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The Fruit of the Underworld

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Catelyn gazed down at her. Her darling daughter. It still amazed her that she had one, after so long of nurturing the earth. Now she had someone else to pour her love and attention into, something that was all her own. And her daughter was absolutely perfect, in every single way.

 

She slept in a wicker cradle, lined with a bed of moss, clothed in a soft gown of raw cotton as pure as lily petals. Catelyn reached her hand out and gently stroked her daughter’s head; the babe had a soft, dewey covering of hair that was the color of the most brilliant poppy. Her skin was as tender and pure as a lamb’s coat, and when she opened her eyes from her slumber, the eyes staring up at Catelyn would be the color of a clear brook.

 

She was an easy child. Catelyn would carry her in a sling on her back most days, one that once held wheat but now held something infinitely more precious. She slept most of the time that Catelyn wandered the fields, tending to the crops. Under the sun she slumbered and in the cool of the evening she awoke, smiling and gay. Even her cries seemed musical, a gentle keening instead of a harsh wail.

 

Catelyn marveled at how easy it was to have her. She wasn’t sure what her life had been before her daughter, but she knew the rest would be spent watching over her, protecting her, helping her navigate the wide world around her once she was ready to see it. But tonight was soft and calm, the stars and the moon lighting the valley around them and Catelyn felt at peace, watching her daughter.

 

The babe’s chubby little fist opened and closed in her sleep, reaching for something in her sweet, untroubled dreams. Around her, in the moss, sprung a halo of blooms. Catelyn watched, with a tiny smile, as each open and close of her hand made the petals wave side to side like the tiniest of breeze was tickling them. A talented girl already, of that she had no doubt.

 

Sansa would have talents, of that she was sure. But there was no need to rush into that. They had time, all the time in the world. And a woman with talents was not always a good thing. The wider world would look to her, to her gifts, and want things from her. Catelyn had to protect her from that, from anyone who wanted things from her.

 

Catelyn sat back with her work, taking the fresh cotton she’d handpicked from her fields and gently separated it out. She would weave them into clothes for her daughter, so that her newborn skin would be wrapped in the softest, most perfect garments. Her soft skin deserved nothing less. There, in front of a warm fire, she plucked and hummed a tune for her daughter, trying to remember when life had ever been so peaceful and lovely.

 

Sometime later, her daughter awoke, mewling, and Catelyn lifted her to her own breast to nurse. She took it easily and nursed until she was full. She stared up a Catelyn with wide eyes, quiet and content. Lips like little rosebuds, eyes of a robin’s tiny blue egg. Catelyn’s heart swelled at the mere notion of her. She was her perfect miniature, down to the ever so slight upturn of her lips and the faintest hint of a dimple tucked into her cheeks.

 

Catelyn had made her a rattle from an old peach pit and the little girl waved it mightily. Laughter bubbled up on Catelyn’s lips as all around them, ivy began trailing up the walls and ceiling of the humble cottage she’d made their home in. She shushed her daughter, before everything around them became greenery.

 

“That’s enough Sansa,” she whispered, gently stroking her cheek. “That’s enough my sweet darling girl. There will be time aplenty for this when you are older. A lifetime for your gifts, I promise you.”