i started writing a game of thrones story, based on this set: http://www.polyvore.com/with_wind/set?id=63610500
obviously in this version, jon never joined the night's watch. i need him for messenger-ing purposes. this is set somewhere around the start of a clash of kings.
(also ava is pronounced 'arva' not 'ayva')
layout somewhat inspired by @semper-eadem, though a terrible copy. i clearly got lazy towards the bottom. actually i was just lazy in general, i spent so much time writing and not enough time set-making.
@roses-are-roses you might be the only person remotely interested in this.
At first light, they rode for the edge of the world.
Jon Snow’s black cloak blended into the dark shadows cast across the walls of Winterfell as the party glided past the gates. Jon and four of the North Guard took their first steps towards Dorne, leaving the familiarity of the North behind.
Robb had left weeks before with his army, paying visits to the kingdoms of the north. The south, however, remained an unfriendly area for the Starks. Jon was tasked to lead a small party heading for Done, asking for the cooperation of the Martells. Success was unlikely, but an enemy of the Lannisters was a friend of the Starks.
Jon stopped his horse. “Ghost, go home.”
The blinding white direwolf sat on its haunches, staring up at Jon. It refused to move.
“Ghost,” John said again, clearing his throat. “Home.”
Again, the wolf did not move. Jon shook his head, tugging on the reigns and forcing his horse forward again. Ghost trotted alongside him happily.
The party was small. Robb’s army was large, and growing in size by day. It provided a welcome distraction from the four men riding for Dorne, who slipped through the forests of the North and into Riverrun while Robb struggled with the Lannisters. Still, they could not be too careful. Eyes watched from the boughs of every tree, and soon enough, the whispers would catch up to them.
It happened at dusk on the sixth day. The riders had made good time, holding their collective breath as they passed the Goldroad, stretching between King’s Landing and Casterly Rock. They knew Lannister men patrolled the area fiercely. Jon and his men passed without incident, sighing relief as they passed into the Reach.
They had paused to take a meal, roasting rabbits on a makeshift spit. As they mounted once more, it was amongst the easing laughs of the riders that Jon heard the sound of approaching horses.
“Who goes there?”
His voice quieted the men, as they stopped their own horses. No sound of an answer came from the surrounding trees.
“Who goes there?” Jon called again.
“Lord Til Maddon of Gelsh Hall.”
“Lannister men,” one of the riders whispered under his breath. The air rang with the unsheathing of swords.
“And who makes camp here?” the Lannister voice boomed as unfamiliar men came into view. They were six, outnumbering Jon’s riders. Nobody answered Lord Maddon’s question. “Hmm?” he prompted, lifting his greathelm to reveal his dirty dark blonde hair and ugly scar of a mouth.
“Jon Snow, of Winterfell.”
Maddon flashed a cruel smile. “You’re a long way from home, bastard,” he said quietly.
Jon had not been prepared to strike, but Ghost came bounding from the shrubs behind them and stopped inches from Til Maddon’s horse, baring his fangs. The house bayed nervously, stepping backwards, and Maddon pointed his sword at the direwolf. In one swift movement, Ghost flashed forward and clenched down on the Lord’s hand. Maddon yelled, and his men charged on the Winterfell party, clashing swords ringing loud in Jon’s ears. Before his eyes, he saw Ghost biting at the knees of the Lannister men, dragging them from their horses; others rode at him, almost knocking him to the ground. He deflected blows with his sword, watching one of his men fall, a river of blood flowing from his neck.
Mac Sype drove one of Maddon’s men back past Jon, yelling as he wielded his sword. “Go, Jon! We are outnumbered, this will be for naught if you don’t go now.”
“I cannot abandon my men,” Jon protested, fending off another blow.
“You want to die for this?” Sype yelled, laughing bitterly. “You would die for Til Maddon? Go!”
Mac was right, but it made Jon ill to ride away from his men as they held off Til Maddon. For miles he rode hard, hearing the footsteps of Lannisters in every silence behind him. Hours later Ghost reappeared. His mouth was red with the blood of Maddon.
At dawn, Jon stopped. He allowed himself to slow only when he was sure that nobody was on his tail. The landscape looked completely different in the morning light than when he had last seen it. To his right, a stream bubbled calmly through lush green fields, trees dotting the land lightly. Birds chattered around him and hills rolled forth in his path.
Jon looked for Ghost, but the direwolf had disappeared. He couldn’t ride to Winterfell, not now. Anywhere north was treacherous until he was past the reach of the Lannisters. He didn’t know how far Highgarden was, but he knew that when he hit the Red Mountains, he’d gone too far.
He made camp by the river, downstream. Ghost had returned with food for them both, and he made fire with his small amount of supplies left after the skirmish with Maddon. His sleep was restless and quick, and as the next dawn rose, he was on his horse again.
Miles ahead, the colour of the hills began to change. The ground turned a deep shade of red and Jon’s horse crushed poppies beneath his feet.
The Scarlet Hills. Jon had learned about them, back in his studies, though he couldn’t pull too much from the depths of his mind. Ruled by the Doran family, they produced milk of the poppy for the seven kingdoms. A reclusive family. The last to bend the knee. Forged no allegiances, fought often with the Dornish. But beyond that, he knew nothing.
He rode for hours, until the sun began to throw light over the red fields from the West. Ahead loomed a wall made from red stone, blocking the view as the light began to dip below its edge.
Jon approached, letting the wall pass beneath his fingers. Surprisingly, it was cool to the touch. And it seemed to extend forever before him; endless in his mind until he heard the familiar sound of hooves, and he halted.
A man – a knight – with a flowing bright red cloak approached, pulling up his horse before reaching Jon.
“Who approaches the Red Wall of Folly?” the knight as brusquely.
Ah, Folly, Jon remembered. That was the name of the ruling castle.
“Jon Snow, of Winterfell.”
“What business do you bring to the Scarlet Hills, Northerner?”
Jon swallowed quickly. He brought no business, and had no lie to conjure. “I’m afraid I am lost, Ser.”
The knight lifted the mask of his helm, peering at Jon. “Lost? What did you seek, Jon Snow?”
“The mountains of Dorne.”
“You are well off the mark,” the knight grinned.
“The Lannisters took my maps.”
“The Lannisters are wont to take.”
Jon glanced up at the Red Wall towering above him. “Do you have a roof for me, Ser? It has been many nights in the grass.”
At this request, the knight stiffened.
“Folly takes no visitors.”
Ahead, Jon saw further knights galloping to join his companion, their horses standing alongside his.
“Who is this?” an older man asked gruffly.
“A visitor from the North,” the first knight replied.
The old knight laughed. “A visitor! Well, we must give him a taste of the finest Folly hospitality.” The knights flanked Jon’s horse silently.
“Ride, Northerner,” he said, and the party set off along the Red Wall.
It was over an hour until they reached the gates of Folly. The party escorted Jon inside, relieving him of his horse once past the gates.
The castle spread out immediately before him, but the beauty was beyond that. Thin poppy fields spread from the walls, around the town down to the water of the deep inlet, brushing the sparkling blue water. Ships bobbed on the water and the city bustled, smelling sweetly of flowers and spice. The castle itself was built of grey stone, vines and flowers spreading amongst the cracks.
Jon did not have time to admire. The knights prodded him, and he walked to the castle, through an archway as tall as two stories, and was lead into a bare stone room. A pleasant heat bounced off the walls, but beads of sweat formed on Jon’s brow. He knew that House Doran did not foster friendships, but he was unsure of exactly what they did with visitors.
“Fetch Lady Doran,” the old knight commanded a younger.
“I wish to speak to Lord Doran,” Jon protested.
The knights all smiled knowingly. “You will much prefer Lady Ava.”
They forced Jon to his knees, tying his hands behind his back with thick rope. The room was silent but the chatter of the city flowed through the window.
“If the men are in here, who is watching the Red Wall?” a light voice asked somewhere outside the room. Jon lifted his head, and the knights stiffened.
“But Lady Doran, he is an intruder – ”
“An intruder with nothing but a horse.”
“You know our laws.”
“You do not have to remind me, Ser Lochlyn.”
A tower of a knight entered the room, announcing the presence of Lady Ava Doran. She looked a young maiden, maybe not more than eighteen. Her flowing silk robes were white, thin and almost transparent, sleeveless and tied at the waist with gold rope. Long dark blonde hair flowed down her back in light curls, and a wreath of poppies sat atop her head.
“Northerner,” she said warmly. “Rise. And Ser, untie his hands,” she told the old knight. He obliged her immediately. “What is your name?”
“Jon Snow, of Winterfell.”
“Ah,” she smiled. “Lord Stark’s son.”
Son, she said. Not bastard.