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The Gentlest Schism

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PROLOGUE - THE REUNION

 

Tyrion and his cohort of distinctly capable looking eastern warriors had intercepted them, a half a day’s ride from King’s Landing.

The meeting with their straggly column of war-worn soldiers had really been rather humbling, all told.

For so very many reasons, but mostly because Jaime was in chains, once more.

He was dragged from his place with his companions for this reunion. His little brother was cool and courteous to him, no doubt because this impromptu choice of escort duty may endanger his new position as an advisor to the Dragon Queen. Yet even the consummate survivor of the family could not hide the concern that flickered over his features as he took in the parlous state of his brother, the dreaded Kingslayer. Could not stop his lip twisting in silent rage and pity as he again took in the absence of his sword hand. Of his identity.

He ordered a horse be brought forward for his exhausted older sibling to ride, starting in surprise when Jaime quietly asked for the beast to be offered to the Lady Brienne of Tarth. “You know, the ridiculously tall one,” he added, nodding in the direction of a familiar and lofty shock of untidy blond hair, suddenly evident even to Tyrion, further down the group.

As another horse was being prepared, Tyrion watched with open curiosity as the renowned Maid of Tarth walked towards them, at his brother’s calling. Also in chains. All of the group with Jaime had been ordered arrested, but there was no hint of brokenness in the immense woman that strode purposefully from the small collection of guarded prisoners. Her once grudging travelling companion noted an internal surge of pride at this, but ignored it.

Jaime saw his brother’s eyes widen as the obvious, and extensive, fresh scarring borne by Brienne became clear. He said nothing of this though, merely asking them to mount their horses so that they could be on their way.

There was silence as they set off, but after only a short time Tyrion halted the party, asking most of them to remain in place whilst he and Jaime, with a small (and somewhat fearsome) escort, made a brief diversion.

As they rode their way along the boundary of an adjoining field, Jaime could hold his silence no longer. “This is curious, brother mine. I am sure that I am your prisoner. Am I to end up in a ditch, hereabouts?” His dry tone made Tyrion smile a little.

“Yes, brother mine, you are my prisoner. But don’t worry, you won’t be inspecting any ditches today. I simply thought that, before the upcoming mummer’s show that could well be your return to the capital, you would like to see our dearest sister.”

Jaime’s head spun, with fiercely conflicting and overwhelming emotions. “Oh.”

“Yes. Oh.” Tyrion chuckled. “Our time here will be short, Jaime. Shall we move along?”

Jaime, still unable to speak, just nodded sharply and encouraged his mount to move with a little more speed.