The morning after her husband's visit, Lyanna had been surprised to find him still in her chambers when she awoke, his hand resting on her belly in his sleep. His presence did however explain why the servants had yet to wake her, but not the baby's unusual calm. Never the less she carefully slid of the bed, and out of the room as nude as the day she came into this world.
Leaving her husband behind she let the servants dress her in the Lannister colors of red and gold. The King liked it, she supposed it made him imagine her being his, and if she was to help Lord Tyrion as she had promised, pleasing him was essential, especially since she assumed her time at the Keep would be limited now that her husband had returned.
It was strange really, she had spent mere days in the Lannister house in King's Landing, but it still felt far more like a home than the halls in which she had once been able to find both her father and her sisters. Perhaps it was the presence of Kings who she always had to do a balancing act for that made her hate the palace so much. Perhaps it was the politics, or the Queen… But more than anything she missed her real home, she missed the simplicity of her life in the north.
If her aunt had never been born none of the things that had happened since she left the north would have happened. But then again, perhaps the Mad King would still have been on the throne and the country would be nothing but ashes. Or perhaps prince Rhaegar would have been King, and ruled with the kind heart and wise mind that Ser Barristan had assured her he had possessed. But there was little use in fantasies.
After leaving her chambers, instead of heading to the dining room as she had originally intended, she found herself walking around on the grounds. Watching the servants run back and forth, children playing, and an occasional young man and woman flirt. Watching them it was strange to believe she used to fear ending up one of them, thinking it would mean men forcing their affection on her… it seemed the joke was on her. Being a servant would certainly been easier than the wife and daughter of two warring families.
As she stood there, hidden in the shade, watching them all a small smile graced her lips. And as she watched a young man playfully flirt with a girl-child who was so red in the face that she could have been mistaken for a tomato, she could not help but laugh. Her laugh made the man look up and a blush bloomed on his face as his eyes located her.
"My lady." He said, bowing. "I did not mean…"
"Please, joy should always be had when one can." She smiled. "What is your name?"
"Jon, Jon Rivers." Another Jon, and another bastard, although from the riverlands and not of the north, she mused. He was handsome too, dark hair, a strong build, and an easy smile. He was no Jaime Lannister, but she could very easily have seen herself as the wife of man such as he, if she had been given a choice. He reminded her of her first infatuation, she had been only a little older than the girl he had been flirting with. He probably saw her as nothing but a sweet child, but she knew exactly what the girl must have felt.
"And what do you do in this Keep, Mister Rivers?"
"Repairing the stables, strengthening them for the upcoming winter."
She was about to ask another question, and would have had it was not been for the sudden terrified expression on his face as he looked behind her. Following his eyes she was surprised to find her husband coming towards them. She certainly had not expected to see him so soon again. After all, he had been back for days before she had run into him last time.
"Husband." She greeted, lowering her head slightly as he reached them.
"I came looking for you in the dining hall, as I know how you detest to dine alone. Imagine my surprise when you were not yet there. I was told you left almost an hour ago." He commented, and while it sounded light she did not miss the glare he sent Jon Rivers. He could not possibly be jealous or suspect her of wrong doings, could he? No, of course not.
"There is no need to frighten the servants."
"From your own tales and my own observations I have more to fear from servants than kings, when it comes to you. The only one you have ever proclaimed to have loved was a stable boy."
"My late father and the late King saw it fit to wed me to a noble man, I now only have eyes for my knight husband." She dismissed, looking over at Jon Rivers and gave an apologetic smile. "I apologize for interrupting your work, please forgive me."
"Not at all, my lady." He said, with a hasty and ill conducted bow, before running off. He was obviously new in the Keep, and the capitol. If he intended to stay he would need to learn how to do a proper bow, and what proper conduct in front of lords and ladies was, especially one of her husband's rank and reputation. Thankfully Ser Jaime did not take it upon himself to teach him.
"A man capable of keeping a pregnant woman from her meal... I may have to ask him for guidance since you did not deem to wake me before your stomach demanded your attentions and made you flee." He commented and once again she was grateful he had chosen to question her, rather than the servant. Another blessing was his playful tone, given his accusation at their reunion she feared what his reaction would have been. He had not minded in the past but now he may have.
"I thought a man known as the most beautiful man in Westeros would know how to gain a woman's interest. Perhaps I shall just have your portrait painted, and look at it every now and again if looks are you have to offer now that I am already with child and have no use for your body or lacking mind." She said with a teasing edge that shocked her. She did not know where it had come from or why. Though she suppose she had enjoyed teasing her husband during their short time together when there was still something resembling peace between her and her husband's family. His face when he turned up in her chamber after she had returned her necklace to him as a boon had certainly been amusing. Since she learned of her child she had often imagined that that night was when she had been conceived. She had not been nervous any longer, and he had given her all his attention. It was also before the rumors about him and his sister had reached her ear, and long still before she had begun to see the truth in them. For a time she had given herself the same excuse that she had once given Sansa when she had mentioned the rumors, now she knew better.
"My father occasionally tells me that that is indeed the case. Is there a specific pose you would like me to hold for this portrait? I personally have always thought my left side is the better side. I also suggest we have the painter ignore the bandage on my right hand." He commented airily, seeming amused by her response. But while his tone was joking the words made Lyanna feel guilty.
"I should have enquired earlier. How badly are you injured?"
"The sword cut though some of the bone, but it will be as good as new in a few weeks time." He dismissed, though his worried eyes told a less certain tale. But what to tell was up to him, she would not press.
"I am glad." She said, giving him a soft smile that seemed to surprise him. "You should make use of this opportunity." She added, and it made her husband's eyebrows shoot up.
"Opportunity? How so?"
"The best way to train your less dominant hand is to incapacitate your other. That is how I improved my skill with a blade." She explained, thinking back to an ill begotten fall only days after her ninth name's day. After which her father had given her the idea to practice with her other hand. No matter how unintentional. But after she voiced it out loud she wondered if she should have, after hearing only silence in response.
"My sword hand will be fine." He said after an uncomfortably long silence in Lyanna's opinion, so she merely nodded.
"One can always use an extra advantage." She told him calmly, as if she did not care. "And one should always make use when a good opportunity presents itself."
"Perhaps." He said, non-committedly, and that was the end of their conversation for the time being.
The rest of the day passed as most days did for Lyanna in King's Landing. She had her meals with the royal family, tea with her sister, and as the night fell she made her way back to her own chamber, for yet another night in the Keep.
As she reached them and walked towards her bed her eyes fell on a neatly folded note, and the lettering on top, spelling out her name, made her heart stop. It was her father's neat handwriting that decorated the letter and for a second she was afraid to touch it, whether out of fear it would disappear or its content she did not know. She also considered running out of the room to see of she could find any trace of who may have left it for her, but she thought better of it. It could have been there for hours, she was not sure how the servants came and went, for all she knew it could have been laying untouched on her bed since shortly after her husband had left it that morning.
With trembling hands she picked it up, and read.
To my beloved child.
I write this letter unsure if I shall ever see you again, or if I shall ever have the pleasure to lay my eyes on any of my children again. The journey to the Wall will be long and full of dangers. I do not know if I will make it there, my death would serve many far greater than my service on the Wall. If I do not I want you to know I am very proud of you and the woman you have become. You have your mother's sprit, her beauty, and determination. For that you should be proud, there never has been a woman quite like her.
I have kept her identity from you and your brother far too long. But you must believe me when I say I have done so out of love and concern for your safety. Both of you. But while your brother is safe, you are in the middle of the lions' den. I fear I should have married you off when I heard of Robert's intended visit. I did not, and for that I hope you one day will be able to forgive me. I was foolish and wished to keep you with me, and for that I have placed you in unnecessary danger.
But before I tell you of your mother, I have one more confession to make; when your mother died she pleaded with me to raise you as my own, to love you as if you were, and I have. I love you as if you are my own daughter, born of my loins. But you are not. Your father was prince Rhaegar, son of King Aeryes II. Should you ever need protection from your husband or his family, seek out the supporters of your grandfather. For there is no doubt you have dragon blood in your veins, some already know or suspect, and they will protect you.
As for your mother, you already know much of her, and throughout your life you have been compared to her often. Though you knew her as your aunt, and through her you are of the North. Never doubt it. But while you have the dark beauty of the north, you have the fire of the dragon in you as well. You are of both fire and ice. Stay strong. And keep your sisters safe.