Character: Hanni Reeseimg-thing.jpg
House: House Antirran
Kingdom: the Reach
Date: Day 2 of the Hand's Tourney

The feast hall was packed tight with many of the most influential lords in Westeros. Though Hanni didn’t know who, she was sure her future husband awaited her somewhere in the crowd.

Ten enormous tabled filled the room with an impossible number of chairs and benches. Lords and ladies alike sat around the tables, eagerly eating the wide array of delicious food. The room was abuzz with the sound of gossip. Many excitedly recounted the death of Ser Hugh of the Vale. More still whispered in none too hushed tones of Lord Jarden’s drunken foolishness the evening prior.

A pack of giggles sounded from down the table. Hanni knew without looking their fingers and faces were pointing in her direction. Hanni picked up her fan for the countless time and began cooling the reddening lady sitting to her left. Though the task was something a servant would be more suited for, Hanni couldn’t help but sympathize with Lady Shannyn.

Most ladies live their lives in arranged marriages picked out by their fathers. Over the years as a Lady-in-Waiting, Hanni slowly learned Shannyn’s father was lenient and allowed her the freedom to choose her own husband. Recently, thoughts on her lady's marriage plagued her mind more often now that Hanni’s own marriage loomed ever nearer.

“Why him?” Hanni asked with considerable less tact than normal.

“Why whom?” returned Lady Shannyn, curiosity replacing the embarrassment on her face.

“Lord Jarden,” Hanni braced herself. “Why did you marry him?” Lady Shannyn blanched from the forward nature of the question, cheeks reddening once more.

"I would rather not speak on this subject." Shannyn said haughtily. The image of commanding lady was marred by the faraway, reminiscent look in her eyes.

After spending countless hours by her side, Hanni knew when to push her lady and when to back down. Hanni continued fanning, never letting up from her weighted stare. Hanni knew it was a far cry from the look her step-mother could produce, but endless belittling memories of her childhood harrier allowed Hanni a close facsimile. Lady Shannyn's conviction soon wavered as she fidgeted under Hanni's weighted stare.

"Fan harder,” Lady Shannyn said. “I can hardly feel the breeze." Hanni obliged while watching her lady squirm, Lady Shannyn's face becoming redder by the second.

Shannyn’s lip quivered with the force of holding back a tide of truths. Hanni waited, patiently smug, for the dam to break. Hanni met her lady’s eyes once more and Shannyn’s head finally bowed in defeat.

“Fine,” Shannyn snapped, ripping the fan from Hanni’s fingers. “He wasn’t always like this, not when I first met him.” Lady Shannyn fanned herself faster while a downcast smile played on her lips. “He could tell the best jokes, you know. A whole room, bursting with laughter, but no matter how much he’d goof off, his men would follow him absolutely. One minute a jester, the next a lord in command. Quite impressive, really. I think that’s why I chose him.”

Hanni thought of the loud, drunken man who only the evening prior ruined all of House Antirran’s night and reputation with a crude drinking song. Hanni knew he was purposely left at Cellarhall to avoid the very dilemma they were in. “Lord Jarden? But he’s not anything like that now.” Hanni stated, trying to keep the suspicion out of her voice. Lord Jarden hadn’t lorded over his own abode for as long as Hanni had been in Cellarhall, much less his entire registry.

“Much has changed.” Lady Shannyn desponded.

“What happened?”

“A combination of things, I think.” Shannyn remembered, face glum as she recounted. “When Darus first became ill, I believe that’s what started it. He began using wine to wash away his feelings. Soon he was drunk every night and from there it wasn’t much of a leap to drinking at first light. It became something he couldn’t live without. That’s the man you know today.” Shannyn slumped her shoulders, a sigh escaping her lips. “He’s not Jarden anymore.” She whispered.

Hanni sat in an awkward stunned position. Her lady looked like she would shatter at the slightest brush and Hanni didn’t know what to do. Lady Shannyn spilled her secrets like Hanni wanted but now she regretted asking. Lady Shannyn was one of the few people in Westeros she truly called friend. Despite that, she never liked crying girls and felt very uncomfortable with Lady Shannyn about to lose herself in the feasting hall. The gods know House Antirran didn’t need any more scandals during their stay in King’s Landing.

“How about I get you some warm spiced wine.” Hanni said, jumping to her feet not really asking her lady. She was already half way across the room by the time Lady Shannyn realized what had happened.

Hanni looked around the massive feasting hall, wondering if they served spiced wine. Her gaze wandered to the guests. Those sitting closest to the royals table were dressed in expensive silks which dripped gems and gold. Hanni looked at her own dress. The simple princess cut she wore was all the rage in the capitol. Hanni had ordered new dresses to be made in the new fashion but having no idea what a true King’s Landing lady’s dress looked like, it was all guess work. Her servants came close, but the lack of embroidery and the addition of a waistline was all wrong. Hanni was embarrassed by the obvious blunder but having brought only her new gowns, she had little other options.

A wandering hand snaked its way across Hanni’s lower back and pulled her closer. “There’s the beautiful Lady Hanni” said the man behind her. A shiver ran up her spine, the smell of beer and Merlot that accompanied the man was enough to curl her teeth. Turning around and gracefully extracting herself, Hanni discovered it was Orland Cheshard, a man she’d met the previous evening. Her nose almost wrinkled in disgust at seeing his face up close. The boils dotting his skin appeared larger than before.

“Ah, Lord Orland, it’s lovely to see you again.” Hanni smiled, knowing the fool before her would interpret affection from the action.

Orland’s awry grin leered back at her, showing off his mouthful of crooked horse teeth. “As are you, Lady Hanni.” Orland smoothed out, alcohol clouding any charm he thought he’d said. “Tell me, did you enjoy the tourney today?” Lord Orland leaned in as he asked the question, his hands started creeping towards her once more.

“Oh yes,” Hanni said, stepping slightly out of his reaching hands by pretending to be lost in thought. Orland, too drunk to keep up with her twirling movement, stumbled forward. “Lord Orland? Are you alright?”

“Ah…” he said straightening. “Yes… I’m fine.” He smoothed the wrinkles on his trousers with little effect in hopes Hanni hadn’t seen him nearly fall on his face.

“Would you like me to escort you back to your table?” Hanni asked, ignoring his attempt at a coverup. She tried to keep her excitement down to a charming level so as not to spook him as she led him to his table, despite her earlier question. Her hands on his arm was enough for his dull mind to be distracted from her shepherding him to his table.

“Is this your house?” Hanni asked Lord Orland. “Introduce me.” She prompted.

Gaining back his senses, he seemed to understand he’d appeared at his table. “Mother, Father, I would like to introduce you to Lady Hanni of House Reese, Lady-in-Waiting to Lady Shannyn of House Antirran.” Hanni gave a shallow curtsy. She was impressed Lord Orland managed to get through her titles with only a small amount of slurring. “Lady Hanni, this is Lord Ringert and Lady Vandelle of House Cheshard.”

Lady Vandelle gave Hanni an appraising look, then smiled. Her teeth were just as crooked as her son’s with an odd, pointed quality to them that gave her smile a menacing feel. “Lady Hanni, hello.”

While Hanni exchanged pleasantries with House Cheshard, she couldn’t help but notice how each member was distressingly ugly in their own way. Her cheeks ached as the smile plastered to her lips faltered momentarily as she caught sight of a Cheshard whose eyes bulged so much she thought they had fallen out. Hanni’s stomach turned as their faces riled her gag reflex.

Hanni tried to peer across the room but she couldn’t see her table located in the opposite corner. She pretended she could nonetheless, making excuses of her lady needing her. For some reason, the Cheshards seemed smitten with her and were sad to see her go, which surprised Hanni. She couldn’t remember even trying that hard. All she could recall was each hideous face as it deformed into a smile when she talked to them. Perhaps her utter lack of comment or revulsion over their appearances was what had them in the palm of her hand, though she couldn’t imaging an entire house being that starved of companionship, especially not one as influential as House Cheshard. If they were, she supposed it would work in her favor.

Hanni strode across the room but halfway there she remembered why she’d left her table in the first place. “Ah, the spiced wine.” she said, her hand smacking her forehead. She’d forgotten all about Lady Shannyn and the state she’d left her in. Her lady will definitely not be happy when she returns, Hanni thought, outwardly groaning at the ceiling.

Hanni changed course, heading instead to the wine barrels in hopes of finding spiced wine. Gavin Oakheart stood over the barrels of wine, overseeing the payments of bought cups and bottles. Hanni hoped to avoid Gavin, foolish thought it may be. Wherever money was, Gavin wasn’t far behind. He had a bad habit of standing too close to her and leering down on her with unreadable eyes.

“Hello, Gavin. Do you have spiced wine? Lady Antirran requests some.” she said, hoping he wouldn’t look at her.

“Sorry, Hanni,” Gavin said, looking at her. “Spiced wine is more of a winter wine. We didn’t bring any to a summer feast.”

“Whatever is fine, then,” she said, hoping he’d be quick about it. He came back with a filled glass and Hanni took it without as much as a ‘thank you’.

Hanni carefully made her way to her table, not spilling a drop of the wine she hoped would be excuse enough for her long absence.

“Woah there, beautiful. Whererr you off te in such a hurry?” A man twice as thick as normal was busy blocking her path and looking down her dress. “I’m Lord Jacor of House Norridge, a might-y fine House from the north.” Hanni gave him a once over. Clothes of average quality, no sigil sewn onto his vest and Hanni’s lack of knowledge on any House Norridge led her to believe his house was not nearly so grand as he said.

“Shove off. I’m not in the mood to deal with another one of your kind.” Hanni sneered. She went around the fuming northman and continued to her table.

“Are there no quality men anywhere in Westeros?” Hanni sighed to herself. She neared House Antirran’s table and saw the still distraught Lady Shannyn. “And if there are, are there any who stay good?”