Chapter 1: Hear Me Roar
King's Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms and home to House Targaryen. Tyland hadn't been there since he was four years old and Tywin had brought the royal court to Casterly Rock. His main memory of the city was the smell as he left, and he noted that it had only gotten worse.
Westeros was in a state of war, Rhaegar Targaryen had apparently kidnapped Lyanna Stark, and that led to a chain of events that had led to Tyland sitting on his horse in full Lannister armour staring at the city waiting to see if the Mad King fell for Tywin's ruse. Tyland hated the old goat, he had shamed House Lannister far too many times and gotten away with it, but no more.
The gates suddenly opened, and panic ensued as 12,000 Lannister men rushed through the gates into the city, and immediately Tyland noted smoke rising from the buildings nearest the gates. Grinning, he turned to the man next to him, Tywin Lannister. "Father, we should move now, to begin the assault on the Red Keep." The 20-year-old said gruffly.
"The gates should be open already if Pycelle was competent." Tywin said. "Go."
Nodding to his Father, Tyland spurred his horse, and charged directly for the Red Keep. He had to cut down a few of the defending Gold Cloaks, but the path was relatively clear thanks to the chaos in the city. Tywin had been right, the way to the Keep was clear, and Tyland dismounted his horse before making his way towards the Throne Room with four other men.
Outside the Throne Room, he saw a man had been stabbed in the back, and had bled out already. He pushed the doors open and wasn't prepared for what he saw. His younger brother, Jaime, was sat on the Iron Thrown, with the Mad King dead beneath the steps. Sheathing his sword, Tyland walked up to his brother.
"Brother! Come to kill the King? I'm afraid I beat you to it." Jaime said, his usual tone of arrogance including a hint of angst.
"What have you done." Tyland said coldly.
"Saved the city." Jaime bit back.
"I care not that the Mad King is dead, but you are Kingsguard." Tyland spat. "This was foolish, you should have detained him."
Jaime slunk back, not used to being told off. "I had to, you don't understand. He had wildfire, he was going to burn the city."
Tyland stood, assessing the situation before turning to his men. "Gregor, Armory, go and do what needs to be done. No mercy."
"Yes My Lord." They said, quickly leaving the Throne room.
"Ser Elys, take my sword and hide for an hour, come back and say you found it in a guard or something." He ordered, handing Ser Elys Westerling his sword. "Lord Crakehall, spread word that I have killed the King."
"My Lord?" Roland Crakehall asked confused.
"Better me than the sworn protection, don't you think?" Tyland said icily, his eyes narrowing.
"At once Lord Tyland, you killed the King." Lord Crakehall bowed, and soon it was just Jaime, Tyland and the body of the Mad King in the room.
"What are you up to?" Jaime asked.
"Saving your skin." Tyland replied. "Hand me your sword and then go to Father, only to Father and tell him what has happened."
Jaime nodded, handing Tyland the sword, still dripping with the blood of the Mad King, and went to walk away, only to fall to the floor with a thud, as Tyland knocked his brother out with the butt of the sword. Taking out a dagger, he picked up Aerys' body and placed it on the throne, stabbing the dead king in the side. Finally, he cut his arm slightly with Jaime's sword, giving the impression that he had been injured. After sitting down on the steps below the throne, the doors swung open, and in walked a small army flying the banner of House Stark, and Tyland noticed a young man who must have been Eddard Stark at it's front.
"Lord Stark I presume." He said.
"Lord Tyland. What happened here?" Ned asked.
Tyland thought for a moment, before saying only one word. "Justice." And with that he walked out of the room to find his Father.
The next time he was in the presence of Ned Stark was when Robert Baratheon arrived. He stood next to Tywin as the new King arrived and took his place on the throne. Formalities were observed as Lords Arryn, Stark and Tully were honoured, and soon enough, Tywin was called.
"Lord Tywin, you failed to answer my call to arms and yet I find you here. Explain yourself My Lord." Robert said.
Tywin stepped forward, bending the knee quickly. "I was always a supporter of your claim Your Grace, but I decided the best way to end the war was deception. As you can see it worked." Robert didn't look overly convinced, and Tywin nodded to two of his men. They each brought forward crimson cloaks, and laid them at the foot of the Iron Throne. "To prove my loyalty." Tywin said.
Robert nodded for a man to unwrap the cloaks, and the entire Throne Room gasped at the sight. Tyland only winced at the nature of Aegon Targaryen's crushed head.
"Murder." He heard from the other side of the room, not surprised to hear Ned Stark.
"A necessary evil, Your Grace. They would have brought discord to your rule." Tywin said.
"They were babes!" Ned exclaimed. "Robert please, this is murder plain and true, unnecessary murder."
Robert stood regally, looked down at the corpses of Aegon and Rhaenys and spat. "I see no babes, only dragonspawn." Tyland looked across to see Ned Stark's face contort in rage, but he held it in for the public. "Burn these bodies and be quick about it. Court is dismissed for the day."
Tywin nodded to his men to take the bodies away, and later he and Tyland were sat in guest chambers. "Did they have to do it so brutally?" Tywin asked.
"I call it effective, not brutal. The babes would have risen up one day, it seemed only fair to make sure they were actually dead." Tyland shrugged. Tywin nodded.
"Dorne will want vengeance for the Princess." Tywin noted.
"Gregor said she got in the way." Tyland shrugged. "Let Dorne cry in their deserts, to get to us they'd have to go through the Reach, and the day a Tyrell and a Martell share a table is the day I change my banner to a housecat."
"We can contain it, luckily. But good work." Tywin said. "Jaime spoke with me, said he was actually one to kill Aerys."
Tyland shrugged again. "He's Kingsguard, he'd be ridiculed for centuries if people found out he'd broken his oath, this way I get the blame, and who is going to outright tell the heir to Casterly Rock that he's a Kingslayer."
Tyland thought he almost saw a smile creep onto Tywin's face. "You've done well, our House will be feared for another generation at least, that is guaranteed now. We just need to find you a suitable wife."
"This is not up for discussion." Tywin said coldly. "You are more than old enough. I won't be here forever and I won't have the family name die out because you refuse to do your duty to our House."
Tyland silently seethed. "Of course Father, who did you have in mind." He ground out.
"Lysa Tully married Jon Arryn, she would be my initial choice." Tywin said. "Lord Crakehall has a daughter that's unwed. You shall marry her when you are back in Casterly Rock. It has all been arranged."
"That was quick." Tyland noted.
"These things are necessary." Tywin said coldly. "I shall stay for the coronation and try and persuade Robert to set aside the Stark girl for your sister."
Tyland sighed inwardly. "Cersei as Queen?"
"With our money and a Lannister Queen we shall be a force that no House can hope to match, not even House Baratheon. Then the next King will have Lannister blood." Tywin explained, and Tyland couldn't fault his reasoning.
"Very well, I shall wed the Crakehall girl." Tyland said, standing up. "Unless there is anything else, I shall leave for the Rock at dawn tomorrow."
"There is nothing else." Tywin said, dismissing Tyland.
Burning. That's all Tyland saw as he watched with his little brother and his 4 year old son, Loren, as the fleet of Lannisport was razed. Flames engulfed the docks as Ironborn ships were ravaging the soldiers of Lannisport that attempted to fight. Anger consumed him, as he vowed to himself that the Ironborn would pay.
And pay they would do. After the Ironborn had left the bay and casualties had been totalled, Tyland discovered that his wife of 5 years, a daughter of Lord Crakehall that he didn't particularly care for, had been kidnapped while walking in the city. Raging, Tyland discovered that the man who had taken her wore the hand of bone sigil of House Drumm.
Soon enough Robert arranged for the might of the Seven Kingdoms to invade the Iron Islands. The Lannister forces were given the honour of taking the holiest of the Iron Islands, Old Wyk, that just happened to be the seat of House Drumm.
Tyland was leading the forces of 5,000 Lannister men against House Drumm, and immediately set his men to burning the houses of the villages. He let no man, woman, or child escape, making sure that his men cordoned off the villages as they burned, slowly making their way to the pride of Old Wyk, Nagga's Hill. The hill was the seat of Kingsmoots in Ironborn History, and Tyland grinned as he saw the last resistance of Dunstan Drumm and a couple of thousand men that remained on the island.
"Where's my wife Drumm." Tyland shouted up the hill at the Lord of Old Wyk.
"Screwing the Drowned God!" Drumm shouted back. "After I had her a dozen times she decided to jump overboard, the bitch drowned like a rat!"
Scowling, that was it for Tyland as he spurred his horse up the hill, towards the ribs of the Sea Dragon the Ironborn claimed where what stuck up on top of the hill. Tyland unsheathed his sword, and got to work cutting down as many Ironborn as he could, trying to get to Dunstan Drumm. Man after man was cut down, as his golden haired destrier relished in charging people down, allowing Tyland to hack at them. He soon saw his foe, Dunstan Drumm, and his long brown hair blowing in the fierce wind as he hacked down a Lannister man with the Valyrian Steel sword Red Rain. Charging, he narrowed his eyes at the Drumm man, bracing for the impact as he swung his sword, cleaving off the mans sword hand. Red Rain clattered to the floor, and Tyland turned his horse to see Drumm had been captured, and his small army had routed the Ironborn, slaughtering the remaining forces.
Dismounting his horse, he smirked as Dunstan Drumm was thrown at his feet, and Red Rain was handed to him by a Lannister man. He flexed his fingers over the hilt of the blade, marvelling in how light it felt.
"My Father has always wanted a Valyrian Steel blade. Give it up to House Lannister, and I'll let you live out the remainder of your pitiful life." Tyland told the Drumm Lord.
"Fuck you, that's our sword, we paid the iron price for it." Drumm spat. "Now you killed the first owners, it's ours."
"Not anymore." Tyland said, before turning to a Lannister captain. "Take him away, I want him to watch as his entire family dies."
The remainder of the Drumm family was gathered. His two sons had died in the fighting, but his new heir and granddaughter, a girl of 14, was the most prominent captive. Tyland turned to one of his most brutish men. "Take the girl in front of her Grandfather, see how he likes it being on the other end."
"No! You fucker! You can't! Dunna no!" Dunstan cried out. The girl, Dunna, was also angrily lashing out, and was held down by two Lannister men as another raped her from behind. Tyland didn't watch, but went up behind Dunstan, held his hair so his head remained in place and whispered in his ear.
"The last thing you see before you die, is the end of your house." He whispered menacingly into Dunstan Drumm's ear.
"Fuck you Lannister." Drumm spat, the last things he said, as Tyland shoved Red Rain through the Ironborn's back. Hearing the cries of the last Drumm left alive, he turned and left to give word that Old Wyk had been subdued.
The arrival back at Lannisport was a lot more positive than the departure, as the men were in good spirits. The Royal Fleet docked, and Tywin was stood with Loren awaiting Tyland. The Lannister heir stepped off the ship with Stannis Baratheon, who was staying the night in Casterly Rock before leaving again in the morning.
"Father." Tyland nodded politely towards his Father.
"Tyland, Lord Stannis. Welcome to Lannisport. I hope you rest well tonight in the Rock." Tywin said.
"Thank you, Lord Tywin."
"You shall be shown to your rooms, Tyland, I want a word with you back at the rock." Tywin said.
"Of course." Tyland stated. The formality ended as soon as Stannis was led away, and Tyland could greet Loren properly. The five-year-old hugging his father.
"Father! I've started with a sword!" Loren exclaimed.
"Very good, I'll have to come and watch you tomorrow." Tyland smiled.
Loren looked around, and noticed someone missing. "Where's Mother?" He asked.
Tyland sighed sadly. "The Ironborn murdered her Loren, but she was avenged. None from House Drumm live now for the crime of murdering her." He told the young Loren, who started tearing up. "No tears, we are Lannisters of Casterly Rock. Show the people any weakness and they won't fear you, they won't respect you." He took Loren's hand after wiping the tears off of his eyes, and began leading his son back up to the Rock.
He met his Father in the topmost part of the castle, where Tywin liked to greet any guests. He entered the room and immediately placed the sheathed Red Rain on the desk that Tywin was sat at.
"What is this?" Tywin asked.
"The Valyrian Steel sword of the now extinct House Drumm." Tyland stated. "I, acquired it."
"Now extinct?" Tywin asked, eyebrow raised.
"They took my wife; I wasn't letting any of them get away." Tyland said. "Lord Drumm made a point of explaining how she died in detail."
Tywin shook his head. "Foolish man."
"His sons died in battle, and he died watching his granddaughter and heir getting raped." Tyland shrugged. "Then we threw her in the sea where her kind belong."
"Effective." Tywin said.
"Red Rain is yours, Father. The ancient blade of House Reyne in the hands of House Lannister." Tyland smirked. Tywin unsheathed the blade, marvelling in the steelwork.
"For generations Lannisters held no Valyrian Steel while lesser Houses shunned us. Now finally we can prove that we are the greatest House. You've done well Tyland." Tywin said, proudly. "Here, have it." He handed the sword back to Tyland.
"Me? But you are the Lord of Casterly Rock, the sword belongs to you." Tyland said.
"You are the younger, you lead armies, and you will be Lord of the Rock one day after I die. No man alive is more deserving. You've proved yourself a Lannister to be feared in both this war and the Rebellion. Take the blade."
Tyland took it at his Father's request. "Thank you, Father."
"Use it well, and don't lose it." Tywin warned. "We ought to see about getting you a new wife too I suppose."
"No." Tyland stated. "I have an heir, while I had no affection for Jeyne Crakehall I have no wish to uproot Loren so much when he is grieving still."
"One heir is all well and good, but what if the boy dies?" Tywin asked.
"Then I shall take another wife, but for now, no." Tyland said defiantly.
"Very well." Tywin said. "You may leave, I'm sure your wretched brother will want to see you."
Tyland nodded, and briskly left the room when he was dismissed. Tywin Lannister wasn't a man that praised easily, and he was glad that his efforts in the Iron Islands had been well received by Tywin at least. He knew Ned Stark would hate him even more, not that he cared. He walked down from Tywin's room to the library, where he knew his brother Tyrion would be. Hopefully now he could live at the Rock in peace, so that he could raise his son to be a true Lannister without the impression of his wife holding the boy back.
Chapter 2: The Lion Red
Around a year after the Ironborn Rebellion, news of Tyland's slaughter of House Drumm had spread throughout the Seven Kingdoms, and a song had been created, apparently in his honour. Tywin held a feast at the end of the Tournament on the last night before the King and Cersei had to travel back to King's Landing, and a bard was currently playing it on Robert's request.
"'My wife' cried he the Lion Red, 'they stole her then left her for dead! Now lose your steel or lose your head!' said he the lion coated red. The Sealord cried and bowed so low. 'The sword is yours, just let me go!' The lion roared at the sea lords woe, and nowhere did the Sealord go."
"Fools." Muttered Tyland to his Father over the next line. "They make it seem like I did that for Jeyne."
"That is what we must show now." Tywin stated back to Tyland. "Especially while the King is here, he's loving it."
Tyland looked towards the King with disgust, the Baratheon man heavily applauding the bard as the song finished, laughing his head off. The song eventually finished, and Tyland joined in the applause, but half-heartedly.
"Tyland the Red!" Robert bellowed. "A good song, deserving of a tip, no? It's not like you lions are short of a few pennies!"
Tyland cursed under his breath, before rising from his seat and striding towards the bard. Reaching for the man's hand, he handed the man a few golden coins before shaking his hand. Pulling the grinning man in close, Tyland whispered menacingly into his ear. "If you ever presume to play that song in my presence again, I'll have your tongue and both your hands." He grinned at the mans scared reaction, before returning to his seat.
Later that night, Tyland found himself wondering the castle being unable to sleep. Loren had taken the loss of his Mother hard, and Tyland figured that now the distraction of the tourney had gone, his son would fall further into grief. He remembered the feeling of losing his own Mother at 10, feeling nothing but anger and rage at first, then only sorrow. It was after his Mother's death that Tywin had taken more of an interest in Tyland, raising him to be a true Lannister of the Rock.
It was as he was walking towards the corridor that his sister used to live in when he thought he heard noises. Frowning, he listened in, to realise it was clearly a couple fucking. Sighing, he turned to leave, not wanting to hear the King defile his little sister, before Cersei called out a name he certainly wasn't expecting.
Wide eyed, he stood exactly where he was, unable to move through the shock. Thinking he must have heard wrong, he waited, but Cersei was moaning again and again, and always the same name. Feeling disgusted, he abruptly left, vowing to confront the two in the morning.
And confront them he did. Unable to sleep he prepared himself before dawn, and burst into Cersei's room as the sky was a faint orange. His siblings bolted upright in her bed, clearly undressed.
"Tyland! What are you doing here?" Cersei asked.
"I should ask Jaime the same question." Tyland spat. "What in Seven Hells is this?"
"Brother…" Jaime began.
"NO!" Tyland bellowed. "You will listen. I don't know what you think you're doing, but it is no way to behave. You're siblings!"
"Targaryen's wed siblings for generations." Cersei scoffed.
"And the Targaryen's were well known for being mad." Tyland countered coldly. "When Father hears about this…"
"No." Jaime begged.
"Father must not know." Cersei said, scared.
Tyland walked over to the window, leaning on it heavily. He could hear them both scrambling to put some form of clothes on. "How long?" He asked after a while of silence.
"We never slept together before I was married." Cersei explained. "Not that the oaf would have noticed if I wasn't a maiden." She added, scoffing.
"No jokes sister." Tyland turned around quickly, speaking as icily as humanly possible. "How long?"
Jaime knew better than to lie. "Since always, we're one, Cersei and I. We shared a womb, we shared everything."
Tyland felt sick. "You will stop this abysmal behaviour immediately. If Baratheon found out, he would have us all killed, if Father found out…"
"He won't." Jaime laughed. "He's never paid us more attention than he had to, you're the 'golden boy.'"
"And that's clearly a good thing right now." Tyland spat. "For the love I bear the both of you, this stays between us for now, but never again. This sort of behaviour was eradicated when the Mad King died, let it stay that way."
Cersei looked furious. "You can't stop us from feeling the way we do."
Tyland faltered. "Perhaps not, but I can't defend this treason." He said, before briskly walking out the door, leaving the twins to hurriedly discuss their plans.
Joffrey's 10th nameday warranted a tournament, by orders of King Robert. Tyland was to go along with Tyrion on behalf of House Lannister to show face and give the young prince a gift from Tywin. Tyland hated the thought of going back to King's Landing, but couldn't refuse his Father's wish.
The smell of the city still filled the air from a mile out, and it was just their luck that the Lion gate was one of the furthest from the Red Keep. They arrived around a week before Joffrey's birthday however, and settled in well enough. He managed to get out of invitations to dine with his sister until the day before Joffrey's nameday, when he was sent for by one of the Kingsguard. Unable to refuse at sword point, he made sure he looked as lordly as he could, taking as much time to spite his sister. He arrived to see that Jaime and Tyrion were also there, halfway through their meal.
"Ah brother, good of you to join us." Tyrion grinned jovially.
"You're late." Cersei told him. Tyland just grunted in response and sat down, picking at a few things from the table.
"You're not entering the tourney then brother?" Jaime asked. "It's a shame, I'm sure I could use some decent competition."
"Forgive me Jaime, I forgot you'd ever won a tourney." Tyland said shortly, shutting the arrogant Lannister up. "I don't enter tourney's, they're a boy's folly pretending at war."
"That's a rather depressing view on the subject." Tyrion sighed.
"That's life brother." Tyland told him.
"You will show up to Joffrey's breakfast tomorrow, won't you?" Cersei said, staring intently at Tyland.
"That's why I'm in this shit stained city is it not?" Tyland said coolly. "Of course I will be, we must give the Prince his gifts."
"Good." Cersei nodded, returning to her food. The tension in the air caused a silence to reign over the table, with occasional sounds of chewing or drinking.
Eventually, they all finished. Tyrion had plans to go to some brothel or another so left early, and Jaime had duties to attend to, so Tyland was left with Cersei, sitting at opposite ends of the table.
"Why do you hate us so?" Cersei asked. "We've not heard from you in months, all news comes from that foul lecherous beast."
"From Tyrion, you mean." Tyland stated icily. "He's your brother, treat him as such."
"He's no brother of mine, not when he killed our Mother." Cersei spat. "Why do you care anyway, you've always looked down on both Jaime and I."
"Looked down on you?" Tyland almost laughed. "Sister, I thought you cleverer than that."
"Don't mock me." Cersei snapped. "Ever since that beast ripped our Mother apart you scorned us both."
"I always looked for you to be the best you can be." Tyland snarled, standing up and leaning on the table, looking menacing. "I saved Jaime from a life filled with scorn and he's a revered hero. I always wanted the best for you, we fought to put you on this throne, whispering into Jon Arryn's ears when the fate of the Stark bitch was unknown to better your standings. How did you repay myself and Father? By disgracing yourself and committing treason."
"Treason?" Cersei laughed. "The great King Robert is always too busy with his wine and his whores, he wouldn't notice treason if it bit him in the face."
Tyland shook his head, and stared daggers at Cersei. "You don't even deny it."
"Why would I?" Cersei scoffed. "Jaime and I are one, and we're your little siblings. If you do care for us in some way you won't let anything harm us."
"Do not mistake my family loyalty to caring." Tyland told her. "Six years this has plagued my mind, and if you go down, the name of Lannister is shamed forever. That cannot be allowed to happen."
"You sound like Father." Cersei scoffed.
"He has the right of it." Tyland snapped. "You shame us all Cersei."
Cersei stood too, and the two walked towards each other, staring daggers from inches away. "I am still your Queen. You cannot talk to me like that."
Tyland had had enough, and his hand came up and grabbed Cersei by the throat, pushing her back and slamming her into a wall. "Don't play games with me, sister. You may be the Queen, but you're still my little sister."
"If Robert finds out…" Cersei choked.
Tyland shook his head, and let her go roughly, watching as Cersei got her breath back. "He may commend me yet again, I know the state of your marriage."
Cersei glared at her brother. "You go too far."
"Perhaps, but you need me on your side to keep your power, which is what you crave so." Tyland sneered. "Your secret will always be safe with me Cersei, but don't presume to ever order me around again." With that he swiftly turned and strode out of the room, leaving Cersei seething behind him.
The next morning was interesting. Tyland found Tyrion and went to the pavilion that had been set up for Joffrey's nameday, and after handing the boy his first crossbow from Tywin, a book from Tyrion and a golden detailed crossbow bolt quiver from Tyland, they both sat down and began to eat. Cersei kept staring daggers at Tyland, but the Lannister heir took no notice. She couldn't do anything when Tyland held Robert's favour.
The tourney was a bore as well, Tyrion ended up having a large bet with the Lord of the Stormlands Renly Baratheon on Jaime to win the whole thing, and losing a substantial amount of money. Tyland wished his little brother wouldn't gamble, but with the venom from their father directed at the youngest Lannister, Tyrion was determined that he would do as he pleased.
As day turned to night, Tyland found himself walking through the castle ready to send a raven to the Rock, when he heard giggling coming from the library next to him. Seeing his niece and youngest nephew bowl out of the room, they looked frightened to see him.
"Princess Myrcella, Prince Tommen. Should you be out here alone?" Tyland asked.
"No uncle." Myrcella said, bowing her head sorrowfully. "We just wanted to read about the Laughing Storm."
Tyland had to think of who that was for a second before remembering. "Lord of the Stormlands, he declared himself Storm King because a Targaryen broke a betrothal and was soundly beaten in a trial by combat." He recited.
"We were reading about Ashford." The six-year-old girl said nervously.
"You can tell me all about it as I escort you back to your chambers." He told them, as he gestured for them to head in the direction of the royal apartments. His letter could wait, he decided. They walked a few steps, before Tommen decided to be brave and ask him a question.
"Is it true you killed a King?" He asked. Tyland gazed down at the boy intently, and he waited until the boy began to cower slightly before answering.
"Yes. How did you know that?" He asked.
"Father was shouting about it at a feast not so long ago." Myrcella explained. "He said you were the hero of the realm that day."
Tyland scoffed. "Killing is not heroic Princess, but it is necessary."
"Like House Drumm?" She asked.
"What is House Drumm?" Tommen asked confused.
"They were a House in the Iron Islands." Myrcella explained, Tyland was impressed at her knowledge for one so young. "But when they rebelled, they became extinct."
"How?" Tommen asked.
"Nobody knows." Myrcella said.
"Me." Tyland told them, trying to think of a way to explain that wouldn't scar them. "They took my wife when they attacked Lannisport, so I had to make them pay."
The two children looked up at him. Tommen looked scared, but Myrcella just looked intrigued. They carried on walking, Tyland letting the two children talk to one another about some pet Tommen was keeping, when they finally arrived at the corridor that housed the children's rooms. They bid him goodnight, and went into their respective rooms, so Tyland turned away to head back to send his raven when a small voice piped up from behind him. "Uncle Tyland."
He turned back to see Myrcella poking out from her doorway. "Yes, Princess?"
She looked at the floor nervously, before defiantly looking her uncle in the eye. "Everyone says that you're scary, but I don't think so." She smiled sweetly.
Tyland didn't know how to take that, so he just nodded towards her. "Get some sleep Princess."
"Goodnight Uncle." She smiled again, before shutting her door. Tyland stared on in awe, nobody had spoken to him that way in almost 20 years and it was rather refreshing. That mood failed to last however, when his beloved sister turned the corner of the corridor.
"What are you doing here?" She asked venomously.
"Seeing that your children aren't murdered turning a corner." He spat back. "They were in the library with no guard."
Cersei was surprised, but shook it off quickly. "Stay away from them."
Tyland barked out a laugh. "I don't know how you did it, but those two are a credit to you." He said, walking away, but stopping just inches to the side of Cersei to whisper in her ear before he strode away. "They are everything Mother was, and you are not."
There was a feast the next day to celebrate Ser Barristan Selmy's victory in the tourney, and Tyland sat on a table with other important Lords and Ladies, not paying any attention to the idle gossiping going on. The food was good he would admit, but he wasn't a fan of the pompous ceremony.
After the plates had been cleared and it was just a room filled of drinking and chatting, Robert went to sit on the Iron Throne, with Jon Arryn stood near him. The room grew quiet, as Jon was about to speak.
"With the retirement of Lord Estermont back to his seat, a new seat on the Small Council has opened up." Jon Arryn began.
"Lord Renly Baratheon." Robert called, and Renly made his way to kneel before the Throne. "Will you serve the realm and your brother in the office of Master of Laws?"
Renly rose. "I would be honoured, Your Grace." The room erupted in applause, and the young Lord played up to it. As the room grew quieter again, Jon spoke again.
"While all other roles on the Small Council are filled currently, His Grace would like to extend an invitation as an advisor." Jon explained. This peaked Tyland's interest slightly, while not unheard of, this action wasn't very common.
"Lord Tyland Lannister." Robert called, and Tyland groaned internally. He couldn't turn it down in such a public manner. He rose from his seat and walked towards the throne, noticing the proud look on Tyrion's face, and the grim look on his sister's. He knelt before the Throne when he got there. "Will you stay in King's Landing and advise me to the best of your ability? To help me keep the peace in the Seven Kingdom's."
Tyland rose, and addressed Robert. "I thank you, Your Grace. I can think of no higher honour." He lied, but took the role anyway, it would be good to have an insight in the ruling of the Kingdom's.
Applause filled the room, and Tyland returned to his seat and let the King bestow honour and gold upon Ser Barristan and the rest of the winners from the tourney, Tyrion leaned over. "So, another Lannister in King's Landing. Congratulations brother."
Tyland scoffed. "I'm doing this because it's a good opportunity for our house, not because I want to."
"Still, I envy you, now I'll be left alone with our Father." Tyrion laughed quietly. "I cannot wait to get back home."
"I could always use you as a squire, you're the right height." Tyland jested. Tyrion was the best of his siblings he thought. He was old enough to understand that his Mother could not have survived the birth, and her last words to him had been to take care of the boy. Luckily, they got on well, even though their personalities were unbelievably different. Tyrion took the jest well, grinning widely.
"A finer honour I could not imagine!" He exclaimed. "Paling only in comparison to my role as the Lannisport sewer architect."
Tyland chuckled, before he set to planning. Loren, he decided would stay in Casterly Rock, the boy would need to learn from Tywin to be a capable ruler, and that would be better if he was actually with a capable ruler instead of a fat drunkard. He poured himself some wine and let himself actually enjoy the night, thinking ahead to the future.
Chapter 3: Hands of the King
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.
Chapter 4: Dangerous Accusations
Tyland sat in his solar taking care of some letters when a knock at the door came, and the Captain of the Lannister forces in King's Landing, a man named Vylarr, entered the room when Tyland allowed it.
"Vylarr, why aren't you at your post?" The Lannister asked.
"Sorry My Lord, but I was at the establishment and got given this." The guard replied, holding out some parchment. Tyland took it knowingly.
"Thank you Vylarr, I hope you enjoy your next visit." Tyland said. The man bowed and left Tyland alone.
The message was from a whore in one of Littlefinger's brothels. Not a place that the uninterested Tyland would ever visit, but a valuable source of information when a number of the whores were under Tyland's payroll. He opened the letter and confirmed the code was genuine before deciphering the letter.
His discovery worried him, apparently Ned Stark himself had visited with Littlefinger, but not to betray his ever-present honour. Catelyn Stark had smuggled herself into the city, and presumed to taint Tyrion by claiming the dwarf would attempt to murder a child.
"Fools, the lot of them." He whispered. His brother was a whoremonger and a drunk, but he was always soft for those in need that couldn't help themselves. Killing a child was completely unlike his youngest brother. The dagger too, he would need to see it but he couldn't recall Tyrion ever betting against Jaime for anything, let alone a Valyrian Steel dagger.
The accusations however, Tyland couldn't ignore them. If Ned Stark truly believed that a Lannister tried to murder his son then war between the lion and the wolf was a distinct possibility. Getting new parchment out, he wrote a letter.
I have received word that the Starks believe the dwarf plotted to kill the boy, Brandon with a Valyrian Steel dagger that Littlefinger has made them believe links back to our house. They seem to be of the mind that he is trustworthy, and I fear it will lead to war. I will aim to diffuse the situation in the capital, but your bannermen must be made aware that they may soon be needed.
Folding it tightly and using the Lannister seal, he left his chambers and headed over to the ravenry. He found Pycelle there tending to the birds.
"Grand Maester." He nodded courteously.
"Lord Tyland. I was about to come and find you, a message from Lord Tywin." He said, handing the Lannister a message. Tyland opened it to see an agreement for the tourney loan.
"Rest and feed the bird and then send it back. Privately." Tyland warned, handing Pycelle his letter. The Grand Maester nodded his head knowingly. Tyland didn't stay to chat with the old man, and instead his thoughts shifted to how he could verify the Valyrian Steel dagger and see if he could trick the Northerner into saying anything.
The next day when the arrangements for the tourney had been made, Tyland walked up towards King Robert's chambers to give him the details. Robert cared little for ruling, but any mention of a tourney and he was as excitable as a man could get. Jaime was the man guarding the door.
"Brother." Jaime said amicably. "What a surprise, what brings you to His Graces chambers, you're not taking the place of our sweet sister are you?"
Tyland wasn't amused. "You're rather jovial for a glorified doorman." He responded.
"We can't all be the heir to Casterly Rock." Jaime grinned.
"No, instead you disowned us all and we gave Castamere to the spawn of a witch." Tyland rolled his eyes. "Is His Grace free?"
His answer came as the door opened to reveal a shaken Lancel, and King Robert ordering. "Tell your cousin to get in here!" Tyland walked through the door then. "Both cousins then. Damn Lannisters, everywhere I look I can see your blonde hair and smug, satisfied faces. What is it?"
"The itinerary for the Tourney you requested for Lord Stark, Your Grace." Tyland said, ignoring the comment about his family. He placed the paper on the desk, and was surprised that Robert put it to one side.
"I'll look at it later. We're telling war stories." Robert told them, and Tyland noticed Ser Barristan stood by the desk too. Who was your first kill?" He aimed at Jaime.
"One of the outlaws in the Brotherhood." Jaime replied calmly.
"I was there that day." Ser Barristan turned to the younger Lannister. "You were only a squire, 16 years old."
Jaime looked pleased at the praise coming from his Lord Commander. "You killed Simon Toyne with a counter riposte." He reminisced. "Best move I ever saw."
"A good fighter, Toyne. But he lacked stamina." Ser Barristan responded.
"Your outlaw." Robert said to Jaime. "Any last words?"
"I cut off his head, so no." Jaime replied. Tyland held in the smirk, but Robert turned to him next.
"And what about you, Kingslayer." He said. "Who was your first?"
Tyland had to think back. "Before the tourney of Lannisport we had trouble with a group of bandits on the Gold Road, my Uncle Tygett led some men to deal with them." He replied. "He was a few years older than me, and I recall him begging me to spare him but my sword found his belly nonetheless."
"I remember." Jaime said, smiling at the memory. "Tyrion wouldn't stop asking when you were coming back."
"What about the Mad King?" Robert asked, darkening the mood. Tyland looked at Jaime briefly before looking back at the King.
"What about him, Your Grace?" Tyland asked.
Robert shifted in his seat. "Any last words?"
Tyland sighed. "I wasn't listening for any last words, Your Grace. I'd just had to fight my own brother. As soon as I was chasing the King putting a sword through his back was my only focus."
"His last words to me were to stop you." Jaime said to Tyland, his eyes far away. "And then he was going to burn them all." He shook his head to try and rid himself of the memories, before turning to the King. "If that's all, Your Grace."
Jaime turned and walked out of the door, closing it firmly behind him. Robert let out a breath. "What did he mean, burn them all?"
Tyland shook his head. "I'm not sure, Your Grace. I didn't wait to find out."
Robert nodded. "You can go." He said, and Tyland bowed his head slightly before exiting the room again, seeing Jaime staring at the wall.
"Are you alright?" Tyland asked.
Jaime nodded. "How long are we going to pretend for?" He whispered.
"As long as we both live." Tyland said. "Better I be known for the act than his sworn guard."
Tyland hated walking through the Throne Room to get to the Small Council chamber on the best of days, but even more so today. The talk with the King had brought all of the memories flooding back, and shaking them was a burden.
"Joffrey does." He heard somebody say as he turned the corner to see Sansa Stark and a Septa. He walked towards them as they carried on their conversation.
"Nonsense." The Septa argued. "Why would you say such a thing? That business with the wolves? Sansa… I've told you 100 times…"
"Then one more isn't going to help, Septa." Tyland said as he got closer, startling the pair.
"Lord Tyland. Forgive us." Septa Mordane curtseyed. Sansa followed suit.
"It's not my place to forgive you for shouting at the Lady." Tyland told the woman. "Lady Sansa, are you alright?" Sansa nodded, though Tyland could see she wasn't. Tyland continued. "If anything, it should be I apologising to you for the behaviour of my nephew."
"He hates me." Sansa said sadly.
"The Prince hates a great many people." Tyland admitted. "Though not you, I assure you. I will have a word with him."
"That's alright, My Lord. He has good reason to be upset with me." Sansa said sadly.
Tyland shook his head. "He needs to grow up and learn what savage assault truly is, instead of claiming it for a bite on the arm." Tyland looked around. "This room has seen plenty of savagery."
"You killed King Aerys here." Sansa said, it wasn't a question.
"Sansa!" The Septa hissed.
Tyland waved his arm to quiet the woman, before turning to Sansa and stepping towards her. Sansa's eyes widened in a hint of fear. "I did, does that scare you?"
Sansa shook her head. "He killed my uncle and Grandfather here too, didn't he?"
Tyland nodded, looking towards the spot Jaime had told him about. "Yes, the Mad King certainly earned his name." He replied. "If you'll excuse me."
With that he walked through the room and into the Small Council chamber. He hadn't meant to scare the girl but it was obvious she was blind towards Joffrey's true nature, and a bit of fear might wake the girl up.
"It's the Hand's tournament that's causing all this trouble, my Lords." Janos Slynt was saying.
"The King's tournament." Stark corrected. "I assure you the Hand wants no part of it."
"Call it what you will, Lord Stark Ser, the city is packed with people and more flooding in every day. Last night we had a tavern riot, a brothel fire, three stabbings and a drunken horse race down the Street of Sisters." Slynt responded.
"Dreadful." Varys shook his head.
"If you can't keep the King's peace, perhaps the City Watch should be commanded by someone who can." Renly Baratheon exclaimed.
"I need more men." Slynt argued.
"You'll get 50. Lord Baelish will see it paid for." Stark told him.
"I will?" Baelish replied.
"You found money for a champion's purse, you can find money to keep the peace." Stark told Baelish, a comment that amused Tyland to see Littlefinger rebuffed. "I'll also give you 20 of my household guards till the crowds have left."
"Make it 30 men, Lord Baelish." Tyland said. "I'll match Lord Stark's gift."
"Thank you, My Lords. They will all be put to good use." Janos Slynt bowed before departing the room.
"The sooner this is over, the better." Stark moaned, taking a drink.
"The realm prospers from such events, my Lord. They give the great a chance at glory, and the lowly a respite from their woes." Varys said.
"And every inn in the city is full and the whores are walking bow-legged." Baelish grinned.
"I'm sure the tourney puts coins in many a pocket." Stark said unamused.
"Some more than others." Tyland added coldly. "I'll front the costs of the guards, Lord Stark."
Stark didn't look overly happy at the idea, but nodded anyway. "Very well, now... If there's nothing else, my Lords?"
Tyland took the cue, and stood up swiftly exiting the room, his thoughts solely on how the crown was becoming more and more dependent on House Lannister as the days wore on.
Loren Lannister wiped the sweat off of his brow with his armoured sleeve. His cousin, Ser Daven was giving him a fierce sparring session, although he was winning as usual. He glanced up to the stone balcony that overlooked the training arena and grinned when he saw the two twins, Cerenna Lannister dressed in a sharp red dress and Myrielle Lannister in a pale blue. He only had eyes for the former however, the girl he was sure he was in love with.
He gasped when a rock hit him in the chest, and looked to see Daven grinning from the other side of the ring. "If you'd stop ogling my sister and get back to training."
Loren could feel his cheeks grow red, but put his helmet back on, shutting the face part. Unsheathing his sword again, he twirled it a couple of times before tapping the golden lions on his shoulders for luck, as he always did. Daven had gotten into an attacking stance, but Loren didn't wait. He pounced forwards, slashing his sword with incredible pace towards his cousin. Daven could barely defend himself when his sword was knocked to the side and Loren jump kicked Daven in the chest, sending him flying to the floor, before holding his sword at the man's neck. "Yield." He commanded.
Daven dropped his sword. "Alright you fucker. I yield." He wheezed. Loren grinned and sheathed his sword, offering an arm to help Daven up, before taking his helmet off again and looking up to the girls. Cerenna was applauding happily, and Myrielle had clearly groaned and buried her face in her arms leaning on the bannister. He gave Cerenna a wink, before turning to Daven again. "You're too fast." He panted.
Loren just shrugged. "If I slow down then I'm not testing myself."
Daven nodded, and suddenly stood straight up almost to attention. "My Lady." He said. Loren turned around to see his Great Aunt, Genna Frey, walking down the steps towards them.
"Well done, you've shown off remarkably for one-day Loren." She told him. Loren felt a bit annoyed at that, but kept his tongue.
"Aunt Genna." He said. "Are you after a bout?"
Genna barked out a laugh. "Not a chance you cheeky Snark." She said, cuffing him gently around the ear. "Your Grandfather requests your presence."
Loren's smile dropped as a determined look crept on to his face. "I'll run and get washed up and meet him."
Genna nodded. "Go quickly, he's in his solar."
Loren nodded, and the 15-year-old rushed through the castle to his chambers to put on some fresh clothes, before rushing up the main tower of Casterly Rock, and entering Lord Tywin's solar.
His Grandfather was sat at a desk writing out a letter. Loren always felt nervous in this situation, and walked towards the desk, sitting down and waiting to be spoken to. Tywin waited a minute or so, before pouring wax on the letter and stamping the seal.
"I received a letter from your Father." Tywin said. Loren perked up at that. Tywin handed him the raven message, and Loren read it, and then read it again as he couldn't believe what it said.
"The Starks believe Uncle Tyrion tried to murder their son?" Loren asked. "But that makes no sense, and even if it were true why would he give the cutthroat a Valyrian Steel dagger in the first place? Surely a normal one would do not a decorative piece."
"Exactly." Tywin said. "But the fools believe it anyway, and so we must prepare. An accusation such as this cannot just appear, they will take action somehow and we must be ready."
Loren nodded, and walked over to the map of the South that Tywin had on a separate table. He took a look around the Westerlands and pointed to the Golden Tooth. "We need to fortify the Golden Tooth as soon as we can, we don't want to be caught unaware while we wait to gather forces."
Tywin nodded. "Very good, that's what this letter is." He said, holding up a sheet of parchment. "Lord Lefford will call his bannermen and hold the Tooth, while we tell the other Lords to start enlisting and training men until action is needed."
Loren nodded. He read the letter again. "So Father isn't coming home any time soon." He noted.
"No." Tywin said bluntly. "He is ensuring our House gains the respect it deserves in the Capital, and his position on the Small Council gives him the ability to voice our needs to those that make the changes. No, he shall stay and keep an eye on Lord Stark and the rest of the fools Robert Baratheon leaves to do his work for him, but we shall prepare. I want you to squire for me now."
Loren couldn't contain his grin. "I'd be honoured, Grandfather."
"Wipe that grin away." Tywin said sternly. "I expect the best from you, boy. You'll be listening to every command meeting we have and as the future Lord of the Westerlands I expect you to be engaging productively."
Loren nodded firmly. "Yes, Grandfather."
Tywin shuffled some letters, before holding out a pile. "Here, hand these to Creylen and get them sent out, then have the day to yourself."
Loren bowed slightly, before taking the papers and running back down the tower, wondering where Cerenna had gotten to.
The door to Pycelle's rooms opened, and Tyland stormed in angrily, his guard waiting outside the door.
"Ah, Lord Tyland." Pycelle exclaimed.
"You presume to have me summoned?" Tyland growled. A gold cloak had arrived at Tyland's solar claiming that the Grand Maester had had him summoned, and he wasn't happy.
Pycelle held his hands up. "I did not mean to offend, My Lord, I just thought you should know…"
"Know what?" Tyland asked impatiently.
"The book that Jon Arryn asked me for, Lord Stark has it now." Pycelle told him. Tyland stopped in his tracks.
"The lineage book?" He asked, confused. "Why? What's in there?"
Pycelle shrugged. "Lots of boring information, My Lord."
Trying to think, Tyland realised he needed to see Stark as soon as he could, what with the dagger incident and now this, it was clear Stark was trying to dig into something. "If he comes by again, I want to know about it." Tyland ordered.
"My Lord." Pycelle nodded, and Tyland walked out.
He turned to his guards as they were leaving Pycelle's chambers. "I want Stark followed. I want to know his every move."
As the tournament got underway, Tyland knew that Ned Stark would be sat in the Tower of the Hand rather than admit that the tourney was in his honour, so the Lannister paid the Northerner a visit. After he was let in and announced by Jory Cassel, Stark came back over to his desk.
"Lord Tyland." He greeted cautiously.
"Lord Stark, I'm glad to find you here, your absence from your own tourney has been noted." Tyland told him.
"I've told enough people, putting my name on it doesn't make it mine." Stark said. "What are you doing here?"
Tyland expected this. "I came to warn you, Lord Stark. You're being incredibly noisy."
"Noisy." Stark laughed. "You've been spying on me, you mean."
Tyland didn't deny it. "And you've been spotted taking advice from Littlefinger." He looked to the desk and his eyes lit up at the dagger and the book being open for all to see. "A fine blade. May I?" He asked. Stark just nodded quickly, not happy. Tyland picked up the Valyrian Steel dagger that apparently belonged to his brother and inspected it. He recognised it after a few moments. "I've seen this before."
"I bet you have." Stark accused, causing Tyland to turn around at his words. He placed the dagger gently back where he found it, and glared deeply into Stark's eyes.
"It was a gift for the King a few years back from a Volantene triarchy hoping to open a new trade deal." He answered. "I think he threw it in the armoury somewhere, His Grace is so attached to that knife that Jon Arryn gave him." He could see Ned didn't believe him. "Oh, if you look hard enough it's not difficult to figure out, ask Robert himself if you like. One word of advice though, Lord Stark." Ned just stared at him, his grey eyes piercing to look at. "Everyone in King's Landing is only ever out for themselves. Nobody does anything that does not benefit them in some way."
"Does that include you, now?" Ned asked, annoyed.
"Perhaps." Tyland chuckled, heading towards the door before stopping and turning back. "I like to think that you could influence the King positively though, and I don't think scheming with a man that's claimed he took your wife's maidenhead to all who could listen is the way to do that."
He opened the door and left before Stark could react, but hopefully he had put enough doubt in the man's thoughts to stop any action from being taken against his brother, while also cutting out a dangerous alliance on the Small Council before it truly began.
Not for the first time in his years on the Small Council, Tyland had been summoned to a Small Council meeting about the remaining Targaryens being somewhere in Essos, and King Robert himself was present. The Council had waited for Ned Stark to arrive to begin, and King Robert was riled up as usual when it came to the Valyrian descendants.
"The whore is pregnant." The King was stating towards Stark fiercely.
"You're speaking of murdering a child." Ned Stark said. Tyland noticed the sly glance towards him from the Warden of the North, and he found himself remembering Gregor Clegane's brutality all those years before.
"I warned you this would happen!" Robert cried. "Back in the North, I warned you, but you didn't care to hear. Well, hear it now. I want them dead! Mother and child both. And that fool Viserys as well. Is that plain enough for you? I want them both dead!"
"You will dishonour yourself forever if you do this." Ned said quietly, still standing in front of the table. Tyland fought the urge to roll his eyes at the naivety of the Stark.
The King seemed to agree. "Honour?!" He roared. "I've got Seven Kingdoms to rule! One King, Seven Kingdoms. Do you think honour keeps them in line? Do you think it's honour that's keeping the peace? It's fear! Fear and blood!"
"Then we're no better than the Mad King!" Ned exclaimed back, and Tyland had to admire the man's bravery.
Robert was incensed. "Careful, Ned. Careful now." He replied angrily, and Tyland could see a vein throbbing on the King's forehead. He kept himself quiet, to see where this would go.
"You want to assassinate a girl... Because the Spider heard a rumour?" Ned asked.
After what seemed an age listening to both Stark and the King, another voice was heard, and Varys seemed offended at the indication that his news wasn't truthful. "No rumour, my Lord. The Princess is with child."
"Based on whose information?"
"The Northern knight that won the Tourney of Lannisport almost a decade ago, Ser Jorah Mormont was it?" Tyland asked.
"Yes, Lord Tyland." Varys nodded, before turning back to Stark. "He is serving as adviser to the Targaryens."
"Mormont? You bring us the whispers of a traitor half a world away and call it fact?" Ned asked the eunuch incredulously.
"While against the law, selling slaves is hardly equal to treason, Lord Stark." Tyland reminded the man.
"He broke his oaths to his people and sold two into slavery, oath breaking may not be as frowned upon at Casterly Rock as it is in the North, but he is a traitor to his people nonetheless." Stark replied angrily, and Tyland glared daggers at the judgemental barbarian. "We'd commit murder on the words of a known lawbreaker?"
"And if he's right? If she has a son?" Robert bellowed, arms wide. "A Targaryen at the head of a Dothraki army… What then?"
"The Narrow Sea still lies between us." Stark said confidently. "I'll fear the Dothraki the day they teach their horses to run on water."
"Do nothing? That's your wise advice?" Robert was raging. "Do nothing until our enemies are on our shores? You're my council? Counsel! Speak sense to this honourable fool!"
Tyland cleared his throat. "It seems that the lack of a fleet up in the North has made Lord Stark forget that ships exist in the world. The Dothraki may not understand sailing, but the Targaryen's would. The risk of the girl birthing a boy is too great, best to see her and the babe dead now than to risk the invasion in the future."
"I understand your misgivings, my Lord. Truly, I do." Varys told Stark. "It is a terrible thing we must consider, a vile thing. Yet, we who presume to rule must sometimes do vile things for the good of the realm. Should the gods grant Daenerys a son, the realm will bleed."
Pycelle sat straighter. "I bear this girl no ill will, but should the Dothraki invade, how many innocents will die? How many towns will burn? Lord Tyland is correct, is it not wiser, kinder even, that she should die now so that tens of thousands might live?"
"We should have had them both killed years ago." Renly exclaimed.
Tyland nodded. "It hasn't been for the want of trying. I urged his grace to seek out the Faceless Men once before, and I would do so again. For the safety of the futures of House Baratheon and Lannister we would happily front the costs…"
"Even House Lannister may struggle to front the costs for three Targaryen's." Baelish noted. "There are simpler ways, Lord Tyland, and while it may be unpleasant when you find yourself in bed with an ugly woman, best close your eyes and just get it over with. Cut her throat. Be done with it."
Ned could see that he was outvoted, but his stance never wavered as he stepped closer towards Robert. "I followed you into war… twice, without doubts, without second thoughts." He told the King. "But I will not follow you now. The Robert I grew up with didn't tremble at the shadow of an unborn child."
Robert was also unmoving in his opinion of the matter. "She dies."
"I will have no part in it." Ned replied coldly.
"You're the King's Hand, Lord Stark. You'll do as I command or I'll find me a Hand who will." Robert replied equally as cool. Tyland just about managed to stop the smile on his face from forming, if Stark left the Capital then the only real options left to Robert were either Lord Tywin or him.
Stark took a moment to collect himself, and unpinned the badge of office from his chest before throwing it on the table. "And good luck to him. I thought you were a better man."
The King rose to his feet, his face reddening with anger. "Out! Out, damn you! I'm done with you." He shouted, as Ned Stark turned his back and strode out the room. "Go! Run back to Winterfell! I'll have your head on a spike! I'll put it there myself, you fool! You think you're too good for this? Too proud and honourable? This is a war!" Robert bleated on. Tyland zoned himself out at that point, knowing that Robert needed to vent. His thoughts were focused solely on how to push House Lannister into the Handship.
Later during that day, Tyland was sat doing some paperwork in his solar when Vylarr entered the room. "Lord Varys here to see you, My Lord."
"He's no Lord, Vylarr." Tyland reminded him. "But send him in."
The eunuch appeared behind the Captain of the Lannister guards, and bowed slightly. "Lord Tyland, I didn't want to tell you in the Council meeting but I have some news from the Riverlands that you need to hear." He said in his songlike voice.
Tyland was slightly confused. "Why do I care about the Riverlands?"
Varys wrung his hands inside his sleeves. "Lord Tyrion was in the Inn at the Crossroads where he recognised Lady Stark. It seems that she believes him responsible for the attack on young Brandon Stark's life, and encouraged the men of the Riverlords inside the inn to arrest him. She is on her way to Winterfell as we speak."
Tyland clenched his teeth in anger. "She has my brother." He snarled.
"Yes, My Lord. But that isn't all, Ser Jaime knows about the arrest too, he is preparing to meet Lord Stark as we speak with a host of soldiers."
Tyland shook his head at the idiocy. "He always had a soft spot for the dwarf that turned him rash, very well. Thank you, Varys." The eunuch bowed again and left the room swiftly, leaving Tyland to stand up and reach for Red Rain. "Vylarr, get three of your best men and meet me in the stables." He ordered.
"My Lord." The captain bowed, and left too. Tyland strapped Red Rain to his hip and walked down towards the courtyard, where he knew Jaime would be.
It took a while to get down there, but luckily Jaime was still there gathering men. "Jaime!" He called.
"Ah, come to gain justice for our brother as well Tyland?" Jaime asked, grinning. "I'm looking forward to seeing if Starks truly bleed snow."
"You will do no such thing." Tyland replied. Jaime looked outraged.
"They have Tyrion!" Jaime exclaimed.
Tyland nodded. "They do, and we have Lord Stark's daughters." He mentioned. Jaime looked confused.
"What are you up to?" Jaime asked.
"Go and detain Arya and Sansa. Take them to this location." He said, handing Jaime some parchment with an address on there. "And leave them well guarded. Lord Stark will react more to a threat to his children than he will a threat to himself."
Jaime didn't like it. "You're going to let him off?"
Tyland stepped closer, so he was an inch away from his brother's face. "I'm going to encourage him that it's in his interests to not go against House Lannister, and you will do as I ask."
Jaime tried to stay defiant, but the look from Tyland made him back down. "Alright, I'll get the girls." He sighed. "Will girls make that much of a difference though?"
"Stark cares about them more than Father cares about Tyrion." Tyland replied. "Go, I'll handle Stark. When you're done search the Tower of the Hand. I want to know what he's up to."
Jaime nodded. "He's at Littlefinger's brothel." He told Tyland, and turned to his gathering of men. "Change of plan, with me." He ordered, as he led them back into the Red Keep. Tyland watched them go for a moment before he made his way over to the stables to ride down to meet with Stark.
Tyland, with Vylarr and three other Lannister guards were all sat on horseback waiting outside the brothel for the Northern Lord to appear. The two Stark soldiers stood outside were growing uneasy, but luckily the Northerner left the building soon after the Lannister arrived.
"I never thought you'd be one for such baseless desires, Lord Stark." Tyland said, nodding to the building.
"What is the meaning of this?" Stark asked. His sworn sword getting ready to draw his sword.
Tyland just sighed. "Drop your sword you fool, are we really to do battle here? If I wanted you dead I'd have brought more than four men, Stark. I want to talk."
Baelish appeared through the doorway at that moment. "What is the meaning of this, Lannister?" He called.
Tyland could only look in surprise. "You're with the brothel keeper? You do realise that it was his blade that was used in the attempt on your sons life?"
Stark wasn't fazed. "And I'm supposed to believe you on that? You told me before it was the King's."
Tyland smiled. "It was the King's, and then Lord Baelish won a bet. It's probably the finest thing that your pile of rocks can claim ownership to, isn't it?" He asked Baelish.
The man glared at Tyland. "I don't know what you are talking about, My Lord." He replied. "I'm going to fetch the Gold Cloaks."
"That's it, run away to the shadows when your actions show their consequences." Tyland said, bored. "Come, take a walk with me Lord Stark."
Stark was unmoving. "Is that what you said to the Mad King before you stabbed him in the back?"
"I didn't say a word to him, I only stopped him from running." Tyland responded. "Fine, we can talk here. I want my brother released."
Stark shook his head. "Not until he has answered for his crimes."
Tyland leant forwards on his horse. "Why would my dwarf brother feel the need to see your crippled son dead?" He asked the Stark. "He's a champion for the downtrodden."
Stark's sworn sword withdrew his sword. "You shall not insult the Hand of the King's family!"
"Former, Hand of the King. Robert was quite irate when you left this morning." Tyland told Stark. "Put your dog on his leash and we can discuss this like grown-ups, if you ever want to see your daughters again."
Stark's eyes narrowed as he took the information in. "If you've harmed them." He growled.
"You can have them back as soon as my Brother sends word that he has been released, Lord Stark." Tyland narrowed his eyes back at Ned. "But if he is harmed, then whatever happens to him happens to the pair of them." He turned his horse around to ride back through the city. "My Brother, Stark! Tell your wife to release him!"
With that he spurred his horse on, and his guards followed him, leaving Ned Stark seething.
The waves were calm as they lapped against the sands of the Westerlands, as Loren Lannister walked along the stretch of beach claimed by Casterly Rock next to his cousin Cerenna, as her twin played in the sea with three other cousins, Martyn, Willem and the bastard Joy Hill.
"Do you not wish to join them?" Loren asked.
Cerenna shook her head, and flattened the back of her dress before sitting down on the sand. "No, I'm happy enough sat here with you." She told him. Loren smiled and sat down next to her. They watched on and laughed loudly as Myrielle managed to tackle Willem into the water. They stayed silent for a while, taking in the midday summer sun, until Cerenna spoke again. "This is nice. I hardly see you now you're squiring for Lord Tywin."
Loren placed his hand over hers. "Grandfather keeps me busy but it's all for me to be the best Warden of the West I can be when my time comes. I'm learning about the Lords of the Westerlands, their traits and weaknesses, I'm learning about how to use our gold wisely, I'm being taught all kinds of things that will be beneficial." He said happily, before grinning. "Plus, it means that you miss me more when I'm busy."
Cerenna frowned jovially. "I do!" She protested. "Unless it's a day like today it's like I can only see you in the minutes after you train, and you don't smell so good after you spar."
Loren laughed as Cerenna pulled a disgusted face. "I apologise for sweating during my exercise, My Lady."
Cerenna nodded haughtily, before collapsing onto her back in giggles. "It feels weird when you call me that." She admitted.
Loren lay down beside her, staring at the clear blue sky. "One day you will be. If I can have my way one day you'll be my wife."
He knew Cerenna was blushing, but didn't look. "Stop." She whispered happily. "If you keep saying that then I may actually believe it could happen."
Loren sat back up, leaning over her slightly. "If Grandfather could marry Lady Joanna for love, then why can't I?" He asked. He watched the smile form on her face as her cheeks blushed pink, and went to lean in to kiss her. He was a couple of inches away when a deep voice cleared their throat behind him. Turning, he saw Cerenna's older brother. "Ser Daven." Loren said, surprised, jumping away from Cerenna and standing up, wiping the sand off of his clothes.
"Loren." Daven said knowingly. "If you can pry yourself off my sister for a moment, you're needed back at the Rock."
"Daven leave him alone!" Cerenna argued, sitting up.
Daven just stuck his tongue out childishly at her. Loren was unhappy at being dragged back. "I was told I had the day to myself." He complained.
"Plans have changed cousin." Daven said, his face turning stoic. "Lord Tywin has called the banners, your Uncle Tyrion has been kidnapped by the Starks."
Loren's eyes widened. He nodded, and turned to Cerenna. "I need to go." He told her. Cerenna looked disappointed but understand.
"If I don't see you before you leave, stay safe." She whispered to him. Loren nodded and hugged her, before rushing up the steps in the cliffside to get back to the castle.
It would be safe to say that Ned Stark was not in the best of moods as he came storming towards the Tower of the Hand. Any doubts about the Lannister's kidnapping his daughters were put to bed as soon as the bloodied body of Septa Mordane was seen in the corridors leading up to their rooms, and Ned had Ice in his hands expecting company.
"Heward, go to the stables and ride for Winterfell. I want an extra thousand men bringing to the capital." Ned told his man.
"A thousand, My Lord?" Heward asked.
"The Lannisters outnumber us twenty to one, I want that changing." Ned answered. Heward nodded and sheathed his sword, running back the way that they had come. Ned Stark turned the final corner towards his door to find two Lannister guards blocking the doorway.
"You're in my way." He told them, gripping Ice's handle tightly.
"Nobody is to enter by order of the Queen." One of the Lannister guards replied coldly. "You'll have to wait."
"These are Lord Stark's chambers. You will move." Jory responded.
"Former chambers, so we've been told." The other Lannister man laughed, before putting his hand to his sword pommel. Ned didn't wait, he brought Ice up and down so quickly that the man couldn't draw his sword before his torso was split open and blood came pouring out. The other man managed to get his sword out, but was too slow and died from a mixture of Jory Cassel and Wyl's blades.
Ned then kicked the door in, and grew even angrier at the sight of the apartment having been ransacked. Papers were everywhere, tables and chairs thrown aside, and a host of Lannister's searching the place.
"What is the meaning of this!" Ned roared, gaining the dozen or so men's attention.
"Ah, Lord Stark." A familiar voice as heard, and Jaime Lannister stepped out from Arya's room holding the sword Jon had given her. "You shouldn't be here."
"Where are my daughters?" Ned growled.
"Safe, for now." Jaime shrugged. "Your Wife shouldn't have taken my Brother."
"What she did, was on my command. Hurt me, not innocent children." Ned told the Lannister.
Jaime nodded, pointing Needle at Ned. "See, that was my first reaction too, but this way you will do as we tell you. You can see your pups as soon as we get word that Tyrion is on his way down the Kingsroad."
"Ser Jaime." One of the Lannister men said. "There's nothing here."
Jaime turned back to Ned. "Clever man, keep your conspiracies close to the chest."
"You all need to leave before the King finds out about this." Ned told them all.
Jaime grinned, holding his arms wide. "Tell him, I'm sure Robert will be thrilled to hear of your drunken escapades to Littlefinger's brothels. The Queen won't be so pleased at the celebrations of kidnapping a Lannister though, will she Stark?"
Ned kept Ice trained on the Kingsguard. "Lies." He said through clenched teeth. "I should expect nothing less."
"It's your word against ours, and there only seems to be one of you left." Jaime reminded him.
"Threaten Lord Stark and his family again…" Jory growled.
"Threaten? That wasn't a threat." Jaime shook his head. "No, a threat is telling your Lord that if my Brother isn't released soon, then I'll personally serve him his daughter's heads at dinner."
Ned glared at Jaime. "Any harm comes to those girls and I'll send word to take your Brother's head."
Jaime's cocky façade fell, and was replaced by pure rage. He dropped Needle and withdrew his own sword. "You'll regret the day you ever thought to lay your hands on a Lannister." Jaime snarled, springing into action. Ned had to react quickly as Ice parried the blow away, before Ned was forced back a few paces, swords ringing as he defended himself with every step. He dodged another blow, bringing Ice around to be blocked at the last minute. Swinging again, he tried to push Lannister back by using power over grace, the heavy blows raining down until Jaime dodged underneath one blow and slashed out, giving Ned a scratch on his arm.
Next to him, Jory and Wyl had taken out two men each, Jory being forced to fight Jaime while the latter had fallen to his third foe. Ned feinted as a Lannister man went to attack him, before Ice quickly severed his head, and Ned brought the greatsword around to penetrate another man's bowels.
Swinging his body back around, he saw Jory fall to Jaime's sword, the Cassel trying to hold his innards in from sliding out onto the floor. Ned's eyes narrowed and he went to attack again. Swinging Ice left and right he was met with a parry every time, until the swords locked and Ned kicked out at Jaime's legs, causing the Lannister to roll away as Ned brought his sword down on the stone floor with force. As the Lannister knight got back to his feet, Ned pressed again. He managed to slice Jaime's cheek open, but the blood didn't deter Jaime, who attacked again.
Ned was losing ground, he was being backed towards a wall and nothing he tried could come off. Every blow was parried, every feint was spotted. Jaime then jabbed his sword at Ned's head, so Ned ducked out the way, managing to free himself from being cornered, but his movement left an opening, and Jaime had a dagger ready to bury deep within Ned's shoulder.
The Stark roared in pain and dropped to his knees, before trying to swing Ice one handed, the half-hearted attack quickly met, and Ned was disarmed. Panting heavily, Ned knelt there. "Go on then. Finish it." He grimaced.
Jaime grinned, hoisting Stark up by the hair so the Warden of the North got to his feet. "Not until Tyrion is freed." He whispered, before yanking the blade out and throwing Ned unceremoniously to the ground and walked away with his retinue. "I want news by the end of the week Stark!" He shouted as he walked through the doorway, leaving a pained Ned to lose consciousness surrounded by the dead.
The Stark girls had been escorted out of the Red Keep in disguise and marched to a small house near the Street of Steel. The clanging of hammer on metal was constantly heard, as Sansa sat down at the small table cautiously keeping an eye on the Lannister guard in the doorway, and Arya just kept pacing.
"Why wouldn't Father come? Why are we here? I don't even have Needle!" She was whispering.
"Arya, shut up!" Sansa hushed her sister. "You'll make things worse."
"Worse? How can they be worse!" Arya exclaimed in Sansa's ear. "Something's wrong, I can feel it."
Sansa just ignored her sister, as the front door opened and Tyland Lannister stepped in. Sansa felt herself sharply intake breath at the sight of the man, before relaxing slightly. Arya however, went straight for him. "What's going on? Why are we here? When can we leave?" She demanded to know.
Tyland Lannister looked so imposing in the small doorway to the kitchen area where the girls were. Staring down at Arya, he said. "You are here for your safety, Lady Arya. Some threats have been made against your Father after Lady Stark had Lord Tyrion arrested, and for your own safety you have been removed from danger."
"Why are we in danger surrounded by Father's men?" Arya asked, annoyed. "I'm missing my lessons!"
"Arya! If Father is in danger there are more important things than dancing." Sansa admonished. Turning to Tyland, she added. "Thank you, Lord Tyland, for looking after us."
Tyland didn't show any reaction, he just turned to the small window. "You will stay here for the foreseeable future. You can't leave, there are spies everywhere that would love to find and capture you. You will be well looked after I promise."
"Thank you." Sansa smiled politely again. Tyland just nodded and went to speak to the Lannister guard again. Arya just looked at Sansa like she had just slapped her.
"'Thank you'?" She asked incredulously. "You're thanking him?"
Sansa dragged Arya down to the chair next to her. "For once, shut up. Father would never let us out of his men's sight, would he?"
"Then why are you thanking him!" Arya accused.
Sansa leant in closer. "Mother has taken Tyrion Lannister and Father nor any Northman are here. That means that we are prisoners, Arya." She said, a tear escaping her eye.
One important thing to take note of here is that Sansa is becoming politically aware earlier in the story than she was in canon. She's a smart girl really, and is actually showing that early.
Chapter 6: First Blood
40,000 men had joined up with the Lannister army before they arrived at Sarsfield, boosted soon enough by 8,000 men coming from Ashemark from the North. The only major bannerman left to join up was Lord Lefford at the Golden Tooth.
Inside the main hall of Sarsfield Loren sat himself down listening to the plans being made. Their target was initially to be Riverrun, but news from the Riverlands had altered that slightly.
"We rode hard, but even then, heard that Edmure Tully is raising a host to meet us at the Golden Tooth." A Payne was explaining.
"Did you hear how many?" Ser Kevan asked.
"Barely 4,000." The man shrugged. "Only the Vance's and the Piper's to aid the Tully army."
Loren thought that strange. "He'll be gathering more men at Riverrun from the rest of his bannermen."
Tywin nodded. "Which means we need to make for Riverrun in haste. Thank you, Ser Marlon."
The Payne knight bowed and left the Council to make their plans. "We must rout this army quickly." Lord Roland Crakehall said.
"And we shall." Tywin nodded. "Ser Gregor, take 100 men. I want the Red Fork from Wendish Town to Pinkmaiden aflame. Cause enough of a scene to draw Ned Stark out of the Capital and kill him."
The deep, unsettling voice of the Mountain gave Loren chills. "I shall set out at once, Lord Tywin." He said, before the 8-foot giant left the room.
"We need to meet the forces at the Golden Tooth." Kevan said.
"But not with our whole host." Loren had a thought. He stood up and looked closely at the map on the table, and pointed at Hornvale towards the South East. "Lord Lefford can bring us 10,000 men. Send some of our own men towards the Golden Tooth and do battle. We'll slaughter the Rivermen as they try to assault the fortress. Then the rest of the army can sweep down by Hornvale and head Northwards to Riverrun, bypassing the Tooth and ensuring we get there before any major resistance can be formed."
Tywin looked at the map and shifted some of the Lion carvings around. "Yes. I like it." He nodded. Loren immediately felt pride swell within him. "Lord Crakehall, you shall take 12,000 men towards the Golden Tooth. Take Ser Daven and Loren with you. Break through the Tully lines and meet us at Riverrun. Begin the siege if you beat us to the castle."
"As you command, Lord Tywin." Lord Roland bowed his head.
"The rest of you, prepare to march towards Hornvale. We leave at sunrise." Tywin commanded, the Westerland generals all got up and began to leave, but Tyland stopped Loren. "Loren, wait a moment."
As the door closed for the final time, leaving Tywin, Kevan and Loren alone, the Lannister Lord poured a small cup of wine and handed it towards Loren. "Fifteen years old and you're already spotting plans that my most capable generals struggle to see."
Loren almost felt himself blush. "I'm just using what you taught me, Grandfather."
"It's a good job you got your Father's brains." Tywin noted. "Lord Crakehall will lead, but you will be my representative at the Tooth. Remember you're a Lannister, listen well, but they are to be your subjects one day. Remind them if you feel they are overstepping their marks."
Loren nodded, sipping lightly on his drink. "I will."
"Good lad. Go and gather your things." Tywin commanded. Loren nodded and finished his drink, before walking steadily away towards his chambers, grinning wildly at the trust shown in him.
Ned Stark was alive, barely. Tyland seethed at the knowledge that after everything, Jaime had still gone and fought with the Warden of the North. War couldn't be avoided now, and Tyland was trying to sort out which Lannister men would come with him to fight, and which would stay to keep control of the Capital. He was interrupted however, as Ser Meryn Trant entered his rooms.
"Ser Meryn." Tyland said, slightly annoyed. "What do you want."
"His Grace the King commands your presence." The Kingsguard replied. Tyland nodded, gathering Red Rain and following the Kingsguard up to Robert's chambers.
The Baratheon King was actually working it seemed, with papers dotted around his desk. Tyland stood, as the King looked towards Trant. "Leave us." He commanded, and the Kingsguard obeyed. Robert turned to Tyland, a grin on his face. "Tyland the Red. Lord Kingslayer and the demon of Old Wyk, cowed down by a couple of pre-flowered girls." He laughed. Tyland bit his response back. "Tell me why in all the Seven Hells you kidnapped the Stark girls."
Clearing his throat, Tyland responded calmly. "Lady Stark's kidnapping of Tyrion was an act of war, Your Grace. I did what was necessary to show that this insult to House Lannister will not stand."
Robert sighed, and pushed a paper in front of Tyland, who picked it up and read. "Your damned Father has a host of 50,000 men and more incoming. He'll raid the Riverlands, and the North and the Vale will react. Release the girls and get Lord Tywin to stand down and we'll forget all about it."
Tyland shook his head. "With respect, Your Grace. Catelyn Stark kidnapped my Brother. I am in no position to do anything until she has released him with a full apology."
Robert slammed his fist on the desk, sending his wine glass flying. "YOU'RE IN NO POSITION? YOU HAD THEM FUCKING TAKEN IN THE FIRST PLACE! WINE DAMN YOU, GET ME MORE WINE!" He roared at the cowering Lancel in the corner, who picked up the goblet and refilled it. "Listen to me. I don't care what your Father will say, I don't care what you will say. Those girls are to be released this instant. Catelyn Stark will be told to release the dwarf and nothing more shall be said about the matter. Go and do as I command."
Tyland couldn't help but have a smile on his face, before looking sternly towards Robert and leaning on the desk. "Until I hear that Tyrion is free, I shall do no such thing."
Robert's face grew purple. "Careful now, you're forgetting who you're talking too." He snarled. "I am your King damn you! You will release those fucking girls!"
Tyland stood upright again and dusted himself down. "Any man who insists on bellowing out 'I am the King' just to make himself heard, is no true King." He whispered menacingly. "Don't forget how much you owe Casterly Rock, Your Grace." He added snidely. "It would be a shame to have all those debts called in."
Robert was growing furious. "You dare…"
Tyland took the glares. "Over 3 million gold, it matters not who you are married to, my Father couldn't care less so long as he gets his gold."
"OUT! OUT DAMN YOU! LEAVE THIS FUCKING CITY OR I'LL HAVE YOUR HEAD!" Robert roared, crashing the chair backwards as he rose to his feet. "YOU DARE THREATEN ME! RUN BACK TO YOUR FATHER YOU COWARD! ALL YOU LANNISTER'S CAN GO!"
Tyland bowed slightly, before saying one last thing. "Perhaps a hunt to clear your mind, Your Grace." With that he left through the doors and smirked at the room being destroyed behind him. Ser Meryn was stood next to the door, looking at the Lannister. "See to it that he doesn't harm anyone but himself." Tyland said to the man who was under his Sister's thumb.
"Lord Tyland." The man nodded, and Tyland walked away, content at having Baratheon realise where the true power in the Capital lay.
A couple of days later after keeping a low enough profile, Tyland was yet again visited in his chambers. This time however, he was surprised to see his sister.
"Your Grace." He said, inviting her in. "To what do I owe the pleasure."
"Stark is awake." Cersei replied, pouring herself a large wine. "He wants to ride after Jaime and 'bring him to justice'."
Tyland shook his head. "The man is a fool."
"Whatever you said to Robert didn't help." Cersei said unhappily. "He's considering it."
Tyland chuckled. "He wouldn't dare, he knows he's too far in our pockets. Oh, he'll rage and rant at us, but any actions will be limited to that."
Cersei breathed a laugh, but it wasn't reaching her eyes, Tyland noticed. Ordering the room to be cleared, he walked over to her. "What's wrong?" He asked.
"Nothing." Cersei replied quickly, turning her head. Tyland could see the bruise though, and brought his hand up to grip Cersei's chin. She tried to escape his grasp, but Tyland held on, brushing her hair out the way to see the large hand print.
"He dares lay a hand on you." He growled.
"I hate him." She whispered. "He punishes me for not being that Northern Whore, he hits me to make himself feel manly when I prove him wrong. Even in the bedroom he hurts me, when he can stumble to my chambers that is." She said, a tear escaping her eye.
Tyland let go of her head and wiped the tear away, before caressing her cheek with his hand. "He goes too far. By what right does the stag harm the lion." He shook his head. "Is he hunting soon?"
Cersei chuckled. "He is troubled, of course he is. Anything to escape his reality."
Tyland nodded, walking over to his window to stare out towards the Kingswood to the South. He knew what needed to be done, but how to do it was causing a problem. "He'll take Ser Barristan. He'll likely take the fool Renly too."
"He's furious, he won't take more than a few guards other than that, and his squire." Cersei told him.
"His squire…" Tyland began. "Cousin Lancel?"
"Most likely." Cersei shrugged.
Tyland grinned. "Tell me, Sister. Does Our cousin still lust longingly for you?"
Cersei nodded. "It's rather uncomfortable, he looks more feminine than his Mother."
Tyland crouched down, taking her hands in his own. "I promise you, I will sort this out. But I need your help…"
The next day Tyland managed to spot the Lannister squire, and had Vylarr send a couple of his guards to corner him. Lancel grew nervous at being surrounded, and tried to escape.
"Let me go Ser! I am the King's Squire and if he doesn't get his wine…"
"He'll tease you more?" Tyland asked, walking out from the shadows. Lancel looked terrified. "Or he'll insult Lady Dorna again? Or what? The King is full of hot air, cousin. You are a lion, act like one."
"Lord Tyland. I really must go." Lancel complained.
Tyland stood an inch from his cousin's face. "You can go when I tell you that you can go." Lancel looked up at him in sheer terror, and Tyland looked at the bag of wineskins that Lancel was carrying. "What vintage?" He asked.
"Arb… Arbor Red." Lancel stammered. "His Grace's favourite." Tyland smirked, and nodded to Vylarr who just took the skins away from Lancel. "My Lord!" Lancel cried outraged, so Tyland backhanded him.
"You're a Lannister. A Lannister would not serve their King swill from the Reach when he is as angry as he is currently." Tyland whispered in Lancel's ear. "He would serve the Rock's concoction for special events."
Tyland stepped back as he watched Lancel's eyes widen in acknowledgement. "Lord Tyland, if you'll excuse me." Lancel said, with greater purpose.
Tyland smiled at his cousin and nodded, stepping away. "Captain Vylarr will help you with the barrels, cousin. Enjoy the hunt."
Loren had been given command of the 4,000 mounted knights in the now 22,000 strong Lannister army at the Golden Tooth. The Tully forces had set up a blockade of the Mountain Pass around half a mile away, and the plan was to entice the Tully's towards the castle before rushing them with the cavalry. Loren and Ser Daven were leading behind the closed portcullis, waiting for the signal.
"Are you ok?" Ser Daven asked, fastening his helmet.
Loren surprisingly was. "Yes." He nodded.
Daven scoffed. "Act brave, ok then. Just remember all your training. Don't be afraid to let go of the spear after your first thrust. You're better with the sword anyway."
Loren just nodded, and made sure that his shield was firmly attached to his left arm and that his sword belt was securely fastened and not in the way of his horse. Happy with everything, all he could do now was wait.
Eventually, the horn was heard from outside the Golden Tooth, and the portcullis began to raise. "LET'S GO FISHING LADS!" Daven Lannister cried, earning a loud cheer from the 4,000 men behind him. As soon as the portcullis was open enough, Loren moved his horse forwards, slowly at first, but as the path got slightly wider he gathered more speed, until the full 4,000 horses were galloping down towards the battle.
They soon saw it, and Loren tapped the lions on his pauldrons with the stick of his spear for luck as usual, and closed the eye guards on his helmet. Aiming his spear, all he could hear was his breathing as they neared the Tully forces. He picked his target, and as the cavalry collided with their enemy Loren jabbed out, sticking a Riverman like a pig in the stomach.
He let go of his spear and quickly withdrew his sword, and got to hacking around at the onrushing Tully troops. He opened the neck of one man before quickly steering his horse away from an onrushing arrow, to charge down another couple of Tully's.
It turned out to be a slaughter. The sheer numbers of the Lannister army overwhelmed the few thousand men of the Riverlands, and it was soon shown to be an absolute rout. Many Rivermen fled, and Loren led the remaining cavalry down the River Road for a while chasing down the fleeing men, and gathering them back up to imprison. The odd few fought back, but they were quickly dispatched and the rest soon learnt to surrender.
Loren felt exhilarated. He had been surprised at the smell of the aftermath, but the rush of battle and the bloodlust that had filled him as his men cut down the Tully lines had been beyond his imagination and was all he could think about as he rode back into the great castle of House Lefford. He was greeted by Daven, who had taken a blow to the shoulder but was otherwise unharmed.
"Well, how was it?" Daven grinned knowingly.
"Surprising." Loren admitted. "I didn't expect to enjoy it so much."
Daven barked out a laugh. "It won't be so easy all the time. This was nothing more than a slaughter, but even the Tully's still can muster troops upwards of 20,000 men. This is but the beginning."
"Let them muster." Loren shrugged. "We are Lannisters, we have the greatest army in the Seven Kingdom's and we can take them all."
"Caution." Daven warned. "Anyway, a bath has been drawn for you and Lord Crakehall wants you to meet him as soon as you're able."
Loren groaned. "Can't I rest a bit."
Daven grinned. "Not if you want to miss the interrogation of our prisoner, Lord Edmure."
The King had done his part for Tyland before he went away on his hunt, and news of Tyrion's bloodless release had filtered in to Varys. True to his word, Tyland released the girls. Sansa was as courteous as always, whereas Arya had clearly been told to keep her mouth shut.
None of that had improved Stark's mood however, and as soon as Robert was away, the chance to get his own back at House Lannister came in a court session, with a petitioner from the Riverlands.
"In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, the First of his Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, I charge you to bring the king's justice to the false knight Gregor Clegane and all those who shared in his crimes. I denounce him and attaint him. I strip him of all ranks and titles of all lands and holdings, and sentence him to death." Ned Stark announced sat atop the Iron Throne, his arm in a sling to ease his pain from the stab wound. Tyland was stood in the Gallery watching down as Stark, Pycelle and Littlefinger took court for the day, and the man from the Riverlands had come claiming that Clegane had massacred the people.
"My Lord… this… this is a drastic action." Pycelle said. "It would be better to wait for King Robert's return." Tyland had to hand it to the old man, he placed House Lannister's interests above all else time and time again.
"Grand Maester Pycelle." Stark spoke clearly.
"Send a raven to Casterly Rock." Stark commanded, and Tyland stood upright, listening intently. "Inform Tywin Lannister that he has been summoned to court to answer for the crimes of his bannermen. He will arrive within the fortnight, or be branded an enemy of the crown and a traitor to the realm."
That had done it for Tyland, as Stark looked up towards him as he finished his decree. The Lannister stormed out of the Throne Room and hastily prepared his things, ordering his men to be ready to leave the Capital within the hour. When his room was pretty much empty and his things being taken down to the stables, he got into his armour and walked with Captain Vylarr towards the Queen's chambers.
Entering, Cersei was sat at her small table reading a book as he was announced. "Brother." She said, unemotionally.
"I'm leaving." He told her.
"King's Landing. I'm joining Father and Jaime at Riverrun." Tyland said.
Cersei pursed her lips. "You're leaving me here with Stark?"
Tyland sat himself down, and took her hand again. "He's stripped Ser Gregor of his lands and titles and threatened to name Father as an enemy of the crown. War is inevitable and I can't stay here while he is the King's Hand."
Cersei nodded. "I see."
"I'm trusting you now, Sister." He told her. "Ned Stark cannot be allowed free reign of the Castle. Block him, counter him, keep him worried about the fight inside the Red Keep and let us handle the fight outside of it."
Cersei nodded. "And Robert? What about when he comes back. He won't be happy."
Tyland stood again and kissed Cersei on the cheek. "He won't be breathing." He replied, before walking out of the room.
He didn't get far however, as one of his men came running up towards him and Vylarr. "My Lord! My Lord!"
"What is it Lorimer?" Vylarr asked.
"Fighting in the courtyard! Stark men, they've come for your arrest Lord Tyland!"
The sound of steel could be heard minutes before they saw the fight, and as Tyland stepped out into the Red Keep's courtyard all he could see were Stark and Lannister men fighting, with dead lining the ground. Withdrawing Red Rain, he and Captain Vylarr joined the action as he carved through one Northerner, to bring his sword around to his left-hand side and open the stomach of another.
His men were doing their best to protect the stables for their exit, and so far, they were holding. Tyland managed to slash his way through to them, the Lannister men breaking formation for a split second as he slipped passed them to mount his horse.
"LORD TYLAND!" A Northern voice came from the direction of the castle. The fighting ceased, and Tyland saw that Ned Stark was flanked by Littlefinger and Janos Slynt of the Gold Cloaks, and around 50 Gold Cloak men. "Surrender now and make this easy on yourself My Lord."
Tyland shook his head. "You're a fool Stark. You should have retired to the North instead of yanking the lion's tail. What comes now is down to you."
Ned Stark clenched his decent fist. "You shall have a trial, My Lord. Your crimes aside you did release my daughters."
Tyland rolled his eyes slightly. "Let's not play this game Stark. You cannot hope to hold me here."
Ned Stark sighed. "I suppose not. Arrest him."
Tyland was getting ready to flee on his horse as the Gold Cloaks withdrew their swords, but he was stopped in his tracks when they rushed to attack the Northerners. Stark's soldiers were soon getting slaughtered from both sides, and their Lord had a dagger to his throat. Tyland couldn't hear what Littlefinger said to the Warden of the North, but it didn't matter to him. Dismounting, he walked over the Northern corpses and stood before Lord Eddard.
"What is the meaning of this." The Northman struggled.
"You trusted Baelish, when I explicitly warned you against it." Tyland shook his head. "I'm surprised at you, Lord Stark. Given that the man detests your family so fiercely you should have foreseen this."
"What would you have me do with the traitor, Lord Tyland?" Baelish asked.
Tyland thought for a moment. "He started this mess when he ordered my arrest. Lord Stark should have known that the Queen is a Lannister, and as such many of the men would be loyal to my House in case of an… altercation." Tyland reached behind him and withdrew a short dagger. "For what it's worth, Lord Stark. I am sorry it has come to this."
Without much warning, Tyland thrust the dagger into Ned Stark's throat. His eyes widened in surprise as he began choking on blood. Littlefinger stepped away from the spray, and Tyland withdrew his dagger, leaving the Northman to hold his hands out to his throat before collapsing on the ground, spasming a couple of times before growing still.
Tyland wiped his blade on Janos Slynt's cloak, before walking off to mount his horse again. He took a final look back towards the dead Stark, before kicking his horse into a gallop and leading a small party of Lannister men away from King's Landing.
Chapter 7: The Whispering Wood
The sight of the thousands of Lannister tents surrounding the castle of Riverrun warmed Tyland massively as he led his retinue into the encampment. Leaving his horse with the stable boy, he and Captain Vylarr made their way swiftly towards the command tent. Letting a guard announce him, he walked through the tent flaps and saw a council was in session. Ser Gregor Clegane, Lord Leo Lefford and Ser Addam Marbrand among those joining the Lannister men around the table. Tyland noticed Loren sat to Tywin's left.
"Lord Tyland." Ser Addam stated, as the majority of the table stood. "How wonderful to see you unharmed."
Tyland nodded to Vylarr to wait outside and sat down in an empty seat at the head of the table, opposite Tywin. "Stark gave it his best shot, but he underestimated Littlefinger's hatred for him. It's been a long ride My Lords. What have I missed?" Tywin handed a raven scroll down to Ser Kevan, who passed it along to Tyland. He read it and wasn't surprised. "The King is dead. Long live the King." He noticed, throwing it on the table. "How?"
"A pig gored him." Jaime grinned. "A fitting end for the fat lump."
"Have some respect, he was still a King." Tywin snapped. He turned back to Tyland. "Your brother has been released and is on his way as we speak, but Joffrey sent out ravens decreeing Ned Stark to be a traitor for his attempted coup and sent ravens to numerous castles describing how his head adorns the Traitors Walk in detail. I can only assume it's been sent Northwards too."
"The Northerners are marching Southwards." Loren added.
Tyland took in this information as a cup of water was placed in front of him. "We need to cut them off on the Kingsroad then, otherwise they'll have a clear ride to King's Landing."
Loren grinned. "I said the same."
Tyland nodded at the boy, and Tywin pointed to a point along the Green Fork, north of Fairmarket. "This is the crossing that is the quickest way to the North. Half of our army marches for it in three days to attempt to cut off the Northern march before they get too far South. The other half is to remain here, to take Riverrun. You will command." He looked towards Tyland.
"As you will, Father." Tyland bowed his head.
"See that your men are prepared." Tywin nodded to those in the room that weren't Lannisters and waited until they had left before speaking again. "Killing Ned Stark was rash."
"As was trying to arrest me in the manner that he did." Tyland countered. "It was him or me, Father, and Baelish betrayed him before a fight could be had. We have his daughters still though."
"One." Loren replied. "Arya Stark escaped in the confusion."
Tyland looked baffled, but Jaime nodded. "Cersei wrote as soon as Robert died. She isn't happy with you by the way, dealing with Stark when you promised her that she could."
"The happiness of your sister is not something I care for at this moment." Tywin said strongly. "We have one of the Stark girls and the other is likely dead in the wild. We focus on those in the North. I want Riverrun by any means necessary, do you understand?"
Tyland did. "I shall have the lion above the gates in no time, Father."
Tywin stood up. "Good. You shall have Jaime with you. Ideally, I want Hoster Tully and his brother alive, but we have the son in custody should problems arise. Keep him alive if not the others."
Alive, but not unharmed if needs be, was the hidden message Tyland heard. Nodding, he watched as the tent slowly thinned out as food was brought to Tyland.
Later on that evening Tyland walked around the camp with his uncle as they spoke about all sorts of things varying from Casterly Rock to Lancel. The Lannister heir soon found himself coming into a clearing where dozens of men were gathered, cheering as two swords clashed. Pushing through, Tyland chuckled to himself at the sight in front of him.
Loren and Jaime were in the middle of a spar. The two Lannisters locking swords together at such a pace Tyland had never seen in his life. His son had grown a lot in the few years he had been away, and Tyland was pleased that the boy had become a man in Tywin's tutelage. He applauded as Loren leant backwards to avoid a swing, only roll to the side and jump back to his feet, turning towards offense. The younger Lannister feinted to his right, while swinging his body all the way round, his sword low to connect to Jaime's hip.
The crowd roared in a cheer at the contact, as Jaime's spare hand shot to his hip, rubbing the pain away. "A lucky shot!" He shouted happily.
"Not all of them can be lucky, Uncle!" Loren grinned back, as Jaime nodded, and the spar resumed.
Kevan leant into Tyland's ear, "They've done this every night since Jaime arrived." He stated loudly to be heard.
"Who wins usually?" Tyland asked back.
"Jaime." Kevan said, and Tyland expected that answer. "Although Loren is a quick learner."
That statement seemed accurate, as Tyland saw Jaime set up for a counter riposte. Loren looked to fall into the trap, parrying the initial blow quickly and attacking, and Jaime pulled the move, parrying away and aiming his lunge at Loren's helmet. Loren managed to parry this away however, grabbing the Lannister knight's arm to pull him behind Loren, before to face his opponent and tripping him, sending him sprawling to the floor.
The men watching erupted into cheers as Loren held his training sword to Jaime's neck. Jaime took off his helmet and dropped his sword, a massive grin on his face. "I yield." He said, and even Tyland began to applaud the duel.
"Incredible…" Kevan said in awe, as Jaime was helped up by Loren, before holding the victors arm in the air to give the crowd a show.
"I once saw Ser Barristan Selmy himself pull off the counter riposte in battle, and it was the best move I have ever seen." He said to Loren loudly, so all could hear. "What you just did surpassed that."
Tyland could see Loren beaming with pride at those words coming from his hero and stepped forwards to greet them. The men fell silent at Tyland's presence.
"Father." Loren bowed before taking off his helmet, still panting from the spar.
"Loren." Tyland said. "That was some incredible swordplay. Well done."
Loren grinned up at Tyland. "Thank you, Father."
"Walk with me." Tyland said, and Loren nodded. Handing his training sword off to Jaime and belting his edged blade to his hip, and the two went for a stroll along one of the riverbeds.
Once they were alone, Tyland spoke freely. "That truly was remarkable. I haven't seen Jaime bested in combat since he was 11."
Loren grinned. "He's been wonderful to spar with. I've learnt so much in only a few weeks."
"You've come on greatly since I last saw you." Tyland said. "You'll be the greatest swordsman in the world, I can see that."
"I still need to learn though." Loren acknowledged. "Grandfather is teaching me a great deal."
Tyland smiled, his hand grasping his sons shoulder. "You will make a fine Lord of Casterly Rock. Now tell me, how was your first battle?"
Loren grinned. "I know it was more a slaughter than a battle, but the rush of it… I enjoyed it far more than Ser Daven thinks I should."
Tyland breathed out a laugh. "The best warriors do enjoy it. I know your uncle does."
"We broke them easily." Loren noted. "It won't be so easy to break the Northerners will it?"
Tyland shook his head. "They are fierce warriors. I remember fighting with them at Pyke during the Greyjoy Rebellion. They are fierce but proud, and we are better armed, better prepared and better organised. They are coming with vengeance in their hearts to kill us all, and you need to make sure that that doesn't happen."
Loren nodded. "Robb Stark, he isn't much older than me, is he?"
"No, a year or so is all." Tyland answered.
Loren looked towards the river. "Some of the men I killed at the Battle at the Tooth, they weren't much older than me either."
Tyland stopped with his son. "War means death for many. Young and old, strong and weak. To dwell on those in your way at the time of battle isn't helpful. All that matters is that we must win the war if our House is to survive, and the survival of the House must happen, at all costs."
Loren nodded, before his eyes lit up. "Oh, Grandfather got me a new sword after the battle!"
Tyland was reminded how young his son was as he excitedly withdrew the longsword and handed it to Tyland. The pommel was a proud lions head made of gold, and the handle was Lannister red with a gold ring in its middle, the sword had a plain steel guard too, and the blade had writing along it.
"A Lion still has claws." Tyland read on one side, before flipping the blade over. "Now the rains weep o'er his hall."
"It's to remind me of who I am, Grandfather says." Loren said, taking the sword and sheathing it once more. "I'm a Lannister, and Lannisters don't care for the opinions of the sheep."
Tyland nodded, having heard the same lecture when he was a teenager. "It's a fine blade and will serve you well in the wars to come. Does it have a name?"
Loren nodded. "Lionheart."
Tyland smirked. "How very Lannister."
Loren grinned back, before his face fell into one of contemplation. He picked up a rock and attempted to skim it in the river. "Will you ever remarry?" Loren asked.
Tyland was a bit stunned at the question. "It's unlikely." He admitted. "You are my heir, and so long as you stay healthy then I have no need for another."
Loren kicked another stone and turned to Tyland. "You married after your first war, and I can only imagine I'll do the same. I know I'm old enough."
Tyland nodded. "It is likely that Lord Tywin will attempt to find a bride for you after all this is done with."
Loren sighed, and looked back towards Riverrun. "I don't want that. I don't want to have some poor maiden thrown into a sept and have her unwillingly marry me. Not when my heart belongs to somebody else."
Tyland narrowed his eyes. "Not that Westerling girl that you followed around when you were a child?"
Loren barked out a laugh. "Jeyne? No, no she left Casterly Rock around a year after you did. No, I'm talking about Cerenna."
That surprised Tyland. "My cousin Cerenna?" Loren nodded. "You've not…"
"We've done nothing." Loren said quickly, slightly annoyed. "I would not dishonour her as such."
Tyland was relieved. "Good. I know you feel as you do now, but you must realise that you are to be the Lord of Casterly Rock, and with that certain alliances must be made."
"Grandfather didn't forge new alliances when he married his cousin." Loren said defiantly. "And Mother was a Crakehall, one of Grandfather's bannermen."
Tyland stared down at his son. "We shall speak no more of this." He stated coldly. "First we need to win this war that Catelyn Stark started. We shall remind the North what it means to march on the South, and then we shall discuss your future. Am I understood?"
Loren wasn't happy, but he nodded. "Yes Father."
Tyland looked out and saw that the sun was beginning to set. "Come, let us head back to the camp. It's getting late."
Loren nodded, and led Tyland back in complete silence.
As planned, a few days after Tyland arrived at Riverrun 30,000 men rode Northwards to try and cut off the Northerner's route to King's Landing, leaving Tyland with a similar number spread over three camps to try and take the castle. He took the Northernmost camp and gave his sons maternal Grandfather, Lord Roland Crakehall, command of the western camp, and Ser Daven Lannister command of the eastern camp, which frustrated his brother.
"Why haven't I been given a command?" Jaime asked as Tyland was walking towards the prison tent. "I'm every bit a son of Tywin Lannister as you are, and yet you spurn me and give command to the son of a lackwit?"
Tyland stayed calm. "Ser Daven has proven himself a capable leader. You on the other hand have no true experience of commanding thousands of men and have proven to be rash when provoked. If I can't trust you to deal with Ned Stark without killing him, why should I trust you to command an entire camp?"
He could see Jaime grow angrier. "I wasn't the one who killed him."
Tyland spun around angrily, shoving Jaime backwards. "No. You just fought him to sate your own pride. If you had left him alone perhaps we could have ended this dispute quietly and peacefully, but instead your actions completed the vendetta the man had against our family. You will listen and learn from me now, and maybe one day you can have your own command."
"And killing him cemented this war." Jaime countered.
"Watch yourself, brother." Tyland warned. "I was forced to act, I didn't choose the confrontation."
Jaime just rolled his eyes as Tyland turned his back and walked up to the prison tent. He was let inside to see the Tully heir tied to a pole in the middle of the tent, his battered fish scale armour still on.
"Lord Edmure." Tyland greeted.
The Tully looked up at Tyland. "Lord Tyland? I was expecting your Father." He said quietly.
Tyland nodded, pouring some water into a cup and holding it out for the man to drink from. Edmure just stared away, and Tyland pulled back his hand. "My Father has left me in command while he rides to stop the Northern host." He admitted. "Riverrun shall fall to me, and Robb Stark shall either die or return to the North with his tail between his legs. You can either help me take the castle peacefully, or you can watch as I take it and execute your uncle and Father. You will marry a Lannister and be held captive, Lord of Riverrun only in name until an heir is born to you."
Edmure just grinned. "You think your threats faze me, Lannister? Riverrun is strong still, and 20,000 Northmen and the men from the South will break your gold shitting Father and break you also. When Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark ride for Riverrun…"
"Robert Baratheon is dead." Tyland interrupted. Edmure looked up in shock. "As is Ned Stark. The latter choked on my knife in his neck, the King gored by a boar while drunk on a hunt. Joffrey rules in King's Landing now and your only friend is a green boy from the North miles away."
Edmure took a moment to digest the information. "Ned Stark is dead?" He asked.
"Yes." Tyland replied.
Edmure grinned, and then that grin turned to a laugh. "Then you have sealed your own fate." He chuckled. "You think anybody will stand for the murder of a Lord Paramount? They won't, and the Northerners will never forget. I look forward to seeing your head atop a spike in Winterfell, Lord Tyland."
Tyland waited a moment before responding. Staring coldly into the eyes of Edmure Tully he said calmly. "Very well. It seems you have chosen your fate, My Lord. There will not be another chance." Tyland strode out of the tent, not even bothering to look at his captive as he exited, before turning to one of the guards at the entrance. "Don't feed him tonight." He ordered, before walking away.
The next dawn, Tyland prepared for a parlay with Hoster Tully. Making sure his armour was in pristine condition, he had around a hundred soldiers join him, just stopping short of the drawbridge, with Jaime next to him.
"If those crossbowmen take me out, don't do anything rash." Tyland told his brother. "Stick to the siege."
"They won't do such a thing." Jaime waved off. "Family, Duty, Honour. They're too honourable."
Tyland shook his head. "Family comes first is the meaning of their words Jaime, and we have Edmure."
The drawbridge lowered slowly, and Tyland dismounted his horse to walk towards the castle. As the bridge was low enough, he noticed that instead of the Lord of Riverrun standing there to meet with him, it was the younger brother, Brynden Tully. Cursing his luck, he strode forward until the pair were a foot away from one another.
"Kingslayer." The Blackfish noted.
"Blackfish." Tyland countered, thinking that if nicknames sufficed for his opposite, they would suffice for him.
"Have you come to negotiate your surrender?" The old knight asked.
Tyland smiled at that. "Unfortunately for you, you are in no position to demand such things. I'm here to convince your brother to surrender Riverrun. End this war before more bloodshed is required, and we'll let you live."
The Blackfish smirked. "You'll let us live? How kind of you, Kingslayer. Are you finally out of your Father's golden arsehole that you can do things on your own?"
Tyland's smile faded. "Where is Lord Hoster? It is he who agreed to speak with me, was it not? Instead I get the black sheep of the brood." He said bitterly.
The Blackfish's smirk stayed. "My Lord sent me instead. He has no intention of surrendering to a Lannister."
Tyland thought that would be the response. "A shame. I have fond memories of this castle. What is it, 20 years since Lord Hoster hosted my Father, my Brother and I?"
The Blackfish didn't show any emotion to the nostalgia. "You think you can win me over by reminding me that my brother would have married his daughter off to you? It's the only reason I have for being grateful that Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped the Stark girl. I would have killed you long ago if you had married Lysa, you're poisonous."
"I don't doubt it." Tyland answered. He would have never suffered Lysa for long either, although maybe she wouldn't have been driven so close to madness had he married the girl instead of Jon Arryn. "An ultimatum then. Surrender the castle. Submit yourself for judgement in front of His Grace Joffrey, of House Baratheon, and I won't mutilate your nephew."
The Blackfish's eyes narrowed. "Edmure hasn't been seen since the folly at the Golden Tooth, how do we know you have him?"
Tyland expected this. He turned to Jaime and nodded, watching as Jaime yanked forward a rope to reveal the bloodied and bruised heir to Riverrun. Tyland turned back to the Blackfish and added. "For every sunrise that this castle fails to surrender, I'll take a finger. If you fail to surrender after 10 days, I'll start taking toes. After they're all gone I'll go onto eyes, ears, and the tongue. If you wish to see your precious heir returned to you then surrender soon, Blackfish."
The Blackfish stood defiantly. "He's dead already. Do your worst."
Tyland admired the man's defiance but spoke louder so the defenders of Riverrun could hear. "You may be willing to cut all ties to your nephew, Ser Brynden. But is Lord Hoster willing to lose his heir because you're too stubborn to see what is best?"
He could see a couple of them shifting nervously and knew that his job was done. Without allowing the Blackfish to get a word in, Tyland turned away and re-joined his forces.
Tyland woke the next morning and immediately changed into something comfortable to go outside and see if the castle had surrendered. Ser Armory Lorch joined him as they stood and saw that the banners of House Tully still flew proudly.
"Why is it never easy." Tyland sighed. "Very well. Ser Armory, go to the prisoner and relieve him of a finger. The little one will do."
The siege had been going for around a week after Tyland had begun mutilating Edmure Tully, and the Lannister heir was baffled at some of the strange events going on. Scouts had gone missing, no responses to any ravens were appearing and what Jaime thought were bandits continued to harry supply lines. Tyland was wary, and the lack of news to the east worried him.
The brothers met up as another raid took place one morning, and Jaime was determined to route them out once and for all.
"They are but a few hundred men, brother." Jaime was arguing. "Give me the cavalry. We can crush them quickly and be home for supper."
Tyland stared at a map, trying to work out whatever plan was being used against them. "Where other than the crossing Father was headed to is easy to cross the Green Fork?" He asked nobody in particular.
Jaime took a look at the map as well. "There is no other crossing." He replied. "The only places are there, Lord Harroway's Town or…"
"The Twins." Tyland said suddenly, turning to his camp Maester. "Have we received any news from Lord Walder recently?"
"No, My Lord." The man replied.
Tyland punched the table. "The damn traitor! Does his addled old brain not remember that we have his son and grandsons at the Rock!"
Jaime shrugged. "He has so many sons that he's probably forgotten all about Emmon."
Tyland just glared at Jaime. "Rouse the men. I don't want to be taken in the arse. And get me half of the forces from the other camps." He said to Ser Gregor Clegane, lurking in the corner. The beast of a man bowed his head and left the command tent.
"What do you think is happening?" Jaime asked.
Tyland sighed. "Stark knew Father was blocking off the Kingsroad, that would have been obvious to anybody. He also knows that we are here, surrounding Riverrun. If you knew you had to get here but the quickest way was blocked off, what would you do?"
Jaime shrugged. "I'd send the bulk of the army a different way. It may take longer but if you can miss a battle before you know your men will be needed, I'd do it."
Tyland nodded and held his finger by Moat Cailin. "Stark could have followed the Kingsroad to the Green Fork crossing, fought with Father and been broken, or significantly weakened before coming to Riverrun. Or, he could have entered the Riverlands, followed the river down to the Twins, crossed the Twins and snuck past Father's army to march here in strength."
Jaime looked significantly less cocky now. "So these bandits and raiders…"
"Are likely a small part of his army. Yes." Tyland said, cursing. "Damn Stark!"
Jaime resumed to look at the map. "He'd camp in the woods. It's the only place he can stay hidden."
Tyland nodded. "Ensure the men get in formation facing the woods. We'll smoke them out."
The lines had been drawn, and Tyland sat atop his horse behind the lines. The wind was blowing away from them, which was good for Tyland's plan.
As soon as the men were up he had taken the entire pitch supply and had it spread all over the southern side of the Whispering Wood. He knew that eventually Stark and the Northerners would have to charge him after it was clear that Tyland wasn't nibbling at the bait. He looked to one side at his brother and thought about what would have happened had he been in charge. Shaking his head, he focused once more.
They had been standing there for 20 minutes when the thundering of hooves could be heard from inside the forest. Tyland steadied himself on his horse and nodded to Jaime. The Kingsguard moved his horse forwards, galloping along the line behind the archers.
"ARCHERS! NOCK YOUR ARROWS!" He called, as the single line of archers behind those with shields and spears readied themselves. Tyland turned to Lord Sarsfield who was stood alongside him, who also nocked his arrow, but this arrow being a flaming one. The hooves were getting louder.
"SHIELDS UP!" Tyland roared, as his men at the front obeyed. "READY THOSE SPEARS!"
"DRAW!" Jaime cried.
Tyland could see the outlines of riders riding for them within the Whispering Woods. He nodded to Lord Sarsfield, who drew his flaming arrow and loosed it at the trees.
A large stream of riders made it out of the woods and continued their charge towards the Lannister lines, but the arrow hit it's mark and the entrance to the Whispering Woods erupted into flame. The screams could be heard soon after, as Northmen and Rivermen alike burned.
"SPEARS OUT!" Tyland called, and the grunt of Lannister men making themselves heard followed, as the spears were lowered. "HOLD THAT LINE!"
Tyland withdrew Red Rain then and held it up in preparation. The Stark forces were almost upon them as he heard Jaime cry "LOOSE!"
The line of archers fired, and the onrushing Stark Cavalry was soon met with a volley of arrows. Some died, most continued their charge. Tyland noticed a large wolf running alongside the cavalry. "Lord Sarsfield!" He called, gaining the man's attention. He pointed to the wolf, and Sarsfield nodded, nocking another arrow before firing, and missing.
"Hit that wolf or I'll feed you to it myself!" Tyland shouted, before closing his helmet and preparing for the crash of horses on shields. It soon came, and the screams continued as men from both sides fell.
Tyland galloped forwards towards an area that had broken and sliced a Northman's head clean off. The Valyrian Steel sword singing to him as he swung. Charging forwards, he stabbed, parried and hacked his way through the charging Northmen heading slowly in the direction of the burning woods.
Dozens of men fell to his blade as the screams of men burning to death filled the air. He saw in the distance two giant men on foot clashing giant great swords, and he grinned when Clegane cleaved his opponent in half with his gigantic greatsword, but he couldn't see Stark.
That was until he heard the call of his brother's voice scream for the young Lord. He turned his horse, defending himself from and slaying a man in a Glover surcoat in the process, and saw Jaime and a small group of Lannister men on foot charging towards a group of 20 men. Tyland charged towards it, splitting the skull of another Northman as he got to top speed. He saw as Jaime skilfully danced through three men before the other Lannister swordsmen could even reach the group.
He was barrelled off his horse however when the animal dropped to the ground. Rolling away, he got up and held his sword out at another giant figure, dripping with blood and grinning manically.
"Lannister!" He grinned. "I can't wait to split you balls to brain and see if you really do shit gold."
Tyland steadied himself, as the elder man hacked apart an onrushing Lannister soldier who had come to defend him. Picking up a fallen shield, he controlled his breathing and waited for the incoming blow.
It hurt. His shield held but his arm ached from the strength of the man. Tyland countered with his sword, but he was parried away and forced to defend himself again. As blade met blade over and over, Tyland tried to work out a strategy on how to break his huge opponent. He was slower than Tyland, so the Lannister heir used that, parrying the greatsword away and getting small nicks in wherever he could, the sharp edge of Valyrian Steel doing its part.
Roaring, the giant Lord raised the greatsword up and swung it downwards with strength, and it took all of Tyland's might to block the blow with his sword, having to rest the tip on his shield to keep himself clear of it. Lifting his shield arm higher, he managed to push the greatsword away to his right and slash Red Rain quickly across the neck of the man, who dropped to the ground choking on his own blood.
"NO!" A young man cried out, and Tyland was surprised to see the sigil of House Greyjoy etched on his chest plate. Tyland swung his sword and didn't give the Greyjoy boy a chance to grieve, pushing him backwards before managing to cleave off his sword arm. The Greyjoy boy screamed, and Tyland finished him off by thrusting his sword into the boy's neck.
Looking around, he was pleased to see the Northern survivors seemingly fleeing, as thousands from both sides lay dead on the dirt. He looked to the direction he last saw Jaime, and was pleased to see the Lannister alive, screaming cowardice at a fleeing horse with what looked like a Tully draped over its behind. Gathering his breath again, he smiled to himself. Victory was theirs.
Immediately after the battle, Tyland had sent Jaime and Ser Gregor off to try and work out where the Stark survivors were going. They returned a day later, as the clean up after the battle was ongoing.
"They're heading Northwards, not Eastwards." Jaime explained. "Likely to either Seagard or the Twins."
Tyland nodded. "Good work." He replied. "Ser Daven, our losses?"
The Lannister knight replied. "Around 2,000 at first count. For every one of ours, they lost five."
Tyland nodded happily. "Good. Good, their numbers have dwindled and we are still strong. We'll give chase tomorrow."
"Give chase?" Jaime asked.
"Yes." Tyland replied. "The Wolf is licking his wounds, best to chase now and snuff him out while he's weak than to wait until he comes back at strength." Jaime nodded his agreement and let Tyland tell his orders. "Ser Daven. I give you command of the siege. I want Riverrun taken and Hoster Tully in chains next to his son. You'll have 6,000 men so split them wisely and be wary of any rogue Riverlords that wish to try anything. Lord Sarsfield can take command of one of the camps."
"My Lord." Daven bowed his head. "Come on Wolfbane, you can take the East."
Tyland watched as Daven took the killer of the Direwolf, Lord Melwyn, out of the command tent. "Ser Gregor." He said once they had left. "You'll take your men and ride for the Green Fork crossing my Father took. Find him and give him a detailed account of what's happened."
"As you wish." Gregor replied, his voice deep.
"Jaime. You'll prepare the men. I want 20,000 ready to march Northwards by dawn. We'll smash the Stark boy and this war will be over quickly. Oh and see that the head of the beast is secured on a spear. I want Stark to see it." Tyland told his brother. He nodded too. "See to it gentleman."
The tent cleared, and Tyland was left alone. He pulled out a thin piece of parchment and began writing out a message, before sealing it with the Lion of Casterly Rock. The Maester was called to his tent.
"Maester Horas. Have you a raven for the Twins with you?" Tyland asked.
The Maester nodded. "Yes, My Lord. I do."
Tyland smiled, handing the Maester his message. "See that this gets there."
Chapter 8: Toast at the Twins
Tyland stood just outside his tent as a raven flew away. The Lannister forces had marched tirelessly Northwards, but still hadn't caught Robb Stark up. That night they were lucky enough to be camped at Oldstones, a long-abandoned settlement of the old River Kings.
"You realise that the raven will likely be shot down." Jaime's voice sounded behind him.
Tyland shook his head. "Our birds are the fastest in the Kingdom and they've lost their best archers. Even so, it's too cryptic."
"And you still won't tell me your plan." Jaime noted. Tyland turned to face his brother.
"The more people that know, the more chance it has to go awry." Tyland explained. "Only three people know of what is to come, and until that happens it will stay that way."
Jaime didn't look overly happy, but he accepted it. "It matters not anyway, if we haven't caught the boy by now we won't before he hits the Twins, and when that happens it will be impossible to get to him."
Tyland stared up at the ruin of Oldstones. "You underestimate me brother." He said, unemotionally.
"As you do me." Jaime said unhappily. Tyland looked back at the Kingsguard.
"Each man in this army is vital to our success. You more than most. Have you done as I asked?"
Jaime nodded. "We've given spare armour to all the prisoners we captured at the Whispering Wood. I still don't understand why though, why waste good armour on prisoners?"
Tyland walked back into his command tent and allowed Jaime to follow him. "In battle, where do most of the casualties come from?" He asked.
Jaime's eyes narrowed at the lesson he was about to receive. "I'm not your son that is forced to be schooled by you."
Not reacting to the insolence, Tyland responded. "Humour me."
Sighing, Jaime said in a bored tone. "In the vanguard usually in the initial clash."
Tyland nodded. "So tell me, why does it make sense to have our own men die when we can force a few dozen prisoners into the vanguard?"
Jaime raised his eyebrows. "Have the Starks kill their own men? They will never go for it."
Tyland had no reaction. "We chain them together with the injured and force them forwards with spears against their backs. They won't have a choice."
Jaime was still shocked. "That's cruel Tyland, even for you that's unnecessarily cruel."
"War is cruel." Tyland snapped. "It's my job to see that we win it by any means necessary, if that means sacrificing a few prisoners to keep most of my own men alive then so be it. Or would you rather I risk our own men when we still have the Baratheon brothers to deal with in the South?" Jaime didn't have a response to that. "I thought not. So go and see that the prisoners are prepared and task the blacksmith with making the chains. You may go."
Jaime didn't hesitate to leave, and Tyland was soon alone staring down at the map of the Riverlands. So far the war had gone to plan, but he was risking an awful lot on his next gamble, and retired for the night to come up with a contingency in cased his diplomatic efforts failed.
Meanwhile, in the Lannister camp on the other side of the Trident, Ser Gregor Clegane was giving the report of the Battle of the Whispering Wood and Tyland's decisions afterwards. Tywin nodded along at the Mountain's words and seemed pleased by the outcome.
"Well, my Brother certainly does enjoy his ruthlessness." Tyrion said once Ser Gregor was finished. "Burning an entire forest down to smoke out Robb Stark."
"He did what he needed to do to win the battle." Tywin told him. "He didn't decide to sleep during it."
Tyrion just drunk some wine. "It was more of a forced sleep." He muttered.
Tywin stared at him angrily. "Did you say something?"
Tyrion smiled, winking at his nephew. "Of course not Father."
Tywin just grunted. "With Tyland and Jaime chasing the Stark boy and Riverrun still under siege it allows us to focus solely on the South. Renly Baratheon has gathered the support of Highgarden and Stannis sits on Dragonstone still. We can use this opportunity to fortify King's Landing."
"As well as reign in my cousin I presume." Loren added.
"Quite." Tywin said gruffly. "Sending those ravens North was stupid."
"The boy is stupid." Tyrion added. "Unless he's changed drastically since I last saw him then he is more suited to be a jester than a King."
Tywin glared at Tyrion again. "He is the King however, and he shall be guided. He is young yet, he can learn."
"I do not envy your task, Lord Hand." Tyrion said jovially.
"You will be there too." Tywin stated sharply. "Robert Baratheon enlisted a council of fools, and while you are many things, a fool is not one of them. You shall help me weed out the traitors and the backstabbers."
Tyrion was surprised. "Me? What can I do. I'm just a stunted little monster as you so delightfully told me yourself when I asked to travel the world."
Loren was uncomfortable as Tywin stared down at his son. "You are still a Lannister, and perhaps this responsibility will help you to grow up."
Tyrion grinned. "A poor choice of words Father, but I will obey." He stood up and made to leave the tent when Tywin stopped him.
Tywin spoke icily. "Get rid of that whore." Tyrion didn't respond but Loren noticed his face turn into a scowl just before he left. Not wanting to say anything to anger Tywin any more, Loren stayed silent until Tywin spoke again. "When we reach the Capital I want you to befriend Joffrey. If you can encourage him to stop torturing animals and start acting like a man, he can be moulded into a King more easily."
Loren groaned. "He's a fool, Grandfather. He almost got himself eaten by the lions under the Rock while they were in cages!"
"And you pulled him away. He owes you, use that." Tywin replied. "You will remind him that he also belongs to House Lannister and a Lannister always pays his debts."
Shouts could be heard a couple of miles away from the Twins, and as the Lannister army neared the stronghold and the Stark scouts had been killed, Tyland and Jaime rode ahead to scout the area themselves. They saw that the Stark's had camped on the Western bank of the Trident, and dozens of bodies lay beneath the castle gates. Small boats were being ferried across the river, taking few men at a time towards a camp showing mainly Bolton banners.
"Walder Frey turned on the Starks?" Jaime asked. "What a turn of events."
Tyland smirked. "He did his part, now we shall do ours."
Jaime looked at his brother in surprise. "You planned this?"
"Of course, Walder Frey wouldn't have turned on Stark without assurances from House Lannister." Tyland explained. "Of course, he's expecting a wedding or two, but luckily both Houses have men and women to spare."
Jaime was slightly impressed, as he counted the men still on their side of the Trident. "I count 6,000." He said.
Tyland nodded, agreeing with the number. "Go and rally the men. We attack now."
Jaime bowed his head and rode back towards the gathering Lannister forces, leaving Tyland alone to plan his attack. Agreeing a plan in his mind, he joined his brother.
"Send in the first wave." He told Jaime. "Get the horns and drums going, let them know we've caught them."
Jaime narrowed his eyes in confusion. "Why can't we go in with the element of surprise?" He asked.
Tyland smiled evilly. "Because this way we let House Bolton and Frey know when to turn their cloaks."
On the other bank, Roose Bolton was just biding his time. After the battle at the Green Fork his men had arrived at the Twins days before the Stark forces, and after his wedding to Fat Walda Frey and an interesting conversation with Lord Walder, all he had to do after a quick slaughter of the non-Bolton forces was wait for the retreating forces of his liege lord to arrive on the other bank.
A quick lie about Walder Frey not allowing them access to the bridge followed when Stark arrived and a reminder that the boy had effectively left him to die against the vast forces of Tywin Lannister granted Roose the trust he needed, and a few small boats had been built quickly to allow transportation over the river. Stark was a lot moodier than he was before, and often kept himself hidden away in a tent with his Mother. This gave Roose free reign on organising the slowly growing camp on his side of the River, and his men were always in position to wait for the signal.
That came when Roose was talking to one of Rickard Karstark's sons as they were overseeing some of the boat arrivals. As the horns and drums were heard from over the hills to the South and Lannister banners were spotted, Roose knew it was almost time. Smiling when he only saw around a thousand men, he turned to the Karstark boy.
"Go and rouse Lord Stark. We're being attacked." He said urgently. The boy nodded and ran off to the command tent. Roose turned to his second in command then and added. "See that the men are ready, I want it to be swift and sudden."
"Lord Bolton." Locke bowed and left. Roose then stood, and all he could do was watch as the small numbers of Lannister men ran down the hill to be assaulted with arrows from the terrified Northerners on the Western bank.
The front lines fell, and Roose said a quick prayer for the Northerners he knew to be among the recently deceased. Men like Torrhen Karstark, one of the Manderly men and one of his dead wife's brothers. As he opened his eyes again he could hear Robb Stark and his Mother behind him.
"Is that it?" Robb asked. "It can't be…"
"Tyland Lannister is dangerous Robb, he must have another plan." Catelyn said as the swords clashing could now be heard.
"We have to do something." Robb growled. "We need Frey…"
"Walder Frey has been promised the Riverlands." Roose interrupted. "He won't open those gates for anybody other than the Kingslayer himself."
"Damn traitor." Robb growled again. Roose laughed internally, knowing what was to come.
As he predicted, more horns were heard as the full extent of the Lannister army appeared over the hill. In formation the infantrymen walked slowly down the hill, banging their shields so loudly that it could be heard clearly from where Roose was standing.
"Gods…" Catelyn gasped.
"It'll be a slaughter." Robb said, wide eyed. Roose agreed, as did a number of the Northerners on the other side of the river, who had abandoned all hope of fighting and had begun to attempt to swim across the Trident. All those on the Eastern bank could do was watch as the Lannisters slowly surrounded the remaining Stark men and carved through them like butter.
"I can't watch." Cat cried, turning away. Roose followed her vision as his man came back into sight and nodded. Sighing, Roose whipped out his dagger and plunged it into Robb Stark's heart.
The boy gasped, his eyes horrified. "Why?" He gurgled, catching the attention of Catelyn Stark who screamed in anguish.
"Robb!" Was all Roose heard until Locke had her in a headlock, mouth covered.
"I apologise, My Lord." Roose told him. "But you would have killed us all." He pulled out his knife and stabbed once more, feeling the life of the Stark boy ebb away. Pulling his knife out once more, he watched the Stark fall to the floor unmoving.
Around him, the Bolton forces had begun their own slaughter, taking the unprepared Northern men by surprise. Horses were soon heard as Frey knights joined them from the Twins, aiding in the mass killing.
An hour was all it took for the last screams to die down. Only the highborn had been spared, around a dozen Lords and sons captured and put in chains, being led to the dungeons in the Twins by Jaime Lannister himself. Roose Bolton had ended up crossing the river once more and meeting up with Tyland Lannister.
"Lord Tyland." He greeted.
"Lord Bolton I presume." The tall Lannister replied. "I'm glad to see you alive My Lord."
"The Stark's had been defeated at the Whispering Wood." Roose told him. "All we did here was basically pest control."
Tyland smirked briefly. "Quite, but it's a decisive victory all the same. This war is over now, the Starks have a child as their Lord and we can all focus on the two Baratheon usurpers in the South."
Roose agreed, and the two walked slowly towards the Frey castle. The scene around them was filled with bodies being piled up. "So, what happens now?" Roose asked.
"We'll eat inside the castle, we'll rest for the night and then discuss how to keep a lasting peace with the Starks in the morning." Tyland replied. "I heard you're recently wed. Go and be with your new bride My Lord."
"I mean in terms of the North." Roose said. Tyland nodded.
"Again, we'll discuss on the morrow." The Lannister told him. "Stark's head will travel with me back down South however, if you could retrieve it that would be most helpful."
Tyland began to walk away then, and Roose stared icily at the back of his blonde head. He would obey for now as this allegiance had given him the title of Warden of the North, but that didn't mean he would accept being spoken to like a common servant.
Loren hated to admit it, but he was extremely disappointed at the sight of King's Landing as the army entered the city through the Dragon Gate. The place stunk from miles out, and the Red Keep just wasn't anywhere near as impressive as Casterly Rock in his eyes. He longed for home, to hold Cerenna and tell her that he was ok, to jape with his Great Aunt again and to ride into Lannisport, a city that actually functioned and didn't look like everyone had just tried to cram as many people as they could inside the walls.
"Have a guess at how many people live here." Tyrion called from next to him.
"Lannisport is bigger and holds around 250,000." Loren told him. "But it's not as cramped, 300,000?"
Tyrion grinned. "Double that."
Loren shook his head. "No wonder it stinks of shit, it's got nowhere to go."
"Give me a year, and I could have the sewers as functional as I did at the Rock." Tyrion grinned.
"Enough joking." Came the authoritative voice of Tywin from in front of them. "We're Lannisters, act like it."
Loren did as he was bid, but in his peripheral he saw Tyrion still smirking as they rode through the city towards the Red Keep, dismounting once they had arrived.
Tywin stood regally staring up at the castle as Tyrion was helped off of his horse. "Loren, Kevan, Tyrion. Follow me to the Small Council chambers. The rest of you settle in to your chambers." He ordered the group.
Loren did as he was bid and fixed his sword belt before following his Grandfather through to the Throne Room, where he saw the Iron Throne for the first time. "Wow…" He said, thinking of the history.
"It's uncomfortable." Tywin told him, allowing them to stop for a moment. "And if you'd been there to see the Mad King's scars, you'd know it was sharp."
"They say only improper rulers cut themselves on the Throne." Tyrion explained. "Maegor the Cruel especially, it's said he sat down one night and the Throne cut open his wrists and stabbed him through the neck."
"Superstitious nonsense." Tywin scoffed. "Someone murdered him because he was waging war on the faith, that throne is only a danger to the foolish, as Aerys was."
Loren looked at the Throne once more, imagining seeing a King sitting dead on the steel, before moving through to the back room where the Small Council was taking place. Loren recognised his Aunt at the head of the table and guessed most of the others in the room. Pycelle and Varys were easy to spot to Cersei's left, and Loren guessed Littlefinger was opposite the Spider. The man to Cersei's right however he didn't recognise.
"Father." Cersei said, surprised. "We weren't expecting you."
"Clearly." Tywin said, sitting at the other end of the table. Kevan and Loren both went to grab some extra seats for the other newcomers. "I would have expected a better greeting if you had."
Loren sat down to Tywin's right, and Tyrion sat down between him and Baelish. "Well isn't this lovely." The dwarf said. "Although, I can't imagine why Janos Slynt is here."
"I was invited onto the Small Council by the decree of His Grace." Slynt said pompously.
"His Grace is a boy of 14. You may leave now." Tywin said. Slynt looked to complain but a look from the Lannister patriarch silenced him. The Commander of the Gold Cloaks unhappily got up and left the room.
Tyrion grinned. "It always makes me smile when you do that."
Tywin ignored him. "Where is the King?" He asked.
Cersei shifted in her seat. "The King is busy." She answered.
"Killing cats?" Tyrion asked, ignoring Cersei's glare.
"He should be here, learning what it means to rule." Tywin told his daughter.
"The King has many important matters…"
"Don't pretend." Tywin snapped. "You let that boy get away with too much. Sending the ravens of Ned Stark's treachery was a level of foolishness that rivals Aerys."
"We're lucky we have you to thank for swiftly putting that rebellion down, Lord Tywin." Baelish bowed his head.
"And now we have to do the same for the Baratheon brothers it seems." Tyrion said.
"Why are you here?" Cersei snapped at Tyrion.
"By my invitation." Tywin said coldly back. "Leave us." He said to the other three. Baelish and Varys fled quickly, and Pycelle followed slower, stopping only to welcome Tywin to the city and hand him the badge of office. "You need to gain control of him Cersei, I will not advise another Aerys."
"You aren't, you're serving your Grandson." Cersei responded.
Loren watched as Tywin clenched his teeth at hearing he was serving, before the elder man relaxed his jaw. "From tomorrow he will be at these meetings, but you will not be."
Cersei looked furious. "I am the Queen Regent."
"By order of yourself." Kevan said calmly. "Your Father is the Hand of the King, he can overturn such matters."
"Not if the King disagrees."
"And he will not." Tywin replied. "I've been in this city for less than an hour, and I'm already hearing dangerous stories. Loren."
Loren cleared his throat and began to repeat some of the things they had heard on the way in. "Babies and children have been murdered in their homes by the Gold Cloaks by order of His Grace. Ned Stark's body was paraded around the city by order of His Grace. Beggars have been flogged, by order of His Grace…"
"Thank you." Tywin said, turning back to Cersei. "All are idiotic, and you have failed to control him. Why should I trust you to remain as his Regent if he won't listen to you?"
Cersei shook her head, her eyes showing signs of fear. "He won't listen to me because he only fears Tyland. When he left… he thinks that he's untouchable now he is King."
Loren groaned inwardly, and Tywin seemed to agree. "He'll soon learn he isn't when Stannis Baratheon comes looking for his head. You will tell him that he will be at the Council meeting tomorrow."
Cersei nodded. "He won't listen."
"Make him." Tywin said coldly. "Also tell him that from now on he will be sparring with Loren on a daily basis. He needs to act like a King, not a spoilt child."
Cersei looked coldly towards Loren, but he held her stare unflinchingly. "I will be glad to aid His Grace." He said calmly. Cersei didn't respond, instead dismissing herself from the room.
"We have organised a tourney next week for His Grace's name day." She told Tywin before she left. "You'll receive the arrangements tomorrow."
Tyrion waited until she had left before speaking. "No matter how old she gets, that never gets old." He grinned.
"Get out." Tywin told him sharply. "Go and find something on Slynt. Harrenhal and a Small Council seat is no reward for betraying the Warden of the North. He thinks too much of himself, a lifetime on the Wall ought to bring him down a notch."
Tyrion exaggerated his bow as he left the room too. Kevan then turned to Tywin. "You're too hard on him."
Tywin scoffed. "He has been nothing but insolent for decades."
"Because he knows you will never approve of anything he does. He's the cleverest of the four, you know that." Kevan said.
Tywin just stared coldly in front of him. "Then let him run away to the Citadel and I can wash my hands of him."
Tyland woke up later than usual the day after the Battle outside the Twins and took his time in getting ready. Jaime met him outside his rooms, and the two walked in silence to the main hall where all the surviving Lords had been gathered. He entered the room and sat down between Roose Bolton and Walder Frey.
He could see all the angry eyes staring up at him. The Lords of House Karstark, Glover, Forrester, Umber, Flint and a few other banners that Tyland didn't recognise all chained to their seats. A few of Walder Frey's female descendants handed them all some breakfast and some wine, before doing the same to the high table. They allowed everybody to eat and drink, and when he was finished Tyland stood up and addressed the room.
"My Lords, My Ladies." He said, looking towards the couple of women from House Mormont. "It pains me to meet in this manner, but your actions against the South has led us here."
"Fuck you Lannister!" Karstark shouted. Tyland just looked at him coldly.
"Quiet Rickard." Maege Mormont sighed. "We've lost, don't make this any harder than it has to be."
"Listen to Lady Maege, Lord Karstark." Roose Bolton said, but that only angered the Mormont woman.
"You have some nerve, traitor." She snarled. "The North will remember this. You mark my words."
The others murmured in agreement, and Tyland let them quiet down before he continued. "You make a good point My Lady. The North should remember. They should remember what happens when an arrogant boy marches on the South, and they should remember the result of that. You all failed. What your rebellion was for after Ned Stark brought about his own death by threatening the crown, I don't know."
"Liar." Said a woman's voice in the corner of the room, and Tyland noticed Catelyn Stark, her eyes tearstained and her hair a mess. "Ned would have never. You murdered him, you and your family. Just as you murdered Jon Arryn and the King."
Tyland shook his head. "I don't know what the Maesters have been putting in your drinks, My Lady. But they are some treasonous statements."
"You'll rot in all the Seven hells for all you've done." Catelyn said, a tear slipping from her eye.
Tyland smiled slightly. "We aren't here to talk about lies and justification for this failed rebellion, we are here to discuss how to move forwards, and to welcome the North back to the fold."
"We'll never join you." Rickard Karstark snarled. "The Lannisters killed my son, the Boltons another. I'll die before ever kneeling towards the pair of you."
"Such a brave man for a prisoner hehe." Walder Frey grinned.
"You'd be dead quick as anything if I wasn't in these chains, you traitorous weasel." Karstark spat.
"That's enough." Tyland said commandingly. "Your threats mean nothing, Lord Karstark. The facts are that you are a prisoner, and you have lost. If you'd like to die, then say the word and I'll make it happen. If not, then shut up and listen."
Karstark stood up, his arm hanging low as he tried to look commanding while chained to the table. "I'd die a thousand times before kneeling to you." He growled.
"Rickard…" Gregor Forrester tried to plead.
"No!" Karstark roared. "Any of you that kneel to traitors become traitors. I am kin to House Stark and these fuckers conspired to murder them! You can all burn if you even consider kneeling!"
"Sit down for fuck sake." The Umber Lord snarled.
"No, Mors." Rickard said, before standing as tall as he could facing towards the high table. "Do your worst, Lannister. Kill an unarmed man and the whole world will know you for a coward."
Tyland was impressed at his defiance. "He's right. It would be wrong to kill an unarmed man. Give him a butter knife." He said to Walder Frey, before nodding to Jaime. The Kingsguard stood and unsheathed his sword, waiting for the Karstark Lord to be unchained and handed a butter knife before Jaime slashed his neck open, sheathing the sword as the elder man thudded to the floor. "Anybody else?" Tyland asked as Jaime sat back down. None of the Northern Lords spoke, until the heir to White Harbour spoke.
"What do you want from us?"
"A hostage, each House will send a hostage to the Dreadfort to be brought up by the new Warden of the North until Brandon Stark comes of age. You shall all bend the knee to House Bolton, that is non-negotiable." Tyland began. "And the two Stark boys will be sent to King's Landing to live as wards of the Crown to ensure good behaviour from all of the North."
"Anything else?" Catelyn Stark asked, clearly angry at her sons being taken South.
Tyland shook his head. "King Joffrey is merciful. Bend the knee towards him and House Bolton and agree to those terms and you can all go home." He could see that the room was uneasy, but one by one they submitted, and their chains were removed for the Northern Lords and Ladies to kneel before the high table. Tyland smiled at the sight. "Now, let us toast this occasion and you can all leave to return to your homes at noon."
He waved the daughters of House Frey back, as more wine was poured into goblets. Tyland, Walder, Jaime and Roose all raised their own goblets, and Roose called out. "To peace."
He was sure he heard the Umber Lord swear 'Fuck your peace', but Tyland pushed it to one side as he took a sip from his water. He waited for a moment as the Northerners all drank, and they drank some more as their throats dried up.
The coughing started soon after that, as the strangler took hold. Tyland stood again. "This is your reward for treachery, My Lords. You will live long in the history books as the consequences of defying House Lannister." He said coldly.
A few had died already, the strongest of them were trying their hardest to make it to the high table to get revenge. Catelyn Stark had made it to the doorway before she dropped to the floor writhing in agony, and the Forrester heir Rodrik had managed to grab Rickard Karstark's butter knife and thrust it into the eye of one of Walder Frey's sons before he threw up bile and collapsed on the floor, his face purple. In a matter of minutes, the majority of the Northern Houses had felt the wrath of House Lannister.
"You could have warned me." Roose Bolton said, grimacing.
"I have not forgotten you rebelled too, Lord Bolton." Tyland told him. "This is a reminder for you and Lord Walder too."
"Rest assured, Lord Tyland." Walder Frey told him. "Our partnership shall live long in the history books. Lannister, Frey and Bolton will soon be bound by blood."
Tyland nodded. "See that it does. I shall send you the bride when she is 18 and not before, Lord Walder. She is my cousin after all."
"Of course." The old man bowed, drinking again.
Tyland looked back out at the scene in front of him, the bile of the Northerners beginning to hit his nose. "I think I shall begin preparations to head back South, My Lords. Riverrun still stands defiant."
"My sons will aid you, Lord Tyland. I want my castle to be still standing after all." Walder Frey grinned.
Tyland just nodded, standing up and leaving the room with Jaime, having to step over the body of Dacey Mormont in the process.
"That was horrible." Jaime whispered.
"You've seen worse." Tyland told him. "The Northerners got what they deserved."
Jaime just stood still, watching his Brother disappear around a corner. "Nobody deserves that." He whispered.
Chapter 9: The Red Messenger
At the turn of the year, Tyland and his army of Westerlanders and Freys completed the march to Riverrun, and Tyland was frustrated to see that the Tully trout still flew proudly. Directing his men to their stations, he and Jaime walked towards the command tent where Ser Daven was sat. The two Lannister brothers had barely said a word to one another on the way back from the Twins, with Jaime still horrified at the scene he had had to witness.
Entering the tent, they both saw Daven Lannister slouched over the desk, a raven message in his hand. Hearing the flaps open, Daven stood up as quickly as he could. "Lord Tyland, Ser Jaime." He greeted.
"Ser Daven." Tyland said. "The Tully banner still flies I notice."
Daven grimaced. "That damn Blackfish is as stubborn as they come. We sent him the fingers of Lord Edmure and still he does nothing, he just insists we kill the man."
Tyland shook his head. "Killing him is not an option. The Blackfish however, I doubt the King will mind if we end him here."
"It's going to come to that for sure." Daven sighed. "The castle is impregnable, even with your forces there is no way in other than that drawbridge. Then there's this…"
Daven handed him the letter, and Tyland was surprised to read the words of Stannis Baratheon. Scrolling through the declaration of kingship, he was surprised to read the end. "And I declare upon the honour of my House that my brother Robert left no trueborn heirs; the boy Joffrey, the boy Tommen and the girl Myrcella, being born of incest between Cersei Lannister and Ser Jaime Lannister. By right of birth and blood I do this day lay claim to the Iron Throne of Westeros. Let all men declare their loyalty."
Tyland looked at Jaime, who's eyes had widened in horror briefly before the Kingsguard set himself again. "The man certainly has balls." Jaime said cockily.
"The Riverlanders believe it." Daven told them. "Every House got this. All of them, everywhere."
"It's slander." Tyland said quickly, tearing up the message. "The man was shamed by Robert when Ned Stark was chosen as hand and simply wants to slight the deceased King. These are simply vicious lies whispered to the realm to satisfy his need for power."
"Of course, My Lord." Daven bowed his head. "If you'll excuse me, I'll go and fetch something for us to eat."
"Thank you, cousin." Jaime nodded, "It's been a long ride."
"And an eventful journey I'm sure." Daven said. "We heard the Northerner's bent the knee after you defeated Robb Stark, I wish I could have seen it."
The long-haired Lannister smiled at the thought, and left the tent leaving the two brothers alone. "How doesn't he know?" Jaime asked.
Tyland scoffed. "What good would come of everybody in the realm finding out men and women were poisoned at breakfast. The news spread Northwards, that's all. What matters now however is Stannis Baratheon."
Jaime looked at his feet nervously. "I swear, it's over… mostly."
Tyland narrowed his eyes. "Mostly?" He repeated.
Jaime nodded. "I promise you, we've not been together in years, but Cersei is getting brazen. She can't accept no as an answer so corners me, lures me to places and attempts it. That's how the Stark boy was thrown from the window, he heard her advances and I pushed him."
Tyland nodded once, pouring himself some water. "And now a cripple is the Lord of Winterfell. Thanks to this war your actions may have just been beneficial."
"I pushed a child from a tower." Jaime snapped. "That is never 'beneficial'."
Tyland didn't respond to that and instead took a sip of his drink. "The Stark boys will arrive in King's Landing soon enough, if your honour bound to apologise to the child you can do it then."
Jaime shook his head angrily. "It's not about honour."
"It normally is with you." Tyland countered.
"And you have no morals!" Jaime shouted, surprising Tyland. "They surrendered, and you butchered them. Stark I can understand, he was to die anyway, and that betrayal made sense. Karstark was cruel but you gave him the choice and he chose death. But you murdered people just because you could! I'm not an honourable man, no matter what you or Father think it matters little to me, but that was vile, and the North will want revenge on us now."
"Let them try." Tyland snarled. "Their best commanders were in that room, now their most experienced Lord is too fat to ride a horse, and the next two are Roose Bolton's former father and sister by law. The North is weak, and the only strength it has are loyal to House Bolton. What I did was necessary to keep them at bay."
"It was cowardly." Jaime growled. "And I will have no more part in this. My place is by the King's side and that's where I shall go as soon as dawn breaks."
Tyland glared at his defiant brother for a moment, but the Kingsguard knight wasn't backing down. "You could have been great, a wonderful knight, the pride of House Lannister. Instead you chose to be a glorified doorman. Go, run back to King's Landing and help our King slaughter some more cats."
Jaime clenched his jaw before storming out of the tent, leaving Tyland alone to calm himself down. It was the first time Jaime had ever truly stood up to him, and if he wasn't so angry he may have been impressed.
Being around cheers and celebration was the last place that Sansa had wanted to be, but as she was still to wed Joffrey appearances had to be maintained. They had been hosting a tourney for the King's nameday, and Joffrey had decreed for it to be one on one melee's. They were currently watching a Lannister knight and a Brune knight facing off, and Sansa was intrigued at the skill shown by the Lannister.
Soon enough the Brune yielded, and Sansa forced herself to applaud. Her mind raced elsewhere, from the grief of losing her Father to that wicked man Tyland Lannister, to a mix of relief and worry over Arya having not been found since. She was thinking of other things so ardently that she continued clapping after everyone else had finished.
"Did you like that?" Joffrey asked, his sick smirk making Sansa's skin crawl. Her infatuation with him had ended abruptly after the news of the child murders had reached her ears, and now she wished only to go home and see her family again.
Giving off a smile, Sansa lied. "Of course, Your Grace. Ser fought valiantly."
"I am no Ser, though My Lady is very kind." The Lannister man said walking up to the pavilion. He took his helmet off, and Sansa was surprised to find herself appreciating the face of the victor. His bright green eyes sparkling in the sunlight, and his shoulder length blonde hair wrapped around parts of his face, gleaming slightly with sweat that just made him look even dreamier. Like a knight from one of her old songs.
"Loren!" Myrcella cried happily. "I didn't know that was you!"
"I kept myself hidden as I wanted a true fight, sweet Cousin, rather than have these lickspittles allow me a victory for who I am rather than what I can do." Loren Lannister, Sansa knew the name now, said to his blushing cousin. This was the son of the man that had killed her own Father. Her smile fell, and Loren noticed as he turned towards her, taking her hand and kissing it gently. "I am truly sorry about your Father, Lady Sansa. No man as good as him should die such a death." Loren said, he sounded convincing, but Sansa knew to never trust a Lannister's words.
"Thank you, Ser, but my Father was a traitor and plotted against His Grace. He brought his fate upon himself." She lied.
Loren smirked, and Sansa hoped he didn't see through the lie. If he did, he didn't say. "Well said." Was all he replied with, before turning to his cousins. "Your Grace, I dedicate my victory to you." He said.
"Yes, I suppose it was well fought." Joffrey said, bored. "I would have beaten him quicker of course."
Loren swallowed the retort. "I thought to put on a show for your nameday, Your Grace. If it please you, in my next bout I shall have it over in seconds."
Sansa thought he sounded cocky, until Myrcella piped up. "He could! He beat Uncle Jaime while he was away! He told us!"
Joffrey laughed cruelly. "Nobody can beat Uncle Jaime you stupid girl. He's the best swordsman that ever lived."
"I did. Once." Loren shrugged. "And if you actually turn up to the tiltyard when Grandfather asked you to then perhaps I could help train you so that you can beat him yourself."
Joffrey slunk back in his seat. "I'm the King, I'm very busy."
Sansa held in her snort, Joffrey was never busy, he only liked to torment either her or his siblings. Loren bowed his head politely. "Of course, Your Grace. I shall let Grandfather know that you shan't be practicing with the sword."
Joffrey's eyes widened at the thought of Tywin, but he didn't have a chance to react before Loren bowed again and dismissed himself. Sansa looked across to see Myrcella and Tommen smirking, and knew that if she could stop thinking about how the Lannisters ruined her life, she might have joined them.
The rest of the tourney passed before she knew it, and after a final between Loren and the Hound, it was the Lannister who came away victorious, walking swiftly up to the pavilion again and naming Myrcella his Queen of Love and Beauty. Staying behind her mask of loyalty, Sansa kept her happy reaction hidden at Joffrey's grim face, although that happiness turned to torment later that night as news filtered into the Red Keep from the Twins.
The King actually made an appearance at the meeting of the Small Council the next day. Walking around the table in the new meeting room with a smug grin on his face. Tyrion just attempted to ignore it as he walked into the chambers, tired from the ascent, but it was difficult. He also noticed Baelish looking unusually gloomy.
"You're looking surprisingly cheerful this morning nephew." The dwarf said, ignoring Littlefinger as he took his seat next to Varys. "Was it a big cat you sliced open this morning?"
The comment didn't affect the King's mood. "More like a big dog." He grinned. "Tell him!" He called to a man to the right of Tywin. Tyrion was surprised to see his elder brother in his golden Kingsguard armour.
"Jaime, I'm sorry I didn't see you there." Tyrion said. The golden-haired knight smiled briefly. "What have I missed?"
"You wouldn't have missed anything if you had arrived on time." Tywin said sharply.
Tyrion forced a smile. "Those stairs are so large though Father, and I only have little legs."
Jaime interrupted the verbal sparring before it could begin. "We arrived at Riverrun two weeks ago after having marched Northwards to the Twins. A battle was had, and Lord Bolton and Lord Frey turned on the Starks. Robb Stark died in the battlefield, and the other Northern generals were murdered cowardly after they had agreed to bend the knee."
"Is it cowardly to weaken the North to such an extent they will never even consider another rebellion for decades?" Tywin asked. "It's not pretty or honourable or anything that you seem to hold dear, but it's cut off the head of the Northerners, they have nobody leading them now and their Lord is an eleven-year-old cripple."
Tyrion noticed Jaime just looked bored. "Yes, I've heard this speech already." The Kingsguard knight said.
"And you should have listened." Tywin said quickly. "We aren't artists that must make things pretty. Sometimes the things we must do to keep the peace are brutal in the eyes of others, but we do them for the safety of our family, of our Kingdom."
"Did you bring his head?" Joffrey asked excitedly.
Jaime shook his head. "No, Your Grace. It's being used as a message for Lord Hoster and Ser Brynden. Lord Tyland will bring it when he has taken the castle."
Joffrey looked disappointed, but Tywin nodded his approval. "And with the Stark boys soon to be within our grasp we have no need of any Tully's. We'll marry off the eldest boy to my late brother's bastard, and the younger to your daughter, Kevan."
The acting Master of Laws looked concerned. "Janei is only 4 years old." He said.
"And the Stark boy is 6. They shall be betrothed and marry as soon as she flowers." Tywin said, leaving no room for argument. The King however didn't take the hint.
"I want them dead. They're from a family of traitors! They will all be traitors and I want them dead!"
Tywin's eyes darkened, and Tyrion prepared himself. "Your Grace, while Robb Stark was certainly a traitor, if you murder the two boys you'll just paint yourself as a cruel fool."
"I don't care. I want them dead and I'm the King, I get what I want!" Joffrey cried. Tyrion just laughed aloud, before holding his hand up in apology.
"The Mad King Aerys got what he wanted all the time, do you want the same fate as him?" Tywin warned. "Until you show yourself capable in making sensible decisions instead of the stupidity you have shown in alerting the Northerners to Ned Stark's death and in slaughtering a number of children for no reason other your own personal jealousy, you will not dictate to this council. Am I understood?"
"Your Mother is not here." Tywin said, calmly yet coldly. "I am your regent now, and if you want to live a long and prosperous life and not find a knife in your back sometime then you shall listen to me. Do you understand?" Tyrion watched as Joffrey's face grew more fearful, as he nodded. "Good. Now go down and find your cousin and learn how to wield a sword. If he tells me that you do not show again then I shall have you dragged down there myself."
Joffrey looked furious, but at Tywin's stern glare he nodded. "Very… very well." He said, gaining some composure. "I shall leave the matters of state in your hands, Grandfather."
"As you wish, Your Grace." Tywin replied. They stared at one another for another moment before Joffrey left the tower flanked by a couple of the Kingsguard.
Tyrion showed his happiness then. "I'm impressed, the most powerful man in the Kingdom's sent away like a scolded serving boy."
"You're a bigger fool than I thought if you truly believe that he is the most powerful man in the Kingdom's." Tywin said bored. "Grand Maester, send the raven to Casterly Rock asking for Joy Hill to be sent to the Capital. Kevan, your daughter shall be brought here when she is older."
"Lord Hand." Pycelle bowed his head.
"And send a rider to Riverrun. If we have the Stark boys, then we have a claim to Riverrun. We have no need for Tully's. The heir in our custody can be disposed of."
Jaime turned in shock to look at his Father. "Kill Lord Edmure? Father… we've already slaughtered the North; can't we spare him at least? Send him to the Wall if we have to."
Tywin shook his head. "We have no need for him. Brandon Stark shall take Winterfell and Rickon Stark shall take Riverrun through his Mother's claim. Both will be married to Lannisters and moulded by Lannisters and we shall soon have a hold on four of the Kingdom's and the Throne after we deal with the Baratheon's."
Tyrion grimaced, but the logic behind it was solid to push their own power. With the North, Riverlands, West and the Stormlands fully backing the Throne, they could have a dynasty to last. "We need to beat them first, Renly has the Reach backing him, and 100,000 men." He said.
"They'll need to come for the capital as soon as they are able." Jaime told them. "To not do so would look weak."
Varys cleared his throat. "Renly gathered his Stormlander forces at Fawnton while he himself went to Highgarden to wed the Lady Margaery, as soon as the Reach banners have gathered they'll join up."
"Can we get to Fawnton before they reunite?" Tyrion asked.
"I doubt so, My Lord." Varys said sadly.
"And then Stannis." Tywin said, his tone disgusted. "Those filthy lies he's spreading for no reason other than to weaken us. Thankfully the trouble in the North shall soon be dealt with and we shall have 60,000 men in the Crownlands to deal with whomever arrives first."
"I don't think Stannis will be too much of a problem, Lord Hand." Varys told him. "It seems he has taken a new god, the Fire God of Essos, and has at his side a Red Priestess who is whispering in his ear to burn any other religious symbols. The statues of the Seven were destroyed on the beach."
None of the men in the room were particularly religious, but that news brought a chill into the room. "He won't win any friends that way." Tyrion said.
"Which means he will have to come at us quickly." Tywin surmised. "Kevan, how are the defences?"
"Strong." Kevan Lannister answered. "The walls are thick and heavily manned, the Gold Cloaks are becoming more capable by the day and we are stockpiling food from Hayford, Stokeworth, Rosby and Langward Hall. We'll have enough food for the city for a 2-month siege at least."
"Which will be more than enough time to defeat Stannis to take the war to Renly. Good." Tywin nodded happily. "If there is nothing else…"
"What about Dorne?" Tyrion asked.
"What about them." Tywin replied.
Tyrion sat straighter. "They have no love for either of us it's true, but what if we could broker an alliance of sorts with them. We don't need their men urgently, but if we could somehow get Prince Doran to hassle the Marcher Lords or the Southern Reach then it will at least give Renly something to worry about behind him, and maybe split his focus."
Jaime leant forward, thinking. "That could work, but how are you going to get him to cooperate?"
Tyrion thought for a moment. "He only has one child, does he not?"
"Two." Varys said. "But the eldest, a female, is gravely ill with a fever. Trystane will soon be the heir to Dorne, a 14-year-old boy that takes after his Father in temperament."
"Then we can use that." Tyrion said. "Send a raven to see if Doran is agreeable to a betrothal with Myrcella."
"You would have our only Princess shipped off to Dorne to become a hostage?" Jaime asked, incensed. "No, not only is that too dangerous for Myrcella but Cersei will never stand for it!"
"The thoughts of your Sister on the matter mean nothing." Tywin claimed.
"And Prince Doran will not harm children." Varys said. "He is said to spend his time at the Water Gardens, watching them play."
Tyrion half expected Littlefinger to make a snide remark, but was surprised at the man just staying silent, still staring at the table. Tywin instead added to the talk. "Then I shall personally pen a letter to him myself. It's a strategic move that we cannot afford to pass up."
Tyrion was again surprised, this time at Tywin's acceptance of his plan. "Nothing should be said to Cersei until the deal is completely agreed however, or she will do all she can to sabotage it."
"Agreed." Kevan said. "This is best kept with us, we do not know if Dorne will even consider this after Elia…"
Silence fell over the room, and Tyrion was glad Tyland wasn't here to defend his actions. His eldest brother had always somewhat looked out for him, but the dwarf was often shocked with just how ruthless and merciless he could be. He noticed Jaime glaring down at his cup too, no doubt cursing their brother for another bout of murder.
"Very well, you are all dismissed until the morning." Tywin said. Littlefinger immediately stood up and walked out quickly, followed by Jaime at a similar pace. Tyrion walked out with his uncle.
"He won't say it, but that was some smart thinking about Dorne. Well done." Kevan told him, leaving a smile on Tyrion's face, and the dwarf was truly in the mood to find Shae.
Later that day, Loren was down in the tiltyard of King's Landing sparring with three of his Grandfather's household. Grinning inside his helmet at the challenge, he quickly disposed of one man by disarming him and using his free hand to strike at his head, before swinging his body round to duck the swing of another blade, and connecting his sword Lionheart with his opponent's side, forcing him to stagger backwards. He had to swiftly bring his sword back up to defend himself against the other man, before Loren ducked under the sword and tripped him up, making him yield.
This left it one on one, and Loren took a few blows with Lionheart, before feinting left and crashing his blade against his opponent's helmet, forcing him down to the ground and winning the bout.
Taking his helmet off, he couldn't get the grin off of his face as he sheathed Lionheart and helped the man up. "Well fought." He said.
"You were incredible, My Lord." The man said, panting. Loren patted him on the shoulder before heading to the side and grabbing a drink.
"He's right, you were really good." A sweet, soft voice said from behind him. Loren turned around to see the Princess Myrcella appear, Ser Arys Oakheart behind her.
"Princess." Loren bowed his head. "You should not be here."
Myrcella chuckled. "My lessons are over, and I wanted to see you train. You were very good at the tourney." She told him.
"I've been practicing daily ever since my Mother died." Loren told her. "Uncle Jaime once told me that he had to ensure his skills were honed daily and I took that advice to heart."
Myrcella looked to say something else, but Loren noticed her eyes widen as she looked up to the sky. "Look!" She cried, pointing up at the sky behind Loren. The Lannister boy swivelled around and looked upwards. High above them all shining in the clear, blue King's Landing sky flew a bright red comet, it's tail reaching far behind it. Its crimson colour spoke to Loren, as he marvelled up at the sight. "What is it?"
"A sign, Princess." Ser Arys said from behind her. "The Gods are smiling down at King Joffrey's ascension to the Throne."
Loren wasn't so sure. "It's red. Surely it means a Lannister victory is coming. My Father will take Riverrun today I am sure of it."
Myrcella was amazed by the comet. "It's beautiful, something so magnificent can't be about Joffrey." She whispered.
"Careful Princess." Loren spoke quietly. "Such words are dangerous, even for you."
Myrcella's cheeks grew pink. "You're right cousin, I'm sorry." She said. Loud footsteps were heard coming from the direction of the Red Keep, as Joffrey, Ser Meryn and the newly appointed Kingsguard member Sandor Clegane arrived in the tiltyard. Myrcella quickly curtseyed and fled, her arm lingering on Loren's for a moment too long before she left. Shaking his head and flicking his wrist to feel Cerenna's favour tied around it, he walked towards the incoming royal.
"Your Grace. I'm glad you could join me today." Loren said, feigning joy at seeing his cousin, who had put on his full golden detailed Lannister armour
"Grandfather insists I be here to learn." Joffrey said arrogantly.
Loren nodded. "And it is my duty to help you as best I can." He went off to the side and picked up two blunt training swords. Testing the balance on them, he held the one in his left hand out to Joffrey, who looked at it, amused.
"Blunt swords?" The King laughed.
"Until I know your capability, yes." Loren said. "All I saw of you when you visited Casterly Rock a couple of years ago was you sticking your hand in the lion's cage. Forgive me, Your Grace, but I'd like to get a full opinion of your swordplay before we spar with live steel."
Joffrey turned to Clegane for some back up, but he shook his head. He then turned to Ser Mandon Moore who said deeply. "This is the King. If His Grace says he wants live steel, he shall have live steel."
Loren kept his rising anger from showing. "And I am under strict instructions to teach His Grace on how to capably wield a blade. If he doesn't wish to listen to me now, then I shall walk away and get Lord Tywin to find another to help him."
Joffrey's eyes narrowed at that, but Clegane took a step forwards and took Joffrey's sharp blade from his scabbard. The King looked annoyed and snatched the training blade from Loren. "Very well, let's get this over with."
Loren looked at the two Kingsguard until they exited the small area and he stepped away, so he and Joffrey were a few feet apart. "I want you to start attacking me until I tell you to stop, Your Grace." He called out. Joffrey nodded, grinning. The King then charged forward clumsily, swinging his blade wildly around with no precision. It was easy enough for Loren to dodge most of them, ducking when it was easy and parrying. At the ease of his evasion, Loren could see Joffrey was getting frustrated, and with that his swings became wilder. "Ok stop!" Loren called out as he parried Joffrey away again. He half expected the King to swing again in anger, but thankfully he listened and stepped backwards. "Very good, you've got some true power behind your swings, Your Grace. You just need to channel that in a less aggressive manner, but that's what I'm here for."
Loren called for a dummy to be brought into the mini arena, and now that he had Joffrey's attention by paying him a small compliment about the power he'd shown, he found that the King was more responsive to advice and Loren thought to himself that maybe this wouldn't be as bad as he had thought it was going to be.
It was midday when Tyland was called out of the command tent to walk towards the Riverrun drawbridge. Making his way on horseback to the castle, he briefly noted the heads of Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark and Edmure Tully on spikes by the side of the stone road leading towards the castle. His cousins, Ser Daven Lannister and Ser Cleos Frey either side of him as they waited for the drawbridge to lower. Looking up at the castle, he was pleased to see a plain white flag flying.
They were only waiting a few moments, but soon enough the bridge lowered, and Tywin saw a single man in bronzed Tully armour walking towards them, his steel chest plate bearing the horse of House Bracken. Tyland waited for Lord Bracken to stand before them.
"Lord Jonos." He said calmly.
"Lord Tyland." The man responded. "Riverrun surrenders." He threw down the Tully banner in front of Tyland's horse and got down on one knee before the Lannister.
"I was expecting Lord Hoster or Ser Brynden." Tyland admitted.
Jonos got to his feet once more. "There was a… disagreement, last night between the Riverlords in the castle. Most of us wished to surrender after your display at midday, but Ser Brynden and Blackwood wanted to fight on. At the sight of the Red Messenger in the sky we realised that we had to surrender. Swords were drawn after suggestion, and when words became heated they both fell."
"Blackwood at your hands?" Cleos asked with a smirk.
Jonos looked at the Frey. "Don't think I take pride in this, killing him in your name." He spat venomously. "But this siege was yours the day of the Whispering Wood, I just pray to the Seven that you can forgive me for not acting sooner."
"The King will forgive all who rose up in his name." Tyland admitted. "What became of Lord Hoster?"
Jonos looked sad. "Lord Hoster is severely unwell. The view of his children and grandchild's head outside his gates has rendered him mute. He hasn't said a word nor moved in a day. He is no threat, I promise you."
"He can remain here until his death, comfortably." Tyland nodded. "I give my word of that. The other Riverlords can bend the knee to Ser Cleos who is here on behalf of his Grandfather, Lord Walder Frey and swear their allegiance to him as their new Lord Paramount."
Bracken gritted his teeth and nodded. "We are aware." He told them.
Tyland let off a smile. "Good, now let us enter and we can get all of this over and agree on your surrender terms."
Bracken bowed his head quickly and turned to walk back into the castle. Tyland followed on horseback, being sure to have the horse trample on the Tully banner as he walked over it and into the castle.
The Riverlords soon bent the knee and swore their new oaths, and agreed that each would send a child of their House with the Lannister army back to King's Landing as a hostage, and as Daven was getting the army comfortable within the castle, Tyland was shown to the Lords Chambers where he saw Hoster Tully sat in a comfortable chair staring out of a large window. Tyland pulled up a chair to sit beside him.
"It's been, what is it, 20 years since I last saw you, My Lord?" Tyland mentioned. Hoster showed no signs of acknowledging, so Tyland continued talking. "I remember the fortnight we spent here at Riverrun vividly. You were so anxious to please both my Father and I, hoping for us to fall for Lysa and make a match more likely I suppose. Jaime was chasing after Ser Brynden constantly trying to hear stories of his adventures and you ensured that my every waking moment was spent with your daughter. I may have even married her if she hadn't been fawning over Baelish." He noticed Hoster tighten his grip on the chair. "I don't suppose you knew the reason why I refused, but that didn't matter did it. Jaime was here too, a whole Lannister for your daughter."
Tyland's voice grew bitter. "I almost wish that you had managed to arrange a match with Jaime, because I'll admit I looked up to you, back when I was still a naïve boy. Hearing your stories about the Ninepenny Kings, I was in awe of the strength of Riverrun. And then you insulted my youngest brother when he was offered. I suppose it's fitting, that you're here unable to move or speak, and your only living child is the mad one that you almost managed to make a good match for before handing her off to a senile old man." He chuckled briefly, before looking out of the window and noticing the red comet in the distance. "The last time I was in Riverrun we sat down together and watched as the Red Messenger danced across the sky, do you remember My Lord? Rhaegar claimed it appeared when his son was conceived, but in hindsight it's obvious what it means. It's a sign of a Lannister victory, Lord Tully, and yet again it has delivered. You are the only remaining Tully. Lysa's child is an Arryn. This castle will go to your grandson maybe, but a Stark wed to a Lannister. Your line will end."
Tyland stood up and stared at the old man once more. "Enjoy the remainder of your days, My Lord." He told Hoster, before turning to the doorway and exiting the room, eager to get out of the castle as quickly as he could.
Chapter 10: The Wild Wolf
Life as a wandering crow wasn't terrible. Sure, it was lonely at times and your only company was the murderers and rapists that volunteer or are sentenced to the Wall, but at least there was always fresh wine from some Lord's table and the weather wasn't as cold. Yoren however couldn't wait to be back at Castle Black this time. The Stark girl he had found wandering the Crownlands alone was more trouble than she was worth, but as the niece of his brother, he knew he had to help her.
The recruits settled into a barn owned by the landlord of the Ivy Inn on the border of the Riverlands, and while most of them were sleeping, Yoren noticed that the girl was still awake, polishing her tiny blade.
"You should be asleep." He told Arya Stark.
"I can't." She replied stubbornly.
He offered her his wineskin, but she refused. "Drink, it helps." He insisted. Arya looked at him strangely, before taking the skin and having a small sip. "Drink." He told her again, and she took a bigger gulp, grimacing at the taste. "Your uncle Benjen is the same." He said quietly. "Hates the taste of wine. Me on the other hand, I'm used to it."
"You know my uncle?" She asked.
Yoren nodded. "Aye, he's my brother. We're all brothers in the Night's Watch, but Benjen… he's a good man. A good friend."
Arya looked at her feet in thought. "Are you taking me to him?"
Yoren nodded. "It's not safe for you in Winterfell now that Bolton has the North. I owe it to Benjen to take you to safety, and you'll be safe at the Wall with him for a time."
Arya nodded, understanding the implication and remembering the song about Brave Danny Flint. "Jon would look after me." She said, mainly to herself. "He'd help train me to fight back."
Yoren smirked at her defiance, but the sound of heavy hooves from by the inn peaked his interest. "Stay down." He warned, as he peered out the window. Arya nodded, settling down against the wall, out of sight. "Shit." Yoren cursed. "It's the fucking Kingslayer."
Arya's eyes widened in fear, before they narrowed again in cold fury. "He kidnapped me." She whispered. "I'll kill him."
"Not when he's surrounded by a dozen Lannister soldiers you won't." Yoren warned. "Fuck… they're looking over here. Stay put girl, I'm out of ale anyway. If they come towards the barn, head out the back door over there." The Night's Watch man pointed past the cage at the back of the barn and Arya saw the door in question. When she nodded, Yoren got up and gave Arya a quick glance before leaving the barn. Arya moved herself, so her belly was on the floor and began to peer through a small hole in the wooden wall, watching the conversation take place.
It took every bit of self-restraint not to go and poke the Lannister full of holes with Needle, but she managed it. She noticed Tyland Lannister looking towards the barn and knew she had to leave.
Gathering her things, she crawled over to Gendry. Shoving him twice before he woke, she dodged his swat. "We have to go." She urged.
"Why?" He moaned, not happy at having been woken.
"Tyland Lannister is here and Joffrey wants you." She reminded him. "He won't listen to Yoren, he won't listen to anyone. We have to go!"
Gendry nodded, and grabbed his things quickly as well as a sword. Arya grabbed his hand and dragged him to the back of the barn. Opening the door, she took a quick look around at the Night's Watch recruits, before shaking her head and running into the line of trees behind the barn and into the night.
Tyland and his small party were in the process of paying for a couple of rooms at the Ivy Inn for him and Daven when a door opened behind them and the Lannister heir noticed a man of the Night's Watch walking towards them, mug in hand. "Best keep walking." Daven said, his hand heading to his sword.
"Woah friend." The man said politely. "I'm just wanting some ale before my sleep and I'll be out of your way."
Tyland remembered the words of the humiliated Gold Cloak who had ridden northwards and met the Lannister party just before they had split from the main army talk about the Night's Watch recruits and the bastard of Robert's that Joffrey had ordered killed. Tyland had taken the decision for a small group to ride faster towards King's Landing to deal with that. He looked towards the barn, and figured it was big enough to fit thirty or so people in. "You're a long way from home." Tyland said.
Yoren nodded, sniffing. "Aye, Lord Commander Mormont sent me to get some poor sods to take back to the Wall with me, it's a long walk but we'll manage it. Someone has to."
Tyland nodded, before turning his attention back to the barn. "I'm sure the men will serve the wall honourably."
Yoren snorted a laugh. "Honourably? Likely not, they'll go hungry and cold and wish for death more often than not, but someone has to do it. Better the Wall than whatever death waits for them in the South."
"Including one ordered by the King?" Tyland asked. He saw Yoren's jovial manner falter, as his face became cold.
"These men belong to the Watch now." He said firmly.
Tyland let out a quick chuckle. "They're still criminals until they swear their oaths as I recall. Have they?" The silence gave Tyland his answer. "Go and search the barn for Robert's bastard." He commanded his men.
"We don't have who those fuckers were looking for." Yoren growled. He continued at Tyland's disbelieving look. "Why would I lie to you when we rely on your family to survive at the Wall?"
It was a fair point, but Tyland nodded his head to Daven anyway. The Night's Watchman began to draw his blade, but an arrow quickly nocked by a Lannister man stopped that motion. Daven took five men towards the barn and quickly kicked the door in, waking all the recruits up. Tyland slowly made his way towards the barn, walking in to see the recruits all being lined up. They varied in age and size, but none of them matched the description of the boy that Joffrey had ordered dead.
He ignored the three in the cage, and walked down the line, inspecting all of them. As he got to the end he saw an extremely fat boy, and a small, thin blonde. Knowingly, he turned back to the doorway where Yoren had been dragged, his sword confiscated. "Where is he?"
"There's nobody else." Yoren claimed, annoyed. "This is all of them."
Not believing him, he turned back to the two on the end, glaring down at them. The fat one began shaking, and so Tyland stood inches away from him. "Who's missing?" The fat boy just shook his head. He tried to speak but it just came out as gargled nonsense, so Tyland moved to the blonde and asked the same question. When the blonde just looked up at him terrified, Tyland tried a new approach. "Have you ever seen Valyrian Steel before?" He asked the boy. Again, a shake of the head came. Tyland unsheathed Red Rain and held it out so the boy could see. "It's a blade that never needs sharpening as it always holds its edge, did you know that?"
"No." The blonde mustered the courage to say.
Tyland expected that and held the blade up to the blonde boy's face. Gently, he pressed the edge into Lommy's cheek, causing blood to trickle down. "Tell me who is missing."
"He's just a boy!" Yoren cried out angrily.
Lommy began to tear up, and he cried out. "Gendry and Arry! Gendry and Arry ran off out the back! Please milord, don't hurt me."
Smiling, Tyland moved his sword away and sheathed it again. "Thank you." He said, turning to Daven. "Find them." The Lannister nodded his head, before taking the same five men and walking out towards the back entrance, soon disappearing from sight. Tyland turned back to Yoren and the men holding him. "Tie him up and keep this rabble in the barn until Ser Daven returns, when the boy is found, we shall deal with them."
In the Red Keep, Myrcella gracefully made her way up the Tower of the Hand after a surprising summon by her Grandfather. As Ser Arys announced her arrival, she noticed her Mother sat at the table as well.
"Princess. Have a seat." Tywin Lannister said, pointing to the seat on his right before scribbling something down on parchment. Myrcella sat in the seat she had been directed into.
"What is this?" Cersei asked, looking concerned for her daughter.
Tywin ignored Cersei. "Princess, I presume you know the situation we find ourselves in." He tested her.
Myrcella nodded. "Uncle Stannis and Uncle Renly are both rebelling against Joffrey." She spoke softly. "Soon they will come to King's Landing and we will need to fight them."
"Very good." Tywin acknowledged. "We have managed to defeat the North and the Riverlands, but the Reach and the Stormlands can field a much greater number of men, we will be outnumbered."
Myrcella was quick, and she could see where this was going. "Which means that where possible, we will need new allies. We can't just rely on what we already have against such a force."
Tywin was even more impressed and actually looked up from his work to meet her eyes. "Quite. Go on…" He was testing her.
"The best way to form an alliance is through marriage…" Myrcella began, to which Cersei snapped to attention.
"No." She demanded.
"Silence." Tywin snapped back at her.
"I will not have my only daughter shipped off to…"
"I said silence!" Tywin shouted, startling the two females. "You are here because you are the girl's Mother, that is all. You can leave if you are going to persist in this whining."
"Father…" Cersei began to plead, but Tywin's glare stopped her.
Myrcella cleared her throat softly as Tywin beckoned her to continue. "The best way to form alliances are by marriage. The Stark's and Tyrell's are traitors and the Tully's are all gone, so you wouldn't entertain any of them."
"Never. Not a Princess." Tywin nodded.
"Which means there are three Houses you would marry me too." Myrcella surmised.
"And they are?" Tywin almost had a hint of a smile as he asked.
"House Frey are the new rulers of the Riverlands, so a Princess would go a long way to showing the rest of the Houses that they are in charge." Myrcella almost shivered at the thought.
"We have already made arrangements for House Frey." Tywin allayed her fears.
"Then either House Arryn or House Martell." Myrcella guessed. "Both have enough men to make a difference, and both have boys near my age."
Cersei looked horrified. "A sickly brat and a weakling from Dorne? Father you can't." Cersei argued.
Tywin ignored her again. "You are correct of course, but which one is more beneficial to House Lannister?"
"House Martell." Myrcella said immediately. "You said the North had been dealt with, and Dorne shares a border with both our enemies."
Tywin did smile at that. "Excellent." He handed Myrcella a piece of parchment, detailing an agreement between Prince Doran and the Hand of the King. "You won't leave King's Landing until after the war as it's unsafe to travel Southwards, but Prince Doran is mustering troops as we speak, so Renly will need to watch his flanks, giving us a slight advantage."
"No." Cersei muttered. "I won't have my daughter sent to be a Dornish broodmare."
"I've read about Dorne." Myrcella told Cersei. "The Water Gardens are said to be beautiful and that's where Prince Doran spends his time. Is Prince Trystane nice?"
Tywin nodded. "He favours his Father's temperament."
Myrcella smiled, although inside her mind she was screaming that she wanted to stay and not be married at all. "I had hoped that I would marry Loren, but I understand that the war has changed things. I shall do my duty, Grandfather."
Tywin nodded. "Perhaps that would have been a viable option before, but I'm glad you can see things clearly." He then turned to Cersei. "There, your Daughter is a credit to you. Learn from her." He said coldly. "You can both go."
Myrcella didn't wait around, as she curtseyed towards Tywin and rushed out of the Tower as quickly as she could, before collapsing on her bed and silently sobbing, wishing this war had never happened.
Around half a day had passed since Arya and Gendry had escaped from Tyland Lannister, and Gendry was getting grumpier by the minute. Once the initial shock of the situation had worn off, he had started to get angry at Arya for risking his life in leaving the Watch group, and that hadn't abated.
"I'm so dead. When they find me, I'll die." He was whispering to himself. "I'm a deserter now."
"Shut up." Arya hissed. "We don't want them to find us!"
"Maybe we do." He snarled back. "We'll die out here too with no food."
"He'll torture us." Arya whispered. "He's evil."
"How do you know so much about him?" Gendry asked.
Arya sighed, memories from months ago flooding back to her. "He kidnapped me and my sister, held us in a tiny cottage for days because he was angry at my Mother. He… he killed my Father too. Stabbed him in the throat."
Gendry swore under his breath. "I'm sorry."
"Me too." Arya snarled, before calming slightly. "But we have to keep running, if they find us…"
"What will we do?" A voice came from behind them. Arya jumped to her feet, whipping Needle out.
"Stay back!" She called.
A blonde-haired Lannister knight came into view from behind the trees. His long hair sitting well below his shoulders. He laughed at the sight of Arya's sword. "That looks like something I'd poke at my meat, not fight with."
Arya held firm as more Lannister men appeared. Soon enough it was six on two. Gendry held his sword out too, but with less conviction. "We're outnumbered." He whispered.
"Come quietly." Daven Lannister ordered. "You don't want to die this way." Arya waited until the Lannister men were closer before she lunged. She managed to stick Needle in between a grey-haired man's armour plates, and he howled in pain. Withdrawing Needle, she went to swivel around to face someone new, but all she ended up doing was eating the mud, as a sharp pain stung her cheek from where a gauntlet had smacked her. Weakly, she raised her head to see Gendry being knocked out by Ser Daven, and before she lost consciousness she heard him say. "Bring them to Lord Tyland."
Hundreds of miles to the west in the city of Lannisport, two identical young ladies were walking down a street with a couple of guards delivering letters that had been sent from the siege lines at Riverrun. Cerenna Lannister handed her twin a letter for a certain house and waited for her to return before they walked onwards again.
"Has Loren written to you yet?" Myrielle asked.
Cerenna's face moulded into one of worry. "Yes, he's eager for Renly and Stannis Baratheon to attack King's Landing so he can come back to the Rock. I worry that he's a little too eager."
Myrielle nodded her understanding. "I don't know how you do it." She said softly.
"How I do what?" Cerenna asked sharply.
Myrielle sighed. "Continue to love a boy who you know you'll never marry. Continue to keep your hopes high even after the news Father told you the other day…"
"I will not marry Walder Frey." Cerenna snapped, before noticing that their conversation wasn't exactly private and lowering her voice. "I don't care what Father says, I don't care what Mother says, I don't even care what Lord Tyland says, or what anybody says. That won't happen."
"Ren…" Myrielle began, but she was silenced.
"No Ella." Cerenna interrupted, using her twins nickname. "I have just under four years before I turn 18, when Loren finds out he will convince Lord Tywin to break it, I'm sure. He married Aunt Joanna for love after all!"
"We're women." Myrielle stated bitterly, handing a guard a letter for another house. "As much as I admire you for believing, we don't get a choice. We marry who we're told to. Lord Tywin was lucky that his Father was a fool."
Cerenna laughed bitterly. "And you know how wrong that is. Believe me Ella, one day I will marry Loren and one day we will be Lord and Lady Lannister, and when that day comes I promise you, things will change."
Tyland had been waiting inside the inn for around a day for Daven to return, when he noticed his men gathering outside where the Night's Watch group had been detained. His curiosity peaked, he and his guard made their way over towards the barn. Shouts and jeers grew louder as he neared, and he recognised the blonde hair of his cousin immediately.
"Lord Tyland." Daven said, silencing the men. "We have found him and his companion."
Tyland nodded and stared at the taller of the two boys. Images of years ago, of being stood in the Red Keep as Robert Baratheon sat on the Iron Throne for the first time crossed his mind. "This is him." He said, before closing the gap between Robert's bastard and himself. "The King has taken an interest in you, boy. Do you know why?" Gendry shook his head. "Do you know your parents?"
"My mother." He said. "I never knew my Father."
Tyland wasn't surprised. "No, he was never one to return to a whore to check up." He said.
Gendry's nostrils flared in anger. "My Mother was no whore." He growled defiantly.
"She was. King Robert was very particular about where he went to fuck." Tyland replied strongly. Gendry's eyes widened in surprise. "I don't blame her for not telling you, or you may have been sought out earlier. Your father was the late King Robert Baratheon." Gendry turned to the smaller boy beside him, who was trying desperately to hide his face. Tyland wondered why for a moment, before bringing out a letter he had received from Tywin. "Luckily for you, Lord Tywin, the Hand of the King, has revoked the decree the King made to end your life, on the assurance that you make it to Castle Black and take your vows. We want no repeat of the Blackfyre Rebellion under King Joffrey's rule, do you understand?"
Gendry looked extremely confused and once again turned to the small boy next to him. Taking more of an interest, Tyland turned to him. "You, Arry is it?"
The boy refused to move or to show his face. A Lannister soldier walked up behind him and grabbed the boy by the hair, yanking his head up so Tyland could see his face. He tried to struggle. "Let go of me!"
It all clicked with Tyland then. "Let her go." He ordered. The soldier did as commanded, and Tyland could see Arya was scared. "Hello, Lady Arya. We've missed you at the capital." Arya scowled at being recognised and spat directly in Tyland's face. Flinching backwards and grimacing, Tyland wiped the saliva off of his face and roughly slapped the Stark girl around the ear. She fell to her knees, rubbing her cheek. "Take her into custody." He ordered Daven.
Gendry tried to resist but was quickly held back, as Arya began kicking and screaming. "No! No, you can't! He'll just murder me like my Father! Help!" But no help came barrelling through the wall of armed Lannister soldiers. Tyland waited for the screams and curses to die down as Arya was dragged away from the barn before he made his way over to the corner, where Yoren was tied up.
When Tyland removed the gag, Yoren flexed his jaw before laughing darkly. "Feel powerful ey? Taking little girls."
Tyland ignored the insinuation. "You told me that you had no reason to lie as you rely on my family to survive at the Wall. Now I find that not only you did lie, but that you were keeping two known fugitives hidden."
"I didn't know." Yoren told him quietly. "I thought she was still with you at the capital. He was just Arry here."
"Perhaps that's true." Tyland shrugged. "Perhaps not. What is fact is that you lied about harbouring the boy to me."
Yoren shook his head. "I am a man of the Night's Watch."
"You are." Tyland nodded. "Your past crimes have been forgiven through your oath that is true, but this crime was afterwards, and in the lands belonging to King Joffrey. You lied to a Lord, and that cannot go unpunished."
Nodding to a man in Lannister armour, He stood back as a knife was drawn. "You're no Lord yet, My Lord." Yoren sneered, unflinching. "Kill me and you'll forever be detested as a butcher. "I'm a man of the Night's Watch. I…"
His speech was halted as another Lannister soldier grabbed his jaw with both hands, holding it open against the squirming Yoren. The man with the knife grabbed the elderly Night's Watchman's tongue and severed it, and only muffled screams were heard. Tyland turned to his cousin, and quietly said. "Make sure this rabble all get to the Wall. Robert's bastard must stay there. Under no circumstances is he to leave. If he tries, kill him."
Daven nodded uncomfortably, but Tyland didn't notice, instead leaving the barn to prepare for his departure to King's Landing.
Chapter 11: A Royal Education
Tyland rode through the Dragon Gate into King's Landing in front of the cart holding all the hostages from the Riverlands and Arya Stark, and was surprised to see the population of King's Landing out on the streets cheering for him as they went past. All throughout the city people celebrated the end to the Northern War, right up until the gate to the Red Keep. The heir to Casterly Rock dismounted his horse and walked over to the wagon, as Daven Lannister grabbed Arya Stark. "Take the rest of them to the steward. Have them all roomed and fed. I want a guard on their doors at all times." He ordered one of his men, who nodded and drove the cart away. "You're to come with me, My Lady." He told Arya. The girl tried shaking Daven off of her, but the Lannister was too strong and clamped irons around her hands.
They were escorted to the Throne Room where Tywin had clearly called court to session. Tyland walked ahead of his prisoner and the rest of his men, and stopped in front of the steps to the Iron Throne, kneeling before it.
"Welcome back, Uncle." The King said loudly from the Throne, and Tyland got to his feet. "I see you have brought us a guest from your travels."
"A guest and some gifts, Your Grace." Tyland told the King. "Lady Arya of House Stark was wandering the Riverlands. I have brought her back to the Capital to ensure the future goodwill of the North."
Joffrey grinned manically, waving to the angry Arya. "And you mentioned gifts?"
Tyland nodded, looking back as three of his men stepped forwards. He noticed Sansa Stark watching from the gallery as he turned back around. "Most of the traitors heads now adorn spikes on the Traitor's Walk, but I had heard you requested to see these yourself."
Tyland stepped aside as the three Lannister soldiers stood forwards, kneeling and presenting the spiked heads of Edmure Tully, Brynden Tully and Robb Stark to the King. Joffrey barked out a laugh as he sat up and ran down the steps to inspect them. "Is this really him? Robb Stark?"
Tyland nodded. "And his traitorous uncles." He explained.
"Excellent!" Joffrey grinned. "The Hound will show you men where to place them." He told the three. "I want Robb's head to be placed below my balcony." He told the court. Tywin coughed from bedide the Iron Throne, and Joffrey collected himself. "Lord Tyland. The crown thanks you for all of your efforts in breaking the Northern rebellion and would like to name you to the Small Council as Master of Laws."
"I would be honoured to serve you, Your Grace." Tyland played up for the court.
Joffrey soon dismissed the room, and Tyland led Arya out himself, noticing the younger Stark scowling up at her elder sister, who despite the vision of her brother's head hadn't changed from a state of calmness.
Later on that day Tyland was summoned to the Tower of the Hand, and sat down before his Father as he signed some papers. Once he had put his quill down, Tywin handed Tyland a raven message without looking up.
"From the North?" Tyland was surprised. The news was harrowing. "The Stark boys are dead." He stated.
"Ironborn." Tywin spat. "They are a scourge, Robert should have wiped them out when he had the chance."
"What now?" Tyland asked. "We hold the new Lady Stark."
"And the heir too." Tywin said. "You did well in finding her."
"It was more chance than anything." Tyland shrugged.
"Still, it strengthens our position." Tywin told him. "For now though, Stannis Baratheon has sailed from Dragonstone with a force of 5,000 men."
Tyland gritted his teeth. "I'll have our defences ready."
"You can take your time." Tywin told him, a hint of a smirk on his lips. "He sails South."
"South?" Tyland was confused.
"The last report we had was of a siege at Storm's End."
Tyland snorted out a laugh. "With any luck they'll kill one another."
"In any case, I want them dealt with as soon as we can." Tywin said. "Then we can make plans on what to do with the Stark girls."
Tyland nodded. "Is there anything else?" He asked. "I still haven't seen Loren yet, I probably should before sundown."
Tywin shook his head, and so Tyland stood preparing to leave. "He'll make a fine Lord of the Rock one day." Tywin told him. "His mind is sharp already, without his plans we would possibly still be fighting Rivermen. You've done well with the boy."
"You can take as much credit, My Lord." Tyland told his Father. "I was away for years."
"Hmm. You can go." Tywin dismissed him, and Tyland bowed his head politely and left the tower to go and find his son.
As usual, Loren was found in the tiltyard crossing swords with three young nobles from the Westerlands that Tyland vaguely recognised. He stood on the balcony with Ser Gregor Clegane overlooking them as Loren quickly dispatched of the Sarsfield heir and a man wearing the strawberry's of House Turnberry, before feinting one way and whacking the last man, a Prester judging by the ox on his surcoat, around the head knocking him down.
Tyland began clapping. "He's likely good enough to beat even you Clegane." Tyland smirked, before walking down the stone steps towards where the three boys began to nurse themselves.
"I'll see you later Eldrick, Lambert, Benarr." Loren called to the three in turn as he took off his helm. "Father."
"You grow better by the day." Tyland noted. Loren grinned, wiping his lengthy blonde hair out of his eyes.
"That's why I practice." Loren shrugged, now sheathing his blade. "If I don't practice every day, I'll lose an edge. That's what Uncle Jaime says."
Tyland bit his lip, but nodded his agreement with the sentiment. "Come, let us walk. It's been a while since we talked." Loren nodded, and walked alongside his Father flanked by Lannister men at arms and Ser Gregor.
"What were the battles against Robb Stark like?" Loren asked eagerly. "Ser Gregor here told us about the Whispering Wood, but not the Twins."
"The Twins was nothing more strenuous than pest control." Tyland told him. "The Northmen were fleeing, we just caught them."
"It sounded more glorious in Cerenna's letter." Loren said. "Speaking of. Is there any news on Stannis and Renly? The sooner we end them the sooner I can go home. This city is a rat's nest."
Tyland chuckled softly. "It always has been. The only news I have is that they fight each other at Storm's End."
Loren looked at his father in amazement. "You always said Baratheon's were foolish." He laughed.
"Careful." Tyland warned, as they entered the Red Keep. "Our beloved King is a Baratheon."
At that moment they walked past the Throne Room, where surprisingly there was an audience. Loren looked in and saw Joffrey leering down at somebody holding his crossbow. "I stand corrected." He rolled his eyes.
"Seven hells." Tyland whispered, barging into the room.
"They're dead!" Joffrey was grinning. "Killed by the man you grew up with! Now you're one of the only Stark's left. I could shoot you here now and then kill your sister and your traitorous family would be gone forever!"
"If that is what you wish, Your Grace." Tyland saw Sansa Stark kneeling on the floor trying to cover her bare chest up, her dress ripped open pooling at her hips. "My House is one of traitors."
"What are you doing?" Tyland asked angrily, angrier that Loren could remember him being. "Are you a total idiot or do you wish to add to whatever lunacy this is?" He demanded.
"You can't speak to me like that!" Joffrey cried, but Loren noticed his eyes widen in fear as Tyland stormed over to him, stopping by Sansa as Ser Meryn Trant stepped in between his King and Tyland. Loren kept his hand on his sword pommel, just in case.
"Stand away from His Grace, My Lord." Ser Meryn warned.
Tyland stared the man down, his height making him seem more terrifying. "Was it you that beat the poor girl?" Loren looked down at Sansa and noticed red marks on her back. "Yes I bet it was, knowing your perversions."
"I'll not take that." Ser Meryn growled and began to unsheathe his blade but was interrupted when his sword was halfway out of it's scabbard.
"If you draw that sword Ser." Tyland began calmly. "You better be prepared to use it."
The Lannister heir hadn't even touched Red Rain, but barring Clegane, Loren and the four men behind him had all withdrawn their own swords in defence of Tyland. Ser Meryn stopped and looked backwards at his King who had frozen in his place. Tyland didn't hesitate however, and he nodded to his father's eight foot bannerman, who stepped forwards and grabbed Ser Meryn by the throat, lifting him into the air.
Loren sheathed his sword quickly and knelt beside Sansa, taking her chin in his hand turning her head. "You don't want to see this My Lady."
Sansa politely removed his hand. "Yes, I do."
Joffrey began complaining, but Ser Gregor squeezed tighter until a loud snap was heard, and Ser Meryn fell limp. Gregor threw him to one side before stepping backwards.
"Hound, take the body outside and dump it somewhere. I would educate my nephew." Sandor Clegane just growled in Gregor's direction, but nodded his agreement, picking up the body over one shoulder. The rest of the room scarpered out before him, leaving Tyland and Loren almost alone with Joffrey. "Loren, take Lady Stark to my chambers and help herself clean up."
Loren nodded. "Of course, Father. Come, My Lady." He said, whipping off his red cloak and covering her with it. Sansa gingerly got to her feet and leant into his arm as Loren escorted her away.
Turning to Joffrey as it was just the two of them in the room now, Tyland began ascending the steps. "What do you know of King Aerys the Second?" He asked.
Joffrey stammered over his words. "I… I don't know… he was mad."
"He was mad." Tyland nodded, speaking calmly. "King Aerys at first was a charming King, the ladies loved him, the nobles loved him. He had grand ideas that he'd mull over for a week and then forget about them but other than that he seemed like he was going to be a good king. Then what happened?"
"He turned mad and my Father beat him in a war." Joffrey said, trying to show some pride in Robert's achievement.
"Aerys wasn't in any form of command in that war." Tyland shook his head. "No, your Father beat Jon Connington and Rhaegar Targaryen. Aerys preferred to sit where you are now and watch people suffer. He enjoyed it, that's why he was called the Mad and that's why he was killed and overthrown. He was cruel. What you just did there, that was cruel."
"You're cruel!" Joffrey cried, with a hint of bravery. "You ended an entire House, you killed a King!"
Tyland backhanded Joffrey, causing the boy to double over the arm of the Iron Throne. "The King was killed because he was a tyrant. The way you're going you will go the same way." Tyland snarled. "Would you like to be stabbed in the back?"
"No." Joffrey replied meekly, rubbing his cheek.
"Would you like to be stabbed in the back?" Tyland asked louder, not happy with the response.
"No!" Joffrey exclaimed.
"Good." Tyland said, calm again. "Then stop acting like a child tyrant, and begin to act like a King. What I have done has been for House Lannister. House Drumm murdered my wife so I ended that line and took their prized sword. House Drumm meant nothing to the world, they were pirates. Lady Sansa is now the Lady of Winterfell and there are still Northman up there that would love to see your head on their walls. Are you going to give them any more reason to want you dead?"
"No." Joffrey told him.
"Good." Tyland said, stepping backwards. "Then I shall take my leave, Your Grace. I recommend you go and train your sword arm for the afternoon."
He bowed his head at his nephew and swivelled the other direction, striding out of the room leaving his bewildered nephew to nurse a sore cheek on the Iron Throne.
Meanwhile, as Tyland was trying to educate his nephew, Loren had quickly escorted Sansa to Tyland's new chambers. He closed the door and sat her down on the bed, noticing that she was still tense.
"There's no need to worry now My Lady. You're under my protection." Loren told her before beginning to search through some of the still packed chests. He found a long black nightshirt of his Father's and handed it over to Sansa, who was still tugging Loren's red cloak around her chest. "Here."
"That's Lord Tyland's." She said, shaking her head.
"He won't mind, he has plenty." Loren rolled his eyes. "It's comfier than the cloak, I promise."
Sansa still was nervous, but slowly took the item of clothing. Loren turned his back as the Stark girl dropped the cloak and her ripped dress, placing the nightshirt over her head. The hem came down to just above her knees, and she felt really exposed.
Loren searched through another trunk, finding some lightweight trousers to go with it. "Are you decent My Lady?" He asked.
"Not really." Sansa grumbled, and Loren chuckled as he handed the trousers back. "I can't wear these!" She cried. "They aren't ladylike…"
"My Lady, after what my loving cousin has done, I fear you can afford to be a little less ladylike in private. Nobody will know, I swear, and it's better than sitting there in an oversized shirt worrying if I can see your legs."
"It's not proper." Sansa mumbled under her breath, as she grabbed the trousers roughly. Loren heard her putting them on and found her a belt.
"Here, you can keep them up. I'm sure my Father will bring one of your handmaidens up with a change of dress once he's finished with Joff." Loren explained, turning back to face her. It was a change to be sure seeing Sansa in men's clothes rather than a dress, but all Loren noticed was a thin trail of blood leaking from her lip. He grabbed a napkin from Tyland's table and sat down beside her. "Here, let me." He said gently, dabbing the white object carefully onto Sansa's lip.
"My Lord… this isn't proper." Sansa whispered, muffled by the napkin on her bottom lip. "My betrothed…"
"Your virtue is in no danger, My Lady." Loren grinned. "Not by me. I have a woman back home in Casterly Rock I intend to marry, and no matter how foolish he is, Joffrey is still my cousin and my King. You won't be in any danger here."
"Lord Tyland ordered Ser Meryn's neck crushed with a nod, and I'm in no danger?" Sansa asked, bemused. Loren could only chuckle at the brazen words coming out of the usually quiet and loyal Sansa Stark.
"Ser Meryn was a cunt." Loren told her. "He likes beating on little girls because it makes him feel powerful, I swear to you he is no loss."
"I'm not saddened he's dead." Sansa affirmed. "But forgive me for fearing I'm in danger while sat in the Demon of Old Wyk's bedchamber."
Loren grimaced at the name. "Do you know why he did that?" He asked. Sansa just shook her head, so Loren handed her the napkin and went to pour a couple of glasses of wine, handing her one. "When the Ironborn came for Lannisport my Mother was in the city. She enjoyed going down to the docks, I've been told she enjoyed the view of the Sunset Sea, but there are whispers she had a lover there." Loren shrugged.
"She dishonoured your Father like that?" Sansa asked aghast.
Loren chuckled. "You've met my Father, does he seem the type to inspire love in a woman? He's a great man but love isn't an emotion he's good at. No, I think my Mother had a lover by the docks and the Ironborn came as they were meeting. The Lord of House Drumm kidnapped her, he and his men raped her a dozen times on their way back to Old Wyk and then they cut her throat and threw her in the sea." He said bitterly.
"That's awful." Sansa whispered.
"That's why my Father did what he did." Loren told her. "That was an affront to our House, to our name and he couldn't have that so he wiped them all out. And if he hadn't, I would have done when I was older. I promise you though, he is only cruel to those who deserve it, like that old cunt Dunstan Drumm."
"Joffrey made promises too." Sansa said sullenly, sipping her wine.
"Joffrey is another cunt." Loren chuckled. "A spoiled tyrant that wasn't slapped hard enough as a child."
Sansa began to tense up again, as her armour of courtesies came back once again. "My beloved Joffrey…"
"Don't pretend." Loren told her, interrupting. "You don't need to here My Lady. You should be angry at him, venting out at how awful he is. You are his betrothed and he treats you like that!" Loren was getting angrier, before he took a deep breath and calmed himself. "No man should treat his woman in such a way. I could never treat Cerenna that way."
Sansa wanted to say something but bit her retort back. "His Grace is treating me like the traitor my family has proven to be." She told him, and Loren outright laughed.
"I'd have done the same as your brother, Lady Stark." Loren told her. "That's a treasonous statement right there, but it's true. I truly am sorry for the loss of your family, it's a horrid thing that has happened to you."
"At the hands of your family." Sansa whispered, and Loren sighed, sitting next to her again.
"I know, and I can only apologise for the pain it has caused." He told her honestly. "War is brutal, war is vicious and cruel, and those that lose often get thrown down in the mud and trampled on. Your brother sounded like a good man, he just fell to the same trap we all may fall into, rushing to save his family before understanding what the consequences of such action could be. I admired him you know, he tricked us at the Green Fork."
"He did?" Sansa asked quickly, forgetting herself for a moment.
"He did." Loren chuckled. "We expected him by the Kingsroad, but he fooled us and took most of his men to Riverrun. It was just that my Father was quick enough to realise the rouse as it was happening."
Sansa appreciated the praise of Robb, but was saddened at the reminder of his death. "I'm sorry about your Mother." She told Loren.
"She was a kind woman." Loren sighed. "She deserved happiness, but if it's true then her happiness was her doom."
"Maybe this betrothal will save me yet then." Sansa murmered, and Loren broke out into a hearty laugh.
"So long as the moron is kept on a tight leash by my Grandfather, then the worst has already passed." Loren told her, smiling at her giggles at the name calling. The door opened as the pair laughed to reveal Tyland and Sansa's new handmaiden, Shae. "Father." Loren said, standing up with Sansa.
"The King is heading to the tiltyard." Tyland told his son. "Go and knock some sense into him."
Loren bowed his head, turning to Sansa once more. "It was good to talk to you, My Lady."
"Thank you for helping me, Lord Loren." Sansa curtseyed. Loren smirked, and left the room.
Tyland stepped towards the girl and inspected her lip. "That was unbecoming of a King. On behalf of my nephew, I apologise for his actions."
Sansa's face returned to its emotionless state. "The King does as he pleases. I can only apologise for my families actions that have caused His Grace such distress."
Tyland almost slapped himself at her stubbornness to keep defending him. "Nonetheless, he has been warned and he shall keep his distance now. You and your sister are under my protection."
"Thank you, Lord Tyland." Sansa curtseyed again, internally screaming at him about the last time they were under his protection.
Tyland stepped closer to the young Stark girl. "Would you like an end to this… agreement… your Father and King Robert concocted?"
Sansa froze for a moment, wondering if this was all a trick. Playing it safe, she shook her head. "I love the King with all my heart and I hope that one day he shall share the same affections."
Tyland didn't say anything, instead turning to Shae who was holding up a crimson and gold gown. "It's one of my sisters, you're about as tall as the Queen is and she has plenty." Tyland explained. "I thought you'd want to look your best for when you speak with your sister."
Sansa didn't say anything as the Lord left, but as soon as he turned his back she glared daggers at him. The door shut, and Shae spoke softly.
"Careful My Lady." The handmaiden said in her thick Lorathi accent.
"He knows what this will do to Arya." Sansa whispered venomously. "I can see right through him. He wants us to be at odds."
Chapter 12: The Cub has Claws
Sansa felt uncomfortable in the Queen's dress. Every time she moved her feet forwards everything felt wrong, the fabrics, the colours, everything, but she kept going, following the Lannister Captain of the Guards Vylarr who was escorting her to see her sister.
Arya was kept in a comfy cell on the top floor, with a bed, a table and some books to keep her company. The gaoler unlocked the door, and Vylarr stepped aside to let Sansa in. "Thank you, Vylarr." She said, stepping through the doors as it locked behind her.
Arya was sat on the bed glaring at the window. The younger Stark took one glance at the elder and just scoffed. "You even dress like them now?" She spat.
"I didn't choose to wear this." Sansa said quietly.
"Hmm." Arya rolled her eyes, staring into space again.
"I'm glad your alive." Sansa told her sister honestly. "Truly."
"Why?" Arya laughed. "So you can turn me into the Lannister's whore as well?"
That hurt, but Sansa hid her pain and went to look out the window. "I mean it. Do you remember what Father used to say? About the pack."
"The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives." Arya replied, bored. "What about it?"
"We are the pack." Sansa told her. "It's just us now."
Sansa heard Arya sit up straighter. "What do you mean?"
A tear fell from the elder's eye as she turned to face her sister. "Theon… I don't know how but the Ironborn took Winterfell… he killed Bran and Rickon."
Arya grinned, causing Sansa to grow angry. "You're an idiot. A proper idiot." She laughed. "Theon died. Theon died fighting for Robb."
Sansa held her breath but shook her head. "Whatever happened up there, they're dead. They've been treating me better today than they ever have done before, and they wouldn't have done that unless I was now of more use to them. I'm now the Lady of Winterfell and they want to use that." The red-head sat down at Arya's table. "We need to stick together."
"How can we do that?" Arya exclaimed quietly, angry. "We don't have an army."
"But we can have their trust." Sansa whispered. "Act the damsel, the silly little girl that's just trying to stay alive but secretly fight back where you can."
"I don't fight with words." Arya shook her head. "I don't know how."
Sansa smiled at her sister. "You can learn. I can help you."
A few days after his arrival and once Tyland had gotten settled in properly, he attended his first Small Council meeting since before Robert had died. Sitting at the other end of the table to his Father, he listened in to get his bearings.
"Lord Bolton has yet again written us asking for aid against the Ironborn on the coasts." Tywin shook his head. "We gave him the North and he has the men to keep it. Send a reply back saying that we are stretched too thinly in the South."
"Of course, Lord Hand." Pycelle mumbled.
"About the South." Varys began. "My little birds have mentioned something quite interesting. Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon met for a parlay outside of Storm's End."
"A Parlay?" Tyrion said with mock enthusiasm. "How exciting!"
"It could bode poorly for us if they struck an agreement." Tywin glared at his youngest son. "What happened?"
"They spoke. They disagreed. They vowed to battle." Varys explained in his silky voice. "But they didn't."
Tyland was confused. "What happened then?" He asked.
"Reports differ there." Varys explained. "Some say that Renly perished while bedding his bride."
"I doubt that." Tyrion grinned.
"Some say that he was killed by a woman of his Kingsguard, Brienne of Tarth?" Varys shrugged. "They say he was stabbed as he dressed."
"Loras Tyrell has been stabbing him for years and he's not died." Littlefinger jested. "A woman stabbing him to death makes more sense."
"But the last rumour is the most unsettling." Varys said, his face looking scared and haunted. "They say a shadow demon slipped through the camp as it was in its merriment and took the form of Stannis Baratheon, killing Renly."
Tyland saw Tyrion shudder next to him. "But Renly is dead?"
Varys nodded. "All accounts have the same result yes, Renly died."
Tyland felt a smile briefly brush his face, as Tyrion grinned and clapped his hands. "What of his bannermen?" Tywin, ever the pragmatic, asked.
"The Stormlords have gone over to Stannis in their droves." Varys said, dampening the mood a bit. "As have the Florent's."
"But the rest of the Reach?" Tywin asked, and Tyland leant forwards in interest.
Varys's mouth twitched for a moment in a smirk. "As of yet they are undecided. The Tyrell's themselves have ridden back to Highgarden."
Tywin leant backwards, relaxing. "Good, we can use this to our advantage." He took a sip of water. "Tyland, stay. The rest of you get out."
Tyrion quickly jumped off of his chair and patted his brother on the arm. "Good luck." He said with a smile, before waddling out whistling the Rains of Castamere, closely followed by the other members of the Council.
"80,000 men." Tywin said, bordering on enthusiastically.
"That's an awful lot of men sitting around and not doing anything." Tyland noted.
"A number that we can't pass up." Tywin told him. "I want you to travel there. Gain their loyalty and bring them to our side."
Tyland nodded. "And what do I offer them?"
Tywin leant on the table, and smirked. "What they've always wanted. Offer them a King."
The massacre at the Twins wasn't really the end of the War in the North no matter how much the Southerners wanted to pretend it was. Roose Bolton knew that the presence of the two Stark boys sat in Winterfell would mean that those still loyal to the Young Wolf would never back down. That's why he had called for his bastard to take the remainder of his and Lady Dustin's men to march to the seat of the old Kings of Winter and take it.
That hadn't gone to plan though, to which Roose found out himself within the first hour of having marched through the Winterfell gates. The Stark Banners had been mostly discarded, and a mix of Bolton and Ryswell ones hung up in their place, and Roose quickly had his former sister by law and his bastard son meet him in the Winterfell Great Hall.
"I once swore to myself I would never step foot in this castle so long as I lived." Barbrey noted, looking around the room before spitting on the floor. "I'm not sorry to see the Quiet Wolf lose his head."
"It will be us losing our heads soon enough." Roose replied, trying to curb his anger. "Where are the boys?"
"Ask him." Barbrey snarled at Ramsay. "Your bastard was the one that lost them."
Roose saw Ramsay wince at the title. "I didn't lose them, they were already gone." He said through clenched teeth.
"We were given the title of Warden of the North on the premise that we handed Brandon and Rickon Stark to the Lannisters." Roose reminded Ramsay. "How are we to do that if we don't have the boys?"
"They'll have been picked off by the Ironborn." Ramsay waved off. Roose sighed loudly at the reminder of the raiders on his western coasts. "They're no trouble now."
"No trouble? Are you as stupid as you are insane, bastard?" Barbrey laughed. "You aren't of a noble house, you don't understand the loyalty that this damned House has in the North."
Ramsay was getting ready to jump into an angry tirade, so Roose jumped in ahead of him. "Take as many men as you need and find them. Head to the Neck, head to White Harbour, I want everywhere searched and I want those boys found."
Ramsay bowed his head. "And what do you want doing when we find them?"
Roose thought for a moment. "Slit their throats quickly." He answered. Ramsay grinned and departed the room. "Maester Wolkan."
The balding man stepped forwards out of the shadows. "Yes, My Lord."
"Send a raven to King's Landing." Roose said, a plan forming in his heads. "Tell them that the Ironborn sacked Winterfell and slaughtered all the occupants before we arrived." Wolkan was surprised, but the glare from Roose made the man bow his head and leave for the Maester's Tower. Roose went to pour two glasses of water, handing one over to Lady Dustin. "My Lady, how would you like to add to the number of times that House Bolton has razed Winterfell?"
Barbrey Dustin couldn't contain her grin, holding her glass up to tap it against Roose's own. "Lord Bolton, I'd be delighted."
Sansa watched down at the tiltyard to where Loren Lannister was once again training against a number of opponents. Her talk with Arya the day before had opened something in the young girl's mind, and a plan of sorts was beginning to form. Knowing that her betrothal to Joffrey was even more important now than it had been before because of her claim to Winterfell, she felt that if she could somehow get ahead of it and foster a good relationship with Loren, then it could be beneficial for her long-term relationship with the tyrant.
She hated thinking like this. Too quickly she had had to change from the naïve little girl to the head of her House, but it was a change that she was determined to rise too for the sake of her family. Putting away her motives for the moment though, she delicately applauded as the Lannister was once again the last man standing.
"That's enough for one day." She heard the voice of one of the Lannister cousins, Daven she believed, as he took Loren's training sword off of him. Loren noticed her up on the balcony, and after having a drink from a wineskin and saying goodbye to his training partners, he came and greeted her.
"Lady Sansa, I must admit I'm surprised to see you here of all places." Loren said with a charming smile, wiping a bead of sweat from his forehead. "If I'd have known I'd have been a bit more presentable."
Sansa smiled sweetly back at him. "No need, My Lord." She told him. "My brothers would often come back into the Great Hall at Winterfell covered in mud and sweat after a hard mornings sparring. I'm used to it." In truth she had always been a bit grossed out, but the girl would give anything just to see that scene one more time.
"Your younger brother sparred with your elder?" Loren asked, cautiously so as to not upset her. Sansa shook her head.
"My Father's bastard, Jon." She answered. "They were of an age with each other and always sparred together." She smiled weakly at the reminder.
Loren bowed his head. "I always wanted a brother." He admitted. "I have cousins galore, but it's not the same. You must miss them."
"They were traitors, Lord Loren." Sansa told him, as they passed a couple of ladies walking the other way. Loren nodded his understanding of her words, as he offered her his arm, which she duly took.
They walked round towards the gardens, where Sansa steered the conversation over to his childhood. "I miss the Rock." He admitted. "The tiltyard there was glorious, my uncle Tyrion had a water stream flow past there so that we could have a wash straight away after our exercise, so we didn't smell as bad as I must do now."
Sansa hated to admit it, but he smelt rather attractive. "You don't smell." She chuckled gently. "The city itself may be masking you though." She tried to joke.
Loren took it well, laughing loudly. "That it does, another reason that I miss the Rock. We actually have a city that doesn't smell like the privy."
Sansa scrunched her face up in disgust, laughing at his joke when suddenly the person she least wanted to see turned a corner with the newly appointed Kingsguard member Sandor Clegane. "Cousin." Joffrey said extravagantly. "Enjoying a walk with my own betrothed?"
"Ladies enjoy walks in the gardens, Your Grace." Loren feigned a smile at the King. "Much more than they enjoy being stripped and humiliated."
Sansa stayed quiet but let go of Loren's arm to try and save face. Joffrey's own face meanwhile contorted in anger. "You can't talk to me like that." Joffrey snarled.
"My apologies." Loren bowed his head. "If Your Grace wishes, he can beat out my insolence in the tiltyard tomorrow morning?" Joffrey stared Loren down for a moment, before huffing and barging past him, without even a word to Sansa.
"He won't forget that." Sansa whispered.
"He can't do anything about it." Loren shrugged. "He's too scared of my Father and Grandfather to do anything, and he's been taught from such a young age that House Lannister is the only one that matters. Let him cry about it to Clegane, he knows now that he can't treat you like a whore, but a Queen."
Sansa smiled, retaking Loren's arm. "Won't he be jealous though?"
Loren sighed. "Perhaps, but courtesy won't hurt him and until he learns them he's best kept in check. I won't lie though my lady, he is one of the main reasons I cannot wait for Stannis to try and attack us so that this war can finally be over and I can go home, away from him and to Cerenna and the rest of my family."
Sansa nodded, internally feeling her disappointment at the boy always bringing the conversation round to Cerenna Lannister, and the Stark girl vowed to compete for his affections to ensure her own safety in King's Landing.
Later on that evening Tyland was preparing to leave for his trip to Highgarden, and Loren was sat with him enjoying a cup of wine and some dinner as the servants were packing a few trunks of clothes and other necessities. "Is it true that they have a huge maze surrounding the castle?" Loren asked.
"It's more of a small forest on a hill, the way Renly Baratheon always spoke of it." Tyland told his son. "Nothing quite so… fancy."
"Hmm." Loren shrugged his shoulders, tucking into a chicken leg. "It's said to be magnificent though."
"No castle holds up to the Rock." Tyland reminded his son, who chuckled lightly and took another bite. "I shouldn't be gone for too long. Soon the war will be over, and we can go home."
"And I'll be forced to wed I suppose." Loren said glumly.
Tyland put his cutlery down. "What was that tone for?"
Loren did the same, looking up at his Father. "Have you spoken to Grandfather about my future?"
Tyland shook his head. "We've had more pressing issues."
"Then can you?" Loren asked. "I want to make the case for me to…"
"We will not speak about my cousin, Loren." Tyland told him firmly, but Loren wasn't happy at that answer.
"I won't marry anybody else." The younger of the two began.
"You will marry whoever is deemed the best fit for House Lannister." Tyland said sharply. "And Cerenna will honour her betrothal when she turns 18."
Loren's face fell into a scowl. "Her betrothal?" He said slowly and angrily.
Tyland nodded. "It was agreed with House Frey that Cerenna will become the new Lady of the Twins and wed Lord Walder to strengthen their rule as Lords Paramount of the Trident."
Tyland watched on calmly as Loren's shoulders began rising and falling as he began breathing heavily in his anger, when suddenly he lashed out and swiped out, his plate and glass clattering into pieces on the floor. "HOW COULD YOU?!" He cried out.
"Get out." Tyland called to the servants, who all hurried their way out of the room. "Calm yourself." Tyland told his son firmly once they had all left, to which Loren just laughed, unamused.
"Calm myself? Calm myself! Are you being serious?" Loren exclaimed. "No. No I won't accept that, Cerenna won't marry that old weasel."
"She will do her duty to her house." Tyland replied coldly. "As will you, boy."
Loren rose to his feet, kicking his chair back as he went. "I've done everything you asked!" The boy shouted. "I've done everything Grandfather asked, and the one thing I ask of you? This is your way of controlling me isn't it. You don't like the fact that a girl actually loves me when Mother couldn't stand you to touch her to such a degree that she found another lover!"
Tyland rose to his feet sharply and slapped his son around the face, knocking him down. "You're only proving that you don't know a thing about your Mother." He snarled. "Go on, get out of my sight until you stop crying like a child. Lions…"
"Lions don't cry." Loren interrupted mockingly, causing Tyland to glare with rage. "'We are Lannisters of Casterly Rock, and tears will only show weakness.' You lectured me with that enough when we lost her." He spat, before storming out of the room slamming the door behind him. Tyland sighed, standing still and composing himself for a few minutes before he went to pick up some of the larger shards when his door opened once more, as one of the last people Tyland wanted to see walked in the door.
"Tssk." Cersei made a noise with her mouth. "You're getting clumsy in your old age, brother."
"How can I help you, sweet sister?" Tyland asked, internally groaning at what was bound to be another row between a family member and himself.
Cersei stepped into the room, her hands inside the other sleeve. "You go to far with Joff." She spoke coldly.
"He goes too far with the Stark girl." Tyland bit back. "You should have hit him more as a boy, then perhaps he wouldn't be so foolish now."
"He is your King!" Cersei snapped. "Hitting your King is a treasonous act, and you should have lost your hand."
"And why didn't I?" Tyland asked, standing a few inches before her, looking down in to her emerald eyes. "Because he is weak and needs to learn a great many things before he comes into his rule."
"How can a King learn when he is terrified that his councillors are going to murder him?" Cersei scoffed, pouring herself some wine.
Tyland gritted his teeth at her actions, but her words amused him to some extent. "Good. If he is afraid then he will want to beat that fear, and to beat that fear maybe he will listen to his advisors and for the first time since Aegon the Unlikely we may have a King worthy of the title."
Chapter 13: Impish Advice
Mentally torturing his cousin gave Tyrion more amusement than he would care to admit, but for once the boy Lancel had actually given him some useful information. As he held the glass container with the mesmerising green substance inside, the dwarf could only feel awe at the raw power of the small thing in his hands.
"Take care My Lord!" The old man Haylene said cautiously.
"I remember reading an old sailors' proverb." Tyrion began, his eyes not leaving the small jar. "Piss on wildfire and your cock burns off."
Tyrion learns of Cersei's interest in wildfire. Takes Bronn down to see the pyromancers and see's the jars. "You'll be making them for my Father, the Hand of the King." He noticed his sellsword Bronn smirk at that.
"Oh!" Haylene shook his head. "No, I have not conducted this experiment. It… it could well be true! The substance burns so hot it melts wood, stone, even steel! And of course, flesh. The substance burns so hot, it melts flesh like tallow." He added, with an enthusiasm in his voice that even the demon monkey of Casterly Rock as some smallfolk in the city were calling him found unnerving. Tyrion carefully handed the pot back to the old man, as he carried on. "After the dragons died, wildfire was the key to Targaryen power."
Bronn scoffed at the remark. "My companion takes issue." Tyrion noted.
"If I could tell you how many crazy old men I've seen pushing carts around army camps making grand claims about jars full of pig shit…" The sellsword began. "No offence mate." He added to the pyromancer.
"Our order does not deal in pig shit!" The old man proclaimed angrily. "The substance is fire made form, and we have been perfecting it since the days of Maegor!"
"To do what?" Bronn asked, still unimpressed.
The pyromancer waved his hands around for effect as he answered. "The jars are put in catapults and flung at the enemy!"
"How much do you have?" Tyrion asked, knowing that that was what Cersei had decided to go behind everyone's back and order.
The old man raised a finger in the air and walked over towards the key that granted entrance to the heavily fortified steel door. Bronn still wasn't too impressed. "If your father's best soldiers manned the catapults, then maybe you'd hit your target one time in ten. From what you've told me about his best men I rather doubt they'd be happy with flinging piss water from the walls though."
"My Lord this man is insulting." Haylene exclaimed, annoyed as they made their way to where the wildfire was being stored.
"I don't know if you've ever seen a battle old man, but things can get a bit messy, 'cause when we're flinging things at Stannis, he's flinging them right back at us. Men die, men shit themselves, men run. Which means pots falling, which means fire inside the walls, which means the poor cunts trying to defend the city end up burning it down!" Bronn argued.
"My friend remains unconvinced." Tyrion quipped.
"He would not dare insult my order whilst Aerys Targaryen lived." Haylene muttered angrily.
"Well he's not living anymore" Bronn told him as Haylene struggled with the door. "And all his pots of wildfire didn't help him, did they? Men win wars, not magic tricks." The sellsword added as the door was forced open.
Inside were shelves upon shelves full of jars, stretching down further than Tyrion could see. Haylene ushered Tyrion inside, and the dwarf slowly made his way into the room, looking around with a horrified look on his face. Haylene however looked proud. "We have bee working tirelessly. Day and Night, ever since your royal sister commanded us to do so." The pyromancer said gleefully. "Our present count stands at 7,811. Enough to burn Stannis Baratheon's fleet and armies both."
"This is a shit idea." Bronn noted from behind him, but the Lannister had a plan forming in his mind.
"I'm afraid I have to concur with my advisor, Wisdom Haylene." The dwarf said quietly. "The contents of this room could lay King's Landing low. You won't be making wildfire for my sister any longer." He told the man, turning back to face him. "You will be making it for Lord Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King."
The next Small Council meeting was as drab as ever, but Tyrion stayed behind as the rest of them shuffled out, twiddling his thumbs and humming a tune. "Why are you still here?" Tywin asked.
"Is it too much to just value the company of my beloved Father?" Tyrion asked with a jovial grin. Tywin kept his stony exterior, so Tyrion dropped the act. "I was wondering how the battle planning was going?"
Tywin raised an eyebrow. "You wish to know our plans? I didn't expect your last experience of warfare to have made such a lasting impact on you."
"Other than a bruise that I've still not shaken off." Tyrion told him, massaging the place on his head where the hammer hit him. "It didn't, but while I may not be a warrior, my mind is as sharp as ever, and I may just have a plan that won't burn down the city, unlike my delightful sister." Tyrion placed a roll of parchment on the table by his Father. "Read it if you like, I may not have a great mind for soldier formations, but I do value my life and the lives of my family."
With that he jumped down off of the chair and waddled away, Bronn following him as soon as he had exited the Tower of the Hand. Together they made their way back towards Maegor's Holdfast, passing by the training yard where the thudding sound of a sword hitting a straw target could be heard.
"Someone's angry." Bronn noted before the pair saw who it was, and Tyrion noted the recently cut shoulder length blonde hair at the back of his nephew.
"I'm sure I caught the bastard of Winterfell doing exactly this last year." Tyrion chuckled to himself. "He needed a good fuck too."
"You're his uncle." Bronn shrugged. "Take him out for the evening."
Tyrion sighed. "Alas, the poor boy values his virtue too much. Could you fetch us some wine? I think we'll need it." Tyrion didn't wait for a response and walked forwards towards his nephew who was going at the dummy in such a way Tyrion had the image of Robert Baratheon lashing out on Rhaegar Targaryen with all of his anger. "I think he's dead, nephew!"
Loren stopped mid swing, turning his head to see his uncle, his eyes red and angry. "I'm not in the mood for your lectures, Uncle Tyrion." He sniffed.
"Then perhaps this once I'll listen." Tyrion smiled sadly at him. "Come, sit down and talk to me."
"I don't want…" Loren began, lashing out at the dummy again. "To talk."
"But you'll do so anyway." Tyrion said firmly. Loren turned around fully, still angry, and threw the sword on the floor. "You'll dull your blade by doing that anyhow."
"What do you know of blade maintenance." Loren chuckled, his laugh not reaching his eyes.
Tyrion chuckled, helping himself down to sit against the wooden fence separating dummies. "Admittedly not a lot, but Jaime sharpened his sword enough for me to realise that using it dulled the steel, so it's an educated guess. Matters of the heart though, that's my area of expertise." Loren slumped down next to Tyrion as Bronn returned with a couple of wine skins, handing them to the pair of Lannisters. "Thank you, Bronn. Go and enjoy yourself tonight, I'll be fine with my nephew here." He said, flipping the sellsword a golden stag. Bronn grinned as he caught the coin, mock saluting the dwarf.
"You keep the strangest company." Loren noted.
"I am a strange man." Tyrion said, holding the wine skin out to knock them together before taking a swig. "Now, what's gotten you so angry?"
Loren blew out a long breath. "Father." He admitted. "Grandfather. Walder fucking Frey. Take your pick."
Tyrion knew immediately what he was talking about from that. "You're still hung up on my cousin I presume."
"Hung up?" Loren asked bewildered. "You saw us, you helped us sneak out to the beach!"
Tyrion kept a calm face. "I did, because she made you happy as a child and I wanted you as the future Lord of Casterly Rock to enjoy your childhood. We never got to, not really. I saw to that." He muttered the last part bitterly.
"Well you doomed me to a life of misery." Loren said through his teeth.
"We don't choose who we love." Tyrion sighed. "Especially as the heir to the Rock, you make do with what you are given."
"You shouldn't have to." Loren sighed. "I hate it here. I miss the Rock where we both would go out swimming; or let her drag me into Lannisport to help out the orphans and those in poverty, or just riding with her down the beaches."
"The Rock has it's charms. The twins included." Tyrion chuckled.
"It's just cruel." Loren said sharply. "Father knew my feelings and still made the betrothal. Grandfather knew them and refused to even discuss it this morning! I'm a Lannister of Casterly Rock and I feel like a helpless cripple." He spat.
"Count yourself lucky you're not me." Tyrion muttered quickly, hoping that Loren didn't hear. Unfortunately for the imp, he did.
"You're free to choose your life though Uncle." Loren sighed. "I don't get a choice."
"You could always join the Kingsguard like your Uncle Jaime." Tyrion grinned. "Or the Night's Watch, they need more men at the Wall."
"I could take no wife." Loren countered.
Tyrion's face fell into a scowl. "If it's a choice between that or the consequences of marrying without Father's leave, I'd take celibacy."
Loren was confused. "What do you mean?"
Tyrion sighed. "It's too harsh a tale for your delicate ears." He tried to jape, but Loren looked adamant. "Fine. Did you know I was once married?"
Loren looked surprised. "No."
"You were only young at the time." Tyrion smiled at the memory. "I was 16 and Jaime had returned back to Casterly Rock for a few weeks. He decided that it was time for me to be a man I suppose and took me out of Lannisport for a proper drink. On the way to the inn, a young girl barely a year older than I was being chased by some brigands. Well of course Jaime being Jaime went and killed the brigands, while I helped the girl."
"What was her name?" Loren asked.
"Tysha." Tyrion said softly. "Oh, she was a beauty. Beautiful dark locks and the most wonderful brown eyes I have ever seen in a woman. I gave her my cloak as small as it was to help cover where her dress was ripped and took her to the inn. We talked all night and I was as smitten as you are now. She sang me a sad song as I fell asleep that night, and the next day I found a drunk Septon and we married."
"That quickly?" Loren asked.
"That quickly." Tyrion nodded. "Do you know of that cottage a few days south of Lannisport, isolated and overlooking the Sunset Sea?"
Loren smiled fondly. "I dragged Lambert Turnberry out there a few months back when Alyn Farman bragged about his new ship that he was going to sail to Oldtown with, we saw him almost crash it."
"We stayed there." Tyrion said quickly, not caring about that story. "For two weeks we stayed there as man and wife, blissful as anything in the world."
"What happened then?" Loren asked, and Tyrion's face fell again.
"Father found out." He growled angrily. "Jaime came to drag us both to Casterly Rock. She was taken away while I was thrown in front of my Father and your own. The gracious Lord Tywin told me that Jaime had paid her and the men to appear on the street, and that my sweet Tysha was nothing more than a whore."
"But she married you?" Loren asked, confused.
"And to prove it." Tyrion continued angrily, not even registering Loren's comment. "He took me down to the barracks, where thirty men were clawing at each other to have their way with her, giving her a gold coin each." He was truly snarling now. "Her hands were overflowing with silver when my Father told the guards to leave, turned to me and told me it was my turn. I tried to refuse him, but he forced me to rape my own wife." Loren was watching on in horror, unable to say a word. "After I was done and we both were crying my Father handed me a golden coin to give to her. 'Lannister's are worth double' he said." Tyrion had tears in his eyes at that moment. "I never saw her again."
Loren sniffed as a tear rolled down his own cheek. "That's barbaric." He whispered.
"That is what happens if you disobey Lord Tywin Lannister." Tyrion snarled. "Only he clearly likes you more, your punishment is a Lord Paramount."
Loren clenched his fists in anger. "I have to do something."
Tyrion shook his head. "Take some advice, nephew. Accept this as your first love and move on. Marry whatever girl your Grandfather throws at you, fuck her and get an heir and then lose yourself in whores and wine. So long as he lives nobody will be happy."
Loren shook his head at that. "I have to be better, Uncle. We've ruled on fear for too long."
Tyrion admired his nephew's persistence. "You will be better, than your Grandfather and Father alike, I know it. But for now, all we can do is survive them both."
"I thought you and Father got on?" Loren asked.
Tyrion took a swig of wine. "Well enough when we're hundreds of miles away from Tywin, ever since that incident." The dwarf shrugged. "But I've never forgotten how he stood there and did nothing."
Highgarden was an extravagant castle. Sat on top of a large hill with a maze of a forest adorning the slope, Tyland would even admit that the thought of ever needing to take the castle would be extremely difficult. Luckily for him, A dozen or so men holding the golden rose banner of House Tyrell were riding out to greet his retinue. After a brief conversation about their business at Highgarden, Tyland was invited into the castle, taking note of all the shrubbery and ivy climbing up the inner walls of the castle.
He was led to the grand hall, a large room big enough to fit maybe 500 people inside. Two lines of Tyrell guardsmen dressed in full plate stood either side of an aisle big enough for maybe three people to walk through, clearly an intimidation attempt, but a poor one Tyland thought. Confidently he strode towards the Lords seat, where Mace Tyrell was sat.
It was a lengthy walk, but eventually Tyland made it to Mace Tyrell and bowed his head politely. "Lord Tyrell."
"Lord Tyland." Mace bowed his head back. "Welcome to Highgarden."
"What are you doing here?" The impatient youngster, Loras Tyrell asked sharply.
"Loras." His elder sister, Tyland presumed, soothed quietly. "Lord Tyland is our guest. Forgive my Brother, Lord Tyland. It has been a very trying period."
Tyland clenched his teeth, before saying. "I understand, My Lady. As for your question Ser, I am here on behalf of the Crown."
"We know why you're here." An old lady said from Mace's other side, the woman that Tyland had come to see. "You want the might of Highgarden allied to your bastard nephew."
Angry, Tyland growled. "Lies, spread by Stannis Baratheon to attempt to sway people in his favour. I can assure you His Grace is the son of King Robert."
"Oh, you can assure us?" Olenna Tyrell said with a smirk. "Were you watching at the conception?"
He felt his cheeks growing red, but turned back to Lord Tyrell. "The Hand of the King has numerous terms he would like us to discuss, Lord Tyrell."
"I…" Mace Tyrell began, only to be interrupted by the famed Queen of Thorns.
"Shut up Mace."
"Grandmother…" Margaery said sweetly.
Olenna waved her off. "Come, Lord Tyland. Help an old woman up to her solar and we shall discuss these 'terms' that Lord Tywin has for us." She struggled to her feet, grabbing her cane and began walking down the steps to take Tyland by the arm. The Lannister noticed Loras Tyrell storm off, as Margaery began whispering in her Father's ear about something that Tyland couldn't here as the old woman dragged him away with surprising vigour.
"Do we not need to wait for your son, My Lady?" Tyland asked as they went through a side door.
Olenna barked out a laugh. "Ha. You may like the terms that my son will agree to, but I haven't lived this long by letting Lord Oaf make such large decisions for us. No, you shall talk with me boy." They walked for a while, slowly heading up some stairs before they came to a large room with a singular, circular table in the middle with two chairs. Olenna moved straight towards the one by the balcony, and so Tyland lowered himself into the other one. "So, you want our armies even though we once fought on opposing sides? That's very unlike Tywin, I presumed he'd want House Tyrell's extinction. You both have form."
The vision of Dunna Drumm being thrown into the sea after Clegane had bashed her head in after the Greyjoy Rebellion came to Tyland's mind, but he didn't let it show. "The Hand of the King is a practical man. The Reyne's and Tarbeck's reached too far and payed for that. House Drumm made us look weak, so I did what I could. With House Tyrell though, we can work to our mutual benefit and spark a prosperous alliance that lasts for generations."
Olenna raised an eyebrow. "I'm listening."
Tyland leant forwards, resting his arms on the table. "Ever since you've been the ruling House of the Reach your House has been undermined by others. House Hightower, House Peake, House Florent all have tried to rise above you. A union with the Crown now can make you untouchable." He told her. "I've known Renly Baratheon and his antics for years, I presume that Lady Margaery remains a maid?"
Olenna shifted in her seat. "Go on…"
Tyland knew that he had her intrigued. "House Baratheon of King's Landing cannot in good faith see the daughter of a traitor as its Queen, meaning that within ourselves we'd consider the King free to wed. Now that the Stark girls are no longer an option and King Robert isn't here to force that union, it seems to me that Lady Margaery has just become the most noble lady in the Seven Kingdoms, and for all his faults Renly picked his Queen wisely."
"Mace was a fool to agree to that match. Pushing the fourth in line to the Throne to crown himself was beyond lunacy and he managed it far too quickly for me to do anything about it." Olenna scoffed. "My Lord of Lannister, I think we may be able to have a very fruitful talk…"
The Tower of the Hand was often a desolate place, but the peace and quiet was something that Tywin enjoyed. What he didn't enjoy however was one of his guards opening the doors to his office. "Grand Maester Pycelle to see you, Lord Hand."
Tywin nodded. "Send him in." He said, returning to writing out a letter for his brother Kevan. He vaguely noticed the Grand Maester walk in and sit himself down in front of his desk. Tywin finished his letter, signing it at the end and set it aside, waiting to see if the Grand Maester was here for the reason he hoped.
"A raven from Highgarden, Your Grace." Pycelle said slowly, his acting continuing even in front of the Hand of the King. "Bearing the seal of Lord Tyland."
Tywin surprised himself by breathing in sharply as he took the raven message. Breaking the seal, he unfurled it and a rare smile graced his lips. Placing it to one side he quickly scribbled out his own agreement to the terms Tyland had negotiated and promised more ships to help ferry the Southern Reach Army over to the Crownlands. Folding it and pressing his seal to the red wax, he then did the same for Kevan's letter with the orders to send the ships, as well as keep an eye on the islands to the West. Handing both scrolls to the Grand Maester individually, he said. "This one is to be sent to Casterly Rock immediately, and this one is to return to Highgarden."
"My Lord." Pycelle said as he groaned standing up before shuffling out.
Once the door closed and Tywin was alone once more he stood up too, making his way over to a map of Southern Westeros that he had placed pieces on depicting where the armies were. Moving the rose figures closer to King's Landing and seeing how they outnumbered the stags now, Tywin forgot himself and grinned widely.
Chapter 14: Awaiting the Fury
Loren's duties as a squire meant having to help Lord Tywin into his armour, and that is what he found himself doing now, tightening the straps of Tywin's pauldrons until the elder Lord grimaced from how tight they were.
"A little looser." Tywin commanded, and Loren adjusted the straps before moving to put on Tywin's body armour. "You're quiet this morning."
Loren took a breath before replying. "I have a lot on my mind Grandfather, I apologise."
Tywin scoffed. "You're 16, at 16 the smallest of problems can feel world ending."
"I just heard a harrowing tale from Uncle Tyrion is all." Loren said before he could stop himself. Tywin stood deadly still for a moment, before Moving out of Loren's reach and turning to face his grandson.
"You shouldn't listen to the dwarf's tales." Tywin replied hauntingly. "The lecherous beast doesn't remember his boundaries."
Loren nodded, gulping slightly. "There was one thing I wanted to ask you… about our alliance with House Frey."
Tywin shook his head. "Enough about the girl Loren." He warned.
"But…" Loren began, forgetting himself.
"Come." Tywin said, walking over to a map of the entirety of Westeros. Since the war with the North was over Tywin had taken to strategizing over a map of only the South. He pointed to the Twins. "What do you know of House Frey?"
"That I hope their Lord drops dead today." Loren said under his breath, but looked apologetic at Tywin's glare. "House Frey. Banner is two stone grey towers and bridge on a dark grey field surmounting an escutcheon of blue water." He told Tywin, echoing Maester Creylen's exact teachings. "Words are 'We Stand Together'"
"And what of their history?" Tywin asked.
"They were granted lands and nobility over 600 years ago by Arlan III Durrandon." Loren remembered. "So that he had an ally controlling the Green Fork. They grew so rich from their crossing that they managed to build two great stone keeps and grew into the strongest bannerman of House Tully."
"600 years." Tywin noted, pointing to Riverrun next. "House Tully dates back to the Age of Heroes." Then to Winterfell. "Age of Heroes." Then Casterly Rock. "Age of Heroes. House Frey are a new House, one that can't command thousands of years of respect and we just gave them dominion over the Trident. How are they to remain strong?"
"Alliances." Loren said quietly, not happy at where this lecture was going.
"Exactly." Tywin nodded. "They need alliances to the strongest houses, and House Lannister is the strongest House in Westeros. There's another reason why we need the Frey's on side too, do you know what that is?" Loren shook his head, and so Tywin pointed to the North again. "Eventually the Northerners will grow bolder and want vengeance, it's in their nature. When that time comes you or your son will likely be Lord of Casterly Rock do you want us to have a weak alliance at their border or a strong one?"
Loren sighed. "A strong one… but why Cerenna?"
"She is the closest female of a marriable age to our line of Lannisters." Tywin explained.
Loren knew that, but still questioned. "Grandmother was a Lannister though, what made your circumstance different?"
Tywin clenched his teeth, but knew Loren was only asking out of desperation rather than insolence. "I was wed at a time of peace. The Reyne's had been put to the sword and the Westerlands was beginning to return to stability. I wed Joanna to prove that House Lannister was above all other Houses, to prove one final time our superiority. Our vassals know that now, the entire realm know that so now we look towards future alliances. Which is why you are soon to be betrothed."
Loren stopped in his tracks. "I'm what?"
"Betrothed." Tywin told him. "I received a raven yesterday from Lord Tristan Payne who accepted my offer of betrothal to his daughter, Kathryn. You will wed when she turns 16 in two years' time."
It was too much to take in for Loren. He stumbled backwards, his eyes widening in shock. "Do you have any further need of me My Lord?" He asked, trying to keep the venom he felt rising out of his words.
Tywin shook his head. "Go." He allowed, and Loren just walked as quickly out of the chamber as he could, his mind reeling.
The Small Council meeting for the day was over with, and Tyrion wasn't sure how to feel about the news that they had received from Lord Rykker. Deciding to apologise to his nephew for the night previously, Tyrion made his way over to Loren's chambers in Maegor's Holdfast. As he neared the room and saw the single guard posted outside, he began to whistle the Rains of Castamere.
The guard popped his head through the door. "Lord Tyrion here to see you My Lord." Tyrion didn't hear the response, but the guard was soon back in his spot. "You may enter Lord Tyrion."
"Why thank you, Renford." Tyrion bowed his head exaggeratingly. He entered the door to see Loren slumped over his desk writing a letter. "Ah, the forbidden love letters. I remember those days."
"Who were you writing?" Loren raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
Tyrion hadn't prepared that far. "Never you mind." He chuckled. "How is my cousin?"
"I don't know, this isn't for Cerenna." Loren replied moodily.
"What do you know of Kathryn Payne?" Loren asked. Tyrion sat down at one of Loren's tables and poured himself some wine.
"Not a great deal, is she the fat one with the buck teeth?" Tyrion asked. "No wait, that's Bessa Payne. Kathryn is the slim young one."
"I know nothing but her name." Loren admitted. "And yet in two years' time we're to be married."
Tyrion felt for his nephew. "I'm sorry." He said honestly. "The Payne's are a loyal House though, I can send you my squire if you like, he is somehow related to the girl."
Loren nodded. "I just need Stannis to come now, I really want to hit something breathing."
Tyrion recognised the sheer anger in Loren's eyes and poured a half glass of wine out, handing it to his nephew. "Drink, it'll calm yourself." He told Loren.
"How did it come to this?" Loren sighed. "If I could only go back a year or two."
"At least she's pretty." Tyrion offered. "You won't have to place a bag over the girls head in order to give yourself an heir."
Loren shook his head. "That isn't helping." He finished up the letter and attached his personal seal to it. "Gods, this is horse shit. Flattery and mummery and 'I hope this letter finds you well' nonsense. I don't know this girl, I don't care about this girl."
"You're doing your duty though. I'm impressed." Tyrion admitted. "Had I have had your abilities I'd have disobeyed my Father years ago and run away with some whore just to spite him."
"I can't stop thinking about Tysha." Loren admitted, and Tyrion stopped in his tracks. "The cruelty."
Tyrion's voice dropped, darkly. "She was well compensated."
"That's not the point and you know it." Loren argued. "I understand the mantra about making our enemies fear us, but our family?"
"Forget about Tysha." Tyrion said, placing a hand on Loren's shoulder. "Forget about Cerenna, forget about Kathryn Payne, forget about Tywin bloody Lannister. We have more important things to worry about tonight nephew."
"Oh?" Loren asked.
"Your wish has come true." Tyrion told him, trying to put a grin on his face. "Stannis approaches, his ships have been seen in the waters of Duskendale within the last day or so. Put your armour on, the war shall likely end tonight."
It was a rare occasion that Jaime found himself alone with his sister nowadays, but that was the scenario he was in as he was sat at her table having a glass of wine while off duty. He had left Joffrey in the tiltyard but had no idea if the King had stayed there to train as instructed. Cersei seemed nervous, more withdrawn and quieter than usual.
"Are you ok?" He asked her.
"Am I ok?" Cersei raised an eyebrow, scoffing. "Stannis Baratheon bears down on our gates with an armada and my brothers all wish my son to be there to fight him when he wants all of our heads on spikes. Of course I'm not ok."
She sat down and poured herself another wine. "You drink more than you used to." He remarked.
"I know." She said quietly.
"We're going to be alright." Jaime assured her. "Tyrion came up with a good plan…"
"Tyrion?" Cersei was surprised. "We're basing our survival on that little monster?"
Jaime shifted uncomfortably. "He wishes to see us win this just as much as you do."
"Tyrion, Father, Tyland." Cersei listed. "All three would be more than happy to see Joff dead. I don't trust them, Jaime."
"I will protect the King." Jaime promised. "I'm Lord Commander of his Kingsguard, I'll be with him at all times. He will be safe."
Jaime noticed a single tear fall down her eye and he leaned over the table to gently wipe it away, his hand lingering on her cheek for a moment too long as she reached her own up to hold it in place. "I've missed you." Cersei told him.
"You see me all the time." Jaime said awkwardly, retrieving his hand. Cersei stared up at him with her beautiful green eyes.
"You know what I mean." Cersei told him. "We're one, you and I. Or so we're meant to be." She added unhappily.
Jaime sighed, standing and walking over to her balcony to stare out into the gardens as the sun began to disappear on the horizon. "We can't." He sighed.
He felt her snake her hands around his chest and her body up against his back. "I'm just scared, Jaime. Stannis… I know what he'll do if he breaks into the city. I'm scared for Myrcella, I'm scared for Tommen, I'm scared for Joff."
Jaime turned in her arms. "I won't let anyone harm our children." He whispered to her. That seemed to be the cue for the Queen Mother, as Cersei leant up on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his lips.
Jaime tried pushing her away for a moment. "Cersei…" He protested, but his protests were weak as his blood rushed southwards and he crashed his lips into her own. He wrapped his arms around her too, not breaking the kiss as he picked her up, relishing the feel of her legs around his waist.
"Oh Jaime…" She moaned into his mouth, her hips bucking against his own. That was it for Jaime, as he carried her over to her bed and dove on top of her, breaking yet another vow that he had made.
As his Aunt and Uncle were rutting in the castle, Loren was brooding once more in the training yard handing a humiliating defeat to his friend, Ser Lambert Turnberry.
"How is it that I am an anointed knight and you're a mere squire, yet every single time we spar you hand me my arse on a golden plate." Lambert groaned.
Loren couldn't hide his smirk, though it didn't last very long. "Whoever knighted you ought to be outed as a halfwit." He japed.
Lambert got to his feet, groaning and stretching out his aches. "You have no idea how much I wish you weren't a Lannister right now so I could knock you senseless."
Loren agreed, but kept his internal struggles silent. "Didn't you just try and do that?" He said as he moved over to grab a water skin. His other friends from the Westerlands were all stood over to one side having watched the bout.
"You were particularly hard hitting today Loren." Benarr Prester noted, chucking the Lannister a skin.
"We have to be ready." Loren told them. "It won't be long, Stannis Baratheon was spotted by a fisherman from Duskendale a couple of days ago."
The mood shifted to a more sombre one. "I need a stronger drink than this." The heir to Sarsfield Ser Eldrick groaned.
The sun had completely disappeared now, and the torches were the boys only source of light. "Will we win?" The youngest of the five and squire to Ser Daven Lannister, the 14-year-old Damion Jast, asked.
Loren nodded. "We have the men, we have the city. Stannis doesn't have a chance against the might of Casterly Rock."
The Jast heir looked happier at that, taking a swig of water. Ser Lambert turned to the youngest member of the group and reopened an old joke between the boys. "Your Mother can't really be called Lanna Lannister, surely?"
"Here we go." Eldrick rolled his eyes as Benarr burst into laughter.
"She is!" Damion cried. "A Lannister of Lannisport."
"Figures." Loren chuckled softly. "The main branch wouldn't be so stupid as to name a daughter 'Lanna'" The young Jast went red with annoyance, as Loren lightly punched his breastplate. "Lighten up Dame, we're only messing. Keeping our mind off of things."
"Things like Kathryn Payne?" Lambert raised an eyebrow. Loren scowled at the reminder. "Oh come on Loren, she's quite pretty really!"
"How would you know?" Eldrick asked.
"The Paynes are basically neighbours, theirs is the nearest castle to Redramble." Lambert shrugged. "We saw one another from time to time if there were balls at Payne Hall."
"I don't care though." Loren sighed. "I should be grateful, a match with House Payne is one of the better ones in the Westerlands but I'm just numbed by it all. None of it matters when I know Cerenna will be getting molested by an old man."
Benarr shuddered. "It's tough Loren, but we don't get a choice."
Loren nodded his understanding, when a loud chime of a bell from the very top of the Red Keep was heard. Quickly focusing on the sound as another chime followed soon after, Loren sprang into action. "All of you get to your stations. Stannis is here. Come Damion." He commanded his friends, as the two knights and Benarr Prester shook hands with Loren and departed, Loren led his distant cousin back into the Red Keep so that they could find the knights that they were squiring for.
Chapter 15: The Battle for King's Landing
The Throne Room was dimly lit by the large braziers surrounding the pillars, an orange glow permeating throughout the room. The bells of the Red Keep were still booming out as Loren arrived there with Lord Tywin and half a dozen other Lannister Lords and their squires. The King was surrounded by numerous Kingsguard as he held his sword out, Sansa Stark kissing the blade.
"Get the girl to Maegor's Loren." Tywin said quietly. "Your Grace! We should head for the battlements."
Joffrey was startled and sheathed his sword. "Of course, Grandfather." He nodded. "I shall see you afterwards, My Lady."
Sansa just stood there with a small smile on her lips as Loren waited for the King, Jaime and the rest of his Kingsguard to depart before making his way over to her. "My Lady, you should be in Maegor's Holdfast." Loren said gently.
"I'm heading to see my sister and then heading there afterwards, Lord Loren." Sansa told him.
"You best hurry." Loren noted, listening to the bells. "I can't imagine Stannis will be far away."
Sansa nodded, curtseying. "I'll pray to the Mother for your safe return My Lord."
"And the Warrior to grant me strength I hope." Loren grinned as the two parted. He shifted his sword belt slightly when long blonde hair rushed towards him and impacted him in a fierce hug. "Princess Myrcella!" Loren chuckled as he put her back down on to the floor.
"Sorry, I know it's improper." The girl rolled her eyes. "I just had to see you off."
Loren smirked. "Well I thank you for thinking of me Princess. Now go on, to Maegor's with you, your Mother will be expecting you to stay with her."
"Come back." Myrcella warned him. "If you don't I'll never forgive you."
Loren nodded. "I promise."
Myrcella smiled and lifted up to her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his clean-shaven cheek before she ran off to link arms with Sansa. Loren sighed, and looked down at his right wrist where the crimson ribbon Cerenna had given to him before he had left Casterly Rock was tied to his wrist underneath the armour.
"Loren." A voice called, and he looked up to see Tywin standing in the great doorway, the Old Lion looking extremely regal in his armour. "Come."
The younger Lannister nodded, and jogged back to his Grandfather as they made their way out of the Red Keep, mounting horses and leading a group of about 300 cavalry towards the King's Gate to put their part of the plan into motion.
While Tywin and Loren were leading the mounted knights in a different part of the city, Jaime was with the King walking towards the battlements where they were due to meet Tyrion. They passed hundreds of men in the Fishmonger's Square all preparing for the battle to come before Joffrey led Jaime, Clegane, Ser Mandon Moore, Ser Arys Oakheart and a handful of other knights from the Westerlands up the steps to the battlements, where Jaime's youngest brother was stood watching the eerily dark Blackwater with his squire. They could hear the drums coming from Stannis' ship and Jaime noticed Joffrey visibly freeze up.
"We have the walls, we have almost 20,000 soldiers within and outside of the city." Jaime reassured him. "Stannis can only hope to match that number, and men are of more use defending a city wall than they are assaulting one."
"Where's our fleet?" Lancel cried out, and Jaime bit back his groan, wanting to slap the boy for adding to Joffrey's worry.
"On the way." Tyrion replied, not taking his keen eyes off of the bay. Jaime had to admit that he was impressed by his younger brother. Tywin had been sceptical about trusting the misshapen Lannister with a large part of their forces and had thought to command them himself, but ultimately gave Tyrion command of the City Walls and the Wildfire plot, and Tyrion looked like he was determined to prove himself.
"Why isn't it here now?" Joffrey asked. "They're coming!"
Tyrion just ignored the boy King, so Jaime intervened. "Your Grace, Stannis would expect us to battle at sea to begin with, and he himself commanded the defeat of the Iron Fleet ten years ago. A naval battle would diminish our numbers when they could be on the city walls instead."
That placated the King, although Lancel was still unhappy. "We're just letting them sail up to the gates? Have you completely lost your mind?" He asked Tyrion.
"I'm not letting them do anything, although that might happen if you don't stay silent and let me concentrate." Tyrion snapped back at Lancel. "If I don't concentrate, I can't give the signal and we invite 20,000 angry Stormlanders to come and try and take your head. I might enjoy the sight, except my head and all of our family including the King would join you. That cannot happen."
"Go and see if Daven has all the men he'll need." Jaime told his cousin. Lancel looked to protest, but a stern look from the famed Kingsguard knight silenced him, and he skulked away. "Are you sure about this brother?"
"Of course not." Tyrion sighed. "Do this and I become no better than our beloved Father and Brother, but if it's a choice between winning this battle or losing it, I shall do what I must."
"There they are!" Joffrey exclaimed, pointing out into the distance. Jaime could just about see the silhouette of a ship appearing through the fog. Shifting himself in preparation, he gave the rest of the Kingsguard a knowing nod before placing his helmet on his head, his golden armour reflecting the flickering torchlight.
"Archers to their marks." Tyrion ordered, and the command was repeated louder by a Lannister archer. The bowmen all sprang into action, moving into the crenels of the wall.
"Nock your arrows!" Came the next command, and Jaime heard arrows being pulled out of their holsters and the strings of the bows strain as the archers aimed.
"Hold fast." Tyrion told them, and the order was repeated.
Joffrey looked to complain, but Jaime shook his head and placed a hand on his shoulder. "There's only one ship." Was the next comment.
"It's all part of the plan." Jaime explained. "Right now they're going to be thinking that we must have something crafty up our sleeves."
"And do we?" Joffrey asked. Jaime just nodded his head, and the men on the wall watched as their ship passed by the first of Stannis'. The old man Haylene lit a torch and handed it to Tyrion, who held it in the air tentatively.
"This better work." Jaime commented. "If it doesn't, we're fucked."
"It will." Tyrion told him confidently. "It will." He whispered again, more to himself as he threw the torch down to the beach below.
It was about 5 seconds later when a single spec of light appeared from the cliffside to their left, and it flew towards the ships in what seemed like slow motion. The men fell silent as they watched the flaming arrow sail over half of Stannis' fleet, before all hell broke loose when the arrow hit the water.
Jaime's worst nightmare sprung to life in the middle of the Blackwater, as Tyrion's wildfire ignited rapidly, following up the trail that their ship had left in the water until it reached the ship, and the biggest explosion that Jaime had ever seen engulfed the bay. Jaime had to quickly bring his arm up to shield his eyes as the green flames burned so bright that they appeared almost white. Dozens of ships were immediately incinerated, while the sound of screams soon came racing towards the Walls of King's Landing. Jaime felt ill, the sound of men dying had been something that he was used to by now, but the sight of such hardy ships and the men on them being engulfed by the very thing he had killed a King to protect his citizens from left an ill taste in his mouth.
Even at the King's Gate the light of the explosion was blinding as the flames rose higher than the walls, and Loren struggled to keep his horse under control. The knights were just waiting for their signal, and it was the waiting that was the hardest part.
"Can't we go yet?" Benarr Prester asked, frustrated.
"When Lord Tywin commands us." Loren told him sharply. He looked up at the battlements where his Grandfather was flanked by a couple of elder Westerlords staring out at the bay. They waited there for another few minutes before Tywin put his far eye away and came walking down the steps, walking over to Loren.
"Half of his fleet has been destroyed, but Stannis is still landing his troops." Tywin explained, and Loren could have sword he heard an ounce of respect there. "Get yourself ready. They'll soon be at the walls and that is when we'll strike."
"Yes, Lord Tywin." Loren obeyed. Tywin walked beyond him after that, leaving Loren to lead the lines. He was nervous, not even knighted yet but trusted enough to lead the charge. He closed the eye guards of his helmet and adjusted it for full sight, withdrawing his sword Lionheart. Turning to his side, he asked his friend. "Are you with me?"
"Until the end." Benarr nodded firmly. Loren appreciated that, and the army waited once more.
A few moments later the call came up from the battlements above the King's Gate. "They're at the Walls! They're attacking the River Gate!"
Loren tapped his lion pauldrons with his sword, breathing deeply in as the gates creaked open. "Hit them hard! Hit them fast! Let them know what it means to provoke the Lion!" He roared, holding Lionheart above his head. Kicking his legs inwards, his horse took charge as Loren led the mounted knights out beyond the walls, soon to join the fray.
The boom of the Wildfire explosion could also be heard in Maegor's Holdfast, and Sansa had immediately tried to peer out of a window to try and get a look at what had happened, although she could see nothing. The Queen was deep in her cups and snorted a laugh at the sight of the Stark girl.
"Look at you, acting so worried for your beloved King." Cersei scoffed.
"I worry for all the brave men laying down their lives for us." Sansa told her calmly.
Cersei just rolled her eyes as she held out her glass for more wine. "All of them? I find that hard to believe. Even I don't worry for all of my beloved family out there."
Sansa played the part of a scandalised girl. "You don't wish for the safety of your family?" She whispered, so that the other ladies wouldn't hear."
Cersei chuckled. "You're so perfect, aren't you? The perfect Lady with perfect innocence. No, I don't. I worry for my son, your betrothed because he has no place on a battlefield. I worry for my Father, as Joffrey will need his guidance. I worry for my twin as he is Joffrey's closest protector and if he falls, Joffrey falls. The rest of them I hope Stannis takes them all." She mock saluted with her glass before taking a swig.
"Even Lord Loren? He's been nothing but gracious to the King, and to myself as well." Sansa told Cersei.
Cersei's eyes went wide with amusement. "So that's it, you lust after my nephew?" Sansa began to splutter her disagreement, but Cersei stopped her. "The spawn of my eldest brother and some weak Crakehall woman? No, I don't worry for him and I don't care for him. He and his Father can rot in the Seven Hells."
"Your Grace!" Sansa gasped, silently cheering at the information she was getting. She looked towards the other end of the room where Myrcella was reading a book unaware of their conversation, Tommen's head in her lap as he slept.
"Oh don't act so surprised. You know more than most what Tyland is like." Cersei said darkly. "He holds grudges, and that's why he murdered your Father, an old grudge from the last battle for this city." Sansa tried to ignore the remark about her Father but failed to mask her pain. "Yes, he murdered your Father, your Brother and Mother both died by his words and don't you find it strange that your other brothers aren't here?"
"My family are traitors…" Sansa began.
"Spare me the falsehoods." Cersei said icily. "You think that Loren is the better Lannister, that he's kind and sweet and the most handsome of dashing knights that ever walked the earth." Cersei said, her voice rising higher with mocking as she went on before returning to her serious tones. "Tyland was like that once, when he was younger."
"Really?" Sansa asked, forgetting herself.
"Oh yes." Cersei laughed humourlessly. "Before my Mother died he too was the perfect Lordling. Always gracious to guests, he played with Jaime and I and snuck us sweets before bed. Even when she died, he tucked us into bed and stayed with us until we fell asleep, ensuring we were calm and comfortable. Then he changed. My Father dug his claws in and beat the 'weakness' out of him. He'll do the same to your beloved Loren."
"I love the King, Your Grace, not his cousin." Sansa corrected quickly, but before Cersei could respond the doors flung open to show Lancel Lannister.
"Your Grace!" He cried. "Your Grace!"
"Cousin Lancel." Cersei greeted. "Why are you here?"
"Stannis is at the gates, Your Grace." Lancel explained quietly. "Lord Tywin and Ser Daven have led sorties but the numbers facing us are vast."
"And the King?" Cersei asked.
"On the battlements with Ser Jaime and Lord Tyrion." Lancel told her.
Cersei nodded, taking a sip of wine. "Bring him back inside."
Lancel was shocked at the request. "Your Grace…"
"What?" Cersei snapped.
"The… the King's presence is good for morale." Lancel whispered.
"Bring him back to his chambers. Now." Cersei told him harshly.
"Not here?" Lancel asked.
"Do you want him to be mocked as a coward all his life?" Cersei asked him back. "Bring him inside now." She ordered once more. Lancel said nothing more, he just stormed out of the room as Cersei took another drink. "You're judging me."
"No, Your Grace." Sansa replied quickly.
"I don't blame you for it." Cersei answered. "You don't have children." The Queen looked over at Myrcella, who had her eyes up from the book and smiled warmly at her Mother. "I would do anything to protect them. Anything."
The cavalry charge was a resounding success, as the initial lines of Stannis' army crumbled under the force of the horses. Loren had found himself leaning all over his horses back to stab and slash at anybody wearing the dull yellow colours of House Baratheon. Dozens of men died at his own hand as necks were slashed open and limbs were cut off, coating Lionheart in the thick, red liquid that was in all men.
Stannis still had the numbers however, and Loren was getting quite worried as to why Daven hadn't entered the field with the entirety of his foot soldiers, instead only a few hundred had veered from the River Gate to aid Loren. The lack of numbers wasn't stopping him however, as the young Lannister forced himself into action, feeling like he had single-handedly cleared the River Gate of Baratheon soldiers. Holding his sword aloft as his men cheered, the battering ram was knocked over and set aflame to the delight of the Lannister forces.
Loren looked for his Grandfather, who was leaning over listening to a foot soldiers report. Riding towards Lord Tywin, the foot soldier quickly bowed and departed. "Was that it?" Loren asked. "Did we win already?"
"If only." Tywin growled. "Stannis knew that we would focus on the Blackwater, so only carried a quarter of his army towards the City."
Loren looked around at the dead, realising how few there actually were considering what they had expected. "Well where is he then?" He asked.
"Marching on the Iron Gate at the other side of the City." Tywin snarled. "Daven is leading his men there now, I want you to hold the River Gate."
Loren bowed his head. "Consider it held Grandfather."
Tywin's mouth twitched in a semi smile, as he patted Loren proudly on the shoulder before riding back towards the River Gate, as it opened for him and a handful of his own guards. The other Lannister's were looking a bit bewildered, when a roar came from behind Loren. He turned around and saw a force of Baratheon men charging at them. "FORM UP!" Loren roared, steering his horse into action. "FORM UP NOW!"
Two rows of pikes formed up in front of the few hundred horsemen, ready to clash with the onrushing Baratheon's. "WE HOLD THE LINE!" Loren shouted. "FOR THE KING! FOR KING JOFFREY!"
"FOR KING JOFFREY!" His men roared, as the two lines clattered together as the fight wore on.
On the battlements, Jaime could only watch as his Father and his nephew took the fight to Stannis' men. The Kingsguard was impressed at Loren, who was down there wielding a sword like he was born to it, Baratheon men falling at is steely kiss. He could sense Joffrey getting impatient beside him. "Patience, Your Grace." Jaime said quietly. "Your presence here is doing more for the men than you being in the thick of it."
"Why should he get all the plaudits though!" Joffrey cried, pointing at Loren.
"All he does, is in your name." Jaime encouraged. "Look, they've nearly cleared the gate."
It wasn't long before the battering ram was knocked over and set alight, much to the delight of the men both on the walls and under it. "Don't cheer too soon." Tyrion muttered. "That wasn't enough men."
Lancel appeared behind them at that point, his pompous voice crying. "Your Grace! Your Grace! The Queen has sent me to bring you back to the Red Keep!"
Jaime double took. "She what?" He couldn't stop himself from asking.
"Her Grace has sent me…" Lancel began.
"I heard you." Jaime replied angrily, as Tyrion stepped up to Joffrey.
"If you won't defend your own city, why should they?" The dwarf asked.
At that moment the gates opened and shut quickly again. Joffrey looked between the three Lannisters. "Well what would you have me do?"
From below the walls, the Lannister forces began crying. "For King Joffrey!" Jaime looked down to see more Baratheon men charging on the beach.
"Did you hear that?" Jaime asked. "That's your cousins forces fighting for you, in your name. He is down there risking his life and the lives of all his men for you. If you leave now, they'll all die in vain."
"Nobody is leaving." A deep voice came from the steps, as a semi bloodied Tywin Lannister climbed up them. "What is this?"
"The Queen has instructed me to bring His Grace back to the Red Keep, Lord Tywin." Lancel bowed his head sheepishly, not looking at his uncle.
Tywin froze for a minute in bewilderment. "Go and tell the Dowager Queen that the only commands she gives tonight are to her room of women that sit safely in Maegor's Holdfast. Her words have no weight here." Lancel was stood frozen, and so Tywin glared at the boy. "Go!" Lancel went scurrying off at that, and so Tywin turned to Joffrey. "You don't need to be a great warrior, we have enough of them in our ranks. You don't need to be a great commander, we have enough of those too. What you do need to be, Your Grace, is present. The sight of you amongst the men gives them more courage than they have, and they will fight all the more for you if you stand your ground."
Joffrey nodded. "Of course, Grandfather."
Tywin nodded, his face relaxing slightly as he turned to Tyrion. "Your Wildfire was impressive."
Tyrion looked shocked at the compliment. "Thank you, Father. I regret it didn't take all of Stannis' men."
"It would never have been able to." Tywin replied coldly, turning to Jaime. "He landed most of his army at Rosby this morning. They assault the Iron Gate as we speak. I've already had Daven take his troops to meet them, but we need to lead a sortie to break them. Stannis is there."
Jaime nodded, a plan forming in his head. "We can go. If Stannis is there then Joffrey needs to be as well."
Joffrey gulped, but was too afraid to disagree so he just nodded. Tywin agreed too. "Tyrion will command from here, I shall join you, Your Grace."
"Ser Mandon." Joffrey called. "Stay with my uncle. Bear the King's banner atop the River Gate."
The man in question nodded, and while Jaime would have preferred to leave Ser Arys, he couldn't disagree that Mandon was a worthy sword. The Kingsguard turned to his brother as Tywin walked back down the steps with Joffrey and Ser Arys. "Stay safe, brother."
"I'll be perfectly fine up here." Tyrion waved off. "Do you remember the map Varys gave me?"
Jaime nodded. "I know the place. We'll sneak out easily enough."
Tyrion smiled grimly. "Don't die."
"I haven't so far." Jaime grinned cockily, before making his own departure as well, heading off to lead around three thousand men that were following Lord Tywin through a single file tunnel to face the stern Baratheon himself.
The dwarf of Casterly Rock didn't have any time to think after his family departed, as the battle still raged below him outside of the city walls. Regularly he heard the calls to fire a volley of arrows from the battlements, but still Stannis' reinforcements at the River gate were holding their own against the Lannisters.
"I have to give him credit." Tyrion said aloud, but still to himself. "He's a tough old goat."
"A goat, My Lord?" Podrick asked.
Tyrion shook his head. "Never mind Podrick. Be a good lad and fetch me a drink, would you?"
Pod bowed, quickly rushing down the steps. Tyrion returned to watch the battle, as flames raged over the beach and the faint sight of the tide turning red could be seen against the black of the night. He looked at the battle and was a bit worried to see his nephew on foot, his horse must have been somewhere among the pile of dead littered around, but Tyrion smiled at the sight of Loren rallying his men and holding his own against two Baratheon men at arms.
His attention was soon taken by the bells from the top of the Red Keep ringing again. Confused, he peered out beyond the still burning ships in the Blackwater. Flaming missiles were being thrown at the remaining Baratheon ships from further out into the bar, and Tyrion gasped out in relief as the faintest image of a golden lion on a set of sails could be seen, with more ships bearing green sails behind it heading towards the shore.
The battle would be won, Tyrion knew now. Tyland had managed to strike a deal with House Tyrell and had brought an army back to save the city. He turned to Mandon Moore beside him, grinning at the turn of events. Moore turned to Tyrion as well, standing above the little man menacingly. Tyrion's brain went into overdrive as Mandon's hand went to his sword, unsheathing the lengthy steel and swiping down. Tyrion blocked it with his axe, but the force of the blow sent his weapon flying, leaving him vulnerable to the second swing.
He stepped backwards and gasped at the eruption of pain that swept across his face. His hands went up towards the pain, shaking at the shock of what had just happened. He saw Mandon prepare to swing again and Tyrion was ready to just piss himself, when a sickening crunch was heard, and the point of a spear protruded from Mandon's neck. The large Kingsguard knight gargled blood, before the spear point snapped off and he fell to the floor leaving a terrified looking Podrick Payne. The squire immediately rushed passed the twitching body of Moore and took Tyrion in his arms as his legs collapsed.
"I'm here My Lord." He said, as a couple of other Lannister men rushed around to see what had happened. "I'm here."
Tyrion couldn't say anything due to shock, but the pain was growing to be too much for him, and the last thing he saw before passing out was his Squire shouting for assistance.
It had been a feat of human willpower that had ensured that Tyland and the Army of the Reach had made it from the banks of the Mander to Blackwater Bay in time for the battle but made it they had. The Lannister heir stood on the deck of his personal ship, Lion's Pride, and all he could see as the ship pulled into Blackwater Bay was burning. Ships were burning, the ground was burning, even the Blackwater still burned in places. The Captain began carefully manoeuvring the ship so that the men could disembark towards the shoreline safely.
Tyland was on the first rowboat and waited on the beach for his golden horse to be brought out as well, watching hundreds of men join him on the mainland before rushing off towards the city. Loras Tyrell was one of those men quickly off, deciding to arm himself in Renly's old armour to terrify the traitorous men who deserted the dead Baratheon.
"Dispense your justice to the traitors, Lord Loras." Tyland called over as Loras mounted up. The Tyrell was still cold towards the Lannister but nodded.
"Stannis is mine." He growled, before leading a charge of some Tyrell cavalry.
Tyland's horse soon arrived, and he mounted up, moving at a canter along the shoreline towards the city and just watching the battle by the River Gate die out.
The Reachman charge hit the battle outside of the River Gate just as Loren pulled his bloodied sword out of a Velaryon knight's neck, the body dropping to the floor as the horses clashed with the now retreating Stormlanders. Standing up to just take in the scene around him, Loren grinned, holding his sword aloft in victory.
He was suddenly barrelled over however as a burly Baratheon man came clattering into him from behind. Quickly grabbing his dropped sword and rolling over to his back, he looked up to see a large battle-axe rushing down to greet him.
With all of his might, Loren swung Lionheart at the axe, managing to knock it to his left as Loren rolled out of the way as he swung. Grimacing as he looked back up at the large man bringing the axe back up, terrified made way for elated, as the familiar red blade of Red Rain plunged out of the man's chest. The axe fell to the floor, and Loren could only look up from the bloody sand underneath his back at a golden horse, and the pristine, shiny Lannister armour of his Father.
"Father…" Loren gasped.
Red Rain was sheathed and Tyland dismounted from his horse before holding out an arm and helping Loren up. "You're outside of the walls." Tyland noted, a hint of concern in his voice.
Loren nodded. "I helped lead the cavalry charge with Grandfather, and we needed to hold the Mud Gate." He explained, using the local, informal term for the gate. "He went off to defend against Stannis himself at the Iron Gate."
Tyland was silent for a moment before nodding. "I thought this was too few men. Ser Steffon." Tyland called towards one of the knights in his personal guard, the brother of Ser Kevan's wife. "Head into the city and let my brother know to focus all defensive efforts on the Iron Gate." He ordered the heir of House Swyft. "Give my son your horse, you won't be needing it."
Ser Steffon looked to complain but thought against it, dismounting and leading the white horse to the young Lannister. "Look after her." Ser Steffon said quietly, as he walked towards the now opening gates.
Tyland also mounted up and spurred his horse closer to his son. "We'll lead a charge and defeat Stannis once and for all. Are you ready?"
Loren nodded, a firm grip on both his sword and the reins as determination to see this through hit him. "I am Father."
Tyland's mouth twitched briefly in a smirk. "Good." He said, looking around for Ser Loras. Once he found him the pair of Lannisters rode over to the knight, gleefully poking holes in a dying Baratheon soldier. "Ser Loras. Form up your men and we'll ride for the Iron Gate and finish off Stannis Baratheon once and for all."
Loras' face couldn't be seen inside his helmet, but the voice that came from it dripped in murderous glee. "Gladly, My Lord."
Tyrion's map had led Jaime, Joffrey and the rest of Lord Tywin's reinforcements to a small grate in the wall that gave them an excellent vantage point to attack Stannis' own reinforcements from. Tywin himself had gone to command from atop the walls, so it was left to Jaime and Ser Arys to lead the charge.
The fighting was already fierce along the Rosby Road, as Jaime's cousin Daven had engaged earlier on, so all Jaime had to do was direct the few hundred men through the walls and onto the enemy. Following them, Jaime kept Joffrey close to him as he drew his sword.
"Remember your training, Your Grace." He called over to the boy King. "Stay defensive if you have to and one of us will be beside you to aid you."
Joffrey nodded, raring to go, and with his Kingsguard they ran towards the edges of the battle, as Joffrey managed to get his first taste of killing an actual person by running his sword through one of the Baratheon foot soldier's back.
They stuck to the edge of the battle, with Jaime and Arys fighting off the bravest of Stannis' men that had noticed the King was in the field. This in turn led to the Lannister soldiers forming a better defensive formation, with plenty of shouts to aid the King ringing through the air.
Jaime and Arys themselves left a trail of bodies in their wake, standing either side of the King as they began to push inwards, towards the walls where Stannis' men had begun to put ladders up. Those men didn't last too much longer however, as from the Southern side horse hooves stomped in the dirt, as thousands of Reachmen charged the Baratheon pretender.
"It's Renly! Back from the dead!" One soldier screamed, as somebody in Renly's old armour ploughed through men, hacking his gilded sword through bones and flesh. More of the invaders began questioning themselves at the sight, and soon men wearing the yellow of the Stormlands began to flee down the Rosby Road. The Lannister forces began cheering at the beginnings of a victory, but one voice stood out to Jaime most of all.
"No! Stand and fight!" It called, and Jaime turned towards the noise, where Stannis was beginning to be pulled away by loyal men.
"Your Grace!" Jaime called, pointing his sword out to Stannis. Joffrey saw the usurper and looked in two minds as to what to do, so Jaime took initiative. "Ser Arys! Protect the King." He called, not waiting for a response as he made for the Lord of Dragonstone. He ducked under one sword and brutally hacked his own into the man, opening his belly, before parrying a second blade from another on rusher and driving his own into his opponent's heart. His eyes remained focused on Stannis as more men ran to protect their usurper King, only to be cut down by the famed Lannister knight.
"Traitor!" Stannis shouted at Jaime once the pair stood mere feet away from each other.
Jaime shook his head. "I'm not the one that betrayed my King and rose in rebellion, Lord Stannis." He called back.
"No, you just cuckolded King Robert and put your own bastard on the throne." Stannis replied, tensing his hands on his sword.
"Lies!" Jaime cried, knowing full well that he was the liar. "Bend the knee to King Joffrey, Lord Stannis. Go back to Storm's End in service of your brother's son and live."
Stannis shook his own head. "My brothers had no children, and I shall not give up my birth right to a Lannister bastard."
Jaime sighed in defeat. "So be it." He said calmly, bringing his sword up to cover his body. "Then as Lord Commander of King Joffrey's Kingsguard it is my duty to arrest you for your crimes."
Stannis said nothing, instead attacking with another guard joining in. Jaime fought off the two men using all the skill he had gained in almost 35 years of life, parrying both blades away before they even came close to touching him. He knew he had to end one of them quickly before he became overran, so he blocked the blow of Stannis' guard, blades locking together before Jaime kicked out with his plated boot, sending the guard to the ground winded. Spinning his sword around he then swiped out at Stannis within seconds, severing the Baratheon's sword hand from his arm.
Stannis screamed out in pain as he brought his still attached hand to his new stump, trying to stop the flow of blood now oozing from his wrist, and Jaime turned back to stab his sword through the heart of the sprawling guard, ending his life. Stannis had fallen to his knees by that point, and so Jaime held his sword at his neck, daring him to move.
"Well done Jaime." A voice came from behind the Kingsguard, and Jaime turned his neck to see Tyland riding towards him. Looking around the battle had stopped, as Baratheon men were in a full retreat after their commander had fallen. Lannister swords were in the air as the men cheered.
Jaime nodded, catching his breath from the fight. "Nice to see you, brother." Jaime smirked.
Tyland made no reply, instead dismounting from his horse and standing in front of the kneeling Stannis. "Lord Stannis." He greeted.
"Kingslayer." Stannis hissed out through clenched teeth, still in agony.
"You beat him!" A jubilant voice was heard, as Joffrey almost skipped over towards them, his sword with the odd splattering of blood on its blade. "You beat Stannis!"
Tyland ushered Joffrey in, wrapping his arm around his nephew's shoulders. "You beat him, Your Grace." He said, fanning the boy King's pride. "And now it's your duty to see an end to his rebellion."
Jaime looked over at his brother, eyes open in alarm. Moving closer, he whispered to Tyland. "Isn't it better to have him bend the knee and take Storm's End?"
Tyland narrowed his eyes. "The man is a traitor, Jaime." Tyland said coldly.
"I shall suffer no traitors." Joffrey added, his emerald eyes shining in delight.
Tyland nodded his agreement. "The singers shall tell tales of your noble victory, Your Grace. Execute him now, and your reign shall go forever unchallenged."
Joffrey nodded, taking a deep breath before he moved to stand before Stannis. "My Uncle Tyland is right. Uncle Stannis, you are a traitor that rose in a doomed rebellion, and a traitor should die a traitor's death."
Jaime whispered hurriedly to Tyland as Joffrey began putting on a show for his men in front of the disarmed Stannis, listing off his titles. "Isn't he more useful alive? In charge of Storm's End instead of slaughtered disarmed like livestock?"
"He has a daughter." Tyland whispered back, as Joffrey finished.
"Sentence you to die." The King called out. He then raised his sword and slashed it across Stannis' neck, who gurgled blood for a moment, his remaining hand leaving his stump for his neck, until his life left him, and his body slumped forwards to the ground.
"Take his head!" Tyland called out. "Prepare a spike on the Traitor's Walk for it so we can celebrate King Joffrey's victory!"
The men cheered once more, but Jaime just looked at the body of the man he had beaten, guilt rising. "That was dishonourable." He whispered to himself.
Cersei was many things, but patient wasn't one of them. As soon as Lancel's report about Stannis having deceived them, she took her children away from the clucking hens that annoyed her so much and went directly for the seat of power. She sat down on the Iron Throne, Tommen on her lap and Myrcella pacing next to her.
"Why are we here? We should be in that room with Sansa." The younger girl argued.
"We're safe here." Cersei lied. "Stannis won't harm us in the Throne Room."
"Stannis won't get to the Throne Room." Myrcella mumbled under her breath, which Cersei pretended to ignore.
Tommen looked concerned. "Why isn't Uncle Jaime back yet?" He asked.
"He'll be back soon my love." Cersei smiled down at her youngest. "Shall I tell you a story in the mean time?" Tommen nodded, so Cersei began a story of the lions in the forest. She noticed Myrcella getting more and more annoyed as she went on, but Cersei wasn't interrupted. "And the cub said, 'will I be strong and fierce like my Father?'"
With that she uncorked the vial that Pycelle had given her at the start of the night, her fears focused on not letting any harm come to her children. Myrcella noticed what she was doing however and questioned. "Mother what is that?"
"'Yes,' said his Mother." Cersei continued. "'You will be strong and fierce like your Father.'"
"Mother!" Myrcella cried, reaching out and grabbing Cersei's arm. Cersei fought back, ripping her arm out of her daughter's grip, but the vial spilled out of her hand in the process, shattering on the floor.
"What have you done…" Cersei began to admonish Myrcella, when the doors flew open. Cersei gasped, clinging Tommen tighter to her as she saw a large group of armed men enter the room. In the middle of them all was her Father, flanked by Tyland and Joffrey, with Loren, Jaime, Lancel and Daven all in the group along with a few men she didn't recognise. "Father…" She gasped.
"The battle is over." Tywin announced proudly, allowing Joffrey to hold up the severed head of Stannis Baratheon. "We have won!"
Chapter 16: Courtly Rewards
Loren Lannister slept for a full day after the battle. Waking up with a groan, he grimaced at the sting of a couple of cuts that had managed to sneak through his armour. Pulling aside the covers, he stretched and then got out of his bed, the cool morning breeze hitting his shirtless body. Moving over to the bowl of poultice that Pycelle had whipped up for his wounds, Loren was surprised to see a figure sat in the corner.
"You're finally awake." Came the voice of his Father. Loren dropped his guard and breathed out loudly in relief.
"You can't just sneak into someone's room like that." He chuckled. "Yes, I'm awake."
Tyland shook his head, slightly amused. "Put your best clothes on, you're needed in the Throne Room." He told his son.
Loren was confused. "I thought court wasn't until after noon?"
Tyland's mouth was shaped in a rare smirk. "Get dressed. Quickly." Was all he said, before rising and walking out past Loren, sending a couple of servants in to help Loren get changed.
Half an hour later, his hair waxed so it looked sleek and shiny, and in his best crimson doublet with golden trousers, Loren fastened Lionheart to his hip and left his chambers, meeting his Father's Captain of the Guards, Vylarr, outside of his rooms.
"Come with me, My Lord." Vylarr said formally, and so Loren followed the man, flanked by two other Lannister soldiers. They walked along in silence until they got to the Throne Room, where Vylarr stopped as the doors opened. "Your Father is waiting for you inside." Vylarr added.
Loren gulped as he looked in at the Throne Room. His Lannister Grandfather was sat on the Iron Throne, with Jaime to his left and Tyland to his right. Up on the balcony stood his aunt and his younger cousins by her, and to his surprise his Mother's family, with his other Grandfather Lord Roland stood with Loren's three uncles. Walking the length of the room, Loren stood before the steps leading up to the Throne.
"Grandfather." Loren bowed his head formally.
"Loren, my Grandson." Tywin stated. "Do you know why you've been brought here today?" Loren honestly didn't, so he shook his head. "Your bravery and leadership outside the River Gate during Stannis' invasion were unquestionable. You did yourself and House Lannister proud and proved a more than capable commander. In the campaign against House Stark, you were the one to see that splitting the army was most beneficial and allowed us to gain a strong foothold in the Riverlands, while also proving your valour in battle. You have been a dutiful squire, but a man of your talent and nobility should not be a squire any longer."
Loren gasped suddenly as he began to process those words. Jaime then stepped forwards, unsheathing his blade. "Kneel, nephew." Loren's idol told him, and the youngster obeyed, dipping his head as his knee touched the stone floor. "In the name of the Warrior I charge you to be brave." Jaime said loudly, tapping his sword on Loren's right shoulder before moving it to his left. "In the name of the Father I charge you to be just." The swapping of shoulders continued every time Jaime mentioned a new God. "In the name of the Mother I charge you to defend the young and innocent. In the name of the Maid I charge you to protect all women. In the name of the Smith I charge to you keep yourself strong. In the name of the Crone I charge you to exercise wisdom. And in the name of the Stranger, I charge you to uphold these vows until he greets you in his arms. Arise, Ser Loren of House Lannister. Knight of the Seven."
Jaime's sword left Loren's right shoulder and the newly knighted Lannister rose to his feet as the room filled with echoing applause. The first to greet him was Jaime himself, giving Loren a strong hug. "Thank you." Loren whispered.
"You deserve it." Jaime told the boy with a grin, before standing off by the Throne and letting Tyland greet his son.
The heir to Casterly Rock for once beamed with pride. "Congratulations." He told his son, patting Loren on the shoulder.
"Thank you, Father." Loren replied emotionally.
Tyland rolled his eyes. "Come, let us celebrate before the boredom of court. We've set up the old Small Council Chamber with some breakfast in your honour."
Loren felt overwhelmed but was soon dragged into the room to the side of the Throne Room by his mother's younger brothers, Lyle and Merlon Crakehall to celebrate with the majority of his family.
Court was as dull as Tyland had predicted, and the Lannister heir could only stand there and listen as multiple minor Lords and Knight's were honoured due to their deeds during the battle. Tyland himself had been reinstated as the Master of Laws and had also been proclaimed the saviour of the city for his so-called timely arrival, although Tyland thought that the battle could have still been won without his efforts. He looked up at his Father who was sat beside the King, true unhappiness in his eyes.
Tywin had been most wroth with Cersei the day after the battle, and the Dowager Queen had been scolded harder than she had been in years. Normally that would have amused Tyland, but the news that came from that shouting match filled him with dread as the news about Tyrion came to light. Cersei was keeping tightly lipped, but Tyland reckoned that it was her that had ordered Ser Mandon to kill the dwarf during the battle, and thanks to Tyrion's squire stopping the botched attempt, it had failed. Podrick's reward for saving Tyrion's life was about to be recognised, as the squire knelt before the Iron Throne.
"Podrick Payne. Your efforts in defending your master from new enemies in the Vale are greatly appreciated." Joffrey began. Tyland's idea had been to blame the mad Lysa Arryn for Moore's deceit, his family being Valemen. "In return, your House shall be granted lands further to the North, up to the bank of the Blackwater Rush by the Stony Sept. Your distant cousin of the main branch, Lady Kathryn, if she agrees, shall be betrothed to my own cousin, Lord Loren of House Lannister."
Tyland looked over at his future daughter by law as she moved to stand beside Podrick. The girl was slightly comely with dirty blonde hair and was wearing a flattering dress in her House's colours of purple with yellow detailing. The girl curtseyed before the Iron Throne before saying. "I would be honoured to wed the noble Lord Loren, Your Grace."
The speech had been practised, but now it was up to Loren to do his part. The boy was at Tyland's right hand side and didn't look happy in the slightest when Joffrey said loudly. "And what say you, cousin? Will you wed this fair maid?"
Breathing heavily, Loren put on a fake smile and stepped forwards. "I would be delighted to, Your Grace."
"Then it is settled!" Joffrey proclaimed happily. Kathryn had the decency to blush as her and Loren locked eyes for the first time before she and Podrick returned to their places in the room. Loren stepped back beside Tyland, looking at the floor.
"You did well." Tyland breathed out, Loren just nodded his head.
More honours were given out after that, as the Lefford's gained some villages from the Riverlands and more men were knighted. Afterwards, marriage pacts were announced between Tyland's cousins and the Reach in order to cement an alliance between the two nations. Tyland's cousin Daven was to marry Desmera Redwyne while his other cousin Myrielle was to marry Dickon Tarly. Dickon's sister Talla would marry Lancel Lannister, and his cousin Tyrek would marry Alla Tyrell. The big one however was the last to be announced, as Joffrey called Ser Loras to the Throne.
The heir to Highgarden knelt before the Throne, and Joffrey addressed him. "Your House has come to our aid. The whole realm is in your debt, and none more so than I. If your family would ask anything of me, ask it, and it shall be yours."
The pretence was set, and Loras played along perfectly. "Your Grace." He began, still kneeling. "my sister Margaery, her husband was taken from us before…" He stopped for a moment, swallowing before continuing. "She remains innocent. I would ask you to find it in your heart to do us the great honour of joining House Tyrell and House Baratheon."
Joffrey sat casually on the throne and pointed out to the Lady in question. "Is this what you want, Lady Margaery?"
Margaery Tyrell stepped forwards, stopping beside her brother. Tyland grimaced at the obvious way she was dressed to keep the King's attention, in a gown that was ridiculously revealing. "With all my heart, Your Grace." The woman said. "I have come to love you from afar. Tales of your courage and wisdom have never been far from my ears. And those tales have taken root deep inside of me."
Joffrey looked extremely smug as she said those words and replied back to the Tyrell Lady. "I, too, have heard tales of your beauty and grace, but the tales do not do you justice, my lady. It would be an honour to return your love." He then spoke for the benefit of the room. "But I am promised to another. A king must keep his word."
From beside the King, Tywin leant forwards. "Your Grace, it is the thoughts of your Small Council that while a match with the North will help to bring peace throughout the Kingdom's, a traitor's daughter cannot possibly be a suitable Queen for you. Your Council would implore you to set Lady Stark aside and wed the Lady Margaery."
Whispered murmurings filled the Throne Room as this statement sunk in. Tyland quickly glanced up to the Stark girls, the pair flanked by Lannister guards there to keep an eye on the younger. Arya herself looked almost gleeful, while Sansa had a look of calmness about her, her face showing no emotion. The crowd themselves began muttering for Margaery, a sound which Joffrey didn't miss.
"Lord Hand, I would like to heed your wishes and the wishes of my people, but I took a holy vow." Joffrey said to Tywin.
The old oaf Pycelle then added his own input from behind Tyland. "Your Grace, the gods do indeed hold betrothal solemn, but your father, blessed be his memory, made this pact before the Starks revealed their falseness. I have consulted with the High Septon and he assures me that their crimes against the realm free you from any promise you have made to them in the sight of the gods."
Joffrey stood up, looking as regal as he could. "The gods are good. I am free to heed my heart!" He exclaimed to the crowd of lickspittles. "Ser Loras, I will gladly wed your sweet sister." He told the knight, now rising to his feet, before addressing Margaery herself. "You will be my queen and I will love you from this day until my last day."
The room erupted in applause at the declaration, and Tyland joined in half heartedly. The show was necessary, but the prospect of working with the Tyrell's and their scheming nature didn't exactly fill the Master of Laws with confidence.
The Small Council was soon to grow with the arrival of more of the Tyrell's, but for now Lannisters still dominated Tyland sat to his Father's right as Varys began to talk.
"News from Riverrun, Lord Hand." The eunuch stated, handing over a raven scroll.
"Riverrun?" Tywin answered, raising an eyebrow. He took the message and read it, his eyes not portraying any emotion. "Lord Hoster Tully has died in his sleep."
That intrigued Tyland. "House Tully is no more then."
"You saw to that, dear brother." The fatigued voice of his younger brother came, Tyrion having just about recovered from his injuries but bearing an unflattering facial scar.
"It was war." Tyland said grimly. "They were our enemies and it left children in line to inherit. Children we can control."
"We can't control that which we do not have in our possession." Tyrion told him, leaning back and widening his arms indicating the room. "I don't see them."
"We can settle the matter of the Riverlands ourselves." Tywin said impatiently. "We still have Catelyn Tully's daughters in our grasp. The more pressing matter is Dragonstone."
Jaime was confused. "Stannis is dead." He reminded everyone.
"But we've had no news of a surrender." Varys input. "My little birds tell me that the ports have been shut and Lady Selyse is preparing for a siege."
Sighing, Tywin said. "Well then, a siege she shall get. We have the fleet of the Arbor, let's use them. Tyland, take as many men as you need. Take Dragonstone and bring the daughter back alive."
Tyland nodded. "Of course, Father."
"Leave as soon as you are able. I want this over." Tywin said firmly, and Tyland did as he was bid, excusing himself from the council and going to prepare both his belongings and his men.
It was a battered, bloodied and bruised Ser Davos Seaworth that somehow had made it back to Dragonstone after the battle. He had seen his son die in front of him but couldn't grieve, he had heard of his King's death but still couldn't grieve. As Hand it was his duty to see that his new Queen sat the Iron Throne even though the odds were heavily stacked against them.
He stumbled into the Chamber of the Painted Table to see Dowager Queen Selyse whispering with her Red Woman, and Ser Davos glowered at the sorceress.
"Ser Davos." Selyse greeted him in surprise. "You survived."
"I'm one of the lucky few, Your Grace." Davos nodded.
"You didn't save my husband." She added snidely.
Davos grimaced. "He led the land charge, I led the sea." He explained. "I had no chance, Your Grace."
"You had a chance at Storm's End to win the battle, Ser Davos." The Red Woman told him, her neckline still far too low for the elder man's liking. "You convinced King Stannis that I was to be left here instead of aiding in his victory."
"Yes." Selyse nodded, hypnotised by the woman. "That was a grave error."
"It is no matter. The Lord has made his will known and punished Ser Davos heavily." The Red Woman said, sympathetically. "But he has granted the smuggler his life in order to aid the new Queen."
"They'll be coming here, Your Grace." Davos urged. "How many men do we have?"
"Enough to hold the stairway." Selyse told him. "They'll never take the castle, not while the Lord watches over us."
Sighing, Davos ran his hands over his eyes. "Your Lord was watching over us on the Blackwater and burned half of our fleet, Your Grace."
"The Lord, Ser Davos." Selyse said unhappily, standing up. "You'll remember that if you are to serve my daughter."
The Dowager Queen then took her leave of the room, leaving Davos alone with the woman he detested more than anybody in the world. She regally glided over towards him, stopping to put a warm finger to one of the cuts on his face.
"This castle is doomed, Ser Davos." She said softly and quietly. "The Lord has shown me where Azor Ahai truly resides and it is far to the North. You should join me and together we can save mankind."
Davos looked outraged. "You said Stannis was your saviour." He growled. "You made everyone believe!"
"Not you." The woman said.
"No, not me." Davos shook his head. "I never needed some fancy prophecy, or legend to make me believe in Stannis. He would have been a good King, but your words twisted him into rushing and now he's dead, leaving a little girl as the last of her House."
"Houses won't matter." Melisandre stated. "The Iron Throne won't matter, all that matters is that Azor Ahai will rise once again to save us all from our doom, and you will be there, smuggler, by their side."
50 ships were slowly filtering out of King's Landing around a week after the announcement of Joffrey's new betrothal, and Tyland stood on the deck of Lion's Pride looking out towards the city as the ship left the docks. Ser Loras and Ser Daven were also on board Tyland's ship, and the two were discussing Daven's new betrothal.
"What is she like?" Tyland heard Daven ask.
"Freckled?" Loras shrugged. "Honestly I've not seen her in years."
Not interested in the gossip about Desmera Redwyne, Tyland unbuckled Red Rain and retired to his room in the ship, before sitting down and staring down at the map of the island he had been charged with taking.
Chapter 17: Dragonstone
It took three days for the Lannister fleet to arrive at Dragonstone, and to Tyland's surprise the docks were empty. Happy enough that life was to be made easier for him, he ordered the armies to dock and to set up camp on the beach before the castle. Leaving Daven in command of the ships just in case the remainder of Stannis' armada came for them, Tyland took command of the ground assault.
Dragonstone was an odd castle, and as Tyland looked up at the famed steps of Dragonstone, he knew that to take it was going to be difficult unless the castle yielded, so he ordered Stannis' head to be placed on a spike facing the first set of gates that were flanked by two giant dragon heads, as well as an initial assault with a battering ram led by the Tyrell troops.
"I always hated dragons." He muttered to himself as he watched the assault from the beach, a safe distance away. Looking up at the towers flanking the gates he noted that there were less defenders than he expected firing arrows down at Loras' men.
Happy enough with how things were going at the gate and pleased enough with the camp preparations on the beaches, it was a content Tyland that retired that night, hoping to wake up to some good news the next morning.
It felt strange to Loren that he hadn't had to put his armour on for weeks, but as he got himself changed for the day in fine clothing rather than the heavy armour of the West, Loren realised he actually missed it. He strapped Lionheart to his waist nonetheless, before picking up a small dagger that he had had commissioned for his cousin Myrcella. Nodding to himself, Loren left his chambers and went to find his cousin.
She was breaking her fast in her rooms with Sansa Stark, and they both looked happy to see the young Lannister when he was announced. He walked in and ruffled Myrcella's hair to her annoyance, and he took a seat with the girls.
"Lord Loren." Sansa greeted.
"My Lady." He kissed her hand.
Myrcella scowled at him. "Why would you do that? It took ages to get my hair right this morning."
Grinning and taking a cube of cheese, popping it into his mouth, Loren swallowed it and just said. "You should spend less time on your hair, dear cousin. The Northerner's have it right with their simplicity." He gestured towards Sansa who had a simple braid in her hair, a more feminine style than her Father used to wear but similar nonetheless.
"I bet Sansa spent less time on her hair than you did this morning." Myrcella teased. Loren just laughed, swiping his fringe away from his eyes.
"More than likely." Loren agreed. "Anyway, I wanted to give you this." He told her, placing the ornate sheath and handle onto the table. "It's not a toy, it's real and it's sharp." He warned her.
Myrcella placed her hand on the golden carved handle, fingering the lion outline. "It's beautiful." She whispered. "I don't know how to use it though."
"Stick them with the pointy end." Sansa said quickly, causing a smirk from Loren.
"Essentially." He nodded before facing Myrcella again. "You can learn, but Dorne is a dangerous place and they don't like us much. I'd see you protected."
"I have Ser Arys." She rolled her eyes.
Loren placed his hand on hers. "I'm serious. Ser Arys won't always be there, so strap this to your leg and don't be without it."
Myrcella nodded, taking the dagger and placing it closer to her. "I won't, I promise."
Loren smiled. "Good, then I shall take my leave."
"Won't you stay?" Myrcella asked.
Loren shook his head. "I cannot, Princess. I'm required to take my betrothed on a walk through the gardens. I shall see you as you depart though." He bowed to her and then turned to Sansa. "My Lady."
With that he turned his back to the two girls and walked out, mentally preparing himself for a morning with his newly betrothed.
As Loren met up with Kathryn Payne, Cersei was furiously walking up the steps to the Tower of the Hand. Bidding her guards to stay by the doors she entered Tywin's solar, and the Lannister patriarch barely even glanced up.
"Daughter." He commented, signing a paper.
"The war is over." Cersei began immediately. "Dragonstone won't hold for long, the North has been dealt with, Stannis and Renly are dead. I want you to break Myrcella's betrothal."
Sighing loudly through his nose, Tywin placed his quill neatly on the table and stood up. "You would have me break our word?"
"Yes." Cersei nodded eagerly. "We don't need them!"
"We don't need them." Tywin repeated judgingly. "Tell me, which region detests us the most in Westeros?" Cersei began to say something, but Tywin cut her off. "Dorne. Ever since the fiasco with Elia Martell they have been itching for a reason to revolt, quietly plotting in their deserts unaware that I know. There's a Targaryen girl across the Narrow Sea with three dragons if the rumours are true that I'm sure the Dornish would live to side with. Your sage advice is to break the betrothal that ties the House that hates us more than any other to Joffrey?"
Cersei wanted to argue. "She's my daughter."
"As you are mine." Tywin replied. "And yet you did your duty for our House, and Myrcella shall do her duty for us too. The realm is fractured, and we are healing it one marriage at a time."
"You're sending her off to be murdered." Cersei argued, her face betraying her hidden sadness.
"Doran Martell does not murder children." Tywin countered.
"She doesn't want to go." Cersei tried.
Tywin sighed again, before moving over to a window that overlooked the gardens. Spotting what he wanted to, he gestured for Cersei to join him. "You see there?" He pointed. "Loren has been extremely vocal in his displeasure at his betrothal, still fancying himself in love with one of Stafford's twins. Yet there he is, taking the time out to get to know the Payne girl that's been forced upon him because that is what is expected. Myrcella has shown no signs of not being agreeable to this match, in fact it's quite the opposite. No, the only one that's causing a scene is you, Cersei."
"No." Tywin said sharply. "I thought our, discussion, after the battle had made it clear that I will not put up with your antics any longer. Too long you have gone unchecked, basking in your own imaginary power and fancying yourself as something more than the Queen Mother. That is all you are, girl. You birthed the reigning King and his siblings. You have no say in the ruling of Joffrey's lands, nor in the breaking of betrothals that mean a great deal for your sons rule." Cersei was speechless, staring at Tywin with a thick loathing as the Hand of the King returned to his desk and picked up the quill once more. "Is there anything else?" Tywin asked.
"No, Father." Cersei told him venomously, before the Queen Mother stormed out of the room, slamming the door.
The Sunset Sea was shining as the sun began to lower in the sky, and Cerenna Lannister sat on the beach reading the same letter again. Loren had been knighted and she was so proud of him, although the other bit of news in the letter wasn't so thrilling. Sighing, she stared back out to sea, basking in the orange glow of the sunset.
"You missed your lessons today." Her twin's voice said. Cerenna turned her head to see the girl walking over towards her. "Father isn't happy."
"Father is never happy." Cerenna rolled her eyes. "He won't be happy until I'm shipped off to the Twins and he can wash his hands with my nonsense, as he puts it."
Myrielle looked uneasy. "You're not making it easy."
"He's marrying a Payne." Cerenna scoffed. "A Payne? They're fit to be coin collectors, not a Lady Paramount."
"And what are you doing about it?" Myrielle said sharply. "I love you, sister, but you're sat here moping rather than proving that you are fit to rule a household as big as this. If you're so dead set on disobeying Lord Tywin, disobeying Father and being a right pain in the arse, then go about it in a better way. You don't hear me complaining about my betrothal."
Cerenna raised an eyebrow. "Are you comparing Dickon Tarly to Walder Frey?" Myrielle tried to keep a straight face, but she failed, and the two girls fell into laughter. Cerenna sighed once they'd calmed down. "You're right." She told her twin. "I've been a fool, haven't I?"
"Not so much." Myrielle placed her hand on her sisters. "I've heard Loren has kicked up as much of a fuss in the capital."
Cerenna smiled, before the smile was replaced with sheer determination. "Very well." She said. "I'm going to Genna tomorrow and asking for more duties. Walder Frey will die before I'm due to wed him anyway, it's time to make myself indispensable at the Rock."
From as soon as the Lannister sails were sighted from the towers of Dragonstone Davos had wanted to surrender for the sake of the Queen. After the Red Woman had fled over half of the soldiers defending the castle had taken the ships across the Narrow Sea over to Essos, leaving them trapped on the island. Selyse however remained defiant in wanting to stay fighting.
"Your Grace, we have no army. We have no fleet. They are breaking through the gates as we speak!" Davos urged in the Chamber of the Painted Table.
"The Lord of Light will see us victorious." Selyse spat.
Davos groaned. "The Red Woman has deserted us, Your Grace. She's gone. We should surrender now and maybe that little girl will live."
Selyse shook her head. "R'hllor wills it that she sits the throne."
"Tyland Lannister will kill her!" Davos shouted. "He's a ruthless monster, Your Grace. Please, I've lost my boy already, I don't want you to feel the pain I feel now. Surrender for the sake of your daughter, Your Grace."
Selyse was about to say something when the door to the room opened, and in came the thirteen-year-old Queen came in flanked by two guards. "Ser Axel has told me that they've breached the beach gates. They're coming up the steps as we speak."
"Then we shall defend the castle." Selyse said.
"No." Shireen shook her head. "Mother, I don't want to die. I'm all that remains of House Baratheon now… I owe it to Father to live."
"Shireen…" Selyse began to scold.
"Take my Mother to her room." Shireen said, as brave as she could. One of the men walked over to Selyse, who began to argue and fight the guard away, but he was too strong, and she gave in.
"You're making a mistake." She snarled at her daughter, who looked upset as Selyse Baratheon was dragged away. Davos moved over to her and knelt before her, wiping away the beginnings of a tear.
"You're doing the right thing." He told her. "Go, lock your doors and don't open them for anybody but me."
Shireen looked worriedly at the ex-smuggler. "What will you do?" She asked.
Davos smiled at the young Queen. "I'll be there to greet the Lannisters and to surrender formally on your behalf. If that's what you want."
Shireen nodded. "Father was the warrior, I'm just a girl for now. It's for the best."
Davos smiled and kissed the girl's hand. "Go, quickly." He looked up at the guard as Shireen started to leave. "If I don't come, then they've not accepted our surrender." He whispered. "Make it quick, make it kind."
"Ser Davos…" The man began, but Davos cut him off.
"I will not have that little girl suffer at their hands." He insisted. "Go."
The man bowed his head, leaving Davos alone to contemplate what he was about to say to save everyone's lives.
As soon as the gates were barged open Loras Tyrell was among the first to rush up the steps and to see to Dragonstone's surrender. Tyland made his way up more slowly but was the first person to enter the Dragonstone throne room.
Sat on the steps was the famous Onion Knight, Stannis' rumoured Hand of the King. "Ser Davos, I presume." Tyland stated.
"Aye, I am." The man stood up. "Lord Tyland?"
"Correct." Tyland nodded. "I'm here to accept your surrender."
Davos had a grim look on his face. "I've heard rumours about a surrender gone sourly before. How do I know that Shireen is safe?"
Tyland had walked forwards so he was feet away from the Onion Knight. "Lady Baratheon is the cousin of King Joffrey, and he would see that the name Baratheon does not weaken any more than this pointless war has forced it to. I promise you, the girl will be safe and a Lady in her own right."
Davos looked happier at that. "And the rest of us?"
"There has been enough blood shed, Ser Davos." Tyland told him. "Stannis is dead, Renly is dead. Half of the North and Riverlands lie dead. King Joffrey does not wish to rule over bones and hacked off body parts. Bend the knee to him in front of the Iron Throne and serve him as you did King Robert before him, then we shall have no further problems."
Nodding, Davos unsheathed his sword and dropped it onto the floor. "Very well then. Dragonstone surrenders, I shall take you to Shireen if you wish."
Tyland nodded, turning to Loras. "See all the prisoners surrender their weapons and have them board the ships. I want to be away from this island by nightfall."
"My Lord." Ser Loras nodded, slightly unhappy. Tyland instead followed Ser Davos through the castle.
It was an impressive piece of construction, Tyland had to admit. The way the black stone was moulded seemed almost effortless, although the dragons on almost every wall unnerved him slightly. They made their way up to the highest point of the castle, and down a large corridor with a single guard at the door. He began to draw his sword when he saw the red of Tyland's armour, but Ser Davos held his hands up in a surrender pose and he dropped the blade on the floor, before opening the door.
They entered the dreary room to find Shireen Baratheon sat on her bed, reading a book. The candles were burning low. "Shireen." Davos got her attention. She closed the book and stood up, straightening her dull dress.
"Ser Davos." She smiled, before turning to Tyland and curtseying. "Lord Tyland."
"My Lady." Tyland nodded his head. "Dragonstone is under Lannister control now, do you understand?"
"Of course." Shireen told him as if it were obvious. "It means that I'm to be taken to King's Landing to swear to be loyal to Joffrey and I'll be his prisoner."
"Prisoner is a strong word, My Lady." Tyland told her.
"I apologise, My Lord." The young girl spoke her words beyond her years. "I'll be an honoured guest."
Tyland nodded. "You'll have your Mother with you, as well as Ser Davos if you insist."
Shireen smiled at that, though it didn't reach her eyes. She stood up and held her book close to her chest. "I'd like that." Was all she said.
Tyland moved out of the way to let the young girl through. Davos just smirked at her strength and followed along, leaving Tyland stood there slightly bemused at the girl.
It was soon time for Myrcella to depart for Dorne, and the Lannister family were gathered on the beach to say goodbye to her. Loren stood in between his Grandfather and Tyrion waiting for the Princess to reach them. She hugged her Uncle Tyrion first.
"I'm sorry it's come to it this early." He told her.
Myrcella shook her head. "I'm excited, Uncle. Dorne will agree with me I'm sure." Tyrion smiled on weakly. She moved along to Loren, who hugged her tightly.
"If the Martell's hurt you at all, let me know and I'll come and rescue you." He joked, ignoring the disapproving look from Tywin. Myrcella giggled.
"I can take care of myself, Loren." Myrcella said knowingly. Loren nodded, stepping back to let Tywin have his goodbye.
The elderly Lannister stared her down. "You'll do us proud, Princess. Keep Ser Arys close. He can aid you with learning how to use that knife your cousin got you." Loren looked up at him, surprised that he knew. Myrcella looked a bit worried too, but Tywin shook his head. "It's good that you have something. Dorne is a dangerous place, but I know you are capable."
"Thank you, Grandfather." Myrcella smiled. There were no hugs for Tywin, but the kind words were enough for Myrcella as she moved on to her closest family. She hugged a tearful Tommen goodbye, before she was in front of Joffrey.
"Don't go too Dornish." He sneered. Margaery Tyrell stood beside him and winced.
"Of course, Your Grace." Myrcella curtseyed formally, trying to ignore him as much as she was able. Smiling at Margaery, she moved along to Cersei and the tears started forming in her eyes. "Goodbye Mother."
Cersei was tearful as well, holding Myrcella close to her breast. "You stay safe, and you write me a letter once a week. If not, I'll send an army down to come and get you back."
Myrcella chuckled weakly, melting into her Mother's embrace. "I love you, Mother." She whispered before letting go.
With that Myrcella walked down the steps to the beach and where Ser Arys Oakheart was waiting for her to help her onto the little rowboat to take her out to the ship. As she sat herself down Loren could see a tear fall down her cheek, and Tommen was openly weeping.
"You sound like a cat mewling for its mother. Princes don't cry." Joffrey mocked. Loren grimaced.
"Now my love, Prince Tommen will miss his sister, that's all. I remember crying for a full week when my brother Loras left Highgarden for Storm's End to squire." Margaery told him. That seemed to take Joffrey aback.
"Didn't he cry when I had to save him from the lions under Casterly Rock?" Loren whispered down to Tyrion. The dwarf snorted a laugh, much to the annoyance of Cersei. She looked like she wanted to say something but thought better of it, and instead in a huff flicked her skirts out and stormed back towards the wheelhouse.
"Come, Your Grace." Jaime said, resplendent in his Kingsguard armour. "It's time for your training."
"Yes." Joffrey said proudly. "I don't have time to be stood here listening to babies crying."
He then stormed off as well. Myrcella's boat was a mere spec in the distance by now, and so Tyrion turned to leave as well. "Well that went swimmingly."
"Quiet." Tywin commanded. "You should learn to control yourself."
Tyrion nodded, before waddling off. Loren moved over to his younger cousin and put an arm around him. "How about we go to the library and write out a letter to the Princess, so she has something to read when she gets to the Water Gardens?"
Tommen nodded, as an attendant wiped his nose clean with a handkerchief. Looking over at Tywin for permission, the Lannister patriarch just nodded, and Loren sat alongside his younger cousin trying to keep him entertained for the peaceful trip back to the Red Keep.
Luckily the worst of the weather was choppier waves than usual as Joffrey's fleet crossed back across the Narrow Sea towards King's Landing, although Tyland almost wished for a storm to hit to stop the Red God worshippers down in the brig from making noise. Everybody that fought for Tyland was a follower of the Seven, and tensions were starting to run high.
It all came to a head on the second morning of travel, when Tyland was awoken in his cabin by a ruckus outside. Quickly pulling on a black shirt and some trousers, he went out onto the deck. He saw Ser Loras dragging one of Stannis' wife's family, a Florent, and tying him to the mask.
"What is going on?" Tyland demanded to know.
Ser Loras was furious. "Ser Axel here is blaspheming the Seven…"
"False gods!" Axel Florent shouted for the entirety of the ship to hear. "Lies created by the Andals to diminish the one true god R'hllor!"
"You were born in the light of the Seven, Ser Axel." Tyland reminded the man. "Your brother still holds to those ideals."
"My brother is a traitor and a fool." Ser Axel spat on the deck. "He shall learn soon enough, as shall you all. The Lord of Light has powers you know not, Kingslayer. Join his light and you can redeem yourself."
That angered Tyland, the nickname he could stomach for his brother's sake by some, but not by a traitorous fanatic knight. "Kingslayer." He quoted. "Such a dangerous word to come out of your mouth when you are my prisoner."
"Let me flog him, Lord Tyland." Loras said angrily. "Lashes will teach him his place."
Tyland shook his head. "This one has no place anymore. He will seek to cause discontent in the capital. Even his own brother has denounced him as a lost cause for the Seven to join a cult." He took a few steps forwards until he was inches away from the Florent. "Your fire god is dangerous, Ser Axel. I've heard the rumours of statues being burnt on beaches, and the Storm's End Godswood being lit aflame. Your god has no place in Westeros, Thoros of Myr saw that and stopped his preaching, can you?"
Axel chuckled. "You just can't see yet, Ser. The Lady will show you the way when it is time."
Shaking his head, Tyland sighed. "There's no arguing with fanatics." He addressed his crew. "Very well, a message from the Seven. They shall not be forsaken in Westeros. King Joffrey's gods shall not be mocked, they shall not be burnt. Take him and throw him overboard, death by water is a fitting sentence for these fire fanatics." Ser Axel to his credit went to his death with dignity, beginning to recite a prayer of the Lord of Light as Ser Loras and a pair of his men grabbed the Florent roughly, dragging him across the deck before throwing him over the side of the ship and into the water, his armour slowly dragging him into the Narrow Sea. Tyland turned to the Tyrell heir afterwards. "If any of these fanatics begins to cause problems, then do the same." He commanded.
"Of course, My Lord." Loras nodded. Tyland was a little surprised at his eagerness, though he remembered the bad blood that House Tyrell and House Florent had from his lessons as a child.
"Only if they are causing issues, I don't want the Narrow Sea to be polluted with them." Tyland warned. Loras just bowed his head in acknowledgement before Tyland returned to his cabin eager to catch up on some sleep before they arrived back at the capital.
Chapter 18: Secrets
Finally, the war that would define Tywin Lannister was over. He stood atop the walls of the Mud Gate with his royal grandson, with a couple of the Kingsguard a few feet away, and watched as the fleet grew larger on the horizon. Joffrey looked positively gleeful, a fact which worried Tywin.
"Do you understand what will happen?" He asked Joffrey.
Joffrey scoffed. "Of course I do. My grotesque cousin will get on her knees before me and I will judge her treason."
Tywin pursed his lips. "The Lady Baratheon will bend the knee towards you and will state her oath of fealty before the Iron Throne, and then you are to accept that and lift her back to her feet, granting her the Baratheon ancestral seat of Storm's End." H r told Joffrey firmly.
Joffrey's eyes narrowed questioningly. "Shouldn't Tommen be granted that seat as the only other male Baratheon?"
The thought had crossed Tywin's mind, but with the Storm Lords having followed Stannis he couldn't see them accepting Tommen as one of their own. "Tommen will be granted Dragonstone when he reaches an age, as befits the King's heir. Shireen will be given Storm's End and a husband loyal to us that will benefit our House. Do you understand?"
Joffrey nodded, looking back out to the ships. "I do, Grandfather. The bitch has to live." He sighed dramatically. He turned to leave. "I'll be on the Iron Throne to greet her."
Tywin nodded his acceptance as Joffrey moved to leave, he would have to be the one to greet his son and their prisoners. He waited for Joffrey to be escorted out of sight before moving on down to the docks to wait for the ships to come in. It took a while, but eventually a small rowboat came towards the shoreline with Tyland at its bow. He stepped off first, before walking up to Tywin and quickly bending the knee to his Liege Lord. "Rise my son." Tywin said quickly, and the heir to Casterly Rock did as bid. "You have done well."
"I did no more than my duty to the King, Father." Tyland answered. He stepped aside and Tywin saw Ser Loras Tyrell helping Shireen Baratheon off of the boat. "The Lady Shireen, and her protector and advisor, Ser Davos Seaworth."
The knight got out of the boat as soon as Shireen was on dry land, and Tywin noticed his hands were not bound. "You trust him not to try and escape?" Tywin asked quietly.
"He values the girl's life more than his own." Tyland noted. "So long as we treat her well he will be appeased."
"Very well." Tywin said, before stepping forwards to greet the prisoners. "Welcome to King's Landing, Lady Shireen."
The girl curtseyed, a fake smile on her lips. "Thank you for being courteous in your victory, Lord Tywin. Ser Davos and I appreciate it."
"Ser Loras will escort you to the Red Keep." Tywin told them both. "There we shall get the formality out of the way and you shall be shown to your quarters in Maegor's Holdfast." The Knight of the Flowers gestured for them to follow him and some Lannister guards that had kept their distance. Once they had began to move through the city, Tywin began walking back as well, only hanging back so he could talk to his son. "The mother?"
"Locked in her cabin." Tyland murmured. "It seems this Lord of Light may be more of a problem than I anticipated. I drowned 4 prisoners due to their incessant blaspheming. Lady Selyse would have been among them had I not already promised her life. I felt it wise to finalise the surrender before bringing her ashore."
"Hmm." Tywin thought aloud. "The Red Woman we have heard about?"
"Abandoned them once news of Stannis' death came." Tyland answered. "I spoke with Ser Davos on the journey about her, he holds no love for the witch and says that she heads back to Essos."
"And you believe him?"
Tyland nodded. "Oddly enough I do, he's a wise man for a lowborn smuggler.
"Then we must ensure that His Grace does not order the man to lose any more of his extremities." Tywin said mockingly, as the pair tried to catch up with the others in their party.
Loren was stood in the gallery as Shireen Baratheon was led into the Throne Room by Ser Loras, stood with Tommen, Sansa and Margaery. The room may have been relatively empty, but the gallery itself was filled. Cersei stood alone, watching on in anger at having been left up here.
Down by the Throne itself Tywin quickly moved to take his place beside the Iron Throne, where Joffrey sat lazily as he always did, his Kingsguard standing tall by the steps. Shireen and Ser Davos Seaworth were led towards them, and stopped a few yards away from the Kingsguard.
"Lady Shireen Baratheon." Tywin called regally. "You have been brought here to King's Landing to atone for your Father's treason and to swear fealty to King Joffrey Baratheon, the First of his Name."
Loren zoned out of the list of things that Stannis had done then, bored out of his mind. All he could think about was his betrothal. He had spent a few days with Kathryn Payne and honestly thought that she was as boring as any person he had ever met, although he suspected that it was because she didn't want to do anything wrong. House Payne was an old and loyal banner to House Lannister, but they had rarely been in a position to marry into Casterly Rock.
The pull of home distracted him as well. Until this war Loren had only ever left the Rock for a couple of weeks at a time, and he hadn't set eyes on the place now in well over a year. He was drawn back to the Throne Room when Tommen leaned into him.
"Is it bad that I love how much Grandfather scares him?" The Prince asked quietly. Loren looked at the Iron Throne and saw Joffrey had straightened, with Tywin glaring down at him.
"But of course, as the Lord Hand says, your Father's crimes are not your crimes." Joffrey was saying, and Loren presumed he had threatened to kill Shireen. "Bend your knee, cousin, and let us forget that the last year has happened."
Loren saw Shireen look up at the Onion Knight, who just nodded mournfully. The girl smoothed down her dress and fell to one knee. "I swear to serve you, Your Grace. From this day until my last day."
"Rise, Lady Shireen." Tywin said after a moment of silence. "You shall be confirmed in your new title as Lady of Storm's End in a few days, and your new bannermen may come and bend the knee towards you in due course."
"And there we are." Loren muttered. "The war is over."
Sansa heard him and turned to Loren. "What will you do now?" She asked.
"I'm to stay and continue helping His Grace and the Prince in their swordplay." Loren answered, ruffling Tommen's hair. "I long for home, but I shall have to deal with this rotten place for a while yet."
Sansa looked down at her feet, and he knew she was thinking of wanting to leave. "I'm sure neither you or your sister will be here for too long, My Lady."
"Arya will." Sansa chuckled. "She's bitten three guards already. I'm surprised they haven't moved her to an actual cell."
Loren knew the reason why, it was because they didn't want to be seen treating the heir to both the Riverlands and the North too harshly, but he wasn't about to tell Sansa that. "It is good that you visit her, maybe you can calm her somewhat."
"The only thing that would calm Arya is some milk of the poppy." Sansa muttered amusedly. The rest of the gallery began applauding at the new peace, and so Loren and Sansa both half heartedly joined in, before the crowd began dispersing.
"Right, my Prince. Shall we get you armoured up?" Loren asked the 11-year-old. Tommen eagerly nodded. "Let us go then." He turned and bowed to Sansa and Margaery. "My Ladies." Before he took Tommen out towards the training yard.
A few hours later, Sansa went out towards the Godswood and sunk to her knees by one of the rocks, closing her eyes to pray. She began to pray for her sister to be less wilful so that she may live, she prayed for her own safety, and a match that would take her away from King's Landing and the cruelty of Joffrey. Above all however, she prayed for justice. Justice for her fallen family, and justice for the North.
"Lady Stark." A voice came from behind her. Her face scowling in annoyance, she rose to her feet daintily and turned, a smile masking her true emotions. She saw a relatively pretty girl in a sleeveless black dress, decorated with white, barren trees. A sigil that Sansa recognised from so long ago.
"Lady Mira?" She asked. "What are you doing here."
Mira Forrester smiled and curtseyed. "I'm one of Lady Margaery's handmaidens, My Lady."
Remembering her Mother mentioning one of the lesser Northern houses sending a daughter south, Sansa nodded. "The south agrees with you." She smiled.
"A pity it doesn't agree with us all." Mira said quietly. "I'm so sorry about what's happened."
Sansa shook her head. "My family were traitors, they died traitors deaths." She lied.
"You don't believe that any more than I do." Margaery said from behind Mira. "Your family were murdered heinously, Lady Stark."
"Lady Margaery, I wasn't expecting you in the Godswood." Sansa said, nervously looking about.
"There's nobody here, Lady Stark." Mira smiled. "We made sure of it."
Sansa stared out to the sea. "Everything gets heard in this place." She whispered.
Margaery smiled, taking Sansa's hands. "Not here. Here we are free to talk as we please."
Sansa wanted to believe them, and Mira could see that. "She was extremely kind when news of the Twins reached Highgarden and I found out that my Father and Brother had been murdered by the Lannisters." She said, trying to help.
Sansa hadn't realised that, and her heart ached for Mira. "I'm so sorry. I remember your Father, he was a good man and my Father spoke highly of him."
Mira smiled weakly. "He would have been very proud to hear that."
"I want us to be friends, Sansa." Margaery told her. "I know what Joffrey is, I know what Tywin and Tyland are. If my Father wasn't so eager to tie my House to the Iron Throne then I'm positive that we would have risen up in outrage at their crimes."
"I appreciate that, Lady Margaery." Sansa told her honestly.
Margaery looked to Mira, and then back to Sansa. "We can help one another, you and I. You've been here the longest, you know the King, and you know his uncles. Help me outmanoeuvre them in order to manage Joffrey better, and I shall help you get out of here."
Weeks passed, and the Red Keep began to settle into normality after the stresses of war. Armies went home and the food being carted in from the Reach daily had improved the morale of the city greatly.
That had led Tywin to look to the future, and he had summoned the three of them that could still play a part in his plans. Tyland arrived first, as dutiful as ever, closely followed by Cersei. Tyrion of course, was late. He entered the room jovially, whistling 'The Lion Red' as he made his way to his seat.
"You're late." Tywin stated the obvious.
"I do keep telling you that there are too many stairs." Tyrion remarked. He looked around. "This is an interesting Small Council.
"We are not having a meeting." Tywin told them. "I have something important to discuss with all of you regarding the future of our House." That intrigued Tyland. "As you are all aware, Hoster Tully has died. We saw to it that he has no true heir in his son, so that means that the line passes through Catelyn Tully."
Tyrion looked pointedly at Tyland. "Who we had murdered." He noted.
"Leaving her daughter, Sansa, as both the Lady of Winterfell and the Lady of Riverrun by all the laws in the land." Tywin finished. "That cannot be allowed."
Tyland shifted in his seat. "The Frey's have paramountcy over the Riverlands now, give Riverrun to one of Walder's many sons."
"I plan on it." Tywin added. "Sansa Stark will have Winterfell, she is the eldest and that is the seat of House Stark. It's a ruin in any case so there should be no more noise from North of the Neck. Riverrun shall be passed down to Arya Stark." Tyland agreed but was wondering how it could possibly benefit them. He needn't have worried however as Tywin continued. "We have the Stark girl in our custody, she shall wed my sister's grandson as soon as he is able to arrive in King's Landing, and Riverrun shall pass to Genna's husband Emmon. That way the Frey's will gain Riverrun, and it shall be a branch that is loyal to Casterly Rock."
"A smart ploy." Tyland nodded. "Although the she-wolf won't go to the Sept quietly."
"She's hardly the first bride to be sold unwillingly." Cersei muttered.
Tyrion nodded. "That still leaves us with the North…"
Tywin was getting to that. "Tyland shall wed Sansa Stark and put a son in her, and we shall have a named Lannister as the heir to Winterfell."
Tyland double took. "Father I have no need of another wife." He said.
"And yet you shall take one anyway." Tywin countered. "The North will not follow anyone that doesn't have Stark blood willingly. Marry the girl, put a baby in her as soon as you can, and they can truly re-join the fold."
Tyland still didn't like it. "I am old enough to be her Father… why can't this fall to Loren? They are of an age, they get along…"
"Loren will be Lord of Casterly Rock." Tywin interrupted him. "Your second son will be Lord of Winterfell. You'll be the father to two of the most powerful men in the realm. You will do your duty, Tyland." Unable to say no, Tyland just nodded his head once, consenting to the match. He could see Cersei grinning wildly across the table. "The Vale is silent, but once the rest of the realm is silent we shall approach Lysa Arryn with a match for her boy."
"The boy is a sickly halfwit." Cersei shook her head. "He'll die sooner."
"Then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Tywin told her. "The Westerlands is strong, and both Dorne and the Reach will be tied to us through marriage. That leaves the Stormlands."
"How convenient that we have Lady Shireen in our grasp." Tyrion rolled his eyes.
"How convenient indeed." Tywin agreed, staring intently towards his dwarf son.
It took Tyrion a while, but he finally understood. "No." He told Tywin firmly.
"You shall wed Shireen Baratheon when she turns 14 and put a son in her." Tywin said.
"I shall not." Tyrion complained, looking aghast. "She is but a girl!"
Tyland interjected. "She has flowered, she had her blood on the journey here."
Tyrion though, was defiant. "Father, I will not marry her."
"You will." Tywin said, leaning forwards. "Or I shall send you to the Wall so that you can serve out your days as a Black Brother, fighting Wildlings, Snarks and Grumpkins."
Cersei was absolutely gleeful, but Tyrion just glared back. "You wouldn't." He bit.
"Wouldn't I?" Tywin raised an eyebrow. "I have an heir, he has an heir and is about to wed a young woman from fertile stock. I have a brother with his own line. My succession is secure, so if you are so against doing your part for the family, why do I need you?"
It was times like this where Tyland was reminded of how terrifying his Father could be when he wanted to. The Lannister heir stayed silently in his seat as the dwarf stared down their Father, before Tyrion threw his chair back and got to his feet. "You're a cruel man, Lord Hand." Tyrion snarled. "She is little more than a child."
"But of good stock." Tywin said quickly. "About as highborn as they come, for a change."
Tyrion sucked in a breath at the reminder before storming out of the room, and Cersei allowed herself to laugh aloud.
"The dwarf and the afflicted." She giggled. "May the bards never run out of material."
Tywin hadn't finished his matchmaking however. "You are to marry Ser Loras."
Cersei was taken aback. "I will not."
"You will do as you are told." Tywin snapped. "My children, all insolent." Tyland ignored the insult. "Tyland will secure the North, Tyrion will secure the Stormlands, you shall tie us to the Tyrell's so that they can have no doubt about their loyalties."
"Father please…" Cersei began to beg.
"Enough!" Tywin roared. "You shall do as you are bid. You are still fertile and you are not needed in King's Landing. You shall do your duty once more even if I have to drag you into the sept kicking and screaming."
Cersei couldn't put her thoughts to words, instead just able to open and close her mouth. Closing it tightly, she stood up regally and walked out of the room leaving Tyland alone with his father. "They will not take kindly to this, Father." He said cautiously.
"They've been stains to our name for too long, Cersei with her inability to think rationally and Tyrion with his whoring." Tywin spat. "It's time they grew up and did what was necessary."
"I could care less about Cersei's happiness, but Tyrion… he won't bed a child."
"He will." Tywin said.
Tyland shook his head. "No, Father. He will refuse to consummate."
"Then his hand shall be forced." Tywin countered. "I will not pass up this opportunity that our victories have granted us. If the little beast thinks himself too pure to bed the Baratheon girl, then he shall be made to put a son in her."
Memories filled Tyland's mind, and he grimaced at them. "I will play no part in it." He said quietly. "Not after last time. I will stay far away from Tyrion's marriage."
Tywin pursed his lips. "This is different… the girl was only after his money."
Tyland clenched his fist. "That didn't mean that you had to order 30 men to rape her." He exclaimed. "You could have sent her to the silent sisters, sent her to Essos, something else."
Tywin stood, and walked over to a side table to pour them both some wine. He handed Tyland a goblet but quickly drained his own, knowing that the topic coming up was a tough one. "What would have been said if I had let it continue? That the Lannisters were weak, letting their sons marry crofter's daughters. I couldn't let it continue. He had to learn."
"You ensured that he did." Tyland grimaced again.
Tywin sat back down. "You are as complicit as I am, son." He reminded Tyland. "You may not have partaken, but never forget who's idea it was to get rid of her completely."
Tyland glared down at the table. "I may have slit Tysha's throat, but that was as a mercy. If she had lived Tyrion would have searched for her and it would have brought him more pain, the one thing I swore to Mother I would never allow on her deathbed." The memories swam in Tyland's mind, of a bloodstained bed and his mother holding his hand weakly, making him swear to look after his brother. "Killing her and burning her body was a kindness to him." He convinced himself. "As was not telling him what happened to her."
Unbeknownst to both Tywin and Tyland, the door to the Small Council room was slightly ajar, allowing somebody to hear their every word.
Chapter 19: Hard Truths
Before Loren was due to meet with Tommen for another session of swordplay, he decided to head up to see his Grandfather and talk about an idea he had to tour the Westerlander houses. Proudly walking up to the Tower of the Hand with one hand on Lionheart, he quickly came to pass Tyrion who was leaving the tower.
"Uncle." He greeted, although Tyrion was distracted, a furious look on his face. Loren turned to Bronn who was escorting him, and the sellsword just shrugged. The young Lannister entered the tower then and began walking up the stairs. He quickly came upon another one of his relatives, as his aunt was walking down the steps flanked by one of the Kingsguard. "Your Grace." He nodded his head politely.
Cersei stopped and considered him for a moment, before she chuckled bitterly. "It seems you're not the only one to be forced into an unhappy marriage, nephew." She told him before passing him on the stairs.
Confused, Loren shook his head and continued up the tower, before he came to the door to his Grandfather's solar and the Small Council room. He was about to push open the slightly ajar door but stopped when a voice came from inside.
"Then his hand shall be forced." Loren heard his Grandfather say through the crack of the door. "I will not pass up this opportunity that our victories have granted us. If the little beast thinks himself too pure to bed the Baratheon girl, then he shall be made to put a son in her." Loren realised he must have been talking about Tyrion, and his mind whirred as he tried to work out why Shireen came into this.
"I will play no part in it." He barely made out his Father's words. "Not after last time. I will stay far away from Tyrion's marriage."
"Last time?" Loren whispered to himself. His brain made the connection. "Tysha?"
Tywin continued. "This is different… the girl was only after his money."
The next bit of speech surprised even Loren, hearing his Father sound more emotional than he ever had. "That didn't mean that you had to order 30 men to rape her." Tyland exclaimed. "You could have sent her to the silent sisters, sent her to Essos, something else."
A brief pause followed as footsteps were heard in the room. Loren held his breath, not daring to let himself be heard. "What would have been said if I had let it continue?" His Grandfather's voice was angry. "That the Lannisters were weak, letting their sons marry crofter's daughters. I couldn't let it continue. He had to learn."
"You ensured that he did." Tyland said, sounding pained.
A chair scraped again. "You are as complicit as I am, son." Tywin said. "You may not have partaken, but never forget who's idea it was to get rid of her completely."
Eyes widening in sudden realisation, the words that would forever change Loren's opinion of his family soon followed. "I may have slit Tysha's throat, but that was as a mercy. If she had lived Tyrion would have searched for her and it would have brought him more pain, the one thing I swore to Mother I would never allow on her deathbed. Killing her and burning her body was a kindness to him. As was not telling him what happened to her."
Loren bolted down the steps of the Tower of the Hand, not knowing what to think. His Father had killed Tyrion's wife? But Tyrion only thought that Tyland had stood there? Thoughts raced around his head as he stormed away from the Tower to the one place he knew helped him think clearly, the training yard.
It must have been at least an hour that Loren was beating his friends handsomely in the tiltyard when Tyland appeared. Benarr was the one that ushered the others away knowing that Loren was in a foul mood, and it was quickly just the pair of Lannister's in sight. "You were late to greet Prince Tommen." Tyland stated.
"I wasn't in the mood." Loren replied nonchalantly.
Tyland shook his head. "You have responsibilities now, son. If Prince Tommen is to one day be your squire…"
"I thought I was only training him now?" Loren interrupted, knowing Tyland hated that. The elder Lannister gritted his teeth.
"With a view to take him as a squire." Tyland answered. He took a step towards Loren, who half turned away. "What is the matter with you, boy?"
Loren chuckled darkly. "I heard everything." He answered. "I know what you did to Tyrion's wife."
Tyland betrayed no emotion, and just stared at his son. "You think you know." Was all he said. "You were but a babe…"
"You murdered her!" Loren exclaimed. Tyland looked around, glad nobody was there.
"Not here." Tyland said firmly. "Grab your horse and meet me by the Dragon Gate in an hour, we'll go for a ride." He left no room for debate at that, skulking off and leaving Loren angrier than he felt he had ever been before.
The pair rode out of the King's Gate and along the bank of the Blackwater Rush until the City was barely visible. Stopping, Tyland had his guards set out a picnic space before telling them to give the two Lannister's some space. Loren sat himself down moodily, and Tyland just watched him closely.
"What do you know?" Tyland asked.
Loren scowled. "I know that if Uncle Tyrion finds out he'll never forgive you."
"He was a boy, younger than you are now." Tyland said sharply. "He met a pretty common girl on a ride and as he does, he fell in love with her. He didn't understand the consequences of his actions, nor did he care. What your Grandfather did…"
"Was evil." Loren interrupted.
"Was necessary for the standing of our House." Tyland countered. "You have no idea what it was like when he was born, Loren. One minute your Grandmother was there, and the next she wasn't but he was. We knew what he was being called, the monster of the rock with a lizard's tail, Lord Tywin's Bane. All fingers were pointed at us laughing, mocking us for this innocent baby. Then the King comes to stay at Casterly Rock for half a year and he mocks us as well. He demanded to see the child and laughed loudly, mocking your Grandfather for his supposed arrogance." Tyland had clenched his fist while reliving the memory. "I was a boy of ten, I'd lost my Mother and she made me promise to look after him, so I did. When Jaime left for Crakehall and Cersei left for the capital I was his only friend, so believe me when I say that he may be a little lecherous beast, but he is my brother and will always be that."
"So why did you kill his wife?" Loren asked, pleading for a good explanation.
"Simply to spare him." Tyland sighed. When the Septon sobered up and made us aware of where Tyrion had gone, Lord Tywin was irate. He was ready to have both of them quartered for their actions, but Kevan and I calmed him down and brought him back. I didn't know what was going to happen until Father brought us down to the barracks and she was already spilling silver coins from her arms."
"You could have done something." Loren said bitterly. "You must have known he was in agony watching that."
Tyland shook his head. "She was a whore, Loren. It was all a lie, Jaime confessed it all. She was meant to stumble upon them on the road, but your Uncle fell for it and married the girl as he'll likely want to do again with his new whore. What happened was difficult, but he needed to learn that he was a Lannister, and we don't get to choose like that."
"Grandfather did." Loren muttered bitterly.
"You're almost Seventeen years old Loren, don't be so naïve." Tyland berated. "When your Grandfather married House Lannister was at its lowest point since just after your namesake bent the knee to Aegon Targaryen. My Grandfather was beggaring us, and we were mocked by our own bannermen. My parents married one another to show the rest of the Realm that we were proud, and that the rest of the West at the time were still beneath us even with my Grandfather being as he was."
Loren wasn't convinced. "They are still beneath us." He tried.
Tyland shook his head. "But we do need to reward loyalty. House Payne have been staunch supporters of our House for hundreds of years, they stood with us through the Reyne's, they joined us in Robert's Rebellion, they aided us after the Ironborn attacked… This is a reward for them as well as giving you another important ally for when you come to sit in Casterly Rock as Lord in your own right."
Loren sighed loudly. "It's still wrong how you handled it all. Even if Tysha was a commoner so what? Prince Duncan married a commoner."
"Prince Duncan almost brought about a civil war." Tyland reminded him. "Enough about the whore, Loren. You were barely a babe at the time let it go."
"Let it go?" Loren asked loudly. "Will Tyrion let it go once he knows?"
Tyland gritted his teeth. "Tyrion has moved on to another whore and will soon be shipped off to Storm's End."
Loren realised something as he looked into Tyland's eyes. "You're afraid he will find out the truth."
"I'm afraid of nothing." Tyland argued.
Loren just laughed though. "You don't want him to know because you know he'll never forgive you. You know what you did was wrong, you always have."
"Why?" Loren asked. "No lies, no horse shit. Why did you do it? Why did you kill her yourself, you could have let her leave on a ship?" Tyland didn't want to answer, he knew the reason why but to admit it out loud would only cause problems with his already rebellious son. Loren however, was bright and worked it out. "It wasn't really your call, was it?"
"Of course it was." Tyland answered.
"Then it was an unsaid command from Grandfather. He put you up to it. Just like with the Targaryen babes." Loren said darkly. "How? How can you blindly follow such a man?"
Tyland stood up and looked out towards the Blackwater Rush. He sighed for a moment. "He is my liege lord, Loren."
"He didn't listen to his Father when he disagreed about the Reyne's." Loren countered. "You're just weak, aren't you? You've killed your way to ensure that our House is on top yes, but deep down you're just a scared ten-year-old that has just lost your mother." Tyland swivelled back around incensed at the words, but he didn't move. Loren shook his head. "I used to look up to you so much, but now? Now I can't even look at you, Father."
The younger Lannister didn't leave any more room for talk, as he immediately walked away and mounted his horse, quickly riding off leaving Tyland stood alone on the banks of the Blackwater Rush feeling more lost than he had done since that fateful day where his mother died.
Sansa Stark found out the news from Littlefinger of all people. There she was minding her own business walking through the Red Keep after having visited her sister, and the man had made her jump by sneaking out of the dark and subtly hinted that she was to be wedded not to the younger Lannister, but the elder.
She could barely hold the tears in as she thanked Littlefinger for telling her, and the Stark girl rushed out of the Red Keep towards the Godswood, ignoring her guard shouting at her to wait up. As she climbed the stone steps and turned into the wooded area, she sank onto her knees and sobbed before the massive oak tree with smokeberry vines that the Targaryen's had passed off as a heart tree. The guard eventually caught up, but Sansa just screamed at him to leave her be.
It must have been an hour later when another set of footsteps were heard crunching in the grass behind her. Sansa screwed up her face in a rage and shouted back. "I told you to leave me be!"
"I thought you could use a friend." Margaery's voice said soothingly. Sansa immediately got to her feet, straightening her skirts and wiping her eyes.
"Forgive me, Lady Margaery." Sansa began.
"Nonsense." Margaery smiled at her sadly. "I've just heard the news."
Sansa turned away as fresh tears began to drip from her eyes. "I had to hear it from Lord Baelish of all people." She said bitterly.
Margaery stood beside her and held one of Sansa's hands. "I'm so sorry." She whispered. "I can't imagine how you are feeling."
"He murdered my Father." Sansa said sharply. "Roose Bolton killed Robb I know, but he ordered it I'm sure. And my Mother died after a meeting with him along with countless other Northerners. How am I supposed to look at him and make a vow to the Gods?"
Margaery was sympathetic. "You stand tall and proud, and let him know that you are not to be cowed. You are the Lady of Winterfell and you will be respected as such."
Sansa just couldn't wrap her head around it though. "I don't know how you manage it." She admitted. "Knowing what Joffrey is like yet so upbeat about the wedding."
Margaery took her other hand and stared into Sansa's rich blue eyes. "I know that I shall be the Queen, and that my children shall one day rule. Children learn a lot from their Mother's and I intend to teach mine a great deal. You will too, your children shall be the Warden's of the North, and while they may be sired by that man, they'll be raised by you. They'll be moulded by you."
The Stark girl knew that Margaery was right, but her emotions were still all over the place. Nodding, she sniffed and wiped her eyes with her sleeves. Margaery brought her in for a well needed hug, and the two women stayed within the sanctity of the Red Keep Godswood trying to cheer each other up about their terrible future husbands.
When Loren arrived back at the Red Keep he knew immediately what he had to do. He couldn't bare the thought of having to blindly follow along in the footsteps of his Father and Grandfather, who had gotten to where they were over murdered women and children. If he stayed in the Red Keep he couldn't guarantee that he could keep his cool regarding what he now knew.
With that in mind, he immediately went to the Tower of the Hand, where his Grandfather was beginning to finalise the quick arrangements for the marriage of Tyland and Sansa Stark.
"Loren." Tywin said without looking up. "I wasn't expecting you."
"I apologise for coming unannounced, but I needed to ask something of you." He said, masking his true emotions. He knew Tywin liked to cut straight to the chase and continued. "I'd like you to name me Acting Lord of the Rock."
That did surprise the Hand of the King, and he dropped his quill on his desk and looked up at Loren. "Your place is here."
"Is it?" Loren asked. "Anybody can train Tommen and Joffrey in swordplay, it doesn't have to be me."
Tywin nodded his agreement with that. "Why now?"
Loren answered. "Lady Kathryn has left the capital for her home until the wedding, so I don't need to be here to court her. I'm knighted now, but I think I could benefit from learning to actually rule the Rock while both Father and you are needed in King's Landing."
Tywin stared at Loren, trying to pry any hidden information out of his head, but after a moment of silence he nodded. "Very well, you could learn a great deal from Kevan rather than being hit by wooden sticks every day. I'll write Kevan today and send a message by raven that he is to expect guests."
"Plural?" Loren asked.
"Yes." Tywin nodded. "Arya Stark will travel with you. She will get to know her future husband and it will give you experience in managing an unruly hostage."
Loren almost chuckled, but held it in. "Very well." He said happily enough, rising to his feet. "Thank you."
"I'm pleased you sought me out with this." Tywin admitted. "You will be a great Warden of the West someday."
Smiling and bowing, Loren left the room before he even allowed himself to whisper. "And I won't do it by stepping over countless innocent bodies."
At the same time that his son was making his demands from Tywin, Tyland was equally irate at his younger brother. He found his way over to Tyrion's chambers and was not surprised to open the door to find the dwarf in his cups with the sellsword Bronn.
"Ah! Brother! Come… come share in our misery at the prospect of bedding children." Tyrion slurred with a giggle. "Although I suppose it's not so bad for you, Sansa Stark is a true, womanly beauty rather than a scarred little girl."
Tyland clenched his teeth at the sight and noticed the sellsword trying not to laugh as well. "Leave us." He ordered Bronn, who after a moment of hesitation nodded and left the room. "You keep unsavoury company."
"Bronn is more loyal than anyone I've ever known." Tyrion grinned, holding his cup up. "Come, sit, have a drink. Let us talk on how we believe our future wives will like to be bedded. Do you think the Stark girl is like her sigil and will take it like a dog?"
Tyland ignored the question and sat himself down. "You told Loren about the crofter's daughter." He accused. "Why?"
Tyrion's features darkened. "To stop him from doing something he'd regret." He said bitterly. "You don't pay enough attention to the boy, you expect him to be like you, expect him to follow his Father with no questions asked. Thank the gods the boy has more sense than his sire."
"Careful, Imp." Tyland warned.
"Hitting a nerve, am I?" Tyrion chuckled. "His lust for our cousin was making him think of eloping I'm sure, so I put a stop to it by telling him exactly what happens when you do so."
"She was a whore, not a Lannister." Tyland said through clenched teeth, knowing he was lying.
"I've met our sister, are they not one and the same?" Tyrion asked with a raised eyebrow. "And now you want me to rape a child once more. Isn't it funny how things turn out."
Tyland clenched his fists. "Lady Shireen is…" He began.
"A child!" Tyrion raised his voice. "A poor, sad child that's had a harsh life thanks to her scars, and now because of Father's lust for power she has to marry the Imp." He took another gulp of wine.
"Do you not realise how this benefits us? How the lots have fallen in our favour?"
"I know you've murdered our way to the top once more, brother." Tyrion said darkly, before burping loudly. "House Targaryen, House Drumm, House Stark and House Tully. Whoever will you turn your sights on to next." That was the insult that broke Tyland's patience, as he stood up sharply. "Oh, I have touched a nerve!" Tyrion exclaimed gleefully.
"Some of us aren't drunken little lechers and need to do their part for our House." Tyland snarled. "You shall do the same with the Baratheon girl little brother, or I shall ensure you go to the Wall myself."
"Your lips, Father's words." Tyrion shrugged, too deep in his cups to care what he was saying. "Grow a backbone, brother. Your son is starting to thank the Gods. That's why I told him. To open his eyes that the power we hold comes from murdered babies and raped wives."
"You have no idea…" Tyland began, but Tyrion wasn't having any of it.
"Oh, he'll say it's for the betterment of our family, that family is important." Tyrion shrugged. "But notice how it's his wants that are getting appeased. He doesn't care about us a jolt, especially not me." He muttered the last bit.
Tyland had had enough, deciding to leave his brother to wallow in his self-pity alone. "Stay away from my son." He warned Tyrion, before storming out of the room, not hearing the snide remark that followed him out of the door.
The next day, Tyland stood up in a window watching as a contingent of Lannister men left via the Lion Gate, with Loren at its head. Sighing, he went to turn away, not realising that Tyrion was waddling down the corridor.
"Ah, brother!" Tyrion greeted cheerfully. "Coming to the council meeting?"
Surprised at the chirpiness, he looked at Tyrion oddly. "He doesn't remember a thing about last night." Bronn told him, Tyrion's ever faithful shadow following behind the dwarf. "Although he may be saying that because he lost money to me."
"I seriously remember nothing after being told I'm to wed a child." Tyrion said, the mirth not reaching his eyes. "After that I needed a lot of drink."
"You drank enough to fill the Gods Eye." Tyland rolled his eyes. "Come, brother. Let us go before Father insists you learn to learn to tumble as entertainment for Joffrey's wedding."
"Ah! That would be the day." Tyrion chuckled. "Did I ever tell you what Father said to me when he caught me tumbling?"
Tyland actually cracked a smirk. "He called you a monkey, did he not?"
"You were born a lion, not a monkey." Tyrion answered in the gruff, mocking tones of Tywin Lannister. "Would that I was a monkey, then I could fling my shit at the man and not feel the slightest bit of guilt."
Tyland chuckled again, vowing internally to keep his promise to his Mother in all ways from now on. He would never harm his youngest brother again.
Chapter 20: The Lord of Winterfell
The last scene of this chapter contains the bedding of Tyland and Sansa, so if you're unable to read what is essentially marital, underage rape then I've put a warning in place so you can skip it.
Sansa Stark had handmaidens everywhere on the morning of her wedding day. Two was trimming her fingernails while another was waxing her body hair quite roughly. She felt exposed and vulnerable but was forced to put up with it by order of the Hand of the King.
Her thoughts were swimming. She didn't want today to happen, and on more than one occasion she looked out to the balcony of her room and contemplated jumping, but Margaery's words about children stuck in her mind.
The door opened and immediately Sansa moved to cover herself up, doubly when she saw the Queen Regent. All the handmaidens stood to attention as Cersei walked in, but she waved them off. "Keep at it, I just want to speak to Lady Sansa." She said, her voice like a song.
"Your Grace…" Sansa began, embarrassed at her nakedness.
Cersei just went and poured herself some wine. "You've got nothing that I don't have, child. There's no need to feel embarrassed, these ladies are the finest in King's Landing." She took a sip. "I wanted to see how you were coping, I know the prospect of marrying my brother is not an easy one."
Sansa agreed, but her armour kicked in. "Lord Tyland does me an honour in choosing me as his bride after what my family have put his House through."
Cersei chuckled. "It is Lord Tywin you should be thanking dear, not my brother. Father picks out our spouses and we have to grin and bear it, as always." Sansa knew that she was on her way to being drunk. She kept quiet, clenching her teeth as the last of her leg hair was forcibly removed. She was told to stand up, as a shift was placed over her head, making Sansa feel a bit more comfortable. "You're a beauty." Cersei said deep in thought. "He won't know what to do with you."
"Your Grace." Sansa protested innocently.
"You do know what will happen, don't you?" Cersei raised an eyebrow. Sansa nodded. "He's a dour man, my brother. I doubt he's had a woman since that bore of a Crakehall died."
Sansa guessed who she was on about as the main dress was placed over her head, a gorgeous red dress in the Westerlander style, with discreet golden vines detailing the gown. A true Lannister garment. "Loren's mother?" Sansa asked.
Cersei nodded. "I remember the first time I saw them together when I returned to the Rock after my own wedding. She was a timid thing, was terrified of my brother." None of this was helping Sansa calm herself, and Cersei noticed this. "But that was before she had a child. Afterwards she looked happier, I've been told. There's only one bit of advice I can give you, and that's to get pregnant early. Tyland is a man of limited tastes, and he'll leave you be once you're with child I know it."
"He will be my husband." Sansa screamed internally, but her voice was calm. "It is his right to bed me when he wants."
"He doesn't want, that's why Jeyne Crakehall was so happy afterwards." Cersei reminisced. "Bless him with a son and quickly, and you'll be left in peace."
Sansa could tell that Cersei was actually trying to look out for her, but the Stark girl kept trying to find the fault. Her dress was tied up tightly, and Sansa looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair needed fixing, but otherwise even she had to admit she looked incredible. Cersei noticed. "A fitting Lady Lannister." She said. "Sit."
Sansa did as bid, and Cersei picked up a hairbrush. One of the handmaidens went to argue but the Queen Regent snapped. "I have hair myself I know what to do, and I know what my brother likes more than you do you fool. Go and fetch the Lady more wine!"
The handmaiden ran out, and Cersei stood behind Sansa, looking in the mirror. She gently combed through Sansa's hair with the brush. "A handmaiden could do this Your Grace…" Sansa started.
Cersei ignored her, lost in her own world. "A child makes all marriages bearable." She told Sansa. "That will be your salvation through all of his cruelty."
"My Lord has never been cruel to me." Sansa added, stopping herself before saying that he had been cruel to nearly everyone in her family.
"Then you're lucky." Cersei admitted. "And I truly hope it lasts."
Sansa bit her lip gently, and then asked. "Do you truly hate him?"
Cersei looked surprised at the question. "Yes and no." She said plainly. "He's still my brother after all, but he hasn't treated me well since I was but a girl. How can you love someone when you get nothing but contempt back?" Sansa had no answer for that, and Cersei went off again. "A child. Give me a little nephew and you will never have to suffer through this marriage for longer than a night at a time. Children make it all worthwhile."
They stayed in silence after that, as a mix of Margaery's and Cersei's words floated through Sansa's head. The next thing she knew, Sansa's hair was tied up in a relatively simple style. "Your Grace, it's beautiful." She answered honestly.
"I'm not all bite." Cersei told Sansa quietly.
"Only most of the time." Jaime Lannister's voice came softly from the doorway. "Lady Sansa, you look divine."
Sansa smiled, a faint blush adorning her cheeks. "Thank you, Ser."
"I'm here to escort you to the Sept, if you are ready?"
"She is." Cersei told him. She looked at Sansa and nodded. "I shall see you at the Sept."
With that Cersei quickly left the room, leaving Sansa to look at herself once more in the mirror before a feeling of dread fell over her.
The Sept of Baelor was beginning to fill up, with Lords and Ladies from the Westerlands all cramming into the large building to see their future Lord wed. Tyland was slightly uncomfortable in his regal clothing, golden all over with a crimson cape, and he found himself talking to Lord Roland Crakehall, Loren's other Grandfather, when Tywin came over and caught his attention.
"Father." He greeted, straightening his cape.
Tywin got closer to his eldest son and handed him a cloak with two golden lions dancing together on a crimson background. "Remember how important this is to us." Tyland didn't need reminding, but just nodded. "In the morning I'll have the King confirm you as the Lord of Winterfell. Bolton can keep the Wardenship until your son by Sansa comes of age."
The heir to Casterly Rock was about to respond when the doors to the Sept opened to reveal Sansa Stark in a stunning gown. Tyland moved up the steps to his position by the High Septon and waited as Joffrey spoke to the Stark girl. Tyland watched them with suspicious eyes, before Sansa took the King's arm and they walked down into the Sept together, through the gathered crowd of Westermen and women, mixed with the court.
He could see how nervous she looked as she walked through the Sept, clinging on to the hastily made Stark maiden's cloak with her free hand, and he noticed her slight smile to Lady Margaery, an action that intrigued the Lannister.
Soon enough she was beside him, and he peered down into her nervous blue eyes. Joffrey himself began to unclasp the Stark cloak, his hands veering close to one of the laces on her back before a look from Tyland stopped the King from making a fool out of him on his wedding day. Wrapping the cloak up, Joffrey went to stand beside Cersei with a gulp as he passed Tyland.
Once the King had taken his spot, the High Septon cleared his throat, and with a pompous bellow, he began the ceremony. "You may now cloak the bride and bring her under your protection."
Tyland unfurled the cloak fully as Sansa turned her back on him, and he draped the crimson cloak softly over her shoulders, so the two dancing lions were displayed on her back proudly. The High Septon then continued his speech. "Your Grace, Your Grace." He directed at Joffrey and Cersei respectively, before addressing the room. "My Lords and Ladies. We stand here in the sight of Gods and men to witness the union of man and wife. One flesh, one heart, one soul. Now and forever."
Tyland held out his right hand, and Sansa gingerly took it. The High Septon began tying a golden ribbon lightly around the pair's hands and continued the ceremony. "Let it be known that Sansa of House Stark, and Tyland of House Lannister are one heart, one flesh, one soul. Cursed be he who would seek to tear them asunder. In the sight of the Seven, I hereby seal these two souls, binding them as one for eternity." The High Septon then untied the ribbon and spoke once more. "Look upon each other and say the words.
Tyland saw that Sansa gulped, but as he made his vow, she made hers. "Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger." He announced. "I am hers, and she is mine. From this day, until the end of my days."
To end the ceremony, Tyland leant down slightly and kissed Sansa rigidly on her lips, and the applause soon rang around the Sept of Baelor. He could see she looked uncomfortable and just turned to face the crowd, placing the hand that was still holding his under his arm and gently led her down the steps and through the crowd.
The feast was held in the Queen's Ballroom, with Tyland and Sansa the only ones at the high table. They barely spoke to one another throughout the meal, and after it had finished he noticed Sansa staring over at the Tyrell part of the room, where Margaery was talking to one of her handmaidens.
"Go." He insisted. "It is your wedding feast, My Lady. You should enjoy it."
Sansa tried to argue. "It would be improper to leave your side My Lord…"
"Go." He repeated. "Spend some time with your friends."
Sansa smiled, and made her way over to speak to the two girls. Tyland surveyed the room briefly. He saw Tyrion drinking happily next to a rather awkward looking Shireen Baratheon. He saw his Father looking coldly towards the dwarf, but that was nothing new. He also saw Cersei trying to stop Tommen from having any more wine and stop Joffrey from leaving his seat at the same time and struggling. She gave up on the King in the end, and Tyland followed his nephew as he crossed the room and made his way over to his betrothed.
Sensing trouble, Tyland rose as well. He picked up his full glass of wine and slowly made his way over, stopping by the table of Lord Melwyn Sarsfield to listen in. The Sarsfield Lord was retelling the tale of slaying Robb Stark's Direwolf, which made it easier for Tyland to ignore since he had been there.
"Walk with me, Lady Lannister." Joffrey was saying. Tyland stayed in the shadows, not trusting his nephew to let go of the girl easily. "Or should I call you Aunt."
"Sansa is fine, Your Grace." The girl said uneasily.
"I suppose I'll have a cousin soon. Your biggest dream coming true and having a Lannister baby." Joffrey grinned, clearly half drunk. "Although, I don't suppose it matters which Lannister puts it in you." Tyland's eyes narrowed in anger at the insinuation. He'd put up with the whispers of his first wife's infidelity for so long, he wasn't going to do the same again in this marriage, especially not if the King was threatening her himself. He walked out from the shadows and followed them as Joffrey said. "Maybe I'll pay you a visit tonight, once my Uncle has had enough of you."
Tyland got closer and started whistling out a tune that needed no introduction thanks to the destruction of two houses. Joffrey turned, his eyes wider than usual in surprise. "Your Grace." Tyland stopped whistling and greeted. "I do trust I misheard you just now."
"I don't know what you mean, Uncle." Joffrey said diplomatically. Tyland's lips turned upwards for a split second.
"Good." Tyland said, leaning into Joffrey's ear. "Because if I heard rightly and you had just threatened the Lady Lannister, then I would be obliged to remind you of what happened to House Drumm."
Joffrey gulped in fear. "You can't speak to me like that." He gasped.
Tyland shrugged, handing Joffrey the full wine glass. "I believe that we had decided you hadn't said anything of the sort Your Grace, and so there is no issues here."
"No." Joffrey agreed. "Good evening, Uncle." The King then walked away with as much dignity as he could muster, leaving Tyland to turn to his new wife.
"Are you ok, My Lady?" He asked.
Sansa nodded. "His Grace was most kind."
"Don't." Tyland insisted. "Don't mask yourself now. Your courtesies and your words have gotten you this far it is true, but nobody can harm you now without answering to me. You are my wife, My Lady, and you will be the Lady of Casterly Rock one day."
Sansa nodded. "What did you mean, about House Drumm?" She asked.
Tyland sighed. "During the Ironborn Rebellion when they sacked Lannisport, my first wife was taken by Lord Dunstan Drumm. They knew who she was, so they raped her multiple times, slit her throat and threw her overboard." He could see her eyes widen in fear. "I had no love for her, nor she me. But she was my wife, and that insult could not go unpunished. Now there is no House Drumm."
He could see Sansa begin to understand what he was saying, that even though he knew she hated him and his family, she would be safer now than she had been ever since her Father died. "I'm sorry for having to go through that, Lord Tyland." She said honestly. "I appreciate your protection."
Tyland nodded and held his arm out for her. "Come, let me escort you back to Lady Margaery." She took it gratefully, and Sansa actually enjoyed the next couple of hours of the feast as she laughed with her two friends.
The hours grew late though, and Tyland could see that Joffrey was getting more drunk. In order to stop the bedding ceremony before it began, Tyland signalled to his brother Jaime.
"Take the Lady Sansa to my chambers." He told Jaime. "The King looks like he's about to call for a bedding, and I'd rather not be executed for maiming him on my wedding night."
Jaime nodded, patting Tyland on the shoulder before he went over to Sansa and escorted her out of the room. Tyland watched as Joffrey barely noticed, and the Lannister stood up and tapped his glass with his spoon. The room fell into a hush. "My Lords, My Ladies." He announced, not enjoying the attention but he had been trained for things like this since he was a toddler. "You all have my humble thanks for attending today. But the hour is late, and my new Wife has retired to our chambers."
"Well go and join her!" Tyrion exclaimed in a slur, inciting laughs from many of the men in the room.
"I plan to, little brother." Tyland told him. "But don't let my departure stop you all from enjoying yourselves. Please, eat and drink for as long as you are able." As soon as he had said his last word, Tyland moved from the high table and led Vylarr, his captain of the guards, away from the Queen's Ballroom and towards his chambers, passing Jaime on his way back to the feast as they neared.
WARNING! UNDERAGE/NON-CONSENSUAL BEDDING!
Sansa wasn't alone in Tyland's room for too long. She had already been here of course after Joffrey had had her stripped and beaten, but to see her chest had been moved up had given her a real shock.
The door opened, and in stepped the golden dressed Tyland Lannister. He closed the door behind himself, and the reality of the situation sunk in. Not willing herself to cry, she stood proudly by the bed, watching Tyland as he turned around.
He immediately made his way over to the decanter and poured out two glasses. Downing one of them in a manner that Tyrion would be proud of, he walked over and handed the other over to Sansa.
"I've had enough already, My Lord." She tried to refuse him.
"My Lady, you'll need this." He told her, not unkindly. "Please, drink it all and drink it quick."
Sansa did as she was bid, coughing as the liquid flowed into her mouth too quickly. Wiping her lips with her arm, she stared at Tyland once more. Tyland took her glass and placed it back onto the table. He unclasped his cape, catching it before it fell on the floor and folding it neatly, placing it onto one of the chairs in the room. She thought he could sense her unease, as he unlaced his shirt too, letting it fall down his arms before he caught that and placed it on the same chair. He turned around and let her see him topless, scars and all. Sansa's eyes raked his toned body, focusing on a rather nasty scar starting just under his right shoulder and ending in the middle of his chest.
"A bandit from near Oxcross." He explained, knowing what she was looking at. "I must have only been 17 at the time, still a green boy really and I missed my parry."
"It looks like it was painful." She managed to say.
Tyland nodded. "It was." Was all he said. They both stared at one another again for a few moments, neither willing to move. "Do you need help?" Tyland asked.
Undressing. That was the part Sansa had wanted to avoid. She shook her head, turning her back to take off some of the jewellery that she had been gifted for the day. Her hands went to her chest, but Sansa soon remembered that the laces were in the back of this gown. Snaking her hands around, she fumbled trying to find the loose thread, but couldn't.
She heard footsteps, and Tyland's lemony breath was felt on her neck. "Do you need help?" He repeated, a firmer tone than before. Sansa nodded her head weakly, and she felt his hands on her back, pulling at the laces in her dress.
The material felt looser, and Sansa slowly moved her left arm up to her right shoulder, slipping her arm out of the dress, before doing the same with her other arm. The red gown pooled at her feet as it fell from her, leaving Sansa in only her shift. A tear pooled in her eye as she began to do the same with her undergarment, slowly bringing her right arm out, and then her left, before that too was at her feet and she was left utterly naked before him.
She felt his hands caress her back, over the freckle near her spine that her Mother had tickled when she was but a child. He was slightly more forceful then, pushing down on her back so she was leaning over the bed, exposing her arse to him. The tear fell, wetting the furs on the bed before more water fell from the Stark's eyes.
"I promise, this will be over soon." Tyland's deep voice came from behind her, as she felt something hard yet soft poking around at her crotch. Then came the discomfort, as he stabbed at her insides. Trying but failing to hold in her sobs, Sansa Stark consummated her marriage.
Chapter 21: The Lionness
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.
Chapter 22: Pride
The day of Joffrey and Margaery's wedding was drawing ever closer, and with that came a frantic rush around the castle. Unfortunately for Tyland, this meant that as he was trying to get some work done in his office, there was almost constant shouting and movement outside of his door. After the fourth time of being distracted he gave up, packing up his office and leaving to go to his chambers.
He didn't expect to find Sansa there laughing as he walked in. His wife was sat at a circular table with a girl that Tyland recognised to be one of Margaery Tyrell's handmaidens, the Forrester girl. "My Ladies." He greeted.
Sansa was startled at his voice but rose to her feet and bowed her head, closely followed by Mira Forrester. "My Lord." She greeted back.
"Lord Tyland." Mira added softly.
"What are you doing?" Tyland asked. He noticed an intricately patterned dress on the table.
Sansa answered him. "Mira was asked to amend Lady Margaery's dress for the wedding, and as I had nothing to do but sit here I decided to help her."
Tyland didn't betray any emotions but was insulted that his wife would be fixing other dresses. He turned to Mira. "Leave us."
Mira looked at Sansa quickly, but the red head just nodded. "Go." She said softly. Mira did as she was told, picking up the dress and leaving the room in a hurry. As the door shut behind her, Sansa scoffed and went to pour herself some water. "You didn't have to be so rude, I offered to help. It was my idea."
"You are going to be the Lady of Casterly Rock." Tyland scolded. "With that title comes a certain image, you can't be fixing dresses it makes you look like a servant."
"That's why I invited Mira here, in the comfort of my own chambers." Sansa bit back, unusually brave. "I always loved sewing, and Mira is a friend of mine. We were in no danger here, Lord Tyland."
Tyland scoffed. "It's King's Landing, we're all in danger here." He shook his head. "Anyway, come. Let us take a walk around the gardens. It will be good for the castle to see us together."
He didn't see Sansa's look of distain, but the Stark girl dutifully agreed and finished her drink before she walked to his side and took his arm.
They dodged the majority of the madness surrounding the wedding and found the gardens to be fairly quiet that morning as they walked slowly and in silence around the area, two guards following behind them. Tyland even felt like he was enjoying the peace of it all until they turned a corner and walked into another couple.
The King and Margaery spotted them immediately, with Joffrey grinning at the sight of them. "Well isn't this precious." He swaggered over to them. "My Lady and her new husband."
"Your Grace." Sansa bowed, clearly wanting to be anywhere but there.
"Your Grace." Tyland repeated, less politely than his wife had.
Joffrey smirked at Sansa. "I'm surprised to see you out and about, I've heard that you enjoy wedded life so much that you rarely leave your chambers."
"Come, my love." Margaery tried to pull him away.
"Do you enjoy Lannister cock, My Lady?" Joffrey whispered to Sansa. Tyland ground his teeth willing the vicious idiot to move along. Sansa didn't respond and just looked at her feet, tensing up so much that Tyland could feel her nails digging into his upper arm. "I asked you a question! Hound! Tell her I demand an answer!"
Sandor Clegane was behind the betrothed couple and rolled his eyes subtly before he said. "The King asked you a question, Little Bird."
"The King might serve his time better seeing to his realm." Tyland interrupted before Sansa had to say anything. "Rather than torment his new aunt. I for one have a number of new laws that could use your approval to benefit King's Landing and your rule if you have the time later this evening, Your Grace. Or would you like to think about my cock for a while longer?"
Joffrey's eyes flared in anger. "You dare suggest…"
"I'm not suggesting anything." Tyland said icily. "I shall see you in the Throne Room after supper to discuss the laws."
"You can't speak to me like that." Joffrey exclaimed angrily. "Hound! Cut him down!"
Tyland scoffed loudly. "Come, Lady Sansa. Let us finish our walk." He bowed his head to the King and Margaery. "Your Grace, My Lady." He pulled Sansa away, being careful to glare at Clegane as he went to dissuade him of doing anything. Once they were out of hearing range he felt Sansa relax a lot more. "Are you alright?" He asked quietly. Sansa nodded, but he could see her eyes were watery. "You're a good liar, Sansa. But your face often gives away your emotions." He told her as softly as he could. "King's Landing is a viper's nest, if you can't control your emotions then you'll end up getting bitten one way or another. Control your emotions and stay straight faced and nobody will gain anything on you."
"That's easier said than done, My Lord." Sansa told him quietly.
Tyland snorted out a quick laugh. "True, and I have had years of practice whereas you have been thrown to the deep end. But you're a clever young woman when you try to be. Bring out the Lady Sansa that scolded me in our chambers more often, and even Joffrey will fail to amuse himself by tormenting you."
Tyland was actually pleasantly surprised when Joffrey did decide to show up later that evening, although he wasn't expecting to see Jaime with the King. "Your Grace, Lord Commander." The heir to Casterly Rock greeted.
"Her Grace the Queen Mother wasn't overly thrilled when she heard about your words earlier, brother." Jaime noted.
Tyland bowed his head, mock apologetically. "If Her Grace wishes to discuss the matter, then she knows where I am. Tonight though, I wish to educate my nephew."
"Educate?" Joffrey asked. "I thought we were going over laws."
"That can wait." Tyland said firmly. "Tonight though, I want you to follow me and listen for once, can you do so?"
Joffrey looked like he was about to spit into a rage again, but at Jaime's encouragement he nodded. "Very well."
Tyland was glad. "Come then." He began walking back to the entrance of the Throne Room, not looking back to see if Joffrey was following. "I've noticed the Lady Margaery has been quite active within the city."
"Yes, she goes to feed the orphans or something." Joffrey waved off. "What does that matter?"
"It matters, because the people will love her for it, while they see nothing of you. Do you remember the Battle of Blackwater, and how you were jealous of Loren during?" Tyland asked.
"I was not jealous…" Joffrey argued like a child.
Tyland ignored him. "That was because the men that fought under him knew him, he made sure to make himself seem like a person to them rather than an aloof figure that expected them to give him the world." They left the Red Keep and walked over to the training yard, where a number of guardsmen were training. "You expect these men to fight for you, die for you even."
"Because I am their King." Joffrey scowled. "They should die for me."
"Then give them a reason to." Tyland told Joffrey. "Come, tonight we walk among them. Maybe even engage in a shooting competition. Let them know a side to you that allows them to believe that they are cared for, and they will fight for you a lot harder."
Joffrey shook his head. "I am still their King; they are sworn to…"
"The smallfolk are sworn to cut their crops and farm their lands. They don't care about their duty to you, all they care about is making ends meet. They may have a duty towards their Lords, but unless they live in King's Landing you are owed no loyalty. These are the men that should fight for you no matter what. Your future Queen is already proving to be effective in the city, you do your part to inspire the fighting men to follow you, and you shall never fear for your crown."
Joffrey clearly still didn't want to, but once he saw the archery range he groaned and said. "Fetch my crossbow."
Tyland had already arranged for it to be brought down, and once Joffrey had it in his hands he moved over to join in the training. Jaime moved to stand beside Tyland. "Where has this care of the garrison come from?" He asked.
Tyland just shook his head amusedly. "Ned Stark, if you can believe it. Apparently he invited a member of his household to sup with him every night to talk to them and get to know them. I figured this may be the best way for us to get Joffrey to gain the greater loyalty of his own men."
The day before the wedding there was the final meeting of the small council before the festivities got underway, and after all of the necessary details had been spoken about Tywin dismissed them but called on both Tyrion and Tyland to stay. "Why couldn't you have said that before I got off my chair." Tyrion grumbled, but sat down once more and looked at Tywin expectantly.
"A raven has arrived from Casterly Rock." Tywin explained. "The Stark girl has been locked away and will remain there until she bleeds, at which point she will be married off to my sister's eldest grandson."
Tyland knew Tywin Frey, commonly known as Ty, and he felt sorry for the boy for having to deal with the ferocious Arya Stark. "Riverrun will soon be firmly under our command then."
"As will Winterfell when you have a child by Sansa." Tywin said, almost accusingly.
"Soon." Was all Tywin said to that, refusing to be rushed.
Tyrion looked questioningly at Tywin. "You called us back to tell us that Arya Stark has been successfully transported to Casterly Rock?"
"No, that was just the only good part of the message." Tywin told them. He looked at Tyland. "Pray tell me why your son has risked out relationship with the Payne's and Walder Frey?"
That took Tyland aback. "Excuse me?"
Tywin threw the letter towards Tyland. "Your son has eloped with Stafford's girl, the one he was whining about while here. They ran off to Crakehall, married and consummated. Kevan is enraged."
'Loren you fool.' Tyland thought. "He was always strong minded." Was all he could say.
"He was also always loyal." Tywin snarled. "Everything we have worked towards is at risk…"
"He knew about Tysha." Tyland said quickly, interrupting. "He found out what happened to her and must have thought that our promises could not be trusted."
Tyrion's face turned into a scowl, and Tyland almost regretted mentioning her. Tywin's lips were pursed together in anger too. "Well then." The Hand of the King spat out. "We shall have to break this up again of course."
A glass goblet smashed on the floor, and Tyrion's face was pure rage as he stood on his chair to give himself extra height. "You will not." The dwarf snarled. "You will not harm that girl, nor will you do to Loren what you did to me."
"Of course I wouldn't." Tywin spat back, as cold as ice. "Loren will one day be the Lord of Casterly Rock, and Cerenna is a Lannister, not a whore."
Tyrion thumped the table. "She was not." He growled. "You will not ruin their lives as you ruined Tysha's."
"You give me commands?" Tywin narrowed his eyes glaringly. "I give you too much freedom."
"If you gave me freedom, I would still be married, instead of betrothed to a child." Tyrion spat bitterly. "Leave Loren be. He is happy, which is more than can be said of any of your own children."
"Careful." Tywin said calmly, but malice was in his eyes. "Did you put him up to this?" He accused.
Tyrion was even more enraged at the accusation. "I've lived through the consequences of your dislike all of my life." He snarled. "I wouldn't put my nephew through that even with the knowledge that it annoyed you."
"Tyrion is right." Tyland said to break up the glaring contest. "Leave them be. Cerenna is a Lannister and my own cousin, in any other circumstance this would be a good match. We can find another Lannister to give to Walder Frey."
"And House Payne?" Tywin asked, slowly trying to calm down.
"Are our loyal bannermen." Tyland said. "If they have a problem, let Loren go and deal with it himself with an army at his back. They'll soon back down."
Tywin shook his head, leaning back in his chair. "His selfish desires have risked everything; he should not go unpunished."
"He'll be forced to deal with his mistakes himself." Tyland explained. "It will force him to grow up and think as a Lord, not as a boy."
Tywin didn't look overly happy at that but looked between his two sons in attendance. "I presume you are both in agreement." It wasn't a question.
Tyrion answered anyway. "I will not sit on the same council as a man who would harm kin in such a way yet again." He scowled bravely. "Leave them be. She will be a wonderful Lady of the Rock. We have more important issues at hand than who Loren keeps in his bed." Tywin then looked at Tyland, who just nodded.
"Very well." Tywin said, bringing out fresh parchment to write a letter. "So long as he shares his plan with me first, he will fix this with the backing of the Hand of the King. But any more mistakes from him…"
"And nothing." Tyland said sharply. "He may be a child, but he is the best of us all. Once he has grown up and learnt that actions have consequences he will be a fine Lord of the Rock."
"Then make sure he learns." Tywin told his son firmly, signing the letter with a forceful scribble. "There is one more thing. Tyrion, you can go." Tyrion didn't hesitate jumping down from the chair and waddling away, closing the door behind him. Tywin got up too and walked to his desk in his solar behind the council chamber, coming back with a sword in its sheath and placing it in front of Tyland. Intrigued, Tyland grabbed the sheath on one hand and ran his finger along the golden ripples of the hilt, before reaching the carved golden lion on the pommel. He noticed the ruby in the cross guard too and was truly in awe of the exquisite design. "Unsheathe it." Tywin commanded.
Tyland did as he was asked, and the ripples of Valyrian Steel made him gasp. "Valyrian Steel… freshly forged?"
"There are three living smiths who know how to rework Valyrian Steel." Tywin explained, sitting back down. "One of them is our very own Tobho Mott."
Tyland had Red Rain back in his chambers and knew that it can't have been that sword. "And this much steel came from…?"
"From somebody who no longer had need of it." Tywin said calmly.
Tyland smirked knowingly. "The Stark's won't like that."
"The Stark's will soon be extinct." Tywin explained. "The only living members of the House are women; one is now a Lannister and the other will soon be a Frey. As Sansa Stark is now the Lady of Winterfell by all rights her son will inherit. I'm not a cruel man, this sword forged from her Father's blade will still belong to her descendants, but the blade was absurdly large."
"So you split the steel between two swords?" Tyland asked.
"I did." Tywin confirmed. "The other will go to Joffrey as a wedding gift tomorrow. A King should have a worthy weapon."
Tyland sheathed the sword again and placed it on the table. "I already have a Valyrian Steel blade though, owning two is… greedy."
Tywin scoffed amusedly. "I was going to suggest sending Red Rain to Loren, but it would be unwise to reward him after todays news. Gift him the blade at a moment where a reward is warranted, but this one, whatever you name it, is for you. To be passed down to your son by Sansa."
Tyland nodded gratefully. "Thank you, Father."
"Do you have a name?" Tywin asked with an eyebrow raised.
Tyland held up the blade so that the hilt was eye level. "Pride." He nodded. "It is called Pride."
Loren and Cerenna's arrival back at Casterly Rock turned out to be unsurprisingly eventful after their elopement to Crakehall. Cerenna's twin Myrielle had greeted them on the Lion's Mouth with a grim expression.
"Father is furious." She told them as they walked back into the castle. "Lord Kevan is furious. Lord Emmon is even more furious."
"Emmon wouldn't fart if Aunt Genna didn't give him permission." Loren rolled his eyes. "I will never apologise for following my heart."
Myrielle turned on him, jabbing him in the chest forcefully with her finger. "This isn't a joke, Loren." She snapped, looking between the newlyweds. "We've not heard from Payne Hall yet, but Lord Walder is said to be irate."
"Let him rant." Loren said. "If he is that angered then the old goat can come to Casterly Rock and chastise us himself."
"Loren." Cerenna whispered, placing her hand on his chest gently to calm him. She then spoke to her twin "We knew this would happen and are willing to face the consequences."
Myrielle only frowned. "Father would have disowned you if it hadn't have been for Mother, Ren. He was angrier than I've ever seen him."
"Words are wind, sweet sister." Cerenna smiled.
"But some winds are strong enough to knock down castles." Myrielle warned. She couldn't hold a straight face for too long though, as she grinned and hugged her sister. "That being said, I personally couldn't be more delighted, although I would have appreciated an invitation."
Loren snorted out a laugh but appreciated her support. They soon arrived at the castle and Loren took Cerenna to his room, where he was interested to note that Cerenna's things had been moved to already. As Cerenna moved to unpack, Loren saw that on his desk was a stack of letters and other papers. Sighing, he picked the top one up and went to open it when a knock on the door was heard.
"Enter." He called. It was Genna, and Loren gulped as he saw her. "Aunt Genna."
"Aunt Genna, he says." Genna Lannister mocked. "Well, boy. I think you have some explaining to do."
Loren took a deep breath and shook his head. "No, I don't need to explain myself to anybody. I've been in love with my wife for years now, and I did what I knew to be right in my heart."
Genna looked at him in surprise and barked out a singular laugh. "You have balls, Loren, I'll give you that." She chuckled some more. "Frankly, I couldn't care less. I should have been enough for my horrid goodfather and Tywin knows it." She looked between Loren and Cerenna, who was stood stiff in the corner of the room. "Are you sure you're prepared for the future?"
"I'm prepared for anything." Loren said firmly. Cerenna just nodded.
Genna smiled widely. "Good." She said brightly. "Because you have letters to write, young man. Namely to Lord Payne and Lord Frey." She held out an opened letter. "Tywin has commanded that you handle this mess yourself considering you got us into it."
Loren took the letter and recognised his Grandfather's handwriting. "So long as I clear it with him, I have his voice as the Hand of the King." He read out, surprised. "Even after this?"
Genna smirked. "It seems that although he's angry at you, you still impress him." She went to leave the room then, before turning back quickly. "Don't break our trust again, Loren, and be careful. The world isn't kind to oath breakers."
The door quickly shut behind her, and Loren turned to Cerenna with a bemused look on his face. "Well… that went better than expected."
Cerenna was about to laugh too, and Loren quickly moved over to kiss her once more. "You have… a stack of papers." She said in between kisses.
"They can wait." Loren grinned. "I want to spend time with my wife."
Tyland was in his office late on the night before the Royal Wedding, mulling over Gold Cloak reforms when a knock was heard at the door. Vylarr opened it and announced. "Lord Varys to see you, Lord Tyland."
"Send him in." Tyland replied, wondering why he was being visited by the Spider. The man was in a colourful robe as always, his hands in the opposite sleeve as he came in and bowed.
"Lord Tyland." Varys greeted.
"Varys." Tyland responded, intentionally leaving out the false title. "You have everyone here on a hook, calling a landless eunuch 'Lord'. I'm almost impressed.
Varys giggled. "No matter my protests, the title is still given to me."
"I'm sure your protests are most thorough." Tyland rolled his eyes. "What is it?"
"You care for your brother deeply, do you not?" Varys asked.
Tyland narrowed his eyes. "You'll have to be more specific; I have two brothers after all."
Varys smiled fakely. "Lord Tyrion."
Sighing loudly, Tyland placed his quill on the table gently. "What is this?"
"Your brother is playing a dangerous game, Lord Tyland. He kept a whore while camped with the Lannister army during the war with Robb Stark, and even though he was commanded to forsake her, she still shares his bed."
'He never learns.' Tyland thought angrily. "And you care about this why?"
Varys looked offended. "I care about the lives of innocents, Lord Tyland. If Tyrion won't part from this girl then I fear for her life. Your Father is not kind with those who he suspects of whoring with Lannisters."
That was an understatement, and not a lesson that Tyland would ever forget. Even without thinking of Tysha he still vaguely remembered the cries of his Grandfather's whore as she was stripped and paraded from Casterly Rock every day for a fortnight before being exiled from the Westerlands in shame. "And so you come to me."
"I do." Varys confirmed. "If anybody has the presence to be able to save this woman from your Father, it is you, My Lord."
"She has been safe up until now, what has changed?" Tyland asked. He didn't want to get involved in Tyrion's love life again if he could help it.
Varys' next words made staying out of it impossible, however. "My Lord, they have been spotted together by one of your sister's spies."
Silently cursing, Tyland clenched a fist. "And of course, Cersei will run to Father about it." He said out loud. "Very well. If you are serious about saving this girls life then prepare a ship to leave tomorrow."
"Tomorrow is the day of the wedding, Lord Tyland." Varys reminded him.
"And that is why it is perfect for a ship to slip away unseen while all eyes are on my nephew and the Tyrell girl." Tyland replied coldly. "Do it." Varys bowed and went to leave, but Tyland called him back. "And if this is an elaborate plot of some kind Varys, your balls won't be the only round object that finds itself detached from your body."
Varys smirked. "I understand, Lord Tyland. I promise you; I have the interests of Lord Tyrion in mind."
"Good. Now go." Tyland told the eunuch, who bowed once again and left the room. Tyland could then relax slightly, as he placed his elbow on the desk and rested his chin in his hand, sighing once more. He looked down at his work and knew he wasn't going to get anywhere that night so pushed it aside as he began brainstorming how to get it into Tyrion's head that he was walking a dangerous path.