martes, 29 de diciembre de 2015

FAVOURITE POETRY: FABERGÉ'S EGGS

A glittering, ornate, lovely Fabergé egg to accompany this poem.

FABERGÉ'S EGGS
Switzerland, 1920
Dear Friend, “Called away” from my country,   
I square the egg and put it in a letter   
that all may read, gilding each word a little   
so that touched, it yields to a secret   
stirring, a small gold bird on a spring   
suddenly appearing to sing a small song   
of regret, elation, that overspills all private   
bounds, although you ask, as I do, what now   
do we sing to, sing for? Before the Great War,
I made a diamond-studded coach three inches high   
with rock crystal windows and platinum wheels
to ceremoniously convey a speechless egg to Court.   
All for a bored Czarina! My version of history   
fantastic and revolutionary as I reduced the scale   
to the hand-held dimensions of a fairy tale,   
hiding tiny Imperial portraits and cameos   
in eggs of pearl and bone. Little bonbons, caskets!   
The old riddle of the chicken and the egg   
is answered thus: in the Belle Époque   
of the imagination, the egg came first, containing,
as it does, both history and uncertainty, my excesses   
inducing unrest among those too hungry to see   
the bitter joke of an egg one cannot eat.   
Oblique oddity, an egg is the most beautiful of all   
beautiful forms, a box without corners   
in which anything can be contained, anything   
except Time, that old jeweler who laughed   
when he set me ticking. Here, among the clocks   
and watches of a country precisely ordered   
and dying, I am not sorry, I do not apologize.
Three times I kiss you in memory
of that first Easter, that first white rising,
and send this message as if it could save you:   
Even the present is dead. We must live now   
in the future. Yours, Fabergé.

jueves, 24 de diciembre de 2015

REELING AND WRITHING XXIV: NOT TODAY!

REELING AND WRITHING
or,
Miss Dermark's 2015 Advent Calendar

DAY TWENTY-FOUR

NOT TODAY!

This Christmas's Westeros AU story

Twilight on the docks of King's Landing, a busy day of hustle and bustle, of sellers calling out their ware on the streets and sailors, both Westerosi and foreign, sauntering on and off the docks, as night falls and the stars appear.
Through the motley throng runs a young girl in rags, nimble as a stray cat, barefoot and with tangled dark hair. Both her skin and rags are filthy, and she leaves a trail of blood in her wake, from a glass shard she has trod on, and she still feels the pain. Once she had worn a dirty kerchief on her head, but a wistful breeze has carried it away. Once she had worn a belt, and a rapier thin and hard as a needle, to stick it into whoever stood in her way with the pointy end, but Lord Tywin's men have taken them away, saying that it is best for a child like her. In spite of all the suffering that she is going through, she is beautiful beneath the mess and the filth, yet she only cares for her own life.
She limps with her left foot, still sore and red from the pain that racks her from that point up to her narrow hips. And she carries bundles of liquorice roots in her dirty frock. Still as many as when she left, for no one has ever cared to buy her ware. Yet she won't give up, nimble yet limping, racked with pain and starving yet still young and able to move. She is reeling, yet still alive.
More stars appear in the night sky. The crews return to their ships, the landlubbers to their homes, and poor Arya has not earned a single copper half-penny. She runs as fast as she can, as if her feet had wings, in spite of the pain and the weakness. Dare she return to the orphanage? A twinge of fear has cut through her mind, like a summer storm. If she ever returns empty-handed, Lord Tywin's men will beat her. Or even do more terrible things to her, like they did to so many women and maidens during the war.
No, no, no. Never in her short life. She will live like a stray cat on the banks of the Blackwater tonight, feeding on some of the liquorice she hasn't been able to sell. But she'll save at least two thirds of her ware to try her luck the next day.
The pain is now too much for her. It extends at least to her chest, and throbs like a drum on the battlefield. Crouching in the shadow of a barrel by a shady tavern, she unties one of the bundles of liquorice and puts one of the roots to her lips. In the light that comes through the clouded window panes, she notices a silvery twinkle, which fills her steel-coloured eyes and her heart and her mind with joy as she swallows her first liquorice root, her first meal since the morning, and feels contented.
A silver stag on the ground, so close to her? The thought lights up Arya's mind and banishes all the demons to the depths of her subconscious. For a while, she feels that both her parents are still alive, and that she is in the warm and cozy, vast Great Hall of Winterfell. Picking up the twinkling piece into her filthy left hand, she sighs in disappointment. It is square, and its shine is more like that of steel or iron. A foreign coin, discarded for being as out of place on the streets of King's Landing as she is herself. Still, it might be of some use, by giving it as a gift to the cabin boy of some foreign ship the next day.
The shouts and songs of drunken crew members, in both the Common Tongue and Valyrian, echo from inside the tavern. The warmth of the scene indoors and the cheers of these unknown men cause Arya's mind to drift away. Slowly shutting her grey eyes, she suddenly finds herself well-dressed at a finely furnished supper table, in a Great Hall somewhere in the North. Her mother and father are there, Lord Ned and Lady Catelyn with their honest smiles, and so are Robb, Theon, and Jon Snow, talking older boys' things like warfare as Arya listens, sitting by her dark-haired and serious stepbrother's side. Next to Lady Mother sits Arya's older sister, the bronze-haired Sansa, cutting her roast with as much refinement and politeness as a court lady. Even though the little girl found her sister annoying and tiresome, now she misses Sansa more than ever, how ironic it might sound. The younger boys are sitting at the other end of the table, Old Nan, the nanny of Winterfell for generations, so elderly that her age was unknown to Arya and her life shrouded in mystery, is feeding Rickon, then still a baby. Healths go round, everyone sings, and glasses clink, and Arya is allowed to take more than just a sip of warm mulled Reach wine, which sears her throat and makes her feel all warm and cozy inside. Then the warmth under her waist turns to heat, to pain, to the worst of sufferings. To the pain in the wound tainted by the glass shard. The Great Hall and the loved ones have vanished into thin air, and she is still curled up beside a barrel outside a tavern on the banks of the dying Blackwater. Awakened, startled, frightened. What if only those happy days could return!
Taking up what is now her fourth liquorice root, Arya barely notices that she is holding her square coin in the same left hand. After a while, when she swallows, she notices that something hard and cold is falling down her throat. Looking among the bundles of liquorice, she tries to find her treasure in vain, to finally realize what she has done. No matter, she thinks, that coin is hard and tomorrow it will come out the other way.
No matter if her rapier has been taken by Lord Tywin's men, she needs no weapons to survive. Even if wasted sailors, in a fit of rage, lunge at her. Arya is quicker, and she will kick them where it hurts the most.
Weary and racked with pain, though still treasuring that faint hope, she looks up to the shred of sky above. A shooting star leaves a long trail of silvery fire. Feverishly struggling for her life, Arya quietly whispers to herself: "Someone is about to die."
According to Northern lore, whenever a star falls, it is to make place for the star that is the spirit of a new deceased person. Thus had Old Nan told her and the rest of her siblings the first time she saw one. Will the next star be Arya Stark? The pain begins to fade and her eyelids slowly close, and whom does she see before her eyes?
Now there is light all around her, and in the light stand the Seven Gods, bright and radiant, all of them except the hooded Stranger with such expressions of love. And the Mother is warm and auburn, with eyes like blue lakes, just like her own, Lady Catelyn, and the Father is stern and serious yet able to listen, with her own dark hair and eyes of steel like the Lord of Winterfell. The Warrior, tall and bold, with his hand on the hilt of his sheathed sword and bravery in his blue eyes, could as well be Robb, her eldest brother, the leader of her childhood games. The fire-haired and sapphire-eyed Maiden is lovely, sweet and demure, and she curtsies, just like her older sister Sansa. The sooty and sturdy Smith, his trusty sledgehammer in hand, is a bearded old craftsman in his sixties or seventies, confident and strong like Mikken in the forge of Winterfell: the one who made Arya's own Needle. And the Crone, the oldest and wisest of them all, with her silver hair and countless wrinkles, and those clever eyes, might as well be Old Nan, so full of lore and of tales. Only the Stranger's face is not seen, but hidden beneath the cowl of his raven-black cloak. Arya pictures herself a non-human face, like that of a wild beast, like the little she had seen of the Stranger's face in the sept of Winterfell.
The other gods suddenly make way for the Stranger as Arya shudders. The male gods to the right, the goddesses to the left, and the ominous hooded figure slowly advances towards the little one. Could this mean that the Stranger is coming for her? Is she going to die tonight? "Valar morghulis," everyone must die. Thus said her Braavosi fencing master. And he had also told her what to say face to face to Death: two simple words that weighed more than the powers that rule our lives. Two words that are now in Arya's throat, eager to spring, like bolts from a fired crossbow, through her parted lips.
The air is cold and the Stranger is face to face with her, towering above her little frame.
"Not today!"
The Stranger's hands are those of a young man, five-fingered and pale, yet they look surprisingly healthy. Putting them to the crown of his head, he slowly takes his cowl off, and what Arya Stark beholds makes her resolve falter for a while.
The face of the god of death is not that of any beast. His hair, eyebrows, and stubble are black as the darkest midnight. His features are fine and well-arranged, more than those of the other six. And there are sparkles of both mischief and sorrow in his dark grey eyes. The Stranger is a likeness of Arya's favourite sibling, her stepbrother Jon Snow, who left Winterfell for the Night's Watch right before she moved to the capital. Ever since, Jon had always been in her dreams, both before and after the dreadful day of the execution, but even more after it. And there he is, so bright and radiant, so mild, with such an expression of love... Never formerly had he been so dashing and so tall. And the light is now as bright as if it were noonday.
"Come with me, I will take you with me, where there is no want, or fear, or wickedness. You will be with the Stranger, in the Stranger's Heaven high above the other six, and see beautiful things very few have ever beheld." And he takes the little maiden in his strong arms, taking her to soar higher and higher in brightness and in joy, but something inside her still resists. Arya still wants the life she leads, with its sorrows and its worries, with the constant fear of Tywin's men and of drunken scoundrels, and the neverending longing for those days long gone. Though the Stranger takes after her beloved stepbrother, though he offers her a world devoid of sorrows, which is but half a world, she will rather keep her painful life on Earth, a suffering that no one will ever envy in their lives.
Thus, she looks with tearful steel eyes at the god of death. And, as he loosens his grip around her waist, the little girl shouts once more, this time so loud that all of Westeros can hear it:
"Not today!"
And, as the Stranger loosens his grip and fades away, and the light around her gives way to utter darkness, she falls, falling deeper and deeper into the void, into uncertainty, hoping that she will fall into life. Then, everything is liquid around her, and she feels the taste of both fresh and salty water at once. She draws the mixed waters deep into her chest, into her lungs, as the wound on the sole of her left foot is seared and gives away a mixture of both pain and burning, making Arya feel alive.
In the end, she opens her eyes, to find herself unexpectedly on the deck of a foreign merchant ship as its sails have already unfurled. Slowly rising up, she can merely see the heights of the Red Keep and the Great Sept as they disappear into the horizon. King's Landing is far away, and, for the first time in ages, she feels happy.
The day sky is sapphire blue, not obscured even by a single cloud, and the golden sun shines warmly upon her. Yet, shaken by the motion of the ship on the waves, which she has never encountered before, Arya suddenly feels her entrails twist and turn and writhe inside her, making her retch and throw up what she had swallowed during the night: a mess of liquorice fibers in which the square iron coin shines brighter than any star. The cabin boy picks up the coin and leads Arya to the captain's cabin, where she is dressed in a fine shirt and puffy satin breeches. The captain, a sharply-dressed Braavosi who reminds Arya of her fencing master, is kind and clever, and he gets the coin. He explains that the coin Arya had once swallowed came from Braavos, just like the crew itself, and that the secret order of the Faceless Men employ it as a token. The Faceless had hitherto merely been stories, but the captain's tales about them encourage Arya to dream of a new life in which she can be any person she wishes.
The surgeon on board tends to Arya's wounded foot, which is now cleaned and stitched. And her heart becomes more joyful for each day spent helping the cabin boy. Thus, when the lookout announces that the crown of the Titan's helmet can be seen, the young girl raises her eyes and thanks the Stranger for having paid heed to her request, as her heart and mind fill completely, for the first time in years, with hope.

THE END.



PS.

WINTER SEASON'S GREETINGS TO ALL OF YOU, DEAR READERS!!!
THANK YOU FOR YET ANOTHER WARMING WINTER CELEBRATION ONLINE!!



12 DAYS OF DISNEY XMAS



A lovely version of the classical carol I have to share with you to wish you readers
our best Winter Season's Greetings.

On the first day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 
A pub thug with a dream. 

On the second day of Christmas Disney gave to me:

A couple dashing princes, (BISHIE SPARKLES)
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the third day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

Elsa’s icy powers, (SNOWSTORM)
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the fourth day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the fifth day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!! (SAVANNAH FAUNA, VARIOUS SOUNDS)
Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the sixth day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

Pink and blue dresses, 
THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!! 
Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the seventh day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

A trip to Christmastown, (JINGLING BELLS)
pink and blue dresses, 
THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!! 
Endless Genie wishes,
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the eighth day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

Lumière’s accent, (FRENCH ACCORDION MUSIC)
a trip to Christmastown, 
pink and blue dresses, 
THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!!
Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the ninth day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

Heffalumps and Woozles, (HEFFALUMP AND WOOZLE SOUNDS)
Lumière’s accent, 
a trip to Christmastown, 
pink and blue dresses, 
THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!! 
Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the tenth day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

Powerline tickets, (SQUEEE!!!)
Heffalumps and Woozles, 
Lumière’s accent, 
a trip to Christmastown,
pink and blue dresses, 
THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!! 
Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the eleventh day of Christmas Disney gave to me: 

Whoozits and whatzits, ("UNDER THE SEA," FIRST BARS)
Powerline tickets, 
Heffalumps and Woozles, 
Lumière’s accent, 
a trip to Christmastown, 
pink and blue dresses, 
THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!! 
Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pub thug with a dream. 

On the twelfth day of Chri-i-stmas Disney gave to me: 

A not-so-fast robot, (BAYMAX FILLING WITH AIR)
whoozits and whatzits, 
Powerline tickets, 
Heffalumps and Woozles, 
Lumière’s accent, 
a trip to Christmastown, 
pink and blue dresses, 
THE CI-I-RCLE OF LI-I-IFE!!! (COW GOING MOO!)
Endless Genie wishes, 
Elsa’s icy powers, 
a couple dashing princes, 
and a pu-u-b thu-ug with a dre-e-e-eam!!! (HOOKHAND LAUGHS MANIACALLY)

miércoles, 23 de diciembre de 2015

REELING AND WRITHING XXIII: OTHELLO À LA CHEVALIER

REELING AND WRITHING
or,
Miss Dermark's 2015 Advent Calendar

DAY TWENTY-THREE

OTHELLO À LA CHEVALIER
or
I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT TRACY DOES...

Fifteen years after the publication of Girl with a Pearl Earring, which was inspired by one of the best-loved paintings in the world, Hogarth today announces that Tracy Chevalier is joining the Hogarth Shakespeare series to write a novel inspired by one of the world’s best-loved plays –Othello.
Tracy Chevalier says: ‘Othello is essentially about being an outsider and the price you pay for that difference. Most of the protagonists in my novels are outsiders, geographically or mentally, so writing Othello’s story was an irresistible opportunity.’ 

Clara Farmer, publishing director at Chatto & Windus/Hogarth, acquired world rights in all languages from Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown.

She said: “Tracy Chevalier’s ability to conjure whole worlds in her work has always been exciting, and I look forward to discovering the world she creates for her Othello.” (Hey, I look forward to the same myself!)

The series will launch to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.

Chevalier's take on "The Lieutenant, the Moor, his Wife, and his Aide" (let's see how she retells the hooking proto-thriller) will be released in the Anglosphere in autumn 2016 (it will also reach Spain, where Lumen will publish the novel!!)

So brace yourselves, Othello lovers: AUTUMN IS COMING.



martes, 22 de diciembre de 2015

REELING AND WRITHING XXII: THE MESSIAH TALE

REELING AND WRITHING
or,
Miss Dermark's 2015 Advent Calendar

DAY TWENTY-TWO


THE MESSIAH TALE
or
A CHRIST BY ANY OTHER NAME

Since there is "Christ" in "Christmas" and we've only got two days left to our great Christmas Eve Surprise... here's the plot archetype of the Messiah plot as written by Michael Chase Walker. For we need more stories about crucified saviours who would gladly drink the hemlock for the sake of us sinners:

These are not just formulas, but principles that have worked since time immemorial. [A plot archetype is] a highly developed, time-honored and impeccably structured means for telling a certain type of story... a neatly assembled arrangement of events so powerful, the sheer use of it will communicate to your audiences the very nature of the conflict ahead.

The Messiah Story

Here we have the transformed hero enter the provincial world "as a stranger with wondrous experience and remarkable powers." S/he's going to clash with the authority figures, but make friends among the outcasts.

The Provincial World

In this archetype, we're dealing with "an advanced society, ruled by three tiers of political power: the prevailing authorities, the marginal powers and the oppressed insurgent rebels." The Messiah counters all of these, because s/he represents "spiritual power" and liberation, whereas all these earthly powers seek to subjugate - to "oppress, control, or enslave."

The Prevailing Authorities

An "elite foreign government" who want to maintain status quo so they can continue to exploit the commoners. They care about riches, not people. They're powerful and confident.

The Marginal Powers

These are those who are "most threatened by the arrival of the orphan/magician wanderer," since they are even more power-hungry than their rulers are. This category covers the bureaucrats, as well as those who turn against their own kind to work for the overlords in the hopes of getting favors.

The Insurgent Rebels

Seeking to overthrow the Prevailing Authorities. They might be "likable, well-meaning, and more noble than all the others," but they still seek to force their will onto the common folk.

The Orphan / Magician / Messiah

An idealist who wanders into town. S/he is "a champion of the poor and underprivileged, as these are the good souls who have fed and clothed him along the way." Also, to a certain extent, s/he might be The Fool.

Disciples and Adversaries

Betrayal, Persecution, and Judgment

Death and Resurrection


All right, if you know the story of Jesus, or Han Solo, or Aslan, or Kikyo (rare female example), or Ellen Ripley (another female example), or maybe Dany Targaryen... you get the picture. A picture millennia older than Christianity and still looked up to in fiction.

lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2015

REELING AND WRITHING XXI: "KARMA COMMEDIA"

REELING AND WRITHING
or,
Miss Dermark's 2015 Advent Calendar

DAY TWENTY-ONE

"KARMA COMMEDIA"
or
MISHEARD LYRIC + GUNDAM WING + 30YW + COMMEDIA = GREAT IDEA

Quatre Winner's surname in this historical AU might as well have been Stark. To round up all of the relevant calamities that have happened in his short life:
  • Lost his mother in childbirth, shortly after he was born
  • All of his sisters left home to marry
  • Had to flee his birthplace of France (to be more precise, their ancestral home, an estate on the Atlantic west coast) for being Protestant, persecuted by Richelieu (fortunately, he and his father found a new home thanks to one of the Winner sisters/daughters, who resided in Magdeburg with her spouse)
  • Was homeschooled and more intelligent than any other lad in Magdeburg: had acquaintances galore, but no friends at all
  • The year he, aged 14, finally was to leave for Leipzig University to meet his equals was 1631: the year of the siege and the storming of Magdeburg
  • During the above-mentioned storming, his widowed father, older sister (also ravished), brother-in-law, twin sister (ostensibly), and all of his servants were killed... SPOILER ALERT: Well, actually his sister Iria was left for dead and survived, becoming a reputed healer, and guardian to Quatre's fraternal twin Catherine Winner (another Magdeburg survivor), and the young heir will reunite with both sisters...
  • ...all of these misdeeds being caused by a backstabbing retainer to the household, a steward surnamed Iscariote (so short-lived during the storming that his agenda remains a secret for a long time)
  • ...and the Winner townhouse burned to the ground, depriving Quatre of his home and fortune
  • Furthermore, to be spared an unpleasant fate, he swapped clothes with his twin sister... and, in drag, was ravished by a drunken Croat, then by the rest of the unit (equally inebriated), and finally by Count Pappenheim himself (also intoxicated)
  • Entered Leipzig not as a student, but as an occupying conqueror, against his will
  • Received his baptism of fire at Breitenfeld, as a private pikeman, aged but 14
  • Was made a POW of Sweden at the same battle of Breitenfeld, then appointed as orderly to an insufferable, conceited, and cold officer (Zechs, here a bastard son of Gustavus Adolphus)
  • Lost his innocence due to all of these debacles piling up (and who wouldn't)?

Trowa and Catherine Barton-Bloom, two stateless orphans from a commedia dell'arte troupe, travel with the Swedish Army, as well as playing the tricky valet and the tricky maid on stage. When Quatre learns to know them, hope is rekindled. They've thought of adding a new character, a naive and trusting valet (who is also Trowa's rival on stage), to their plays, and the blond stripling fits all the requirements to play the part on stage.
Now add that, in between one play and another, the Austro-Swedish phase of the 30YW still rages on...

The title is a misheard titular lyric from Culture Club I misheard as a child: "Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma commedia..."
This AU is rather popular and equally painful, with loss of innocence as a central theme (the very Dickensian character arc of Quatre in this 'verse)... how can you play an innocent character on stage when you're bleeding within? And oodles of Othello quotes. And a diverse cast of OCs, historical characters, and Gundam Wing characters alike, coupled with echoes of Westeros...set against the backdrop of an epoch as stormy and riveting as the Thirty Years' War.


domingo, 20 de diciembre de 2015

THE WESTERIOUS CHRONICLES

These are the Vocaloid/Westeros fusion filks I had as bunnies for a while. Mostly Evillious Chronicles mashups, as you will read. It all is becoming the Westerious AU (Westeros+Evillious), which includes A Sacrifice of Ice and Fire, in spite of Hitobashira not being an Evillious song. I have already done the Chrono Story and answered the question of "will I be able to pull such a bunny out of my hat?" This has been like laying out a puzzle and seeing that all the pieces fit... is gratifying indeed.

THE WESTERIOUS CHRONICLES

DISCLAIMER/WARNING: DUE TO THE NATURE OF BOTH CROSSED-OVER UNIVERSES (THE EVILLIOUS CHRONICLES AND THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE), THIS SAGA IS DARK AND FULL OF GRAPHIC CONTENT.
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, IF YOUR COURAGE, YOUR COMMON SENSE, AND/OR YOUR PASSION FOR VOCALOID AND/OR ASOIAF ARE ENOUGH TO DARE. NEVERTHELESS, DISCRETION IS ADVISED.


THE STORY OF WESTEROS: Chrono Story in Westeros, acting as a prelude to both A Sacrifice of Ice and Fire and the Deadly Sins Cycle. The Seven Gods unleash Seven Sins from the late Aegon V and the newborn Rhaegar, and Aerys and Rhaella (wards of the former and parents of the latter), still young and about to become the Mad King and Queen, are caught in the eye of the storm. The role of Elluka is played by a young Rhaegar, ostensibly the narrator of the whole saga from a vantage point in the afterlife.

PROJECT [LYA]: The whole Rhaegar and Lyanna affair had to be woven as well into the Westerious Chronicles, et voilà! A Lyaegar story, yet another one that fits the plot of both 'verses perfectly, that fills yet another hole in the puzzle that is The Westerious Chronicles

A SACRIFICE OF ICE AND FIRE (this one is a whole cycle, aside from not by Akuno-P): Hitobashira Alice / of Sacrifice in Westeros, previous generation: 1) Lyanna 2) Rhaegar 3) Elia 4) Cersei & Jaime... Lyaegar and Lannincest, aside from the Elia backstory...

THE INSANITY OF CROWN PRINCE JOFFREY: eighteenth-century AU, with occult elements. Pretty much complying with Joff's own character arc, but also with traits of Koschei and Bluebeard. And a good dash of gratuitous French ('cuz, eighteenth-century AU). This was the first Deadly Sins mashup out of all of them I made. And it's paved the way for a whole surprising universe...

EVIL EPICUREAN WYMAN MANDERLY: A lurid Westerosi tale no TV series watcher has ever known... The best pork pies north of the Neck... and Freys that keep on disappearing... Oh, and I made Wyman left-handed on Liza's advice (after all, there are very few born lefties in Westeros: Arya in canon [+Lyanna, Stannis, Oberyn in my headcanon] confirmed).

GIFT FROM THE LAVENDER PRINCE: Liza advised me to do it as Oberyn vs. Tywin (we both second the theory)... so this is an Oberyn character study, which makes it truly redoubtable. Valerian is a tranquilizing herb, also known as "busy Lizzie," which I referenced in the original title, before switching to lavender, fitting for a drier and sunnier Mediterranean climate, like that of Dorne, and with the same soothing properties. I use "gift" with a lower-case g first and then "Gift" with an upper-case G (German noun convention) to keep the bilingual pun going on.

THE TAILOR OF GULLTOWN: Petyr, Petyr, pumpkin-eatyr, had a Cat and could not keep her... Basically a Petelyn story, PetyrxSansa at the end, with elements of Sweeney Todd. The inspiration came from "The Tailor Shop of Envizaka" and Middlefinger's own character arc, aside from the musical set in Victorian London.

THE DAUGHTER OF EVIL/THE GUARD OF EVIL: Lannincest version of the Deadly Sins songs most suitable for Lannincest, mashed up. Inspiration from Catherine the Great (whom I say reminds me of Cersei). And a surprising valonqar ending.

JUDGEMENT OF BIGOTRY: Basically, Stannisxhis family (wife and child). I replaced greed with fanatism/bigotry, the besetting sin of the King of Dragonstone, and added an afterlife POV in which Stannis, like in my Three Brothers AU, comes face to face with the Stranger...

THE BROADSWORD OF REVENGE: 'Cuz Brienne deserves her own Deadly Sins mashup about her comeuppance with Stannis. Headcanon in my own mind's eye, starring the Maid of Tarth, and also a switching POV (the other side of the story) for Judgement of Bigotry. Renlienne mentioned in backstory, as well as Stoneheart.

CAPRICCIO MUMMERY: Capriccio Farce, turned Westerosi style... a nice way to wrap things up in my Westerious Chronicles. Oh, and some Jaimienne to make up for the Lannincest and Renlienne in past filks of this saga. Aside from a lot of loose ends being tied up in the afterlife...

SEVEN SINS AND SEVEN PUNISHMENTS: Seven sinners, seven smitings. The Seven Gods channeled by the Seven Sinners discuss the story. This could close the circle... or not?



Promo for "A Sacrifice of Ice and Fire." Interested?


THE STORY OF WESTEROS

AERYS:
Is it the song of nightingales I hear? Can you hear it?
RHAELLA:
No, 'tis the despaired cry of the court.
AERYS:
Is it the light of the full moon I see? Can you see it?
RHAELLA:
No, 'tis the lurid glow of the flames.
The person we once called our guardian...
AERYS:
...is burning to a crisp within the keep we have left.
Leaving behind the original sin
that the gods broke into seven parts...

RHAELLA:
Lust is a flower...
AERYS:
...gluttony is a seed...
RHAELLA:
...pride is a jewel...
AERYS:
...jealousy is a waterfall...
RHAELLA:
...weariness is a breeze...
AERYS:
...bigotry is the ground...
RHAELLA+AERYS:
And lastly, wrath is a keep on fire...

Arise, arise, O Seven Sins,
filthy offshoots of our bloodline's inbreeding...
Turn around, on and on, on and on,
Prithee purify these Seven Sins...
please, if that could be...

RHAEGAR:
Countless brother-husbands taking sister-wives
scattered the Seven Sins abroad across this world...
The Seven Gods, watching over Summerhall,
blessed the newborn prince entrusted to seek them...

"No matter how much I may sacrifice,
I will always be there to fulfil it, even in the afterlife..."

After falling recklessly in love
and losing everything that he prized, even his own life...
The afterlife he led in the Stranger's Heaven brought
unto him nought but unsubstantial emptiness...

The one who had it all and who lost it all...
Which destiny awaits? What does he wish for?
Until the end of times...

Wrought by and brought upon 
a single bloodline,
broken into seven pieces:
this is the story of sin...

The wistful romance 
of the poet prince born in the flames,
where it all began, at Summerhall...
this is the Story of Westeros...

Lulila, lulila, lulila, lulila...
Lulila, lulila, lulila, lulila...
Lulila, lulila, lulila, lulila...
Lulila, lulila, lulila, lulila...

...................................................................................................

PROJECT [LYA]

-Lyanna's Project-

This is the story of how it all began...
From when shall I begin to tell my tale?
Shall I tell you anything I know?
My name is Lyanna Stark,
a maiden unlike any other.

My beloved's name is Rhaegar,
the learned future king of all the lands...
He kissed me and he softly, lovingly told me:
"You will become the mother of the Prince that was Promised...
Queen of Love and Beauty..."

RHAEGAR TARGARYEN HAD RECENTLY BECOME OBSESSED
WITH A CERTAIN CHAOTIC PROPHECY:
THE RETURN OF THE DARK FORCES
THAT ONCE HAUNTED THE WORLD DURING THE LONG NIGHT.

TO AVOID THE CATACLYSM, 
CONVINCED THAT THE FATE OF EVERYONE RESTED ON HIS SHOULDERS,
HE ARRANGED A TOURNEY AT HARRENHAL...

Winter is Coming, a new Long Night approaches:
thus say our house words and the prophecy.
Only one will deliver us from the darkness,
and his will be the Song of Ice and Fire... 
The Prince that was Promised must see the light of day...

A tourney was held at Harrenhal:
the potential mother was being searched for...
Seek the most unlikely maiden of them all...
The chosen one will be crowned Queen of Love and Beauty,
and she will bring a deliverer to light...

I don't understand the reason why I was the one chosen...
He said that he loved me, and clasped me in his slender arms...
After everything is done, let's elope, like star-crossed lovers,
to the Tower of Joy in Dorne; just the two of us.

The dragon seed has been sown within me at last...
I await the birth of the Prince that was Promised...

THE PROJECT REQUIRED AN UNUSUAL MAIDEN
TO BRING THE PRINCE THAT WAS PROMISED TO THE LIGHT.
ELIA NYMEROS MARTELL OF DORNE, RHAEGAR'S CONSORT,
WAS, HOWEVER, NOT STRONG OF HEALTH ENOUGH.

FORTUNATELY, LYANNA, THE BRIDE OF LORD ROBERT BARATHEON,
WAS THE ONE WHO FIT ALL THE REQUIREMENTS. 

-Rhaegar's Project-

This is the story of how it all began...
From when shall I begin to tell my tale?
Shall I tell you everything I know?
My name is Rhaegar Targaryen,
the learned future king of all the lands.

Unfortunately, I bring the worst of news:
the project was an utter failure.
My wife Elia is too weak to bear more children...
All of my ambitions and dreams have disappeared...

AFTER HAVING BROUGHT TWO CHILDREN, 
RHAENYS AND AEGON, TO THE WORLD,
ELIA HAD WEAKENED NOT TO BEAR ANY MORE CHILDREN.

The Tourney of Harrenhal is a Seven-sent chance for me:
thanks to its consequences, I will rule this vast realm.
The Starks and the Baratheons say I wrested the bride from them...
Now it's the time to defend my rights...

The tourney began,
the crowned one was the daughter of Winterfell...
Temptation approached; we became lovers.

"This crown of winter roses will make things easier..."
Without thinking twice, I placed it on her dark locks.
My dear Lyanna, forgive me for having ruined your life...
Because of our love for each other, a war broke out...

But, as I had intended to, we lived together...
And then, I realized that I really love you.
After everything is done, let's elope, like star-crossed lovers,
to the Tower of Joy in Dorne; just the two of us.

RHAEGAR:
I love you...
LYANNA:
And I love you...

The evening stars were corrupted...
The moon and the stars in the southern sky
disappeared...

FOLLOWING THE TOURNEY OF HARRENHAL,
LYANNA AND RHAEGAR ELOPED TO THE TOWER OF JOY,
IN THE DORNISH MARCHES, WHERE THEY LIVED TOGETHER.

MARCHING TOWARDS KING'S LANDING,
A REBEL ARMY AGAINST THE CROWN
WAS SPEARHEADED BY STORMLORD ROBERT BARATHEON,
THE FIANCÉ OF LYANNA STARK.

-Robert's Project-

This is the story of how it all began...
From when shall I begin to tell my tale?
Shall I tell you all I know?
My name is Robert Baratheon,
eldest of three orphan brothers, Lord of the Stormlands.

Rhaegar and Lyanna were those I pursued,
Lyanna and Rhaegar were both of them gone.
I seek the Queen of Love and Beauty, my bride, wherever she is,
and the Crown Prince, for having taken her away...

ROBERT AND RHAEGAR FACED ONE ANOTHER
AT THE DECISIVE BATTLE OF THE TRIDENT:
THE CONFRONTATION THAT SHAPED THE HISTORY OF WESTEROS...

..................................................................................................


Once upon a time, in a certain place, there was a little dream.
No one knew who had dreamt that dream, and no one cared at all.
This made the little dream think:
I do not want to disappear. How can I make people dream of me?
And thus, the dream thought and thought, and at last had an idea:
"I will make people come to me, leading them astray,
and let them create worlds of their own..."


A SACRIFICE OF ICE AND FIRE

Story the First: The Lost Swordswoman

The first Alice was a maiden righteous, bold, and free,
clasping in her left hand the hilt of a trusty sword.
She cut down the unfair and set right everything gone wrong,
wayward was her scarlet path, far from wedding a lord.

This Alice got lost somewhere far away,
disappeared, a fallen woman, into sin thus lead astray...
They found her bereft of life, within the Tower of Joy...
She lay in blood and wilted roses, with her newborn boy.


Story the Second: The Star-Crossed Prince

The second Alice was a clever prince, so frail and shy,
strumming the strings of his heart and harp to many a song...
Singing and imagining that prophecies were true,
he created an insane world where nothing was wrong.

This Alice loved and picked a winter rose so blue...
he was slain by the stormlord for having made his bride untrue...
Crushed his breastplate and his chest, the lungs and heart within...
Once beloved, now he's hated, due to his last sin.



Story the Third: The Broken Princess

The third Alice was sweet, with skin warm and dark as gold,
the friendliest, loveliest one born on the coast of Dorne...
She wedded the poet prince and dwelled within his court,
giving him two children; when he left, she felt no scorn.

This Alice was the princess of all the land...
She suffered a gruesome fate at a traitor's harsh command...
As she struggles for her life, she sees her children die...
then, her maidenhead once lost, she yields with one last sigh.

Story the Fourth: The Wilful Twins

Following the woodland paths no one's trod before...
Crossing at the ford that still runs scarlet with gore...
Though you have been invited to the Royal Keep...
In my heart you will always dwell...

The fourth Alice were twins with green eyes and golden hair,
so wilful and curious, like any other child...
crossing many thresholds as their lives go on and on...
yet now they're no children and life is no longer mild.

The older sister's headstrong... and...
the younger brother's insecure...
They think they are the closest to their wonderland, for sure...
From their wildest dreaming they will never, e'er awake,
trapped forever in the lives they lead for their hearts' sake...


Who will be the next Alice?

...................................................................................................

THE INSANITY OF CROWN PRINCE JOFFREY

Thus... Allons donc danser!

JOFFREY:

Once more, a beautiful girl
throws herself at my feet before me...
What a sincere smile is hers...
she will doubtless become my next mistress...
Consecrated as an infant to the Maiden,
the Goddess of Love blessed me with the power that
every girl or lady who looks into these cold, green eyes
will fall as if transfixed right before me...

SHAE:
With the power to conquer every reluctant heart...
(Le pouvoir de prendre tous les coeurs qu'il veut...)
ROS:
The lonely young man, into his boudoir at the royal palace...
(L'héritier aux cheveux d'or, seul dans son magnifique boudoir...)
SHAE:
...takes up, one by one, every female that he is pleased with...
(...il emporte, l'une après l'autre, toutes les dames qu'il trouve remarquables...)
ROS:
...gathering them all for his collection...
(...il a la passion de les collectionner...)

JOFFREY:
Like the taste of poison concealed in the most intense liqueur,
like the pleasure of cold steel plunged into the silk of their skin,
blood, sweat, tears, and strychnine that combine into
that alluring purple liquid, so cool yet so warm...
Une fois déshabillée, on ne peut pas retourner dans la réalité!

CATALOGUE OF MISSING PERSONS IN THE KINGDOMS OF WESTEROS
Shae of Lorath, 20-21, of King's Landing, sutler whore
Ros, 18-19, of Winterfell, whore
Ellaria Sand, 30-31, of Sunspear, paramour
Obara Sand, 20, of the Water Gardens, spearwoman
Nymeria Sand, 18, of the Water Gardens, kunoichi
Tyene Sand, 16, of the Reach, septa
Sansa Stark, 16, of Winterfell, noblewoman/dressmaker

JOFFREY:
My portraits of yore burned to a crisp,
the busts of me shattered,
I killed my past self...
I want to forget my lovely face,
for which my stepfather made me feel such pain...
(Maudits mes parents, mes yeux, mes cheveux...)
I clasp the lovely maiden and steal a kiss from her lips...
(Elle résiste, mais je l'embrasse encore...)
Once she was my first fiancée, of our childhood days,
the frightened one who shied away from me....
(Oh, Sansa! Ne me quittez pas encore! 
Je veux être aimé de toi!)

SANSA:
Since a certain day, ladies across the vast realm...
(les plus belles dames de tout le vaste royaume...)
ELLARIA:
...vanished, one by one, into thin air without forewarning...
(...disparues sans aucune trace...)
SANSA:
They were mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, friends, brides, wives...
(Il avait beaucoup de familles plongées dans le désespoir...)
ELLARIA:
Their loved ones knew not what to do...
(Étaient-elles condamnées par toujours?)

JOFFREY:
The intense hue of ecstasy in the darkness of midnight,
passion beyond limits, utterly unrestrained...
illusions so true to life that they are taken for reality...
I am no longer a person at all...
(Qu'est-ce que je suis?)
Indulging in depravity, to defy the Seven Gods,
this is the soirée of insanity for which I desire...
(c'est la nuit de la décadence et de la démence...)

CATALOGUE OF MISSING PERSONS IN THE KINGDOMS OF WESTEROS (continued)
Taena Merryweather, 30, of the Reach, noblewoman
Léonnette Fossoway, 24-25, of the Reach, noblewoman
Elinor Tyrell, 17, of Highgarden, noblewoman
Megga Tyrell, 17, of Highgarden, noblewoman
Alla Tyrell, 16, of Highgarden, noblewoman
Mya Stone, 24-25, of the Vale of Arryn, sherpa
Brienne of Tarth, 19, of Tarth, knight
Meera Reed, 18, of the Neck, crannogmaiden

In the meantime... a beautiful girl has a conversation with a wistful Dornishman...
OBERYN (giving her a necklace with purple crystal pendants): The pay you give me is not bad for a Tyrell of Highgarden... well, a common enemy is a rightful reason for our lands to ally. After all, my paramour and daughters are held captive there as well...
The maiden, twinkles in her clever eyes, puts on the necklace as the Dornishman takes the silk sachet from her...

Later on, that self-same maiden enters the ballroom at the royal court, confidently, curtsying and smiling warmly...

JOFFREY:
Once more, a new beautiful lady,
(...celle-ci est intelligente aussi... quelle découverte!)
She answers to my every beck and call,
and she is as pleased with me as I am with her...
Viens, Margaery, ma chêre, danser dans le boudoir...
She played so wistfully with the triggers of my firearms...!
After we embrace and kiss so intensely,
voulez-vous être mon échansonne?
She pours our best liquor into the sparkling glass cups,
wish to each other's health, a twinkle and a clink,
a draught of crystal fire searing my throat...
Suddenly, I feel a sharp pain in my chest,
my lips are locked, I cannot breathe...

SANSA:
A maiden of unusual cleverness, whose best friend had disappeared...
(Elles étaient presque soeurs, très prochaines l'une de l'autre...)
MARGAERY:
...traced her steps towards the ostentatious halls of the evil one...
(...bien sûr, l'amie égarée sarait prisonnière là...)
SANSA:
She put on her best and shone with wit, thus the evil one was soon cajoled...
(...déçu d'une flatteuse qu'il croyait sincère...)
MARGAERY:
...and she put a purple crystal, which quickly dissolved, into his cup...
(...et, à la santé d'elle, il avala sa mort avec la liqueur...)

JOFFREY:
Cold sweat coursing through my veins, with the poison I had drunk unaware,
I stagger, half-conscious, and fall backwards on the cold, hard pavement.
Tainted blood depriving me of air, racking me with searing pain,
as my lips and fingertips are slowly dyed purple...
As I lie tossing and writhing feverishly on the cold pavement,
all the ladies I have collected awaken and flee the boudoir,
The last one to leave looks over her shoulder into my blood-shot veiled eyes...
for an instant... as I struggle to recognize her features...
It was my childhood friend... Sansa! Wait!
Sansa! Wait!
Je ne t'ai pas dit que je t'aime...
(and I cannot, it is too late...)

..............................................................................................

EVIL EPICUREAN WYMAN MANDERLY

Thus, make sure you leave nothing left on your platter.

In the grand banquet hall of a North-born Reacher,
the feast that begins anew is yet another last supper.
The dishes served would make any other person wince,
yet the hefty master devours them with a smile...

The name of this lord is Wyman Manderly,
and he used to be served the finest rarities north of the Neck...
Yet, at the end, what he ended up desiring was
the most gruesome ingredient upon this world...

Bend the knee and pay your respects
to our liege, Lord Wyman Manderly!
All the ingredients that exist
rightfully belong to His Lordship!

Devour everything on the golden platters!
There is always room for more!
Even the maybe lethally poisonous blue glaze
is nothing but the crowning spice on the main course!!

Suck the hollow bones empty, and then, devour them!!

If you're not satisfied, why not taste the platters?
This evening's supper, this orgy quaffed thus heartily,
is still rather far from being over...

Freshly-Gathered Weirwood Syrup
Cold Fruit Soup with Candied Winter Rose and Reach Rose Petals
Assorted Mushrooms of the Northern Woods
Reach-Style Mince Pies Made with our Greenhouse Fruits
Spicy Honeycakes with Arbour Raisins and Sugarspun Lace
Fresh Greenhouse Fruits Out of their Season and Climate
Arbour Rosé Laced with Shade of the Evening

Sunflower and Pumpkin Flower Salad
Rosehip Soup, Highgarden Style
Frey-Style Riverlands Carpaccio
Our Famous Reach-Style Pork Pie
Our Famous Reach-Style Black Pudding
Reach-Style Lemoncakes and Berrycakes with Sugarspun Roses
Arbour Gold Laced with Lysene Brandy

The newly-arrived Riverlands kitchen-maid, a born Frey,
said in a low voice, in a whisper rather soft and shy...
"I desire to be discharged from your service, Your Lordship..."
Hmph! Such backstabbing upstart traitors!


Bend the knee and pay your respects
to our liege, Lord Wyman Manderly!
Anyone who betrays his trust
will have to pay the heaviest of prices!

Devour everything on the golden platters!
Today's feast will be unlike any other!!
With auburn hair shining with a reddish tinge,
this one sure goes down smoothly indeed...

Let Arbour gold flow to wash down our rarities!
If you are not satisfied, feel free to ask for seconds!!
Hey, you, little cupbearer over there...!
I wonder what you taste like...

Today's Supper 
Sunflower and Riverlands Clover Salad
Rosehip Soup, The Crossing Style 
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)
Our Famous Reach-Style Pork Pie
Our Famous Reach-Style Black Pudding (Is that human blood?)
Spicy Honeycakes with Arbour Raisins and Sugarspun Lace
Reach-Style Lemoncakes and Berrycakes with Sugarspun Roses
Arbour Gold Laced with Lysene Brandy

After Supper
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)
(***Due to certain circumstances, this course has been censored***)

As the days went by, the keep gradually became empty...
There is nothing and no one left but His Lordship within...
Even then, he keeps on seeking more of his drug,
the most gruesome ingredient upon this world...

"If I leave any leftovers, they will smite me..."

Devour everything that you may be pleased with!
Suddenly, he caught sight of his own right hand...
And, quietly, affably, he smiled and he said to himself:
"There is something I have never tasted before..."

The lurid last supper of Lord Wyman
consisted of no other ingredient but himself...
Now he knows every flavour in the Known World,
but no one will ever know what he tasted like...


The cupbearer and the kitchen maid are both Frey prisoners of war and my own OC:s. I felt that I had to make that explanation for you, dear readers. The story of the Frey pies is one of the most lurid subplots kept out of the TV series, and there is still speculation around it...

..............................................................................................

GIFT FROM THE LAVENDER PRINCE

gift (English)
noun
1. a present
2. a talent
3. something cheap, an easy task

Thus, 'tis time for you to get some rest...

Please, calm down with this gift of mine...
You can rest assured and soothed with this gift of mine...
Yes, I am the Lavender Prince who brings repose...
only so that you can be happy at last...

King's Landing, anno 300 after the Conquest

Even though hers was a marriage of state,
even though he left her, Elia still loved Rhaegar...
You're a straitlaced statesman, only caring for your position...
while I have still thought of my loved ones for decades...

You were after the lives of the princess and her children,
fearing that their descendants might take your place...
You've forgotten the price that you and I had to pay...
And that is fine as well, until the past resurfaces...

I can bear no longer to see you weary every day,
worn out by old age and by the pressure of statescraft...
so let me give you this good remedy...
It will soothe you and heal your weariness from within...
Take it as a present from me...

Please, calm down with this gift of mine...
You can rest assured and soothed with this gift of mine...
Yes, I am the Lavender Prince who brings repose...
only so that you can be happy at last...

UPON LEARNING THAT LORD TYWIN LANNISTER 
HAD HAD HIS SISTER AND NEPHEWS KILLED,
HE FINALLY FELT THE WEIGHT OF HARSH REALITY.

AND THUS, DURING HIS WAYWARD LOST YEARS,
OBERYN LEARNED (AMONG MANY OTHER RECIPES)
HOW TO DISTILL A SOOTHING "GIFT" OF REPOSE.

THIS "GIFT" HE WOULD LATER GIVE TO TYWIN LANNISTER,
CLAIMING THAT IT WAS A POWERFUL TRANQUILIZING DRUG.

Everyone has got one or another kind of concerns.
Including my brother, my paramour, and all of my daughters.
For the sake of everyone I love who cannot sleep at night,
I shall make more tranquilizer as a gift for you...

As soon as you plunge into your dreamland,
you will forget harsh reality and all intrusive thoughts...
Lying in bed, as innocently as a child,
close your eyes, and let go of everything...

LORD TYWIN LANNISTER, IN CRITICAL CONDITION.
DORNISH VISITORS TAKE KING'S LANDING BY STORM.
THE RED KEEP PLUNGED INTO PANIC BY LORD LANNISTER'S CONDITION.
IS DORAN NYMEROS MARTELL BEHIND THE SCENES?
THE CAPITAL IS CUT OFF FROM THE REST OF WESTEROS.
HOUSE LANNISTER ALREADY IN A STATE OF DECADENCE.

gift (English)
noun
1. a present
2. a talent
3. something cheap, an easy task

Gift (German)
noun (neuter)
1. poison, venom, toxic substance

After you have drunk my gift for so many days,
Your Lordship, you will live without a worry or a care...
I myself, "by no means weary", will, in exchange,
have finally obtained freedom from this pain that weighs me down...

Please, calm down with this Gift of mine...
You can rest assured and soothed with this Gift of mine...
Yes, I am the Lavender Prince who brings repose...
lonely and empty, seeking the hope I once lost...

In those days when I was trying to forget
my sister and her children, shattered like porcelain dolls...
I, for decades, was already broken as well...
thus, I seek to punish those who took their lives...

This is a very powerful drug:
the effect will stay within you forever and ever...
Now it is finally my time to take some rest...
I will change into the lover of the Dornishman's Wife at last...

OBERYN WAS SLAIN IN A TRIAL BY COMBAT
AGAINST LANNISTER CHAMPION SER GREGOR CLEGANE.
DAYS AFTERWARDS, LORD LANNISTER WAS FOUND DEAD IN THE PRIVY.
HIS LIFELESS FORM HAD ALREADY BEGUN TO DECAY.
WAS IT BECAUSE OF HIS STATE OF HEALTH,
OR BECAUSE HE HAD TRUSTED THAT PERSON?
AFTER OBERYN FOUGHT THAT LAST COMBAT,
HE TOOK THE TRUTH WITH HIM INTO ETERNAL DARKNESS...


Oh, and Liza advised me to do the Gift song with Oberyn and Tywin (to get even more Dornishness in here and introduce the Elia issue).  I use "gift" with a lower-case g first and then "Gift" with an upper-case G (German noun convention) to keep the bilingual pun going on.


..............................................................................................

THE TAILOR OF GULLTOWN

Thus, let's pin those sleeves...

On a quaint street in Gulltown, in the Vale of Arryn,
there lives a young man who runs a tailor's shop.
Having made himself, risen from obscurity,
now he makes clothes for wealthy townsfolk and for nobles...
However, there is a thought constantly on his mind:
the person he once admired as a child and whom he still loves...
"Even though I have made myself, though I am within your reach...
you never stay for long time under my scissors sign..."

But I have commissions, I've got to concentrate...
clutching my scissors in my right hand...
the scissors Mother once used for her needlework...
The sharper they are, the better they cut...

Catelyn... I am honoured to make your dresses and your accessories...

but can there be something more between us?

Today, like every day, there's nothing new under the sun...
when I went shopping, our eyes met on the marketplace...
There she was, Cat, with that bright auburn hair and those warm blue eyes...
But who was the gentleman who held her hand by her side?
That grey overcoat fits his serious frame like a glove,
and she appears to be very close to the stern gentleman...
I could not stand the sight any longer,
so off I dashed back into the shop...

But I've got work to do, I've got to concentrate...
clutching my scissors in my right hand...
Teardrops trickle down my cheeks and into my goatee
as I tweak the overcoat pinned down on the table, right before me...

There's an eerie athmosphere out on the streets,
as if a murder had taken place.
I saw Cat today once more, half-way crossing the bridge,
but who was the young man walking by her side?
She has a mournful countenance, there is sorrow in her eyes...
the dashing young gentleman dries up her tears by her side...
That cravat, embroidered with silver thread, fits him like a glove...
Ah... So this is the type of lover you prefer?

But I've got work to do, I've got to concentrate...
clutching my scissors in my right hand...
With blood-shot eyes, swollen and ablaze,
I tweak the cravat pinned down on the table, right before me...

There's a rumour spreading throughout the streets lately:
it seems that two murders have taken place in a row.
I saw her peering through the window-panes of my shop,
but who was the young boy who had come with her?
For such a stripling, who has not yet reached his sixteenth year,
she bought from me a smart grey checkered newsy cap.
What the seven hells do you think you are doing?
Seriously, Catelyn Tully, you know no limits!

But I've got work to do, I've got to concentrate...
clutching my scissors in my right hand...
How strange... have the scissors' blades always been scarlet?
Today, I will do my best with this cap as well...

At last, I am ready, I have finished.
If you are not the one who is going to come to me...
I will be the one who will come to you.

"The two blades of a pair of scissors work together by crossing each other.
Just like any decent husband and wife couple should do.
At least, that's what Mother used to say..."

In this smart grey overcoat,
this cravat embroidered with silver thread,
and this checkered newsy cap,
which I put on my head...
I have become
your kind of lover...
Now, Cat, what do you say?
Am I not dashing?

Today, nothing is the same at all.
The victim this time, the fourth one, was female:
The wife and mother of the Stark family...
like her spouse and sons, she appears to have been murdered.

On the other hand, she had been quite cruel.
"Good morning, pleased to meet you", she said.
As if I had perchance been a stranger to her,
as if I had perchance been a stranger to her...

But I've got work to do, I've got to concentrate...
clutching my scissors in my right hand...
the scissors for needlework which have been dyed crimson...
The sharper they are, the better they cut...

But we've got work to do, we've got to concentrate...
clutching my scissors in my right hand...
with the orphan girl I call my niece for an apprentice,
since I lost the mother, but the daughter is at least mine...

Sansa... we will have to leave this place for safety's sake,
and set shop elsewhere.
Like in King's Landing, the capital.
You've always wanted to live there, right, darling?
Well, we're setting sail tomorrow, lock, stock, and barrel.
I know you cannot say no...


Explanation: The three male murder victims are, in this order: Ned (coat), Robb (cravat), and Bran (cap). This was the second Westerious bunny I had, just to see Petyr as the killer in this song fit perfectly, like Joff in Venomania.

...............................................................................................

THE DAUGHTER OF EVIL/THE GUARD OF EVIL


CERSEI:
Thus, everyone bend the knee!

Once upon a time, somewhere in this world

there was a great kingdom with a decadent court,
and, high above them all, upon a throne of swords,
sat the young queen, aged just twenty-four.

She lived in a huge red castle outside the capital,

the commander of her guards looked quite similar to her,
her loutish husband had been "killed in an accident..."
her eldest son and heir was called Joffrey...
What more could she wish for?

If the realm treasury chanced to be out of funds,

there would always be the riffraff to oppress for more...
as for anyone who contradicted her commands...
they would only forfeit with their lives!
(Eddard Stark led to the scaffold, Arya watching)

CERSEI:
Thus, everyone bend the knee!

Scarlet and golden flower of evil, blooming feverishly, vividly,
all the puny weeds around will be absorbed into it...

JAIME:
You are my liege lady, I'm your faithful knight,
we are lovely twin siblings torn apart by chance...
If it is to protect you, I will break any oath,
I will betray myself, sacrifice the one I am...

We were born to much rejoicing, with great expectations,
blessed by pealing sept bells we were given our names...
However, selfish adults, to further their own ends,
split our future in twain and rent the tie that binds us...

Even if the whole world became your enemy,
I will stay true to you and protect you from harm...
so please rest assured, what are brothers and kingsguards for?

You are my liege lady, I'm your faithful knight,
we are pitiful twin siblings torn apart by chance...
If it is to protect you, I will break any oath,
I will betray myself, sacrifice the one I am...

The selfish queen fell madly in love with a young man

from the ruling household of the land of flowers,
but, however, his heart belonged to another:
the dashing lord of the stormy lands...

JAIME:
During a tourney, I first met the Lord of Storm's End,
then but a raven-haired stripling, but still a charming one...
so cheerful and kindly, with such a smile on his face...
I must say the truth: that I took a shine to him...

Intoxicated with jealousy, Her Grace
called for her lord father and her other advisors,
and, during the council, she coldly told them:
"War shall be declared on the Stormlands..."

JAIME:

But Her Grace's command, issued straight by herself,
is that Lord Renly shall be put to death...
I must lead her armies upon the battlefield,
since her wish is my command,
but why are my cheeks always wet with tears?

Countless villages were overrun,
and countless lives were lost in the fray...
So many common people suffering due to the war...
Their sorrow could not reach the detached queen...

CERSEI:

Ah, it's time for a drink and cake!

Scarlet and golden flower of evil, blooming beautifully,
though in a deranged manner, 
and intrenched in so many thorns that it cannot be touched.

JAIME:
You are my liege lady, I'm your faithful knight,
we are deranged twin siblings torn apart by chance...
Today, there are lemoncakes washed down with Dornish red...
In response, you smile as innocently as always...

Agreeing that the wicked queen should be brought down,
finally the common people had to take to arms.
And spearheading the realmwide uprising was
a Faceless Swordswoman, an assassin deadly and swift...

All of the grudges that the smallfolk had pent up

finally led to riots, from Dorne to the Night's Watch...
Worn out by the Stormlands campaign, and by this conflict,
the queen's men soon turned cloak to the insurgents' side.

JAIME:

Before long, our regime will surely be destroyed
by the wrath of our angered subjects...
If they say that we rightly deserve this...
though it would be fitting retaliation for the Targaryens...
I will still oppose it.

In the end, the Red Keep itself wound up under siege,

its weary garrison had to hoist the white flag,
and the lovely young queen, whose star had begun to fade,
feared she'd share the fate of her kin's foes...

CERSEI:
I still remember Elia and her children... No! We shall never share their fate!

Scarlet and golden flower of evil, blooming sorrowfully...
as the paradise that had been made for her sake
is quickly becoming an inferno...

JAIME:

Let me put my left hand around your silky white throat...
I will set sail with the children, trust me, they will be safe.
It's all right, we're twins, and you are the eldest one...
Didn't the foretelling say your little brother would strangle you?

(click of a closing trachea)

You are a dying sinner, I am a fugitive,
we are saddened twin siblings torn apart by chance...
If you go down in history as a villainess,
then, I have the same blood flowing through my veins...

Once upon a time, somewhere in this world
there was a great kingdom with a decadent court,
and, high above them all, upon a throne of swords,
sat Her Grace, my adorable older sister.

Even if the whole world became your enemy,
(CERSEI: At last my time has come...)
I will stay true to you and protect you from harm...
(CERSEI: As the sept bells signal the end of my life...)
so please rest assured, what are brothers and kingsguards for?
(CERSEI: I do not dare to look at the crowd storming in)
There you are, sitting on the throne, with a dark collar, smiling...

JAIME:
You are my liege lady, I'm your faithful knight,
we are pitiful twin siblings torn apart by chance...
If it is to protect you, I will break any oath,
I will betray myself, sacrifice the one I am...

JAIME+CERSEI:
If I ever were to be reborn...
I would like to be with you once again...


Annotations: The swordswoman leading the uprising is Arya. But she is still leading the vanguard of the upcoming Targ invasion... and the poem references the "valonqar prophecy" that Cersei would be strangled by her little brother... 
This was the third bunny I had in the Westerious saga, with Lannincest since Rin's and Len's characters in the Tale of Evil are so reminiscent of Cersei and Jaime (respectively) that there was another story that could be given a Westeros shot...

........................................................................................................

JUDGEMENT OF BIGOTRY

IN THE KINGDOMS OF WESTEROS, THERE ONCE WAS A MAN OF RANK WHO USED HIS RELIGIOUS CONVICTION AS FOUNDATION FOR HIS OWN PERSONAL GOALS.

HIS NAME WAS STANNIS BARATHEON, BUT HE WOULD BE KNOWN AS "AZOR AHAI" TO THOSE WHO FOLLOWED HIS CREED AND BANNER...

Thus, now it's time for the judgement.

CHAPTER I
THE BIGOT AND THE RELIGIOUS EXCUSE FOR WARFARE
Everyone is either good through and through
or utterly evil...
[Law] [Justice]
[Litigation] [Judgement]
[Plaintiff] [Defendant]
[Innocent] [Guilty]
I am the Saviour,
I love righteousness more than anything else...
[Hearing] [Witness]
[Indictment] [Dismissal]
[Cross-Examination] [Defense]
[Prosecution] [Summons]
Even the most sinful can be redeemed
if they pay the price...
and that price is not paid in gold,
but in flesh and blood.
Rank, age, gender, descent...
all of that is irrelevant.
[Sinners] [Heretics]
[Deception] [Repression]
[Deceit]  [Power]
[Decadence] [Usurpers]
What matters is if you have done right or wrong:
that is everything...
[Right] [Right]
[Right] [Right]
[Right] [Right]
[Right] [Right]
Your lives depend on me...
If you wish for salvation, let me see what you have done!

And thus, sin is my only consideration,
in the judgement of bigotry...
If you wish to leave the cold mire of damnation,
give me the reasons why to be redeemed or not...

CHAPTER II
THE DAUGHTER IN THE DREARY FORTRESS
AND
THE SAVIOUR REBORN
Even for my daughter, with her face covered in gray scales,
I need to be stainless (sinless)...
[TERMINAL ILLNESS] [FAMILY]
[CONCERN] [DAMNATION]
[MIRACLES] [HOPE]
[RED LADY] [FRIENDSHIP]
If I purge this world of sinners, of depravity,
my wishes will come true...
[CONVERT] [LORD OF LIGHT]
[RIGHTFUL] [CATHARSIS]
[RESURRECTION] [REGENERATION]
[NEED] [COST]
Today, the courtroom of doubt opens anew...
The wicked laugh, and the righteous are in tears...

And thus, sin is my only consideration,
in the judgement of bigotry...
If I want to fulfill my innermost desires,
I will keep on swinging this unrighteous flaming sword...

CHAPTER III
THE OUTBREAK OF WAR
AND
THE END OF THE DEATH SENTENCE
My conceited younger brother, turned the leader of an army,
a usurper, a traitor...
I was asked to parley with him, I gave him conditions,
and he could have accepted them...
Thus, his arrogance and stubbornness led to the outbreak of war,
and my brother was assassinated...
he lies in state, bereft of life, 
in his pavilion.

ANNO 299 AFTER THE CONQUEST.
THE STORMLANDS PLUNGED INTO POLITICAL AND MILITARY DEBACLE:
THE LIFELESS BODY OF KING RENLY BARATHEON,
THE FIRST OF HIS NAME, WAS FOUND DRENCHED IN BLOOD,
MORTALLY WOUNDED, IN HIS PAVILION.

I was asked to confront the weight of my actions...
my whole fleet was burned to ashes...
Yet my beloved daughter Shireen will comfort me
as long as she is with me...
In the ruins of Castle Black, anyone will find
the lonely charred corpses of the parents and their child...

CHAPTER IV:
THE GOD OF THE DECEASED
AND 
THE FINAL JUDGEMENT
When I awoke, I was all alone in a dreary place...
the Seventh of Heavens...
whether redemption or damnation, the one who decides is
the Stranger itself... (the God of the Deceased)
Even the most depraved sinners will be saved
if they pay the price...
and that price is not paid in gold,
but in flesh and blood.

I smile, for the first time in decades, to the Stranger,
and then, softly whisper:
"I will never hand over such a price...
never in my afterlife..."
Thus, I suddenly reeled, and lost my footing,
and plunged into the depths of the Seventh of Hells...

And thus, sin is my only consideration,
in the judgement of bigotry...
for I will not let anyone ever...
write the sentence of those sins...
Thus, someday, I will reunite, in my next life, with these hands,
the fragments of depravity...
And thus, the Seventh of Hells will finally turn to
the best of all worlds for my wife, our daughter, and me...

.........................................................................................................


THE BROADSWORD OF REVENGE


O wayward sinner...
Thus, prithee regret all you have done...

NOM DE GUERRE: MAID OF TARTH

AZOR AHAI: THE RIGHTEOUS SAVIOUR
BLUE IS THE COLOUR OF SORROW AND COLDNESS...

KEEP OF CASTLE BLACK
Hear, Lady Stoneheart, know that I am right now
pointing with a sword at a certain person,
who deceived many others...
An ambitious person who thinks only of what's right...

For the sake of this person's ambition,
the one I loved died violently in my arms...
Though I am innocent, I am still accused of it...
yet those who pursue me have not ended my life...

At last the moment of truth and revenge is here...
Regret, regret all you have done!
THE REVENGE OF THE BLUE MAIDEN

NOM DE GUERRE: MAID OF TARTH

Hallo und auf Wiedersehen, Herr Azor Ahai...
I will set fire to your keep... Tell me now what you prefer...
Do I run my cold steel blade across and through your throat,
or let you burn to a crisp within this inferno?

THE REDEMPTION
Hear, Lady Stoneheart, I don't care who's the villain...
I should give him a second chance for atonement, right?
And thus did I say to him:
"Strip yourself of everything you value and prize..."

THAT PRICE IS NOT PAID IN GOLD,
BUT IN FLESH AND BLOOD.

If you confess out loud everything you did "for religion,"
only on that condition will I spare your life...
And thus said he in response:
"Of what I did for the LORD'S sake...
[AZOR AHAI: THE RIGHTEOUS SAVIOUR]
... I will never let go of anything!"
RIGHTFUL KING OF THE LANDS OF WESTEROS

STANNIS BARATHEON

Right, there's nothing left to do, you twat...
In truth, in sooth, regret and repent!

AZOR AHAI: THE RIGHTEOUS SAVIOUR
CHOSEN BY R'HLLOR
JUDGEMENT OF BIGOTRY
JUDGEMENT OF BIGOTRY

Hallo und auf Wiedersehen, Herr Azor Ahai...
The righteous swordsman stifled by his own bigotry...
his body drenched in my wrath and that of other innocents...
Prithee, fall asleep forever...

SHE WAS ACCUSED OF KILLING HER BELOVED
HIS BROTHER HAD GIVEN THE ORDER
SHE DECIDED TO GET REVENGE

MEMORY
Hear, Lady Stoneheart, you are still on your own...
you are still all alone on your own...

SEVEN YEARS AGO
You were separated from both of your daughters,
and you feared that they would forget your face one day...
Do you hear, Lady Stoneheart, it seems that the Lannisters
are no longer here and no longer a threat...

CATELYN'S DAUGHTERS

I am sure that they are somewhere in this wide world...

FIVE YEARS AGO
Those two girls have already vanished, as if into thin air...
Now your daughter am I, only me and me alone...

THEN, THE MAIDEN WENT INSANE

Hear, Your Grace...
[I LEFT IT ALL BEHIND
YOU KNOW, I LEFT IT ALL BEHIND]
...Look at me...

THE LAST BROADSWORD
JUDGEMENT OF BIGOTRY

Simply...
[AZOR AHAI]
...Look at me

STONEHEART
CATELYN

Hallo und auf Wiedersehen, Eure Hoheit...
Leader of fanatics, righteous bigot...
Hear, Lady Stoneheart, why did your husband
trust that person that much?

Now, in sooth, everything has come to an end...
We will put an end to everything...
To this sinful story of evil...

Fare thee well...
(My beloved...)
(The one I hated the most...)

...........................................................................................

CAPRICCIO MUMMERY


The defendant's seat is empty...
The barrister's seat is full of trash...
Thus, let us now begin
this mummery known as 
a "trial"...

[Grayscaled Princess]
Following the decrees of the Lord of Light,
one only vessel is now solely missing.
If you happen by chance to know its whereabouts,
please contact the Lady with the Heart of Stone...

[Lady Stoneheart]
Turning back time, changing ever shape and master,
finally, at last, it has appeared upon the stage,
yet, however, I do not know its real whereabouts...
Perchance it may be in the hands of that person...

[Servants]
Seek her, seek her, seek her everywhere,
to the left, to the right, looking up and looking down...
For the one who holds all the Keys,
the Stranger, the Many-Faced God of the Deceased...

[Lightbringer]
For how long will this mummery be carried on?
There is no longer any life beyond it...
[Fallen Queen]
The souls of mortals once fell into the trap...
There is nothing now that can be done or that has not been done...

[Servants]
Swaying scales
in a shattered scenario,
vessels tainted by the sins of yore...
Each one singing a song of one's own,
in a discordant capriccio...

The story has slipped from the hands of the Gods,
and now it unfurls free, with a life of its own...
If those people were still upon this Earth,
they would have been most likely to sigh...

[Lightbringer]
What is really to be dreaded is...
[Grayscaled Princess]
...the desires of mortalkind...

[Grayscaled Princess]:
THE DIRECTOR OF THE THEATRE. 
SHE HAS INHERITED HER FATHER'S PLACE.

[Lady Stoneheart]:
SHE LIVES IN THE THEATRE, AND SHE CREATED IT.
REAL NAME: CATELYN STARK, NÉE TULLY.

[Lightbringer]:
AFTER LOSING HIS POWER, 
HE BECAME THE SHADOW OF A FLAMING SWORD.
THUS, HE CANNOT ENTER THE THEATRE.

[Fallen Queen]:
ONCE SHE WAS A WISTFUL, NAIVE RED-HAIRED DRESSMAKER.
SHE OFFICIALLY OBEYS LADY STONEHEART,
YET SHE IS WILFUL AND DEVIOUS.

[Grayscaled Princess]
Let us put some order and arrange this information...
Tempted to follow your heart, you thus turned evil...
Now I grant you permission to speak.
Please, give your account of when you entered this theatre...

[Oathbreaker]
The burden of what I have done is a curse upon me,
and, to be freed from said curse, I needed something...
I entered this place because I wanted to find
the missing ancestral sword of my forefathers...

[Servants]
Slaughter him, butcher him, and then devour him!
Smite the intruder with the worst of punishments!
Sentence him, sentence him, sentence him come what may...
Sentence him to torture, to scourge, to death!

[Oathbreaker]
Once I expected the worst, having lost my every hope...
The tall, blue-eyed maiden drew her sword and she fought for me...
[Oathkeeper]
I would not forgive myself if I left you to die...
[Oathbreaker]
And thus, she became the Oathkeeper...

Right-handed Oathkeeper...
Left-handed Oathbreaker...
The replacement vessels have not awakened yet...
Concealing their true intentions within their hearts,
the two unassuming intruders.

Grayscaled Princess, Lady with a Heart of Stone,
Lightbringer, Faithful Servant, God of the Deceased...
When everything comes to a bitter end,
¿who will be the ones to laugh at the end of the day?

[Green Dreamer]:
Lulila, lulila, lulila-lila...
Erratic heartbeats in dreams of things to come...

[Oathbreaker]:
SEEKING THE ANCESTRAL SWORD BRIGHTROAR, 
HE ENTERED THE THEATRE.
REAL NAME: JAIME LANNISTER.

[Oathkeeper]:
SHE IS A MAID AT THE THEATRE,
BUT SHE DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE HER PLACE.
SHE IS THE INCARNATION OF A LOYAL, BRAVE KNIGHT.

[Faithful Servant]:
SHE IS A MAID AT THE THEATRE,
BUT SHE DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE HER PLACE.
SHE IS A SPIRIT RELEASED FROM HER MIRROR PRISON.

[The God of Many Faces]:
ONE OF THEIR FACES IS THE STRANGER.
STANNIS BARATHEON MET THIS DEITY IN THE AFTERLIFE.

[Green Dreamer]:
HE RESIDES IN THE DREAMLAND OF THE GRAYSCALED PRINCESS.
STILL UNIDENTIFIED.

Friendship, trauma, justice, illusion, 
hope, destruction, dreams, lust, love, death...
It all keeps on dissolving, mixing, returning
in an ominous lullaby...
Right before he died, lonely as he was,
he created a theatre...
That "best of all worlds" he desired that much,
will it be fulfilled someday?

Come on, let us play our parts
in this mummery known as
"life..."



Oh, the Green Dreamer is Jojen and the Fallen Queen is Sansa. The Faithful Servant is Cersei. And some more Jaimienne here to contrarrest the Lannincest and Renlienne in previous installments...
Hope you like my Westeros take on the Evillious Chronicles... The Westerious Chronicles!!!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

SEVEN SINS AND SEVEN PUNISHMENTS

JAIME:
Thus, let us begin!


JOFFREY:
Seven flowers are dancing a quadrille,
sins that have been finally set free...
Covering, concealing their lurid reality...
sinking into pleasure found in others' pain...

WYMAN:
Seven seeds are descending one by one,
they will surely sprout and then grow strong...
Even the whole Known World will be dissolved
in the powerful acids within me...

CERSEI:
Our Reign of Iniquity, founded on golden rocks,
will never crumble, falter, or fall...

The vessels of evil, once released
by cursed siblings who were the children of siblings,
what kind of tale will they make unfurl?
Seven Sins and Seven Punishments...

OBERYN:
Drifting away on seven breezes,
a lethal poison pervades the Known World...
All of the guilty ones are unable to sleep well tonight,
regretting a sin of yore that was not...

PETYR:
On the waters of seven waterfalls,
the reflection is the face of a loved one...
Yet the reflections always differ, and yours is not the only one...
If only they did not exist...

STANNIS:
Within the Lightbringer's throne room under ground,
thus, let us now begin this mummery known as a "trial..."

Everyone seeks to attain
what he or she calls "the best of all possible worlds..."
To which outcome will their desires lead?
Seven Sins and Seven Punishments...

BRIENNE:

Is it the song of the flames I hear? Can I hear it?
No, 'tis the cold steel of vengeance...

The vessels of evil, once released
by cursed siblings who were the children of siblings,
what kind of tale will they make unfurl?
Seven Sins and Seven Punishments...

OMINOUS LULLABY #7

Lulilala, lulila-lara...
Lulilala, lulila-lara...
Lulilala, lulila-lara...