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Far Away

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She did not come here often, and that was by necessity and intent. It was never truly his place, nor hers, but somehow, in the years that had passed – and passed too slowly for her liking – this place, this situation had become theirs. Though no one thought of it that way, save her, and surely no one else visited, save Robin. It was so very far away from home, after all.

 

Lord Arryn. She remembered and smiled to herself. After more than thirty years, she was yet pressed to recall that the little boy who needed so much affection was not at all a boy or affectionate anymore. Powerful was the word the she thought of when conjuring an image of his adult face, and that was being kind. He surely would have been proud.

 

She pulled her dark furs tight around her shoulders and knelt in the snow, shaking off the thoughts. The marker was small and barely visible, but the stone peaked through at the top, and she was able to wipe away enough snow and ice to read the name.

 

Baelish. Seeing it caused her to flinch nearly every time, emotion taking control of her body - a rarity - and now the flinch felt familiar and heavy. Baelish. It was no better reading it again. The same grounded, immovable emotion seemed to seep from her chest to her feet. She could have easily sunk through the frozen soil, took root, and grown forever. A dark and ancient tree, of the old gods and the new, there protecting this place near the river through the centuries.

 

But she was a woman, an old woman, older than her mother ever became. And her power lie not in immobility, but in self-control and restraint. She had mastered that power as a young woman, and though she was surely leagues from what her parents dreamed she would be when she was a child and the kingdoms were a strange, warm place far away from today, she took solace in thinking of just how proud she had made him. She no longer cared what that pride meant to others. Her life was her own now.

 

Baelish. She read it once more before burying the marker in the snow. Her fur-covered hands lingered on the mound of snow and she whispered a short prayer. “Be at peace. Always.”

 

It was not in her nature anymore to look back, and as she rose to her feet and turned to walk away, she whispered, “Always,” once more and began to stride across the snowy field.