The calm after the battle sickened Edwyn Frey to the point of vomiting.
The hall was littered with bodies, and blood ran like a river. There was a dismembered hand laying no a foot from where he stood.
Forcing back the bile crawling up the back of his throat, he turned to his father, Lord Walder Frey.
His eyes were intent on one convulsing body, as his life blood streamed through the leather hauberk he wore. Three quarrels jutted from his chest, leg, and shoulder, and he was breathing in fast, sharp gasps. His auburn hair was soaked with blood and the flickering firelight made it seem almost as if it was alive and moving.
Edwyn strode towards the body and kicked his side. He groaned and the head turned sharp blue eyes on him, glazed with shock and pain.
“He’s still alive.”
Walder Frey turned Edwyn, and demanded “Then kill him.”
Kneeling at the dying boy's side and drawing a dagger, he held it aloft over the heart. The man, more like a child in that moment, closed his eyes and convulsed again, more blood trickling free down his side.
The dagger tip trembled over the heart, still furiously pumping blood through the body, struggling to keep the man alive. Guilt crashed down on Edwyn, like a boulder landing squarely between his shoulders and weighing even heavier on his heart. Killing in the heat of battle was one thing. Cold blooded murder over a wounded man was quite another.
“Do it Edwyn, before I stick the knife through him myself.” One of his family shouted at him.
Still, he hesitated.
The cold blue eyes opened again, and seemed almost to be begging for release. The gift of mercy; one swift strike and the pain and torment would leave this poor man for forever.
Finally, Edwyn stepped aside, and said “No.”
His father leaned forward in his mockery of a throne, yellowed eyes narrowed at his son who would dare be so disobedient, and looked almost as if he was wondering if he should kill him now.
“No?” his father asked, leaning forward in his seat with a sickening grin twisting his face. “You useless waste of my seed, you deny your father his wish? I should cut out your tongue for such an insult.”
One of his many brothers stepped forward, eager to please Lord Walder and shorten his path to being the head of the house.
“No.” Edwyn reaffirmed. Whatever good sense he had had surely abandoned him, he thought with detachment. He was defying his father, and saving a hated enemy of the Frey name, and for no personal gain of his own, as he had been raised these past decades.
He almost wondered at what had possessed him to save this dying man, when an idea struck him – one that would have him save face in front of his father, and may even please Lord Tywin all the more.
“Why not let him live?” he demanded.
Everyone nearby stood and stared at him in horror, their jaws hitting the floor with shock. Lord Walder laughed outright; a false, high pitch reedy laugh he had used to humor the lords of the north that were now lying murdered around them.
“Let this stain on our family live? You mock us, surely Edwyn.” Lord Walder argued, the disdain oozing from his voice.
Edwyn shook his head, a plan forming to turn this in his favor, a skill every Frey learned at the Twins.
“No jest, father. This boy is a traitor to the crown. What do traitors of the crown deserve, but a public execution in King’s Landing, at the Lannisters’ hands?”
The silence remained unbroken, but Edwyn wasn’t worried about his siblings’ opinions. He watched as the familiar scheming expression took over Lord Walder’s dumpy face.
Edwyn continued on. “He might be pleased enough to offer a Lannister, Lady Cersei or maybe even his grandson Tommen, to the Freys for marriage. We can make deals with the Lannisters for our new prisoner. And if the Lannisters don’t want to deal, we can kill him here.”
A slow, sly smile spread across Lord Walder’s face.
“I had no clue of your cunning nature, Edwyn.” His father praised, before raising his voice to the masses of family gathered. “Someone fetch the maester! We would have our guest’s injuries tended to if he is to live long enough to survive a trip to King’s Landing. It would be of ill forture to die before a public execution.”
One of the younger and lesser Freys took this as an order and fled the hall, calling for the maester.
“And someone fetch that Riverlord from my daughter’s bed. Throw him in the dungeon and tell him of his sister’s passing. And throw that wretched wench in the river.”
Two more Freys stepped forward and grabbed the Lady Stark’s corpse by her ankles and wrists, stripping her of her fine clothes and bloodstained jewels as they dragged her along out of the hall.
Edwyn knelt down again by the boy king’s head and took his wrist in hand, and with the help of another brother or cousin, haulted him towards one of the long feast tables as Maester Crass was ushered in, holding his sleeve to his nose as he stepped over the bodies.
The maester bent over the boy, and ordered the second Frey. “Fetch warm water and a jug of ale, and a roll of linen bandages. We might be able to save the boy yet.”
It was three days after the Red Wedding, as many were beginning to call it. Edwyn strode towards the stairs down to the dungeon, deep underneath the Twins. Edmure Tully sat on the ground of his cell, holding his knees to his chest.
As soon as he spotted Edwyn, he ran for the door and shook the bars across his window. “Where is my nephew? Is he alright?” he demanded.
Edwyn held up a placating hand, and informed the desperate prisoner. “He’s alive for now, but the fever is making itself worse. He might not survive till dawn.”
Edmure tightened his fists and ordered. “Let me see him.”
Edwyn rolled his eyes, and drawled. “Lord Walder has said no visitors. Whether the boy lives or dies, it is of no concern to you.”
A fist slammed into the door with a heavy bang was the response to Edwyn’s words.
“That is your king, you weasel! Your whole brood are nothing but worthless whoresons!”
Edwyn let the insults slide, mostly because in many cases, it was true, and said. “Be fortunate that Lord Walder hasn’t killed you yet, like your precious sister. You could just as easily be a bloated corpse sunk in the river.”
The Lord of Riverrun was seething silently, his hands shaking as he glowered at Edwyn, to furious for words.
Edwyn turned his back on the man and strode down the hall. In through another door, lit by the dim lamplight, Maester Crass was bent over the injured boy king, who lay bleeding, fevered, and dying.
“It is unlikely he will make it through the night, Lord Edwyn. The fever is too strong, and the boy too weak.”
He shook his head, feeling no more grief that he would for the death of a newborn pup, but that was when he was not facing the boy. Now, though, facing the shivering, addled boy, it reminded him of his own son, when he had been his age and also struck with a horrid fever. He hadn’t died, but it had been too close for comfort. Replace the boy’s face and hair with his son’s ratty features and brown locks, and he was reminded too much of those horrible weeks.
Clenching his fists to shake the memories aside, he growled to the maester. “Make sure he stays alive. My father will be most displeased if he does not get to kill the boy himself.”
He turned on heel and left the room, his task done. Edmure had shed his anger in his cell, sulking in the corner in grief for his sister and nephew. Edwyn felt a spark of pity for the man, who had lost his whole family except for the boy dying a few doors down and a mad sister living in the mountains.
The spark grew into a flame, until Edwyn couldn’t stand to watch the man for another moment. He fished a key from his pocket, and unlocked the door.
“You can have a moment with your nephew, but no more. If anyone hears of this, you and I will both be whipped in the courtyard.” Edwyn hissed at him. The man scrambled to his feet and took off down the hallway for his nephew’s room, and Edwyn followed after him.
The maester was comforting the despairing man as he knelt at the boy’s bedside, clasping his one hand with two of his own.
“The fever may yet break, my lord, and he could live to see tomorrow’s dawn. It all depends on how strong the boy is.”
Edmure didn’t seem much comforted by the news, but he resolutely declared. “He’s a strong boy. He’ll survive.”
The uncle leaned forward and shook the boy’s hand lightly. “Come on Robb, you can live. Fight this bloody fever.”
Something in the boy’s slack face twitched, as if responding to his uncle’s voice. Edmure had missed the movement when he turned back to face Edwyn, but the Frey man had caught the gesture.
“Thank you.” The Tully lord grumbled, standing, and Edwyn escorted him back to his cell, locking the door tightly behind the man.
Once inside and relatively alone, the man sank to his knees again and stared intently at the wall, as if able to see through layers of stone to watch his nephew fighting to stay alive, grappling with the fever that gripped him.
Shaking his head, Edwyn turned and walked up the stairs, leaving the man and the countless other northern prisoners to sit in silence in prayer, and to wait.
I've been looking for a reason to edit Captured for a few months, and this seems life a perfect reason. I hope you enjoy my revamped version of Captured. The original version is still posted on Fanfiction, under my pen name Singing Fire.
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