A/N: Yeah... finally, Allyria is betrothed to the handsome and cute Ser Beric Dondarrion :D
First, she isn't so happy because she's just ten and not interested in getting married at all, and he's already twenty-five, in the age when a highborn heir has to marry if he hasn't done it yet. Sorry other Beric fans, but he's only mentioned in this chapter.
Chapter 16: To be betrothed
More than a year passed and nothing was in order in Starfall. Allyria became again a problematic child, she couldn't pay attention to anyone and anything anymore. She tried to escape three times but never got farther than the bridge. She wanted to do only three things. The first and the most important was killing Ser Gerold because she hated him the most. The second was killing Eddard Stark because he killed her "brother" Arthur and last but not least she wanted to kill the nameless bastard on the Wall, who killed Ashara.
After her last unsuccessful try to escape, she asked Maester Harwyn to write a letter again to the First Ranger and asked him to kill the man who killed her sister. The old man spoke with Lord Beric but he forbade him to write so he wrote only to Archmaester Ebrose of Oldtown and lied to the child. Allyria didn't get answer for months so she also asked Septa Welma to write him. The woman wrote a letter to Eddard Stark and asked him what to do.
Not long after this, two ravens arrived in Starfall on the same day. One of them came from the Wall. Alfrid found it and read Benjen's letter to Allyria. He wrote her the whole truth and asked her to escape from Starfall as soon as possible and go to Winterfell, the only place in the world which was safe enough for her. The heir of Starfall got scared so he also hid this letter under his bed's mattress and hoped no one would find them.
The second raven came from the Marches and brought a letter for Lord Beric Dayne of Starfall. It was a formal letter and the lord got nervous after he read it. What he feared had happened, someone paid attention to his 'daughter'. After a short thinking he realized that he could rid of Allyria if he accepted the Lord of Blackhaven's request.
About a month later a horse galloped across the bridge and a man in scarlet cloak got off its back after it stopped at the court. Allyria saw him from her window and thought that he was another guest of her grandfather who she wouldn't meet. She was absolutely astonished when Lord Beric opened her door and told her the guest wanted to see her everyway.
"Why?" she asked. "He's not in the Night's Watch, his cloak isn't black."
"Ser Trisfer Cole does not belong to the Night's Watch." the lord said. "He has come from the Stormlands. He's the steward of Blackhaven."
"What is a steward?" the child asked.
"Steward is the man who helps the lord with organizing the servants and managing the day-to-day activities of the estate." Lord Beric explained to her. "So, Ser Trysfer helps Lord Dondarrion the same way as Lewyn helps me."
"It sounds quite boring." she said. "Lewyn is not as important as Ser Daron. Being a castellan is much bigger privilege than being a steward."
"You are wrong." he said. "Being a steward is not a military position but he is an important person in the household."
"Lewyn doesn't have a sword." she said.
"Ser Trisfer has one." he replied. "He is not just a steward but a knight and needs a sword while he is on his way. You can see with your own eyes after you dress up and go down into the Great Hall."
"I've already got dressed up." Allyria said.
"You look like a boy." her grandfather said. "You should wear a pretty dress."
"I never wear dresses." she replied. "I don't have any and I won't."
"Aye…" he moaned. "I have learned to accept you will never look like a lady but I do not know what Ser Trisfer will think. If you do not have any dress, get on clear trousers and shirt and please take that terrible rag off your arm! It looks disgusting."
"No!" she yelled. "It was a nameday gift from the First Ranger of the Night's Watch!"
"I don't care." Lord Beric said. "Take it off!"
Allyria untied it sadly and placed it on her pillow. After her grandfather left her room, she changed her clothes then she tied the rag around her arm again.
Ser Trisfer raised his eyebrows when he saw Allyria. He was so astonished because he thought that he would meet a girl of about twelve or thirteen in a pretty dress and some jewelry, not a child of ten or younger dressed like a boy.
"Welcome here, ser!" the child greeted him. "Why have you wanted to meet me?"
"Allyria!" Lord Beric casted a withering glance at her. He noticed the rag on her hand but couldn't say anything because Ser Trisfer turned to him.
"No problem, my Lord." he pulled himself together then he turned back to the little girl. "My lady." he said and bowed to her.
Allyria just blinked with big eyes because she didn't get an answer to her question. She asked again. "Why have you wanted to meet me? No one who comes here wants to meet me."
Lord Beric saved the situation with the following offer; "Ser Trisfer, would you mind continuing this conversation by dinner?"
"No, my lord." the steward said politely. "It is a great honor for me to eat with the greatest lord of the Southern Red Mountains."
While they were waiting for the food, Ser Trisfer looked at Allyria. "Excuse me, my lady." he said. "May I ask how old you are?"
"Ten." answered the child.
"You are very young." he stated. "You have black hair. It is great, Ser Beric does not like blondes. He prefers dark haired ladies. I think he will take a lot of delight in you when you come of age."
"Poor Ser Beric… it's so sad he also has no one to play with." Allyria said. "I will play with him with pleasure."
Lord Beric turned into stone with the fork in his hand, Alfrid choked and Eleyna almost fainted in a sitting position. Fortunately, Ser Trisfer understood what she really wanted to say.
"I am so sorry, my lady." he said. "I think he does not need to play anymore. He will turn twenty and five on his next nameday. He wants you to be his wife when you are older."
"What?" Allyria asked almost in panic and dropped her fork onto the floor. Everyone looked at her frowning angrily but she just continued. "I want to marry no one at no time! I don't want to be a lady!"
"You cannot refuse it!" Lord Beric shouted as he stood up. "You are my daughter and my daughter has to marry a noble lord when she turns sixteen."
"I'm just ten!" Allyria talked back. "My sister didn't marry either!"
"I wish, she would have done it!" the lord yelled vehemently. "I would have let her wed to anyone including that Stark if I had known what would happen!"
Everyone looked at him. The lord was ashamed of his previous invectives. "I am so sorry." he said and sat back to his chair.
Ser Trisfer had also heard about Ashara's mysterious death but he knew nothing certain. He changed topic instead of asking. "Excuse me, my lady." he said to Allyria. "Would you mind if I asked some questions?"
"What questions?" asked the child.
"Some questions about you, my lady." the steward of Blackhaven replied. "I am here because Ser Beric wants me to learn some things about you."
"Which things?" she asked.
"He would like to know how you like spending your time." he said.
"I like rinding a horse and sword fighting." Allyria replied. "According to Ser Daron, I'm quite good at both. Do you want to see it?"
"Maybe the next time, my lady." the steward stuttered. "It is really… interesting that you can use a sword, but… how goes the needlework? Ser Beric would be glad if you sent him something that you have made."
The needlework and I? Allyria was anguished.
"Did I say something wrong, my lady?" he asked.
"Yep… or rather I'm so sorry to make Ser Beric sad but I don't do needlework." the child replied. "It's for the lame girls."
"Excuse me, my lady, but I have not understood what you have said." Ser Trisfer felt so confused.
"The needlework is for the lame girls." Allyria repeated. "For the lame girls who cannot fight and wear girly dresses."
Everyone got shocked about what she said. Ser Trisfer felt he got almost a heart attack but he was only a few years older than Alfrid. "My lady, have you ever worn a dress?" he asked in a fainting voice.
"No." she replied. "I have always worn trousers since I was five. I had worn rags before."
"Allyria, why do you use such a rude word?" Alfrid asked nervously then he turned towards the guest. "She used to wear dresses, she just hated them I don't know why. She never took care of her clothes when she was younger."
Lord Beric looked at his son frowning so he shut his mouth. The elder man continued. "It is the reason I allowed her to wear boyish clothes in a young age. If she gets older, she will wear dresses again like other girls."
"No!" Allyria objected. "I will never wear a dress! If Ser Beric wants me so much to be his wife, he must accept this fact!"
"I will ask him what he thinks about it as soon as I return to Blackhaven." Ser Trisfer said. "I think stories about beautiful maids and strong knights who save them are not your favorites."
"You are right, I hate them." she said. "Only lame girls need to be saved."
"What kind of stories do you like, my lady?" he asked.
"I like stories about wars." she replied. "My favorite is the one about the Long Night and the hero who defeated the White Walkers with a flaming sword."
Lord Beric felt so confused. He hoped his granddaughter had forgotten about that story and chosen a new favorite but he was wrong.
"I see…" the steward said. "Did you read this story in some old book?"
"Nope." the child said. "Septa Welma told me when I was little, I cannot read. Anyway, reading is for maesters and septas."
Ser Trisfer felt more and more awkward after every answer but it was too much for him. What a shame! A highborn child of ten cannot read? Ser Beric is crazy if he really wants to betroth her! he thought. He drank a glass of water to calm down and took a deep breath.
"Did I say something wrong?" Allyria asked.
"I'm alright, my lady" the steward replied. "It must be an interesting story. Do you like songs?"
"Yep." she said.
"And what is your favorite song, my lady?" he asked.
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair." Allyria replied. "I learned it from Bronn in a pub. He's my friend and a sellsword. When I grow up, I want to be a sellsword too."
"Allyria, enough!" Lord Beric interrupted her. "You are my daughter and you will never be a sellsword!"
The child looked at him. "You cannot tell me what I will be." she said cheekily then she looked at Ser Trisfer. "Do you have any questions, ser?" she asked.
"I think I've known almost everything I wanted, my lady." he answered. "The ladies of House Dondarrion love arts so much. Do you also like them?"
"Which arts do you mean?" she asked.
"Arts like painting, statuary, music and poetry." the steward said.
"I'm not interested in arts." Allyria said. "I like the picture about my sister in daddy's room but other paintings I have seen are not so interesting. Statues aren't interesting either. I hate poetry, it's so lame. And music… what type of music do you mean?"
"Soft melodies by harp." he replied. "All the ladies can play a harp and like to listen to it."
"I'm not a lady." she said. "I don't play a harp and I won't. I prefer songs like 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair' sung by sellswords and the smallfolk."
Ser Trisfer was fed up with the cheeky little girl and her answers. If she was my daughter, I would slap her he thought but instead, he just said, "It's sad that you don't show any interest in arts, Ser Beric's sisters and the other ladies of his House will be very disappointed."
"I don't care about what they think." Allyria said and shocked everyone. "Maybe the art of White Walkers is not as lame as the stupid things that lame girls like but I hate arts which they love."
"Enough, young lady!" Lord Beric said and stood up. "Now go back to your room and I don't want to see you while Ser Trisfer is here!"
"Alright, daddy" she said and stood up then she went back to her room.
When Allyria grows up, she and Beric will be a real couple but it's another story.