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 Dear foxling, Sophia & Esmund
Esmund Crowe
 Posted: Mar 28 2014, 03:20 PM
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The wanderer lets out a hearty laugh at his foxling’s mockery of noble ladies, she isn’t so far off. There is a stark contrast between lowborn and highborn ladies, often the highborn would be dressed in jewels and all manner of fancy garments. High born ladies attracts him but Sophia is something else, sure she might not have gems of sapphire or ruby and little meat on her bones, but she has a unique spirit and a love for adventure. He feels that this far out weights the wealth of noblewomen.

The amusement in his eyes would have made it clear that he didn’t believe her to be ‘harmless’ at all “Oh please, harmless? A woman is rarely harmless.” And he knows why, some women were meek but hid a fiery personality, and there were the brute ones that wouldn’t take shit from anyone. In Sophia’s case, she got knowledge of medical studies with experience in the handling of knives and couple that with her strong-willed self...well who wouldn’t be afraid?

A smirk appeared at the traveller’s lips “So stereotypical.” He
responded as he chuckled “Aye, I was plump child back then. Used to go by the name of porkie.” Teased Esmund, poking fun and throwing in little white lies before he couldn’t keep a straight face anymore “Actually, in all seriousness, I was neither plump nor was I spoiled.” And he didn’t say more, his father, even if he wasn’t in his life for long made sure to teach him modesty and the value of hard work, he still remembered his first lesson of being made to stay outside in winter for long hours to reach fineness in the art of swords. Consequently though, his father’s harsh methods resulted in Esmund losing a toe to frost bite, but his younger self did learn that no one else will push him, that he must do things on his own. And after his father died? Well he learned once you hit the bottom, the only way to go is up and his uncle mostly took over his upbringing, kind of.

He smiled in fondness to Sophia’s story, finding the image of her younger self- happier self – sweet as honey. And from the sounds of things, she was always a nurturing soul. While she was free to interact with the children, Esmund wasn’t. At least not in his younger days, often his days would be filled with training and education and then private play with William. He does however, recall playing with a young girl in white harbour when his mother took him from Duskendale and took he, William and baby Skylar to uncle Haytham’s house for protection from Robb’s soldiers. Esmund remembered that his mother fought like hell to get her children out of Duskendale, and lord Lancell accepted on the condition she would come back and she did.

He sensed that Sophia did not wish to share the mysterious person, whoever he or she is she must have been of invaluable value to silence Sophia, and a person so precious like that are often the hardest to talk about…so he did not pester her. In time she may tell him, and if not, that is fine too. Instead the topic shifted to him once again. “Oh aye, you will laugh at this.” Said Esmund, a chuckle rolling off his tongue “I was imprisoned in Winterfell by Theon Greyjoy, ward to Robb Stark.” Began Esmund “Fortunately, my uncle happened to be there during my imprisonment. Somehow he convinced Ned to release me, I guess Lord Stark owned my uncle something for some kind deed or another.” He carried on walking hand in hand before laughing once again “But atlas, I did not get off so easily. As repentance, Lady Stark saw fit to introduce me to one of the nobles of her court. A lady Martell if I recall correctly. The noblewoman gave me a task to travel to the wall and collect information on the way things are run there, if there is any merit to rumours of war in the north. She had wished to silent her own fears and well…since that was my intended goal I accepted with the hope I would meet my brother but…”he travelled off, indicating he had not got the reunion he had wished for.

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Sophia Graeme
 Posted: Mar 29 2014, 01:37 PM
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As unfortunate as it was, it was true that women were often thought off as harmless and much less powerful than their male counterparts. They were looked down upon, discriminated against, it was therefore so new to hear something - and a man at that - say otherwise. Sophia looked at her friend with widened eyes, knowing that she heard him correctly but still doubting the sincerity of his words. Then at last, her lips burst into a smile and she grinned at him with a rare innocence that should not belong with a whore, "You must be the first man to ever think that," She answered, half jokingly but with a serious tone. How long would it be before women took their rightful place as men's equal? Such thoughts were treated like treason, punishable by the harshest of measures. And truth be told, even Sophia did not believe that women were men's equal, for she had always been told otherwise. However, she held a will to be just as strong even if she could never be equal, and that drove her on. It was a strange world, it was. But what could she do?

Sophia smirked along with her friend, fully aware that her thoughts were stereotypical, but there was naught to be done about that. Everyone had their prejudice assumptions, it was only natural. And the stereotype of highborns had been proven to be truthful far too often to regard it as simple prejudice. Suddenly a loud, heartfelt laugh erupted from her throat, "Porkie!" She repeated mockingly, "Now I know what I shall be calling you from now on!" He had brought this one upon himself, and he would never hear the end of it. Even if the name itself was not so original, she loved the mere thought of this proud lord being degraded by extra weight. She could've never envisioned Esmund with a belly, though he would get one with age, without a doubt, "Come now, don't look so sad, my sweet husband," Sophia mused quietly, continuing to tease him without shame, and wrapped her arm around his', "I have heard women call their men far worse than that."

Once again, her mind wandered off to the past, to when she was just a small girl with no experience of the world. Sophia sighed gently, one hand resting on his upper arm as they walked. It was a strange thing - to anyone else, they would look like a couple, yet they were not and Sophia could not quite figure out how she felt about that, "To children like me, having more than one meal a day makes someone spoiled," She said softly, "Once a year, on my birthday, my mother would bring home a small lemon cake to celebrate. That was a luxury," And then there were the highborns, that ate cakes every day and night and had enough leftover food to feed an orphanage. She didn't mention that when her mother did buy a cake, they would have to eat smaller meals for the rest of the week simply to compensate for the lost coin, "You would have laughed at me if you'd seen me when I was a wee lass. I was a bit plump then, believe it or not, and I had freckles all over my face. The boys made fun of me for years," The young healer chuckled gently at the memory. Looking back at it, she could see the humour of it, but it was not so funny at the time. Still, 'plump' in their eyes must have been half starved in the eyes of a highborn. She had been lucky enough to be relatively well fed in her earliest years, but that changed soon enough when her mother started showing signs of illness and began to make less money. And two pennies a week was not enough to feed two hungry mouths.

Curious as she was about Esmund's adventures, Sophia kept her calm. He had written several letters to her these past months, but she had only been able to read so much of it. She tried hard, and did her best to write him a decent reply, but communication was awkward. It was nice to actually hear it from him in person. Though what he did tell her was not at all what she had expected, "Theon Greyjoy?" Sophia repeated cautiously. The name was familiar, surely he was some highborn lord if he was the ward to a Stark. Sophia's brow furrowed in thought. She had heard that name many times before, but not from highborns - from the mouths of whores. He was one of few men that was well praised for his apparently 'huge cock'. Though if it was that, or simply the good coin he paid, Sophia wasn't sure. She had never laid with the man, "What in seven hells did you do?" She knew Esmund to be reckless at times, but she had never expected him to be caught for it. Imprisoned in Winterfell, that was surely something. But it was not as impressive as what came next, "No!" Sophia exclaimed, "You did not go to the Wall!" Her voice filled with disbelieve and hints of jealousy, she stopped in mid-step and stared up at him, "I have wanted to see that place ever since I was a little girl, I can't believe you," But then his next words began to sink in; rumours? What rumours? All humour fell from her face as she looked at him in all seriousness, worry edged on her face, "There is a war in the North?" She asked, and then reached out to touch his shoulder when he mentioned his brother. He didn't finish his words, which only made it more worrying, "What is it, Esmund?"

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Esmund Crowe
 Posted: Mar 29 2014, 06:13 PM
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He smiled self-consciously, the first man to think of women in that way? “Nay, I doubt that.” He answered modestly “Surely there are better men than I.” and whatever Sophia has to say to that won’t change his mind, there is always someone better than you, whether in wealth or morals.

He smiled sheepishly in good humour as Sophia made fun of his fake childhood nickname “Ah rats.” He answered in jest “I guess I will have to find an equally horrid nickname for you as revenge.” Although, the story he made does have some merit. As a toddler he had quite a lot of baby weight until around the age of four where he got more active and managed to shake off his fatness, that and after the age of five his father began to train him.

As they walked, Esmund just allowed himself to listen to the waves and the feel of the white sand beneath his toes and the balls of his feet, it brought back memories of the time when he lived in white harbour for a short time and that sweet girl whose name and face he can not place, save for her freckles. Those sunshine kisses were adorable.

Hearing the stories of Sophia’s childhood made him both sad and a little guilty, while his childhood was not a bed of roses; he did at least get to eat more than one meal a day. Quietly he wondered when her birthday is, and that perhaps purchasing more than one cake for her would be a nice gesture on his part. “Those young boys must have found you beautiful, to tease you relentlessly.” And then he smiled “Often boys who make fun of girls secretly like them…or they could just be immature jerks.” And then his grin grew wider “What did they call you? Please tell me they tried to connect the dots on your face.” And now he was teasing her.

“Aye, Theon Greyjoy. An…pleasant man.” And he was putting that nicely. “If not a misguided ponce.” Clearly Esmund did not appreciate being thrown in prison, however in hindsight he can understand why. “Well, I was caught for stealing meat from Stark lands and I know, I know tis’ my fault.” At least Esmund is courteous enough to own up for his part in the event. However, if he were to defend himself he would simply bring up the bandits and that he did not have much coin afterwards to stock up on food. He chuckled at Sopia’s disbelief so clear on her face “Aye, I did. I will tell you more when we are in front of a fire.” Then Sophia’s face changed to that of worry, which resulted in Esmund’s heart sinking. He sighed “Well, according to findings…yes.” He paused, unsure if he should carry on but he knew Sophia would not let it rest so he carried on “The nightwatch men are small in number, their castle aged and not majestic like the stories tell you... and in dire need of repairs, wildings are increasing in number and more organised than before. While I have no proof, it would be logical to assume they have rallied together to create army to force their way through the wall.” And his dark eyes shifted to Sophia, should he mention his concerns of the white walkers? While he was lucky not to encounter one, he had found some…evidence so to speak. And curious omens, which is a big thing for a man normally so logical “I reported my findings to my employer, with evidence of the numbers of defenders of the wall, the state of castle black where only two or three are manned and the increased approach of the wilding…and came to the conclusion that if the night watch remain as they are, they will fall. Sooner or later.” And then he let out a heavy sigh “One small comfort I took from the journey was that I found no validation of white walkers.” Which was half true, he did not witness any but omens he have, but he did not wish to give Sophia more to worry over.

“My employer thanked me for my honesty and swore she will proceed to report this to the grand houses of the seven kingdoms. I hope for the North’s sake she will be listened to.” Esmund did not mention that as a precaution, he had created a copy of his findings and written it down in his journal just in case of the unfortunate chance that his employer may be executed before then.

Esmund’s face remained solemn as the topic turned to his brother, he looked at Sophia once before he sighed and turned his gaze towards the sea. “I did not find him, tis as if he disappeared out of thin air.” His brown eyes belied the hurt in them. “I do not regret that I put my search for my brother as a priority over my client’s request, but atlas I did not find any trace of him. Only whispers and ill stories.” He refused to believe his brother have defected, his brother is nothing if not honourable. “Still, no news is good news.” said the wanderer with a weak half smile. “Sadly, before I could finish my search, I was called back to the north and Commander Mormont was happy to see me go, he did not appreciate having a scholar beyond the wall.”

Again he fell quiet, deep in thought before he took Sophia’s hand “Come, let’s be done with this talk of ill times and look for starfishes.” Said Esmund as he pointed in the direction of starfishes.

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Sophia Graeme
 Posted: Mar 30 2014, 08:53 AM
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Better men than her lordling? She had heard that statement roll off his tongue before, and each time she would say the same thing, "Aye, but you are here and they are not," Perhaps he was right, surely there were men with more acceptable ethics and values, but did that truly matter? There was always someone better and worse than you, there was no use in dwelling on that. But what did bother her is that he did not seem to think of himself as a good man. He was here with her, ready to stand by her to have a child neither of them planned to have; did that not make up for his selfish and somewhat flawed judgement? "Don't doubt yourself, my friend," Sophia told him gently, always the caring soul.

Still, as flawed as they may be together, they always managed to see the good side of things. Perhaps after what they had been through together, they could no longer afford to focus on the darker side of the world. Whatever it was, it was delightful to have someone to make her smile, even if her mind was easily distracted by fear. And so she could only laugh as he continued to tease her, looking forward to the day when he would find a nickname for her and promised herself that she would then find an even worse one for him. She could only imagine what they would be like in years to come, both with grey hair and wrinkled faces, still calling each other the most unimaginable names. They would be the laughing stock of the town.

"Beautiful? They compared me to horrid sea creatures," Sophia quickly cut her friend off, grinning all too subtly at the thought. Yes, boys did tease the maidens they fancied, but in a much different way - that was always with innocent intent. Briefly she noted that Esmund in fact teased her all the time, now what did that mean? A sweet laugh rang in the air, and Sophia shook her red-haired head, "Now why would I tell you that? So you can find a lovely nickname for me?" She asked jokingly, "Something tells me you may have teased a red-haired child yourself once or twice," It were often the boys with a more decent mean in their bellies that were the worst. They thought themselves to be above the others and, Gods, they would let them know. Sophia's smile faded slightly at the memory, "Most of the time I was simply 'ginger', whenever they were in a more creative mood I became the 'ugly troll' and I wasn't allowed to play with them," Now that she looked back at it, she guessed that was just how children were. She only hoped that their dearest daughter would not be that way or suffer Sophia's fate. The bullies' ridiculous chanting still echoed in her head;

"Redhead, freckleface,
your da thinks yer a big disgrace!
Redhead, freckleface, your ma just said you're a mistake!
Carrot-top, Carrot-top, hit her quick or else she'll pop!
Sophia, the redhead mad as a bear, cause the silly little thing has ugly hair!"

There were times when she had ran home to her mother with tears in her eyes, like any little girl would. But over the years she grew more and more fond of her features and so did other men. Funny how things changed. Once again, Sophia smiled, and gave Esmund's shoulder a playful nudge as they continued walking.

Things took a sinister turn as their thoughts became occupied with the dangers that threatened the Night's Watch and their homeland. The worry became clearer on Sophia's face the more she heard about the situation, so sensitive she was to those things. Many people would simply shrug and not think anything of these stories - the White Walkers and Wildlings were a myth to them - but not Sophia, who was raised firmly believing in them. It was a frightening thing, and she could not hide it, "Aye, you must," She quietly agreed to the offer of hearing more of his stories, but the excitement in her tone was replaced by tension. The story of Esmund's captivity - at which she had mirthfully laughed - were forgotten. A picture was already forming in her head - the image of wildlings storming the Wall and claiming the lands of the North. She knew they already crept over the Wall and slaughtered people in the Gift. And White Walkers...

"B-but that's horrible," Sophia answered finally, and cast her eyes downwards while she pondered on these things, "There are rumours amongst the smallfolk that this winter will be different from the others, and that dark things will come with it..." Perhaps she should not be telling him this, but she could not help herself. She only wondered why he did not seem as afraid of it as she, "And if that is true, and the Night's Watch falls, then what can we do?" There was a simple answer to that question; nothing. What little Esmund seemed to know about his brother's disappearance only proved that, "I'm sorry..." Sophia whispered, sincerity clear in her voice, and placed a comforting hand on his arm. She was about to ask what stories he had heard, but decided against it. She did not want to trouble him further with such painful thoughts - he could tell her when he was ready.

Just as quickly as Esmund had twisted her mind around to such troubling things, he tried to bring her right back to blissful ignorance. Sophia squeezed her friend's hand in a caring gesture, wishing she could do something to alter the reality of his possible loss. A half-sided smile played on her lips as he led her on. She simply let him pull her along, happy for a change in mood. They would need all the distractions they could get, for what awaited them was an even worse reality.

The End


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