Author's notes: Welcome on the Tywin's Wars airplane! There may be some turbulence since the author is not a native English speaker. She hopes her fanfiction is still readable, and won't be angry, annoyed or overly sad if you, dear reader, decide to correct some mistakes, as long as you do it kindly.
During the flight, you may encounter characters such as Tywin Lannister, his brothers (allof them, because Tygett and Gerion also need a lot of love), bits of Cersei and Jaime and probably, some Tyrion too. If you like Lannisters, please do read! If you don't like Lannisters, please do read as well, because that's no good reason.
If you still want to board this flight, we will be departing now…
I was ten when I moved to Casterly Rock.
I remember these days very clearly. My father had died two weeks before, apparently from an heart attack, and Lord Tywin had come in person to the funerals. It was highly unusual. Our lands of Fairkeep were hardly rich, our castle rather small, and he and my father had not been friends. I was, however, immensely impressed when Tywin sat with me in my father's chamber and told me how sorry he was for me and my sisters. We were now orphans, for our mother had died a few years earlier, birthing the fourth girl of the family. But I, the lady of Fairkeep, had nothing to fear: Tywin would arrange for me and my sisters to come with him to Casterly Rock, where he would provide for us, protect us while his men kept Fairkeep safe for me, so that no one would try to steal my lands or take advantage of my position.
Of course, at this time, I saw Tywin's arrival as providential. I had lost my doting father and found myself alone with his knights and three, crying and wholly useless sisters. It was obvious I couldn't manage Fairkeep, and even more obvious, Tywin told me gently, that as soon as I would be old enough, many men of dubious morality and reputation would try to approach me and force me into some kind of horrid wedding. Impressive as he was, and my suzerain, I failed to see his own interest in the matter and perceived only benevolence on his part.
So we buried my father, packed our belongings and followed Lord Tywin Lannister back to Casterly Rock, while he left one of his men to rule in my stead.
I had, of course, never seen anything as great as this city in my whole life, and felt all the more prouder since Tywin had allowed, no, encouraged me to ride near him while he entered his city. He explained the castle itself was called Casterly Rock, while everything under the walls belonged to Lannisport. Everything was so clean, the stone of the houses and walls so white and, first and foremost: it was the first time I saw paved streets. The Lannister's Hold was at least ten times grander than Fairkeep, a very large castle with gardens sprawling on terraces, as if the place was hugging the rocky hill with stony arms and flowery, green sleeves. A septa would latter tell me that the gardens had been built on the orders of Lady Joanna, already dead for eight years when I arrived; Tywin cared little for flowers and trees. The main yard was so big Fairkeep would fit inside, and for the first time of my life I had my own room instead of sharing with my sisters.
I was Tywin's ward, but I hardly ever saw him at the beginning. I was schooled with a Septa and the other highborn girls, all of whom were awed by Cersei, Tywin's beloved and beautiful daughter. Aged fifteen, she was in an awfull mood most of the time; I was told it was because her brother Jaime had joined the Kingsguard, and her father refused to acknowledge her as the heir of Casterly Rock since he had a son, Tyrion, which he hated with burning passion. To me, however, everything was far simpler. Cersei was beautiful, sharp minded and had been to King's Landing; she was older than me, the daughter of my Lord, very charming when she wanted to. She was perfection, even when angered, for was that not the proof she was willful? I dreamed of trading my chestnut fluffy hair for hers, my flat chest for her marvelous curves, my shyness for her strength. To mimic her, I hated her brother.
Then Cersei left, when I was thirteen, and things changed.
A few weeks after her wedding, I was called to Tywin's office. I had been there a few times already, usually because he wanted to report to me what was done in Fairkeep. I knew it was a mean to teach me, but since it involved telling me everything about hanging or cutting the hands of thieves, it was hardly the best time of the week. This time, however, Tywin sat me by the huge oak table in the middle of the room, not in front of his large desk. Parchment, quills and a huge book with no title lay in front of me.
I felt him behind me, lowering above my shoulder as he opened the book. My breath caught in my throat.
"This," he said with his deep, clear voice. "Is the double-entry bookkeeping system."
Columns of numbers lined up in front of me. Tywin flipped the pages, all covered with his or Kevan's neat writing.
"Beginning now, you will study with my Maester. He will teach you more advanced mathematics and the History of the great Houses in a far more detailed way. Once a week I will check your progresses myself and, unless you are lagging behind, we will study a subject which I deem relevant for your education. By the end of this year, I want you to be able to use perfectly this bookkeeping system and deal with other aspects of administration."
I nodded and felt a shudder in my spine. I was almost dizzy with pride, that Tywin would spend so much time and efforts on me. I craned my neck, searching for his eyes, and breathed a "Thank you, my Lord", hoping with all my heart it conveyed how grateful I was. "For everything you're doing for me."
He didn't smile, but I didn't expect him to. Tywin Lannister never smiled, at least with his mouth; somehow, it seemed to reach his eyes, at least in the split second when our gazes locked. Then they went cold again. "Lady Esteill, what liege would I be if I didn't take good care of my wards?"
In my eyes, his sudden humility made him all nobler. He was my white knight, he had said so -bound to protect me, teach me, perhaps make me as great as his golden Cersei. Of course, I was far to naïve to understand that I had a teenage crush on Lord Tywin Lannister, the man who was, perhaps, the less likely to return my feelings and was old enough to be my father. In response, I dedicated myself to my studies, even though I had no gift at all for math and had to spend hours struggling with numbers. I was better at history, something Tywin quickly understood, and from then on we engaged in hot debates, leaving me exhausted more often than not.
One evening, we sat in his study in silence after he sent his cupbearer away, as if he couldn't quite bring himself to begin with whatever lesson he had devised. I was startled when he finally open his mouth.
"I never told you about Joanna, did I?"
I hesitated. It was well known Tywin still grieved about her. I was swimming in dangerous waters.
"No, my Lord."
"But surely, you heard rumors about her, didn't you ?"
"Yes, my Lord. The Septa, and some other older women..." I knew what he expected from me. Tywin loathed cowardice and a half answer wouldn't do. "They told me she was beautiful. That you loved her. That... that while you ruled the Kingdom, she ruled you."
"And you expect me to be angry about these rumors."
It wasn't a question. He probably knew anyway that some men snickered about it -the proud, powerful Lannister, cowering in front of his lioness, submissive to her whims. Other, kinder or more respectful ones said it with voices full of sadness.
"These people are fools. I was -am- never ashamed of the rank Joanna held while she was alive. She was not only my wife. She counseled me more wisely than any man could, including Kevan. Some thought I was weak, that a woman should not be allowed to speak. You should never let them persuade you of this. A strong man will never fear his wife; never feel threatened by her mind. Only the weak and the ill-educated cannot understand this."
His piercing gaze fell on me, appraising me.
"Do you understand why I am telling you this?"
"I am not... have you found a match for me? My Lord? To marry me?"
But I don't want to marry anyone. I wish I could marry you.
But he shook his head. "Not yet. One day, yes, I will provide a fine husband for you, but not so soon. You have not flowered yet, am I wrong?"
My cheeks turned red, but I nodded.
"I thought so. You are too young anyway. When I will give you away, I want to be sure Fairkeep will be well managed. That you will know how to tend to everything while your husband his away, or sick, or too lazy. I want your children to be well bred, so that your daughters may be faithful friends to Cersei's, and your sons good servants of hers and the Rock."
"It is your best interest, then. Everything you're teaching me..."
"No one does anything out of goodwill, Esteill. No one. I am teaching you because I want your soldiers, the strength of your house backing me."
I felt it was not only that, but the rest he wouldn't say. It was meaningful, his timing: he had started to teach me personally when Cersei married and left him. But he wouldn't say he missed her, or Joanna. I was strangely touched that he would speak of her, to me and me alone. How many had heard such confidences from his mouth? It was so unlike him to raise personal matters!
"Speaking of marriage," he said, rather bluntly. "You will need to learn how to please your husband. How to... make him love you. To work with him. It is essential if you ever seek to hold some power."
If I thought I was red before, I was mistaken : my hears warmed uncomfortably, as did my throat. Tywin looked resolutely away from me, at the fire.
"Passion. Passion is a mistake, know this. Passion fades and makes you dumb. Look at Rhaegar Targaryen. Look at Lyanna Stark, or even King Robert. You are young and may feel like giving in to it. Don't. Ever. Built it patiently. Do not go too fast, or you will scare your man. You, women, know a lot about feelings, and understand them well. Men do not. We are slower to grasp those things, so you must give him time. Reassure him. Learn to like his flaws, teach him that he needs you. It is a subtle work, one requiring time and stamina. What you seek at the end of it is respect. Not passion. Respect."
With a sign of his hand, he instructed me to pour him a glass of as blood, it shone by the light of the fire; he turned the glass, as if fascinated by the liquid inside, lost in memories of red. Memories, perhaps, of death and child birth.
"I don't think I ever told Cersei or Jaime about how I met Joanna."
He didn't include Tyrion ; he never did.
"It was at a feast. He knew her before that, of course. She was my cousin, after all, but young boys don't speak to younger girls. I had to dance with her and she bothered me with how her father had his Maester teach her brother Stafford, and she wasn't allowed anymore because he wanted her to be pretty and futile, and it was so unjust since her brother was dumber than a chicken whereas she was gifted. At the end she made me promise that I would teach her myself, and I agreed because I felt she would never leave me alone unless I did."
"She was right, actually. She was gifted in math. I was older but she quickly became much, much better than I was. She was the first woman to really impress me, and I had been partly educated at King's Landing with Prince Aerys Targaryen, so my standards were high, mind you. I was better when it came to debates, though she could sometimes defeat me quite soundly. It felt like fencing, talking with her." In this single word, suddenly, there were enormous feelings ; a spark in Tywin's voice, a glimpse of a marvellous past, long lost and regretted. As if no one, these days, could fence with him like he did with her.
I could finally see why he was so frustrated with people. With the idiots who believed they could talk with him, but did not follow half of what he truly said. With the cowards who told him what they believed he wanted to hear. With his children who looked like her but could not compare. With those who did not want to climb to his level, with those who could but were his enemies.
Then, he surprised me : "Of all my children, only Tyrion as her mind." He spat the name, but still, it rang as truth. "Jaime, he has her look, yes. But sometimes I see my father in him, rather than Joanna or I. Cersei... Cersei, I believe, she is like me, but this is not..." He closed his eyes and sipped the wine. "I would have made the worst lady, don't you think? Cersei, she wishes she could yield a sword, wear the crown herself. She dislikes how she has to please men, for them to give her power. She loathes how she has to play this game of being a Lady. Do you?"
"Dislike being a Lady?"
"Obviously." He was annoyed; I was too slow, not aggressive enough, perhaps.
"No. I don't want to yield a sword, but Fairkeep is mine by birth. I don't want to see my husband rule what is mine. Not without me."
"Exactly. Which is my..."
"You are teaching me the game."
"So that I can be like Joanna was."
"No." He glared at me then. A chilling, icy glare. "There won't be a Joanna again, not now, not ever."