So, hello again! Although I deleted the original version of this story several months ago, I did promise my readers that I was working hard on a re-write. And here it is. The basic premise is the same: Lyanna lives, but due to Robert's victory over Rhaegar, she still must go to extraordinary lengths to keep her son a secret.
I've kept a handful of scenes from the original that I did enjoy, but essentially it is now a completely different story. (F)Aegon will eventually play a key role, but I'm guessing everyone (even show only folks) know who he is/isn't.
I continue to be incapable to writing short stories, so this is another long one. So, enjoy the ride and I hope to see some of you still around by the end. Thanks for reading. This story is almost entirely re-written, so my other stories will not be affected by its progress.
Chapter One: Dragon Spawn
Lyanna was half way down the tower steps when the dampness began to seep through her smallclothes. She froze, not daring to breathe, not daring to move another muscle. The midwife and Ser Arthur Dayne hadn't noticed and ran on ahead without her, throwing their luggage onto the back of a pack mule while she stood there mute, scared out of her wits. A small, near silent drip on the hard stone step snapped her out of it and she crossed her legs, like a child trying not to piss itself even though it was all too late. Despite her efforts, the dripping continued.
Ignore it, she told herself. She took the next step sidelong, like an arthritic crab, but her swollen belly pressed uncomfortably into the handrail bolted to the turnpike stairwell. As she made her way downwards she left a trail of glistening fluid that her brain refused to disregard. It was there and it terrified the life out of her as she thought of Tywin's men closing in on them. She had to get away, to the safety of Starfall. But where then? But that hardly mattered when they had the Mountain falling on them from the east.
"Your Grace, please, we must make haste."
The voice of Gerold Hightower startled her, as if she had forgotten the kingsguard were still there. He looked at her, briefly meeting her gaze before lowering his eyes in dismay at the wet trail of fluid that tracked her progress.
"I'm alright," she tried to say. "I can still go."
But she was as far from 'alright' as she was from home. The words had barely left her lips when the first contraction tore through the muscle of her belly. So, sudden, so swift, that she couldn't even cry out. She couldn't even breathe, never mind cry out. Ser Gerold acted fast and rushed up the steps to meet her, letting her lean on him as he half-carried and half-dragged her down the rest of the steps.
Out in the open, under the blazing Dornish sun, her skin prickled unpleasantly. The heat and the pain combined, caused her head to spin and her stomach to roil. Realising what was happening, the others abandoned the baggage train and ran to her assistance. Ser Arthur and Ser Gerold held her up between them, but the look on the midwife's face almost caused her heart to stop.
"The baby's coming," she said. "We cannot move her now."
No, her head screamed. No, no, no! In actuality, she just screamed. Wordless and senseless, as another contraction tore her apart. It was left to Ser Arthur to try and reason with the woman.
"It's not safe here. The enemy will be here any minute; we cannot risk staying another night," he stated.
"If she travels she will die and the babe too," the midwife argued back.
"If she stays we will all be killed and you too," Oswell Whent chipped in.
"This babe is more important than any of us," Arthur re-joined the argument. "Aerys is dead. Rhaegar is dead. The crown passes from father to son which means the babe coming now is already our king. He must live and if that means he is born here, then so be it!"
But Lyanna had already extricated herself from them and was beginning to hobble toward her horse. She could ride. She could ride through the seven hells if need be. That was what she was good at. She and her horses were one and the others just didn't understand that.
"I can do it!" she panted, breathlessly. "Just help me into the saddle, please."
It didn't matter how far she made it, just so long as she was no longer here in this place. Two miles down the road, even one, would give her some peace of mind for the ordeal ahead. But even as that thought crossed her mind, another contraction came and the clear fluids turned blood red.
"Get her back inside now!" the midwife called over Lyanna's piercing shriek.
She had blacked out. The only reason she knew she blacked out was because when she opened her eyes again she was back inside the Tower, in world of pain and fear. She heard footsteps racing toward the closed door and in her head, it was Gregor Clegane. In reality it was only Ser Gerold, who stopped on the threshold and watched what was happening in growing consternation.
"Is there any way to speed things up?" he demanded of the room at large. "As soon as it's done we must go."
But Lyanna wasn't going anywhere now. Another contraction seized her, followed by another and another. Any faster and they'd all merge into one. The harried looking midwife pushed past the guard with a bowl of hot water in her hands.
"It takes as long as it takes," she answered, unhelpfully.
"There must be something you can do!" Hightower snapped. "Once the head is out can't you just pull it the rest of the way?"
Lyanna had had enough. "I'll fucking pull you out by the ankles, if you don't leave me be. And close the door on your way out!"
If the Kingsguard fell, that door was all that stood between her and the Mountain, if Tywin really had set his dogs off on the hunt for her. Every time someone came through it, she feared it would be Clegane or Amory Lorch. The sack of King's Landing had been a game of one-upmanship in depravity between the two and it made her physically sick to think how they'd up the ante with her. Would they rape and murder her before putting her baby to the sword? Or would they put the baby to the sword and save her for Robert?
She was snapped out her thoughts as the midwife threw open the shutters on the windows, trying in vain to tempt in a night breeze. But even at night the air in Dorne was balmy and stagnant. All the midwife could do was change her nightrail and mop her brow with a cool damp cloth as she fought against the endless pain. Every so often the midwife stopped, then peered between Lyanna's knees while offering words of gentle encouragement.
"Crowning now," she said. "The babe's crowning."
Lyanna couldn't help but laugh at the unfortunate phrasing. Laughter soon turning to another piercing shriek as the final contraction made her feel as if her lower body was tearing itself away from the rest of her. And it was over as quick as it began as something large and wet slithered from between her thighs.
Drained and limp with exhaustion she fell back against a bank of plump pillows. Her breaths were ragged and shallow. The sight of a tiny creature hastily wrapped in swaddling cloth caused her to rally, but only enough to clutch the baby to her breast. Just for a moment, all her fears and all her doubts were washed away as her new born son squirmed in her arms. Alive, healthy and staring up at her through grey and guileless eyes.
"He's a bonny little thing, your grace," said the midwife, taking the baby back from her.
Relied washed over her as she took in the babe's Stark features.
Although the ordeal was finally over, her limbs felt like lead and she thought might even be bleeding still. Groggy and drowsy, she turned her face to the windows and the night sky beyond. 'Look for the bleeding star,' Rhaegar had told her, days before he left. But there was nothing there that she could see. No smoke, no salt, no bleeding stars. The stars that were there faded into darkness, winking out one by one until there were none.
When she awoke again the sun was shining through the closed shutters in slanting beams. The child slept in a plain wooden cradle at her bedside, but they were alone. Her bedclothes had been changed, but she had bled again during the night and her skin felt cold and clammy. The sheets and her clean nightrail seemed to stick to her skin. On her bedside sat a vase containing the last flowers the prince had sent her. Their blue petals wilted and blackened in the heat, filling the air with the sweet and sickening smell of decay.
"Sweetling," she said, trying to reach for her son.
Since Rhaegar died she had prayed for a girl. A girl would be less of a threat to the new King. 'Like Rhaenys was less of a threat,' the voice at the back of her mind said. The recollection of what happened caused her heart to sink in dismay. And then she remembered that they were about to flee, but when she tried to stand her legs gave from under her. She hit the floor with a thump that sent shockwaves of pain coursing through her. Thinking she had heard a commotion outside, she stifled her own cry of pain and strained to listen.
The sound came again, the clash of swords, a muffled cry of pain and a shout of anger. Tears welled in her eyes as she tried to call out, but her voice was gone. A woman did scream but in the confusion and panic she couldn't tell who it was: herself or the midwife. Fear overrode her other emotions, giving her the strength to reach her son and hold him tight as she sought cover. There was nowhere to hide except in the gap between her bed and the wall.
Meanwhile, the fighting got louder and she could smell smoke drifting in through the open windows. To protect the child, she folded her loose gown around him, masking his face from the smoke and his ears from the sound of men dying just beyond their door. She kissed him through the fabric, her tears splashing against his scalp, just as feet pounded up the steps beyond her door. Whoever that was now, it wasn't the midwife.
She flinched as the handle turned, hugging the baby tighter to her. But the latch was on and the door didn't give way. Rhaegar had left a hunting knife behind, but she hadn't the presence of mind to fetch it and it was no match for Gregor Clegane's sword anyway. It was little more than a desperate woman's desperate hope. A second later, her heartbeat ceased as a crash shook the tower to its foundations and the wooden door exploded inwards, sending down a shower of dust and splinters.
Frozen with fear, she couldn't even scream as a figure emerged from the dust covered in blood and dirt.
"She's unconscious, but she's breathing well." Howland was only trying to be reassuring, but Eddard couldn't help but worry. After he passed the infant to Lord Reed, he himself picked up Lyanna from where she had passed out between the bed and wall, finding her light as a feather despite her recent pregnancy. He was about to deposit her on the bed, before he noticed the blood-soaked sheets. She was still bleeding.
"Get help," he instructed Howland. "Now."
He left with the baby as Eddard sat on the edge of the bed with his sister cradled in his arms. Her skin burned to touch and her lips were dry and cracked. Water, he thought. She needs water. The only clean water he could find he had used to wash the blood and dust from his face after kicking in the door. He was about to curse himself for a fool when she stirred in his arms, coming around slowly.
"Ned, is it you?" she murmured in a voice barely above a whisper. "Is it really you?"
As weak as she sounded, relief washed over him at the sound of her voice. "Of course it's me. You didn't think I would leave you here, did you?"
She was still afraid. It was there in her eyes; something he had never seen in her before. She was trying to move, to get up, but she hadn't the strength and it only served to fuel his fears all the more. Weakening fast, her eyes rolled to the back of her head, showing only the whites as she slipped away from him. After laying her back down he took her hand in his own, squeezing it in hope that the pressure would bring her around.
"The baby," she said, rallying once more. "Ned, the baby."
"Howland has the baby," he sought to reassure her. "No one will hurt you, not now I am here."
"Robert will," she replied, almost pleadingly. "Robert will kill him, Ned, you know he will. We know what he did to the others and he'll do it him, too."
Eddard renewed his grip on her hand; his own worry solidifying into a defiant resolve. He tried not to think of the bloodied pulp that had once been Prince Aegon, but the image had been seared indelibly on his mind. Nor could he decide what was worse: the pulp of the baby or the perfectly human form of the little Princess who bore only the gaping wound of a sword through her heart. Rhaenys looked like she was only sleeping. Tywin Lannister's men had done it and Robert wholeheartedly approved.
"Robert will have to go through me first," he swore. He wanted to believe that Robert would never raise a sword to him. He wanted to believe that they were still brothers in all but blood. But the fight they'd had over the corpses of the Targaryens had put paid to any such notions. Kingship had made a butcher of his once beloved friend. With his emotions simmering so close to the surface, Ned had to draw a breath to compose himself before continuing: "I've come to take you home – to take you both home – and Robert won't be able to touch you there."
Lyanna didn't look in the least bit reassured. She was so pale and fragile that Ned was almost afraid to touch her again, but when it seemed she would fade away completely she rallied.
"Promise me, Ned," she pleaded. "Promise me you'll look after him."
He hesitated. Not through any uncertainty about granting the promise, but because he was trying to think how. How could it be done? The child was Lyanna's and there was only one realistic contender for the father. Nevertheless, he would find a way.
"I will," he answered, firmly. "I promise."
They remained together for what seemed an age before Howland Reed returned with the midwife. Between them they had bedsheets, fresh water and the baby. His nephew he had not yet met properly. But Lyanna was out cold. Her breathing was ragged and shallow, sweat beaded her brow and he felt like he was watching her fade before his very eyes. Taking the infant in his arms, Ned sought to distract himself.
The little creature was quiet, barely making a sound even when he was hungry and all they could do was drip goat's milk into his mouth to keep him alive. At one point, a small hand reached from the swaddling, grabbed Ned's fingertip and refused to let go. Still the babe was silent, as if he knew he wasn't really meant to be there. As if he already knew he would have to slip through life completely unnoticed.
"My lord, we need the wetnurse."
It was already evenfall when Howland approached him again. Ned was sitting on the battlements with the infant in his arms, both of them looking up at the stars popping into the darkening skies. Had Lyanna been stronger he'd have gone already. But there was no change in her. Meanwhile, the baby grew hungrier as Lyanna's life hung by a thread. It pained him to leave her, but the hungry baby left him no choice.
"I've already sent a raven to Starfall. Lady Ashara said …" he realised then that it didn't matter what she said. Things had changed; everything had changed since they last met. "I'll bring the sword back to Starfall myself and tell her everything. Arthur died defending a child he regarded as his king. He died nobly. And I cannot imagine Ashara refusing to appoint our wetnurse over this."
Howland looked abashed. "They'll understand."
"You'll stay with my sister until I return?"
He already knew the answer.
In the depths of a fevered sleep, Lyanna dreamed of snow. It swirled all around her, whipped by the remorseless winds. She clutched the stolen baby close to her breast, swaddling him in furs as she stumbled toward the icy tower in the distance. Although she didn't know how, she knew she was north of the wall. Blue-eyed men armoured in sheets of ice circled the tower and she had to reach it before they did. They wanted the baby. Her special, abducted baby. While she staggered through the gusting winds, the ice men moved as swift and soundless as a summer breeze. They closed in on her, touching her, frozen fingernails raking through her hair. But she wouldn't yield the baby. She wouldn't and she screamed, before waking with a startled gasp.
The snow and wind was gone, replaced by the all too familiar Dornish heat. She sat up slowly and that simple act alone made her head spin. All the same, she disentangled herself from the twisted bedsheets and tried to stand up. When she fell, she brought a vase down with her and the noise of it hitting the floorboards brought people running to her chamber.
"Lord Reed!" She managed to get up and kiss her old friend's cheek. "I remember Ned being here but I did not know you were too. Where is he? Where is my baby?"
A blush crept up behind his beard. "The midwife agreed to stay behind, my lady. She has your son."
While she got back to her feet, he brought her a bowl of clean and cool water which she drank almost in one go. Howland urged her not to rush it, but the whole fluid lot seemed to go no further than sinking into her sponge of a tongue.
"Do you need more?"
"I need my baby," she answered.
Once she had him in her arms again, she felt better. The midwife had procured a screen for her, to put up while she breastfed. On the other side of it, she continued to bombard Howland with questions.
"Is Robert with you? Are you sure no one followed you here? How many people know about the baby?"
'No, no, no one,' came the answers.
Despite the assurances, her nerves were scattered. Even when Howland told her how long she had been unconscious, she still felt unsettled. If anyone had followed them they would have made their presence felt by now.
"I want to be ready to go as soon as Ned gets back," she stated. "We can decide what to do next on the way."
The one small mercy they had going in their favour was that the baby looked nothing like his father.
Dawn shone in Eddard's lap as he drew back the scabbard. Pale as milkglass, it caught the sun and made the light its own. Not even Ice compared in beauty, or so he thought in that moment. As for who could be worthy to wield the blade next, he could think of none to match the skill of its last owner. Ser Arthur could easily have finished him off, had it not been for Howland Reed. A memory he knew he would take to his own grave. But then, the last year had been one long bitter memory that would never let him rest again.
Replacing the scabbard, he turned to look out over the horizon from the prow of the small boat that bobbed him down the Torrentine River. Starfall was in the near distance, darkened against the setting sun. The Palestone Sword towered above the rest, keeping its watch over the river traffic pouring in from the Summer Sea in the west and the Red Mountains behind him to the east. From the top of the tallest tower, his gaze lowered to the slight, hooded figure awaiting him on the wharf and he knew it was her. Behind her a sheathed sword still attached to a large leather sword belt was propped against the wall.
He thanked the oarsman for taking him the last few miles of his journey, sparing his exhausted horse the toil and paid the man gold. Only when he climbed ashore did she lower her hood, meeting his gaze with those haunting lilac eyes. She must have got the raven, or she wouldn't have known to come for him. For that, he sent up a silent prayer of thanks and hoped his gods could hear it. But when it came to what to say to her, words utterly failed him.
For a long time, she said nothing either. But she was smiling. A sad, pale smile as she watched the boatman who brought him here sailing back down the Torrentine. Ned kept his distance, wondering whether she was thinking the same thing as him.
"I remember the last time I watched a boatman bring you ashore, Lord Stark," she said, finally. "Things were very different then."
"I think now it might have been a different life," he concurred. "A different you; a different me."
The sound of her voice broke the spell and he hazarded a closer step. When she did not flee from him, he moved closer still. Close enough to catch the scent of her rosewater. All the while, he held Dawn in its scabbard like it was an offering. As beautiful as it was, it was still a sorry substitute for a brother of Ser Arthur's calibre. When Lady Ashara's gaze fell on it, he heard the breath catch in her throat.
"I heard that the fisherman died," she said, her hands covered his where he held the sword. "If it is true, I am sorry to hear it."
"It's true," he confirmed, letting go of Dawn. "He was sailing me back to the North when a storm blew up and hauled him overboard. His daughter took up the oars herself, sailing us through safely."
Her mouth twitched, her lips drawing back in an attempted smile. "I'll always remember watching for him from the top of the Windwyrm Tower; waiting for that little boat to come bobbing into view, knowing you would be on board."
"I always looked for you there," he answered. "I think I always will."
In truth, he didn't know how to feel. They danced at Harrenhal, they stayed in touch after she returned to Dragonstone with Elia and he returned to the Eyrie. Occasionally, they visited each other. It wasn't long before they found themselves on opposite sides of a war. No promises had ever been made between them, but their hearts had been exchanged.
"I am sorry for your loss, my lady," he said, at length. "Your brother was among the finest- "
"Spare me the eulogies, Ned," she cut in, but not harshly. A smile took any lingering sting from her words. "Forgive me. But I knew him well and I don't need other people to tell me of Arthur's greatness. However, in just a few short minutes you're going to walk out of my life and we will never see each other again. So don't waste your breath on things we already know."
Then you don't want me to tell you how I still love you, he thought to himself. But he could not bring himself to say it. His gaze dropped to where she cradled Dawn in her arms. Her long, tapering fingers traced over the star in the hilt.
"How is your sister?" she asked.
"I think she is like to die," he answered, honestly. "Lord Reed gave her medicine he brought down from the Neck and it seemed her fever broke the last night I was there. Even so, she was barely breathing when I left."
Ashara looked him dead in the eye. "And the baby?"
Ned hesitated. "A healthy boy. He looks just like his mother."
"He'll be easier to hide from Robert then," she noted, before double taking. "You're not going to tell him, are you?"
"Of course not!" Ned retorted. "And Robert be thrice damned for what he did to Elia and the children."
He recalled the fight they'd had with chilling clarity. 'I don't see babes; I see only dragonspawn.' Those were the words left ringing in Ned's ears as he stormed out of the Red Keep. He had gone on to lift the siege at Storm's End, then sailed straight for Dorne with the images of slaughtered children still fresh in his mind. Before he could grow angry at Robert again, he drew a deep breath to compose himself.
"Forgive me, I haven't yet had the presence of mind to thank you for letting me know where Rhaegar took Lyanna," he said, more evenly. "And about the baby."
"You saved my life back there, Ned!" she replied, waving a hand dismissively. "As for the babe, Rhaegar's last surviving heir, I thought I should return the sword you gave me. Whatever you tell that child in the future, it's only right he wields his father's sword."
Ned had almost forgotten the sword. Robert took it from Rhaegar's body hoping to have it melted down and added to the iron throne. After entrusting him with it Robert promptly forgot all about it and Ned wasn't about to remind him. He arrived in King's Landing just as the sack was getting under way and he gave Ashara the sword for her own protection.
"My thanks," he said, taking it from her. It was no match for Dawn, but still a splendid blade. "My nephew will give his thanks, in good time."
"What will you name him?" she asked. "You can't very well keep calling him Aegon now."
Ned's brow crinkled into a frown. "Aegon? Is that what Rhaegar wanted to name him? A second son named Aegon seems passing strange."
A blush crept into her pale face and she laughed, shaking her head. "Did I say Aegon? I meant Aemon, after that old uncle of Rhaegar's up at Castle Black. I think they settled on that, anyway." She then quickly changed the subject. "Speaking of which, won't Robert guess at the identity of the baby's father? Lyanna was all but a prisoner at the Tower, it is not as though there are many other men who could have fathered the boy. In fact, there are none but Rhaegar."
Ned sighed heavily again, his heart hardening toward the man he once looked up to as a brother. "If Robert wants to get to my nephew, he will do so only over my dead body. And my sister's dead body. The dead bodies of the Stark army."
"Let me tell you something about Court life, Ned," she said, sounding almost weary. "Now that Robert is King, the small council won't just let him raise armies to go storming about the country waving around that hammer of his. All the killing he needs doing now will be done by stealth. By assassins planted in your household staff, by hired catspaws slipping through your castle walls. I know you, Ned, and I don't think such a practise would cross your noble mind. But those men are not like you. They will want the job done and they'll want it done discreetly and efficiently. Take my advice and hide that boy well. It matters not how you do it, but you must if you want him to live … and making peace with Robert would be a good start."
Ned's stomach churned and he looked away from her, toward the Torrentine wending into the Summer Sea beyond. The sun was setting now and the shadow of the Palestone Sword fell heavy across them both. So soon after the event, he could not think what to do. If Lyanna lived, they would discuss it together. If not …
"I never thought Robert could ever sanction the murder of children," he said, bitterly. "The crown has changed him, Ash, and not for the better."
Ashara laughed. "Since when do crowns change folk for the better? What I do know is that there's a new reality in place, and we must all shape ourselves to it."
Ned suppressed the groan that was on his lips. It was all very well other people telling him to make peace with Robert, but they hadn't seen the corpses. The bloodied pulp and the sleeping-but-dead princess. Elia raped and a sword through her heart. It was a scene of evil made flesh.
"I know you don't want to hear it, but I am sorry for the death of your brother," he said again, meeting her gaze. "I'm sorry for … a lot of things."
"You and I, both," she replied. "But the things we said were said before the war. No one could have foretold what would happen."
If Lyanna hadn't gone with Rhaegar; if Brandon hadn't been such a damn fool. It was the wolfblood in both of them. But there was no use in tormenting each other with what could have been and their new reality shaped itself around them, forcing them down different paths and in opposing directions. And the sad truth was that Ned didn't know what might have happened, even if Brandon had lived and Lyanna married Robert. No promises had been made, he reminded himself. No promises had had to be made. It was always left unspoken.
"What will you do now?" he asked.
Ashara did not answer. She put down Dawn, propping it against the wall of the Palestone Sword before turning back to him. The setting sun was reflected in her lilac eyes, making them as dark as indigo.
"I don't know, but I'll think of something," she answered, honestly. "What about you? I hear you have a son now."
"Yes," he answered. "I suppose I ought to return and get to know him and his mother."
He meant it lightly. That he had a son by a woman he had only met once. A woman meant for another man who knew him as well he knew her. But in truth, it scared him. All he saw ahead was uncertainty and the light follies of youth had hardened into the heavy burden of expectation.
A splash of oars on water caught his attention and he knew the boatman was returning. It was almost time to leave, and Ashara saw it too. "This is it, then. I hope she makes you happy, Ned. I really do."
It made him feel small, as if he had been caught doing something wrong. Worse, he could think of nothing to say in reply. Nothing but a hollow: "and you as well."
Ned knew he should be walking away by now, but his own two feet remained stubbornly still. It didn't seem possible that this was the last time; that this was their final goodbye.
"I'll see to it that my family know of what you did for me back in King's Landing," she promised him. "The wetnurse I promised you, Wylla, has already been sent ahead. So, go now. Live your life and be happy."
But not before one final kiss. It was happening before he knew it and Ashara offered no resistance. Their lips met and he tasted the salt from tears he didn't notice she had wept. Rhaegar's old sword fell at Ned's feet while he closed his eyes as she brought her hand to his face, fingertips trailing the dark stubble of his jawline. The kiss lingered as sweet as the summer sunset, until Catelyn burst into his head and he pulled away far more sharply than he intended.
"I'm sorry," she said, falteringly. "For old time's sake."
No, he thought to himself, because I still love you.
But she already knew that and didn't need to hear him say it again. She looked as if she was going to say more, but the boatman's vessel bumped against the small harbour's wharf. There was no more delaying the inevitable now. He touched her dark hair one final time, trying to avoid looking in her eyes. Silent with grief for the past and fear of the future, he turned and walked away.
By the time he was back on board, the beacons had been lit at the top of the Palestone Sword. Their bright flames small against the darkening skies, growing smaller as he sailed back into the night. He thought he could see her still, watching from the wharf with her hood pulled up. Silent, small and alone. The tears he tasted on his lips were now his own.
Thank you for reading this opening chapter; reviews would be great if you have a minute.
Next update: Sunday, 2nd July.
Additional Author's Note: Anyone reading this who remembers the original will notice that I've added a romance between Ned and Ashara Dayne. This was based on something GRRM said in an interview that got me thinking. He said, even after Harrenhal, they were not "nailed to the floor" of their respective homes. Their homes were also close to each other. I took his words to mean that they were meeting up, even after Harrenhal. So excuse my indulgence, there.