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Seasmoke By Sunset

Posted on Tue Apr 6th, 2021 @ 3:50pm by Lord Aethan Velaryon & Ser Renn Baratheon

Mission: The Great Council
Location: The Docks near Seasmoke Hold
Timeline: Evening, The day after the Reception at the Red Keep

Renn breathed in- the first complete, full, filling breath he remembered taking. His eyes closed and he savored this rarity as his chest filled and shoulders rolled to take it in. Solace. Sweet, sweet solace. Out from under his scheming brother's thumb. Out from under of his mother's incessant worry, her equally incessant counter that the Blackwaters were preferable to the Velaryons. Out from under the oppressive heat and stinking humidity of politics. Instead what was there? Gulls and pelicans crying their resonant echos. The wash of tides as it broke slackwater and begun to roll in. High tide would come, but it was a neap tide- anemic by the high standards of the Kingstide.

Pursing his lips, Renn rolled the breath out through them, feeling a sense of renewal- as fleeting as much a thing was. He preferred simplicity, soldierly things, and such pastimes. When Renn had left Fairwind House, his brother and mother had asked why. He'd made the mistake of considering a coach but, seeing their sudden and infuriatingly invasive interest, he pivoted and changed tactics. He wanted to go for a ride. And so he mounted his horse- she was a fine Percheron of dappled cool grays and whites, much like a Storm's End fog. He stabled her and walked the rest of the way to the ports; his eyes had been on Seasmoke Hold then.

Renn's arms were folded over his lithe chest, the collar of his black shirt open enough to catch a breeze and cool the skin below. When he drank his fill of the sea air, he turned thoughts inevitably to why he was here. Aethan Velaryon. Hushed voice. Exchanged glances. The simplicity of the moment was gone in a complex weave of emotions.

He was... so exotic. Valyrian blood, Velaryon name. They were a rare people in the Stormlands- most were like Renn: dark of hair, light of eye. But they were also a robust, barrel-chested race and it was Renn who stood out as the oddity. Something in his Mother's blood perhaps. Something dormant and quick-bodied, more like Bronn than Robert. Renn shifted his weight to his back foot while the wind rose through the dark waves of Baratheon hair. His lips tensed pensively as Renn lost himself to inner thought.

There had been a connection at that breakfast table. Strange pent-up energies. Renn feared the words he'd apply to them. He'd wished he'd grown out of this flaw of his character as a boy. But his eye was drawn not to the voluptuous bosom of maidenhood, but to the sameness of physique in his friends. Not soft curves, but pleasant angles. He never dared speak of it- always his cover being that he was cut from a cloth of service.

That cut of cloth held, still. He took in another breath. Renn's eyes narrowed at the overplay of Krakens that faced the houses, like some depressing gray threat of violence. He had to focus elsewhere: thinking of chin and jaw and lips of Velaryon blood awoke Baratheon flesh better kept reigned.

"You came!" Aethan's soft voice carried as he walked the path towards Renn. "I wasn't sure you would." The Valyrian man was dressed in a charcoal grey leather tunic and pant that were of such a dark green the looked almost black. His characteristic blood hair blew in the subtly evening breeze.

It was the voice carried on breeze that stirred Renn away from the visage of the bay at sunset. When he turned it was the blow of towheaded blonde that drew attention next. In so turning, the breeze favored Aethan's locks and blew tresses back into Renn's face. With a patient comb of his fingers, he shifted them back. "You hit me in my weaknesses: a chance to escape my brother, and a mystery," he responded. His spine tingled just above the cleft of his seat, a strange feeling. He offered out his hand, "My Lord of Dragonstone," he greeted in the tawny light of the failing sky.

Aethan took the offering of Renn's hand. "Ser Renn." He smiled, all the while clasping the young man's hand. " I thought you might want to watch as the sun sets over Dragonstone. " Still holding the hand tight, but not too tight, he pulled his companion in a touch closer. He pointed out with his free hand. "You see there. My home."

The hold and the pull surprised Renn but he was not naive. He judged the distance between them as still safe, unlikely to draw attention. Such was the distance of conspiracies and private talk. And in quiet he looked out over the vista Aethan wished to share. He'd seen similar, though in reverse. And his laconic nature kept him in silent revelry as the sun began its descent behind them. Tawny turns rosy like a blush on the horizon, then bruised purples and blues that started to bleed out detail.

Renn finally chose to speak, "Makes you think..." he said in a soft murmur, "Of all the people that sailed away from their shores on the evening tides. Valyrians... Andals... First Men. They all came from someplace. They all saw a last sunset before their worlds changed." Renn turned to look at Aethan. "I saw your island by sunrise... the morning of the funeral." His brows knitted, "Remembered thinking how dark and alien..." his eyes looked down at Aethan's collarbones, "Exotic, it was to Stormlander eyes." he tilted a smile into one cheek and looked Aethan in the eyes. Was he speaking of Dragonstone, or the face in front of him?

The Velaryon inched in ever so slightly. "Am I, exotic to a Stormlander's eyes as well?" He spoke in a whispered tone, locking his cool eyes with Renn's.

Renn's heartbeat against his breastbone. The dark coil within, the one he always tried to banish with service and failed, stirred like smoke. Elusive, like vapor and water it wound around what he could put up to contain it, "Yes," he said simply. "Better angles than any castle has..." he looked at Aethan's mouth, "Lord Velaryon." He cast eyes to Aethan's. "More dangerous too."

Releasing Renn's hand, Aethan swiftly placed his hands on the small of Renn's back and pulled him in. He locked his lips on the Stormlander's and kissed him for what felt like an infinite amount of time. Every ounce of Aethan's being was ignited in that moment. In reality, it was a fleeting instant. And all at once, Aethan's thought began to swim. He pulled away. "I'm sorry." He said quickly, his hands still on Renn and his eyes still planted on the dark features of his companion.

Surprise melted. Lips twined. But it was brief, so brief. Like glimpsing fruit on a tall tree in fog. Then it was gone, replaced by the tepid, humid air of Blackwater Bay. Hands had touched where few women had. But in it a hollow sense of lies had laid there. A deckhand once had, but that was years ago. It was like living on small ale when one wanted a bold red. Renn had had little time to react to Aethan, save perhaps to take hold of gray Velaryon fabric. His fingers were still twined in it when they broke.

Baratheon blood was like a bear. Renn's green eyes found the purplish dark of Aethan's again, and he struggled to wrestle it. He wished he were a poet of quicker means- Renn agonized over verse but his tongue was not so agile to produce on demand prose. "Its alright,' he said in a careful whisper, nodding his head with his eyes locked, "I think we understand each other..." He drew in close for another.

Aethan brought his lips to Renn's once more , his hands travelled lower than where he had originally placed them to feel the soft round globes that filled the back of Renn's trousers.

With a sharp inhale, Renn deepened the kiss when Aethan touched where neither man or woman had dared to since he'd been swaddled. His tongue pressed past Aethan's lips in fertile, agile analogs of bodies twining. It was the Valyrian way of kissing, so adopted by the Westerosi. Where Aethan found the back, Renn found the proud front of Velaryon masculinity and curved fingers around it. He was breathy when he broke the kiss, eyes with glassy delight on Aethan's gaze, "My lord brings out my worst impulses," he said with a shy smile, a soft voice. His hand squeezed the contents in them, protected only by a tailor's craftsmanship.

"We shouldn't yet." Aethan said, a sly smile traced his mouth. He cleared his throat. "I wondered if we might get to know one another ?" He sounded almost childlike in his question.

Renn looked at the lips that he twined with. He internally pushed, and he pushed again, at the swell- it was like wrestling an elusive beast down on what he repressed in polite society. He had to rein it in. For valor, for safety. Renn was slow to nod but his nod was firm, "Yes. That... seems right to me." He dashed tongue between his lips, "Now that we... um... understand." Renn said. His hand loosened its rub on Velaryon goods though he stayed close. How much they had just flirted with discovery was terrifying even to a soldier. Thank the Gods for the hours of mourning imposed. "How.... did you know?" Renn asked with a slight narrowing of his eyes, "I thought I was being so discreet."

“It was more of a feeling than anything,” Aethan spoke not quite knowing what to say. “I picked up on my attraction first and then... I’m not sure how to describe it. It scared me.” He admitted.

Renn nod was silent agreement. "I felt strange... I try to trust my gut... in most things." He raised a brow. But his nod came again, "Attracted. Though. Yes I felt that. Drawn in."

“Drawn. Exactly!” Aethan reached for Renn’s hand. “Can we walk?”

Renn nodded. His hand, long and nimble though calloused with the work of blades, took Aethan's cautiously. "Yes. Do you know the area?"

“I think so.” Aethan smiled. There were paths between the docks and the cliff where Seasmoke Hold was perched. They were rarely traversed and offered uninterrupted views of the Blackwater. “Do you come to Kings Landing often?” Aethan asked, slightly nervously.

Renn began the walk, eyes on the increasingly rose and bruised lavender of the sky. With it, the temperature began to dip. "Not often," Renn admitted in a murmur, "The last time I did I was ten and two." Renn brushed hair behind the small shell of his ear, "But I mean to stay this time. If the Kingsguard will have me." Renn smiled into a cheek dryly. "Being at Dragonstone, does it consume your time or do you come here?"

The Kingsguard Aethan shook his head lightly. "I came here a lot as a young boy when my Lord Father was Master of Ships. Then less frequently when I began my studies proper." He squeezed Renn's hand. "Then studies and sailing took up much of my time."

Renn squeezed back. There was a few women ts of stretched silence while the Baratheon considered the sea and the Velaryon's past. "I remember watching Brannis at studies with Maester Poe. While I was off climbing trees and ship masts." He wryly turned smile into a cheek, "Studying came later and it was never about running a Kingdom." Renn stopped and breathed in the salty air. "We spares are taught to support our older kin. Or else get out of the way. Join the Septs or... the Citadel. Even the Night's Watch." He smiled and curled fingers into brushing his hair from his face, "About all the good I am to Brannis is a cock to marry off. To make him nephews."

“Perhaps it can be at my side instead of married off?” Aethan offered. “If I am to be King, you could be afforded the luxuries of a consort and stay with me.”

Renn smiled in profile to his walking companion, his eyebrow rising, "Do you want to be King?" He asked and though his voice had light to it, he was serious. He looked down and nudged a rock with his boot, "I don't see myself marrying... whoever is King, I will serve." He sighed with soft determination, "You or a Tully or even a Martell if that happened," he said. His quiet green gaze followed Aethan's line from nose to lips, "But I would like to see more of you... whatever you wear on your head in the next few days." He smiled and tapped Aethan's skull.

Aethan considered his question, but wouldn’t far answer. “I’m not sure what will happen if I don’t become King. Grandmother makes it seem as though it will be war or something of that nature. More importantly, I’m not sure what to do if I don’t become King.”

Renn considered that. Was a crown worth so much death? Wasn't that what their ancestors had hoped to avoid a hundred years ago? No more of these games for the throne? These civil wars and venal treacheries? His smile faded back to his pensive melancholia. "A lot up in the air right now...."

“Very much,” Aethan said thoughtfully. “I wish sometimes I’d never been born, but then I realize that’s dramatic and I wish I’d been born second, or even that my father had.” He spoke aloud thoughts he’d never spoken.

Renn released Aethan's hand and put it on his shoulder instead. "Our lives aren't our choices. Sometimes," Renn raised a brow, "But they're still ours." Renn moved closer, his front brushing Aethan's. "My water dancer instructor told me to take the moments I get. Before the Faceless God comes for us all."

Aethan regards Renn with a queer look. “Water dancing? Faceless God?” He was rather confused.

Renn nodded, "Spiros, he's a family retainer who taught me the sword, is Braavosi," he began. "Water dancing is a sword style that uses speed not strength," Renn added. "One of their gods is like the Stranger."

"Fascinating." Was all Aethan could say. He could barely imagine such things. Even when he was traveling, he hadn't.

Renn nodded, "It's not important," he said after a moment. He felt a need to change topics, like Aethan had drifted into distress around the idea of the throne. "Perhaps when this is all over we can... hunt or sail..."

"I would really like that." Aethan spoke sincerely. "As I told you before, I'm painfully out of practice."

Renn smiled to the side, "We'll practice together," Renn murmured with soft sincerity of his own. "Do you ride?"

Velaryon blushed. "... on horseback." He answered, somewhat passively.

Renn smiled toward their chests with a soft breath of amusement, "On horseback..." he repeated between them. He touched Aethan's hip, "and elsewhere?"

There was trepidation engulfing Aethan, but he smiled. Clearly amused. “Have you ever...” he trailed off.

This time Renn blushed. His hand shifted from Aethan's hip. "Nothing like horseback..." he acknowledged. "Nothing like a wedding night. But..." Renn's brow up, "I've been to a few places in Essos and the Free Cities. You see pictures. And you know." He smiled and looked Aethan in the eyes, "See the Ghiscari pleasures," he hinted at some of the alternative ways bodies could couple and please rather than the usual.

Aethan was both intrigued and embarrassed at his inexperience. He felt the desire to push Renn down and have him demonstrate the 'Ghiscari pleasures', but he knew the risk especially outdoors. Instead, his passion only allowed him to pull Renn once more into a tight embrace and put his lips on the Baratheon's neck.

With a slight crane of his neck, Renn opened up the long expanse of neckflesh that Aethan sought. It was a tender act, and one that made Renn shiver. He did not know this person, but he wanted to. He wanted to feel something. His own arms moved around Aethan's back, wrists rested over the crest of his hips. His skin had a hint of salt, its texture different than woman. Their front samenesses meshed together. Renn's focus was strewn with illustrations of forbidden Maester books, as he'd long suspected Poe was a man of a libertine past.

Renn chose one of those mental images that seemed so delicate and he chose to experiment. The Velaryon ear stood out in the limited expanse he had to work with. His eyes half lidded with the touches of lips to his neck. Renn moved and drew earlobe between his lips. He nibbled and then raked the outer shell of Velaryon ear with the tip of his tongue.

"I should go." Aethan said, still engulfed in the emotion of the moment. "I have a long day tomorrow, preparing for the council and the party."

"I understand," Renn muttered to the ear near him. His hands shifted away from Aethan's hips. "Can I see you again? After?" He asked, searching with Aethan's purplish gaze.

Aethan nodded. "I would like that." He leaned in and pressed his lips to Renn's and held there for a moment. "Until then." He said, pulling away and starting back towards the docks where they had met.

Renn watched him go until the light took him. Then he turned on his heels and looked out into the sea. He felt the lingering tingle of the lips that pressed his for some time. Or maybe it was all in his vivid imagination.

 

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