The trees were gently swaying like graceful dancers from the Summer Isles. The breeze that blew south was noticeably colder than most others from the previous months and Tyler Hill knew that winter was coming. At age 16 Tyler was already far more mature and morose than any teenager should be. He removed his simple steel helm and pushed his thick gloved fingers through his sweating, shaggy, dark blonde hair. His bright green eyes scanning the horizon for any signs of life.
Tyler had been sent from Casterly Rock on personal request from Lord Tywin to protect Ser Jaime Lannister the Kingslayer. And even now he felt what he had been used to feeling his whole life; like a man with a secret that crushed his shoulders. Ser Jaime was riding two men ahead of him and Tyler quickly donned his helm in case the famous knight decided to turn his head at that moment.
So here they were, the King and the Lannisters, crawling north slower than a wounded cow. Tyler had always wanted to see the North, and the Wall. He had a lot of respect for northerners. They were fair and just and loyal, they got on with their lives in an honourable and steadfast way. In the brief moments when Tyler had had the fortune to see Lord Eddard Stark he was always awed at the presence and demeanour of the man. Lord Eddard and Lord Tywin were like a set of twins that went down the exact opposite path of life, the life of good and the life of bad. But both men went through it with the same determination and commitment that they were effectively the biggest and most feared and respected lords in the Seven Kingdoms. Which instantly made Tyler wonder why neither of them was king and Robert had the seat. After a series of thoughts he decided that it is easier to have a man on the throne to bear the weight of the common people and have others behind the scenes doing all the work.
That night Tyler sat by his own fire, he had removed his red steel armour of a Lannister guardsman and had a thick, woollen-lined, leather cloak wrapped around his shoulders to fight against the growing winter cold of the night. He heard footsteps approaching and Tyler's hand unconsciously waved down to his dagger sheathed in his boot and fingered the hilt ready to strike.
"I have seen some sad things in my time boy, but I don't think that I have ever seen a Lannister soldier sitting by himself at night on the march." Jaime Lannister said as he sat down and warmed his feet and taking a swig of wine.
Tyler remained silent and averted his eyes, he was too scared to speak, lest the knight recognise the voice and too scared to look lest the warrior catch a glimpse of his face. Lord Tywin had said that Jaime would be the one to avoid the most. Tyler had learned in his time at Casterly Rock that Lord Tywin was a man who always knew the best course of action.
"I know who you are boy. But I still haven't caught your name." Ser Jaime said almost flatly.
Tyler's heart skipped a beat when the knight spoke, always he had been scared of someone finding out. Now they had and everything was still the same, it took Tyler a while to regain his thoughts. Best I tread carefully. He thought to himself. "Tyler… Hill." He added with an ashamed smile.
"There have been far too many Hill's that I've met on one march or the other, but you are special are you not." Ser Jaime said in a mocking tone.
Tyler went half blank. "Just spit it out." He said sharply, instantly regretting his small outburst.
"Yes I expected that, bastards are never all that polite." Jaime said with a chuckle. "You are my half brother, are you not?"
Tyler nodded slowly and shortly.
"I must admit I have been surprised by my father many a time. But this is just a whole new level. I suppose he told you that you are the spitting image of me at your age." Jaime said taking another swig and burping.
"Aye. He also told me that if your sister found out then we would all be in for trouble."
"Trouble is such a weak word when talking about Cersei. I'd say that danger would be a far more suitable one. And I believe you mean our sister not your." He chuckled. "My father may never legitimise you but he cannot remove his blood from yours as much as he could from Tyrion… though not through lack of trying." He added with a small smirk. He got up then. "Need to piss, sleep well Tyler, I wish we could have met on our own terms."
Tyler felt like bugs were crawling and flying through his stomach. On our own terms. Had his father told Jaime about him? Was his father really as bad as people had told him or would he stick to his word? For the second time in his life, Tyler Hill was scared