"A Fall From Grace" part 2/2

OFF: This here is my challenge post. You asked for a new genre, you got a whole new genre… Good luck to us all. I purposely left it open ended for the sake of ease of continuity for JPs. It's two parts because the character counter is off by a bit and Charles approved it.

ON:

Time: A continuance of “Of Wild Geese and Unicorns”

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"Milady..."

An hour later, Aji's round eyes peered bitterly towards another one of Vaanaras' many handmaidens. The woman took the hint, grabbing up a bit of lace she'd been pestering the Princess with and beating a rather hasty retreat away from she'd once referred to as a 'demon squirrel'. The departure suited Aji just fine, however, having to play the part of a lady in waiting was hard enough, not being allowed to speak candidly unless they were completely alone made the situation a complete catastrophe. "You're late. The King has already started lunch."

“I’m sorry!” Vaanaras gasped. Another sharp tug of lace nearly stole her breath away, stealing from her ribs the choice to fully expand. A punishment, for sure, for being tardy. If this was going to work, if they were going to escape, the King needed to be happy and the Vorta needed to be the picture of perfection and Aji would accept nothing less than perfection from her. Out of all of them, Aji was the one who seemed to miss the stars the most.

That had been why she’d chosen the blue gown.

It was the King's favorite color and only seemed to make Vaanaras' eyes stand out even more. It was breathtaking, a shade darker than slate with a divine drop waisted silhouette that did wonders with the Vorta's naturally curvy figure. An intricately embellished bodice with its deep v-neckline and cap sleeves would keep the very best of her physical assets on display just enough to hold attention... And garner forgiveness.

It took some time to get her into the dress, one, because Aji didn't want to ruin it with her claw tipped little hands and, two, she'd never tied someone into a dress before - but once in place there was no denying the woman wearing it was certainly the epitome of regal. "Hold on... I'll braid your hair," she trilled, pleased with her work as she brushed the Vorta's raven mane off to one side and swiftly braided it down, purposely leaving one fan-like ear exposed to the elements. A second later, Aji took a few steps back and grinned, "I want to smack you for your crap, Vaanaras, but you look stunning. Go... He's waiting for you."

“Thank you, Aji.” Vaanaras nodded, carefully settling her fur lined capelet over her otherwise exposed shoulders. The castle, while posh, was horrendously drafty to say the least and as she took to the halls, she couldn’t help but shiver.

The hall was otherwise empty. The light of torches reflected the grey hues of the castle’s stone work and upon them, different banner’s colors seemed to dance with the fire's flickering light. Vaanaras walked silently, observing each shade as it changed from tapestry to tapestry. Each held meaning, each purposely and perfectly illustrated each of the fallen houses from times of old until her brilliant violet eyes settled on Bran's smoky brown staring back at her. "I was told you were eating lunch, Majesty. I'm sorry I wasn't there to join you."

“No, you’re not,” He smiled, “Your heart still believes it belongs up there,” Bran gestured to the heavens before he reached for the Vorta’s delicate hands, enveloping them in his, “but in time… You’ll see. I’ve captured it. It’s mine, and I won’t harm it or your friends so long as you continue to abide by our arrangement.”

Swallowing hard, Vaanaras felt a chill run along the length of her spine, “Yes, your Grace.” if anything, she was well adept at realizing when the gig was up and their goose well cooked.

“Splendid… We’ll be wed before nightfall?” Bran gazed up at her from his wheeled-chair, stroking his thumbs across the snow white skin across the backs of her dainty hands.

It didn't matter how her heart fell or the way it seemed to want to stop beating within her chest altogether. It didn't matter that she felt that familiar cold chill of fear and dread begin to tingle within the pit of her belly. Vaanaras knew what she had to do in order to protect those she loved the most. "Yes, m'lord." She nodded, plastering a smile upon her face. She'd marry the broken King and his thinly veiled threats if it meant keeping them all alive.

In response, his smile only broadened, "Perfect, I'll have the preparations solidified. Tonight I wed and make a Goddess sent to me from the stars into a Queen fit to rule all that the eye can see."

What neither saw was Avakhon’s glowing red eyes lurking in the shadows, watching silent as the grave as his sworn protectorate had her honor - and the safety of the entire crew- threatened. It both enraged him and broke his heart to hear her choose to give herself to him rather than have harm befall them, and breaking his heart and enraging him were two very dangerous things to do.

Heads would roll in in the Stormlands of Westeros.

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