This fic tries to imagine what may have happened if Tywin Lannister died three years before Season 1. It will set a series of events that will change the events around the War of the Five Kings.
Just like my first fanfiction, "A Shadow and a Wolf", this fanfiction tries to be the most realistic it can be, trying to imagine how the story of Game of Thrones could have been changed by a single event. The fic is following the TV show. It will borrow elements from the books from time to time, but only when they don't contradict the TV show.
There is only one thing I changed from the show in that fic by privileging the book version. I decided that Tyrion would be 25 years-old (his age at the beginning of book one) in 298 AC when Season 1 starts, and not 31 years-old like in the show.
This fic will be published at a slower pace than "A shadow and a Wolf" since for now I focus on the latter. There will be 1 or 2 updates per month at first, but the updates will grow more frequent once the other fic is almost over.
They were riding tirelessly. Time was counted. Tyrion had been distracted from his pleasure in a whorehouse in Lannisport by the sudden arrival of is uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister. He had been drinking wine while a young girl with blond hair was pleasuring him when Kevan had emerged into the room, ignoring the closed door.
"Tyrion, you must come back to Casterly Rock. Now!"
It had taken a few more seconds than usually to Tyrion to react to this unexpected appearance. "Should I explain you the meaning of a closed door in a whorehouse, Uncle?"
"Tyrion." It was then when he looked more attentively to his uncle's face that Tyrion realized something grave had happened. He seldom saw Ser Kevan in such a distressed state. "There's been an accident at the harbor. Tywin… Your father. He's been injured. Gravely injured. He's dying."
Tyrion had the impression the Mountain had just struck him with all the force of his right arm. Tywin Lannister, the Old Lion, dying? Did he drink too much? Tyrion had straightened after a moment. "Uncle, what are you saying?"
"Tyrion, your father is dying. He asked for your presence. He said he wants to speak with you." Tyrion wondered if there was a man stronger than Gregor Clegane in the Seven Kingdoms, because he wondered who could have hit him so hard this time. "Quickly now. We don't have much time."
Kevan had grabbed him by the arm and Tyrion had awkwardly put on his clothes in his drunken state. He didn't forget to pay the girl before he left. A Lannister always pays his debts. Always. Even when his father is about to die. And now here they were, on the short road leading from Lannisport to the Rock, riding their horses to death to arrive before it was too late. Tyrion's mind was in turmoil. A few minutes ago he had been drinking and fucking, and now he was heading to see the man who always hated him and never wanted him as a son. Why? Would his father have done the same for him? Yet, his father had asked to see him. Again, why?
They rode under the Lion's Mouth and dismounted into the main courtyard, leaving stable boys to take care of their horses. Kevan led Tyrion to the top of the Rock where his father's apartments were. It was a long and tiresome climbing. On the way his uncle explained what had happened. They were visiting the wharves of the city when there had been a problem with the mast of a ship they were inspecting. The beam holding the sailing had fallen on Lord Tywin, an extremity pointed directly at his chest, crushing a huge part of his tummy. They had brought him back to the castle where Creylen had tried to heal him, but there was nothing to do. Soon, Tywin Lannister, the Lord of Casterly Rock, the Lord of the Westerlands, the Warden of the West, the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms, probably the most feared and one of the most powerful, would die, his ribs, lungs and waist squashed by the mast of a ship. What a boring and miserable way to die.
When they reached his father's rooms, Tyrion was sweating from everywhere. His short legs made it very difficult for him to climb all these steps, so to climb them while running was more than horrible. Anyway, here they both were, Tyrion and Kevan Lannister, before the private chambers of the Lord of Casterly Rock. Usually, there were two guards at each side of the closed golden doors, but now there was a crowd of people before the doors that were kept by a dozen guards. The people included servants, other guards and soldiers and minor family members. When the men guarding the doors saw the brother and the son of their lord, they made a way through the crowd to let them enter.
There were other guards inside the rooms. Only in the living room, there were six of them. The living room wasn't properly speaking a living room. It was more a solar from the way Lord Tywin had organized it, with a huge desk in the center of it with everything needed to work. There were no objects of comfort and, despite all the gold surrounding the place, it bore the mark of the austere man Tyrion's father was. The gold was mostly there through the symbols of House Lannister and trophies his father gained through his achievements. There was a huge banner of House Lannister trimmed in red and gold, a huge representation of a menacing lion carved in the purest gold someone could find, and luxurious objects that had belonged to the leaders of great houses Tywin Lannister had defeated. In a corner was placed the throne in which Lady Tarbeck once held court in Tarbeck Hall. On a table near the window was a silver cup that was taken when Lord Roger Castamere was defeated while attempting to rescue Tarbeck Hall. The relic that had always interested Tyrion the most was the skull of the last of the dragons, hidden within a lead box. The skull was only the size of an apple, but despite this Tyrion had always wanted to see it, something his father forbade him all the time. The box had remained sealed ever since Lord Tywin brought it back from King's Landing at the end of Robert's Rebellion.
Two guards stood before the door leading to the bedchamber, one at each side. They allowed Tyrion and Kevan to enter. Tyrion was horrified by what he saw. His father was lying in his bed, blood soaking the covers under him, his doublet removed to reveal a bloody chest wrapped in thick bandages also soaked with blood. His father's body looked misshapen, deformed, as if someone had twisted it. A raucous breathe was escaping from his mouth. There were only two other people in the room, the old maester Creylen and Tyrion's aunt, Lady Genna Frey. She, Tywin and Kevan were the only children of Tytos Lannister still alive, Tyrion's uncles Tygett and Gerion both being dead a few years ago. Maester Creylen was observing his lord's wounds. He seemed to panic, something that rarely happened to him. Genna was kneeling on the floor, her face close to her brother's who seemed to talk to her in whispers between two difficult breathings.
As soon as they entered into the room, Kevan went to his sister's side and knelt. "My lord."
The Lord of Casterly Rock turned his eyes away from his sister to look at his young brother and closest advisor. "What advice do you have to give me right now, Kevan?"
Ser Kevan Lannister went on his feet immediately. He was in obvious distress. It was no surprise since his brother was dying before his eyes. "Keep your forces. You must rest." Kevan turned to the maester. "Is there anything you can do, Creylen? Anything?"
Before the maester could answer, the Lord of Casterly Rock replied. "Creylen already told us there is no way to save me. My bowels were pierced by a piece of wood, some of my ribs are broken, I have a lung half crushed. The only thing he can do is to lower the pain. I will die soon. Is he there?"
Hesitantly, Kevan turned to Tyrion. He had stayed in retreat, looking at the scene from a few meters, not sure if he should approach the bed where his father laid. Genna and Creylen followed his uncle's eyes with their own. But most of all, Tyrion felt the gaze of his father on him, the icy green eyes who always looked at him in disapproval, disgust and hatred. Right now, his father's eyes were fixed on him with the same expression. Even close to his death, Tywin Lannister would always look at his second son like an embarrassment for House Lannister.
After a long moment during which he stared at him, Lord Tywin turned to his brother. "Where did you find him?" Kevan hesitated. "No need to answer. I have a good idea where he was. Leave us alone. I want to speak with my son."
The last sentence caused a shock in the piece. Tyrion was the most surprised of all the people who were present. Only the man who spoke and Genna didn't look surprised by this, or at least not too much. All the same, the maester, Kevan and Genna immediately left the room. Even when he was about to die, Tywin Lannister was obeyed by everyone without discussion. The guards closed the door when Genna passed through it last, and Tyrion was left alone with his father.
For a moment, both remained there, looking at each other. Tyrion had always found it difficult to hold his father's gaze, and right now it was more difficult than ever. Tywin Lannister was dying, and still he looked at him like a wretched and misshapen little creature who shamed the family. Tyrion managed with great effort to hold his father's gaze. Finally, Tywin Lannister spoke.
"Approach." Tyrion slowly walked towards his father until he stood next to him, his face at the same level than his father's. That was quite unusual. Lord Tywin would always look down on him, in all the senses the expression could take. Right now there was one sense of the expression that was no longer true. "You were in a brothel."
That was a statement, not a question, and Tyrion had no reason to deny it. His father spoke while coughing, waiting after every few words he enunciated. "I was."
"You probably think you'll be free once I'm dead."
"Well, as you once told me Father, no man is free. Only children and fools think elsewise."
Something that looked like the beginning of a smile appeared on the corners of Lord Tywin's lips, but also perhaps something like a surprised expression in his eyes. His eyes settled on Tyrion were still hard, but looked less hard than before. "I always thought you never listened. I always thought you were a stunted fool. Perhaps I was wrong."
"You will have to stop visiting whorehouses. You can bring a whore inside the Rock if you want from time to time, you wouldn't be the first Lord of the Rock to do it. But no one can know about this except you. The Lord of Casterly Rock cannot be seen visiting, or even be suspected to spend times with harlots." Tyrion didn't understand his father's words, but Tywin Lannister didn't let him time to question him. "You'll have to spend less time drinking with thieves and bedding harlots, and to put all your attention on the task to rule the Westerlands, and to keep House Lannister strong against the other houses. You'll have to make sure they keep fearing and respecting us. You'll have to make sure Robert understands he needs us to keep the Seven Kingdoms under his control. You will marry a suitable woman, and father children named Lannister, and never turn your back on your family. You'll have to make sure the family name lives on. It's all that lives on. You'll need to continue the work I started."
Tyrion was agape before everything his father was telling him. "What are you talking about? Why are you telling me all this?"
"You know very well what I'm talking about." His father's voice looked angry, but also tired and somewhat regretful. "Jaime is blessed with abilities few possess. He is blessed to belong to the most powerful family in the kingdoms. He is still blessed with youth. And what has he done with these blessings? He served as a glorified bodyguard for two kings, one a madman, the other a drunk. For more than thirty years, I've tried to teach him, and he never understood. Serving as a glorified bodyguard seems to be the sum of his ambition."
Tyrion knew his father always wanted Jaime for his heir. He had been so furious when Jaime was named in the Kingsguard that he resigned his tenure as Hand of the King. He never forgave the Mad King for this, and he never forgave Jaime either for staying in the Kingsguard.
"Don't get me wrong. I never wanted you as a son, and even less as an heir. My will is clear that your brother is my heir. But if Jaime refuses to succeed me as Lord of the Rock, and he will certainly refuse, you will be the Lord of Casterly Rock, and there will be nothing I can do against it. So stop acting like the shame of the family and behave like a Lannister should."
Tyrion didn't know if he had to be happy or angry. His father nearly acknowledged he would be Lord of Casterly Rock after he died, but he did it reluctantly and stated very clearly he didn't want Tyrion as a son. The prospect of a certain and near death didn't change the Old Lion.
"Is there anything else you wanted to tell me, Father?" Tyrion answered coldly. If his father wanted to be cold with him as he left this world, he didn't see why he should behave any differently towards him.
Tyrion's father stared at him for a long moment, until the last question he would expect came. "Will you cry for me when I'm dead? Are you sad about it?"
After recovering from the shock this question caused, Tyrion answered with another one. "If the situation was different, if our roles were reversed, would you cry for your son?"
"No," Lord Tywin said after a few seconds. Then don't expect me to mourn you, Father. "My father would have, if I had died before him. I wept when he died. I mourned him. He was a weak man, but he was the man who sired me. He was my father. A man who loved all his children. Despite all his flaws, he was the man who brought me up."
Tyrion was surprised to hear this. He couldn't imagine his father weeping. Even right now, as he was about to die, Tywin Lannister was close to anything but crying.
"Have you ever wondered why I kept you alive when you were born?" Tyrion was startled by the question. "I wanted to carry you into the sea and let the waves wash you away. Instead, I let you live. And I brought you up as my son. Because you're a Lannister. Because you're my son. Because that's what your mother asked me before she died. This is the last thing she asked from me before she left us. She died holding you in her arms, as if she tried to protect you. If you have any hint of respect for the woman you killed to come into the world, then be the lord House Lannister needs. Very soon, I won't be that lord anymore, and your brother is unwilling to be it. You're all that's left." Lord Tywin coughed and closed his eyes, pain obvious on his face. "Now go. Give me some peace for the few hours I have to spend in this world."
Tyrion remained some time, looking at his father gritting his teeth in pain. Should he do something about it? His own father was suffering right under his eyes. Any son would do something to lessen his father's pain as he was about to leave this world, but any father would love all his children, no matter who they were, what they looked like and what they did. The man lying right before him just confessed he wanted to kill him the day he was born. He made Tyrion come here only to humiliate him by telling he would only be Lord of Casterly Rock because they had no other choice. Tyrion left after a moment, leaving his father to die in suffering.
On the other side of the door, the three of them were waiting, Genna, Kevan and Creylen. They all looked at him as he closed the door, as if they expected him to say something. A heavy silence took place that Tyrion broke.
"He asked for milk of the poppy."
He walked away with no other word. Right now, he wanted to be alone. He went down to the middle levels of the Rock. Tyrion's chambers were at the same level than the room where he spent most of his time at Casterly Rock. He was the one to ask his father one day to move him at the same level than the huge library of the castle. That made him move at lower levels, but Tyrion didn't mind. He wasn't eager to live in the upper levels of the castle, near his father, and it made a lesser climb to make each time he came back home, and less time to walk every time he wanted to visit the library. His father hadn't opposed when Tyrion had asked him years ago, probably happy to have the Imp farther from him.
Tyrion entered his rooms with the furniture conceived for his size and sat. In the end, he hadn't let his father suffer. Tyrion had wanted Lord Tywin to suffer just like he made him suffer all his life. But in the end, he had told Creylen to ease his father's pain with milk of the poppy. He said it to say something to them, anything but what was told behind these doors, but he told Creylen to do something good for the father who never wanted him. In the end, he had done what a son would have done.
I wanted to carry you into the sea and let the waves wash you away. Instead, I let you live. And I brought you up as my son. Because you're a Lannister. His father's words echoed in his head. Because you're my son. Because that's what your mother asked me before she died. Tyrion never knew much about his mother. His father barely acknowledged him as a son and never spoke about his wife to anybody, so why would he have talked to Tyrion about the mother who died the day he was born? Tyrion had never known any of this. She died holding you in her arms, as if she tried to protect you. That was how Lady Joanna Lannister died, holding the son who killed her into her arms.
Tyrion tried to forget what just happened by reading. He had two huge piles of books, one ready to be read, the other one already read. He took one of the books he never read before, a book on dragonglass. He tried to lose himself into the reading, but failed miserably. No matter how hard he tried to focus, the words went through his mind without making any sense. He couldn't stop himself from thinking about his father about to die in a room several floors over him, or about his mother who died pleading his father to let him live, or about the woman he loved being raped by dozens of men. He left his rooms to see if there was any work in the library that could distract him, but all the books he tried couldn't force the dark thoughts out of his mind. He went back to his chambers and thought for a time about going to Lannisport and spend the night in the brothel where he left the blond haired girl a few hours ago, but he didn't think it would be appropriate to visit a whore while his father was dying. Tyrion knew he owed his father to disobey his orders and to embarrass him, but he didn't do it. He couldn't help but refuse to shame his father in his last hours. Instead he drank wine, and he drank a lot of it. He asked the servants to bring him the best ones from the cellars. It didn't help him to feel better, but he kept drinking all the same. No one was better than him for this. Drinking, whoring and reading. No man or woman can match me at these things.
Tyrion didn't sleep of the entire night. He knew it would do him no good to sleep. Even if he managed to, he would only make nightmares. The sun set on the horizon, the moon came and left and dawn came. Tyrion spent his time drinking, tried to read a few pages from one book or another from time to time, and ruminated. He ruminated about the last words his father told him. He ruminated about all the times his father punished him or mocked him for being a dwarf. He ruminated about his uncle Gerion who disappeared in Essos a few years ago. He ruminated about his time spent in charge of the drains and cisterns of Casterly Rock. He ruminated about his marriage. He ruminated about his childhood. He thought about everything that happened during the twenty-two years of his life. His memories also went to happier events from time to time. He remembered the gifts Jaime offered him for his various name days. His tumblings through Casterly Rock. His recitation of the sixteen wonders described by Lomas Longstrider during feasts. The jokes he shared with his uncle Gerion. The kindness of his uncle Tygett. His wedding with Tysha. The discovery of the dragon skulls under the Red Keep. Sadly, each happy memory brought a dark one, while each dark memory couldn't bring a happy one.
Two hours after the sun rose, the page in Tyrion's service entered his rooms. "My lord," he began, "Ser Kevan, Lady Genna and Maester Creylen are here to see you."
Tyrion threw a hand in the air. "Let them in." He slowly rose from his seat, standing on more or less sure feet. Despite everything he drank during the night, he could still stand with some dignity, though not as surely as when he was sober.
Ser Kevan Lannister, Lady Genna Frey and the maester of Casterly Rock came in one after one. The three faced Tyrion, Kevan in the middle with Genna on his right and Creylen on his left. All had a devastated expression on their face, though not in the same way. Creylen bore a worried look and played with the folds of his robe, Kevan was almost shaking and Tyrion could hear his unsteady breathing as much as he could see it, while Genna remained mostly calm and unmoving, though her eyes betrayed her sadness. Kevan was the one to speak.
"Tywin is dead."
His voice was hoarse. Tyrion never saw his uncle in this state. Tyrion supposed he should say something, but nothing came out. He felt nothing. His father was dead. It didn't seem to be the end of the world. Nothing seemed to have changed with his father's departure. He simply nodded to mean he understood. The three people before him didn't move, still looking as if they were waiting for him to make some declaration, but none came. For once, Tyrion had nothing to say. His sharp tongue couldn't find something clever or funny to say.
Finally, his aunt stepped forward. She had tried to act like a mother to Jaime, Cersei and him, not without success, though even she couldn't replace their mother. She bowed and came on her knees, keeping her face directed towards the floor.
For a moment, Tyrion stood idle. What was going on? Why was his aunt kneeling before him and calling him My Lord? Tyrion then realized Kevan and Creylen had gone on one knee as well, their faces towards the floor as well. Tyrion realized what was happening. My father is dead. I am Lord of Casterly Rock.
A few hours later, Tyrion didn't remember what he did afterwards, nor how he left his rooms, but he knew that during the day, Kevan and Genna summoned all the people in Casterly Rock. Family members, knights, guards, soldiers, servants, cooks, handmaidens, pages, everybody of all ages and all conditions were assembled in the Great Hall. Tyrion sat in the throne carved in gold with a golden lion head at its top and everyone in the Rock saluted him Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport and Lord of the Westerlands. He didn't have yet the title of Warden of the West. Robert Baratheon had to give it to him once he would learn Tywin Lannister was dead.
In the weeks that followed, preparations were made for the coronation ceremony and the funerals. Kevan wrote to King's Landing to inform the king and the small council that the Lord of Casterly Rock had left this world. Genna took care of informing Cersei and Tyrion wrote to Jaime. It was the only letter he wrote. His brother was the only one he wanted to share the new with. Tyrion's things were moved to his father's rooms, now his rooms, at the peak of Casterly Rock. Tywin Frey, Genna's second son, became his personal page and squire. Ravens were sent all over Westeros to the other greats houses, and to all the houses and cities in the Westerlands to spread the news that Tywin Lannister, the Old Lion, was dead.
It took a month to organize the coronation ceremony and to let the noblemen and noblewomen of all the Westerlands arrive at the Rock in time. All this time, Tyrion spent most of his days and nights in his new rooms. It felt odd for him to occupy the chambers that had once been his father's. Tyrion was already familiar with the duties a high lord had to fulfill. His father may have hated him, but he gave him the education every child of noble birth had a right to. Tyrion had found a new way to forget about his problems and to spend time: work. He quickly realized he loved it. Reading reports from army's officers, mining engineers, tax collectors, shipyard supervisors, stewards, the master-at-arms, Creylen, knights and other lords was very easy for someone who spent his life in books. He worked closely with people to solve different problems in Casterly Rock, Lannisport and the Westerlands. The matters Tyrion had to handle could vary a lot, from the fighting against outlaws and pirates and the maintenance of the streets of Lannisport to the administration of food stocks and granaries and the collection of taxes on trade, crops, fisheries, forests and mining. With these problems, Tyrion could occupy most of his days. The learning to be Lord of Casterly Rock didn't prove very difficult for him. Kevan himself looked impressed by him.
However, if ruling the lands around the Rock and the Westerlands could occupy his days, things were different for nights. For the first week, Tyrion mostly spent his nightly time drinking and reading, but in the end he grew bored of it. He needed a woman. His father told him he could bring a whore from time to time as long as the other people didn't know. Tyrion supposed it would be no problem if he kept a whore in his service all the time. He only had to hide her among the servants.
During his second day as Lord of Casterly Rock, Tyrion had visited the kitchens to know more precisely how things were done there. He had spotted a girl on her knees cleaning the floor with a wet cloth. The second time he visited the kitchens, he asked her to come into his chambers tonight. The girl had come like Tyrion ordered her. He was the Lord now, so everyone had to obey him. She was very young, around fifteen he would have said. She had red hair, blue eyes, a lovely round face, a generous bosom and a slender frame. Her hands were red from all the rubbing she performed on the floor each day. Tyrion thought she had tried to make herself presentable before she came by washing her face, but she still bore the marks of her daily work. Despite her unwashed face and unkempt appearance, she was beautiful.
"What's your name?" He had asked her.
"Alla, m'lord." She answered timidly, looking at the floor. She was afraid of him. She didn't have to be. He wouldn't hurt her. Tyrion never hurt the women he spent time with.
"How old are you?"
"Fourteen, m'lord." Tyrion's heart dropped. He had known another girl who was fourteen, or at least who had been fourteen. The girl kept staring at the floor.
"Go to the bed," Tyrion had ordered her. She had obeyed without a word and sit on his bed, the bed his father had been sleeping in only a few days ago. Tyrion stood before her, watching her. She kept her eyes cast down. "Take off your clothes."
She did what he told her and soon she was naked before him, still sitting on the bed, refusing to look at him. She had a lovely body. A very lovely body. But there was something else than her beauty that attracted Tyrion's gaze. She had bruises on her arms, on her legs and on her tummy.
"Show me your back." She turned on herself, letting Tyrion see the other half of her body. Bruises covered all her back as well. Tyrion knew work conditions could be difficult in the kitchens, but to this point? He touched one of the bruises with his right hand. He felt the girl shiver under his palm.
"It hurt?" he asked.
"No, m'lord." Her voice was barely audible, no more than a whisper.
"Alla, turn on yourself. Face me." She executed his order like she did since she arrived here. "Look at me, Alla."
Slowly, hesitantly, she lifted her face to look at him. There were tears threatening to break in her eyes. She was only a child, a scared child with nothing, forced to do as she was told. Tyrion felt terrible for her. A moment ago, all he had wanted was to take her into his bed and fuck her, but now he couldn't. Tyrion went to a nearby table where there was wine and poured a cup. He brought it to Alla and offered her to drink it. She looked unsure about what to do, but before Tyrion's insistence she finally took the cup and started to drink. She nearly spilled the first gulp and Tyrion warned her to drink slowly. She wasn't used to wine, so she had to take it little by little. Tyrion kept examining her bruises.
"Where did you get all these bruises?"
The question startled the girl, but she finally gave in and confessed the bad treatments she had to endure all day. There were men, mostly guards and soldiers working in the Rock, who came almost each day to abuse her or some other girls working in the kitchens. Some hit her and the bruises could stay there for days. Tyrion knew the women in the kitchens could be mistreated, but the girl looked so lost and remembered him so much of another he once knew that he decided to do something for her. Alla slept into his bed this night, but without him. Tyrion remained in a chair, drowsing, thinking about what could be done. In the morning, Tyrion sent the girl back to the kitchens. He gave her a silver stag for her trouble and told her to hide it at all cost. Tyrion then went to the kitchens again and spoke with the cooks who overlooked the work there. At the end of the day, he had three names.
Next morning, Tyrion assembled the whole household of Casterly Rock with all the men living in the barracks. He had the three men who forced girls in the kitchens the day before to make love to them put on their knees, entirely naked before all Casterly Rock. Tyrion ordered each would receive ten lashes and everyone learned what happened at the Rock when a man forced himself upon a girl. There were a few more examples in the two weeks that followed, and soon the serving girls of Casterly Rock received more respect than they ever received in their whole life. Tyrion had gone back to the kitchens only once after he enforced these new measures, and he saw Alla scrubbing the floor like before, her hands still red from the effort, but without bruises on her arms. She smiled at him when he walked before her. One of the consequences of this, strangely, was that one night, two weeks after he made her come to his chambers the first time, Alla came of her own to his chambers and undressed before him. Despite his assurance that she didn't need to do that, she said she had to thank him. She felt she had to do it, and didn't think he would mistreat her. In the end, Tyrion spent the night with the lovely red head, only she did it willingly instead of being forced to do it. Tyrion gave her two silver stags on the next morning.
However, Tyrion shared most of his nights with someone else. He had remembered a beautiful tall woman in the beginning of her twenties with black hair and green eyes, a flat face and a body that barely allowed any curves who was working in a brothel in Lannisport and that he had enjoyed a lot the few times he visited her. Tyrion had sellswords bringing her inside the Rock in secret, disguised as a servant. From the second week after his father's death, she spent all nights with him, except the one when Alla thanked him. That was some kind of revenge for Tyrion, to bring a whore in his father's bed, his bed now he had to remind himself more than once.
Jaime and Cersei had answered they were coming back to Casterly Rock immediately when they received the ravens. King Robert wouldn't come to pay his last respects to Lord Tywin. Not that the stag had any respect for the Old Lion anyway. He only sent a raven, signed by Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, acknowledging Tyrion in his titles and giving him the title of Warden of the West. Genna had organized the funerals and the coronation to take place exactly one month after her brother's death, and Jaime and Cersei were still weeks away on the Goldroad when the day came.
Overall, Tyrion was recognized Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, Lord of the Westerlands and Warden of the West by all the bannermen of House Lannister on the morning. Each lord, lady and landed knight came to pledge himself, or herself and his or her house to him in the Great Hall. This ceremony took almost all the morning. In the afternoon, Tyrion led the procession that carried his father's body through the streets of Lannisport and all around the Rock until they brought it to the Hall of Heroes where the graves of all the previous Lords of the Rock, sometimes with their Lady, were laid. The procession was preceded by an exposure of Lord Tywin's body in the sept of Lannisport where noble people could come and pay their final respects to their deceased liege lord. A feast followed and many toasts were made, though Tyrion didn't think those made in his or his father's honor were sincere in any way.
Tyrion had found the procession quite gloomy. He supposed a burial had to be gloomy, but it was the type of gloominess he didn't like. People didn't weep for his father. Tyrion knew very well Tywin Lannister hadn't been loved by almost everyone, from the smallfolk to his most important bannermen. He had been feared and respected, sometimes even praised for his deeds, but never loved. Anyway his father never expected his subjects to love him or tried to have them love him. Love was useless in his eyes. Everyone in the Westerlands had had no love for Tywin Lannister, and Tywin Lannister had had no love for anyone in the Westerlands. Except his wife perhaps, before she died. No one would cry for his death, and many people were probably happy.
In fact, Tyrion had noticed he was the one the people were looking at. They were probably afraid of him. They knew who Tywin Lannister was, but they had no idea who his son was. What kind of lord was he? What would he do? What was to expect from him? The smallfolk were uncertain about their new lord. The minor lords and landed knights showed him respect, but Tyrion thought he saw many of them laughing at him in their cups during the feast that closed the day. Tyrion decided he would show them who he was.
Tyrion left soon during the feast and walked to his chambers. Kevan had left too before, grief devouring him certainly. Tyrion slowly climbed to the top of the castle and finally reached his private rooms. He longed for Ellaryn's body. That was the name of the whore he hired three weeks ago. He didn't see how he could sleep even a little without her. When he went through the golden doors and penetrated in his bedchamber, however, it wasn't Ellaryn he found, but his uncle.
"What are you doing here?" Tyrion asked immediately, harshly.
"We need to talk." His uncle's voice was very calm and showed no emotion. His eyes however showed determination when he looked about to fall for almost the whole feast.
Tyrion looked around him. Ellaryn wasn't there. "Where is she?"
"I sent her away. You don't have to worry. I only paid her and told her to leave. No harm came to her. I'm not Tywin."
Tyrion sighed in relief. He didn't want the story to repeat itself. "That's useless, Uncle. I'll bring her back tomorrow."
"No, you won't." Kevan was firm. "This must end, Tyrion. You are the Lord of Casterly Rock now. You can't keep doing this kind of things. It reflects badly on the whole family."
"Just like I gave a bad image of our family before. I don't remember you caring so much about what I did in my spare time."
"Because it wasn't my duty to do so. Things are different now. I was your father's advisor for many years. Most of the time we agreed, but there were times I disagreed with your father's decision and I voiced my opposition. Now I must do the same with you."
Tyrion scoffed. Kevan Lannister seldom had an idea Tywin Lannister didn't have before. "I'm performing my duties of lord during the days. What problem is there if I bring a whore into my bed at night if it doesn't affect my work at day? Your brother himself told me I could do it as long as I wasn't caught. He said I wouldn't be the first Lord of the Rock to do so."
Kevan looked surprised for a second, but it only lasted a second. "As I told you, I didn't always agree with your father."
"Did you always voice your opposition?"
Kevan pursed his lips for a few seconds before he answered. "No. Your father was never a man who appreciated to be contradicted. If I had opposed too often, he wouldn't have allowed me by his side any longer. It was better for me to shut up from time to time than to never have anything to say." Kevan sighed heavily. "I know Tywin looked hard for you. To me too he looked hard. There are things he did… I disapproved. But he was no harder than he had to be. Our father was kind, gentle and amiable, but also weak. Our house came close to downfall under his rule. Tywin had to restore House Lannister. For that he needed to be hard. There was no other way."
Tyrion rarely saw his uncle so emotive. "Couldn't he have been gentle and strong at the same time?"
"Perhaps," Kevan conceded after a few moments. "You didn't grow up in the circumstances I and Tywin grew in. He was my brother. I respected him, and I loved him, like every brother loves his brother." Tyrion could understand. He loved Jaime. Perhaps he even loved Cersei, despite the hatred she always showed towards him. "But I know Tywin wasn't perfect. I know he did horrible things. Some were necessary, some were not. But he did bring our family back on his feet. That is a fact, and we cannot let everything he built fall into pieces."
Kevan went to sit. He was obviously tired. Tyrion followed him, sitting face to face with his uncle on the other side of a table. His uncle had been his father's advisor for many years. His father may not have kept him at his side only because he always said the same thing than him. Tywin Lannister had nothing to do with sycophants.
"So, you think I will bring back the era when House Lannister was mocked just like I bring whores in my bed?"
"No. I know you're not your grandfather, Tyrion. To be honest I'm impressed. You showed great abilities to rule ever since your father died. Tywin himself would have admired you. But you cannot continue to live the way you did before. You are no longer a second son everyone is laughing at because he's a dwarf. You are the Lord of Casterly Rock, the leader of our house. Everything you do reflects on all your siblings, and on the reputation of the family. You must stop drinking, whoring, gambling and making bawdy jokes. You must be a lord. Our lord."
Tyrion didn't know if he would be able to do so. He already missed the girl he spent the last nights with. "I don't know if I'll be able."
"You'll have to." Kevan's tone showed there was no place for discussion. "We recognized you Lord of Casterly Rock because we thought we needed you, so don't make us regret our choice."
That statement let Tyrion perplexed. "What do you mean? Your choice?"
Kevan looked down a moment before he explained everything. "Tywin died in the middle of the night. Immediately after Creylen confirmed his death, Genna asked for him to bring us Tywin's will. I and Creylen thought it would be better to wait the morning to open it, but Genna is difficult to argue with. Once her mind is set upon something, nothing can divert it." Kevan gave a dry laugh. "That's strange, when we think about it. My brothers and I barely had anything in common with Tywin, but Genna looks a lot like him. If she had been a man, she would have been his advisor in my stead. Creylen finally complied and brought the will. We opened it in the Maester's Tower and read it. Mostly, Tywin let something to everyone in his family, even you, but it was the succession for Casterly Rock that was the most interesting."
"He designated Jaime as his heir. I know. He told me." Tyrion interrupted his uncle who resumed immediately.
"Yes. He made Jaime his heir. But Genna told us Jaime was a kingsguard and hence couldn't marry or inherit. Creylen agreed with her. I was of the opinion to wait for your brother and your sister to come back so we could discuss about it, perhaps find a way to have Tywin's last wishes respected. I wanted to send a raven to King's Landing to inform them of this and see if the king would be ready to release Jaime from his vows. But Genna opposed. Do you know what she said?"
Tyrion shook his head. What could Genna have said?
"She said Jaime wasn't fitting to be Lord of Casterly Rock. That he had some of his three uncles inside him, but nothing of his father. That anyway Jaime didn't want to succeed his father and had never wanted to succeed him. She said you were Tywin's son. The only one of his children who could maintain what he built in the last decades and build on it." Tyrion was agape before this. His aunt really said that? "And the worse was that Creylen agreed. He said Jaime and Cersei didn't have the will or the skills to lead House Lannister. He wasn't categorical like Genna, but he approved what she said. I found myself alone and I had to concede. So we went to your chamber not long after and knelt before you, recognizing you as our lord. Up to now, it seems we made a good choice. But I don't want this decision to turn against us. I want it to remain a good decision."
So, that was the truth. Genna, Creylen and Kevan came to recognize him Lord of Casterly Rock because they thought Jaime and Cersei wouldn't be able to rule the Westerlands like he would. Tyrion felt proud about that. There weren't many people who appraised him for who he was, but now it seemed there were some at the Rock who recognized he was better than his brother and his sister. He didn't mind if Jaime would be better than him, but it would bother him if people believed Cersei was more worthy than him. His aunt, his uncle and the maester weren't far from performing a coup in some people's eyes, but they had excellent reasons. Tyrion was the lawful heir to his father since Jaime donned the white cloak, no one could argue with this. No kingsguard was ever released from hi vows, and Jaime would never leave the Kingsguard. He would never want to leave Cersei's side. Tyrion knew very well what was going on between them, and he forgave Jaime for that. He could forgive him almost everything.
Tyrion thought about what his uncle said. It was true, he was a great lord now. He had duties. Could he really keep living like he always did? He didn't know.
"No drinking. No whoring. No gambling. No japing. No joking." He sighed. "Life will be quite dull. Well, I have work to occupy my days, but for nights that's another story. Even I can get bored of books in time, and my sleep is shit."
"You'll have to. The future of our house may depend on it." Tyrion didn't know if he would be able to stop all of this so suddenly. If only he was only asked to stop whoring or drinking, he would still be able to rely on the other one to forget about the one he stopped, but to stop both? He would need to keep his tongue as well, something he wasn't used to. He could do without gambling without problem he thought, but the other things would be far more difficult to end.
"There is another reason why I came, Tyrion. Lord Gawen Westerling came to see me during the feast. He offered me to marry his eldest daughter to you."
Tyrion was startled by this. "Really? He was drunk, probably."
"No, he wasn't. He was very serious." There was no trace of humor in Kevan's demeanour.
"Then he must have gone mad. Only someone insane or desperate would want to marry his daughter to me."
"You are the Lord of the Westerlands, Tyrion." Kevan looked exasperated in some way. "Whoever marries you will become the lady of this castle, and the richest woman in the Seven Kingdoms. Don't be surprised if some families are willing to marry their daughters to you."
Tyrion hadn't thought about this. He had lost all hope to marry one day after the failure of his first marriage. "I wish they had been interested before."
"Your father tried to arrange you a marriage many times when he was still alive. Not long after you were born, the Princess of Dorne, Anera Martell, came to visit Casterly Rock with her youngest children, Princess Elia and Prince Oberyn. She had been a friend to your mother when they both lived in King's Landing and had wished she could arrange a marriage between Cersei and Oberyn, or between Jaime and Elia, or even both. But your mother died and Tywin refused the betrothals when Princess Anera proposed them. He offered you to marry Elia Martell instead."
"I guess the Martells didn't take it quite well."
"No, they didn't. They were insulted, truth be told."
"We can't blame them for that."
Kevan resumed as if Tyrion never spoke. "Later, Tywin tried to arrange a betrothal between your brother Jaime and the youngest daughter of Lord Hoster Tully, Lysa Tully."
"It seems it didn't work out well."
"Not by your father's fault. King Aerys named your brother in the Kingsguard. When it happened, Tywin tried to propose you to marry Lady Lysa instead of Jaime."
"And I guess he was refused again, and that like the Martells the Tullys felt insulted."
"Lord Hoster Tully replied his daughter required a whole man." Tyrion wasn't sure Lysa Tully was happier to marry a man thrice her age instead of a man half her size. "He tried to arrange a marriage between you and a daughter of Lord Leyton Hightower, then of Lord Yohn Royce, but they both declined as well. He even tried to offer you to Delena Florent."
"The woman deflowered by Robert in his brother's wedding bed? My father had to be really despaired."
"Her father preferred to marry her to one of his household knights. But now things are different. You may be a dwarf, but you are also a great lord. One of the most powerful in the Seven Kingdoms. I don't expect Lord Westerling to be the last one to offer his daughter or a woman of his family to you."
"I was married, once. We both know how it ended," Tyrion said with a gloomy voice while looking away.
He thought Kevan waited for a moment before to reply. "Tywin is dead. And the woman you'll marry won't be lowborn. She will be a lady, the Lady of House Lannister."
Tyrion looked back at his uncle. "Who is the daughter Lord Westerling talked about?"
"Her name is Jeyne. But I wouldn't advise you to accept this offer. Lady Westerling is a Spicer. Her grandfather was a merchant and his wife some witch from across the Narrow Sea according to some people. The Westerlings are poor and have nothing to offer us. They are only trying to use the situation to have one of them in a good position. A marriage between you and their daughter would be very good for them, but they wouldn't bring us anything."
"How is the girl?"
Kevan took an exasperated look again. "Tyrion, we have nothing to gain from such an alliance, and much to lose."
"I only want to know a few things about the girl. Who is she? How does she look like? How old is she?"
His uncle pressed his lips, disapproving. "I never saw her. From what Lord Gawen told me, she is quite pretty. She has brown eyes and hair, chestnut curls, a lovely face, and she is quite slender. She just flowered apparently. She is twelve."
Tyrion averted his eyes on the side. A father was ready to give his little girl of twelve to him, the Imp, the whoremonger of Casterly Rock. What kind of father would be ready to do such a thing? Tyrion's father would, probably.
"I think we can refuse. You're right, an alliance with the Westerlings has no advantage. Though if they were the only ones ready to offer me a woman, we would be better to not answer right now."
"I think it is unlikely we won't receive other offers, but I will delay our answer," Kevan said. "You need to marry someone from a great house. Someone worthy to become the Lady of the Rock. Someone who comes from a family that an alliance with them would make us stronger. Your father married his first-cousin. It may not have been the best choice, but Tywin wouldn't have married someone else." Tyrion remembered his uncle Gerion once said Tywin Lannister was never the same after his wife died. Surely he had loved her dearly. "Our bannermen need to be humored. Many might want a woman from their family to become the new Lady of the Westerlands."
"So we can forget about any idea to have me marry Cerenna or Myrielle." That didn't bother Tyrion. His cousins were never close to him. The only one he was fond of in some way was Joy, his uncle's natural daughter, because she was an outcast like him and because Gerion was always the uncle Tyrion the closer to. All dwarves were bastards in their father's eyes. "Who would be the best choice?"
"You could choose among the other great families of the Westerlands. The Crakehalls, the Farmans, the Marbrands, the Leffords. Many have marriageable women."
Tyrion reviewed the most powerful houses of the Westerlands in his head, until he remembered a memory from three years ago. "Lord Lefford has a daughter, if I remember well. Alysanne Lefford, is that her name?"
"Yes, that is," Kevan confirmed. "That wouldn't be a bad choice. The Leffords are the richest family in the west after us, and Lady Alysanne is the heir and only child of Lord Lefford. If Lord Lefford was to accept, this would bind our two houses together, and give the Golden Tooth along with the Rock to the children you would have with the young woman."
Tyrion had travelled through the Westerlands three years ago and had stopped at the Golden Tooth during his journey. Lord Lefford had been courteous enough with him. After all, the Lord of the Golden Tooth couldn't show disrespect to the son of Tywin Lannister. The Old Lion wouldn't have tolerated one of his bannermen to mock a member of his family, even his misshapen dwarf son. However, it had been obvious he only felt disdain for Tyrion and only reluctantly allowed him to stay at the Tooth for the night. His daughter had been kinder. She had spoken with Tyrion during dinner, even smiling at his bad jokes. She had talked with him about the wonders described by Lomas Longstrider and didn't seem to hate or despise him. Tyrion remembered her to be quite tall, with long legs, brown hair braided in tresses, green eyes, a high chin and a face that was neither square nor round. She had been fifteen when Tyrion had met her. She had to be eighteen now, and she was still unwed. A beautiful young woman, and intelligent with that. Tyrion couldn't really ask better since she was also the heir to the Golden Tooth.
"Perhaps we should ask Lord Lefford then." Tyrion could already imagine him wed to the future Lady of the Tooth. He would probably be able to do without whores for the rest of his life if he married her.
Kevan looked hesitant. "The Golden Tooth would be a very good choice, Tyrion. But we mustn't only look at the Westerlands. We must also search outside our borders."
"I thought we had to give some satisfaction to our bannermen."
"Yes. But if you marry one of your bannermen's daughter, the other ones will grow envious. That's why your father wanted to marry Jaime to Lysa Tully, so none of the minor houses would complain we privileged someone else from the west."
"Well, it's a little too late for that. I doubt the Hand of the King will want to surrender his wife to me."
"There are other options," Kevan stated. "Your father tried with the Hightowers and the Royces before."
"And he failed. You want us to try again?" Tyrion didn't really want to look at other possible brides. He knew Alysanne Lefford. She wasn't ugly nor stupid, she was the heir of the second richest family in Westeros probably, so why look for someone else?
"I already tried again."
Tyrion nearly jumped at the revelation. "What?"
"I sent a raven to another powerful lord to propose a marriage between his daughter and you. I sent it two days after Tywin died. I'm still waiting for his answer."
"You tried to arrange me a wedding without telling me?"
"You weren't in a good state to discuss about this matter back then. You already had a lot to do with your other duties. And I couldn't wait. An alliance with this house would give us opportunities we didn't have for centuries. It could make us much more powerful than any alliance with a family of the Westerlands. We cannot let go off that chance." Tyrion was angry all the same. Couldn't he have something to say about the choice of his wife, at least? "I suggest we wait for the answer. If they are not interested with my proposal, then we will look for the Leffords and the other families in the Westerlands. If they are interested, I think you should consider this betrothal very seriously. That chance won't present itself again before long."
"Alright, Kevan. I will wait." Tyrion was still unhappy about this, but after all he was the Lord now, and if he didn't want of this marriage, he could still refuse it after the answer came. "May I know who did you write to? Who are you trying to get myself married to?"
Next chapter: the rose