The Week of Weddings
(NB: A huge thank you to Valk, KG, LoonySpoon, and Syndor for their contributions to all aspects of this post, including character perspectives :) ) Location - Casterly Rock, The Westerlands
Casterly Rock had never had such an influx of people in well over a decade, and the Lannisters had worked to ensure that the people of Westeros would still be talking about this for a decade to come. At the foot of the Rock, a makeshift city of tents, pavilions, wheelhouses, wagons, and crude huts had sprung up almost overnight and grown exponentially by the day, as smallfolk, mummers, merchants and traders who had traveled from as far away as Oldtown poured into the West to make the most of the throngs of people arrived for the Week of Weddings, all looking to sell their wares, make money of their own, or simply enjoy the break of the monotony of the life of a lowborn. The press of temporary shelter stretched as far as Lannisport, the Golden Jewel of the Westerlands full to bursting in every manse and tavern as knights and minor lords all dropped their coin to have more accommodating sleep than the hard ground quickly turned to mush by thousands of trampling feet in the fields below the Rock. Two thousand Red Cloaks had been mustered for this event, stationed at Casterly Rock for the duration of the festivities to ensure the safety of the highborn and to keep the rowdy lowborn at bay.
Inside Casterly Rock itself, every lord and lady had been given lavish lodgings, and the nightly entertainments began as a prelude to the Week itself. Three nights before, Lady Theodora Lannister had arrived with an assortment of her greatest proteges from her Academy of Art and Literature in Lannisport. The great hall had then been treated to a series of singers during the evening meal and entertainment, followed by poets the next evening, and an array of talented bards the next. It was a perfect opportunity for those who had been honing their crafts to show off their talents, and several of the performers had been offered coin and a place before several hearths in many houses across Westeros.
Finally, when the festive atmosphere and crowds had reached their height, the Week of Weddings began.
(Leo and Eleyna Lannister)
The Lions Unite
14th day of the 6th Moon
The sept on the top of Casterly Rock was bright on the day of the first wedding, with the sunlight sparkling through the crystal panes of the seven pointed star on the domed roof, throwing the massed wedding-goers into a thousand rays of sunshine. Eleyna was finally ready, feeling calm - almost serene - as she moved down to the altar on the arm of her Lord brother. She was dressed in gold silk, and extravagant but simple and flattering design, offset by the heavy red cloak of her house. It had been a long time coming, and Eleyna could silently admit that she was happy. It had come together nicely, she was paying her family debt, and Leo was a man who would make not just an adequate husband, but a worthy partner and leader in the West.
The septon droned on and on, with the heavy cloak on Eleyna’s shoulders growing heavier and heavier, the weight of the rubies and gold flakes carefully stitched into the heavy red silk beginning to hurt after almost an hour of prayers and vows and song. Finally, she was able to turn and have it removed by her brother, only to be replaced with a similarly patterned and adorned cloak bearing the sigil of Lannister of Castamere. Once done, the septon made Eleyna and Leo recite the words, pledge their vows with a kiss, and announced them one.
15th day of the 6th Moon
It was already touted The Golden Tourney, and given the crowds, it certainly was. Wooden stands scaling a hundred feet high had been raised below Casterly Rock, and the people poured in by the hundreds the morning after the Lannister Wedding, to watch the first of the tourney games. The joust, the most prestigious, was pitted first, with many dozens of knights shaking off their night of wine and merriment and donning plates to compete for the coveted title of champion. From mid morning until sunset, the roar of the crowd and the stampede of horses hooves could be heard, along with the crash and splinter of lance after lance, until the champion emerged - *Ser Loras Redwyne of the Queensguard*. To further endear himself to the crowds, Ser Loras was spectated by thousands as he placed the crown of red roses into the lap of Rosamund Redwyne and declared his cousin to be the Queen of Love and Beauty.
The Union of Lannister and Hightower
16th day of the 6th Moon
It had been nine days. Nine days since their arrival, nine days since Talbert met the woman he would marry and spend the remainder of his life with. The last two Androw did not believe should count, the 8th was Lady Eleyna’s day of happiness, the 9th the Joust. So seven days in truth. Androw had sealed his cousin to a marriage, with a lion of all people, he had spent a mere week with.
Androw couldn’t decide if he was a kind or cruel man. The romantic inside rolled in his metaphorical grave, hating how this had unfolded. What love could blossom between strangers forced together? He dare not answer his own riddle. But joined they would be, for it was the way of things.
“Do you think this will be a happy marriage?” Came a quiet voice, his nerves hidden, but Androw knew his cousin enough to hear them still. Androw stood a few feet away from Talbert, the man dressed in the colours of his house, the finest cloth and silk with a cloak resting upon one shoulder. Androw’s own attire was ever so slightly muted in comparison, but that was the point. It was Talberts day, not his. They awaited the coming of his Lion wife, both Hightower’s standing proud with a straight back.
“I think you shall make it one.” Was all that Androw would say, his voice a whisper that only Talbert could hear. His eyes and all those within the great hall would turn to the arrival of the Lady Lion, splendid in her colours of red and gold, a cloak across her figure. She was beautiful in many ways. “Make me proud cousin.”
As the ceremony began, the vows, the joining and the cheers from those present as her cloak was swapped with that bearing the Hightower sigil, Androw saw his cousin smile. He was happy and the Lord of Oldtown wondered, maybe his riddle had found its answer.
17th day of the 6th Moon
The tourney stands filled once again on day four of the Week of Weddings, to watch the archery contest begin. This time, *Ellyn Beesbury of Southlands** walked away from the arena with the winner’s purse, to the absolute delight of the smallfolk, having made her victory shot from over a hundred paces.*
Lion and Grapevine.
18th day of the Sixth Moon
The rays of sun shone on Jason Lannister through the stained glass of the Sept of Casterly Rock as Rhea walked her youngest sister down the aisle. Rosamund shined the brightest amongst the crowd, she was graceful and beautiful and everything a noble lady aspired to be. It made Rhea swell with pride at the thought and sight of her.
They reached the rising where Lord Lannister and Septon stood. Turning Rosamund to face her, Rhea looked into her sister’s eyes, she laid a kiss on each one before finally taking the maiden cloak with their house’s colors and sigil off. She stepped back into her place among the crowd next to the rest of her family, watching as prayers, songs, and vows were said.
“...one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever.”
Eyes sparkled with unspilled tears as Rhea witnessed her little sister kiss the man that had now become her husband. Worry tinged her heart with what was to come.
19th day of the 6th Moon
For the final day of the tourney games, the stands once more filled to capacity, bursting with lowborn crammed shoulder to shoulder to watch the melee, a mash of the finest knights across four regions come together in mock battle. The shaded platforms bearing the highborn were also filled, though with cushioned seats and servants pouring wine for the more fortunate. Once again, the day was filled with screams and cheers, mud and blood, the highs of victory and the lows of severe injury. A hedge knight hailing from Silverhill was carried from the field with his helm dented by a mace, unable to see or to stand straight after the crushing blow, delivered by a man of house Plumm. A knight of House Stackspear broke an arm in a scuffle between four others that left him bloodied on the ground, and a household knight from House Swift lost several teeth. The victor of the day, once again, went to the Knight of the Queensguard and hero of the tourney, *Ser Loras Redwyne*.
(Prince Mace “Wildflowers” Tyrell)
The Lion and The Rose
20th day of the Sixth Moon
On the seventh day of the long list of events and weddings, the final union would be that of the Lady Briony Lannister and the newly legitimized Hand of the Queen, Mace Tyrell. In the days since the Tyrells arrival, the Hand had tried his best to get to know the woman he’d wed. They’d spoken about their interests, wants, desires for the future but most of his time Mace had been busy working. Even in the Rock he’d had to deal with ensuring the Crown would not collapse around him.
And so in truth, there was little time for he and his wife to be. But on this night, Mace had all his attention on her. The worries of Westeros would have to wait until the morning after. For now the world would be permitted to burn as he laid his eyes upon the woman who’d birth his children for him.
Their ceremony went along swimmingly, prayers were said by a Septon, songs were sung and before long. Briony would have her Lannister cloak stripped from her to be replaced by the sigil of Mace Tyrell. Until the sigil he’d personally bore, this one was the classic golden rose of his house. It marked the start of their lives together, and before all the eyes of those in attendance, the pair would lock their union with a kiss.
Mace Tyrell and Briony Lannister were now one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever.
The Closing Feast
21st day of the 6th Moon
The feasting during the Week of Weddings had never ceased, with each night filled with flowing wine and celebrations and entertainment. On this night, however, the standard had been raised yet again, and the Great Hall had been transformed from the foreboding seat of Lannister government with its towering windows and great chandeliers, to what was undoubtedly the most festive place all of Westeros saw that week, or would see that year. Five long tables of great oak dominated the space. The center table ran east to west, perpendicular to the hall’s layout. It was flanked by two tables on each side running north to south. The last sunlight of the day trickled in through the keep’s windows, creating soft beams of light that focused in on the empty space in the center of the tables. Hundreds of candles were laid out illuminating the tables, and four tall torches were set out in the center, illuminating the area.
A grand array of dishes were to be made and displayed at the Lannisters behest, each wedding as extravagant as the last. Ranging from the most delicate spun-sugar unicorns to the most exquisite cream swans. An exhibit of all the wines were present from sweet Summerwine to sour Dornish reds. Along with pastries and cakes was a bounty of fruit - pomegranates, oranges, grapes and cranberries, among others. Boar, duck, chicken, and deer were among the main courses.
Pages, squires, and maids were busy moving around the Lion’s Mouth serving the drinks and getting everyone to their seats. Ale from the Westerlands and wine from the Arbor being the most prominent drinks for the guests. People made conversation about many things, filling the chamber with the thunderous noise of voices. The nobles discussed the state of the realm, renewed old acquaintances, and made challenges, jests, and jokes.
Entertainment would also be provided during the feast. Much of it being paid by the renown Lannister gold. Bards sang and played on their lutes and harps, careful not to play any sombering tunes at the Lannister’s request. Volantene acrobats were the first main act, performing in the empty space in the middle of the tables. They made leaps, spins, and maneuvers the Westerosi didn’t even have names for.
The feast carried on well into the evening. Much was said and done by all, as plots were concocted, friendships were renewed, and conflicts both started and became resolved. Such a night where nearly all the nobility in Westeros was present was truly a night to be remembered for years to come. A Week of Weddings was no small thing, and this event will certainly go down in history.
(META: Feel free to backdate to any of the weddings, however the main event is the Closing Feast.)
submitted by DrunkMoana2
3g P. Cubensis (from May 2020)
Early May. Summer had not yet begun it’s accent on the region, leaving the Pacific Northwest gloriously cold and dewy. Being the initial days of lockdown, options for solace were rare, and these damp days opened up possibilities to roam publicly without the gracelessness of safely avoiding fellow humans. Knowing full well this climate separates the wheat from the chaff, I was confident that the state park near our home, no doubt included only the most die-hard suburbanites dedicated to getting all their steps in. With this knowledge, I promptly packed a ruck with some basic essentials and comfort items, weighted 3 dried grams, and began the .25 mile walk from my parent’s home, where I was currently staying, down to the river.
In stride, I quickly chewed the weight and washed it down with a couple of swigs from my Nalgene. Fumbling my gear back into position, I lit a joint, took a drag, observed, and became pensive in thought. Walking through my childhood neighborhood, the generational transition was glaring; leaving the romantic forested playgrounds of my youth laid to waste. The woods had all been cleared and surveyed for a large housing development, while the surrounding dairy pastures, all sans-bovine, visibly pending permits to break ground. It was completely unrecognizable - leaving me to revel in the nostalgia, yet lament the loss of its beauty. Just before trespassing through the deadend, down to the highway, I saw a gaggle of kids riding bicycles. All of them enjoying themselves, squealing, and basking in the presence of their youth. It gave me a little hope for the neighborhood and the next wave of kids who will get to formulate their own childhood memories. Onward! Into the valley.
Breaching the treeline, the highway is as sketchy and dangerous as ever; no shoulder, no space, no respect for the human life beside it. It was and always is, a quick, tense, walk, regardless of sobriety. As I stepped over the guardrail and sauntered down the back lawn into the park, I started to feel the routine come-up nausea and my body began to feel a heaviness wash past my eyes, trickle down my neck & shoulders, and seep into my body, down through my legs. I moved slowly and steadily along the gravel walking paths, periodically cutting through lawns, all the while taking note of the ample amounts of rabbits. All of which, completely unarmed, munching the clover mere inches from my feet with a calm familiarity. As expected the park contained only a few foul-weather enthusiasts and we all pretended the other didn’t exist, leaving us all with our own 150 acres to roam ‘solo.’
As I came across a converging fork in the river, I noticed an eagle uncharacteristically sitting on a rock in the middle of the water. I stood and watched him for a moment. He watched me. The river being somewhat low, left a field of stones between us. I slowly moved closer to him, trying to be unassuming. He seemed unphased, almost content. Curious. At about 30 yards from the creature, my body became too heavy to walk. So I found an island of reeds to sit behind, gaining a little shelter from strangers, crossed my legs, and continued to study his behavior. Here, on stone, I become stoned - gazing glassy-eyed at his peculiarly striking, bright red feet. In an instant, he spanned his wings wide, pumped them with strain, and lifted off the rock - carrying with him a 24” steelhead, like a trophy, up the length of the river valley and around the bend and out of sight. A proverbial middle finger to my inner fly-fisherman, as I have never been able to secure such a prize for myself...It was at this exact instant that I was launched into full come up and like a magnet to my soul, I was instantly drawn to and in tune with nature in a way I was not, moments ago.
My vision polarized, allowing me to see past the surface reflections and ripples directly into the deep beyond the rapids. The clarity revealed a quiet pocket where large steelhead congregate to catch bugs stuck in the sluff. No doubt the eagle comes here often, it’s prime fishing. My view shifted to the far bank, where it was apparent that this real estate was clearly maintained, though not by human design. Beavers, our riparian engineers, had been maintaining the shores of this fork to cull erosion. Why? I do not know. But the structures were deliberate, in key runoff zones, and this detail blew me back with intrigue. I marveled at the rodent’s architectural achievements sitting before me, until swooping birds distracted my focus up into the trees, at the crux of two streams.
The daily shift of feathered feeding had begun. As if orchestrated, full flocks of birds took scheduled turns over the water. Each ‘team’ preying speedily on invisible bugs; dive-bombing, puling up just before their bellies kiss the water, then banking drastically to avoid mid-air collisions. On deck, the next wave impatiently waits in the trees for their turn, barely able to sit still, until their number is called. Wham! Another gang rolls in, while another queues to feast, followed by more species from who knows where, and so on. I watch intently as if I know what’s happening, but really I’m just enjoying the near-chaos of it all. The birds eventually get their fill and the numbers subside. I am left alone to process what I just watched. “How often do I just sit and be present with the majesty of nature?” I thought. “Not enough…”
The wind picks up, swooshing the trees violently. The sounds of cracking limbs delay faintly in the distance while the cold snap of the breeze brings me back. I look upstream to bend in the river. Douglas Firs are towering over me like skyscrapers. As I give credit to their stature, they seem to gain more height. All the while they’re seemingly trying to communicate with me through a pantomime of interpretive dance moves. Viscous and wild, their bows swoop around primitively and seductively, while they air a serious and intense mood that almost seems to look straight past me. They are swaying to a beat, only they can hear. Striking me as both elegant and equally hilarious.
The eagle returns, keeping his distance upstream. He settles, perched high on an exposed fir branch with excellent visibility. He’s clearly observing me….or perhaps tending to his fishing hole. As I watch him, I try to anticipate what he’s thinking, but come to the conclusion that humans will never understand what animals truly thinking. As humans, we believe we can understand everything, and thus have control over all of it - mitigating lawlessness. Such thoughts are arrogant. Life is built from chaos, with a heavy foundation in mystery. As I get caught up in my own existential thought stream, I struggle to focus my gaze on the eagle because he keeps quantum leaping from branch to branch, until vanishing entirely. I squint to try and find him. Gone.
My exposure to the wind shifts, changing my affect from a relief, to chilly. I decide to change my scenery and go for a walk to warm up. I tasked myself with walking to the end of the park, taking my time to appreciate the spring-green vibrancy contrasting off the blueish-gray skies, getting lost in familiar terrain, and exalting when I reclaimed familiarity. Meanwhile, I feel as though my breathing falls in tune with the ‘breathing’ of the forest. It becomes completely effortless, as though a machine is gently dropping air into my lungs and the forest is drawing the air back out. The atmosphere is cool and moist, the ebb and flow feels completely soothing on my chest and throat. Without realizing it, I arrived at my destination. Surprisingly unspectacular. Sober. Quiet. I decided to go back and find spontaneity elsewhere.
Crossing a large field, the grass was several days overdue to needing a mow. The blades were high enough to wet your socks, but not enough to look unkept at a distance. The dew saturated my shoes, giving my soggy toes a pleasant squish inside my sneakers. Being aware of my feet, I took notice of the ground I was passing over. The blades of crab had grown tall enough to expose knobby, elbow-esque nodes, but ultimately what caught my attention was the satelliting of the grass’ spikes. The spikelets were pointing in specific directions, unveiling a micro jet stream of pollen that spread across the whole field like veins. Thousands of tiny rivers, all intersecting, and floating away from me at ankle height. The spikelets, it seemed, were leaning actively into these channels in an attempt to catch passing pollen. As the floating pollen passed by, the particles delicately sparkled with a dichroic twinkle as they shimmered over the grass, eventually disappearing into the thicket on the far side. I walked with the flowing channels, feeling none of it, but seeing all of it.
Back to trees, I disappear into the bushes to regain some privacy. The field has left me exposed, wondering if I look inebriated or odd to any surrounding public. I wait and watch, only to see the same familiar characters walking alone, lost in their own worlds. I take a beat to enjoy the relief. As a cloud burst passes, I settle into a grove of firs and weeping maples, sitting atop a picnic table to eat a snack and hydrate. Water feels blissful on my stomach lining, cool and blanketing.
Rather enjoying the bushes, I find one of the improvised trails bored out by children over the past few decades. Designed and made by little people, I’m forced to move slow - awkwardly hunched over for passage, ducking limbs, and slipping on rocks. This area is full of an invasive vine that I cannot identify, which makes the foliage incredibly dense and whiley. Every little opening seemed to have a cosmic, sparkling, cobweb draped across that I would have swat with my hands as I passed through - my jacket collected space dust from its remanence. I found an opening and stood up tall, a little recess from the trudge. It was delicately still and so lush I could barely hear the river about 10 yards away. Panning my vision, I made eye contact with a mother dear who was patiently watching me from about 6’ away. Her coat contrasted a gingery orange against the new growth and she seemed almost angelically lit through the trees. I froze. By her posture, I could sense a fawn nearby. Quickly coming to the realization that mothers in the wild, predictably win when it comes to defending their young. Tread lightly. Telepathically, I did my best to reassure her that I meant no harm, I was sorry for the intrusion, and was now leaving. She stood by, stoic, as I slowly made my exit backward into the brush.
After a few course corrections I found a new spot directly on the river’s edge. Nestled deeply in the bushes, I sat down with my heels dug in a few inches from the water, resting my elbows on my knees. I slunk down while all my muscles seemed to relax at once and my back fell into the slope behind me. The bushes and trees hugged and enveloped me from behind as if I was in a little pod. I was completely out of site, sitting quietly in solace. Meditative. Damp. Chilly. Lethargic. I feel like a fat toad trying to reach nirvana. Content and comfortable, I nearly fell asleep.
Feeling this moment as a highpoint, but recognizing the comedown, I decided to make my way back home. The walk back felt like floating. Lifted and effortless. And as I left the park, the clouds parted and the sun came out, warming my back the whole way home. It was a lovely day.
submitted by Doc_George