Disclaimer: I own nothing except for the original character.
What Elyana loved most of King's Landing was that it overlooked Blackwater Bay, the best view being from that of the Red Keep. There was something about the vast expanse of dark water that intrigued her, perhaps it was that it represented both the richness and poverty life had to offer or perhaps she was merely drawn to seemingly docile waves clashing against each other. It was times like this when her father would joke about how much she was like her uncle Stannis or if he was in a bad mood, scold her for being like her Lannister mother. Of course, he would never mean anything by it - Elyana was her father's happiness.
When Cersei Lannister and Robert Baratheon's first child died of a fever not long after birth, the two grief-stricken parents had given up much hope on another however it was not long after this that the Queen had found herself pregnant again - this time with a healthy dark-haired princess. Robert was overjoyed, seeing his own resemblance in his newborn daughter. Although, Elyana had some of her mother's features as well, a straight little nose and specks of green in her blue eyes. Nonetheless, she was a Baratheon and Robert's pride and joy. Cersei equally adored her Elyana, before the birth of her other children she was a sort of compensation for putting up with Robert and what compensation she was. She was a little lioness to her mother as she grew from a outgoing, headstrong and wilful child to a charming and intellectual woman - more stag than lion now as Robert would say.
"Princess - I'm glad to find you here" Interrupted from her thoughts Elyana turned and smiled at the Hand, Jon Arryn, approaching her. The man, normally composed, seemed to be worried.
"Good morning, Lord Arryn. Is everything alright?"
"My lady, you are no longer a child to be shielded from the world - you must promise me that what I tell you from this point onwards must remain strictly between us." He spoke in a hushed tone, despite the lack of people in the area.
Jon Arryn was a wise man, one whom Elyana respected greatly although she had never seen him act like this. Truly whatever it was he had to say was of great importance but she wondered why he would come to her over her father. Perhaps something bad was going to happen.
Elyana raised her brow, "Of course... What is happening?"
"Your uncle Stannis came to me recently with some news, I need to look into it further but when the time is right I will call upon you - you will meet me in the Tower of the Hand when I do. For now, know that you are your father's daughter and a rightful heir to the throne. I will find you should I discover anything."
With that he was off, briskly walking away as if he did not just approach Elyana with strange ramblings. She was confused; he was telling her that she was a rightful heir to the throne and a Baratheon like she was unaware of it. What Jon Arryn told her was either a cryptic message or the ramblings of an ageing man. For all her respect for him, she assumed it was the latter. What could Stannis possibly tell the Hand that would send him into such a state? For now though, Elyana put Jon Arryn's words aside and went back into the castle.
Septa Aelinor would no doubt be looking for her; she skipped her needlework classes often to spend more time in the library or in this case, just for the sake of it. There truly was no purpose in her learning how to stitch; she wasn't a tailor's daughter – she was a princess and so long as she was one her time would be spent in the library learning. Pure knowledge was power, not the gossiping of noblewomen and whisperers. Elyana's mind drifted back to Jon Arryn's words, maybe he wasn't being incoherent. Maybe he and Stannis knew something important. It still didn't make sense why he would come to her of all people. Heir or not, Joffery would inherit the throne simply because he was a male. Her father may listen to her but whatever it was, she wouldn't be able to take real action on it. Elyana sighed as she approached her chambers, Jon Arryn had planted a seed in her mind and until she knew what it would bear, she would be bothered by it.
Pushing the door open, she was greeted by the sight of her mother sitting on her bed and reading through one of her books.
"What have you doing my sweet girl," she paused and put down the book she was looking at "Surely you know that studying the dead gets you nowhere, they're dead for a reason after all."
"But it can't hurt to know. You always told me to have the upper hand on everyone that isn't us - I'd like to think that this gives me an... edge."
Her mother gave her a close-lipped smile, her eyes exuded both pride and sincerity. "Come, my little lioness, sit here."
Elyana obeyed her mother, taking a seat beside her. Her mother had always shown affection for her but rarely did she call her a lioness. When she did it was only behind closed doors. Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen were all gold-maned lions - not her, she was a dark-haired stag.
"I see what you mean now - learn from the dead to avoid their mistakes. I'm not sure what 'The Rise and Fall of Valyria' will teach you but I understand." Cersei tucked a loose strand of her daughter's hair behind her ear, drawing her immediate attention "There is more than intellect that will give you an upper hand against your enemies. You are a beautiful woman, sweet lioness, use both to your advantage and you will crush all that stand in your way."
Elyana smiled at her mother, "Thank you, mother. I didn't imagine we would be talking of this when I came in but... I am glad."
Cersei laughed gracefully, "You are a woman now, not a child, despite what Septa Aelinor may believe. I do wish to know one thing though - what exactly was it that Jon Arryn told you? One of the servant girls saw you talking with him and his rather quick exit."
What was she to tell her? Jon Arryn told her not to speak of this with anyone and here her mother was, aware of everything and asking about it! She couldn't shrug it off, her mother was smarter than that. It had to be something to keep her occupied and away from prying any further.
"He asked me not to say anything but Jon Arryn thinks I should train him, with a weapon. He seems to think that I should learn how to engage in close combat to defend myself against any attackers. He only wants the best for me, mother. Please, please don't be angry with him."
Elyana watched her mother's face, her smile had fallen and had been replaced by a deep frown. She was smart, even cunning at times, but she was not a liar. Lies, as she learnt, didn't get anyone anywhere other than in a mess. Yet, here she was, hoping that her deception had fooled her mother.
"A woman does not fight with swords, my dear. I'll be sure to tell Lord Arryn that he need not worry about you." She said rising from the bed and heading towards the door.
"I could tell him," Elyana blurted out, rising slowly and fixing her dress "It's best he hears it from me that I'm not interested, lest he think that I cannot even handle my own problems as well as a weapon."
Cersei turned around to face her daughter, Elyana couldn't tell what was going through her mother's mind. Her granite face gave away nothing and Elyana feared hers had given away too much.
"You're right, my sweet girl. Come see me after you do, yes?" She nodded, seeing her mother out of the room.
Elyana sighed, walking back to her bed and collapsing on it. This day had been hectic and it had barely even begun. Cryptic messages, lies and a fear of being caught (mid-lie and not attending classes) were unusual to her. Perhaps she shouldn't of skipped her needlework classes, it was the safer option and yet, Elyana found herself somewhat exhilarated with everything happening. It was as if she was a character in one of the novels she read - a heroine living a life of excitement and deception. She was no heroine though, heroines weren't confined by expectations and rules, they did what they want. Elyana did have her moments where she was bold and daring, skipping classes being one of the few times, but it wasn't the same. Heroes and heroines faced and overcame treachery, fought battles and did everything that was interesting. She didn't attend a needlework class because she wanted to look at the sea. Her life was utterly boring.
Her 17th name-day was around the corner, as a child she would've been excited but knowing what she knew now, things were different. Her family was dysfunctional, to say the least. Her parents despised each other, for what reason Elyana couldn't grasp. It was either Lyanna Stark or her father's... gregarious personality that caused a wedge between them. There was no doubt in her mind that her father would get drunk and flirt with another woman to which her mother would get angry. Joffrey would be the insensitive boy he always was, making himself the centre of attention and poor little Myrcella and Tommen would sit there quietly and observe it all. She took back her previous thought; her life was boring and problematic. How the two could co-exist without clashing baffled her. Closing her eyes, Elyana let out a deep sigh as she drifted into a slumber. For now, at least, she didn't want to dwell on thing's that confused and upset her.
A few days had passed since Elyana's meeting with Jon Arryn, only today had he decided to speak to her again. This time with two messages much less cryptic than the first. She was to meet with her father to discuss something and then meet Jon Arryn later. After days of pondering what he meant, Elyana still couldn't quite decipher Jon Arryn's words. Perhaps today was the day he told her what it all meant. It couldn't possibly get more confusing than it already was.
Whilst on here way to her father's bedchamber within Maegor's Holdfast, Elyana could see the sole guard outside the door. His blonde hair made it easy for him to stand out anywhere he went - this was a Lannister, not a commoner. Elyana smiled at him as approached the door.
"You're getting more beautiful by the day, Elyana." He said, a small smile tugging at his lips.
Elyana laughed, "Thank you, Uncle Jaime. Is my father here? I was told to come speak with him."
He nodded, muttering something under his breath as he ushered her into the room. To Elyana's surprise her father wasn't asleep or being attended too but at his table, Jon Arryn beside him. Robert's face lit up as he saw his daughter, a chortle escaped his lips - "Come here, girl!"
Rising from the seat Robert gripped his daughter's shoulders taking a good look at her, "You look like your mother today - don't let that women tell you what to wear!" Another hearty chuckle escaped his mouth as he quickly embraced her. Elyana hugged her father back, her arms not able to wrap themselves around him - making her giggle. Her father pulled away, motioning for her to sit as she gave Jon Arryn a smile.
"Shall we get straight into business then?" Jon Arryn asked the King.
"Yes, let's get on with it. I've heard you've been skipping some of your classes with Septa Aelinor. Is this true?" Although the issue was somewhat serious, a smile was still on Robert's face.
"Uh, yes but only because it's the same thing over and over. It becomes mind-numbing after a while."
"Ha! 'Mind-numbing', she says! See what I have to deal with, Jon!" Her father chuckled, trying to keep a serious face. "Now, Elyana - you know the consequences for this."
"Of course, father." She nodded, a smile playing on her lips, her father's presence was making it difficult for her to also remain serious. When he was in a good mood, which was most of the time, it was as if the whole of Westeros was too. He wasn't going to give her a harsh punishment today.
"Right, well, given that this isn't the first time you've acted like this, Lord Arryn here suggested that a change in atmosphere would set you right." Robert looked at the man as if urging him to continue for him.
Lord Arryn interrupted, "I recommended that perhaps making you a ward of another house would be better than you wandering the streets of King's Landing and the halls of the Red Keep aimlessly. I figured a young woman like you could only do that so much before getting entirely sick of it."
Elyana's eyes widened, "Another house? Is this necessary?"
Elyana wanted to be angry with Jon Arryn for suggesting such a thing and she wanted to yell at her father for agreeing but she couldn't find the voice too. Deep inside her she knew that this was something she needed and wanted. She had spent enough time staring up at her ceiling imagining that she was somewhere else and reading about places outside King's Landing to know this.
"It's not just necessary but an honour - you'll be a ward of Winterfell, not those bloody Tyrells or Lannister asses. Besides, I've already sent word a few days ago, Ned Stark's happy to have you. You'll be leaving in a few days too. It's a bit late to call of the arrangements now." Her father spoke with pride and admiration of the Starks.
"Winterfell!" Elyana rose, "I've no quarrel with the Starks but father, you're sending to me the cold north alone!?"
"You'll get used to the cold and you'll hardly be alone." Robert huffed and folded his arms across his chest; he exuded a sense of authority.
"Ned Stark's eldest boy is around your age and you'll get along with his daughter, Sansa." Jon Arryn added, reasoning with her.
Elyana didn't quite know what to say, she would've been happier if her father sent her to High Garden or back to the Stormlands. Yes, she desired adventure and a change but she didn't want to travel so far that the God's were different. Winterfell, from what she heard and read, was pretty but muddy and cold. She could handle the Starks, from the way her father spoke of them they appeared to be the honourable, family-oriented sort. The North was a completely different thing. There were many things to recall when she thought of the North but at this moment, all she could think of was Wildlings and White Walkers.
"Well, what do you have to say?" Her father asked, his face now serious.
"I'll go but if you don't visit, I'll join the wildlings."
Her father's stern face transformed, his booming laugh echoing in the room. "Ha! I'd like to see that, a bloody princess joining the savages."
Robert dismissed Jon Arryn, telling his daughter to remain for a little longer. Elyana couldn't predict what he would say now that Jon Arryn was gone. She only knew that she wouldn't lash out at him for arranging to send her away. He was King and more importantly, her father - his wishes were to be respected.
After sharing a few words with Lord Arryn at the door, Robert shut it and turned on his heel back to his daughter. Now leaning against the chair, Elyana gave her father a small closed lipped smile. Walking over to her, he cupped her face with his hands, "Should've spent more time with you. You're a bloody woman now and you're going to be far away from here."
"You've spent plenty of time with me. Besides, I know you have duties. It doesn't change that you're my father." Elyana smiled up at him warmly.
"Hm, you'll fit right in with the Starks. You're too gracious and honourable." Elyana and her father laughed, pulling in for a quick embrace.
"Now go on, I'm sure you have a class to be skipping." Robert ushered her out with a smile on his face.
Elyana waved goodbye at Jaime at the door and went to meet Lord Arryn. Despite the news, she didn't actually feel all that bad. Winterfell may be different to King's Landing but being a ward could have its perks. To be away from Joffery would be a blessing. He was the very epitome of an uncouth younger brother and his absence alone would do wonders to her life. No more cut-up dresses, no more getting in trouble for being present and no more spoilt rages. Elyana did, however, feel for the rest of her family. She would miss them immensely. Her father would be missed the most. Although he wasn't always there, when he was her life was just better. The man had a certain air about him that encouraged so much within her.
Walking down the corridors of the Red Keep, Elyana felt somewhat reminiscent. It would be one of the last times she would do this until she returned. Nothing of great interest happened in these corridors but the sentiment was there. She grew up here and now she'd be leaving her home to make another. She would have to marry a northerner, learn their ways and live up to the expectations of northern ideals. At times like those she would miss King's Landing and the southern ways the most but she would get used to it, however long it took. A stag did not falter in the face of adversity.
The courtyard, where she was to meet Lord Arryn, was full with people. Between the flowers of the beautiful courtyard, were Septa's sitting and reading. Gardeners wandered around, pacing amongst the flowers and orchards. They all appeared to be thinking very deeply as they worked. Jon Arryn was sitting on a bench, a servant boy in front of him talking as he listened.
Elyana gave a small wave, "Am I too early? I figured I just had news broken to me, why not have more."
Lord Arryn dismissed the youth, who disappeared quickly after. "It's fine, I suppose the quicker you know the better. Do you recall what I briefly spoke of four days ago?"
She nodded, "Uncle Stannis came to you with news. You said that I'm my father's daughter and rightful heir to the throne. Are you going to tell me what this is all about?"
The elder man looked over his shoulder, inspecting the area. If he wanted privacy, this was not the place. "Yes but it's best we continue this conversation in my quarters, it's safer there."
Elyana nodded again, walking at a normal pace alongside Jon Arryn to the Tower of the Hand. They made small talk on the way there, speaking about the weather and other places, no doubt to provide a cover to any listeners. Unaware of what was truly going on; Elyana didn't feel nervous like when she lied to her mother. She smiled at passers-by's, wishing them a good morning and returning to converse with Jon Arryn once they passed. It was easier not knowing damning information. Once they reached and entered his quarters, Jon Arryn firmly shut the door behind them.
"I have news for you... Perhaps it is best you sit down," he made a hand gesture towards the chair at his table. Elyana followed his advice and took a seat, "I wanted to wait until I had more information but there things that must not be hidden."
He cleared his throat, "Your uncle and I visited certain places and found that your father has... a few bastards. Most of which strongly resemble him, despite who the mother was."
Elyana remained composed, she knew about what her father did in his spare time and knew it was because of the strain on her parents relationship. They didn't talk about it at dinners but she knew. It bothered her when she was young and still did now but she didn't worry so much about it, her father was King and despite what he do, she loved him.
"Do you fear that one of them wishes to make a claim to the throne?" Elyana asked, one brow perked up.
"No, no, not at all. It has nothing to do with that. What you need to know is that they look like Baratheon's - like you, you look like your father's daughter. Your siblings, however, closely resemble the Lannisters."
Her brow furrowed, Elyana crossed her arms across her chest, "What exactly are you trying to say Lord Arryn?"
"I've come to believe that your brothers and sister are not Baratheon's but rather children of incest. They have no to claim to the Iron Throne because your mother and her -"
"No," Elyana rose from her seat "No more, Lord Arryn. This is treason!"
Her hands started shaking in fear, whatever composure she had before was long gone. Jon Arryn went on, explaining the situation further as she brought her hands to her face. All she could hear were words - unhappy, incest, heir, Stannis, not safe. He could've stopped talking when she asked. Now a sick feeling started to rise in her stomach. He was going on about finding more proof. Elyana didn't want to hear anymore.
"Please, Lord Arryn. I beg of you - stop." She interrupted him, the colour from her face gone. This was news she never expected nor wanted to hear.
"I apologise, my lady." Elyana stared at Jon Arryn seeing sympathy in his face.
She closed her eyes briefly and spoke slowly, "What do you want me to do with this information?"
"Nothing. You needed to know who you are and who is around you. I do, however, fear for your safety being the only child of Robert and Cersei. The Lannisters may wish to secure the throne for themselves... it's not safe for here in King's Landing."
Elyana boldly blurted, "My mother and father love me."
"I have no doubt they do, your father especially but your mother... we've all seen how she favours Joffery over you. Anything can happen, it's not like your mother doesn't know."
"So, aren't you worried about yourself?"
Jon Arryn spoke with confidence, "Nobody is aware that I know about this. I'm safe and I can defend myself."
Everything that was happening began to link, there was a reason for what her father told her today. "Is this why you told my father to send me to Winterfell? The further away I am, the safer?"
"You're exactly right. It's a risk that cannot be taken. Even with Stannis, he's your family but Iron Throne is above mere ties to someone. People will do terrible things for power."
Elyana gulped at the thought of being murdered by someone she loved in order for them to have more power made her sick. It didn't help that the added news of her mother's and uncles... relationship made her sick to the core. She knew her mother wasn't happy with her father but bearing the children of her twin brother was wrong on many levels. She should've left her father, returned to Casterly Rock and married another man. Elyana could respect a woman escaping a loveless marriage, it made sense but this.. this was something else. She didn't even want to think about why her mother would remain married to her father if this was happening, power couldn't be the only factor fuelling her twisted desires. The only thing that fit with her actions was treachery - why stay with a man you despise if not to eliminate him and take what's his? Elyana feared leaving for Winterfell more than ever now.
A/N: To be quite honest, I have no idea what I am doing with this so if it's absolutely cringe-worthy and terrible then bear with me - I will try to improve. Also, I apologize for the long chapter, I may have gotten carried away with my free time. Finally, Thanks for taking the time to read this lovelies, looking forward to seeing what you have to think! x