Title: Northern Justice
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Fandom: Game of Thrones
Genre: Fix-It, Adulting
Relationships: Rhaegar Targaryen/Lyanna Stark
Warning: Timeline? What timeline?
Author’s Notes: Ned+Ashara=Jon, Rhaegar+Lyanna=Aegon…though that’s probably not what they are going to name him. I also subscribe to the theory that R/L hid in the crypts under Winterfell, pulling a Bael the Bard.
Challenge: Just Write Trope Bingo, Square: Adulting
Beta: PN Ztivokreb
Word Count: 5,131
Summary: The pen truly is mightier than the sword. OR how a single letter got Westeros it’s groove back.
“Come on, Ned, a parlay? A parlay?”
Somedays Ned wondered why he loved Robert like a brother. The old gods knew he’d gotten them into enough trouble in their years together—and there was very little difference with this Rebellion.
Ned was avenging his father and older brother with the hope that doing so would find him his sister, Lyanna. Robert was just mad that King Aerys had demanded his head to go with Ned’s and that Lyanna had not wanted to marry him. And yet with how Robert went on about it all, one would think it was his family that had been murdered with an impossible trial by combat.
“Yes, Robert, a parlay. Now will you shut up and wait to learn what’s going on with everyone else?”
“I don’t see why you couldn’t tell me first,” Robert grumbled.
Their horses picked their way to the slightly raised, dry area between two forks of the Trident where he had agreed to meet with the other commanders.
Ned stopped a respectable distance from the three Kingsguard representing the other side. Lords Tully, Arryn, and Baratheon stopped with him.
“I have received a letter from Rhaegar Targaryen the morning before this one,” Ned told the assembled group.
“As did we,” Ser Barristan Selmy spoke for himself and his sworn brothers.
Lords Tully and Arryn indicated that they had as well.
“None of you told me!” Robert objected loudly.
“In his letter, he admitted that he did not kidnap my sister Lyanna but that they stole away to get married—”
Robert roared like a wounded boar.
“—and that my sister had sent a letter to Riverrun to tell our father of those facts, after the marriage had been completed and consummated. Lord Tully, did Riverrun ever receive a letter from my sister for my father?”
“Riverrun did receive such a letter,” Lord Tully confirmed.
“So, all of this was for nothing,” Jon Arryn glared at Lord Hoster Tully.
Lord Tully did not meet his gaze.
“What about my claim?” Robert demanded. “My claim on the Iron Throne must still be answered.”
“If Prince Rhaegar proves to be an innocent man, the North will not stand against his claim on the Iron Throne,” Ned told Robert.
“Nor will the Vale.”
When Lord Hoster did not respond in the opening left for him, they all turned to look at him.
Lord Hoster waved them off. “Nor will the Riverlands.”
“Letters have been sent to the Loyalist lords ordering them to stand down,” Ser Barristan told them. “There is to be a Conclave. Once we have all returned to our homes and allowed our armies to retire, ravens will be sent out naming the location and attendees.”
“Very good.” Lord Arryn turned his horse. He paused to look at Robert. “Go home Rob, cool down. You have lost nothing that was ever actually yours.”
Robert glared at them all before turning his horse and spurring it on its way.
Ned nodded to the Kingsguard across from him and the lords at his side. “Until the Conclave.”
“Until the conclave,” Ser Barristan and Lord Arryn agreed.
Lord Tully was silent, the way Ned preferred him.
“I did not know I was wedding my daughter to a pair of cravens,” Lord Hoster muttered as they were about to go their separate ways.
“They did not marry cravens,” Lord Arryn countered. “They married just men. I understand if you’re confused by the difference, Hoster.”
Lord Hoster glared and abandoned them with haste.
Ned sighed and checked the sun’s position in the sky. “The day is half gone and we have much—too much—yet to do.”
“There is no one but us to do it,” Lord Jon clasped him on his shoulder. “Go home, Ned.”
Ned went home.
Lady Catelyn was there waiting for him, her stomach swollen with child.
His sister, too, was there waiting for him with Prince Rhaegar at her side and a child of her own in her belly. He cried to see her. He had feared he would never see her alive again, and yet she had been in Winterfell the entire time.
“I’m sorry, Ned,” Benjen blurted the second the two of them were alone with Rhaegar in father’s—Ned’s solar. “They were here the entire time. We weren’t getting ravens so we didn’t know what all was going on—”
“Your brother insisted we act as soon as we learned there was a senseless war going on,” Prince Rhaegar told him. “He kept Lyanna and I from going to Dorne to meet Elia…” Rhaegar trailed off with a sad frown.
“Princess Elia is dead,” he told his prince. “She and your children were murdered when Lord Lannister sacked King’s Landing.”
“Yes, we learned such just days after we would have gone south,” Rhaegar shook his head. “Lyanna is my only queen now, her son our heir.”
“I…am sorry for your loss.”
“And what of yours, Lord Stark? Last I knew, you had wed Ashara Dayne, and yet Catelyn Tully is living in residence as Lady of Winterfell with your child growing within her.”
Ned groaned. “It is a horrible tale and I do not know how to remedy it.”
“Well,” Rhaegar dropped comfortably down onto his father’s favorite chair. “Do not leave us in suspense.”
“Welcome to the Conclave of 283 AC,” Prince Rhaegar told the Lords gathered before him. He had called together each of his Lords Paramount, allowing them two attendant lords, and all of the relevant witnesses into the godswood of Winterfell. “The most grave matter before us is the matter of succession for the Iron Throne. But to reach that decision we must first clear up the issue of Robert’s Rebellion, its causes and crimes committed over the course of events. As none can lie before a hearts tree, we will find the truth of this matter today.
“First, the accusation of kidnapping.
“Lyanna Stark,” he addressed his own wife neutrally. “Were you kidnapped by any person at any time within the last year.”
“No,” she answered simply. “I ran away before my father could formally betroth me to Robert Baratheon. I did not wish to marry him because of his inability to keep…himself to himself. He already had two bastards that I knew of and I refused to wed a man that could not be loyal.”
“And yet we are supposed to believe you wed a married man?” Lord Robert demanded.
“I fell in love with both Prince Rhaegar and Princess Elia at the Tourney of Harrenhal, Robert. We spent a year planning our unions. As Rhaegar and Elia were already wed, he and I were to wed in the North to keep you from attempting to assert your rights over a woman you weren’t even betrothed to. Elia and I were to wed in Dorne before the birth of my son,” Lyanna ran a hand over her distended belly. “That, unfortunately, is not to be.”
“Lord Stark, who told you that your sister had been kidnapped?”
“My brother Brandon had written me from King’s Landing while he and my father were waiting to speak to King Aerys. Brandon told me a witness—Petyr Baelish—had seen you, my prince, take my sister from Riverrun against her will.”
“And yet neither I nor Lyanna stopped within sight of Riverrun.” Rhaegar gestured at Ser Arthur and his best friend brought forth the so-called witness.
“Petyr Baelish, did you at any point see myself or Lyanna Stark at Riverrun before you reported her kidnapped to her father and brother?”
The boy struggled with his answer but the magic of the weirwood proved true and he admitted, “I did not.”
“Then how did you know to connect Lady Lyanna and myself?”
The boy struggled again and again he lost. “There was a letter.”
“Who was the letter from?”
“Winterfell, to Lord Stark.” The boy said in defeat.
“How did you come across this letter?”
“Maester Luwin received it and ordered me to take it to Lord Hoster.”
“And what did you do?”
“I read it,” Baelish struggled but then he admitted. “I read all of Lord Tully’s ravens.”
Lord Hoster flushed a furious scarlet.
“So, you knew your accusations against me were false when you laid them?” Rhaegar continued, ignoring Lord Tully’s ire.
“Then why did you lay them?”
“I wanted Brandon Stark to die. I knew he would rush to King’s Landing to demand his sister and I hoped the Mad King would kill him, leaving Catelyn available to me for marriage.”
“You engineered the deaths of a Lord Paramount and his heir entirely because you wanted to marry a Lord’s daughter?”
“I think that’s enough of that,” Rhaegar turned to his assembled Lords. “Clearly the boy murdered Lords Rickard and Brandon and used my father as his murder weapon. Are we in agreement?”
“Aye,” the lords of the North, the Reach, the Vale and Dorne all agreed.
“Take him to a cell, he will be sentenced when this matter is completed.” Rhaegar glanced at Lord Stark, the host of the conclave.
Stark nodded and gestured for one of his lords to take the boy. Baelish attempted to make a break for it but—unfortunately for him—the Lord that responded to Stark’s orders was Jeor Mormont. Mormont was a sensible man of the North that did not waste effort struggling with the boy. He just tapped him in the temple with the hilt of his dagger, knocking the boy senseless but not killing him.
“Lord Hoster,” Rhaegar addressed the man, turning to face the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. “Were you aware of the letter advising Lord Stark as to the true whereabouts of his daughter?”
“I was aware of a letter from Winterfell to Stark,” Hoster admitted.
“And did you read that letter from Winterfell to Stark?”
Hoster clearly did not want to admit it but in the end he nodded. “I did.”
“Why did you not stop your strong Northern allies from rushing to King’s Landing in what you knew was a fruitless endeavor?”
“I hated Steffon Baratheon and I hate his Robert more. Proud boastful fools, the both of them. I didn’t care where the Stark bitch was as long as he couldn’t have her.”
“Even though it cost your daughter her betrothed?”
“That was unfortunate,” Lord Hoster allowed. “But there are other Starks.”
Lady Catelyn gasped and stared at her father in wounded outrage.
“I think it has been made clear that not only am I an innocent man but that the crimes I have been accused of never happened,” Rhaegar addressed the entire group of lords. “They were merely the product of the lies and omissions of others. Are we agreed?”
Four of the six of the Lord’s Paramount present—for Greyjoy and his Iron Islands never responded to Conclave summonses or any other greenlander foolishness—was enough to grant him the majority.
“With no criminal charges standing against me and being the only son and heir of the previous king, I am the rightful king of the Seven Kingdoms, does anyone dispute this?”
Five of the six shook their heads. Baratheon did not do more than glare at him and it was a shame. A shame such a pig-headed fool was working to divide two houses that had stood together since Aegon’s Conquering.
“As the new legal king, it is my right to request you refresh your vows of loyalty now, before my coronation.”
Lord Eddard Stark of the North went to one knee and made his vow first. Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne went down next, kneeling for his crippled brother, Prince Doran, who sat on his tree root and gave his vow. Lord Mace Tyrell of the Reach went third with Lord Tywin of the Westerlands—who had knelt with him but let him speak first—went next. After a pointed hesitation, Lord Hoster Tully of the Riverlands gave his vow.
That left Robert Baratheon of the Stormlands standing stubbornly on his feet.
“My claim to the throne must be answered,” Robert growled. “I demand trial by combat!”
Robert’s younger brother Stannis thumped Robert on the shoulder. “You cannot demand trial by combat of a man that has already been cleared. Or of a man that never committed crimes in the first place! Your claim is invalid. Let it go.”
“No,” Robert shook his brother off. “He took my woman, now he’s taking my throne, and I will sink my hammer into his chest! See what he takes then!”
“I was never your woman, Robert,” Lyanna said sharply, supporting their son with a hand on her belly as she always did when she was stressed. “Do not think for one moment that I ever loved you. You are a drinking, whoring, fighting fool and I have no time for you. Had Rhaegar not rescued me, I would have fled to Essos rather than marry you!
“Had that failed, I would have given you your son as my lord father ordered and then cut off your bollocks the first time one of your bastards was born thereafter! I would have left you to die in our marriage bed and been executed for it with a smile on my face.
“Never for a moment were we going to be a happily-ever-after, no matter what you have yourself convinced of. Your life would have been over the moment you put a child in my belly and do not ever forget it.”
For a moment Robert wavered. Then his face hardened. “I demand trial by combat. I have been wronged. It’s my right.”
“Your hurt feelings are not something you can fight someone over, Robert,” Lord Arryn tried. “Let it go.”
“Lord Stannis, do you support your brother in his rebellion?” Rhaegar asked the younger brother.
Stannis refused to look at any of them. “I cannot consider myself a just man if I do, my king.”
“Very well,” Rhaegar caught his eye and gave the lad a nod in the hope it would bolster him. “Robert Baratheon, by your own words and deeds you are hereby convicted of treason against the King of the Seven Kingdoms. You are hereby stripped of all lands and titles and sentenced to death at dawn. Lord Stark?”
Ned gave his brother in all but blood a sad look and shook his head. “Umbers, take him.”
Several of the largest men Rhaegar had ever seen surrounded Robert Baratheon. The large former Stormland lord was dwarfed by their sheer physical size as they escorted him from the godswood.
Stannis immediately took a knee and swore the loyalty of the Stormlands to Rhaegar specifically and the Iron Throne in general.
“The Stormlands are thanked for their loyalty and pardoned for all actions taken over the course of Robert’s Rebellion.”
“Thank you, my king.” Stannis stood.
Rhaegar turned to his goodbrother. “The North is thanked for it’s loyalty and pardoned for all actions taken over the course of Robert’s Rebellion.”
Ned stood, “Thank you, my king.”
“Lord Arryn, the Vale of Arryn is thanked for it’s loyalty and pardoned for all actions taken over the course of Robert’s Rebellion.”
“Thank you, my king,” Lord Arryn stood.
“Dorne and the Reach are thanked for their loyalty now and throughout Robert’s Rebellion and pardoned for any actions taken over the course of Robert’s Rebellion. Though, Lord Mace, reparations to the people your forces came near to starving would not go amiss.”
“Thank you, my king,” Doran said as Oberyn stood.
Lord Mace nodded as he regained his feet. “Of course, my king.”
“Lord Tywin,” Rhaegar turned to his one-time ally. The man that had practically raised him. A man he had looked up to for so long. “Tell me, what was the purpose for your murder of my wife and children?”
Lord Tywin’s mouth worked for several moments before words managed to come out. “I was clearing the board so that whoever took the crown once the rebellion was over would have to marry my daughter to keep it and liberate King’s Landing from my forces.”
“So, you sacked King’s Landing, had my wife murdered and raped, and murdered my children to put your grandchildren on the throne?”
“Lord Tywin you are hereby convicted of murder and treason. You, Ser Illyn Payne, and Ser Gregor Clegane are sentenced to death. The sentence will be carried out at dawn.”
Lord Stark didn’t wait for his signal this time. He specifically ordered Mormont and his son to see Lord Tywin to a cell.
“Ser Kevan?” Rhaegar called once Tywin had quit the room with what was left of his dignity.
“Yes, my king?”
“Do you understand why that was necessary?”
“Yes, my king.”
“Do you hold any grudges or further plans to usurp the throne?”
“No, my king.”
“Swear your oath for the Westerlands.”
Ser Kevan went down on one knee and swore loyalty to Rhaegar and the throne.
“I hereby name you regent of the Westerlands for Lord Tyrion Lannister, Ser Kevan. You will send Lord Tyrion here to Winterfell to foster until his sixteenth birthday at which point he will return to the Westerlands to train directly under you until he is eighteen at which time he will ascend to Lord Paramount. Do you understand?”
“Yes, my king. I will have Lord Tyrion and a reasonably sized retinue on the next boat North the day I have returned to the Rock.
“What of Cersei, my king?”
“She will be married to a suitable lord far from King’s Landing. I do not want to set eyes on Tywin’s daughter so long as I live.”
“Of course, my king. Did you…have a particular lord…?”
“My king, if I may,” Lord Jon Arryn spoke up.
“Yes, Lord Arryn?”
“Before this meeting, I received a raven informing me that Lady Lyssa lost our child and threw herself through the Moon Door leaving me with neither wife nor heir.”
“Very well, Lord Arryn. Ser Kevan, the crown hereby betroths Lady Cersei Lannister to Lord Jon Arryn.”
“Very good, my king. Thank you.”
“Of course.” This brought them to Lord Tully. “Lord Tully, by your willful inactions, a rebellion against the throne was instigated. I hold you personally responsible for every life lost over the course of this pointless rebellion. Does anyone speak in his defense?”
None of the other lords did.
“Further, I find you directly responsible—with Petyr Baelish—for the deaths of Lord Rickard Stark and his heir Brandon Stark. Does anyone speak in his defense?”
If crickets were allowed in a godswood, they would be audible.
“Further, knowing Robert’s Rebellion was your doing, you acted in bad faith with Lord Eddard of the North. Lady Ashara?”
Lady Ashara Dayne stepped out from the veil of the trees with Lord Eddard’s first born in her arms.
“You knew Lord Eddard was already married to Lady Ashara and forced him to marry your daughter in order to gain the resources to save Robert Baratheon from circumstances we’ve already established you were responsible for making. As Lord Stark is not a Targaryen, he cannot legally have two wives. Also, marriages held at sword point or under other coercion are not legally binding within the Seven Kingdoms.
“Therefore, seeing as Lady Ashara was already Lord Eddard’s wife as was agreed between their fathers, I declare that your daughter is not Lord Stark’s wife and your grandson is legally a bastard.”
Lady Catelyn gasped in horror and clutched her newborn son Robb to her chest.
“Lord Stark, what recompense do you demand of Lord Tully for his personal crimes against you and your House?”
“Ashara?” Lord Ned asked softly.
“She will leave the North and never return,” Lady Ashara answered immediately. “And she will leave her son with us as she deserves to keep no part of my husband.”
Rhaegar took a moment to wonder just how heinously Lady Catelyn must have acted in the three days Lady Ashara had been in Winterfell—Ashara, who was almost as famous for her patience as she was for her beauty—to get such a response.
“Very well,” he agreed. “Lady Catelyn?”
Lady Ashara handed little Jon to his father and stood at Lord Stark’s side as Lady Catelyn reluctantly released her son into Ashara’s care. Lady Catelyn started sobbing as the other woman comforted her son.
“Go back to your father,” Lady Ashara ordered and, to Rhaegar’s unending surprise, Lady Catelyn obeyed.
“Now, Lord Hoster, for your treason and bad faith with your allies, you are stripped of your lands and titles and sentenced to death at dawn. Further, your children are stripped of all rights of inheritance to Riverrun and the Riverlands. Ser Brynden?”
Brynden “Blackfish” Tully took a knee just far enough from his brother to make it clear that while they were from the same family, they did not stand together. “My king, may I say that I was aware that my brother forced Lord Stark to marry my niece—”
“Shut up, Brynden,” Lord Hoster interrupted.
“Lord Hoster you will hold your tongue and bear witness to the fullness of your House’s punishment or I will have your tongue cut out. Do you understand?” Rhaegar glared at his former Lord Paramount.
Lord Hoster wisely did not respond.
“As I was saying, Your Grace, I was aware that my brother forced Lord Stark to marry my niece Catelyn despite already being married. When I realized that I could not make him see sense, I decided to request permission from Lord Arryn to serve as my niece Lyssa’s guard in the Vale once the rebellion was over, until Hoster’s death.
“I had no idea he was so responsible for that rebellion, Your Grace. I swear it.”
Rhaegar…believed him. “So, you understand why your brother’s death is necessary to the peace of the Realm?”
“I do, my king.”
“And do you hold any grudges or further plans to usurp the throne?”
“I don’t even want Riverrun—by which I mean no, my king.”
“Very well. Swear your oath for the Riverlands.”
Ser Brynden went down on one knee and swore loyalty to Rhaegar and the throne.
“I hereby name you regent of the Riverlands for Lord Robb Stark, Ser Brynden. As will Lord Tyrion, Lord Robb will remain in Winterfell to be raised by his father until his sixteenth birthday at which point he will go to the Riverlands to train directly under you until his eighteenth birthday, at which time he will ascend to Lord Paramount. Due to Lord Hoster’s faithlessness and treason, House Tully no longer stands as a Great House of Westeros. Riverrun and the Riverlands will go to the new cadet branch of House Stark your great nephew Robb will establish, House Stark of the Riverlands. Do you understand?”
“Yes, my king. I cannot say it is not a just punishment, but what of my nephew, Edmure? He is only nine.”
“He will go to the Citadel, the Faith, or the Wall—whichever is his preference. This is not a punishment, but I cannot allow the seeds to a future civil war within the Riverlands to be planted. Lord Tully’s children must release all claim to the Riverlands beyond any questioning or reclaiming.”
“I agree. And my niece Catelyn?”
“Lady Catelyn is not a bad person,” Lord Stark defended his former wife with a glance toward his actual wife who rolled her eyes. “She is a highborn lady in breeding and training. She has served admirably as Lady of Winterfell. She…simply has southron ways that have no place in the North and has been most displeased with my refusal to build her a sept within Winterfell itself.”
Rhaegar considered that. “Ser Brynden, you will find her a suitable match. Outside of the Riverlands, mind you. I will not tolerate her children starting a civil war in the Riverlands either.”
Lord Stannis cleared his throat.
“Yes, Lord Stannis?”
“With your permission, my king, I would offer myself for Lady Catelyn’s hand. Her situation is no fault of her own but that of her father, though many will still hold her deflowered state against her. Even a lady of her caliber will have a hard time finding a husband after bearing a son for another lord. I take Lord Robb’s health as a promise she can bear strong sons for me. As well, Storm’s End has a sept and worship of the Seven is common in the Stormlands preventing the conflict she has had with Winterfell.”
Rhaegar couldn’t see a downside, unless, “And you will not raise your children with designs upon the Riverlands?”
“I will not,” Lord Stannis promised. “Nor will I allow Lady Catelyn to do so.”
“Ser Brynden?” Rhaegar asked the head of the woman’s House.
Ser Brynden shot Lady Catelyn a look. Tears were still leaking down her face at the loss of her son, but she nodded easily enough. Lord Hoster was sitting on his tree roots, going red with his effort to remain silent.
“I agree,” Ser Brynden nodded. “When we return to the Riverlands, Lord Stannis and I can discuss terms. We will include the lack of her or her children’s claim to Riverrun in the contract.”
“Very well.” Rhaegar turned to Ned and nodded. Again Ned signaled to his waiting lords to see Tully to Winterfell’s cells.
Lannister was punished, Tully was punished, Stark was rewarded—oh, right.
“I, King Rhaegar I of House Targaryen, hereby declare that Prince Doran of Dorne is the Warden of the South, Lord Mace Tyrell is the Warden of the West, Lord Jon Arryn is the Warden of the East, and Lord Eddard Stark is the Warden of the North of Westeros.
“My Lords, is there any further business before us?”
Ned shook his head and the rest of his Lords and Regents followed his lead.
“Then we have one last order of Crown business and this assembly will be dismissed. Kingsguard, step forward.”
All seven of the most trusted knights in the Realm moved forward in step and took one knee together.
“You were the Kingsguard of my father, King Aerys II. As you may not be aware your vows must be remade upon the choosing of a new king. I know well what my father has put you through as you served him. I will hold no ill will to any of you that choose not to re-swear.”
And he wouldn’t, he really wouldn’t. Serving his father had to be torture for any knight that took their vows seriously.
Still, he was quite relieved when none of them stood to signal their decision to leave his guard.
The youngest member of his Kingsguard thumped his chest with a gauntleted fist in salute, “My king.”
“You killed my father, the man you were sworn to protect.”
“Yes, my king.”
Ser Jaime’s jaw shook briefly before he took a deep breath and answered. “King Aerys and his Hand, the alchemist Wisdom Rossart, have vast supplies of wildfire hidden beneath the entirety of King’s Landing and the Red Keep. When they came to the realization that my father had come to sack King’s Landing and not protect them, King Aerys gave the order to burn them all. To ignite all of the caches of wildfire.
“I had to choose between keeping my oath—dying, allowing my father to die, and allowing over half a million people to die a horrible death—or breaking my oath.
“I broke my oath,” Ser Jaime found his inner steel. He straightened his back and raised his chin not with pride but with the absence of shame. “And I contend it was the right choice for me to make for the Realm.”
“I agree,” he eventually admitted. “You saved the Realm from an immeasurable, unnecessary loss—but I cannot allow the murder of my father to go unpunished.”
“Yes, my king.”
“Your punishment is to swear yourself to be your brother, Lord Tyrion’s, personal sword and shield. You will hold no lands and take no wives—” The boy was fifteen, if he wasn’t going to be a Kingsguard there was no reason to keep him from…enjoying being a man. “—You will provide your lord-brother faithful service and honest council from this day until your last day.”
Ser Jaime blinked at him like he wasn’t quite sure what he had heard. “My King?”
“I…I’m still a knight? You’re not…sending me to the Wall? Or taking my head?”
“You are still a knight of the Realm,” Rhaegar promised. “You’re not going to the Wall unless you choose to and I am not taking your head. Do you understand your punishment?”
Ser Jaime grinned. “To be a knight in my brother’s household and not a lord—to serve and protect him for the rest of my life.”
“Yes, Ser Jaime.”
Jaime laughed in relief, flushed in embarrassment and stood. “I will serve my punishment with honor, my king.”
“I’m sure you will,” Rhaegar couldn’t help but smile at the boy. His joy in his punishment was infectious. “Now, I’m going to need that cloak from you.”
“Of course, your grace.” Ser Jaime took the white cloak off of his own shoulders, laid it neatly across both of his hands and offered it to Rheagar. He took the white cloak of a former Kingsguard and watched the boy join his Uncle’s position representing the Westerlands.
Rhaegar handed Jaime’s cloak to Lyanna who took it with a small smile. He had let his father’s murderer go and was glad of it for that smile.
His very best friend, Ser Arthur Dayne stood. “My king?”
“Your brother’s heiress has married my Warden of the North and become the Lady of Winterfell. Your father’s Keep is in need of a Lord.”
“Yes, my king.”
“We both know allowing Starfall to fall into the hands of your cousin, Ser Gerold, would be a mistake.”
“He should never have access to a relic like Dark, my king. We are agreed.”
“I ask that you sacrifice your place on my Kingsguard and take your brother’s place as Lord of Starfall. Do you agree?”
Ser Arthur closed his eyes for several moments but in the end he nodded. “I do, your grace.”
“Thank you,” Rhaegar said softly as Arthur passed him his beloved white cloak. “And I’m sorry.”
“Not as sorry as I will be when you make me your Hand,” Lord Arthur sassed and Rhaegar laughed.
He’d give the man a year to settle into his new role as lord, get married, and get an heir in the offing…probably.
He turned to the five Kingsguard that were still kneeling and took their vows individually. They had a lot of work to do but they would push through and it looked like maybe, just maybe, it would all be alright.
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