Loren Lannister was extremely relieved when he and his party rode up the hill towards the polished white walls of Casterly Rock. He had a gagged Arya Stark in front of him on his horse chained to the saddle so that she couldn't escape.
He rode at the head of the party down the narrow road towards the main gate and heard the shout of the guards to open it before they arrived, his horse not even breaking stride as it made its way into the entrance courtyard. He dismounted, leaving Arya on his horse as he turned to look up at the artwork on the arch leading to the gate, the two golden lions both facing inwards at the golden L on a red shield.
"Welcome home, Ser Loren." Ser Kevan's voice called from towards the castle. He turned back to see both Kevan and Genna Lannister there to meet them.
"Ser Kevan." Loren bowed his head respectfully. "Lady Genna."
Genna Lannister held her arms out for him to briefly hug her. "I see you've brought us a guest."
Loren faced Arya, unlocking her chains from the saddle and dragging her off the horse. "Take Lady Arya to the dungeons." He told one of the guards. "And careful, she's a biter." Arya tried to shout something as she was taken into the castle, but the gag muffled her words completely. Loren turned back to his grandfather's siblings. "Lord Tywin has named me as acting Lord of Casterly Rock while he and my Father are needed in King's Landing."
Kevan nodded. "We have heard. Shall we retire to the solar?" Loren nodded, needing something to drink. He followed Kevan and Genna up towards Tywin's chambers, and was happy to see that a bowl of grapes had been left out as well as a decanter of water. Loren poured himself a glass and took a handful of grapes, sitting down in one of the comfy sofas to eat. Genna joined him, though Kevan was staying on his feet. "Why are you here, Loren?" Kevan asked.
Loren was surprised. "I was named acting Lord of Casterly Rock…"
"At your own request." Kevan bit back. "Why are you here?"
"I couldn't stay there." Loren said, frustrated. "My betrothed had gone, The King wasn't needing me and I missed my home, do I need another reason?"
Genna wrung her hands together. "We're just concerned that something happened to cause the sudden departure, lad."
Loren scoffed. "Something did happen." He admitted, not able to lie to his great aunt. "Years ago, when I was a baby."
"I'm not following." Kevan admitted.
"To Uncle Tyrion's wife." Loren added quickly. Kevan looked down at his feet sighing loudly and Genna leant back on the sofa.
"Seven Hells." She whispered.
"How do you know about that?" Kevan asked softly.
Loren was incredulous, getting to his feet. "You knew?" He asked accusingly.
"It was years ago." Kevan countered. "She was using him…"
"Oh do shut up Kevan." Genna groaned. "She did no such thing."
"You know that for certain?" Kevan asked his sister.
Genna laughed. "Do you remember the poor girl? She was smitten. Tywin was already angry at my own wedding and wouldn't allow his own son to marry a lowborn. He should have just disowned Tyrion and let them live in that cottage until they both died. Instead he lost his last inch of humanity…"
"Genna…" Kevan warned.
"Don't you Genna me." Genna wagged her fat finger at Kevan. She then turned to Loren. "Your Father did what he did to spare Tyrion any further. It is your Grandfather that you should be angry at, not Tyland."
"He went through with it though. He killed her." Loren argued.
Genna sighed. "What would be better for Tyrion, to keep that woman around with the reminder of what happened? Or to get rid of the girl and give him a chance to move on."
Loren was stumped, he had been so angry when he left that he hadn't even thought of that. "I'm not sure."
Genna smiled, tapping the sofa again to have Loren sit down. "You will be Lord of the Rock one day with your own children doing things that you don't want them to do. It will be up to you to ensure that whatever their mistakes, it doesn't impact House Lannister."
"I wouldn't do that though." Loren told her as he sat back down. "I couldn't."
Genna looked happy at that. "Good." She told him. "You are not Tywin, you are not Tyland, you are not Tyrion. You are your own man with your own thoughts.
Loren nodded. "I won't let anything like that happen again. I don't want to be hated and feared, Aunt Genna."
Genna placed her hand on his cheek. "Good lad." She whispered. "Now go and get yourself washed and changed. You smell like the backside of a mule."
Loren laughed, kissing her on the cheek before he got up to leave the room. Genna leant back again, pleased with herself. Kevan just looked concerned. "What if you've just made him do something stupid?" He asked.
Genna scoffed. "Of course he's going to do something stupid, but he isn't Tyrion, Tywin won't do a thing to stop it other than bluster and shout a bit."
It had been around a week since her wedding night, and Sansa couldn't bring herself to move from her room. Her hair was a state, she hadn't bathed in a week and all she could do all day was sew to keep her mind off of being violated every night. She was currently making a dress for herself, although her heart wasn't completely into it due to the fact that the only colours she had been given were red and gold.
"My new House." She whispered, depressed. Sighing, she continued with her stitching, etching out a golden Direwolf on the bodice of the dress. She may be a Lannister now, but she would always be a Stark no matter what.
There was a knock at the door as she was outlining one of the Direwolf's teeth. Looking up as the door opened, she saw Lady Margaery enter the room. She began to stand up, but Margaery shook her head. "No need for that, I just came to see how you were. You've been missed at court."
Sansa almost felt ashamed at how she looked compared to the utter beauty of the Tyrell maiden, but then the pain in her crotch came back and she realised she didn't care how she looked. "I've been busy." She said monotonously, holding up the dress.
"Is it that bad?" Margaery whispered, taking one of Sansa's hands.
Sansa shook her head, but she couldn't stop the sob that followed. "It's awful." Sansa whispered. "He uses me every night no matter how in pain I am. I just want to go home."
Margaery looked upset for her. She moved and gave the Stark girl a hug, one that Sansa had desperately needed. "It will be fine." She insisted. "But to make it better you can't wallow in self-pity my dear."
"What can I do?" Sansa whispered vulnerably.
Margaery smiled. "Why, you show him that you aren't a dog to be fucked. You are his wife, you are the Lady Sansa Stark, Lady of Winterfell. If you make him respect you, then you shall be treated as his equal. Men may think they rule outside of these walls, Sansa, but if you rule him in the bedroom then you will be the powerful one in your marriage."
While his wife was feeling miserable up in their chambers, Tyland was at his desk. Janos Slynt had finally been sent away to the Wall and Tyland needed a new Commander of the Gold Cloaks. He had a number of options, chief among those was his own captain of the guards Vylarr, but Tyland was unwilling to part with the man.
His thoughts were interrupted by a dainty knock at the door. "Princess Myrcella to see you, Lord Tyland." Vylarr announced.
"Send her in." He told the man, and in came Tyland's beautiful niece. "Princess, your beauty grows each time I see you."
Myrcella blushed. "Dorne agrees with me." She told him. "The Water Gardens are wonderful, Uncle."
Smiling at her happiness, Tyland pushed the papers over to one side. "What can I do for you? Have you settled back in well enough?"
Myrcella nodded. "Trystane is having difficulty with the smell, but this is my home, I have missed it terribly even though I enjoy Dorne."
"How is your betrothed?" Tyland asked, pouring two cups of water and handing one to Myrcella.
Myrcella grinned. "Wonderful, we are excellent friends already and he is quite handsome…" She put her hands to her mouth and giggled, reminding Tyland that she was still only 13-years-old. "In a different way that Loren is of course, but I think I prefer it."
Tyland smirked quickly. "So you no longer pine after my son?"
Myrcella shook her head amusedly. "No, Uncle. A girlhood crush is all. I know my duty is to marry Prince Trystane, but I feel like I shall be truly happy in Dorne."
"I am glad to hear that." Tyland said honestly. "I'm sure your Mother will be too."
Myrcella scoffed. "Mother has already promised me that she will break the betrothal, even after I told her that I was happy."
Tyland sighed. "Your Mother is very protective of you and your siblings."
"It's a shame she doesn't choose to be so when it's Joff hurting us." Myrcella muttered.
"Careful, Princess." Tyland warned. "He is our King now."
Myrcella nodded, composing herself. "I did come here for a reason though; I need to tell the Master of Laws something important." Tyland indicated that he was listening. "It isn't just Trystane and I that are here for the wedding. Prince Oberyn has come too with his paramour."
Tyland leant back in his chair digesting that. "And I imagine that he is after trouble."
Myrcella nodded, whispering now. "He made loud mention of Ser Gregor and Ser Armory, as well as you and Grandfather. I fear he hasn't come for the wedding, but for vengeance."
Tyland grimaced. Oberyn was always a problem that he was not looking forward to dealing with. "Very well. Thank you for telling me, Princess."
"I don't want you harmed, Uncle." Myrcella told him honestly.
Tyland smiled at her. "I shall be fine, don't you worry. Have you seen Tommen yet?" He asked, changing the subject.
Myrcella shook her head. "I was going to find him afterwards."
Tyland rose to his feet and moved around the desk, holding his hand out for Myrcella to take to help herself up. "Then let us go and find him. He's spent a large amount of time in the training yard, trying to emulate Ser Jaime and Ser Loren."
Myrcella was the first to leave the room as she began nattering on about Dorne and her time there, but all Tyland could do was remember to write to Gregor Clegane to stay away from the wedding.
Later on that day Tyland had been asked back up to the Tower of the Hand to see his Father. Arriving punctually he went and sat down as Tywin finished writing out some form of letter. He waited patiently as Tywin stamped his seal on to the letter and put it to one side.
"How is it being married once more?" Tywin asked.
Tyland just shrugged. "It will be better for her once she quickens with child."
"It shouldn't take too long." Tywin admitted, pouring them both wine. "But the sooner the better, or I'm sure I'll get more messages such as this." He handed Tyland some wine and a letter with the broken seal of House Bolton. Tyland read along.
"The Ironborn have been beaten back with the help of House Ryswell." He read off the parchment. "Ramsay Snow was instrumental in the taking back of Deepwood Motte and Lord Bolton has asked for the bastard to be legitimised." He dropped the letter back on the table. "Is that an issue?"
"Ramsay Snow is a mad dog. He's good for murder and infiltration, but not so good for anything else." Tywin commented. "If he becomes the heir to the Dreadfort your son by Sansa would be threatened. I'd rather keep him a bastard than see that happen."
Tyland nodded. "I'm sure Roose Bolton mentioned a new wife anyhow."
"Exactly." Tywin affirmed. "He will have trueborn children by the Frey girl, and you shall ensure we get a new Lord of Winterfell quickly."
Tyland stood up ready to dismiss himself. "I shall do my part." He promised.
"You always do." Tywin commented, bringing the letter back in front of him. "But get the girl to show her face more, having her locked away in her chambers creates a bad impression."
Tyland just nodded, bowing his head slightly as a farewell gesture before leaving the room.
After his bath Loren had left his armour alone and dressed himself in normal clothes for the first time since his knighthood it seemed. A rich golden doublet with lighter gold lions on his shoulders and similar coloured trousers was topped off with black boots and a crimson cape that hung over his left shoulder. Feeling good, he went for a walk around the castle.
Around half an hour later he found himself in the Godswood staring at the twisted Weirwood tree. The face carved into it was a placid one, but it still sent shivers down his spine.
"I didn't think of you as an Old God worshipper." A familiar voice sounded from behind him. Loren turned his neck to see Cerenna Lannister, her red dress leaving her shoulders bare and not leaving too much to the imagination.
"Cerenna…" Loren whispered, breaking into a grin. Cerenna had a wide smile on her face as well as the pair rushed towards each other, crushing one another in a fierce hug. "I missed you."
"I missed you." Cerenna repeated. They broke apart before she hit him on the arm.
"Ouch!" Loren exclaimed. "What was that for?"
"For risking yourself like you did against Stannis!" She told him. "You could have died."
Loren shook his head, amused. "I was in no real danger."
Rolling her eyes, Cerenna countered. "You were outside the walls when the reinforcements arrived, I've heard all about it."
"But I'm here now." Loren reassured her, placing his hands on her arms. "I'm going nowhere."
"Until you marry." Cerenna told him.
"Urgh." Loren groaned, taking his hands off of her and turning around to face the Weirwood again. "Please don't remind me."
Cerenna laughed bitterly. "I don't know what you are complaining about. You marry a sweet and innocent maid." She mocked. "I'm due to be molested by a wrinkly old lecher."
"That won't happen." Loren told her, turning to face her once more. "I won't let it."
Cerenna smiled, cupping his cheek tenderly. "We don't have a choice." She told him. "We can fight it all we like, but we'll only bring dishonour to our House."
"Fuck honour." Loren cursed. "What has it ever gotten us?"
Cerenna was taken aback. "Fuck honour?" She questioned.
"My Uncle Jaime is honourable, and he's a bodyguard to the worst King we've likely ever had." Loren began. "My Grandfather murders innocents for fun and has made us the most powerful House in Westeros. He doesn't care about honour; he does what is important for him and his House. Why should we be any different?"
He tipped her chin up so they were staring in each other's deep green eyes. "Tell me right now that you want to go through with this. That you want to be wife number 9 of Walder Frey and want me to marry this Payne girl. Tell me that and I will never bother you again."
Cerenna shook her head. "I can't." She whispered.
"Then come with me now." He told her. "Come with me to Crakehall and marry me. My Grandfather there will let us."
"Lord Tywin…" She began.
"Will deal with it. I'll handle him, Lord Payne and Lord Frey if I have to." He promised her. "I don't care about any of them. All that matters is us."
Cerenna had red cheeks but smiled. "All that matters is us." She repeated.
Loren smirked, and pressed his lips to hers. Her lips parted slightly, and his tongue wrestled with hers, the two lovers kissing fiercely in the Godswood for what seemed like an age before Loren took her hand and ran for the stables.
Tyland's work on improving the Gold Cloaks lasted long past just choosing a new commander. Ser Addam Marbrand was the man he had chosen, but the problems left by the corrupt Janos Slynt had gone deep into the organisation. It was such heavy work that he had taken it back to his chambers to work on. Surprisingly enough Sansa wasn't there when he arrived, although the dress she was working on had been left on one of the dressers. Tyland took a moment to inspect it before settling in for the job.
He had settled on some new patrol routes when the doors to the room opened once more, and a grinning Sansa entered the room. Her hair had been washed and was hanging in a Northern style, and she wore a dark blue dress that really made her hair stand out. "Lady Sansa." Tyland greeted.
"Oh, Lord Tyland." Sansa was surprised to see him. "I didn't expect to see you here so early."
He tapped the papers in front of him with his quill. "It is a lot of work I'm afraid, so I thought I'd bring it back here and work on it tonight."
Sansa nodded, and was going to leave it there until she was reminded of Margaery's words from earlier. "What is it your working on?"
"It wouldn't interest you I'm sure." Tyland told her.
"Try me?" Sansa suggested.
Tyland sighed. "Ways to ensure the motivation and loyalty of the Gold Cloaks." Sansa sat down opposite him after taking her dress and sewing equipment, planning on working opposite him. "The former commander was extremely corrupt, and the City Watch is not fit for purpose at the moment."
Sansa nodded, not looking up at him and beginning to stitch. "I can't say it would work in the South, but in Winterfell my Father would invite one member of the household to dine with us. It could have been Ser Rodrik the Master of Arms, or it could have been Farlen the kennel master. Once a day we would have a new person at our table and speak with them about their lives and include them in our own conversations."
Tyland looked at her impressed, reckoning it was possibly the longest he had heard her speak to him willingly. "Unfortunately we don't really dine communally." He told her.
Sansa shook her head. "That's not all he did. He would go and visit the barracks and have conversations with even the lowest of the guards. They loved him and were motivated to do their best with us because they felt valued and included. Perhaps these Gold Cloaks would feel the same if the Master of Laws lowered himself to speak to them casually." She shrugged. "As I say I don't know if it would work in the South, but I was always taught that men would fight for you harder if you took an interest in them."
It made sense, Tyland hated to admit, and it made him see Sansa as intelligent for perhaps the first time. He knew that the North loved Ned Stark and were more than happy to die defending him, and although he had hated Tyland and tried to kill the Lannister heir, taking a page out of his book would perhaps not be the worst thing he could try to improve the City Watch. "Tell me more about your Father." Tyland said to his wife. "Everything about how he was with the household at Winterfell?"
Sansa looked up in surprise, but nodded and put her sewing down before going into a long speech about Ned Stark. Tyland even listened attentively, and by the time that they both realised they should get to bed, even though Tyland violated her once more, Sansa went to bed thinking that perhaps she could have some influence over her new husband if he found her useful in ways other than just to have his children.