AN: So the winner of my poll was a HP/ASoIaF crossover set in the south.
Disclaimer: I own neither Harry Potter nor A Song of Ice and Fire, they are the property of J.K Rowling and George R.R. Martin respectively. No profit is being made from this work.
The air in the deepest halls of House Castamere reeked of fear. Of the 300 or so men in the caves some were playing cyvasse as way of ignoring their current situation, others sat along the wall sharpening their swords for a battle that would never come, but most sat along the wall staring off into nothing contemplating the end that was no doubt coming. The women among them cooked and fussed over the children, doing what they could to keep them from the reality of the situation. The day was drawing to a close so those few who could manage under the circumstances tried to find some rest.
The Red Lion of Castamere, Lord Roger Reyne, lay upon a bed still recovering from the wound he sustained during the Battle of Tarbeck Hall. The proud Lord of Castamere was usually an imposing sight. He was tall and lean, even in his forties his light brown hair had yet to grey, and his blue-green eyes held a confident glint. But now he lay upon a cot, barely clinging to life thanks to quarrel that hit him square in the back. Despite his injury, he sent a message to Tywin Lannister requesting single combat to settle the issue of House Reyne's little rebellion. As though he could manage such a thing in his current state. Lady Ellyn Tarbeck, the only daughter of House Reyne, died when Tywin Lannister crushed Tarbeck Hall. The last and least revered of the Reyne siblings, Reynard Reyne, paced not far from his brother's side.
Reynard stood half a head shorter than his older brother, and while he had skill with the sword and lance he certainly wasn't 'The Red Lion' though he was still better than most men. Even ten years his brother's junior, Reynard's dark hair had already begun to grey, a good deal of it coming in the recent months because of the stress heaped upon him. His eyes were a light blue, which he inherited from his mother.
As his blue eyes glanced toward his brother, Reynard couldn't help the anger that boiled up from somewhere deep down inside of him because of his two siblings. Their pride led to the downfall of their entire house. They thought themselves above the Lannisters, thought they could plot and manipulate because Tytos was a weak ruler who allowed their clearly belligerent actions. But Tywin is not his father and now I can only hope that he will accept my surrender and show our family mercy. Reynard knew it was wishful thinking. Tywin would likely look down with pride at the ruin of their house and maybe for the first time in the man's life, he would smile.
He wanted none of this, it was Roger who refused to pay their debts and it was Ellyn who took three of the Lannisters captive when her husband refused to do the same. Reynard looked away from his brother, threw his sister from his mind, and turned to two people far more important to him.
His wife, Lily, wasn't a noblewoman… she was a commoner, a blacksmith's daughter born in the lands owned by his family. Despite her lower station she was extremely intelligent and learned, her father having provided her with many books to sate her thirst for knowledge. Something he managed to do thanks to his own superior skill working the forge.
At six and twenty, she was a woman of middling height with a lithe figure and beautiful face. Her hair was a vivid red that contrasted wonderfully with her pale complexion. Her most distinguished feature was her eyes. They were a piercing, vibrant emerald green that put any member of House Lannister to shame and left Reynard wondering whether she was distantly related to the Lords of the West. Reynard thought it a blessing from the Seven that he was able to wed Lily two years ago.
His mother was an affectionate woman but died when he was five from a summer fever. On the other, his father focused so much on finding appropriate matches for his two favored children that he paid little attention to Reynard. After their father died during the Peake Uprising, Roger attempted to wed Reynard to advance the family position amidst other attempts to wed one of the younger Reynes to Genna Lannister; however, Tytos Lannister wed Genna to Emmon Frey instead of a Reyne, after which Roger no longer cared for Reynard's affairs, preferring to brood over the slight.
So thanks to a happy combination of an absent father and a self-centered brother, Reynard fortuitously managed to marry for love. Though she would be far better off now had I never met her. He approached his wife as she sang softly to a bundle in her arms. A shock of black hair the same shade of his own could be seen atop a tiny head. Quiet happy gurgling noises could be heard coming from the bundle as tiny, fat fists reached up to grasp at Lily's hanging hair. It only caused her to chuckle between the lines of the song.
Despite the mortal danger of their current situation, Reynard managed a small smile at the genuinely heartwarming sight. He wrapped his arm around Lily's waist and stepped up beside her to look down at their son. He had the same startling green eyes as his mother, eyes that went alight with recognition at the sight of his father.
Reynard brought his hand up and poked a finger at his son who promptly latched on with one of his tiny hands. "How is our little Harry doing?" Harry being short for Harrion, the baby boy was only eight months old and the youngest member of House Reyne. And likely the last. Looking at his adorable son staring at him while trying to pull his finger toward his open mouth, Reynard felt another surge of anger toward his two siblings. My wife and my child are going to die for an offense I didn't give, and that Harry isn't near old enough to even begin understanding.
Lily looked to her husband with a small smile, "He is happy as ever Rey." She was the only person he allowed to call him by that name, "I don't think he has it in him to be anything less." They had both learned quite well over the past few months that their son was quite likely one of the easiest children in the world to handle. He cried rarely and slept through the night with ease.
"I wouldn't expect anything less," Reynard replied with a strained smile.
Lily had long since become adept at noticing when her husband was bothered, "You're worried." She stated bluntly.
He simply huffed at her, "Of course I'm worried. Tywin Lannister sits on our doorstep with thousands of men to our 300," Desperation entered his voice as he continued, "Our only hope of surviving this situation is that Tywin, a man known for being relentless and uncompromising, will accept my surrender and allow one of the members of our House to be held captive to ensure our good behavior." They both looked down to little Harrion and Lily ran her hand through his hair, "Roger is likely to die within the week, so the only person he could possibly take is…"
"Harry, I know." Lily finished for him softly as she brought her head closer to their son, "Still I would rather him at least have the opportunity to live a full life than KNOW that he is going to die."
Reynard looked to his brother sleeping fitfully not far away and his lips tightened into a thin line, "I would rather none of this ever happened, that we never even had to have this conversation. I wish I didn't have to hope that a man would accept my peace terms only so that I miss every moment of my son's childhood."
"But the second son rarely gets what he wants because he must always suffer the decision of his elder." Reynard finished bitterly.
"There is still a hope Rey," Lily whispered to him confidently. He appreciated her optimism but he had a feeling she only barely believed her own words. False words spoken with conviction so that maybe at least one of us will believe the lie. Still despite his skepticism, he gave her a smile; one that he hoped did something to allay her own fears.
Their conversation ended abruptly as a great crashing could be heard from above, further up in the many caverns, right near the entrance in fact. Reynard turned to Lily, a sad smile on his face, "I think we just received an answer." He kissed her lightly on the temple before leaving to see exactly what had been done.
The holdings of House Reyne appeared modest to the casual observer, only one tenth of their castle being above ground. Two stout towers and a curtain wall guarded the entrance into their many halls and galleries. At least until roughly ten minutes prior, two stout towers and a curtain wall guarded the many halls and galleries. Now those defenses were being bombarded by Lannister forces and quickly shattered under the assault. The area around the cave entrance collapsed as well and soon they were trapped within their own halls. Reynard could only look on with a sense of foreboding. They had enough food stored within to last a year, maybe longer with so few mouths to feed. But something told Reynard that Tywin wouldn't be allowing them to live that long.
He walked at a brisk pace back down through the halls and corridors that once served as his family's silver and gold mines. When he reentered the Great Hall, the most fortified of their many rooms, Lily looked to him immediately and made to stand in greeting but he just gave her a small shake of the head and she sat back down with a small frown.
Reynard approached his brother, whose labored, wheezing breaths could be heard clearly as he drew closer, "Roger," He said clearly to gain his ailing brother's attention whose eyes opened immediately. The Lord of Castamere looked over, pain evident on his refined features. Sweat dripped from his forehead. He looked sickly having long since turned a paler white than Reynard had ever seen him. Roger wore no shirt, only bandages to cover the wound on his chest.
"What is it little brother?" Roger whispered out between labored breaths, "Has Tywin accepted my challenge?" Despite his current condition, he managed to sound supremely confident that he could fight the Heir of Casterly Rock and survive.
"No," Reynard responded curtly, "he has accepted neither your challenge nor my offer of surrender. He has decided on a different course of action. He has collapsed our defenses and sealed us into our own halls."
"Coward," Roger spat out bitterly before going into a heavy coughing fit, "he knows he would falter against the Red Lion of Castamere."
Reynard laughed derisively at his brother's arrogance, "Had he accepted 'dear brother'," There was intense vitriol in the usual endearment, "you would have died before ever exiting our halls. You can't even stand, let alone raise your sword."
A sound somewhere between a cough and a laugh emanated from deep in the elder Reyne's throat, a small bit of blood seeped from his mouth as he looked to Reynard with a sneer, "I would much rather die in the attempt of meeting that fucker in the field than sit here and die."
"Well you will sit here and die along with what remains of our House and retainers." Reynard all but snarled, "Your stupidity has laid our House low, yours and Ellyn's."
"The Lannisters are weak, they don't deserve control of the West." Roger looked off, his voice becoming wistful, "We would have made better Lords."
"Maybe, though your hubris leads me to believe otherwise. You were never the sort of man to listen to other's council. I warned you what might happen if you refused Tywin's summons and here we are." Reynard responded evenly, "And if Tywin has proven anything, it is that the Lannisters are far from weak. He crushed you, like the upstart you were. And now here you sit with no maester to tend you and no hope of survival."
Roger took a deep breath and looked to his brother, a bit of wetness entering his eyes, "For what it is worth, I am sorry things have come to this; that you and your family will suffer for my decisions." Reynard wanted to forgive his brother if only because he was showing some actual remorse for his folly, but the image in his mind of his wife and child starving to death, emaciated and barely clinging to life a year from then sat fixed at the forefront of his mind.
Instead, Reynard glared down at his older brother, "I doubt your regret will bring me any comfort when I am forced to watch my family die slowly for your mistakes." With that he turned abruptly and left his brother to another coughing fit.
He went to Lily's side where she sat reading, something she did often when trying to distract herself. She noticed his approach and quickly shut the book, marking her place. He caught a quick glance of the title; it was The Rogue Prince, or, the King's Brother by Archmaester Gyldayn regarding the life of Prince Daemon Targaryen. She placed the book down beside her and looked at him expectantly, "So, I take it things haven't gone as we hoped?"
Reynard shook his head slowly, "Lord Tywin just gave me what could only be described as a resounding refusal to any sort of surrender. He buried us in our own halls, and I believe he intends to make them our graves."
Lily frowned before grabbing his hand and drawing him toward an adjoining room where they and Harry slept, "Come on Rey, we can do nothing about this situation. Let's try and relax and have a good night's sleep." He allowed her to pull him along toward their chambers as she continued speaking, "I already laid Harry down for the night and he's sleeping quietly as usual."
When they reached their room they quickly stripped down until they were in only their small clothes and laid in their bed cuddled up to one another, Harry sleeping quietly in a crib on the other side of the room. They each enjoyed the comfort that came from the warmth of the other's skin. They reveled in the closeness and things quickly became more heated
It didn't take long before the room was filled with the quiet groans and whimpers of pleasure as the two lovers did what they could to forget the direness of their situation by embracing one another. When finally they reached their completion Lily was atop her husband. As she came down from her sexual high she splayed herself across his chest and listened to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat.
They stayed that way until he softened fully and fell from her tunnel, eliciting a small groan from Lily. She shifted slightly then so she was laying at his side though her head never moved from just above his heart. She brought a hand up to run through the sparse, sweat drenched hair upon his chest.
Reynard lay their humming contentedly for a brief moment with his wife. His eyes closed though sleep came nowhere near gripping him as he felt Lily's light touch upon his chest. Her quiet words cut through the silence, "Do you remember how we met?"
He chuckled as the memory came to the forefront of his mind, "How could I ever forget." He brought one of his hands up and started twirling one of her long, red strands of hair between his fingers, "It was three years ago now since I came to your father looking to have a sword made. You were sitting there with him, unbothered by the heat of the forge and reading one of your many books."
Lily chuckled, "I am extremely fortunate my father was such a skilled blacksmith otherwise I never would have been able to indulge my love of the written word," she turned so she could look Reynard in the eye, "You kept stealing glances at me when you thought I wasn't looking."
"I had met hundreds of women both noble and common, some of them were eye catching, some tried far too hard, thinking they could find themselves attached to the second wealthiest House in the West." He gave a fond smile, "You were the vision of beauty sitting there, strands of hair sticking to your head thanks to the heat. Your eyes with that inquisitive gleam as you took in every word at a lightening pace." He sighed, "And you wouldn't even spare me a single word."
"You weren't the first nobleman to step into my father's forge. I had met enough to know what to expect." She replied with a cheeky smirk, "You didn't exactly do a good job of proving yourself any different that first time I met you."
Reynard laughed, "I suppose that's the truth of it. I made the mistake of thinking you were some naïve thing who would see me and simply swoon because I was one of the Lions of Castamere." He smiled sheepishly, "It really wasn't one of my finer moments. But in my defense, it was the first time I actually made the attempt to woo a pretty woman. I had seen my brother's womanizing ways and wanted to be nothing like him."
"So your idea of wooing a pretty woman was talking incessantly about yourself despite the fact that the woman in question wanted nothing to do with you?" Lily asked that same smirk firmly affixed upon her lips.
"Words flowed from my mouth that day like water down a river, I had no control over what stupidity I might have uttered," He said a touch defensively.
"That is your story and you are going to stand by it I assume?" She chuckled lightly.
"Exactly," he kissed her temple, "I did get better though. Or at least I think I must have; otherwise, you wouldn't be lying in this bed with me right now."
"You got much better over time, which wasn't hard considering you had nowhere to go but up." She responded lightly, "But it must be said, never was there a man more intent on knowing the status of his requisition." There was a distinct bit of teasing in her voice. Reynard instinctively looked to the sword sitting near their bed. It was the same one that had been made by his good-father and allowed him to meet his Lily.
"It was my only excuse to come and see you," Reynard replied with a slight shrug of his shoulders, "I won't apologize for one moment of the time it allowed me to spend talking to you."
"Nor would I want you to, but I must admit I found you tiresome at first."
Reynard chuckled, "I can't really blame you. I had an immensely hard time behaving my age in your presence. And even though I am seven years your senior, and a lord for that matter, I always felt like I was trying to prove something."
"I noticed." Lily replied wryly.
"I never thought it would be as simple as just being myself around you." Reynard noted.
"Your mistake, love," She jabbed his chest lightly, "I'm glad you finally managed to stop acting like a fool. Though, I feel I may be insulting some fools."
"Be nice now," he replied indignantly.
"I never told you this," She started slowly, "but I was distraught at the idea of never seeing you again once my father finished your requisition. I thought you would simply forget about me despite the months spent talking about anything and everything."
"There was no need to worry about that," He soothed her, "I was properly enamored with you from the beginning, once you decided I was worth your time there was no way you were getting rid of me." He tore his eyes away from her for a moment, "At least not by my own will, it was quite disheartening when I learned my brother intended to marry me to Alys Arryn."
"It was far more than disheartening Reynard," She said firmly, "it was heartbreaking. In the year we knew each other, never once did your brother take an interest in your affairs. Then suddenly, you informed me that he wanted you to wed some woman from the Vale."
"You may have been better off had he succeeded in marrying me off. Had a Reyne been given Genna Lannister's hand as requested he would likely have followed through." Lily's jovial manner quickly turned to anger as she glared at her husband.
"Others take you Reynard Reyne! I wouldn't trade one moment of our time together for all the gold in Casterly Rock!" She said in her best attempt at a hushed yell, trying to keep from waking their son, "We might die tomorrow, next week, next month, or in a year, but death is always a possibility." Tears began to form at the corners of her eyes, "My only regret is that Harry will never have the opportunities in life he deserves." Reynard could do nothing but hug his wife closer to his chest and whisper quiet reassurances to her as she resisted the urge to sob. He held her until finally they were able to drift off to a fitful sleep.
An abrupt shove in the shoulder awoke Reynard from his sleep. He reacted immediately, unaffected by his state of dress and made to attack the offender only to come up short as he recognized the young face before him. It was his squire, Garrison Vikary, a boy of only five and ten who had taken up the position as his squire after a Tourney in Lannisport some four years ago. He cowered slightly from the blow he expected to come and had his face turned away to avoid looking at both Reynard and his wife's state of undress.
He spoke quietly and with obvious repentance for his action, "I am sorry my Lord, but it appears Lord Roger is not long for this world and he requests your presence."
Reynard covered himself quickly before turning to his squire. There is nothing left for Roger to say to me that wasn't said earlier. "Very well Garrison, I shall be there shortly." Reynard quickly dressed and made his way out to find his brother lain out across his bed. There were only a few people in the Hall, as it was early morning and few had risen.
Standing by his brother's side he could see just how dire the situation was now as someone removed the bandage from Roger's wound. The wound hadn't healed correctly, even slightly. Looking at it, Reynard found it hard to believe that the quarrel hadn't killed him instantaneously. It only barely missed puncturing anything of vital importance. But the wound was a sickly green and festering along the edges. It was readily apparent that the Lord of Castamere wasn't long for this world. It oozed a sickly yellowish fluid which only increased in flow as Roger coughed up a bit of blood.
"You wanted to see me." Reynard said simply, looking his brother over apathetically. He felt no attachment to the man in front of him, no fondness.
"You were right," Roger rasped out slowly, the last of his life being spent in the early hours of the morning, "I was a fool! Ellyn was a fool! And all our defiance has done is given the Lannisters even more prestige and power within their lands. Our family name will be used to warn others of what happens when you anger the Golden Lions of the West."
"No not the lions," Reynard replied quickly, "just one. Tytos could never have managed this, Tygett and Kevan couldn't have either. Only Tywin Lannister will be feared."
"You're wrong," He chuckled slightly, "How many times did you tell me that? How many times did I refuse to listen? Things would have been different had I not been prideful." His eyes took on a faraway, glassy look, "My everlasting life will be spent in one of the Seven Hells for what I have wrought here."
"You might be right brother. I'm not going to sit here and try to sooth your guilty conscience," Roger closed his eyes and made a pained grimace as though he took a physical blow, "If it is any consolation, I believe someday that Tywin Lannister shall be in one of those Hells just beside you." This brought a smile to the Red Lion's face.
"I never apologized for what I did when I found out of your wedding that woman…" Roger began only to be cut off by his brother.
"Her name is Lily, and I didn't care for your opinion then and I care less for your apologies now." It was the sorest subject between the two brothers. Reynard hadn't kept his wedding secret but it was not the extravagant affair so common to nobility and neither of his siblings attended. When he learned of the nuptials, Roger attempted to have the wedding nullified only after calling Lily little more than a whore. When both Lily's family and a septon were brought forth to confirm the validity of the marriage Roger could do little more than bemoan the missed opportunity to form an alliance through his brother.
Reynard spared his brother one last glance, "Goodbye Roger, sleep well." In the five minutes it took Reynard to reach his own quarters again the Red Lion of Castamere took his last rasping breath, tears of regret streaming down his face in rivulets before the end.
Opening the door, Reynard found Lily awake sitting in a chair in the room with Harry at her breast. She smiled at him as he entered and he honestly couldn't understand how she managed the gesture given everything happening, "I awoke to find you absent from my side. I assume something of a pressing nature took you." She prompted him as he came to sit by her side.
"In a matter of speaking," He leaned back in his own chair and closed his eyes, "My brother is dead. He wished to see me before he passed."
"Oh," Lily said emotionlessly, "What did he have to say?"
"Nothing of any import Lily," Reynard knew she disliked his brother strongly. Though that is putting it lightly, she despised him for what he tried to do between trying to force me to marry another and then trying to force us apart. "He wished only to inform me that he regretted the decisions that led to our current situation and apologize for his reaction to our marriage." Her nostrils flared dangerously, "I would hear nothing of it and left before he could ply me with any empty words."
"Good," Lily said harshly, "he deserved nothing from you, least of all forgiveness." A frown marred her beautiful face. Reynard was having none of that so he gripped her chin lightly and turned her head to look at him.
"I completely agree with you." He kissed her lips with but a feather light touch. She smiled as he pulled away and he was glad he managed to bring that look to her face. "Now, why are you up so early?"
Lily's brow furrowed, "It was the strangest thing Rey. It must have been just after you left, maybe a little later but he started wailing loudly and incessantly. I only just managed to calm him." They both looked to their usually peaceful son with a hint of concern. Whatever prompted his sudden discomfort passed but neither parent was particularly happy not knowing the reason. They sat together like that as a family for a short while longer before Lily stood to go and prepare their morning meal, leaving Reynard to look after their son.
Reynard watched her go and couldn't help but admire her. He very much doubted there was another noblewoman in all of Westeros like her. Well southern noblewomen at least, they say some of the northern ladies are tougher than the men and do just as much work.
Every day Lily would go down to the kitchens and help prepare their morning meal herself. The few serving women who remained at Castamere initially tried to stop her but she would hear nothing of it; instead, she helped them bake the breads, cook the meats and fry the eggs. She developed her own rapport with the servants there. He honestly believed they only still performed their previous duties because she took the time to work with them.
When Lily returned a half an hour later, she carried two plates of food with small but suitable portions on them. There was a rasher of bacon on each, with fried eggs, freshly cut fruit, and still-warm-from-the-oven bread. They sat down and ate together, Harry happily bouncing on his father's knee and gurgling at his mother across from him. How many more mornings like this will we be allowed before the end?
Outside standing upon a hill that overlooked the halls of House Reyne, Tywin Lannister, a young man of only nine and ten, watched as the many men under his command worked tirelessly digging a trench to divert the local river to Castamere. Behind him, rippling lightly in the wind stood his command tent. Tywin himself stood taller than most men, his build was slender, but his shoulders were broad. His hair was the spun gold common of his family, and his eyes the same green though interspersed with golden flecks. He wore a deep crimson armor, highlighted with gold and a cloth-of-gold cape. He made for quite the imposing sight, one he meant to make known throughout the Seven Kingdoms.
Despite his recent successes, he was not smiling. In Tywin's mind this was merely the long overdue reminder that House Lannister ruled the Westerlands. His father wanted far too badly to please his many vassals when only strength would force them into submission, not placating them at every turn.
As such, Tywin never asked his father's permission in his current undertaking. He demanded the Reynes and Tarbecks present themselves at the Rock knowing full well they would refuse. He already had an army assembled, waiting to go to Tarbeck Hall and destroy it. He smiled then watching as Tarbeck Hall fell upon the conniving bitch Ellyn Reyne. It was a rare thing, seeing him smile; something that only usually happened when he was alone with his beloved Joanna. He hoped one day that his cousin would become his wife.
With a slight shake of his head, minute enough so that no one noticed he had briefly lost focus, Tywin brought his attention back to the task at hand. Things were nearly done, and the last remnants of House Reyne would be nothing more than a memory. A footnote used as warning to those who consider crossing me in future. Had it not been for his intention to make an example of the two upstart houses, Tywin would have accepted Reynard Reyne's proposed surrender. The Lion of Lannister was very much aware that Ser Reynard had a young son who would have served as the perfect ward. But a message needs to be sent and any sort of leniency will show only weakness and the last thing our other vassals need to see is further weakness.
A voice from just behind Tywin pulled him from his musings, "I still believe you should have requested father's permission in this endeavor." Tywin turned his head slightly to see who stood just behind him. Tygett, his brother of one and ten, was tall for his age and strong; already having fought and proved himself in the War of the Ninepenny Kings. As such, Tywin allowed his younger brother to accompany him on his 'war' against the rebel lords.
"Father will give but a novel protest to my actions in private before slinking back to his quarters and the whore who warms his bed." Tywin didn't hate his father but he certainly didn't respect the man. No man worthy of respect would allow his vassals to laugh at him in their cups. 'Toothless Lions' they called us, well I have proven our teeth are sharp and our claws long. It was watching lesser lords jest in the very halls of Casterly Rock that turned Tywin into a hard young man; he would drag the Lannister name back to its rightful place above all others.
"You are probably right brother, but could you not have browbeaten him into accepting your proposed actions before calling an army?" Tywin allowed his brother's questions only because this would serve as a learning experience for the younger Lannister.
"I did not trust father to do what was necessary. He certainly hasn't in the past." Tywin scowled, "He had no problem returning Walderran Tarbeck unharmed, after Ellyn thought to take three of our House captive. I would not allow him to make us look weak yet again."
"I very much doubt that will ever be a problem again." Spoke up another voice. The eldest of his younger brothers, Kevan, stood there shoulder to shoulder with Tygett.
"That was the intention," Tywin quipped as he turned fully to look at the pair. "Now, what news?"
"Our men have surveyed the entirety of the area around the former mines and have found no means of secret escape." Kevan informed him promptly.
"Foolish," quipped Tywin, "they thought themselves untouchable in their deep caves and now they shall serve as their watery tombs." Tywin started walking closer to the trench, his siblings following in his wake.
"I take it things are nearly complete then?"
"They are Tywin," Kevan respected his brother and recognized his superiority. As such, he followed willingly any command he gave. Even now, in their youth, it was obvious both Tygett and Gerion would try to remove themselves from their eldest brother's shadow. Kevan saw now reason behind such an action, "We need only break the wall separating the river from the trench and it will be done."
Tywin didn't smile, though there was a distinct note of satisfaction in his voice as he turned to look Kevan in the eye, "See it done then." Kevan nodded stiffly and immediately started walking at a brisk pace toward his horse.
The men still in the trench quickly climbed out in lieu of the news that it was about to be filled with rushing water. Tywin stood on the very edge of the trench and waited. He knew it was coming before it actually arrived as his many men gave a cry of victory as the waters passed them by until it reached him where he stood on the hill above Castamere. It came slowly at first, working its way down the hill and into the halls of House Reyne below. But it just kept on growing and gaining until the entire contents of the river was pouring down and filling every crack and crevice of the hill beyond. Tywin very nearly smiled again then, but not quite.
No one within Castamere even noticed the danger at first. The water found a way in as it always does, seeping slowly at first into the caves and halls. It flowed, from room to room just a thin layer of water at first that barely made a splash as one stepped. But then as the minutes passed it finally reached the Great Hall deep within the hill and people started to take notice. All of the nearly 400 people surged toward the now collapsed gates into their underground fortress and stared in horror at what they saw.
Water leaked from each little hole in the broken surface of the barrier, wetting the floor. Some of the men moved forward only to slip on the slick stones. They righted themselves quickly and tried to plug up what they could of the seepage but they only made it worse. One of the men shifted a rock only to have a deluge of water begin pouring in. The rush of water pushed those who were trying to help the situation back and filled the first chamber with water. Everyone stepped back in a panic and made their way back from whence they came, barring every door and closing every passage in hopes to stem the coming flood. Some looked to Reynard for command, but he merely helped the others, giving no orders as they made their way back to what would amount to their final resting place. Our watery grave.
When they reached the Great Hall, everyone did what they could to pull their food stores into the room, in the hopes they might survive the coming waters. Futility at its finest. Once as much food as could be managed was recovered, the men barricaded the doors sealing every crack and crevice they could find. Reynard found Lily in the throng of people staring on, her wide green eyes showing the unwanted realization of what was coming. She held Harry tightly to her chest, his head wresting squarely in the crook of her neck. Reynard wrapped an arm around her shoulder and guided her away from the door and toward the steps leading up to the dais where Roger died earlier that morning. They sat down together.
Reynard looked around as the noise in the room continued to rise as the water continued to seep underneath the door despite the men's best efforts. The few women in the room were openly crying, holding their children closely for what would likely be the final time. Men tried fruitlessly to stem the tide, some saw that their efforts were wasted and dropped dejectedly where they stood; others found their families so that they might spend their last few moments together.
Reynard let tears flow freely as he felt the cold lick of the water at his ankles. He leaned into Lily and brought his lips to her temple before burying his head in her long hair. He brought his mouth close to her ear, "I am sorry, so very sorry I couldn't save you from this fate. I love you and I would have given up my life a thousand times over to see you and Harry safe."
She turned her head so they were facing and kissed him gently on the lips, "I know and I love you, Reynard." They stared at each other for just a brief moment, the water seeping up to just below their knees where they sat. They were interrupted by their son giggling happily as he slapped his hand in the water around them. Neither of them could help it, they laughed. They were about to die, in an absolutely horrible manner, their bodies never to see the light of day again but their son managed to bring one last smile to their faces.
They sat and watched as he played happily in the water, Lily keeping his tiny head above water. They each held watery smiles for their son that would never have the opportunity to experience the world as he gurgled happily in his last moments.
The water started pouring in faster, the barricades they had put in place having broken down from the tremendous tide. Reynard found them something they could float on easily, as did nearly everyone else in the room. They rose ever closer to the ceiling, the oxygen in the room becoming scarce causing some to become lightheaded and even pass out. Reynard couldn't help but feel they might be the lucky ones. I imagine that felt a great deal like falling asleep, probably far better than drowning to death.
Their heads were very nearly scraping the high ceiling of the Great Hall. All those around, whether treading water or floating on a piece of furniture, accepted their fate. This isn't to say there weren't tears as you would be hard pressed to find a dry eye but there was no wailing, no screaming save from the youngest of the children among them.
Except Harry of course, he stopped his playing but instead of crying he looked around at the chaos in fascination. He started grasping out for his parents, seemingly sensing their fear as he started to whine softly. They soothed him lightly, doing what they could to keep him calm. Then suddenly he just stopped any fussing.
The feeling was unlike anything Reynard ever felt before… squeezing, a nearly unbearable squeezing and just a never ending nothingness at all sides. This must be what death feels like. But then just as suddenly as they came, the sensations disappeared. The sound of water crashing into the soft ground reached his ears immediately, followed closely by a soft whisper of wind. The warm midday air of summer touched his sodden clothes. And the sun, something he hadn't properly felt in days, warmed his skin.
The abrupt travel was disorienting for everyone involved, and Harry began to cry from the pressure. Lily and Reynard were no better taking a long moment to simply stand there and regain their bearings.
When finally he opened his eyes some three minutes later, Reynard found they were standing atop one of the many hills of the Westerlands, not far from the village where Lily grew up. They were some ten miles away from Castamere. From their spot atop the hill, they could see the barest hint of the Lannister army in the distance.
One word escaped his mouth as he stared in awe toward the distance, "How?" He finally looked to his wife, only to find that she too was looking around dumbfounded at their situation.
She shook her head slowly even as she subconsciously rocked Harry in her arms, "I don't know Rey, truly, but somehow we've escaped." She looked out into the distance, "But, the others aren't so lucky."
Reynard looked on with a grimace, "No, and everyone will believe that House Reyne has ended. Should any see my face in the Westerlands we will be put to the sword. But we do have some friends elsewhere in the Kingdoms." Reynard was thinking quickly, trying to formulate some sort of plan given the abrupt change in their situation.
Lily nodded, "As much as it pains me to say it, we certainly can't stay here. We should go to my home, I have a store of gold in my old room at my parent's home; enough to let us travel to one of the other Kingdoms or even Essos if we wish."
Reynard reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bag of gold, maybe twenty dragons total but more than enough to let them travel, "I would rather we not risk your family's safety if we can manage it Lily."
She nodded stiffly and then suddenly broke down crying. He hugged her tightly to his side and whispered soothingly in her ear but she just shook her head, "All those lives snuffed out, but I can't help feel some sense of relief." Reynard could relate and he could also understand the grief that feeling was likely inspiring inside of her.
Reynard gently made her look him in the eye, "I can't explain why this happened or how for that matter, but we are alive. Harry is alive. We would be doing ourselves, and everyone who perished in those halls an injustice if we didn't try to live."
Lily held her chin a little higher and a glint he loved dearly entered her eyes, "You're right, but it won't stop me from mourning their deaths. I became friends with many of the people in your household and I won't forget them.
"Nor will I," He responded with a sad smile. He looked to their soaked clothing, "First thing we need to do is find ourselves some dry clothing. From there we can decide where we will go." He was glad he had his sword on his hip. It gave him some small sense of security as they started this new, second life of sorts.
As they turned away from the Lannister armies and started making their way down the opposite side of the hill toward the nearby village in the distance, Reynard couldn't help the feeling somewhere in the back of his mind that it had been his infant son that somehow managed to save them from their deaths. But that is entirely impossible. The very idea of anyone, let alone an infant, moving people such a distance so quickly is unfathomable. He shook his head of the absurd thought and took Lily's free hand as she bounced a once again happy Harry on her hip.
AN: So there is the first chapter to my new fic. For those of you who read TDOMCM, don't worry this doesn't mean I have any intention of finishing that anytime soon. This is going to be a much different fic than TDOMCM as it won't be focused on empire building, it is set in an earlier era and Harry isn't coming into the world as an adult. I haven't decided on a pairing yet if you are concerned with that.
Regarding this first chapter, I am aware that Reynard Reyne borrowed from Tytos Lannister and refused to pay it back in canon just like his brother Roger. There is also no mention of him being wed in the books, obviously I have changed these two things.