Dec 02, 2022 12:31 AM
We make no promises about finishing this before Winds of Winter comes out
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Hoster Tully clearly wants to argue, looking affronted at his favorite daughter marrying in the (small, tamed) woods instead of in the Seven-blessed sept that is of their family's faith. But just as clearly, he's having some trouble finding any kind of argument of weight.

"... I fear I won't have the strength to give away two daughters in two separate locations," is what he settles on, uneasily. Because, well, he is injured. "Nor perhaps the time to travel between."

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"Uncle Brynden could give me away," offers his daughter, immediately. Then: "But Brandon made it sound like the custom was Andal, not of the First Men, so, ah...?"

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"She need not be given away by another," Alis offers helpfully (and a little bit spitefully). "The North recognises her as her own woman, and if she should wish to give herself away, she can do so."

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"... Your dress won't hold up well to cavorting around in the godswood, dear," he attempts, and even he knows his argument is pathetic.

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"I'm sure it can fit Lysa just as well, with a bit of last minute needlework. It shouldn't be too much trouble to find me something sturdier." She curtsies to Alisander. "Thank you, my lord, for your time and consideration. I'm glad I could help you feel more at home so far from it."

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"And thank you, milady, for your concern and care. It speaks well of your character." He does not specify whom it is exactly that Anavett is extending her concern and care to. A rare smile breaks on his face as he adds, "I do believe you will make a fine Lady Stark."

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"I, ah, thank you, my lord," murmurs a suddenly very shy young woman who is so very interested in her shoes. Her smile can be heard even in her voice, even if she's hiding it a little.

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"You have my blessings for organizing a separate ceremony in the godswood, then," sighs Hoster Tully, finally resigned. "What was it you needed my attention for?"

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"This was it, milord; I wished only to be apprised of the details of our ceremony."

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"Ah. Of course. ... I do think it only practical for the feast to be shared, I hope that is acceptable?"

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Siiiiiiiigh.

Not literally, that would be unseemly.

"Yes, that seems sensible to me also."

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Soon enough, Lord Tully summons his seneschal, maester, and coin keeper, and they begin the tedious work of nailing down all of the details.

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Lady Anavett remains for this, and proves to be quite helpful, though as something more of an aid, assistant, and cupbearer than a proper equal. But a competent one, and... almost certainly an ambitious one, too.

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Jon Arryn is amused in a subtle way that only Alisander is likely to pick up on, and seems content to let the younger generation figure out most of the details. He steps in if something is obviously a bad idea, the man's been married twice before already and is almost certainly the most experienced at wedding planning because of it, but frankly, he's too old for this shit.

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Alis continues to be satisfied by his own assessment of Anavett. She clearly has a good head on her shoulders, which Brandon completely neglected to mention for the past six or seven years of their betrothal. All Brandon talked about was how she was hot and pretty and a redhead and strong-willed and it drove Alis insane with the shallowness of it all.

Maybe he was onto something, though? ...except no, bad to speak ill of the dead but his brother was an absolute brute of a womaniser airhead. Which admittedly Alis had also thought Zak was when they first met as children but now he can tell very clearly the difference between them. Zak respects people as people, respects women and doesn't treat them as pretty decoration he can fuck, which Brandon very very much used to fail at.

...anyway. He will pay attention to everything as is proper of the Lord of Winterfell but he frankly does not care very much. The gods will guide his wedding and regardless of what they decide Alis will have to mostly tune out the feast afterwards so its details are immaterial.

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The details are eventually sorted out, at least to the degree that it matters to the Lords present. Anavett will need to be coached on what precisely the traditional northern wedding vows.... are... but aside from that, separating the ceremonies is honestly quite easy. The guests will need to sort out which one they go to, since they will still be taking place at approximately the same time (with Lysa and Jon's wedding starting earlier, and ending later) but it's generally understood that most people present will probably want to go to the marriage in the sept. Not the one in the woods. So, the Lord of Winterfell's wedding will (comparatively) be a more quiet affair.

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Thank the old gods for that.

And after this is all done they should acquire supper, which Alisander will take with his army because that is the way of the North. None of this foolishness about separating the Lord from his men.

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Zak is also taking his supper with his men because he is Zakary Baratheon and that's what he does. He notices Alisander and gives him a quick but blinding smile from afar before returning to his socialising.

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There are, of course, the expected jokes about Alisander being careful with his delicate little fish (the sigil of House Tully being a trout) on the morrow. Approximately none of them are particularly creative, and many of them are quite bawdy, especially any about the potential taste of his bride. But the japes are fueled by his men's pleasure at their Lord wedding in a godswood, as is right and proper, and the release of tension is palpable. There was some concern that, after they had lost their earlier Lord and heir to their silly southern ambitions, that there'd be more of that. Alisander demanding (and this is, of course, the narrative, that their Lord demanded) following the old ways speaks well of him.

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Alis will not disabuse his men of that notion. He is near a stranger to them, and though they've had time to get to know him better over this whole affair he still has to become a real presence in their lives.

He won't participate in the baudy jokes, he is still cultivating his image as calm and measured and taciturn, but he's not going to be a spoilsport either, and he will even smile occasionally at particularly funny jokes. Zakary told him his men will absolutely make it a challenge to break through his icy exterior but that he shouldn't make it easy because it'll feel all the more rewarding if it's challenging. He asked Zakary about what would happen if there isn't a way for them to break through his icy exterior and Zak just raised an eyebrow and made an expression with his tongue and lips that put the flush on him and made him stalk off lest anyone see but fair enough, point taken.

What he's most interested in, really, is actually getting to know them, especially his bannermen. He does not really have a good head for remembering this kind of thing but Zak suggested that he frame it as a sort of puzzle or a set of sword moves that he needs to have in mind about how to deal with everyone and that was surprisingly helpful. So now he's making mental notes of the personalities and desires and pains of each of these people so that in the future he can be a better Lord for them.

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Learning them all is of course the work of a lifetime, not a mealtime, and he doesn't have any of his father's or brother's notes on them. The meal concludes before he gets much of anywhere, but he does get somewhere. Measured steps lead to leagues walked, as they say. And he's already been on this road a long while.

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The Northerners stay well after the meal has "concluded", getting drunker and drunker. None of them get into fights, as the few who seemed likely to instead had a small chat with Alis about only destroying the property of their enemies, not of their allies, which was not met with universal love but worked well enough.

As the drunk Northerners become too incoherent to even risk causing any destruction, Alis finds himself brimming with restless energy. Or maybe he just wants to beat someone up, himself.

Maybe he just misses Zakary.

Regardless of the reason, Alis walks over to the Baratheon contingent, much thinner than his, and stops before him. "Zakary."

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"Brother," says Zak, looking up from the mug of ale he's been holding and the conversation he's been having, his face once again opening into a bright grin. He's unusually unshaven, the scruff on his face attesting to how little time he's had for himself over the past while.

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...perhaps this is his Northern sensibilities but he feels like Zak looks so much better with the beard. He's terribly handsome regardless, though.

"I wish to spar. Burn off some energy. Indulge me? Or are you too injured?"

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Which is half teasing half concern. It wouldn't do, to imply that he was not in fit shape when so much of the rebellion was resting on his shoulders, but the question allows him to reply directly, and the fact that he's being invited to spar will serve to further dispel any rumours that he's not fit to continue his battles after the last several he's been in, back to back.

Besides, Alis clearly wants to spend some time with him, and fair enough, Zak has also missed him dearly. "Only scratches and bruises, I am in perfect health." He puts his mug down. "But I am not altogether sober." A complete lie, Zak never drinks enough to let it impair anything, he's tested his limits to razor thin precision.

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