"Your needlework is something to be admired, my Lady."
"Do not tell Arya that," Sansa Stark sighed and a small laugh passed her lips as she watched the woman move around her room, placing her dresses back into the wardrobe she owned. "She is already disgruntled that she has to sit and take lessons. Did you hear how she went to our brothers and shot an arrow straight at the centre of the target? She showed Bran up to no end!"
"I did not," she replied to the girl, pulling out a dress which appeared to be wrinkled. She set it before her, laying it out onto the bottom of the young Lady's bed, her hands ferociously working to remove the crease.
"I cannot understand why Arya does this," Sansa sighed lazily. She remained sat up in her bed, her wide eyes never leaving the maid who darted around the room, placing everything back into its proper place. "She is to be married when she comes of age. Surely she knows that archery is no skill for a lady."
"Arya is young," was the simple response which Sansa received. The girl tugged at the covers of her bed, hauling them up to her chin as she bent her knees. She rested her chin onto her kneecaps and sighed dreamily at the prospect of her future. She knew that she was still quite young. Thirteen was hardly any age yet she loved the prospect of a husband to tend for her.
"Do you think that you will ever marry, Gwen?" Sansa dared to ask and the elder girl laughed once, her sound echoing through the stone covered room. She shook her head, picking the gown back up and then hanging it into Sansa's wardrobe.
"I do not think so, my Lady," the girl named Gwen replied and she nervously tucked her free flowing hair behind her ears. She continued to shake her head for a few moments, the prospect of marriage filling her with intrigue. Yet she knew that it was not likely for her to marry, nor was it something which she thought of.
"Why not?" Sansa wondered. "You are not ugly, Gwen."
"Why thank you, my Lady," Gwen responded, a small smirk still etched on her face as she closed the wardrobe door slowly, the wood settling into its correct place. Sansa sighed dreamily and looked to the ceiling for a moment.
"I simply wish to know what the events of tomorrow shall behold. I have heard tales of the Prince Joffrey. Do you think them to be correct?"
"I do not know," Gwen responded, busying her hands one more time with the contents of Sansa's dressing table. The girl continued to leave all of her jewels laying about on it, so used to having someone there to tidy up after her. "You shall see tomorrow when he arrives. And who knows, he may even offer you a dance at the feast?"
"Do you think so?" Sansa squealed once at the thought of King Robert's son. She pushed a hand through her flame coloured hair and flopped onto her back, the covers skewering around her body. She did not know what to think about the entire situation. The news of the King and Queen's arrival had been sudden which meant preparation had to be quick for the feast in their honour.
"I do hope that he will ask. Gods only knows we need some excitement in Winterfell to liven the place up. With Winter coming who knows what will happen next?"
"We shall have to see, my Lady." Gwen responded in a moment and closed the jewellery box shut, wiping some dust off the top of it before she stood up straight. Her hands went to her gown and she flattened out the light blue material. "Now, your mother would want you to get some rest."
"I suppose I have to look the best for the morrow," Sansa agreed and Gwen smirked at the girl's hopelessness. She was too much of a romantic sometimes and Gwen was well aware that the world was not like Sansa expected it to be.
"You shall have to," Gwen agreed. "Yet you are beautiful enough already, my Lady."
Sansa said nothing but simply laughed once and closed her eyes, her body worming about in her bed as she thought of the prospect of the day ahead of her. Gwen smiled genuinely at her content face and doused the candle of the flame, leaving the room in darkness.
"Goodnight, my Lady," Gwen said softly.
The maid took her leave, preparing to go and make sure the younger sister was in her bed. She knew how Arya had the tendencies to ignore her mother's wishes and stay up longer than necessary. She would sneak from her room and look at the weapons held in the courtyard, willing to be able to use one properly. Many a time had Gwen moved from Arya's room to go and find the lost child. She walked down the hall and knocked on the wooden door, her eyes roaming around the corridor at the dimly lit stone walls and she smiled softly as the door flung open in front of her.
"Gwen," Arya said, sighing once in relief and Gwen arched a brow at the young girl before entering her room. Gwen did not think it possible for her chamber to be messier than Sansa's, yet it was. She had gowns laying on the floor, no doubt trying to find the one which allowed her to spar easily in. "Why are you here?"
"I am here to check up on you like I check up on you every night, my Lady," Gwen said and Arya wrinkled her nose, shaking her head at the maid who noted the dagger on her dresser. Gwen gave a sigh of disapproval and Arya shrugged, the door slamming shut as she walked over to her bed and took a seat upon it.
"I was practicing," Arya defended herself. "I am no Lady, Gwen. I want to be a knight...fighting amongst the brave men..."
"Oh, I do not doubt you do," Gwen smiled softly at her, hiding the weapon in the drawer of the dresser. She did nothing for a few moments but looked at Arya. The long white nightgown covered her body before she climbed under her covers and sat up straight. "And do take the dagger back to its original place tomorrow. Your mother would have a heart attack if she were to see it here. Your sister most certainly would."
"Is Sansa still talking about Prince Joffrey?" Arya wondered. "It was all she could talk about when were practicing needlework. Anyone would think his visit is important."
"It is," Gwen challenged her and took the dirty gowns from the floor. She draped them over her arm and looked at Arya who was pouting once again. "The King and Queen coming here is a great honour for Winterfell. It is only appropriate that we show them that."
"Perhaps," Arya said and a small grin came over her face. Gwen watched with wonder for a moment, wondering what had come over the young lady before she shook her head. She walked around the room, dousing out the candles as she went and bathing the room in darkness.
"Now get some sleep, my Lady," Gwen went for the final candle on the bedside table. She watched Arya lay down and she pushed a hand over her smooth forehead slowly and gently.
Gwen blew the final candle out and she left the room with the dresses over her arm. She walked down the corridors before placing the dresses in the laundry room, contemplating washing them clean at that moment but deciding against it. She hid them in a wooden container and pulled her hair over one shoulder. She did nothing for a moment before she took her leave and retired for bed, knowing full well that preparations for the feast would be vast the next day.
Gwen had wandered the corridors for the day, preparing grand foods for the Royal Family that night. Sundown was when the feast began and Gwen did not know what to expect. She had an idea that it would be a rowdy night but she did hope that it would not be too rowdy. She also longed for it not to go too late on into the night.
She had bumped into Sansa during the day, returning her freshly pressed gown for her to wear that evening. Lady Stark had assured Gwen that she could handle her daughters that evening and so she had no need to prepare them for the feast. Gwen had curtseyed politely and excused herself, cleaning Arya's dresses and then returning them to her wardrobe. The young Stark was not in her room and so Gwen assumed she was outside where the majority of people were, greeting the King and Queen.
The sun finally fell down from Winterfell and Gwen remained in the kitchen, filling up jugs upon jugs of wine as well as making sure the meat was cooked with the other maids.
"I hear that the Kingslayer even made an appearance this afternoon. He was going to the brothel to find his younger brother."
Gwen listened as Mereli spoke to her and the two girls placed food onto platters, knowing that the hall would be filling up soon and there would be crowds demanding food.
"The dwarf?" Gwen checked and Mereli nodded as more women passed around them. "I have heard rumours of the dwarf. They say he is not like his other siblings. Much more intelligent."
"Oh, I do not doubt that," Mereli agreed, pouring more wine into a jug and gathering it in her hand along with a platter of meats. Gwen followed her movements along with some other maids before they walked away from the kitchen. They took to the staircase, still gossiping aimlessly of the Lannister family as they went.
"The Kingslayer is said to be the most handsome man in all of the realms," Mereli continued. "His brother did not inherit that that trait and so he has to pay for his attention."
"The Queen is also said to be the fairest woman of Winterfell at this moment in time," Gwen continued to indulge in gossip. They moved slowly together until they came to the hall which was still empty. Setting the food down they looked around the hall and to the vast amount of seats which had been set out. Lady Stark was present already, fussing and making sure everything was where it should be in relation to presentation.
Gwen went about her work in silence from then on. She kept to herself whilst Mereli gossiped with anyone who would talk to her and listen to her. Gwen found herself to be tired of the constant talk, not particularly caring for the good looks of the Lannister's. She knew it would make no difference to her life and so she stopped the mindless chatter after the initial conversation.
The feast slowly began to fill with people and Gwen continued going about her work, serving those who were above her and making sure everything was to a high standard. She had seen Sansa sat with her friends and the young girl had offered her a small smile whilst Arya had blatantly complained as to how bored she was. Gwen smirked, ruffling Arya's hair for a moment before filling up a goblet next to her. Her dark blue eyes rose and she noted the King sat amongst those less important than himself, completely immune to the stares from his wife. His hands roamed the body of another woman, drink flowing between their lips as they laughed loudly.
It was clear that they were the centre of attention and no one said anything about it. They accepted the ways of their King even if they were seen as being immoral and hurtful. Gwen had dared to have a glance at the Queen, seeing her vacant expression as she watched her husband and she wondered if she truly did love the man.
Gwen moved down the rows of people, feeling her skirts being pulled at as she went. She knew that once men had too much to drink then anyone was a potential to conquer. She fought against them, refusing to be drawn back into their grasp. She had no time for it and she had a job to complete. She finally pushed the wooden door open and felt the colder air of the empty corridor. Her reddening cheeks began to cool down as she held the door open for another maid who came baring more alcohol.
She allowed the door to swing shut and ambled along the stone floor aimlessly, her eyes casting out of the window to her side and looking into the darkened courtyard which was empty and deserted. Gwen barely heard footsteps approaching from the other direction as she continued walking, bumping into a figure before her.
She shrieked loudly, the jug dropping from her hands and smashing onto the floor into multiple pieces. The remainder of the wine spilled out from it and ran down the grey stone.
Gwen instantly dropped to her knees before looking up to the man who stood before her, his eyes glistening with amusement at the sight before him. She took in his blonde hair which was pushed from his face along with the entertained green stare he held. His skin was pale against the whites of his clothes and she instantly knew who he was. The rumours were indeed true.
"I am sorry, my Lord," Gwen said after a moment, her eyes turning away from his and focusing on picking up the shards in front of her. "I should have looked where I was going."
"Yes, you should have," he agreed numbly with her and she bit down on her tongue, not daring to tell him that he too could have watched where he was going. It was not her place to speak to him in such a manner.
"Regardless, it seems your distraction was not worthy for there is nothing beyond the window which is worth looking at," he told her, his voice full of confidence and smugness whilst Gwen gathered the pieces into her hands. "So that clearly shows you are easily distracted. It is not a good trait for a maid."
Gwen said nothing once again to him as she felt a disjointed edge pierce her skin. She winced once; her eyes blinking quickly as she saw the redness of blood begin to form on her skin. She shook her head, dropping the shards she had collected back to the floor. The man before her rolled his eyes, the grin of amusement never leaving his face as he knelt down onto his knees across from her.
Gwen's eyes widened at the sight of him opposite her and she knew that it was not for a Knight to help a maid. She shook her head, her eyes still downcast away from his as she held onto her bleeding hand.
"Do not trouble yourself, my Lord," Gwen urged him. "I am fine...I have everything handled well..."
"I disagree," he arrogantly responded to her, moving his hand quickly and wrapping his fingers around her wrist. She inhaled sharply at the contact, trying to draw her hand back from him.
"No...I am fine..." she insisted and drew it back a few inches before he forcefully tugged her hand back to him and she lurched forwards slightly, her hair moving from over her shoulders and down her waist.
"And I said you are not," he responded as if daring her to challenge him. She said nothing for a few moments as he examined the cut, realising that she would not die from such a wound. "What kind of a maid is so incompetent?" he wondered of her. "I do not think I have come across one yet."
She ground her teeth together, trying to pull her own flesh back from him whilst he took to stand up and Gwen muttered under her breath, urging to say something but wanting for him not to hear.
"And yet it takes two to bump into each other."
"Excuse me?" he wondered from her and she shook her head, willing him not to push the subject further. She did not want to repeat it for him, not daring to anger the Kingslayer. It was not worth her life.
"I said nothing of importance," Gwen promised him and he stopped for a moment, clicking his fingers as more steps came down the stone. He looked to the new red haired maid, his eyes looking to the mess which had been created before Gwen.
"Clean this up, girl," he urged her. "It seems that your colleague is unable to manage a simple task of walking down the corridor without becoming injured."
Gwen continued to rock back and forth on her knees as Mereli came into her view, picking the shards up in a couple of moments. Their eyes locked for a second and Mereli arched a brow, intrigue coming across her whilst Gwen bit down her lip. Mereli stood up after a moment and the noble man of House Lannister dropped down to his waist, his hand holding out to Gwen. She eyed it with caution as he impatiently spoke to her;
"Do come along. I shall not stand here all day waiting for you," he urged her and she gave him her free hand. She allowed him to haul her to her feet as Mereli wandered away, daring to look over her shoulder at the surreal sight behind her.
Gwen said nothing as he dropped her hand and instead went to pick up the one which was covered in red blood.
"You should have that seen to," he urged her and she nodded in agreement. "Besides, I suppose it is luck that you shall not be serving anyone else this evening. At least this way no one's attire could be ruined by clumsiness."
Gwen snapped finally, unable to hold her tongue in his presence. She supposed she could always blame her outburst on tiredness along with the pressures of the evening.
"Yet I see that this corridor is wide enough for two people," Gwen dared to say to him and he cocked a brow in her direction, remaining intrigued as to what she was going to say to him. "However you also managed to walk into me. Maybe I am not the only distracted one."
He said nothing for a second, too shocked that a simple serving maid would dare speak to him in such a way. Surely she knew who he was. She had to know of him and he supposed the rumours of his arrival would have circulated.
"Do you forget your place?" he enquired from her, the smirk from his lips gone and replaced with one of intrigue. "Do you know who I am?"
"I am well aware, Ser Jaime," she backtracked with haste, not wanting to be punished for her actions. "I did not mean to speak in such a manner. I should have held my tongue."
"But if you are holding your tongue then that means you are still thinking what you said," Lannister replied to her and she stumbled under his gaze for a moment. He continued to watch her, his stare intense on her and she smiled sadly, shaking her head at him and keeping her eyes fixed on the floor.
"It matters not," Gwen replied. "It is not my place to say what I think."
"No," he replied in a drawl, dropping her skin from his fingers. "It is not, is it? So you should go to the maester and consider yourself lucky that I shall not tell the good Eddard Stark of your insolence."
"Yes, Ser Jaime," Gwen said, not particularly wanting to be in trouble with the Stark family. She curtseyed quickly, walking down the hall as her vision faltered for a moment and she wondered why that was. She knew that quite a bit of blood had been lost but she did not think that it had been that bad.
Jaime Lannister was no fool. He knew the girl had lost a lot of blood. He could tell she was more affected then she cared to admit as she swayed down the corridor, her hand resting on a stone to keep her upright. He took a moment to gaze down the corridor, wondering if there was anyone else to deal with her for he had neither the time nor the patience. Yet there was no one. He huffed in annoyance once and dropped his hands to his hips.
"It seems all you have done tonight is ruined my fun," he lied to her. If anything he could not wait to escape the events in the hall. The music was still loud and drunken cheers still entered his ears. He had yet to see his brother in the hall and so had aimlessly wandered, too bored to do anything else. His sister had caught his eye and he had then turned to look at the King who had taken to fooling about.
"I shall be fine," Gwen insisted. "I just feel a little dizzy. That is all."
"Yes, and you look it," he said, his hand finding the small of her back. She straightened out as he made sure she did not tumble to the ground and walked ahead of him slightly, keeping his hand light on her back.
"I told you that I would be fine," Gwen protested once more. "Please...my Lord...go back to the feast..."
"I shall see you to the maester and then leave. Let us hope that you have more success having this wound seen to than anything else that has happened this eve," Jaime told her and she bit down on her tongue, her good hand holding her blooded once as she led the way to the healing room. She knocked once, being told to enter and Jaime pushed the door open, his gaze looking in the darkened room. Everything was so dark in the North.
"Dear Gods, girl. What have you done now?" the maester wondered and took hold of her hand, leading her to sit in a wooden chair by a desk.
"Now?" Jaime chose the word, his eyes thoroughly entertained once again. "This has happened before?"
"Yes, my Lord," the maester declared simply. "Gwen here is rather clumsy if serving. She normally does not have that duty."
"Gwen," Lannister whispered her name and she turned her gaze back to him as the maester washed the blood from her hand using the water from the jug to clean it. "I trust you are able to spend the rest of the evening without further injuring yourself?"
"I shall see to that, my Lord," the maester responded in place of Gwen. "Do go back and enjoy the feast."
"Yes," Jaime agreed with a small nod escaping his head, his eyes never leaving Gwen as she winced at the cut being cleaned. "I shall go back to the festivities. Pleasure, maester." He nodded his head politely and the maester did the same in response. His green gaze fell on her blue one for one more time, the confident smirk still on his features.
"Until next time, Gwen."
A/N: Recently became a fan of the series and couldn't help but make a story about it! I do hope that it was okay as a general setting the scene piece. Anyway, if you could let me know what you think that that would be really nice!