firenze-duomo.jpgAuthor: Ashhearth

Walking through the King’s Gate the first time is a humbling experience for any man and for Kearan it was no different. The towering walls of King’s Landing can be seen from a massive distance away but upon getting closer, the walls got even more menacing as the outer damage from past wars shows through the various patchwork repairs made. On approach to the great city other bodily senses began to be assaulted by the sprawling behemoth that is the largest city in Westeros.

The smell of the city came first as the distinct scent of unwashed bodies is very overpowering for someone who lived beside a lake. While bathing was something of a semi-normal occasion for Kearen, those that lived in the city found themselves bathing with far less regularity than the Dornishman. Combined with the various animals smells, the pungent aroma created was almost enough to turn any new traveler green in the face. The sounds came next but they required being within the high walls of the city. However, once past those towering walls,, Kearen was hit with a cavalcade of sounds from all around him. Men and women, old and young, merchants and criminals all interacting with each other at the same time often with little regard for those that can hear their conversations. The stinking animals also made sounds of their own, crying about their captivity or begging for nourishment. Coming from the King’s Gate was an overwhelming experience with people constantly flooding all around him. Combined with the nearby Street of Steel, it’s no wonder how any newcomer to King’s Landing might feel completely swamped from the sounds and smells.
After the initial wave of sensory nausea passed over Kearen, the young heir did realize something. The Street of Steel and its surrounding area was very much like Lakeview Commons. The sounds of bickering and bartering from all angles with merchants hanging out of their stalls trying to hock their wares was comforting and the Dornishman began to relax some. He stopped hanging onto every word spoken and began to just focus on the small area around him and finding directions. His party’s goal was the White Dunes, a small collection of Inns within the Dornish quarter of the city. Known for its white walls, the buildings stuck out because each building felt like a sand dune one might find within Dorne. Each building was painted using a color that matched the sand perfectly in color. Sand was also mixed into the paint giving the walls a coarse texture and unique appearance from other buildings. Because of their iconic appearance, Kearen and his party were able to find their way to the dunes with relative ease. Kearen then parted ways with his companions to rent rooms for himself and his guards. Since the inn the heir selected was smaller, the rooms were all meant for individual residents to allow for some sort of privacy. Between his guards and his own person, Kearen rented out most of a floor to give his group enough space to stretch out. The young man also quickly realized that inside the inn was far quieter than out on the road. Through the nature of being a collection of inns all next to each other, the sheer number of walls helped prevent voices from carrying nearly as far. The stench was also vastly improved from the Street of Steel and the King’s Gate by virtue of the inns and the Dornish Quarter. The heavy spicing of food found in this portion of the city masked some of the more unpleasant odors that tended to waft through the city.

Exhaustion quickly overtook Kearen and he fell to his bed. The past weeks of travel had worn on the young man and outside his trip to Braavos years ago, this was the first time traveling so far away from home. Despite being in the Dornish quarter of the city, smelling and hearing things that reminded him of home only left him feeling home sick. He thought back to his own bed back home and how just traveling north had made everything so different. Not only were the accents of people different but also the temperature was much cooler. Despite the trip to the city being mostly uneventful Kearen knew that it was going to take time to adjust to being stared at simply because he looked different. He missed the simplicity of just walking around in the markets without fearing for his life or wondering if merchants were going to try and swindle him. Now it felt like his skills at persuasion and language were truly going to be put to the test by the city as almost no one outside the Dornish Quarter really knew of House Sekhmet.

The bed groaned as Kearen got up and moved to his rooms singular window. The surprisingly clean glass gave an excellent vantage point to look down at the busy street below. Viewing market stalls from above was something Kearen had never gotten to do before and the small distraction began to pull him out of his troubled thoughts. He began to wonder how many people lived within the walls of King’s Landing especially in comparison to the population of Dorne. Kearen decided after some thought that despite the vastness that was Dorne, the number of people that lived here, pressed together almost on top of each other, was greater.

After a bit more thought Kearen decided he should go out and experience more of the Street of Steel before night came. As he left his room he called down the hall to the leader of his personal guard, “Vrodan please gather the men, I would like to try and get a better lay of the land before night falls”. “Yes milord” replied Vrodan as the older man went to gather the other guards. It might be a new city and he might be completely out of his element, but Kearen resolved as Vrodan walked away that he would make the House Sekhmet name known and try his best to honor his father’s wishes.