It was not easy being the younger sister of Brandon and Eddard Stark, to be the only daughter of Winterfell, to know she would be traded away in order to secure power. Her mother said it was the way of Westeros, it was a privilege to help her father and brothers remain powerful; Lyanna suspected it was the same speech her grandmother had given her mother before sending her to the North.
She was thirteen when her father declared she was going to marry Lord Robert Baratheon of Storm's End. Her father spoke of what a powerful warrior he was, how he would guard Lyanna as if she was the queen. Ned came to her room later that night and swore Robert Baratheon was an honorable man she would learn to love; he clasped her hand and assured her he would put a sword to his best friend if he ever did anything to make her unhappy.
It was such a sweet, empty promise Lyanna could not help but press a kiss to Ned's whiskered cheek and thank him for being such a wonderful brother.
* * *
She met Robert Baratheon at the celebration for Brandon's betrothal to Catelyn Tully.
Jon Arryn left the Eyrie, bringing Ned and Robert with him, and Lyanna stood at Winterfell's entrance, bouncing in excitement at seeing her favorite brother again. Ned's horse barely came to a stop before he was leaping from it, scooping her up and twirling her about, her skirts ruffling in the breeze; her Septa was already taking her to task by the time Ned replaced her on her feet, greeting Brandon with no less enthusiasm, her brothers pounding each other on their backs as if they were choking.
The black-haired Robert Baratheon was muscular and strong; he moved with the confidence of a man who knew he was the best sword in all of Winterfell and smiled at her as if he expected her to be impressed by it. Even as her father and Jon Arryn made the formal introductions, Lyanna could tell Robert Baratheon anticipated her being the sort of giggly, fawning girl he was used to, the ones who would do anything to be Lady Baratheon of Storm's End.
Lyanna accepted the kiss to the top of her hand, murmured how nice it was to meet him, and promptly ignored him for the remainder of the night, anxious to speak to Catelyn and Lysa Tully, who told fantastical stories about Riverrun.
“You are being rude,” Brandon chastised her later. “He is going to be your husband.”
“Yes, so I have all of eternity to speak to him.”
Brandon laughed despite himself, pulling her into a hug. “You are the most infuriating creature to ever walk the earth. If Father was smart, he would dump you over the Wall with the wildings.”
Lyanna smiled up at him. “I think I should like being wild.”
There was no room for wildness in the life of Lady Lyanna Stark.
* * *
She was never meant to be at the Harrenhal Tourney. It took a near constant amount of begging and pleading; she was certain her father was going to bloody her mouth when Brandon intervened, offering how he would like his sister to be present when he won the largest purse the King ever offered. As their father wavered, Lyanna quickly reminded him how Robert would also be competing in the tourney and what a wonderful opportunity it would be for her to spend time with her betrothed.
“It is a pity you were not born a boy,” her father declared after conceding defeat.
Lyanna knew it was the highest compliment Lord Stark could ever give her.
By the time they reached Harrenhal, Lyanna could hardly contain her excitement. While her brothers had seen so much of the Seven Kingdoms, Lyanna was trapped in Winterfell, learning to perfect her stitches and lessons with her Septa. As the massive castle rose before them, Lyanna breathed, “It is even larger than I imagined it to be.”
“It is cursed,” Brandon stated matter-of-factly, “and has been since the dragons destroyed it years ago. I cannot imagine why the King would hold a tournament here.”
“Because it was the Targaryen dragons who destroyed it,” Lyanna retorted, “and he wants to remind everyone how powerful his house is.” When Brandon simply stared at her, a perplexing expression on his face, she asked, “What?”
Brandon shook his head. “You surprise me is all.”
As their train came to a stop, Brandon helping her down from the cart, Lyanna saw members of the kingsguard walking nearby, a man richly decorated in black and red standing in the center, Valyerian steel on his hip. His silver hair and violet eyes instantly told Lyanna he was a member of House Targaryen.
“Who is that?” Lyanna asked, pointing to the man.
Brandon snickered, pushing her hand down. “That, dear sister, is Prince Rhaegar.”
The Maester taught her about the Houses of Westeros, taught her the banners, the mottos, the lineages; she knew the Targaryens were said to have dragon's blood in their veins, that their family words were “Fire and Blood.”
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was so beautiful, Lyanna could not imagine fire or blood ever being associated with him.
* * *
Lyanna always imagined life at court would be exciting, but, to her disappointment, it was proving to be just as dull as life at Winterfell; there were simply more people to forget her.
She slipped her septa one afternoon to wander the castle; it was not difficult given her septa's preference for the Dornish sweet wine which was plentiful to celebrate the latest prince to be born to Princess Elia. Lyanna glimpsed the princess a few times since her arrival at Harrenhal but she usually did not join everyone for meals or to watch the performances; people were whispering how Elia was touched since the birth of the babe, but Lyanna did not think the princess looked mad.
King Aerys, now he was mad. The night before, due to what he perceived as a slight by one of the knights, he demanded his head be taken; Eddard hurried her from the hall just as the sound of steel whistled through the air.
As she walked the empty great hall, her footsteps echoing, Lyanna investigates the large dragon skull nearest the head table. Brandon said King Aerys never traveled without his favorite dragon skull, certain it gave him power; Lyanna runs her hands across the jaw bone, the ancient, massive teeth. She tried to imagine what it would be like to see something this large in the sky, knowing its fire would rain down upon your home.
It was no wonder the Targaryens conquered Westeros with these creatures at their backs.
“My father would not be pleased to see you touching his dragon,” a deep voice announced from behind her. Lyanna whirled around to see Prince Rhaegar standing there in all his finery, and she dropped into a curtsy immediately, face flushing as scarlet as the memory of the knight echoed in her head.
“I am so sorry, my grace; I was only - “
“Rise, my lady. It is no bother to me.”
Lyanna cautiously rose, keeping her eyes focused on the floor. “I have never seen a dragon before; I was only trying to get a better look. I am so sorry.”
“Yes, you've said that.” As Lyanna lifted her eyes, Prince Rhaegar smiled. “I do not believe we have met. Are you one of the Frey girls?”
“I am Lyanna Stark of Winterfell.”
Rhaegar nodded in contemplation. “Yes, you have that look about you. I know your brothers; they are very honorable men.”
“Thank you, my prince.”
“This is your first time at court?”
Lyanna nodded. “My brother Brandon and my betrothed are competing.”
“Betrothed? Who has the honor of becoming your husband?”
Rhaegar raised an eyebrow, an amused expression on his face. “You have much in common in Robert?You are passionately in love?”
Lyanna could not help but scoff. Catching herself, flushing with shame at being so ill-mannered in front of the prince, she quickly replied, “A woman's interests should only extend so far as to care for her family and her husband.”
The prince chuckled. “Why, I could practically see your septa's mouth moving as you said that. I can only hope my daughter's septa is as talented a teacher.”
Lyanna laughed. “I shall give you the name of mine if you so desire it.”
“Your highness?” a man called from the entryway. “The Council is awaiting you.”
Rhaegar sighed in the same long-suffering way Lyanna did when being forced to her sewing lessons. He reached towards Lyanna, taking her hand and pressing a kiss atop it. “It was an honor to meet you, Lady Lyanna.”
“The honor was all mine, my prince.”
Later, when she was relating her interactions with the prince to Catelyn Tully, her sister-in-law-to-be smiled and divulged, “He must like you for Prince Rhaegar is very stingy with his conversation.”
Lyanna never had a desire to be a princess, but she couldn't help but flush at the way Prince Rhaegar smiled at her in the empty hall.
* * *
“When I win today, I am going to make you Queen of Love and Beauty,” Robert boasted as they broke fast. Already his cheeks were ruddy from wine, and Lyanna wondered how much of his winnings would be spent at the pleasure house.
When Rhaegar unseats Robert in the final round, sending her fiance crashing to the ground, Lyanna gasps beside Eddard, sighing gratefully when Robert lumbers to his feet, stumbling and dazed. Prince Rhaegar rears his horse around, collecting the crown of flowers to be bestowed upon the Queen of Love and Beauty; Lyanna loves the sight of the winter roses, which grow freely around Winterfell. She sees Princess Elia sit up straighter beside King Aerys and Queen Rhaella, young prince Viserys sitting beside his mother.
She was still looking
at the Royals when Prince Rhaegar's horse stopped before her, the crown of blue roses on his hand. Instantly Lyanna heard the roll of whispers through the crowd, and she could not look to her brothers, to Robert when the Prince of Westeros was standing before her with winter roses.
She inclined her head in deference, hoping he was only going to say something to her before crowning Elia, but immediately she felt the light weight of the flowers settling atop her head. As Lyanna pulled back, the crown upon her head, the official Queen of Love and Beauty, she saw Prince Rhaegar's violet eyes darken as he declared, “As the most beautiful girl in the Seven Kingdoms, I honor you.”
If Lyanna had known all which would come after, she would have begged Rhaegar to give the roses to Elia.
* * *
“They say Cersei Lannister wants your head for catching the prince's eye,” Catelyn shared as she and Lyanna walked through the market.
Lyanna laughed. “Yes, I am certain Cersei Lannister is jealous of me. After all, I come from the richest family in the kingdoms, I have men dueling for my hand, and my father is Hand of the king. Oh wait...That's not me at all.”
Catelyn shook her head. “Cersei is not one to toil with; she ruined one of the Greyjoys by spreading vicious gossip. Her father practically had to beg someone to marry her.”
“I am going to marry Robert; it has been decided for years. While I am flattered the prince gave me the roses, it means nothing.”
Catelyn smiled grimly. “In this world, everything means something, dear sister. You cannot allow idealism to cloud your vision.”
“And what am I supposed to be seeing?”
“Prior to the tourney, no one knew who you were; you were simply the Stark girl. But now you are Lyanna Stark, the Queen of Love and Beauty, christened so by Prince Rhaegar. Do not underestimate the depths to which women's jealousy can go or the desperate fear of men when it comes to winning favor.”
“I do not understand.”
Pulling up the hood of her cloak as a light rain began to mist down, Catelyn advised, “The eyes of the court are upon you now, Lyanna. Do not forget that.”
* * *
When Lyanna received an invitation to dine with Princess Elia, she instantly felt sick. She knew she could not deny the invitation; when she showed the written note to her father, Lord Rickard sighed heavily before ordering, “You must stress to the Princess you have no interest in the Prince. Do you understand, Lya?”
When she entered the princess's chamber, Lyanna was instantly confused by the complete lack of food or dishes. Instead Princess Elia stood near her window, staring out upon the countryside. Before Lyanna could even offer a greeting, the princess turned, a burdened expression on her face.
“You are pretty,” Elia said after a moment, “and so very young. I am sure if your father did not keep you trapped in the North, many men would vie for your hand. Tell me: are you betrothed?”
“To Robert Barratheon, my lady,” she dutifully answered.
“I was to be Jaime Lannister's wife before his mother died. I was never meant to be princess; I will sit upon Cersei Lannister's throne.” Meeting Lyanna's gaze steadily, she stated, “Every woman in this kingdom takes the place of another. Have you come to take my throne, Lyanna Stark of Winterfell?”
“I would not dream of ever taking anything from you, Princess Elia.”
Elia smirked, pouring herself a glass of wine. “I truly believe you believe that.” Elia waved her hand dismissively. “You may go.”
As Lyanna descended the stairs from the princess's quarters, she wondered if everyone in Westeros desired a throne but her.
* * *
The letter with the dragon seal came to her two nights after her meeting with Princess Elia. She stared at the man in Targaryen livery before thanking him; as she slipped her finger beneath the wax, Lyanna wondered if the smart choice would be to toss the paper into the fire and forget she ever received it.
But she read it, read the beautiful words written in Rhaegar's bold hand, read the praising of her beauty and the desire to know her further; Lyanna read the instructions to send a reply, wavering in her decision, before scratching out a reply. She had no seal of her own; instead she dipped the wax of a burning candle onto the fold of paper, using the thin stick of a pendant to etch her initial into the wax.
For the next week, Lyanna sent and received multiple letters a day, each tucked into the lining of her trunk, each a cherished sin against her family's honor and the honor of Robert Baratheon.
* * *
The necklace arrived with a letter shortly before dinner on Lyanna's second-to-last night at Harrenhal. It was a delicate silver chain with a heavy ruby dangling from it; Lyanna knew rubies were the Targaryen gem, that they covered the Targaryen knights' armor, that Queen Rhaella never wore any other gem.
To wear this necklace was an announcement to all of court that she was being courted by Rhaegar Targaryen.
To not wear this necklace was an announcement to her prince that she was rejecting his affections.
As there was on way to win, Lyanna chose that which would make her happiest, fastening the chain around her throat, the ruby nestling between her breasts.
When Ned saw the necklace, he hissed, “Hide the jewel beneath your gown or Princess Elia will tear the hair from your head.”
“The prince wants me to wear it,” Lyanna objected, flushing in embarrassment at Ned's angry tone.
Face softening, Ned asked, “What are you playing at, Lya?”
“I am not playing,” was all Lyanna could offer in return.
* * *
The night before Lyanna was to return to Winterfell with Brandon and her father, a final letter was delivered. As Lyanna broke the seal, she felt her heart skip a beat as she read the first line.
If I were to ask you to be my wife, would you accept?
The following paragraphs laid out a plan for how they could elope, an outline for how their lives would be once they were together; he apologized for asking her to cast aside her betrothal, to potentially cast aside her honor, but Rhaegar continued, pledging his undying love and devotion, swearing how, once he was king and she, his queen, they would elevate both Houses Stark and Baratheon to the highest title holders in the land, even eclipsing the Lannisters.
Tell me, my love, will you agree to this?
All Lyanna could do was sign one word, an agreement which would change the very course of history.
* * *
It was not hard to escape Winterfell. She simply told her septa she was going to pray in the godswood and asked the woman to remain by the water while she prayed in silence; when her septa asked what she could possibly require such privacy for, Lyanna told the last lie she would need to tell, swearing she needed to ask for a blessing for her upcoming wedding to Robert.
Rhaegar was already at the tree, kneeling before the red-eyed wood, and Lyanna smiled as she apporached. When he rose, she stated, “I did not know you kept the Old Gods.”
“I will keep whatever Gods allow me to be with you,” Rhaegar swore, taking her in his arms for the first time, kissing her softly on her untouched lips.
As they rode away from the North, towards the lands of Dorne, Lyanna cast one final glance back towards her childhood home, her childhood, and whispered her apologies into the gently falling snow.
Winter was coming.
* * *
A septon married them in a village Lyanna did not know, only the Kingsguard to bear witness. As she swore to faithfully love and respect Rhaegar of House Targaryen, First of his name, the future king of Westeros, Lyanna thought of her long-ago conversation with Brandon.
”I think I should like being wild.”
This was the wildest thing Lyanna Stark had ever done, that any Stark had ever done.
When Rhaegar took her maidenhead that night in their rented, inn bed, Lyanna closed her eyes, tossed back her head, and reveled in her wildness.
* * *
The members of the Kingsguard called her “Princess.” It took her weeks before she realized they were speaking to her. Rhaegar found her constant request for the guards to call her by her name heartily amusing.
“You are the princess now,” he said one evening as they readied to sleep, Dorne only two days away. “They are supposed to address you as such. It is a sign of respect.”
As Lyanna unwound her hair, shaking the braids free, she tentatively asked, “And what will happen to Princess Elia, to your children with her? Are they...If they are set aside...”
“Nothing bad will befall her,” Rhaegar promised, drawing her into his arms. “Targaryens have taken more than one wife before; it is not a common practice but it is not taboo. As for the children, when the time comes, I will select my heir.”
“Should it not be the first son of the first wife?”
Carding his fingers through her dark hair, he queried, “You do not want our son to be king someday?”
“I would rather have a happy, common son than an unhappy prince who is plotted against by the men who claim to be his friends.”
Rhaegar grinned, kissing her passionately before pulling away. Finding the ties of her gown, he declared, “Our son will be the happiest child in the Seven Kingdoms who happily plays with his brothers and sisters, safe and sound forevermore.”
“Is that the way of the dragon?” Lyanna teased as she tugged at the knot of his breeches.
“It is the way of the dragon
when he weds a wolf,” Rhaegar countered, drawing her down to the bed.
* * *
“Your castle, milady,” Rhaegar announced, opening his arms to the large, stone building before them.
Lyanna shivered beneath her heavy furs, shaking the snow from her hair. “What is it called?”
“It is your castle. You name it.”
Looking at the massive towers, taller than any she had seen before, Lyanna declared, “Then it shall be the Tower of Joy.”
She heard the Kingsguard chuckle beneath the howl of the wind, but Rhaegar only smiled. Lyanna knew that, for all of his playing at knight, Rhaegar had no stomach for death and war anymore than she did. If they could spend the rest of their days in the Tower of Joy living happy lives, Lyanna knew Rhaegar would have no want to lift his sword ever again.
As Rhaegar helped her from her horse, hurrying her into the building as the winter storm worsened, King Aerys, the Mad King, was leagues away, setting fire to Lord Rickard Stark, strangling the life from Brandon, who had come to avenge her sullied honor.
But Lyanna did not know that.
* * *
Rhaegar knew she was pregnant before Lyanna did.
There was a blizzard raging outside the castle, and Lyanna begged Rhaegar to remain in bed with her, buried beneath the heavy blankets and furs, the fire keeping the stone room warm. As the fire began to flicker out, Lyanna rose to throw more logs upon it, not bothering to pick up her robe, any sense of modesty she once possessed gone after months of marriage.
As she turned to return to her place beside her husband, Rhaegar propped himself up against the headboard, a contemplative look on his face. He motioned for her to approach his side of the bed, and Lyanna easily agreed despite the chill in the air. As his hands settled on her hips, a line between his eyebrows deepened as if he was attempting to understand a puzzle.
“What is it?” she asked in concern, pressing her hands against his face, checking for fever the way she had seen her mother do to Benjen.
Rhaegar ignored the question, skimming his hands up her torso; when his hands found her breasts, Lyanna hissed through her teeth, pain shooting throughout her body, and Rhaegar instantly grinned, the kind of wide, free smile she had seen so seldomly since their arrival at the Tower.
“You are with child,” Rhaegar pronounced, dropping his hands to the soft curve of her stomach.
Lyanna tried to remember the last time she had her blood; when she realized it had been, at least, two moons, she giggled, pressing her own hands atop Rhaegar's above the child which was growing inside her womb.
“We shall have a feast to celebrate,” he declared, climbing out of bed, pulling on his clothing like an impatient child. “We shall drink and dance and celebrate!”
“There are but six people in the entire castle!” Lyanna laughed as Rhaegar nearly tripped in his haste to put on his boots.
“Then I shall celebrate for an entire court!”
Lyanna was not sure how Rhaegar managed to procure so much food and wine for their celebration but they feasted like it was the end of the world, every man lifting their glass to toast the future prince, the hope for the realm.
* * *
“I have to ride to the Trident,” Rhaegar announced as Lyanna brushed out her hair.
She paused, confused. “The Trident? Why would you need to go there?”
“I have to handle something for my father.” Taking the brush from her hands, drawing it through her waist-length hair, he resumed the motion. “I should not be away long.”
“The Maester says our child will arrive in three moons. Will you be back by then?”
“Of course. There is nothing that could stop me from seeing the birth of my son.” Kissing the crown of her head, he swore, “I will return to you long before he is born.”
Twisting her head to look at him, Lyanna pressed, “What do you have to do for your father at the Trident? Is there trouble?”
“No, it is nothing more than a ceremonial issue. Do not worry, my love.”
Leaning back against his body, Lyanna smiled as Rhaegar's hands settled on her swollen middle. He stroked her skin softly, but she could feel the tension in his body. She knew that, whatever the reason for his sudden need to go to the Trident, it was not some simple ceremonial issue. Lyanna did not know why he was lying to her, but it made everything inside of her twist with fear.
“When Jon is born, I would like to go back to Winterfell, to have him blessed in the godswood.”
“Jon?” Rhaegar echoed. “And who exactly is Jon?”
“Jon Targaryen the First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm,” she answered, her voice playfully lilting.
“Jon,” Rhaegar mused. “It is not the name of a dragon.”
“He is as much direwolf as he is dragon.”
“And there is no dissuading you from this name?”
“My son is to be named Jon. Should you want a different name, you shall need to find a different son.”
Rhaegar laughed, pressing a kiss to her shoulder. “You are the most infuriating woman. If I did not love you so, I'd leave you at the Wall.”
When Rhaegar mounted his horse the next morning, Lyanna pressed a kiss to his mouth and bid him to return as quickly as possible.
It was the last time Lyanna Targaryen, once Lyanna Stark, ever saw her husband.
* * *
No one would tell her what was happening. Soon only three men of the Kingsguard remained in the Tower of Joy, and Lyanna suspected there was a war raging in the kingdom. She wrote letters to her father, to her brothers, even to Catelyn Tully , sending them by raven, but she received no responses. Lyanna had never felt more alone and, as her loneliness grew, so did her fear and her stomach.
“Winter has come, Jon,” she sighed as she stroked her middle, gazing out upon the snowy land, “and I fear snow is dangerous for dragons.”
The child inside of her kicked.
* * *
The pains started in the middle of the night, waking Lyanna from a dead sleep. She gasped, clutching her middle, and cried out as another pain took her. Instinct demanded she scream for the Maester but he was gone; everyone was gone. There were only the Kingsguard, none of whom could help her now; as Lyanna pushed herself up onto her hands and knees, she knew she would have to bring Jon into the world herself.
She wriggled out of her nightdress, crying out as her stomach clenched again, excruciating pain resonating throughout her body, and Lyanna buried her face in the bedclothes, shouting through the pain. Her mother had never taught her about birthing children; she only knew the most bare of details about the process. She expected the Maester to be there, to help her bring Jon into the world; she had never expected to struggle alone in the Tower.
Lyanna lost all track of time as her body felt as if it was being ripped apart. The entire day passed as she writhed and moaned through every painful contraction; when she felt pressure in her pelvis, Lyanna reached down and felt something pushing against her entrance. When the next pain came, Lyanna bore down, trying to expel her son with everything she had. It took six hard pushes, six pushes which brought forth her son and more blood than Lyanna had ever seen in her life.
She picked up the squalling newborn, slick with blood, his umbilicus still tethering him to her body. Lyanna trembled as the afterbirth came, openly weeping as her torn, bleeding body tried to rest back against her pillows. She lifted Jon to her breasts, stroking his dark hair as he effortlessly latched onto her nipple; Lyanna felt exhaustion threatening her body, sleep beckoning her, but she could not rest yet. Stretching for the bedside table, she found the dagger Rhaegar left her; using its sharp blade, Lyanna severed Jon's cord, swaddling him in her discarded nightgown.
There was nothing of Rhaegar in his features; Jon Targaryen the First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm was pure Stark through-and-through.
“You are a prince,” Lyanna whispered to her son, running soft fingers across his forehead. “You will be the greatest king the realm has ever seen. You will be brave and kind and beloved by all. Someday they will sing your praises, Jon Targaryen, but you will forever be modest. And your father and I, we will be there to guide you through everything.”
As Jon lifted his head from her breast, Lyanna smiled, finally letting her exhaustion take her.
* * *
The sound of metal hitting metal roused Lyanna from her fevered dreams. As someone began to bang against her bedroom door, Lyanna gathered Jon with weakened arms; she still felt the pulse of blood leaving her body from below, and Lyanna could feel the heat rising from her own skin. She fumbled for Rhaegar's dagger, a poor substitute for defense, especially if this raider managed to get past the Kingsguard.
When Ned burst through the door, Ice in his hand, Lyanna sagged in relief against her pillows.
“Lyanna,” Ned gasped, hurrying to her bedside. She saw the worry on his face as he took in the amount of blood on the sheets, the blood which was even seeping through the blankets she huddled beneath; Lyanna knew she was slipping away, that her life was literally trickling away even as Jon hungrily pulled at her breast.
“Is my husband...” she began, barely able to manage the words as breathing began to become difficult.
The answer was written on her brother's
face but still he lied, “He is fine. He sent me ahead to make sure you and the baby were safe.”
It was such a beautiful lie, and Lyanna loved Ned an indefinable amount for telling it.
“His name is Jon,” she murmured, drawing the baby away from her breast, shushing him as he fussed. Ned took the baby easily, cradling him in unsure arms; Lyanna wondered if her brother was betrothed yet, if Brandon and Catelyn had children yet. She had so many questions there would be no answers to now.
“Jon,” Ned repeated as if trying to commit it to memory.
“You must take him to Brandon and Catelyn. They will foster him until he is ready to take the Iron Throne. I do not want him with the King, and Elia will want her son to be King but Rhaegar wants...”
“Don't speak, Lya,” he whispered, patting her head. “You need your rest.”
“People will want to hurt him, Ned,” Lyanna rushed on, trying to use what little energy was left in her body. “You must protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me, Ned.”
“I promise,” he swore, wiping at a loose tear on her cheek. “I promise on my honor I will keep Jon safe. I will love him as if he was my own son.”
Lyanna smiled as her eyes closed, shivering as ice seemed to move up her limbs. The last thing she saw was Ned, her serious brother, the brother who should be the angriest at her for betraying his best friend, looking down at her son with eyes swollen with tears.
When they place her in the crypt beneath Winterfell, once again she was Lyanna Stark; no one would ever know she was Princess Lyanna Targaryen, wife of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, mother of Prince Jon Targaryen. She was just the abducted daughter of Rickard Stark, the lost bride of Robert Baratheon, the impetus for the War of Ursurper.
Everyone seemed to forget, of all the things Lyanna was, a victim was never one of them.