The Doctor had been in the library, reading for hours. Peri had come and gone at least six times in all that. The Doctor insisted that it was very important to know the history of this realm, and she understood his point. He was relentless. Not only that, he was a very fast reader, starting and finishing gigantic, dusty tomes within the same minute. He had read most of the library by the time he finally put the book he was holding down and asked for a cup of tea. A serving boy came to him with a wooden cup filled with something red and very sweet smelling. He drank it regardless.
The large oaken desk was piled up with so many book and scrolls that there was barely any wood visible. The books in question ranged from leather bound and well documented histories in good condition, and that looked like they were very recently published and bound, to old, withered collections of browning pages bound crudely with string, containing crude handwriting in a language she couldn't read. The doctor finally looked up from the table.
"Probably not best to wander around, Peri. We're strangers here. We haven't earned trust, and the King was assassinated during a council meet not three days ago."
"What, you honestly don't think they'd suspect us, do you?" She asked in reply as the Doctor sighed and shut the book he was reading.
"They have no reason to, but you've been travelling with me long enough to know our luck."
"Your luck," she retorted sharply. "You're the one who gets us into these situations."
"My dear Peri, the kingdom is in disarray. The House of Lannister is demanding that Cersei be released, and the House of Baratheon wants retribution for their dead king. Tensions are very high. There are already rumours that alliances are being struck out. War is very likely. Are you honestly suggesting that we leave and abandon everyone in Westeros to that fate?"
"I...I...I..." Peri looked at the floor and fell silent. She hadn't thought of it like that.
"No," said the Doctor. "We have to stay. We have to help bring peace as quickly as possible. Only then will I be comfortable leaving."
Despite all the times he drives her nuts, or flaunts his ego, or acts pompous, it was times like these when Peri saw who the Doctor really was, and thanked him for it. She smiled, and nodded.
Just then, the doors to the library burst open. Ned Stark hobbled in, leaning heavily on his cane, notably no longer wearing the pin of the Hand. Varys was behind him, and another man, who Peri didn't recognize, though from the Doctor's face, he did. The Doctor bowed in respect.
"Your Grace," he started, his manners much better than she had ever known them, "I am the Doctor, and this is my assistant, Peri. Peri, this is King Stannis Baratheon."
Peri bowed at this stranger, who the Doctor had now identified as the king. His clothes were still wet, and smelled of salt. She guessed he must have just arrived here. And they wasted no time crowning him. Things were coldly and systematically done. What are mourning and bereavement when there is a country to be run? It was all...disturbingly close to Earth's way. A shiver went down her spine, but she didn't show it.
"Let's not waste time. I don't have much. Both Eddard and Varys say you're smart. Do you know anything about money?"
"More than anybody else here, I'll wager. Why?"
Stannis nodded, satisfied with that answer. "Good. You're the new Master of Coin. I don't know you so I have no grounds to trust you but I don't mistrust you either. I mistrusted the old one for years, and quickly looking through the books I found out he gained his glowing reputation by putting the crown in serious dept with the Lannisters, who are our enemies, and the Iron Bank of Braavos, who will fund our enemies if we don't pay them back. It's now your job to fix it. I expect to see you at tomorrow's council with a progress report."
And with that the King left, along with Eddard and Varys. The Doctor wasted no time in marching straight to the office of the Master of Coin, where Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish was still removing his affects. Before either of them said a word to each other, The Doctor turned to Peri. "You might want to go off and explore, Peri. Talk of money will not interest you. I will come and find you when we're done."
And that's how Peri found herself idling around the Castle. She was growing sick of the looks the highborns were giving her, and comments they made about her dress sense. Okay, so it was...shorter...that the norm in this time period. She should get a dress made. But to get a dress made, she'd need gold. Maybe she could go into the city, and find a job. Would there be a job that required botany? As she was thinking this, she heard commotion, and a child crying out. She raced toward the sound without a second thought. What she saw made her heart wrench. Two fully clad knights were beating a small child. Peri yelled out before her brain had a chance to analyse the situation.
"Hey! HEY! What the hell do you think you're doing?!"
The knights turned to her. One laughed, but the other remained deathly serious. "She's a Lannister."
"And that's an excuse to beat a small, defenceless girl?!"
The knights were taken aback by Peri's fearlessness and anger. They were about to make a move forward when there was another voice. This one, Peri recognized. It was Renly Baratheon. She'd seen him here and there in the three days she'd been in this castle. He was always friendly and courteous. He struck her as the kind of man who, if he was king, would be loved by all, but wouldn't make a good king. From what little she's seen of his elder brother Stannis, he seemed no nonsense and seemed to value his time. Her jury was still out on him.
The Knights scattered, and Renly helped the little girl up, but she flinched away from him.
"You locked my mommy up!" She yelled into his face, before running into Peri's arms. Peri shot an apologetic look at Renly, before picking the little girl up and hugging her.
"It's okay," she whispered in a soothing voice. "Nobody's going to hurt you now."
Renly nodded, seeing that the situation was under control, and went after the offending knights. Peri starting walking towards where she thought the Maester's chamber was. Since Pycelle had been found guilty of poisoning King Robert, he'd been sent to rot in jail, and a new Maester had been put in his place; Maester Gormon. Peri understood a little of the reasoning. Gormon was a Tyrell, and Renly was hoping to form an alliance with the Tyrells against the Lannisters. They really did seem to want war an awful lot. It was their plan A, and there was no plan B.
Peri looked down at the girl she had rescued. She felt a little rude having not introduced herself.
"I'm Peri. Peri Brown. What's your name?"
"Myrcella," the girl replied cheerfully, already warming in Peri's presence, "Myrcella Baratheon."
Peri frowned. Even with the truth having become public knowledge, this girl still didn't want to call herself Lannister. Given the current circumstances, Peri couldn't blame her. Still, given the more recent circumstances, she probably didn't find much comfort in the name 'Baratheon' either. Poor girl.