The carriage ride made her stomach jump and twist with every had rock or hole the wheels ran over, her stomach was already in knots over being summoned to court to begin with and she didn’t know how much more movement she could handle. As she gazed out of the window, willing her stomach to stop churning painfully, she found her mind wandering off to simpler times which once would’ve brought a soft smile to her lips and made her heart warm, but now, the thoughts only turned her gloomy and her disposition sadder than it had been before.
Lady Sansa Stark of Winterfell had lived in comfort for fifteen years, she had been raised in a loving household, House Stark being one of the richest and ancient bloodlines throughout Westeros, even more noble than the Kings who currently sat upon the Throne. Lord Eddard Stark was a glum man, whom only ever smiled when around his children and wife, Lady Catelyn Stark nee’ Tully, was as warm and bright as they came… her parents ran the North with kind efficiency and all whom met the Starks, loved them. Lady Sansa had been raised along with a litter of siblings, there had been Robb, Arya, Brandon and Rickon, but so much had changed in only a few years and now there was only herself and little Rickon left; the once great and powerful Starks had been reduced to only two.
Lord Eddard Stark had been a loyal man to the late King Robert Baratheon, the two had even grown up together and fought alongside one another in battle for many years, but upon the late King’s passing, his eldest son, Joffrey Baratheon, became King and seemingly overnight everything had changed. Sansa’s father had risen up, along with a plethora of other Northern lords and even the two brothers of late King Robert, in effort to overthrow the young King; they had said King Joffrey was not King Robert’s true son, that the Dowager Queen Cersei had cuckolded him and that one of the late King’s brothers was the rightful heir. Sansa was not sure exactly the events that transpired, only that there was a rebellion, one which many people had thought they would win until at the last moment, Lord Stark and all the others had been beat and swiftly executed for their crime… treason.
None had been spared in King Joffrey’s wrath, many good families, with bloodlines dating back centuries, were suddenly no more and Sansa’s family felt that same hole. She had been away, that winter a horrid bout of pneumonia had swept across the North and Sansa had fallen victim to the horrible thing, the Maester’s had insisted her parents send her somewhere South in order to recuperate; whilst Sansa was being healed, her family had been dragged from their home and executed one by one till only the servants and young Rickon was left. The news had reached Sansa only days after, by a missive from the King himself gloating about all he had done and she had been forced to write a letter of obedience and loyalty under the watchful eye of the Septa’s and Maester’s that were meant to heal her; a few weeks later she had returned home to sad, cold walls… Rickon hadn’t even turned one yet upon their parent’s death and now all they had was each other.
Sansa had been told that while she was allowed to live, nothing was in her control any longer, she had only been fifteen and suddenly she was a prisoner in her own home. Two years passed with little to do, except protect little Rickon and abide by the crown’s rules and laws… Winterfell was no longer hers to run, some man loyal to King Joffrey had been put in charge of running the estate and only a few weeks ago, she had been informed that now that she was a few months shy of her eighteenth nameday, a man had been found for her to marry. The letter had not said whom the man was, only that he was loyal to the crown and a close friend to the King and Dowager Queen Cersei and assured her that the man was a Lord… she was a lord’s daughter and even if that man had been deemed a traitor, she could not marry below her station.
That was how Sansa found herself journeying across Westeros and to court, the King had made it clear that she would meet her future husband in the capital and would be married before all of the court to see… the disgraced daughter of traitor Lord Eddard Stark, they would certainly get a laugh out of her misery and for that alone, she refused to cry a single tear whilst in that snake pit of a capital.
The capital, where King Joffrey held court, was nothing like she had imagined… her fantasies from her youth still held fast at times and she had thought the capital would be bright, warm and filled with laughter and dancing, but upon arriving in the gates of the Red Keep… she was proven wrong. People of noble birthed milled about, attempting to catch a look at the traitors daughter and while all were dressed in what she could assume was their best, none looked happy… their faces were pinched and caked with layers of rouge and powder till they looked white as snow and their fashion was most odd… layers upon layers of odd textures and fabrics that seemed to weigh a ton. Sansa’s own fashion was far different from that of the courtiers, she wore a simple gown of blue muslin… a dress that had belonged to her mother in her youth and her face was free of any powders or rouge and her hair was left down in its natural curls.
Even without all the makeup and haute fashion, Lady Sansa Stark was easily the most beautiful… she had the beauty that befit a princess, not a mere lady. The girl was tall, with delicate curves that clung to the plain dress she wore and her hair was the color of fire, curling in perfect ringlets down her long, pale back and her eyes were the color of the Sunset Sea near the great, Casterly Rock… she was the most beautiful girl in the kingdom, with grace, kindness and an education that rivaled that of Princess Myrcella Baratheon. If she had ever been introduced into society on her sixteenth nameday, as was customary for all young ladies of noble birth, men would’ve been fighting one another for her hand… everything about her was perfect, from her looks, attitude and pedigree, but her father had rebelled before her introduction and so, none had been able to feast their eyes upon the gorgeous young lady whom stepped out of a plain carriage.
“A! Lady Sansa Stark, you’ve finally arrived! I hope your journey was not too taxing?” Sansa had to bite her tongue upon looking up at the man strolling down the steps of the Red Keep towards her carriage; she had never seen King Joffrey in person before, at least until now and she was certainly not impressed by what she saw.
He was more a boy than a man, true he was handsome beyond words, with his golden spun hair and stunning green eyes, but behind the color, madness swirled in them and his lips were full and resembled… a worm, they smirked unkindly at her as his eyes dragged her figure, not once offering her any assistance out of the rocking carriage. Yet, she kneeled, like a good, loyal lady should and awaited his signal to rise up again and look him in his cruel eyes.
“Yes, your Majesty, the trip was smooth and uneventful… I must thank your Majesty, for his kindness in finding me a husband.” The King smiled in that moment, looking as if it took everything in his slight frame not to laugh at her words as she was motioned to follow him inside along with a gaggle of courtiers. In her humble opinion, he was dressed like a court jester… odd colored silk that seemed stitched together at random and his golden crown sat askew on his head.
“Since you’ve no father to procure you one, it befalls on my heavy shoulders! Truly, it was mother’s idea to marry you to our man… it was brilliant really!” She forced herself to smile, as if grateful for his… sacrifice. “Come! Your betrothed awaits!” That sick, churning feeling in her stomach returned as she hurried to keep up with the King’s, jarring steps and she tried to force herself to breathe softly and remember to smile at whomever was presented before her… no matter how the man may look.
The King had led them into the Throne Room, an uncomfortable looking chair was the only remarkable thing in the room… the floors were made of marble and a handle of pillars were erected around the room, holding up the high ceiling where horrific paintings had been done, battles and blood and sadness were the only things painted above their heads and she had another thing to add the sickness in her stomach. King Joffrey had flounced over towards his Throne and sat merrily, gazing down at them with sick satisfaction… no wonder her father did not want this boy on the Throne, he appeared half mad!
“My precious courtiers, I would like to introduce you all to our esteemed guest! Lady Sansa Stark of Winterfell!” Snickers and soft whispers bounced off the empty walls of the Throne Room and Sansa felt her fist ball into her gown as she forced herself to not turn and glare at the nobles surrounding them. “She is here today, to meet her betrothed! Speaking of which, Baelish!” She turned to the side as a set of doors opened, she had not spotted them upon her arrival in the room and she felt her breathe hitch as her eyes caught sight of the man she would be forced to call ‘husband’.
Sansa had never seen the man before and had certainly never heard of any house named Baelish. He was not an imposing man, neither short nor tall, but certainly a little taller than herself and he appeared to be some few years older than her seventeen years… she would estimate he was in his thirties based off the light feathering of grey at his temples and the delicate lines around his odd grey-green eyes that sparkled, even in this dim light. The hair that wasn’t colored grey by age, was dark, almost black in appearance and he sported a mustache that was trimmed in a very odd fashion… none she had ever seen before! He wore expensive clothing, shiny silk and leather though unlike the other courtiers or even the King himself, this man wore more subdued colors of black, grey, white and a soft green… as she looked closer, similar to that of his eyes. A queer, silver pin was stuck on the left side of his chest, in the shape of… a bird perhaps?
“Lady Sansa Stark, meet your betrothed, Lord Petyr Baelish!” The man bowed to the King before turning towards her, stepping so close she could smell the mint wafting off his breathe and the way his lip was curled in a seemingly mischievous smirk.
“Lady Stark… what a pleasure to finally meet you.” She felt her heart race uncomfortably as the man grabbed her hand and pressed a dry kiss to her knuckles as she bobbed into a curtsy as was expected; all the while, King Joffrey smiled down at them, a nasty, leering smile full of malice and jest… he made it quite obvious he enjoyed the young ladies discomfort and Sansa wished she had never left the relative safety of Winterfell in that moment.