It is as good a time as any to return home. The war is all but won; Jon Arryn and Doran Martell were able to come to a peace agreement, and Stannis Baratheon is on his way to Dragonstone with a landing fleet.
Robert and Lyanna have come to see Eddard off. Robert and both wore golden crowns, as five days ago was Robert's official coronation. Robert was declared King of the Aldals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.
Standing behind Robert is Ser Semly, now Commander of the Kingsguard. Since he was well enough to walk, he followed Robert practically everywhere. However, Ser Barrestin Semly still needs to walk with a wooden cane until his wounds are fully healed.
That is because, for the time being at least, Ser Semly is the only Kingsguard left; Jonothor Darry and Lewin Martell were both cut down on The Trident, Oswell Whent perished along with the White Bull and the Sword of Morning at that horrible Tower. The Kingslayer, as people are calling Jamie, has his white cloak traded for a black one and is on a ship bound for Easternwatch-By-The-Sea.
I did it. I rescued my sister, avenged my father and my brother, and now a good man sits on the throne. We were outnumbered and out manned, but by The Gods we did it.
Eddard hoped that Lyanna would be happy here. He trusted Robert to be good to her, but he knew being a Queen was a difficult task. Ned hoped, for Robert's sake as much as Lyanna's, that she was up for the task. Robert would need a strong Queen to rule the kingdom by his side.
As Eddard and Benjen's retinue were preparing to leave, Lyanna said good bye to her brothers.
First she said her farewells to Benjen. "I'm going to miss you. I hope at the Night's Watch you find what you are looking for."
This caused Benjen to tear up. He covered his eyes with one of his hands so nobody could see the water forming in them.
Lyanna hugged her younger brother, telling him it would be ok. Once he was calmed down enough, he was able to horsely say "Goodbye." However, after saying this Benjen had to get on his horse and ride a few feet in front of the other riders so that nobody could see him crying.
Next Lyanna said goodbye to Eddard. He noticed that her voice had a hollowness in it.
"You're going to bring father and Brandon home."
Eddard nodded. While their bones were all that remained, he still knew that putting those bones to rest in Winterfell is what they would have wanted.
"Sister, I can still write letters to you. You can also do the same."
"Thats right, and you had better write to me."
After saying that, Eddard held his sister close. He hugged her like he hugged her the way he had hundreds of times before. While they were close, Lyanna whispered into Eddard's ear.
"Remember your promise."
Eddard nodded, and soon broke off from his sister's embrace.
Climbing onto his horse, Eddard rode back to Winterfell. Riding with him was his brother Benjen, the silent sisters carrying the bones of Brandon and Rickard, and the honor guard Robert sent to ensure the journey was safe from hazard.
As Eddard rode, he thought about Jon Snow. The bastard was completely innocent, in direct defiance of his shameful conception.
I will raise him with love and true honor, and then he will grow up to be nothing at all like Rhaegar.
Soon Kings Landing disappeared behind them, and they made their way up the KingsRoad. Eddard would stop in Riverrun along the way to visit his in laws and to stock up on supplies.