Chapter 2: Betrothal
Lyanna and Catelyn became fast friends. Despite Lyanna's more boyish disposition and Catelyn's more lady-like one. Catelyn is the same age as Lyanna which is rare for a young lady as they aren't all the same age. In most cases most of them are radically different ages, and unable to bond with Lyanna. However that is not the case for the future good-sisters.
However, Lyanna could say the same about the younger Tully girl, and the boy she was always around, Peytr Bay-kiss. Or something of that nature. Lysa seemed to take it personally whenever someone insulted the boy, and he would glare at anyone, especially if they were a male, that held Catelyn's attentions. She couldn't blame them though. She was likely the only mother figure either of them had. She doubted that they would actually harm someone. They most likely would grow out of it once they started to reach adulthood. Benjen does the same sometimes. When he feels extremely alone and her grabs tightly to her garments, especially when he is going to meet new people he seems terrified that they will carry her off into the night. Lyanna decided that they were mostly harmless, scared children.
Brandon likes Catelyn well enough, but must feel sick because of how close in age she is to his younger sister. However, Catelyn seemed to be enamored with her brother, laughing at his japes, smiling at him, blushing, and looking at him wantonly. She could only hope that Brandon could stay away from dishonoring her. Sometimes he would think more with the appendage in his pants than with his head. It also doesn't help that he seems enamored with a different woman every week, due to his short attention span. She hoped that he would grow out of it before he dishonored his betrothed. When one of her handmaidens leaves Winterfell she ignores it, telling herself that Brandon meant no offense to her by it. He just didn't think.
However, if a man were to do so in her own home, well she wouldn't be naïve or forgiving. She would likely slit his throat after emasculating the stupid bastard. She would never become a bitter woman and sit by and watch.
Her brother is good man, young, but never the less a good man. He would grow out of his taste for heated affairs with chambermaids. Catelyn would not need to know of her suspicions that her former lady-in-waiting carried her betrothed's bastard. Maybe she had an affair with one of the stable boys. It must be all a strange coincidence she decided. She clung to that hope, but they were dashed as she turned the corner and found her brother in an unsavory situation. She didn't recognize the girl but knew what they were doing and she turned as red as her new friends hair, and runs from it. Her brother saw her and rushes after her.
"I thought you liked her!" She hissed at her brother. Who's garments and hair was disheveled.
"I do, it was just a moment of… weakness." He says in a weak comeback.
"And that makes it acceptable? She is a good person Brandon. She deserves a husband that won't father bastards with her ladies-in-waiting behind her back. Gods Brandon!"
"Don't tell father," he begs her. He looks completely and utterly scared. He was right to look like that, father would be furious, but he wouldn't care about the other one, after all the lady-in-waiting was sent away. Who would care about a chambermaid? "Please Lya."
"Fine," he eyes look like a storm and cut through him with cold. "But answer me truthfully. Did you beget a bastard on the other girl?" He didn't answer but he didn't need to. His ashamed visage was answer enough and it angered Lyanna that her bother could do such a thing to such a sweet girl. "I see, I will never speak of it again." She realizes that he does hold affection for her friend but not enough to stop the enjoyment of others as well. She leaves her brother there.
The next morning when Lyanna breaks her fast with her new friend she can't help but feel immense guilt. It isn't hers but since her brother is too apathetic to carry it, someone must. She feels as though she is sending her friend to a fate she wouldn't wish on anyone. She thought she would do so much better with Ned. She avoids her friend's questioning eyes by pretending to be lost in thought staring at a tapestry on the wall. She is torn. While she likes her new friend and it is nice to have a female around, Brandon is blood. She doesn't want to, but she will keep her brother's secret, but she will warn his bride to be on the day of her wedding. She deserves at least that. She can only lower her head and pray that her brother will grow to love her friend, and stop.
Lyanna decides to go into the gardens. She isn't allowed to practice swordplay while her future good-family is first visiting. Her father doesn't want them to think the Starks as savage as their Northern neighbors the wildlings. So she wears her dresses and acts like the perfect lady. Hoster Tully finds her there and asks her about what she thinks of Catelyn.
"What do you think about my Cat, Lady Lyanna?" Lyanna ponders for a second and says the more lady-like thing.
"You should ask my brother Lord Tully. He is the one that will be married to her." She smiles and decides to test his humor. "Mind you, if I was born a man. Brandon would have to duel me for your daughter's hand." He laughs loudly and Lyanna decided she like Lord Tully. And apparently such a compliment is well received.
"You have a good sense of humor girl!" He leaves her there among the blue flowers of the North and the warmth in the glass gardens.
She decides that Catelyn must be the one to judge her wild brother. Hopefully, Brandon will grow out of this tomfoolery and not ruin a perfectly good woman's life. Lyanna resolves that she won't ever be made a fool of, and any man who dares think he can will have another thing coming.
"Gods be good to those two. Don't let my brother's stupidity ruin it." She prays. However, Lyanna is still young and while she prepares for the worst. She wishes for the best so her heart doesn't have the possibility of breaking. However what does one so young know of higher beings? What does she presume to know of their schemes and plans for the mortals that they preside over? And how can she trust that they even see any worth among her people anymore and actually listen to her pleas?
Ned hesitates not wanting to hit his little sister. However, his dear little sister has no such qualms, and from her on and off training from her eldest brother. Well he didn't get off without a few welts.
"If you aren't going to fight me, don't. I'll just get Brandon to do it."
Brandon watches the exchange and says.
"Come on Ned, we already got her riding like a Northern man, and she knows the basics. We're not doing wrong in teaching her how to defend herself further".
Brandon doesn't mean to make her a legendary Lady Knight, like how little Lyanna dreamed, but he wanted her to be able to defend herself. The king was mad, so they said; he wasn't going to be sending his sweet sister to her doom there. Even if there was a coldness felt every time she gazed on him. Rickard catches their practice. Except unlike the other times when they were practicing when she was younger he only sends the boys hard looks. He doesn't stop their practice and even hands Lyanna a dagger.
"Keep it, my girl. You are going to need it, if the rumors are to be believed."
Lyanna had a very Stark face of that no one could deny. However, for those who knew her mother they would say that when Lyanna wasn't beating her brothers in the tiltyard or running around in breeches, she looked like a visione of her mother. She carries herself with a straight back, a highly held head, and the kindness and love anyone would be glad to receive. This makes Rickard think back to the letter that he got, oh so many years ago. His daughter would be going to the dragon's den in a few years' time. It wasn't long enough before his little girl was sent away.
By the time she was 10-and-4 Lyanna Stark was the epitome of a Northern woman. She was beautiful, and kind, fiercely proud and protective. No one could dispute that fact. She wasn't one of the frivolous Southern girls that would no doubt be throwing themselves at her betrothed. She was a hard, passionate, untamable she-wolf of Winterfell, who was usually armed to the teeth with various daggers, much to her father's weak ire. It costs her nothing to be betrothed. She has shared her heart with no one except for her family, and to her a husband is just a chance to have more family. She embraces it with grace, and a little apprehension. She has not heard good things of the dragons in the South, particularly her future good-father. The Mad King they called him. However, she has heard but praises for the crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
"Father, when shall I meet him?" The thought of him makes her curious. She's heard little from when she was small and her parents talked about him. However, because of childish naivety she didn't much care for it. Her mother was also not there to discuss it with her father. However, she has heard of his intelligence, and attractive face and body, from the bawdier chambermaids.
"Soon enough, daughter." He assures her. His word proves true when they are invited to Harrenhall. It seems that it will be a joy for everyone, even her dear brother Ned, who isn't one for celebrations.
It is at this tourney that she meets Rhaegar Targaryen for the first time. She finds that the rumors are not wrong. He is very comely. He is a Targaryen through and through. He has wavy silver hair that went down to a little above his shoulders and was pulled back slightly. His eyes were a deep violet and unlike his father's seemed clear and she could see intelligence in those amethyst orbs. His smile doesn't reach his eyes and as he studies her she is reminded of her brother Ned. She wonders what he is looking for so intently. She wouldn't know, but when he stops she breathes. He is around the same size as Brandon but is leaner than her wolfish brother. He is also dressed in his family colors that are shown by fine cloths and leather.
He can't be more different from his father. While Rhaegar seems composed and hidden away under masked visages. Aerys is disheveled and almost disgusting. It is hard for her not to stare. His hair and beard aren't neat at all; it looks like it hasn't been brushed since he was about his son's age. His fingernails are worse though, so long that they curl and wave and almost touch the floor. He wears all red with some black embroidery and a black crown on his head. While Rhaegar's gaze was searching, Aerys seemed to be looking at her like one would a piece of jewelry that they were about to buy. As if he was trying to asses her worth, and it made Lyanna bristle, but she kept her head and her temper locked in a cage. She did the perfect curtsy and bowed her head so as not to get his attention and luckily he didn't seem to want to talk to her.
However the Queen seemed quite the opposite of her husband. She walks towards Lyanna in the torchlight, with all of the grace of a princess turned Queen. She notes that she is also wearing the family colors and the silks seem like a cloud of vapor trailing behind her, making her look ethereal. She also sees that she hasn't brought her younger children, but Lyanna thinks that such a place isn't good for such innocence and youth. She also sees that the prince gains most of his looks from his mother, which she thinks is fortunate.
Rhaegar has his attention focused on Lyanna Stark. Many years before his father had sent a letter North asking for her hand, but both had been but children then so nothing had been settled.
However, now that little girl whom he had sent the silver pendant to, he could see her wearing it right now, was definitely a woman. Lyanna is dancing with a man that he believes must be her brother. He doesn't really focus on him though as he studies the beautiful she-wolf before him. She laughs as he twirls her, but he can see it is awkward and forced. Her cheeks are flushed red and her eyes seemed aglow in the light.
He wishes to speak with her, but the approach seems to anger her brother. He glares at Rhaegar, but as he gets closer he realizes it wasn't for him at all but for Lyanna. She answers the glare with one of her own leaving her eyes stormy. They seem to have an argument with her brother seeming much more passionate about it. However, Lyanna handles it with the grace of a lady. Well that's what he believes as he can't hear what they are saying but can see their lips moving. In the end the young man just gets fed up with her and leaves her stranded in the end of the dance. She looks at him exasperated.
"It seems that your knight has left you stranded, my lady." She jumps slightly and whirls around she seems angered at his interruption of her thoughts. However she seems shocked when she realizes who he is.
"You should not sneak up on a wolf, my prince. We can bite and the results can be most unpleasant." She says curtly but he can see the curiosity in her eyes clearly. She dips her head in respect for his station.
"I am a dragon, my lady." Rhaegar chuckles amusedly. "May I have this dance?"
"A dance?" she seems shocked by the offer, but Rhaegar could wait if she refused. "Of course, your grace. I do not see any reason not to."
Rhaegar smiled at her genuinely and she tentatively did the same. He held her in the correct fashion and as soon as the waltz started the occupants of the floor began to dance. She was a good dancer, not the best he had seen, but they flowed like water on the dance floor. Her hand is in his and he feels callouses and immediately knows that this little she-wolf was a warrior. However, her hand is dwarfed in his and he almost marvels at her small stature. He could probably wrap his hands around her hips and spin her around as easy as he could with his small siblings. She was also rather lovely, and he almost wished that his father would announce their betrothal right now. However, a royal engagement required a feast and party all of it's own.
"What has you brother done to earn you ire?" he asks.
"My brothers are not here your grace. 'Twas Robert Baratheon you saw me dancing with."
Rhaegar had heard of Robert Baratheon. He was quite the source of scandal among his family, due to being related to the royal family. He had heard that his cousin had fathered a bastard already, in the Vale. Supposedly his foster father made sure the girl was well cared for. He had also heard of his battle prowess. He could be very deadly with his war hammer.
"Do you know him well?"
"No, he was fostered at Winterfell for a little over a year. However, after his brutish stupidity got me hurt, he was forced to foster at the Vale. He and Ned became friends due to their close ages. We were never really friends, and I guess that hasn't changed much."
"But you danced with him?"
"He is my brother's friend and the future Lord of the Stormlands."
"I see," and Rhaegar almost pitied her. "And even with your terrible… acquaintance he still asked you to dance?"
"I assume he has danced with every woman that hasn't refused him. I owe it my brother and House to be courteous to him." Her eyes show a seriousness he doesn't often see in the ladies that usually throw themselves at his feet.
"I would ask for your favor on the 'morrow, my lady." He doesn't need her to talk more of an oaf who hurt her. He asks for this because to ask for anything else would be discourteous.
"You shall have it if you so wish, your grace." Her eyes dart to a table and she then says. "I believe my father would want me back."
"By all means do, my lady. I wouldn't be one to keep you from your family."
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