The story is Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped her, raped her, and held her prisoner in the Tower of Joy. This is the story the smallfolk will tell for years to come. This is the story Robert Baratheon will repeat to himself when she returns to him with a torn maidenhead and a darkness in her eyes. This is the story the histories will speak of when describing Robert's Rebellion.
This is the story Lyanna Stark agrees to tell when Ned and Howland Reed come to "rescue" her.
Her wedding is a grand affair. The Great Sept of Baelor is filled with high lords and ladies, with well-wishers and those who want to glimpse their handsome, young king fasten a cloak and place a crown upon his lady love. “The most beautiful woman in the Seven Kingdoms,” the singers will sing.
The most beautiful woman in the Seven Kingdoms was Elia Martell of Dorne.
There are no songs sung about her.
Tywin Lannister sits on the small council alongside Robert's brothers and friends. He is always finely outfitted in crimson and gold, and the lords all defer to him, the Lord of Casterly Rock, the financier of the kingdoms, the man who sacked King's Landing and secured Westeros for Robert Baratheon.
Tywin Lannister is the golden man who shields those who slaughter children and rape princesses.
Lyanna refuses to speak to him.
Her stomach grows with Robert's child, and the kingdoms are abuzz with excitement. Robert swears it will be a son to carry on the great Baratheon name; he drinks too much in celebration, as if his seed taking root in a woman is an unique occurrence, as if women in every kingdom haven't birthed black-haired, blue-eyed babies.
When their daughter is born, Lyanna takes a peculiar pride in denying Robert what he wants.
She thinks of Winterfell and the little boy who plays alongside his cousin, calling him “brother.”
Their daughters are small when Renly brings them kittens. Lyanna loves her youngest good-brother, hardly more than a child himself when Maester Cressen brings him to court, and she appreciates the gesture. Cassana and Myrcella giggle as the little balls of fluff chase bits of string Renly encourages them to pull across the floor, their laughter bouncing off the walls.
Cassana claims the black kitten as her own, cradling it against her tiny chest and insisting it be allowed to sleep in her bed.
Rhaenys Targaryen had a kitten once; Lyanna often wonders what happened to it.
When the Ironborn Rebellion begins, Lyanna insists Catelyn bring the children to the Red Keep while their husbands put it down. She makes a point of stressing to bring all the children, and, when they arrive, Lyanna instantly spots the serious-faced little boy amongst her russet-haired niece and nephew.
He is so sweet, good-tempered and gentle with his sisters. She tries not to show preference to him over Robb, not wanting to alienate Catelyn, but every night as the boy sleeps, Lyanna finds herself sneaking into his room and watching him sleep.
She thinks of Aegon Targaryen, his head dashed against the wall, and reminds herself it is safer this way.
Jon Arryn dies, and Robert declares they are going to travel North to Winterfell. Lyanna knows he wants Ned to take up the post as Hand, and she also knows Ned could not want anything less. The girls are restless, Tommen falls ill in the Riverlands, but none of it matters when she sees Winterfell, when she is reunited with Ned and Benjen and dear Jon.
When Jon declares he is going to take the black, Lyanna feels something like panic flutter in her breast. She grabs his hands, tells him he is meant to do more than man the Wall, that there is greatness in his blood.
“The Starks have manned the Wall for thousands of years,” he argues reasonably.
But you are not a Stark sticks in her throat, and she watches the last living child of Rhaegar Targaryen ride North while she rides south with the children of a man she despises.