"I will call you Cathy." she told her wolf puppy. "Cathy. You are my puppy now." She whined and hid her head under her princess' skirts. "Why are you afraid Cathy? Look it's me Mary, your friend." She took her wolf pup from underneath her skirts and laughed at her open expression, she took it for a smile. "I knew you'd like me."
She found the wolf pup hidden under a tree. It's mother was dead and she was scared. Her lady governess and everyone said she was crazy for running in her direction but she wasn't afraid. If Mary had not gotten there to show them how harmless Cathy was, they would have killed her.
Lady Salsibury tried to prevent her from touching her, but that only made the pup more scared. Mary asked if it wanted to come with them and she said yes. She ran straight into her arms.
"You are all beautiful now." Mary said brushing her fur. She was the only one who could, everyone else was dead afraid of Cathy. They thought she would bite them or worse, kill them.
Idiots, thought Mary. Cathy was no danger to anyone. She was a true lady.
"Your Highness your father is here. He won't like to see you playing with that animal."
"I don't care she is mine and she hasn't done anything wrong."
"Your Highness please, your father will order the creature put to death the minute he sees it." Lady Salisbury said. To be honest, she hoped that was the case. That thing scared her. The way she looks at you when you were close to the princess, it was as if the thing was jealous. She already had two maids who asked to be transferred. Everyone was deadly afraid of the thing.
She couldn't understand why princess Mary had taken it into her home. Why couldn't she found a cat or dog or any other gentler creature. Why did it have to be that?
She tried to take the thing out but the wolf pup growled at her and showed her her teeth. "No, Cathy she is a friend." But it wouldn't listen.
"His Majesty, King Henry VIII." Her majordomo announced.
"Father." She said serious bowing before him.
"My pearl." He said taking her in his arms. Cathy did nothing when the king stepped in. It seemed to know what would happen if she displeased His Majesty.
"So this is the little animal your new mother has been talking so much about?" Henry said putting his daughter down. Catelyn had told him about it and he wasn't convinced. He had to see it for himself, but looking down at the thing he could not help but find it so harmless and pathetic. It bowed his head for him. It knows who is the true master.
"What have you called her?"
"You know it's a she?"
"Of course, your mother told me. What have you called her? I hope nothing extravagant, a princess' pet needs a worthy name."
"Cathy." Henry almost dropped the wolf.
"What did you say?"
"Cathy. Her name is Cathy for my mother and my late mother."
"Sweeting I don't think that's a good name."
"Why not?" Mary asked defensively, her hands to her side. The twelve year old stomped her foot on the ground. "My mother's name is a worthy name for any royal beast, and Cathy is not just a beast she is my friend."
Henry sighed and put the beast down. He should have known her daughter would rebel some way or another to reproach him for trying to set her mother aside. But she was only a child, twelve years, she didn't know how the world worked. She didn't know a son was more important than how he'd felt about her and her mother.
"Mary the thing is your animal, it's good to have it with you but it's an animal nonetheless. You need real friends. Why don't you come back to court, leave your pet here?"
"I don't want to go back unless Cathy is with me." Mary said, her word being final.
Henry saw no way around this so he acceded to her request.
"You are going to love court. It's full of minstrels, dancers, jugglers, and there are many plays. There was a woman who enchanted my father once, she wanted to leave one of your namesakes, my real mom for her but god took them both." She told Cathy.
The wolf listened intently, cocking her head often every time Mary spoke.
"Here we are." She said brightly.
Her father's men bowed to her and helped her out of her carriage. They flinched at the sight of her wolf who had grown since her father last came.
"Do not be afraid. Here Cathy." She called her and Cathy obeyed. She followed her to the great hall where her presence was announced.
Everyone turned their heads to her, including some young courtiers she'd met before whom she hadn't paid them any attention until now. All of them bowed their heads to her, one of them bowed the lowest. Judging by his appearance she could only guess who it was.
And guessed correctly she did.
"Henry Fitzroy, Your Highness."
So this was Fitzroy. She didn't see what was so bad about him. Her mother said he was a bastard and her competition but Mary didn't see him that way. Her father called him worldly jewel but she was a pearl so she still outranked him.
"You don't have to call me that, we are siblings. You are my brother and I am your sister." She said. Simple as that.
Henry Fitzroy blinked twice. Did he hear her correctly? She was telling him, him of all people, she was his sister? Maybe she wasn't sharp teeth and claws like his mother had warned him.
She extended her hand for him to shake, he looked at it suspiciously. "You don't trust me?" He didn't answer her. "Look, if you don't trust me I won't trust you and we will be enemies for the rest of our lives. How old are you? I am thirteen and I guess you are ten. Don't you think we should be friends instead?"
He shook his head uncertainly. "I am not sure. Your mother used to say I was your competition."
"She said the same to me but she is not here now and there is a new Queen in her place. So I don't think our father would want us to be enemies. Friends?"
He nodded and shook her hand.
At the front of the room, sitting on the main table, Catelyn looked at Henry's bastard with disapproval. Her new daughter was just as naïve as Arya was but just as rebellious. She didn't know which trait was worse. But she did know this. That boy would always be a rival claimant to her stepdaughter and her son's inheritance.
She had enough bitter memories of Jon Snow, every time she watched him she could not stand looking at him. How much he looked like Eddard, how everyone said he looked like a true Stark. The only of his children who did -until Arya came.
And here she was now, a son who looks so much like her husband more than any other child Henry has. A son who brings him great joy and who continues to be showered with gifts while hers has yet to grow.
"Princess Mary, there is someone here to see you."
"Who?" Mary asked playing with her wolf.
The lady in waiting hesitated. It seemed so long but she did not know her the princess would react. She was known for her coldness and that wolf of hers had grown and every time it sensed her mistress was sad, it leapt forward at whoever gave the news and threatened to rip his throat apart. She did not want to be one of the unlucky few.
Perhaps the princess will take pity on me. -She thought. The princess unlike her father did not enjoy cruelty and every time her wolf threatened others, she told it to stop.
"George Boleyn, Your Highness." She said and watched her princess' expression turn cold. She rushed out of the room before her wolf leapt at her and pushed poor Master Boleyn inside.
"Lady Mary-" He quickly rephrased. "Your Highness, Princess Mary. Your father has sent me here to be your master of the horse. I hope you don't mind."
There was an uncomfortable silence. "Well ... I guess I should leave." He said but the princess spoke.
"I do mind Master Boleyn. Your sister tried to take my father away and my father was foolish enough to believe her lies. I warn you if your family tries something against my lady mother I will hunt you down and stick a dagger in your eye and let Cathy feast on you."
She gestured to Cathy. Cathy walked dangerously low to Master Boleyn. She bore her white teeth and gave a low hiss.
George gulped. "This is not a mere jest Master Boleyn. I do not forget your family's intentions."
"If you must know then my lady, my family is no longer a threat to you. My father died last year, shortly after Anne, Mary, my oldest sibling is dead and all that is left is me and my two niece and nephew that I take care of. I assure you, you don't have to fear me." He said just as coldly.
Mary grinned. She liked his guts but he was a Boleyn and that she would never forgive. "Go to your position Master Boleyn." She ordered and he left, smirking to himself and thinking this was the little girl Anne saw as a threat? Now he saw why. Interesting, he also thought. Working here might not be so bad as I expected.
"Your Majesty, the Queen is here to see you."
Catelyn stepped in and bowed before Henry. "What is it?" He asked holding Robb's little feet. Everything about him was perfect.
He is my son. He never cries, my heavenly jewel! He cried to his ministers.
The boy was a blessing. He was dressed in his finest clothes. Catelyn thought it a little too extravagant for a child who was only a year and six months old.
"My lord I have come to ask a favor of you."
"Ask away." Henry said. He saw no reason why she should ask. Everything in his kingdom was hers. She was his queen of hearts and the mother of his son and (he hoped) his second son.
"A messenger has arrived from the Vale." She said. "Where my sister lives." Henry was silent so she took this as a sign to continue. "She and Petyr request our presence immediately."
Henry raised his eyes at her. "Why?"
"I am not sure why but she is my sister and I would like to see her my lor- Henry."
There was a long silence. Henry's eyes bore into her cold blue ones.
"No." He said and raised his hand to speak before she could. "Your sister is a traitor and likely will kill you and my heir on sight and you are with child. I can't take that risk." Even if were otherwise he wouldn't. Catelyn was a goldmine. Forget the Lannisters and their goldmines. Catelyn provided what other women could not. Sons. Healthy sons.
"She was rewarded by your allies the Lannisters. Rewarded handsomely."
Henry did not miss the accusation in her voice. "Careful there Cat. I haven't forgotten your late husband's treason. I chose you as my wife against all protests from the Lannisters and my men. You'd do well to remember that." He said. "Your sister betrayed your trust and refused to attend our son's christening, she's also refused the Lannister summons many times. You might forget those offenses but I do not."
"She is my sister."
"And you are my wife. The sister you knew is gone. The family you knew is slaughtered, and your brother is lord Walder Frey's prisoner while his son sits in Riverrun in his stead. You will have to settle for a letter."
"She is my sister. My family. I cannot-"
"Yes you will." Henry interrupted her harshly. "Your place is here by my side. You are my Queen, my wife, my consort and the mother of England's future King. You've succeeded in your first function now you could be carrying the next duke of York. I will not have you risk his health to see your sister."
He lowered his eyes and picked Robb up balancing him on his knee. The baby whimpered and looked to his mother, extending his chubby arms at her.
Catelyn felt compelled to take him. But she would not. She was a queen, and the former lady of Winterfell. Robb was destined to be king and if she wanted to keep this Robb alive, he had to learn to depend on nobody but his own. She kept her stoic position and looked coldly at Henry.
"You are my wife. This is your place." Henry stated advancing to her and handing her their son. She could refuse. She rocked her son gently but not too gentle so he would not grow attached to her.
The more people you love, the weaker you are. Her father told her and she didn't believed until now watching at Robb's light blue eyes. So full of hope and dreams.
She would not let this king die like she let her other son die. This one would live and forge a better world from the old one. He would be a better king than all his ancestors, Tully and Tudor and his brother's put together.
You must not love me. She whispered mentally, tearing her eyes from his. You must love only one person and that is your people but you must not love me.
She pursed her lips and swallowed all her pride and rage. "As you say my lord husband." She said and put their son back in his crib then left the room without curtsying to Henry.