Chapter 1: Chapter One
Bronn was a simple man, a bastard of a whore and some cunt who couldn’t give a damn, although both loved to beat him and his younger brother, and bar the beating- that was fine by Bronn, but he wanted more out of life and for a bastard without a name that was a rather difficult goal to achieve. So far in his twenty-six years of life he had improved his station somewhat, he had his first kill at the age of five, it had been accidental of course but he had realised quickly that he had the talent for it and he could still find it in himself to sleep at night, so he decided to become a mercenary. He had run away from his family after a slight incident with a woman and an axe when he was twelve and the incident at fourteen with his younger brother and a ditch only cemented his choice, he had travelled throughout Westeros, even straying beyond the wall and he had sharpened his skills until he had become known as ‘the Cutthroat’ and one of his sayings being ‘steel for gold’ and a great deal of gold he had earnt but he wanted to improve his station, he had recently settled on three immediate goals, A lordship, a castle and a highborn beauty for a wife the rest could come later, but first he needed to get on the radar of the nobles and make a reputation for himself.
He was currently relaxing at the crossroads inn, he had heard of the royal party heading north and he had plans on catching one of the eyes in the party, anyone who was close to the Royals would be an upgrade for him.
And a golden lion just happened to fall into his lap, taking a sip of the flagon of ale in front of him he spotted the famed imp of the rock trying to bargain for a room for the night, oh the gods were good.
“I’m sorry mi’lord truly we don’t have any spare room” the woman who ran the inn implored him.
“I don’t need much room; my men will sleep in the barn” the little lord replied sardonically
“truly Mi’lord we don’t have the room” the woman insisted
The Lord sighed before reaching into his pouch and pulling out a golden dragon.
“is there nothing I can do to remedy this situation?” he asked the room which had fallen silent, knocking the gold coin against a table top
“My room has a spare bed” Bronn leant forward, giving a sharp smile to the lord.
“Smart man” he replied tossing the coin towards him which he deftly caught “bring me a flagon of ale and a plate of food for myself, I’ll sit with my new friend” the small man quickly made his way over and sat across from him, a smile on his face. Bronn had to admit to himself for such a small man he sure had a set of balls on him.
“my Lord Lannister may I sing for you? I could sing of your father's triumph perhaps the rains of castemere?” a bard quickly moved to sit at the head of the table
“nothing will put me off my meal faster” Tyrion quipped quickly
“perhaps you’d like to hear of the beguiling wolf then my lord?” the bard replied slyly stringing his instrument
“the what?” Tyrion questioned a confused look on his face
“it’s a song my lord of the rumoured northern beauty, said to be far fairer then her aunt, Lyra Stark she’s called fairer than the maiden and the prettiest noble in all of the seven kingdoms, her and Robb Stark, the twin wolves their called” the bard gossiped eagerly, sensing he had intrigued them.
“a lot of songs insist on the beauty of a maiden and it turns out that she’s got the face of a slapped arse” a man from across the room interjected clearly having eavesdropped
“watch your tongue when speaking of the Lady Stark, or I’ll have it out” an incensed voice roared, Bronn could spot the flayed man on a black background, a Bolton then, vassal to house stark.
“now, now gentleman let’s not fight, I would love to hear of the Lady Stark’s beauty” Tyrion quickly intervened, and the bard quickly jumped at the opportunity opening his mouth and singing.
“Oh she’s the beguiling one
Her eyes soft as morning mist,
Silky hair, black as pitch
Pale as the moon, ruby red lips.
A comely figure, brazen persona
For her I’d wage a million wars” the bard finished the song with a triumphant strum of the strings and looked to the room for accolades which where readily given by the Northerners in the room, the loudest being the karstarks, it was a bit odd for so many to be south as the northerners enjoyed keeping to themselves.
“a highborn beauty then?” Bronn mused to himself, a smirk crossing his lips
“apparently so” Tyrion responded digging into the food he had been given.
A/N: okay so this is something that I’m playing around with, Tell me what you think? I know the song is a bit shite apologies >.<
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
I don't own this, just playing in the sandbox
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lyra grinned ferally as she swiped the sword in her right hand in a wide arc towards Theon who quickly dodged backwards weary of the live steel they were using, Jon tried to take advantage by swinging his sword at her exposed left side but her twin Robb quickly intercepted and blocked the attack, the twins stood back to back as Jon and Theon circled them, panting heavily with exertion they engaged the twins again, trying to separate the two to place them on equal footing but they stayed close together, moving as one, as they covered each other, Robb with a shield and sword, NightHowl, mostly playing the defensive while Lyra lashed out with her twin swords, fang and claw, playing the offensive. Lyra spotted an opening and quickly swiped her foot behind Theon’s ankle, swiftly hooking it and dragging it upwards causing him to lose his balance, she pounced quickly placing the sword to the apple of his throat. Robb similarly used his shield to bash against Jon’s chest knocking the wind out of him and causing him to bend double, before swiftly bringing his knee up and crashing it against his face, Jon fell backwards as the pain over took him and Robb placed his sword against the hollow of his throat.
“yield” they spoke in perfect unison
“I yield” Theon muttered petulantly from the ground and Lyra smirked triumphantly
“aye” Jon agreed eyeing the sword at his throat until Robb pulled it back helping Jon up
“don’t worry Jon if it was one on one you would have us all in the dirt” Robb bolstered him, winning a small smile for his efforts
“true, and Theon you’re the best marksman in all the North, personally I demand more lessons but you’re a secretive bastard and speaking of lessons Bran’s going to be annoyed if we’re late” Lyra grinned at the three, her wild black hair had escaped from the tight braid and was curling around her head, her grey eyes were shining in mirth as she spun and began to run towards the archery posts.
“I have to have something I’m better at you than” Theon called out at her retreating back and the boys laughed together before following.
Lyra swung herself up onto a fence as Robb leant against the post next to her, the pair watching as Jon and Theon set up the archery practice for Bran who was hurrying down a staircase. Lyra had to smile at the enthusiasm that her little brother showed, it seemed the scholarly wolf had a taste for archery.
“he’s worse than you were Ly” Robb leant over and muttered into her ear as Bran started throwing questions out.
“Well father did step in and speak about his father’s mistakes with his sister he always thought if she was given more slack, to give the horse it’s head, maybe things wouldn’t have turned out the way they did plus with Jorah Mormont backing me up about how the ladies of bear island learned the argument was nigh on won” Lyra grinned happily at her brother, it had been one of the few times their father had overruled their mother or spoken of their aunt.
“about the only useful thing that man ever did” a sneer crossed her brothers usually solemn features, the betrayal still stung after the years, Robb had worshipped Jorah Mormont.
“come on Robbie, contempt doesn’t suit your features” she playfully tugged on his auburn curls and he swatted at her. Successfully distracted.
The pair settled down leaning comfortably against each other as Bran shot arrow after arrow, the pair shouting encouragement and different tricks to use, usually confusing their little brother as the advice was contradictive and they fell into bickering about who the superior marksman was out of the pair.
They both roared with laughter as Bran widely missed the target causing him to turn and scowl at them while Robb winked and Lyra grinned unrepentant.
“and which one of you was a marksman at ten?” their lord father’s voice rang out over the courtyard and Lyra glanced up to see her father’s solemn face staring down at them, but the twinkling of his grey eyes gave him away.
“I don’t know father dearest, Theon has quite the natural talent” Lyra tossed back at her father, cheekily waving at her mother who rolled her eyes in exasperation. Lyra spotted her youngest sister Arya who had snuck out of her sewing lessons and had a bow gripped tightly in her hands, Lyra released a throaty chuckle as she knocked the bow and released it, hitting the bullseye of the target causing Bran, Jon and Theon to spin in shock, Arya quickly gave a lady like curtsy which seemed to snap Bran out of his shock and he gave chase after his sister.
“Lyra, Robb, Saddle the horses we have a deserter, Bran your coming along, Jon and Theon attend to me” the stoic but warm Ned Stark had been replaced by the cold and unforgiving warden of the north.
“as our lord father commands- “Robb started
“so, do we obey” Lyra finished and the two hurried over to the stables to saddle the horses. Lyra grinned as she placed the saddle on her horse, Traveller, he had been a gift from Henry Herbert, 7th Earl of Carnarvon, a smaller house in the north that were renowned for their breeding of horses having intermingled with dorthraki riders and the dornish so they had extensive knowledge often being called half-horse themselves which they took good naturedly but preferred being around their animals, Traveller was solidly built, having a long head, with a straight profile. His jaw was deep, his ears small, and eyes large and expressive, and the nostrils flared. He has a neck that is sturdy, yet arched and withers that are low, muscular, and broad. With a wide, deep chest, broad croup, and muscular shoulder, He was considered rather intimidating. His tail was always carried high and well set. His legs are well-muscled and strong, with broad joints and well-defined tendons, perfect for carrying her quickly for long distances. The feet tend to be small, but are tough, and he was capable of moving gracefully.
Travellers breed tended to mature slowly, so despite him being nine years old he was still very foal like However, they live and are active longer than many other breeds, with horses performing the difficult exercises, whether for war or for entertainment well into their 20s and living into their 30s
Grey was the usually preferred colour in Traveller’s breed and as it was dominant it worked out well, the foals are usually born a solid black or deep brown colour and lighten as they mature but Traveller never did, and she loved that unique feature about him.
She soothed his neck as he chomped on the bit, excited for the ride to come and Lyra shared in his adventuring spirit, she swung herself onto his back beaming over at Robb who had mounted his own storm-coloured stallion, Temper, named for his aggressive attitude to anyone other than Robb, another gift from the Earl Herbert they both got them on their ninth nameday. The pair swiftly followed their father who was locked down like a fortress, with a glance towards Robb she found him attempting to emulate their father.
They quickly rode out to the executioner’s block and there was a mixed group waiting for them, a few soldiers from the karstarks, a contingent from the Umbers and a small amount of Glover soldiers were surrounding a man who was dressed in all black.
“you ran him down I assume?” Lord Stark spoke from on top of his horse
“aye, my lord he was hiding out at the cub’s inn and we spotted him” a solider dressed in Karstark uniform informed her Lord father, and the mumbling of the man was cut off as he spotted her father. The soldiers either side of him swiftly moved him onto his knees and kept him there as her father unsheathed Ice, Theon holding onto the leather scabbard.
“Don’t look away, father will know if you do” Lyra heard her half-brother warn Bran and she nodded to him discreetly.
“do you have any last words?” Her father asked, his voice was cold, and his eyes were harsh, a man without honour was one of the worsts in the opinion of her father.
“I know I deserted my duty, I know what I did was wrong, but I saw them, I swear by the old Gods and the new, the white walkers are real! They’re alive and their coming for us all! If you can warn my family” The man spoke rapidly, and Lyra’s eyes sharpened and focused firmly onto the man’s face, he seemed desperate, malnourished and afraid but his eyes gleamed with intelligence not a drop of insanity to be seen.
“In the name of His Grace, Robert of Houses Baratheon, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm, I Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell Lord Paramount of the North and Warden of the North sentence you to die” he spoke gravely his hands loosely resting on the pommel of the sword, before in one smooth motion bringing the sword up and swiftly down. Decapitating the deserter in an instant.
“well done Bran” Jon murmured into the ear of their brother before moving towards his steed, Bran quickly span on his heel and moved towards his own horse Dancer and pretending to check on the tack. Lyra spotted her father going over to speak with Bran and with a sigh moved over to Traveller, lightly petting his velveteen nose as he snorted into her cupped hand.
“-of the white walkers?” Bran’s question pulled Lyra out of her stupor and she frowned, the news was disconcerting, if they were truly back…
“the ramblings of a mad man, nothing more Bran” her father quickly assured him and moved past towards Lyra.
“they’re not, though are they?” Lyra questioned softly glancing towards her father whose eyes had turned as soft as the grey morning fog.
“Perhaps not, little wolf, but it’s best not to scare Bran with a story that could turn out to be false” Her father tried to reassure Lyra, but she wasn’t buying it.
“my…talents have been manifesting more father I know all starks have gifts to a certain extent but this warging is getting so strong, I’ve bonded with Traveller and the things I see, it’s terrible we both know that the dragons aren’t extinct and according to old Nan’s stories so long as the dragons exist, magic exists and the night king will come for his vengeance, Winter is coming father and soon” Lyra’s eyes had drifted off to a point in the distance, she could remember the dreams that she had been having and the thrumming, like the drum of war becoming louder “Robb hears the drums too father he mentioned it last week” Lyra muttered quietly but agitatedly casting her eyes to Traveller’s saddle unable to meet his eyes.
“the wolfsblood is strong in you two, aye I admit it and winter is coming and we must prepare but if my beguiling and young wolf hear the drums then we must be more vigilant” Her father mused as he swung himself onto his chestnut horse “it’ll be alright little wolf, I’ll ensure it”
Lyra looked up at her father, sitting so proudly on his mount, shoulders thrown back and benevolent smile on his lips, she felt as if she was seeing the kings of winter in her father and like he would be able to shield her from all the bad in the world, smiling up at her father she quickly swung herself onto Traveller and chased after her twin.
She pulled on the reins of her horse as she spotted everyone stopping ahead of her.
“what is it?” she asked curiously her hand travelling to fang hanging on her right hip, she glanced around eyeing the steep hills either side of the road.
“it’s a freak” Theon called back morbid fascination in his voice, Lyra frowned and swung herself down striding over to stand next to Robb.
“it’s a direwolf” Jon quietly contradicted as their father pulled a large antler out of the beast’s chest.
“tough old beast” he commented idly
“Direwolves haven’t been since south of the wall in a thousand years” Theon broke in as he walked around the massive wolf.
“exactly” Lyra answered casting a glance to her father and brother
“something caused it to flee south” Robb grimly summarised their thoughts.
Quite whimpering met their ears as they fell silent and Jon moved forward spotting six pups crawling over each other, he grinned and picked up one of the pups.
“here Bran want to hold one?” he placed the squirming pup into his brothers arms and Bran beamed at the little pup.
“where will they go? Their mother is dead” Bran questioned innocently
“they don’t belong down here” ser Rodrick spoke up
“aye better a quick death than starvation” father agreed, and Theon quickly moved forward grabbing the pup by the scruff of his neck and pulling out his dagger.
“right give it here then” he said brusquely
“No!” Bran cried out
“put away your blade” Robb snapped from beside Lyra
“I take orders from your father not you” Theon sneered at her brother and Lyra’s eyes narrowed dangerously.
“please father” Bran pleaded desperately
“I’m sorry Bran” her father seemed truly apologetic
“Lord Stark, there are six pups you have six trueborn children, the direwolf is the sigil of house Stark, you were meant to have them” Jon argued logically
“you will train them yourselves, you will feed them yourselves and if they die you will bury them yourselves” her father conceded a serious look on his face.
Theon, Robb and Lyra quickly moved forward taking the pups that Jon offered.
“what about you?” Bran asked quietly
“I’m not a stark, get on” Jon replied, and the pair started moving towards the horses, Jon stopped suddenly hearing something and Lyra cocked her head in question.
“what is it?” Robb probed Jon didn’t answer merely leaning down and pulling a pure white pup from the hollow of the tree by the scruff of its neck.
“the runt of the litter, that one’s yours snow” Theon jeered from beside Robb and Lyra rolled her eyes in annoyance before grinning at her half-brother’s deadpan stare.
“he’s cute” Lyra offered, and she stroked the head of her own pup who was black as night with curious lightening strike patterns in grey across his coat.
“what will you name yours?” Jon asked as they settled onto the horses again, setting off at a comfortable trot.
“Beowulf after Beowulf Stark the great king of winter who slayed the Grendel’s and took down a dragon What about you? Snow maybe? He’s as quiet as anything though” she wondered smiling softly as the pup was chewing on her fingertips
“Beowulf is a good name, and he’s as quiet as a ghost, white as one as well” Jon smirked as he ran his fingers through the thick white fur of his pup who had settled in for a nap.
“Beowulf it is then, and ghost is a good name” she grinned at Jon before moving over to tease Robb on the way home.
As they clattered into the front courtyard of Winterfell, Lyra spotted her father peeling off and heading towards the Godswood, it was a ritual for her father whenever he had to take someone’s life he would go and tend to Ice in front of the old gods. Lyra jumped off her horse, before handing the reigns over to a stable boy, clutching tightly to her newly named Beowulf along with another, she quickly led Robb, Theon and Jon who were all holding pups to the great hall were the rest of her family were eating their midday meal.
“Mother guess what we found” Lyra beamed at her mother who was helping Rickon cut his meat, the last incident with Rickon and a sharp knife almost ended in Jon losing fingers.
“what are those?” her mother asked sharply staring at the wolf pups that were roaming by their feet.
“direwolves mother” Robb piped up “one for all of us” Lyra spotted Jon sneaking out of a side door and she grimaced but understood, her lady mother had always been cruel to Jon, something she despised.
“wicked!” Arya cried out jumping up from her seat and racing around the table, she fell to her knees as a female pup came bounding over to her, Sansa followed sedately after her sister, breaking out a smile as the other female pup came and sat before her, Catelyn heaved a sigh recognising that she wouldn’t win the argument to get rid of the creatures, helping Rickon down from the tall bench who rushed over to the remaining wolf pup.
“where is your father?” she asked a serious look on her face
“he’s headed to the Godswood, why do you want to speak to him?” Lyra and Robb spoke in unison, heads tilting to the right.
Catelyn had to smile at how in sync her two oldest children were, despite their colourings, Robb being pure Tully and Lyra being completely Stark, their personalities and mannerisms were completely in sync, they were night and day, two sides of the same coin and could be confused as one being on occasions, it had been hell birthing them during the winter storm but so worth it.
“Jon Arryn has died, the king is riding north, I think he wants to name your father the hand of the king” she spoke a grim look taking over her face
“but wolves don’t go south” Lyra frowned
“father won’t go against the king” Robb reminded her
“your brother’s right Lyra, your father won’t deny him and you two will have to take on more responsibilities, your father might wish for you to go to court Lyra but Robb will have to stay, he is the heir of winterfell” Catelyn spoke hating the pained look that took over the twin’s faces, the rest of the family stopped playing with the pups seeing the seriousness of the situation.
Lyra and Robb gripped tightly onto each other’s hands, the fear of being separated reverting them to childish antics.
“but we are twins, we’ve never been separated” Lyra protested weakly “Born together…”
“die together…” Robb continued
“or live forever” the pair finished off
“I know dearests, but this might happen best prepare for that eventuality” Catelyn sighed heavily
Lyra and Robb stared at each other, silently communicating, a raised eyebrow, a twitch of the lips and a whole conversation passed before they both sighed.
“winter is coming, and a Stark must do their duty” Lyra spoke out loud as they had come to the same conclusion
“winter is coming, and a Stark must always be at Winterfell” Robb agreed his face slightly sullen at the prospect of being separated from his other half.
“our lady mother commands and so do we obey” they spoke as one, heads bowing in jest to their mother.
Catelyn heaved a sigh of relief glad that there wouldn’t be another meltdown like the meltdown of ten years ago when they were being fostered away from each other, it had finally been settled when they were fostered together at house Glover for two years and then house Mormont for two years before returning to learn their duties to winterfell. She swiftly left the dining hall before heading to the Godswood not looking forward to the conversation with her Lord husband, Jon quickly moved back into the room, holding onto his pup and joining the loose circle.
“it’s creepy when you do that” Sansa told them, sticking her nose in the air
“no, it’s not” Arya argued always wanting to be on the other side of her sister, she’d claim the sky was green if Sansa said it was blue.
“yes, it is and don’t kneel on the floor it’s unladylike, you look like a dog” Sansa jeered her face twisting
Arya’s face flushed red and she opened her mouth, but Lyra quickly interjected
“Sansa we are twins, we’ve been doing it all our life, we’ll do it until the day we die and if you stick your nose any further in the air it’ll fall off, don’t tease your sister it’s unbecoming and Arya let’s not start fights when there’s no need but let’s try to get a tad more decorum in your mannerisms, honestly your siblings” Lyra heaved a sigh dragging her hand down her face, sometimes she felt as she was the mother in their relationship.
“Ly’s right you two, despite differences your loyalty is to your family, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives” Robb lectured their younger siblings and they both flushed with shame, despite their differences the pair both worshipped the ground their elder siblings walked on “now what are you planning on naming your wolves?” he turned the subject to a lighter topic.
“shaggydog” Rickon squealed happily petting his pup
“oh, that poor wolf” Lyra muttered only to receive a jab in the ribs from Robb.
“I’m going to name mine Summer because his colours are like southern summers” Bran decided as he settled the pup onto his lap feeding him some meat the servants had brought out.
“I’m going to name mine Nymeria after the warrior Queen” Arya declared
“mine’s going to be named Lady and she’ll have all the manners of one” Sansa decided
“what did you name your runt then snow?” Theon asked from the bench as he had wandered over to get his lunch, Lyra swiftly moved over feeling her stomach rumble and sat herself placing Beowulf by her feet with a couple of hunks of meat and a bone to chew on, luckily the pups had just started to be weaned of their milk as he happily started chewing, the pups seemed to be about five weeks old.
“his name is ghost” Jon said as he tucked into his own simple meal
“what did you name yours Ly?” Arya asked as Robb watched his own pup race over to the table.
“Beowulf after the king of winter, what’s yours named Robbie?” Lyra swiftly replied before staring at her twin who had nicked some bread of her plate.
“I’ve named him Greywind, he’s grey and he’s fast” Robb shrugged a shoulder as Lyra deadpanned him.
“so imaginative” she drawled helping Rickon onto the bench and handing him a cherry tart as she selfishly horded the lemon cakes, although she handed one over to Sansa who had pouted prettily at her, they both shared the same love for the sour treat.
“you’ll get fat eating all of them” Theon snarked from across from her
“don’t worry Theo dear no one could compare to your fat head nor your over inflated ego” Lyra rebutted him pretending to pat his hand consolingly. The siblings of seven roared with laughter and they all settled into their meals, jesting and joking, but Lyra could still hear the faint thrumming of the drums of war in the back of her head, she decided to ignore it for now and relax.
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
This isn't mine just playing in the sandbox.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The following ten weeks was filled with the bustling of Winterfell servants and her mother’s increasing frantic panics and shortening temper. Lyra kept herself as far away from her mother’s wrath as possible, training with her brothers or heading out to the godswood or ducking into the library or hiding behind maester Luwin under the pretext of getting healing lessons to avoid having to fold napkins-although that turned out to be a fun couple of days improving her knowledge, so she kept at it, Beowulf had grown incredibly quickly as the other wolf pups have all of them reaching the size of a medium-sized dog.
The day that the kings party was to arrive Lyra was stuffed into a dress and strictly forbidden from going anywhere near the weaponry under threat of death from her mother if she didn’t act in any capacity other than a lady, so Lyra was stood next to her twin who cut an impressive figure dressed in his fur and leathers with his sword, NightHowl, on his hip. Lyra was immensely envious, but she would obey, she wished that Theon and Jon would stand beside them as well she had argued that they were brothers to her as well and had every right, but her mother quickly shot it down.
Lyra watched amusement crossing her face as she spotted Arya clambering over a wagon with a large steel helmet on her head, she ran straight into their father who chuckled lowly and took the helmet off her handing it to Roderick, before ushering her into line, Sansa glared at her and Lyra lightly slapped her around the back of her head, sending her a rebuking look.
A warning call came up from the wall and the occupants of the courtyard straightened up as a clattering of hooves was heard and the large contingent of the king’s party came through, with a large wooden carriage came into the courtyard as well. Lyra’s eyes caught the sight of the crown prince he was sat on top of his horse smirking smugly as he glanced at Sansa, Robb obviously caught the look and started glaring at the blonde twat, but Lyra was interested in the large man who was wearing a helmet in the shape of a dogs head, half his face melted and staring intensely at her sister.
The Queen, a truly famed beauty stepped out of the wheelhouse, she was swiftly followed by a younger version of herself and a very sweet looking boy, the princess Myrcella and her younger brother Tommen.
On top a poor horse was a very fat man with a patchy beard, ruddy cheeks and breathing heavily, Lyra cast a glance to Robb as if to say really? Her twin seemed to agree but followed their father in kneeling onto the ground in respect, she heard the supposed king heaving himself off the horse landing heavily onto the ground and stomping over to her father, he reached out a hand and gestured for him to stand. Father did while everyone remained on the ground.
“you’ve gotten fat” the kings deep voice boomed around the courtyard, her father merely looked down at himself, then at the king looked up at his face and cocked an eyebrow, causing the king to let out a roar of laughter.
“Cat!” he called out joyfully and the rest of the courtyard rose at the signal, her mother was wrapped up into a tight embrace.
“your grace” she managed to squeak out.
“nine years! Why haven’t I seen you? Where the hell have you been?” the king continued staring at Ned while he mussed up Rickon’s hair.
“guarding the north for you your grace” Ned replied “Winterfell is yours for as long as you need it”
“where’s the imp?” Arya demanded loudly glancing around the courtyard
“will you shut up?” Sansa hissed, smoothing down her already pristine dress
“Behave” Lyra growled at the pair, a warning look on her face.
“who have we here?” the king asked, Lyra briefly wondered whether he could do anything except shout, she was getting a headache.
“you must be Robb or is it the young wolf or the twin wolf?” the King jested reaching out to shake Robb’s hand firmly
“our bannermen enjoy nicknames, your grace” Robb replied
“aye I was once called the rampaging stag” Robert replied jovially “in my rebellion, I took my hammer and charged the enemy destroying half the battalion before the rest of my army caught up to me! They said it was like a rampaging stag didn’t they Ned?”
“aye your grace, it was quite the sight” Ned replied
“and you are?” the king moved on until he was standing in front of Lyra
“Lyra Stark your grace” she replied smoothly glancing to see that the Queen’s eyes had narrowed onto her face, a brief look of hatred flashing over it.
“seven hell’s it’s like Lyanna come again” King Robert whispered his eyes drinking in her features as Lyra winced subtly at the comparison, oh great where was the nearest hole for her to crawl into and die?
“you do me honour your grace” Lyra replied somewhat stiffly
“beguiling wolf indeed,” Robert said moving onto Sansa and looking her up and down.
“my aren’t you a pretty one? And what nickname have you been given?” he asked her somewhat gruffly eyes straying back to Lyra
“I often get called the southern wolf your grace” Sansa replied blushing prettily
“aye, you have the looks and graces of the south” the way the king said that made Lyra think it wasn’t all that much of a compliment, but Sansa took it as one.
“and your name is?” he asked her little sister who stared back confidently
“I’m Arya, I’m usually called the defiant wolf” she grinned
The King nodded before stopping in front of Bran
“Show us your muscles” he playfully asked
Bran beamed up at him and made a show of flexing his arm
“you must be the strong wolf then?” he probed
“I’m usually called the winged wolf because I’m always climbing” Bran rambled on “I love to climb the towers and look at the views around Winterfell, especially the broken tower, I usually climb that one every day. Cersei looked completive at that information and a slight frown crossed Lyra’s face.
“that’s Jamie Lannister he’s the Queen’s twin just like Lyra and Robb” Arya exclaimed under her breath, but Sansa heard
“will you please shut up” she whined, and Lyra reached out and pinched her hip none too gently
“she’s excited San, leave her be” Lyra warned her quietly in her ear.
The Queen finally walked over, and her father and mother greeted her politely.
“take me to your crypts Ned I want to pay my respects” he demanded from next to Bran
“we’ve been riding for months, my love, surely the dead can wait” the Queen’s honeyed tones rang out but to Lyra, they sounded like ice.
He didn’t even glance in her direction “Ned” he commanded and walked off, with an apologetic look towards the Queen he followed dutifully.
“where’s the imp?” Arya questioned again, and the Queen turned at the question, glancing at Lyra’s sister and span to look at her twin.
“where is our brother? Go and find the little beast and that sellsword of his” she hissed towards her twin demandingly. Jaime nodded before swinging himself back onto the horse and riding off.
Her mother moved forward swiftly, hoping to soothe the tension “your grace I have your chambers prepared, Robb you will show Prince Joffery and Prince Tommen to their chambers and Lyra you will show Princess Myrcella to her chambers understood?” she glanced sharply towards her children who nodded and moved forward in unison.
“your Highnesses, if you will follow us” the spoke as one again and quickly led them inside seeing their mother do the same for the Queen, their guards followed them swiftly.
“do you do that all the time?” the prince demanded haughtily, and Lyra had the sudden impulse to punch him in the face, from the way Robb’s jaw was twitching he felt similarly.
“sometimes your highness it’s not something we do with any conscious thought, for the majority of the time” Lyra explained as they moved towards the warmest parts of the castle that had been specially fixed up to ensure the southerners warmth.
“mother and uncle don’t do it” he argued a petulant pout on his face
“Indeed” they drawled dryly together, admittedly that one was done on purpose and they enjoyed the creeped out shudder he gave.
“it is a lot warmer inside” the princess spoke shyly glancing at Lyra, who was suddenly reminded of her own short height.
“yes princess, the walls of Winterfell are thick and we have hot springs underneath the castle and pipes that take the hot water through the walls like veins in a man’s body” Lyra explained as they reached the chambers that had been set aside for the Royals.
“here are your chambers, your grace,” Lyra said opening the chamber door for the guard to scope out first with Myrcella following them.
“it is lovely thank you,” the princess said flushing at her elder brother was loudly voicing his complaints.
“apologies your highness but we northerners are a practical folk we have no desire for southern trivialities” Her brother's voice was polite, but his tone was colder than the harshest winter.
The prince either didn’t notice or didn’t care to pay attention to her brother as he was already ordering the servants about while his guard who he had dubbed ‘Dog’ watching on.
“if your graces don’t require anything else we will be taking our leave” Lyra spoke wanting to get as far away from these people as soon as possible.
“you mentioned hot springs? I wish to clean up it has been such a long journey” the Queen asked she was smiling but Lyra got the feeling that she’d smile in her face while placing a dagger in her back.
“yes, your grace, if it pleases you I can take you down right now” Lyra replied, no way was she about to call this woman her Queen, admittedly Lyra’s pride was an issue for her.
“yes, it does, lead on” she ordered that fake smile firmly in place, Lyra nodded and swiftly turned around and led the Queen, some of her handmaidens and two of the king’s guard following her.
“you are very pretty aren’t you a little wolf?” Cersei asked her sweetly and Lyra wanted to bare her teeth, only father got to call her little wolf.
“I’ve been told so your grace” Lyra maintained a polite tone, counting down from ten.
“yes, the only weapons a woman has is her looks, her tears and what’s between her legs, you should really try to improve what little looks you have, like your sister” Cersei spoke, and her voice was so laced with bitterness that Lyra wanted to check to see if she had been turned into a pillar of salt.
“Looks fade your grace” Lyra replied stiffly, Lyra didn’t give a damn about her looks, it was a non sequitur to her but her little sister took a great pride in her looks and Lyra had to remind herself she couldn’t take the stupid long southern hairstyle of hers and wrap it around the pale column of her throat and watch as her lips turned blue.
“yes, they do, best make the best of them while they last” apparently, she couldn’t help one last dig and Lyra had to bite her tongue to stop the vicious comment about the queen finding that out long before her.
“here are the bathing hot springs your grace” Lyra gestured and opened the large oak doors allowing the group to walk forward “the male bathing area is on the right and the female bathing area is on the left, the doors can be barred from the inside if you wish for some privacy” Lyra showed them to the large hot spring pool, that was steaming invitingly, the walls had carvings of wolves running through the forest and wolves howling at the full moon, wolf mothers and their pups playing, two wolves were wrapped around a large throne with Brandon the builder sat upon it, a crown on his head, an entwined circlet with nine swords sticking out of it and three wolves at the front of the circlet, it was one of Lyra’s favourite places in Winterfell.
“it’s very simplistic” the Queen commented idly waving at the guards who took up a post outside of the door.
“I suppose it is in comparison to kings landing, is there anything else you need of me your grace?” Lyra asked her hands clasped behind her back watching the handmaidens bustling about.
“No, you can leave” the Queen dismissed her, and Lyra leapt at the chance, swiftly leaving the room, hearing the door lock behind her she swiftly retreated to the library for the peace before tonight’s feast.
“Move” a voice snapped from in front of Bronn and he lazily opened his eyes to see the Kingslayer in front of him, an irritated look on his face and a gaggle of whores behind him.
“an’ why would I do that?” he questioned in curiosity hand travelling behind his back to grip the handle of his dagger.
“I need to get in there,” Jamie said
“room’s occupied mate” Bronn explained, enjoying the frustrated look on his face.
“I know that I need to speak to my brother, he wasn’t there at the arrival of Winterfell and the Queen wants him to come”
“I think he’s already doing that” he jested before opening the door and walking in.
“Brother’s here” Bronn announced unnecessarily as he had followed Bronn into the room, eyeing the whore that was sat next to Tyrion.
“do you know the meaning of a closed door in a whore house Bronn? and what is it that my dear brother needs?” Tyrion asked idly, paying more attention to the whore’s tit than the conversation
“you weren’t there for the greeting and our sister craves your attention” he spoke brusquely moving over to a table and pouring himself a goblet of wine.
“she has our cravings our sister,” Tyrion said
“a family trait” Jamie commented dryly “the starks will be feasting at sundown, don’t leave me alone with these people” he drained the goblet before setting it down
“apologies brother, I’ve started the feast a bit early and she is the first of many courses” Tyrion spoke smugly winking at Bronn who let out a bark of laughter
“yes, I thought you’d say that,” Jamie remarked before walking over to the door and calling out, the gaggle of giggling whores came into the room and jumped onto the bed, Tyrion’s attention immediately being taken, Jamie turned towards Bronn.
“have him there for the afternoon” he ordered, and Bronn saluted mockingly as he took his post back up eyeing the dramatic retreat of the king’s slayer.
Please review? hope you enjoyed!
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
Disclaimer-This isn't mine merely playing in the sandbox.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bronn eyed the tall ancient walls of Winterfell that was covered in several inches of snow, he could spot the blood-red leaves of the Godswood in the distance along with the wolfswood in the opposite direction, winter town was bustling, and the noises and scents carried along the wind.
“and they call this summer snow” Tyrion commented from beside him “at least it seems cleaner than the south, a vast improvement on Kingslanding for sure”
“has a certain charm” Bronn admitted, he liked the fresh clean air and the environment seemed to have a certain energy about it, the north was his favourite place to visit, Dorne being a close second.
“well let’s get in before my cock falls off, I hear they have quite the library second only to oldtown” Tyrion grinned before urging his black horse forward, Bronn following swiftly.
They entered the main courtyard of Winterfell to see that it was a bustling hive of activity, two stable boys swiftly ran over to grab the reins of the horse as a tall lady with red hair followed after, Bronn pegged her as the Lady of the keep.
“My lord Lannister, welcome to Winterfell” she spoke with southern graces, so she was the fish turned wolf.
“thank you, Lady Stark, apologies for the late arrival I was enjoying the scenery, this is my personal bodyguard Bronn” Tyrion had a secret smile on his face and gestured towards Bronn who nodded at the lady.
She eyed him disdainfully, obviously picking up on the lack of a last name “well if you would follow me I will take you to your chambers” she spoke courteously
“no need, my lady I’m sure you have far more pressing matters to attend to, if you could tell me where the library is I will muddle my way through” Tyrion said
“I’ll have someone lead you, Jon!” she called out rather harshly and a rather tall boy came loping over, with black curly hair and puppy dog black eyes along with pouting lips, by his side was a pure white wolf pup that had blood red eyes.
“yes, Lady Stark?” he asked curiously eyeing the newcomers as he sheathed his sword
“show Lord Lannister and his bodyguard to the library and then to his chambers understood?” she ordered harshly before nodding to Tyrion and striding off.
“Lovely woman” Bronn commented
“Lady stark is under a lot of pressure at the moment” the boy’s soft voice rang out and Bronn eyed the other bastard.
“You're the bastard of Winterfell, aren’t you? Lord snow?” Bronn questioned spotting the familiar wince that crossed his face, the pup by his side let out a low growl.
“what is that?” Tyrion interjected eyeing the pup with gleaming eyes.
“this is ghost he’s a direwolf” Jon explained and Tyrion head jerked to him in disbelief
“direwolves haven’t been seen south of the wall in a thousand years” Tyrion stated.
“aye,” Jon spoke before turning and walking off into the keep, leaving them to hurry after him.
“what a chatty bloke, practically a gobshite” Bronn snarked causing Tyrion to let out a loud laugh.
Jon heard them but kept his mouth shut, silently showing them to the library, he opened the double oak doors and spotted his half-sister Lyra with her boots off, feet tucked up under her as Beowulf laid sprawled in front of her.
She was completely engrossed and didn’t notice the intrusion, until Ghost leapt onto Beowulf causing him to let out a yelp, glancing up she spotted Jon along with a well dressed dwarf, obviously the little lion and a tall lean man stood behind him, with curly black hair and lightning blue eyes that stood out against his tanned skin, he had several white scars crossing over his exposed skin, after the quick perusal she glanced back towards Jon.
“if something breaks I’m blaming you” Lyra informed him, turning the page.
“You always blame me” Jon replied siting on the armchair diagonally from her, ghost lost interest in his play mate and wandered back over to his master, Beowulf came and sat in front of Lyra tilting his head to the side and releasing a soft whine. Lyra sighed and picked him up and placed him onto her lap, he managed to curl himself up into a tight ball to fit but soon he would be too big to do it anymore.
“I don’t” she denied automatically
“oh no father it was Jon who was shooting arrows in the great hall, I would never” he mocked in a high pitch “you’re such a pushover” he gestured towards Beowulf in her lap.
“your face is a pushover” Lyra snapped back without any heat.
“and with that devastating insult, I’m going to my room where I’ll cry into my pillow and write in my diary of what a cruel world it is, do you need anything else my lord?” Jon addressed Tyrion while Lyra felt a flush steal over her cheeks.
Thankfully the Lord seemed amused by their exchange “No I’ll be alright, I hope the Lady doesn’t object to my or my body guard’s presence?” he asked her, Jon swiftly leaving the room.
“No, My Lord I think you will be a pleasant company” Lyra sent a soft smile towards him, glancing up at the other man who was already staring at her intensely.
“excellent” Tyrion said before striding off into the stacks to find himself a book
The tanned man strode forward and sprawled himself over the couch in front of her, he had a lazy smile on his face as if he was a king speaking on his subjects.
“I’m Bronn” he offered, and Lyra noticed that he didn’t offer a last name
“it’s nice to meet you Ser Bronn- “
“not a ser least not yet” Bronn seemed amused by her
“Very well, Bronn I’m Lyra there is food and wine on the table over there feel free to browse the books to your contentment” Lyra offered playing the part of a good host
“I certainly will be” Tyrion exclaimed hauling three large tomes with him “just how did you get such excellent books my lady?”
“please just call me Lyra my lord, no need to stand on ceremony amongst friends and my father had it built for my sixth name day, I’m an avid lover of literature and my younger brother Bran was even more so, a lot of our books are from storage after all Winterfell is over eight thousand years old” she explained
Bronn had heard stories and rumours of Lyra Stark while travelling but seeing her in the flesh cemented his thoughts, he watched as her red lips curved up into a soft, gentle smile and felt himself clutching the back of the couch tighter, it was taking all of his will power to keep himself seated and acting detached in front of her, everything about her was entrancing him. Her soft and silkily looking skin, her high cheekbones and button nose, softly curving chin and plump bow shaped lips the colour of blood roses, despite her short stature she was curved with a dancer’s body or a fighter he amended his thought staring at her lightly muscled arms and long pianist fingers that were calloused, not something seen amongst noble women.
But it was her eyes that truly drew him in, the were such a startling shade of grey, a sort of bright silver with a great mix of emotions and secrets hidden within that he wanted to uncover them all, they seemed to shift as well, one second they were as soft as morning mist and the next they reminded him of his favourite dagger that would shine when struck by the sun, at the moment they were soft and open, vulnerable and he felt a wave of protectiveness overcome him.
Before all Bronn had wanted was any high born beauty for a wife, but now he knew that he would settle for nothing less than Lyra stark, a benefit to being born a bastard and raised in a kill or be killed world was that he would do anything to get what he wanted, he would blackmail and stab people in the back and climb over their bodies to get to what he wanted and he wanted Lyra Stark, those born higher than him would argue amongst themselves but his were the arms that Lyra would fall into, the nobles played the game of thrones but Bronn had been playing the game of survival since he was born and he always survived.
“your close to your siblings then? Even the bastard?” Bronn asked brusquely, he needed to know her opinions on bastards seeing as he was one and probably fathered a fair few of them.
“Jon is my brother whether his last name be snow or stark, even Theon I adore like a brother and I won’t have it any other way, a Royal could easily become a beggar king and a bastard could easily build a wall, last names and blood have nothing to do with it” Lyra spoke fiercely and Bronn had to admire the defiant look in her eyes, piercing him like daggers and the stubborn set of her chin.
“aye I know but most nobles look down on us bastards” Bronn explained it easily away “just curious is all” he gave Lyra a secret smile, delighting in the slight flush and softening in her eyes.
“well, it makes no difference to me I’d rather a loving bastard of a husband than an abusive noble of a husband” Lyra explained gently running her hand through Beowulf’s fur as she needed to calm down.
“such a sweet sentiment my lady, if only the world had more of you” Tyrion spoke smiling charmingly at her and Lyra let out a light giggle, his height didn’t matter to her and she could see just handsome he was far more than his brother, if he had been a normal height the noble woman would be clawing over each other to get at him.
“you must call me Lyra; Tyrion I’ll be most put out if you don’t” Lyra chastised him but her grey eyes sparkled with mirth as she stared into his mismatched eyes.
“well of course I can’t have that my dearest Lyra” he grinned and the three settled in for the afternoon, Tyrion and Lyra usually getting lost in their books while Bronn ate of the plates of food given and partook of the wine, he enjoyed watching Lyra reading the expressions on her face, the way her brow scrunched up or her tongue darted out to wet her lips or how sometimes she would mouth the words or she would smile as if living the book it was endless entertaining to him, committing it all to memory.
Eventually a hand maid came for Lyra and she sighed at having such a wonderful afternoon disturbed but she smiled at the maid curtsied to Tyrion and Bronn and left the room, she hurried to her own chambers, Beowulf easily keeping pace where Tila was waiting for her, a bath filled with winter roses and honeysuckle waited for her, despite Lyra’s more manly provocations she did enjoy the Ladylike side of things, the long warm baths and beautiful dresses being apart of the appeal and she had always been a sucker for the ballads and songs written of noble knights but unlike her younger sister Lyra lived in the real world.
She sighed happily as Tila’s hands ran through her long ebony hair and washed it thoroughly, she soaked in the tub for a while but eventually had to get out to avoid pruning. She was dressed in a beautiful deep purple dress that was thick enough to keep her warm, her hair was left down hanging to her hips and curling wildly with a string of pearls weaved into it, she placed a black studded belt around her hips and a direwolf pendant on around her neck, and she had a warm cloak wrapped around her the soft blue going well with the deep purple.
“You look beautiful my lady; all eyes will be on you” Tila complemented her carefully adjusting the bottom of her dress so it wouldn’t wrinkle.
“well it is a big occasion, and this is such a lovely dress it is rare for us to dress up isn’t it?” she asked rhetorically before thanking her maid telling Beowulf to stay and swiftly moving towards Sansa’s chambers where she knew she’d find her mother attending to her, Lyra knew Sansa was the apple of her mother’s eye and she didn’t really mind, saved her from constant berating.
Knocking softly on the door, she entered when she was bid smiling at her sister who looked absolutely lovely, a dress of deepest blue that matched her eyes and made her hair shine, the dress hugged her figure and hinted at the beauty she was sure to become.
“you look so pretty!” Sansa gushed excitedly “isn’t this all marvellous, it’s just like the stories and Joffrey is so handsome, isn’t he? Such a golden lion he looks nothing like his father” Sansa prattled on, but Lyra’s hands stilled in the cloak that she had been toying in, it was a curious thing indeed the royal children were pure Lannister…
“-and Mother says I can marry him you won’t mind, will you?” Sansa directed the question to her sister, her eyes were shining and pleading but there was a hint of brattiness to her.
“Sansa these things aren’t set in stone” her mother cautioned her, twisting a piece of her hair into an elaborate part of a southern hairstyle.
“but I want to marry Joffrey! He’ll be my golden lion and I’ll be Queen and I’ll have his babies and they will be princes and princesses!” Sansa whined and her tone immediately agitated Lyra, Lyra had no issues with such goals in life, she herself longed to be a wife and mother and her mother was a fine example of what to strive to be but her sisters petulant and expecting tone made her want to shake her, Lyra sighed and reminded herself that she was only ten and three but she contradicted her thoughts it was time for her to set aside childish thoughts and ideals.
“it could very well be Lyra who will marry Joffrey and sit on the iron throne, she is the first-born daughter and older, she takes precedent” her mother reminded Sansa but from the steely glint in her eyes if Sansa wanted to marry her precious prince than she would make it so.
“I have no desire to marry the prince, I have no desire to be Queen something about him causes shivers down my spine mother and Sansa you’ll do well to remember that stories are just that stories” Lyra warned them, her mother understood the meaning behind her words, but Sansa did not and settled for pouting.
“I heard you were sat with Lord Tyrion” her mother tried to be casual as she glanced at her daughter from the corner of her eyes, seeing her perched-on Sansa’s bed “a lot of your father’s bannermen are here tonight, it seems they all happened to have business with your father, quite the coincidence”
“Quite Mother, and yes, I was sat with Tyrion, he’s quite the conversationalist” Lyra mentioned but her mind wandered towards the sell-sword that had sat with them, perhaps it was his intensity or his casual confidence, but he intrigued her.
“he would make a good match, he’s the heir to Casterly rock” her mother observed her’s daughters thoughtful look
“what the imp? I hear he’s ever so ugly” Sansa spoke, and Lyra lamented the ignorance and childish of her sister, the opposite to Arya’s cynical and pessimistic outlook on life, honestly if those two ever got along they would balance each other out wonderfully.
“he hates that nickname Sansa, he’s clever, charming and kind you need to learn Sansa that not all men who look like knights have the honour, some are just monsters hiding behind a handsome façade and those that look like monsters usually have a heart of gold underneath, looks fade but personality stays” Lyra heeded her sister a serious look on her face and Sansa flushed.
A knock came at the door and Lyra stood and opened it, smiling when she spotted Robb and Theon.
“why are you here?” Lyra wondered
“to escort you and Sansa to the feast” Theon replied
“how did you know I was here?” Lyra probed
“asked the guards” Robb rolled his eyes at his twin “are you two ready?”
Lyra held up a finger and twisted her head to stare at her sister who smoothed her dress and stood, walking over to the trio, Lyra smiled and hooked her arm through Robbs while Sansa did similarly with Theon.
“right let’s go then,” Theon said and the four set off down the hall.
“aren’t you going to compliment us, Robbie?” Lyra joked her eyes glittering with mirth as she stared at him.
“you look lovely, the pair of you and that’s the problem, all these bloody lords will be eyeing up my little sisters with their disgusting eyes and wanting to paw at you with their filthy hands” Robb grumbled from beside her, hand resting on the pommel of his sword while his eyes narrowed in on the distance, Theon was nodding emphatically along.
Lyra let out a loud guffaw and Sansa tittered prettily from behind her.
“well it is a good thing that we have our knights in shining armour” Lyra teased lightly, and Robb relaxed a small smile playing at his lips, they stopped in front of the oak doors to the great hall and Lyra sighed heavily as they were announced, all this ceremony was rather tiresome.
She entered the great hall on the arm of Robb to see that it had been transformed, it had been given a once over with all of her mother’s southern knowledge and Lyra immediately wanted to tear it all down, the familiar banners of house stark still hung on the walls but they were crowded by fine candelabras and flowers entwined with delicate tapestries that Lyra didn’t even know the stark family owned.
“it looks heinous” Robb muttered from the corner of his mouth and she let out a low snort of laughter, spotting the King and Queen walking in behind them with their children, they all moved up to the high table and waited for them to sit themselves, and then their mother and father and eventually the children then the bannerman sat and the feast began.
“where is Lord Tyrion?” she asked glancing towards the two empty plates “and Jon? Surely, they should be here on time?” she kept her voice low directing the question towards Robb, his face darkened, he stiffly replied
“he should be along soon, the other place is for his sell sword apparently he insisted upon it, mother didn’t want Jon to dine with us as she thought it would upset her grace”
Lyra’s face twisted with anger “that’s not fair, Tyrion’s body guard is a bastard”
“yes, well apparently the Lord Lannister can do as he pleases” Robbs hand tightened around the ale jug and Lyra let the subject drop as she didn’t want to upset him further.
“I’m very good at doing what I please young wolf” a new voice interrupted the pair and Lyra jerked around to spot Tyrion and Bronn both were cleaned and dressed in finer clothing than their travelling gear, Lyra’s eyes kept travelling over to Bronn and eyeing the form-fitting leather he wore, he was still weighed down by a multitude of weapons but that just seemed to add to his appeal for her. Lyra wanted to berate herself, usually she wasn’t bothered by men or their attentions on her, as the first-born daughter of a Lord paramount she was rather indifferent to the attention, but with Bronn’s intense blue eyes on her, she felt shivers racing down her spine as a wolf she wasn’t used to feeling like prey but under his gaze she felt as if she was being hunted and she found she rather enjoyed it.
She looked up at him from underneath her lashes and saw that he didn’t seemed ashamed of his staring, most of the nobles she met would hide their intentions behind honeyed words and tall tales and the small folk she met placed her on a pedestal and wouldn’t look her in the eye half the time, but Bronn kept his focus on her, his eyes never straying filled with a self-assured confidence that was ever so alluring to her.
She felt a nudge in her ribs and jerked seeing that Tyrion and Robb were staring at her, Tyrion with a curious look on her face while Robb’s eyes had narrowed, and he was glancing between the pair, Lyra flushed hotly and gave them a smile.
“Tyrion, Bronn thought you had gotten lost” she teased lightly
“ah well dear Lyra when you’re a dwarf it takes you twice as long to get anywhere” he joked while taking his place at the table, Bronn following along.
“then you should have started earlier or had Bronn carry you” she grinned as he snorted into his wine, Bronn letting a bark of laughter
“while I’m strong my lady, his head is far too fat” he jested and delighted in the laugh she let out.
“your supposed to protect me not mock me” Tyrion grumbled half-heartedly
“aye and I do the mockery just comes free” Bronn grinned and Lyra laughed again, he was very quick-witted, she glanced to her left to see Robb staring at her intently wondering when the hell his twin had gotten so cosy with a Lannister and a sell sword and she flushed, ignoring his probing stare.
Settling back into her seat and enjoying the feast, the food was plentiful and delicious, spiced meats and bacon wrapped chicken with cheese and sauce a personal favourite of Lyra’s, roasted pheasant and boars on a spit, suckling pig with an apple in its mouth. The ale and wine was also plentiful, dark northern ale and spirits that warmed the stomach and made your fingers tingle, sweet dornish wine that was paired well with the meats, flowery wines from high garden that made Lyra’s stomach churn from the scent and how weak it was but the blonde pounce seemed to enjoy, the honeyed mead was a personal favourite of hers, as the desserts came out Lyra spotted her favourite lemon cakes and managed to polish of three while also ramming four down Robb’s pocket for him to sneak to her later, he sighed heavily and rolled his eyes at her antics but didn’t stop her.
The dancing soon began, and Robb helped her up and they danced around the hall, a tradition for the twins to always dance together first.
Bronn couldn’t keep his eyes off her, she was enthralling, the way she daintily ate her food and sipped at her wine, the innocence and grace of her movements so enticing, the way her eyes sparkled and the open look of joy as she interacted with her siblings, each way she spoke to them intimate and familiar, she adapted herself to bring out the best of them with no falsity. The deep purple of her dress made her pale skin shine and the low hanging pendant hanging proactively over the swell of her breasts, drawing his eye. He could smell her honeysuckle and roses scent and his mouth watered.
“if you keep staring at her like that her lord father will notice and take your head, the northerners might be more relaxed but you're still below her station,” Tyrion remarked quietly from beside him.
“aye, for now, I am but I won’t be for long and then I’ll marry her” Bronn easily admitted watching as she ran her fingers through her younger brothers’ hair, she was so natural with them, she’d make an excellent mother, perhaps six would do? He watched as her twin assisted her in getting up and they gracefully moved around the hall, his eyes glued to the sway of her hips.
Tyrion choked on his wine in surprise “you, you want to get married?” he was incredulous
“every man wants to get married and have a wife and children” Bronn replied simply “I have three goals, a lordship, a castle and Lyra Stark for a wife, after that of course securing my legacy but that can wait for now”
“Oh, and how are you planning on doing that then?” Tyrion mocked him
Bronn drained the last dregs of ale in his jug, spotting that the twins were almost finished and the bannermen were trying to move in on his future wife, not that she knew that yet “I’ll make myself indispensable” he stated determinedly before striding over to Lyra with a confident arrogance that made the others hesitate to get in the way, uncaring of the eyes on him.
“My lady?” a voice spoke, and Lyra turned with a polite smile on her face that brightened when she saw it was Bronn standing behind her, Robb straightened up and his eyes narrowed.
“Dance with me?” he asked, his voice was soft and while his posture screamed arrogance his blue eyes were soft and slightly pleading, she felt her heart melt a little.
Bronn felt amused at the sight of her twin posturing, a lot of more intimidating people had tried to scare Bronn and they had all failed spectacularly but staring into Lyra’s grey eyes like the stars he felt a nervousness overtake him, causing his voice to soften, his heart pulsated with the thought of rejection and his eyes pleaded softly with her.
“I would love to Bronn” Lyra smiled and felt her stomach flip at the smile he gave her, quickly whisking her away in his arms keeping to propriety.
Lyra smiled in surprise as Bronn gracefully lead her around the room, she felt herself moving with him as if they had been doing it for years.
“you dance very well Bronn” she complimented him
“travelling has a lot of perks, you get to see different cultures and I liked to immerse myself in it and learn everything I could while I was there, when you live as a sellsword you don’t know when it ends” he smiled in a rueful way, as he easily span her, following the moves of the southern style of dancing “although I must admit I enjoy the northern style of dance more”
Lyra was slightly surprised her was opening up to her, he did seem very private, but she found herself enjoying it, so she didn’t comment.
“aye, the northern style is wilder and a lot more fun, it’ll be soon it starts up when everyone is more into their cups, have you travelled to the north often?” she probed
“I’ve been to the north a couple of times, sometimes for work, sometimes just to see, I’ve even been beyond the wall, it was amazing but so very cold” he grinned down at her, a sparkle of adventure in his eye, she felt her heart flutter.
They danced for a while longer, and Lyra was really enjoying herself as they twisted themselves around the other dancers, she spotted Sansa enjoying being fawned over by her some bannerman, but her eyes kept straying to the dais where the prince was sat, and he kept smirking at her.
“if you can I’d get your father to avoid engaging them” Bronn spoke under his voice
“I’m trying to give caution, but my sister has fancy notions and my mother despite living in the north for nigh on twenty years would enjoy the power, what have you seen?” she frowned slightly
“you shouldn’t frown, your features are meant for laughter not sadness” he lightly admonished releasing her hand to smooth the wrinkles in her forehead before snatching her hand back into his grip gently. “and as for what I’ve seen he’s a cruel and vicious fucker, enjoys tormenting his servants and animals caught him skinning a animal that wasn’t even dead yet, he delights in throwing his influence and weight about as the crown prince as he’s an arrogant cunt and sets his dog on whatever he can find because he doesn’t know how to swing a sword let alone his own” he smirked at his own double entendre, her face settled back into the frown, this was incredibly disturbing to Lyra but a raised eyebrow from Bronn had her smiling again.
“If I might cut in my lady?” a deep, booming voice cut into their conversation and Lyra realised they had been dancing for a while, smiling happily up at Lord Umber, she agreed an apologetic look being tossed to Bronn who smiled in understanding and moving back towards Tyrion.
“ah, pick it up, won’t you?” Lord GreatJon Umber demanded from above her, he was named appropriately being an incredibly large man, topping even the hound who was constantly staring at him in wariness, his hand holding the pommel of his sword tightly. The bards quickly picked their instruments up and started playing a lively tune, causing the northerners in the room to roar with approval stomping their feet and clapping their hands along while the southerners looked on in dismay and shock due to the lack of propriety.
Lord Umber voiced his approval loudly before wrapping one platter sized hand around her hip, the other gently taking her other hand in his, for such a giant of a man he was exceedingly gentle and very quick and graceful in his movements capable of keeping up with Lyra’s more delicate movements with ease, they pair had sparred a lot and were used to working together and against.
And the pair were off, and Lyra felt excitement shoot through her, the southern styles might have been pretty, but the northern style of dancing was hard, fast and free. Lyra felt a large grin cross her face as she was span and picked up by Lord Umber, the man finding it easy as everyone was joining in even her father who was more tamely spinning his wife around who had a beaming smile on her face, Lyra was intricately twirled throughout many partners, she knew that the southerners were baffled by it to them seemingly a crazed display but there was a pattern and a rhythm to it but you had to feel for it and to watch closely to spot it, which she saw Tyrion doing, that man never missed anything.
Lyra was picked up and twirled again and found herself captured in the arms of Bronn again who brazenly winked and slyly moved so that the nobles that were attempting to steal her away ended up in each other’s arms, on the floor or with some other woman. She couldn’t help but let out a loud laugh as it happened and throwing caution to the wind she stayed within Bronn’s strong grip for a bit longer than entirely appropriate.
Bronn could feel the daggers in his back and could spot a few furious gazes in his direction and he couldn’t fault them, here he was a upstart cocky southern bastard with no name and protecting a Lannister dancing with the most gorgeous woman in the room, the daughter of a Lord Paramount and practically the brother of the king, he might as well be a mortal having fallen in love with a goddess but he would find a way to prove his worth, no way would he pass up the opportunity to get her to fall for him, so while he grumbled slightly having to pass her back to her brother, he decided to take up a corner and start plotting.
Lyra was panting slightly at the end of one dance with Robb, she had been dancing constantly for quite a while and despite being desperate for a break she couldn’t deny anyone who wanted to dance with her, she was about to suggest the pair sneaking off to find Jon-they had stayed long enough to excuse themselves for fresh air- when a small shriek pierced the air, the pair spun and spotted Sansa freaking out about her dress while Arya was busting up in laughter, Theon joining her. Mother who was sat beside the Queen glared at them and Robb nodded his head moving over to Arya.
“Time for bed” he said swinging her off the bench and into his arms
“I’m not tired!” she argued dramatically
“yes you are” he spoke ignoring her protests and the pair quickly moved to leave the great hall both of them splitting up, Lyra towards the courtyard and Robb to Arya’s bed chambers- neither noticed Bronn following them, he wanted to keep Lyra safe and didn’t trust a bunch of strange drunkards near his wolf- he determinedly ignored the possessiveness he was already thinking with, while he wouldn’t restrict her he simply wanted to ensure her safety it was a dangerous world for a woman on her own even if she was in her own home.
“Let me give you some advice bastard, never forget what you are the rest of the world will not, wear it like armour and it can never be used to hurt you” Lyra halted at the edge of the courtyard hearing Tyrion’s voice ringing out, he had evidently left the feast for some air and ran into her brother.
“The hell do you know about being a bastard” Jon sounded angry, a rare occurrence as he usually kept it bottled up and he was very soft-spoken and non-confrontational.
“All dwarves are bastards in their fathers’ eyes” Tyrion spoke ruefully but his tone was laced with bitterness and hatred “Lady Lyra” he nodded to her spotting the tears and soft look in her eyes feeling his own sting before passing on, spotting Bronn but keeping quite finding the whole situation very amusing for himself.
“Lyra,” Jon said, and his voice was so defeated that the tears she had been holding at bay slid down her cheeks.
“oh Jon” she moved forward but he moved away
“I don’t need your pity” he snapped, and Lyra felt a dagger enter her heart
“Jon I know-“she started but he interrupted her
“NO! no you don’t know! You know who your mother and father are you carry their name and you are loved and cherished by them and your siblings but I’m not! Your lady mother hates me, and she has every right too! I’m a talking walking reminded of my father’s dishonour! You have no idea what it’s like to have a father who’s considered to be the most honourable in all the seven kingdoms but you, you are that dishonour that exception! I have no name! no titles! Who would want to marry me or have children with me and I’m sick of it! So, I’m joining the nights watch and I cannot wait to leave!” his voice was raw but strong from letting out so many years of hurt and anguish.
Each word was another dagger through Lyra’s heart and a tear to her soul, but she silently took it and allowed him to be angry and vengeful and hateful towards her, but she felt on some level as if she deserved it, surely she was a babe when Jon came but when they were growing perhaps she should have done more to shield him? protect her younger brother? To beg her father to have him legitimised? Or to punish those that dared scorn him harsher? Pick more fights or to make it abundantly clear to her mother that if she had to pick between Jon and her she would side with Jon, maybe she should have ran away with him to Dorne earlier where they didn’t scorn bastards as harshly, she had packed them bags with clothes and food and borrowed some money from the stark treasury, taken three mares from the stables and they had managed to make it to white harbour before her father and his guards had caught up to them, Lyra had been thoroughly punished, taken from her lessons, denied her horse-riding, disallowed to leave the keep to even go to the Godswood and never left alone, constantly supervised and kept inside the worst was being kept away from Robb and Jon during the day, Her mother had wanted Jon sent away but Lyra had lost it, begging and pleading in front of her father, even getting on her knees which he had always disapproved off not wanting his children to see them as their Lord before their father. Jon and Robb always snuck into her room at night and they servants who pitied them kept their mouths shut and helped them escape in the morning, it had gone on for three months before her mother had let up slowly. But perhaps she should have been quicker? Planned better and they could have lived in Dorne and become sell swords and been happy.
“leave” he ordered her harshly and turned to the practice dummy cutting and slashing away at it all over again and Lyra turned and left tears rushing down her cheeks not noticing Bronn or the thunderous look on his face.
“I said to leave” Jon snapped
“feel like the big man after that?” Bronn asked his voice was casual, but his tone dripped venom and danger.
Jon span around to see the sell sword that had taken an interest in his sister, his face was calm but there was a dangerous glint in his blue eyes as hard as ice.
“the hell is it to you?” Jon snarled not feeling like being lectured “it’s not like you-“
“what that I understand? No, your right I don’t see I don’t understand why your being so fucking ungrateful Lord Snow” Bronn interrupted prowling around Jon carefully, disregarding the wolf pup by his side.
“Don’t call me that” Jon snapped feeling unnerved
“why not?” Bronn sneered a nasty look on his face “it’s what you are, you’re a bastard hence the snow and you’re a Lord as well foot in both worlds but you don’t belong in either” Bronn jeered nastily
“I don’t belong in the noble’s world! I’m just a bastard” Jon growled
“A bastard with a Lord father and a Lords education and a thousand of advantages because your father has honour, to have servants who obey you and a warm keep with a big bed and fur throws and the finest clothes and a pretty sword and never having to go hungry or fight for survival and what little you have or to starve or having to slit your babes throat rather than see them starve or being beaten not for stealing or lying but for pure amusement, to have siblings who would lay down their lives for you rather than rob you and stab you watching you bleed out and leave you for dead in a ditch” Bronn mocked him in a fake pitying tone
“I’m a constant reminder of my father’s dishonour, a stain upon his name, on his honour I’m constantly belittled and laughed at!” Jon protested weakly
“if you father had any true dishonour he would’ve slit your throat or left you at a whore house or an orphanage or in a ditch and denied your very existence that’s what a lot of Lords do but instead he takes you in raises you alongside your trueborn children and treats you like one, I had to teach myself how to read, how to write, how to manage money, how to swing a sword and how to survive you, you on the other hand didn’t you don’t have any true idea on what being a bastard is, and you’ve just caused your sister who adores you to go crying into her pillow and if you do it again I’ll show you a bastards death as well, now if you’ll excuse me Lord Snow I’m going to retire for the night” Bronn concluded in a scornful tone, bowing mockingly and span on his heel stalking into the keep leaving behind a speechless Jon Snow.
Please Review? hope you enjoyed it.
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
Not Mine otherwise id be sipping Mai Tai's in Hawaii.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The next morning Lyra was curled up in the furs of her bed the warm thick blankets making a nest around her with her and Beowulf in them, Lyra’s eyes were closed as she disliked the mindless staring she was sure to create, in the meditative state she had within her mind she could feel the constant strong, reassuring presence of Traveller at the back of her mind, through him she could smell the soft, sweet hay and the scent of leather and riding oil, hear the clamouring of the training yard outside, the snorts of other horses and see the stable boys attending to the tack.
Pushing his thoughts gently away from her and ignoring the curious thoughts of the local birds, she reached out tentatively to Beowulf again, she had been building up their bond but didn’t want to overwhelm him as he was still young, but he welcomed her eagerly and she slipped into his mind.
Her entire world point shifted, and she glanced down and saw midnight black paws inlayed with grey, an excited yip escaped her muzzle, with Beowulf’s memories and eager run through they managed to balance themselves, with Lyra in the front playing the rider while Beowulf was side saddled, acting as the subconscious, guiding her with instincts.
It felt completely natural.
Lyra had a sudden deep understanding and the bond between herself and Beowulf clicked into place, she stood confidently on her four paws, tail wiggling and ears twitching, she span and saw herself, sat tailor-style on the bed, arms hanging loosely over her knees, her face was relaxed and serene, she could scent the smell of honeysuckle and winter roses, she pawed slightly at the air it was odd seeing herself so she moved over to the edge of the bed and leapt lightly down to get accustomed to moving in this new body, she played in the body happily Beowulf egging her own until she was sat on her haunches, sides panting with exertion and tongue lolling out over her lower pointed teeth.
Eventually, a knock came out the door and Lyra left Beowulf’s mind, but there was a still an echo of his mind in hers, neatly organised next to Traveller’s. Lyra bid for the maid to enter and she rose and prepared for the day to come having her hair braided with two blue ribbons and donning riding attire. She spotted Bran with her siblings when she headed to the maester to be excused for lessons for the day, she decided to not interrupt and hurried off looking forward to having a hot meal.
She came down to the head table, enjoying that the great hall had been set back to rights with the banners hung out unencumbered, greeting the royals with the King sat in the head chair, before greeting her father and mother sat to his left, and she took her seat at the high table next to Robb, across from Bronn and Tyrion who were both tucking into their breakfast, while they both greeted her politely, but Bronn winked brazenly at her and Lyra lightly choked on her juice avoiding his gaze while her cheeks burnt.
Bronn didn’t give a damn about the glares he was receiving, after the scolding he had given to the other bastard he had retreated to his room and began to scheme for Lyra, first order of business was to show her he was interested and that his attentions were romantic, second was to elevate his status and get the attention of her Lord Father and show off his capabilities to take care of his first-born daughter and to get himself a title and keep and third order of business was to marry her.
“I’m going to be training after breakfast and I’ve never fought a sell sword do you want to spar?” Robb asked, and his eyes were like twin rivers of ice, Lyra glanced at her twin in curiosity, but he was ignoring her not letting his thoughts show on his face.
Bronn figured the young pup was wanting to intimidate him with his battle prowess and scare him off his sister but unfortunately, he wasn’t going to be, in fact, he would relish the challenge and knew if he beat him then he would gain his respect and perhaps an ally.
“aye, it sounds good” Bronn grinned
“Ned, what the hell are we going to be doing today?” The king asked sounding slightly sober
“I was planning for us to go on a hunt today your grace, I know you enjoy them, and Bran needs to practice his aim with Theon” Ned spoke before taking a sip of his drink “we can head out at midday but until then you can watch the training your men are welcome to use the yard as well”
“good! Its been a while since I’ve seen some proper fighting all those southern cunts care more about their tourneys than which end to hold a sword!” Robb roared his approval as his wife looked on thinly veiled hatred and disgust painted across her face.
“Hey, Robbie we can race our horses again” Lyra leant over and whispered into his ear enjoying the grin that spread across his face at the suggestion.
The family carried on eating their breakfast politely conversing and eating their meal, Lyra noticed that Bran was practically falling into his porridge and when she inquired he stated he couldn’t sleep well and he had dreamt of a weird looking raven, Lyra suggested that he either take a nap or go to bed earlier and he readily agreed, when Jon came in through a side door he looked rough and a small frown tugged at her lips and she averted her gaze keeping it firmly on the table, clutching her fork with a white knuckle grip.
Jon sighed unhappily seeing his sister’s reaction to him, he knew he had caused it and needed to fix it, he spotted the sell-sword who was glaring at him, ‘fix it’ he mouthed before stabbing his sausage on the plate with a bit more force than necessary and Jon gulped before approaching the high table ignoring the narrowed eye glare of Lady Stark, her anger he could handle the sadness of his beloved sister he could not.
“Ly?” he saw her flinch into herself slightly and felt guilt burn at the back of his throat “can we talk?”
“uh, yea if I might be excused, father?” Lyra asked her father who nodded his consent frowning slightly in worry at the tension between them, Rob’s eyes were narrowed in on his sister, but she ignored the stare. She stood up and followed Jon out of the great hall and into the stables where she moved over to Traveller feeding him an apple to avoid looking at Jon.
“Last night I was a cruel and vicious bastard, I shouldn’t have taken out my anger on you, you and Robb, Arya and Bran even Rickon have always had my back and been in my corner to defend me. I just got so angry last night with this royal visit it’s just constantly being shoved in my face that I’m not a true Stark just a baseborn bastard when it’s just your mother doing it, I can ignore it because I have you and you don’t care about my last name and I can trick myself into thinking I’m your trueborn brother but I’m not and never will be can you ever forgive me?” Jon let out all his feelings and thoughts into a jumbled mess, he had hoped that his apology would be more eloquent but apparently not.
Lyra felt tears flowing down her cheeks again, she hated arguing with her loved ones and span launching herself into Jon’s arms, she kept her head pressed against his chest as she spoke, her words muffled “ there’s nothing to forgive you have been and always will be my little brother, I will always defend and protect you against anything that dared to harm you, I should never have said that I understood because I don’t, you were right I have never had to suffer a bastards life or constant belittlement by someone who should’ve put family and duty above their own honour can your forgive me?, I love you and I always will and if you choose to join the night’s watch I will support that and I’ll even steal a horse again” they both let out watery chuckles at the reminder of their great escape, Jon had felt tears falling down his own face as he basked in the unconditional love and forgiveness in her voice.
“like you said there’s nothing to forgive, this visit is just messing with both of us are we okay?” Jon asked wiping away her tears he didn’t need that bloody sell sword seeing her tears and sticking him with the pointy end of his dagger.
“now and always” she reassured him happily, using a handkerchief to wipe his tears away like she did when they were young.
“Come on, I want to see that sell sword of yours fight Robb it’ll be entertaining” Jon laughed at his blushing sister
“he’s not my sell sword!” she argued hotly swatting at his arm
“question” he said becoming serious and staring at her intently
“answer” she replied trying to keep it light-hearted
“what’s the deal between you and the sell sword? You’ve known each other a day but he’s so protective already and he’s interested in you, you know and your all girly around him, normally you don’t give a damn about a man’s attention but with him your all over yourself” Jon asked her gently, knowing that his sister could clamp down if she was being defensive.
“I can’t speak for him of course but I find him intriguing, he’s funny and quick-witted and he doesn’t try to pay me false flatteries or to tell me honeyed words but he’s got this aura of intensity and he’s so confident in himself, I spotted him with Arya before breakfast he was showing her his daggers and doing little tricks for her and telling Bran and Rickon these stories they were enamoured with him like he was Bran the builder come again but he was so kind and patient with them and he was grinning and it does help that I think he’s very handsome, he’s no green boy he’s a man” Lyra spoke letting her thoughts and feelings play out for Jon to see and understand himself as she couldn’t put it all into words, she knew Jon was the most level headed out of the family, Robb was quick to draw his sword and demand satisfaction with blood.
“well, I can’t say much for your taste in men” he teased lightly before continuing “but you have me in your corner and your support as much as a bastard can give, you know he has no lands or titles” he cautioned her lightly and Lyra nodded grimly
“I was thinking, perhaps he could get some land in the North perhaps if he proves himself as an honourable man to father and father is friends with the King, Robert wouldn’t deny him anything” Lyra spoke her rough plan and Jon nodded along seeing her aspirations and vowing to help her as much as possible with it, even to just be an ear for her to rant at.
They spoke no more on it as they had reached the training yard which was filled with men fighting and training, Lyra itched to pick up her twin swords or to go and play with the daggers, something she recently started learning but she couldn’t and refrained herself, walking sedately next to Jon and heading towards the largest sparing ring which had a majority of people crowding it. They wriggled their way to the front of the group next to Bran, Rickon and Arya who had snuck her way out of her lessons, alongside them was Tyrion surprisingly who stood with them rather than the Lannister’s, the group was split down the middle, the Starks and their Vassals all stood behind Robb while the Lannister’s and their host stood behind the crown prince Joffrey.
Lyra spotted her brother Rob who looked calm, dressed in his heavy training gear a wooden heater shield on his left arm and a dulled short sword gripped loosely in his right hand. Bronn was laughing with one of the guards, he was dressed in his normal attire with a dulled long sword in his hand and a dagger placed in a sheath on his lower back the usually curved dagger having been swapped out for the practice one.
Robb came walking over “what’s going on between you and Jon and what happened last night? You never came for your lemon cakes, you never turn down lemon cakes are you sick?” he frowned and tried to take her temperature, but she slapped his hand away lightly
“calm down, I’m fine I’ll tell you what happened later, and I want my lemon cakes back” she demanded, and he let out a laugh
“that’s my twin, when you think of your stomach I know you're fine” he grinned.
“why did you challenge Bronn to a fight?” Lyra asked him, her eyes were narrowed in suspicion
“I don’t like the way he’s looking at you it’s not proper” Robb growled in annoyance
She rolled her eyes in exasperation “honestly, your so overprotective” she whined slightly but felt her heart warm
Robb frowned slightly “you’re my little sister and my twin, mine, no one else’s if some man wants to come and claim you he’ll have to get through me and prove his worth, plus I might learn something off him”
Lyra opened her mouth but was interrupted by Bronn who came stalking over a smug grin on his face.
“My Lady, might I ask for your favour?” he asked unabashed and uncaring of the stares on him.
“if she’s giving anyone her favour it’ll be me!” Robb said incensed his chest puffing out, Bronn just eyed him and graced him with a lazy grin.
“right don’t squabble” Lyra said and reached into her hair where two blue ribbons had been plaited into her hair, she tugged them out then tied one around Robb’s left wrist and the other around Bronn’s right wrist, letting her fingers trail lightly over his calloused palm, looking up through her lashes to meet his intense blue eyes, he gave her a smile before the pair moved off into the centre of the ring.
“got it badddd” Jon sung in a low voice to her and she slapped him around the back of his head.
“My lady Stark you look resplendent today” an eager voice spoke, and Lyra inwardly groaned, seeing that Jon had tensed up.
“Ramsay, your too kind” she turned and saw that Ramsay Snow had managed to maneuverer himself next to her, Ramsay Snow was not an attractive man, even dressed in the finest clothing that he could buy, he was slope-shouldered and big boned with pink and blotchy skin and a broad nose, his lips were small but wide and meaty like worms and his eyes were close-set and beady the colour of dirty ice.
Ramsay Snow had been obsessed with Lyra since they were four years old and she had protected him when he was being beaten by some boys from wintertown she had snuck out to see the fayre, she had scared the boys off, taken him back to Winterfell where she had tended to his wounds and snuck him fine food and desserts, they had then headed to the training yard where they had played with practice swords until his father had come and found him berating him for running off, after that every visit Ramsay would come and follow her around like a shadow watching as she trained because he wasn’t allowed by his father due to his status, it hadn’t been a problem until they had turned two and ten when Ramsay had told her one day he would make her his wife, he still hadn’t given that idée fixe up or his infatuation to her.
“I didn’t know that you were here, does your father have business with mine?” she asked politely her arm entwined with Jon’s who was staring resolutely at the pair in the training yard Ramsay and Jon had never gotten along-to say they despised each other was an understatement- as Ramsay thought as Lord Bolton’s unofficial heir he was practically legitimised but Jon had always managed to get Lyra’s attentions off him leading to tension, Lyra turned her attention to him as the spar hadn’t started yet.
“yes, we had captured some bandits and as you know a flayed man has no secrets so father came to inform yours of all the information, my lady” His voice was slimy, filled with pride and Lyra had to fight not to shudder in disgust it was well known what the Bolton’s used to get up to and it wasn’t a well-kept secret that Ramsay Snow had certain…fixations.
“well the Bolton’s have been assisting with keeping the North safe for thousands of years, I doubt you would fail now” she smiled gracing him with the false platitudes and his chest puffed up with pride, she giggled seeing Jon’s dramatic eye roll. The king finally arrived and had a chair set out for him while her father stood on his left side, surrounded by kings’ guards.
The two finally finished preparing and Lyra’s eyes focused on them, Robb stood straight and proud settled into a ready stance while Bronn stood there, his hands held loosely.
“Well, come on then” he taunted Robb and Robb fell for it letting out a cry and charging Bronn who moved swiftly to the left and stuck his foot out, tripping him. Robb went sprawling into the dirt and Lyra winced in sympathy, but he quickly recovered and went for Bronn again, clearly not rushing as he had before. Their swords flashed in a succession of moves and Lyra was impressed with how quick Bronn was, he easily kept up with Robb and watched his every move, keeping his stance loose and flexible his footwork was confident and light. While Robb’s style was what he had been taught and the swordsmanship skills he had picked up along with practice and instinct Bronn’s was evidently a mesh up of styles he had picked up along the way, been taught, what he had invented himself and pure instinct.
They carried on for a while neither gaining or losing, they would trade blows and while Robb was formidable with a sword he was inflexible while Bronn flowed easily from move to move, switching out his sword and dagger whenever necessary and dancing around Robb with ease and happily using under handed tactics to get out of any tricky situations Robb placed him in.
In a quick move, when Bronn spotted an opening when Robb left his defence open sloppily his leg flashed and slammed into Robb’s chest sending him sprawling onto his back Robb scrambled up sans his sword and Bronn’s fist came swinging and slammed into Robb’s jaw, Bronn followed and lunged at Robb slamming him into the ground and placing the fake dagger to his throat.
“yield” Bronn demanded lightly, he looked barely out of breath and still collected while Robb was panting heavily slicked with sweat probably due to the armour and a few bruises forming.
“I yield” Robb admitted roughly, and Bronn helped him up with ease, Theon was stood at the side vibrating with rage, but Lyra found herself deeply impressed, Bronn really was a battle-hardened fighter it showed clearly.
“you have a lot of skill” Robb admitted truthfully, and he was impressed with the skill of the sell-sword
“if I didn’t I would be dead by now I would be happy to teach you a few tricks my Lord” Bronn grinned at the young man “you have talent just need refinement”
“please call me Robb,” he said and leant in “you’ll need to if we are to be good brothers one day- yes I’ve noticed that you’re not exactly subtle” he whispered dryly, and Bronn barked in laughter.
“I wasn’t trying to be Robb” Bronn admitted turning at the derisive snort and spotting the captured squid
“you should address him with his proper title” Theon snapped
“he has given me leave to address him as Robb, so I shall” Bronn grinned ferally
“the fight should be Robb’s you were dirty, didn’t fight with honour and used underhanded tricks!” Theon snarled, and Robb looked surprised
“I pinned him, I placed my dagger at his throat and I won against Robb” Bronn stressed his name enjoying the annoyance on the squid’s face.
“you have no honour” Theon insisted with derision and scorn on his face
“bit odd for an iron islander to be so hung up on Honour, but oh wait you’re not, though are you? Just a captured squid, well let me give you a life lesson boy from the mouth of a man, honour doesn’t mean shit in a fight, never has and never will. What good is honour to a dead man or his family, his wife and babes that will now starve and die due to a man’s honour. Honour doesn’t keep a man alive in a fight, Honour doesn’t get a man gold and honour doesn’t fill a man’s stomach. Now myself, I don’t fight with honour a fact that I’m proud off in a fight your fighting for the most important thing in all the seven kingdoms, your life, if using dirty tricks are what’s gonna keep me alive and get me back to my family I’m sure as the seven hells gonna use them. I’ve fought a lot of men with honour, and I’m the one standing here and breathing while they’re six feet under and their bones turned to dust, I’ve fought men without honour and I’m here because I fought with less honour, I knew their tricks and I knew how to counteract them hell I made half of them up, but I got scars and my scars are my lessons, Honour doesn’t matter being one of them.
Let’s think of the scenario, a man without honour and a man with honour get into a fight, let me tell you how it will finish because I know how it will, the man without the honour will live and be on his merry way while the man with honour will find himself in a nice unmarked grave by the side of the road that is if the man without honour doesn’t leave his body to be picked over by wild animals, because digging a grave, well, that takes effort and it’s already established he has no honour” Bronn finished his speech off to a pissed of looking Theon and a silent courtyard, he glanced to Lyra to see her eyes shining with an emotion, Her father was looking on, looking grim but understanding.
The king started laughing.
“aye, the cunt’s right! Honour doesn’t mean shit when your fighting for your life otherwise we’d all still be bending the knee to that mad cunt! What’s your name?” he demanded
“Bronn your grace, I’m the imps sell-sword” Bronn gestured towards Tyrion, who’s visage had darkened at the nickname.
“come hunting with us and we’ll share stories I bet you have some good ones” he boomed, and Bronn nodded his agreement.
“Gladly your grace, I’ll tell you of the time I scaled the Hightower in oldtown” Bronn bowed and walked off swapping back to his original weapons feeling all the better for it, he spotted Robb handing back his favour which he didn’t do, the ribbon was freely given and it was coated in her scent he wasn’t giving it back. Whistling a cheery tune he went and changed into riding gear all in the span of the morning, he had threatened the bastard into apologising, gotten the respect of his Lyra’s twin and gotten on the radar of the king-who liked him- yes today was shaping out to be quite the event, if only he knew how the day would end up he would have locked his Lyra away and stood guard till the end of time.
Tell me what you think? Please :)
Chapter 6: Chapter Six
Not mine Or I'd be skiing in the French Alps.
traumatic things happen, if that upsets you then you can skip.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bronn came out and spotted the hunting party checking over their horses and weapons, he spotted Lyra by a monstrosity of a horse and checked over her attire, her hair was tied back in a tight fishtail braid with the ribbon her twin had given back- that swished when she walked and brushed against the top of her arse, she was wearing practical riding gear, a thick grey woollen tunic with a brown belt cinched tightly around her waist, showing off her curves but his favourite piece of her clothing was the tight, black, leather riding pants she wore they showcased her lovely long legs and deliciously hugged her curvy arse. Bronn cleared his throat roughly, today was going to be difficult.
When he inquired about the Stark’s pups to the younger brother he told him that they were being checked over by the kennel master and wouldn’t be coming on the hunt.
“the fuck kind of horse is that?” a rough voice demanded, and Lyra turned around to spot an armoured chest, so she looked up and up until she met the melted face of the hound.
“like fuck a little lady like you can ride a big cunt like that” he carried on ignoring the raised eyebrow
“His name is Traveller, he’s a breed of war horse called a Lipizzan and I have been riding him since I was nine years old, he’s loyal to me and has never thrown me it’s the grey stallion you should watch out for ser” Lyra spoke politely calmly meeting his eyes as he stared down at her intensely.
“Not a fucking Ser she-wolf and why?” he cast a glance at her brothers’ stallion which she had pointed out.
“alright Sandor it is then, you must call me Lyra and his name is Temper he’s very volatile around anyone but Robbie his master” she explained cheerily having inquired to Arya about him-honestly when it came to certain topics, Arya was a worse gossip than Sansa and far more informed- finishing off checking Traveller’s tack was secure.
“Call me Dog or Hound and I ain’t fucking calling you by your name she-wolf” he snarled, matching his house sigil very well, she spotted Bronn out the corner of her eye straightening up and staring at the pair, but she wasn’t cowed and laughed in his face.
“I will call you Sandor because that is your name, I will not be derogative towards you simply because you expect it, you deserve respect and that is what you shall receive and you will call me Lyra or I’ll release my wrath on you and resort to calling you ‘Ser’ and ‘My Lord’ and ‘Ser Sandor the gallant’ whenever we’re in close proximity” she threatened him with a smile on her face.
He stepped closer towering over her, probably using his height to try and intimidate her but when you’ve been around GreatJon Umber enough times the effect fades.
“you wouldn’t fucking dare” he growled
“Oh, I would Ser” she replied happily
“fucking she-wolf” he went to turn but she cleared her throat and he stared down at her “fucking Lyra” he amended gruffly, and she beamed at him. she stroked a hand down Traveller’s neck and used the horn in the saddle to swing herself up onto his back settling into her saddle happily.
“Hey Bran, excited for the hunt today?” she asked moving Traveller over to Dancer, Bran nodded but seemed sullen “what’s up baby brother?”
“I don’t want to go hunting, I want to go climbing” Bran sounded petulant and Lyra sighed, as a second born son he was given more freedom, but their father had been a second born son and he was rather paranoid in case anything happened. Bran was ten now and should’ve gone to be fostered years ago but their mother had put her foot down and refused, after missing her two oldest children for four years she wasn’t giving any others up, allowing Bran to run wild longer than she probably should have, her mother loved her children fiercely, but she could be a bit blind to their faults, Lyra’s pride and stubbornness being two of them and Brans wildness being another.
“it’s important that you learn to hunt Bran, you might need the skills to survive one day” Lyra lightly chastised him.
“what if they laugh at me?” Bran asked quietly
“your ten, no one is expecting you to be a master at the bow and arrow” Bronn piped up from beside Bronn on his own paint horse. “just have a go or just watch and observe” he lightly shrugged as if indifferent.
“do you use the bow and arrow?” Lyra asked
“I can my lady, but I’m more proficient with my throwing daggers” he gestured to the numerous daggers on his person and Bran and Lyra leant forward in interest.
“how long have you been using daggers?” she wondered
“since I was six, I found myself a rusty dulled dagger, found a stone, sharpened it and threw it at the bark of a tree and then I walked over pulled it out walked back to my starting point and threw it again and again until I hit dead centre every time and then I tied a thick stick to a piece of rope so that it hung from the branch of the tree, I would push it and throw my dagger at the moving target and improved my aim that way as well” Bronn explained
“will you teach me?” Bran looked eager
“aye, I’ll teach you a few tricks your sister as well if she’s interested” he glanced hopefully at Lyra
“I would love that Bronn” she beamed at him and the host of hunters moved out and towards the Wolfswood.
“why can we hunt in the Godswood?” the crown prince loudly complained “it’s closer”
“the Godswoods is a sacred place your highness and we won’t defile it” Lyra spoke respectfully but her eyes gleamed like daggers.
“they’re just some stupid trees” he scoffed “it’s not like they’re important”
“the old gods watch us through those trees, a man cannot tell a lie in front of the hearts tree, to swear an oath in front of a hearts tree and break it is considered unthinkable, to defile a sacred place would mean being doomed by the old gods” Lyra cautioned him a serious look on her face
“I follow the new gods” he informed her haughtily “not your savage gods”
“the gods are the gods however or whatever you call them, and I’ll rather not face the wrath of any god let alone the savage ones” Lyra informed him before moving on to ride with her twin, the Northerners in the group all looked pissed off to Lyra but to the southerners they remained as stoic as ever.
They rode quickly to the wolfswood and Lyra felt a smile cross her lips, she had always loved travelling through the woods they were so beautiful. Wild and untamed. The group moved through the wood and Lyra had to lament how loud the king was, Bran and Theon were riding side by side tending to their bows with Theon telling him tips and tricks.
Lyra was riding beside Robb and they were discussing what Robb wanted to hunt today, Lyra was staying away from the bow as she didn’t want her mother losing her temper with her.
Bronn looked bored, as they travelled to the best hunting grounds, but he quickly perked up opened his mouth and began to sing
“The Dornishman's wife was as fair as the sun,
and her kisses were warmer than spring.
But the Dornishman's blade was made of black steel,
and its kiss was a terrible thing.
The Dornishman's wife would sing as she bathed,
in a voice that was sweet as a peach,
But the Dornishman's blade had a song of its own,
and a bite sharp and cold as a leech.
As he lay on the ground with the darkness around,
and the taste of his blood on his tongue,
His brothers knelt by him and prayed him a prayer,
and he smiled and he laughed and he sung,
"Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done,
the Dornishman's taken my life,
But what does it matter, for all men must die,
and I've tasted the Dornishman's wife!” he finished triumphantly as the southerners shouted approval to the song, even the northern men seemed to enjoy his song and his voice was deep and soothing.
“aye a good song for the south” Lord Glover announced his approval
“what do you mean ‘for the south’” Bronn attempted to sound offended, but everyone could see his high amusement.
“well, it’s not exactly a northern song and us northerners have the best songs” the leech lord spoke up and Lyra jerked she hadn’t noticed that Lord Bolton had joined them, but he was always so quiet she forgot about him.
“Oh, then pray do give us a proper Northern song” Tyrion piped up sardonically.
“Lyra should!” Theon called out joyfully “you should sing battle dawn” he encouraged her
Lyra let out a low groan of embarrassment “Theon! How about you all sing the bear and the maiden fair?” she tried to divert but everyone was looking at her in curiosity, she could spot her father with a smirk on his face, turncoat. A low hum started up from the men and Lyra sighed in annoyance but seeing the happy look on Bran’s face made her give it up, but she was still going to make Theon pay.
She began to sing as the lords looked at her expectantly, humming the tune in their deep voices
“I must contain my anger, or I won't control my power-
But gods! How long I've waited just to see this very hour!
It's just as well I'm not the one who calls the storm of fire---
Or I would turn this battle plain into your funeral pyre!
The priests all say I must not hate--- but I will not pretend.
I saw the wreck you made of her, my Herald and my friend---
The scars you left in flesh and soul will be so slow to fade---
Oh, would I had your coward heart beneath my naked blade!
I must control my rage, or lose the ability to plan,
I must direct the fight from here, not charging in the van.
As you will likewise do, no doubt, for all that you are cruel
And revel in shed blood and pain, I think you are no fool.
But in the name of all the gods, you're all that I despise,
Who planned to take by treachery my kingdom as your prize---
My throne, my child, my people. All, you plotted to despoil---
By tricks that only miracles enabled us to foil.
I must control my fury or let slip all that I've sought-
But vengeance would not be enough for all the grief you've wrought.
Gods grant this day you fall beneath the steel of me and mine---
And drink full deeply of defeat, that cold and bitter wine.
My crown is on my brow, my naked blade within my hand.
My army like an eager hound lies waiting my command.
With how you tortured, killed and lied revealed to them this day---
By all the stars that ever shone,
By all the gods, known and unknown,
For Herald Kris and my Queen's Own---
I swear that you will pay!” she finished the song and the northerners bellowed their approval.
“is that based on a real story?” Tyrion piped up in curiosity
“aye” Lord Wendel Manderly answered, teetering precariously on his steed who looked worn out from carrying his immense weight “it was during the reign of Arya Stark the Queen of the north, she had a very dear servant who she had known all of her life called Kris but she was stolen by the Lord of FireStorm keep, now the lords had already been causing problems to the rest of the north attacking and pillaging but this was the final straw”
“I have never heard of FireStorm keep” Tyrion wondered and Lord Manderly nodded solemnly his jowls wiggling as the other Northern lords grew grave and dour.
“aye you wouldn’t neither they were wiped out by the Queen, she sent her younger brother Trytas Stark to rescue her and he did but when she was returned she had been tortured and defiled and Queen Arya was incensed, there’s a reason why the house words of Stark is ‘Winter is coming’” Lyra felt a smirk cross her lips- a matching one on Robb- at the confused look on Tyrion’s face.
“it’s because it’s a warning to be constantly vigilant and strive to be prepared for winter,” he said
“yes” Wendel agreed “the Starks themselves are Winter, poetically, and that this is supposed to be an intimidating motto for the enemies of House Stark, and winter they are, there’s a reason why the wolves survive and no one else does” he leant forward a gossiping gleam in his eyes and Lyra rolled her own, the Manderly’s were a bit loose-lipped but devoted to house Stark “Lord Stark is called the quiet wolf not just because of his stoicism but he’s also considered rather…tame in comparison”
“I’ve heard stories of what Lord Stark did during the rebellion and that doesn’t sound tame” Tyrion informed them dryly while Bronn was watching this whole thing with interest, Lyra was glad her father was entertaining the king at the minute otherwise he would become angry, he had no love for speaking of the rebellion or what he did, the other Lords kept quiet probably allowing Maderly to threaten them in a round about way or to not bring the ire of their liege lord if this got back to him.
“oh, but it was” Maderly chuckled humourlessly “Queen Arya called her bannermen and stormed the keep, now the keep was rather a unique feature in the north that it was, well, surrounded by Fire and only the Firestorms could control it, so what she did was she demanded ice and snow from all over the north- something in abundance- and had it dumped on the keep continuously, for forty days and forty nights she quenched the flames of firestorm keep and then marched in and slaughtered them all, apart from the one that incited the war, she kept him for last, dragged him out and set fire to the keep-poetic justice she called it- and made him watch as she had it burnt down and then she killed him, afterwards she was still incensed so had all mentions and recordings of the FireStorms wiped from history and she managed but we pass the story down from generation to generation that the Starks are the North and the north remembers, they are the winter and winter is coming” Lord Manderly looked mightily pleased with himself at the pale look of the southerners and the other Lords chuckled.
“and you follow them? Why not rebel?” a Lannister going by the golden hair asked nervously
It was Lord Forrester who answered “the Starks are good to their people, they take care of us have done for thousands of years, ensure our safety and that we survive winter, they put us first and if anyone comes for us than the starks pay them back and eradicate them, as long as your loyal to the stark and never betray them you have nothing to worry for, the Starks have a special connection the North, their one and the same”
The group nodded along and Lyra beamed at the Lord “my lord, you do us starks such an honour, we would lay down our lives for you as you would for us and the north has remained strong for thousands of years all thanks to our bannermen” she lavishly praised him and all the Lords puffed up in pride like a child who gets their hair ruffled from a proud father or a kiss on the cheek from a doting mother.
“they should do as their told because you’re their superior” the crown prince inserted himself into the conversation again.
“if you wish to know a man’s true worth watch how he treats his inferiors and not his equals or superiors” Robb intoned and they all fell silent as they had entered the hunting grounds.
The day turned lighter again, and the sombre mood was forgotten as the lords moved through the forest and having a very successful hunt being guided by the lords of the forest, Glover and Forrester to the best hunting spots, the managed to down a couple of stags, three boars and Bronn showed off his immense skill with his daggers bagging five rabbits, Theon showed off his skills always hitting on target as he took down pheasant, fowl, grouse and partridge. Bran even managed to hit a few quail and even a wild turkey and received a lot of praise from his proud older siblings and Theon, the Lords jested that he’d be the best archer in all the north and he grinned and preened a top his horse.
They had all settled into a green meadow dotted with wildflowers, being protected by a shelter of thickly grown trees and they had decided to settle in the meadow for a quick break, to relax the horses, fed and water them and to fill up their water canteens, the near by brock was favoured place to swap out the water as it was ice-cold sweet and refreshing, the scenery was also a fun place to play with steps and vines to swing off and climb.
Lyra was about to swing herself down when she saw Bronn stood next to Traveller, looking up at her.
“if I might help you? I would hate for you to land only to twist your ankle” he said innocently but she saw the wicked glint in his eyes.
“I’ve been coming to this meadow since I was a babe,” she said amused “on the other hand the ground does look awfully uneven if you would be so chivalrous to help a lady?”
“Oh, I live to be a gallant knight to sweet ladies” he grinned placing his hands around her waist and assisting her in getting to the ground, but he held her with her back pinned lightly against Traveller, her chest brushing his.
“Now if I know my fairy tales, and I do this is about time the gallant knight gets a reward for his heroic deeds” he grinned down at her playfully
“your right indeed, what is it my hero in leather armour desires?” she smiled coyly, and Bronn had to fight a shiver and the look in her eyes
“usually a kiss works out well,” he said flirtatiously, and Lyra shuddered at the gruff tone his voice took.
Lyra released a throaty chuckle “just this morning you gained my favour perhaps when you save me from a dragon, you’ll receive a kiss” she winked and sauntered off holding Traveller’s reins as he meandered after her.
“I’ll get right on that My lady” he called after her and went to bother Tyrion for some wine, looking mightily pleased with himself.
Lyra walked up to Bran who was with their father and ruffled his hair.
“Lyra are you enjoying today?” Her father asked as he kept an eye on the King who was yelling at the Lannister from earlier.
“I am father, it’s very peaceful I was going to go to the river to fill my water skin” she shook the empty water skin at him for emphasis.
“you could have one of the squires to go and do it for you” her father frowned slightly, and Lyra rolled her eyes
“it’s only five minutes away I know the route by heart and your all right here I’ll be fine” she smiled up at him reassuringly
“I’ll go with her father, I wanted to pick some river lilies for mother as well” Bran piped up beaming
“the river lilies are further upstream from everyone else”
“it’ll be alright, you worry too much father” Lyra grinned and she and Bran walked off as her father was distracted by Jory.
Bran ran ahead happily and Lyra followed as the shoved at each other and played wrestled before they eventually came to the howling waterfall, named for how the waterfall sounded like howling, the waterfall was connected to a large river that connected to last river one of the biggest in the north, the waterfall led to a small pool and then a large brock which eventually fed into a lake, the waterfall was one of Bran’s favoured places to climb even if he did end up soaking wet, mother constantly worried about him getting a cold but he refused to stop as there grew a large assortment of different coloured river lilies their mothers favourite flowers, as soon as they got there Bran abandoned Lyra to start picking the flowers and she grinned at his childish enthusiasm before walking over and crouching at the bottom of the water fall to fill up their water skins, just behind her was a group of weirwood trees along with the heart’s tree, she enjoyed leaning against the heart’s tree and watching nature go by, when she visited this river.
She had filled up one water skin and as she bent over to fill up the other, which Bran had dumped on her, she glanced into the water and spotted another face grinning down at her, she rolled to her left and leapt to her feet to see a group of bandits, one holding onto her little brother who was struggling valiantly a hand over his mouth to muffle his screams.
“let him go” she demanded roughly spotting the dagger to her brothers’ neck
“should I? what will I get if I do?” The ring leader of the group asked, fat and rotund with dirty skin and a yellowed gap-toothed smile
“My father won’t take your head” she informed him coolly, moving to the side slightly and closer to Bran who was looking at her with tear-filled eyes and tear-stained face. Rage made her blood turn to ice within her veins.
“I ain’t afraid of your father girlie, Nah I think I’ll just take what I want” he leered at her before gesturing at rat face who lunged at her but she swiftly dodged and slammed her fist into the fish-faced man who was clutching to Bran, the man let out a yowl of pain and released Bran who scrambled away.
“run Bran!” she yelled at him as a dirty hand wrapped around her braid and tugged her harshly to the ground and the leader planted himself heavily on her torso as she squirmed uselessly, she turned her head to see Bran having tried to run back to camp but another one of the bandits had grabbed him by the collar of his tunic and tugged him back giving him a harsh slap.
“oi bitch I want you to look at me” the leader demanded reaching out and grabbing her chin in a bruising grip, twisting her head back to meet his, he leered at her and with a dagger tore at her tunic, leaving her in her corset which he began tearing at, but the thick material held for now.
“No, no! get off you bastard!” she snarled kicking her legs fruitlessly as he groped her, she slapped his hands away, but rat face came and pinned her arms above her head, giving his leader easier access, the leader struck her across her face several times in an attempt to quieten her.
A string of curses was sounded out by the bandit who had held Bran as he had bit down harshly onto his hand, viciously tearing off his thumb and he was released, Bran scrambled upwards and towards Lyra but was thrown to the ground by the bandit who was now bleeding profusely.
“You little shit I’m going to kill you!” he snarled out loudly a dagger in hand, the rushing of the waterfall had covered all the sounds of fighting so far, a bandit with a whip looked on enthusiastically.
“Let my sister go! Don’t you dare hurt her! I’ll kill you!” her brother yelled at them, oh her brave little wolf.
“can I have him after?” the whip man asked eagerly, and Lyra shrieked in rage, her blood up. The fat man above her had managed to move down her body, groping her backside and thighs.
“don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it I know you will” he shifted his position to help taking off her breeches and she took the opportunity to buck him off, causing him to fall into the pool of water, she twisted her body over to twine her legs around rat face’s neck and with a quick harsh move she had learnt from Lady Mormont she snapped his neck.
She spotted Bran and his tunic was soaked in blood, she let out a feral scream her bruises and aches were forgotten and lunged at the daggered man who had a sadistic gleam in his eyes, she smashed into him and sent him sprawling, from atop him she slammed her fist into his face over and over, hearing some bones in her hand snap but not feeling them ignoring the sharp flare of pain from the crack of the whip, in a last ditch effort the daggered man took the dagger soaked with her brother’s blood and slammed it into her thigh causing her to let out a cry of pain she slumped over but crawled over to Bran's body and shielded his with her own.
She knew it was a risk, but she couldn’t protect Bran and fend off these bandits, not in her condition they both needed medical help as soon as possible, they were both bleeding out. So, she clutched onto the bond she and Traveller had and yanked hard, slipping into his mindset she saw her father and the king surrounded by guards as Bronn was next to Tyrion with Robb laughing and Theon was badgering the squires for food, she sent her undiluted panic and fear into Traveller and felt him rearing up letting out a scream of panic.
Bronn and Robb came rushing over and while they tried to calm him, she egged Traveller into pulling at the reins and stomping his hooves against the ground. Her father came rushing over and spotted the grey eyes that the horse sported, normally they were a warm brown but at this moment they were the exact shade of Lyra’s, Bronn had similarly spotted it but kept quite as did Tyrion.
Ned and Robb both paled at the implication of the eyes
“Lyra” Robb whispered
“Bran” Ned echoed, and he moved forward and released Traveller from his reigns ignoring the King’s panicked cry.
“NED what in seven hell do you think you're doing that beast will trample us all!”
Lyra ignored it starting to feel a crushing pain around her neck and pushed the image of the waterfall and its route into Traveller’s mind who span and rushed off the Northerner’s following with her father, twin and Bronn leading the guard.
Lyra slipped back into her own mind, her hand reaching up to clutch at the thick cord of the whip, she tried tugging at it but couldn’t get any slack. Her eyes were blurry as tears overflowed onto her cheeks, her little brother Bran had blood smeared across his face both his own and the daggered bandit’s, he looked so small, pale white and lips tinged blue, he was barely breathing, and she was terrified she’d watch him die in front of her. Her entire body was battered and bruised, and her leg felt aflame, but she didn’t care, she had a whip around her throat strangling her and from the way, her vision was blurring she would soon pass out and die. She started seeing the black spots in her vision and felt her body begin to slump when she spotted a lithe black spot and with her slower mind eventually figured out it was Bronn, hope flared in her chest. Suddenly the whip slacked around her throat and she started coughing and breathing deeply, grateful for the sweet, sweet air.
Looking up she saw Bronn had thrust his sword through one side of the man’s chest and out the other, in a casual disregard he tossed the corpse to the side, he trailed his eyes over her and with a casual air that belied his dead eyes and tense posture, he spun gracefully on his heel and lunged at the remaining men like an animal, she now knew that he had been treating Robb delicately this morning, with deference and care, hiding his true depths but here he fought like a man possessed, hunting them down and when they quickly gave up the fight, begging and yielding, he eyed them dispassionately and slashed their throats with nonchalance. He truly earnt the name Cutthroat.
Lyra numbly saw Jory Cassel making his way over and speaking to her, but she didn’t hear merely relinquishing her hold on Bran, Jory was safe, Jory was loyal. He carefully picked Bran up before heading off swiftly, a small group of guards following him. she let out a whimper at how he looked like a puppet with his strings cut and glanced down at her own blood-soaked hands.
Theon moved over to her to assist her, but she was terrified and scrambled back until her back hit the heart’s tree, a knife was soon put to his throat.
“if you touch her I’ll kill you” Bronn thundered and his eyes were flat and dead, he sheathed his dagger and calmly walked over to Lyra, he crouched to her level, approaching her slowly and carefully so that he could back off if she needed it and took off his cloak wrapping it around her and she tightly clutched onto it, he picked her up bridal style, cradling her and glaring at the other men assembled. He brusquely moved over to Traveller who had stopped at the tree line, he placed her as gently as he could side saddle on his back and his eyes flared like blue fire at her pained whimper, he quickly swung himself up behind her and carefully pulled her closer wrapping his arms around her to keep her steady and she burrowed deep into his chest.
“what of the imp? You should protect him, and I’ll take Lyra back” Theon intervened at the worst possible moment and Bronn snarled threateningly, at this time rational Bronn had disappeared.
“right now I couldn’t give a fuck about the dwarf or any of you, the fact I need to get my Lyra help is the only reason I’m not gutting you and hanging your entrails from the trees but keep getting in the way and testing my patience boy and I’ll hunt you down” he counselled the boy, enjoying the way he paled.
“I’ll be fine, take the Lady Stark home Jory’s already left with her brother” Tyrion spoke genuine concern in his voice.
“he has no right!” Theon snapped, and Ned intervened having seen what had happened in front of the heart’s tree.
“he has every right he’s her husband,” He said quietly, and all the Lords sucked in a deep breath finally putting the pieces together, Lyra was half out of her mind in pain and didn’t pick up anything, but Bronn certainly did.
“the fuck does that mean?” he demanded shifting which causes Lyra to let out a pained whimper it cleared her mind for a minute
“Bronn it hurts, burns” she whimpered pitifully, and Bronn’s attentions immediately turned to her, he was her focus not whatever crap her father was spouting.
“I know love but I’ll get you to the maester and you’ll be fine I swear it” he brushed his lips against her sweat soaked locks and felt his heart burn with the promise, he could’ve lost her, glancing down he saw that she had passed out from pain and he tugged on the reigns of the horse and kicked its side sending it into a gallop towards Winterfell, he ignored all the shouts behind him and urged the horse faster as he practically flew over the ground to Winterfell.
okay so the songs are
Dornishman's Wife- Game Of Thrones- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfuOtoPBFw4 Jerome Flynn is a wonderful singer IMO
Battle Dawn- Mercedes Lackey- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKEqKDvRdo4 Love the song and thought it fit the North.
Okay so the thing about me- I hate writing sad or traumatic things- I'm a massive fucking sap but don't tell anyone otherwise you'll ruin my rep, so I'm sorry however plotline soooooooooo.... I promise a happy chapter tomorrow!
Reviews mean the world! <3
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
Not Mine or I'd be drinking hot chocolate in Switzerland
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Travellers hooves harshly clattered against the stones of the courtyard and his sides heaved with exertion having never fallen beneath a gallop, his eyes rolling in his head wildly, he could tell something was wrong with his mistress and he wasn’t happy. Bronn felt slightly bad for pushing Traveller so harsh, but he was sure the horse would recover it was after all bred for stressful situations.
As he came into the courtyard he saw that servants had been assembled and he quickly slid of Traveller and gathered Lyra’s limp body in his arms.
“follow me and I’ll take you to the maester’s they’re already working on Bran” Bronn nodded his head roughly as…Tilly? Tulu?...Tila, Lyra’s handmaiden walked quickly into the keep and Bronn practically dogged her steps until they made it to the maester’s chambers where he shoved his way in and placed her carefully on the cot. He spotted maester Luwin but narrowed his eyes at the other one.
standing protectively in front of Lyra he questioned “fuck, are you?”
“I am maester Phillips from house Forrester, the captain of the guard had me fetched when they started heading back seeing as there are two victims” he said brusquely before brushing him aside not intimidated in the least and Bronn was summarily tossed from the room, so he took up a guard post next to the door opposite from some other guards, Summer and Beowulf soon came sprinting to the chambers and Bronn let them in and they dutifully went to their owner’s sides ignoring the protests and snarling at anyone who tried to remove them.
He knew that he looked a mess, his hair in disarray and his clothes ripped and torn, bloodied from the fight he could feel a few cuts and abrasions on his body, but he ignored it they could be seen to later.
He guarded the door with a territorial aggressiveness, anyone who wasn’t under the stark family was met with his unsheathed dagger and dead stare, he didn’t allow any of them within ten feet of the door and word quickly spread to avoid that corridor or risk getting stabbed he didn’t give a flying fuck what any of them thought, those of the stark family were treated with suspicion but cordially.
He didn’t spot any of the stark kids they were probably being kept away, probably under guards for safety, as he could hear the chaos going on from his spot. Hours passed, and he remained alert, he stood stock still, always vigilant and his head on a swivel.
Eventually, the maester’s came out and informed him that they were both alright, he nodded his head and went to go in but was grabbed by Luwin who thoroughly bullied him into being taken care off by him in another room while the other one went to inform the family. After he was stitched up he went and sat himself by Lyra’s cot, she was pale and looked so small and delicate, but her chest was rising and falling steadily, and her face was relaxed, a glimpse over at Bran saw him in a similar state although when he woke up he would have some gnarly scars on show.
A servant knocked and hesitantly entered, he stared at her expectantly.
“My Lord Stark has requested your presence in the solar, I am here to bathe the little lord and my lady” she explained, and Bronn nodded silently getting to his feet, brushing his lips against her forehead gently as not to disturb her and exited. He spotted the two guards had remained vigilant and nodded at them respectfully, spotting some stark guards at the end of the corridor he spoke
“oi, you three get your arses up here stand guard over Lyra and Bran, anyone who isn’t a stark or loyal to the Stark’s aren’t to be allowed within ten feet of the door understood?” he demanded, and they nodded hastening to obey.
“yes, My Lord” and the stood straight and proud, their hands on their weapons.
He nodded in satisfaction and carried down the hall, he was curious about the way everyone was watching him and bowing but put it down to the day’s event. He ignored it all storming through the door to the Lord’s solar spotting the king but right now what he wanted was answers.
“what the fuck did you mean earlier?” he requested trying to keep a lid on his temper, but his hand was twitching.
Lord Stark looked grave and slid his hand down his face, looking weary.
“when you went over to her, you two were in front of the heart’s tree” he halted
“yes, what of it?” he snapped in annoyance
“You placed your cloak around her, didn’t you? In front of the tree and she accepted it” he explained roughly, and the king sucked in a deep breath.
“seven hell’s Ned you can’t be serious” the king exploded but he remained silent.
“I am” he confirmed
“what of it?” Bronn demanded he had a sneaking suspicion but quickly squashed it “I placed my cloak around her, so she would feel covered up and she accepted it”
“in the eyes of the north and in the eyes of the Gods you two married when you placed your cloak around her, you were placing her under your protection and declaring yourself a suitor, a husband and when she accepted it, she accepted your protection and you as a husband and her as your wife” he informed him, his entire being a blank slate.
“but…we weren’t engaged! And I didn’t intend, and it wasn’t…we didn’t speak the words!” he argued he was feeling confused, of course he wanted to marry her but properly not by accident and what would Lyra feel about the situation? That they had gotten married and he hadn’t even asked! She would despise him. “fuck, I didn’t ask, and she didn’t consent not properly she was in pain and scared and fucking hell she’ll hate me, she’ll utterly despise me I didn’t want that!” he raved in a panic
“it was a bit…rushed admittedly and not under the best of circumstances but what has happened has happed, it cannot be undone that would dishonour her far more and I will not fucking have that- a threatening look on his face- you are now husband and wife, words did not have to be spoken there more of a spoken confirmation anyways, the ceremony is more important” he continued “the slight…ahh…issue is your base born status”
“damn it! I don’t have lands or titles or fuck even a last name how do I rectify it?” he asked
“I’ll legitimise you, for Ned I’ll do anything” the king proclaimed, and Bronn felt a rush of gratitude.
“not quite Rob” Ned informed him, and he spun in confusion
“what do you mean Ned? It’s not a big deal” he reassured him “and your girl deserves the best after all in a better world I would have been her uncle”
“Bronn has the last name” Ned stated
“spit it out, Ned! Enough with the fucking riddles” the king demanded in anger.
“it’s an old Northern tradition that’s fallen out of use, dating back about four thousand years, the Stark family was nigh on extinct, this law was implemented by Queen Elize Stark she was known as the last wolf, her family was killed in a Bolton uprising so she married a bastard who had proven himself to her and she would cause the collapse of another family if she married nobility and gave him her name, so she married a bastard and gave him her last name, he was a prince consort to her, he became a stark and their children were starks so the name continued” he explained and both Bronn and the king looked shocked.
The puzzles clicked into place “so what? I’m a Stark?”
“yes, due to you having been baseborn, she has elevated your status to hers, you're now Lord Bronn Stark consort to Lady Stark of Star Forest, Lady of the celestial keep,” Ned told him
“what forest? She's titled?” Bronn probed
“she didn’t as she was going to marry into another family but due to circumstances out of our control, she needs titles and land so I have given her some” he gestured for Bronn to come and look at the map, there was Winterfell, surrounded by the Godswood to one side, the wolfswood to the other dotted with houses like Forrester and Glover and smaller houses like bole. Past the Godswood to the east was house Hornwood and above that was Star forest and almost in the exact centre was Celestial fort.
“Star forest has been named for its silver tree’s, it’s two days ride east of Winterfell and a day’s ride north of Hornwood, in the woods is an old castle that I had fixed up and maintained on the news of my wife having twins in the case of two boys but I kept it maintained in the event of more boys, it’s been named for the large pool that reflects all the stars in the night sky, I’m not sure what the castle is made from as it was built eons ago but it’s a silverish coloured stone. The forest is a vast resource, but it isn’t the only one, within the forest lies a lot of mines filled to the brim with precious metals and jewels, we mostly mine iron and bronze so haven’t had a need for it and it was a backup. The veins go so deep we haven’t managed to catalogue it all, I dare say we could rival the Lannister’s, at any rate Robb will get Winterfell, you and Lyra will get star forest, Sansa will marry a Lord as will Arya, Bran will get moat Calin and I’m planning on giving Flint Fingers to Rickon if he wants it, you have nothing and I won’t see my first born turned into a beggar on the street, so I name all of this to you and Lyra as a wedding gift and after all you saved Bran as well”
Bronn was gobsmacked at how today had turned out and he recalled the words of Lord Forrester “the starks are good to us, they take care of us” indeed they did.
The king roared in laughter and Bronn jerked, he had forgotten his presence “A bastard turned Stark, richer than the Lannister’s oh Ned, I have missed your conniving ways! I’ll be off to find some wine leave you two to bond” he grinned and slapped Bronn across his back with a meaty paw before turning and leaving the room.
“any questions?” Ned asked
“yea, what happened today with the horse? Its eyes were Lyra’s eyes” Bronn interrogated him and Ned stiffened.
“You noticed?” Bronn nodded “who else did?”
“probably Tyrion” he answered easily “never misses a trick” Ned nodded and headed to the door ordering a guard to fetch Tyrion, telling them to be discreet and polite.
“what’s going on?” he asked
“wait” came the order
Wait they did.
Eventually, a knock came at the door and Ned bid for them to enter.
“Lord Lannister for you My Lords,” the guard said before bowing and leaving the room revealing a haggard-looking Tyrion.
“my lord stark is everything alright? Lady Stark and Lord Stark? Such a senseless act pains me so, please tell me that they are alright it means would mean the world that they are” he said and Ned smiled slightly at the Lord, he was a far improvement to his siblings and a nephew, Catelyn at first had been all for pushing the crown prince to his daughter Sansa but now she just complained about his haughtiness, his arrogance and cruelty after spotting him several times with those of a lower status, Ned hadn’t bothered to point out the hypocrisy with Jon and her treatment of him.
“Bran and Lyra are fine my lord I wished to talk to you about the events of today” he gestured for them all to sit before handing goblets and a pitcher of wine, well knowing that the Lord liked to drink.
“truly awful what has occurred, do we know the extent of the damage?” Tyrion asked
It was Bronn who answered after draining his goblet of wine and refilling it, talking about it was difficult and made him want to bring the bastards back from the dead and make them pay.
“Bran has a fractured cheekbone, bruises and small abrasions, he was stabbed a total of ten times, he’s lucky he’s not dead, his ribs protected his organs but they’re now shattered and he almost lost the use of his legs if the dagger had been a centimetre to the right, his wrist is broken and might cause a few problems due to its lateness in being set”
“and Lady Stark?” Tyrion whispered, his skin pale as he chugged the goblet of wine
“Lyra is stable, she has a fractured cheek bone and cracked eye socket, her throat was…crushed by the whip so she will have extreme difficulty with speaking for a few weeks, eating and drinking will be just as hard, she had a dagger in her thigh that has been removed and cleaned but it’ll be hard for her to walk but with practice she’ll get back to her old strength she also snapped some bones in her right hand from throwing punches, she’s covered in bruises and they’ve placed snowpacks on her back, there will be scars while the leader tried she was not…defiled…” he ground the last word out as red hot rage raced through his veins, even the thought of that fat cunt or any bastard trying to harm her sent him into a rage.
“by the gods, at least their safe now,” Tyrion said wanting to look on the brighter side of things, but they were pretty grim.
“I wish to ask you of what you saw with Traveller, Lyra’s horse if you tell the truth then so shall I provided you give an oath of your silence on the matter, I will not risk Lyra’s safety” Ned informed Tyrion his voice gruff after holding back his emotions.
“will Bronn be giving the same oath?” Tyrion asked
“No, Bronn is family he doesn’t need to swear an oath” Ned stated confidently and as much as Bronn would deny it, he felt a warmth rush through him at that, a family he had a family and a name and a wife.
“Family how?” Tyrion wondered
“he’s Lyra’s husband” Ned dryly informed him, feeling a jolt of amusement at how he choked on his wine and gaped at the pair.
“what? Bloody hell how?” Tyrion demanded looking at them
“in front of the heart’s tree Bronn place his cloak around her” Ned trailed off seeing that he had put the pieces together
“oh, well my congratulations Bronn…?” he trailed off with a raised eyebrow
“It’s Stark now, Lord Bronn Stark, consort to Lady Lyra Stark of House Stark, Lady of Star forest and celestial fort” he informed Tyrion with a shit eating grin.
“your truly work fast” Tyrion remarked “very well, I swear on my honour and in front of the old gods and new, I won’t breath a word of what is said in this room or my life be taken” he intoned formally knowing that Lord Stark would accept it, after all the Gods were always watching.
“what did you see with the horse?” Ned asked
“he was panicked and spooked, his eyes were grey, and you let him off his hitching post and he ran straight for the river instead of stampeding and trying to hurt anyone” Tyrion recalled feeling confused at the trust Lord Stark had shown a horse.
“what do you know of Northern tales?”
“what of grumpkins and grendels and white walkers?” Tyrion let out a laugh but soon grew sombre at Lord Starks grim face “oh they can’t be true there just stories”
“what do you know of wargs” he ignored the disbelief in Tyrion’s face and urged him to answer
“well, Wargs are people with the ability to enter the minds of animals and perceive the world through their senses and even control their actions. The act of doing this is called "warging" Tyrion said all that he knew of them which was sadly not much.
“The ability starts out as vivid dreams in which the warg sees and perceives the world through the senses of an animal. Over time and with practice, a warg can enter the mind of an animal at will. A warg's human body will become comatose when his consciousness leaves it to enter the mind of an animal, and his eyes will glaze over white until his consciousness returns to his own body.
Warging is a separate ability from Greensight, the psychic ability to perceive future and past events in dreams. However, some people who are wargs can also possess greensight.
Wargs cannot easily enter the minds of other humans to control their actions, though few even attempt it.” Ned informed them “roughly 8,000 years ago my ancestor Bran the Builder built the wall to keep the great other, the night king and his army of the undead out of Westeros. The night king came from magic of the children of the forest on a man in order to wreak havoc on the first men but when they realised what terror they had released onto the world they and the first men came to an agreement to band together and defeat the night king, which they did, to seal the pact Bran the Builder married a child of the forest, Their son married a person with the greensight, whose son married a warg and so on. Our family has magic and sometimes that magic is doormat and sometimes the magic is…active but it presents itself in different ways. For me it’s my instincts for Jon it’s his fighting abilities for Lyra she is a full warg and capable of slipping into the minds of animals that bond to her, Traveller and Beowulf being her only ones at the minute she also sometimes has dreams as does Robb, Bran, well I suspect his magic is presenting and very powerfully at that” Ned grimaced “I worry for the need of my children to have such prevalent power but it is up to the Gods”
“you…can't be serious…surely” Tyrion nigh on begged not a hint of humour on his face while Bronn leant heavily on his knees
“I am and if word got out about it well Lyra and the rest of my family would be hunted by the south and protected by the north it would incite war, and while she and Robb can control it and Bran will too she needs protectors and you need to keep your mouth shut, I know, Jon knows, Robb knows, Sansa is too in the clouds, and Arya, Bran suspects- with him suspecting the same for himself- Rickon is too young yet” Ned explained
“you have my word I’ll stay quiet and I’ll do what I can for Lady Stark, she is very dear to me already” Tyrion gave a half smile to the lord whose lips twitched back, practically beaming.
“I won’t leave her side, she’s my wife now and while it’s all a little rushed I’ll do whatever is necessary to protect her, Tyrion you’ll have to find someone else to go with you to the wall, I’m not leaving her side” Bronn informed him, and Tyrion nodded understandingly
“yes, yes of course I won’t take you from her we’ll meet again in king’s landing and it’ll only be a quick visit with news like this I fear to leave you in that snake’s pit Lord Stark, although that is an insult to snakes” he jested the humour creeping back in.
“we won’t be travelling until Lyra and Bran are better although Jon will be leaving with Benjen in two days perhaps you can travel with them? I’ll send a guard with you of course to ensure your safety, after all, if you hadn’t of brought Bronn with you who knows how today would have gone, you’ve been named a friend to the north and to house stark” Ned offered
“thank you, it would be most appreciated” he took him up on the offer and bid the pair goodnight, Bronn watched as his good father sunk into himself seemingly exhausted.
“so much to do, so little time” he admitted wearily “how many guards are at the maestor’s door?”
“five, Summer and Beowulf are inside and I’m going to go back,” Bronn told him
“good, that’s good you should change and bathe, I need to check on my children and wife inform them of the situation” he stood up and pulled on the façade of strength before striding out of the room, Bronn sighed heavily feeling weary and drained the goblet before standing himself and making his way back to Lyra after changing his clothes and wiping himself off, he made himself comfortable in the chair by her cot, Beowulf was stretched out beside her, periodically laying his head on her chest as if reassuring himself. Bronn’s head fell back, and he allowed himself to fall asleep for a few short hours.
He jerked awake from the nightmare he was having, it was the same events as yesterday, but he had been too late glued to the ground and unable to help as she begged for him. he saw that Beowulf was staring at him and he fondly patted him on the head, looking out the window he saw that the sky was beginning to turn pink. He stood up and stretched quietly some bones popping in relief and he felt his stomach grumble, he would head to the kitchens and get himself something and scrape together breakfast for Lyra and Bran they had been sleeping for a long time they should waken soon.
He had walked down to the kitchens in order to scavenge what he could, only to find that the kitchens were already a bustling hive, he sneaked in and decided not to bother anyone, moving over to the platters he was startled when all the noise in the kitchen suddenly stopped.
He glanced and saw the head cook staring at him with a raised spoon and expecting a spoon to the head he quickly backed away, but he was surprised when they curtsied and rushed him enthusiastically.
“My Lord is there anything you desire?” the head cook was loud enough to be heard over everyone else, a strict looking matron with wiry flame red hair and ruddy cheeks, she was rotund with smiling wrinkles in her face and a bright smile.
He fumbled slightly but answered “uh, breakfast for Lyra and Bran oh and Lemon cakes she likes them, and Bran likes crispy bacon”
They quickly rushed off and came back with a tray laden with far more food than he asked for
“and for you my lord? What does our lord like?”
“anything is fine, and I like those honeyed oat cakes” he answered raising an eyebrow in curiosity and immediately three honeyed cakes were placed onto the tray with even more bacon and sausage, the tray began to teeter slightly, and he had to adjust it in his arms.
“we can take it my lord!” a voice cried out and two servants rushed forward but he waved them off
“not it’ll be alright thank you though” he walked back through the doors and overheard them beginning to gossip so he loitered and eavesdropped
“he’s ever so polite for a Lord- “
“perfect for our lady- “
“bringing her breakfast! How romantic- “
“wish my husband would- “
“hasn’t left her side- “
“such devotion! We must do well for our new lord and not disappoint- “
He rolled his eyes at the twittering birds and walked off back to Lyra, nodding at the guards who hadn’t moved from their spots.
As he entered he saw Lyra stirring and he hurried over placing the tray on a bedside table.
“here, love it’s all right I’ve got you” he soothed helping her up, so she leant against her pillows, she tried to speak, and he handed over a cup of water so that she could soothe her throat.
“Bran...?” her voice was rough and scratchy
“he’s okay and you’re okay you’re going to be fine” he reassured her.
Lyra felt tears trail down her cheeks in relief she had been so sure that they had both passed on, as she struggled to wake up all she had was flashes of memories and then pain and blood but there was also Bronn. She collapsed into his arms and sobbed her relief and her anguish over everything that had happened he held her tightly and brushed his hand over her hair.
After a while Bronn sat back onto his haunches and grabbed the bowl of porridge that had sugar and honey on it along with blueberries sprinkled on top, he showed her the porridge and she burst into tears again, he hurriedly placed it back on the tray.
“it’s alright, it’s alright we can wait a little while” he assured her
“I should’ve had my weapons but mother had forbidden it and I didn’t want to disappoint her because I’m supposed to be a lady and give a good impression but if I had gone against her, if I defied her then I wouldn’t have gotten hurt and I could’ve protected Bran and he wouldn’t have almost died oh, gods it’s all my fault everyone will hate me” she sobbed harshly and Bronn felt useless.
He stood up and Lyra thinking he was going to leave, disgusted with her, sobbed harder, but to her shock he toed off his boots before moving her gently forward in the bed and climbing onto the bed behind her, placing his long legs either side of her, he gently manoeuvred so that her back rested lightly against his chest and he could envelop her in a hug. Lyra was shocked with how gentle he was being and felt even more tears run down her cheeks at how he wasn’t disgusted by her.
He placed a soft kiss into her curls before speaking “none of what happened was your fault nor was it Brans but those lowlife scum that dared to hurt such treasures to me, you are not weak, you are a wolf and you are strong as is Bran who fought to protect his big sister like you fought to protect your little brother, which you did and get help, which you did. You did not fail, and no one hates you, how could they? But here’s what’s going to happen you will rest and get healthy again and then I’m going to teach you how to use daggers and you will always carry those daggers without question, regardless of what anyone wants of you or proper etiquette understood? You’ll be able to defend yourself if you can’t reach your other weapons” he crocked a finger below her chin and gently made her eyes meet his, firm and full of resolve “I’ll teach you different ways to look after yourself so you’ll know what to do if it happens again and I ain’t there to slit the cunt’s throat but for now eat. Please?” he begged her placing the bowl of porridge and spoon into her lap “I’ll give you a lemon cake afterwards” he bribed slightly, and she let out a watery chuckle.
She took small tentative bites of the porridge she always received when she was sick or had buttered the servants up and Bronn stayed behind her, passing her honeyed water when she needed it to soothe her throat and running his fingers through her hair, encouraging and praising her when she ate, he allowed himself to be comforted by her eating and her body pressed up against his and she revelled in the reaffirming touches and encouragement to eat even if she wanted to vomit it did help her feel stronger.
As she finished off the last bits of the porridge, she felt exhaustion hit her and slumped against Bronn who placed the bowl on the bedside again and got up so that she could lay down and sleep some more.
Bronn tucked the furs around her tightly to ensure that she wouldn’t get a cold as Bran began to stir her moved over to him and helped him sit up, glad that the milk of the poppy hadn’t worn off completely yet.
“Ly…where’s Lyra...where’s my sister?” he demanded weakly
“it is alright kid, your sister’s fine she’s resting are you hungry? Thirsty?” Bronn cursed himself internally, the fuck did he turn into a mother hen?
“bit of both” Bran admitted tiredly
Bronn nodded and helped him sip some refreshing juice and then tore up some bacon and sausages for Bran to chew on slowly, Bronn manged to feed him a good portion of food before he began to nod off, He checked his forehead and frowned slightly, it felt a little hot so he took a rag and some cold water, wetting it and resting it on his forehead. Bran let out a relaxed sigh at the action.
Bronn went and sat down at his chair his hand running through Beowulf’s fur as he and his brother started begging for scraps and Bronn shared the leftover meal, taking a few morsels for himself. He waited around occasionally swapping out the cool cloth for Bran and ensuring Lyra didn’t get cold, he looked up again as the maester came walking in along with Lord Stark who was sporting a cherry red cheek.
“what happened?” he asked in curiosity
“I told your good mother that she’s gained a son in law, it evidently didn’t go over too well” he gestured dramatically to his cheek, Bronn let out a low whistle.
“how are they? Have they woken up?” the maester asked
“Yea Lyra woke first, I fed her some honeyed water and she had some porridge with blueberries, she fell asleep soon after and then Bran woke up and I gave him several rashers of bacon and a couple links of sausage and juice but he was tired and I think the milk of the poppy was still working, he crashed soon after and I placed a cool cloth on his forehead, felt a little warm” Bronn explained as Luwin started checking over them
“you’ve done very well, all we can do now my lords is let them rest and give them plenty of nutrients” Luwin explained “best not overwhelm them too much though”
“the kids will visit later when they’re awake, Bronn you need to join us for breakfast I need to make the official announcement”
Bronn nodded and followed Ned through the halls to the great hall where everyone was beginning to break their fast, he was placed next to Rob who looked awful, his skin a sickly white and large bags under his eyes, Sansa’s eyes were red-rimmed as were Arya’s and Rickon didn’t seem to understand what was really going on, Theon looked severe and his new good mother was glaring at him viciously, lovely.
Ned waited until everyone had sat before he called to order and the hall fell silent, he stood up and began to address the room.
“as you all know yesterday there was a senseless and unprovoked attack on my children, both Lyra and Bran suffered with some harsh injuries but thanks to the quick work of my people and of Bronn, they are both okay and are now resting-“ cheers went up at the news and Ned gave a brief smile before continuing “but yesterday there was an event that the Gods deemed fit to make happen, the old rites were invoked-“ murmurs broke out “by both Lyra and Bronn, underneath the heart’s tree Bronn placed his cloak around my daughters shoulders and she accepted it and as we know, an oath taken whether with or without words is an oath sealed in the eyes of the Gods, they are, after all always watching. So, I would like for you to raise your goblets and drink deeply to the swift recovery of my children and the happy union between Lady Lyra Stark of star forest and celestial keep and her Lord consort Lord Bronn Stark” Ned raised his goblet in toast and cries of ‘Our Lady and Lord’ rang through the room before they took a deep drink.
The news seemed to have cheered everyone up slightly except his new mother who was still glaring at him, he avoided it and answered questions from his new siblings. Sansa was quite as could be, she wouldn’t eat or look at anyone, Arya was excited that she was getting a new brother and asking if he would teach her how to fight and seeing no issue with this he agreed which got him another narrowed eye glare and he glared right back, if his Lyra had her weapons or Bran even a dagger then yesterday could’ve gone a lot differently. Rickon was more interested in his meal and Robb was crowing to anyone that would listen that his new brother was a hero, although his eyes betrayed his worry.
Soon the breakfast ended, and Bronn walked off and headed towards the Godswood, he wasn’t exactly religious, and he knew that winter roses grew there in abundance, he might as well pick his wife her favourite flowers before he had to drop the news that they were married, hopefully, it would stop her from slitting his throat at the soonest opportunity. He entered the forest and relaxed almost immediately, strolling through the forest he eyed the flowers with a critical air, some were too pale or too wilted or didn’t smell fragrant enough or too fragrant.
He finally spotted the perfect flowers, they were a beautiful deep sapphire blue tinged with purple and stood to attention, as he moved closer he could pick up their faint fragrant, the only problem was they were in a precarious place on the edge of a steep hill.
He debated with himself slightly but they were the perfect flowers, he sighed-knowing this was stupid- and scrambled his way up to them, he managed to get up alright and he smirked before reaching down and pulling the roses up by their roots intending to trim them, they stuck slightly and he tugged harshly only after they came out did he feel the ground shift beneath his feet.
With a colourful curse he was sent tumbling down the hill earning himself some bruises as he landed on his lower back, with the wind knocked out of him he let out a pained groan before lifting his head to check on the roses, with a triumphant grin he spotted that they were still in the perfect condition he found them in.
He grunted and pulled himself to his feet, it bloody hurt but the bruises were worth it, he made his way back to Winterfell and spotted Sansa waiting at the gate, he went to move past her, but she got in the way. He raised an eyebrow at her and she flushed slightly.
“can I talk to you my lord?” she asked politely, and he snorted
“no need to call me my lord, we’re family now call me Bronn,” he told her and settled himself onto some barrels nearby gesturing for her to sit but she remained standing, fiddling with her grey dress. He waited for her to speak, calmly cutting the roses to the right length and taking off the thorns.
In no time at all, she seemed sick of the silence and blurted out “what happened yesterday? My father won’t speak of it and I thought it was like the stories, but mother was so upset, and it was chaos and so scary…” she trailed off when Bronn fixed her with a look.
“listen I’ll give you some advice that you’ve probably heard before and probably ignored because you’ve been kept nice and safe in your little gilded cage all your life- “
“it’s not a cage! - “she argued hotly
“if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it’s a duck little sister” he answered easily and she glared at him slightly “look not all prisons have bars and you’ve been kept in your precious ivory tower all your life and patted on the head and told not to worry your pretty little head about things and keep thinking off your precious golden prince who’s going to sweep you off your feet and carry you into the sunset am I wrong?” he asked her and she flushed but remained quite
“Now, I wasn’t raised like you, I was a gutter rat and learnt plenty quick life ain’t a fairytale, it’s a cold gruesome bloody place where people smile in your face while stabbing you in the back or manipulating you, there are very few people you can trust and that bloody cunt you’ve set your eyes on? He’s the worst fucker I’ve met in a real fucking long time and he’s only just started, I was little when the mad king was killed but I remember what it was like and as a baseborn I suffered, we suffered a lot and that prince of yours is a hell of a lot worse than the mad king at least with the mad king he was kidnapped and tortured first, your prince does the kidnapping and torturing, I have been all over the seven kingdoms and not one place has ever been a fairytale that ain’t real, you can trust your family and that’s it” he told her seriously and she nodded, he didn’t like scaring her- he had some standards- but she had to learn.
“can I trust you?” she asked brazenly
“before yesterday? Could you fuck, I woulda happily manipulated you to get to Lyra but now, now I have Lyra and your precious to my wife- it was odd saying it out loud but bloody hell did he get a thrill doing so- and therefore make her happy and I’ll do whatever necessary for her happiness, so yes, me, you can trust but I’m not a good person, not at all, you’ll find that sometimes the best of people are the worst” he informed her, she looked completive and he started to walk away.
“Mother was looking for you, she’s in the training yard” Sansa called to his retreating back and he veered off to see what she wanted.
As he strode through the training yard he received a lot of calls, he raised an eyebrow and waved at them, but he carried on towards the stairs to get to Lady Stark who was watching over the men, a squire suddenly stopped in front of Bronn halting his progress.
“is there anything my lord needs or wants? I’m Torr a squire to Ser Rodrik, I can fetch anything you want! I heard of your deeds yesterday” he looked at Bronn with stars in his eyes and he felt slightly unnerved. Thankfully the Lords came to his rescue.
“leave the lord alone” Umber called gently and shooed the boy off with a platter-sized hand before turning towards Bronn, he leant in conspiritally “if there’s anything you need Lord Stark, you can come to the Umbers, we have been serving your family faithfully for thousands of years and after yesterday we’ll do it for you”
“the Forresters have been serving for longer my Lord, if there’s anything you need from us, you’ll have it in an instance, we can provide the best meats and pelts, our Lady Stark said she loves the herbs we use” he puffed up in pride
“if there’s information you need my lord that the Bolton’s can procure it, we have always had the best spy network and can always find the information you want” the leech lord spoke quietly but there was a certain gleam in his eyes.
“Of course, if Lord Stark requires anything of us Manderly’s we would hasten to obey” Lord Manderly had inserted himself into the conversation.
“Call me Bronn, after all we fought together” Bronn lied, they had come charging it was true, but when they got there Bronn had already dealt his justice “we’re practically brothers and right now I need to speak to my good mother” he saw how treating them kindly worked out for the Northerners as the Lords let him go all of them beaming in pride, apart from Bolton but he imagined that was par for the course with him, his eyes gleamed though.
He made his way up to Lady Stark and stood beside her “it seems they’re already trying to curry my favour” he spoke lazily, and she looked at him.
“I have lived in the North for twenty years, I have married the Lord of the North and given him Northern children and yet, I still feel like an outsider after all these years, I was born in the south and grew up being taught southern politics and how to smile and curtsy and be a lady but to have a cunning mind and a dagger sharpened, but the north it’s different. I’ve never done particularly well with Northern Politics, Northerners aren’t interested in honeyed words unless their courting and there aren’t any tourneys to gossip and hold business, they tolerate me because I am Ned’s wife and gave him plenty of children but not like my Lyra, she has always been able to understand Northern Politics, they’re not trying to curry your favour” she looked at him with derision.
“then what are they trying to do?” he interrogated her
“They want Lyra’s favour, they want to impress her by impressing you, male succession isn’t as much of a big deal here as it is in the south, and the northerners follow Robb because he is the heir to Winterfell and he’s a good solider who knows a lot of battle tactics and how to win but I know deep in my heart if Lyra ever wanted to be Lady of Winterfell that all banners would rally to her- but she’s devoted to her twin, they’ve been together all their life and while Robb is more aggressive, it’s Lyra who is in charge, she directs Robb, makes the decisions and keeps the order within her siblings. Lyra is called the beguiling wolf for a reason, not just her looks but her personality, she entranced everyone since the moment she was born. She’s constantly pushing for the happiness and protection of the smallfolk and settling arguments amongst the Lords, she listens and promises and always follows through with her promises. I remember it must have been five years ago, a sickness swept through the north and it was bad, we had to lock ourselves down and a lot of the smallfolk died but Lyra was determined, and she travelled the North for months with several maesters and she cured them and stayed with the grieving and helped bury the dead. Lyra has given herself to the North, to the Lords and to the smallfolk freely and in return they have pledged themselves to her with a fanatical devotion. If she asked for the stars, they would pull them down. You saved my daughter and your married now, you’re a northerner, I expected the same devotion because Lyra will dedicate herself to you and if you hurt her I’ll hunt you down and kill you, I’m certain Lyra will find another husband but you also need to protect her from herself she gives her all to everyone and everything and it leaves her with nothing and vulnerable she needs someone who will force her to put herself first and defend her from the world you’re a cutthroat sell sword I’m certain you could manage that” Lady Stark finished easily before turning and walking away leaving Bronn with slack-jawed, it seemed towards the end she almost…approved of him?
“I’ll defend her with my life” he vowed to himself silently “I will give her my all, body, mind, heart and soul it will be hers to do with as she pleases she will never be alone and never be left wanting this I swear” the Gods looked on in approval.
He made his way to the maester’s chamber and noticed that the guards had been swapped out and Ned was just exiting his eyes were suspiciously damp, but no one commented on it.
“Bran’s asleep at the minute and Lyra’s awake I took the liberty of telling her what’s happened and the…marriage” Bronn nodded his understanding, plans already forming in his mind’s eye for his wife and her family she deserved a proper ceremony before watching Ned walk away, he took a second for himself to brace and strode into the room swiftly closing it behind him.
He turned and saw that Lyra was propped up on the pillows, Beowulf on one side of her and book in her lap, she was staring at him and even though she had been through hell the other day she looked beautiful, her eyes were like a winter’s storm and he felt himself shuffle in nervousness slightly, were was the charming façade when you need it?
“I brought you flowers” he told her and shoved them into her hands, his anxiousness causing him to be slightly heavy-handed, as she opened her mouth to speak he launched into a rant “I had heard stories of you, you know, when we were travelling north and the further north we got the more frequent the stories and the more fantasised they seemed. The Beguiling wolf they call you and the way the lords or the smallfolk talked of you in the inns and markets well it was with such reverence that half the time I thought you to be a mass delusion some mythical story but, sometimes…sometimes I just thought…maybe…maybe you were real and I had always wanted to make something of myself and one of those things is to have a wife who was beautiful as the maiden and kind as the mother, as wise as the crone, as understanding as the father, as strong as the warrior, as creative as the Smith and as capable of taking on the unknown as the stranger and I, I wanted that but I also wanted a wife who was as wild and free as the North, it’s said that dornishwomen are the most beautiful in the world and I had always agreed but then, then I met you and I had to stop myself from touching you to see if you were just a vision and then we spoke. And your eyes they beguiled me and your personality entranced me, all that I have seen of you, you have all the attributes of the seven but your wild, untamed and free like the North, like the old gods and I’ve never had the need to be romantic or too court, honestly I usually just pay, but for your I will and I’ll prove to be a good husband and defend you from all that dare harm you, I’m enthralled by you and would happily spend the rest of my days as your humble thrall if you would only consent to being my Goddess.” He finished earnestly, his eyes pleaded with her to see his sincerity as he heaved slightly, running a hand through his black hair.
He panicked slightly as tears spilt onto her cheeks and he panicked falling to his knees next to the cot.
“ah, please no, no crying hey, remember your face is meant for joy not sadness” he tried to soothe her, and she let out a laugh
“it’s happy tears, promise, just you have proven yourself to me, you protected me and you’ve protected Bran you haven’t left my side and you’ve been so patient and caring and you went and fetched me flowers to make me feel better you’ve proven yourself to be a good husband multiple times” she praised him and Bronn felt heat rise in his cheeks and neck, he was used to beratement and curses not praise.
He looked into her eyes and felt nervous but also determined, deftly moving his hand behind her neck he leant in and captured her lips with his own, eyes closing in bliss as he felt her silken lips submitting to his expertise, she tasted like paradise, like home.
Lyra had felt nothing but shock since she had woken for the second time that day, she had noticed Bronn missing and had felt a twinge in her heart but pushed it away knowing he was probably busy, she had attempted to get over to Bran but Beowulf, the treacherous rotter had tugged on her tunic with his sharp teeth, eventually resorting to pinning her down with his weight and with her weakened state she had quickly given up to his satisfaction.
Then her father had visited, laughter and relief evident on his face at her position and that she was feeling well enough to moan about being confined to a bed, they had both shed tears, her for feeling responsible over Bran getting hurt and him for letting them off on their own without a contingent of guards. They had both reassured each other and spoke of their love, her father had then tried to be delicate about her new status but he was rather ham-fisted about it and she felt shock course through her, she had always known and wanted to get married but she didn’t think it would occur in such a brutal fashion, she also felt a tinge of worry at the news, what if her father had told Bronn and he had ran for the hills? She had burst into tears at this point and when she sobbingly told her father, he had wrapped her up in his strong, warm arms and dispelled her fears, telling how he had panicked that she would hate him and that he had wanted to court her properly. They eventually came to the agreement that it was the will of the Gods and she comforted her father saying that she was happy with the arrangement even if it was slightly rushed when he had offered to kill Bronn or spirit her away, a smile on his face but a deadly look in his eye.
Then her father had left and Bronn had entered and given her such beautiful roses, she had gone to tell him that she was content with her marriage to him and that she hoped it could be a happy one filled with love like her parents but he had ranted over her and she had listened with rapt attention only to burst into tears and what he had been putting across, joy swelling up in her chest. And then he had kissed her.
She could feel his warm, chapped, slightly thin lips against her own and her eyes slid close in pleasure, he felt like slipping into a warm bath on a winter’s night, she could feel his lips moving with finesse and she tried to emulate him, earning a groan and his fingers burnt into her, scorching her as he stroked her cheek with a calloused thumb. With what happened yesterday she had felt helpless, disgusted and ashamed and so much rage, but Bronn lit her up like the stars, made her feel warm and secure and desired. He was the fire that burnt and cleansed and purified where he touched her the flames of his touch lingered and destroyed the feeling those bandits had left behind, he had forever marked her as his, he was her fire.
He eventually pulled away for breath, leaning his forehead against hers as they both panted lightly, he would’ve smirked at the dazed look in her eyes if it wasn’t echoed in his own.
“that, that was…” he said
“most certainly” she concurred
He pulled away fixing her with a serious look as his thumb kept stroking her cheek, she was the softest silk. “Marry me?” he asked
“what?” she questioned
“I said marry me” he reiterated
“we’re already married” she informed him dryly
“I know, it’s just you deserve a proper marriage ceremony so I’m going to arrange another, then your family can attend, and it’ll be the perfect one but if you don’t want to then I can fake my death or something and get you out of it” he informed her
“you would do that?” she asked shrewdly
“I want a happy marriage and I want a wife who loves me not one who’ll slit my throat or do what she has to out of duty” he admitted
“I wouldn’t kiss you if I didn’t want you and a proper ceremony will be nice…husband” she teased him and kissed him on the cheek finding his perplexed look adorable.
He grinned at her widely before pressing a kiss to her forehead “you, you just rest my beautiful wife and I’m going to go and plan a wedding ceremony fit for a goddess- which you are” he winked at her loving the flush that stole over her cheeks before disappearing from the room.
Please Review so I know how you feel? Love it? Hate it? Reviews feed my muse
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
I don't own this, if I did I'd be relaxing in a villa in France :P
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bronn grinned to himself as he stood in front of the oak door, controlling himself as doing a jig in victory would be a bit much, quickly running through the ideas he had thought of, he set off in a light jog towards the lords solar.
He knocked swiftly and entered when he was bid
“what is it?” Ned asked him while he worked on some papers and his wife worked on a prayer wheel next to the fire.
“I proposed, and she said yes” Bronn smugly told him, and Ned’s head jerked upwards
“your already married” he was dryly informed again
“you and your daughter are so similar” Bronn lamented “I want her to have a proper ceremony with the maiden cloak and everything, a proper celebration”
Catelyn’s head jerked up and she gave a high-pitched noise of excitement “oh it’ll be wonderful Ned! I was telling you just this morning that we should have a little something for them after all she’s our first-born daughter!”
Ned looked between them before nodding his agreement “I talked to Luwin this morning he said that she and Bran will be up and moving within the week so maybe we should have it in two or three weeks?”
“Oh, we can most certainly sort it out within that time frame! It’ll be wonderful Ned I’ll go get started on her maiden and bridal cloak” she went to bustle off, but Bronn intercepted her
“could you leave the Bridal cloak? I already have some ideas for that” he asked, and she nodded her assent before leaving.
“of course, we’ll be paying for everything if there’s anything you need money for the guards can take you to our treasury” Ned smiled “I’m glad your doing this for her”
“Actually, I’ll have enough for the bridal cloak and clothing” Bronn said, and Ned nodded
“well, either way you’re a Stark now and have every right to it”
Bronn bowed to him before leaving him to his work, going to his chambers and grabbing one of the pouches of gold he had, it should be enough, he bumped into Tyrion on the way to the stables.
“and where are you going in such a hurry that you don’t see the people that your bumping into?” the little lord asked him
“it’s not like your tall enough to be noticed and I’m heading to the market need to get fabric for a bridal cloak” Bronn sassed him
“and here I thought the Bridal cloak was used in the wedding ceremony” Tyrion mocked him
“it is dwarf but we are having another” Bronn spoke moving further down the corridor
“but your already married” Tyrion said in confusion
“yes, I think I bloody realise that I’m married to a beautiful woman” Bronn was irritated, it wasn’t like he was about to forget his good fortune, now was he?
“well forgive me, but I thought once you were married, that was it until one or both of you died” was Tyrion’s dry statement
“yes, it is and I’m planning on keeping her my wife till death do us part but bloody hell, you try to do something nice and your just bombarded with stupidity” Bronn groused
“oh, my apologises Lord Stark, I’ll leave you to your romantic endeavours, the whores have been getting lonely” and with a salacious grin the Lord waddled off to his horse that was waiting for him at the gate.
“Lord Stark?” a soft voice called out as Bronn was going to swing himself onto his horse and he let out an annoyed groan.
“fuck is it?” Bronn snapped before turning and spotting the bastard who seemed hesitant
“my apologies my lord if your busy I can leave?” the bastard’s body language was screaming of nerves
“Call me Bronn, Snow fuck do you want?” he asked brusquely he wanted to get to the market and soon, admittedly the days were longer, so it wouldn’t shut any time soon, but he was still antsy.
“my siblings? Are they okay? It’s just no one’s mentioned anything to me” he asked his eyes cast to the ground and Bronn was shocked
“fuck do you mean no one’s told you? You’re their brother” he demanded
“I’m their bastard brother” came the quite reminder and Bronn snorted
“and I’m Lyra’s bastard husband what of it? Was it my good mother?” he probed and Jon nodded hesitantly “course it was, see that’s the thing about nobility like to pretend they’re above us all but their just as flawed if not more so than us, power corrupts bastard don’t forget that and either way they’re both fine, I know your leaving tomorrow with the Imp so swing by tonight and you can talk to them if they’re awake”
“I can? Thank you, Bronn,” Jon told him earnestly and Bronn simply nodded, and dragged himself onto the horse, squeezing his legs and sending it into a quick canter down the road to wintertown.
He paid for his horse to be stabled and swiftly moved through the hustle and bustle towards the fabric markets, he ignored all the other vendors and women gossiping as their children danced around the town square, guards were posted over the place giving instructions and keeping the peace, there were some brightly coloured business evidently trying to garner more attention than the more subtly decorated trades, he passed the meat and vegetable stalls, danced around the group in front of the butchers, wrinkling his nose at the perfume markets he hurried through until he arrived at his destination.
He moved through the stalls until he found the highest quality fabrics, he examined the bright colours and dismissed them all, he moved onto the darker colours and rolled his hands over the dark greys and blacks trying to find the perfect shade. One bolt of fabric was a deep black while the other was a silvery grey that reminded him of a certain someone’s eyes, both fabrics were soft to the touch and warm he could already feel them warming up his hands and he nodded in satisfaction. He handed the fabrics over to the vendor to wrap up and he kept looking before he found the perfect thread, it was a bright metallic gold that winked up at him enticingly and he quickly snatched it up, asking for it to be wrapped as well. It cost him almost the entirety of his gold pouch, but it was well worth it in his eyes, he headed towards the stables where he spotted a pelt vendor, he strolled over and scrutinised the pelts, the pure white one was rather fetching but it could get dirtied and he didn’t want that and it was too reminiscent of ghost, he spotted a large black and tan fur and he passed over his remaining gold in return for the fur.
He made a quick detour to the rookery intending on sending messages to old friends about the new opportunity he had for them, with his errands done, he arrived at the stables and placed his purchases securely onto his horse and headed back to Winterfell, eager for the coming challenge.
Lyra relaxed back into her bed but felt antsy about staying in bed she should at least get started with some work, if she didn’t then all she had was thinking and she wanted to avoid that, she reached over to her bedside and rang the bell, a guard came into the room instantly and bowed.
“My lady is there anything I can do for you?” he asked
“yes, I need you to fetch my father tell him I wish to discuss my new lands and to bring paperwork also I need a servant to retrieve my lunch, something easy a sandwich and a lemon cake will do along with papers and ink and quill, oh and maester Luwin I need him as well” she told him and he nodded before leaving, she waited slightly impatiently passing the time by playfully tugging at Beowulf's ears as he snapped carefully at her fingers.
“You summoned me daughter?” Her father asked as he entered not minding the servant who bustled around setting up a lap tray for her lady with food and the items she asked for placed upon it.
“I did, sit down please” she gestured towards Bronns chair and her father did as he was bid an unnamed gleam in his eye. “I wanted to discuss my titles and lands, I need to know how big it is, what defences and offences it has along with it’s holding capacity for militia and staff also food and livestock, I need to familiarise myself with resources and trade routes and I need to begin setting it all up and ensuring it’s prosperity” she explained and smiled at maester Luwin who had just entered
“you called for me my lady?” he wondered, and she nodded, not minding her father who had leant back in his seat watching her with a raised eyebrow.
“yes, as you know father has given me a keep along with lands and I will require a maester for my new home and to eventually teach my children when I have them, I will also need some ravens sent over for the new maester I’m certain you can handle that?” she questioned him
“of course, my lady, I’ll get started right away” he bowed to them before hurrying out the room
“it’s a good thing you sat in on Robb’s lessons” her father mentioned, and she nodded her head in agreement.
They settled themselves in and shared the lunch, thankfully the servant had brought enough for two as Bran was currently sleeping off more of the milk of the poppy, maester Luwin wanting to ensure he wasn’t in any pain. They discussed the matters of the forest, the keep, it’s resources and holding, the trade routes nearby houses that she could work with and towns. Lyra soon realised that it was a very advantageous foothold in the North and when she inquired about it never being used before her father simply shrugged and mentioned never having the need for it before.
Julan Cassel was decided to become Lyra’s steward as the younger brother of Jory and nephew to Rodrik, his family was loyal to house Stark and had proven themselves, she knew Julan Cassel will be no different, he was summoned and informed of his new position with Rodrick looking on in pride they pair then left to start preparing. Lyra wrote down a message for house Tyrell a request for some grain in return for wood, she wrote up a notice asking for volunteer servants to move to the new keep and sent it off to be copied and placed in public places they would go to Julan to be picked.
After a couple of hours she felt like she had everything set up as far as she could for now, her mother had turned up fussing over her and she had requested that her ceremony would be held in the Godswood within the star forest as she wanted to bring old traditions to her new home, her father and mother had both been enthusiastic and she had hurried off again to oversee the movement to her new keep.
“it’s tiring” she finally admitted to her father when they were all doing, and he chuckled at her good-naturedly.
“aye it is but it’s our duty” he said raised an eyebrow at her
“and a Stark always does their duty, I know father are you sure you still want me to come south?” she asked, “I trust the Cassel’s of course I do but surely I should be the one to oversee my new home and the people there?”
“what you will find out as a Lady of a keep is that there are always duties that will demand your attentions and you might not be able to give it, so what you do is you delegate, the Cassel’s have been our stewards and masters at arms for a very long time, you have to put your faith in them have you thought of who you want as your master? Someone will have to train the troops I and other houses will send you, it’s tradition to send a small amount to new houses and well the whole north will want to impress you as will your mother’s family and I dare say that your aunt might send some perhaps the crown and your friends with Tyrion, aren’t you? I imagine you’ll have quite the force” he stated, and she gave a secretive smile.
It was always good to have connections.
“I’m planning on pinching Jon, he’s my brother and I trust him more than anything, I know he thinks it’s honourable to serve the wall and it is but I’m just not ready to give up my brother and he can always go after we’re settled and found a suitable replacement” she informed him and her father smiled happily, she yawned suddenly feeling exhausted and he told her to get some rest and he headed out to help see to the countless preparations needed. It would be tiring but for his daughter it was well worth it.
Bronn finally reached Winterfell and handed the horse over to the stable boy before unhooking his purchases, slinging them over his shoulder and beginning his hunt. He swung by the kitchens first, not because he thought he’d be successful there but because he was hungry, he managed quite the score and then wandered up the maester’s chambers to check on Lyra and Bran, he spotted Robb in his seat, drinking in the features of his twin while Theon was reading to Bran who was being fussed over by Luwin, rubbing in some paste into his new scars, he ducked out and headed to the septa’s rooms where lessons were usually held.
He arrived and knocked on the door entering when he was bid, he noticed that the septa were berating Arya, while Sansa looked somewhat uncomfortable and that limpet of a friend of her’s looked on gleefully. He cleared his throat and the occupants of the room jerked in surprise.
“and you are?” the septa glared at him and he glared right back feeling his hackles rise
“I’m here for Arya and Sansa, I’m their good brother” he said and saw how Arya perked up and Sansa looked curious “need their help” he explained for their benefit
“oh, you’re the sell sword” she looked as if she had sucked a lemon “Bronn isn’t it?”
“Oh, aye to my friends and siblings it’s Bronn for my wife it’s husband or Dashing or love of my life but for you it’s Lord Stark, not like we’re on the same level really is it?” he asked rhetorically as Arya beamed and even Sansa had a little smirk on her lips, before Bronn would be considered below the septa and treated with derision as bastards were seen as an affront to her and her poxy religion but now well he was far above what she would ever reach.
“of course, Lord Stark my apologies” she flushed with shame and Bronn ignored her gesturing with his hand for the girls to follow which they hastily did, the other one tried to follow, and Arya got a sour look on her face, so he corrected it.
“sorry, limpet, Stark business and you ain't-a Stark” he coolly informed her before striding off.
He stopped when they reached the corridor to Sansa’s chambers and turned to the two that were still following.
“that was rude” Sansa informed him, feeling more confident around him
“no, it was brilliant” Arya argued
“yes, it was rude but she’s trying to involve herself in business that ain’t hers, tell me does she always hang around?” he asked them and they both nodded “you know that while she’s your friend she’s also trying to get in good with your family right?”
“why would she want that?” Sansa asked intrigued while Arya looked bored
“who cares get rid of her” Arya demanded, and they glared at each other
“right enough of that Sansa anyone who’s below you in status wants to climb higher and anyone who’s higher than you looks down on you, now there are a few exceptions but there few and far between and Arya you need to learn the importance of playing the game, words can get you as far in life as action, take me for example I did both and I was born a baseborn bastard, now I’m a lord consort and your brother” he grinned and they both looked thoughtful “you two should work together you would make a good team”
“but all we ever do is argue” Sansa said
“and I can guess the four reasons, One that limpet is always there egging on any strife, two Arya’s too hot headed and snaps something cruel, Three Sansa despite you being a lady give as good as you get- not a bad thing and four neither of you actually take an interest in what the other does” they both nodded to his guesses
“what should we do then? We’ve been arguing for so long” Arya asked tentative and they both seemed a little scared, so they both wanted to bridge the gap but didn’t know how, he could work with that.
“what ya need to do is swap hobbies and interests, find common ground and when working on a problem take it from two sides Arya you’ll bring Sansa down to the ground and Sansa you’ll calm your sister and that being said I have the perfect project we can all work on” oh he was good, he thought to himself smugly.
“what do you need us to help you with?” Arya badgered him, and he laughed
“me and Lyra are going to have a proper wedding ceremony, now your mother is creating the maiden cloak, but I want to make the bridal cloak, I went to the market and found fabric that matches her eyes and some nice thread”
They stared at him “you want to make it?” Sansa questioned
“Yea it shows commitment or something right?” The back of his neck burnt
“What do you know of sowing?” She interrogated
“I know how to stitch a wound” he offered
She looked at him incredulous and Arya snorted
“look I want to show her I care and if I make it with my bare hands it will and you’re the best sower in the north”
She smirked proudly and gave a haughty sniff “in the seven kingdoms actually”
“yes! The entire seven kingdoms the entirety of the known world, I can get on my knees and beg, I’ll proclaim you the most amazing sower in the world and fight anyone who contests it just help?” he begged
“Let’s go practice I don’t want you ruining fine material” she gave in
He gave a cry of delight and picked her up easily twirling her.
“but I can’t sow” Arya sounded dejected and Sansa bolstered her
“you can, septa's are just rude and mean I’ll teach you some tricks and you can help berate Bronn” they both giggled and Bronn felt pale but he was quickly dragged into Sansa’s chambers where his torture began.
A few hours later Bronn was in hell, he knew it, his fingers were painful and bleeding after practicing several times were he smugly proved that his sowing was rather good, the benefit of having to constantly stitch himself together. Sansa had proved to be very aggressive when teaching him the proper stitching and berated him quickly when he dropped one, honestly, he was terrified of her and Arya bolstered him and asked for stories which he happily told her and telling them both reasons behind what he did, whether it was blackmail, murder or extortion. They weren’t happy stories but Arya hated happy stories and Sansa needed real-life stories, thankfully when they stopped for dinner he had made quite a bit of progress on the bridal cloak and there was enough fabric left over for another more subtle cloak that Sansa had commandeered and was making as a day to day cloak, it would be one of her finest cloaks and last a very long time.
After dinner, where he taught Arya a bravossi knife game and made faces at Rickon to make him laugh, he hunted Jon down in the training yard, where he was inspecting something and dragged him to Lyra. They entered seeing that Lyra was sitting up in bed slowly finishing off her dinner and Bran was wolfing down his own meal with Luwin berating him to eat slower.
They both looked up and beamed at the pair
“Bronn” she graced him with a smile and his heart flipped
“Jon!” Bran called and he walked over to say hello while Bronn went to his wife, kissing her on the cheek they discussed what they had been up too that day and he preened as she fussed over his hands but he assured her and she calmed down, he was happy that the ceremony would be held at their new home and she was relieved that she and Bran would start walking tomorrow.
“Ly, I’m so glad that you’re okay,” Jon told her “everyone’s been a mess but with the news of your wedding they’ve perked up but you’re feeling better right?”
Lyra felt her heart warm at the earnest expression on his face “I’m getting there I’m just lucky that I have my Bronn with me and speaking of plans I wanted to ask you something” she nervously nibbled on her bottom lip while Jon tilted his head.
“of course, what do you need?” he asked
“I know you wanted to take the black and despite what you say about wanting the honour I know that mother is like half of the reason you're leaving, so I want you to leave with me” she told him
“you want me to go south with you?” he pondered
“No, no I know your leaving tomorrow, but I was hoping it would just be a visit, I want you to be my master at arms at my keep” she looked at him earnestly as he gasped in shock.
“you…what?” he floundered
“a master at arms has to be someone with immense skill and that’s you and they have to be someone that you trust implicitly and that’s also you, you’ve been by my side for the entirety of my life and you’ll be able to have status and standing, a master at arms is a coveted and respected position” she keenly said
“and you might find yourself a wife” Bronn interjected, and Jon jerked as if he had been smacked
“I’m a bastard” he stated, and Bronn wanted to smack him
“aye, and so am I didn’t stop me from getting a name or a wife or becoming a lord now did it?” Bronn pointed out dryly
“Well, I…no I guess but what do you think of me being the master?” Jon interrogated him
“I trust my Lyra, she’s smart plus it’s her keep, her lands, her decisions and choices. I’m just along for the ride” Bronn looked smug at that and Lyra smacked his arm lightly in reprimand, she only got a wink.
“just…just think about it yea? Go and visit the Night’s watch scope it out, see if you really want to be apart of it if you do then that’s great if you don’t then that’s fine come and be my master at arms, you’re one of the youngest and best fighters in the North Jon under your tutelage my army and keep and the North could prosper” she persuaded him and he nodded jerkily
“I need to think about it but if I decide to do so then, then I’ll come back with Lord Lannister” he informed her, and she beamed up at him with pride
“that’s all I want” she pulled him down and kissed him on the forehead and he hurriedly left needing to go and speak to Arya and give her his present.
“Oh, Bronn this will be great” she squealed and, in her excitement, placed a kiss on his lips
“EW!” came the cry from Bran and she pulled back flushing red at his disgusted look and Luwin’s amused one, Bronn just looked like the cat that got the cream.
“one day, you’ll want to be kissing girls” Bronn couldn’t help but tease him a brotherly way and Bran flushed red again and denied it vehemently.
Lyra and Bronn relaxed for a while after both having a long day, Lyra was thrilled about it herself she could see this as their future, both attending to their duties around the keep and with the smallfolk, filling out paperwork, wrangling children before retiring to their bedchambers for the night and relaxing.
It started to get late and Bronn left for his chambers to sleep while Bran and Lyra bedded down with promises from maester Luwin to start walking tomorrow as he didn’t want their muscles to become atrophied. Lyra settled in for the night and fell asleep almost immediately.
Lyra was back at the river, dressed in her riding attire again and this time she was strapped down with her weapons, she spotted Bran and another version of herself fleeing through the forest as they were chased by the bandits, she flung herself into a sprint, knowing that she had to save them to keep them safe. She whipped out the bow that was strung across her back, a quiver filled with arrows hanging around her hips, she grabbed one, aimed and released it slammed into the throat of one of the bandits downing him. she felt victory and satisfaction singing in her veins and she aimed again piercing the heart of another bandit, suddenly her viewpoint shifted and she was the one fleeing with Bran next to her his eyes wide open and terrified, a blazing pain raced up her leg and she collapsed, not onto hands and knees but onto four, massive sized midnight black paws, glancing up she spotted summer, but a grown version racing ahead, he was lean and fast weaving between the trees at a high speed, she felt a new terror grip her and she launched herself after her brother knowing she couldn’t slow, couldn’t stop.
She risked a glance over her shoulder and spotted a Lion’s pride coming for her and Bran, an older but still powerfully built Lion at the lead, with two identical looking ones flanking him, one a handsome male lion the other a beautiful mother lioness but with a vicious gleam in her emerald eyes, behind her was a young male lion with matching viciousness followed tentatively by a younger lion and lioness both looking resigned.
She glanced up at the sound of a screech, still racing after Bran and spotted a white falcon falling to the earth below its wing broken beyond repair. She couldn’t stop to help it and the Lions finished it off, next was a broken and run down looking stag that fell to fang and claw. She spotted her father, but he was a silver lined wolf, with honour in his eyes and a chain around his neck, she managed to tear at the chain with her teeth, but he quickly fled from her and she couldn’t follow.
A red wolf lead an army of animals past her, rushing towards the lions and they managed to take down the young lion but they were intercepted by a tower that almost decimated them, the red wolf limped away assisted by a tree, she spotted a deformed looking lion trying to keep up with her, and she felt safe for a small while and they raced to follow Bran, they heard stumbling behind them and saw the almost grown lion stumbling over his paws and collapsing a flower choking the life from him. Lyra and the deformed Lion were suddenly intercepted by a mountain and they spotted a spear, Lyra tried to use it to defeat the mountain, but it shattered, so she used fang and claw and managed to overcome it, the lion then split from her heading towards a loud roaring noise.
She spotted another red wolf, that was being guarded by a hound while a dog nipped and snarled at them, a Kraken cowering at its paws, but the hound gave as good as it got defending the she-wolf viciously, Lyra raced ahead spotting a brown coloured wolf with curled fur being stood over by several large black bears and a smaller brown bear that split off and flanked her, providing support. Suddenly ghost was there, his fur like ice and eyes like fire, they raced ahead through the dark forest as it became colder and colder, her fur barely enough to keep her warm, suddenly puppet like humans came out of the forest and every hackle on her back rose, she snarled and fought them with fang and claw, they glittered like black diamonds and manged to down them, but for every one that she killed two would take its place.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw the young lion cub having grown tipping over a cliff, the flowers that surrounded it wilting and freezing, the ice and snow killing it off, a young Lioness was lounging on sand dunes, the warm sun surrounding her, unaffected until a snake reared up and bit her paw, she collapsed and the sun dimmed, the mother lioness snatched it and another snake up and used her powerful jaws to rip them apart.
Lyra fought harder, knowing she couldn’t give in and saw the wolf and bear fighting just as viciously, soon other animals joined in the fight and she spotted Summer again but this time he had an extra eye in the centre of his forehead and large wings, he wasn’t fighting but he directed other animals in the charge, the hound stayed by the she-wolf’s side and the grown fur curled wolf showed off his prowess.
The mother lioness watched on dispassionately, she was joined briefly by a haggard looking lion with a golden paw but he left with a bear following him to join in the fight, a large roar was heard and a dragon followed the noise, using it’s mighty fire to battle the dead and the deformed Lion watched on in pleasure, Lyra spotted the white wolf suddenly growing wings and blasting flames of fire.
The tables turned, and the dead were destroyed a blow stuck Lyra and she fell, bleeding onto the cold forest flaw a pale white, blue-eyed…something standing over her ready to strike the finally blow and she snarled defiantly, a nimble fox leapt up and attacked it, ripping its throat out and its pale blue eyes dimmed. The fox rubbed his muzzle against hers and wrapped itself protectively around her. The dragon turned her attention to her and tried to dominate her, but she snarled back, the fox, bear, wolves and other animals backing her up. The dragon backed off and the white wolf placed himself at her talons, watching calmly.
A crown wrought in the shape of a three-headed dragon. The coils are yellow gold, the wings silver, the heads carved from jade, ivory, and onyx was placed upon her horns and she sat upon the iron throne, it is has grown in proportion.
Lyra herself felt a pressure upon her head and then a bone white chair growing around her, lifting her up and elevating her to the dragon’s level, the fox was lounging on one of the arm rests, the white wolf mirroring him on the iron throne while the silver lined wolf, her father, sat on his haunches on the steps below her throne, the lion in a similar position across from him.
More animals came out of the woods, the majority splitting off and bowing down to the dragon Queen while others came and bowed in front of Lyra, she saw Bran watching with satisfaction in the fur of summer, his wings fluttering in happiness, hearing the caw of a raven she looked up and spotted one sitting on the back of her throne, all three eyes bearing into her own.
Lyra jerked upright feeling some pain flare across her body and she let out a low keening noise that caused Beowulf to place himself on her lap, she felt tears sliding down her face and she wrapped herself around him wetting his fur with a white-knuckled grip on his fur but he didn’t whine she heaved slightly, the dream had been awful but bittersweet, what did it mean? She could feel herself and the bedsheets slicked with sweat and she just couldn’t stay in the bed anymore she moved and scooted to the edge of the bed. Beowulf hopping down and standing in front of her she let out a whimper of pain as she stood, stooping over Beowulf was large enough that she could place her hand on his broad back and use him as a crutch she limped her way over to bran the distance being minimal but the pain was overwhelming she gritted her teeth and continued she managed to reach him and carefully climbed into his bed not wanting to disturb him, she curled herself around him acting as a shield, she could feel his puffs of breath against her collarbone and the steady rise and fall of his chest beneath her palm, she let it act as her lullaby as she fell back asleep hopefully without the nightmares.
Okay, thanks so much for all the support! I Hope you're enjoying it and if you feel up to it please review so that I can hear your thoughts and opinions, I don't bite I promise! want to guess to the dream's meaning?
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
I don't own this OC's are mine, however.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lyra awoke again at the sound of a door creaking open and she spotted maester Luwin who looked slightly exasperated but resigned at her having bed hopped.
“I suppose I should be thankful you’ve stayed in bed this long” he said as he moved over, and she sat up to not disturb Bran.
“yes, you should” she cheeked him, earning a gentle cuff around her ear.
“how are you feeling?” he asked as he checked her over, probing her neck, applying paste, changing the bandage on her thigh and checking her back, observing her eyes and feeling her forehead for any sign of fever.
“my thigh twitches every now and again and my back feels tight, sometimes it hurts to swallow” she admitted knowing she wouldn’t get away with hiding anything, spotting Bran sleepily waking up.
He hummed “that’s to be expected, now Bran how are you feeling?”
“groggy, weird dream I was flying but okay” Bran muttered sitting up with help for Lyra “why are you in my bed?”
“making sure the bed bugs don’t bite” she answered easily earning an exasperated look from him
“I’m going to lower the dosage of milk of the poppy and we’ll move you over to the table for breakfast, afterwards you can start moving around” maester Luwin informed them and Lyra swung her legs over the bed, leaning slightly on Beowulf, and limped her way over to the table, keeping pressure of her injured thigh. Maester Luwin assisted Bran and he kept quiet, but his face was a little pale from the strain of moving.
Their mother came and sat with them, fussing over the pair of them, much to Bran’s embarrassment and to Lyra’s amusement. She had Rickon who was sat on her lap and demanded all of her attention and asking when she would be leaving.
“the preparations are going well of course, Jory headed over to the keep yesterday he should arrive today or tomorrow and I’ve already sent over some cooks and servants to start setting things up, I’ll be leaving today to assist with everything, I think you’ll be heading out at the end of the week, of course you’ll need a wheelhouse, I’ll inform your father. You must be excited and soon I’ll be a grandmother!” she was fit to burst by the end of her speech and Lyra rolled her eyes good-naturedly at Bran and Rickon who stifled giggles.
“I’m glad everything is working out well and I’m sure your coordinating with Bronn, so he has an idea, I do hope Jon comes back, he’ll love being the master” she pulled a face at Rickon determinedly ignoring her mother’s angered look.
“you cannot be serious about making the bastard your master-at-arms Lyra!” her mother fumed, and Lyra calmly met her eyes.
“yes, mother, I am Jon is a strong warrior with a head for training and battle he’ll be good at it and it’ll give him some status he might find himself a wife like a mill’s daughter or perhaps more if they use the old traditions it could be like me and Bronn, who by the way approves of my idea” she informed her and her mother’s jaw snapped closed.
“are my ears burning dearest wife?” Bronn’s voice came from the doorway and she turned to see him with a sandwich in hand “should you be out of bed?” he ruffled Bran’s hair, tugged Rickon’s nose playfully before placing a kiss on her cheek and taking the unoccupied chair.
“if I have to remain in bed any longer I will throw myself off the broken tower” she notified him, and he snorted
“fair enough, you’ll be in bed plenty soon enough” he whispered salaciously in her ear and she flushed hot red.
“Bronn” she hissed warningly, and he grinned unrepentant
“your brother and the imp are heading off soon” he told her, and she frowned slightly
“he doesn’t like that nickname you know, and I want to see them off” she requested
“I know makes it all the funnier to call him it. are you done with breakfast then?” he asked, and she nodded, he finished off the last bite of his sandwich, before scooping her and Rickon up bridal style, Rickon squealed with glee and Lyra rolled her eyes at his cheeky behaviour.
“and how are you going to open the door?” she asked
“Luwin be a lamb open the door for me?” he asked sweetly and batted his eyelids to dramatize it, Luwin laughed and did as he was bid, Bronn slid through the door and glanced down at his wife smugly.
“He’s a lamb” he told her in a superior tone
“and I’m not?” she wondered, wrapping an arm around his neck to better support herself.
“you, my dearest wife, are the epitome of perfection” he bragged as he headed down a set of stairs to get to the courtyard
“bragging isn’t an attractive trait” she said
“is, if you do it right” he winked at her causing her to laugh loudly
They carried on through the halls been greeted by the people they met, not stopping as they didn’t want to miss the party that was heading off.
They entered the courtyard to see it bustling, Lyra spotted the cage that held the prisoners and Bronn deftly moved both her and Rickon away from them and placed them on a barrel, Rickon squirmed his way down and he and Bronn started playing as Lyra watched in amusement.
“Lyra, I’m glad you’re out of your chambers” her beloved uncles voice reached her, and she turned to give him a hug.
“uncle Benjen I’m sorry that we couldn’t spend more time together” she admitted squeezing him tight
“it’s alright lass, although I hear your trying to steal my nephew?” he teased her, and she flushed slightly
“I might be but it’s ultimately up to him” she admitted she saw ghost making his way over with her brother following “Black suits you, I’ll have your master armour made up of black” she grinned at him and he laughed giving her a careful hug.
“I’m happy to see you, Ly, it’s not right if you aren’t terrorising the entirety of Winterfell, I’m excited about this trip,” he told her, and she smiled at him understandingly.
“the trip will do you good and either way there won’t be any hard feelings only love and pride” she informed him. He grinned hugging her again.
“Your good with him” Bronn heard Tyrion behind him and released the little terror from his arms and he ran around the courtyard, Bronn kept an eye on him as he answered his friend.
“aye, I try”
“Marriage has suited you, I think in time you’ll make an excellent father, my friend” Tyrion’s voice was filled with sincerity
“thanks Imp such loving words perhaps when I do become a father I’ll name one after you, oh and don’t think you’re getting away from my wife she wants to say goodbye” he said, and Tyrion playfully rolled his eyes and they walked over to Lyra as Benjen and Jon climbed onto their horses.
“your husband says you want to say goodbye?” Tyrion queried, and Lyra beamed at him
“yes, I wanted to thank you and to ask that hurry with your adventure, it’s going to be awful to not have anyone to hold a conversation about books with” she teased, and Tyrion let out a bark of laughter
“Yes, it must be so hard for you, after all there’s no one quite like me, you should have married me” he bantered, and Lyra giggled
“quite the missed opportunity if you listen to my mother” she gossiped
“very much so but speaking of weddings, I have a gift and I will not accept no” he told her mock sternly, and her curiosity spiked she took the piece of parchment he had and opened it, gasping in surprise.
“My Lord, I-We cannot…it’s far too much!” she argued
“it’s Tyrion after all we are friends, I had always liked the tradition of sending troops to a new house, to help defend it and seeing as how the north doesn’t really have a naval fleet, I cannot gift you Lannister fleets so I doubled the troops…I’ve already sent out orders and had new weapons and armour commissioned they’ll be your troops and loyal to you” he smiled happily at them
“won’t your father object?” she asked handing the paper over to Bronn who swore loudly in shock
“he will but I’m the heir apparent to Casterly rock that does give me some sway” he smugly informed them.
Bronn stared at the parchment, on it were orders from Tyrion demanding for ten thousand of westerland soldiers who wanted to set up somewhere new to be sent to Celestial keep, so that they could be divided up throughout their lands and stay on rotation at Lavarack Barracks and Catterick Garrison, the barracks had the holding capacity for two hundred thousand men along with stables fit to hold a thousand horses, he doubted they would ever fill it, but it was nice to have the option, along with plenty of areas to build more space and capabilities to grow food thanks to the underground hot springs, placing minerals in the soils and loosening it up, the over ground hot springs providing nice places to bathe and fresh water directly to the keep, very defensible in a siege. Hopefully he would have quite the force to present to his wife.
He had sent out ravens yesterday to all the contacts he had, from old friends and allies to those he got along with, some he taught, and some taught him. he had sent ravens to Essos and all of the free cities where he had found many friends, most of them looking for work and wanting somewhere permeant but unable to find anywhere to support them along with messages to Ghiscari cities for instance Meereen, Yunkai and Astapor, where he knew some old friends had set up shop along with freed slaves who felt out of sorts with nowhere to go and being rejected by the people there for being freed, he could hopefully give them somewhere new to belong. The free companies had also received missives, he had spent a good few years vagabonding around the companies and having a lot of fun. He smirked in pleasure, if it all turned out as he wanted then the North and specifically his wife would have a lot of clout behind her, leading to power and influence and no one would dare go against her, and he would be beside her the entire time.
“well then Tyrion, on your way back you must visit Celestial Fort for me and tell me what you think, I’ll be in the south but I’ll have Jory welcome you as our honoured guest and dear friend” she leant down and hugged the imp who looked shocked and quickly hugged back, they eventually separated and she bit her lips slightly.
“Ty, if you could- “Lyra started but he interrupted
“I’ll convince him don’t worry” Tyrion reassured her and walked to his horse Bronn following
“going to give me a cuddle as well?” Tyrion sassed light heartedly and Bronn laughed
“no but you can suck my cock if you want, you are the perfect height” Bronn teased, and Tyrion used a step stool to get on his horse looking down at Bronn
“amusing, I’ve never heard that one before” Tyrion said
“aye, I’ll miss you though sarcastic little shit that you are” Bronn admitted
“and I’ll miss you too my friend” Tyrion smiled down at him
Bronn was called over by Rodrick and he glanced to see Lyra was sat on the barrels, enjoying the fresh air while Rickon was causing hell with shaggydog who had turned up, both chasing chickens to the servant’s dismay- and some amusement.
Lyra breathed in the fresh, crisp air of the north and felt herself almost turn to jelly, she had dearly missed being outside, as her grandfather would say ‘a wolf is not meant for the inside but for the wilds of the north’, she had never gotten to meet the man thanks to the mad king but her father was so often quoting him and telling her and her siblings about their lost family bar Lyanna who he couldn’t speak about unless on rare occasions that she felt as if they had been there throughout their lives.
Lyra heard the shuffling of feet and she spotted Ramsay and his…servant Reek coming towards her and she steadied herself, he was aptly named.
“My lady Stark, you’re out from your imprisonment” Ramsay said, and his eyes hungrily raked over her “I was hoping you could dispel these odd rumours, apparently your married but I haven’t heard of any such arrangement let alone a betrothal!” he released a fake laugh and looked at her expectantly.
“the rumours are true, I’m married to Bronn, the other day I was attacked, me and Bran but Bronn came to the rescue and well he placed his cloak on me in front of the hearts tree and you know the old traditions” she fidgeted slightly as she saw the look of rage on his face
“you, you were supposed to be mine, I promised” he stated, his eyes flat and cold.
“I’m sorry that you feel that way Ramsay, but we were married in front of the hearts tree, that cannot be contested or revoked, we are man and wife until death do us part” she informed him
“No, Lyra, my sweet Lyra I’m not angry at you, I don’t blame you. It’s all father’s fault I had asked to go on the hunt if only he had allowed me , I could have protected you and we would have been married but I’ll fix it don’t worry Ramsay shall make it all better sweet wolf” he assured her, gently grabbing her hand and placing a reverent kiss on the back of her palm. Lyra wanted out now.
Her rescuer, once again, came in the form of Bronn.
“darling wife, there you are! How are you feeling? I was thinking we’d go to the great hall for lunch and of course bring our beloved younger brother with us, we’ll sit with your twin and our mother and father, shall we? That’ll be a nice change of pace after all that time alone in the maester’s chambers but afterwards I’ll have to leave you with Robb as I have a little something to do with my two beautiful good sisters, Sansa and Arya oh, sorry I didn’t see you there! Who are you?” Bronn faked surprise and while Lyra would normally scold him for possessive behaviour and all but branding her on the forehead, she revelled in the level of protection he was providing.
“I’m Ramsay, her good friend” he spoke through clenched teeth
“oh no last name?” Bronn was pushing it but the arm around her waist felt nice.
“what are you her dog?” he sneered nastily
“Nah, far smarter than a dog more like a fox and I’m this precious treasure’s husband” he answered breezily
“I don’t see any house sigils” Ramsay snarked
“I was a bastard but well, now I’m a Stark” he happily rubbed that one in, enjoying the red flush on his face
“you married a bastard?” Ramsay interrogated her
“the old traditions were invoked Ramsay” Lyra replied softly, pressing her hand against Bronn beseechingly.
“and with that, we have to go to lunch goodbye romsay, RICKON!” he picked Lyra up gently, and let out a high-pitched whistle summoning Rickon and Shaggydog and causing a few dogs to tilt their head at him.
“It’s Ramsay” Ramsay hissed venomously
“uh-huh that’s great Ronsley” Bronn answered quickly moving into the keep Rickon and shaggydog bounding after him.
Ramsay stared after the thieving bastard who had taken his sweet Lyra, HIS! but he took a deep breath calming himself, he had heard his Lyra perfectly well, she didn’t want the sell sword she was just being the good dutiful daughter she was, but she was desperate for a rescue, a rescue Ramsay could provide. Oh, his Lyra knew him well, his sweet wolf. He couldn’t wait to introduce her to his games.
“till death do us part indeed” he muttered a sinister grin on his face, but for now he would play with his toys and let Reek have fun as well and he’d bide his time to save Lyra, she would understand of course she would.
Bronn set her down in front of the great hall and placed her arm in the crook of his own, so she could lean on him when she needed it and they both entered the hall, with Rickon bouncing ahead, Robb looked up and in a very undignified-which she’d tease him about for the rest of his life- move clambered over the table, stepping on a salad and ran down the hall, launching himself at her.
“Lyra!” he cried desperately wrapping his arms around her and she flinched, a pained look crossed his face and he went to move away but Bronn leant and whispered in her ear
“it’s alright your strong, a wolf of Winterfell and you’re not there anymore you’re here with me and Robb and safe” the strength of his voice and the conviction assured Lyra and she wrapped her arms around Robb and collapsed slightly into his warm embrace, he squeezed her tightly but gently silently letting her know he didn’t think of her as a delicate doll that would break. She kept a tight control of her emotions.
“Gods I missed you” he whispered in her dark locks and she tightened her grip
“I missed you too, Luwin said you only visited when I was sleeping?” she asked
“I didn’t know what to say” he admitted tightly
“we’re twins Robbie, we never have to use words” she stated confidently pulling back and staring into his clear blue eyes, allowing him to see.
Robb stared into his twins’ grey eyes and saw the truth there, he smiled down at her and helped her to the table, where her family and the royals were sat, Bronn taking her left side while Robb took her right.
“I’m glad to see you’re alright” the king boomed at her and she smiled happily
“takes a lot more than a few mongrels to take down a wolf your grace” she replied
“I heard there are scars, shame, isn’t it? At least none affected your pretty face and well your married now, he’ll have to put up with it” Cersei added her own snide comment
Bronn answered swiftly “her scars show her strength personally I think there attractive your grace” he winked at his wife, who flushed that ever so delightful pink.
“You dare?” her eyes flashed in anger
“dare what your grace? My apologies I’m so new to this lordship thing did I address you improperly? If so, a thousand apologies it’s just a bastard isn’t usually given a Lords education and well now that I am a Lord I’ll have to learn, quickly won’t I?” he subtly reminded her of his new status and back handed her, feeling rather proud of himself, he placed some food on his wife and then his own plate and started to dig in.
“is your brother dead then?” the crown prince asked with a twisted gleam in his eyes, and Sansa stared at him.
“No, Bran is fine your grace, he’s merely being fussed over by maester Luwin, he’s so compassionate in that way” Sansa volleyed the answer and Bronn raised an impressed eyebrow, someone was a natural.
“of course, my sweet lady, I was only interested in how to proceed in the conversation” the prince tried to save face, but it was a poor attempt.
“of course, you did my prince, compassion and tact are good qualities for a ruler to have” the unspoken ‘which you don’t have’ wasn’t heard by the prince who preened at the fake compliment, but Bronn and Lyra heard it and both smirked.
“little sisters ready to work on our project?” Bronn asked them when they had finished and they both nodded eagerly
“I have something to show you as well Bronn” Arya said with excitement
“well then, let’s not dally, shall we?” he asked
“Wait, what project?” Lyra asked in suspicion
“surprise sweetest wife” he said with mystery placing a quick kiss on her cheek and disappearing with Sansa and Arya giggling in tow.
Lyra stared after them in confusion before turning to Robb
“what was that and since when do Arya and Sansa get along? We’ve been trying to beat their heads together for years and yet my husband’s done it within a day!” she whined, and Robb laughed at her
“I can’t tell you it’s a secret” he teased, and she pouted childish “speaking of projects have you figured out what you’re going to give to your lord husband?”
“I have an idea, but I need help getting down to the Stark vaults” she replied, and he nodded his agreement.
“Lyra will you come and tell me a story tonight?” Rickon’s sweet voice asked and she beamed at her baby brother
“of course, I will Rickon what kind do you want? Red? The children of the forest? Beowulf Stark? Torrhen Stark the king that bent the knee? The three bears? Snow and the seven vassals?”
“Nu-huh I want the story of how we got wolfsblood” he demanded happily, and Lyra complied quickly.
“of course, I’ll tell you that one tonight” she promised, and he grinned with joy before tucking into the sweet their mother allowed him.
Lyra and Robb finished off their meals, they had their bodies pressed together, Lyra’s right foot, leg, thigh, hips and entire upper body was pushed against Robb and he was pushing back gently, the constant feel of their twin’s presence having a calming effect on them both.
Their mother finished her lunch and quickly rose to get to the stables as the group she had gathered would be leaving ahead of the rest to set everything up.
Robb and Lyra headed down to the Stark treasury, with Robb wrapping an arm around her waist to help as she stubbornly refused to be carried and Robb wouldn’t deny his twin anything.
They reached the hidden chambers and posted the guards outside as they went inside, while the North and they Starks weren’t considered the richest in the eyes of the rest of the kingdoms, due to them enjoying showing off their wealth with tourneys and tapestries, the north preferred to save their money and treasures, in case of die need.
The corridors were dry and surprisingly warm for being underground, the pair smiled as they remembered all the time they had spent in here, playing and messing around as their father did the accounting or their mother wanted to show them a piece of their history or maester Luwin wanted to find a particularly rare book.
They passed the chambers filled with gold, silver and Bronze, passed the metal rooms and the multiple book rooms, if Tyrion had spotted the books they kept hidden he would have a heart attack, Lyra grinned at the thought, perhaps she could gift him one? After all he had given her quite the gift, making a detour she went to the copies room, after all a Stark must be prepared.
She and Robb shuffled to the journal section and made their way to the dragon riders’ section.
“what do you think? Aegon the conquer in his own words or the dance of dragons and the hour of the wolf written by Cregan Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North?” she asked, and Robb snorted
“if you give him either, he’ll fall in love with you, gift him both and he just might shit gold in surprise” he laughed at his own joke and she slapped him in reprimand but giggled herself.
“hmmm, very well I’ll give him both, now c’mon I want to get to the weapon armoury” she smiled at him and he helped her towards it, before stopping suddenly.
“I’m sorry Ly, I should’ve been faster and not allowed you to be placed in harm’s way like that you or Bran, I mean what kind of Lord will I be if I can’t even protect my own siblings? My own twin?” he whispered to her, his eyes cast to the ground in shame.
“Robb Stark! You are a fantastic older brother and have always protected me, remember that time at house glover with those servant boys who constantly teased me? They were twice your size and three years older and you were outnumbered! Yet you took them on for me and you were beaten black and blue and when you were dragged in front of Lord Glover you showed no fear! You went on that rant about honour and how one must treat a lady! And with Bran you remember when he was three years old and still learning to walk and he waddled towards the staircase? And he started to fall so you wrapped yourself around him and fell cushioning him from the pain and injuries? You smashed your head against the stone in the entryway and I thought you had died!
You protect us and you love us, you were just a little slow this time, but Bronn was there and I know you will always be there and I know you’ll make a fine Lord of Winterfell because you will protect the North like you protect us, the North is your sibling just as I am just work on your temper and seeing the bigger picture” she teased him at the end and he laughed
“just had to end it on a critique, didn’t you?” he questioned, and she laughed
“can’t have you getting a big head and forgetting I’m the better twin”
He got a serious look on his face “you are you know, you’d make a great warden of the North”
“Oh, don’t be silly, look here the armoury!” she distracted him and pulled on the iron and Bronze oak doors to open the doors to the largest room, the armoury, filled with weapons from the greatest warriors of the North, Ice would be hanging here, wielded by Bran the Builder but it was currently on her father’s hip, its rightful place.
But the greatest treasure that is kept secret from all, but the Lord and Heir of Winterfell was the cache of Valyrian steel that had been hoarded and secreted into the deepest vault of House Stark. Their father had brought them down when they had returned from their fostering and sworn them to secrecy, they had agreed with wide eyes and slacked jaws.
The room had reflected the light of the torch in the father’s hand, filled to the brim with Valyrian steel weapons and armours, from helms to shields and Warhammers to daggers and axes, they had once every two months came down to the vaults day and night with their father helping to clean and maintain all of it and they never failed to fall to the awe. When they had asked their father why they hadn’t put the weapons into use or sold it or done something with it, their minds eager with youth and flights of fantasy, their father had simply replied ‘winter is coming’ and ushered them to their beds, where they pondered what he had said.
Lyra and Robb reverently made their way through it now, Robb running his fingers over the pieces and checking to see if they needed anything, sharpening a few on a low bench while Lyra disregarded the pieces of armour and the large war hammers and long swords until she reached the normal swords and daggers. After combing through the pieces for several hours, some she liked others she placed back and then she got the opinion of Robb until they both settled on the perfect wedding gift.
A stylized fox head formed the hilt of the sword, the blade nestled into the foxes’ mouth. Like all Valyrian steel it was sleek, smooth and elegant. It fitted very comfortably in the hand of both Lyra and Robb as they tested some manoeuvres with it, they noted it was swift and flexible and Robb commented that it would suit Bronn very well. The pommel is the fox’s tail was engraved from firestone and entwined with golden thread forming a very sharp point, the sheath in which it sat wasn’t anything spectacular a leather scabbard with a fox stitched on it. The dagger she found was sat in a plain leather sheath, with a simple pommel and cross guard, the grip length being eleven centimetres, the blade was twenty-six centimetres long. The blade was curved and engraved with a heart’s tree and some runes of the first men, dating it back a long time. Nodding in satisfaction she handed them both over to Robb to guard until the wedding day where she would present them to him along with the two thick books, obviously copies so that she could take with her to give to Tyrion when they met again.
Bronn remained with his new sisters for the entirety of the afternoon working on his gift for his wife, with Sansa working on hers and Arya boasting about her new sword, a gift from the bastard, she had named it needle and was telling Sansa that now she could be as good at her needle as Sansa and her sister preened at the compliment but worried for her hurting herself, so Bronn helped her with learning some stances and a few tricks, he had to admit Arya took to them with ease and even Sansa looked a little interested so he taught her how to ‘Dance’, it was really a bit of hand to hand but he felt better teaching her and she was naturally very graceful and was good at it although she shied away from ever having to fight. He reassured her saying it was just a precaution to make him feel better and she conceded.
When they met up again for dinner, Lyra and Robb had matching self-satisfied smirks on and mischief in their eyes causing Bronn’s eyes to narrow in suspicion and for their father to keep tossing them and the rest of the room weary stares knowing what that look usually meant. Lyra finished off her pheasant and potatoes before heading off with Rickon to his chambers so that they could play for a while before bed.
After a couple of hours of playing Grendel’s and wolves, and manging to wrangle herself a rest by being a captured princess in dire need of rescue, she dismissed the servants that came to help him to bed as their mother wasn’t there and she attended to him herself. Helping to wash him and dry him off before placing him in his night clothes and telling him to brush his teeth under her strict eye before running a comb through his wild curls and tucking him into bed.
He snuggled into the furs deeply while she stoked the fire and placed another log into it, not wanting him to catch a cold.
“story now?” he asked, and she nodded, settling herself on top of the furs as he tugged at her arms to wrap around him.
She cleared her throat and began
“Once upon a time, there was a girl named Nira Stark, now Nira was known for her hair which she had been blessed with by her mother, her hair was the colour of the sun, a very rare thing to see indeed in the North, so she was named the golden wolf, she had eyes the colour of storm clouds intense and mesmerising, a trait from her father.
Now Nira Stark while being a proper lady was also a wolf and all wolves loving going on adventures so one day she did and in the forest, she came across a cave and she had never seen this cave before and it glittered at her so enticingly, so she threw caution to the wind and entered it and she saw a massive wolf, the size of a man with elongated features and some Manish traits!
This poor creature had been hurt badly, with a slash from a sword across its large face and spears and arrows piercing its thick fur and causing its silvery pelt to be stained crimson. To her amazement the wolf spotted her and instead of attacking he spoke!
“Oh, sweet maiden of golden hair do not be afraid I will not hurt you I promise I was cursed by an evil witch and hunted mercilessly by her hunters they want my magic and my pelt and I simply want to live” his voice was filled with anguish and despair tugging on Nira’s heart strings
The young princess heart was stirred, and she felt conviction fill her “you poor creature! how could someone do such a cruel thing? I will help you!” she vowed and so she did, she attended to the wolf, removing the broken spears and shafts of arrows, cleaning and wrapping his wounds to the best of her ability and helping him to the pool so he could drink, hunting so he could eat and building him a soft bed of leaves so he could rest” and so for three months the young princess cared for her wolf, for that’s what he had become to her. She told him of her life and her loneliness, caring for him and leading the evil witch and her hunters on a wild goose chase.
Eventually he was healed enough to move, and they were both delighted, but then tragedy struck, the evil witch and her hunters had followed Nira through the woods after overhearing a servant talk of their mistress’s strange behaviour, visiting a cave at all hours of the day and night. And they leapt out and attacked them both, the wolf seeing the fair maiden who had cared for him for so long and so selflessly, threw himself in the path of a spear, it was a spear that was aimed true and pierced his heart. The evil witch and the hunters left finally satisfied, that he was no longer a threat to their power and Nira fell to her knees next to her wolf and cried silver tears over his body.
Lamenting at her broken heart.
The gods seeing that Nira had truly loved and lost for her wolf decided to intervene. They used her tears of pure love and anguish to bring the wolf back to life and undo the curse of the evil witch turning him back into a man, they then struck down the witch and hunters turning them into the forever prey of the wolves so that they and their descendants will always feel the fear of a wolf’s breath on the back of their neck.
The princess seeing that her love had returned cried tears of happiness blessing the ground- where later a hearts tree would grow- and they lived happily ever after and had many children all of whom had the blood of the wolf running through them and through them to us the wolfs blood has dominated.” Lyra finished her story to see that Rickon was now slumbering peacefully, with a soft smile, she kissed his brow and made her way to her own chambers for the night to sleep.
Over the week, Lyra and Bronn spent breaking their fast together with Bran in the maester’s chambers before spending the morning together, working on building back her strength and stamina in a widely disused training courtyard, he also taught her a few tricks and where to hide daggers and how to use them, they would then head to lunch together- where Ned was beginning to look more worn having to put up with entertaining the royal family by himself, Lyra felt bad but there was no way she wanted to get close to the Queen or her son, they both gave her the creeps- they would take in a hearty and filling lunch where Bronn would spirit away Arya and Sansa and she would spend time with Robb, Bran, Rickon or Theon relaxing, playing with their wolves or reading as she had been expressly forbidden from assisting with anything, even getting a scolding off the servants when she tried to lift a bucket of water. She was slightly frustrated with being mothered by everyone she knew it was a way to reassure themselves of her well-being, so she gritted her teeth and allowed it.
Thankfully the time to travel to her and Bronn’s new home had arrived, and Lyra and Bran were packed up into the wheelhouse with the Queen and her children, Lyra repressed the urge to groan loudly.
“Your Graces” she addressed them politely
“Little pups” the Queen cooed at them and Bran clenched his book a little tighter.
“Bran why don’t you carry on with your book? Mother will be impressed you’ve learnt so much when you show her tomorrow” they had started very early and seeing as how most of the items needed had been sent in the week before, the train of people was short, and they could move swiftly to the keep.
Lyra roundly focused on her sowing, occasionally talking to Myrcella and Tommen who she found to both be very sweet, Bran and Tommen got on like a house on fire and Myrcella and herself bonded over sowing, although Lyra admitted to not often have the patience for it.
When they arrived at the keep a day later passing through the outer gatehouse and into the great courtyard, Lyra couldn’t be happier and when Bronn came and helped her out of the wheelhouse, she fell in love instantly. She saw that the keep was seemingly carved from the cliff it was nestled into, the walls were high and to her seemed impregnable, but Bronn was already nattering in her ear about ways to fix it and to secure it to be more defensible, the trees surrounded her in a comforting embrace they reached to the skies above and shined a soft silver in the light of the sun, bathing everything in an ethereal glow.
She was escorted to the front courtyard made from white cobbles where she spotted two waterfalls bracketing the drop bridge and running to a jade fountain within the middle of the courtyard, which boasted three levels of stone that was filled with water before spilling over onto the bottom level made of white stone and filtered away, the constant stream of water was soothing to Lyra’s ears and she smiled softly.
Behind the fountain was twin intimidating oak doors with large silver handles and overlaid with a pretty pattern of swirls, stood in between was Jory Cassel as he stood there proud of the work he had achieved in the week.
“your graces, My Lady, My Lord, welcome home” he smiled at them and Lyra beamed back
“Jory it looks wonderful, I must insist on a tour later” she raved, and he chuckled and gave into her request.
Lyra spotted her mother who was bustling around, barely sparing a minute to welcome them before directing servants to their chambers for the duration of the stay, the great chambers were sealed off as that was were Bronn and Lyra would be spending their wedding night, Lyra and Bronn were swiftly separated per tradition despite already being married, not that Bronn was going to do anything…yet.
“My Lord, there were some visitors the other day I have them waiting in the consorts solar if you would follow me?” he asked and Bronn nodded following him to a large solar, with an entry hall leading to a large but functional chair, there was also an oak door leading to his office and he entered and swore happily at who he spotted.
“Rian! Astris! You fucking bastards got my message did ya?” he called happily, going over to hug them tightly, “come on sit, eh Jory fetch some wine will ya? And some of those honeycakes?” he requested as he took his seat and his old friends took seats opposite him.
“of course, My lord right away” Jory bowed before swiftly obeying his orders.
“well fuck me, Bronn, a Lord could’ve sworn you was a bastard, I woulda be knocked over by a feather when I read that bloody letter and then Tris came storming in demanding if I had pranked her!” Rian chuckled, he was as wide as a door and strong as an ox, with tanned weather-beaten skin cris-crossed with numerous scars, deep brown eyes and hair with a roguish grin and blinding white teeth.
“that’s me a Lord consort to the beautiful Lyra Stark,” Bronn told them smugly and Jory entered again and placed the drink and food down on his table.
“is there anything else you need my Lord?” he asked, and Bronn shook his head “there’s a pulley there that can summon a servant for you and there are two guards posted outside if you need anything My Lord if I can be dismissed to attend to my duties?”
“of course, Jory, just check on Ly for me? And don’t forget that tour or she’ll be upset, and I can’t have that” Bronn threatened idly and Jory smiled at the needless threat as if he would ever cause his lady’s sadness but the gesture was nice.
“My Lord” he bowed respectfully and took his leave.
“submissive lot; aren’t they?” Tris queried, taking a goblet of wine and a honey cake biting into it, Tris was a girl who was loyal to a fault and deadly as she was beautiful, she too was tanned from living in the south for the majority of her life her skin unblemished, with sleek, straight black hair and black eyes, high cheekbones with bee-stung lips always curved into a smirk, she was tall, lean and toned and she had been someone to help Bronn with his reading and writing when the three met when Bronn was thirteen being the youngest of the trio, Tris being two years older and Rian six.
They had met up in an alley and been mugged afterwards all banding together for safety in numbers and they travelled around becoming incredibly close, Tris’s ability to read and write hinting at a privileged upbringing but she rarely spoke of it simply saying ‘a girl is different, that girl is dead, a girl has a new life’ from what Bronn had gathered she had been sold off to the faceless men and was trained but then left for whatever reasons but he never cared.
“Nah, not submissive, Loyal, I saved their favourite wolf and invoked these old traditions and ergo I became her Lord consort and boom instant loyalty to me it’s nice” he admitted to them “when did you two arrive?”
“two days ago, as soon as we got the message we sent off some ravens off our own, told them to pass on the message and headed straight to the nearest boat and hopped on” Rian explained “your steward Jory was as welcoming as anything when we showed the letter and helped us settle in the guest chambers, not sure about how permeant it will be”
“how about for the rest of your lives?” Bronn offered and they both stilled “I’ll level with you I know that we’ve all wanted to settle down so why not here? Rian I trust you and that’s a rare thing so you can become my second in command part of a personal guard of one and Tris can become a guard for Lyra, she’s capable of course but I want to ensure her safety, you can have a home, food, best weapons and armour we can forge it’ll be home, a family. The north is a good place to settle”
“your wife would be happy with bastards working closely with her? Her mother isn’t” Tris pointed out
“Lyra isn’t her mother, she’s a Stark, wants to make her bastard brother her master at arms and she married a bastard, didn’t she?” Bronn retaliated, and they conceded the point.
“well, I was getting tired of all the travelling” Rian pretended to be reluctant
“it’ll be nice I suppose” Tris sniffed pretending to not care either way.
“Great! Tris when your ready you should introduce yourself to Lyra but first how many do you think will arrive?” he interrogated them.
“a lot, last I heard the second sons were in a tizzy because so many of them want to have a place to settle and now that your offering that with the opportunity to fight, the second sons are trying to reign them in but sell-swords do what they want, when they want and they’re passing the message on to hopeful new knights and to old and tired out swords as you want advisors, I’ve told your steward he should clean up all the barracks you have because I’m certain they’ll be filled” Rian warned him and Bronn nodded his head
“I’ll tell Jory he should add to his list to add to the barracks and I’ll have to add in an infrastructure, I’ll start one and leave for Jon to sort out when he comes back” Bronn murmured to himself
“who says he’ll come back?” Tris ever the pessimistic pointed out
“he loves his sister and I’ve been to the wall and beyond remember? Not all it’s cracked up to be, nothing like the stories” Bronn answer absent-minded.
Lyra was helped to the east wing where she was settled into a slightly curved room with a large four poster bed, directly across from a fire place, to the left a large window with blue curtains and to the right a table, chairs and breakfast table, a door led to the privy and the bathroom where an iron cast tub with clawed feet sat in a room of warm stone.
She kept up with her walking like she had for the past week, escaping as often as possible usually with the help of Bronn or Robb to walk until her leg started to feel strained, she spent her time directing the servants to setting out some outfits for her, and sending the majority of her possessions the Lady and Lords chambers, as that’s where she would be residing in two days’ time before packing up again and making their way south, she already felt exhausted from the thought of the amount they had to travel.
Lyra requested a bath and she happily soaked before donning a grey dress that matched her eyes, Jory swung by and asked if there was anything he could do for her and she requested that they went for the tour and he happily agreed, helping her down to the through the keep and down to the drawbridge and the outer gate house, so she could get a full scope of her lands.
The forest was beautiful, the silver trees growing healthy and strong with vines wrapped around them, flowers blooming and filling the air with their sweet scent, she and Jory spent some time discussing the benefits of building an eventual town between the keep and house Hornwood, but that plan could be saved for later, she looked over the side of the drawbridge and spotted a well built and deep moat, she would be leaving most of the defence and offence to Bronn and hopefully Jon, she could spot the barracks and stables from her position, they were placed outside of the Keeps fortifications but had their own high walls, towers and gate house.
They passed under the iron Yett and into the inner ward bracketed on one side by the outer walls and towers and on the other the inner walls, there were some buildings placed around and Lyra mentioned that it could be the perfect place for a inner town almost and Jory readily agreed pointing out the perfect places for black smiths and markets and a bakery, it would save on having servants travelling at odd hours to get the necessary items, this way items would come to the keep and it would help to set up the beginnings of a town. The passed through the inner gatehouse and Lyra admired that there were two gatehouses which would help with defence and another iron Yett that led them to the inner ward, which was already bustling. Lyra could spot the large stables, barracks the armoury and stockpile, the hunters hut with hooks for pelts and meat and a pen for livestock, the granary, the guard posts, the entrance to the dungeons. Jory pointed out the greenhouses and the kennels along with the gallery used to patrol the walls along with the cistern.
Jory pointed out the different towers and their uses, some were drum towers and archers’ towers used for the defence of the keep, there was the tallest tower called star tower where one could see all the stars at night, there was the knights building, the stewards tower, the maiden’s tower and the maester’s tower and connected to that tower to another with a bridge was the rookery.
They moved into the large entrance hall on the ground floor, with two grand staircases one led to the east wing and the other to the west wing, to the north was the large great hall and to the south was the kitchens, servants rooms, pantries and cellars filled with food and drink, before reaching the kitchens there were several waiting rooms and a solar for guests to have a meeting with the Lady and Lord of the keep. Under the west wing staircase was another that Jory led Lyra down to the hot springs with interestingly carved scenes of stars falling to the earth and the forest springing up from them. They came back up and Jory told her that under the west wing staircase led to the cells which were empty at the moment.
The first floor didn’t entirely exist only having a large balcony that wrapped around to connect the east and west wing without having to go up and down the stairs, and to look down upon the entrance hall. Above the great hall was the great library filled to the brim with boos that had Lyras hands itching to explore accompanying the pine bookshelves were matching tables ad chairs along with soft and squishy sofas and armchairs to lounge around in front of several large fireplaces the windows were high to let in all the possible light to be found.
The west wing was filled with comfortable rooms for the guests to stay the night and the east wing was filled similarly, another staircase-under which was another staircase that could was barred by a steel door, only accessed with a key that had few copies, that led to the treasury and private armoury- was to be found in between these two wings leading to the portrait hall on the left side and the entertainment rooms to the right, with tea rooms and sowing rooms as well following the staircase further up lead to the lord and lady’s personal floor with two private studies that were connected.
Lyra woke on her wedding day to an excited energy running through the keep, her mother and several servants came into her room where she was spoilt with a lavish spread in bed while her mother bustled around the room, her new guard Tris joined her, lounging on the bed and helping to finish off the food that she had been given. She had introduced herself on the day that she had arrived and had been bonding with her and giving her updates on Bronn, doing similarly with him.
Lyra relaxed into the bath as she was scrubbed and had oils rubbed into her skin, making it smell pleasant, she saw the white scar across her thigh and felt her heart twinge slightly.
“Bronn loves scars” Tris mentioned off handily staring, she had no shame.
“it’s just…I don’t know how to feel in all honesty about it” she admitted having grown particularly close to Tris in the short time they had known each other
“hmm, I understand but you soon become accustomed to them” she was reassured by that and climbed out of the bath to be dressed and polished, her mother claiming the right to her hair.
Two hours later and Lyra was staring at herself in a floor-length looking glass, she was wearing a white woollen dress that showed her shoulders and her collarbones, the corset pushing up the swell of her breasts, clinging to her toned stomach and fitting snugly over the curve of her hips before it fell in a elegant drop and pooled on the floor, her hair was brushed until it shined and fell to her hips the curls still untameable but enticing in a halo around her heart-shaped face, the midnight black tresses entwined with golden thread bearing white pearls the size of her thumbnail.
She stared into her own grey eyes and felt herself become more assured of herself, turning to her mother to see her eyes filled with tears.
“Don’t cry mother or you’ll set me off” she warned lightly, before being tugged into a crushing hug.
“it’s just my little girl, now a woman and wife and going to be a mother” her mother chocked out and Lyra’s own throat tightened with emotion, thankfully she was rescued by Tris who pulled her back.
“Lady Stark don’t you have something to give to Lyra?” she diverted the subject and her mother nodded gesturing for a box to be brought forward, Lyra tentatively opened it and saw her maiden cloak nestled into it, pulling it out she gasped tentatively. It was a charcoal grey snarling direwolf on a pure white background, the fabric was warm and comforting and Lyra could spot the stitching of her mother’s hard work.
“Mother, it’s wonderful, help me put it on?” she asked, and her mother did so, tying it at the base of her throat, a knock came at the door and Lyra bid for her father and twin to enter.
Their eyes landed on her and widened.
“I guess I look good then?” she smoothed her dress nervously.
“beguiling” Robb told her
“my little wolf” her father said gruffly “you look wonderful my dear” he came over and hugged her tentatively, she squeezed him tightly.
“how is Bronn?” she asked
“he’s bouncing off the walls with a fucking smug grin on his face” Robb stated and received a slap around the head from their mother
“language” their mother scolded him
“Westeros” Robb smartly replied dancing out of the way of the second slap, but not seeing Tris’s kick making Lyra laugh from the circle of her fathers’ arms.
“he’s very excited, been working hard on your wedding gift all week, it’s impressive,” her father told her, and she gasped remembering.
“Robb you brought Bronn’s gifts, right?” she questioned him
“yes, Lyra I did, you checked fifty times and then sent servants to check and double check and then sent guards to triple check, honestly your so paranoid” he moaned light heartedly.
“it called preparation” she hotly argued
“it’s called insanity” Robb countered and with a gesture from Lyra, Tris cuffed him, and Lyra stuck her tongue out.
“real mature” Robb snarked
“more than you” Lyra countered
“it’s time” her father interrupted, and Lyra felt a jolt pass through her body, everyone except them two left to head down to the kitchens and carry on prepping the feast or towards the Godswood for the feast.
Lyra took one look around the room she had occupied and suddenly felt very apprehensive, she wasn’t scared of what was to come but of what she was potentially leaving.
“it’ll be alright my little wolf, we’ll all be heading to kings landing together, and you won’t lose your pack it’s just getting bigger is all” her father reassured her, a paragon of strength and she felt assured, he headed down to the Godswood as he would be standing in for the grooms father and she felt her twins steadfast presence next to her.
“ready?” he asked
“with you by my side, always” she smiled up at him
“now and forever” he answered placing her arm in the crook of his after she lifted the snow-white hood over her black tresses, hiding some of her faces.
The star forest truly earned its name in Lyra’s opinion, the trees were glowing under the light of the moonlight, without the need for touches rendered moot. The forest had a hushed silence about it as they entered the Godswood and Lyra’s breath was taken away flowers had been placed strategically around the ring of trees and a few lanterns hung for people to see, the heart’s tree had cried fresh tears causing the sap to shine a ruby red as her father and Bronn stood before it.
Robb led her to the front of the crowd and halted in front of them.
“Who comes before the Old Gods this night?" her father demanded, his face stoic.
Robb answered in a clear, strong voice "Lyra, of the House Stark, comes here to be wed. A woman grown, trueborn and noble. She comes to beg the blessing of the Gods. Who comes to claim her?"
Bronn stepped forward and answered “Bronn, of House Stark, heir to star forest and celestial keep who gives her?”
“Robb, of House Stark, heir to Winterfell, future warden of the north,” Robb said dutifully
Her father then spoke “Lady Lyra, do you take this man?” he stared into her eyes to evaluate how she was feeling.
“I take this man” she answered easily, and Robb placed her hand in Bronn’s warm grip, he gently led her to the face in the weirwood tree and they both knelt taking the time to prey.
‘let me be a good lady, wife and when the time comes, mother’ she prayed of the gods
‘let me prove my worth’ Bronn then helped her up before removing her maiden cloak handing it over to Robb and receiving the bridal cloak he had made from Ned.
Tears welled up in Lyra’s eyes as she spotted the pitch-black cloak with a storm grey direwolf on it, stitched and outlined in golden thread and a black and tan thick fur collar around the hood, the bottom of the cloak having wolves and foxes in golden thread curled around each other or playing or howling.
He reverently placed it onto her shoulders and instantly she was bathed in warmth.
“the grey matches your eyes and gold because your as precious as the metal and my treasure, together we will prosper our house and take it to new heights” he whispered quietly as he gently clasped the cloak and she felt her cheeks burn, they turned to face the crowd and their ceremony was over.
The party headed back to the keep in order to celebrate the quick ceremony. Lyra was seated on the high chair with Bronn to her right and their family on his other side the king was sat to her left and his family on the other side, the ate the succulent meats, roasted and steamed vegetables, partaking of the wines, spirits and ales. Lords came forward presenting gifts that Lyra thanked them for and Jory accepted on her behalf a majority handed him a piece of parchment as a confirmation for the soldiers that they had sent for or pieces of gold or grain to help set up a new keep, the carried on with the desserts and the band finally finished setting up once the eating was done with, it was time for the revelry, drinking and dancing.
Lyra danced for a while happily in Bronn’s arms, before she was handed to her father and brothers, Bronn similarly dancing with her mother and sisters.
Lyra had been dancing for several hours being passed around to different partners when she was snatched up by the king who seemed slightly sober, surprising with the amount of alcohol had been left out for the guests.
“you look beautiful” he commented softly, his eyes reminiscing
“thank you, your grace” she answered politely as he twirled her
“I have sent for troops from the crownland and storms end for you, I think you’ll find that the best troops in the seven kingdoms come from the Stormlands” he boasted
“if they are anything like you, your grace I don’t doubt it” and he released a booming laugh.
He halted suddenly bringing the attention of the room onto them “and I think it’s about time for the bedding ceremony!” he roared, and the room turned into a flurry of activity, she spotted Bronn being overwhelmed by the women in the room as they began hunting him, coercing him out of the room as they tore at his clothing.
The men moved in Lyra’s direction, but she was quickly surrounded by her father, her twin and Theon, Bran and Rickon having left earlier.
The northern lords and her family gently steered her up to her new chambers, telling bawdy jokes and sipping from their mugs, Lyra snorted in amusement as she spotted Bronns tattered tunic on the floor, the southerners tried to get handsy with her but it was soon shut down by her twin who glared and growled at them and Theon who smacked at the wandering hands, her dress was torn slightly and her laced up corset loosened but none dared go any further as her father had very obviously kept his hand resting on Ice’s pommel.
They arrived at the oak doors and GreatJon Umber opened the door and softly pushed Lyra through before closing the door behind her. She heard the men moving away from the door and turned to see Bronn standing there in the low candle light, holding two goblets of wine, shirtless and his breeches hung low on his hips. She roved her eyes over his tanned lean torso before looking away flushing hotly.
“see something you like?” he teased swaggering over and pushing the goblet into her hand “drink it’ll help with your nerves” he soothed softly, and she took a draught of the sweet tasting wine.
“I’ve got your wedding gift, sit” she ordered gently, and he indulged her sitting on the edge of the bed watching as she moved to the trunk at the end of the bed. She picked up the wrapped sword and dagger and placed them next to Bronn, sitting on the bed as well.
“go on, open them” she encouraged, and he raised an eyebrow at her before obeying, placing the goblet on the bedside table.
Bronn had to smile at the excitement that his wife was showing, her eyes dancing with joy and her lips parted in a bright smile, he calmly unwrapped the cloth and spotted two sheaths, he picked up the curved sheath with the plain pommel and unsheathed it, the steel gleamed up at him and he instantly wanted to play with it, about the length of his forearm it fit comfortably in hand and instantly felt the lightweight material.
“is this Valyrian steel?” he asked breathless looking at the curved blade and engraved with a heart’s tree and some ancient runes of the first men.
“they both are, the starks of Winterfell has stockpiled all the valyrian steel that we’ve ever found, there’s some in our keeps private armoury” she explained and he sheathed the dagger before picking up the sword, he smiled at the fox making up the hilt of the sword and stood up moving to give the sword a quick couple of swings, rejoicing as it swung through the air, he sheathed that as well and placed them both next to the bed.
“thank you,” he said sincerely, pressing a deep kiss to her lips which she happily reciprocated.
She pulled back “thank you for such a beautiful bridal cloak, I can’t believe you made it”
“Hmm, your sisters helped, and Sansa made you a day cloak to always be reminded of it” he deftly pulled at the cords of the cloak, pushing her back gently and climbing on top.
“it shows a lot of effort and care” she continued as he shifted his attentions to her earlobe and neck, moaning softly as he nipped at her sweet spot.
“Oh, my darling wife I’m about to show you effort and care” he mumbled into her collarbone tugging at her laced corset.
“my beloved husband, actions speak louder than words” she teased him, and he growled at the challenge, showing her just how loud he could make those actions.
Okay, I'm sorry about the delay but this one is extra long (19 pages on word) and fuck me this chapter was so hard for me to write, little bit of writers block and hella depression at the minute so I'm begging a little for validation cuz fucking hell this chapter made me wanna hurl myself off a tower. anyways I hope you enjoy it, your enjoyment is worth my suffering.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
Disclaimer- This isn't mine, obviously.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lyra was woken the next day by her husband gently moving her hair from her neck and nipping the column of her throat.
“one would think you have an obsession with my throat” Lyra murmured sleepily
“one would be right” Bronn answered, and she snorted “how are you feeling?”
“are you asking because you care or because you want another round?”
He pulled back to stare cheekily up at her “can’t it be both? And I remember numerous rounds thank you very much” he gently took her right hand, massaging it and watching with a little smug smirk as she groaned in the pleasure of the bruises being rubbed soothingly.
“With you? Definitely” she answered wriggling from his grasp to get dressed at the knock on the door while he pouted.
He lounged on the bed refusing to get up while she bid for Julan to enter.
“My Lady, My Lord we have another contingent having arrived from Astapor where you would have me place them?” he asked respectfully
“hmm, place them in the knights barracks for now, Robb is staying for me and he’s going to shuffle them around and then leave them in your capable hands until Jon comes back, make sure that they’re comfortable of course, I don’t want them disgruntled with me and your my stand in while I’m in the south, although I’m certain I won’t be there for long, we have to official swear fealty to the king and I want to settle Arya and Sansa but then I’ll come back” she informed Julan of her plans and he nodded in understanding
“of course, My Lady, and the party is heading off at noon, so I’ll send up servants to help you pack” with a bow he headed out and left them alone, Julan had been working in the background while Jory had been working in the frontlines being more used to the hectic environment.
Have you considered names for your new weapons?” she asked as she busied herself with picking out clothes for him.
“yes, I have” he answered as he pulled on the blue tunic she had picked
“and?” she questioned an eyebrow-raising at him
“I’ve named the sword pledged champion because that’s what I’ll be for you and the dagger has been named cutthroat, after all, that’s what I use it for and it’s a nickname of mine” he grinned at her and tried to snatch her back into bed, but she squealed and dodged
“you heard Julan, get up, we’ll be leaving soon” she threw a pair of breeches at him and he reluctantly tugged them on.
The servants soon hurried through the room stripping and replacing the bed sheets, setting out breakfast and carrying trunks down. The morning was incredibly hectic for Lyra and Bronn who had to sort out some last-minute arrangements, leaving instructions for Robb and about a thousand other chores for Julan who took it all in stride, its frustrated Bronn that he couldn’t lounge in bed with his beautiful wife but duties first.
Bronn was followed by Rian who was playing guard dog much to the pair’s amusement and Lyra was being followed by Tris, Bronn was happy to see them getting along and knew that his wife would win over his old friends soon.
Eventually, the castle was settled into Julian’s and Robb’s capable hands, Robb would leave within the week as he had Winterfell to take care off, but he wanted to help sort out the incoming troops and the presents that had been sent.
Lyra was relaxed on top of traveller, surrounded by her family as the train started heading back down south, Lyra felt a little twinge of worry- after the last time the wolves went south, she felt she had that right but one look at Bronn who was conversing with her sister helped to relax her, so long as she had her clever fox she would be okay.
They had travelled constantly and Lyra was close to throwing a temper tantrum, during the day she tried to stay as far away from the gossiping southerners as possible, Tris was very helpful in that regard and Joffrey seemed to have developed a slight obsession with her younger sister, which set her teeth on edge but thankfully it seemed that she was capable of holding her own, thankfully her father had declared that Sansa was still too young to be betrothed and had refused the king who had thrown a massive tantrum but had finally settled down when her father had assured him in the future they would revisit the discussion. The night was her escape, she rolled her eyes at the extravagant tents that had been set up, with Tris and Rian posted outside their tent flaps, she fell into a warm bed of furs and within her husbands’ arms, who took as many opportunities to pounce as possible.
“love are you okay?” Bronn asked her “is your hand or thigh hurting?” she smiled at his concern he had been so attentive to her, tenderly changing her bandages and applying the paste, she offered him a soft smile.
“just sick of all of this travelling is all” she smiled “I want to spar with fang and claw out in the open”
“it’s a good idea to have a hidden talent love, you know I don’t trust anyone” Bronn cautioned her
“I agree with you beloved, at least I can practice in the tent and Tris and Rian are wonderful spar partners” she perked up and he grinned at her
“and you have your daggers strapped to you always” he reminded her, he always ensured she placed daggers underneath her clothes every morning and made her sleep with one strapped around her thigh and another under her pillow, he had his old dagger under his pillow along with Cutthroat on his thigh and pledged champion within grabbing distance.
“little wolf can you go and wrangle Arya? She ran off with the butcher’s boy, Bronn will you help with the tents?” her father interrupted them, and she nodded heading off towards the river with Beowulf in tow, he now reached the bottom of her chest. They both headed towards the river, Lyra knowing that wherever there was the risk of ruining a dress that was where Arya would be.
Lyra came upon a very dangerous scene, Joffrey had his sword out and pointed at the belly of the butcher boy Micah, with Arya looking defiant and Sansa terrified, she swiftly stepped in.
“your grace, what has occurred?” she asked drawing his ire onto her
“your stupid butcher boy dared to address me with the improper terms” he snapped out and she glared at the boy for appearance.
“My apologies, your grace but surely you understand the stupid boy is baseborn he hasn’t had a proper education” she smiled at him placatingly, clamping her hand around the back of Arya’s neck when she opened her mouth to say something.
“I suppose I can forgive you, but you’ll have the boy punished?” he asked her with a twisted smile
“but of course, your grace, such a slight cannot go unpunished” she lied through her teeth
“please, my prince, I wish to leave now the sun is starting to get to me, surely you wouldn’t allow a lady like me to get ill due to a baseborn like him” Sansa pleaded with him softly, batting her eyelashes and Lyra wanted to applaud her little sister, the prick nodded and acting like a gallant knight, offered her his arm and escorted her back.
Lyra turned thunderous eyes on the other two “Micah get along to your father, he needs help with butchering the animals, DO NOT come to spar with Arya again do you understand?” she snapped out and he nodded before hurrying away.
“WHY DID YOU DO THAT?! Micah is my friend I wanted to spar with him it’s all that stupid pri-“Lyra’s hand clapped down on top of her mouth cutting her off.
“come along sweet sister, my beloved husband wants to challenge you to another round of that bravosi knife game” she smiled falsely at the people before dragging her sister into her and her husband’s tent, stopping briefly to order Rian and Tris to block the tent flaps and not to allow anyone in except her family.
“Arya, you must use caution when speaking of the royal family, we are not in the north, we are in the south” Lyra kept a tentative control of her temper, her sister was still young, but she was so brash.
“so, what does it matter? I’m telling the truth!” her sister screamed back, and Lyra gritted her teeth
“you cannot act like this in the south, we are in danger here do you understand? You say the wrong thing, trust the wrong people and you are dead, your head placed upon a spike do you understand?” she begged wanting Arya to understand the gravity of the situation.
“I don’t care I’ll fight them all” Arya bravely declared a defiant look on her face
“you cannot act like this” Lyra admonished her sister “you are a lady- “
“I’m not, I’m not a stupid lady I don’t want to be a stupid lady, I want to fight like you” Arya shrieked, and Lyra winced at the high decibel
“whether you like it or not you are a lady, you are a daughter of a lord paramount, you are a stark of Winterfell and you must do your duty, as I do and as Sansa does” Lyra tried to explain
“I want to fight not to sow and gossip” Arya argued, her arms crossed and pout on her lips
Lyra guided her sister over to a chair and sat down in the one opposite it “a mans weapons are steel and war a woman’s weapons are smiles and honeyed words Arya, there are many different battles we must fight and if you wish to learn a sword you may, you know I would encourage it and father is finding you a sword master but you simply must learn how to be a lady and how to use smiles and words as weapons, behind every man is a strong woman guiding him” Lyra tried to teach her sister but she glared at her before stomping out of the tent, crashing into Bronn along the way.
“Hey! What’s that about?” Bronn asked having carried in his lunch and a plate for her
“I have a headache” Lyra moaned pitifully “we are not having children for a very long time, I’m already busy mothering my younger siblings”
Bronn snorted “can’t exactly control that love, and by the way, we’ve been at it I’d sooner rather than later did Sansa and Arya have a fight again?”
“No, the further south we get the worse Arya lashes out, she needs to learn Bronn, she cannot say, or do as she wish, this is all so dangerous, I wish father never took the position” Lyra cursed heavily
“your father cannot refute the king, no one can, I’ll speak to Arya, she listens to me” Bronn grabbed his food before brushing his lips against hers and waltzing off, Lyra hurriedly ate her lunch and laid on the bed, desperate for a nap.
The next day Lyra kept close to Tris wanting to bond further with the woman, she didn’t want to be playing mother today and it was a blessed relief to be talking to someone close to her age and capable of relating to her.
“so, what is your story?” Lyra asked as they stopped for lunch, the Queen demanding time to relax and for once Lyra didn’t care she had set out a picnic for herself and her second in command, with Beowulf spread out next to her and the sun shining on her face, it was a lovely time.
“it’s not the happiest story my lady” she warned, popping a grape in her teeth
“sometimes those are the best ones and it’s not over yet is it?” Lyra asked her eyes on her husband who was reclined on a different blanket with her sisters, complimenting Sansa’s sowing while easily arguing with Arya but in a friendly way.
“I came from Qarth, my father was a pureborn who had fallen for a baseborn, he was influential and chose her, she was beautiful and manipulative, he was kind to me once but then I grew and I grew up far more beautiful than my mother and far more accepted she grew jealous and convinced father to marry me to a fat old lazy slob, I had no desire for that so I fled, they both grew angry at them I had humiliated them, so they sent a faceless man after me. I was young and foolish, but I managed to draw blood from the faceless man and I had kept fighting despite my inevitable end, so they cut a deal with me. He said ‘a girl goes with a man, a girl learns, a girl fights, a girl serves, a girl lives’ and I was curious and I agreed, I did as I was bid, I served and then I left, chose a name for myself and travelled eventually meeting Bronn and Rian” she smiled as she felt the memories cloud her mind.
“bittersweet but worth it the end?” Lyra asked as she bit into some melon, enjoying the taste
“yes, what is your story? How come you learnt how to fight?” Tris inquired, and Lyra laughed and told her off her life, how Robb was born first and then her both during a winter’s storm. That her father complained of her being as wild as the north but charming enough to get away with it.
She spoke about how she threw a tantrum at being separated from Robb so had attended his lessons, how they had been fostered together and how her brother had protected her and she had pulled pranks to cheer him up, how they had become older siblings and had so much pressure of being the first born and how they had to perfect everything and while she loved and adored her family and would do anything for them, she felt constant pressure not to mess up and to perform correctly that sometimes she was tempted to run from it all but winter was coming and a Stark always did their duty.
It had been a month since the incident at the river when they got close to Kings Landing.
The scent of kings landing slapped her in the face from a mile out and she grimaced, causing Bronn to laugh at her.
“don’t worry you get accustomed to the smell” he reassured her, and she stared in shock
“who would want to get used to the stench?” she asked, staring down at poor Beowulf who was pawing at his nose and sneezing, the top of his shoulder was now brushing against the bottom of travellers shoulders, she had to smile at how big he had now gotten now if she stood beside him, he could lean his head atop hers- thanks to her short height but he was still growing and would soon tower over her with ease, he was currently loping ahead of her weaving in between the northern guards and avoiding the southerners who had started avoiding the wolves like the plague, Beowulf was bigger and meatier than his sisters but they were no less intimidating with sharp teeth and lean bodies. She loved to watch as they hunted, all three of them brought down a stag and managed to drag him back to their proud mistresses, Bronn had teased her about being a proud mother for a few days after.
They made their way through the streets of kings landing, people pouring out to greet the king and call out their love, Beowulf was kept close to Lyra and Bronn was glancing around, his hand placed on the pommel of pledged champion.
The eventually made it the tower of the hand, having split off from the main party that headed towards the red keep, Lyra slid off Traveller and he was taken away as servants swarmed them and started carrying trunks into the tower with Jory and Lyra directing them.
Robb groaned lightly and placed his head on the cool desk in his father’s solar, praying for some relief, he had always teased his father for going grey early but he was certain he had spotted a grey hair in his mane of red this morning, not only was he dealing with being the lord of Winterfell and Warden of the north, he was contesting with celestial fort and the constant influx of soldiers and small folk while the small folk were useful to immediately take up jobs, settling them was causing him a headache and if that wasn’t enough his good brother had nagged his father into ordering him to fix moat Cailin. Bronn had raved about security measures and fortifying the north and eventually to shut the paranoid bastard up his father had relented and piled it upon his shoulders to deal with it all as a test, he rubbed his forehead as he dragged some paperwork closer to him, he was a Stark and a Stark always did their duty.
Jon sighed heavily as he watched the prisoners being carted to sit in front of the fire and his uncle handed out meagre rations.
“and those are to be your brothers” Tyrion pointed out, he liked the dwarf and his sister praised him, but he didn’t quite understand why the dwarf was so against him and the night’s watch.
“it’s an honour to be on the night’s watch” Jon informed him, and he truly believed that
“but not a master-at-arms?” Tyrion questioned, and Jon groaned
“it’s not that simple” Jon brooded, he had considered it of course he had, it would be an excellent opportunity but who would want a bastard?
“of course, it is, you go to the wall have your little visit and then come back to celestial fort and put on some pretty leather armour and a nice fur cloak” Tyrion snarked as he took another drag of his wineskin
“I’m a bastard, no one would accept it” Jon stated sadly, he had learnt the truth of it when he had accidentally referred to Lady Stark as ‘mother’ and she had berated him for hours about reaching above his station.
“by the Gods your as melancholy as the bloody silver prince! Your sister wants you to be her master and she married a bastard and it was accepted” Tyrion rolled his eyes exasperated and Jon’s eyes narrowed
“she put you up to this didn’t she?” he accused, and Tyrion flushed slightly turning the page of his book.
“I happen to be very fond of your sister is all, she’s beautiful, kind and smart, it’s a good thing she’s offering” Tyrion primly informed him
“I don’t need her pity” Jon snapped irritate, the dwarf knew how to get under his skin like no other.
“it’s not pity it is love you nitwit” Tyrion snapped out “she wishes to care for her beloved brother and you are denying it due to your own pride, as your sister cleverly once said ‘a Royal could easily become a beggar king and a bastard could easily build a wall, last names and blood have nothing to do with it’ think on that bastard”
Jon was quiet for a little while before he asked, “why do you read so much?”
He didn’t bother looking up at the question “look at me and tell me what you see?” he requested
Jon started slightly, wondering if this was a trap.
“is this a trick?” he wondered hesitatingly
Tyrion smirked and spoke “what you see is a dwarf, if I had been born a peasant then they would have left me out in the woods to die, alas I was born a Lannister of casterly rock, things are expected of me, my father was the hand of the king for twenty years”
“and your brother killed that king” Jon observed, finally getting Tyrion to look up at him
“yes” Tyrion admitted “until my brother killed him life is full of these little ironies, my sister married the new king and my repulsive nephew will be king after him, I must do my part for the honour of my house, wouldn’t you agree? But how? Well, my brother has his sword and I have my mind and a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, that’s why I read so much Jon Snow”
They both fell into silence, as Jon’s mind whirled at the new thoughts.
Sansa sighed happily at the view she had from the tower of the hand, she enjoyed the warmth that was currently soaking into the room, she glanced around at all of the maids currently bustling around her, she frowned not knowing any of them as they sorted through her private trunks.
She had been angry at first by the words her good brother had provided her, wanted to deny them and dig deeper into her stories but when she had finally considered them in her room that night, she had realised the truth of the matter, as much as it stung her pride- something she shared with her sister- she knew that she was a bit of a dreamer, but while she adored her big sister and looked up to her she wanted to be different so while her sister became the perfect northern lady capable of taking down a man and commanding the north, she became a perfect southern lady, who knew all about tourneys and curtsies and knights and hero’s. when her younger sister had been wild and northern she had played at being disgusted but truly, deep within herself, she was scared, she was the odd one out, the southern wolf.
Her older brother Robb while having Tully colourings was all northern as stern and honourable as their father, even her bastard half-brother was more northern than her and she was envious, so she dug her heels in and clung to the southern ways.
She dismissed the maids as she sat on the window sill, her fingers trailing idly over the wolf necklace her good brother had given her ‘as a reminder’, perhaps it was time she embraced her northern ways, a southern wolf was still a wolf. She smiled at her mirror image, placing the necklace around her neck.
Ned grumbled as he stormed into the solar in the tower of the hand, the heavy oak door slamming against the stone wall, he went and slumped into the chair. The small council meeting had been a disaster, he had always known Robert to have been gaudy and excessive but honestly a tourney for him? and such high prices? It did nothing to benefit the crown and that being said the crown was so far into debt that he wondered how it was all to be paid back and to the iron bank no less! He would have to ensure that belts where tightened, he could not allow this to continue.
He glanced up at the soft knock, smiling at his beautiful daughter whose skin was glowing, her husband was following her dutifully, an arrogant look on his face and a conceited swagger, but every time Bronn glanced at his daughter, his face would soften, and his lips would pull up into a soft smile, it was evident he was besotted with his wife.
“Father what’s wrong?” his dearest daughter asked gently as she moved into the room, Bronn closing the door, so they could have privacy.
“the King is demanding a tourney to celebrate my arrival, the crown is in debt and I don’t bloody want it” he groused to his little wolf, seeing her eyes sparkle in amusement.
“well then stop it” she suggested easily, giggling as she was snatched by her husband and placed on his lap, Ned's hands clenched at that but seeing the smile on her face and his respectful hands, he calmed down.
“I wanted to but I was shouted down” he told his little confidant “now I have to figure out how the hell we are going to afford it, 80,000 gold dragons and those are just the prizes and we are six million in debt, three to the Lannister’s and another three to the iron bank”
His little wolf gasped in shock and Bronn grimaced
“how could the king allow that?” Lyra asked in shock
“drinking and whoring Love” Bronn gently reminded her, and she scowled, he gently soothed the scowl away and Ned smirked at the starry-eyed look of his daughter and smug grin of his good son.
“that being said I need to find a way to offset the costs” he frowned
“toll fees” Bronn interjected, his focus mostly on his wife
“what do you mean?” Ned asked leaning forward in curiosity
“place guards at the gate, charge a copper or a stag or a dragon for entry to kings landing, then place ten dragon entry fee on all of the tournaments, set up a marketplace for trade and make the vendors pay a hiring price or for those selling food and drink place a price on that as well” Bronn answered easily, taking the goblet of wine his wife offered with a smile and taking a drink of it.
“that’s brilliant” Ned perked up before pulling a piece of parchment and quill towards himself and starting to work out the details.
Lyra smiled at her father’s happiness and gently tugged Bronn up and out of the solar and towards their room, she turned her face up to her smug looking husband and kissed him.
“clever fox” she murmured against his lips
“dearest wolf” he smiled and proceeded to drag her to their bed.
I'm sorry that it's been so long but basically my motivation has been shit recently, my mental health is being a dick recently however I've worked on this chapter and I hope it's okay, sorry if it isn't. do you guys like it? hate it? what do you think of the different aspects? that's something I messed around with. also smut, do you guys want any smut?
let me know :)
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
Okay, Disclaimer Not mine also this chapter is dedicated to Sadie who has very patiently waited for some SanSan- I hope you like it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Petyr Baelish sighed heavily as he played with the pile of gold in front of him, he needed the lions and wolves to be at each other’s throats but it wasn’t happening, he had initially planned on going for the younger wolf and have him crippled but when he had heard about the beguiling wolf he had seethed, how dare one of those barbarians produce something beautiful? Of the north? So, he had sent those bandits to scar and taint her, like he was scarred by the wild wolf.
Then that bastard came and saved her the fact that she was married to a bastard soothed him and he revelled in Ned Starks first born daughter becoming a laughing stock of the North and therefore the seven kingdoms, but those savages had gone and accepted it, celebrated it! When he had tried for his beloved Cat’s hand he was scorned but that bastard was celebrated now a Lord! Higher ranked then himself!
He had to send a letter to his Cat, he could use the bastard who had protected the dwarf as a point for her, he didn’t want to manipulate her but it was for the best, he would place the blame on the dwarf, his Cat would do what was necessary and then the Lannister’s would retaliate and war would befall the seven kingdoms. Nodding his head as plans formed he started writing. And sent of his letter on the fastest raven.
The next day and Sansa smiled as she took a turn around the rose gardens of Kingslanding, she and her older sister Lyra along with her guard Tris were taking a relaxing walk with Lady, Bronn being stalked by Beowoulf had been dragged off to help their father with some duties and Arya gone for her first water dance, Nymeria following her mistress dutifully.
“what is it like?” Sansa asked, flushing as they sat at one of the many tables
“what’s what like?” her sister wondered as she watched Sansa playing with a handkerchief she was stitching
“being…married?” Sansa flushed delicately as Lyra grinned wickedly and Tris laughed
“you mean fucking?” Lyra’s guard asked, and her sister slapped her reproachfully
“leave her be, my sister is very ladylike about these things and as for your question San it’s amazing” Lyra gossiped with her little sister.
“the septa said that it would hurt” Sansa mentioned quietly
“Hmm, I was scared it would, but Bronn ensured that I was prepared” Lyra reassured her
“how can you be prepared?” Sansa’s innocence was really showing, and Tris took pity on her
“your sister means foreplay, depending on the man he can be kind when having sex or he can be incredibly cruel, I was with a man once, he was so kind and gallant and handsome, I fancied myself in love with him but once I had given him what he wanted, he turned cruel and vicious” Tris told her
“what happened?” Sansa whispered biting on her lower lip.
“I was so fucking twisted I didn’t know which way was up, fancied myself in love, it took Bronn and Rian killing him and dragging me away for me to be saved but for months afterwards I was furious convince that they had killed my love but it took a frank and long argument with them for it to get through my thick skull” Tris smiled at the memory, of how caring they were.
“but how did you know?” Sansa questioned them feeling slightly frustrated “how can you tell if a man is kind or not, how did you know Lyra?”
“well I was attracted to the way he looked but he protected me which was a point in my favour but I suppose when I saw him and he didn’t see me, I saw him with our siblings and he was being kind and patient and funny with them and they way they looked at him well, I just sort of fell for him then. He went and fetched me roses just to make me feel better…his every action is to ensure my happiness and safety” Lyra had been staring off into the middle distance, but she focused back on her sister who was looking thoughtful and Tris who was nodding along.
“I think I’m beginning to see” Sansa spoke
“he might be rough with the outside world but so long as he’s kind to you, for instance Tywin Lannister, he’s feared as the most cunning and vicious man in Westeros but for his wife he moved mountain and rivers at her behest, did anything she asked of him and saw to her happiness and treated her like a Queen” Tris mentioned and Sansa nodded, they all settled down for some lunch that Lyra had sent for before their walk.
Sansa soon left her sister and her guard when it was time for her afternoon lessons she had sent Lady to her room with a northern servant as her septa was terrified of her wolf- she didn’t really understand why, she was pondering on what her sister was saying when she spotted the hound standing in a corridor, curiosity peaking she decided to stay where she was in order to test her sister’s opinion.
Sandor fucking hated his life, there was no fucking if’s or buts about it. He had a sadistic cunt of a elder brother who he knew murdered his father mother and his sweet little sister along with countless others, he was often curious whether his brother was a reborn mad king or perhaps he was the mad king and this was his punishment he mentally snorted his was a dog, a dog obeyed, a dog wasn’t to blame for following it’s master so he had sold his soul to Tywin fucking Lannister, the man that owned his brother but he hadn’t shown the same sick fucking tendencies as his brother so he was shipped of to the sadistic incest bastard that was Joffrey ‘Baratheon’, the torturing that sick fuck enjoyed even made his stomach turn and that was saying something after fifteen years of the mountain that rides but he swallowed down the bile and did as he was ordered, he rejected his titles because he didn’t want to be associated with any of those sick fucks or incompetent pillow biters.
Fuck he really hated his life.
At the moment, he was standing guard over the little fuckers chambers as he groused about not having enough gems in his pretty blond hair or some shite. Feeling a slight weight knock into him he jerked slightly from his thoughts and spotted a serving girl with a pile of fabrics bundled around her.
“I’m so sorry Mi’lord it was an accident truly” he could see the tears in her fearful gaze and felt his heart twist but covered it with a black scowl
“the fuck where you thinking ya dumb cunt? Can’ even fucking walk straight can ya? Stupid bitch you should stay on your knees like that, mouth gaping surely make more money that some useless serving girl” he snarled at her and she scrambled up, beginning apologises, he just grunted scooped up the fabrics placed them gently into her arms and steered her into the room where the blond shit was screaming.
He glanced up and down the corridor and grumbled ‘fuckin’ useless cunt’ for emphasis. Can’t have anyone thinking the monster melted dog was kind, could he?
Sansa considered what she had just saw and decided to grab the bull by the horn and to talk to him, she had been interested in him since she had seen him and wanted to get to know him, apparently, she enjoyed a challenge.
She walked and stopped in front of him “hello ser” she smiled up at him and he glared
“like I told your fucking sister little bird I ain't-a ser” he growled
“I’m not a bird, shall we just call each other by our first names?” she asked pleasantly
“fuck is it with you Starks?” he snapped shuffling on his feet, not used to pleasant conversation or attention.
“we enjoy a challenge, we’re prideful, arrogant and so very stubborn” Sansa admitted
“what if I’m not fucking interested?” his eye was narrowed in suspicion
“we never particularly care either way, we get what we want” she smiled up at him coyly
“that so?” he asked gruffly
“we did during the rebellion” she snarked and he let out a bark of laughter she noticed that his eyes looked like melted chocolate.
“funny little bird” he said, and she smiled brightly up at him, Sandor noticed that Trant was coming to relieve him.
“dog” Trant greeted him and he grunted “my lady”
“Ser Trant” Sansa curtsied prettily
“is there anything you need my lady?” Trant asked politely but Sandor could see the look in his eyes and his own grip tightened on his sword.
“Oh, I was just wondering if our dear prince is planning on going into the tourney or any of you? It’s said to be a lot of fun, we don’t have tourneys in the North” Sansa lied easily having thought of the excuse, so she wasn’t caught out.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be my lady, but perhaps the dog?” Trant turned to him and he glared
“Maybe, been a while since I’ve killed some cunts” he said and Trant nodded his head
“that’s all I needed, goodbye Ser” she curtsied prettily again and went to walk away, Sandor decided to follow her
“big place, you get lost and hurt my heads on a pike” he snapped out when she gave him a questioning look and she let out a light laugh, he thought it rather sounded like bells.
They walked in silence for the most part, the hound sneering at anyone and Sansa smiling softly at the rest, he was somewhat curious about her hair, he enjoyed watching it sway, the flame red of it slightly scaring him but also drawing him in and when the sun hit it right it almost seemed to shine gold.
When they reached the tower, Sansa suddenly stopped and turned towards him
“will you be fighting in the tourney?” She asked again, and her cheeks were flushed slightly pink
“probably one of the melees I enjoy thrashing people around” he easily admitted
Sansa breathed deeply and nodded before gathering her courage and pulling out a favour, she had hoped to run into Ser Loras but perhaps Sandor would prove to be a surprise?
“would you then wear my favour?” she asked pulling out the length of silk, grey Stark with some wolf heads she had embroidered onto the fabric.
Sandor was struck dumb, the little bird wanted him to wear her favour? He grew angry at that.
“look at me” he snapped
She did, and he noticed that she was looking at his face with no disgust, or morbid fascination, she just looked inquisitive and shy. But he wasn’t having it.
“the fuck would you want a dog to wear your favour?” he asked
She sighed and rolled her eyes “you’re a very powerful warrior from the way my sister talks about you, I’m certain you’ll win, it’s good luck to wear one and I want to claim the winner with my favour and you know dogs and wolves are related so that is rather rude” she reprimanded him, with no fear in her gaze, the fuck was wrong with northerners? Did they not understand he was a scary cunt to be feared?
“fine” he grunted snatching the length of silk and tucking it into his pocket before turning and striding off.
Sansa watched him stalking off and she felt slightly accomplished, it went well. Smiling she turned and went to her sowing lessons.
Bronn arched an eyebrow at his good father who was stomping around the solar, he reached out to scratch at Beowulf’s thick fur, the great wolf was panting, and he reminded himself to get his fur cut to avoid the poor wolf from getting a heatstroke, his wife would kill him.
“so, what exactly are we doing today?” Bronn asked knowing the whole thing about sorting out the guards was bollocks.
“I want to investigate the death of Jon Arryn I don’t trust what has been stated officially” Ned informed him
“smart- nothing out of kings landing could be trusted, could’ve been poisoned? Do you have the autopsy?” Bronn wandered
“no, I’m going to meet up with Maester pycelle bring Beowulf, he can be helpful- he’s intimidating” his good father ordered, and Bronn fell into step with him
“and I’m not?” he snarked causing Ned to smirk.
They eventually made it to the maesters chambers with Beowulf relaxing outside of the door with Rian and Jory, he ignored the conversation that Ned was having with the maester and meandered over to the vials and remedies he had on stock.
“might I? wife’s been having a bit of a headache” Bronn smiled at the maester who nodded and handed over the keys to the cupboard, Bronn opened it and began to rifle through it, he noticed Echinacea Tea leaves, Aloe Vera, Elderberry Tincture, Catmint and Comfrey. At the very back of the cupboard was a smallish unmarked vial that he took out slyly, he noticed it wasn’t labelled he uncorked it and sniffed it, odourless and clear. He snuck it back before taking some of the tea leaves with a smile to the maester he handed back the keys and waited on Ned Stark.
“while I have you lord stark” Measter pycelle passed over a letter and Bronn noted that it was unopened, he nodded his thanks.
“Oh, and maester apparently Jon was reading something before he passed do you know what it was?” Ned asked, Bronn noted his tensing body
“why are you interested in that?” the maester asked
“he just wished to share something with his old mentor, like a father don’t you know” Bronn swiftly stepped in, giving him an idiot grin.
“ah, very well it was The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms” the maester said and held out a very thick book which Bronn quickly took
“it’ll be good to learn of my new family wouldn’t it?” he questioned gormlessly seeing the maester lapping it up.
“I was also wondering if Jon had any last words? It would provide me with some closure” Ned asked quietly
“well surely you understand my lord he was feverish and delusional, but his lasts words were ‘the seed is strong’ what it means who knows?” Maester pycelle wondered, they both murmured their thanks before heading off, Bronn handing the book to Rian to place in Ned’s solar.
“didn’t know you spoke for me” Ned commented idly as they left the room
“aye, in those situations I do, yer a shite liar” Bronn admitted carelessly “where to next?”
“baelish wants a word” Ned informed him
“that manipulative cunt?” Bronn groaned
“what do you mean?” Ned asked
“I’ve been around a lot and that Baelish cannot be trusted, people talk and in front of no good bastards? They practically sing- after all what can a bastard do to them? that Baelish has plots within plots has claimed to have fucked Lysa Arryn and your wife, taken their maidenhoods and that they’re both madly in love with him, it’s true that mad bitch Lysa is obsessed with him. don’t trust him” Bronn warned Ned and he nodded his head anger coating his face, they proceeded to hunt down Baelish while Bronn opened the letter.
He let out a loud bark of laughter as he read it.
“what is it?” Ned asked as they made their way into the throne room
“seems my good brother is planning my murder, he’s not happy about the extra task of the moat but he says that it’s not as ruined as one would expect at first glance and that he’s put plenty of masons at work, should be fixed up soon enough. He’s worried that autumn will come soon” Bronn told him
“aye, a Stark knows these things” Ned agreed
They finally met up with Baelish who threw an odd look at Beowulf and Bronn before speaking to Ned.
“Lord Stark I was hoping we could take a turn in the gardens?” Baelish asked, and Ned acquiesced.
“so, a bastard to a lord it must be difficult for you” Baelish smirked at Bronn and he wanted to shank him.
“not particularly, I’m enjoying the challenge in all honesty after all it’s such a vast land to rule over, so many resources and army to settle although my good brother is helping in that regard, speaking off Ned I’ll have some of the second sons landing within the week” Bronn directed to his good father who nodded in satisfaction.
“and a wife to satisfy no doubt?” he asked with that bloody superior smirk of his “and why have you hired the second sons?”
“my wife is no man’s business but my own and I haven’t hired them, they’ve decided to join under the banner of House Stark” Bronn smirked at Baelish losing his own
“aye, my son is good like that but what do you want Baelish?” Ned asked not wanting to be around him after what his good son had told him, he trusted him far more than some old friend of his wife and the man had tried to duel his own brother to get to his wife.
“I wish to talk to you, as I’m an old friend of Cat I wanted to ensure her husband’s safety and I wanted to tell you about what Jon Arryn was doing before his death” Baelish told him
More like his demise, Bronn narrowed his eyes and tuned the conversation about spies out, he knew that already and not to trust anyone not even him, yea no shit mockingbird.
They soon retreated but Baelish called out “I’m sorry as well what happened to your daughter next to the howling waterfall such a shame, I do hope she’s recovered”
Bronn haltered as Ned turned to thank him for his concerns, how the hell did he know it was next to the waterfall? That hadn’t been mentioned, could’ve been his spies.
“how did you know?” he interrupted
“know what? That your poor wife was attacked? It was quite the gossip” the glint in his eye made Bronn want to bloody his knife
“no, how did you know that it happened next to the howling waterfall? That detail wasn’t let out” Bronn watched him closely, weighing the answer.
“why, Cat told me, she sent me a letter after all we’re so close since we were children” Baelish answered smoothly but Bronn noted the bigger pupils and tensing of his body, he was lying.
“of course,” Bronn murmured, and the pair retreated to the hand’s solar with Beowulf in tow, who had been tense the entire conversation.
Bronn posted Rian and Jory on the outside as he closed the door and shut all the windows.
“so, what are your thoughts?” Ned asked him as he sat down, turning down the goblet of wine offered.
“Baelish is a manipulative cunt who’s trying to get you to do something, he thinks he’s the puppet master and you the puppet” Bronn answered “he knew about the attack said it was your wife who told him, I call bullshit I think he engineered it”
“truly?” he asked
“hmm yea I know a liar when I see one and he was lying like all hell, why would he want you, you specifically to investigate Jon’s death? Why just give you clues and not just tell you? What trail does he want you on? What does he want you to find out? If he was so bothered with your safety he’d just tell you not send you in potential danger” Bronn explained as he partook in some wine, using Beowulf as a footstool who didn’t protest.
“right, it bears some consideration why where you rifling through the maester’s medicine cabinet? Is Lyra unwell?” Ned asked, and Bronn shook his head
“no, wanted to see the medicines, did you know he has a bottle of the Tears of Lys, which has been used?” Bronn asked rhetorically, and Ned’s eyebrows rose
“what do you know of this poison?” Ned said
“it’s a rare and expensive poison, made by the alchemists of Lys. It is clear, tasteless, odourless, and leaves no trace. When dissolved into liquids and drunk, the poison eats away the bowels and belly of the victim and appears to be a sickness of those parts. It’s a favourite of impatient heirs who want to knock off their lord father and take over, I only know the basics prefer doing it myself, you want an expert I’d ask the red viper” Bronn replied carelessly as he began to clean his fingernails with his dagger
Ned rubbed a hand down his face, why the hell did he come south again? Ah yes to keep his king from dying, speaking off…
“Lysa Arryn sent a letter to my wife, stating the Lannister’s could have killed off her husband and that she fled fearing for her life and the life of her son, what do you make of that?” Ned asked, his good son was a blessing from the old Gods, he could see things in ways he was blinded to.
“true, they could have killed them but why does it do for them? Nothing Lannister’s rule in all but name so unless your mentor had some serious blackmail on them I would place it on the back burner, but the woman still breastfeeds her son and he’s eight, she’s demented and obsessed with Baelish, funny how it all seems to revolve around him ain’t it?” Bronn pointed out dryly
“could you have something against him?” Ned questioned, wanting to understand the apparent bias
“I have something against anyone that doesn’t bare the name Stark and hasn’t proven themselves to me, Baelish is creepy from the rumours of the prick he’s malicious, sadistic and cruel with an unhealthy obsession with your lady wife, if your alright with that then ignore my stupid mouth but I don’t like the suggestions about my own wife and her bloody satisfaction next time he brings it up I’ll carve a smile on his face and do as your brother did but I’ll go fucking deeper” Bronn warned, his face serious and eyes blazing.
“you have some good points, what’s this of the second sons?” Ned inquired wanting to steer the subject away from Bronn’s anger and to get him to let go of his ‘cutthroat’ persona, it worked, and Bronn relaxed back into his chair his usual smirk firmly in place.
“when I was travelling around I, Rian and Tris joined up with multiple sellsword companies, it was a way to make honest coin, do what we were good at and not have the law after us. I made a lot of contacts and a lot of friends. What the sellsword companies mostly want after the fucking, fighting and money earning is somewhere to settle down, with good pay and a good life, I sent off ravens and told them of the new opportunity and word spread, a lot of word spread. So, the vast majority headed to my new keep I asked two hundred to head here, to make up a personal guard, forty for each of us, can’t be too careful in this snakes pit” Bronn explained himself
Ned nodded his head and was about to continue the conversation when they were interrupted by Lord Varys who came and made himself comfortable after asking permission.
“what a dear wolf, I hear they grow ever so large, seems the legends are true but how is your dear daughter Lord Stark and your son Bran? And your youngest I hear he’s to be fostered at bear island” he inquired politely
“expect nothing less from the master of whispers and aye, Bran is fine, he’s recovering well, he’s of the north, strong and resilient. Lyra is fine, happy, healthy and married” Ned answered
“oh, yes forgive me, the newest Lord consort to our beguiling wolf, my, my quite the improvement for a bastard” Varys said, and Bronn detected the interest in his wife but quickly decided to shut it down.
“aye, and I know you the cockless spider wonder, I’ve heard all about your little birds and let me warn you now, if you do anything against my family or my wife I'll do a hell of a lot worse than what that magic man did, might be a Lord now but I’m still a cutthroat bastard” Bronn gave him a razor-sharp smirk of his own at the paling of Varys face.
“how did you know that?” He asked, his voice soft as always
“you’re not the only one with a spy network” Bronn answered easily, he had once upon a time been a bird himself, and then joining the companies and thieves and assassin’s guild, well it gave one a lot of skills.
“then I shall endeavour not to cause any harm to your beloved wolves” Varys conceded with a nod and Bronn let out a grunt of satisfaction, staring at the wall but kept half an ear on the conversation.
“well, some doors close forever and some open in the most unexpected places” Varys spoke his voice whisper soft and a pleasant smile on his face “if the wrong ears heard what I’m about to tell you then off comes my head and who would mourn poor Varys then? North or South they sing no songs for spiders but there are things that you must know, you are the king’s hand and the king is a fool, your friend, I know but a fool and doomed unless you save him”
“I’ve been in the capital a while why wait so long? Why not immediately?” Ned interrogated him a frown on his face.
“I didn’t trust you” Varys admitted easily
“so why do you trust me, us now?” Ned pressed on
“the Queen isn’t the only one that has been watching you closely” Varys said but his tone held a hint of warning “there are few men of honour in the capital, you are one of them I would like to believe I’m another, strange as that may seem” he cast a quick look at Bronn who glared right back
“try to call me an honourable man eunuch and I’ll gut you, I’m anything but” he sneered
Ned cast a glance at Bronn who quieted down
“what sort of doom does the king face?” he asked quietly, his face grim and eyes intense
“the same sort as Jon Arryn” Varys informed him, and Bronn’s ears perked “the tears of Lys they call it, a rare and costly thing, as clear and tasteless as water, it leaves no trace”
Ned stood up and began pacing, it matched with the thoughts of Bronn and his own suspicions, Gods why the hell did he agree to come south? Oh, yes, his fool king, fool brother who also convinced him to start a rebellion.
“who gave it to him?” Ned asked wanting the opinion of the spider, if it coincided with Bronn’s theory or Lysa’s then it could help narrow it down or add another suspect.
“some dear friend no doubt but which one?” Varys softly answered “there were many Lord Arryn was a kind and trusting man, there was one boy all he was he owed to Jon Arryn”
“the squire, ser Hugh?” Ned asked
“his life seems to be going so well after his Lord’s death rather a compensation isn’t it?” Varys mentioned airily
“ser Hugh poisoned him?” Ned wandered “who paid ser Hugh?” Ned grew slightly angry at the thought.
Varys shrugged and answered “someone who could afford it”
“Jon was a man of peace, he was hand for seventeen years, seventeen good years why kill him?” Ned declared to the silent room
“he started asking questions” Varys answered and quickly took his leave
Ned slumped down into his chair and Bronn handed over a goblet and jug of wine.
“Jon was a good man, he was loved” Ned lamented, taking a gulp of wine.
“you waste time, trying to get people to love you, you’ll end up the most popular dead man in town” Bronn told him coldly and Ned levelled a glare at him “an angry woman is vindictive beyond measure and hesitates at nothing in her bitterness, even murder” Bronn mentioned
Ned swiftly put the dots together “you think Lysa would?” he said doubt creeping into his voice and posture
“she was a demented woman, obsessed with a man who would never truly love her but manipulate and lie to gain his own needs, she hates her own sister because she knows in reality her one true love would chose her very own sister and she’s forced to marry a man over twice her own age and fuck him, I say that would send her already cracked mind, shattering” Bronn said with a shrug of his shoulders
“and what should I do?” Ned asked “I can’t just be ruthless” he knew it would tear him apart
“if you believe love and honour conquers all, go and kiss a rattlesnake” Bronn snapped out, he in no way wanted his wife in any danger and if you weren’t prepared to get your hand’s dirty then you were fucked.
“honour is important” Ned snapped back his hackles raised and his eyes like a winters storm so like his wife
“What good is honour to a dead man or his family, Honour doesn’t keep a man alive in a fight, Honour doesn’t get a man gold and honour doesn’t fill a man’s stomach. I don’t fight with honour a fact that I’m proud off in a fight your fighting for the most important thing in all the seven kingdoms, your life, if using dirty tricks are what’s gonna keep me alive and get me back to my wife or keep her safe from whatever cunt wants to hurt her, I’m sure as the seven hells gonna use them. I’ve fought a lot of men with honour, and I’m the one standing here and breathing while they’re six feet under and their bones turned to dust, I’ve fought men without honour and I’m here because I fought with less honour” Bronn reiterated his speech to the captured squid and saw his good father deflate in understanding “this is a battle, this is a war and I will use everything to protect my wife and my family, I’ll do the nasty, dirty underhanded honourless shite because you can’t be seen doing it” Bronn gave him a way out and Ned quickly clung to it.
“and your fine with that?” Ned asked
“I’ve done far worse for far less” Bronn answered with a shrug, the pair soon then had their lunch together, with Bronn helping Ned to plot and scheme before they both headed off down to flea bottom, Jory heading to speak with Ser Hugh.
“you are late boy” a man called out as Arya entered the sparring room, Nymeria moving over to the wall to relax, the man was short and rather plump with brown skin and black curly hair, he was dressed in leather armour and had two swords, one in each hand, he turned and Arya caught sight of his face, brown eyes set into nut brown skin with a well-trimmed goatee.
“tomorrow you will be here at midday” he ordered her
“who are you?” Arya asked in curiosity
“your dancing-master: Syrio Forel” he answered, chucking one of the practice swords at her, she attempted to catch it but it went clattering to the ground, he held the pommel of his own sword tip facing the ground “tomorrow you will catch it, now pick it up” he stated matter of factly and Arya moved to pick it up, and it dragged against the ground.
“that is not the way boy” he chastised “it is not a greatsword needing two hands to swing it” Arya placed it into one of her hands
“it’s too heavy” she whined
“it’s as heavy as it needs to be” he replied quickly “to make you strong” he tossed his sword in the air and caught it flat sided on the back of his hand “just so” he told her and Arya found herself enthralled, he tossed it again and snatched it with one hand “one hand is all that is needed” he informed her and she smiled.
He cast an critical eye over how she was stood “now you are standing all wrong” he lectured “turn your body side face” he moved closer “you are skinny, that is good” he corrected her posture with the sword “the target is small, now the grip let me see” he placed his sword underneath his arm and corrected the way she held it.
“the grip must be delicate” he said
“what if I drop it?” she challenged, this wasn’t how Lyra had been taught, she remembered the fuzzy lessons that Lyra had received from an Asshai'i. he was a brand of warrior called a dimachaerus, he claimed he was a gladiator and fought with twin Gladius swords, similar to short swords. He had taught Lyra how to use such weapons and father had given her own twin gladius valerian swords, fang and claw when she had completed the training. She had been taught how to fight in close combat and to fight ruthlessly, it was said the gladiators were fiercer than the unsuilled and to Arya at least it had been proven. She could remember the amount of times the giant man and tossed her sister about like a rag doll only for Lyra to get up again, she had been beaten black and blue, but she had taken to the gladius fighting like a natural.
Her sister used a fighting style adapted to both attack and defend with her weapons rather than a shield, as she was not equipped with one, Arya remembered seeing her sister, dance around the northerners outwitting them, staying close and attacking fiercely, one sword always defending the other always attacking, her trainer Remus Tiberius Leontius had boasted that his class of gladiator would fight highly skilled and experienced fighters. He said Dimachaerus were suited to fight heavily armoured opponents- which westori’s usually were and they also fought other dimachaeri, as well. Boasting that they are known to have been paired against the hoplomachus and are also referred to as fighting against a gladiator class called an oplomachus.
Syrio considered her for a moment before flashing an elaborate move, making the sword dance into his hand “the steel must be a part of your arm, can you drop part of your arm?” he asked rhetorically as he began circling her “no! nine years Syrio Forel was first sword to the Sealord of braavos, he knows these things, you must listen to me boy”
“I’m a girl” Arya contradicted him, and he looked unfazed
“boy, girl, you are a sword, that is all” he answered, he glanced down at her hand and tutted, demonstrating he said “that is the grip” and Arya quickly corrected “you are not holding a battle axe, you are holding a- “
“needle!” Arya quickly interrupted thinking of her own sword and she saw how his eyes twinkled at her.
“ahh” he laughed “just so” he agreed, and she smiled
“now we begin the dance, now remember child this is not the dance of Westeros we are learning, hacking and hammering” he demonstrated- his movements rough and unrefined, and Arya quickly jumped back “this is the braavos dance” he twirled the sword smoothly over his head “the water dance, it is swift and sudden” his movements that had been so smooth and gentle quickly turned and he pointed the sword at her, Arya felt excitement bubble up.
“all men are made of water do you know this?” he asked and she stared up at him “if you pierce them, the water leaks out” he gently jabbed at her stomach “and they die” he said, his eyes filled with warning “now you will try and strike me” he informed her moving the sword to level with his chest.
She moved to copy his stance and the lesson began in earnest.
She left that room several hours later, bruised and sore with Nymeria in tow but a bright smile on her face, she couldn’t wait to tell her family what she had been up to that day.
Jon glared at the people of the nights watch, thankful that he hadn’t agreed to shit, the master at arms was Alliser Thorne, he was bitter, humourless and despised him and the feeling was bloody mutual.
The hatred had only grown when Jon and Tyrion had paired up against him starting when Jon had interrupted the spar between new recruits when he had arrived to help the one that was struggling.
He had mocked both Jon and the recruit saying “Lord Snow wants to take my place now. I’d have an easier time teaching a wolf to juggle than you will train this aurochs.
Jon had calmly replied while adjusting the man’s grip on the sword “I'll take that wager, Ser Alliser. I'd love to see Ghost juggle.” It had caused everyone in the courtyard to burst out laughing and for Ser Alliser to turn a bright red in rage. He had then turned his attentions onto a new recruit Samwell Tarly who he had referred to as his Lord of Ham, and Jon immediately placed him under his protection after two other recruits had smacked him about.
He had then headed up to the top of the wall with Sam, offering his services as he hadn’t anything else to do, he had stood right at the edge overlooking the further north and felt awe at the views, he had turned to encourage Sam to come and see as well.
“come and stand by the fire, it’s warmer” he had encouraged gently already seeing how soft the boy was, he needed to toughen or else the North would destroy him.
“No that’s alright I’m fine” he lied horribly
“no, you’re not, your freezing” Jon chided him with a hint of steel that finally got Sam to move closer
“I don’t like high places” he confessed “and I cannot see very well”
“you can’t fight, you can’t see, your afraid of heights and almost everything else probably what are you doing here Sam?” Jon asked emotionlessly it was true bastard grew up quicker than trueborn children, but this was laughable.
Sam look scared but he began to speak “on the morning of my eighteenth name day my father came to me, ‘your almost a man now’ he said ‘but your not worthy of my lands and title, tomorrow your going to take the black forsake all claim to your inheritance and start north if you do not’ he said ‘then we will have a hunt and somewhere in these woods your horse will stumble and you will be thrown from your saddle to die or so I will tell your mother nothing will please me more’ Sam looked despondent and Jon felt pity in his heart
“ser Alliser will make me fight again, tomorrow, won’t he?” Sam asked
“yes, he is” Jon confirmed coldly and heard Sam’s answering groan
“I won’t get any better you know” Sam complained
“well” Jon smirked and chuckled “you can’t get any worse”
He saw the answering smile on Sam’s face, the pair dissolved into laughter and began to speak, forging a strong friendship as Jon began to scheme, no one would hurt his friend.
Later that evening Tyrion had been joking with everyone as they sat to eat eventually Ser Alliser had once again opened his mouth and spat at him.
“Come and make your japes with steel in your hand.”
Tyrion had laughed mockingly and jested “Why, I have steel in my hand, Ser Alliser, although it appears to be a crab fork. Shall we duel?” Jon had let out a bark of laughter at that, along with several others, he had gotten to know several of the recruits who had given him respect after they had seen him fight and he had helped them, he had informed them that they were to protect Sam or taste his blade but one of the prisoners that had travelled north with Jon and Tyrion wouldn’t let up, so he decided to do something about it as they slept.
He waited until he heard the snores of everyone in the room before he grabbed a thick piece of rope, woke his accomplices and got ghost up, he moved quietly over to the prick and slammed down the rope between his teeth, gagging him as the two others pinned down his arms. He woke with a start and looked up at him with fear filled eyes. Ghost placed his paws on his chest, snarling viciously his eyes glowing like hell fire.
“No one touches Sam, not even when I’m gone” Jon informed him coldly Ghost snapped his jaws close to his neck as Jon and his accomplices released their hold. They quickly moved off, but Ghost stayed until the scent of piss filled the air, licking his chops with satisfaction he followed after his master.
Jon noted the vast improvement with Sam’s treatment the very next day and nodded in satisfaction, he made Sam swear to send him letters and made an oath to send letters back, reassuring Sam he would be visiting often as Jeor had asked him to send prisoners or volunteers north and act as a liaison. He rolled his eyes at the dwarf’s smug face as he left, they proceeded to argue over whether the dwarf was the one to convince him to go to celestial fort.
My Dearest Cat,
It pains me so to bring you this news, as you know I have loved you for so long and pledged my life to yours. Anything you would want of me I would do so. It is with greatest shame that I must share this news with you but alas as your closet and oldest friend it is me that this news should come from. As you know I have many businesses in which I earn my money some of those being brothels- you know I do not partake like some men, and much to my chagrin your newest good son is a part of the vast majority that do. I had stumbled upon him bragging to a whore about how he was using your sweet girl for her lands, titles and resources. How he and the Lannister’s had planned all along to tie one of your children to a bastard like him in order to weaken your family, the fact that he was now a Lord simply a boon to them. He spoke of how the imp had engineered it all as the Lannister’s wish to destroy the wolves and seize it all for themselves, it pains me so my dearest Cat, but I must tell you, warn you. I am unable to help as I am so far from you, but I will endeavour to keep your husband and children safe, I beseech you take action against the imp for the vile deeds he has allowed, protect your family- do not forget to burn this.
Your dearest friend,
Catelyn’s fists clenched as she read the letter that Petyr had sent her- her oldest and dearest friend who has always been there for her, of course after the warning from her sister to not trust the Lannister’s and now this! She had thought that the sell-sword was good for her daughter but partaking in whores? Shaming her? Like Eddard did to her? And what of any bastards he would have, would he bring that stain to her precious daughter’s life? Either way she wouldn’t let this slight, this attack on her family stand! She would annihilate the Lannister’s starting with that imp! Feeling rage course through her veins she started for her loyal guards. She was the Lady of Winterfell and she would be obeyed.
Robb was sat in the chair that his father occupied, Bran by his side learning how to rule, as he listened to the lords and small folk that had come to speak with him, grey wind sat at his feet observing the room when maester Luwin came in with news that his brother and Tyrion Lannister were spotted, personally he didn’t care for the imp but his sister liked him so he would be kind to him, soon enough his brother and Tyrion was escorted into the hall, he straightened up knowing formal duties had to be observed first.
“My Lord Lannister, Jon, I welcome you both, Winterfell is yours for as long as you need it but first” he gestured to the servants that brought forth bread, salt and wine and all three partook in it.
“and how is your brother Bran? I would love to bring news to your father and siblings when I get back, everything all right? I hear your rebuilding the moat” Tyrion asked as he finished off the wine
“Bran is fine and everything is fine, we’ve had a large number of militia moving into my sisters new keep and small folk as well but Julan is handling it all and I want to pass on my sisters and my own immense thanks, the men are a massive boon to the north and to my sister’s protection, I’m certain you’ll be able to see it on the way to king’s landing, Jon it’s so good to see you” Rob beamed at his half-brother having missed him dearly
“it’s good to see you too” Jon replied, a small smile on his face as Ghost went to greet his litter mate
“decided black wasn’t for you?” Robb teased gently a happy smile on his face
“nah, decided I’d rather become a master-at-arms, someone has to be around to put you to the ground” Jon teased back, knowing he had made the right decision.
Robb went to reply when the doors burst open and a contingent of Stark guards came storming into the room and surrounded Jon and the imp, his mother in the lead.
“Mother, what is going on? What are you doing?” Robb demanded to know his face slipping into a frown
“I’m arresting the dwarf” his mother snapped back “Tyrion Lannister you are the one that attacked my children and I will see justice done”
“I have done many things, wanked into a stew pot and gave it to my sister to eat but I have never harmed a child” Tyrion replied and caused the room to fall into a fit of giggles
“Tyrion Lannister is under guest rights, he has done nothing wrong, Guards step down” Robb ordered he knew he would be tested- as anyone stepping into a role of leadership would, but his own mother?
“it’s his fault your siblings were attacked! That sell-sword was under orders from the imp! He’s been disgracing my daughter, your sister with whores! He engineered the attack with the bandits all to harm my children I will have justice! Guards arrest him” his mother shrieked, and Robb leapt to his feet
“guards! Stay your hands! Mother I don’t know what in gods name is going on with you, but Tyrion engineered nothing! The bandit attack was senseless and cruel, Bronn saved my siblings and Lyra considers Tyrion to be a dear friend! Father named him ally and friend of the north! I will respect that, and he is under guests’ rights and therefore my protection” Robb snapped back his temper igniting
“I am the Lady of Winterfell and your mother! I will be obeyed” his mother screamed at him “guards seize him!”
Robb was incensed and his wolfs blood was burning “I AM THE LORD OF WINTERFELL AND I WILL BE OBEYED! NO ONE IS TO LAY A HAND ON TYRION LANNISTER, DO NOT TEST ME MOTHER” he roared at the room, taking a breath he continued “Guards, my mother has taken ill, see to it that she is escorted to her room and two of you stay with her should she require anything understood?” the guards quickly nodded their heads and escorted their Lord’s mother out of the room swiftly, not wanting the young wolf’s ire
“well that was entertaining, I’ve never caused drama quite so quickly, must be improving with my age” Tyrion jested but his voice shook.
“My sincerest apologies, my mother is feeling unwell” Robb lied through his teeth, he was expecting being tested by some of his liege lords but his own mother? He couldn’t allow it to stand.
They all made their way to the high table where they partook in the simple but hearty food, Robb directed for a servant to go and prep the finest rooms for his honoured guests.
“Bronn wouldn’t go for whores, would he?” Bran asked, his voice innocent and his face heartbroken, Robb felt rage course through his veins.
“of course, he wouldn’t Bronn worships your sister, he loves her dearly, it’s disgusting” Tyrion reassured him quickly and Bran brightened again, Robb frowned he would have to send a letter to his sister.
Lyra woke up to a buzz of excitement the entirety of Kings Landing was in a tizzy over the tourney, her father had tried his upmost to stop the tourney but had been shouted over by the king, the implemented tolls and fees had gone a long way in order to help relieve the pressure of the cost.
She dressed herself in a blue dress that matched Bronn’s eyes, she was slightly worried about her husband, she didn’t doubt his abilities, but she didn’t want him to get any wounds. She halted in brushing her hair as she spotted the favour she gave him so long ago, it was slightly tattered, but he slid it through his fingers reverently, before he tied it around his wrist.
“do you still have that?” she questioned him
“yes, I do, you gave it to me and I ain’t giving it back” he growled possessively at her but his eyes glinted at her playfully.
“I wouldn’t dare take such a treasure” she poked playfully, and he smirked in satisfaction, he did cut a rather dashing figure in his leathers and weapons, she felt herself growing aroused and glanced away with a blush.
Bronn spotted the blush and preened, he moved up behind his dearest wife, wrapping his arms around her and placing open-mouthed kisses along the pale column of her throat, darting his tongue out to lick at the few freckles that danced along her skin.
“see something you like wife?” he took the chance to stare down her dress and felt himself hardening.
“Bronn” she giggled helplessly “we have to get to the tourney, you have a melee to win”
He groaned playfully but helped in tying her hair back and escorting her to the royal stands and seating her with her family before heading off to his group for the melee, having so many signing up for the prize it was split into two groups, Bronn would be fighting first against some old champs at the tourneys, he was most weary about Thoros of Myr and his fucking wildfire sword, along with forty others but he promised his wife a win, so win he would.
Bronn noticed that in his group there was a hell of a lot of Freys but then again, those lot bred like rabbit’s despite looking like weasels there was: Ser Danwell, Ser Emmon, Ser Hosteen, Ser Jared, Ser Perwyn, Ser Theo and the bastard Martyn Rivers all of house Frey he also noticed House Mallister represented by Patrek Mallister, House Redwyne championed by Hobber Redwyne and House Royce competing with Lord Yohn Royce. There were other notable houses and hedge nights along with bastards, but he didn’t pay any attention to them as he stood in the drawn-out field of battle.
He was dressed in supply leather armour that was suited to him and his fighting style with stitched on direwolves representative of his house, the Stark banner being flown behind him as he eyed up his competition being eyed up in return.
It was Theo Frey the arrogant cunt who decided to taunt him “well if it isn’t the up jumped bastard sell sword playing at being a Lord” he jeered causing his family to burst out laughing, he was tall, scrawny, pockmarked with a weasel face and incredibly ugly.
“well if it isn’t the inbred weasels” he snapped back, unconcerned with what the green boy thought of him “jealous I outrank you? Jealous I have a keep and lands and a title whereas you have nothing?” he smirked at the infuriated look on his face
“why would I be jealous of a man whose whore wife spreads her legs for anyone? I just might try her myself bet her tits will bounce amazingly when she rides my cock” the Frey man insulted him, and Bronn’s eyes narrowed as he caressed the pommel of pledged champion, that was it, he was first, and he was dead.
“tell me when your father finally got rid of the shrivelled-up cunt that was your mother did they go back to referring to each other as brother and sister?” he feigned nonchalance but felt deep satisfaction when he turned red.
“your useless son of a whore bastard, how dare you to speak of my mother?” Theo snarled at him
“your mother or your sister? But then again it’s pretty much the same thing for you Frey’s your more inbred than yeast” he mocked causing chuckles to break out
The man looked confused “what is that supposed to mean?”
“look, I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you and I neither have the time nor the crayons to do so” Bronn lamented dramatically.
“START FIGHTING BEFORE I PISS MYSELF” the heroic King called out and the Frey boy, roared and went straight for Bronn who drew his sword and blocked him, murmurs broke out and he looked in awe of his sword, that’s right fucker, this up jumped bastard had a valerian sword.
The fight began in earnest and Bronn was in his element as he parried and fought with the Frey, the boy had no experience and no real skill so Bronn quickly dispatched him, after all accidents happen and that fucker had dishonoured his wife but he quickly moved on, his eyes filled with bloodlust and his own blood singing along with the swings of his sword and dagger, three hours later and Bronn was panting heavily, it seemed that he was somewhat of a target but he had managed, he was now up against Thoros and his bloody sword that was somehow still on fire, spitting some blood and spit from his mouth from a smack across his jaw with a gauntlet from his latest opponent he moved swiftly into a defensive position as Thoros came for him swinging wildly. From the quick flash of swords Bronn settled on the knowledge that the man didn’t have any real talent just relied upon his parlour trick to terrify people into submission, but he gritted his teeth and swung back, to his eternal surprise his sword cut through Thoros’s and the cleaved sword fell apart and Thoros quickly yielded leaving Bronn the winner of the first melee.
He quickly snatched the gold purse and took off to quickly change before taking his rightful place next to his lovely wife who had netted herself quite the sum of gold by betting on him and from the way she was looking at him he was going to receive quite the reward tonight, with a smug grin he settled in to watch the rest of the tourney, arm wrapped around his wife’s waist.
Sansa watched nervously from in between her elder and younger sister, Lyra had bet on Bronn to win the first melee and she had been right but Sansa had seen the tightening of her sister’s eyes from the long fight and she herself felt worried seeing her good brother being set upon but he had fought and won and was now settled next to his wife, having taken the break between melee’s to rest, change and water and feed himself. Sansa spotted Sandor in pitch black armour and his dog head helm striding into the battle field which had been cleared, he cut an intimidating figure but on his right bicep she could spot the favour she had given him yesterday tied securely, the ends fluttering, she blushed a pretty pink and her sister nudged her with a raised eyebrow.
“is that...?” she trailed off while Bronn perked up in interest
“yes” Sansa admitted,
“what’s that?” Bronn questioned
“shh, don’t be so nosy, so are you?” Lyra interrogated with the nosiness of an older sibling while Bronn pouted at being left out.
“is she what?” Bronn asked and even Arya looked interested as did their father, Sansa blushed brighter
“yes” Sansa kept to one words and Lyra beamed happily
“oh, that’s wonderful, isn’t its Bronn?” Lyra turned to her husband who still looked confused slightly but seeing his wife’s happiness conceded
“yea, it’s wonderful” he agreed and earnt himself a chaste kiss on the cheek
Sansa hmphed and turned her eyes to the field where Sandor was staring at her and she smiled back, she ignored Arya’s constant prattle about how Syrio would beat them all and how their techniques were rubbish compared to Syrio’s and the water dance. Sansa was sure she had a crush on the man. Thankfully Lyra and Bronn engaged Arya about it seeing as how Sansa didn’t know as much and she listened closely to the explanations, some of it going over her head but she was happy to be included.
Petyr Baelish then decided to interrupt, he came and sat beside Sansa and Lyra frowned at him Arya being dislodged, she encouraged Arya to come and sit between her and Bronn.
Bronn felt chills race up his spine at the sight of Baelish with his good sister and fingered the dagger at his back discreetly.
Petyr leant forward and began to whisper in Sansa’s ear loud enough to be overheard by the other Starks “has anyone ever told you of the story of the mountain and the hound? Lovely little tale of brotherly love, the hound was just a pup, six years old maybe, Gregor a few years older. Already a big lad, already getting a bit of a reputation, some lucky boys just born with the talent of violence. One evening Gregor found his little brother playing with a toy in front of the fire, Gregor’s toy. A wooden knight. Gregor never said a word he just grabbed his brother by the scruff of his neck and shoved his face into the burning coals, held him there while the boy screamed, while his face melted.” Petyr leant back and enjoyed seeing the fear “there aren’t many people who know that story” he whispered sadistically.
“I won’t tell anyone, I promise” Sansa said quietly her voice shaking with fear and Bronn’s hand closed around the pommel of his dagger, cutthroat.
“no, please don’t if the hound so much as heard you mention it I’m afraid all the knights in kings landing will not be able to save you” he said and Sansa felt her face darken, he would perhaps be angry about it, having it brought up but she doubted he would harm her, after all he was wearing her favour. She felt her heart clench at what he must have suffered through.
Sandor watched as the twig fucker called Baelish started whispering things in Little Birds ear, he saw how she paled and felt rage course through his veins, what the fuck was he saying to little bird? He didn’t know why he was interested in her but couldn’t shake the thoughts of her, she intrigued him a sweet little bird who had a wolf hidden inside. He turned his attentions to those in the melee with him and couldn’t find himself pitying any of the fuckers, he had a lot of rage to work through, thoughts of the fucking mocking bird touching his little bird driving his bloodlust higher.
Sandor eventually won the melee and snatched his winning before walking off again to ready for the jousts. The archery came first though with Anguy of the Dornish Marches defeats Ser Balon Swann and Prince Jalabhar Xho at a hundred paces after all other competitors are defeated at shorter ranges.
The jousts began, and it went like this:
Jory Cassel defeats Ser Horas Redwyne,
Jory Cassel defeats a member of House Frey,
Lothor Brune jousts Jory Cassel. After three tilts Lothor is awarded the victory.
Ser Meryn Trant defeats Harwin of Winterfell,
Ser Balon Swann defeats Alyn of Winterfell,
Ser Jaime Lannister defeats Ser Andar Royce,
Ser Jaime Lannister defeats Lord Bryce Caron,
Ser Barristan Selmy defeats an unnamed rider,
Ser Barristan Selmy defeats another unnamed rider,
Ser Jaime Lannister defeats Ser Barristan Selmy,
Ser Gregor Clegane defeats an unnamed rider,
Ser Gregor Clegane defeats Ser Hugh of the Vale, killing him. Bronn made a note of this and exchanged a glance with his good father who also seemed to be mulling it over, the knight that had just been knighted and they tried to talk to suddenly dying?
Ser Gregor Clegane defeats Ser Balon Swann,
Sandor Clegane defeats Lord Renly Baratheon,
Lord Beric Dondarrion defeats a hedge knight in a checkered cloak, after the knight disgraces himself by killing his horse,
Thoros of Myr defeats Lord Beric Dondarrion,
Ser Aron Santagar jousts against Lothor Brune, but after three tilts they are awarded a draw,
Lord Jason Mallister defeats Ser Aron Santagar,
Ser Robar Royce defeats Lothor Brune,
Ser Loras Tyrell defeats Ser Meryn Trant, knight of the Kingsguard,
Ser Loras Tyrell defeats another knight of the Kingsguard,
Ser Loras Tyrell defeats a third knight of the Kingsguard,
Ser Loras Tyrell defeats Ser Robar Royce.
Sansa watched as it came down to the semi-final with Sandor first jousting against the kingslayer, Jaime Lannister who looked just like the knights of old with his golden armour and perfect features, the joust was over in one pass as Sandor unseated Jamie easily and Sansa felt pride rush through her at asking Sandor to wear her favour. It was time for the other jousting pair and she watched nervously as the knight of flowers trotted by, not an inch of dirt on him, she glanced to Bronn when he burst out laughing.
“what’s so funny?” she asked in curiosity
“the knigh o’ pansies has got a mare in heat” he cackled causing Renly to glare at him but Bronn just flipped him off
“what’s that got to do with anything?” Arya interjected
“a mare in heat will distract Gregor’s stallion, it’s very clever all things considered” Lyra explained to her two sisters while Bronn made a bet on Loras to win, Baelish taking him up betting on the mountain to win.
“100 gold on the mountain” Baelish challenged Renly feeling certain in his victory
“I’ll take that bet” Renly replied a smug smirk on his face
“now what shall I buy? A hundred barrels of ale? A girl from the pleasure house of Lys?” he mocked
Renly smoothly replied “perhaps even a friend” Lyra and Bronn both laughed at this and Baelish conceded to the verbal joust.
They went at each other and it worked just like Lyra said, the mare distracting the stallion allowing for Loras to unseat the mountain but then it all went terribly wrong.
Renly was lording it over Baelish “such a shame littlefinger, it would have been so nice for you to have a friend”
“and tell me Lord Renly when will you be having your friend?” Baelish mocked, and Renly glared at him
“SWORD” the mountain bellowed, and his squire hastened to obey while Loras was busy lapping up the adulations. Gregor took the oversized great sword while his squire held the reigns of his mount and in one swift motion beheaded the beautiful horse, it’s blood spraying against his face as it let out a wail of agony. Lyra let out a loud cry as Bronn clenched his jaw tightly. The mountain wasn’t done though and came storming over to Loras, his sword swinging for his face and Loras was barely able to dodge it, manoeuvring the horse out of the way. Bronn quickly leapt to his feet moving in front of his wife.
Bronn watched as the mare bolted and Loras toppled to the ground, the mountain storming over to the man he swung again, aiming to cleave him in two but Loras managed to use his shield to block it. Bronn was fingering his dagger, weighing the option of tossing it into his head and the likely hood of his own survival when the hound intercepted snarling in his gruff voice for his brother to leave Loras be but the mountain didn’t listen and continued to chip away at the shield.
The hound unsheathed his own sword and intercepted his brother strike, his eyes burning with hatred while Loras rolled away, Bronn looked on as the two giant men where in a sword lock their faces inches apart, his whole body was tense, and his eyes took in every twitch of their bodies.
Sandor manged to shove his brother away and the two eyed each other up, Sandor wondering if the fight was to continue while his brother was no better than a rabid animal as he came at his little brother again, their swords met in a flurry of activity as they fought.
Robert finally roared “STOP THIS MADNESS IN THE NAME OF YOUR KING” Sandor swiftly knelt to his knee, missing the strike at his head while Gregor just glared menacingly. He then threw his sword to the ground before storming off Robert calling for them to let him go.
Loras came back to stand beside Sandor “I owe you my life Ser” he stated breathlessly staring up at him in awe
“I’m no Ser” Sandor sneered hatefully wishing he could have killed his brother.
Loras ignored it and grabbed his hand lifting it up to the delight of everyone, Sandor felt uncomfortable but when he saw little bird jumping to her feet and clapping, her eyes bright and a wide smile on her face he felt his lips twitch in response.
Later at the feast they were sat together, and Sansa began speaking to him softly
“you wore my favour” she stated
“you asked” he grunted
“yes, I did and I’m glad I did so, what you did was brave” she smiled at him, quickly glancing around before placing a soft kiss on his scarred cheek and left him speechless as she went for a turn around the dancefloor with her father.
After such an eventful day, the feast was just as eventful, the King calling for plenty of food and wine in celebration, everyone speaking of the hound’s heroics acts but Lyra was far more interested in her husband. She kept thinking back to how he looked fighting, how he fought with such ferocity and how attractive it was to her so she began a game of teasing, she would let her fingers trail over his arm and thigh, rub her chest against his arm, excusing it by reaching for something, letting him place his hands in less than appropriate place before teasingly pulling away, whispering in his ear and dancing close to him.
Bronn was being driven wild by his little vixen of his wife and by the way her lips curved, and eyes sparkled she bloody well knew what she was doing, he shifted uncomfortably for the umpteenth time, feeling his rock-hard member rubbing against his breeches.
“wife” he threatened “your playing with fire”
Her hand slid up his thigh to cup him as she leant in to whisper in his ear, a hot glint in her eye “Promises, promises husband” her tongue flicked out and caught a bead of sweat on his neck and his resolve broke.
He swiftly stood and made some jumbled, half- hearted excuse that by the looks of it his good father didn’t believe for a second but let them go with a smirk on his face.
Bronn chased his wife through the halls, the pair giggling and paying no attention to anyone else as he finally caught her at the tower of the hand, the pair stumbled into their room and Bronn grinned as he pinned his wife to the closed oak door, he quickly captured her velveteen lips with his own one hand tangled in her black hair the other lightly gripping her hip
He teased her lightly with a push pull rhythm switching up the preasure and feeling satisfied at her flushed appearance, he watched the flush spread down her neck and to her chest, gods how he wanted to chase that flush but she distracted him tugging at his hair and pulling him back to her lips, he happily dove in intent on imprinting her sweet taste in his memory
He pulled back when he needed to breath and ordered her in a rough voice to jump, she did so and he caught her, his hands filled with her ample arse and her delightful legs wrapped around his hips.
He turned and began to walk the pair of them to the bed but he stumbled and lightly tripped over a belt he had left out earlier, he dropped her on the bed as he fell onto his arse, she looked dazed for a second before bursting out in laughter at his predicament.
“think that’s funny do ya?” he grunted in embarrassment slightly
“oh yes it’s hilarious” she laughed hesterically at him and he felt his lips turn up into a reluctant smile at her mirth, he took a moment to just drink her in, dressed in that blue dress that clung to her curves and showed her figure, her hair unbound and curling around her head, lips pulled up into a care free smile, her teeth gleaming and he silver eyes sparkling at him
“well perhaps this calls for punishment” he drawled arrogantly, he pulled off his boots and enjoyed watching her face panic as she scrambled back he lunged capturing her around the hips and she let out a shriek of laughter.
“Bronn!” she squealed struggling half-heartedly
“perhaps I should have you beg for mercy” he whispered lowly in her ear, watching as goosebumps rose in response
“I do not beg” she sniffed haughtily and he chuckled
“well I’ll just have to change that and I do so love a challenge” he growled and bent his head lavishing her neck with kisses, paying particular attention to the freckles, tasting them with his tongue, looking up he saw her biting her lip and he groaned in appreciation.
“nothing? Hmm” his voice lowered as his eyes darkened with lust, lightly nipping at her exposed collarbones, his fingers working deftly at her corset strings.
He moved back up to her lips, wanting another tase of paradise and felt her delicate fingers pulling at his tunic, with a chuckle rumbling in his chest her pulled back and tugged it over his head, tossing it too some unkown corner. Placing his tanned and muscled chest on display to his wife’s eyes which darkened and her fingers started exploring committing his body to her memory.
He dragged down her loosened dress revelaling her gorgoues curves, he noticed her nipples had pebbled and hardened and he smirked, crawling back up her body taking time to nip, lick and caress her silky skin. Her chest began heaving agains this own and his tongue darted out to taste her honeysuckle skin, nuzzling it as he felt Lyra’s nails scratching at his shoulders and she released a low pleading whine.
“still nothing? My love you are a stubborn one” he murmured softly his fingers callocused trailing father light and slowly over her skin, providing a tortours contrast for Lyra as she squirmed. Bronn smiled and watched in fascination as her hips bucked, licking his lips.
He decided to allow himself a taste and bent his head, gently taking her erect nipple into his mouth, he began to suckle as his hand rolled the other between his thumb and fore finger, he pulled back after a while and lightly blew on the wet soaked skin.
Lyra couldn’t take it and let out a low moan as her hips bucked “Bronn” she groaned her head tilting back, chest rising in offering as she clutched at his broad shoulders.
“so my wife can beg and so prettily at that” Bronn smirked and Lyra made a mental note to smack him.
He returned to her delightful tits, alternating between nipples with his mouth and fingers, his unoccupied hand trailing over her body, her arse where he pinched and slapped lightly, to her trembling thighs where his strong grip became a soft caress, up to her stomach and tanglong in her hair only to start the rhythm over again.
He moved further down, his mouth licking and nipping at her soft stomach, hipbone to hipbone, he had to use his hands to pin her hips down as that stretch of skin was sensitive to her and she bucked wildly, hands tugging at his hair.
With a devilish smirk onhis lips, her skipped over her soaking cunt, tempted to taste but wanting to hear her beg and to drive her crazy.
He carried on imprinting his touches on his wife, paying attention to her thighs, moving oh so close before pulling aways, hands kneading her arse as he drove her wild.
“Bronn” she pleaded desperately needing her husband to give her some relief
He pulled back, halting his movements “what’s the magic word love?” the oh so infuriating but oh so attractive smirk on his face
“please Bronn Please” she babbled helplessly
“good girl” he murmured before his head dove down and he finally partook in her sweetness groaning at the taste of her, like peaches as she cried in pleasure. He tasted her thourghly using his tongue and fingers to bring her to the edge and tipping her over, he watched as she tossed her head back crying out loudly as her hair stuck to her sweat soaked body, his eyes were nearly black with lust, his cock leaking as he moved in between her legs wrapping her legs around his hip
“ready?” he asked as she came down from her high.
Lyra wasn’t having it and used her tiring muscles to flip them over in a smooth move, she had him on his back as she straddled his torso, he raised an eyebrow at the new position, his hands settling onto her hips.
“they say I’m a natural rider, you’ve seen me ride my love do you think I’m any good?” she coyly teased her fingers running over his scarred chest, feeling confident at the dazed look in his eyes, his erection so close to paradise but still so far.
“aye, I’ve seen you dearest but perhaps I can have a reminder? I do have such a bad memory at times” he smirked up at her.
“but I see no horse” she looked around innocently “whatever should I ride my Lord?”
“I’ve got something for you to ride” he leered playfully, arrogance oozing from him.
“oh, you mean this?” she asked wanting to wipe the look from his face, she grabbed the base of his cock and swiftly impaled herself onto it, her nails dug into his pecs as they both released groans at the feeling.
“fuckin’ hell” he cursed his eyes rolling back slightly at the sensation of her walls around him “warn a man love”
“but then I wouldn’t get that reaction” she teased, feeling satisfied
Bronn decided on some pay back, he lifted her up easily before dripping her back down grinning at the noise she let out, her nails scraping his chest heightening his pleasure “I can see the appeal”
“next time I’m tying you up” she pouted playfully, feeling her arousal heighten at the thought, yes tie him up and tease him as long as she wanted, her walls fluttered around his cock. He went to reply but she cut it off with a sensual swivel of her hips causing his head to fall against the pillow and a curse to leave his lips.
Lyra could feel that she was close so she proceeded to ride Bronn quickly, chasing her orgasm as he groaned and encouraged her, eyes fixated on her breasts as he leant forward and took a nipple into his mouth, their sweat soaked bodies soon found release and they collapsed together onto the bed, both spent but satiated.
okay, so this one has a lot in it! tell me what you think? what do you hate? what do you love? what do you think will happen next? do you want more smut? less smut? sorry it's taken so long I'm either A) sick or B) the second coming of Jesus Christ is happening.