AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a companion piece to Unseeing Queen. This gives us a glimpse into Lyra's (Fem! Jon) past.
Song: Les Miserables - Castle on a Cloud
Catelyn jolted awake at the sound of thunder clapping over the castle. Looking beside her, she saw her Lord Husband sleeping peacefully, completely unfazed by the storm. She, however, was never fond of stormy weather, they always frightened her since childhood. Knowing she won't be getting anymore sleep this night, she quietly removed herself from the warm bed to not disturb her husband. Pulling on a warm robe and slippers, she left their bedroom to check on her children. She was about to peek in Robb's bedroom, but she caught sight of door to the nursery room was open just a crack, her ears picking up quiet whispers from within said room.
"Sansa." she whispered in fear, her Motherly instincts making her pick up her skirts an rush to her baby's room to save her from the intruder. Just as she was about to yank the door open, she heard a child singing softly. Peeking through the door that was cracked open, she gasped softly when she saw her husband's bastard, Lyra Snow, kneeling before Sansa, singing a beautiful song through the wooden bars.
There is a castle on a cloud
I like to go there in my sleep
Aren't any floors for me to sweep
Not in my castle on a cloud
There is a lady all in white
Holds me and sings a lullaby
She's nice to see and she's soft to touch
She says my child I love you very much
I know a place where no ones lost
I know a place where no one cries
Crying at all is not allowed
Not in my castle on a cloud
A tear leaked out of Catelyn's eye at the lovely song that fell from the child's lips as Sansa yawned, drifting back to sleep. "It's okay, Sansa. I'll protect you." she heard Lyra whisper to the sleeping babe, "I won't let the monster take you the way it took him. If he tries, I'll tell him the North Remembers." Catelyn's eyes widened at the words that fell from the child's mouth, it was full of fear and anguish, as though she just lost someone to this monster.
She watched in rapt silence as the bastard child fought to keep her eyes open before she too yawned and laid down on her side, curling up like a wolf with a wooden practice clutched in her hands as though it were a doll. Catelyn listened to the girl's steady breathing, indicating she was fast asleep before she quietly opened the door, making sure not to wake her as she knelt down in front of her slumbering form. Loathe she was to admit it, but the way this child curled up beside her sister's crib was adorable.
Sighing quietly, she gently pried the wooden sword from the delicate fingers before setting it aside on the floor and picking the child up in her arms. The Tully woman carried the near weightless child back to the latter's bedroom. Little Lyra nuzzled into her warmth unconsciously, making Catelyn gasp at the familiar sensation her two children naturally invok within her on a daily basis. She shook her head, trying to get rid of the feeling, 'No! This is not my child! She'll never be mine!' she mentally screamed at herself, reminding herself why this child exists in the first place.
Arriving at Lyra's bedroom for the first time in her life, she gently deposited the Snow child into the mattress, being careful not to wake her as she tucked her in. After she was safely bundled in, Catelyn stared at her features. At four years of age, this Snow child was already beautiful, a credit to Ashara Dayne whose bewitching violet eyes enchanted her Ned for one night. But the pale skin and dark hair, as well as his brooding features, belong to him. Old Nan, the old servant who raised Ned and his siblings, and their Father before them, would often mention how the child bore a striking resemblance to Lyanna Stark, her good-sister that died in the war. She was every bit a Stark in physical and emotional traits her husband humbly sported while their shared children bore her Tully looks.
Catelyn tore her eyes away, unable to handle looking at the Stark features her husband gifted to this Snow child. Standing up with the grace of the Lady she was raised to be, she strode to the door and closed it quietly behind her to keep the child from waking up. Leaning against the door, memories of that sweet tender moment between the bastard and her trueborn sister added salt to the wounds, not only did she look like her Ned, but she acts like him in the most Stark way imaginable.
Swallowing the lump in her throat, she pushed away from the door to return to her husband's bed. As she laid curled up next to her Ned, the song from earlier sprung up within her mind, the memory of the child's voice somehow helping her return to a peaceful sleep.
Years went by after that, she continued to keep her distance from her husband's bastard, but that didn't stop her from watching the child from afar grow into a beautiful woman whose skill with a sword far out matched Robb's. All her children, minus Sansa, loved and admired their half-sister for her talent in battle and her musical singing voice. Even though Sansa picked up on her views regarding Lyra, the little redhead would often stand at a distance and out of sight just to listen to her elder sister sing her beautiful songs whenever she worked in the stables or helped out in the kitchens. Despite her being the stain on her husband's honor, everyone in Winterfell felt warm with Lyra's music that seemed to ring out endlessly within the castle walls and beyond. Catelyn herself was enchanted by her singing, but didn't let it show for pride's sake, only humming Lyra's songs in the privacy of her solar or Sept.
When word of King Robert's impending arrival filled every hall of the castle, Lyra's voice began to fade, and soon, all the music that echoed within those wall vanished. It was Arya who came down to the table screaming 'Lyra was gone' while the family broke their fast, shocking them, Ned the most, when they finally realized the reason for the girl's disappearance these last few days before the King's arrival. Winterfell became dreary after Lyra's disappearance, the Stark children didn't smile as often as before, Ned went down to the crypts frequently, and Catelyn...she didn't know what to feel. She didn't feel the relief of no longer having to watch the evidence of Ned's dishonor walking around the castle. Regret and guilt filled every cell within her body as she walked down a corridor she hasn't set foot in for years.
She entered the bedroom for the second time in her life, her Tully blue eyes taking in the space that was filled with essentials, a bed, a fireplace, and a chest now empty of clothes. The room itself wasn't like her children's, it was more suited to a servant instead of Lord's daughter. Looking at the bed, her mind flashed to that night years ago, when she tucked in her husband's bastard of her own accord.
She caught sight of something dark by the hearth. Kneeling down in front of the stone stained with ash, she picked up the dark item that looked like rope, holding it in the palm of her hand. However, upon closer inspection, her eyes widened when she realized that it wasn't rope. It was Lyra's hair, braided from her very head to her lower back.
'She cut her own hair.' Catelyn concluded, holding the braid in both hands, taking note of how one end was singed while the rest was dusted in ash and cinder. 'She threw her hair into the fire.' she thought to herself as she glanced at the hearth, seeing a couple of pieces of hair scattered at the edge of the ash pile.
Still holding the braid in her hand, she rolled it up, tucking it into her sleeve to hide it before leaving the room. Her legs carried her throughout the castle until she came to the Godswood, still feeling like an outside after all these years. Staring at the face of the Heart Tree made her feel as though she was being judged, something she knows deep in her heart she deserves when she came to the realization that took years for her to acknowledge. Kneeling before the tree, she whispered, "I know I have not come here very often to pray to you. But here I kneel, a woman who has committed a great crime upon one of your children." she swallowed the lump that built up in her throat, "For years I kept my distance from my husband's illegitimate daughter, a child innocent to her Father's actions. I never treated her as one of my own due to my wounded pride." she paused, "I wanted to hate her, to be angry at her for reminding me of my husband's betrayal. But I wasn't. I don't know when I stopped having those feelings, all I know is that she's gone because I couldn't love a Motherless child." Tears fell from her eyes, watering the roots of the white tree as she poured her heart out over her sins.
Catelyn breathed in and out to calm herself as she looked back up at the tree's face, "I have no right to ask for your forgiveness." she said, knowing the years of being unloved by a woman that should've been a Mother to them will have already scarred them for life. "So I pray before the Old Gods, that wherever she is, you'll still watch over her." she said, taking out Lyra's braid from her sleeve, holding it as though it were a delicate piece of glass. Turning to the water beside the tree, she carefully moved to kneel in front of the spring. The braid still in her hand before she lowered it to the water, the steam caressing her fingers and around the lock of Lyra's hair, as though it were gently taking the offering from the Tully noble. She slowly released the braid when her hands her partially emerged underwater. It floated on the surface for a moment before sinking into the spring, disappearing into its depths as the Old Gods accepted the gift that was offered to the Lord of Light before by Lyra herself.
Catelyn removed her hands from the water and sat on her knees, watching what was once Snow's beautiful locks disappear into the water, "Watch over Lyra." she whispered one more time before standing up to walk back to the castle to prepare for the King.
Hope you enjoyed this. I'm sorry if I made Catelyn a little ooc in this fic. I know, I made a little conflicted in her views on Lyra, but that's expected when you get tired of hating someone simply because they weren't born from your own flesh.
Anyway, if this wasn't a piece of shit, leave a comment. Happy New Year!