"Tell me grandfather's story again," he asked as his mother stoked the fire.
"Didn't I tell you that one just two nights past?" she asked with a sigh, but when the light from the flames caught her eyes he saw the smile in them. Sandor burrowed under the blankets and waited for her to sit beside him. The air in his chambers was cold, so cold, but his father had seemed hopeful lately that this winter would soon be over. Sandor hoped it would, anyway. He was tired of the snows and wanted to learn to ride a horse.
Mother gathered him close and began the familiar story, his favorite story. "Your grandfather Clegane was once a mere kennelmaster for the great Lannister Lord, Tytos," she said.
"Was he really a great Lord, mother?" Sandor had to ask.
She paused then and looked thoughtful. "Many think that Lord Tywin is more lordly, to be sure," she admitted, "but Lord Tytos was a kind man. He was a third son, you know, and had the luck of outliving his older siblings and therefore becoming Lord of Casterly Rock."
Sandor chewed on this for a moment, but did not dare speak what was on his mind. Gregor could hear, he thought, and he would be angry. His older brother was so much bigger than he, and when Gregor was angry...
Still the hope was there, burning deep inside him - mayhaps he could possess Clegane Keep one day. Gregor had ten years now, and that seemed very old to Sandor.
"Are you listening, son?" he heard his mother ask. Sandor nodded to encourage her to continue.
"As I said, your grandfather kept Lord Tytos Lannister's dogs. He was a loyal, honest man, your grandfather - and a hard worker. He loved the dogs and respected his Lord. One day they were out hunting and ran afoul of a lion. It was a terrible beast and Lord Tytos surely feared for his life, but thankfully your grandfather and the dogs were nearby. They came to their lord's rescue, the dogs as brave and true as your grandfather was. There was a fierce fight - three of the poor dogs died, and your grandfather lost a leg, but in the end the lion was vanquished and Lord Tytos unharmed.
"The loss of his leg was hard on your grandfather. A lesser man may have let it defeat him, but not a Clegane. And Lord Tytos rewarded him well - he bestowed Clegane Keep upon your grandfather, and took your father to squire. Because of good Lord Tytos and your loyal grandfather we have had a comfortable home during these winter years and those that came before...and your brother will continue to keep it well." Sandor thought that his mother sounded unsure about that last bit, but again he did not dare speak such an idea.
"So father became a knight because grandfather and his dogs were loyal to Lord Tytos," Sandor concluded, proud of how smart he sounded. He did not think Gregor knew this thing about loyalty, but Sandor did.
"That he did, m'dear," Mother agreed, and she smiled for real this time.