Aisling is my first PC for Blood of Dragons, our A Song of Ice and Fire MUSH. I have played her since the game opened for beta in October 2006, though Staff duties have sometimes kept me from being as active as I would have liked to be with her.
Aisling Ryswell is the eldest of Lord Cavan Ryswell’s two children, and the only child by his first wife, Lady Amya of House Blackwood. She also has a step-sister by way of his second wife, Lady Tilly of House Ryger.
A wrist-thick braid—intricately woven out of a silken wealth of midnight-hued tresses, like a cascade of tangible shadows and twilight—falls down her back to just past the curve of her waist, and even in the most meagre of lights it is tinted by a lustrous sheen of deepest indigo. What often draws the eye, however, are the bold streaks of bright silver at each temple, and tendrils of moonlight glint amidst the wisps of smoke which surround her face, tempering the keen edges of fineboned yet strongly defined features; a slim, refined nose of noble prominence between high, sculpted cheekbones, the steep line of her firmly set jaw and the sharply narrowing, determined chin. Within this distinctive frame, set below loftily arching brows and veiled by lengthy fringes of sooty lashes, are striking eyes of liquid darkness, tinged with a subtle shimmer of purple iridescence. These deceptively still, reflective pools are rarely rippled by rising tides of temper, but ardent emotions left undisclosed by that dark gaze are often betrayed by surprisingly sensual, garnet-hued lips, as suddenly given to frowns as to smiles, or smooth skin like pale ivory, easily touched by a faint blush in the heat of the moment. Of middling height, her form is sleekly lithesome, yet pleasingly ripe with soft, sinuous curves to which the supple, fluid grace of her movements is a fitting complement. Curiously at odds, however, is the air of cool, disdainful arrogance which often lingers around her and the warmth of her low, slightly husky voice.
Dark, rust-red linen of the finest quality makes up the gown she wears. Cut wide and fairly low, the neckline sweeps in a deep curve from shoulder to shoulder, just skimming across the top of her pale bosom. The bodice is closely fitted, molding to her shape down to just past the bold line of her waist and hips, and it laces up tightly in front with ribbons of black silk. Just as tight are the long sleeves, ending just past her wrists, and they too are laced up to her elbows. The skirt, flowing from her hips to her ankles, is wide enough to fall in deep folds, the light fabric swirling with the slightest movement. About her waist a girdle wraps twice—black silk with bronze ornaments and red chips from semi-precious stones or glass—and the length of it still falls down to past her knees. Black, too, are the soft boots revealed beneath the hemline, and the tasseled cords that hold the mantle of bronze samite about her shoulders, fastened at each shoulder with a bronze disk featuring the horse head of House Ryswell.
Headstrong, sharp-tongued and temperamental. In most cases, unless you happen to be a horse or another kind of animal, that’s Aisling Ryswell in a nutshell. Lord Cavan Ryswell’s eldest child is known in the North for being intelligent as well as quick-witted, and for not being reluctant to make use of her mind to make life unpleasant for those she takes a dislike to. Such as her step-mother, Tilly Ryger, and of course the hapless potential suitors that the current Lady of the Rills encouraged Lord Cavan to introduce to his daughter.
Perhaps it was her mother being so caught up in grieving for the miscarried children that followed upon her daughter’s birth, not to mention her death in childbed when Aisling was still a young child. It might also, quite simply, have been an unavoidable result of the young girl’s personality, in many ways so similar to her mother’s. Or, of course, it might have been a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Suffice to say, Lord Cavan Ryswell’s daughter started out as a wild child who grew up into a headstrong, temperamental young woman.
That alone, of course, would not have been enough to earn her the reputation she has acquired, for being both peculiar and more than a little difficult. She is said to have been a strange child too, with odd notions that weren’t easily taken out of her. Perhaps that was why her father—foolishly, some would say—did nothing when she found ways of keeping herself preoccupied and at least marginally out of trouble. Otherwise, surely he would not have allowed his young daughter to become a virtual apprentice to Maester Bryne, learning all manner of things other than what she ought to have been learning.
Well, that is, to begin with the girl seemed to have a head unusually full of romantic notions, so it wasn’t hard to teach her of chivalry and etiquette and the like. But then there was that unfortunate episode with Jaremy Dustin, where young Aisling half proposed marriage to him just after he’d been betrothed. For a 12-year-old, she seemed to take it very seriously when he found the situation amusing enough to pass the tale on, and from then she was a good deal icier and haughtier than she had been before. Still with a temper, though. You just had to scratch the surface a bit.
One thing that did that well enough was her step-mother, not the least with the birth of her half-brother, the new heir to the Rills. Aisling clearly came to resent both Lady Tilly and young Devyn. Her step-sister, Sylvina, she seemed to tolerate simply because the girl had no real way of affecting her life. But Lady Tilly certainly did, as she no doubt was behind the attempts to find a suitor for Aisling that began around her 14th year. No wonder, then, that Aisling did what she did and employed all her wits and her stubbornness in dispatching the poor young men away from the Rills with unpleasant memories of the young lady. It was not long until the attempts stopped, as her reputation spread among the Northern houses and the pool of potential suitors dried up.
It is on account of this that Aisling now finds herself sent to King’s Landing in the company of her step-sister, Sylvina Serry. Perhaps, or so Tilly hopes, someone down there will agree to a marriage with Aisling before she’s made herself an unfavourable reputation at court as well. That seems to be a foolish hope, however, as among the first thing the young lady did when arriving at court was to vow that she would rather remain unwed than to marry anyone but a perfect knight.
And what perfect knight, if those exist, would want such a shrewish wife?