The two culprits immediately shut their mouths, a silence befallen between them. Their eyes were on the Queen, who stood tall and watched them with a regal and critical eye.
In a heartbeat, Jon was on his feet. He bowed deeply, "Your Grace, It's an honor to be in your acquaintance."
Rhaella smiled fondly at the Lord of Griffin's Roost, "You've grown since the last time I saw you Griff."
"By looks, but I'm afraid, I still act immature for my age," Jon responded, "You have not aged a single day, your Grace. Still very beautiful."
Nyrella fought herself not to vomit the contents of her stomach after hearing Jon's response. Yet, it seemed her mother took the compliment rather well and even smiled wider towards the redhead.
"Nyrella," Rhaella directed her attention to her daughter.
All the attention was on her now. Nyrella stood up from her seat. Her hands lifted her skirt off the ground as she curtsied, "Mother."
Sensing the lack of warmth from Nyrella's end, Jon decided to step up, "Please take a step, your Grace. There are enough refreshments for all of us." He stepped aside from his seat and gestured for the Queen to take.
However, Rhaella waved her hand to decline the generous offer, "I came here to fetch Nyrella to walk with me around the garden."
"I'm quite busy," Nyrella responded to Rhaella.
"I'm sure you have time to spare for me, and Griff could accompany us as well," Rhaella countered with a firm look from her.
Nyrella stared at her mother for a while, before sighing deeply, "Okay."
Rhaella wore a sad smile at the lack of enthusiasm from her daughter. She held her hand out towards her which Nyrella carefully took. Soon, the mother and daughter started their stroll around the garden.
Jon came to Arthur's side as they walked behind the Targaryen pair. "Fancy seeing you here," Jon nudged the other's arm.
"What were you two bickering about?" Arthur inquired as he peered over his shoulder to glance back at the table where the book was.
"Oh nothing," Jon shook his head and pushed the Kingsguard slightly forward. A grin formed in his lips to reassure his friend to continue walking.
Arthur knew something was going on, but decided to ignore it for now. However, one thing on his mind that he needed answers to was Nyrella and her mother. The small interactions between them were not what he had in mind at all. He was staring too intently at the duo that Jon mustered the realization.
"It's difficult between them," Jon revealed to Arthur. He did not have to be asked the question, Jon knew that Arthur was curious and he did not blame him. "Love can strengthen bonds or weaken some," he added sadly.
Arthur understood but still was not able to connect the dots, "I cannot see a reason why it would weaken their bond." His eyes dart between the two females who share similar characteristics with one another.
"I don't know how to explain it," Jon took a deep breath. "I'm more than happy to explain—" he pointed between the two, "this, but it's not my story to tell."
Arthur hummed softly. "You think she'll tell me?"
"You are one of her closest friends, obviously next to me, but I have no doubt she will tell you," Jon gave his friend an assuring pat behind his shoulders.
While the two men fell into a comfortable step behind the Targaryen women and found themselves in conversation, the same thing could not be said about the two Targaryen women. There was an unsaid tension between Nyrella and Rhaella, one that made it unbearable to breathe or think with a calm mind. Especially for Nyrella, her body heat was higher, her hands formed into fists, and her ears were buzzing. In the thick silence, she had conflicting emotions fighting to rise up from the others.
"It's a beautiful day is it not?" A voice pierced through the uncharted territory.
Nyrella hugged herself and turned her body away from the woman next to her, more than she already was. "I've seen better days," she responded with a slight bite.
Rhaella sighed as she rubbed her hands anxiously. "I heard that you and Rhaegar went to The Hook. How was it? Was it like the times we went before?"
"Can we be quiet for the rest of the walk," Nyrella stated harshly, throwing her mother a side glare, "I rather prefer the silence."
There was a pause. Rhaella understood her daughter's hostile behavior because she went through it herself with her own mother. "Nyrella—" she exhaled. "I'm trying. You must understand that I'm trying," her response felt more like a plea, a plea for forgiveness.
"You didn't try before."
Rhaella's heart pinged at the words. This time Nyrella's response was not aggressive but filled with sorrow and sadness. Rhaella softened her eyes on her daughter, moving slightly towards her. Her fingers gently pushed a strand of hair behind Nyrella's ear. Nyrella didn't make a move to push her away or praise her.
"I'm sorry," Rhaella said under her breath, enough for only Nyrella to hear. "You do not have to forgive me or talk to me, but please let me try to be better. We can continue to be silent for the remainder of the walk, if you prefer."
Nyrella turned her head further away from her mother. Her gaze was glossy as she looked at the flora. She felt the brim of her eyes fill up with tears, threatening to fall. She tightened her arms around herself and dogged her fingernails into her flesh, a mechanism to keep her from losing her emotions.
Taking her silence as an answer, Rhaella returned the distance between her and Nyrella. There was a lump in her throat as she fought the urge to cry. It was painful but through the years, she learned to deal with it.
"If I tell you about The Hook—" Nyrella spoke up, "—you need to go back to Maegor's Holdfast."
Rhaella frowned. A piece of her heart broke and mended at Nyrella's offer. Bittersweet. "I understand," she said. In her mind, going back to the hellhole her brother-husband put her in was worth spending a minuscule amount of time with her daughter.
Nyrella cleared her throat, blinking away the wetness in her eyes. "Rhaegar and I weren't the only ones that went to the Hook. Jon, Ser Barristan and Ser Arthur went as well. Arthur and I strolled around, and found some things. Then, later we saw Rhaegar playing for the crowd and he made me sing."
Nyrella paused. "After that, Arthur, he—he bought me flowers. Purple lilacs. It was a gift because I sang so well, but I don't believe him. I—"
"I'm glad Ser Arthur treated you well," Rhaella added.
Nyrella snapped her head towards her mother. She didn't even notice that she rambled too much and said too much of what happened. "He is only doing his duty," Nyrella spilled out, covering any hints of fondness. But she could not ignore how the words pierced her heart painfully. "What he has done is nothing more than duty and chivalry," she repeated dejectedly.
"Duty above all," Rhaella said all too well.
Nyrella looked at the ground. She swallowed the hard truth down, "duty above all."
"Nyrella," Rhaella breathed out, "you can talk to me, if you need someone to talk to. I might not have been the best mother, but I will always be your mother."
"I've said too much to you already. All I need you to do now is go back to Maegor's Holdfast before the consequences become severe," Nyrella's tone became sharper like a dagger that has been put through a whetstone .
"I—"
"No, mother," Nyrella snapped. "Go back now."
Rhaella swallowed the tightness in her throat. She closed her eyes, taking a deep inhale of the air around her, and she nodded. "I'm unafraid of the consequences," she opened her eyes again.
The queen stopped in her tracks which made Jon and Arthur stop immediately, but Nyrella continued on for a few more steps before stopping. Rhaella turned to Arthur with a well-crafted smile, hiding any remnants of hurt. "I would like to go back to my quarters now, Ser Arthur," her voice breezed through like the warm air.
Arthur quickly glanced at Nyrella's direction, whose back is turned away. His gaze lingered on her for a few seconds, wishing she would turn around and say something. Not to him but her mother. "Ser Arthur, is something the matter?" He didn't realize he was lingering a little too long.
"No, your Grace. I will escort you back to your quarters," he averted his eyes on the older woman, who wore a kind smile. He couldn't help but make the resemblance between her and Nyrella. Both are equal in beauty.
Arthur offered his arm, yet Rhaella shook her head and feet remained cemented on the ground. "Before we go...I think Nyrella would want to see you," she told him.
The Kingsguard was hesitant to move from his spot. He glanced back at Nyrella, wondering if she could hear their conversation. "It's okay," Rhaella encouraged as she stepped aside.
Arthur's lips twitched slightly upwards, giving a curt nod at the Queen's direction. He took his heavy steps in strides, taking only a few to reach Nyrella's front.
Nyrella moved her head upwards to meet Arthur's gaze. The bright glare of the sun usually made her squint, but because of Arthur's tall stature and thick silver armor, the sun ceased to blind her. Under the shade, she saw his face fully. However, she didn't know whether to smile at him or frown. He wore an expression she never saw before. His eyes were casted down, his eyebrows were lower on his face, and his lips were in a sealed line—disappointment. But why?
"I wish I had more time to speak with you," the low octave of his voice vibrated through the air.
"And we will," she assured him. Nyrella tried to touch Arthur's arm, but at the last second he shifted away from her.
"Why must you be so indifferent to your mother?" He confided his true emotion to her.
Nyrella took Arthur's words harshly, even if he did not mean to. She clenched her teeth and her arms wrapped around her securely, "This is not the time to be asking questions like that."
Arthur pursed his lips, "I do not mean to offend you in any way, but I saw—"
"Nothing," she declared. "What you saw is nothing, and it should stay that way."
"All I'm trying to say—"
"You said it yourself, there is no time to speak."
Arthur exhaled defeatedly. "Then, I will take my leave."
"Please do, I'm not stopping you," Nyrella answered with a gaze sharp like glass.
Arthur hummed and bowed his head. He turned his body away from Nyrella, leaving her under the hot blaze of the sun. A gust of wind passed Nyrella as he walked away, his comforting presence was replaced with a cold spot next to her. She dug her nails into the flesh of her arms as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Guilt boiled at the pit of stomach, aching painfully to the exchange she had with her mother and Arthur. But she tried her hardest to push away those feelings, making a decision that she would simply ignore the people she hurt.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
Days and days went by since the day at the garden. Nyrella did what she promised herself, which was to ignore a certain Kingsguard. She did this by locking herself most of the time inside the comforts of her quarters. It was not the most intelligent move on her part, but it certainly filtered out the interactions she had. The first few days were fine. Yet, as the week progressed into another week, the emotions she suppressed started to eat at her, until it became the only thing she thought about night and day.
Her thoughts were ravaged by questions that stormed in her mind. What went wrong? Is Arthur to blame or was I? What will happen to us? Was I too hard on my mother? If I show my face, will he ignore me as well? Why do I feel like this? On top of that, her mind conjured depressing consequences that could possibly play out in reality if she were to go out of her quarters. Sometimes they were so overwhelming that it brought her to tears.
Then, it led to her speaking with Alora. The older woman was glad to listen to the young girl's sorrows, keeping a reassuring smile and encouraging words for Nyrella to continue her story when it became difficult. Afterwards when the full story was recited, Alora advised the teary-eyed princess to confront the truth by talking to the ones she has hurt. Alora knew it was hard to admit when you were in the wrong, but it was the only way to fix things and grow to be better.
Nyrella took Alora's wise words to heart, knowing she needed to make amends with Arthur and especially with her mother. And today, she took the first step by leaving her quarters.
The Princess stood at the courtyard with Ser Jonothor by her side. The pair were seeing Ser Barristan off, since the older Kingsguard was going to Duskendale to meet with Lord Tywin. Nyrella stood quietly as she observed Jonothor and Barristan's interaction. Jonothor gave final words which made Barristan pat the younger Kingsgaurd on the arm, a gesture to comfort the worrisome sworn brother.
"Do not shed any tears for me, your Grace," Barristan amused in order to keep his departure from being sorrowful.
"How many times should I lecture not—"
"To keep calling you, your Grace. I think more than I can count," the corner of his lips tugged upwards forming a reassuring smile.
Nyrella chuckled into a cheery grin, "I cannot promise you that I won't shed any tears for you, Barristan. You are a true friend, and the world will be a sadder place if you were to pass."
"It is my duty. I sworn my life to protect the Crown, your father, and this means that death will always be lingering close. I'm not afraid, and you should not be either," he spoke, hoping his answer would find its way to reassure her.
Nyrella averted her eyes towards her fidgeting hands, moving her head up and down in understanding. "There are no truer words" it was a mere whisper.
Duty. It was not the first time nor the last time she would hear that word. She hated it. It binds people like Barristan...Arthur....herself, to simple words that mean nothing, yet mean, everything.
"I hope we are not too late," a pair of feet ran down the flight of stone steps.
Barristan turned to the new company, bowing his head quickly before coming back up to give a welcoming gleam. "Not at all, Rhaegar. I'm exchanging a few words with your sister," his dominant hand gestured to the other Targaryen sibling.
"Please continue, I didn't mean to disturb," Rhaegar signaled to Barristan.
Nyrella waved her hand in the air, "No need. I said everything I needed to say to Barristan." She turned around to face the trio.
Her eyes saw Barristan, then guided over to Rhaegar, and lastly, inched their way to Arthur. He was not looking at her. She glanced away quickly, realizing the situation she was in. "I shall take my leave now. May the gods keep you safe, Barristan. I will keep you in my thoughts," she spoke to Barristan. He answered with a simple nod.
Rhaegar took a step towards her, but she quickly pivoted on her heels and walked the opposite direction, away from the duo. She walked feverishly through the halls of the Red Keep that it felt as if she was gliding through the marble flooring. The halls were empty except for the heavy armored steps of Ser Jonothor trying to trail after her. She did not know where she was going as long as she knew she was far away from the courtyard.
"Your Grace," Ser Jonothor muttered breathy, trying to catch a breath. "Please stop," there was a warning in his words.
Nyrella listened. She stopped and snapped to turn to the Kingsguard with a questionable look, "Stop?"
Jonothor was thankful. His hands were on his knees as he hunched forward, trying to take deep breaths. He held his hand up to her, "We—we—are..."
"We are?" Nyrella furrowed her brows concerned for him. She took a step forward, tilting her head low to see a glance of his face.
"Go—going—in circles," he managed to say coherently.
"Going in circles?" Nyrella repeated as blinked a few times in confusion. She averted her eyes away from Jonothor to her surroundings. On her right were the stained glass windows, and to her left are brick walls with candle stands. She then looked down at the very ends on both sides, finding them familiar.
"No..." the realization hits her. In her feverish temper, she failed to have a sense of direction. Color depleted from her complexion, a sudden sickness.
"Nyrella!" Rhaegar's voice bounced against the walls of the hall, eoching loudly. Jonothor and Nyrella turned their heads to see the Prince of Dragonstone and The Sword of the Morning at the front end of the hallway, not far from where they were standing.
And it took no time for each pair to be next to one another. "Are you well, Ny?" Rhaegar inquired. It was not difficult to notice his sister's sudden change in behavior the last few days. He heard about her encounter with their mother from Jon. Wondering if that was the reason for her avoidance.
"Yes, I am well," Nyrella tugged the corners of her lips to smile. "Are you?" Upon closer observation, she noticed the purple bags under Rhaegar's eyes. His skin was a sickly pale color. His silver-blonde hair lacked its usual shine, it was more dull and dry. And he looked deprived of any food, he was skinnier than she last saw him.
"I am alright," he simply responded to her. She nodded her head. There was a silence that befell. Nyrella found her gaze wandering to where Arthur stood. Her eyes lingered on his armored breastplate of the three-headed dragon, then slowly made their way up to his face. She didn't meet his eyes like she usually found herself. He didn't want to meet her eyes. His gaze was glued to the ground, only actively listening to his surroundings. It made Nyrella more guilty of the way she treated him.
"Nyrella," Rhaegar called her again. She averted her eyes from Arthur and back to her brother.
"I know you aren't here to discuss pleasantries with me, Reg. Why are you here?" She was back to fidgeting her fingers.
"I must speak with you in private," he whispered. Nyrella furrowed her eyebrows, picking the sense of urgency in his voice.
"We are in private," she gestured around the hall, "you can tell me here."
"No," Rhaegar deadplanned. "Not here, too many ears. We need to speak somewhere else."
"Alright. Do you have anywhere in mind?"
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
Nyrella did not expect for Rhaegar's answer to be—the beach. The wet sand crunched underneath her boots. The tide was low, making walking along the sand easier and flexible. The sun was high above the sky, but was covered by thick clouds, adding a gloominess to the scene. Seagulls flew overhead as they squawked annoyingly to their kin. Nyrella tried not to linger underneath one of the birds, fearing it would defecate on her blue gown.
Rhaegar, Nyrella, and Arthur were in each other's company while Ser Jonothor took his position at the entrance of the beach. The Targaryen siblings were at the forefront, walking beside each other with identical steps. Arthur, on the other hand, was closely behind the duo, keeping an exact three steps distance.
There were attempts of conversation between the three, but it would soon meet a short faith of silence. It irritated Rhaegar immensely since he was the one starting the conversations. Arthur gave short answers of yes or no, while his sister picked and chose which conversation she would answer too. It did not take long for Rhaegar to put two and two together to realize that Arthur and Nyrella were not on equal fronts.
"I heard mother came to visit you at the garden," Rhaegar said. His hands were behind his back, while he kept his eyeline in front of him, looking into the distance.
Nyrella's shoulder shrugged, "Jon told you."
"How was she?" His head slowly turned towards her. The tone of his voice held a melancholic tune—sad and soft.
"As always."
"As always is not an answer."
Rhaegar sighed. He lifted his right hand from the back, extending over to lay his hand on top of Nyrella's fidgeting hands. Nyrella blinked a few times before slowly meeting his gaze.
"What do you want me to say, Rhaegar? You see mother more than I do, so you would know how she is," Her words bit him like a dragon's bite. Her stare was solid, not blinking once as she spoke.
Rhaegar closed his eyes for a second, squeezing his sister's hand slightly firmer. "I only wanted to have a pleasant conversation with you before..." his voice trailed off as well as his eye contact with her's.
Nyrella shook her head, "anything but mother. We can have a pleasant conversation, but please do not bring up mother... I feel guilty as it is." Her last few words were barely a whisper underneath her breath. Rhaegar wondered if he heard her right, but did not question further to avoid another round of her sharp words.
"What would you like to talk about then? What is pleasant to your ears?" He dropped his hand that laid on top of her own to his side.
Nyrella went back to fidgeting with her hands, "Can you just tell me?"
Rhaegar tilted his head, "Tell you what?"
"Why did you ask to speak with me in private?"
"Okay."
Nyrella snapped her eyes at Rhaegar. The tone of his voice changed with that one word. It sounded dreadful, miserable, and sad. It sounded like the world had crashed down on him and the consequences were too severe to heal from. It did not help seeing how dark and purple his eye bags were as if had not slept for months. His skin was paler than her own, and she could tell he was not eating well enough as he should.
"Do you think I would make a good King, Ny?" His voice riches through her eardrums. His gaunt face looked back at her.
Nyrella was the one to tilt her head, "Of course, you would. The people love and admire you—lords, ladies, knights, commonfolk alike. You have the best interest for the realm."
Rhaegar hummed, conflicted on how to proceed. "Right. The reason why I asked to speak you is on matters, the Small Council and I have discussed," he exhaled steadily.
"Which are?" Nyrella's eyebrows were knitted in confusion. Rhaegar never involved her in politics, which extends to discussions in the Small Council. The whole conversation is odd, and she cannot help but feel discomfort where she stood.
"Crops are failing, Ny. Many farmers in the Crownlands are in debt and losing their livelihood. Poverty in the streets is growing each day due to the shortage in food. The Small Council fears a famine is upon us. It is made worse since our father is held prisoner," Rhaegar unfolded without skipping a beat or a shaky breath.
"Certainly there is a solution to this? Maybe lend some money to the farmers? Or give them more fertile land?" Nyrella offered any solutions she could think of on the top of her mind, but everything she said felt too naive in her ears.
"It's not that easy," the older Targaryen responded drily.
"Maybe we could start by asking what the farmers need? Give them resources to start again. I am sure any help they can get will be—"
"You need to marry."
Rhaegar's voice was firm, cutting through her words like butter and falling out of her mouth like dead flies. Nyrella had stopped walking. Her feet were glued to the damp sand. Her body was still except for her chest, rising up and down with every breath.
"Marry?" Her voice croaked—dry and tight.
Rhaegar casted his eyes down for a second before meeting with her lavender eyes, "Yes. You must marry." He repeated the words again.
"I-I—"
"The Small Council and I believe it to be the best solution." Rhaegar extended his hand to touch Nyrella's cheek, but she took a step back.
"You can't marry me off! I am not marrying anyone!" She raised her voice at him.
"We have not decided who you are to marry, Nyrella. Not yet, anyways," Rhaegar's voice slightly raised.
"Like that makes me feel any better," she spat. "I am not some prized cattle for you to sell me off to fix a problem!"
"At least it fixes a problem! Hear yourself Nyrella! Do you really want revolts at the steps of the Red Keep! Or people dying left and right hungry because you would not marry!! As you said earlier, I only have the best interest for the realm and its people! This is a small price to pay!" Rhaegar threw his hands in the hand as the frustration seethed off him. He turned around away from Nyrella, trying to calm himself. He's been planning to tell her this for awhile, and planned accordingly so it would not explode. But, no matter how much planning, destiny always played out of his favor.
Nyrella stayed quiet after Rhaegar's outburst. Her hands were folded in front of her, not having the will to fidget with her fingers or move at all. Rhaegar rarely yelled or shouted at her. Yet, when it did happen. It felt like the world was crumbling underneath her and it was harder to breathe. It was worse now since the feeling appended to the prior emotions she already felt.
Arthur was quiet the whole time ever since Rhaegar and Nyrella were talking. He did not pay any attention to the conversation until it shifted to the topic of the Small Council and the failing crops. Even then, he tried not to eavesdrop due to the confidentiality of the matters. However, the moment Rhaegar had dropped the piece of information that Nyrella needed to marry, he could stop himself from listening. The shocking news was new to his ears and had smacked him hard across the face in shock. Rhaegar never told him, much less hinted, that he planned this. Arthur wondered how long Rhaegar kept this secret of his.
His violet eyes were on Nyrella. She was quiet, still, and looked incredibly out of place. Her head hung low and her shoulders dropped, making her look smaller in frame. He was afraid the ocean's wind would blow her away, that was how fragile she appeared. He wanted nothing more than to reach out and comfort her. Tell her that everything would be okay. He wanted to bring her anywhere but here. Yet, he was grounded to the sand, not having enough willpower to move. He was not sure if she wanted his comfort or sympathies.
There was a sigh. Nyrella and Arthur lifted their gaze to focus on the Dragon Prince. Rhaegar turned around, calmer than before. His face was tired, sad, and stressed. He took a couple of steps towards Nyrella, stopping a foot or two from her. "The Small Council wanted to name a betrothal... but I knew you would hate me forever if I let that happen. So, I made my plea for you to choose," Rhaegar paused, swallowing a lump in his throat, "the Small Council and I compromised for you to be sent away in a Royal Progress to announce your eligibility to marry."
Nyrella blinked away her watery eyes, "you are me away as well?"
Rhaegar nodded, "as soon as The Defiance is taken care of."
She fought the urge to let out a scream. "And if I-I do not find someone to marry?"
"You know what happens," Rhaegar said solemnly, a frown spread across his face.
Nyrella closed her eyes. A tear escaped, falling down on her rosy cheeks. She took a deep inhale and exhaled before she opened her eyes again. "Stay away from me, Rhaegar. I do not want to see your face," Nyrella admitted. Her face was stone cold, she refused to meet his eyes.
Rhaegar had no words, nodding at her that he understood. Nyrella pivoted on her feet, and continued to walk along the beach alone. Rhaegar and Arthur stood in their spots until the sound of her steps became distant and only the sound of seagulls above were the only thing to be heard. Rhaegar sighed heavily. He turned on his feet to walk the other direction of where Nyrella went. He was needed back at the Red Keep, no matter how broken or tired he was, he had duties to attend too.
However, just as he was about to pass Arthur, the Kingsgaurd grabbed his upper arm stopping him from walking off. The two stared at each other for a minute, their purple eyes colliding in disagreement.
"How long were you planning this?" Arthur inquired with displeasement.
Rhaegar ripped his arm from Arthur's grip, "This is not the time, Arthur. I need to get back to the Red Keep."
He tried to continue his journey, but Arthur extended his arm out to block him from walking. His state was serious, holding no warmth or amusement. "Answer me, Rhaegar. How long did you pl—"
"Months," Rhaegar confessed.
"Does Jon know?"
"Only the Small Council and I knew for months, then you and Nyrella. Other than that, no one knows."
Rhaegar tried to walk, but Arthur pushed him back. He was not finished talking to him.
"How come you never told me you were planning this?" Arthur inquired harsher than he expected too.
Rhaegar let out an amused breath. He pushed Arthur's arm away from him, not happy that he was being interrogated by his friend. "Because it does not concern you," Rhaegar answered. He walked off, bumping into Arthur's shoulder as he did.
Arthur's hand tightened around the hilt of Dawn, feeling angry and annoyed with Rhaegar. "It does concern me," Arthur announced, turning to Rhaegar's direction, "I care for Nyrella."
Rhaegar stopped in his tracks, he turned to face Arthur. He walked back to him until they were face to face with a feet of distance between them. Rhaegar dogged his index finger into Arthur's steel chest, "This is the reason why I did not tell you. I see the way you speak to my sister, the way you interact with her, the way you look at her. You love her."
Arthur kept quiet. Rhaegar continued on.
"And by the gods, she loves you too," Rhaegar confessed. "I have watched you two. You and Nyrella are meant to be. But, you are a Kingsguard and she is a Princess. You two can love, but you two can never be together. If I told you before I told Nyrella, I know you would have made your fondness known to her and she would refuse to marry anyone else because she loves you. If things were different, I would have you and Nyrella be together. However, I cannot let that happen because there is so much at risk."
"She loves me..." Arthur muttered to himself.
"Arthur, you must not make your affections known to her. You swore a vow, and you must honor it. You need to bury those feelings. Do not let love blind you. If you love her as you say... you need to let her go," Rhaegar sighed sadly.
"One day, Rhaegar, you will understand the pain of loving someone you are not meant to love," Arthur spoke.
Rhaegar nodded and hummed, understanding the warning in Arthur's voice. "One day, Arthur," he dropped his index from Arthur's chest. He straightened up, clearing his voice, "Go with Nyrella. It might be one of the last times you two will be together until she leaves. It is the least I can do."
With that, Rhaegar turned around and walked away towards the pathway back to the Red Keep. Arthur stood alone in the middle of the beach with his thoughts. He should be happy to know that the girl he loves, loves him back. Yet, knowing that he cannot tell her that he loves her or love her the way he wanted to, was a knife to the heart.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
Nyrella had been walking alone for some time. The sun was covered with dark gray skies, threatening to pour rain any minute now. She did not care if it did. The nice breeze became stronger and colder, making her shiver in her light attire. She wore a dark navy gown made mostly of fine silk. The sides of her bodice were ruched, while the front pulled together to create a bow at her collarbone. The sleeves of the gown were sheer, exposing her shoulders and part of her back. The skirt started from her natural waist and ended to the ground, dragging slightly at the ground. She wished she brought a shawl to warm her against the cold temperatures.
Her eyes stared out into the blue dark ocean as many things flashed in her mind. How did everything escalate so fast? She wiped a stray tear and inhaled to prevent her nose from running.
Then, from a distance, she heard unnatural sounds, distinct from the noises of the tides rolling in or the wildlife around her. At first, the sound was faint, however each step she took, it became louder and more familiar. She wrapped her arms around herself securely, knowing fully well what the sound was—incoming footsteps.
"Nyrella..." Arthur's voice trailed off as he finally caught up to her. He ran after her, trying to catch his breath.
Nyrella ignored him, continuing to walk by herself. Arthur exhaled loudly, groaning slightly at her stubbornness. He jogged a little more until he was beside her and their pace was in sync. It was silent between them except for the comfortable crunch of sand underneath their feet.
Arthur watched her. He watched as she faced away from him, staring off straight into the faraway reach of the ocean's horizon. He did not see any area of her face, wondering what expression she was holding. Strands of her silver hair flew wildly reacting to the constant change of the wind. He noticed how her arms instinctively reacted to the sudden gust of coldness by wrapping around her body tighter. The gown she wore complimented her well, but it was not suitable for current conditions.
He quickly unbuckled the straps on his shoulders, where his white cloak was securely attached. He gripped the thick fabric, yanking it off with one pull. Arthur took a few steps closer to Nyrella. Then, he gently placed his white cloak over her shoulders.
Nyrella snapped her head at him, but she was not expecting how close Arthur was to her face. "Wh—"
"You're shivering," Arthur replied, knowing what she was going to ask. He moved the side of the cloak so that it would cover her entirely.
Nyrella nodded, unfolding her arms to hold onto the cloak. It was big on her, and it smelled like him. "Thank you," she mumbled.
Arthur straightened up, putting a distance back between them. He wanted so badly to talk to her, to know what she was thinking. It broke him, seeing how her gaze was down casted with a looming storm in her eyes of lavender fields. Her beautiful heart-shaped lips that always wore a joyful smile was now a frown. Her cheeks were glistening by the remnants of tear stains, while the tip of her nose was red and irritated.
"I am sorry Arthur," she broke the deafening silence. Her voice was hoarse and dry, but it was still honey to Arthur's ears.
"You do not have to apologize for anything, Nyrella," Arthur reassured her.
Nyrella shook her head, feeling another wave of unchecked emotions rallying up to escape. She turned her head to face him, and met his violet gaze. "No, Arthur, I do. I was mean to you when you were trying to be a friend. You had every right to ignore me, I acted terribly. I am so sorry," she inhaled her stuffy nose and blinked away her glossy vision.
"All is forgiven," he smiled at her, pushing a strand away from her face. "I am sorry as well about bringing up your mother. I know it is difficult for you to talk about her."
Nyrella wrapped the cloak around her tighter as another round of cold air passed them. "I owe you an explanation," her eyes soften at him.
"No, you do not have too. I do not want to put you in more pain than you are," he placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and spoke gently.
"I will be okay, Arthur," she weakly smiled at him. She shifted further into the warmth of the cloak, she felt safe coddled into the faint fabric and even more so having only Arthur with her. She took another breath and exhaled to prepare herself.
“I was attached to my mother by the hip for the first few years of my life. We did everything together and even now, I think about those moments and cherish them with love. However, when my mother was ordered into confinement…that is when she started to change. She pushed me away by refusing my visits to see her, burning the paintings I gifted her, blaming me for her unhappiness, and favored Rhaegar in everything. My own mother became a stranger. I tried for years to get any type of attention or affection from her, but she shut me out. I was tired of hurting, so I stopped. At ten-namedays, I swore to myself that it was better to be strangers with my parents than to feel a constant aching pain in my chest.”
“However, just as I promised myself, my mother started to open up to me. She tried to reach out and apologize for her mistreatment over the years. It tore me to shreds because the affection I wanted for years was there– an arm’s length away. But I tell myself, why now? I could not deal with the pain of losing my mother’s love if I accepted, so I closed her off, not wanting anything to do with her. There are circumstances that made us interact, but I never let her close enough to hurt me again.”
Arthur was at a loss for words, not expecting such a story. “Nyrella, I—“
“I know, Arthur. You do not have to apologize or regret anything. I love my mother. I do. I understand that she is very sorry, and she will have to deal with the guilt of inflicting such pain. But I am, also, guilty for pushing her away when she tries to make amends. It will get better, we are healing.” She assessed him with a small smile.
"I appreciate you trust me enough to share this with me," Arthur responded, mirroring an encouraging smile.
"Of course," she uttered, "I trust you with my whole heart."
"I share the same sentiment," Arthur responded after her.
There was silence behind them. It was a comfortable silence as they stared into their eyes. They found comfort in their presence that they never could mimic with anyone else.
"I am sorry about what happened today with Rhaegar and the news," Arthur changed the subject, knowing that Nyrella did not want to stay on the topic of her mother or past.
"You apologize too much, ser," Nyrella shook her head in amusement. "Let us not be sad. I do not want our last moments alone to be grim or filled with sorrow. Even if we have to pretend, I just do not want to waste anymore tears on things beyond my control."
"If that is your wish, then we shall be happy," Arthur smiled.
"Thank you," she smiled back.
"I am going to miss you," he found himself saying.
Nyrella extended her hand out of the cloak, and intertwined her's with Arthur's hand. "Me too," her smile grew bigger and shined brighter, clearing up the gloominess of the atmosphere.
Arthur did not care how unexpected her action was. All he could think of was how small, warm, and soft her hand was compared to his. He tightened his hand with his, not letting her go.
It tore him inside that he will never get to tell Nyrella that he loves her. It was unfair. Yet, if she could wear a smile, even when times were tough. Then, he can too.
He wondered how he could be so lucky to be in her life. Nyrella is strong for putting up with her parents' faulty actions and receiving terrible news. She has shown compassion and understanding. She tries to find happiness. She is, to him, an incredible person, inside and out—the love of his life.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
A month breezed over since that fateful day on the beach. Unfortunately, a month was not enough to reconcile the strained relationship between Rhaegar and Nyrella, despite the great efforts of Jon and Arthur for them to make amends. Adding salt to the wound, the announcement of Nyrella's eligibility to marry became widespread throughout the Seven Kingdoms. It was the only information that every lord, lady, and even common folk discussed among each other. That was until the world-shattering news that the Defiance of Duskendale was over.
No one could believe the Defiance of Duskendale would last half a year. The Lord Darklyn held on, thinking it was only a matter of time before better advantageous offers were made. However, losing patience outside the city gates, Tywin Lannister refused to bend his terms. He heeded his final warnings to the foolish lord: the refusal to surrender the King will result in the sacking of Duskendale and no mercy shall be shown to any man, woman, or child. There was no doubt if this was executed, the King's life would be added to the casualties—not that Tywin really cared.
Yet, Ser Barristan the Bold, honorable and brave, volunteered himself to single-handedly rescue the imprisoned Aerys. Not one to decline a valorous act, Lord Tywin irritably granted one night to the Kingsguard in order to infiltrate the city and fulfill the rescue. However, if the Kingsguard failed his mission, the sacking of Duskendale will commence.
Impressive as his name was, Ser Barristan scaled the city wall with bare hands at the dead of night. He disguised himself as a common beggar on the streets, evading suspicion from the townsfolk and guards. Eventually he reached Dun Fort, the seat of House Darklyn, he scaled the walls and quickly unarmed and disposed of the castle guards. Gifted with determination and sheer luck, Ser Barristan was able to rescue King Aerys before the night drew out.
However, the Kingsguard did not leave unscathed when he avenged his fallen Kingsguard brother by slaining Ser Symon. An arrow struck him in the chest as he attempted to escape. Barristan swallowed the pain, focusing on the delicate task of bringing the King into the bounds of safety. Through blood and pure determination, Barristan's name was further shrouded with enormous praise and respect for completely a seemingly impossible task.
The innocent lives of the people behind the walls of Duskendale were exempted from a cruel sacking. However, the noble Houses of Darklyn and Holland had to pay the price for their tyranny.
After the King's rescue, Denys Darklyn was left without a hostage to bargain. The unfortunate Lord surrendered and begged on his knees for mercy. There was no mercy left within the crazed gaze of the Mad King, only a terrible vengeance and raging wrath. With a wave of his hand, King Aerys condemned Lord Darklyn and any kin bearing his name (including House Hollard) to death. However the most brutal attack was inflicted towards Lord Darklyn's Myrish wife, Lady Serala. Her punishment was gruesome as her tongue and womanly parts were torn from her body before she was burned alive.
However, there was an exception to the massacre: Dontos Hollard. He was a young boy, vouched for by Ser Barristan, to have his life spared. In debt for his life, King Aerys was unable to refuse the offer and granted the Kingsguard's wish begrudgingly. As the Lord Darklyn and the rest of his House were killed off, Aerys appointed House Rykker ownership of the lands. However, the bits of Aerys' sanity died in Duskendale as he left. He will never be the same.
"Choose your words carefully," Rhaegar whispered into Nyrella's ear. The eldest Targaryen siblings stood on the steps of the entrance, awaiting their father's anticipated arrival. The atmosphere was tense and anxious as the attendees expected the worst outcome to unfold.
"Not like I haven't thought of that," Nyrella nudged her elbow to his side. Rhaegar groaned at the pain, throwing her a glare.
"If your plan this whole time was to take my arm off, you are doing an excellent duty at it," Jon hinted as he tried to shake off Nyrella's death grip.
"My bad," Nyrella threw him a sheepish smile before quickly loosening her hold on his arm.
Jon chuckled, "It is alright. I could always drink one of Maester Pycelle's formulated concoctions to regrow an arm."
Nyrella rolled her eyes at Jon's amusement. She nudged her elbow to his side to grab his attention. "I would not recommend doing such a thing. You might be ingesting wildfire if you aren't careful."
"I'm sure I'm fine. Wildfire is a Targaryen trait," Jon nudged back playfully.
But Nyrella did not find his response to be amusing, not when she stood at the courtyard waiting for her mad father. Jon caught on. He laid his hand on her shoulder, squeezing in reassurance.
"A grim thought isn't it," he offered her a small smile.
"Do you really think he's gone mad? People talk and-and—"
"They are only rumors, dramaticized for attention."
"You aren't worried even in the slightest?"
"I never said that. I am worried, but you should never trust any rumors that float around in court."
Nyrella hummed as she observed her surroundings. Most of the court were present, standing on the sidelines with their own coterie, sharing the same alliances. Yet, oddly enough, everyone shared the same atmosphere—tense and anxious, expecting the worst outcome to unfold.
"Have you talked to Rhaegar?" The auburn haired lord inquired as he focused on the other side of the courtyard, where the Prince of Dragonstone and Sword of the Morning stood in anticipation.
Nyrella followed his gaze, watching how the two figures were in deep conversation and not occupying themselves with whatever is around them. "Why would I talk to him out of all people?" She snorted, filled with distaste.
"Because he is your brother and he knows more about what happened in Duskendale than anyone else in court," he shifted his focus back on the silver-haired maiden.
Nyrella rolled her eyes, grimacing at her friend's response. "Your love for my brother blinds you. I refuse to speak with him after all he has done," the words gritted against her teeth.
"I have equal loyalties to you and Rhaegar," he corrected her, "You cannot be angry with him for long. You two need each other, more now than before."
"You even speak like him," she threw him a sharp side glance.
Suddenly, the sound of hooves clambered on the uneven cobblestone, grabbed the attention of the attending court. The King has arrived. Two bannermen rode ahead of the escort, holding up the banners of the infamous crimson three-headed dragons on a black field, the Targaryen sigil. They rounded around the courtyard before stopping at the center.
On their tracks, Ser Barristan rode on a dark horse in his usual garb along with a sling across his chest. He rode with a blank expression, not hinting at what is to come.
Finally the burgundy-colored wheelhouse came into view. It made its way around the courtyard looming with dread and an unwelcoming aura. The wheelhouse soon stopped in the middle of the courtyard, where everyone attending could see.
Nyrella held onto Jon's arm tighter. The anticipation was killing her, and she fought hard with the cold sweat forming around her face. Jon rubbed his thumb over her hand, trying his best to calm her nerves down.
One of the soldiers hastily opened the wooden door. There was a moment of dead silence, everyone in presence held their breath. Suddenly breaking the silence, pale slender fingers slowly ascend from the darkness of the carriage. The nail beds were dirty. The fingernails were murky yellow with chunks of dry skin underneath and were beyond the normal length. One by one, each finger in both hands gripped onto the side of the wooden carriage. Then, emerged the man Nyrella called father.
The King of the Seven Kingdoms came out from the darkness into the beating daylight. His appearance was hideous and grotesque like the infectious rumors. He stood gaunt and bony, dark circles devouring his remaining youth. The once silky silver-gold locks wasted into a brassy matted clump trailing past his shoulders. His eyes held no empathy, empty with only hysteria and a glint of blood. Months of imprisonment in the dungeons of Dun Fort, whilst being tormented and harassed, had severed Aerys' tie to sanity.
Nyrella wanted the shadows behind her to engulf her entirely. Her father was no longer her father. He is the Made King. She felt the sequence of her life flash before her. It was not pleasant nor hopeful—it was a dreadful end of everything good.
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐍𝐲𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚’𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐭: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐍𝐢𝐧𝐞
𝘾𝙤𝙩𝙩𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙇𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙣. “She was wearing a minimal thin sheer chemise that was noticeably see-through due to the bright light behind her. However, he quickly averted his eyes somewhere else in the room. He had seen more than enough of her body’s silhouette, and he feared his eyes would tarnish his reputation.” - 𝙈𝙮 𝙈𝙖𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙣 𝙁𝙖𝙞𝙧
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐍𝐲𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚’𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐭: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐍𝐢𝐧𝐞
𝘼 𝙁𝙖𝙞𝙧 𝘽𝙚𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙮. “It was a light fabric of chiffon in an innocent color of white. It was fluid, yet molded with movement. The gown was perfect for the scorching temperatures for tomorrow’s ventures. And most importantly, Nyrella felt beautiful in the delicate gown.” - 𝙈𝙮 𝙈𝙖𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙣 𝙁𝙖𝙞𝙧
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yourstruly-sephie · a month ago
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𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐄
𝐌 𝐲  𝐌 𝐚 𝐢 𝐝 𝐞 𝐧  𝐅 𝐚 𝐢 𝐫
𝟐𝟕𝟕 𝐀𝐂 | 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠'𝐬 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠
Whether it was from the divine gods of old or new, or maybe by pure luck, all at once, her wishes were heard. In front of the reflection of the full mirror, under the candle light and comfort of her warm quarters, Nyrella spun around while holding a gown flush to her body. It was a light fabric of chiffon in an innocent color of white. It was fluid, yet molded with movement. The gown was perfect for the scorching temperatures for tomorrow's ventures. And most importantly, Nyrella felt beautiful in the delicate gown.
She looked at her reflection in the mirror, playing with the skirt of the gown. She could not express her excitement to the point it caused her to lose sleep. A girlish smile formed on her heart-shaped lips as she twirled one last time in front of the mirror. She placed the gown on the nearby table, letting the skirt hang over the edge as the soft breeze from the window blew the fabric gently to the rhythm.
Her fingers found their way around a chalice of Dornish red, and she gladly took a sip of the sweet liquor. She hoped a drink or two would lull her to sleep and make the night move faster.
However, there was a knock on her door. Her head snapped to the crisp sound of knuckles pounding on her door, echoing through the comfortable silence in her quarters. Her brows knitted together as the interruption. She placed her chalice on the surface of her vanity, while she strolled towards the door. Her left hand grabbed the cold handle, then twisting it in a fluid motion. She pulled the door slowly, while her eyes peaked through the opening.
"Arthur? What are you doing here late into the night?" Nyrella inquired as she opened the door, just enough to see him in his entirety.
"I was hoping I could speak with you before I depart to the White Sword Tower," his voice was raspier and more tired.
Nyrella hummed as she felt the vibration of his voice. She laid her head on the door looking him up with her long lashes and large lavender eyes. "Would you like to come into my quarters? It's quite cold out here and I could offer you a drink of red," she drawled in a sweet tone.
Arthur's grip on the hilt of Dawn tightened. He tried his best not to fall prey to her siren gaze or her enchanting use of words. "Forgive me, but I must decline the generous offer. My words will be quick, so I shan't ruin the rest of your night," he told her.
"I'm all ears, Ser," she replied to him. She was a bit sad that he did not take her offer to join her inside, but knew why he did so. It would be a scandalous thing if anyone saw them late into the night, even if the intentions were innocent.
"I requested Rhaegar if I could be the one to guard you tomorrow at The Hook instead of Ser Barristan. He told me that I should ask you instead of him, so I am here to ask you," Arthur spoke much quieter than he was before. There were certain parts he said so softly, Nyrella had to lean slightly forward to catch the words.
"That is fine with me, Arthur. But why the request? I thought you would want to spend tomorrow with Jon and Rhaegar?" Nyrella said to the Kingsgaurd as she tilted her a bit more to capture his eyeline.
Arthur rubbed the back of his neck, feeling a bit warm standing there. "I-I thought you would appreciate the thought," was all he could think of in response.
It was a horrible reply that Nyrella let out a hearty giggle. "I very much appreciate the thought. I'll save you the embarrassment that you like my company over my brother's or Jon's."
The Kingsguard let out a breath he was holding. He was thankful Nyrella took his response with a light heart. "Are you looking forward to tomorrow?"
Nyrella nodded her head. "I can barely sleep. It's been awhile since I left these walls, I'm desperate to leave," she smiled softly at him. "And you? Do you still think it's a dangerous idea to go?"
"It's the knight in me that wants to protect," Arthur answered.
"Protect me?" She whispered under her breath.
A strand of silver hair fell over her face. Arthur pushed the strand behind her ear, gently with his finger. "You...always Princess," he said just as breathy.
Nyrella lowered her head, trying to hide the flush that encroached on the apples of her cheeks. "You do not have to always protect me. I can hold my own," hinting towards the sword training she has endured for a little more than a year.
Arthur chuckled. "No doubt you can. I am not undermining your skills."
"But, it is useful to have a great swordsman on standby at times. One that many idolize, admire, and fear. Less work on my end," Nyrella elaborated.
"I'm honored," Arthur amusingly bowed.
Both of them shared a heartfelt smile over their teasing little conversation. There was never a full moment between them.
"I should be taking my leave now. I do not want to keep you from your slumber," Arthur gestured to the dark sky behind him.
"Yes, of course, but I think you need the slumber more than I do," Nyrella chuckled to herself. "Goodnight Arthur," she sweetly said to the Kingsgaurd.
"Goodnight Nyrella," he grabbed her right hand, bringing it to his lips and sealing with a chaste kiss. He gently let go of her hand, and without a word he bowed and left to the direction of the White Sword Tower.
Nyrella was left dumbfounded at the door with her lips slightly parted. The finger of her left hand stroked over the place the ghost of his lips laid. She felt the lingering tingles on her skin, giving her goosebumps all over her body. His lips were soft and warm against her cool skin. It was going to be harder for her to sleep tonight with the running thoughts of Arthur. She wished he had stayed longer.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
The sound of a faraway rooster announced the coming of morning. It came faster than Nyrella expected since she had slept rather late than she was used to. She lay sprawled out on her soft mattress while silk blankets were tangled around her body. Her hair was a mess and her night slip disheveled.
Nyrella arms pulled her feather-filled pillows closer to her body, nuzzling into the depths of the softness and the dream that played through her mind. Her breaths were slow and even. The light breeze cooled the warm temperature of her quarters. Her body reacted positively to the coolness as she moved bare legs against each other.
"Up and early beautiful!" A strong voice announced as they burst through the door and loudly slammed the wooden door against the stone wall.
Shaken by the sudden intruder, Nyrella shot up from her slumber with a rapid heartbeat. She was quick to gather her silk covers to pull them close to her body, covering how exposed and vulnerable her state was. She blinked the sleep away from her eyes.
"Bastard! What the Seven Hells were you thinking barging into my quarters!" She cursed profoundly when she noticed the uninvited intruder was the Lord of Griffin's Roost. Her hand instinctively grip around a nearby pillow and threw it to the redhead, who caught the pillow easily.
"Jon I told-" Suddenly Rhaegar's head popped into the situation. He was cut mid-sentence when he saw Nyrella half-awake self and the murder in her eyes.
"I guess my warning was too late," the Prince of Drangonstone sighed as he gladly walked into the room and leaned his body against the vanity.
"You think? You told me she was awake," Jon crossed his arms over his chest and turned his attention towards the older Targaryen.
Rhaegar gave his friend a pointed look. "I didn't exactly tell you to run to her quarters and barge in unwelcome, did I?"
"Can you all get out!" The last of Nyrella's patience was wearing off. She was not amused the slightest nor cared for the small talk Rhaegar or Jon had in front of her. "Do you know what time it is!" She gestured to the window.
"Yes, actually. An hour till noon," Jon answered as he picked a ripe peach from the bowl of fruits on top of the table he was leaning against. "I'm taking this if you don't mind?" He bite into the fruit with a smirk.
Nyrella rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand, then looked outside the window again. It was too bright to be early morning. She ripped the covers off herself, slipping off her bed to walk towards the window. Definitely, too late to be early morning. She turned to face the duo, "I am confused."
"Same here," Jon agreed as he held his half eaten peach up into the sky, "I thought we agreed to leave an hour ago, but since you haven't come down, Rhaegar thought you were murder in your sleep. Come to find that you were the murder."
Nyrella grabbed the discarded pillow from the ground, and held it above him. The redhead cowered in fear in his seat, his hands trying to protect him. "I am more than happy to put you out of your misery," she threatened with a glare before she lowered the soft weapon.
She set the pillow on the table as she used both hands to run through her tangled hair. A tired sigh escaped her dry lips. Her eyes watered, trying to wash away the remainder of the sleep in her eyes. "I overslept, I'm sorry," she muttered under her breath.
Rhaegar pushed himself off the vanity to stroll over to his sleepy sister. "We could always go tomorrow. You look like you didn't even get a wink of sleep," he offered her the gentlest of smiles.
Nyrella shook her head, continuing to brush through her silver hair. She went to open her mouth to reply, but she was cut off by another person. A voice much deeper than her's.
"Rhaegar, Jon, is Nyrella okay?" Arthur announced his arrival by peaking his head inside. The trio directed their attention to the Kingsgaurd.
"Here she is in the flesh," Jon bellowed, gesturing his hand to where Nyrella and Rhaegar stood.
Arthur felt the breath leave his lungs as his eyes laid on Nyrella. She was standing in front of the entrance that led out to the open balcony. The rays of the high sun emitted behind her, enveloping her in a glowing hug. She was wearing a minimal thin sheer chemise that was noticeably see-through due to the bright light behind her. However, he quickly averted his eyes somewhere else in the room. He had seen more than enough of her body's silhouette, and he feared his eyes would tarnish his reputation.
He cleared his throat, "Have you gotten enough sleep, your Grace."
Nyrella tilted her head the slightest. Your Grace, she repeated in her head. "Yes, thank you for asking. I apologize for making you and Ser Barristan wait for me. I was just telling Jon and Rhaegar, it will take me no time to get ready. How-"
"Perfect then," Jon clapped his hands which made Nyrella jump. "We will leave you to your privacy," Jon got up from his seat and winked towards Nyrella's direction. "If you ask me, you look great in this," he gestured to her attire.
"Alright, that's enough Jon before I take the pleasure of killing you first," Rhaegar firmly grabbed Jon's shoulder and pushed him towards the door.
Nyrella waved them off until Rhaegar closed the door behind him. She exhaled a heavy breath before striding over to where her gown she planned to wear today. She held the gown close to her body again and looked at her reflection in the nearby mirror. She swayed her body gently from side to side, a happy smile formed. Even though her morning was rudely woken up, she was content that morning finally arrived and there was a long day ahead of her.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
"Finally you've arrived," Jon announced as he saw Nyrella walk out through the giant wooden doors that led out to the courtyard.
"And I see you're irritating as always," Nyrella fired back as she came down the steps.
"Don't mind him, Ny. He's just upset that couldn't attend the wine tasting event an hour or so ago," Rhaegar met her at the last step and offered her his arm, which she received with a tender smile. Nyrella sticked her tongue out at Jon's childish temper.
"Isn't it too early to be drinking so heavily?" Set Bartistan inquired, easing his brow at the redhead.
"For Jon, it's always happy hour," Arthur answered for Jon, who had opened his mouth to respond but was quickly shut down.
"At least he isn't so bad compared to my cousin," Nyrella laid a hand on her waist.
Arthur blinked a few times, if he heard Nyrella correct. He looked around the group, seeing their collective nods at her statement. "Cousin?"
"Well, second cousin, that is," she corrected herself.
The Dornish man was not particularly interested in family dynamics, even if it was a useful piece of knowledge to have on hand. He furrowed his eyebrows, shaking his head slightly. Nyrella saw the confusion, yet the intrigue on Arthur's face. She couldn't blame him, not many people knew she even had cousins.
"Robert Baratheon," she told him. "His grandmother was Rhaelle Targaryen, my grand aunt, which makes us second cousins. Like how, Lukas is second cousins with Lord Tywin's children."
"And you're telling me, he's worse than Jon?" Arthur questioned, pushing the topic of familial ties for another time.
"I'm right here," Jon said aloud as he gestured to himself, but no one payed any attention to him.
"You wouldn't imagine," was all Rhaegar said. By the expression Rhaegar displayed for a second, Arthur knew the Prince did not think of his second cousin in a fond light. He glanced at Nyrella, who scrunched her nose in disgust. It was clear the siblings desired not to be far from their Baratheon counterparts.
Soon after their conversation, the five of them took off from the Red Keep's courtyard. They decided to walk to The Hook instead of going by horse or a wheelhouse. The walk was a lengthy distance from the castle, but it did not deter enough for them to not enjoy themselves. Not even the dreadful stench from Fleabottom could cloud the nice weather.
Nyrella and Rhaegar were in front of the rest. Their arms linked together as their feet walked rhythmically to one another's. The two were silent for the most part, taking the pleasure of listening to the birds singing, the distant waves, and the nearing bustle of the city. It was rare for them to spend a day without putting up a facade from the people of court or fulfilling their duties. It was changed, and they accepted it fully.
"Remember when we used to visit The Hook with mother? You were only four back then, but you were unafraid and ecstatic to see the sewer rats running around," Rhaegar smiled fondly as he looked back into the past. Memories flooded his mind as he walked through the pathways that led to their destination.
Nyrella nodded her head. Despite being young during those times, she remembered those memories as well as he did like it happened this morning. Their mother often took them to different parts of the city. She taught them to embrace the people openly, for they will embrace them when it is time they become rulers. It was a lesson the Targaryen siblings will remember and continue to do.
"I remember," a breathy laugh escaped her lips, "Mother was mortified when I caught one to take home."
Rhaegar laughed along with her, "I'm baffled you're still living after that incident."
"You are not alone. I baffle myself sometimes too," Nyrella shared a wide toothy grin. She laid her head on Rhaegar's shoulder as they continued their steady lead ahead of the group.
However, the two were not the only ones reminiscing about the past and holding a conversation. The trio, that included, two deadly Kingsguard and a sober Lord of Griffin's Roost closely trailed behind the fair-haired siblings. They watched the duo's sweet interactions, so sweet it rots the teeth black.
"I wonder what they are talking about?" Jon inquired, feeling left out of the string of laughter coming from his favorite Targaryens. He wished he had a pint of ale before leaving the Red Keep.
Meanwhile, Arthud smiled at them. It reminded him of when he would spend time with his sisters, Ashara and Allyria. He missed them often, wishing he had the chance to go back to Starfall to see them again.
"It's good to see them happy like this," Ser Barristan told the two.
"What do you mean?" Jon asked, "they seemed content most of the time."
"I mean going to The Hook," Ser Barristan clarified.
But Jon was still lost at what the older Kingsgaurd was implying. He gestured for him to explain himself, which made Barristan sigh.
"They would always go with their Queen mother. It was a thing the three of them did together. One time by the curved street, Rhaegar played his harp and Nyrella sang, while their mother danced. I stood watch, amused by their antics. It was a joyous time," Barristan retold with a faraway stare and a sad smile to accompany the story.
The younger Kingsguard and the red-headed lord shared a look with one another. It never occurred to them why the Prince and Princess were looking forward to this day, and why there was a hint of melancholy in their smiles. Jon was quiet, a guilt wash over him because of the awful behavior he had displayed the whole morning. Arthur glanced at the duo with empathy. They kept their vulnerability to themselves to not burden others around. It was what he observed from the two of them.
"I would trade anything to see that," Arthur offered a smile. He tried to imagine the scenario in his mind, but it could not have been better than experiencing it in reality.
Barristan patted the former's shoulder, "If the circumstances are right, you'll see a glimpse of the past."
Arthur understood Barristan's response. He couldn't change the past, but here living the present, he had the ability to change the course of the future—and he decided for the better.
The company of five continued their journey toward The Hook as they descended Aegon's Hill. Far from the protection of The Red Keep, there were more and more common folk present around them. The people of King's Landing were intrigued by the appearance of the Targaryen siblings. They stopped in their mundane tasks or errands to witness royalty in their midst.
Despite the crowd that was forming, Nyrella waved and greeted the town's folk as she would with any other lord or lady. Her smile beamed brightly for them. They were her people and should be treated with kindness. Little children were at the forefront of the crowd, their eyes bulging wide at their first encounter with her. In the minds of the little ones, Nyrella was surreal like the tales of ancient Valyria, where her ancestors were from. She was everything they thought a Valyrian would appear—fair complexion, striking purple eyes, shimmering silver hair, and regal.
Nyrella paid attention to the little ones more than the adults. She saw a glimpse of little Viserys in their eyes. They were filled with pure happiness and welcoming auras. A gleeful laugh escaped her mouth as the children sang her name as they tried to become in-sync with her pace. They managed to capture her heart fully.
Suddenly, she felt Rhaegar unlink their arms. She snapped her attention towards him with knitted brows. "It's time for us to split up," The Prince of Dragonstone explained as he held Nyrella's hand with his.
"Already?" Nyrella blinked and took a look around her surroundings. Other than the crowds of onlookers, the realization hit her that they were indeed at the heart of The Hook. Multiple stalls in varying shades of vibrant colors, a plethora of merchants and their goods on display. A flush of embarrassment colored her cheeks, "Oh..."
Rhaegar snickered at Nyrella's dumbfounded expression, "Oh, is correct."
"Oh hush now," She rolled her eyes, "I guess, we do split here." Her eyes directed at their other company, who were not listening to the conversation, but instead in high alert to the crowds of people.
"Arthur," Rhaegar raised his voice over the loud yelling of merchants and idle talking of the town's people. The Dornishman turned his head at the Prince with a serious look and a tight grip around Dawn. Rhaegar moved Nyrella's hand towards his friend with a hidden smirk, "Don't let your sights off my sister. She's known to cause trouble."
Nyrella scrunched her nose at Rhaegar's comment, "cause trouble?"
"You have my word," Arthur responded as he took Nyrella's hand from Rhaegar. His warm hand enveloped her's like a wool blanket. It was hard for Nyrella to not react. A gasp escaped past her pinkish lips feeling Arthur's skin rub against her's. It was a sensation she would never get tired of or forget.
"Good," Rhaegar patted Arthur's shoulder with a proud smile, "At sunset, we'll meet at the crossroad of The Hook and Fishmonger's Square." Arthur and Nyrella understood, giving a curt nod towards Rhaegar.
"Jon, Barristan, let us drink ourselves a barrel of Arbor gold!" Rhaegar boasted with a huge grin on his face. Jon wrapped his arm around the Prince, and the two strode away towards the stalls of The Reach merchants. Barristan shook his head amusingly, knowing very well how this trip would turn out.
As their figures disappeared into the crowds of people, Arthur and Nyrella were left on their own. Arthur held her hand firmly, guiding her arm to link with his. Nyrella didn't mind taking his lead. She liked it when he did.
"Where off to Princess?" Arthur spoke softly to her. Out of all the many voices present, she could hear him clear as glass.
Her eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled up at him, "The paints." But if she was being truthful, she would have preferred anyway as long it was with him.
Arthur dipped his head. "The paints it is," his eyes never left her.
Nyrella tugged them towards the left. Their hands were still holding each other's. They parted the moving crowd moving the opposite direction, where the others had walked off to. The onlookers watched the duo with curiosity and awe. If Nyrella was not who she was and Arthur was not who he was, they would have been mistaken for a pair of young lovers, straight from a fairytale.
A good few minutes of strolling through the dense street, Nyrella and Arthur came upon the area of vendors that sold either their handmade arts or the materials. Nyrella had to contain her squeals of excitement when she saw the variety of beautiful brushes, canvases, and paints. She wanted to purchase everything her eyes laid on the many booths.
Arthur was not interested in buying, but he loved seeing Nyrella happy. And she was happiest when she was drawing, painting, or creating something beautiful with her talents.
"What about that stall over there," He pointed across the street, "you said once that you need new pigments."
Nyrella looked over Arthur to see where he was pointed at, and in fact, there was a table filled with bottled-up powdered pigments of ranging colors. "You remembered that? I said that months ago, and I forgot until you pointed it out."
She continued to examine the ceramic vase in her hands. It was a delicate piece of pottery from the faraway lands of Yi Ti, or that is what the merchant told her. She hadn't decided if she wanted to buy it.
Arthur scratched behind his head, a little embarrassed, "Well, um, you were begging Rhaegar to buy you some that day. You were angry that he wasn't listening to you."
Nyrella smiled at the merchant, placing the fragile pottery gently on the table. She tilted her head up to look at him, "and you were." It amused her that he remembered but nonetheless warmed her inside. "Come on, I do need new pigments," she dragged him across the street towards the stall.
The merchant overlooking the stalls of glass bottled pigments greeted the pair. He was a man around his forties, standing a couple inches shorter than Arthur. He had an olive complexion, black coarse hair, and big round dark eyes. His garbs were a mixture of vibrant greens, tans, and oranges. His plump cheeks made him appear kinder than most traders.
"Mister, what is your name?" Nyrella inquired, while her fingers lightly ran through the bigger jars of warm pigments.
"Lynaes, your Grace," he said with a thick accent, yet the way he spoke was sultry.
"Lynaes of..."
"Myr, your Grace."
"Well, Lynaes of Myr, these are beautiful pigments. I have never seen any of these colors before my eyes," she praised him.
"You are very generous," he bowed, "please take your time to look."
Nyrella gave him a curt nod. She carefully looked at the array of pigments, colors, and jars with excitement, yet closely. Myr was widely known for their advancement and innovations, but also their famed appreciation to the arts. In another lifetime, Nyrella would want to see Myr and the other Free Cities for their arts.
While Nyrella busied herself with the pigments and having polite conversation with the Myrmen merchant, Arthur did his part of observing their surroundings. His grip of Dawn's hilt never ceased as his gaze was sharp and intimidating. There was no hint of danger around, but it was better to be careful than sorry. Yet, in the corner of his eyes, he caught a woman with many baskets strapped and hanging from her body. They were filled with flowers. They looked to be freshly plucked, cleaned, and bright with color.
"Arthur," Nyrella called out to him.
He hummed, snapping his attention to the petite girl next to him.
"Is something wrong?" She tilted her head with a worried expression.
"No, nothing," he smiled at her. He then noticed a small bag in her arm, "did you buy your pigments already?"
"Just one color," she affirmed.
"A beautiful rare color that I managed to bargain with a Tyroshi for a small bag of coin if you can believe it," the merchant said, wearing a proud smile on his face as if he was remembering a fond time.
Nyrella chuckled at the man's flamboyant personality. Arthur laid his hand on her shoulder, "shall we be going now?"
"Yes, of course," she turned to Lynaes, "thank you for the pigment. I will come visit for more." She linked her arms with Arthur, and dragged him to another part of The Hook. The Myrmen waved the pair with a wide smile that the crow's feet of his face became prominent even from a distance.
With the stall of brilliant colors behind them, Arthur and Nyrella were walking again, looking for another stall to capture their attention. But before that could happen, Arthur opened up a small conversation with the Dragon Princess. His eyes intrigued by the pouch his company was holding closely in her arms.
"Mind telling what color you bought?" He raised his brow.
Nyrella lifted the pouch to her eye level, then glanced at Arthur's direction. A smirk formed instantly, "I think I prefer having you think about it."
"Let me guess, it's orange," he snatched the punch from her hands.
Nyrella gasped, jumping up to retrieve her bag of pigment, "Give it back."
"What will you give me if I do?" Arthur hid the bag behind him, and leaned his face closer to her's.
"Not the answer to your previous question, but maybe, just maybe, I won't be mad at you for stealing my pouch," she laid her hand on his shoulder, letting her fingers trail towards the white cloak. Her fingers were teasing playing with textile. It made Arthur lean slightly closer.
He hummed in response. His warm breath fanning her face, "Shouldn't you be more firm with a thief?"
"You, a thief? I can never imagine the Sword of the Morning as a lowly thief, what has the world come to," Nyrella pulled back, holding her hands in front of him. "Please?"
Arthur took a deep inhale of Nyrella's lingering scent of lavender and hints of orange—ironically. He placed the pouch of pigments back into her hands. "So what will you give me?" He asked again as they started to walk.
Nyrella thought for a second. "Time will tell, Ser. The Gods award those who are patient."
"Does that work for you?"
"Always. Good things happen when you wait. But, I must ask you a question."
Arthur hummed and nodded, signaling that she had his full attention.
"This morning, you called me ' your Grace,' were you angry with me?" There was a seriousness to her question, one that was filled with worry and softness.
Arthur blinked at her as if she said something ridiculous, but he did call her that. Yet, he couldn't exactly tell her why he did though. "I was not mad at you," he assured, "Are you mad that I called you that?"
"No, no, never. I thought it was a little odd. You've always been good at calling me by my name, but if you like calling me 'your Grace' I have no problem at all if you—," she explained her reasoning.
"Nyrella," he interrupted her, "This morning was a slip up on my part. I am keen on calling you by my name to clear things."
"So you aren't mad?"
"I can never be mad at you, Nyrella."
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
At sunset, Nyrella and Arthur made their way towards the crossroad of The Hook and Fishmonger's Square—as instructed by Rhaegar. However, it was difficult for them to walk through the growing crowd towards the destination. Arthur wrapped his arm around Nyrella's frame, keeping her close to him. The last thing he wanted was for him and Nyrella to separate ways for her to be snatched by kidnappers. As she accidentally bumped into people, she politely gave them a sympathetic expression along with a blurb of apologies.
"What do you see up there?" Nyrella yelled through the many voices. She tightened her grip around Arthur's arm as she felt people bumping their shoulders with her's.
"Not sure," Arthur squinted at the distance, "I'm not that tall."
Nyrella rolled her eyes, "I'm going to pretend you did not say that."
As the pair got closer and closer to the crossroad, the sound of melodic instruments filled their ears. The sound of music was attractive like how sirens attracted sailors to their deaths. Every step Nyrella and Arthur took, the louder the strumming of strings and cords became.
Then with a final push through the crowds, the Kingsgaurd and Princess were at the very front of the crowd. To their amusement and surprise, they saw a pair of familiar faces across from them.
Jon saw them at the same time. He nudged Barristan's side, pointing towards their friends. Jon and Barristan waved their greetings. However, that did not surprise Nyrella and Arthur. Their attention was on the silver-blonde Prince in the center everything as he strummed the strings of a harp, along with a few other minstrels.
"I think he's had his fill of liquid courage," Arthur leaned down to whisper to Nyrella's ear.
"More than a fill," Nyrella chuckled as she saw her brother having the time of his life. She admired his state. Rhaegar can never be parted from music like how she can never be parted from her art. Seeing him enjoying his passions, felt sacred in more ways than one.
"Nyrella!" Rhaegar yelled. His usual velvety voice was hoarse from the alcoholic intake. He waved for her to join him, "Sing for us! Sing!"
Nyrella shook her head in protest. She could feel everyone's eyes on her, "Come on, Rhaegar. You're drunk." She tried to reason with him but the Prince ignored her.
"Just one song! You love to sing!" he yelled again. Everyone in the crowd agreed with the Prince of Dragonstone. They started to chant her name to join her brother.
Nyrella continued to shake her head and she took a step back but Arthur put his hands on her shoulders. She looked up at him with betrayal, "Not you too?"
Arthur chuckled, "I never heard you sing before, but Barristan mentioned you sing lovely and it can be your payment back."
"You're supposed to be on my side," she pouted in displeasure.
"A man has his desires," he told her with a cheeky smile.
Nyrella let out a breathing chuckle. She didn't have a choice. Rhaegar, the People of King's Landing, and Arthur wanted to hear her sing. She lets out a deep sigh again. Then, she pivoted on her heel, and walked towards where Rhaegar was at. Witnessing the Dragon Princess taking her place by her brother made the crowd cheer loudly and chanted her name over and over again. Jon, Barristan, and Arthur were among the loudest.
Rhaegar scooted a bit on the deserted wooden box to give Nyrella a place to take a seat. He gave her an encouraging smile, "'My Maiden Fair'."
Shaking off the nerves, Nyrella nodded her head. "'My Maiden Fair,'" she affirmed.
Rhaegar gave her a toothy cheeky grin before signaling to the ministered and muttering a few words to them. Then, his focus laid on the string of his harp. His rough fingers delicately plucked at the chords with precision and passion. Nyrella heard the familiar start of the song.
"my maiden fair, oh maiden fair
the beauty of the land
the love for her knight so grand..."
Her voice was gentle, soft like the breeze that passed by. The crowd of people became quiet, listening to the slow sorrowful tune of the song and their beloved Princess.
"my maiden fair, oh maiden fair
treasure your love of pure and blissful
Alas, heed fearful
the love of a maiden and her knight is tearful..."
She was hauntingly beautiful. Her hair was styled loosely just the way she liked it. Her silver hair was wavy and had a bounce of volume throughout—soft and delicate. The dress she wore was lightweight and hugged her figure in the right places. It complimented her ingenue and ethereal essence. Then, her voice was breathy and almost pitch-perfect, but it was the way she sang every word that moved the crowd.
"my maiden fair, oh maiden fair
a love so truthful is a tragedy that awaits
two lovers and their doomed fates..."
On the sidelines, Arthur stool transfixed and mesmerized like the rest of the crowd. He had never seen this side of Nyrella before. She was calm and tranquil, yet sorrowful and melancholic. He knew by looking at her and listening to her that she sang from within—the true feeling she buried beneath.
"my maiden fair, poor maiden fair
I hear your grief and sorrows for the tears you weep
no happiness in death to reap..."
Nyrella loved this song. Her mother used to sing this religiously to her when she was younger everytime she went to bed. It was a song that was passed down from mother to daughter, since Nyrella's grandmother sang this for Rhaella. But the song also meant so much to her mother, since Rhaella told Nyrella of how she fell in love with a knight before marrying their father. Nyrella remembered the sadness in her eyes as she recounted the memory.
"poor maiden fair, oh maiden fair
she painfully mourns their beautiful love story
for they are to blame or are we."
Nyrella hits the last note. The huge crowd of people erupted into a thundering applause at the end of the performance. Rhaegar rose from his seat, seating up to give his sister a standing ovation. Nyrella grew flushed and embarrassed by the amount of praise and attention she was recovering, but she graciously stood up and curtsied to every direction of the crowd.
However, when she looked around, she did not see Arthur anywhere. He was not where she left him nor was he with Jon or Barristan. Nyrella observed around the crowd for a tall Dornishman with purple eyes, but to no avail, he was nowhere to be seen. It made her worry.
"No wonder you do not sing often," Jon said as he wrapped his arm around Nyrella, "your voice wounds the heart like a dagger." The redhead gestured the motion of a dagger piercing through his chest as he fell onto the seat next to Rhaegar.
"You're over exaggerating," she rolled her eyes.
"I have to agree with Jon," Barristan countered, "You are very gifted."
"Since it's coming from you, I appreciate the praise," Nyrella smiled at her friend.
Jon on the other hand had knitted brows, "that is not fair. You cannot pick and choose compliments."
"Yes, I can," Nyrella grabbed Jon's arm and unwrapped it from her shoulders. "Have you two seen where Arthur went off?" She changed the topic.
Barristan shook his head, "I have no recollection."
"Maybe he went to take a piss," Jon blurted out, which earned him a flick to his ear from Rhaegar. Jon winced in pain, glaring at his friend.
"I'm sure he's not far from here," Rhaegar yawned, "why don't we have another round of drinks?"
"Shouldn't we move somewhere else," pointing at the group of town's folk standing around them. "And no, you had enough to drink and where did you get that bag?"
Nyrella glanced down at the old brown sack that looked like it was previously used to hold potatoes. "Oh this," Rhaegar grabbed that top of the sack and placed it on his lap, "money." He opened the sack to reveal golds, silvers, and bronze coins—all gleaming as the orange sunlight hit them.
Nyrella's mouth was open to empathize with her shock and concern. "How-"
"By being a performer, Nyrella. How else? I'm impressed he racked up that much, yet not surprised. It's not everyday you see the Prince of Dragonstone on the streets living a minstrel's life," Jon elaborated.
"And you're going to spend that on another round of drinks?" Nyrella ignored Jon, and continued to question Rhaegar.
The Prince shrugged, "This is the leftover coin, I had much more before you came. I gave some to the minstrels, some to the Faith, and some to people down the street."
Nyrella peered again at the shiny coin, "Why don't we visit the orphanage, the one we used to visit with mother?"
Rhaegar thought for a second, and looked at the sunset behind him, "We would make good with the coin, but it will get dark before we reach Flea Bottom."
"It'll be quick," Nyrella pleaded.
Rhaegar shook his head, then he suddenly stood up, "It's too dangerous."
He was not wrong in the slightest. Flea Bottom was not a place for the Crowned Prince or Princess to be spending their time in. The place was infamously known to be the home for the foulest and for the lawless streets. The area of the town was a maze of twisted alleyways filled with unkempt filth, mud, and dirt. The people did not help any better. Many were thieves, drunks, whores, and everything bad. Some people were an exception, but it was best to not trust anyone.
"Maybe there is a way to give the coin to the children," Barristan spoke up.
"Alright, Barristan the Bold, do enlighten us," Jon grinned. Nyrella rolled her eyes and flicked his ear. Jon winced in pain, and glared at her with distaste.
"Jon and I can accompany Rhaegar to Flea Bottom, but I'm afraid you will have to go back to the Keep," He gave a sad smile to Nyrella.
"But, I'm capable of defending myself," Nyrella protested, "I want to go with."
"Don't be stubborn, Ny. I think it's a good compromise," Rhaegar responded.
"Slight issue dear brother," Nyrella placed a hand on her hip, "None of you can escort me home? Arthur is nowhere—"
"—I'm here!" Saved by the graces of The Gods, Arthur was easing his way through the crowd of people still standing around the bunch. All four heads snapped to their dear friend with wide eyes, surprised he came at a perfect time.
Jon clapped his hands happily, "Looks like you're going home, Princess."
Nyrella threw daggers at the redhead, and was inches away from flicking his ear again, but Jon quickly dodged her.
"Arthur, it's good you joined us again," Rhaegar came up to his friend and patted his shoulder with a welcoming smile. The Kingsguard returned the gesture. "Where did you leave off to? Did a lovely maiden catch your eye?" Rhaegar teased his friend.
Arthur chuckled and shook his head. Nyrella on the other hand was not impressed by Rhaegar's humor. Yet, Jon bursted in a fit of giggles, finding the teasing amusing. Barristan had to place a hand on the redhead's shoulder to keep him from falling off.
"Or did you take a piss?" Jon added to the humor as he wiped a tear from the corner of his eye.
"No," Arthur deadplanned, "None of those things."
"A threat?" Barristan raised a brow.
Arthur shook his head again firmly, "No, not that either."
"Then, where did you go Arthur?" Nyrella was the last person to speak to him.
He took in the vision of Nyrella for a second, admiring her appearance during golden hour. It reminded him of the many times he saw her in such hours at Casterly Rock, especially when he chased after her. Arthur took a deep breath, and exhaled. He reached behind his cloak, and revealed a small bouquet of purple flowers.
"I came to get this for you since you performed beautifully," he offered the bouquet towards her.
Nyrella's mouth was gapping. She had no words for his actions nor a single breath left for her to breathe. She slowly wrapped her fingers around the bouquet, and brought it on her lap, "Lilacs?"
"I hope you like them," Arthur scratched the back of his head, realizing that Rhaegar, Jon, and Barristan's attention was all on him.
Nyrella wore a big smile that made her rouge-colored cheeks hurt. "I love them, thank you," her eyes were gleaming with a rush of warm feelings.
"Did you get me flowers as well?" Jon inquired, quite literally ending the moment.
Instead of cursing Jon to death, Nyrella felt generous in her high spirits. She pulled out a flower from the bouquet, and extended it towards the Lord, "There's no need to be jealous, Jon. I'm happy to share with you."
Everyone started to let out hearty laughter at the humor. Even Jon thought it was deserving of his laughter as well. Nyrella held the bouquet of her favorite flower, while Arthur looked at her with wonder in his eyes. The day could not have ended more perfectly than it did with the sun setting behind the city and the warm feeling of happiness. No one wanted this day to end.
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yourstruly-sephie · 2 months ago
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𝐍𝐲𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚’𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐭: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐄𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭
𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐑𝐨𝐬𝐞. “Nyrella gripped the side of her gown, swaying the fabric of the skirt with the wind. The pleating of the skirt added more movement and character to the sand-colored fabric. While the bodice of the dress glittered like the golden specks in the sand. The gown was a warmer shade than she would have picked, but it was breathable for the warm climate.” - 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘿𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝘿𝙪𝙨𝙠𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙡𝙚
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yourstruly-sephie · 2 months ago
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𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐄𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓
𝐓 𝐡 𝐞 𝐃 𝐞 𝐟 𝐢 𝐚 𝐧 𝐜 𝐞 𝐨 𝐟 𝐃 𝐮 𝐬 𝐤 𝐞 𝐧 𝐝 𝐚 𝐥 𝐞
𝟐𝟕𝟕 𝐀𝐂 | 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠’𝐬 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠
News spread like wildfire—the headlines in bold. The King, captured and imprisoned by Lord Darklyn. This was the very outcome everyone feared would happen, and the very outcome everyone had warned.
The news of King Aerys' capture by the head of House Darklyn reached King's Landing within a matter of days. Lord Tywin was first to know, then the Small Council, then the Prince of Dragonstone. The Hand did not display any emotion upon hearing the unfortunate information, yet, he wasted no time to gather up an army to march forth towards the walls of Duskendale to retrieve the King. This was his answer to Lord Darklyn's traitorous actions, and there will be no mercy for him in the end of things.
While the Hand led an army to Duskendale, Rhaegar remained in King's Landing to keep everything in order for a while. The Prince broke the news to Nyrella. He explained in detail that Lord Darklyn ordered for their father to be seized once he stepped foot into the gates of Duskendale. The retinue that had accompanied the King was overwhelmed by the ambush. In a matter of minutes, the rentinue were slaughtered, including Ser Gwayne Gaunt. The Kingsguard was the last person standing to defend Aerys. Under the oath he made, Ser Gwayne bravely swung his sword, cutting down a rain of men, until he eventually met his fate by the blade of Ser Symon Holland. The scene at the gates of Duskendale was a bloodbath— gruesome and grim. Once Lord Darklyn had a hold of Aerys, he was not merciful as he threw the frail King into the dungeons of Dun Fort to rot.
Nyrella was struck with a wordless shock at what happened. Yet, she could not fully empathize with her father. In her opinion, this was a long time coming for him. She did not pray for him, letting his faith up to the Old Gods and the New. It was no surprise many people throughout the Seven Kingdoms did the same.
As the events continued to unfold, King's Landing was oddly quiet during all of this. Especially in the gardens, where the peaceful Princess was currently spending her free time. Comfortably sat at a table under an alcove and hidden by the lush greenery, Nyrella busied herself with another sketch. It was a rough outline of her scenery. She drew the vines that wrapped around the stony balustrades, the small vibrant hummingbirds that fluttered closely to the flowerbeds, and anything else she saw with her lavender irises.
Nyrella was in her own company at the alcove. Ser Harlan accompanied her the first hour or so, just as the sun finished rising. She excused him from his post early on. Yet, at first, the old Kingsguard was stubborn to leave her alone in the gardens, but with enough persistence he begrudgingly took his leave. She was grateful to be left alone for a few hours unbothered. She was able to focus on her sketches and the time took off a lot of her worries that clouded her these past few days. It was a much needed taste of peace.
Setting her drawing utensil down, Nyrella turned her head towards the view over the balustrade. She rested her chin on the back of her hand as she stared at the faraway moving currents. She blinked slowly, feeling the sleepiness over her eyelids. Her tired state of mind failed to pick up the incoming crunch of someone's footsteps.
Arthur walked towards the silver-haired maiden with his steady pace and rhythmic steps. He held his helmet with his left hand, while his dominant hand rested on top of Dawn's hilt. His bow-shaped lips formed into a small smile that indicated his genuine happiness when he saw Nyrella. She was a sight for sore eyes, especially surrounded by the flourishing nature.
He was thankful towards Ser Gerold for commanding his next post to guard over Nyrella. He exchanged a few words with Ser Harlan on her whereabouts. His sworn brother pointed him towards the direction of the gardens, specifically the alcove. Arthur had trouble maneuvering his way around the gardens since the Red Keep had many with confusing twists and turns. Yet, he managed to find her.
"Princess Nyrella," Arthur said as he cleared his throat.
Nyrella jumped a bit in her seat at the sudden words being spoken to her. She placed a hand over her heart, while a series of shivers ran down her spine. "By the gods, Arthur! You scared me," she voiced breathlessly. She looked up at the Dornishman, who raised his right hand in the air.
"My offense, I did not mean to startle you," he apologized, offering her a smile.
Recollecting her steady breathing, she inquired the Kingsguard, "What brings you here? I have never seen you in these parts of the gardens, much less without my brother."
Arthur chuckled as he saw Nyrella peeked behind him to confirm Rhaegar was indeed not there. "I was sent to be your personal guard for the time being," he explained.
Nyrella hummed, "I guess I was too much of a nuisance for Ser Harlan."
"Maybe so, he did look oddly pale and drained when he arrived back at the tower," Arthur jested
"Then, I guess you have a challenge in your hands, Ser," Nyrella leaned closer against the table.
"It's nothing I can't handle, Princess," Arthur replied.
Nyrella hummed. A smile escaped her heart-shaped lips. She blinked slowly at him as she held their eye contact. "Well, you are welcome to join me," her hand gestures to the vacant spot in front of her, "please take a seat."
Arthur did as he was told. He took the time to observe Nyrella as he got comfortable on the cushioned seat. She retracted her body back to her original position when he first laid his eyes on her. She gripped the writing utensil with her right, tapping the end on the table lightly. Her eyes were focused on the lead covered canvas with various shapes.
"Is that a new sketch? Maybe I take a look?" The Dornishman signaled to the piece of parchment.
"Here," Nyrella turned the sketch upside down and pushed it towards Arthur. She bit her lip, anxious about his reaction. "It's not my best work, I was experimenting with the vision you see," she pointed out.
It was Arthur's turn to hum a response. "You need to give yourself more acknowledgement than you do. You're a talent, Nyrella. If only I had your skill, I would never think to be a Kingsguard," Arthur looked back up to meet her anxious eyes. He pushed the sketch back to its owner with care.
Nyrella tilts her head to the side, "do you remember the tourney held in Lannisport for Viserys' birth?"
Arthur raised a brow as if he heard the most ridiculous thing, "of course I remember. I will never forget such a memory."
"I know, but remember when we were riding our horses as we approached the Rock. Our conversation that I would gladly teach you how to draw? I could teach you now," Nyrella's eyes sparkled. Her voice was filled with enthusiasm at the idea.
"Right now?" Arthur inquired.
"No, no, not right now," she shook her head. "I do not have the materials with me, but we could schedule another time to do so, like after sword training," she offered.
"I would like that very much, but I do not think Rhaegar or Jon would be open to the idea," Arthur added as he placed his helmet on the side of the table.
Nyrella leaned her head against her arm and drew invisible circles with her index finger. "You're right with that. What about another time?"
"Sword practice is my only free time, unfortunately," he broke to her.
"Right, right," Nyrella nodded her head. She continued to draw invisible circles on the wooden table. She took a couple of minutes to think to herself, leading the conversation into a silence. Suddenly, she jolts up in her seat, "I have the perfect plan!"
Arthur was taken aback by her boost of energy, "go ahead."
The Silver-haired maiden smirked mischievously. "We can still do it after sword practice. All we need to do is lie to Jon and Rhaegar," she suggested.
"I'm not following," Arthur clocked his head in confusion, "Lie? To them?"
"You and I always come to practice. Rhaegar and Jon trade days to go, but it is rare for both to come. Tomorrow, Rhaegar cannot go, so that means Jon has to go. But, we can lie to Jon, that Rhaegar will come in his place, so Jon doesn't come," she elaborated.
"That means that both of them don't come at all," Arthur concluded.
"Perfect is it not?" Nyrella leaned back into her chair with a proud smile from ear to ear.
"How do you know it will work? Wouldn't Rhaegar or Jon find out eventually?" Arthur was not so sure of the idea.
"You give them too much credit than they deserve," She sighed. "Rhaegar has a meeting to attend. And Jon, you don't have to worry about him, I will handle that matter."
Arthur hummed. He rubbed his chin with his free hand in deep thought. He was hesitant about the plan, but he did not know how to voice it towards Nyrella. His eyes glanced at Nyrella, who was back to leaning against her arm. She was looking to her right, where the ocean view was. The corners of his lip lifted up. He could not resist a smile when it came to her.
"If you are sure...then you have my full trust," Arthur broke the silence.
Nyrella straightened up hearing Arthur's answer. The glint of mischief in her eyes broke into a fire, "Really? You trust me?"
"Why wouldn't I? You never gave a reason not to," Arthur confided with Nyrella. He tilts his head slightly to the right to catch her gaze, offering her a small delicate smile.
"So, you're willing to let me rope you into something that goes against your code of chivalry?" She inquired further. There was a teasing tone to her voice.
Arthur chuckled deeply. "I can bend the rules for you."
Nyrella lowered her head as she felt the blood rush up to her face. She bit the inside of her lip to subdue the raging blush and the shivers that ran down her spine. "Walk with me? It's getting a little warmer here," Nyrella pushed herself on her feet, rising from her seat. She stretched her arms out as she let out a subtle yawn.
The Kingsguard had no choice but to follow. He stood up from his seat, then grabbed his helmet with his right. He took a step or two towards Nyrella to offer his left arm for her to take. She gladly linked their arms together, and they started to stroll around the garden.
The weather was splendid as it was always. Nyrella gripped the side of her gown, swaying the fabric of the skirt with the wind. The pleating of the skirt added more movement and character to the sand-colored fabric. While the bodice of the dress glittered like the golden specks in the sand. The gown was a warmer shade than she would have picked, but it was breathable for the warm climate.
"Arthur," Nyrella called his name.
The Kingsguard hummed, turning his head towards her direction.
"I have been meaning to give my condolences for Ser Gwayne. I know you are close to him," she offered him a smile.
"Thank you," Arthur nodded. "He's an honorable man and fought bravery until his end. I wish I had said my praises to him before he left us so soon."
"My thoughts exactly. He has always been a friend to Rhaegar and I. I hope one day his death will be avenged," Nyrella voiced as she looked up in the sky. She prayed to the Seven that Ser Gwayne was living in the afterlife well, for the deeds he accomplished in the living world.
"Your Queen Mother was generous to offer the Kinguard a day of mourning if we ever needed one," the Sword of the Morning mentioned.
Nyrella drew a breath, "She's very generous. My mother was so fond of Ser Gwayne."
Arthur noticed the sad smile Nyrella wore when the topic of her mother was brought up. He thought her reaction would be the opposite since Rhaegar freely discussed fondly about the Queen. He decided not to question her about it. He did not want to ruin the peaceful moment they had with each other.
"Do you often enjoy your time here?" Arthur directed the conversation to another topic.
"Yes, frequently, when you, Jon and Rhaegar are busy. I often draw you see, and sometimes walk around like we are," she emphasized with her hands.
"Sounds difficult," Arthur teased with a grin.
"You wouldn't imagine. I'm breaking a sweat just having this conversation," Nyrella teased back with a sweet smile.
Their eyes met each other, a smile mirroring one another. Suddenly, they bursted out into fits of deep hearty laughter. Their laughter intertwined together like a summer's song. It was sweet, warm, and the beginning of a fruitful love.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
The sound of clashing blades were muffled by the crashing sounds of huge waves against the shoreline rocks. Nyrella and Arthur have been dueling, or what was reminiscent of dueling, for a couple of hours since the break of morning. The pair were drenched in their own sweat, also to the point of their limbs sticking to one another. The sun was yet to be at its highest and it was still before the clock hits noon, but they already had an eventful morning.
Nyrella's two hands gripped the hilt of her sword tightly as she circled around carefully. Her lavender eyes attentively watched Arthur from across her. The Kingsguard was reflecting her movements. The pair circled around, waiting for one of them to take the first move.
"I see you've learned from last time," Arthur remarked with ease as he maneuvered around. He did not once look down at his own feet—a mark of a great combatant.
Nyrella scoffed. She did learn from last time, when she fell on her bum after making the first move. There was a bruise that lingered for a few days to remind her. "I can do this all day," she said confidently.
"I am fully aware and so can I, but ..." Arthur briefly looked down at Nyrella's feet with a questionable raise of his eyebrow.
This promptly made Nyrella to look down at her feet, "But, what is it?"
Suddenly, Arthur swung his sword. Nyrella was caught off guard as she tried to dodge his attack but her feet got twisted trying to take a step back. She felt her entire body lose balance, and the gravity of the world pulled her down to the ground. Her sword flew from her hand a couple of feets away, while her free hands tried to break her fall. Nyrella felt the struck of pain hit her as her bum hit the warm stone ground, then her back followed soon after.
Nyrella groaned in pain. Her hands instinctively moved to cover her eyes from the sharp beam of sunlight. Arthur swung his sword in a circular motion before he sheathed the training sword into the scabbard. He stopped next to Nyrella's lying body with an amused smile, "But, you are easily distracted."
"You did that on purpose," Nyrella squinted at the Kingsguard. She did not take her defeat lightly nor Arthur's teasing.
Arthur chuckled. He extended his arm towards her, and as he leaned forward provided shade from the brightness of the sun. Nyrella uncovered her face, gladly taking his help. With a pull, she was back on her feet, still a bit off her balance, but she was up without any broken bones.
"It's a strategy. One you should never fall victim to, except for your enemies. You need to keep practicing," Arthur told her as he followed behind her step.
Nyrella waved him off. "I know, I know. Next time, I will get you."
The two of them stopped at a large boulder that held their stuff. They each drank from their pouches, the clear liquid of water slightly running down the sides of their face. Nyrella wiped her face clean with the back of her hand, then proceeded to take out materials from her bag. Arthur watched curiously from the side of eye as he continued to drink. He noticed the various parchment, sketches, and utensils that were laid out carefully on the surface. He wiped his face clean, and leaned over Nyrella's shoulder to have a closer look.
"You want me to draw like that?" Arthur said wide eyed at the intricate drawing of the Red Keep.
Nyrella rolled her eyes. "No, of course not." She pushed the drawing to the side, away from his view. "That's an awful sketch anyways, not my best work," she told him.
"Awful? Then, I would not want to know what you think of my abilities," he replied with an amused brow.
She turned to him with a few parchment paper in her hands. She extended them towards him with a delicate smile, "I'm harsh on my sketches because I've been drawing since I could remember. For you, you are only starting. It's the same concept as sword fighting."
Arthur took the parchment from her hands, "Alright, what am I going to draw?"
"You aren't going to be drawing anything complex at the moment. You have to start with the basics," Nyrella responded to turn back towards the pieces of loose parchment. She grabbed a black chalk, "Start with simple shapes like a circle," drawing a circle on her parchment. "You'll use these shapes to learn shading, light and shadow, and composition—the basics of drawing."
"You make it sound easy," Arthur said. He copied Nyrella by drawing a circle on his parchment.
"I could say that about sword fighting," she countered with a raised brow, "it takes practice like you said earlier."
Arthur let out a soft, partly laugh, "I suppose you are right. What do I need to practice on?"
Nyrella looked over to his parchment, then back at her's. She continued to do so for a couple of times, "Use soft lines to sketch the circle instead of one line." She demonstrated this by slowly sketching different lines to create a circle.
Arthur watched in awe as Nyrella concentrated on the sketch. The way the sun casted down on her made her look like a beam of pure sunlight. The flyaway strands of silver hair framed her delicate face and swayed to the rhythm of the breeze. Her eyes were lighter, sparkled like amethyst. The corners of her lips crinkled slightly as she unconsciously smiled. The sun had peppered her soft skin with a natural blush on the top of her nose and the apple of her cheeks. She was a living and breathing painting in front of him.
"I never asked, but how long have you been drawing?" Arthur inquired, tilting his head towards and leaning his body closer.
"I can't remember," Nyrella spoke as she set her chalk down. She met Arthur's eyes, noticing the unit satisfied with her answer. "I'm being serious. It's been a long time...but my mother, she was the one to introduce me to the arts."
There was a melancholy tone when she spoke. "Is she an artist like you?" Furthered Arthur.
"I learned everything from her," Nyrella wiped her hands with a rag. "She is Rhaegar and I's muse," she told him with a sad smile.
"I keep my mother close to my heart as well, even more so since she passed," Arthur mentioned with love in his eyes.
"When did she pass?" The silver-haired maiden questioned.
"I was very young around eight or ten namedays. My sisters look exactly like her," Arthur spoke with such fondness in his voice, that it made Nyrella's heart tighten.
"I wish I had the chance to meet her."
"She would have loved you."
"And I would have loved her as well. She raised an incredible person."
"Your mother as well, but further more beautiful and intelligent than I would ever be."
Nyrella blushed. "Alright that's enough flattery. You have to continue your practice," she redirected the conversation, but the redness on her cheeks would not go away.
Arthur chuckled softly to himself, a wide toothy smile plastered on his face. He grabs his chalk, and starts to sketch various shapes with Nyrella's guidance. "Of course," he replied.
Both of them focused on their sketches, but once in a while when the other person was not looking, they would sneak glances at each other. They spent this delicate time with one another in a peaceful quiet, as they did not need words to convey what they were feeling. It was as if they already knew each other so well, like the back of their hand.
Arthur did as he was told. He sketched various shapes, mostly the circle. He shaded them in, and paid attention to where the light would hit the surface of the shape. He used Nyrella's previous works displayed in front of him to reference his own sketches. Arthur wanted to someday be a capable artist, and to draw the things he saw, for it would last longer.
On the other spectrum, Nyrella was engrossed in her current piece of work. It was a drawing of Arthur. All artists had their muses, and for her it was Arthur. She drew him multiple times since she had met him. Many of them were when he was not looking at her or in his most natural state of either dueling or laughing. At this moment, she drew what she saw laid in front of her–him sketching. Maybe someday, when she has the confidence, she would show him all of the sketches that she drew of him and the ones that he inspired her to draw.
.・゜゜・♛・゜゜・.
A few days turned into a few weeks. Nyrella and Arthur repeated their days the same. Sword training in the morning, then afterwards sketching. The lie that Nyrella sewed worked well to keep their meetings exclusive to just them. It was time for themselves to get to know each other more, and they wanted more, even if they couldn't say it out loud.
"I have an idea," Nyrella blurted out as she folded her hands in front of her. Her steps were in sync to the dark and handsome Kingsguard that was on her right.
"And what is this idea of yours," Arthur inquired as he looked down at her. His eyes rested on her silver hair that waved down past her waist, it vaguely reminded him of melted metal used in a blacksmith's shop.
"Why don't we go to the Hook ? Us along with Rhaegar and Jon," her feminine voice reached his ears. Arthur could hear the enthusiasm in her response, and he did not need to see her face to know she was smiling like she always does.
"What business do you have at the Hook?" His right brow raised in suspicion.
Nyrella finally looked up at him with a shrugged expression. She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, proceeding to comb her elegant fingers through in a repeated action. It was a sign she was nervous. "Nothing really," she sighed, "but I was thinking, it would be fun to set aside our duties for a day. It would be good for all of us."
There was truth in Nyrella's words. Three months had passed since Lord Darklyn captured and imprisoned King Aerys. The tensions were high and there was still a standoff at the gates of Duskendale under Lord Tywin's command. However, the events trickled down in King's Landing due to the King and the Hand's absence. Rhaegar took the brunt of the effects, having to maintain the peace and order of things. The Kingsguard were on high-alert for most of the time, guarding and protecting the remainder of the Targaryens. Specifically, Arthur was assigned to guard over the Queen Mother and year-old Viserys, during the evening through the late night.
But, equal in danger. Anywhere outside the walls of the Red Keep was dangerous, more so now than ever. Even though the Hook is known to be a safer part of King's Landing, there was still a lingering possibility for crime, thieving, and death.
Arthur's lack of answer made Nyrella even more nervous of the fact. She could not foretell his answer because his facial expressions gave nothing away. She hoped he would consider the offer.
"It is a nice sentiment, but I am not sure if being outside the Red Keep is ideal," Arthur spoke up.
"But, Rhaegar and I had no problem when we went there before," Nyrella countered. It was going to take more than a simple no to back her down.
Arthur hummed. "That was before the King was captured. You must know that it is not safe for you or your brother," he elaborated his stance.
"I understand, but you will be there, to keep us safe," the silver maiden went in front of the Dornishman to stop him from walking, "No one would dare to fight a great swordsman like yourself."
A rich hearty chuckle came out of the dark haired Kingsguard, "You won't let this go will you?"
"And what gave it away?" Nyrella put one hand over her hip as she tilted her head slightly, raising her eyebrow in amusement.
"The flattery," was all he said, matching her amusement.
Nyrella bit her lip. "And did it work? I'm more than welcome to continue, since it seems you're receptive to the sweet words." She took a step closer, closing the distance between them. Her doe eyes looked into his deepest eyes.
Arthur warmly invited the challenge in her gaze. He took the last step between them. Their chests were inches from touching each other's. Their purple eyes stared into one another's as their rosy lips parted into a coherent smile. They were so close, they could smell the other's natural musk.
He carefully raised his hand to Nyrella's face, pushing away the strands of silver hair that fell over her eyes. His heart was pounding like a running horse on an open field, but Nyrella's was running ten times as fast. She felt the skin of his finger slightly graze over her cheeks, sending a chill down her back. Arthur parted his lips to speak, but another voice spoke for him.
"Nyrella, Arthur! There you two are!" Jon boomed across from them as he walked out from another entrance.
Arthur and Nyrella quickly pulled away, putting a severe distance between them. They forcefully snapped their gaze to their red-headed friend, who happily strolled towards them with a raised brow.
"I hope I wasn't disturbing anything," Jon said as he pointed to the two of them.
"It's good of you to join us," Nyrella said, picking up her long skirt and linking her left arm with Jon's right.
"Is it really? You and Arthur take the pleasure to always make plans without me," the redhead spoke up as the trio continued to walk along the garden path that was shaded by the tall wide branches of the old trees.
"Well that is because you are always trailing behind my dear brother like a lost puppy," Nyrella countered with amusement, "anyways, where is my dear brother? I have to ask him about going to the Hook."
"He's lurking in his room, but The Hook?" Jon inquired with furrowed brows.
Arthur hummed, followed with a sigh. "Nyrella has a plan for all of us to go to the Hook and..." he trailed off, not knowing exactly why she wanted to be there in the first place.
"To have fun. I heard from my handmaiden there will be a plethora of stalls up in the coming week. Merchants from everywhere will be there selling their goods, and I want to see for myself," Nyrella finished off for Arthur.
"Isn't it dangerous for your silver-haired head to be out in public while your deranged father is imprisoned by a lowly lord?" There was speculation in Jon's voice, almost the same as when Arthur responded to Nyrella.
"My exact sentiment," Arthur agreed which earned him a subtle eye roll from Nyrella.
She let go of Jon's arm to fold her's over her chest, "Consider it. It would be good for all of us."
"I have and it would be, but you are going to need more than one Kingdguard to come along with us. No offense to you Arthur, you're great and all. Maybe have Ser Barristan or Ser Oswell accompany us," Jon rubbed his scruffy chin as if he was debating which Kingsguard would be best to add to the addition.
Arthur and Nyrella give each other a look, "So you agree to going to The Hook?"
"Why not Arthur? I think living on the edge of danger would be fun for a change," the redhead smirked, "You should do it more often."
"You cannot be more agreeable than that," Nyrella said cheerily. She linked her arm with Jon again, then pulled the redhead forward away from Arthur. She glanced back at the Kingsguard, sticking her tongue out and scrunching her nose.
Very mature, he thought to himself as he shook his head while chuckling. He stood there, watching Jon and Nyrella conversed about whatever the topic they shifted to. He mostly focused on Nyrella. The way she gleamed and leaned forward to the redhead as her eyes widened from what the lord had said. Arthur never had the heart to tell her how beautiful she looked under the sunlight, even if it was minimal and covered by the shade of the branches. He was captivated by the way it seemed to glow. He was captivated in general.
Maybe someday, when he is capable of drawing far from basic shapes, he wants to capture Nyrella the way he sees her.
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yourstruly-sephie · 2 months ago
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𝐒𝐈𝐃𝐄 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐀𝐂𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐒
𝙃𝙤𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙇𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧. Lady Genna portrayed by Holliday Grainger. Gold ringlets. Emeralds for eyes. Shapely. Sharp. Motherly. Determined. The precious jewel. Auntie Genna. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨.
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yourstruly-sephie · 2 months ago
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𝐋𝐎𝐂𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒
𝐖𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐚𝐬𝐭, 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙖𝙨𝙩. Faraway from the bustling city of Lannisport, this area provided a safe haven for anyone wanting to remove themselves from the fast-paced society or to indulge in solicited affairs. The cliffs of the western coast are huge, green, and stony; in contrast to the sea’s fluid, crystal blue waters. The sand is soft, yet grainy under the touch. A perfect place for sword training.
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