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Okay, well fuck me for trying lol. Everyone can fend for themselves.
Damn, I think I've been shot down. Oh well, I am perfectly fine with lingering on the sidelines and just making sure those I care for are happy.
Shoot your shot boy what do you have to looooose!!??
I think I'm probably just a massive idiot for thinking you could ever see me that way
NoTiC3 mE plz I would do literally anything :00000
WHY DO I BARELY EXIST TO YOU ;;><;;
I'd do anything for a little more attention..
If anyone is going to put me out of my misery, it might as well be you.
I'm not gonna initiate conversation today...
I need to chill out and stay at a safe distance
Didn't know you'd be gone so soon, man. Wish I could have said goobye
Jon was taken aback by her sudden accusation, and he found himself grinding his teeth hard. How could she tell he was lying? He wasn't a mummer or anything, but years of scheming with Robb back at Winterfell to pull mishaps on their younger siblings and Theon made him a pretty proficient liar. If he could fool the cold matriarch Catelyn Stark time and again, how did this girl know?
She wanted the truth? Fine.
He wondered how Robb was. Leading the forces of the North to some sort of victory, he hoped.
Jon straightened up, the timid and perpetual frightened expression of his face fading into one of a cold determination. The only part of his face that experienced no change were his eyes, marred in a sadness too deep for any triumph in battle or great romantic conquest to remedy. Years of feeling like he didn't belong caused his eyes to sink within his face, and the shadows around them were like the red wine stains before his father's chair at their long dining room table. They were like scars of their own, and could never be scrubbed away with affection or satisfaction.
He looked the girl dead in the eyes, his expression one of stoicism.
[+blue "I am not afraid of your dagger. If you were going to cut my throat, you would have already done it."] He glanced away for a fleeting half second, weighed his options, debated telling the girl the truth, that he was a Crow deep behind enemy lines, studying the wildlings in preparation for a mass attack they may be staging, and return to Castle Black with such information. He instead met her firm faze with a hard, determined look of his own. [+blue "My father was executed by 'King' Joffrey Baratheon at the Sept of Baelor in King's Landing. My brother Robb has assembled an army of the great northern houses and is waging war with the Lannister armies as we speak. I wanted to aid him."] He tilts his head to one side, exposing his pale neck to her.. [+blue "Butcher me if you don't believe me."]
Jon's eyes were wide in three parts wonder and one part fear as the girl told the lecherous wildling to fundamentally fuck off. What the hell was this girl? He followed her direction into her tent, glancing around the small space and noticing her bed in the corner. He was ashamed of the sudden sexual thoughts that flashed through his mind's eye, bowing his head deeply so his black curly locks would shield his pink cheeks from her view. Could he really be blamed? He was a virgin, taking his vows and effectively swearing off the possibility of ever changing that fact about himself. Still, he hated to think he was anything like the fiends they had encountered outside, or the ones in the tent.
He snapped to reality as his bindings were cut, taking a confused step backward as Ghost licked at his hands. He glanced up to her and then back to his hands, his mouth slightly open in a confused expression.
[+blue "I do not deserve such trust."] He said, his voice soft. He rotated his hands back and forth, trying to regain the feeling in his wrists. He grit his teeth a little as she taunted him and his supposed "beauty", glancing away as he felt his cheeks turn bright again. [+blue "I've got it, there will be no betrayals in this tent tonight."]
Ghost maneuvered to her extended hand, and Jon wondered if the bond forming between the two was strictly Ghost's sudden trusting nature as far as the girl was concerned or his own growing attraction to her.
[+blue "I told you and your wildling friends this already... I turned my back on the Watch. I couldn't live like that, a bunch of hermits living together with no distractions of the flesh? Who would want to do that forever?"] He gave a laugh but winced after hearing how stiff and hollow it sounded. He adopted a more serious demeanor. He had to sell this. [+blue "I heard my father was butchered in King's Landing and I wanted to ride North and kill every last person who orchestrated it. I was more or less run off by the Watch after asking for permission to do so."] He looks to her, meeting her unique eyes, trying to pass off what he thought was a story but was perhaps a lot closer to how he really felt than he wanted to admit.
The enigma of a girl was lost in a crowd of burly and hairy men almost as quickly as she appeared, and Jon's senses were once again wiped and replaced with the smell of old piss, body odor, dried blood, and dead animals.
One of them in particular walked further in the rest, crouching and grimacing into Jon's face, his rank breath merely inches from the visible huffs of air that escaped Jon's trembling lips. The wildling eyed Jon hard, one eye wider than the other in some kind of half-assed squint, and Jon felt his back stiffen on its own. This one was dangerous.
His first sentence or so fell on Jon's deaf ears, but a few of the men cackled behind the speaker so Jon assumed a joke had been cracked at his expense. His instinct was to be bold, stare this guy down, show him his intimidation tactics meant nothing to the bastard son of Eddard Stark, but that wasn't the role he was playing, the role Qhorin had died to keep up. Jon instead glanced away, as if the man's cruel breath and beetle eyes actually made him feel afraid. This was the right choice, he soon realized, as the man introduced himself as Mance Rayder. Jon's widened eyes and choked breath was no longer an act; tales of this man were whispered in hated voices all along the wall. He was the self-proclaimed true enemy of the Watch.
Something else drew Jon's attention, though. He glanced past the withered face of the King Beyond the Wall and spotted that girl again. It was impossible to miss her, truthfully, as she was the only girl he had seen in weeks, months even. He noticed how the men behind her each adopted the clouded eyes that could only be attributed to raw lust and felt a dark pang in his ribs. He was angry. Why shouldn't he be? He thought of Arya, his sister. Where was she now? Still stuck in King's Landing? Dead? Being stared at like these dogs were staring at this white-headed wonder in front of him?
The strangest thing about the girl is that she was grinning, a sight that was somehow much more radiant than her white hair or the snow that drifted in upon stray puffs of wind that swirled into the tent behind her. No, stranger still was that she was giving affection to Ghost, who was accepting it with no reservations. The unusual interaction between the two made Jon want to smile himself, but that wasn't the role he was meant to play. Besides, this girl was his enemy. Role or no role.
Jon's curiosity in the girl was soon drenched as she discussed his fate in a haphazard fashion with Mance right in front of him, discussing him and his worthiness as a pawn to get the Free Folk past the wall. Before he could process how the conversation escalated, he was tugged to his feet and pushed forward, staggering out of the tent.
[+blue "They don't want me back,"] he said as the two sledged through the snow, his arms still bound. [+blue "I betrayed the Watch. I am no longer a Crow."] Ghost padded along beside him, and Jon reached over and placed his bound hands on the direwolf's head in a gesture of comfort. [+blue "If you have plans to use me to some greater scheme, I can help you get past the Wall and into the south, but it won't be by using me as a bargaining chip."]
Tall snow crunched under his boots as he followed the directions booming from the voices behind him, their forceful hands shoving him forward through the never ending white sea. Gusts of wind forced him to squeeze his eyes shut and give his full blind trust to the hostile men to every side of him.
His hands still trembled, the blood of Qhorin Halfhand soaked deep into the leather of his black gloves, invisible to the naked eye but vivid in Jon's own mind. The sight of the dying man was one he would never forget, a choice he had been forced to make, for sure, not one he had wanted to. Or had he really had any say in the matter? Qhorin as good as threw himself onto Longclaw's Valyrian blade, and Jon wouldn't have been able to stop him had he been prepared for the old man's suicide.
[b "In there."] One of the men shoved Jon's left shoulder hard, and he opened his eyes to catch the floor of a well-made tent moments before it met his face. His vision and hearing were dulled, replaced with some low-pitched ringing and a faded brown as he grasped for his senses. The first thing that became clear was a chorus of laughing from the large men behind him, and the second was the intermingled and sickening smell of snow and dead things. Wildlings. The only beings Jon had ever come across to have such a distinct odor.
One of the bigger men roughly grabbed Jon, tugging him to his knees, freeing him of his bindings. Part of him was surprised the great white direwolf next to him wasn't growling, but Ghost seemed to always be in tune with Jon in a way only man and animal could be. In other words, he knew when making a sound could mean both he and his human's death.
The flap of the tent was lifted as his captors exited, and Jon was reminded of how savage the men he was dealing with now were. He had given himself willingly under the illusion of betraying and killing old Qhorin, but they still treated him as a Crow of the Night's Watch. They were right to be distrusting, of course, but they had no way of knowing that for sure. He was young, and before recently had lived a relatively grief-free life. Suddenly, though, everything was happening at once. His father was dead. A respected and legendary Ranger of the Night's Watch had fallen by his hand. What was next?
Jon's eyes were drawn to the opening of the tent again as a young woman entered. Her hair was as white as the snow that swirled around her thin frame, but Jon was drawn instead to her eyes, a bright color of the likes he had never seen before, and would never see again.
Oliver once again pushed his neighbors to the back of his mind as he backed the truck out of his driveway, driving around and out of the cul-de-sac and crushing a fallen undead on his way out off of the street. He glanced in his rearview mirror, inspecting his house as it shrank and ultimately disappeared from his view. He wasn't concerned about anyone or any other home but his own.
He reentered the greater city, his eyes peeled on the horizon for any small grocery store, pharmacy, or sporting goods shop that may hold items of value to him. He noticed a locally owned pharmacy squeezed away between two office buildings and grinned. Luck may have been on his side after all.
He slammed his truck door and tugged a pair of aviator sunglasses wrapped in a red bandana from his coat pocket. He unrolled the glasses and slid them over his eyes, tying the bandana around the lower half of his face. He wasn't extremely worried about any would-be enemies recognizing him, he just didn't want an accurate description of himself spread to any gang higher-ups. He had been the target of gang bounties before, one of these costing his younger sister her life. He flinched subconsciously, remembering Charlotte. Her blonde hair had been beautiful, an oddity among his family of brunettes. His father had been Japanese and his mom Canadian, but dark hair was par for the course for both of their family lines. Jokes were made between his mom and father that Charlotte hadn't really been his, but Oliver never dived too deep into it. Well, until his dad vanished, that is...
Oliver forced his way into the backdoor of the pharmacy with a crow bar, sliding it back into his duffel bag and drawing a flashlight, switching it on. He grinned behind the fabric of his bandana. The shelves had been gone through, but not thoroughly in the least.
He hit the medicinal aisles first, dropping a plethora of pain killers and stomach medicine into his bag before grabbing some sleeping pills and various bandages. He came to a halt in front of the Family Planning section, his eyes falling on the assorted boxes of condoms. He felt his cheeks turn hot and he mentally kicked himself. He had no use for things of this sort. He was still a virgin; his time had been so split between raising and caring for Charlotte and his gang work that he had no time to spend with any women. He dropped out of school early, and any girls brought into the gang HQ were the boss's or rewards for one of the other higher-ups. He fell in love pretty easy; any nice girl who offered sympathy and a caring smile brought with them daydreams that lasted for weeks of a potential life they could start together, just him and her and Charlotte. He looked over the boxes again, hesitated, and then reached out and grabbed one, shamefully dropping it in his duffel bag and hurrying off of the aisle. He knew he would never need these, but he still had that foolish youthful hope that one day he'd meet someone. [i Stupid. I'm so stupid.]
He neared the canned foods aisle but the shattering of glass caused him to freeze in his tracks. His hand flew to his side, yanking the pistol from the holster and crouching as loud laughs joined the otherwise overwhelming silence of the pharmacy.
[b "We know you're in here!"] A brash voice called. [b "Your truck is parked outside, you fucking idiot. Come on out!"]
Oliver bit his lower lip, waiting quietly.
[b "It's gonna be a lot worse if we have to come after you, you know!"] The man cackled, and Oliver heard him sigh. [b "Suit yourself."] The man whispered some words, and Oliver knew immediately what they were. [i Commands.]
He waited, silent, as a set of footsteps tread nearer, turning up the aisle next to him. Oliver grinned. These guys were trying to sneak around him. A heavier set of footsteps walked in a straight line across the front of the store, and Oliver guessed they intended to cut him off at the front while the sneaky guy came around behind him. Oliver sucked in a breath. There were always more than one way out of a situation.
He threw his entire frame into the shelving units next to him, leaning against it as the structure tipped completely over. He heard the beginnings of a scream before he and the entire unit crashed down onto the man who had been unprepared for such an assault. Oliver shot his attention up to see two men armed with different makeshift melee weapons, one a pipe and the other some sort of bludgeon. He raised his gun quickly, squeezing the trigger once, twice, three times, four. The first bullet hit Pipe-guy square in the chest, causing him to stumble back into a rack of sunglasses. The cheap plastic frames scattered across the ground and the man fell to the ground, unmoving. The second bullet hit Bludgeon in the right shoulder, and he began to surge forward before the third bullet hit him in the throat- the kill shot. Blood spurted over out of his neck and down his front and his hands clawed for the wound in vain, as if he could stick his throat back together with only the shredded muscle and tissue. The fourth bullet caught him in the thigh for good measure, bringing a fresh surge of blood and dropping him to his knees before he slumped over, his hands never leaving his throat.
Oliver pushed himself up, rolling his left shoulder. It ached, but nothing unusual for man who had barged into a metal shelving unit. Something wasn't quite at peace; he could still hear shallow breathing. Oliver walked forward, gun raised, and rounded the corner to see the man who had been talking to him. He had purple liberty spikes and a sleeveless denim jacket, chains hanging from shredded carpenter pants. Oliver pointed his gun for the man's forehead, and tears brimmed in the gang member's eyes.
[b "P-Please..."] He blubbered, [b "...you don't want to do this."]
[b "Oh, yeah? What makes you think that?"] Oliver stood still, his hands not shaking a bit.
[b "Y-You would have shot me already."] The man smiled. A sharp smell brought Oliver's attention to the front of the man's pants. Wet.
[b "You're right."] Oliver said, his finger squeezing the trigger before the second word had even left his mouth. The back of the man's head blew out and his last expression was one of baffled relief. Oliver shook his head, sliding his pistol back into its holster and crouching to check the man for supplies. [i Pathetic.]
The red double doors swung open, and the throne room was flooded with light. The king's advisors each kneeled before the man who entered, a walking silver dream whose flowing white cape was the only thing more luminous in the room than his own long white hair that hung down to his mid-back. Some said the way his brilliantly intricate armor made no sounds as he walked was otherworldly, but those people were quickly distracted by the man's sheer beauty and presence. Many said he was a god; these people weren't too far from the truth.
Griffith stepped back with his left foot, performing a deep and low bow, his right arm extended to his side as a sign of genuine respect for the men who served him the most closely. His advisors stood, clapping profusely. Griffith noticed tears streaming from one of their eyes and smiled. His people loved him.
And why shouldn't they? He was a fantastic king, the best this realm had ever seen, would ever see. He had efficiently ended a deadly war with a neighboring country with minimum casualties within his own ranks, and then invaded that very country and took it over with a military strength this world had never seen. The habitants of the Kushan Empire would tell stories of the legendary Band of the Hawk as they rode in, a wave of unrelenting white silver, and destroyed their own armies. Griffith was a merciful leader; the Kushan generals who once took up arms against him but surrendered after quick one-sided battles were brought into Midland's armies. Those who refused to surrender, though... Well, history would not remember their names.
Griffith sat, feeling the familiar yet uncomfortable stiffness of the ancient chair deemed by some king a millennium ago to be the throne of Midland. He could have complained if he wanted to, had such mortal and trivial bothers been of weight to him. His scope was much wider than that, though. His ambition wasn't quenched by ruling Midland, or merging it with the demon lands below to create one great realm. It wasn't quelled by his subsequent invasion of each neighboring country to Midland, or the annexation that followed, creating one massive land that he was able to rule on his own.
No, there was something beyond the confines of this world. His time in in the God Hand taught him that there were other worlds other than his own, and with each one of those came alternate realities and its own branching set of infinite time lines. Griffith felt the corners of his feminine lips twist into a dark smile, and bowed his head so his advisors would not raise any questions. Griffith's sights were set on these alternate worlds and each of the beings that came with them. He wanted to be the ruler of time and the universe itself. He had a dream of it all - his Ultima.
Why? He didn't know the answer himself. Being an impoverished youth ingrained a certain degree of ambition within him, but that was only to become the king of Midland. Perhaps being granted godlike power gave him a thirst for something greater than one kingdom. He wanted to rule them all, experience all that was out there within space and time. He shivered, subtle enough to not alert any of his board as they spoke to him of some rebel or another they had caught and were bringing before him for questioning. He nodded, already growing tired of the simpletons Midland offered. He knew there were more powerful beings out there, and wanted to taste that raw strength for himself.
The double doors burst open, but it was the sounds of a struggle that drew Griffith's attention from his own thoughts and up to the young red-haired boy who was thrown to his knees before him. There was a vague familiarity about the kid, but Griffith had caught glimpses of creatures from planets in the far reaches of space and powerful warriors inhabiting the far future. It would take hours of digging into the recesses of his own inhuman memory to recall the identity of this runt.
[b "The honorable King Griffith, ruler of Midland and its surrounding areas!"] A voice called, and Griffith gave a good hearted chuckle, a wave of his hand. The humble king was the one loved by the people, not the one who relished his title and rank.
[+blue "Now, now. I am only a man, like everyone else here."] A lie, but a well-rehearsed one. He stood, stepping down three of the stairs that led to his oversized chair. He found people respected him more when he left the ghastly furniture and dealt with them from only a few feet away. He gave angry citizens the illusion that if they had managed to sneak in some lethal means, he was in striking distance. That they had the power to kill this man, their king. Another lie. [+blue "May I have your name?"]
The boy growled, glaring for Griffith, a true look of hatred that rivaled only the tortured gaze of a man long in the past, one who had been one of Griffith's only true friends. Someone who had once meant the world, but whose name now was only a fleeting memory.
[b "I know who you are."] The boy said, his words dripping with something stronger than malice. [b "Or should I say, [i what] you are."]
[+blue "And what might that be...?"] Griffith's gaze never wavered, a small smile accompanying his look of pure curiosity.
[b "A demon."] The boy spat. Griffith chuckled, casting a look to the row of men who stood behind him, blissfully unaware of how close to the truth this kid was.
[+blue "May I offer you a most sincere apology, my child, for any slight I may have unintentionally cast upon you or your family."] He closed his eyes tight, giving a bright grin. [+blue "I must admit, it stings to be called something so horrible. I am only a man, one who makes many mistakes as each day passes."]
[b "No, you are a monster."] The boy's glare was unwavering. [b "I [i know] you are. He told me-"] He bit his tongue hard, his gaze breaking and his eyes cast to the ground.
Griffith's raised his snowy eyebrows, a ferocious interest now churning deep in his guts. He stood, moving in one fast stride to take the boy's face in one hand, forcing him to look up and deep into the king's eyes, something otherworldly now beginning to burn deep within his light irises. [+blue "...who would you be referring to?"]
The boy's expression changed from one of pure fear to one of grim determination within half of a moment. [b "...Guts. The Black Swordsman."]
Griffith's eyes widened and he dropped the boy with a bit too much force than he intended, causing him to crash down against the ground. [i Guts.] A ghost. That friend who escaped his the wrath of his betrayal all of those years ago, the one he knew existed somewhere far from Midland, who still fought despite knowing he would never be powerful enough to do battle with Griffith, let alone his new and improved Band of the Hawk. The king's lower lip trembled, and his hand subconsciously flew to his mouth, touching the quivering muscles of his face, attempting to quell them but it was far too late. He was smiling, and then laughing loudly, rudely. Not kingly.
[+blue "Guts? Mm."] Oh, how he missed this. Genuine surprise. He stood. [+blue "Oh, hell. What a name!"] Griffith turned away, taking steps towards his throne. He raised his hand to his eyes, concealing them while they rolled back into his head. For a moment, his consciousness left his human form and became something like ether, the entire universe at his disposal. What felt like seconds in the human realm was something like hours, perhaps even days for Griffith's all-seeing eye as it roamed the lands, scouring for his old friend. He didn't quite find him, only a monstrous black hound leaping among a small group of Griffith's soldiers far south from where his body stood, dead to the world completely unbeknownst to the men who stood around him. Within Griffith's vision, time moved so slowly that it seemed frozen. This creature was undoubtedly his old friend, though. The ridiculous length of steel it swung through the skull of a Midlandian soldier could only be wielded by his old cohort. Off to his side stood a short girl, waves of green hair cascading down her forehead and to either side of her head, a pointed hat sitting askew upon her head. Within the time it would take a normal human to blink, Griffith knew everything about her. Schierke. A witch. Her gaze and her right hand were cast to the sky and-
Something ripped Griffith from his godly vision and he spun around. Something was different within his great realm. Something was wrong. With each birth within his realm, both human and demonic, Grifftih felt something like a small pinch in his right arm. The tradeoff for godlike abilities were becoming aware of each new being brought into your world, he supposed. But now his entire body was on fire. No, there were beings within this realm now that were not of this world. That girl. That witch. She had done something.
A psychotic grin was splayed across his pretty features, and the red-haired boy cowered away from him as Griffith stalked towards him.
[+blue "Yes. I know you. Isidro. One of Guts's."] The boy shook his head in a state of shock and disbelief. How did this man know? This monster? Griffith spun around to his board members and to the broad guards who stood in place behind them. [+blue "Throw him into the caverns beneath the castle. I have urgent business I must take care of."] He hurried for the double doors and was stopped just short of them by an anxious voice.
[b "B-but sir... should we warn your chosen knights? They can ride out with you."] The shaking advisor quivered in something like fear at the unusual demeanor the king cast as his head spun around, his eyes glowing in utter excitement.
[+blue "No. This is someone I must find and eliminate on my own."]
The red doors slammed shut behind him.
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