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The Lioness' Strength

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      Uncle Tyrion had warned her to listen to ser Arys without questioning, just before she said her goodbyes to Tommen and Joffrey and mother. Myrcella had nodded solemnly; while others reminded her of listening to her septa, she thought most wise to trust her sworn shield’s choices when it came to protection. 

      It had happened in another life, so distant now it felt like a dream; it hadn't been imagination in truth, but it hadn't happened in this same life, either. The uncle that had given her such advice turned against his own father, her grandfather, had poisoned the brother she had last seen that same day in the port. The princess that had departed King’s Landing that day had been clever enough, brave perhaps, pretty beyond doubt --- no longer. That cleverness would not be enough to keep her safe in this nest of vipers, whichever beauty Myrcella had possessed before was now forever ruined and that bravery was naught in face of blood and death. It all happened within minutes, and yet it had changed her forever. 

      If for the best, it remained to be seen.

      Trystane is sweet, of course, and she is no less fond of him now. He does not change how he treats her even if her beauty is gone, and it makes her all the more sad. She would have been glad to be his wife, to live under this sun that shines so much brighter than it ever did in King’s Landing, but it will never come to be, and if it does, he alone cannot bring her happiness. She is a hostage, can never be anything else. As the youngest prince’s wife, she would be a hostage still, and the riches of her cage would not make it any less of a cage.

      The dornish hold too deep resent for the lions, more intense now than it had been in past years. Prince Oberyn’s death poured salt in a wound never closed, and perhaps her mother in the capital thinks they will forget as they did after Princess Elia’s murder, but Myrcella is here and she knows they will not --- that they have never forgotten, that they won’t settle for peace without justice once again. Justice that can only come with blood, lion’s blood that courses through her veins, she who is all Lannister and nothing Baratheon. Does not matter that crimes were not her own, that she was a victim of plotting and betrayal made in this arid land. They would kill her before they even kept her caged.

      What choice is there to her but to abide Arianne’s request and tell Balon Swann naught of what truly happened except for Darkstar’s guilt? If she does not send him in that suicidal mission, consequences would be hers to suffer. Best she continues to play her part, to pretend there is no resent, no distrust. It is with regret that she pleas him to bring Gerold Dayne’s head, but kinder as she might be, she is the lioness’ daughter, and she has more of Cersei Lannister in her than just golden hair and emerald eyes.

      Myrcella is grateful for the Martells, in the end. Trystane has given her a taste of what love could be. Arianne has taught her no plan is infallible, that even the dearest of friends are not to be trusted wholeheartedly. Even Prince Doran teaches her something, in the end; he has been patient in his wait for justice for his family, and his calm is naught if not calculated. It is a valuable lesson --- live another day, wait and think and plan. 

      Wasting effort with too vicious nature or too early an attack could cost lioness’ life if no kill was made; best to wait and think and watch.

      When it is time to pounce, she will be ready.