For three years Tyland had been away from his home, and stuck in the cess pit that was King's Landing attempting to save the realm from Robert Baratheon's misspending. A number of letters had been written over the years to encourage Tywin Lannister to send more loans, even though Tyland had promised his Father that they would likely never be repaid.
The past few months had been quiet, however. After the tourney to celebrate Prince Joffrey's 12th nameday, Cersei and the children had left for Casterly Rock. They were soon to arrive back at the Capital with Tyrion however, and Tyland made his way with Jaime from his apartments over to the Red Keep's bridge to wait for his family.
On his way he noticed hushed, angry voices however. Pulling Jaime to the shadows and telling im to remain quiet, he listened in.
"He doesn't need to be fostered!" A woman was saying.
"My Lady, Lord Stannis is a good man with strong principles. He will flourish there." The unmissable tired tones of Lord Arryn came.
"You will not take my boy away from me." The woman, Lysa Arryn presumably, seethed. "Send us back to the Eyrie by all means, but he will never go to Dragonstone to be tutored by Stannis!"
"It is agreed, My Lady." Jon said sternly. "After the celebrations for the new century have been completed, Lord Stannis will resign his post and head back to Dragonstone taking Robin with him. You shall accept this."
"Never." Lysa Arryn said coldly, before Tyland heard footsteps coming his way. Moving, he made as if they had just been walking that way, when Lysa Arryn strode past them, not even noticing he was there. Tyland walked up to the Hand of the King.
"Is everything alright, My Lord Hand?" He asked politely.
"Sorry? Oh yes, Lord Tyland, Ser Jaime. My wife is just a bit emotional." Jon waved off. Tyland almost scoffed, Lysa was always over emotional. "Are you on your way to greet the Queen?"
"We are." Tyland nodded. "His Grace was busy."
"His Grace is always busy." Jon smiled weakly, his toothless grin making Tyland feel the need to shiver.
"Will you be joining us, My Lord?" Jaime asked. Jon looked up at the Kingsguard knight coolly.
"No Ser." He said sharply. "I have a meeting with Lord Stannis. I'm sure you can welcome your twin back without my help."
Tyland didn't like his tone. Straightening his doublet, he coughed quickly and then said. "Well then, My Lord, don't let us keep you."
Jon nodded, and walked off behind them. Jaime began grinning. "He's a grumpy old cunt isn't he."
"Be serious for one moment." Tyland snapped. "He knows something."
"What?" Jaime asked amusedly.
"The way he reacted to you. He knows something." Tyland said quietly. "Come, let us greet our dear Sister, we shall speak more of this later."
Jaime followed him airily, but Tyland's mind was focused. As soon as he got back to his rooms he would task his guards with following the Arryn Lord, and finding out everything.
Soon enough however, they were stood with a small host of Lannister men as the wheelhouse rode in to the Red Keep. Tyland watched on as the doors were opened and out stepped Cersei in a gown of red. She looked on, and he noticed her eyes react to both Jaime and himself. Behind her, came the Princes and Princess Myrcella. She gave him a little smile. From behind the Wheelhouse, Tyrion waddled into view.
"Beloved siblings!" He called, not one for propriety. "How fares you?"
"Well, little brother." Jaime grinned. "How was the journey?"
"Tedious." Cersei scoffed, walking up to them and holding her hand out to Tyland. Inwardly seething, he kissed her knuckles. "I only wish we could have stayed at the Rock."
"His Grace wishes to see you, Your Grace." Tyland told his sister. "Immediately."
"Can I not settle in first?" Cersei said annoyed. Tyland just shook his head. "Very well. I trust you can see to the children?"
"Of course, sweet Sister." Tyland forced a smile. Cersei made off with Jaime and a handful of guards, soon followed by Joffrey and the Hound, leaving Tyland with amicable company for once.
"So, how was the Rock?" Tyland asked Tyrion.
"Glamourous as always brother." Tyrion said overdramatically. "The sewers run gold as always and the lions haven't eaten anybody yet."
"They almost ate Joffrey." Myrcella giggled.
"Really?" Tyland asked, his interest growing.
"Yes." Myrcella nodded. "He stuck his hand in the cage, it was lucky Cousin Loren pulled him away in time."
Tyland smiled at the actions of his son. Tyrion noticed that too. "He is well brother. One wonders how a boy educated by Tywin Lannister could be so jovial."
"I trust I have you to thank for that?" Tyland raised his eyebrows.
Tyrion laughed. "He hasn't inherited my more twisted traits, but he can have fun."
"Good." Tyland nodded.
Tyrion began grinning. "It seems our little Princess here was quite enamoured."
"Uncle!" Myrcella complained. "That's not true!"
"Your blush gives it away, Princess." Tyland smirked. "A match could be made if the King agrees."
"I'm too young Mother says." Myrcella told him.
"You are, but not for a betrothal." Tyland admitted. "I'll talk to the King if you wish for it."
Myrcella said nothing, but hid her blushing face behind her golden hair as she dragged Tommen and ran away from the adults.
"They did get on well, but I would hold off on the betrothal talks Brother. I saw it as a girlish dream, Loren saw her as a little sister." Tyrion admitted.
"There aren't many better matches we can hope for, Tyrion." Tyland says. "Anyway, I'll write to Loren later, I have a task for you."
"A task? For the stunted demon of Casterly Rock?" Tyrion japed.
"Yes. Find out what Jon Arryn is plotting." Tyland said.
"Jon Arryn doesn't seem the type to plot…" Tyrion began.
Tyland nodded. "And yet he is up to something with Stannis Baratheon. Find out what it is."
Tyrion nodded back. "I am at your command, My Lord." He bowed.
The bells wouldn't stop ringing and it was driving Tyland insane. It was a few days after Cersei and Tyrion had returned to King's Landing, and Jon Arryn had died. Getting some parchment out, Tyland scribbled a letter to Tywin.
Father. The Hand of the King is dead. I know not of the cause, but the fever ran through him unnaturally quick. I am sure he was plotting something however, and will look into this matter further. Robert will likely announce an expedition North to retrieve Stark from Winterfell, no matter how often I hint that you would be the better choice as Hand. I will send another raven when I have more news. Tyland.
Rolling up the letter and placing it in a pocket, he got himself ready for the day. Putting on a crimson doublet and golden breeches, he placed Red Rain on his hip and made his way down to the Small Council chamber, where he passed two members of the Kingsguard a few paces behind the King standing over Jon Arryn's body. The many candles were giving off a strong sweet scent, to mask the smell of the body. Tyland looked up to the Gallery and saw his twin siblings watching from up high.
He stared in silence at the old man for a moment, waiting for the King to speak first or dismiss him. Robert did speak eventually. "Taken too soon."
"He lived a good life, Your Grace. One can only imagine the pride he saw in yourself taking the Throne." Tyland said diplomatically.
Robert gave a small grin before his face returned to one of loss. "I am going Northwards to Winterfell. I would like for you to join me."
Tyland grimaced. "Your Grace, Lord Stark and I have never truly seen eye to eye since the war, and especially after my… treatment… of the Drumms. I believe it best if I remain in the Capital on the Small Council to keep the Kingdom's in good shape while you are in the North."
"Ned is too damned stubborn." Robert chuckled sadly. "Very well, although it will be lonely, your siblings are all coming."
"The Queen and Ser Jaime are bound to you, Tyrion is an adventurer. I for one have no interest in sightseeing." Tyland told Robert.
"Very well." Robert said, standing straighter. "Let's get this Council meeting over with, shall we?"
Tyland bowed his head. "Your Grace." He said, letting Robert lead the way. He gave a quick glance up to his siblings before following on.
Inside already were the majority of the Small Council. Pycelle looked like he was asleep, Varys and Baelish were talking between themselves quietly and the remaining Baratheon brothers stared on in silence. Tyland took his seat opposite Pycelle quietly, and let Robert begin proceedings.
"Right let's get on with it. I'm going up to Winterfell to bring Ned back to be Hand of the King. I want you all to look after things until I return." He told them. Tyland noticed Stannis grimacing.
"Of course, Your Grace." Baelish grinned. "Lord Stark will be a welcome addition to King's Landing."
"Agreed." Renly said jovially.
"Are we sure it's wise? Lord Stark knows nothing of the ways of the Council or the court." Stannis mentioned.
"I trust no-one more than I do Ned." Robert said coolly. "He will be the Hand."
"Very well." Stannis said, pursing his lips.
"We'll likely be gone for some time. I want arrangements to be made quickly." Robert added. "I trust you can handle things?"
"We do normally." Renly grinned. Robert nodded and excused himself. The others began to leave then, but Tyland caught Stannis on his way out.
"Lord Stannis, a word." He said. Stannis turned and said nothing, staring icily towards the Lannister heir. "I wondered if you knew anything regarding Lord Arryn's death. The fever took him quickly, too quickly."
Stannis kept his face stern, before shaking his head. "I knew nothing, Lord Tyland. We weren't that close." With that he swept out of the room, leaving Tyland alone with the sleeping Pycelle.
"Grand Maester." Tyland said loudly. "Stop the act now, I have a message for you to send to Casterly Rock."
"Yes, Lord Tyland." Said the stronger voice of Pycelle, who got up and took the letter from Tyland's outstretched hand. "Right away."
The Royal Party left, and for a week the Red Keep was quiet. Jon Arryn's body was returned to the Eyrie and minor matters of court were settled by the remaining members of the Small Council. It wasn't until news came that the King had reached Darry that things changed drastically.
Tyland was in his rooms penning some letters for Casterly Rock when a commotion could be heard outside. Looking out of his balcony, he saw the majority of the Royal Fleet heading out to sea. Cursing, he ran down to the stables and gathered his horse, galloping as fast as he could towards the docks.
Arriving, he saw the City Watch getting about their business normally. Demanding to see the man in charge of this small group, he was fronted by a Gold Cloak.
"What is happening?" Tyland demanded.
"Lord Stannis said he needed the ships." The man shrugged. "He's Master of Ships, what's the problem?"
Cursing, Tyland looked out to sea at the boats disappearing over the horizon. "And when has Lord Stannis ever taken that many boats out to go back to Dragonstone with?" He asked coldly.
"Never." The Gold Cloak shrugged again. "It's not our place to judge what Lord Stannis does."
"Idiots." Tyland mumbled. "No ship leaves the dock from now on until I say so. Do you understand?"
"My Lord… Lord Stannis…"
"Do you understand!" Tyland exclaimed sternly. The Gold Cloak nodded. "Good, get a message to Dragonstone. Order Lord Stannis to return the Fleet to King's Landing."
"My Lord." The Gold Cloak nodded, and Tyland immediately stormed back to his horse, to head back up to the Red Keep.
Once up Aegon's Hill, his first point of call was to call upon Varys. Waiting by the Iron Throne, he heard the doors open, and waited for the eunuch to meet him by the stone steps.
"An impressive seat." Varys said.
"An ugly one." Tyland told him. "Stannis Baratheon has fled with the fleet. Why?"
Varys shifted nervously. "I'm not sure, My Lord. My little birds are still flying."
Tyland wasn't happy at that answer, and turned on the bald man. "That's not good enough." He growled quietly. "Find out what he is up to as a matter of urgency. I want to know everything. The man stole the entire fleet, his reasons go beyond fucking his wife and I want to know what they are."
"Yes, My Lord." Varys bowed, leaving the room. Tyland looked up at the Iron Throne once more, before looking down at the spot he had found the Mad King lying in as he bled out. Grimacing, he too left the room.
Months later, the Royal Party finally returned to the capital. Varys' investigation into Stannis had turned out to be fruitless, and any men Tyland sent to Dragonstone always ended up returning empty handed, some of the more forceful guards had even returned without hands. Having to put the matter out of his mind for the moment, Tyland sat in the Council Chambers, waiting for Ned Stark to arrive.
Eventually, the doors opened and in came the Warden of the North himself. Varys immediately got up to greet him. "Lord Stark." He said, going to shake the Northman's hand.
"Lord Varys." Stark replied.
"I was grievously sorry to hear of your troubles on the Kingsroad. We are all praying for Prince Joffrey's full recovery." Varys said, causing Tyland to roll his eyes. From what he had heard Joffrey had caused his own issues by underestimating an opponent.
Ned Stark seemed to share similar thoughts on the matter. "A shame you didn't say a prayer for the butcher's son." He said, quickly moving on to Renly Baratheon. "Renly! You're looking well." Stark exclaimed with a smile and a brief hug.
"And you look tired from the road." Renly said. "I told them this meeting could wait another day, but..."
"But we have a Kingdom to look after." Baelish piped up. "I've hoped to meet you for some time, Lord Stark. No doubt Lady Catelyn has mentioned me."
"She has, Lord Baelish." Stark said, placing his cloak on his seat. "I understand you knew my brother Brandon as well."
"All too well." Baelish chuckled. "I still carry a token of his esteem from navel to collarbone."
"Perhaps you chose the wrong man to duel with."
"It wasn't the man that I chose, My Lord. It was Catelyn Tully. A woman worth fighting for, I'm sure you'll agree." Baelish taunted, and Tyland had had enough.
"If you don't stop talking, Lord Baelish, you may end up with another scar, or without a head depending on Lord Stark's leniency at you lusting after his wife." He said coldly. "Welcome, Lord Stark."
"Lord Tyland." Stark said shortly. Tyland could tell he wanted to call him by his other nickname, but the man was too honourable to do that in such a setting.
"Grand Maester, aren't you forgetting something." Tyland prodded. Pycelle nodded and reached into his robes.
"How many years has it been? You were a young man." Pycelle said to Stark.
"And you served another King." Was the Northman's blunt response. Pycelle stared, and Tyland could see a hint of his cheeks redden in anger, before he pulled out the pin of office.
"This belongs to you, now." Pycelle told Stark, who took it in his hand and stared at it for a second. "Should we begin?"
"Without the King?" Stark asked, surprised.
"Winter may be coming, but I'm afraid the same cannot be said for my brother." Renly told the man, amused, as the rest of the Council took their seats.
"His Grace has many cares. He entrusts some small matters to us that we might lighten the load." Varys added.
"We are the lords of small matters here." Baelish added jovially, not looking towards Tyland.
Renly handed Stark a rolled up piece of parchment, and explained as Stark unravelled it. "My brother instructs us to stage a tournament in honour of Lord Stark's appointment as Hand of the King."
"Mmm." Baelish mumbled. "How much?"
"40,000 gold dragons to the champion, 20,000 to the runner-up, 20,000 to the winning archer." Stark answered.
"Can the treasury bear such expense?" Pycelle asked.
"I'll have to borrow it." Baelish said.
"I'll front the costs." Tyland said, internally groaning. "The crown owes 3 million gold to Casterly Rock already, 80,000 extra will have to be added."
"Are you telling me the Crown is three million in debt?" Stark asked, perplexed.
"6 million, Lord Stark. The Iron Bank and Lord Tyrell have also appeased the treasury from time to time." Tyland told him.
"How could you let this happen?" Stark asked Baelish.
"The Master of Coin finds the money. The King and the Hand spend it." Was Littlefinger's answer.
"I will not believe Jon Arryn allowed Robert to bankrupt the realm." Stark told them all.
"Lord Arryn gave wise and prudent advice, but I fear His Grace doesn't always listen." Pycelle mumbled.
"'Counting coppers' he calls it." Renly added.
"I'll speak to him tomorrow. This tournament is an extravagance we cannot afford." Stark told them.
"Think of it as a gift from House Lannister to welcome you to the Capital, Lord Stark." Tyland told him.
Stark wasn't convinced. "If we can't afford it ourselves then we should not host such an event. There will be no plans until I speak to Robert." He said angrily. Noticing the uneasy looks on most of the Council's faces, he held his head in his hands and added. "Forgive me, my Lords. I had a long ride."
"You are the King's Hand, Lord Stark, we serve at your pleasure." Varys told him.
Tyland nodded. "We can reconvene tomorrow, once you are well rested and settled in."
Nodding, Stark stood. "Thank you, My Lords. Until tomorrow then." He said, before leaving the room.