Lord Eddard Stark, Hand of the King, son of Rickard and Lyarra Stark, limped towards the foot of the iron throne. He stopped a few feet away from the great grotesque thing, and knelt down. There was a faint sword mark marring the seemingly flawless marble.
Jaime ran up the stairs with sweat and blood blurring his vision like the fur of a ruffled lion.
He turned the knob of the wooden door at the top of the steps with one gold and iron gauntlet. It was locked. It did not seem to budge at all, barred most like.
“ELIA, IT’S ME, JAIME! OPEN THE DOOR!” he screamed.
There was no answer.
Seven Hells . He stepped back and kicked at the door roughly. The oak splintered and shuddered, but it stayed closed. He kicked once, twice, he lost count. In the end, the old wood broke with an ear throbbing crack, and opened just a little. Jaime put all his weight into a shoulder bash, slowly breaking the furnishings placed behind it.
There was another creaking noise, and the door burst open into a dark room with violet drapes closed to hide the rape, murder, and destruction that consumed King’s Landing. He looked around wildly as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. A shadow shot at him, a smoky dark valyrian steel blade shimmering madly in the dim light. The knife would’ve cut open the knight's throat had he not dived away at the last moment. “ELIA.” yelled Jaime desperately as he held his hands up in defense.
The figure paused abruptly, holding the knife bewilderedly.
“Jai… Jaime? Is that really you?” she said, squinting through her mess of dark hair.
In truth, Jaime did not look himself. His hair was filthy, matted with blood , and his face was ashen. His white cloak was torn and stained with the blood of the Hand of the King. The King’s own life’s blood dripped down his blade and down his front, and with a knife wound in between his ribs, it made him look more demon than man. “YES, IT- it’s me, Elia.” Jaime said, desperately trying to lower his voice. The princess of Dorne winced at the blood dripping down from his armor.
“Who’s blood is that?” she asked, pointing with an unstable hand.
“Aerys.” Jaime said, grimacing.
A child with silver white hair and another with dark brown hair peeped out from under the bed, their expressions locked in petrified grimaces. “Is- is that the bad man?” whispered the girl named Rhaenys, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Jaime knelt down in front of the Targaryen babes, resting his arms on his knees. He cleared his throat and spoke in as much a calm voice as he could, “Rhaenys, it’s me, Uncle Jaime, don’t you remember?”
Rhaenys seemed hesitant for a moment. Aegon lept right into his arms on the other hand, snuggling against his crimson and gold hair, seeming not to care of the smell. Seeing Aegon’s declaration of tenderness, Rhaenys curled up in his arms as well.
“We Miswwd yew.” she said as Jaime stroked her hair.
Jaime smiled, and Elia seemed to quell as well. He stood up with both babes in his arms. “What are we going to do?” asked Elia. “We run, just follow me” Jaime said half-heartedly, there was no time to explain. So they ran. Out of Maegor’s Holdfast and into the throne room.
Ned urged his horse to go faster, praying to the old gods that Robert or any of his bannermen had not reached the Red Keep first.
His own men were already storming the red keep, most of the guards were already dead. He found the doors to the room where the Iron Throne sat slightly ajar with a trail of gleaming blood leading into it. He walked his horse quietly through the door, where he took in the scene before him. The king was lying in a pool of his own blood at the foot of the Iron throne, a gaping wound in his back and the gilded crown laying a few feet away from him. Jaime Lannister was standing with his sword planted into the ground in front of the corpse, seemingly guarding the king. But his sword was bloody, and three dark shapes huddled underneath the shadow of the ugly twisted metal thing. Ned clambered off his horse, and closed the doors of the throne room before walking the halls to meet the lion.
The boy was shaking visibly, he realized, his eyes were bloodshot and his face gaunt. Jaime looked up from his vigil in defiance all the same and raised his blade shakily. No doubt, Jaime was preparing to die. “Ser Jaime Lannister, of Casterly Rock, it is an honor to meet you at last.” Ned said graciously. Jaime was silent for a moment, confused. “You are the man that wrote me in those letters?” Jaime asked, realizing that Ned was not going to kill him and Elia. The blood from his side was pooling on the floor now.
He is dying.
Ned realized sorrowfully. Doubts and guilt ricocheted around his mind. Robert would be suspicious, he knew, after all his drinking, he was not a stupid man, if they were caught, then his efforts would have been for naught. He should never have dragged Jaime into this. He waved a hand at the sealed doors,
“We could find you a maester, there is one travelling with Robert at the moment, you do not need to do this, I will try to convince-”
“No.” Jaime said, glaring at him. “He’ll slaughter them all, just like he did Rhaegar.” Ned lowered his eyes.
Robert was not the same man he was at the beginning of the rebellion, he was more beast than man now, driven by lust, grief, and blood. “I understand.” he said sorrowfully.
There was no more to be said. Ned strode past the lion of Casterly Rock and knelt down to Elia Martell and her children. “We are going to go to the southern gate now, there is a boat waiting for us there.” He gestured for them to follow. Aegon started to cry loudly, and Elia rocked him gently in his cradle, speaking for him to make an end to the noise. Elia stood up and nodded to Ned. Ned whistled for his horse, which clambered over, it’s hooves emitting an echoing pinging sound.
He mounted it and held out a hand for Elia. She took it and gracefully sat upon the brown stallion. She scooped up the cradle with the two babes and held them tight to her chest. Ned then reached a hand for Jaime. He took a step, but nearly cried out from the pain throbbing . The knight of the Kingsguard looked at his wound mournfully, and back at Ned. He could see his eyes harden with regret. And then Jaime Lannister knew what must be done. “Take Elia and the children and go.” Jaime said weakly. Ned frowned, and Jaime could see the indecision in his eyes.
“I cannot leave you here.”
Jaime would have laughed, if not for the dire situation at hand, the man always cared too much for his honor, he could see that in the letters that were sent. Honour and what is right are not always the same thing.
“There is no time, and I would not survive the journey at hand.” he said, gesturing at his wound.
Ned winced visibly at that, and still looked once more with indecisiveness. Jaime could almost hear the soldiers knocking down the doors already.
“Go, I am a lion of Casterly Rock, and lions do not falter under danger,” he said half-heartedly. Ned looked past the stained glass windows, at the fire and destruction. He made up his mind.
“Farewell, Jaime Lannister of Casterly Rock.” He raised a hand in salute.
Jaime nodded, “It was good to know you, Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell.” Jaime then turned to Elia Martell, who’s eyes were welling up with tears.
“Goodbye, Jaime.”, she said.
Jaime smiled weakly, “Stay safe, Elia.” Elia nodded. With one last look at his friend that was only by letter, Ned turned and rode away, to the southern gate of the city and to freedom. He watched them ride off, Elia with the babes, and the Quiet Wolf guarding them. May the mother and the warrior protect them. They were gone a moment later, disappearing behind an exit.
Jaime sighed and turned to the looming shadow of melted swords behind him. Taking the sword in hand, he limped to the Iron Throne, climbing the metal steps. Each step forward was harder than the last, coursing with a throbbing pain worse than any he had felt before. His breathing was ragged and whispery when he reached the top.
Collapsing onto the throne, with his sword laid across his lap, Jaime Lannister breathed his last breath, a lion, for once, with a heart of honour.