All Stories have…
Born on the 21st of December to Ser Jon Charlton and Lady Kaytlin Charlton; Aeliana Charlton niece of Lord Charlton, youngest child and only daughter of the Lord's brother, the baby sister of Aleister Charlton entered the world screaming at the top of her very tiny lungs. A shrill horror of sound that refused to stop. Not for a mother's touch, not for a wetnurse. Not even her father's gruff lullaby. The constant crying did not cease until a smaller head poked into the room and demanded, with dark brown accusing eyes, to know just what the Stranger was interrupting his sleep. For her brother Aleister then, and no one else, would Aeliana Charlton go quiet.
It was the only point in her young life that there would ever be such a problem. Indeed, by all accountings Aeliana was a charming child; easily entertained by the Septa who had care of her, Aeliana took to the world with a bright eyed interest that meant no corner and no stone was left unturned. As such, the bumbling girl's adventurous ways meant she often trailed 'pon the heels of her older brothers, until…there were no more heels to tail and they'd been sent away to serve time as a pages and follow studies of their own.
After that, Aeliana developed interests of her own, though she'd a fondness for animals and being out of doors. As was expected one born to such privilege and opportunity, the most was made of each and every one that presented itself; yet those at which she excelled were those that required the use of one's mind, with a particular emphasis against the written word. Beneath her Septa's tutelage Aeliana developed a knack for needlepoint and against her wishes, an indulgence for steel. A trick that she'd have never managed had it not been for a brother who chose to help spoil her instead, every time he was home and an Uncle, who helped spoil her with his every visit.
But of course, Aeliana would not always be there herself. No, indeed the girl too went abroad, abroad and unto Kellen, to be spoiled and adored by her Uncle; abroad and unto the Twins, where she served as lady in waiting to those who would…never quite compare to her in looks. If Aeliana had learned to weave a story before she left, then she perfected the art while there on her stay, offering compliment where none was truly earned and a kindness where she felt only bliase disregard. Charming, by all accounts. Something for which the reports home would only praise her, while she focused upon those skills required to survive as a lady.
It was there she learned something else, as well, a truth to gossips and the ways of it, while a mutual enjoyment was taken with those Frey daughters who'd a passion for healing arts and herbal remedies. Quaint, yes, but permissible all the same. It gave them something instead of simply needlework over which to bond and in that as well, Aeliana excelled. But always, always, she let someone else pick their direction. Should one of her new friends suddenly…profess an interest in ravens? Then it was ravens of which she learned, or horseflesh, or on indulgent little lording, who fell prey to her charm and began teaching her the arts of cypher; something of which her brother was kind enough to further. And if her brother wasn't there to teach her? Well, there was always her Uncle.
Dearest Uncle Harry, beloved of a certainty. If it could not be managed at home? Then it was to Kellen that she ran, to flitter about and play beneath her Uncle's watchful eye, as Lady of the keep or…when it was Wicked who caught her eye…stableboy. Because Aeliana fell in love with the courser at first sight. It helped too, that everything she'd learned by book, he gave her room to practice beneath his ever watchful eyes; teaching her how best to rub along with the people and how better to keep accounts, furthering those teachings that she'd one day take with her into marriage, even as he offered his guidance simply on how to be a better person. One who wasn't afraid of hard work and willing to wade through the muck, when times required.
In the spring of 288, not mere months after Aleister himself was settled comfortably into marriage, Aeliana began a courtship of which the bards may sing, with a lord two years her senior, by the name of Cazpher Whent; who had only been recently knighted. It left him flush with dreams and aspirations, the desire to prove himself and his mettle so recently earning his spurs. It was a sense of honor then, that led him to his death. Of hope filled dreams that would never be made flesh; the world was not so kind a place as Cazpher may have dreamed. He died, then, on Pyke, felled in the chaos.
It took Aeliana almost a month to hear of his death in Hollyholt and they say that the sound of her cries could be heard from behind closed doors by her maids for almost a week and that when she finally stepped foot back into society; after two months of hiding away from prying eyes in her Uncle's home, it was adorned in naught but black. For six long months she mourned him, the wilted rose, the abandoned love. And even now, to speak of him courts sadness to her eyes, or at least, such is what the young woman would have one believe. The truth is a far different story; wrapped up in a wealth of letters kept hidden away from even the prying eyes of a beloved family. Everyone needs secrets.
So Aeliana left the comfort of Hollyholt and Kellen to go in search of her own and as some would whisper and in truth, a husband. Fled to her brother's keep, where the meddling socialite tempers a subtle hand against the politics of the realm within those Houses that she visits, almost as much as she keeps her fingers against her own. Sheltering the war with the Naylands on Terrick's land, in between regular visits to the Charlton war camp, where she held meetings with brother and uncle both.
In the wake of it, she travels still, like a leaf caught upon the wind reaping good will in her wake, if one discounts a tinsy little run-in with a goodsister who was never anything but good. Still, accidents happen and she weathers the storm, intent on mending opinions and collecting allies for her family and with it, perhaps a new name for herself; though that of Ashwood was never her intention. And the storm that's proving the hardest to weather, is the one that bespoke the loss of a brother who'd meant to the girl, the world.
But weather she did, and in style. For in March of 290, Aeliana Charlton, turned Ashwood, married the Young Lord Ser Stafford Groves in grand fashion, despite the turmoil in the realm. Their courtship was a long affair and rocky at times, but survived and there are those that say, she seems happier for it. The only question remains, what's next?