chap 8: You lie awake, countin all the bald heads you kissed, but you grin and bare it.
Lysa stared out the window – the night sky seen from the Eyrie was something very different from any other kind, she'd found. The moon had little ability to light up the castle, hidden as it was by wall behind Lysa's head. Instead, candles attempted the same – not an easy feat, given the high tendency for gusting winds to cut violently through any foolishly opened window. Specialised glass windows had been embedded to protect against the strong gales, and it reflected the warm fire that gave Lysa light to see her embroidery, now dismissed on her lap.
Troubling news from Kings Landing was delivered with dinner that night. A sweating flu, attacking the poor and rich alike, young or old. The queen and crown prince sick with it. The King extending his hunt in the Kingswood to try and avoid catching it.
Lysa was counting her blessings – none of her children were anywhere near the Crownlands, and Jon, thank goodness, had enforced his own rule to visit his seat of power, his home, no less than thrice per year, and had arrived just four days ago.
But – this flu had only emerged into knowledge in the last week, yet already Jon had news from the goldcloaks that the dead already counted close to eighty. And rising.
The night was black, the clouds travelling past faster than they would closer to the ground. The stars glittered brightly between the clouds.
It was six weeks for them. Six weeks of House Arryn being up their mountain castle before they could come down without risking sweat.
The Queen of the Seven Kingdoms was dead. The Crown Prince of the Seven Kingdoms was dead. The realm was required to be in mourning – although many more had lost their lives, the two most important for the Baratheon dynasty had been lost.
The question on everyone's mind was obvious: now what?
Prince Tommen had, blessfully, by nature of his fosterage at his uncle's on Dragonstone, been ignored by the sweating fever that had taken his mother and older brother. Princess Myrcella had also avoided illness thus far. Fortunately for the survivors, the illness seemed to have passed as suddenly as it had come – a full week had gone by, seven weeks of Lysa having her whole family in the Vale, nowhere near the capital. But the danger seemed to have passed, and so it was time to for the Arryns to come down from their mountain.
The letter shivered in Lysa's hands. Not obviously, but the tremor required Lysa to put the paper down upon her reading desk. Petyr was dead. He'd been in Kings Landing when the fever had first broken out – he'd been among the first infected.
Of course, it had taken this long – Petyr may have been Lord of the Fingers, a Vale lordling, but he barely ever set foot there, and as such, he was only required to make Jon aware of the Fingers on a yearly basis; ever since he'd established his whorehouses in Kings Landing and Gulltown, they had functioned as Petyr's home. While he'd tried to get Lysa to whisper his praises to Jon, Petyr Baelish's ever-lingering desire for power and a wish to be Master of Coin, Lysa had not turned him down, but simply refrained from voicing an opinion when Jon had been reviewing the choices for the position.
She hadn't heard from Petyr since then. It seemed his whispered promises of love only lasted as long as a summer rain.
But still, the rejection of the affection Lysa had held for Petyr aside, the loss of someone she had once cherished ached. According to the letter, written by Petyr's aide, the man Lysa had once wanted to call husband had died alone.
Even Cersei Lannister died with her twin by her side.
The funerals were long, the mourning period longer, and the processions of the aftermath of both the plague and the loss of the new dynasty's queen and its heir ate up all of Jon's time for the next several months.
Granted, the King's lack of love for either members of his family that had died was obvious to anyone who saw him – each day, the King seemed to get drunker, as if he was unable to be sober at all; but the tears of Princess Myrcella and Prince Tommen made Lysa ache. To be cursed with such a father! If nothing else, Hoster Tully had done his children the dignity of mourning his wife publicly. Robert Baratheon openly groped the serving maids while Jaime Lannister glared at him as if trying to decide whether or not to become a kingslayer for the second time in his life.
Lysa had known of Robert's lecherousness, it had been common knowledge from before the rebellion that the eldest Baratheon was oft whoring, but this . . . display was enough to turn her stomach at the table. Lysa looked at her husband, sitting to her left upon the dais, to see if Jon had a similar thought. His brown-eyed gaze caught hers, and – the expression in them was enough for her to understand that her husband felt the same about their royal king's behaviour as she did.
Both the King's Hand and his lady wife left their plates barely touched during the mourning dinner; it was a striking difference to the unending times the King's own dishes needed filling.