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    Oldcastle and White Harbor

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    Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:41 pm

    The clouds are a dark grey to the south, but it is sunny over Oldcastle. It is a bright and cheerful day... a day of new beginnings. Lord Locke is there to see off his nephew.

    Rhory... remember to bring honor to House Locke. Good luck nephew.
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    Rhory Locke

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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:25 pm

    "Thank you, Uncle, you have my eternal gratitude." And with those last words and a bow from the saddle, Rhory Locke rode out of the only home he had ever known and pointed his horse on the road to White Harbour.

    As he rode along at a steady pace, he took a quick inventory of his belongings. Fortunately, he had managed to grab his weapons from his father's armoury before his dear father had a chance to protest. His horse, however, was not so lucky. Miraculously when Rhory turned up his horse had managed to cut it's leg in the stables and was deemed unfit to ride for a week at least. So Rhory had had to take another horse from his father's stable, a horse that was only newly arrived that day and wholly unknown to him. Rhory's old horse had seemed to give him a look of reproach at allowing this to happen to him which did not help Rhory's mood at all.

    And this beast he rode now seemed to pick up on that. A few hours into the journey as he was passing through a stretch of woods, the horse turned fractious, taking the bit between his teeth and ignoring Rhory's instructions to trot. Sighing to himself, Rhory lent forwards over the horse's neck to speak encouraging words to it. At which point the horse slid to a halt and Rhory shot forwards off it's neck.

    At which point it was only providence that saved Rhory from a vicious bite that the horse had tried to deliver. The horse gave him a look of triumph as it towered over Rhory, who was sitting on his behind in front of the horse. Which was of course the moment that he heard the twig snap...
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:35 pm

    A small girl appears from behind some trees. She looks at Rhory, then the horse, then Rhory again. She chuckles slightly, inaudibly, and advances toward the horse. Laying her hands on the beast's nose, the ill-tempered horse calms and nuzzles her hands. Smiling lightly, she offers a hand to help Rhory to his feet. Everything about her reminds one of trees. Her dress looks as if she was just tumbling in a pile of old forest leaves and dirt while covered in some sort of sticky substance so every leaf she touched stuck to her. Her hair is intertwined with leaves, twigs and late summer flowers in a ring about her head. Her eyes, however, are the most curious thing about her. They are the color of moss, but they look as if they have seen all the ages. They are not the eyes of a child.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:57 pm

    Rhory, his jaw hanging open in surprise looks at the small girl, then up at the horse in mute astonishment, then back to the little girl. He could almost have sworn that as he looked back at the girl, the horse winked at him and yet a quick glance back showed the horse seemingly ignoring him.

    A million thoughts are running through his head as he bends one knee under himself and places his hand in the little girl's outstretched hand, allowing her to help him to his feet without putting too much weight onto this little slip of a thing. Surely this couldn't be... She's just a little girl lost in the woods... But the eyes... It can't... They're all d...

    Pulling himself together visibly, aware that he must look like a slack jawed yokel seeing the King for the first time, Rhory stammers out a greeting. "Well... uh, met little... uh... girl?" A questioning note is clearly evident in Rhory's quivering voice. "My... uh... my name is... uh... Rhory."

    Rhory was not even aware that his hand was still held by the little girl, nor that he had remained on one knee to remain at eye level with her.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:11 am

    She nods as you say your name, as if she already knew. After you have gathered your feet, she tugs on the bridle and saddle of your horse with obvious dislike while still holding your hand with her other hand. She looks at you again with a slight glare, as if telling you that you should take the reins and saddle off with only her eyes as communication. All of the sudden, you get an image flashed across your mind of her riding in front of you on this horse, but the saddle and reins are bundled on the back of the horse behind the two of you. The horse obeys your word command in the flash. She looks a little bit impatient for you to understand.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:05 pm

    As if in a dream, Rhory reaches up to the horse and pats the side of it's head, then reaches around to start removing the bridle and bit. After a short while and under the watchful eye of the little girl, he removes them completely. All the while, working from touch as he seems unable to remove his gaze from the little girls. All the while, working as if in a dream in that abstract where only what is in front of you seems to matter and all else fades into the back ground.

    He smiles tremulously at the little girl whose eyes seem to fill his entire world, a questioning look in his eyes as he begins to loosen the girth strap. How on earth do I cinch this towards the back of the horse? he wonders to himself, yet entirely without worry because somehow he feels that the answer is known to him. Somewhere deep, deep inside him where the blood of the first men flows.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:33 pm

    She smiles at you, quite pleased with your work. She takes a soft vine of ivy and gently ties the saddle and bridle to the very back of the horse, only leaving the saddle blanket on. She nimbly jumps up onto the back of the horse without aid of stirrup or gripping the horse's mane. She looks at you pointedly to do the same and sit behind her.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:35 pm

    Meanwhile...

    Further up the road to White Harbor, John Fox comes across a strange animal print in the mud of the road from last night's rain.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  John Fox on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:37 pm

    As he got ever closer to White Harbor the road became muddy, no doubt due to a squall that blew in from the sea. He slowed Fleetfoot to a walk. This patch of roadway has yet to be traveled upon so the strange track stuck out easily. He pulled slightly on the reigns as his horse came to a stop. He quickly dismounted. Fleetfoot neighed at him, as if questioning this sudden and unexpected move. John knelt in order to get a closer look.

    'Now that's an odd looking print.'

    He couldn't recall ever seeing it's like before. Making sure not to accidentally mar the track, he looked for more. He found another slightly off the road. He walked Fleetfoot, on the track of this unknown animal, his curiousity at least temporarily overruling his longing for home.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:53 pm

    The tracks looks like the long bony toes of a bird, but do not have corresponding claw point marks, nor is the weight distribution correct. Some of the long lines have other smaller lines branching off of them. They remind you of something, but you are unsure of what as it is on the edge of your memory. The tracks lead away from White harbor toward the south and slightly east.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:59 pm

    Still thoroughly entranced by this wisp of a girl, Rhory glances down at his chainmail armour and the weapons he carries and somewhere a thought stirs int he back of his mind. I can't jump that high with all this weight. And yet, strangely, he feels that he should. So he takes a step back and leaps up, attempting to vault onto the horse with his hands somehow.

    Only a short distance away a squirrel stops brifly in its tracks and tilts its head at an angle to watch this strange scene, seemingly as entranced as young Rhory...
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:20 pm

    Rhory vaults on to the horse with an ease that shouldn't have naturally happened. The girl looks at you and smiles slightly. The horse starts to ride without command toward White Castle.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:38 pm

    Rhory falls easily into the gentle sway of the horse, tentatively placing one arm around the little girl in a gesture both protective and loving. His senses, though still in a somewhat dreamlike state, seem preternaturally heightened as he notes the forest come alive around him.

    The squirrel, meanwhile, shakes its head and scurries off to find somewhere to hide its acorn...
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:40 pm

    She leans back against his armor, resting her head lightly at the crook of his neck. The horse keeps trotting on for a good few hours, during which the girl is lulled to sleep.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:59 pm

    This was how it must feel to have a little sister, Rhory thought as he rode on closer to Whitecastle, the little slip of a girl asleep against his chest. The thought was a new one to Rhory. Oh, he had loved his brother, but that was a camaraderie, a mateship as it were. Somehow, he felt an urge to protect this girl from harm, to shelter her, to nurture her. And somehow, this was how it should be.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:05 am

    She sighs lightly in her sleep, the first sound that has been heard this whole time from her little lips. In sleep, she has almost a cherubic innocence. The sky darkens now and the trees cast long shadows in the forest. Night is falling, and soon. A lone wolf howls mournfully in the distance.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:13 am

    Hearing the tinkle of a small stream off to his right, Rhory guides the horse off through the trees. After a few minutes of riding, the horse wanders into a small clearing where it drops its head and starts to feed on the grass. Rhory picks up the strangely light girl in his arms and slips off the side of the horse, moving over to lay her down on a small drift of leaves piled up against a massive oak.

    It was then that Rhory noticed the Weirwood tree off through the trees to one side of the grove. The white bark, the blood red leaves. He was surprised that one remained outside of a grove this far south of the wall. And yet, it seemed strangely right. He felt oddly compelled to move towards the tree, so he bagan slowly walking that way, with a glance back at the girl to make sure she was comfortable.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:17 am

    She sleeps soundly as you approach the ancient tree. The weirwood is a large one, larger than even the one in Winterfell, with a thick trunk the size of at least two barrels of beer. The face carved into it is ancient and wise. The red eyes look directly at you as it gazes into your soul. It feels as if this tree is the gods embodied and is judging you to see if you are worthy. The wind whistles a bit shrilly about your head, tossing your hair. You can almost hear on the wind faint words in an ancient tongue... a tongue of the First Men and the forest, long lost and forgotten. The tree weeps a red tear of sap from one eye, and you feel the odd urge to wipe it away.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:23 am

    Rhory approaches the ancient tree with a mix of awe and reverence. This tree was far larger than the one in Oldcastle where his family prayed. And it held about it a certain air of the wild. He falls to his knees before it and prays to the old gods, his blood seemingly singing in resonance to the heart's blood of the tree. He reaches up to wipe the sap away from the eyes of the tree. It feels sticky and warm to his touch as he tenderly wipes away the tear. And somewhere deep inside Rhory, it is as if he is wiping a tear away from his little sister.

    Then, seemingly of their own volition, his hand starts drawing a pattern on his face with the sap. And slowly but surely, an ancient pattern takes shape...
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:28 am

    As the pattern is finished on your face, you feel a rush of heat flush your skin, then a shocking wave of ice cold. Everything in the wood fades away from you, everything except the weirwood and the girl. Time no longer seems to have meaning. Suddenly, you feel yourself light and floating. As you look down, you see yourself, with the sap of the weirwood painting your face like blood, and the girl, fast asleep on the forest floor, your bed a pile of deep red leaves.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:34 am

    Rhory looks down upon himself and the girl and yet feels no worry. But then he feels a tugging, slight at first, but more persistent as time goes on. And the tugging comes from the North. The tree seems to face to the North and the girl's eyes, mossy and green, seem to appear in front of him, drawing him slowly north, the terrain flying away in a misty blur underneath him.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:40 am

    The instant you give in to the need to go North, you fly over vale and valley, over forest and hills, and over the great wall itself. You see the wildlings digging up the ground, and corpses killing them. You see the newly killed wildlings become just like the corpses, cold demons of death. Suddenly, the tug forces you south. You watch the days pass in rapid succession, though you cannot tell if it is past or present, though by the age of the royal family you assume it is. You see the Hand of the King die, and you feel that that one single event will cause more death and destruction in its wake. You then get pulled east, far across the sea. You see a funeral pyre, and a woman, bare and baldas her naming day, sitting amongst the ashes nursing three tiny dragons at her bosom. You feel the days rewind as you fly back across the narrow sea, and you see your body again, and the girl. She is sitting, watching you now. She looks directly at you flying insubstantial above yourself, and suddenly you are sucked back in to your heavy body, grounded abruptly once more. You awaken to your body covered in a cold sweat.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:51 am

    Rhory slowly pulls himself to his knees and seeks out the eyes of the weirwood tree and that of the girl. What did I just see? Was it... Was it a future that will be, one that may be, or one that must not be allowed to come to pass? A hundred thoughts swirl through his head. And yet with a sudden clarity of thought, his family's words thunder through his ears as he sways and falls to the ground.

    Blood of the Old Guard.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:54 am

    The girl rushes over to you, and presses her lips to your forehead as a mother would to check a child for a temperature. Her eyes darken immediately with worry. She dashes over to the stream, cupping her tiny hands to hold a drink of cool water for you, she carefully returns and lifts her hands to your lips, encouraging you to drink.
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    Re: Oldcastle and White Harbor

    Post  Rhory Locke on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:00 am

    Ice burns through Rhory's veins, like the icy touch of a white walker. His vision blurs around him as he struggles to stay conscious, to fight off the cold. And then the girl is before him, her lips pressed to his forehead that burn like fire. And as she returns to Rhory, her hands cupped before her, he lifts himself weakly to drink. And as he does so, he cups his hands under hers reverently and drinks of the water, which begins to warm him from inside until, exhausted, he lays his head in her lap and drifts off to sleep.

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