forests of beyond

Guardian of Tigers

A streak of tigresses accompany their Queen and her consort at the edge of a golden forest just beyond their throne.

My piece for the currently-in-limbo @jasperzine, which I hope will be printed in the future, despite my disappointment with the slow progress.

For now, y’all can have my self-indulgent and slightly-outdated Jaspball art. Jasper and Eyeball get to have seven tigers to counter Rose’s pride of seven lions. And by the way, the tiger cub’s name is Jasper Jr.

Happy Belated Jaspy Holidays!

Sansa and her “Stark connection”

Since the fandom is always saying how Sansa is not a Real Stark ™    I wanted to  make a post in which I explain why Sansa, born in the Winter (unlike Arya or Bran or Rickon born in the long Summer), in Winterfell (unlike Jon or Robb born in the south) will always be a Stark ( no Lannister or Baelish or whatever…), no matter who she is forced to marry (to survive I might add..). 

 In AGOT Sansa (before her father died, and when she was meant to marry joffrey) is already very proud of her Stark origins. 

Alyn carried the Stark banner. When she saw him rein in beside Lord Beric to exchange words, it made Sansa feel ever so proud.

While prefering The Seven (like her mother) she does admire the poetry of the old gods. 

Besides, even if she could leave the castle, where would she go? It was enough that she could walk in the yard, pick flowers in Myrcella’s garden, and visit the sept to pray for her father. Sometimes she prayed in the godswood as well, since the Starks kept the old gods.

By the time she reached the godswood, the noises had faded to a faint rattle of steel and a distant shouting. Sansa pulled her cloak tighter. The air was rich with the smells of earth and leaf. Lady would have liked this place, she thought. There was something wild about a godswood; even here, in the heart of the castle at the heart of the city, you could feel the old gods watching with a thousand unseen eyes.

While she is called little bird, or little dove (when people want to undermine her), she is called wolf  too.

Tyrion found himself thinking of his wife. Not Sansa; his first wife, Tysha. The whore wife, not the wolf wife.

“Your Grace has forgotten the Lady Sansa,” said Pycelle.

The queen bristled. “I most certainly have not forgotten that little she-wolf.” She refused to say the girl’s name.

And Sansa herself when she is in put  a hard position takes courage in her Stark origins. Its something that gives her  strength:

Do as you’re told, sweetling, it won’t be so bad. Wolves are supposed to be brave, aren’t they?

“Brave. Sansa took a deep breath. I am a Stark, yes, I can be brave.

"Winterfell?” Robert was small for eight, a stick of a boy with splotchy skin and eyes that were always runny. Under one arm he clutched the threadbare cloth doll he carried everywhere.

Winterfell is the seat of House Stark,” Sansa told her husband-to-be. “The great castle of the north.”

“Do you require guarding?” Marillion said lightly. “I am composing a new song, you should know. A song so sweet and sad it will melt even your frozen heart. ‘The Roadside Rose,’ I mean to call it. About a baseborn girl so beautiful she bewitched every man who laid eyes upon her.

I am a Stark of Winterfell, she longed to tell him. Instead she nodded, and let him escort her down the tower steps and along a bridge. 

 Petyr put his arm around her. “What if it is truth he wants, and justice for his murdered lady?” He smiled. “I know Lord Nestor, sweetling. Do you imagine I’d ever let him harm my daughter?

"I am not your daughter, she thought. I am Sansa Stark, Lord Eddard’s daughter and Lady Catelyn’s, the blood of Winterfell.

"As was bringing me here, when you swore to take me home.”She wondered where this courage had come from, to speak to him so frankly. From Winterfell, she thought. I am stronger within the walls of Winterfell.

I will tell my aunt that I don’t want to marry Robert. Not even the High Septon himself could declare a woman married if she refused to say the vows. She wasn’t a beggar, no matter what her aunt said. She was thirteen, a woman flowered and wed, the heir to Winterfell.

.His seamed and solemn face brought back all of Sansa’s memories of his time at Winterfell. She remembered him at table, speaking quietly with her mother. She heard his voice booming off the walls when he rode back from a hunt with a buck behind his saddle. She could see him in the yard, a practice sword in hand, hammering her father to the ground and turning to defeat Ser Rodrik as well. He will know me. How could he not? She considered throwing herself at his feet to beg for his protection. He never fought for Robb, why should he fight for me?

From the high battlements of the gatehouse, the whole world spread out below them. Sansa could see the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya’s hill, where her father had died. At the other end of the Street of the Sisters stood the fire-blackened ruins of the Dragonpit. To the west, the swollen red sun was half-hidden behind the Gate of the Gods. The salt sea was at her back, and to the south was the fish market and the docks and the swirling torrent of the Blackwater Rush. And to the north …She turned that way, and saw only the city, streets and alleys and hills and bottoms and more streets and more alleys and the stone of distant walls. Yet she knew that beyond them was open country, farms and fields and forests, and beyond that, north and north and north again, stood Winterfell.

but personally my favorite line about Sansa being always a Stark and belonging North in Winterfell  (Never a Lannister! , no matter who she marries) is this quote by Ned: 

When it was over, he said, “Choose four men and have them take the body north. Bury her at Winterfell.”

“All that way?” Jory said, astonished.

“All that way,” Ned affirmed. “The Lannister woman shall never have this skin.

Sansa whole story (to me) is about her journey retaking her Stark origins which were stolen from her in the worst of way, just like they killed her wolf Lady. But just like Lady remains, Sansa place is and always will be in the north, as a Stark of Winterfell. 

What is Benjen Stark’s deal?

Benjen Stark has been in it from the very start. He’s Ned Stark’s younger brother, who volunteered himself to the Night’s Watch (for reasons unknown). 

From day dot, Jon Snow and Uncle Benjen always had a bond. One we didn’t see with any of the other Stark kids. 

It seemed where everyone else treated him differently for being a bastard, Benjen didn’t. I wonder why. Could it be, Benjen knows who Jon really is? Could he have brought him to the Night’s Watch because he knew Aemon Targaryen was there? It’s not a stretch to think Ned may have shared his secret with Lyanna’s only other brother.

Uncle Benjen saw Jon to the Night’s Watch, went beyond the wall and never returned. But before he left, he told Jon:

Was he going to tell Jon what he knew? How ridiculously patient is Jon?! That’s the second time he’s been told “next time I see you”.

Anyway, we didn’t see Benjen for quite a while after this. He next popped up to save the day for Bran and Meera in S06E06, looking a little different.

It’s in this episode we learn from Benjen, after being “stabbed in the gut with a sword of ice” by a white walker beyond the wall -  he was brought back by the Children of the Forest. They pierced his heart with Dragonglass to do so. Somehow this stopped the magic and didn’t kill him. Maybe it’s something to do with the sword of ice? (Which, by the way is also a cheeky little nod to Ned Stark’s Valyrian steel sword, Ice.)

Just a thought: Is anyone else wondering why this is the Children of the Forest’s first go to? First the guy who turned into The Night King and now poor Benjen Stark. Why so violent, Children?

So technically speaking, Benjen is no longer completely alive. He’s actually some form of wight/human hybrid now and the magic that spells the wall to keep the wights away, prevents him from going back to the other side of it.

Benjen tells Meera and Bran, he serves the Three-Eyed Raven and that he sent for him to come and rescue them. He also already knows that Bran is now the Three-Eyed Raven and tells him that when the Night King comes to the wall, Bran will be there, ready. 

He wishes the two good fortune and says he’ll do what he can, for as long as he can. Did that mean he’s still serving the Three-Eyed Raven? 

Uncle Benjen’s next appearance after this is in S07E06. Again, he pops up to save the day. But for a different nephew this time, for Jon.

Jon’s understandably really shocked by Benjen being alive and you know, saving his ass from a LOT of wights. But when he asked him to come with him back to The Wall, Benjen only responds with “There’s no time”. Jon’s too cold and weak to argue.

Benjen then disappears into a sea of wights, we don’t actually see him die. I’d say it’s highly improbable he’s dead, deader? You know what I mean.

Coincidental though, right? Benjen turning up at just the moment Jon would have been killed. I’m not sure I believe in coincidence anymore. I think the Three-Eyed Raven sent him to save Jon. I think Bran’s way more powerful than we’ve seen yet. Is it possible he warged into something to check on Jon when Dany returned without him? Maybe one of the dragons (although that’s doubtful). Is it possible it was actually Bran, warging in Longclaw? Can Bran warg into inanimate objects?

I have so many questions.

And just one last thought to consider: If the sea around The Wall, freezes over, can the wights walk straight past it? Around the magic? And if so, can Benjen finally go home?

I really see some potential in this cage skirt. I think 2018 is going to be the year of major creative layering.

Harness Cage Skirt: Oblepikha Harness Shop, $110+, Buy it Here

Prompts: Running with the wolves- Aurora and the picture (X)

Jolene hates space. Hates each star that she can see from her bedroom window, hates the continuous revolution of the moons, the planets, all of it.

She especially hates them.

Tonight’s another festival, another party they can’t afford, and they aren’t even bothering to show up on time for their tithe. Jolene slinks through the shadows around the fire and barbeque and benches and glares at the space station hanging over them all.

Soon, she knows, a part will detach. It will be golden and it will sing as it enters the atmosphere. It will land just next to the oak tree, the oak tree that stopped throwing out leaves every year because of them. They will come out one by one with stars in their skin and strange eyes, wearing strange clothes that look like water and carefully not showing the fangs they hide in their mouth. Their leader will talk with the Mayor of their town, Jolene’s mother, and they will pretend to rehash the old agreement as if it hasn’t already been sworn in blood.

And then they will take away another one of Jolene’s friends and she will never see them again.

Jolene scowls up at the station, so much smaller than the first moon of the night. She hates them and she hates space and she hates her mother.

But maybe she hates herself the most.

She’s never been able to stop them.


She’s twelve the first time she realizes the people aren’t moving away. That’s what her mother tells her: the people move away. They want to. They are happy to.

She’s twelve when she sneaks into the Harvest Festival, excited to be doing something she shouldn’t for another four years.

She’s twelve when she sees the Star People come down from their ship. She watches from the shadows as their eyes scan (do they scan? They seem to have only irises and no pupils) the citizens. She watches her mother greet them warmly and be warmly greeted in return.

Then she watches the tall blue one, the one whose eyes seemed to skip over Jolene’s hiding place much too slowly, turn on Elaine Huxtable.

Elaine Huxtable shakes her head. Stumbles back. And tries to run.

Elaine is seventeen when Jolene is twelve, a willowy girl with the sun in her hair. She’s the fastest runner in her school and the youngest of her siblings.

Which is why Jolene doesn’t understand why no one is helping her.

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