Considered, perhaps unkindly, the least beautiful of the Banefort daughters, Shayla is instead known and loved for her faith and chastity. Enterprising and intelligent, above guile yet not lacking in determination, she serves her family with quiet, steadfast loyalty and treats everyone, regardless of birth, with the same compassion.
“The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.”
PB: Cynthia Nixon
Age: 38 (or thereabouts)
From: Cape of Eagles
loyal, devout, stubborn, level-headed
The fourth daughter of a merchant family within the Cape of Eagles, Belaset was swiftly turned over to her study of the faith when she turned 10, the very same time her brother was dispatched to begin service as a page. It might sound harsh. But what chance, -really-, would a fourth daughter have had of a fruitful and beneficial marriage? If anything, she'd end up a fisherwife. So she counts her blessings with no ill will for her parents decision, often writing letters to inform them of her travels and learning. With eight long years spent in ongoing study at the Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing, the young woman - who swiftly developed an affinity for worship of The Crone - was placed in apprenticeship under an elder within the Banefort household, expected to assist him with his preferred area of healing; chiurgeonry and herbalism, that sort of thing. But a soft heart posed a troublesome thing, when it came to battle injuries (and a weak stomach for the sight of blood). Make no mistake, the woman has skill in treating the needy.. but if someone else is available to do so, she'll willingly step aside. Very willingly. At twenty, she was appointed as tutor and governess to the younger members within the ruling family: among them the sons and daughters of Lord Erik. Eighteen years on, having become truly content in her role, Belaset is a cheerful woman, with a steadfast faith and obstinately defended morality.
As the eldest daughter, the Lady Shayla took up much of the woman's time, as she drilled her in the practices of courtly etiquette and hierarchy, as well as the occasionally tedious lessons of heraldry. What she fails to admit is the heartache her moving on brought - she had cared for the girl since she was only eight and had developed a special fondness for the quiet, studious yet warm and considerate child. Since her charge's return she has remained near constantly by her side, as friend and confidante. As Shayla planned her departure from the Banefort once more, Belaset petitioned the Lady Edith, asking and being granted permission to accompany the woman on her travels. There is little more to say, at a glance - Septa Belaset keeps to herself when she is not counselling her beloved Lady. Every woman has hidden depths, of course. It's simply that she never lets anyone close enough to fathom her own.
PB: Emma Watson
easily-led, fast learner, coquettish, hopeless romantic
Some women are simply born with a strict sense of right and wrong, of realism and fantasy, whimsy and good sense. Esme is not one of those women. Born of a lesser family in Riverrun, somewhere between common and noble, she was the center of great hopes and ambitions on her mother's part. Marry well, marry grand! was all she heard, more or less, from a young age. But unless one is born into such ways, it can be difficult to emulate the subtleties of the courts.
Esme and Shayla first encountered one another when the latter was residing at the Golden Tooth, where the girl had been sent to serve in the staff of House Lefford. It seemed to make sense to the Lord and Lady that their good-daughter have a comely young handmaid to chaperone her, and to perhaps learn something of decorum in turn. It can only be said that Lady Shayla does her best, with great patience, to teach Esme to be more ladylike.. but it's difficult when she so enjoys the girl's mischievous streak and romantic notions. Leaving her behind was out of the question.
||Drystan de Mabrey
PB: David Boreanaz
honorable, rough around the edges, disgraced vassal house
As Captain of the Stormstrider, and a hardened Knight, Drystan fought well and bravely during the Ironborn Invasion, gaining the recognition of his superiors. But he is far from finished restoring the honor of his House, in the eyes of most.
As a show of trust and good faith, in gratitude for Drystan saving the life of his second son in a particularly nasty skirmish on the shores of Pyke, Lord Erik has appointed him with a new charge: the guardianship of his daughter, Lady Shayla, while she travels within the Riverlands. The two have worked together well in the past, in the matters of trade and other business surrounding the Banefort's seafaring. It's a shrewd opportunity, offering the gallant man his chance to make connections, either in further trade or esteem, while serving in a respectable position. Not many people get such a second chance.
'A widow is a fascinating being with the flavor of maturity, the spice of experience, the piquancy of novelty, the tang of practiced coquetry, and the halo of one man's approval.'
The second-eldest of eight, and the first daughter of Lord Erik, Shayla Banefort was always guaranteed to find certain demands placed upon her, in name and birthright. Vassals of the Lannisters, the Banefort's seat occupies the western coast of Westeros - rocky and formidable lands under the constant threat of raiding and piracy from the Iron Isles. The locale alone demanded the family develop the means to trade and travel by sea, and as such the likelihood of foreign union in wedlock was ever high.
As a child, and the little sister of her House's heir, Quenten, one might have supposed the young lady to be a little spoiled. Such was not the case. While there was no lack of affection between she and her mother, it was considered her duty to learn from the moment she could walk and talk how she ought to do so in the manner most befitting to a proper noblewoman, and the name she represented. Besides, as it would turn out, Anais and Elinor were always the striking beauties of the family. Less gifted in looks, in her opinion, Shayla dedicated herself to improvement in every other aspect demanded of a noble wife. Lessons upon lessons, practice upon practice. She was an amenable little thing, all blonde hair and big eyes, and she soaked up these pursuits with an almost alarming capacity. When one topic was mastered, she was simply put to the next - from honing her formidable skills in embroidery and that enviable eye for fine weave, to studying the methods of seafaring and viable means of trade with neighbouring and distant lands alike. The necessity of boats, however, did leave her with something of a fear of horses. They were so rarely seen, beyond hauling produce across the mountainous landscape. Certainly not a noble means of transport.
Shayla was, of course, eventually betrothed.. well, perhaps a little above her station. But the demeanour and austerity with which she carried herself, even as a youngster, benefited her greatly in the courts of the wealthier houses; helped by the shrewd machinations of her parents.
Her husband, whom she wed at 16, was the Young Lord Malcom, heir to House Lefford of the Golden Tooth, the richest of all the Lannister vassals and guardians of the route from east to west.
Leaving her beloved siblings behind her, Shayla took to the opulence of the Lefford court with elegance and ease, as her family would expect. Yet still, she never seemed to crave the finery and fortune the way her peers did. Oh, she enjoyed the lush fabrics laid before her by the tailors, she admired the jewelled trinkets brought from far and wide to entreat her husband. But the young woman gave always the impression that these things could be taken or left. She didn't need them. Perhaps that explained the warmth of her new kin toward her. The Leffords were not known for tenderness, and had not reached their elevated position without a little ruthlessness in their wake.
Malcom, though, was a thoughtful husband. Kind, in his way, though awkward in others. As the years passed, the pair grew accustomed, and a strange equilibrium of routine and understanding became a solid foundation in their union. Love? Of a sort. Passion? Well.. no. But there are more important things. The Young Lord's obvious fondness for his sweet-natured wife was noted by many. But the lack of children, after a period of years, was the matter more often discussed at tables around the Westerlands. Was she barren? Had they even consumated their marriage? Did Malcom find himself disappointed in comparing her with her more glamorous siblings?
It was a topic that Shayla herself found painful, though her decorum would never reveal it and she politely declined to speak of it. She wanted children so badly - much of her time was spent with the infants and toddlers of lesser members of the household. Were she not so constrained my her rank, she often thought she might have liked to become a Septa, or at the very least a governess, if the Gods would not grant her a babe of her own to cherish. A mastiff puppy, gifted to her by her husband on their first anniversary, likely received more doting affection than any dog truly needs - something of a makeshift 'child'.
While the Banefort seat was susceptible to attacks from the Ironborn, further inland the Golden Tooth was relatively safe. Life continued on much the same, year in, year out; with the smallfolk centered around the mining of gold that lent the city it's name.. and the Lannisters their wealth.
It was during a return journey from the Banefort, alas, that Young Lord Malcom met his end - he and his party set upon in the night by reavers that lurked in the mountains, seeking a foothold. The men fought gallantly, eventually defeating their enemies.. but to them fell the grim duty of returning the heir's body to his waiting family.
Shayla, twenty three by then, sequestered herself away for almost a month after the funeral, observing the rites of a grieving wife with the same dilligence that she applied to every task; allowing only the keep's Septon to attend her in those dark days. When she emerged, she clung still tighter to her faith, leaning on it in the absence of the comforting presence of the man who had always treated her so well. If only the tidings she were met with were so steadfast.
Malcom's younger brother, who would take the mantle now of heir, was already wed - and with two hale and hearty children of his own. He would not be observing the tradition of marrying his brother's widow. Not that Shayla found herself overly distraught in regards to him. He was as cold and cruel as Malcom had been genial and considerate. But where now would she go? Too old to take her vows in the faith of the Seven, too valuable to the prosperity of her house to see out her days as the retainer of another.
In the end, she returned to the Banefort. The birthing of eight children had taken its toll upon her darling mother, the Lady Edith, and her siblings had scattered to the four winds in recent years. For the time being, she contented herself with aiding her Lord father; overseeing his affairs and reconstruction of the port, which had been near destroyed in a vicious storm from the west.
The position suited her talents well and it seemed that perhaps she might be able to convince her parents into allowing it to become something more permanent. With the dawn of the Ironborn Invasion, though, their relatively idyllic lifestyle was cast into fearful disarray. While her brothers Quenten, Torsten and Joseth joined her father, promptly gathering their fleet and departing to the defense of their Riverland allies - namely the Mallisters - Shayla was left with the youngest, Justin (who at 13 was most indignant at being excluded) and her aging mother.
Ever the realist, and well-aware that all eyes were upon her, the young lady quietly brought into the household one of her father's skilled swordsmen, who had been charged with the defense of the ruling family. From him, she began to learn the basics of the blade. Needless to say, her mother disapproved. But her sisters - Anais and Gwyneth, anyway.. Elinor was a little too precious - had been taught similar arts by their father. She was the eldest, and was more than willing to set taste aside, roll up her sleeves and learn, too.
As it turned out, the woman never truly had need to make use of her newfound martial ability. The walls of the Banefort stood strong against straggling would-be assailants, with minimal losses to those who remained in guardianship of the city. It became habit to sleep with a fine dagger 'neath her pillow, though - one that remains to this day. That was also when the insomnia started. Unable to settle her restless mind, Shayla often saw the dawn from a seat at a table somewhere in the Keep, from a bench in the gardens.. even occasionally from a clifftop. It soothed her to imagine she could see her father's fleet engaging the Ironborn across the grey waters at Pyke.
So many deaths, even outwith the war. The news of Elinor's end left their mother stricken with sorrow, particularly as they could still not risk journeying across the country to recover or tend to her body. And so long a time passed before they heard word of Anais' safety at Terrick's Roost. But it was an undeniable joy when that raven arrived, sodden and exhausted. A rare familial happiness, especially with the only fleeting return of her brothers before they departed to their duties elsewhere.
Shayla had always erred to the gentler side of her nature and her place in this world. But the experience of those hateful months left the dark-eyed young woman with a new steel in her countenance; an unshakeable sense of will and duty that most, Gods be good, need never be forced to adopt. With the threat at last over in early 289, she began making preparations for a departure once more - this time to the Riverlands and consequently her remaining sisters - by way of Seagard and then a dreaded caravan, hauling the woman and her party to the struggling vassal lands of Kingsgrove, where she was to be warded, accompanied by two of the de Mabrey brothers, whose family has fallen on similarly tough times under Mallister rule, and of course her ever-faithful dog, Otso. Full grown, he's a towering and intimidating beast to look upon; taller at the shoulders than his mistress' hip. But his gentle, protective nature brings her comfort, in moments of quiet reflection.
In her father's eyes, it was ideal in order to find his eldest daughter a new, affluent match with a Young Lord; with her well out of the way in the Riverlands. In her mother's, a way to further the contact between her widespread children.
Shayla? She simply looked forward to finding somewhere she might be needed, once more. A place where a woman's opinion, foresight or perspective might be a thing of value, rather than a prompt to an indulgent, placatory pat on the head.
Shayla is not typically striking. Expressive eyes of a sparkling green are perhaps the most immediately memorable of her features; seeming untouched by the passage of hardship and with soft, subtle laughter-lines about them suggesting a light humor and unhesitating smile are to be observed. A slightly overlarge roman nose and rosebud lips, skin the light tan of the coast and tawny, naturally arching brows a shade or two darker than her hair all combine in a surprisingly warm, unassuming countenance. Tall, though not toweringly so, she stands at perhaps 5'8 and moves with a graceful restraint that can only be the result of many years of practice. Her long, thick hair, soft and with a natural tousled wave, would fall when loosed to her shapely, hourglass waist; swirls of dark honey and dirty blonde. But she keeps it properly pinned up at her nape, more often than not. Her build errs on the voluptuous side, but clever choices in attire disguise that somewhat and the pleasing, more dainty feminine lines of current fashion can be passably created by structured garments.
Clad in a modest dress of creamy hues, with painstaking embroidery to decorate the hems, her overall appearance is demure rather than vivacious. The dress is simple compared to some displays seen at court; though a practiced eye would note the high quality of the materials. A well-fitting sweetheart bodice with thick straps over the shoulder looks practical rather than flouncy, inadvertently showing off slender forearms and wrists, as well as dextrous fingers, with nails kept sensibly short and always clean. The plain skirts are not overly full, instead light and airy. Worn always about her neck is a weighty chain, bearing the seven pointed star of her faith, pewter decorated with tiny crystals and depicting at its center a simple lantern of brass.
I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INFJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).
N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INFJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
F – Feeling preferred to thinking: INFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.
J – Judgment preferred to perception: INFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability.
Characteristics of INFJs
INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear and confident vision, which they then set out to execute, aiming to better the lives of others. They regard problems as opportunities to design and implement creative solutions.
INFJs are quiet, private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Although very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. Sensitive and complex, they are adept at understanding complicated issues and driven to resolve differences in a cooperative and creative manner.
INFJs have a rich, vivid inner life, which they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions, and perceptive of the emotions of others. Generally well-liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types. However, they are guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, and so tend to establish close relationships slowly. INFJs tend to be easily hurt, though they may not reveal this except to their closest companions. INFJs may "silently withdraw as a way of setting limits", rather than expressing their wounded feelings—a behavior that may leave others confused and upset.
INFJs tend to be sensitive, quiet leaders with a great depth of personality. They are intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, often puzzling even to themselves. They have an orderly view toward the world, but are internally arranged in a complex way that only they can understand. Abstract in communicating, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. With a natural affinity for art, INFJs tend to be creative and easily inspired, yet they may also do well in the sciences, aided by their intuition.
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