Title: Running with the Hound and Hunting with the Hare
Rating: Explicit (this is a smutfic)
This is an illustrated novella and is meant to be read in the manner of a real book with two pages side by side. As such, I've had to publish it as an emagazine/pdf flipbook rather than on traditional fanfiction platforms. In order to optimize your reading experience, please follow these guidelines for your device:
- Computer / Laptop: Download this pdf file **
- Ipad / Other tablet / Cellphone (orient device to landscape view): Click on this emagazine link
Warnings: Underage. Sexually threatening language/situations. Dubious Consent. Other potential squicks here.
Notes: I finished the first draft of this story on August 2012 and immediately decided to "reboot" it by rewriting the text and reconceptualizing the story as an illustrated novella. More than a year later - here is the end result. I hope no one begrudges my immodesty when I say I am immensely proud of it and I hope it enriches the Sansan fandom.
Gratitude in particular to my dearest friends and collaborators:
I am an atheist but I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Its my biggest whoop whoop of the year. Should you like to receive a Christmas card from me, drop me a note below.
Onborrowedwings, Westeroswolf, Kylathelurker, Bgona, Redgoddemandsit - you're already on my list.
35/10 by Sharon OldsBrushing out our daughter's brownsilken hair before the mirrorI see the grey gleaming on my head,the silver-haired servant behind her. Why is itjust as we begin to gothey begin to arrive, the fold in my neckclarifying as the fine bones of herhips sharpen? As my skin showsits dry pitting, she opens like a moistprecise flower on the tip of a cactus;as my last chances to bear a childare falling through my body, the duds among them,her full purse of eggs, round andfirm as hard-boiled yolks, is aboutto snap its clasp. I brush her tangledfragrant hair at bedtime. It's an oldstory—the oldest we have on our planet—the story of replacement.
So here it is! The left half is a scientific illustration of sex with the penis entering the vagina, the sperm fertilizing the ovum. The right side is Sansa holding her baby, in bed with Sandor, her body still cushy and her belly plump from the pregnancy. Its very weird, but I hope its still visually compelling.
The illustration was done by Evelmiina.
Here's Sansa looking at the viewer. Its a companion piece to an illustration of the Hound (not shown). This was illustrated by Comediante.
It was inspired by Klimt's Female Reclining
And here's one of Sansa at three ages: maiden, mother, crone. In this part of the fanfic, the dream becomes psychedelic - Sansa falls into a deep pool where she becomes multiple versions of herself. This was illustrated by JDarnell.
The trout is intended to recall Catelyn. I wish their was more artwork about Sansa and her mother's sigil as I find Catelyn's life and struggles very poignant
It was inspired by Klimt's Fishblood. Even the title evokes Catelyn to me.
Still very busy...sorry I haven't been commenting or responsive to emails. I'll be back in the saddle sometime in May after my big professional project is put to bed.
I thought I'd post a Running Hunting update as I am making significant progress on this project.
Here's part 1 of a series of two illustrations depicting Sandor and the Hound. Those who have read the fic know that a central theme is the duality of Sandor Clegane. This picture is of Sandor as the Lost Soul archetype. voodooqueen126 had a discussion of Sandor as Byronic hero a while ago. It was really interesting but it solidified my conception of him as not a Byronic hero, rather a Lost Soul:
The Lost Soul: Tortured man filled with angst and passion. Devoted and vulnerable, but also brooding and unforgiving. A loner, a complicated man. Drifts through life, perhaps as an outcast. His appeal is similar to the Bad Boy’s – and even more compelling. He needs to be saved immediately, and triggers the female’s desire to rescue rather than reform.
I wanted the illustration to emphasize his stare, as if he was surveying Sansa (and the viewer): “He had the look of an orphaned animal, left to scrounge for itself in the wilderness, a slinking stray with no one to care for it.”
It look me a very long time to settle on Sandor’s look. Thanks to all those who contributed on this discussion of visual depictions of Sandor on SXS.
If you're curious about the layout with this picture:
I am on tumblr, so if you're interested in what I'm up to these days, follow me! My tumblr blog is inle-hain.tumblr.com. It's lapine (the language of rabbits as invented by Richard Adams in Watership Down) for "song of the moonrise." I thought it was poetic and clever since I post mainly at night after work. I find tumblr to have some of the worst people (while LJ has some of the best), but the platform is addictive and it doesn't require much, if any effort.
I don't have much time to work on my fanwork, but I'm making progress in finding artists, conceptualization the artwork, and last but not least, writing my story. So far, I'm happy on all three fronts. But at the pace I'm going, with every component a bit of a struggle, I think the fanwork will be completed around autumn.
So here's a new illustration from the fanwork. Its by DuBuGomdori. The illustration is for the last chapter, where the shifting dreamscape ends at the godwoods in Winterfell.
I've always loved picturing Sansa and Sandor talking, kissing, in the godswoods, like two teenagers in love. There's a poem by Asclepiades of Samos that reminds me of Sansa and Sandor, should they ever be granted their happy ever after:
Think how unspeakably sweet
But as we all discover,
I didn't reference it in the fanfic, but it was in the back of my mind as I was writing Sansa and Sandor as they kissed and chatted together in the godswood. I tried to conceptualize that for the illustration. It was drawn by DuBuGomdori, she'd done 2 others already, but this one is my favorite.
The other ceremony, the one in front of witnesses, took place three months after Arya had left with Daenerys and Aegon. It would have been stupid to do otherwise. She was the sister of kings, and was to have been the bride of kings. She might as well have fallen in love with a begging brother in undyed brown robes or a money-grubbing merchant, or a shitstained swineherd, as with a man of his humble and obscure house. He should have felt some remote contempt for the pretense, but didn't. The prospect of Sansa's name attached to impropriety, to looks and whispers, tormented him. So he waited, standing with a stony stare at his bride's side as the days marched by in slow time.
The weather was miserable the day of their wedding. Grey and wet and so cold he could see his own breath curl in the air as he spoke his vows standing on the sodden ground. Of course, the weeks prior had been marvelous, the miracle of spring coming to Winterfell at last. The birds sang, the softer rain fell, the abundant jonquil lifted their yellow heads. Then just his buggering luck. Their wedding approached and the sun disappeared for days, like some absent-minded old fart, too busy with some other world to bother with this one.
He had wanted to marry in the candlelit sept, in front of the Seven. The morning light shining through the windows, spreading colored radiance over those blue eyes, those auburn tresses and that face that was too lovely for any woman on earth. Sansa had agreed readily enough, was she ever agreeable in all things since that night. He did not pursue the matter to its end though, yielding his wish to her welfare. Their marriage would cause offense enough. Her brother invited none of his bannermen. Spent his evenings drinking the world's best wine down as if it was piss, mournfully staring at the dregs in his golden cup, as grim as the carved face of an Old God.
So they said their vows again under the giant hearttree, their wet robes clinging to their skins, in front of the tree-worshiping commons. Not one face in ten had been glad. His own face must have been frightful looking, the cold rain slipping off his thick brows and dewing on his eyelashes, his mouth twitching anxiously. He could hardly fathom that this fantastical moment had come to pass. He placed his cloak around her, brusquely kissing her cheek. He said his words as if declaring a threat: One flesh, One heart, One soul, now and forever and cursed be the one who comes between us, half expecting the Seven Hells to crack open from the black pool and rise up between them. All his pathetic fucking hopes for the future collapsing into smoke and ruin.
Then Sansa cupped his cheek. She looked at him, those eyes, absolute sweetness and absolute gravity, the candlelight of a sept seemingly swimming in them. He had never seen her so happy, elated, her vulnerability near beyond bearing. She looked at him as dog looks at its master, bred for devotion, her love bordering on servile adoration. It made him laugh, he barked a odd chortle, a laugh close to a grateful sob, unable to control himself. He blinked several times, as if removing mental tears.
Behind her, he caught sight of King Brandon's face, serenely appalled. He grinned at his brother. He had Sansa and compared to that gift, all the gold in Casterly Rock was as dust, the affections of strangers nothing, lint from his belly button.
"Are you going to bring that everywhere?" Sansa teased. They were taking an after supper stroll, in the godswoods. Here where she was protected by high walls and hundreds of men, he had no need to openly carry Black Dog in a long scabbard.
The scabbard was black lacquer, the lower length of the sheath banded by golden openwork of blades of grass, inlaid with three dogs made out of dragonglass. It's beautiful,he had said quietly when King Brandon bestowed it upon him during the wedding feast. Sansa had told him that her father's greatsword Ice could not be reforged from the Lannister longswords. It was if magic was a vein that had been mined out. The spells used to work Valryian steel no longer had any power. While Longclaw had been given to the Lady of Bear Island, Sandor had presumed Widow's Wail and Oathkeeper would be always remain in the possession of the Kings of Winter.
He was the grandson of a kennelmaster, only in Sandor's wildest fantasies did he ever imagine...
As a boy, he had squired for Gerion Lannister, a brave fool, lost to the tides. Gerion had sailed on a quest to find the lost ancestral Lannister sword Brightroar and was never seen again. That this piece of Ice should go to him and his mongrel heirs was a princely generosity Sandor had not expected. No doubt Sansa's machinations had something to do with it. I don't deserve this, he had said, pulling the longsword from its sheath, admiring the red and black ripples of the blade. His hands tightened possessively around the golden hilt with its pommel in the shape of snarling dog's head. But I'm going to relish every moment of owning it.
Those words were true of things as well. King Brandon made a wry face and Sandor heard his wolf growl a warning in the background. That mangy animal hated him, baring its teeth whenever he was in its presence. A lifetime ago, Sandor had offered to kill the direwolf because its mournful howling was disturbing Joffrey's sleep. Summer seeminglyknew and held a grudge and whether its emotions fed Brandon's or Brandon's fed it, Sandor could not say. Anger had risen deep in Sandor's blood, but he said his thank yous with all the scrapping subservience he could muster.
Her family would have nothing to reproach him for, he was going to make sure her life was exactly as it should be. Nothing was ever going to hurt her or frighten her or really make her cry. He wanted everything to be perfect for Sansa. He wanted to be perfect for her, which gave every moment a pinch of dread.
"Are you happy Sansa? Are you content?"
"Oh, I don't know where one ends and the other begins!" she said, her hand clutching his tightly.
"Do you remember the first time you spoke to me? On the Kingsroad? The Starks use direwolves for wet nurses, you said with your drawn sword in your hand. I think you meant to frighten me a little. So much has happened, all that struggle and strife and striving compressed into a few short years. I cannot claim to be any cleverer, but I must be wiser by now. Would you know yourself if you saw yourself coming across the road as you were then? Would I? I doubt it. But something, something essential has to remain. Do you remember that time you told me my father -"
"Speak louder," Sandor said, "Arya can barely hear you in King's Landing." She was prattling on and on and he was too ashamed to hear what could have follow next. She had a been bruisable, fatherless child.
Do you remember the dance he did when his head came off his shoulders? "I should have never said those things to you," he mumbled. "What would Eddard Stark say if he knew you'd end up with Joffrey's Dog? That the mighty Stark line, eight thousand years old, fouled by the butcher - "
"The Stark line was fouled before you ever came along. Haven't I sung to you The Blue Rose of Winterfell? All the living Starks are descended from the female line, from the bastard son of that savage, Bael the Bard, and the daughter of a Lord of Winterfell."
"As to that other nonsense...my father gave as much credit to a man's end as well as his beginning," she said, a little coldly. The little bird had disappeared and the Lady was grumbling, "Such heavy thoughts, Brother Sandor."
Her hands tightened on his biceps, then she gave him a push. The motion made her stumble and he grabbed her waist to steady her. He gave her a reproving look which made her dissolve into giggles. "You're going to be sorry to fatigue me with your gravity."
His fingers moved from her waist to over her stomach. Sansa was only a little pregnant, the womb was up, the tiniest little bump raising up out of her pelvis. You potent olddog, you, Grenn had said, thumping him on the back with thwacks hard enough to sting. With a beginning like this, you'll be knee deep in big, ugly, children in no time.
Arya will name her boy Jon after Jon Connington and our brother. If we have a son, could we name him Robb? Jon and Robb. Cousins as close as brothers. She had looked at him a little anxiously, turning her head on the pillow. He curled a lock of her hair around his finger and said she could name their son anything she wished, even Florian, if it pleased her. A litany of names followed: Robb, Catelyn, Eddard, Nan, Brandon, Joanna … She expected to bear a child every two years, as her mother had done. He listened and chewed the inside of his cheek. In the dark recesses of Sandor's brain, he heard the ceaseless bawling of babies, the sniffling of the runny noses of stumbling brats waiting to be born. He slept notably well that night.
"Will you love me as well tomorrow as you did last night? I'm going to get so fat that I'll waddle instead of walk. Will you still want me when I'm old and have whiskers underneath my chin and all my teeth fall out?" she said affectedly modest, hand on her belly, where his child was inside of her.
Always fishing for compliments when she had enough beauty to illuminate the crypts of Winterfell.
He turned to embrace her, peering at the velvet curve of her upturned face. The pregnancy gave her more color, the faint pink of her cheeks, the luster of her hair, unbraided, unbound in the Northern style. Her arms reach up to cup the side of his face, where the flesh was burned and as hard as leather. She reached on her tiptoes, her chin tilted, her mouth pursing, for a kiss.
He pinched the area underneath her upper arm, where the skin was toned and youth-soft smooth. "Before I die, I'm going to spurt all over your fat, warty, crone's arm," he said soberly.
It was not the compliment she had hoped for. Sansa wrinkled her face at him, twisting as he held her tight in his grasp. "Let me go. Let go!"
He couldn't discern exactly she said next - awful, Sandor, disgusting, you something - his laughter drowning out her feeble cries.
He squeezed her even harder, remembering the day before the battle of Blackwater. The city had been smoky with fire, and he felt his death nearer than ever before. He had been following her, his little bird, his true lady, who made the fear and boredom a little more bearable. He had been haunted by the premonition of his death, his mind plagued by the dark terror of dying on his knees engulfed by a flood of flames. He seen her stumble on the turnpike stairs and reached out to steady her. Let me go, she cried. Instead he pulled her up against him, into him. How good it had felt to hold her. What will you do when he crosses?, she had said. Fight. Kill. Die, maybe.
To just hold her. Even when she was twisting in his embrace like a fish on a hook. Her body was so velvety, pressing along his in secret paths and curves."There's nothing awful about that. We'll still be married! To each other, no less!" he rasped in her ear.
"You're nasty," she whined like a scandalized septa.
He gripped her elbows and firmly pushed her forward, away from him. She turned and ran off, all affronted maidenly indignation.
She didn't run away very far after she realized that he wasn't going to chase after her. Let her wait for him for a change. He had been waiting on her, waiting for her, for what seemed like a lifetime.
He fell behind her, his pace slow. He wanted just to watch her walk, to see her as a stranger might see her. A soldier with only a sword and a horse, wandering in from the cold in search of shelter. What a heavenly vision was the Lady of Winterfell, the neat straight line of her back curving into that pert, round, arse. And the face, as pretty as a prayer book, the eyes as bright as the quiet stars, surreptitiously peeking over her shoulder to see how far was the distance between them.
The Lady started singing, a song meant to break the soldier's heart into bloom.
The northman's daughter was as fair as the sun,
and her kisses were warmer than spring...
In his loneliness, he sings too, but only in his head where his cindered voice doesn't sound so bad. He loses the words and notes along the way but he stays with her, sure of the refrain.
Brothers, oh brothers, my days are here done,
from the northman's bite my blood runs like red water
But what does it matter, for all men must die,
and I've tasted the northman's daughter!
The Lady of Winterfell stopped walking suddenly and turns around. His lady wife, bright and unblemished, with a smile that made up for all the solitary days.
"Come here," Sansa said. "Walk beside me. Take my hand."
His long stride longer than ever, Sandor Clegane did as he was told.
- Current Mood: cheerful
onborrowedwings asked about my project, so I thought I would post an update. Sorry I haven't been around much, a couple of things have happened in my real life, so livejournal and fandom have taken a (relative) backseat. My husband got laid off recently which digs into my insecurities about financial instability, so a little mopey there. And work has been more intellectually demanding, so while I am a terrible employee and internet surf, I have less time to comment or respond to your letters and journal entries at a meaningful level.
I did however finish those bookmarks for those who asked for one (save for one exception), so depending on the vagaries of international shipping, you should receive them in one to four weeks. I mailed them early last week. Exception: girloficenfire I wanted to make five for you for the Convention of Ice and Fire giveaway, and I'm still working on embroidering three. So I think I'll be able to send out sometime next week. I haven't forgotten!
Rolling along with the update...
There's three new illustrations for Running/Hunting. If you're interested in the conceptualization of any of them, drop me a comment as I put a lot of thought into each one, but typing it out might bore everybody.
Otherwise, you can check them out in the revised "Issuu" file below. If you have issues reading the Issu format, that would be great feedback as I do plan to publish in this magazine format because I wanted the experience to simulate reading a book. Illustration for page 29 is dedicated to my awesome beta redgoddemandsit who requested this scene specifically. It is one of the most lurid (though visually there's nothing too explicit shown) and I think Comediante did a fantastic job conveying raw energy. If you are a reader and have any request for a scene, drop a comment!
Sorry there is no Sandor illustrations yet. The reason is I haven't really settled on what I think he should look like. I don't think he has a concrete manifestation in my head other than he is young, beardless, and not Rory McCann (nothing against him, just I was fan for years before the show and don't want the actors to infiltrate my headcanon). Right now, I'm leaning towards John Picacio's Sandor from the 2012 calendar.
For Sansa, in all my fanfics (The Northman's Daughter & Running/Hunting), I say that she resembles the Lysene love goddess who is depicted as an auburn-haired young woman rising from a sea-shell (aka Botticelli's Venus). So all the illustrations of Sansa follow that concept of the Botticelli beauty. Here's a close up of the cover art with Sansa. Enjoy!
BTW,onborrowedwings also asked when I expect to publish the fanfic in its entirety to the Sansan LJ community. Right now, I think July but there might be delays.