When Rhaegar's only daughter told him she had personally invited the eldest Stark girl to his nameday festivities, he had been wary. After all, the Starks were hardly his biggest supporters, the Lannisters even less so; but his daughter was so excited, he could hardly deny her such a simple thing - so long as she and her brothers do not do anything stupid.
But of course, two of his three children are schemers.
Yet when Jon pulls a risky move, Rhaegar cannot find it within himself to be angry; after all, its the same thing that he had done all those years ago. It also reveals secrets that he had been desperate to uncover for seventeen years. Perhaps he should have encouraged Rhaenys to investigate her conspiracies years ago, it may have saved the Seven Kingdoms from being faced with a war that they were far too unprepared for.
Sansa's is unhappily betrothed to Joffrey, and after being personally invited to Kings Landing by Princess Rhaenys her world is spun upside down. Her life suddenly starts to become more like the stories she loved so much as a girl.
After all, that's what Targaryen princes do best, is it not? Start wars over Stark girls.
Up until Robert Baratheon's untimely death, she had been happily living in Winterfell. She had known – known from the day it had been arranged – that being betrothed to the eldest of the Lord of Storms End's children would mean that she would one day have to leave her family and home. The match was most certainly not one that pleased her. A large part of her believed that it was simply Robert clinging to a dream – getting as close as he could to having a Stark girl in his family.
Sansa did not like Joffrey Baratheon, not one bit. She despised him, actually. The first few times they had met, he had seemed pleasant enough – charming, even. But the older they got, the more she began to dislike the boy. He was mean, cruel even. He would torment her at every opportunity he got – leaving bruises on her arms and biting her lips.
When her mother and father had sat her down to tell her about the match, she choked back the tears and forced a smile onto her face. Later that night, Robb cornered her and demanded to know why she had not argued her case. Her brother was ademant that she explain to their father that Joffrey was a monster. Sometimes, Sansa believed that Robb hated 'that Baratheon boy' more than she did - "It's my duty as a big brother." He told her. As much as she wanted to tell her father the truth, she did not want to cause any problems. There was an unsettled peace in the world, and she didn't want anything to become anymore tense – especially between two old friends.
Robb thought it was a silly reason, and she didn't argue back. It was weak of her, not to fight her fate, but she was supposed to be a lady, and ladies did as they were told. Not Aunt Lyanna, her mind often whispered to her.
The story of Aunt Lyanna and King Rhaegar was impossibly romantic. Arya and Robb called her stupid when she said that, once. But she had always found the idea of being stolen impossibly romantic. It was a backwards notion, but everyone always said the North was a backwards place. Perhaps that's why she loved tales of what happened beyond the wall. Mayhaps that was why she had researched the unusual ways of the Targaryens – how it was not uncommon for them to have two wives. King Rhaegar would have had both Lyanna and Elia as his Queens, had Lyanna not died in childbirth.
Despite Aunt Lyanna leaving a note explaining to her father that she had fled with Rhaegar Targaryen to marry him, war still raged through the Seven Kingdoms. Brandon Stark had gone south to visit Lyanna, to check the legitimacy of her note, King Aerys had them killed for treachery - accusing Rhaegar for kidnapping Lyanna when she was safe and well. Robert Baratheon and Lord Rickard Stark made the decision to march on the Capital, to free the Seven Kingdoms of King Aerys mad ways. The war only ended after ser Jaime Lannister had killed their King. Not long after the end of the war, crowned King Rhaegar Targaryen took Eddard to see his sister, who died on the birthing bed - leaving Rhaegar heartbroken.
Yet his heartbreak did not turn him into a vengeful or cruel King, he was just and fair. He had a third child, a newborn son who was half Targaryen and half Stark.
Prince Jon Targaryen was her cousin, one Sansa had never met and she had spent half her life doubting that she ever would meet him. They had written to one another, on the occasion – her father wanted them all to treat him like the family he was. When Bran and Robb had found the direwolf pups, one had even been sent as a nameday gift to Jon. Apparently he had named the young wolf Ghost.
When she moved to Casterly Rock, her Direwolf Lady, had been left in Winterfell. It was very rare that she felt safe without the company of Lady. But the Lannisters had not wanted such a creature in their home, and so she had no choice but to oblige. It had been Bran and Rickon that had promised to look after Lady. She trusted that Bran would care for her young wolf, while Rickon would make sure Lady would get plenty of exercise.
It was after Robert died, and Stannis had taken over looking after Storm's End – until Joffrey was of age – that it was requested that she went to Casterly Rock. She was taken from her family and put straight into the heart of the lions den. 'You're going to be the lone wolf among the pride of lions, sister.' Arya had said to her. And then she had broken down, surprising her younger sister, because she knew exactly where she was headed and what was going to happen.
The time she had spent in Casterly Rock could have been far worse, she supposed. She enjoyed reading in the library, where she would have the company of the imp. She came to enjoy Tyrion's company; he was one of the three people who she could actually stand to be around in her new ho- prison. Myrcella and Tommen made for nice company as well, and sometimes she would pretend she was elsewhere; that she wasn't a lone wolf among a pride of lions.
She spent all the time that she could in an attempt to avoid Joffrey, and Tyrion even tried to help keep him away from her. But no matter how many times the imp slapped or berated his nephew, he would still find her, he would still hurt her. And she began to realise that the more he hurt her, the more she was changing. No matter how hard they tried to turn her into a lion, she would always,always be a wolf. And whenever she would lay eyes upon her betrothed, the familiar words would enter her mind. Winter is coming. Because there was more to those words than the Lannisters seemed to realise.
Almost a year after she had moved to Casterly Rock, she received a raven. A raven carrying ta piece of parchment, stamped with the royal seal. She was as excited as she was nervous when she opened it – her eyes scanning the unfamiliar script. The looping handwritten invitation made her body tremble with excitement, a grin spreading across her face. It was a royal invitation, from the princess herself. The Lannisters could not say no. They had no choice but to allow her to accept. A few days later, they too received an invitation, and the glares from Cersei, Tywin and Joffrey told her that their invitation did not come straight from the hands of the royal family.
She knew the stories of how dangerous Kings Landing could be. There was many a tale of treachery, or deceit, and the countless lies. She knew she had to be careful, had to keep her eyes and ears alert at every second. But she believed herself to be prepared – after all, she had survived the lions den for almost a year. Cersei blindly teaching her how to play a game that was dangerous and not by any means fun. Jaime unassumingly teaching her how to be unsuspecting, yet dangerous. Tywin teaching her, day after day, that loyalty lies with family. And Tyrion purposefully taught her how to use her mind, taught her how to strengthen her resolve. And so she was sure that whatever occurred in Kings Landing, she could survive it.
The thought of spending time away from Casterly Rock, of spending time away from the Lannisters, made excitement bloom within her. There was nothing in all of the Seven Kingdoms that she hated more than she hated Casterly Rock. Even though she was headed to the Capital and not North, she could not stop the swelling of happiness and excitement. Finally, after a year, she was getting to leave her own personal hell. Nothing was going to put her down, not even Joffrey. She was finally going to spend time away from the family that made her life a living hell, and she was sure that nothing could possibly be better than that.
Tyrion had smiled at her, rolling his mismatched eyes as he caught sight of her, already mounted on her horse and ready to go. She flashed him a grin and he chuckled as he was helped up onto his own horse. She hoped to ride alongside him, and not Joffrey. Her plan was to stay as far away from the boy that looked far too like Jaime for it to be natural. She would have ridden alongside Tommen or Myrcella, but neither of them were to be actually riding.
And as they left Casterly Rock, she felt more free than she had done in a very long time.