T W E N T Y - F I V E

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"My lady, what are you doing?" Elaine questioned as she stirred awake from her cot across the tent

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"My lady, what are you doing?" Elaine questioned as she stirred awake from her cot across the tent. She rubbed her tired eyes, yawning loudly as her eyes register how late it was, the hour night must have been unholy for Ladies and yet here was one of the most important, strapping her boots on and adjusting her dress. She hadn't heard her, not even noticing the few candles that illuminated the tent just enough for someone to walk without stumbling.

Victoria cursed herself lowly for awakening the blonde, offering her a sheepish smile. "My apologies, Elaine, I hoped to not make much noise. I can't sleep anymore, I thought maybe a nice walk could tire me. Maybe I'll start the day early."

"No apology necessary, Victoria," Elaine said with sincerity as she prepared to stand. "Give me time to change and I'll follow—"

Victoria stood with her hands up and shook her head, "God's no, you're tired and I've already troubled you enough. Sleep, get rest for tomorrow we will be riding longer than ever before. Sir Trout will be awake, he mentioned assuring our travels. I'll ask him for a walk."

"You know what the others will say this late at night." Elaine readjusted herself in the warm cot, voice low as she tried not to offend.

Victoria rolled her eyes and shrugged her shoulders as lifted her father coat, "let them talk, at least I'll walk in public, not in the silent meadows where no eyes fall."

Her voice was bitter as she fastened the button of the coat and her cheeks reddened, Robb would never learn, she thought silently. The thought now seemed like nothing more then a statement, anger began to lessen after her talk with Jamie. Perhaps she'd said more truths in those words then she'd done for the last few months. It seemed like she'd hidden many things, even more then she'd anticipated.

Her head had swirled after the conversation with the Kingslayer, thoughts of him repeated, that sorting smile he'd given her. He'd won, even covered in dirt and injured, trapped like a caged animal, there was no denying that somehow he had always been right. The Lannister has guessed correctly, and it seemed like the panther was coming to agree.

"Victoria," Elaine has gained her attention.

Victoria had lost herself, eyes directed towards her tightened fists before she sucked in a cold breath of air and soothed her nerves. "I need to walk, Elaine, that's it. There are too many thoughts, I want to leave some out in the open air."

Elaine nodded, turning back to her cot and readjusting.

Victoria quietly made her way out, nodding her head politely to the soldiers that guarded her tent. They looked back at her and bowed respectfully. "Lady Valiente."

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