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once upon a time

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She is a tiny thing, Rhaenys Targaryen, even tinier in death. Tiny, but holding so much blood, most of which has been spilled, brutally and awfully. It leaves her pale, not in the way Targaryens are pale but with the pallor of a life drained away, cut through strand by strand with a coward’s blade. You wash her tenderly, patting her dry with the softest length of linen you can find. The stitches that hold her small body together need not be tidy or pretty - Silent Sisters are not expected to be expert seamstresses - but you make them both, sewing neat, even rows that spangle over her chest and stomach like starbursts, a hideous sort of beauty that gives you no sense of pride.

She is not the first child you have dressed for burial. She will not be the last. She may not even be the bloodiest, the most brutally felled, though you offer up a prayer to the Seven for none to meet a gristlier fate than she, a prayer so fervent that you cannot keep your lips from mouthing the words that you speak in your mind, though no sound escapes you.

Sometimes you think it for the best that you are silent. Sometimes you think if not for the silence, you would scream and scream and never stop.