Marching to war
King Robert was laying in bed with his beloved Lyanna. They had just made love, and if Robert died on the field of battle it would be the last time they did so. He wanted to hold her in his arms, to feel her warmth against him.
Every year she becomes more beautiful.
Into his wife's ear Robert whispered sweetly, "Lyanna, I love you truly. Whether in this life or the next, we will meet again."
For the rest of the night, they held each other peacefully. But it could not last forever, and soon it was time to leave. Robert climbed out of the bed and began to dress himself.
"I have to leave now, for the good of my people. I must enforce the Kings Peace."
Lyanna had been supportive ever since the raven arrived with news of war, so her sudden request caught Robert off guard.
"Take me with you."
Lyanna repeated her request.
"Take me with you. This is going to be dangerous, and I want to help see you through it."
"Lyanna, you know I can not-"
"You are king, you can do whatever you want."
Damn, I knew this woman was stubborn. That's one of the things I love about her, but it can be frustrating at times.
Robert decided to take a different approach. He took both of Lyanna's hands in his own, and looked her in her beautiful grey eyes.
"Lyanna, if anything happened to you I would not be able to forgive myself. If you were to perish, I would wish I was dead. I need you to be safe, here. The people of Kings Landing need you here. Our son Richard needs you here."
When Lyanna gave birth, I decided to name our son in honor of his heroic grandfather. Rickard Stark, who was burned alive in an attempt to save the lives of his son and daughter. That made Lyanna so happy.
Thinking of her son must have softened Lyanna's resolve, because she was silent for a moment.
Lyanna does not have a selfish drop in her veins. She is more than willing to place others above himself.
When Lyanna did speak, it was in a soft voice.
"But I want to help you."
Robert smiled, "I was going to save this for when I am about to leave, but I can tell you now. Lyanna Baratheon, I hereby declare you my designated regent. While Jon Arryn and I are away, you will rule the kingdom in our stead. You will have the same authority as a king, and if the unspeakable happens then you are who I would most trust to rule until Richard Baratheon comes of age."
Now it was Lyanna's turn to be caught off guard.
"Are you sure?"
"The only time I have been more sure of anything is when I asked for your hand in marriage." With that, Robert leaned in and kissed Lyanna. They continued to kiss, and eventually lead to other things ...
After they were done, Robert and Lyanna headed down to break their fast.
At the table sat many others who were saying their goodbyes. Stannis, who will be commanding the Royal Navy, held Elia's hands in his own as he gave instructions on who should tutor their son Baldric.
Stannis, my brother. He still has not forgiven me for giving him Dragonstone, despite Lyanna's efforts to mend the rift between us. But he is still my brother, and I love him all the same.
Oberyn, who would be fighting alongside his sister's husband, had his Paramour Ellaria sitting in his lap.
He comes here sometimes to visit his sister, but I never expected him to fight in his goodbrother's war. He was a former sellsword, so it is not as though he is inexperienced.
Lord Gyles Rosby was talking to his friend Lord Cyttering.
They've been friends for years, like Eddard and I. I will get to see Eddard again when our armies combine at Casterly Rock. I pray he survives this war.
Sandor, who's only living relative is his estranged brother Gregor, simply stood next to the window and gazed out in deep thought.
Does he have anyone he cares about? I am not a prying sort, but it is odd that neither he nor his brother have a wife. But he can keep his secrets if it helps him sleep at night.
Finally, Robert's own son Richard entered the room. At seven years of age, he has already disproved Robert's belief that he would never love anyone as much as Lyanna. With dark blue eyes and a mess of black hair, Richard was Robert's spitting image. Though he could have a temper when agrivated, Richard was generally a considerate and altogether kind young boy.
He's my son. Our son. When I die, the crown will go to him. The crown and the Throne and all the power, pomp, and responsibility that goes with it. I pray I live to see him come of age.
Richard came in tow, dripping from head to toe and trailing twigs behind him. This of course caused Lyanna to worry over him.
"Rickard, what happened? You're all wet. Servant, get something for my son to dry off."
As one servant rushed to get him a linen towel, two more moved the coal brazier closer so as to warm him.
"One of the cats was pregnant, so I tried to catch her a fish from the pond in the Godswood. Also, I need a new fishing pole."
Robert chuckled at this.
"Well, you certainly are a brave young boy."
Richard beamed happily, "I want to be a knight just like you!"
Robert patted him on the head gently, "When I return from the Iron Islands, I will give make you a Squire for one of my Kingsguards. Would you like that?"
"Only if you'll teach me too."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world."
I have something to come home to. Someone to come home to. Gods Old and New, give me the strength to stay true to Lyanna. If I can not, then please strike me down instead.
But Robert knew that he would stay faithful: he had Lyanna, and he wanted nobody else.