Ned was a patient boy, he could wait for the Martell's to arrive at Riverrun. Ned just needed a book and a quiet room, that would be enough to make the time fly. Brandon wasn't that lucky; he seemed to hate the Riverlands. Ned would often hear his brother complaining about being trapped in there.
Brandon liked his future wife, sweet and caring Catlyn wasn't the problem. The older Stark was just too wolf like to stay locked at the Tully's ancient home, having calm walks around the castle with Cat by his side, her dreamy eyes staring lovingly at him... It just wasn't his style.
Ned gave up, dropping the heavy book on his bed. He was excited. He had never seen someone from Dorne before. He had heard stories, of course. Everyone had. The brave dornishman that refused to bend the knee to Aegon centuries ago. Ned always felt the need to know that mysterious land far away from his home at Winterfell.
Someone knocked on the door, interrupting Ned's thoughts. It was a guard, he informed that the Martell's had arrived and his lord father wanted him to join the welcoming. He fixed his clothes before joining the guard outside of his chambers and following him through the still unknown corridors of Riverrun.
Ned followed the man until they reached the Stark family, the young wolf thanked the man before joining his father and brother. Lord Tully was there with his son and his other daughter, Lysa. The Tully girl was wearing a beautiful blue gown and anyone who entered the room could smell the strong perfume coming from her. It was obvious what Lord Tully was trying to do.
After the scandal caused by the inconsequent night she decided to spend warming up Littlefinger's bed, her future seemed dark on her father's eyes. Lord Tully probably saw the opportunity of getting rid of the problem by marrying Lysa to one of the Martell's, hopping that their "open minds" would accept her "defiled" honor.
The odds were against Hoster Tully, it seemed. Princess Delia arrived with none of her sons, but with a young woman, probably her daughter. They were beautiful. They had copper skin and voluminous dark hair. The only difference between them was their eyes: the princess had black cunning eyes while her daughter displayed sweet honey orbs. Ned caught himself staring at them.
"Princess Delia, welcome to Riverrun." Lord Tully said in a clear tone. "I am Hoster Tully, lord of the Riverlands"
"It's an honor to make your acquaintance, Lord Tully" Her accent surprised Ned, he didn't expect it to be so different from the rest of the south. "I am the ruling princess of Dorne and this is my only daughter, Elia"
Elia... The name suited her; short and beautiful. Ned failed to suppress the smile that took over his mouth and Elia's honey eyes immediately found his, making the Stark boy's face turn bright red.
"She's laughing at me." He thought with his head down. All southern ladies he had met so far laughed of his shyness. They fancied Brandon's wild ways.
"We prepared a feast for your arrival." Lord Tully's voice interrupted Ned's thoughts. "Your highness must be tired from the long journey and in need of a hot meal."
"That would be just perfect!" The princess smiled fondly. "I find the climate around here quite cold." She turned to her daughter. "It's the first time Elia comes this far north, she was shivering just a moment ago"
Ned's eyes met Elia's frame once more, focusing on the bright orange coat she was wearing. The quiet wolf noticed another coat beneath the orange one; it was clear that the cold weather wasn't being gentle to the dornish princess.
"We shall go inside, then." His father, Rickard, spoke and stole Ned's attention. "It is warmer inside and it will be more comfortable for us to discuss our matters."
"Wonderful!" Princess Delia smiled once more. "I wish to return to Dorne as soon as possible; my daughter-in-law was heavily pregnant when I left."
Lord Tully's mood darkened; his plan to "save" Lysa's honor failed before it could even start. Ned felt bad for the man. As everyone followed Lord Tully inside, the young Stark felt his brother's army on his shoulder.
"Are you in love already, Ned?" Brandon whispered to him, pointing at princess Elia.
The quiet wolf denied, but his red cheeks said enough.
"Don't even try, little Ned." Brandon laughed. "A shy boy from the North with a dornish beauty like her?" He scoffed. "She will melt you away."