Author's Note: Sorry I had a little bit of writer's block lately - and I'm not sure if I like where this is going... but here's the next. Hope you like the direction I'm taking. Thanks!
The hands were soft and smooth and feminine, though the fingers were a little on the thicker side. Lyvia could have sworn it belonged to a very hefty female, perhaps a septa, who had done too much needlework. "There will be time enough later," a very soft voice said.
Lyvia knew that voice. The Spider, Lord Varys. "What do you want?" she asked, confused.
"Lyvvie?" A female voice said.
"Kate?" Lyvia shot her hands up again and successfully removed the bag from her head. She squinted around the small, yet comfortable room. In one corner, Kate sat in a padded chair with a book in her lap. "What the hell?!" She looked up at the bald eunuch with a curious expression.
"Our lovely Kate has been informing me of all of the interesting things from your world," Lord Varys said in a soft voice. "Of course, persons such as yourselves would find danger should such information fall into the wrong hands." He wore brownish green silks and soft slippers that padded his movements, which were quite deft and delicate for such a plump man.
"Would you mind untying me, now?" Lyvia asked, holding up her hands. She had so many questions for him and for Kate that she didn't know where to begin. Instead, her face became red and her expression impatient as the color swept from her neck up into her cheeks and to her ears.
"I know that look," Kate laughed softly. She placed a quill in between the pages of her book to mark her place and placed it beside her in the chair. Rising, she seemed taller than Lyvia remembered her with more grace than a gazelle. Her red Melisandre hair was gone and replaced with her curly blond hair. She no longer wore her red robes, but a light blue silk robe and a few jewels.
"How long have you been here?" Lyvia asked as Kate untied her hands.
Kate frowned. "Is that all you can say? No, I've missed you, Kate? I'm sorry I left you in the woods so that bandits could find you and try to sell you to a whorehouse? No… of course not." Her words were bitter.
"I left you in the car with a note," Lyvia said. "I was coming back for you. I came back with Jory and some of his guards."
"Ahh… the Stark's captain of the guards, Jory Cassel," Varys smiled. "He's a very loyal fellow."
Lyvia narrowed her eyes at the Spider. "How did I get here?" Her face became enflamed as she eyed the bald man that sat beside her nervously. She felt her heart race as she stared at Kate and at Varys in equal shares of attention. "Well?"
Lord Varys thought for a moment in silence, placing his hands within the voluminous sleeves of his robes. "When you did not answer my invitation, I had to ensure you were safe," he said.
"Safe? I was fine with Jory," Lyvia's voice rose.
"Safe with Jory?" Kate's eyes widened and a smile curled onto her lips.
"I am sorry, Lyvia," Lord Varys said. "I had no other choice than to bring you here."
"Do you realize what you're doing?" Lyvia asked.
"I should ask you the same," Varys said. "And when you said to your captain of the guards that she takes the imp, what did you really mean?"
Lyvia's face drained of color as she stared at the serious expression on the Spider's face. "How did you…?" She stopped herself. She knew the answer. The Spider has little birds everywhere. Eyes and ears that whisper to him little secrets that people think are sacred and theirs alone, but in truth, once they are out into the air, the words are caught on the Spider's web, forever exposed. "Of course, I should have known that nothing is safe in King's Landing… or anywhere else Westeros."
"You flatter me, my dear," the Spider said. "Does the she involve Lady Catelyn Stark?"
Lyvia remained calm. "Has she left already? With Ser Rodrik?"
Lord Varys nodded. "She and Ser Rodrik rode out a day ago."
"The captain of the guard was kind enough to investigate the invitation I had sent… and while he was out on the Kingsroad, I was able to arrange your transportation to new accommodations. Lord Baelish was kind enough to assist me when I told him that it would affect the fate of his beloved Catelyn. He's still quite smitten with the Lady Stark, which is very easy to see and also so easy to manipulate."
Lyvia frowned. "I have to catch up to Lady Stark," she said, standing up.
"I'm sorry, my dear, but I cannot allow you such liberties. You and your friend are welcome to stay here for as long as it is wise. We will send for your other little friend, the strange girl, from Winterfell."
"Mandy can't come down here herself," Lyvia said. "She's way too incompetent."
"Isn't she the loony one who thought she was Daenerys?" Kate asked.
"No. That was Maureen," Lyvia replied.
"Ah, yes, the Daenerys imposter in Winterfell," Lord Varys said. "It's such a shame for her and Jon Snow's deaths. I also understand there were two others, Brothers of the Night's Watch, that also perished in Winterfell?"
"It was all a misunderstanding," Lyvia said.
"Deaths?" Kate's eyes began to water and her lip trembled.
"Maureen was murdered. Peter died from a wound that festered after a scuffle with one of the Lannister guards. The two guys in the back – one died from the cold and I think Lord Stark executed the other."
"Executed? You mean this isn't a role-playing party?"
Lyvia shook her head. "Why does everyone think that?"
"It's just… too… all too perfect. I mean, everyone acts the way they did on the show… and… it's just impossible to be anything but fake," Kate said. "And Lord Varys has been taking very good care of me here."
"Where is here? Where are we?" Lyvia looked around and actually paid attention for the first time. The room was decorated with ornamental rugs and an old tapestry on the wall that depicted a great dragon breathing fire upon a group of burnt up warriors. The hearth glowed brightly across the room, where Kate had sat with her book and there were candles all around.
"You are in one of the warmer cells below the Red Keep," Lord Varys said. "It was said that when Maegor I finished the construction of the keep, he had all of those involved in the construction killed to preserve its secrets. Who knows what other secrets the Red Keep has yet to tell?"
Lyvia frowned. "We're in a dungeon?"
Varys shook his head slightly. "Dungeons are cold and impersonal. And they hardly befit you or our lovely Kate. No, my dear, this room is in a secret wing of the Red Keep. It is only through my whisperers that I even know of such a place."
"I can't stay here. I need to stop Lady Stark from making a grave mistake… I can take Kate with me."
"Me? Ride a horse? Hardly!" Kate pouted.
"How did you get here then?"
"The thugs who found me threw me onto the back of one of their horses. I didn't like it," she snorted.
"They brought the young lady to one of the brothels, though not after having use of her first," Lord Varys frowned. "It was a sad sight... the poor thing was starved and beaten… and lost."
Kate crossed her arms and returned to her seat by the fire. She looked different from what Lyvia remembered of her. Her warm blue eyes were now icy cold and suspicious and she rarely smiled. Her lips were turned downward into a frown since she saw her.
"Kate… I'm sorry," Lyvia said to her.
Kate glared at her and ignored her. "I waited here for months," she said.
"Lord Varys could have sent a raven," Lyvia turned to the Spider. "Why did you not inform the Starks of her discovery?"
"I did not want to weigh the Starks down with such trivial news… especially after what they've gone through with their young son."
"I never would have thought to look for you here," Lyvia said. "If it weren't for my love for…" She stopped herself from completing the sentence.
"Yes, your affections for the captain of the guards… such a sweet story indeed," Lord Varys gave her a polite smile but he seemed less than interested in such things.
"You're in love with Jory?" Kate dropped her book to her lap with her mouth half-opened. "Oh my God, Lyvvie!"
"Shut up!" Lyvia said. "It wasn't planned… and I didn't want it to happen. I didn't want to change the story."
Kate looked as though she wanted to bounce. Her face swelled into a large grin and she slid to the edge of her seat. "I can't believe it!"
"Are they looking for me? Jory? Lord Stark?" Lyvia asked.
Lord Varys grinned at her. "My dear, they believe you left with Lady Stark."
"But I didn't say goodbye to Jory… surely, he would have found that suspicious!"
The Spider shook his head. "He believes the letter you wrote to him… the letter which read how you love him and how you will miss him… but you must go back to Winterfell… where you belong."
Lyvia sat down on the feather mattress beside Lord Varys. "Then, that's it. Jory's going to die… and then Lord Stark…" she sighed.
"Come now, my dear. Such things are horrible to even imagine."
"You don't understand," Lyvia said. "Lady Stark will happen to meet up with Lord Tyrion at an inn near the Trident. She will have him arrested for the attempted murder of her son, Bran… and with that, the war will begin."
Lord Varys knitted his fingers in his lap.
Lyvia was desperate. She needed to find a way to stop Lady Stark from taking Tyrion and perhaps, avoid the confrontation between Lord Stark and Jory with the Lannister guards and Jaime. "The news will fly down the Kingsroad and Jaime Lannister will confront Lord Stark… there'll be a fight and Jory will be killed by Jaime… and Lord Stark will become wounded."
"And don't forget about the King," Kate jumped in.
"The King?" the Spider asked.
"The King will die and Joffrey will become the new king… little punk," Kate muttered.
"The King will die?" Lord Varys looked nervous. "The King will die how?"
Lyvia glanced at Kate.
"Poison, wasn't it?" Kate said with a shrug.
"He got injured when hunting wild boar," Lyvia said to her. "He was so drunk that a boar gored him, mortally wounding him. Remember? The Queen's cousin was his squire and gave him such strong wine that he got drunk as a skunk and couldn't even stand straight?"
Kate shrugged. "He was a loud and drunken king anyway," she snorted. "I'd like to see Daenerys take the throne."
"Once the King dies, his brothers and Joffrey will fight for the throne… and the Greyjoys and Robb Stark will fight to separate from the Seven Kingdoms… All this because Lord Stark finds out information that he shouldn't have – of course, if Joffrey was truly King Robert's trueborn son, none of this would really be an issue."
Lord Varys listened intensely with wide eyes. "And the Targaryen girl?"
Kate jumped in. "She marries a hot barbarian across the narrow sea and she gets pregnant. Then she gets dragons."
Lyvia shot a glare at Kate. "She doesn't give birth to dragons…"
"I didn't say she did… I just can't believe you and Jory… Is he cute?" Kate smiled at her warmly for once.
Lyvia nodded. "He's very handsome and he's very sweet." She turned to Varys. "Can I please try to stop Lady Stark?"
Varys sighed heavily and stood from his seat. "I will see what I can do to help you, my dear. But it may come at a cost."
"Let me add, Lord Varys, that I already know that the realm is in grave debt to the Lannisters as well as the Tyrells and God knows how many other houses. Joffrey will be a lousy king… and Cersei will not be able to control her son as she thinks. It would be in the best interest of the realm to prevent King Robert's accident…"