Torrhen’s Square had began to whined down as the sun set across the rolling hills beyond the town. To the north of the Wolfswood, the beasts howled far off into the distance, and to the south the chilly air and the breeze that came with it rippled across the surface of the lake upon which the city was built.
Torrhen had traveled from his house’s seat on the shores of the White Knife river, a half a day’s ride east of Torrhen’s square. Through his own ancestral lands and the lands of House Cerwyn, he rode hard with intent and purpose.
He rode alone, something not entirely uncommon for him to do. But given the status of his House, his father was always insistent that Torrhen be followed by escort as was his noble right. But just like all the other times. Torrhen had given his entourage the slip and rode towards his destination alone.
Once inside the city walls, he quickly rode in the direction of the stables, paying the stable master and his young apprentice a silver stag apiece to have his steed fed and looked after. With that out of the way, he raised the hood of his cloak and made his way through the darkening streets.
This was not his first late night venture beyond the lands of his home. He had a special reason for being here. His every step was routinely made, he could almost tell you how many cobblestones lined the streets from the stables to the building that was his goal. A Brothel.
The scandal of a nobleman’s son entering such an establishment, a rarity in this part of Westeros, considering the Northener’s strict codes of honor. But for Torrhen, honor was secondary for the feelings in his heart. And as he pushed open the door to the quiet Brothel, hearing the soft sounds of the lute being played in the corner. He entered, passing by a couple on a long bench, the woman with her breasts exposed for her client’s hands to fondle and caress as he leaned in and passionately kissed her neck.
Torrhen’s face was no strange sight here, but he did not take off his hood just yet. As he slowly made his way through the halls, his very size and physique was enough to draw some of the eyes of those around him, very approving stares.
“Here for Elys?” A soft sultry voice whispered to him. Torrhen smiled and turned round to see the face of one of the Brothel’s owners.
Anya ran this business along with her husband Bryce. She was an older woman, no older than three and four. She still had a pretty face, weathered of course. As most Northern women were, through either those long cold nights or as her hips suggested having mothered three children.
“She’s only returned an hour before you arrived. Went out to the Wolfswood this morning. Wearing nothing but that wolfs cloak you gave her. No doubt she’s washing the mud off her legs” Anya explained
“The wolfswood? Alone?”
“I asked her why and she said “To speak with the Gods” that girl has witch’s blood in her “Big Bear” she also happens to be the most popular girl here, to send her away would be to piss away so much coin"
“Yes that would be a tragedy. How often has she done this?”
“Once in a blue moon, but now she ventures out into those woods longer and more frequently. Her clients may pay her for her little “Visions” but I don’t. If she were to be eaten by wild beasts. Well wouldn’t that be unfortunate for us all Big bear"
“Must you insist on calling me that?” Torrhen asked.
“Would you rather I addressed you by name?” she asked before leaning in to whisper into his ear. “My lord?”
“Point made Anya” Torrhen said before reaching into his pouch, handing Anya several silver stags"
“The room is yours for the night. Have fun big bear” Anya said before closing her fist around the coins and walking away, leaving Torrhen to make his way up the stairs and down the hall. He could hear the sounds and moans of pleasure coming from the other rooms.
Most clients who come here are either farmers cheating on their wives, travellers from south of the Neck were as common as not, but southern coin was accepted just the same, and with great enthusiasm by the girls. Of which there were only six. While most Brothels in other places glorified the employ of ten or more whores. Not just women, but men to. A certain establishment in Kings Landed boasts of owning more than twenty whores.
Torrhen found his way to Elys’s room, the air around it already smelled of the earth and the scent of fragrant flowers. He slowly wrapped his knuckles on the hard wood and awaited a reponse. “Enter” said a gentle voice from beyond.
Torrhen walked in and saw Elys was sitting at her chair by the window, which was open to let in the chill. She was wearing what appeared to be a robe. Elys slowly turned her head as Torrhen closed the door, she stared at him with those big gorgeous green eyes of hers, very rare and very radiant was her gaze.
Elys Snow, the bastard whore of Torrhen’s Square, was naturally beautiful, with long flowing red hair that tumbled across her shoulder into a braid, her pale flesh dotted with freckles and a smile so fair it could melt the ice that held The Wall together.
Torrhen did not see her in the eyes of most men. For most men, she was nothing more than a whore who fucked them and told their fortunes for added coin. For Torrhen however, she was everything he ever wanted.
He remembered his first meeting with her. He and his brother Edric were visiting the Glovers of Deepwood Motte. When suddenly they heard a scream coming out from the darkness. A girl barely as old as sixteen had been chased by a pack of wolves up a tree. She screamed and cried for help and help did come in the form of Torrhen Kilroy, who at the time would have been just passing his eighteenth name day.
With long axe in hand, he growled and roared and felled two of them beasts before the pack retreated into the darkness. And Edric helped bring the young Elys down from the tree. Together they took her to Deepwood Motte where the Maester of the House was able to see to her minor cuts and injuries and help give her medicine to sleep.
That night Elys found her way into Torrhen’s bed chamber, as a young whore she had no money to give the young Lordling, so she gave herself to him willingly and her gratitude was accepted. And as he planted his seed within her belly that night the Seeds of love were also planeted in young Torrhen’s mind.
And for nine long years thereafter, Torrhen and Elys still met when they could, in secret and despite Torrhen’s mother hounding him with pressure to do his duty to the House and marry. But no lady of any house, poor or rich, weak or strong, Northern or Southern could capture his heart like the whore of Torrhen’s Square.
Torrhen slowly pulled back the hood of his cloak and hung it up, he was wearing a tunic of padded leather over a beige shirt and black trousers with a pair of heavy leather boots he wore when riding. At his hip was a hand axe and a dagger, but of course he had no intent of using those here, he still prefered never to leave home empty handed in case the urge to hunt ever arose in his travels.
But he did not come here to Hunt, the look of stress and frustration rested heavy on Torrhen’s face. Elys could see it clear as day. She smiled at him before standing up, her bare feet gently walking across the hard oaken floor.
“Would you do me a kindness Torrhen? Could you toss out my bath water? I do not have the strength to lift the tub” she said as she approached him. She was a good head or two shorter than he, and needed to gently lift herself on the tips of her toes to sweetly place her palm to his rugged hairy cheek.
He sighed, he could never say no to her, as he gently nuzzled the bristles of his beard against her palm, he turned his cheek and kissed her hand before moving aside towards the tub.
Anya had not been wrong, judging by the darkness of the water Elys had been through more than just mud. Twigs and soggy leafs littered the surface.
“Have fun in your little venture into the woods today?” he asked, as he braced his large hands against the rim of the tub and slowly began to drag it across the floor, being mindful not to let the water shift and spill onto the floor.
“I haven’t been able to sleep these past few nights. I couldn’t ignore the call of the Gods any longer. You know how they speak to me Torrhen. In my dreams I see through their eyes, through their faces in the wierwoods. The visions they send me have been much darker of late”
Torrhen was a believer of the Old Gods, much like most Northeners. He also felt the call of the Old Gods sometimes. he felt strange dreams at night, but he didn’t see through the eyes of trees, or hear the voices of the Old Gods in the wind or in the rivers and streams. He saw them through his Bear, Greyclaw who was no doubt sleeping away in his pen they had built for him at Ebongrove.
“And what visions did the Gods give you?” he asked more so out of curiosity and to humor her as he heaved the tub up and placed the bottom on the window’s ledge. As he did he peered over the side to make sure there was no one beneath the window before tilting the tub forward, hearing the sound of rushing water splash onto the ground outside, melting into the earth.
“Nothing ever clear…brief flashes. I saw two dead wolves. One burnt…one strangled…I saw a town of bells all ringing to the choir of swords…I saw a Stag bearing its Antlers into the belly of a dragon. Everything was so frightful”
“Are you sure these are not simply just dreams Elys?” he asked as he turned the tub upside down completely, draining the last of the drops before carrying it back inside and placing it in the corner. From there he turned back around and sat down in her chair while she preoccupied the bed.
“You know that my dreams aren’t just dreams Torrhen. I see things that have not happened yet. Perhaps not always so focused but…they do happen”
“And you know I believe you, but I worry about you sometimes. Anya tells me that your walks out to those woods have been more frequent of late” he stated, reaching over to gently touch her arm.
“The Wolfswood is named just so. The idea of losing you frightens me Elys”
“You care so much for someone so careless” he sighed, turning her head from him a bit, only to feel him inch closer, his hands on either side of her lap with his face close to hers.
“You know my feelings for you Elys. How much I care for you…how much I want you…and how much I lo-…” he said as he pecked her lips inbetween each short breath, only to feel her fingers against his before he could finish what he wanted to say.
“You know I can’t let you say that word Torrhen. Your feelings for me are missplaced. Come…sit. Tell me what troubles you. Usually when you visit me it is at times we agree upon to not raise suspicion. And you usually bring me flowers” she snickered “Which suggests…that you came here to get away from your family. What has happened?”
“My sister Arina, my mother has been heavily planning her betrothal. No other house wishes to ally themselves with us. Doing so would incur the ire of the Dreadfort. And the Ironborn. House Kilroy has far too many enemies…and not enough strong friends”
“So what does your mother plan to do?” Elys said as she slowly moved behind Torrhen, and with her deft, soft hands she began to strip him of his tunic tossing it aside so that he only wore his shirt. She then gently began to brush and caress and massage along his broad shoulders, caressing his hard muscled skin wher she could to best relieve his obvious tension.
“My father plans to host a tournament. A local one. He plans to make Arina the prize”
“Tournaments are costly. They give prestige and influence sure. But it is a heavy investment. And to give away your little sister”
“My mother is at her wits end. Edric…my older brother has already married Dacey Bole. And she constantly pesters me to marry as well”
“Well you are two and seven now Torrhen. You should marry…You should settle and do what is right for you and your house”
“Elys, don’t presume to tell me my duty” he groaned “I’ve already been given the lecture from my mother. I told them I have no intent to marry yet”
“You will not be young forever Torrhen. Men in your family have a knack for letting their temper and quickness to battle be their end”
Elys continued to work the stress and tension out of Torrhen’s shoulders, ocassionally kissing him when the need arose. As she did she listened to everything Torrhen had to say to her, his hopes his fears, his ambitions for the House. House Kilroy had fallen on hard times. Some centuries past, a ruthless dispute with the flayed men of House Bolton nearly destroyed the entire house.It was only through the efforts of the youngest son Ben Kilroy that he was later able to avenge his family and retake his ancestral home. But at great cost. And now House Kilroy still struggles to return to the stance from whence it stood.
And every attempt it tried to gain a foothold either in its wealth or power, always seemed to collapse in on itself. And Torrhen knew why, it was from the grave misfortune of the loss of House Kilroy’s ancient Valyrian blade. The mighty battle axe Foereaver.
“Ahh yes your family’s long lost weapon” she said, her hands brushing against his front as she rested her chin on his shoulder"
“I remember the first time you told me about that. I never knew the importance of Valyrian Steel until I heard that wanderlust in your voice”
“Aye…lost in battle when my House was newly formed nearly three hundred years ago…Lost along with its master. Fighting the lions of the rock”
“Have heart my Lord…I have faith you may find it one day. You need only to have the courage to seek it out”
Torrhen then turned his head and gently reached up to caress her cheek, brushing his thumb beneath her eye. “You are my strength…and you are my courage Elys”
Her cheeks flushed crimson at that, no matter how long she’s known him. No matter how long his temper rose or showed itself. She could always count on Torrhen to say something that would flatter her.
“Liar…you were a brave man long before you ever met me” she whispered, slowly closing his her eyes and bringing her lips to meet his once again. As they kissed, Torrhen gently turned and put his arms around her waist, holding her close before undoing the lace of her robe. As it parted open from the front, his hands explored her naked flesh, feeling the warmth of her skin against his palms before leaning forward and bringing her down onto the bed.
“Take me my lord. While we still have time” she moaned into his ear as the moonlight broke through the passing grey clouds of the light and castes itself down upon the North.