Difference between revisions of "Kingsley Family/Alyssa/The Lion (Part 2)"

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Revision as of 06:48, 2 December 2019

Sweet

11/21/2019


Alyssa sat down on her cot and let her hair down, running her fingers through the golden locks as it fell to her shoulders. Shivering as the chill winter wind blew around her camp and into her personal pavilion, she pulled the furs around herself in the hopes that she could keep warm. It would snow tonight Graham had said. He had to push her into her tent to get her away from supervising the wounded and the palisade. "You've done far beyond what you needed my lady" He had said as father would his child, which annoyed her but she did not show it. She was not a child though she realized she had been until Brive. The deaths of hundreds, her captain and the king weighed heavily on her. She tried to push forward, and it helped that everyone had been so kind; Isana, Dustiria, The King, even the foreign Kings Ryndhal and Lindow had sent her kind letters, and the lady of Avamar. Still, despite the unwavering support of those who cared for her she would not sleep tonight, between the dreams, the cold, and the pained wails of wounded men. Alyssa sighed.

She glanced at the portable desk near her cot, usually neatly in order, now covered in letters. She considered getting up to sort things out but decided to lay down instead, curling up shivering beneath the furs. Her black pup Shadow, now growing quickly, jumped up with her and snuggled her. Normally she would not have allowed it, but tonight she was cold,exhausted, and felt alone. She tried to sleep but it would not come, her mind flashing back to the battle earlier today. She recalled the smile Isana had given her before the first volley loosed, and the war cry Sir Rogos had given as the huge man joined her in the charge. What none of them expected was the cavalry charge which tore through all of them. Alyssa shook her head Move past it. She tried to tell herself. Look at what you did, said her father. She flipped the furs off and grabbed her cloak draped over the stool near her desk. Shadow protested mildly, but then found he enjoyed burrowing in the wadded up furs. Wrapping the faded white wool tightly around her shoulders she took to tidying the reports and letters on her desk. She spied a sweet letter she had received earlier and the little candy that had come with it. She smiled as she read the letter again thumbing the sweet idly. She had given the others to Graham who had put it in his pocket and Cal who ate it immediately and chuckled merrily.

She placed the sweet on her tongue and smiled at its subtle sweetness. It reminded her of the sweets her mother would sometimes bring for her when she had done well at her lessons. It reminded her of a better time, when her life was simpler and she did not feel the world on her shoulders. Quickly however it melted and the breeze outside gusted into her tent again. She set the letter back on top of the others and finished sorting them. She took a deep breath and looked around for something else to do before laying back down on the bed. She cuddled Shadow for warmth who yelped quietly but settled in with her. She closed her eyes, trying to dream of happier days, dreams of love and peace. The snow began to fall, lightly coating the valley outside.


Out in the Cold

11/22/2019

Alyssa shivered, pulling her white cloak tighter around her. The snow was falling heavily now in the forested valley. It would be beautiful. She thought, were we not on the run for our lives. Indeed the enemy had to be all around, even though her screens had not encountered them yet. She felt watched as she trotted quickly through the forest, leading the other nobles through the haunted woods, waiting for any moment when the enemy could fall upon them. The air felt tense and the soldiers and her nobles alike seemed on edge, ready to fight. The thudding of hooves approached from her side, as she turned and saw the old man who had been her squire the past year. His white beard was growing in, though only on half his face where it was not slashed and maimed and the white bandana around the eye he lost in Brive made his face blend in with the snow. The eye I lost him. Fortunately she recognized him easily by his battered armour and the shield bearing her black wolf.

"My Lady." He grunted as he approached. Alyssa stopped as the soldiers continued their hastened march for their lives, passing around her as she spoke to her squire. Sir Christopher and his company passed by her as they approached, and he gave her a salute. Alyssa gave one nod in acknowledgement and returned his salute before turning back to the old squire. "Graham. You are to be assisting with organizing our right flank."

"Aye. Something you might want to know my lady." He replied. "We caught an enemy outrider, just a brief skirmish with one of their screens. They retreated off before we could really do anything but one this one was slow and we captured him and his horse."

"Then they are near." She muttered. Graham nodded solemnly. "Very well. This information will be useful. We'll need to increase the march."

"The men are cold and tired my lady. I don't know if they can march any faster." Graham warned.

"I would rather they be cold and tired than cold and dead. We need every soldier. Their lives are precious to me and I will not squander any more of them."

Graham frowned but said nothing as three other horses approached, two leading the third with ropes around the rider's hands. Graham scratched idly at his maimed face as her men led the Northern rider up. "What should we do with him?" He asked her as he scowled at the northman.

Alyssa inspected the man, watching him coldly as he shivered from the snow falling on him. It seemed her men had roughed him up a bit, likely during the skirmish, and his boots were missing. His feet were already starting to turn a bluish hue from the winter wind. "Bring him to me." She said tersely.

Graham brought the shivering man to her, who looked at her nervously. Her face remained an unreadable neutral as she considered him. "Who are you." She ordered.

"R-r-ronnie" He shivered, "G-g-golden Sentinels. F-f-first Company"

This is Lyanna's man. She thought curiously as she maintained her noble demeanor.

"What happened to your boots, soldier?"

He continued to shiver but stuttered out: "A b-b-bald man milady... carries an-n-n-n axe. W-w-w-wolf on his shield. S-s-s-said his was old and mine w-w-w-was new."

Smiling Dick, one of mine own. She thought spitefully. That one had a penchant for trouble, but he was a good enough soldier when he wasn't drinking, or cold apparently. The line her mouth made turned into a concerned frown. "You are a soldier at war with my people, but that does not excuse a crime committed against you. Graham!" She commanded her voice containing a hint of frustration. The old squire nodded in acknowledgement.

"See to it that this soldier's equipment is returned to him. And if Dick survives the day, send him to me, so that he may be punished for theft." Then she removed the white wool cloak over her shoulders and shivering handed it to the northern outrider. "You may wear this on your ride back. Give it to your lady as a gift from me." Somewhat startled the man hesitantly took the cloak.

"My lady!" Graham protested before Alyssa held up her hand to silence him. I will have another made when we reach home in the mean time, there are furs in the equipment cart that will warm me well enough. "Graham escort him back to the right screen where you will release him."

Graham shrugged and waved for the others to turn his horse around and lead him back.

"Be safe, Ronnie." Alyssa said to the outrider, her cold blue eyes watching him as he nodded and turned back

Arylon

11/22/2019

The sky was a lightly kissed shade of rose, almost glowing as the sun sunk lower across the horizon. The dusky gray illumination of the world around her at this time of day always left Lyanna with a surreal sense of reality.

She was touring her encampment, before the final march to Meuse was set to begin. Everywhere around her, the men were preparing. She walked by her captain, a grizzled old soldier named Rambrecht who had led the Golden Sentinels with great skill. In her last evaluation, Lyanna had found the men so cohesively and instinctively connected to one another that she had been left unable to provide any corrective feedback.

As she nodded to one of the men, holding his gold painted shield with an angular blue stripe -- the arms of House Arylon -- her thoughts drifted to a man she had lost on the march. Ronnie, a young man who had joined her company in Sirion City only recently, had gone missing. He was the fourth son of a minor Sirion House, and so a soldier's life was his only real path. He was nervous, but capable, and she had decided to use him as an advance scout.

That is how he was lost. Lyanna had sent him ahead to get a peek at the massing enemy soldiers in Meuse, and report back numbers and formations. She also charged him with reporting as to the location and strength of the soldiers bearing the black wolf of House Kingsley. "Look for the white shields," she had told him, "and tell me where they are." The boy didn't understand the request, but obeyed his order. What he didn't know was that Lyanna wanted to know the location of her dearest friend, so that as the battle raged she could avoid hurting Alyssa, or anyone close to her.

It was, perhaps, a naive desire, but she clung to it as she heard the horn blast that signaled the beginning of the final march. Exasperated at the idea of hurting someone dear to her, she let out a deep breath, which became visible as her hot breath interacted with the bitterly cold air.

Indeed it was snowing, and snowing heavily on this day. In Sirion, it was still summer, but here in the south for whatever reason, the land was experiencing a deep cold. Seasons seemed to work a little differently here. Many Sirion nobles had difficulty with this transition, but fortunately, Lyanna had actually been born and raised through her early childhood in the north-west of the continent of Dwilight, and as such had experienced many bitter, cold, snow filled winters. In some ways, the beauty of the snow made her feel at home.

It was a shame those snows would soon be stained with the blood of many dead men and women. Beauty, and horror at once.

Lyanna moved to the head of her men, who had quickly fallen into line for the march. She stepped to the foothold on her saddle, swung her leg over her horse, and grabbed the rains.

Hanging from a hook on right hip was the Flail of Avamar, a beautiful and terrible weapon that she had recently acquired with the intention of returning it to her estate in that shining city. It had been a symbol of Avamar's might and power in days long past, and she considered it an important symbol for her people.

But this day it would be used on the field of battle. Its long wooden handle was made from the finest hardwood from the forest of Sirion, and carved into an elegant hand grip, wrapped in leather for a better control. A chain connected it to a metal sphere, studded with spikes that Lyanna would use to smash shields and break armor before moving in with her sword for close combat.

Just as they began moving out, she heard a screaming voice approaching from the distance.

Incredibly, that voice belonged to Ronnie, her lost man. She recognized her colors on him, as well as his voice. He was riding frantically, trying to get to her.

As he finally approached, out of breath and clearly injured, he fell from his horse. Lyanna leaped down to tend to him, and ask him what had happened. She noticed that he held in his hand a beautiful white cloak, which was made of wool. He was clinging to it with his life.

Lyanna leaned down and peered into his swollen, blackened face. "Ronnie," she said with great concern.

"My Lady..." he groaned, trying hard to keep his eyes open. It was then that she noticed his boots were unlaced, and he was shivering horribly.

"Get blankets. Now!" she shouted at Rambrecht. She then took the cloak from his hand, and began to lay it on top of him.

"No... no..." he coughed, spitting out blood. "My Lady, this was for you. A gift." He coughed again. "From the enemy commander, Alyssa Kingsley. It is yours. Yours..."

Lyanna's eyes grew wide as saucers, and a sense of dread filled her. "Ronnie... tell me everything."