you wear a crown but you are no longer king

“which one are you again?” 

“aegon, aunt.”

she looks at him with blank eyes–violet irises with pupils gone pale with age, searching through his face as if unable to articulate the question.

“maekar’s son, who was your cousin daeron’s fourth son.”

a smile cracked across her old face.  “aegon.  of course.  i thought.  but no.  no that would have been years before, and he never named a son after himself.”  

“no, he didn’t, aunt,” aegon agreed, knowing she meant her cousin aegon the unworthy.  she was old–older than anyone else in the palace, or so it seemed.  

“i went to your wedding,” she said.  “to the blackwood girl.  not missy, though she looked rather like her.  what was her name?”

“betha,” aegon says.  

“betha.  yes.  betha.  not bethany.  she was a bracken, and older besides.  how many years ago was that?”

“thirteen.”

“thirteen.  i was positively young then, wasn’t i?  how old was i?”

“we were wed just after your seventieth name day.”

“seventy and then thirteen.  so that would make me eighty three.  gods i had not thought to live this long.  daena died before thirty, and i can still remember her face…and would you know? i used to be able,” she waved a gnarled finger in the air, “i’d once have been able to do that math in my head.  seventy plus thirteen is eighty three.  yes.   but i fade.  that’s age.  fading eyes, fading wits, fading memory.” she looked at him again with those pale eyes.  “aegon.  son of maekar, son of daeron my dear beloved cousin.  i loved him.”

“i know, aunt,” aegon says.

“and you had a little sister.  rhae, was it?”

“rhae and daella.  two of them.”

“yes, but rhae was the one who was frightened of me. i heard her telling your father so once.  didn’t want to wish me a happy name day.”

aegon blinked, and almost laughed.  “i’d forgotten that.”

“i suppose there’s something left in this old mind,” cackled elaena targaryen.  “she was a sweet girl.  afraid of getting old.  that’s youth for you.  afraid of all the wrong things.”

she gave him a significant look and he felt a chill go up his spine.  if rhae had been afraid of aunt elaena because she was old, aegon had always been nervous about her because somehow she always managed to–

“i raised seven children,” she said, patting his arm.  “but you weren’t one of them.  i know when you’re frightened.  you only ever come find me when you’re frightened.”

aegon swallowed.  

“if you wait much longer to spit it out, i may die,” she japed and aegon felt his mouth open in surprise.  how rarely did he speak with her these days that those words would surprise him?  he knew she had a cutting tongue, and spoke her mind.  betha had liked her very well in the early days at court, before their children, before she’d begun to make friends, before elaena had grown too old to easily make her way across the red keep to take tea with her.  and now she barely remembers betha…a face in a sea of people over a long life, i suppose.  he would tell betha to visit her when he was done.  if you wait much longer to spit it out, i may die.

“aunt elaena, what if they make me king?”

elaena targaryen frowned.  “you have older brothers.”

“aerion is dead, and aemon wears a maester’s chain.  he did not say if he would put it aside for the crown.  what if he doesn’t.  what if i’m to be king?  i don’t want to be king.”

“good.”

“what?”

“no man in his right mind should want to be a king.”

that made aegon smile, though he couldn’t say he was amused.  

“if they make you king, they make you king.  it’s an unfortunate thing–most kings don’t decide to be king.  it happens to them.  you’ll be part of that grand tradition.”

“yes but…but i’m not prepared.  i was supposed to be a knight of the kingsguard.”

“and now you’re married with heirs and next in line for the throne after your brother who has none but you.”

aegon swallowed.  “yes,” he said, his voice the uncomfortable midway point between a whisper and a murmur.  

“what?  speak up, boy.”  

he cleared his throat.  “yes, aunt.”

“that’s a good thing to be afraid of.  kingship and your first foray of fatherhood.  that was the last time, you know.”

“the last time what?”

“the last time you came to me frightened.  i remember now.” she was smiling and there were gaps between some teeth where others had fallen from her gums.  she seemed less addled as if she were able to pull the world together around her despite being barely able to see and hear.  did she remember?  or did she just guess–correctly–that as betha had taken to her birthing bed, aegon had gone to find his aunt who had born seven children, since his own mother and grandmother were long dead.  “fear’s a good sign,” she continued.  “a sign you’re not stupid.  neither mad nor stupid.  a good start to a reign.”

aegon tried to laugh.

“what if i am bad at it?  what if i’m worse than aegon the unworthy and all the kingdoms spit upon my memory?”

“don’t worry about that.  you’ll be dead,” elaena said dryly.  “why do men always worry about how they’ll be remembered?  i’ve never understood.  daeron and conquering dorne, baelor and his sept, aegon and his manhood…daeron was the only one with a head on his shoulder and he was called daeron the good because of it.  aim for that.  or aim for no one remembering you so they’ll remember how odd it was you made it to your throne to begin with, youngest son of a youngest son that you are.”

“yes, but–”

“no.  no buts.  don’t worry about how the histories will write you.  someone will always hate some king or another.  that’s how it goes.  do good.  be good.  serve.  that’s what it is to be king–serving.  some kings think it’s the other way around but they’re wrong.  don’t be that arrogant, or you shan’t be a very good one. and you’re neither mad nor stupid.  you have that as an advantage already.  don’t squander it.”

“yes aunt,” aegon said.  she made it sound so very easy, but that had always been aunt elaena.  even when he’d been a boy, the way she’d spoken about the crown’s accounts, the kingdoms’ economy as though it were something even a child could master…how stunning she was.  he’d only begun to realize as she’d grown too old and her mind had begun to fade.

“you won’t be alone,” she added.  “you’ve your ser duncan to help keep your head on properly.  and me so long as i’m alive, but you and i both know i shan’t last forever.  and i’m sure betha will have her opinions.  she’s always had them.  it’s what i liked about her to begin with.”

“oh, i imagine her opinions won’t be going anywhere,” aegon laughed, though he didn’t truly feel humored.  “but it all feels…well it’s no matter.  perhaps aemon will shed his chain.”

“you and i both know he won’t,” elaena said, and her voice cut through the room, and aegon stiffened.  “that boy’s headstrong.  all of maekar’s boys were.  comes from maekar himself, and dyanna.  she was a stubborn one too.  just like betha.  he gave his word when he forged his chain and put aside his name.  that’ll be that.  you’ll be the next king.  best to prepare yourself for that now.”

aegon took a deep breath.  she was right of course.  he remembered his grandfather saying something like that once.  “always listen to elaena.  she’s always right.”

they sat quietly for a time, and aegon staring vaguely out of the window. king aegon.  aegon the fifth.  aegon the unlikely.  that’s how he’d be remembered, he was sure of it.  youngest son of a youngest son.  why do men always worry about how they’ll be remembered?

he heard a shuffling snore.

he glanced back at aunt elaena.  her head had rolled forward and her pale eyes were closed and she had fallen asleep.  aegon got to his feet and found a woolen wrap and wrapped it gently around her.  she was old.  he dreaded that she would catch a cold.

A cold sun shines into colder hearts, and the lions roar shatters, glittering like a diamond in the midwinter heat.

We are far away now. Ships travel fast when there’s no water to sink them. The compass doesn’t point North, and we don’t need it to, to reach where we’re going.

The sun’s golden crown collects the dust that it’s king has become. You snarl at the stars and dream of sounds that don’t break on your lips. You sing.

A frozen locket hangs from my neck and I tuck away my wild wolf grin. The moon wears a circlet of silver rings and spins tales older than time. I wait.

The lunar queen girl and the solar prince boy; wolves and lions pacing the deck of a ship on a journey that will never end.

You, lion prince, the boy with a voice like glass. The sun will warm under your touch and I will no longer rule alone.

I, wolf queen, the girl with a locket around her neck, and a lock upon her heart. The moon will gleam beside my breath, and you will no longer falter.

A broken compass will lead you if you don’t know where you’re going. The moon is in my wolfs grin, and the sun shimmers on your broken glass words.
We sing a silent song to the sky

for the echo.

—  Lockets can’t hold lions, by k.t
Haircare (Or: How Thorin convinced Bilbo to stop cutting his hair)

Since @mithrilbikini, @rutobukaisdead and @ahiddenkitty all posted amazing art of Bilbo with long hair (1 | 2 | 3 ), I tried to write it.

So have fluff: Bilbo grows out his hair out of curiosity and Thorin helps him to care for it.

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My darling… goodness. How has it already been a year since your last birthday? You’re growing up too fast ;A; More has happened in the last year than ever before. I think I might say that every year, but each year you’re alive is more exciting than the last, both in practice and sentiment. I’ve now seen you up close in person four times and both my head and heart are still reeling from those encounters. Especially on the final night of SMTown Week when you finally saw me… ;~; <3 I love you now more than ever and I feel as though I may burst at any minute with the swelling pressure of it. 

Despite the lack of Super Junior activities this year, you have kept yourself quite busy. This year has been speckled with your various talents and accomplishments, punctuated by new endeavors and outlined by sides of you we’ve never seen before. 

I am speaking, of course, of Mamma Mia. The light on the horizon of your career this year, speaking from a Gaemer’s point of you. Generally speaking, you like to keep yourself reserved and calm. Perhaps you are aware of the air of mystery it creates and you revel in it. Or maybe you think nothing of it and it’s simply a part of the shy, self-conscious boy we all know and love. But on Mamma Mia, it’s like we got to see through a little window… into a compartment you don’t willingly showcase. You seemed more in your element there than any other television program I’ve ever seen you on. Not only did you continuously leave your comfort zone and come out of your shell on the show, but you shed your shell completely. And I’m so, so proud. You’ve blossomed into the most beautiful and rare flower and it’s been an honor and a privilege to watch you grow. You were able to use not only your wit and charm, but also your playfulness and youth. As an idol, you were forced to grow up too fast. You were robbed of your personal life and in exchange were handed a persona. But on Mamma Mia, I felt like the laid-back atmosphere allowed you to be yourself more. You were able to experience new situations and try new activities, things you may never have gotten the opportunity to try had it not been for the show. From chopping wood to riding a horse, everything you did was so cute and entertaining because it was so new to you. I think the transformation you underwent on the show lent itself to your overall development as a person this past year. You’re willing to try so much more than in the past and you seem so much more comfortable within in your own skin and it warms my heart. :’) 

Furthermore, I cannot neglect to mention your most recent musical… just.. wow. When I heard it would be set in the Josen Dynasty, I was overjoyed because I knew you would be as well, what with your love of historical dramas. And now you’re in one. And not only that but you’re a king. No longer are you merely my king, but you finally get to be acknowledged as that which I always saw you. Finally you’re able to adorn the robes and crown that have always been so rightfully yours. And as someone who has now seen the musical twice, I can say that you wear them better than anyone ever has.  You were born for this role. The playful, cute side and the brooding, passionate side. A hopeless romantic through and through, I can’t imagine a better choice than you to play this role. And your voice. I think the goosebumps I felt the first time I heard you sing in that opera house will be permanently raised on my skin. No words can describe the sensation I feel when I hear your voice resound through the hall, when I hear your voice break in sorrow, or when I see a smile split across your voice. Your acting has improved so much to the point where I believe every emotion you convey as the Crowned Prince. 

When I saw you during SM Town Week, the first thought that crossed my mind was “He was born for this.”  And you were. Every quality you possess, every feature you were blessed with, blends in a way that creates an aura around you, an aura that only a chosen few could ever hope to conjure. But what’s amazing about you, is that you have control over that aura, over the shining halo that hangs above your head. You can seemingly extinguish it within a moment’s notice depending on the situation. When you just want to kick back and be normal for once, that’s exactly what you are, in the most unadulteratedly beautiful sense of the word. Your fame doesn’t cloud your judgement or your ability to love and live.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to have every private detail of my life pried into and exploited, but you still manage to have a life beyond what’s captured on camera. You don’t let your fame get in the way of living, and I think that says a lot about your character.  You don’t overindulge your fans but instead live as someone we as fans can be proud of. Not to say those things are mutually exclusive, but I think the balance you’ve established is one of the most admirable things about you. 

That all being said, I think you’ve successfully kept yourself grounded all this time. You’ve kept your friends from your childhood while ceaselessly making new ones along the way. I think it’s safe to say you have a friend for every day of the year, so that you’ll never ever be lonely again. The timid, unwanted boy who joined the industry all that time ago is no more. The man that stands before us now could blind us with his light and brings us to our knees in awe of him. With a heart of gold and a voice of velvet, you utilize your God-given gifts to make the world a warmer and kinder place, at least for me. You are an outstandingly beautiful boy with a glowing soul and overflowing talent. You’d think after four years I’d be able to at least have gotten closer to being able to fathom your existence, but it’s like the more I learn about you, the more I see, hear, soak up and experience… the less possible it seems. 

Being perfect means “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be” and to me, you do. I don’t think perfection is objective… I think I used to, but now that notion seems silly. What’s perfect to me may seem garish and skewed to someone and vice versa. I am not interested in someone with no faults, someone with flawless skin or someone who is impossible to anger. I don’t have time for someone with no dark inside them, because how then can we marvel at the light with nothing to compare it to? Without one extreme, how can we appreciate the other? To have faults is to be human and to be human is to be alive. And that’s all I ask for. The elements, qualities and characteristics Kyuhyun possess to me are all ideal and never have I encountered someone with quite as much life as Kyuhyun’s got. He’s practically brimming with it and I couldn’t be more enamored of him. 

Continue to love and laugh and be happy, but know that it’s always okay to fight, cry and be sad, too, for that is what is to be human and therefore, alive. Do not feel ashamed to feel these emotions and never apologize for experiencing them. My only wish is that the days filled with negative emotions are limited as possible for you, Cho Kyuhyun. Although I have now seen you, I hope to one day be able to tell you… everything… or at least convey to you in some way how special you are. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times; you are a miracle Cho Kyu. And every day you shine your light is a miracle to everyone it touches.  Thank you for improving my quality of life, even if you’re unaware of the extent of it. Thank you for sharing your voice and your smile and your humor. Thank you for being alive. I love you, so much, and I look forward to spending the rest of my days looking up to you. I try not to idolize you, because I would never do you the disservice of depriving you of your humanity, but I do think you are definitely worthy of our admiration and a very suitable role model. 

Happy birthday, Cho Kyu. I hope it’s filled with as much joy as you’ve bestowed upon me (which, mind you, is un-quantifiable amount). Again, I love you and I thank you ♥