Lyanna Stark had just fought and defeated the squires bullying the wounded crannogman. Offering her hand he stands up, ashamed of himself. "My lady", he murmurs, "you shouldn't have involved yourself in this."
"Nonsense", said Lyanna, "you're Howland Reed, right? One of father's bannermen."
"Aye", he nodded, "inherited after hearing the news from my father". He said the last while his voice broke a little.
"I'm sorry for your loss", she said with sympathy, "but you shouldn't had come here to drink alone. At the very least share your grief with your friends."
Reed sighed. "I should have done that, but I came here only as a friend to your brother and not as a greater guest. I didn't want to drink on the lower tables and let them see my grief."
"Well, that's silly. Come, I will bring you to the table where my father and brothers are sitting. You're one of our most important bannerman now that your father is dead, you deserve to be seated at the place of honor."
As she led the wounded and half drunk Lord towards the feast she felt eyes watching them. Looking around she saw no one, but the lingering feeling that she was being watched remained.
Quickly taking out the mismatched armor she looked around to see if there was someone watching. Finding none she sighed in relief.
"Impressive matches", came a voice from behind the tree she was taking off her armor. She quickly held her sword before the man revealed himself.
"Peace", said the man, "I was just going to congratulate you on your performance, and perhaps know a bit more about the mystery knight. I assure you, I have no intention of divulging the identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree to my father."
"Prince Rhaegar?" Lyanna said in surprise, almost dropping her sword. "What are you doing here?"
"Didn't I tell you?" He said with a smirk making Lyanna glare at him. "I saw you beforehand, defending the crannogman from the squires, and then later with you winning against the knights. Quite impressive for a lady like you, is that the famed reputation of the ladies in the North, who are trained to defend their homes and to fight, much like in Dorne?"
"Well, yes. More or less I suppose. Father allows me to train with the sword and to ride, but he also wanted me to act like a proper southorn lady in order to get a proper marriage for me", she said the last with bitterness in her voice.
"It's a shame", he said surprising her, "after all having a strong lady such as yourself would be part of the charm in the first place."
Against her better judgment, Lyanna blushed at the praise. Robert had always praised her for her beauty and grace, which were mercilessly drilled into her since an early age, but honestly she didn't knew how he would react if she knew his 'dear Lyanna' sometimes acted like a man. She wasn't a 'man in a dress' by any means, she did liked some traditionally proper lady like pursuits after all, but in her opinion she was far from an ideal southorn lady.
For someone to say her real self had a charm and was a desirable trait in itself, and apparently meant it? She didn't knew what to say.
"My prince is too kind", she finally settled, sword fully lowered as the blush in her face refused to disappear.
"Please Lady Stark, we're between friends here. Call me Rhaegar."
Lyanna allowed a smile to appear. "Then by all means, call me Lyanna."
"Where were you when you and Rhaegar disappeared?" I asked the woman in front of me.
"I had run off from home." She admits. "Technically speaking. Me and father had a fight about my future marriage, and I told him I would go to the neck to meet with Howland Reed, one of the few people I considered friends since after the tourney of Harrenhal."
I paused for a moment, something clicking in my head. "You and the prince were sending letters to each other."
"Yes", she admitted with eyes downcast. "My father caught on that and that's how I decided, more like threatened, father to allow me to go to the neck to cool my tempers a little. He had sent me with an escort there, men of confidence, but at some point I ditched them. The meeting with Rhaegar at that point had been pure chance."
"Tears don't befit you, wolf maiden", said the prince as Lyanna told of her reasons to have come down this far south. "I'm certain that your father can be reasoned with. Perhaps change the betrothal with someone else, or at least delay it until your father can properly realize how Robert can't make you happy."
"He would have none of it. Robert is the Lord Paramount of the Stormlands now, and while sweet Ned assures he will be a good husband Ned is often naive and wishes to see the good in everyone, and as much as he claims I'm stubborn he can be even worse than me in that regard."
"I see", he said, mulling over his head, "then perhaps I may have a solution."
"Come with me."
"And that's when you decided to go with him, without even a 'by your leave' to the group escorting you, or even to Howland Reed which you were supposed to meet."
At my accusation the woman eyes started to water, but she held back tears and nodded.
"I didn't wanted to marry Robert, and Rhaegar provided me with a good opportunity to avoid all of this. He had promised me he would send a raven to my father and to Reed that I would be traveling with him. We stopped at small keeps on the way, so I didn't had reason to believe he didn't honored his promise."
"Once we arrived at King's Landing we stayed here for less than a week and I was introduced to his wife. Suffice to say she didn't liked me."
"Seven, I wonder why." I said with as much sarcasm as I could bring.
"Rhaegar asked me if I would marry him, saying there would be no better honor than the daughter of the Lord Paramount of the North to marry the crown prince. At the time I was still angry with my father, and in an impulsive decision I accepted. I think I had also deluded myself that while his heirs would come from Elia, Rhaegar actually loved me more."
"So wait, you were against Robert chasing skirts with other woman, but you somehow were alright with Rhaegar having another woman? Worse still, with [I]you[/I] being the other woman in the relationship?"
"In hindsight, it wasn't one of my best moments."
"I'm repeating myself at this point, but no shit woman!"
"Why didn't we held the ceremony at the Godswood in King's Landing?" Lyanna asked the prince, seeing only the three Kingsguard that accompanied them to Dorne and where the only witness to their marriage in the local village godswood.
"Would you marry in secret under my father's view?" Asked the prince and Lyanna stayed silent. With a sigh Rhaegar continued. "Father's has been... unstable as of late. Even more so than usual. The tourney at Harrenhal was done partially so I could talk with the other lords of a possible Grand Council to be held in the future. I fear that if I leave things the way they are my father would do something monumentally... unwise. That's why I want you to stay far away from him."
"I suppose that makes sense. Dorne is as good place as any to hide from him and my own father."
"Good. Once we arrive at the village we will rest for a while before going to the Tower of Joy. We can hide there for a while. There you should be safe, and you can bear me strong children. The dragon must have three heads, after all."
"I didn't knew what he was talking about until I remembered that the Targaryens had an habit of marrying their siblings off each other. I of course objected that since, you know..."
I shuddered at the mention. "Yeah, nobody can fault you for that."
"It was then that he showed signs of his true nature. He became furious when I objected to my future son or daughter incestuous relationship with his older half-siblings, or worse yet, with each other. For a moment in front of me it wasn't the prince Rhaegar, noble warrior poet that managed to catch my heart and offered to love me for what I am instead of what I should be, but instead in front of me it was the son of the Mad King."
They were at the Tower of Joy for some time now, and Rhaegar advances towards Lyanna started to become more forceful as the days passed, specially after she bleed for the month. While the insistence was becoming annoying it wasn't like she didn't liked to perform the act itself, and in some ways could sympathize with Robert and his lust if he felt nearly as good as she did.
It wasn't until she had waken up earlier than usual to grab something to eat when she saw the solar of the tower open, where Rhaegar and the Maester did some of their work. Curious she entered the room and saw a new letter that had arrived by raven.
Her brother Brandon was imprisoned by the King, and her father was summoned to answer for his crime. She remembered that a raven had came a couple of days back.
"When were you going to tell me!" She said bursting into the room she shared with her husband. "My brother Brandon is being held captive because he thinks I'm kidnapped! We have to get to King's Landing as soon as possible to dispel those rumors!"
The prince rose from the bed gracefully, before standing tall in front of her. His gaze was somber, and his voice was grave and what he said next would change Westeros forever.
"I believed him. When he said he loved me I believed him. When he said he would help me talk with my father I believed him. When he said everything would be ok I believed him. It was all a lie! A lie so he could have his damned Visenya!"
By now Lyanna was openly crying, and I reached to hug her even as I took care not to press on her bulging stomach.
"Even as I heard the news that my father had burned to death and my brother died choking himself desperately trying to save him, after I tried to bite off his dick that damn son of a whore asked his Kingsguard to hold me down so I could perform my 'marital duties' to him, like his own mother did when he and his brother were born!"
"I'm sorry. You shouldn't have endured that." I said to her. Just because she was married didn't meant that she wasn't allowed to say no to her own husband, specially in such circunstances. My own memories of my parents and my old man memories agree that what he did was rape, no matter her marital status.
"When I heard the news that Rhaegar was dead I thought I could be sent back home, even in shame, but apparently my dear husband orders for me to not leave the tower until my son is born held even after his death, until you came and killed the three kingsguard holding me here."
I nodded to her. "Son?"
"He wanted a Visenya, then I will give him a son so I can spite him even after death."
I nodded to her once more before sighing. What a mess. "I will talk with Howland and Greatjon first. You wait here for a little while."
"... and that's what happened."
Both men were silent and for a moment I was really glad they were the only two that came with me. In hindsight it was a great idea not to bring a big party with me to rescue Lyanna.
"So the lass did something monumentally stupid AND was conned by the pretty boy." Said Greatjon with a frown. "Can't say she will gather much sympathy with the men when she gets back", at my glare he continued with a cough, "but even I know when to bend the truth a little."
Howland was quiet, before he palmed his face and made as if he wanted to scream. "I should have meet with her midway through her trip. I knew she was discontent with her father and had few friends back at Winterfell, if she had a friendly shoulder to cry upon this never would have happened."
"I choose to blame all this mess on Rhaegar and be done with it. If the son of a bitch didn't tried to two time his own wife and kept to his pants none of this would have happened." Not that Lyanna was blameless in all of this mess, but it helped with maintaining the story if we all believed that Rhaegar was the sole responsible for the war. Less of a headache that way.
"What are we going to do with the unborn babe?" Asked Greatjon after a moment of silence. "Robert will probably want to kill the boy, with more reason for that than the deaths of the other Targaryens."
I winced. Differently from the standard netorare stories my old man memories supplied, much to my shame, in Westeros the male being cuckolded this way will basically never take it down passively. He would lash out violently, often in the direction of the two responsible for this. Rhaegar was already dead and I doubt Robert would ever go further than slapping at Lyanna's face for this, but he would no doubt kill the boy at the first opportunity.
"We will think of something", I finally answered, "there's always the Wall a a fall back option, even if I prefer not to force a newborn baby to that fate. That's a place only those who choose to be or that seeks redemption for their crimes must go."
Both men nodded, and we set out to travel back to King's Landing. By that time we might have come up with something regarding not Jon Snow fate.